King Lawrence frowned at Milton’s words.
“Florence Principality has been able to defend its country without fighting in a war for hundreds of years.”
“Ohh… is that so? What’s the secret for that?”
“Well, that’s because… we’ve been able to create smooth diplomatic relations with the neighboring countries while taking good care of the country’s citizens.”
Blah blah blah blah blah blah
That’s what King Lawrence’s words sounded like to Milton.
‘He’s spouting bullshit again.’
Smooth diplomatic relations? That was because Florence Principality was so weak and pitiful to take over that it was neglected by the other countries. Taking good care of the country’s citizens? On the way to the Florence Principality, Milton had seen the food situation of the country and thought they had suffered a famine this year. Turns out that while it hadn’t been a good harvest, it was still an average one. But nonetheless, there had been children begging on the streets and people becoming thieves in order to avoid paying taxes. Could it be that poverty turned people into criminals? The number of incidents regarding thieves in the Florence Principality was unrivaled on the continent. How else could Princess Violet have led her knights and fought in actual battles against thieves? On average, it could be said that the weaker the country is, the more vested they are in monopolizing their interests. From what Milton had seen, the Florence Principality was one of those typical countries. He had zero intentions of investing money in such a country.
“King Lawrence, the only reason Florence Principality hasn’t seen the horrors of war yet is that your country doesn’t share a border with the Republic. Am I right?”
King Lawrence tried to deny it but he didn’t have the evidence to say Milton was wrong. No matter how much he thought about it, the reason Florence Principality hadn’t been swept away into wars was for that exact reason. And when he thought about it again, he realized the situation had changed. The Strabus Kingdom had fallen and the Republicans had taken over that country. Now, the threat of the Republican army wasn’t like a fire burning across the river, it was a blade pointing right at their nose.
‘I was careless. I guess I should start trying to strengthen the military from now on then?’
King Lawrence, who had thought he needed money, changed his mind and spoke to Milton.
“I believe you’re correct. The mere existence of the Republic is a threat. I had just forgotten about it for a while.”
“Forgot…yes, I guess it’s possible to forget.”
Milton almost said, ‘forgot? How could you forget that?!,’ but he managed to change what he was saying.
‘This man is more hopeless than I thought.’
Even as he thought to himself, Milton continued to talk to King Lawrence.
“Our current era is the era of war. It’s an era in which if you don’t have power, you’ll be eaten right away.”
“But haven’t we called a truce with the Republic?”
“It’s just a temporary truce. Did you really think the Republic would stop fighting?”
King Lawrence’s face revealed his anxiety. To be honest, he hadn’t given it much thought. The war with the Republic was far away from him and even if he did think about it, it was too difficult for him to deal with. His career and experience as a monarch were entirely confined within the Florence Principality. What would happen if the Republic invaded his country? He had never thought about it so of course there wouldn’t be any countermeasures. Once he realized the realities of the danger, King Lawrence felt his palms getting sweaty.
Knowing exactly how he felt, Milton began to talk.
“The condition I’m about to present to you is a mutual defense treaty between our countries.”
“Yes, we’ll dispatch our military to your country. Of course, we’ll have to take over the garrison and receive a small amount of assistance and funds for defense, but the Lester Kingdom will defend your country from the threat of the Republic.”
King Lawrence’s ears perked up at Milton’s words. He couldn’t come up with a way to protect his country from the Republic’s threat, but someone was saying they’ll do it for him. Of course, it would be natural for him to be enthusiastic.
“Are we in agreement?”
King Lawrence replied cautiously to Milton’s question.
“I’m positive to it, but it’s a little too much for us to take in the troops and pay for the cooperation. As you know, my country is poor.”
“Hm… you’re right.”
Milton thought about King Lawrence’s response before replying.
“In that case, let’s do it like this.”
“Why don’t we make it a leased territory. As long as we’re in charge of defending the border area, we’ll take over the administrative authority of that region.”
“Ah… that’s a bit…”
In other words, Milton was asking King Lawrence to lend him the territory. No matter how incompetent King Lawrence was, he began to feel reluctance at this point. He began to feel that something wasn’t right. Right at that moment, Milton said something more.
“By the way, this defense treaty was originally meant to proceed as a trilateral alliance between my country, Valence Kingdom and Andrews Empire.”
“Wait, why was my country excluded?”
“Well, that’s because…”
Milton didn’t continue but his facial expression said it all, ‘Are you really asking me that right now?’
Of course, King Lawrence knew the reason. Lester Kingdom, Valence Kingdom, and even Andrews Empire. If these three countries joined forces to create a defense treaty, then why should they need the Florence Principality to join? Geopolitically it could serve as a bridge between the Lester Kingdom and the Valence Kingdom, but it wasn’t worth more than that. That’s how weak the Florence Principality was. Why were they ignored? There was nothing more funny than a snot-nosed child trying to join an adult card game with their little bit of money. Milton didn’t say it, but his face was telling King Lawrence to know his place.
“Anyway, speaking on behalf of the Lester Kingdom, we don’t care if the Florence Principality doesn't join. You can personally decide upon that yourself, King Lawrence.”
That was all Milton said before passing the baton to King Lawrence. Truthfully, he had basically blocked all of King Lawrence’s options.
‘She’s my wife, but she’s really smart.’
Milton felt like he had Zhuge Liang’s pocket of wisdom. Although, if he was being honest, he liked Leila better than Zhuge Liang because there were many things that couldn’t be done between Zhuge Liang and Liu Bei that Milton and Leila were doing.
In any case, as a result, King Lawrence accepted Milton’s offer. He decided to separate the region where there was a border between the Florence Principality and the Republic and gave it to the Lester Kingdom. Instead of just stationing troops and protecting the region, the Lester Kingdom gained full control of the region. This was the Shield Treaty and under that treaty, the Lester Kingdom would protect the Florence Principality. As a reference, it’s said that when Siegfried in the Republic heard about this later on in the future, he had something to say about it.
[Is the King of Florence Principality retarded? If I had known it would be like this, I would’ve done something first.]
That’s how foolish King Lawrence’s decision was. But in King Lawrence’s defense… Most of the people who fell under Queen Leila’s influence, no, magic, would become stupid.
Having accomplished all his business in the Florence Principality, Milton returned to the Lester Kingdom and was greeted by Queen Leila and Sophia welcoming him. After hugging his wives one by one, Milton spoke to them.
“Should I make introductions again? But... both of you should already be acquainted with her?”
At his words, Queen Leila and Sophia looked over with happy smiles.
“Let’s get along in the future.”
When they both welcomed her, Princess Violet also smiled as she responded.
“Thank you for welcoming me. I’ll do my best not to be a bother to either of you.”
The three of them greeted each other and talked a bit before Milton reported to Leila about what happened at the Florence Principality.
“Well done. With this, we’ve secured our bridge to the South.”
“And almost for free, at that.”
“Oh my, can you stop making it sound like I’m a terrible person? I only blocked the borders of the Florence Principality in order to stop the Republicans from expanding any further.”
“Well, that’s true.”
And it was true, although, most of the troops were conscripted locally from the Florence Principality… Most of the knights and soldiers who had followed Princess Violet as part of the reinforcement troops were mobilized to defend the border. Particularly the knights; originally they were from the Florence Principality but they had been subjected to a massive demotion and had to give up their Knighthood. However, Queen Leila had accepted them as knights of the Lester Kingdom and had placed them on the borders of the Florence Principality. On top of the Knights, the regular troops had been conscripted from the leased territory so there had been even fewer troops that the Lester Kingdom had to send.
In other words, Queen Leila had obtained a leased territory while protecting the Florence Principality’s borders with soldiers and knights from Florence Principality AND secured a land route to the South, not to mention, they hadn’t properly set how long the territory would be leased for. On the treaty, it was just written that the land was leased as payment for protecting the Florence Principality from the dangers of the Republic. It didn’t state how long the lease would last. The reason for this was that it would be difficult to set a time period when they didn’t know when the threat of the Republic would disappear.
‘What a scary wife.’
Abruptly, Milton couldn’t help but wonder whether his wife had a tail. Unlike before, he was able to verify it himself, but he was still suspicious.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Oh, no, no reason. You just look pretty.”
Queen Leila looked at him suspiciously. She didn’t have physical evidence, but he was acting very suspicious.
‘I’ll have to find out later.’
Either way, she had to let it go for now. After all, he was the head of the house and she couldn’t ruin his image in front of all the other women.
One month later.
With everyone’s blessings, Milton was able to marry Princess Violet. It hadn’t even been a year since he had married Queen Leila and Sophia, so it might seem strange to get married again but once it was known that it was political marriage related to national interests, most people understood. The people’s confidence in Queen Leila rose once again as they found out she had generously allowed this marriage for the sake of national interest, however, Milton’s approval ratings fell a bit, not because of other reasons, but because he had monopolized three beautiful women. Personally, Milton didn’t care one bit about that; he was too busy indulging in the sweet honeymoon bliss with his wives.
Peace was just a period of time to prepare for war. Some of the philosophers’ cynical words about human nature contained truth.
Three years had passed since the First Ideological Conflict. During that time, there hadn’t been any disputes between the Republic and the Kingdoms, and peace seemed to have finally arrived on the continent…at least that’s what it seemed like.
However, neither the Republic nor the Kingdoms had fully sheathed their swords in the last three years. They had all been focused on sharpening their swords more sharply.
In the past three years, the configuration of the continent changed dramatically. First, the Republic. After the Hildes Republic disappeared with the First Ideological Conflict, only the Kobrook Republic and the Hanovirtue Republic were left. However, these two countries no longer had a solid alliance as before. The reason behind that was the distribution of the spoils of war.
The spoils they had gotten from the fallen Strabus Kingdom were truly enormous. Although in the end they had lost the Western region to the Lester Kingdom, but still, the Republic had devoured the Strabus Kingdom, so imagine how big their gains were. But because of such a big gain, there was a lot of conflict within the Republic. The Hanovirtue Republic and the Kobrook Republic each wanted to further their own interests and soon the alliance was in danger. However, Siegfried, who held the position of General Commander of the Republican Army, calmed down the situation.Previous Chapter Next Chapter