Episode 245. The Downfall of the Star (1)

Theodore, the monarch before Ophelia Laurel Ro Adenstein, had devoted his life solely to governing and strengthening the kingdom. 

His efforts paid off and during Theodore’s reign, the monarch’s authority was as strong as it would ever be in the history of Adenburg. 

However, the problem wasn’t the internal affairs of the kingdom, it was external affairs that plagued the kingdom. 

While Theodore was busy keeping the inner peace in the kingdom, Adenburg’s old enemy, the Noctein, was frequently invading the western border and there was nothing the western military could but to focus on defending. 

Fortunately, Wittenfield Royen Mangsk, an outstanding commander, prevented the West from falling into chaos. 

However, nothing is unchanging in the world.

Having guarded the kingdom's border like an iron wall, the commander of Mangsk, also known as the country's guardian shield, had also grown old with time, like a shield that rusted and its light faded. 

The Noctein found those gaps and became more persistent. Soon, the people in the west were very familiar with the evacuation route. 

In the end, Theodore couldn’t bear to watch this any longer and drew his sword.

Having been subjected to countless pillaging by the Noctein, the Western Army took his long-awaited chance and eagerly obeyed the royal command and crossed the border. 

Because the Adenburg’s western army had been quiet and hadn’t done much to stop them, the Noctein had gotten used to crossing the territorial boundaries. Adenburg's western defences were as good as nonexistent and those territories didn't serve their purpose of being a "border". 

Noctein’s eastern border was instantly devastated when the Mangsk troops crossed the border with loud shouts.

Immediately after the war, three infantry regiments were destroyed and Fort Kalstein, which encompassed the eastern Noctein, fell into Adenburg’s hands. In the process Commander Kalstein was beheaded. 

But that was just the beginning. 

The six large cavalry units that had crossed the border with the Mangsk regiment began to invade the eastern region of Noctein. 

The lax Noctein’s border guards could not stop the Adenburg’s cavalry when they had an outstanding knight such as the Drake Knight standing in the forefront. 

In a war that took less than half a year, the Noctein suffered a devastating blow to the extent they had to reorganize the eastern army in that short period of time.

But they couldn’t even get their revenge. 

Annoyingly enough, the devils who had devastated their eastern region left the battlefield before the Noctein’s reinforcements reached the east.

It was a one-sided defeat that was unprecedented in the history of the two kingdoms. 

Holding Fort Kalstein and numerous prisoners hostage, Adenburg quickly proposed a treaty. But before they could accepted the humiliating peace treaty, an army from the western powerhouse, Griffindor crossed the western border. 

And as if they had been waiting for this, Adenburg upended the negotiation table and before they could recover from the previous war, Noctein faced enemies from both the west and the east. 

It was a war in which the kingdom’s very existence was at stake. In the end, the Noctein’s royal family had to send in a large number of superhumans the kingdom had been hoarding into the battlefield. 

All of the knights and mages of the kingdom flocked to the battlefield and the battle quickly became an all-out war. 

Noctein suffered severe damages and was defeated again. 

Although they had succeeded in kicking the Griffindors out of their borders, they failed to drive out the Adenburg’s Red Devil Drachen out. 

The price of defeat was too great and the foundation of the country was shaken. 

All the major bases on the eastern border were in Adenburg’s hands and nearly half of Noctein’s eastern region was lost. The huge compensation that they were burdened with as the defeated country was the icing on top. 

Noctein believed a day would come where they could avenge themselves and sharpened their sword for that day.

However, contrary to their expectations, the situation only worsened over time and there was no sign of things getting better for them. 

 Adenburg, who won the war against their old enemy and collected enormous compensation and territory, became the strongest country in the eastern part of the continent. Based on this, the country even became the leader of the Eastern Kingdoms Alliance.

In fact, around this time, Adenburg had become so powerful that Noctein could never be able to covet or surpass them. 

However, Adenburg was just beginning to flourish. 

Countless survivors were rescued when the Demon King destroyed the entire western region during the great war. In that time, Adenburg completely absorbed all the foreigners who could be considered as the crop. 

Hundreds of strong foreigners who survived the catastrophe in the West were quickly added to Adenburg’s power. 

With this, the continent’s balance in the eastern region that was already tilted completely collapsed. 

With just this, no country dared to go against Adenburg’s wishes. However, later on, the other countries realized that this was just a negligible point. 

The legendary fairies, which had remained only as legends, had appeared in the world. But, once again, it was Adenburg that they decided to settle down in. 

The fairies, who each had the same power as a senior knight, joining Adenburg was such a big event that the foreigners joining with Adenburg was incomparable. 

After the Qeisha tribe joined, and with the inclusion of the superhumans, Adenburg had enough power to fight half the kingdoms located in the eastern region of the continent on its own, at the same time. 

Adenburg truly had a tremendous power that was worthy of being called an empire. 

And so, Noctein’s envoy truly didn’t dare raise an objection with their old enemy, Adenburg’s new queen over the country’s new title. 

No, he had to lower himself. 

If Adenburg was determined and sent in the superhuman forces to fight, then the collapse of Noctein was a fait accompli. 

Although the royal family may survive by being protected by the superhumans, the nobles had no way of protecting themselves from numerous assassins. 

If the Qeishas were normal knights, then the Noctein might have some hope. However, all the Qeishas were archers. On top of that, the Noctein’s superhumans were not prepared to deal with the fairy archers who had the same power as they did, nor were they prepared to defend the kingdom’s leading figures. 

The envoy might not know everything, but there was one thing he did - as soon as war broke out, the nobles would be exterminated and the army would quickly collapse with the loss of its commanders and become fodder for the Adenburg army. 

