Book 3 Chapter 73 - King's Reign (2)

With Woohyuk as King, the Rhine kingdom underwent many changes.

The economy was given a boost by the expansion of the maritime trade, as well as investments into new trade routes by land. Not to mention the development of new education institutions that attracted people from all over, bringing them to the capital.

The kingdom’s armies were reshuffled, and any of the past absurd practices were stamped out. They expanded their standing armies and appointed new commanders to lead them. 

Once he was satisfied with how things were developing within the country, he appointed Joanna as Regent and left all the administration to her.

His goal now was to clear the Medusa Temple in the Izuna kingdom. Because it could very well turn out to be a long trip, Woohyuk went to pay Lee Jaesung a visit before heading out.

“Will you be gone for long?”

“Yes.”

He had been given Count Ludwig’s title, and was in charge of running the Erutonia province. He wasn’t nearly as involved in the capital’s politics, but instead had his own army to lead.

“How can I help….”

“Just make sure to take good care of everyone while I’m away.”

Although he wasn’t the cunning politician type, he was a dependable guy with good morals that he could always count on.

For that reason he had entrusted him with the most important region, that had the free city of Media within it. He also had his duties as the Vice-leader of their Clan, so he still had to keep an eye on members like Yoo Kayoung and Song Anna.

“Sure, that won’t be a problem.”

“Did you manage to find Anais’ whereabouts?”

“All clues lead to her fleeing by ship from Media, heading to another country.”

Count Ludwig’s daughter. She had disappeared from their residence as soon as news that the war was going poorly for them.

No doubt she had received some external assistance to pull it off though. As he carefully examined the furniture in the manor, Woohyuk thought back to the past.

‘It was said she had contact with Demons.’

She had been the main culprit behind Count Ludwig’s fall in the past.

When Melphis refused to help her, she had been blinded by the prospects of power, and made a deal with the Demon Amanda. This eventually led to the Rhine kingdom being caught up in a battle between these two Demons.

Had Isaac not appeared with his Seven Colored Rainbow Ring, the damage would have been even worse.

‘We should get rid of her just in case she stirs up trouble once again.’

If Anais managed to attract some new Demons this time, it could turn out to be quite the hindrance.

In the battle for Eden Hall, he had managed to inflict great damage upon the Demon King Volak, but his true body was very much still alive.

No doubt he would return one day to get his revenge once he’s regained his full strength, so the last thing he needed was to have to face another Demon King as well.

If he could, he would naturally like to sign a treaty with all 72 Demon Kings, but of course this was impossible.

“Message me as soon as we find any information on Anais.”

“Yes, Boss.”

“What about the nobles here in Erutonia’s Castle?”

“They gave me some strange looks, but never showed any hostile behavior, some even sent gifts which were brought over by their heirs. ”

In addition to Lee Jaesung, Woohyuk had also sent Jung Sanghoon and Aris to Issilon and Floren, respectively. This had been done right after the rebellion, to make sure all other nobles would fall in line.

Aside from the territory controlled by the royal family, and that under Marquis Nelson, he was directly in control of about half of the Rhine kingdom.

However, unlike Aris, Lee Jaesung and Jung Sanghoon didn’t have any experience with these aristocrats, so Woohyuk had to patiently explain them everything.

“Let me guess, all the children which these nobles sent over to you are young women right?”

“Ah, I guess that’s true.”

“They are trying to strengthen their relations with you, by sending their daughters over so that you might catch a fancy to them.”

Count Ludwig’s territory was quite large, so he had great influence within the Erutonia province. Now that there was a new Count occupying the position, naturally the other nobles tried to get on his good side.

What better way to do that than to have him marry their daughter.

“Oh… I had no idea they were coming with that intention.”

“In order to be better accepted by the nobles of the region, you’ll have to pick out a wife from among their families.”

It was the best option for Lee Jaesung, who currently had no influence in the area. In the first place, political marriages weren't something that an aristocrat could avoid.

