Episode 150. Change (2)

[I am sure you are aware of the recent negative public opinion towards foreigners.]

Princess Ophelia expressed her concern that the negative views were at their peak due to the fall of the Nordic Kingdom.

[To move dozens of foreigners, even if they are only low-tier classes, in that situation… if done incorrectly, this could further aggravate these opinions.]

At a time when vigilance against foreigners was at its peak, there would inevitably be whispers if dozens were suddenly gathered in one place.

Unlike at any other point in time, the nobles currently were justified in the eyes of the public.

‘The kingdom must not be destabilized by foreigners.’

‘So long as the loyal knights and wise mages remain strong, the power of the foreigners will not affect the kingdom’s destiny.’

‘The kingdom was strong even when there were no foreigners.’

It was as the nobles claimed.

In reality, the foreigners never accounted for a significant portion of the kingdom’s strength. Though Seon-Hyeok was able to achieve great heights in leading the Adenburg Kingdom to victory over the Nocteins, those were his personal achievements. The other foreigners contributed virtually nothing to the war efforts.

‘Drachen had significant accomplishments, but the knights and mages are the ones keeping this kingdom safe. They are the true guardians of the kingdom, as they deter invasions through their very existence. And it is these knights and mages, not the foreigners threatening to disappear at any time, who will continue to defend the kingdom.’

The foreigners, strictly loyal to the royal family, were like thorns in the nobles’ sides. In the eyes of these aristocrats, the foreigners’ influence must be curbed at any cost.

Though these opinions were further driven by a desire to check the royal family’s power, their arguments were not necessarily incorrect. As such, the royal family could not suppress their views.

After all, it was not just the nobles of the pro-aristocracy faction watching the ongoing revolt of the foreigners in the Nordic Kingdom with great interest.

‘We fully understand the impartial heart of His Majesty and his emphasis on finding talented individuals. However, as dozens of foreigners have turned their backs on this graciousness and abandoned the kingdom, the king should reconsider his stance towards foreigners.’

Even the pro-royalty nobles expressed their concerns with the recent developments.

In this situation, it was a considerable burden for the royal family to unconditionally protect the foreigners as they did previously.

Seon-Hyeok likewise knew of the current political situation in the kingdom. Thus, he did not expect the royal family to readily accept his request.

Even so, he did not intend to give up that easily.

“From what I’ve heard, the majority of the foreigners defecting from the kingdoms have low-tier classes.”

He persistently tried to persuade the princess.

“I do not think that those runaways to the Nordic Kingdom did so out of some great belief in their cause.”

Even for him, now a veteran of several wars, the battlefield in which people had to kill or be killed was a terrible place. Given that, what glory would those having lived in peace in the other world find by traveling to the Nordic territories?

He could not be certain, but it was likely that their defections were because they were not guaranteed a future in their respective kingdoms. Of course, there were likely some among them abandoning their kingdoms out of shared ideology or righteous anger over the abuse of the Nordic foreigners.

But even these people would have had some feelings of dissatisfaction or deprivation about their relatively modest living standards compared to those lucky to awaken as higher-tier classes.

“And so, I believe they will not leave the kingdom if their livelihoods were to improve compared to what they are now.”

[You have a point.]

The princess likewise agreed with his opinions.

[But are they really worth that effort?]

It was true the Adenstein royal family valued talent, but they were also prone to act harshly to those yet to prove their worth. The princess’ question now was in line with the royal family’s attitude as a whole.

Seon-Hyeok did not repudiate her words.

“At the moment? Probably not.”

The foreigners with low-tier classes were, at best, on the level of a squad captain in a military unit. It was too much to hope that the royal family would support them wholeheartedly in an attempt to retain their loyalty.

However, this was all because they had not yet demonstrated their value.

“Perhaps if they were mid-tier.”

Hearing Seon-Hyeok’s ambiguous words, the princess was unable to contain her curiosity.

[You sound confident that you can turn them into mid-tier classes. Did I hear incorrectly?]

“I have something in mind.”

The biggest determining factor of a foreigner’s abilities was his class. This was followed by levels and stats.

It was impossible to change a foreigner’s inherent class, but increasing levels to boost one’s stats was a different story.

After all, he had already mastered the most effective way to level up.

“I’ll have to train them.”

Anything in this world could be achieved through hard work. If they could not succeed immediately, they would simply have to try until they did.

[This is a difficult request to grant right away.]

The princess said she needed some time to consider. She had determined it would be too much of a risk to take on that political burden simply based on his claims.

“I will wait.”

Seon-Hyeok humbly acquiesced.

[Is that all you have to say?]

“Yes. That is all.”

However, for some reason, the princess did not cut communications even after he finished discussing the matter at hand. When Seon-Hyeok waited, thinking she had something else to say, Ophelia let out a deep sigh.

[There are only 3 weeks left until the ceremony.]

As a matter of fact, Julian had recently been busy selecting people to travel to the royal capital. As it was an important engagement ceremony, she claimed that those accompanying him must not cause harm to his dignity and authority.

