“Ah, hello there!”
Luna entered the office of the embassy that was prepared by Vincent. Waiting for Luna was a man in his early 30s with a smile on his face. He had various scars on his face, but he didn’t give off a bad impression as he maintained a smile. His overall atmosphere was quite friendly.
“Nice to meet you, Lady Seyrod. My name is Toban Baltai from Sigilah.”
The man who called himself Baltai folded his waist with his hand on his left chest, which was a southern style of greeting.
“Ah, yes. I am Luna Seyrod.”
Although his face was rather rough, Luna’s vigilance lowered slightly as he continued to smile and maintained civility. Soon, a maid brought some tea, and Luna and Baltai faced each other with a table between them.
“Anyways, you said you wanted to see me?”
“Yes, it is in regards to copper. My lord wants to purchase copper from the Seyrod family.”
“Really? From my understanding, there are several copper mines in the south, so why would he…”
Baltai sighed sadly in response to Luna’s question.
“Haa…! It is as you say, Lady Seyrod. There are several copper mines in the south. However, the situation in the south has gotten worse again, and the owners of the iron and copper mines have stopped exporting their minerals out to others.”
“Is that so? Things must not be so good.”
“It’s worse than it seems. Minerals, grains, no one is selling even at madly elevated prices, I’m dying of frustration.”
The southern parts of the empire had been stabilized temporarily. However, she knew from hearing ear to ear that there were signs of conflict beginning to break out once more. But it seemed that the situation was more dire than she had thought.
To stock up on grain signified preparations for war.
“But just then! The Pendragon Duchy built a city like this. Ahh, it really is a huge relief for us!”
A big grin appeared on Baltai’s face.
“The port is downstream of the river and it’s not too far from the sea, so it’s quite easy to transport goods on a sailboat. Moreover, it takes around four days to get to Leus from here, and another fifteen days to Sigilah, so it’s not much different than transporting goods by land from the south.”
“Most importantly! Isn’t the copper of the Seyrod family famous for its quality? So don’t worry about the price, and sign a contract with me. For now, I need about 4,000 pounds.”
Luna lightly nodded her head. It wasn’t bad. No, rather, it was pretty good. She could make a surplus for selling copper for a reasonable price, and the other party would be able to secure a stable supply of copper. It’s not like the Seyrod family had a shortage of copper anyways.
Luna felt nervous for an unknown reason. Everything proceeded so smoothly that it felt as if someone had planned it in advance. But when she saw the good-natured smile on Baltai, it felt as if she was worrying too much for nothing.
“Then let’s do that. The market price for copper right now is…”
“I will give you an additional 20 percent of the original market price.”
“What? Are you serious?”
Luna was shocked at the unexpected offer.
Baltai nodded his head with a smile.
“It is our first deal, so we should be showing our credibility. I hope that from now on, we can continue to trade with the Seyrod family. I will give you the payment as soon as we sign the contract.”
After speaking, Baltai grabbed a pouch that was hanging from his waist and put it on the table. Dozens of gold coins could be seen glittering.
“Oh, and by any chance… I heard that Lady Seyrod and Duke Pendragon are very close. That you guys are in a relationship…?”
“What? Ah, that’s…”
Luna blushed a little at Baltai’s unexpected words.
Somehow, she felt a little glad to be called lovers with that man, even though it was not true.
“So if you don’t mind, I was wondering if you could introduce me to him sometimes. He’s a man I truly respect personally…”
Baltai’s polite yet restless appearance hinted that he adored Duke Pendragon.
“It won’t be difficult to introduce you, but His Excellency is currently in Leus…”
“Ah, then what do you think about this? Since I have to transport the first batch of copper to Leus anyways, why don’t you come to Leus with me in our sailboat?”
Luna contemplated for a moment. But it didn’t last long. She missed him day and night. She waited and waited for the day when he would return to York Town. However, he had been bestowed Leus as the Governor General, and he was to be assigned to the city in a few days.
She had waited for so long, and her heart broke when she realized she wouldn’t be able to meet him. She thought of heading to Leus, but there was no excuse for her to do so. She still had work to finish here as well.
However, this business trip gave her the perfect excuse. There would not be any better chances than this.
Eventually, Luna nodded.
“Let’s do so. I will have the copper delivered to the port within four days.”
“Ah! That is just perfect! Then let us leave in four days.”
Luna stood up from her seat and walked towards her desk, leaving Baltai behind. At that time, Baltai’s gaze changed instantly as he stared at her back. It was a gaze belonging to a beast staring at its prey.
The largest city in the Mulade region and the second largest port city of the Aragon Empire. It was a large city with a population of 50,000 with thousands of people traveling through the port every day.
In addition, the population reached nearly 80,000 if one took into account the numerous villages along the coastline that had Ills and Lens at their center. This was taking into consideration the villages that were about a day’s distance from the two centers.
Leus could be considered one of the largest cities in the empire.
Fifty percent of the exports from the empire to the south and the foreign countries gathered at Leus, and 70 percent of imports came through Leus. Thus, dozens of sailboats were always present in the sea of Leus.
Therefore, the former governor generals of Leus were always appointed from experienced nobles with high status, and thus, nobles who were usually older. Other times, the position would go to a member of the royal family that was highly competent.
The Governor-General of Leus always stood at the core of the empire’s politics and received the confidence of the empire.
But this wasn’t the case anymore.
For the first time in the history of the empire, the position of the governor general had passed onto the master of a duchy, someone who headed an independent territory, even though they were technically part of the empire. It was a huge surprise that the young duke, who was about to turn 20 years old, had become the ruler of a giant metropolitan city.
“When is the new governor set to arrive?”
“I heard it’s supposed to be today or tomorrow. He’s supposed to be heading straight here from the imperial castle.”
Lately, most conversations in Leus usually involved the new governor, Duke Pendragon. He was set to arrive soon.
“Whew, it’s really going to erupt into a mess when he arrives.”
“Definitely. It will certainly be something extraordinary. I heard that the nobles and even the caretakers of the governor’s residence feel like they are walking on thin ice every day.”
The nobles of Leus were greatly shocked when they saw the proclamation of Count Sagunda’s treason that was printed with the emperor’s seal. But shock soon turned into fear, and most of Leus’ nobles were unable to sleep as they shook in anxiety and despair. Most of them had some semblance of ties with Count Sagunda - some big, some small.
They couldn’t help but worry that the fire of treason would spread to them as well. However, the emperor had declared that he would severely punish those that left their places without permission, and all of the nobles’ land and possession were in the vicinity of Leus, so they could not escape anywhere.
They could only wait calmly for the arrival of Duke Pendragon, who had already shown his prestige once in Leus.
“Knights, soldiers, it’s all going to be a huge problem, isn’t it? They all belonged to the previous governor general, I mean, that treasonous Sagunda, right?”
“All of them have been absorbed into the imperial army, right? The only person who must be delighted at the situation would be Viscount Reet Moraine.”
He was the commander of the 7th regiment of the imperial army that was situated in Leus. He was an imperial knight who commanded 3,000 troops and twelve battleships.
In most cases, governor generals doubled as commanders of the imperial army, monopolizing not only the control of the city but also the military authority on behalf of the emperor.
However, due to the nature of Leus as a port city, the command of the imperial troops was shared between the governor general and the imperial commander. Under these circumstances, the former governor generals had left the 7th regiment to defend the sea, while they appointed their own soldiers to take care of the city’s security.
With such measures, there had been little conflict between the governor and the commander regarding military authority, as each kept to their own devices. However, the situation had changed when Count Sagunda was instated as the city’s governor general.
Count Sagunda appointed one of his nephews as the 7th regiment’s battalion commander and gave his knights key positions in the army, such as making them the captain of a battleship.
It was natural that Moraine, who had been commander of the 7th regiment for nearly a decade, would become furious. However, disobedience to the governor was no different from rebelling against the emperor, as the governor represented the emperor. As a loyal blade of the royal family, Moraine had no choice but to bear through it.
