Book 3, Chapter 6

The Pillar Crumbles(3)

This was extremely shocking news. Most of the people gathered here actually just wanted to confirm the fate of Gaton and his army. Even groundless rumours would be good. However, Duke Mensa had just sated their curiosity and perhaps even more. The only thing he hadn’t done was announcing his hand in the destruction of the Archeron portal, trapping Gaton at the expense of an entire plane.

And yet, the process wasn’t all that important. It would only be a topic for idle conversation over meals. The most important bit was the result: when would Gaton return, or rather, could he?

Allowing the audience to take in this first piece of news, Duke Mensa then threw out the second, “Also, the Mensas and Schumpeters will henceforth be the closest of allies, joined together by blood. My most beautiful granddaughter, Rosie, is to be engaged to the head of the Schumpeter Family, the mighty general, swordsman, and artist, Dario Schumpeter! Their children shall inherit the family’s status and lands. Any malicious intent aimed at the Schumpeter Family will henceforth be considered a declaration of war against the Mensas!”

This sent everyone into an uproar once more.

This was both the most and least common kind of marriage contract one could hear of. Most often because marriage alliances were normal; such an act would greatly increase the two families’ cooperation in certain areas. Least common because such contracts almost never designated the heir to the family, especially with powerhouses like the Schumpeters.

Mensa was toying around with a concept commonly seen amongst the aristocracy. When the Schumpeter leaders had Mensa blood flowing in them, it would not be difficult to swallow up the family. Although this was a slow process, it was also the best way to combine the strength of two families. Houses that had been in power for millennia employed such tactics often; the small cost of a marriage was nothing if it would give them the Schumpeters.

A noble suddenly got up from his seat at that moment, shouting, “Your Grace, the Anan Family’s army is currently marching towards Faust. What is your opinion on this matter? Will you be participating?”

Duke Mensa smiled in response, speaking with calm confidence, “The Mensa Family will abide by the old traditions, sending out suitable forces to stop them. This is tradition that has held ever since this very city was built. However, I believe Dario’s eye for strategy is strong enough for him to retain his island.”

These words sounded pompous, not giving anything away, but the message they conveyed was very clear— the Mensas would do all they could to beat down the Anan Family.

Marquess Anan was an ambitious, formidable person with great skill and strategy. Three of the fourteen families of Faust were close allies of his, but even combined they could not compare with the Mensas. He had chosen impeccable timing to march for Faust, exactly when the Schumpeters had been beaten down by Gaton. Their close allies in the Josephs had also suffered greatly. However, nobody could have thought that such terrible misfortune would occur while the Archerons were going all out to attack the Mensa Family.

Just as Duke Mensa finished his words, a few of the nobles in the assembly turned pale and coughed loudly. He definitely heard these sounds, but only brushed his gaze past them without any other response. The Anan Family was already halfway to Faust, having paid a huge price. Whether they advanced or retreated, the situation would not end up well.

The Duke returned to his seat after the announcement, occasionally whispering something to the person next to him. He had no interest in the proceedings of the assembly whatsoever, only taking the opportunity to hand out information that he had exchanged a plane for Gaton and his army. Although this was a huge price to pay, it was definitely worth it.

The Archerons had no lack of people with ambition. Gaton was a formidable legend of his generation, quiet and unknown in his younger years but rising like a comet to bring the family to new heights as he obtained huge profits in his campaigns. He wasn’t just the family head, instead an idol worshipped by all the younger Archerons. He could even be called their spiritual leader. The boorish, uninhibited man had a charm that was hard to pull down. Only he could gather thirteen knights of varying abilities, leading them on a magnificent march towards Faust. Only he could keep Mordred the Devil King under control.

Gaton’s disappearance also entailed the immediate loss of most of the thirteen. Even those who stayed for a day or two only had too much luggage to pack quickly. Eliminating him was akin to removing the Archeron Family’s spine. Although Alice had amazing ability as a general, she was just far too young. She was a rib at most.

Sitting comfortably in his seat, Mensa’s mind was not on the vehement debates. He was still here purely for the sake of manners; that was a field in which the rich and powerful never failed. Even Prince Morden was calmly listening to the elegant rhetoric that was devoid of substance. Patience was a virtue of true nobles. Duke Mensa was already impatient to see the huge profits from Gaton’s disappearance, as well as what kind of drama the Archerons would stir up.

Gaton’s floating island was empty in a way it had never been before. Five of his thirteen knights could keep guard on it at most, but this was an impossible ask. The reason he had only taken eight of his knights on the expedition was that the other five were left behind to guard his personal planes.

The islands of Faust were more a symbol of status and glory, not producing actual resources. In fact, they actually cost a lot to maintain. That was why the five knights would likely continue protecting the planes over the island. As long as a plane was around, the Archerons would have the capital to rise once more.

……

The sun set, and Faust entered a radiant, confusing night that was like a dream.

The light of a portal flickered within a secret room in the Joseph Family’s castle, and Raymond Joseph stepped out. The screen of light shook the moment he exited it, a common sight with spatial passages. One could withstand such a thing as long as they had a modicum of strength, but Raymond swayed and his legs went weak. He staggered forward; if not for a guard at the side of the portal supporting him in time, he would have fallen to the ground.

“Lord Raymond, are you alright?” the guard asked quickly.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA