I am the Monarch – Chapter 310: Alliance (2)
“Huu. What a mess. A real mess.”
An impressive youth with a masculine face and tough build slowly carried his feet with a strange smile. There were countless people quickly running across the corridor with urgent expressions.
“A bit too fussy.”
He shook his head with a grin. Then,
A low, heavy voice sounded from behind. The youth who had been carefreely carrying his feet halted and turned around as the smile hanging on his lips deepened.
“It has been a while. Brother Bario.”
Hearing that, the superficial-looking youth who had been behind him made a frown.
His eyes reflected his displeasure and so did the eyes of the several nobles and generals standing behind him. When he saw that, the masculine youth shook his head with a strange smile.
“Ah… my bad. I have made a mistake with my words.”
He once again lowered his head and gave a greeting.
“It has been a while. Your Highness, Crown Prince Bario Ron Estia.”
Only then did the superficial-looking youth smile faintly and nod his head.
“That’s right. Although we’re brothers by blood, we still need to follow the etiquette. More so for step-brothers.”
The superficial-looking youth was the first imperial prince of the Estia Empire, who was destined to be the next emperor, Bario Ron Estia. Cold Killing intent flowed across his sharp eyes.
‘Seventh Prince, Moyce Ron Estia. An unpleasant guy every time I see him.’
The masculine youth lowering his head deeply was the seventh imperial prince, Moyce Ron Estia. It was the same prince who had been having a secret meeting with Edwin Voisa and Swift Clock at the thief guild.
“In any case, judging from how even you were summoned, His Majesty must have been in quite a hurry.”
After giving a sarcastic comment with a derisive tone, Bario walked past Moyce and so did the nobles and generals following from behind. Despite Moyce being an imperial prince himself, there was not a single person who showed him proper etiquette.
However, Moyce didn’t show any particular response and instead stared at their backs quietly with an odd smile.
‘Should I have brought someone as well myself?’
While having idle thoughts, he slowly carried his feet again. After passing by the long corridors and entering through a widely opened large gate, an extremely fancy, wide room greeted him.
‘Full of people.’
Moyce grinned and shook his head. Inside the throne room, dozens and hundreds of nobles and generals guarded their spots with their eyes facing the golden throne located in the centre. The seat was still empty.
Looking at the several young adults and women standing at the very front row, Moyce gave a slight bow. They were the important figures of the imperial family, starting from the imperial princes and princesses including Bario, to the queen and relatives of the emperor.
Some of them greeted back when they saw Moyce but most of them gave him a cold shoulder with scoffs.
‘It’s good that they’re still the same.’
Making a bitter smile inwardly, Moyce placed himself at the very end of the row. Sometime after he arrived,
“The one who had received the blessing of the Head God, Creya; the righteous son of God Devesis – the owner of the world and the guardian of the continent, His Majesty Saneore de Estia is entering. Please show him due respect.”
The words of the Grand Chamberlain, Viscount Main Sterr resonated the room. In that instant, the somewhat rowdy atmosphere died down and was filled with a heavy silence. The ones that had been sharing chatters all kneeled on one of their knees towards the throne.
‘The one who had received the blessing of the Head God, Creya; the righteous son of God Devesis – the owner of the world and the guardian of the continent…’
Moyce lowered his head and made a bitter smile.
‘Too much. It’s just way too much. A person who can’t even do anything against the old man of the Church is a son of a god and the owner of the world…?’
It was pitiful and pathetic but he did not show his true thoughts outwardly. Then, a fancy door was shoved open as an old man wearing a golden robe and a golden crown appeared from behind.
At an extremely slow speed that indued boredom into the ones watching, he walked towards the throne. Viscount Main Sterr, the Grand Chamberlain, as well as the maids, quickly ran up and held the ends of the long robe and spread them apart.
Only after all that happened did Saneore let his bum touch the throne before carefully relaxing his body.
“It has been a while since we’ve gathered like this right?”
An old, powerless voice filled the audience room.
“I think it has been around 5 years.”
The Crown Prince, Bario replied with a powerful voice to which Saneore nodded with a bitter smile.
“It would’ve been good if we had gathered for a happy occasion and yet… tch tch tch.”
Even the sound of him clicking his tongue quivered powerlessly and he resembled a man waiting for his death. After a while, he glanced across the imperial family members and nobles as his eyes flickered.
Saneore’s gaze had various colours – it was warm towards someone and was cold towards others. He made it so obvious that it was clear who he liked and disliked, but Moyce received the one and only complicated gaze.
A short sigh escaped through his lips.
‘Moyce, you have grown well.’
His eyes quivered slightly before he soon waved his right hand, in an annoyed gesture. The moment he did, an old noble wearing clean attires walked out from the second row. He was the top noble of the Estia Empire and one of the Five Dukes, Ferio Eifel.
After giving a bow towards the emperor, he took out an envelope from his clothes.
“In the stead of His Majesty, The Great Emperor, let me explain to you the reasons behind today’s imperial conference.”
His voice was extremely tense and serious but there wasn’t anyone within the room with curiosity or tension in their faces. The imperial family members, nobles and generals gathered already had a clear idea of the reason.
