Chapter 11: Ceasefire Negotiations between the Demi-god and the Imperial Prince Part 4
Lute’s question was posed in a voice that seemed to evoke permafrost.
Klaus naturally understood what the question was implicitly referring to.
“…Are you referring to the Land Kingdom?”
“Of course. Do you expect me to name a completely unrelated third country in this vein?”
“Well, I suppose.”
Klaus made an indescribable expression as he received a sarcastic and immediate response to the confirmation of his concern.
In fact, Klaus has heard quite a few things about qualifications as a ruler.
This is because those who have the right of succession seek the status of the emperor or the seat of the family head of the nobility, and raise it as one of the justifications.
There are countless arguments throughout history that say things like, “XXX is not qualified to rule, and I am the right person to be the monarch/head of the family.
However, what Lute talks about is clearly different from those past examples.
In the claims of the former, there was an intention to humiliate others and elevate oneself. There was an ambition to kick others down the road and replace themselves as chiefs.
But Lute has none of that. He neither lifts himself up nor tries to replace his chief.
However, as a pure fact, he asserted that the king of his homeland and the nobles who should be with the king were “unqualified as rulers”.
“I know what you mean, but…”
Klaus has similar thoughts. He believes that the upper echelons of the government, which are responsible for the ravages of war and the loss of the war, are harmful to the country and its people.
If you say it shouldn’t exist, that would certainly be true.
If those who do not understand that tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of lives depend on a single decision they make, and if those who make bad moves lightly and cannot even recover properly are in power, I can understand the feeling of wanting to give up on them and hope that they perish.
However, Klaus’s honest impression is that it still doesn’t make sense.
The reason is that Lute is not one of those simple aristocrats or commoners, but a member of the royal family who possesses the right of succession to the throne, albeit at a low level.
Klaus does not understand how someone who is in a position to sit on the king’s throne if he wanted to could give up on his own country.
“You know, Lute-dono. If you’re going to criticize the upper echelons so much, why don’t you aspire to be king? From our discussions so far, at least Lute-dono is far superior to the current king as a politician. Above all, you have the power of a demi-god. If you are so inclined, you could easily overturn the succession and sit on the throne.”
Why don’t you do that? Klaus tilted his head curiously. This was not a criticism of Lute, but a genuine question from Klaus.
I understand the criticism. But I don’t understand why Lute doesn’t act for the sake of improvement.
If it’s incompetence that aggravates the situation, Lute is competent. He is a brilliant man who excels in both wisdom and military prowess.
It is just negligence on the part of those who have the right and the power to remedy the situation to not take action. That is exactly the same kind of upper management that Lute is criticizing.
Klaus could not help but wonder why Lute did not take action.
In response to Klaus’ question, Lute quietly replied with empty eyes.
“…it can’t be helped.I knew the upper echelons weren’t one of the best, but I didn’t think they were that crazy…”
It was sobering. Like a common folk who had given up on everything and accepted the natural disaster, Lute continued to talk bit by bit.
“I know this sounds like an excuse, but for what it’s worth, I was blinded too by what I was saying… I thought “they wouldn’t do such a thing”, So I made the wrong decision. As a result, the Land Kingdom was stuffed before I even bothered to do anything about it.”
It is not that he does nothing. It was all over before Lute decided to do anything.
“The difference in national power between the Empire and The Land Kingdom is hopeless. Not to mention the military power, it is not even close to their feet in terms of economic power. Most of Land’s neighboring countries belong to the Empire. If they tried, it would be easy to impose economic sanctions. If the empire were to approach the vassal states that do business with Land, this alone would drive up the cost of living in our country, and the economy itself would stagnate. Even if we were to make new deals with other third countries, the fact that we are in hostile relations with the empire would be a very disadvantageous factor. A country that may disappear at any time is a lowly partner for trade.”
“… That’s right.”
“In other words, once the empire is given a just cause for hostility, Land will sooner or later be destined to perish. It’s only a difference between being crushed instantly by force of arms or being decimated by the economy like a cottontail. That’s what I was assuming everyone understood.”
The result was one fool’s rampage. And the indecisive king and his officials have successfully “choked” the nation.
For Lute, who had expected a diplomatic battle to be fought over how not to antagonize the Empire, it was a bolt out of the blue.
There was nothing I could do about it because I was stuck before I could prepare a countermeasure.
“If this happens, it’s useless. There’s no point in me standing up to take the throne while we are at war with the empire. As long as the current king, as well as my older brothers and uncles who have higher succession rights, are still alive, even if I stand up, a civil war for the throne will start. Will the empire ignore a hostile country, a small country with an overwhelming difference in national power, where a civil war has broken out?”
“They’re going to take advantage of this and destroy it.”
“What if I were to reveal the power of my demi-god class?”
“…They will probably switch from military suppression to behind-the-scenes operations that intensify the civil war.”
“That’s what I mean. If I stand up against this situation, I will only create unnecessary hell. If that is the case, I will quickly get off the boat with my subjects, and for the sake of the remaining citizens, I will have all the top brass replaced. It’s a radical change, and maybe that will lead to a relatively better outcome.”
Klaus groaned at Lute’s words. Considering the expected damage, Lute’s judgment was certainly not wrong.
It is understandable that there is no option for oneself to take the throne at the point of hostility to the empire.
Considering the sake of the remaining citizens, I think it is also correct to judge that it is better to place the empire’s officials above the current upper echelons.
However, as a price, the name of the homeland will disappear from the map. To allow this was an unacceptable idea for Klaus.
“And the result will be the destruction of your country? Is that okay with you?”
“Not as long as it guarantees life and livelihood for me and my subjects.”