However, the situation changed completely once Count Sagunda’s treason was revealed.
He himself arrested Cesare, who had always acted arrogantly toward his superior while believing in his uncle, Count Sagunda, as well as the other knights that Count Sagunda placed in the 7th regiment. Then, he proceeded to demote or detain all the soldiers Sagunda had planted in the regiment over the years.
In addition, he ordered soldiers to capture Count Sagunda’s relatives and soldiers who were in the governor’s residence and in the city.
Thus all the soldiers of Sagunda were incorporated into the imperial army and all his knights and relatives were imprisoned. Of course, the process wasn’t completely smooth.
The entirety of the city had fallen into chaos, and quite a few soldiers and knights were injured or killed in the process.
But none of the nobles in Leus could express their discontent.
Viscount Moraine was an imperial knight and the head of the 7th regiment. It was his duty to sort out the traitors who tried to poison the crown prince and deliver judgment.
In the end, Count Sagunda’s suicide was detrimental to most of Leus’ nobles, while Moraine became the only beneficiary as the commander of the imperial legion.
“I don’t know if the new governor will be able to handle Moraine by himself.”
“That’s true. I heard he’s just about to turn twenty…”
“Pshh, you people! Stop flaunting your ignorance!”
As a few people conversed in worried voices, one man scolded them with a scowl. As everyone’s gazes headed towards him, the man spoke with a proud expression.
“Age doesn’t matter at all. Are you all really ignorant of all the things the new governor has done up until now? Did you forget that he cut off Toleo Arangis’ arm last summer?”
“That’s right! Everyone who attended the banquet kept telling that story over and over again! They said his swordsmanship was truly out of this world.”
One person agreed, and others started to murmur their agreement.
The man spoke in a more triumphant voice.
“There you go! Besides, Sagunda’s treason. Look what happened to him in the imperial castle! The new governor revealed the truth in front of the emperor himself! Is that something that any normal person would be able to do? My child is already 22 this year, but he shakes in his boots when he sees me, let alone the emperor himself!”
The man shook his shoulders humorously in imitation of his son, and a roar of laughter burst out from the crowd.
“Now that I think of it, you’re right! I heard he rode into battle alone and slaughtered dozens of enemies by himself. Sisak, if I recall?”
“They have orc warriors in the Pendragon Territory as well! Remember when he brought one along last summer?”
“Now that I’ve heard all these things, I feel like it’s Viscount Moraine we should be worried about, not the new governor.”
In the end, what began as an expression of concern for the new governor general turned into an expression of concern for Viscount Moraine.
Unsurprisingly, their conversation was very accurate.
“I have received a message that the new governor general has stepped out of the castle of High Lord of Mulade, Count Orphan. He left yesterday morning, and seeing as there are no other nobles he will be meeting, he should be arriving in Leus sometime tomorrow afternoon, Your Excellency.”
Moraine narrowed his eyes while stroking his beard at the report of his disciplined subordinate.
“Is that so? What about accompanying troops? Don’t tell me he’s bringing a hoard of soldiers like that bastard Sagunda.”
“No, sir. The group consists of only the new governor and a young man considered to be a knight from the duchy.”
He stopped stroking his beard and expressed surprise, then soon burst out into boisterous laughter.
“Hahahaha! As expected of a man who would do something so huge in front of His Majesty! I think I have already taken a liking to him. Hahaha!”
Moraine’s loyalty to the emperor was very high, as he was born into a family that served the royal family for several generations. Besides, there was no way that the emperor would entrust the 7th regiment to a man without loyalty, as Leus was one of the most important cities in the empire. The fact that he retained his position for nearly a decade spoke for itself.
“Now then, shall we prepare to greet the new governor general? Or rather, His Excellency the Duke of the White Dragon?”
After emptying a wooden mug filled with beer, Moraine jumped up from his chair.
With a sharp metallic sound, thousands of soldiers turned towards the direction that their commander was walking towards, straightening their spears.
The 7th regiment of the imperial army started its proud march to greet the new governor.