Without caring about their reactions, Ferio took out a letter from within the envelope.
“This letter is a holy letter sent by the Church. As for the things written inside…”
He glanced around the throne room.
“It is about the gathering of the crusade.”
It was exactly same as what the people had been assuming. The imperial family, nobles and generals slowly nodded their heads as Ferio continued with his words.
“The Church desires us, the Estia Empire to immediately raise our forces to annihilate the Amaranth Kingdom.”
He then once again placed the letter back into the envelope.
“His Majesty, our great emperor has decided with his benevolent and magnanimous heart to listen to the request of the Church.”
As soon as he finished the sentence, Moyce let out a small sigh in secret.
‘A request from the Church? More like a threat from the Church. And His Majesty our great emperor has given in to that threat.’
He felt bitter but oblivious to that, Ferio continued his words nonstop.
“Our Estia Empire plans to bring an overwhelming number of two hundred thousand troops to punish the house of heretics, the root of evil, Amaranth Kingdom.”
In that instant, the eyes of the ones gathered widened and their surprise was evident from their faces. They had known about the call for a crusade from the Church, as well as the fact that there were some arguments and invisible fights between them before the eventual submission from the Imperial family.
Due to that, they thought that despite following the wishes of the Church, that they wouldn’t be sending a lot of troops.
‘But two hundred thousand…’
Even Moyce who remained calm was slightly surprised.
‘Two hundred thousand of the Empire’s army can subjugate the Amaranth Kingdom alone without the help of other nations.’
That was how great of a number that was. Slightly turning his head, Moyce glanced at Saneore, the old emperor who rested on the throne with his eyes closed.
‘What are you planning?’
It was impossible for him to even guess what his thoughts were. In that instant, Ferio turned over towards Bario.
“The Grand Commander of the subjugation army will be His Highness, The Crown Prince.”
Hearing that, Bario immediately kneeled down on one knee.
“I have received the Imperial Decree.”
A blatant bright smile appeared on his lips. Seeing that from the end of the row, Moyce made a bitter smile inwardly.
‘Brother Bario had always been close to the Church after all.’
He might be happy about being placed as the Grand Commander but he was probably a lot happier about the fact that he was put in as a part of the crusaders.
“In addition, the other nine imperial princes have been assigned to the positions of regiment leaders of the crusaders.”
It was an uproar.
Including the crown prince Bario, there were currently ten official imperial princes and those ten were now being placed into the battle without fail. In that instant, the faces of several princes became stiffened including the crown prince, Bario.
Bario turned his head to look at Saneore.
“Your Majesty. The call for the crusaders means a holy war. It is an extremely holy and noble battle. Why are you sending a foolish son who squanders others into it? The 7th imperial prince, Moyce Ron Estia is being punished for intentionally threatening and harassing the members of the imperial family. If such a person becomes one of the crusaders as a representative of the empire, it would be in great contrast to the representatives of other empires and kingdo…”
Before he could finish his sentence,
Saneore opened his closed eyes and made a frown. Bario who had been pouring out sharp words immediately closed his mouth and lowered his head. Quietly, Saneore stared at that before heaving out a small sigh.
He didn’t like Bario. Of course, he did love him as a child but,
‘This guy isn’t fit to be an emperor.’
He was excessively thorny and narrow-minded. However, there was a reason why he still had to be placed as the crown prince.
‘Let alone the imperial palace, he is getting the support from the Church as well…’
It was close to impossible for an old emperor to overturn the decision however he wanted. With another short sigh, Saneore looked at Moyce.
‘This guy is better suited to the seat of an emperor and yet…’
Hiding the bitter feeling, he asked with a low voice.
“Moyce. What are your thoughts?”
In front of the casual question, the eyes of the imperial family and nobles immediately fell towards Moyce. Without a single bit of hesitation, Moyce gave a short reply.
“I think it is not right for me who is in the middle of a punishment to attend a holy war.”
As soon as he finished his words, the imperial family members and nobles who had been pointing sharp gazes nodded their heads with faint smiles.
‘At least he knows his place.’
That was what their eyes seemed to be saying.
Letting out a low mutter, Saneore lightly bit on his lower lips.
‘Even this isn’t going according to my will.’
He felt helpless.
‘The one with the blessing of the Head God, Creya; the righteous son of God Devesis – the owner of the world and the guardian of the continent…’
He was embarrassed.
‘They are all meaningless.’
The so-called owner of the world couldn’t have anything flow the way he wanted it to. Thinking that, Saneore closed his eyes and gave a nod.
“Good. Do as you all wish.”
His command fell.
From the various imperial princes, only Moyce was not allowed into the holy battle and was left behind within the imperial capital, Regium. His opportunity to flaunt off fame had been thrown away and more importantly, this was perhaps the only chance he could have command over a large army.
On the faces of several members of the imperial family including Bario and the nobles surfaced a smile of satisfaction. On the other hand, Moyce who was the odd one out had a stiffened expression but,
In fact, Moyce was inwardly filled with happiness. Inside his head, the conversations he had with Edwin and Swift flashed past before soon disappearing. The ends of his lips quivered as he forced the smile down but the others thought of that as him trying to suppress the overflowing rage and dejection.
It was a perfect disguise. Everything was flowing the way Moyce planned, or rather, the way Swift had planned.
After entering the castle gates, Roan Lancephil, Manus Persion, Peid Neil, Aerea Britz and Vance Vonte immediately halted their horses.
“T, this is…”
Manus’ face reddened as his body quivered slightly. Blood-red rage filled him up to the brim of his throats as Roan, Peid, Aerea and Vance looked forward with deeply sunk eyes.
Behind the castle gates was a long road with numerous buildings located densely to each side. It was the same old capital city of Altus but on the road which should have been empty were countless knights and soldiers on guard. It was the same for rooftops and the alleyways between buildings and the sheer number were enough to induce headaches.
However, the reason for Manus’ rage and the stiffened faces of Roan, Peid, Aerea and Vance were not due to the countless knights and soldiers.
With a bitter smile, Peid shook his head.
Helplessness was evident from his voice. In front of the uncountable number of soldiers and knights stood the citizens of Castle Altus without a single piece of armour and neither were their hands carrying anything.
With sorrowful tears, they stood frozen in fear like fence posts of a camp, as shields of the knights. More than anything, there were even children and old men mixed within the group.
“Rather than a guilty conscience, he became a level crueller.”
Peid shook his head with a short sigh and gave an evaluation of Reitas Persion. Aerea who had given a similar analogy before made a bitter smile as Peid formed tight fists.
‘When Prince Reitas was forming a rebellion after escaping Teloi Island, he at least gave simple armours and let the citizens hold farming equipment.’
Besides, only grown, well-built men were put into the battle. By letting the citizens stand before them, Reitas was able to easily defeat Manus.
‘This time, he didn’t give anything to the citizens and even brought in children and old men.’
Peid clenched his teeth.
They couldn’t fight.
‘If we fight here, the innocent ones will lose their lives.’
It was then,
Manus screamed from the bottom of his lungs as the suppressed rage finally broke apart.
“Huk huk huk. P, prince.”
“P, please save us.”
The innocent citizens who had been forced into the battle let out tears. Behind them, the soldiers and knights of the Persion Kingdom turned their heads away with expressions as if they had bitten on a bug.
‘It’s alright. Prince Manus will never fight that.’
‘Right, the citizens will never die. Never.’
‘I, if it all goes well, we can end the fight without anyone dying!’
They barely settled their trembling hearts. The knights and soldiers believed in Reitas’ plans, or instead, they believed in Manus’ character.
Suddenly, a calm yet powerful voice left from a distant, tall rooftop.
“It has been a while, Manus.”
The person who appeared with an amiable greeting was none other than Reitas Persion.
Manus let out another scream with a reddened expression but Reitas shook his head with a regretful expression.
“You’re not even calling me a brother anymore.”
Hearing that, Manus formed a tight fist.
“The brother I knew has died. You are a devil – a dirty, evil, underhanded disgusting devil!”
He took out the sword from the scabbard on his waist and raised it high.
“Don’t hide behind the citizens like a coward and walk up. Fight fair and square!”
Reitas shook his head with a faint smile.
“You’re looking for something fair and square from battles and wars? Manus, you’re still young.”
He threw his arms wide open.
“This is my way of doing things. For me, the most important thing is to be victorious in battles and wars…”
His smile deepened.
“Not the methods used. I have always priori…”
Before he could finish his words,
“You’ve always prioritised results over the process.”
Roan interjected with a faint smile. Reitas nodded his head with slight surprise.
“Right, that’s exactly it. Roan Lancephil. I’m glad to see you after so long.”
His voice remained amiable.
“A mere noble like you had become the monarch of a country. How fascinating.”
He was in fact, in honest admiration. Although they were enemies, he had to admit Roan’s abilities.
“Roan Lancephil, what would you do?”
Reitas stared at the trembling citizens.
“Will you kneel and fall back because of the innocent citizens like Manus? Or…”
A cold killing intent flashed past his eyes.
“Will you wage a battle without caring a single bit about the citizens’ lives?”
The road was filled with silence.
The citizens who had been forced into human shields could only tremble their bodies while letting out tears while Manus, Peid, Aerea, Vance and others stared at Roan’s face in silence.
However, Roan made a faint smile and stared directly at Reitas.
“Are those the only options?”
It was a question not fitting the situation. Hearing that, Reitas made a frown.
“Then do you think there’s another way apart from those right now?”
Roan nodded with a calm expression in response.
“Although the distance is limited because of my lack of skills…”
Incomprehensible words left his lips and Reitas, as well as everyone else, stared at Roan with tilted heads. Soon, Roan reached out with his right hand with a smile.
A soft, yet powerful voice shook the capital city of Altus.
“This is what I’m going to do.”
As soon as his words ended,
From beneath the dozens and hundreds of citizens who had been forced into becoming human shields, pillars of light soared up. Those pillars were so white that they could blind the onlookers.
<Alliance (2)> End.