Chapter 22: The Emperor and demi-god Part 2
What do you wish for? Lute’s answer would determine the future of the empire and even the continent. Because Lute is aware of his own existence, he knows exactly what he is doing, a fact that would make any normal person laugh at him for being overly self-conscious.
This is a critical juncture that could even diverge human history. However, Lute did not hesitate. He answered with unwavering conviction, fully aware of his own influence.
“I want two things. The first is to guarantee the lives and livelihood of my men and myself in the empire. The second is that those beloved fools who gave their lives for me, who were called incompetent, my loyal retainers, be honored as ‘Heroes of Salvation’.”
All for my subordinates. That’s all there is in Lute.
“… you wish to honor your men without hesitation. I heard the story, but you are quite selfless──or perhaps that is just natural.”
In response to Lute’s answer, Friedrich spilled out his words with interest, but he immediately nodded his head in agreement.
In fact, Lute had almost no greed for that sort of thing. He doesn’t need wealth. He doesn’t even need honor. He does not even bother to desire such things, because he can get them with his power. And Lute has kicked off such glory and kept the power of the demi-god a secret. It is only natural that his wish is to guarantee his life in the new land.
“Hmm. It seems like it’s from the heart. Let’s just say it’s good for the time being. I also like the way you think about your subordinates…. Although I think you may be a little too compassionate.”
“Well, I don’t deny it. It would be insane to go to the trouble of negotiating with the empire for the sake of my men. But loyal subjects are irreplaceable treasures. I was known for my incompetence, and they are the only wealth I have. I hope that you will tolerate me for that.”
It was such a good argument that Lute laughed, unable to respond to it.
“Hmm… This is not the emperor’s advice, but a personal one. Don’t get too attached to your subordinates, you know? It’s out of the question to treat your subordinates roughly, but if you get too emotional, it’s a clear weakness. Your subordinates are soldiers, not civil servants. They may lose their lives. Do you understand that?”
“I appreciate your concern. But don’t worry. Of course, I am aware of that. I called them treasures because they are loyal soldiers who are willing to die for me. That is why I have no hesitation in bringing them to the place where their treasures can shine brightest.”
No matter how much he looks at them, Lute will never spare the lives of Heinrich and his men. Soldiers shine brightest in battle. Holding on to them for dear life just because they are your favorites will only cloud their brilliance. It is a foolish thing to do, just like taking the trouble to scratch a piece of jewelry.
Above all, that choice is also the greatest insult to their loyalty. Letting them die in vain is out of the question, but their lives should not be spared in a situation where it is necessary. It is the worst possible thing to do, to reduce their loyalty to a mere clown’s act.
“The reason I offered to be your vassal was simply because I didn’t want to undermine the value of my ‘treasure’. This war is too foolish. I could not bear to see my treasure lost in such a dishonorable battle, nor its value diminished because of a dishonorable brand. That is all.”
“Oh? So you are willing to let your men die if they fight with honor?”
“Yes. Of course, survival is the highest priority. But even if they lose their life beyond my strength, the proof of their loyalty, death, is also my treasure. Therefore, if necessary, I will order them to die without hesitation. And if they fulfilled their duty and died, I will give them honor with all my heart..”
“… kuhahahaha!!! You know what you’re doing, young man! I thought you were a spoiled brat by all reports, but you are a brilliant general!!”
Friedrich laughed hysterically at Lute’s unhesitant words and raised his assessment.
In Friedrich’s mind, Lute’s reputation at first was “fair”. He has the extraordinary talent of being a demi-god. His political acumen is also of a high caliber. However, he is not very good with his subordinates. In the first place, he exposes his true identity to protect the lives and honor of his subordinates, and for the sake of his subordinates, he negotiates with an empire far superior to his homeland. .
Therefore, after hearing all the reports about Lute, Friedrich concluded that he was ‘an inexperienced person who shows promise, but who cannot be ruthless with his subordinates, although he can be expected to have great potential.’
But what if we look at the situation from the outside? Not only did he call his subordinates “treasures” and say that this negotiation was to protect the value of his treasures, but he also declared the death of his subordinates to be a proof of their loyalty and declared their deaths to be treasures, too, without any hesitation.
Friedrich’s senses were the first to see that this was not just talk. In other words, Lute’s words were genuine and from the heart.
There are very few people who can order their subordinates, even their most trusted advisors, to “die” without hesitation. Those who can do so are almost always experienced commanders who have fought many wars before, and who have spewed blood and vomit. Lute, on the other hand, is still young, and this is his first war. The fact that he has reached this state of being, in spite of his young age, is nothing other than the fact that he is a natural-born general.
His overwhelming power as a demi-god. His political talent that enabled him to negotiate with the empire as a mere individual. He has the arrogance befitting a royal nobleman who would take on even a nation for the sake of his own wealth and pride as a loyal subject. A general who cares for his subordinates and is willing to sacrifice their lives when necessary.
I see. With such talent in him, no matter how he plays the role of an “incompetent,” there will be people who will be attracted to him. In particular, the more loyal a person is, the more he will be attracted to his spirit of declaring even death to be an honor. It was no wonder that more than 50 loyal subjects were born.
“That’s fine! If you know that much, I have no complaints. I will grant you your wish on the condition that you obey me!”
“… I am very grateful and happy.”
“No, of course, this is a definite matter. It’s impossible to miss a wizard of the rank of demi-god. It would be a disaster if he were to drift away to a country of the Republic.”
“No, no, no. Please don’t worry about that. If I am a useless person whose laziness has seeped into his core, it will be difficult for me to live in the Republic full of precepts. Most of all, a fool who looks at a nun and feels “woman” rather than “thankfulness”, even if I wanted to, would not be forgiven by the god of his country.”
“Kuhahahaha! You speak so openly! No, but it sure is nice to see a maiden wrapped in those vestments. You know a lot for such a young man!”
Friedrich burst out laughing at Lute’s unreserved remark, and then proceeded to boldly affirm. It was too ungraceful a topic to raise in the middle of an audience.
But this is also necessary for Lute. After all, it is a warning to “be careful, because although the Republic has a lower priority than the Empire, it can easily dominate by a colorful trick, depending on how he is treated.
And, of course, Friedrich read the implication correctly. And then, he affirmed it. In other words, the reply was an unspoken “I understand the details”. With this, Lute and his family’s life in the Empire was completely guaranteed. In the name of the emperor, various measures would be taken to prevent Lute from going to his greatest enemy, the Pope.
If Lute had been as inexperienced as he had been initially assessed to be, Friedrich would have been tempted to move on from his earlier advice to some kind of question-and-answer session and set up an additional exchange that would benefit the Empire, but unfortunately – or fortunately – no such opening existed for him. With such a talented person, it would be a plus in the future just to bring him in, even without any unnecessary exchange conditions. In fact, the fact that there was no opening for the emperor to take advantage of made him feel more secure.
It was on the basis of these calculations that Friedrich formally recognized Lute’s vassalage.
──The emperor’s work is now done.
“- Your Majesty. I beg you not to engage in such conversation in such a formal setting, much less in front of a maiden.”
Therefore, from this point forward, it is the domain of the demi-gods.