Knowing that better than anyone else, the Noctein’s envoy didn’t even think about protesting. He could only desperately hope that the new queen would not bring up old grudges at this moment. 

This situation didn’t just apply to Noctein's envoy.

With stiff faces, the envoys from all kingdoms had no choice but to watch Ophelia Laurel Ro Adenstein take off the old crown and place a new crown on her head. 

“The envoy from the Iberian Alliance, step forward!”

The envoys’ eyes widened.

They couldn’t understand why the empress of Adenburg would call the Iberian Alliance’s envoy forward after suddenly changing the way she would be addressed from now on. 

“I, Pedro Juan, the eldest son of the Cavalero family of Iberia, wish to be the first in paying my respects to the empress of Adenburg.”

As if he had been waiting for this moment, Pedro of Iberia appeared in front of the empress and prostrated himself so completely that he seemed to be disgracing the position of an envoy representing a country. 

“Let me ask you something. How far have you been authorized to act by the leader of the Iberian Alliance, Diego Velazquez?”

At her pleasant voice, Pedro responded without hesitation.

“I have been duly entrusted with all rights and authority of Diego Velazquez, the leader of the Alliance and the Consul of Granado, so there is nothing that I can’t answer and there is nothing I can’t do in his stead, Your Majesty.”

The envoys who were watching looked surprised. The authority Pedro had been given seemed too great considering how they had come on a simple mission of celebrating a coronation.

“If what you say is true, then there is no issue in you substituting for Diego Velazquez here today.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

The conversation going back and forth between the Iberian envoy and the empress was too smooth, almost as if it had been planned in advance. The other envoys began to have an inkling that something wasn’t right.

“Since you, Pedro Juan, the eldest son of the Cavalero family, have proven that you are enough to substitute for Diego Velazquez, then I will allow you to stand here on his behalf.”

The impressed paused and reached out a hand. A person waiting behind her held out a small box to her. 

“I, Ophelia Laurel Ro Adenstein, as the only ruler of the empire, confer the title of Grand Duke to Diego Velazquez, the leader of the Iberian Alliance and the Consul of Granado. And as long as the red shine of the jewel on this ring lasts, the empire will guarantee the authority of the Iberian Grand Duke.”

“What! What on earth is going on here?!”

“What do you mean Iberian Grand Duke?!”

Although the envoys had remained silent when the empress of Adenburg declared her new title, they couldn’t help but jump out of their seats, shouting, this time. 

“I, Pedro Juan, the eldest son of the Cavalero family, thank Your Majesty for your benevolence on behalf of Diego Velazquez of the Iberian Alliance. If the Iberian Grand Duke was here, he would not doubt the shine of this jewel would ever change, Your Majesty.”

As if he did not care about the reactions of those around him, the Iberian Alliance’s envoy calmly swore an oath of allegiance.

This was truly a surprise. 

The Iberian Alliance hadn’t given up its autonomy even when the leader of the central region, the Holy Kingdom, had put so much pressure on them, but was now declaring to the public that it would become a vassal state of the new Adenburg Empire. 

As a result, Adenburg proudly became an empire with the Iberian Principality, a country far from the mainland, as its vassal state. The envoys from the other countries had no choice but to watch the new empress continue to confer titles of nobility to others with a dumbfounded look on their faces. 

“The Indomitable Duke, Seon-Hyeok Rheinperle Kim Drachen, step forward.”

The next person to be called up by the empress after the Iberian Grand Duke was the Indomitable Duke — the best knight of Adenburg and the one who had brought all the recent victories to Adenburg. 

“In recognition of all the achievements and distinguished military services of the Indomitable Duke, I, Ophelia Laurel Ro Adenstein, with Count Mangsk’s endorsement, award him the nonhereditary territory of Kalstein so that it may match his rank of Grand Duke.”

“I am humbled by your immense grace and benevolence, Your Majesty.”

Since Kim Seon-Hyeok was the empress’ spouse, it wasn’t important whether the territory could be inherited or not. The descendants who would be born between himself and the empress in the future would have the blood of Adenstein and would be members of the royal family. In a way, this rank of Grand Duke was only an honorable position.

But that didn’t mean the title held no meaning. 

From now on, as a Grand Duke, Kim Seon-Hyeok would be treated as a monarch of a country since he was awarded the vast territory of Count Mangsk. And unless his support, the Adenburg Empire’s power declines, his position would be equal to a king of a country.

“As the Indomitable Grand Duke, I hope that your future will be filled with the same light as the past.”

Ophelia’s way of speaking changed immediately.

It was only natural since there was no one who could talk down to a lord who had such vast territory as he did. Even if it was the empress who had awarded the title to the Grand Duke, she still couldn’t do it either. 

“Today is the founding day for the Adenburg Empire, a meaningful day, so eat, drink and be merry! Even if Adenstein’s warehouses dry up, your enjoyment shall not be stopped!”

***

Time went by quickly, and the Empire’s National Foundation Day festival, even with all its issues, quickly came to an end. 

Soon, sad news spread throughout what was now the Imperial capital of Adenburg. 

News of Count Wittenfield Royen Mangsk’s death was delivered to the Imperial capital. Although his prestige had been overwhelmed by the Indomitable Duke, he had, until recently, been called the guardian deity of the kingdom. 

The only one left of his blood was Julian Vanquish Royen Mangsk.

Using his title of Grand Duke, Kim Seon-Hyeok willingly declared himself as her legal guardian sponsor so that she could shed her status of squire and take on her grandfather’s title. Although it was late, he began to quickly prepare to attend the funeral. 

However, he couldn’t leave the Imperial capital.

“The emperor!”

A pale-faced attendant ran in and announced another death. 

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