Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Nation Dances, but the Wheel of Fate Still Turns
In Bios, there stood a castle made of white, high-quality rock. But none called it a “castle”, as it was a religious facility, and not a symbol of military power. Therefore, people called it the White Tower, despite the fact that it clearly looked like a castle.
The tower was located in the center of Bios, the Holy City of Agiapole. Located on the top floor was the room of the tower’s owner, the suzerain state of Bios’s leader, the Pope.
A country with a long history, it was known as a suzerain state because of its nonaggression pact with other nations. The temples and churches spread across everywhere were nothing but “branches”, and everyone shared this view that all other countries were under Bios. That’s why it was called a suzerain state. Eventually, Bios stood above all other nations.
「Have you read Ryver’s report?」A gray-haired man wearing a silky robe of fine quality asked. His blazing, red eyes was a sharp contrast against his overall white-themed attire.
「Yes, Your Holiness.」a woman kneeling down nodded.
She wore a pantsuit—an attire uncommon to women in this world that emphasized work over sex appeal—and under her silver-rimmed glasses were deep-blue eyes. She had long hair, the same blue color as her eyes, that flowed straight down. The woman was the Pope’s senior secretary.
「He said they lost the Drakon Ball Staff.」
「I ordered it to be confiscated the moment it was found.」
「Katina, you and the Cardinal suggested that it should be observed first, not taken.」
「And now we’re in this mess!」
The man slammed his palm down on the desk. It had quite the impact, yet the pen sitting on the pen holder did not move. The office desk was that heavy and massive.
「Your Holiness, if I may speak.」
「I know explaining again is unnecessary, but if we confiscated the staff at that point, people would have thought we stole the weapon of successful adventurers, therefore sullying the Church’s reputation. It would’ve been different if we obtained it right after they laid their hands on it, but they’ve become too famous using that weapon. You agreed to this as well, Your Holiness. As for the watcher, Ryver is one our best and he failed. Even if others took his place, the result would’ve been the same.」
「Are you saying we should give up on the staff?」
「No. The Drakon Compass is being modified at the moment. We’ll give Ryver a better compass than the one he already has.」
「So we can find the weapon, correct?」
「Fine, then. You may leave.」
The secretary hung her head low once more before moving back to the door, and left the room.
「We have not made progress on our study on drakons. Just when we found a new drakon magic item, we lost it.」
The Pope sighed and picked up a different paper from his desk.
「Arbitration on the Ponsonian civil war. So the foolish prince has come begging for help.」
It was a letter sent by Austrin.
His Holiness, Pope Evangelos, rang a bell, and an official appeared.
「Did you call, Your Holiness?」
「Send a notice to Ponsonia’s royal capital via Linga’s Quill Pen that an arbitration for the civil war is being requested.」
「Understood.」the man said and left immediately.
Alone in his room, the Pope pondered matters over.
「What Katina said is true. If even Ryver failed, then there’s nothing we could have done better. But still, who could outwit one of our best?」The man tapped his index finger on the desk.「Wait a minute.」
His finger stopped.「Stealing the staff at this time… The king’s suspicious death… Princess Kudyastoria benefits from both. Each of these is a covert operation. Does this mean she obtained a skilled spy? It’s hard to tell.」
Tap, tap, tap.
「We will simply find out.」
The Pope rang the bell once more.
Back in Ponsonia, the fort city of Leather Elka. Prince Austrin and Einbeast’s rank A adventurer Gotthold Kostenlos Anchor faced each other, surrounded by their followers.
「What did you just say?」Gotthold asked.
「We’ll be temporarily stopping our advance to the royal capital.」Austrin answered.
Gotthold, a Beastman with the face of a tiger, frowned, causing Austrin to let out a small shriek. The man’s face was intimidating.
「May I ask why?」
「We’re planning something at the moment.」
「You don’t need to answer the question, my Prince.」the grand chamberlain whispered.
The grand chamberlain gained power by sucking up to the previous king, but he made a mistake by supporting Austrin, and was now in danger of losing his position.
If they won the battle, he could make a comeback, but the chances of that were fifty-fifty now that Kudyastoria formed an alliance with Quinbland.
Right now, the grand chamberlain was thinking of founding an independent nation with Leather Elka at its center. The arbitration from Bios was his idea.
Einbeast, on the other hand, was eager to crush Ponsonia’s royal capital. What happens afterwards would be up to the king of the Beastmen, but Gotthold was here right now to fight.
Then out of the blue, the Prince said they were “planning something”, which could be taken as “we’re doing something behind the scenes”. Gotthold couldn’t help but be baffled, and even feel suspicious.
「So you can’t tell me, the representative of the allied armies?」
「We’ll inform you when the time comes. Let’s just leave it at that.」
「When is that?」
「…When?」Austrin looked at the grand chamberlain.
「In a few days.」the old man answered.
「There you have it. If you’ll excuse us.」
Austrin left along with his followers.
「Master Gotthold, we can’t take it anymore.」
The faces of Gotthold’s party members and commanding officers of the army turned red from anger.
「I know. Find out what those people are up to. I’ll consult His Majesty about this.」
The kingdom of Ponsonia’s royal capital, G. Ponsonia. The royal castle was abuzz after receiving a notice from Bios out of the blue.