“… That’s Lute-dono’s personal opinion, isn’t it? For commoners, the name of their hometown will disappear, and for nobles, the very foundation of their livelihood will be destroyed, you know? Do you have any thoughts about that as royalty?”
As royalty, it is our duty to protect the peace of our people. Kraus’s value system was that no matter how the country was at a standstill, he should not lose his footing.
In response, Lute smiled wryly. Because what Klaus was talking about was, at its core, telling the truth that he was a member of the royal family.
“Your Highness Klaus, you dream too much of your people.”
“What did you say?”
“They’re not that soft. What the commoners are looking for is daily peace and quiet. If they are assured of that, they don’t care much if the country changes. They may feel a little sadness at best, but they will gradually forget that and adapt.”
Klaus’ point of view is that of royalty. In other words, it is the perspective of those who run the country and protect the lives of the people.
For Klaus, the commoners are probably weak existences that should be protected.
On the other hand, Lute knows the brazenness and resilience of the commoners, even though he is a member of the royal family.
They live in a world where people’s values as well as various technologies are still developing.
Even if they lead a stable life, they are inherently unstable, and it would not be strange for them to find themselves lost on the street after a few days, and there is no reason for them to be so fragile.
Even farmers in rural areas, which are synonymous with poverty, are at heart terrifying physical laborers.
They are strong warriors who cultivate the soil against nature and, in some cases, fight vermin and bandits on their own.
To put it bluntly, the reality is that the commoners around here have a lot more vitality than the aristocrats who live a life where food, clothing and shelter are guaranteed.
“The reason why they are so afraid that they might change their country is that there are anxiety factors such as whether taxes will be higher than ever, looting during war, or being treated roughly as a former enemy country. If you find that such anxiety factors are within the acceptable range, well, well, they will be able to adapt splendidly.”
“…Why can you assert that there is no anxiety about the rule of the empire?”
“Of course, if you had any knowledge at all of the situation in the empire, you would know this. The empire has swallowed many countries. The seeds of civil war are buried everywhere. And the arch-enemy of the empire is the Republic, who holds “religion,” the best weapon for inciting the people. Under such circumstances, we only hear of civil wars on rare occasions. That’s the best proof that they are ruling so well, isn’t it?”
“…I see. That’s a good point of view.”
Klaus nodded his head in agreement with Lute’s theory. But inwardly, he was slightly breaking cold sweat.
This is because the policy that Lute describes was one of the mainstays of the imperial expansion policy.
Even Klaus, who vowed not to step into the political field, was upset by the fact that it was seen through the existence of a civil war due to mere rumors, and even the reason for the request was recognized.
Of course, the officials and lords who are the brains of the empire, including his brother Lionel, would do the same thing as Lute.
But the problem here is that Lute has the power of a demi-god.
This means that he can conduct negotiations based on strategic-level military force with the same political vision as the brains of the empire.
As a matter of fact, Klaus and the invading army had been brought to the negotiating table just as Lute had hoped.
Klaus was once again determined to finish the negotiations successfully.
“Hmm. I understand the case of the people. But what about the nobility? In a sense, they would be more affected than the people if their country were to fall, wouldn’t they?”
“It’s your own responsibility for that. If you’re a noble, you must have a lot of wealth, education, and experience. If you make use of that, your life is not so difficult. It is out of the question that a man who has been responsible for the lives and livelihoods of his people should be unable to sustain even the lives and livelihoods of himself and his relatives satisfactorily.”
Klaus couldn’t continue to say any more because it was a valid argument that he could not even respond to.
“…I see what you mean. I understand what you’re thinking, Lute-dono. If there is indeed such a reason, then it is no wonder that you tacitly approved the invasion of yourhomeland.”
“I’m glad you’re convinced. I would like to add that the reason I hid my power before was to avoid causing unnecessary confusion in my country and neighboring countries. After all, the king of my country is a man who is just barely an ordinary monarch in a reigning age, and a dark lord in a turbulent age. If he knew that there was a wizard in his country who was a demi-god, it was obvious that he would grow up with strange ambitions and wield him as if he were a little child who had picked up a branch from a tree.”
“…Kudos for being wise in that regard.”
These were Klaus’ honest and sincere words.
Throughout history, there are countless examples of monarchs wielding excessive power and causing chaos in the world. Even more so, if it were a magician with the status of a demi-god, the continent would have been in a state of screaming inferno.
Of course, with Lute’s power, it would be easy to disobey the king’s orders, but if he did that, he would definitely cause a civil war.
Furthermore, it was obvious that the surrounding countries, including the empire, would intervene politically in the gap, so in that sense, Lute was serious about hiding his true identity.
“No, no. I realized when I put it in words again like this, but it was a really troublesome life. Even if I had the power of a demi-god, there are only more and more strange choices and restrictions. I can’t wield my power properly, and I really can’t stand it. What a joke to have to think about all these things when you have to be ‘incompetent.”
“I see. I see that you have been seriously dealing with your own power, and that is why you are so thoughtful.”
“I suppose that’s part of the reason.”
At Klaus’s conviction, Lute shrugged his shoulders and smiled wryly.
If anything, Lute’s personality and thought process are innate, or rather, his upbringing is the majority of the factors, but there is no need to talk about it.
Therefore, he muddled his conclusion with a vague reply.
“Well, I hope this will be the end of those troublesome days. In that sense, I have high hopes for the Empire. In that case, you should be able to treat me well.”
“There are some parts that are troublesome if you expect that much.”
“Hey hey. That’s why there are acts of negotiation and rubbing. If you are uncertain, let’s find a mutually satisfactory conclusion.”
“Hmm. You’re right.”
With these words, Lute and Klaus moved on to specific discussions.
──In this way, the demi-god and the prince, who clashed and talked about their own values, eventually succeeded in creating mutually satisfying conditions.