Thinking that the princess was worried he would be late to the ceremony, Seon-Hyeok was about to tell her that preparations were almost complete. Before he could, however, the princess spoke first.

[And it has been several months since you left the capital.]

Seon-Hyeok tilted his head in confusion, unsure of what Ophelia was getting at.

[And you only talk about what you have to say without even asking how your fiancée is doing.]

“Ah…”

Only then did he understand the reason behind her sigh.

“Have you been doing well?”

Belatedly recognizing his mistake, Seon-Hyeok asked her how she was doing, but even his late attempts at remedying the situation were lukewarm.

[It seems like I was the only one waiting, so I am disappointed.]

He tried to come up with an excuse when he heard the princess’ disappointed and cold response, but she promptly ended communications.

Soon after, a brief magical message was delivered from the royal family.

Permitted.

The royal family had decided to assume the political burden and accept Seon-Hyeok’s request.

If the results were as he anticipated, it would benefit the Adenburg royalty, himself, and the low-tier foreigners.

“Ah, damn. Why do I feel so uneasy?”

However, he could not celebrate even after receiving his permission. The princess’ attitude in abruptly and unilaterally ending the communication magic, as well as the overly short message, lingered in his mind.

“Ugh. You idiot.”

Even if he did not consider Ophelia his lover or someone he was even dating, she was nonetheless his fiancée. It was no wonder that she was sulking now, after he had treated her in a purely professional manner.

“How do I fix this…”

All he knew was how to wreak havoc on the battlefield, and he had no idea how to make his young fiancée’s feelings better.

“The princess is skilled at managing her emotions, so you do not have to worry.”

At a loss, he decided to ask around for help and first turned to Asha Trail. However, he soon regretted his decision.

If all he knew was how to fight, then the same could be said for the female knight and her swordsmanship. She was not the ideal person to ask for advice.

Belatedly realizing this, he went to others for help.

“Go and embrace her.”

Clark gave a suggestion with an uncertain expression, and

“Why should a man care about such small matters?”

Hansen decided to rebuke him instead.

“Honesty always comes through! Don’t you know that?”

Jonasson and the other riders were of little help as well.

“Ah, I forgot. All of these guys are forever single.”

It was his fault for asking the cavalry. The only experience they had with women was trying to pick them up in bars.

“Ugh. Should I get her a present?”

Unable to get useful advice from anyone, Seon-Hyeok was left to debate how to make the sulky princess happy on his own.

However, he did not get much time to worry. They soon had to depart for the capital.

“My lord.”

When he left his mansion, the cavalry were lightly armed and waiting for him.

“I was getting disappointed because you’d just fly off on Redvern every time.”

Clark smiled happily as he spoke.

Julian had insisted it was inappropriate for a royal princess’ fiancé to enter the capital alone, and ultimately, he was joined by the cavalry on this journey.

Clark and the other men, pleased to finally be with their lord, were all smiles.

“Then let’s get going!”

After leaving some requests to those remaining at Rheinperle, he jumped onto Goldrake and led the way.

***

The continent’s northwest was in turmoil due to the foreigner rebellion, but Adenstein was festive with the impending engagement of the foreigner and the princess.

“Adenburg feels like a different world.”

The special envoys from the other kingdoms were unable to grow accustomed to this atmosphere when they visited to celebrate the engagement.

“Drachen, Drachen. I’m getting sick of hearing that name all the time.”

In their respective kingdoms, the foreigners were now held in such low regard that the envoys did not even want to speak about them. It was strange for them that one of these foreigners was now getting engaged to the heir to the Adenburg throne.

However, they did understand the reasoning behind the decision.

The centuries-old hostile relationship between the Noctein and Adenburg Kingdoms was famous throughout the continent. The rivalry was such that had there been any disparity in military might, the balance of power would have been broken long ago.

This was now all old news.

Having annexed the eastern portion of the Noctein Kingdom, Adenburg was now indisputably a powerhouse in the east. On the other hand, the Nocteins were greatly weakened after fighting two simultaneous wars to their east and west.

Having lost two knight and mage units in the east alone, the Noctein Kingdom could no longer be considered an equal to the Adenburg Kingdom. The results of the preceding war had simply been that decisive.

And this was all thanks to the foreigner, Drachen.

It made sense that the Adenstein royal family wanted to create lasting ties with the foreigner after his brilliant contributions.

“We finally get to see the famous Red Devil of the Azure Sky.”

The most famous foreigners on the continent now were the Dark Lord of Nordic, Park Sang-Jin, and the Dragon Rider, Kim Seon-Hyeok. Of the two, the reputation of the dragon rider was particularly great in the east. As such, the envoys were thrilled to meet this renowned foreigner.

“I wonder what kind of person he is…”

Though rumors about the famous wyvern rider were rampant, little was actually known about the rider himself. Thus, until now, the envoys had been forced to use their imagination.

“He’s probably an iron-hearted man shedding neither blood nor tears.”

The image they produced of Drachen was that of a cold-blooded person capable of massacring dozens of knights and mages.

At that very moment, however, that very foreigner was desperately struggling against a girl who barely reached his chest.

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