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Volume 3: Chapter 252 – The Kingdom of the Black Sun
—The Kushain Believers had declared war against the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
This report wasn’t considered important by the imperial court of the Holy Shushunu Kingdom, since Blanche had already once led the Short Sword Battle Maidens (Valkyria) to attack the territory of the Kushain Believers herself. Hence, as far as the imperial court was concerned, the Kushain Believers were old news, but the War Princess understood the gravity of the situation.
If the Kushain Believers were willing to fight, then the goblins, who were allied to them, wouldn’t be sitting still either.
In the first place, the reason she attacked the Kushain Believers was because she couldn’t handle them and the goblins together. Unfortunately, that only made the situation worse.
She was so furious with the envoys the king had sent out that she wouldn’t be satisfied even if she killed them three times over, but the situation has already reached a point of no return.
Queen Mira was a politician and a brilliant leader.
She would never declare war against the Holy Shushunu Kingdom without any chance for victory. If so, then she must have already communicated with the goblins. In other words, the goblins have already recovered.
But the only one who realized this terrifying truth was the War Princess alone.
To recover from a defeat in just one month… Such a thing was unheard of in the Holy Shushunu Kingdom. It was an impossible feat. The only wars that the Holy Shushunu Kingdom and the minor nations knew about were the skirmishes between the minor nations or the wars meant to suppress them, and yet they still couldn’t fathom how fast the goblins were able to recover.
“How wonderful would it be if I could just close my eyes to all the unpleasant things.”
She shot down the people who argued that it was impossible, and then set out once more to reinforce her army. This time they probably won’t rely on something as roundabout as a scheme.
In the last battle, the goblins were baited and wiped out. It may be easy to describe, but it took a lot of preparation to pull off. People who know nothing of war can’t even imagine it.
In the last battle, they exploited their allies and got them to provide them 4,000 footmen and 1,000 archers. If the goblins will attack them with the same numbers, then they’ll have to provide the same number of soldiers, but…
“There’s no way they’ll come with the same number of soldiers.”
It was unthinkable for the enemy to match their numbers and play a game of tactics with them. If anything they’ll probably bring an army twice as big. Blanche knew that they’d bought time, but she didn’t realize how deep their pockets went.
Be that as it may, she was a warrior who stood at the apex of a major power’s military prowess.
She’ll have to hire adventurers as mercenaries, provide training, conscript the farmers, and then use them all as soldiers. If the enemy will come at them with a greater army, then she’ll have to make her army bigger too.
Whatever difference in number remains she’ll have to make do with tactics.
But no matter what she had to avoid leaving the numerical gap so big that she’s powerless against them. She knew full well how powerful quantity was when she suppressed the minor nations.
“There’s no choice. I’ll have to use them.”
She had taken the men from the east as slaves, but she had hesitated to use them. Now that things have come to this, she didn’t have a choice. She sighed a little and considered how to use them.
Within the seething darkness of summer, in that place where the lights of the city couldn’t reach, were those that squirmed.
The capital of the Holy Shushunu Kingdom, Rishu, turned a new face from the vulgarity in the noon. Although it was a country ruled by law, that law was by no means omnipotent, and there were those who could turn a profit precisely because they would be breaking the law.
These denizens of the darkness lurked in the shadows of Rishu.
They had their own laws. A law different from the laws known by the common man.
A law where the strong ruled and the weak obeyed – a law where power was everything.
The one who organized all that was an old man who made his wealth from selling drugs and weapons, a man known as Gararote. Dark eyes that have long ceased to believe in men, a plump belly, and skilled guards hired with coin.
But in the dead of the night, one person visited him.
Lustrous black hair that fluttered in the dark, honey-colored skin, and clothing that showed much skin. Under the light of his residence, she was bewitching. The slender but curved blade by her waist was something she’d purchased at Imperial Capital of Rishu. The long slits she had for eyes were by no means smiling. That was the look of a predator eyeing her prey, her red tongue playing with words like the whisperings of a demon.
“Y-You whore… You think you can get away doing something like—”
Piled up on top of each other were none other than the famed experts that Gararote had hired.
It was curious what she found so amusing, but Vine twisted her body in laughter.
The blade in her hand dripped with blood unsated.
“Listen, you senile old man. This isn’t a proposition, it’s an order.”
Vine looked down at Gararote as if she were looking at garbage, then the corners of her mouth lifted and formed a smile.
“I won’t give you… Any money…”
The blade pointed at him had already eaten into his shoulder. Gararote stifled his cries, but Vine moved the blade in his shoulder around and laughed.
“You don’t have to hold back, old man. They’re all in hell already, having a nice little audience with the Goddess of the Underworld (Altesia).”
The Burning Bright Moons Clan and Sophia had snuck into the Holy Shushunu Kingdom recently. It wasn’t long before they found themselves in need of a nest. Vine told the worrying Sophia that she knew a good place if she didn’t mind a dump site.
Sophia had arrived just now, and there was an audible confusion in her voice. Of course, that was only natural.
After all, Vine’s little negotiation had turned into a bloodbath.
Vine kicked the old man who was doing his best not to cry out in pain, then turned her blood-stained face to Sophia.
“Ah, young miss. You came.”
“Umm, weren’t you supposed to negotiate?”
“Yes. We’re in the process of it. Right, Gararote?”
Vine stabbed his leg and whispered by his ears. This time the old man screamed.
“S-Save me. I’ll give you as much as you want!”
As the man screamed, he moved away from Vine as if he couldn’t wait to distance himself from her. Vine ignored him and turned to Sophia.
In the end, just as Sophia proposed, the Burning Bright Moons would be living with Gararote as his guards. That is to say that they will be using his place as their base of operations. From that day on, burglary would frequent the slave traders of Rishu.
Despite the efforts of the guards to find the criminals, their searches would turn up no leads, unable to find either the stolen commodities or the thieves. In this way, the public order of Rishu plummeted and its people grew anxious.
Both the goblins and the Holy Shushunu Kingdom were in a hurry to reorganize their forces, but then an alarming report was brought before the War Princess.
“Dismina and Ramana refused to provide soldiers?”
Blanche frowned upon receiving the official notification from some of the minor countries under the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
“They said they won’t be able to participate in the coming battle.”
“…Hmm. Are they testing us?”
Blanche was troubled by the sudden refusal of the minor countries to provide them soldiers. The necessary groundwork should have already been laid out with the kings and other relevant personnel of the minor nations. Perhaps they’ve found a new patron.
“I fear that the Ivory Tower may be involved,” the feeble aide said. Blanche knitted her brows.
“The other government officials have confirmed it. The Ivory Tower has called for a coalition with the minor nations.”
“How big are we talking about?”
“The Iron Country, the Forest Country, and the other minor nations toward the north are quite favorable to them.”
Dismina and Ramana were also in the north. The information seemed right.
“Do they believe that their coalition can keep me from taking vengeance?”
As Blanche’s eyes grew sharp, the aide became thoughtful again.
“They appear to be pushing their saint to be their leader.”
“The saint who received the favor of the Goddess of Healing? Saint Reshia Fel Zeal?”
“Another Kushain, I can’t even laugh.”
Because of the nearby threat that was the goblins it wasn’t possible to make any large movements with their army. In that case, they’ll have to rely on a weak point, but the increasing faith toward the Ivory Tower and the saint among the north isn’t something that can be dealt within a short time. Blanche had no choice but to consider the possibility of the surrounding countries coming together under the new leader of the Ivory Tower to oppose them.
A struggle for influence over the minor nations wasn’t a good development.
Moreover, there was still the goblins to the west. If she were to attempt some second-rate scheme and fail, that would only give the goblins an opening to latch on to. She has considered the option of winning over the Council of Three Towers of the Ivory Tower, but if their goal was to use their saint to wage war, then the Holy Shushunu Kingdom won’t be able to take the lead.
Because of that they were able to take the initiative.
When she thought back to their claims, the only future she could see is them trying to make a theocracy with their saint at the head. And of course, the one pulling the strings on the saint would be none other than the elders of the Ivory Tower.
“What a silly tale,” Blanche muttered as she tried to understand what the Ivory Tower was thinking.
Although those who swindle others using god’s name were quite well off, who would’ve thought that even the highest archbishop of the biggest ‘church’ in the east would reach out for worldly authority in pursuit of more influence. Indeed human greed knows no bounds.
It was because of the goblins that they were taking advantage of the people’s faith in the saint and influencing the neighboring countries, but their real goal was most likely to become independent from the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
After thinking for a while, Blanche muttered.
“…Should I kill her?”
She was smiling, but her eyes were sharp.
“Should I hire some people to carry it out?” The feeble aide asked.
Blanche raised her hand to indicate that she would leave the matter to him. At that, the aide bowed and left.
“Now then, I wonder what they’ll say once they’ve lost their precious saint. Will they still rebel against the kingdom?”
At Blanche’s behest, three dark hands were immediately sent to the northern country of Orphen. They sent only three since they believed that three would be enough to kill one saint.
The dark hands entered Orphen, and with the help of their collaborator, devised a plan to attack Saint Reshia while she offered her condolences to the army.
They disguised themselves in armor and looked for an opportunity to attack.
And then she appeared.
Hair as blue as the azure sky that reached down her waist. Two bluish purple jewels (amethysts) for eyes that discriminated against no one. And nose and lips seemingly arranged by a god.
She was so beautiful that for a moment even the dark hands found themselves gulping. The jeweled crown (tiara) on her head showed that she was indeed the one and only saint acknowledged by the Ivory Tower.
The arms that stretched out of her robe’s sleeves were so white they could burn one’s eyes.
The moment they saw that her defenseless figure was within range, they bolted off. There were two of them. With a weapon coated in poison, they struck down the guards that cried out, and in the blink of an eye, they were upon the saint.
One poisoned dagger sought to claim her life, but before it could, it was blocked. The dark hands opened their eyes in surprise and turned toward the person protected by that sword.
A long sword was floating on its own to protect the saint, while a short sword floated on its own and blocked the path of the other dark hand. To the soldiers that knew nothing, the sight of that weapon floating around her was the very picture of one blessed by a god.
Saint Reshia Fel Zeal.
The woman that was so beautiful she seemed inhuman looked at that scenery without blinking. It was as if she were watching a line of ants walking. The dark hand whose dagger had been deflected immediately fixed his posture, but by then the long sword had already entered deep into his chest.
A long sword and a short sword was protecting her.
Without even glancing at the dark hand as he sprayed blood and fell, she raised her hand.
“Mother, please show them your love (Heal All).”
The ether floating around her shone like rubies and dyed the ground.
The people cut down by the poisoned dagger were released from their pain. She had both healed them of their wounds and poison without even touching them.
The soldiers who saw that sighed with both envy and worship.
—We must gather around the Saint, Reshia Fel Zeal! For the sake of the human world!
In the northern lands, a new force was about to be born with Saint Reshia at its center.
On the 233rd year of Germion Kingdom, through the summer and the fall, during the military campaign against the War Princess, the Goblin King officially picked a name for their kingdom and designated a capital as recommended by the Governor-General of the Western Capital, Yoshu.
“Our country is too vague as it is now.”
Both the Goblin King and Pale were confused, but the way most of the humans saw it, even though the goblins didn’t charge much tax and ensured their safety, it didn’t really feel like they belonged to one country.
“Must we really?” The Goblin King asked.
“It’s admirable that Your Majesty doesn’t wish to send the people out to war, but there will be a big difference once the people understand that they’re really a part of one country. It will have an effect on maintaining the public order too.”
“Is that true?”
The Goblin King asked Pale, who was beside him, but she too didn’t understand this part of humans. Although she could understand how they moved in battles, she was quite bad when it came to politics.
“Your Majesty! You must pick a name for the kingdom, designate a capital, and at the very least, decide on a calendar!”
Yoshu could tell that the king had no interest, so he decided to remove all obstacles to get it done.
“Pale-dono, what is currently the biggest problem the country is facing politically?”
“…The recovery from the damages left by the insurgents.”
“Exactly. That’s especially true for Pena, Elrain Kingdom, and Germion State since they incurred the most damages. Hence, it is of great urgency that any signs of another rebellion be quelled and that the public order be restored. To that end!”
“You want His Majesty to decide on the name of the country, designate a capital, and decide on a calendar?” Pale asked half-doubtful-half-convinced.
Yoshu puffed up his chest and said proudly. “Yes. It is absolutely essential in order to build a stable country. Doing so would allow the people to have a sense of belongingness and pride, thus increasing the stability of the country’s internal affairs.”
“…Now that you mention it, we elves do put much emphasis in pride. Save for some unthinkable exceptions, it’s basically unheard of for an elf to betray his village.”
The Goblin King nodded reluctantly and Yoshu implored him to pick out a name for their kingdom.
Deep inside the Goblin King was sweating buckets, but he pretended to be calm.
“…How about the Kingdom of the Black Sun (Alrodena)?”
“That will do. Now then, please decide on the calendar.”
The Goblin King has never been as troubled as he was now, but he couldn’t ask for help from anyone.
This was different from naming the goblins. He couldn’t just pick something irresponsible. And to make things worse, the Goblin King has already realized that his naming sense was quite unique compared to other people. Because of that this whole period felt like torture to him.
“…Let’s go with the King’s Calendar. The year we defeated Germion Kingdom shall be the first year of the King’s Calendar. As for the rest, we’ll just copy Germion Kingdom’s calendar with some modifications here and there.”
“Good. Lastly, please pick a capital.”
“I think the Holy Shushunu Kingdom’s Rishu (Shushunu Capital) would be a good pick. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to acquire it,” Yoshu said.
Because their growth was unprecedented, deciding on a capital was difficult. What’s more was that they were probably going to grow even more from here on.
“How about going with the capital of the former Germion Kingdom for the meantime? We could relocate the capital once we’ve conquered the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.”
Yoshu didn’t doubt that the Goblin King would one day rule over the entire continent. His older sister, Shumea, was also working with the Goblin King, so it would be problematic if he were to lose.
Because of that he also thought that the king could just pick a more appropriate capital after he’s conquered the entire continent. The Fortress of the Abyss in the Forest of Darkness would make for a fine capital if the Goblin King were only ruling over monsters, but it was no longer suitable since the Goblin King was also ruling over the demihumans and the humans who lived in the plains.
The distance would affect the speed of communication.
The closer the capital the faster information could be delivered. It will also affect how fast they can respond when a problem arises. Because of that the Holy Shushunu Kingdom at the center would indeed be most appropriate if the king intends to unify the continent.
Although it’s surrounded by plains, Rishu has developed quite nicely, so it’s suitable to be a capital.
“Let’s go with that then.”
“In that case, please pick out a name for the capital.”
“Facing East (Garm Su).”
“Facing the east?”
Pale the Tactician asked, and the Goblin King nodded.
“As you will.”
After everything was done, Yoshu continued.
“Next we should hold a feast to celebrate the founding of a nation.”
“Of course, now that Your Majesty has decided on the capital and named it Garm Su, it is only right that wine be distributed to the people under your name.”
The king groaned, but Yoshu ignored it and continued.
“Please hear me out until the end. I hear goblins can drink too, and I believe it is only right that Your Majesty also bestow a boon to the people working so hard for you.”
“But we’re at war.”
“No matter how hard the Holy Shushunu Kingdom tries, it will take them more than three days by horse to get here. Besides, Pale-dono’s intelligence network has already been prepared, right?”
Pale silently nodded, and Yoshu nodded back.
“In that case, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.”
“…Well, a little bit of fun is needed too, I guess.”
“Thank you for your understanding. It’s true that the people wish for cheap taxes and a secure life. But please know that that’s not everything.”
“…Man doesn’t live on bread alone, huh.”
As Yoshu silently bowed, the Goblin King had no choice but to bow too.
Yoshu wanted to tell the king to rest a bit more, but it seems he already understood that, so there was no need to word it out explicitly. He heaved a sigh of relief.
“In that case, we’ll celebrate the founding of the country and entertain the people with bread and wine.”
“Is that alright, Your Majesty? They might rebel against you one day.”
“It’s fine. Though if liquor might affect the occurrence of a rebellion, I will have to act with prudence.”
Seeing the king smile, Pale too smiled a little and nodded.
“I understand. I’ll have Yoshu-dono calculate the food needed for the celebration. We’ll have to inform the people of the capital too about the king’s favor. Yoshu-dono will take care of that as well. We’ll need to inform all of the territories about the name of the kingdom, the calendar, and the new capital. Of course, Yoshu-dono will take care of all of that too.”
“P-Pale-dono, d-do you have a grudge against me or something?”
As Yoshu’s face paled, Pale smiled the most gentle she has just yet.
“No, not at all… But if I had to say something, then I guess it’s because you’ve been too close to Selena lately.”
In the end, Yoshu had to deal with all those jobs, and it wasn’t until three days later when he was finally able to leave Garm Su. When he could finally leave, it looked like he was fleeing.