Still, women on this continent were generally quite beautiful, so he didn’t seem to be too distraught with the idea of it.

“Wife… haha, there was this one woman who caught my eye, but I guess I should think about this carefully.”

“Which family was she from?”

“The Tannis family, her name was Sally.”

“Not a bad match. They have a lot of talented members and have decent clout even in the capital.”

“I’m only this successful thanks to you. First I became Count, and now I get to marry a beautiful noblewoman. ”

Lee Jaesung couldn’t help but be thankful for all the good things that were happening to him.

Previously he had lived the life of an average white collar worker. After retiring, he had been thinking of starting up a fried chicken business. Fortunately he had met up with Woohyuk here and had been given such an incredible opportunity.

In Lee Jaesung’s eyes, Woohyuk was his greatest benefactor.

“Think of it as a small reward for all that you have done so far, you deserve this.”

Woohyuk said as he placed his hand on his shoulder.

It wasn’t just some empty words, but rather how he truly felt in his heart.

“Just run the province well, and keep practicing your sword skills, this peace won’t last forever.”

Using his wealth and status of a Count, he should be able to find a decent instructor. After explaining about the different sword styles in the Eeth continent to Lee Jaesung, Woohyuk moved on to another topic.

“Keep an eye out for the Cohen Merchant group, there’s a large power standing behind them.”

“Are they like the Freemasons? A secret organization that operated across the globe.”

“Something like that, they’ve been following the same customs since ancient times.”

The Golden Rose Association was essentially a networking group for the highest echelon. 

A secret group established by masters at the peak of their craft, in order to increase their influence.

According to what little he had learned from his informants in the past, they had been focused on researching metaphysics..

“If they are so dangerous, we need to inform the other party members.”

“No, there’s no need.”

It was quite sensitive information, so the fewer people that knew it, the better.

He hadn’t even mentioned it when he visited Jung Sanghoon in Issilon. Among his party, he had only shared it with Leifina, Aris and Lee Jaesung.

“Will it be fine to be gone so long, leaving the throne vacant? Even Joanna is worried that other nobles might get some ideas….”

“Most of those corrupt nobles had been taken care of, so we won’t have to worry about any internal issues for a while. Joanna is also a wise woman, it should be fine.”

Irene was by Joanna’s side. She could also check her food for poison at every meal, so that it wouldn’t be easy to assassinate her.

If ever there was a rebellion in any of the other provinces, there was always Aris around that could head out and quickly snuff it out.

“Now that everyone is spread out across the kingdom, it will be hard to meet up again.”

“At least for now. Everyone will be busy with their own tasks, so it isn’t a bad thing.”

 The party would still be brought back together if a crisis that affected the entire kingdom occurred.

After being comforted by Woohyuk, Lee Jaesung nodded back.

“Although no one wants that to happen, It’ll no doubt be as you mentioned earlier and war will soon be on our doorsteps once more.”

Lee Jaesung had been following Woohyuk long enough to learn a bit about this Nebulus World.

One filled with endless trials. Unlike back on Earth, here the system didn’t allow for complacency, encouraging conflicts and death.

Woohyuk’s goal was to put an end to that vicious cycle.

Even a dog could learn to recite a poem after studying at the village school. Lee Jaesung, who had stayed by Woohyuk’s side this entire time, had a good understanding of his ultimate goal. 

As the two were having a serious discussion, an elderly steward ran into the study.

“Co, Count!, urgent news!”

“What happened?”

“Monsters have invaded your lands and are causing a lot of problems.”

Despite the successful punitive expedition in the Corcas Mountains, monsters continued to invade the kingdom.

No doubt the Demon had a hand in all this.

“Lead the way.”

“Yes sir.”

Woohyuk had come here under a different identity, so he had others address him as Commander and not Majesty.

Count Ludwig’s former estate was in shambles due to the monster's invasion.

The barn had collapsed due to an Ogre wielding a club, while all the livestock inside had been slaughtered by the Orcs.

Their horde numbered around 3000.

Considering that the punitive expedition had been successful, it was quite a large number.

‘We might need to investigate the source of this.’

The Corcas Mountains weren’t the only mountains within the Rhine kingdom. There were also the Irene and Scylla mountains ranges as well. However Corcas was the one that the most attention was paid to because it was the only one that acted as a border with another nation.

The only other options were that they had somehow multiplied within the borders of the kingdom, or managed to cross the Corcas Mountains from another kingdom. Both were rather unlikely.

For now, they would have to investigate where it was they were coming from.

Woohyuk looked around as he cut down an Orc with Grandia.

His current appearance had been modified using his Jester’s Mask, so only Lee Jaesung knew his identity.

‘If I were to use some of my well known abilities however, that would be a different story.’

Ever since the Battle for Eden Hall, many stories had been spread about Woohyuk’s abilities.

How a Hero had grown dark wings and cut down a giant monster with a single sword. Although there had been some voices concerned with whether he might be a Demon, people mostly dismissed the thought, since he would have been fighting against his own kind.

It was one of the reasons that it was so easy for him to assume the throne.

Because he had the support of the people, the other nobles couldn’t probe too deeply into the source of his powers.

Of course, there weren’t many that were bold enough to stand up to Woohyuk and question him in the first place.

‘Unfortunately it is quite a pain to have to fight without using my full power.’

It wasn’t that he didn’t want others to know his identity, but maybe it would make it a bit more difficult to properly investigate the source of all this.

Why was it that the number of monster appearances had soared across the kingdom. It was pretty much impossible for these monsters to build their ships and arrive by sea, so that meant that they had to have originally been hidden within the actual territory of the Rhine kingdom.

Swoosh!

Woohyuk had launched himself amid a group of monsters without the slightest hesitation, as he cut the Ogre before him at the waist.

Ever since he had unsealed Verserios, he felt that he had become a bit stronger. He had become a bit more proficient in his use of Demonic Energy, which played the same role as Inner Force.

“Kkaaahak!”

“Save me!”

As Woohyuk was cutting his way through the monsters, he heard some screams from some peasants..

‘Is it coming from the northeast?’

Perhaps they had been caught by the horde on their way back from picking herbs in the mountains.

As he rushed over, he saw a young man and woman, trembling as they were surrounded by a large group of Orcs.

Just as they were about to run them through with their cleavers, a large Red Broadsword appeared, just in time to save them.

Hwarrrk!

A fountain of brownish blood spurt into the air. Seeing the face of their savior, their expressions brightened.

“Co, Count!”

“You came to save us!”

Lee Jaesung breathed heavily as he stood before them.

“This isn’t the time to let your guards down! Wait until they are all taken care of before feeling relieved!”

“Yes!”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

As the two of them picked up the fallen Orcs’ weapons, Lee Jaesung raised his Kite shield and used the Taunt skill to grab their aggro.

“Karrrr!”

“Kiyaaaak!”

The easily excitable Orcs all rushed to Lee Jaesung at once. Seeing this, Lee Jaesung used his Battlecry, buffing any nearby allies for a certain duration.

After having done everything he could to give the pair of them the best chance of survival, he entered into the battle in earnest.

Kalang! Kalang!

The iron Orc weapons clashed against his Kite shield, resulting in dull sounds. Because he was facing far too many opponents, Lee Jaesung was put on the defensive and couldn’t find a chance to attack.

At least with his current Knight class, he had a 15% boost to his Health, as well as a 20% boost to HP recovery. 

This basically meant that he could hold on despite being outnumbered, for quite some time.  

‘He’s not at all bad.’

As Woohyuk watched Lee Jaesung’s performance for some time, he couldn’t help but become happy.

With his current level he should do quite well as a lord. Still, it looked like he could really use his help right about now.

Woohyuk raised Grandia and jumped into the horde of Orcs.

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