「So Austrin requested an arbitration from the Pope?」Kudyastoria asked, eyeing everyone present in the conference room.「They were the ones who opened hostilities.」
The Prime Minister nodded.「It is safe to assume that’s the case, especially if they found out that we formed an alliance with Quinbland.」
They had already officially announced the alliance with Quinbland to break the spirits of Austrin’s army.
「Judging by the contents of the message, we don’t know if the Pope is really interested in mediating.」
「Indeed. He’s just requesting us to send an envoy to Bios. Still condescending as always, but he seems to be saying that they’ll provide a setting for an arbitration since someone made an appeal.」
A military man spoke up.「This is ridiculous! Prince Austrin is a wanted man and a traitor who teamed up with Einbeast! I don’t understand why the Pope would want to listen to the prince!」
Military officials agreed, nodding repeatedly. Kudyastoria held the urge to heave a sigh.
「It doesn’t matter what we think. I’m sure the Pope has his own plan. Anyway, there’s just too many troubles one after another. Those complaints…」
The Military officials and nobles’ expressions stiffened. While Austrin’s army hadn’t attacked yet, the royal capital was busy with preparing to defend itself. Amidst all this, complaints arrived, mailed directly to the captain of the knights, Lawrence D. Falcon.
The complaints contained information about the Church and noble’s corruption, sent together with notes and contracts. Before verifying the contents, the temple knights already made their move, so Kudyastoria had no other choice but to announce this to the nobles.
However, the chaos that ensued was insignificant. The nobles who noticed their documents had been stolen left the royal capital, most likely using the civil war as a chance to flee to a different country.
Kudyastoria ignored them all. They’d have to survive the civil war first. But the princess had a hunch that perhaps someone was using the current conflict as an opportunity to weed out the corrupt. The identity of the whistleblower, however, was currently unknown.
「Anyway, let’s discuss the matter about the envoy. Someone has to go there to express our side. And, this one’s important…」
The princess frowned. People whispered to each other, wondering what was wrong. The Prime Minister, who knew about the situation, took over.
「“A prior consultation is necessary, so make sure the envoy arrives in Agiapole in ten days” is what the message said.」
「That can’t be done.」
「With a fast horse, I think it’s possible.」
「You do realize you’d have to go through Leather Elka, right?」
Everyone quickly realized that the shortest route to Agiapole would be through Leather Elka, then Eingunstadt and straight through Einbeast. There was a high chance that the princess’s envoy wouldn’t be allowed to pass, considering the current situation.
「Fortunately, the message said we could send our statement via writing. I don’t know why His Holiness would do something like this, but this is what the Pope wants. We have to follow his instructions.」
They didn’t have to send an envoy. A letter would be fine, but it had to be signed by the princess.
「Let’s send someone just to be safe. Can you go, Sir?」the princess said.
The man in charge of foreign affairs nodded.「This old man will undertake my last great task.」he said.
「No, you will have many work to do after this. Please make sure you come back.」
「Haha. It looks like we might have a strict queen soon.」
「I suggest you go through sea via Vireocean.」
The maritime nation of Vireocean was one of Ponsonia’s neighbors. Going to Bios via sea would be the safest option. It was fast as well.
「So all that’s left is the letter…」
Lawrence, who was silent up until now, raised his hand.「Let’s disguise the knights as adventurers.」the captain of the Order said.「They will carry the letter across Einbeast. This is our fastest option. If we give the same letter to a few people, our chances of success will be higher.」
「I see. That is a great idea. Do you have people in mind?」
「Yes, a few. I can head there myself if needed.」
Sweet Pleasure’s leader, Senkun, almost burst into laughter. Everyone turned their attention towards him.
「My bad. I didn’t mean to laugh.」
「What’s funny, Sir Senkun?」
「A famous person like you would definitely be stopped at the checkpoint. Besides, if you go, who will protect this place?」
「I don’t think there will be any fighting during an arbitration.」
「Stop pretending, man. We’re talking about people who’d do anything to win, even side with Einbeast. This arbitration might even be a strategy so we’d lower our guard.」
Lawrence went silent, probably not considering that possibility.
「I think disguising knights as adventurers is a good idea. But I have a different suggestion.」Senkun said.
「Are you going yourself?」
「I told you, well-known people can’t go. We’re rank A adventurers, you know. Besides, if they found out we left, they’d think the capital was lightly guarded. Anyway, I’m not talking about us. We’ll send a real adventurer.」
There was a stir among the nobles and officials. Their face said they couldn’t trust an adventurer for this job. Only Lawrence, Kudyastoria, and the Foreign Minister seriously considered Senkun’s idea.
「Please explain, Sir Senkun.」
「Princess! You can’t be serious! We can’t trust adventurers!」a man protested.
「Sir Senkun himself is an adventurer. And you all know what he’s capable of.」
The princess referred to the mock battle a few days ago. Ponsonia’s elite didn’t stand a chance against Senkun’s traps. Everyone went silent.
「Why, thank you for believing in us.」Senkun said blankly. He didn’t expecting the princess to trust in their abilities.「Like I said, I suggest we send an actual adventurer who’ll pass through Einbeast. It has to be adventurers ranked C and lower, though. Otherwise, they’d draw attention.」
「Is there even a rank C adventurer that skilled that you’d vouch for them?」
「I know someone skilled who’s rank E… No, he’s rank D now.」
A tumult of voices rolled through the conference room. A rank D adventurer was on the same level as an ordinary knight.
「Actually, I lost to him in a battle.」Senkun said, scratching his check with a wry smile.
The commotion grew even louder.