When added together, both empires were asking for more than a quarter of the Sacred Alliance’s land. This was about what a winning empire would take from the loser after a war; they were holding a knife to the Alliance’s throat!
Such was the consequences of the pillars of one’s existence collapsing. With no epic being to hold down the fort, Hidden Sword alone could cut down the majority of Faust with enough time.
Duke Orleans finally stood up, “This is too much, I do not believe these are the plans of your leaders. Even forgetting about respect as fellow humans, you should at least respect the fact that we won back the Fort of Dawn. There have been many precedents in history where one of the empires is floundering; we have never been so excessive. Does this mean war?”
Blood rushed to Richard’s head, his respect for the Ironblood Duke growing further. Even in such an unfavourable situation, the man had the courage to bring up war. Most would consider self-preservation the first priority; none of the nobles ruling the territories would actually lose their rights, they would just have to swear allegiance to their new rulers. Richard himself was hesitating, unable to act as hot-headed as he normally would. His decisions here would impact the lives of tens of thousands of citizens, so he couldn’t tread lightly.
Miranes smiled softly, “I admire the valour, Your Grace, but I must say I obtained full authorization from His Majesty before I came to Faust. These are the conditions of the Sacred Tree Empire. If they lead to war…” He looked at Earl Kimbaye, “I don’t believe many people would mind three empires becoming two.”
Everyone was instantly enraged. The Sacred Alliance was known to be weaker than the other two empires in the first place, and now that Philip was seriously injured they were grouping together without the slightest of respect. Richard closed his eyes to try and suppress himself, almost instantly burning the disgusting Marquess to the ground right then and there. He had to tell himself that burning the messenger would only make the conditions worse.
Miranes seemed to guess their thoughts, suddenly smiling, “Killing me now won’t change the overall situation. Instead, it will only push the Sacred Alliance further into the abyss. I can cooperate with you if you do the same, what do you think?”
Duke Orleans snorted and sat down, closing his eyes. Anyone familiar with him would know that he had already been enraged, and was looking at the pros and cons of starting a war.
“I don’t mind killing you even if it doesn’t change the big picture,” a calm voice rang through the room. Richard turned around to find Marshal Rundstedt— no, Earl Rundstedt— suddenly in the room. As he stepped forward, Miranes’s smile began to distort; although he wasn’t the strongest of legendary beings, Rundstedt had spent so much time at war that his aura couldn’t be matched.
The former marshal looked across all of those present, “The Sacred Alliance can hold our own fortresses. I am old and confused, not qualified to lead, but I will be a soldier guarding the gates. Those who want to break into the City of the Unsetting Sun will have to step over my dead body!”
This caused the patriarchs present to seriously consider exhausting their family resources, ignoring profit and loss for the sake of pride. However, Miranes suddenly applauded, “Truly, a hero. Unfortunately, Daxdians have no respect for heroism. Most of the heroes like you were killed in the war, and many of the surviving saints left the City of the Unsetting Sun. Quite a few of those powerhouses joined our Sacred Tree Empire. A hero like you doesn’t need to consider what happens after death, but is that an excuse for what happens when the city falls to Daxdian hands?”
Rundstedt’s face flashed with fury and he stepped forward, grabbing Miranes by the throat and lifting him up. In front of the tall man, the level 19 Marquess was like a chicken that couldn’t fight back.
The guards from the Sacred Empire stood up and drew their weapons, but the Marquess waved to stop them. Staring Rundstedt right in the eye, he squeezed out, “Kill me… Doesn’t… matter… The Empire will… send new messenger… Conditions will get worse… Every minute… Another kilometre…”
The veins on Rundstedt’s hands pulsed as he continued to crush Miranes’s throat, but after a few minutes Duke Wellinburg stood up and said coldly, “Earl Rundstedt, know your place! Your actions were what led to this situation in the first place!”
Rundstedt glared at Wellinburg before snorting and letting go, dropping the Marquess to the ground. Miranes coughed up blood as his guards lifted him up, but he pushed away the offered healing potion and stumbled towards the map. His energy was clearly in disorder, but he slowly changed the dividing line. The new line was almost in the same place as the old, but that was only due to the scale. Everyone present had sharp eyesight and noticed that the line had shifted exactly three kilometres.
Duke Wellinburg coughed a few times, “Lord Miranes, this is a serious matter. This is not acceptable.”
Still wheezing for air, the Marquess responded, “I stand here representing the majesty of the Sacred Tree Empire! The Empire’s dignity is a serious matter; any offences against it must be repaid in full. Since Earl Rundstedt cannot pay up, then it falls to you. He acts like a petulant child who doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation, so his parents are to blame.”
Rundstedt started shaking from the humiliation at this point, the conference room growing colder and colder under the pressure of his rage. With the full force of a legendary being’s aura, even the saints present found themselves growing dull.
And yet, such pressure was meaningless for those who weren’t afraid of death. Marquess Miranes obviously had no plans to back down, and it was clear that Rundstedt would only cause more problems. Duke Orleans exchanged glances with a few others, eventually prompting Duke Wellinburg to stand up and escort the Earl out while trying to calm him.
Regret flashes across Miranes’s eyes, but he recovered quickly, “Forgive me, but there is no need to show off your strength like this. The Sword Saint of the Millennial Empire and our Archbishop would be more than happy to meet your challenges.”
This sentence thrust the room into silence once more. The Sacred Alliance currently couldn’t find a single person capable of competing against epic beings. Even if Sharon could wake up, she wasn’t actually a member of the Sacred Alliance but only a friend who was respected for her accomplishments. Her closest relationship was with Gaton and his son, but Gaton was currently buried in the depths of the abyss.
Duke Orleans eventually posited an alternative, “These conditions are simply unacceptable. We would rather just withdraw from a fortress immediately.”
“Your Grace, both of our empires have a bottom line: we cannot afford to lose a fortress to the Daxdians. This would be a betrayal of Norland, and giving up a fortress directly would never be tolerated,” Miranes said with a smile.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA