Chapter 20: Secret Talk
Harrelia, the capital of the Harlasia Kingdom, was the central hub of the kingdom and one of the largest cities on the Enzo continent.
Within the city lay a district known as the Noble Quarter, where grand mansions of the noble elite were prominently situated.
Despite the abundance of grand mansions, there were three in particular that stood out.
All three mansions belonged to the Danmarren ducal family, the Seuwell ducal family, and the Dalbaren ducal family, respectively.
These families were of distinguished heritage and were all related to the kingdom’s founder, Hayman Harlasia, who was also known as the Sword Saint King.
The Danmarren family—the house of Wilibald and Adelheid brother and sister—had faithfully served the kingdom since its inception, and its current Duke, Ernest Lutz, served as the kingdom’s prime minister.
The Seuwell family, which guarded the southern part of the kingdom, had the largest territory among all the kingdom’s vassals.
Its current duke was the grandfather of the two princes and was related to the queen by blood.
His nephew and his nephew’s wife lived in the mansion and supported the kingdom’s governance alongside the Danmarren family.
Finally, the Dalbaren mansion was the residence of the Minister of War, who had been appointed to the post for generations.
The current Duke, August Schneider, was a sturdy man with a stern face and a Kaiser mustache.
Even the most seasoned warrior couldn’t help but feel intimidated in his presence.
This was due to his imposing aura as the head of the ducal family and also as a knight who protected the capital with exceptional skill.
In his mansion, there was a secret underground chamber.
Only accessible by a tunnel that stretched from the outskirts of the capital, the room was about to host a secret meeting.
However, the host of this meeting was not August, the owner of the mansion.
Although he was the de facto leader, the formal leader was someone else.
“Silence please,” August said heavily as he remained seated in the head seat of the underground chamber.
Those who had gathered there immediately ceased their conversations, straightened their postures, and tightened their expressions.
Everyone knew that the discussion that was about to take place was of utmost importance.
As August gestured, a young man sitting next to him stood up.
The young man had a featureless face that exuded a gentle aura.
Despite his visible nervousness, he spoke with confidence.
“Fellow comrades, thank you for gathering here today.
The fact that like-minded individuals like yourselves have gathered here is the greatest happiness for Ludwig.”
The organizer of this meeting was none other than the first prince, Prince Ludwig.
He was known as a mild and ordinary prince, but it was a well-known fact that he had converted to the teachings of the Justice Church about two years ago and remained faithful to them.
The prince had always thought that evil was rampant in this country.
Slanderous rumors circulated around the king, courtiers accepted bribes without a second thought, and everyone seemed to enjoy barbaric events such as the “battle beasts”.
He loathed this ugliness in his heart, and the teachings of the “God of Justice” seemed wonderful to him.
Although he had converted, it was difficult to disseminate these teachings throughout the country in the current state.
He pondered over various opinions and made a decision.
It was his duty as a prince to eliminate the evil that was entrenched in the kingdom and illuminate it with the light of justice.
This meeting was for his mission, that is, to launch a coup d’état to overthrow the current regime and bring a new order…
“Well, let’s keep the greetings brief.
Before we get to the main topic, there are some collaborators I want to introduce.
Please come in.”
Upon Prince Ludwig’s command, the door to the basement was opened by a slave who had been waiting, and three individuals entered the room.
While all three were male, their appearances and demeanors were vastly different.
Leading the group was a middle-aged priest.
He was of average height and build, with thick glasses and a thin, almost emaciated frame that gave off a poor impression.
However, all those present in the room looked upon him with respect, for he wore a holy seal that only high-ranking priests were permitted to bear.
Standing to the priest’s right was a large man.
With long white hair and deep wrinkles etched into his face, he appeared to be in the twilight of his life.
Anyone who saw his straight back and sharp, bird-like gaze could tell that he was no ordinary man.
Those in attendance who were well-versed in martial arts couldn’t help but shudder at his impeccable posture.
In fact, August knew that this elderly man possessed enough power to easily slaughter everyone in the room if he were to unleash his full might.
And the last person standing behind the priest was a spiritual art caster wearing a robe with intricate patterns.
Despite his well-proportioned face, there was still a hint of youthfulness, indicating that he was a young adult.
He always had a smirk on his face, giving off a frivolous impression, but the attendees didn’t dare underestimate him just because of his age.
This is because the casters’ abilities could not be measured by age alone, and above all, there was a hint of madness that couldn’t be hidden in his eyes.
They sensed that he was the most dangerous person among them.
The three of them sat next to the prince, across the desk from August.
They were not only guests but also important figures in their plan.
It was natural for them to sit at the head of the table.
“Let me introduce you, although I’m sure you all know him.
This is Bishop Daniel of the Justice Church.”
“May the blessings of the God of Justice be upon you who know the teachings of the true God.”
Daniel, who was the one who converted Prince Ludwig to the teachings of the church and played a leading role, solemnly announced while holding up the sacred mark in the shape of two crossed swords.
The attendees clasped their hands together and offered prayers with a look of deep emotion.
Some even shed tears of joy.
As could be seen from the fact that they agreed with Prince Ludwig’s ideas, the common denominator among those present here was that they were all believers of the “God of Justice.” For them, the bishop of the church was someone to be respected.
It was only natural that they were trembling with joy after receiving his blessing.
“And this is Sir Knight Gaius, the leader of the Marius Holy Knights, known as ‘Lightning’.”
“What… isn’t he the church’s greatest force?”
“I am honored to meet you!”
After they calmed down, Prince Ludwig introduced a large, elderly man.
Those who heard his name showed surprise, and it was no wonder, given that Gaius’s reputation as “Lightning” echoed throughout the continent.
The Marius Holy Knights, of which he was a member, served as a distinctive force for the church and were responsible for enforcing justice.
His remarkable feats of bringing evil to justice and bringing relief to people were well-known, leaving no one unaware of his prowess.
It was evident from the demeanor of nearly half of the audience that they were utterly thrilled, their faces glowing with the excitement of a child.
Gaius, having dedicated decades of service to the church, had become a revered hero among the followers of the Justice Church.
It was only natural for them to be overcome with excitement in the presence of their beloved role model.
Gaius was met with a gaze of pure goodwill, but he remained expressionless and simply nodded in acknowledgement.
As it was widely known that he was of a taciturn nature, no one felt discomforted by his lack of response.
“Last but not least, we have Lord Orvo.
He is a senior spiritualist of the secret society ‘The Seventh Pillar’ and has come to aid us as a collaborator.”
“Nice to meet you~ My specialty is creating synthetic beasts~” Orvo maintained a lighthearted tone with a wide grin on his face.
Some found his inappropriate levity unpleasant, but they simply frowned and tolerated it.
This was not due to their patience, but rather because August had previously instructed them not to raise their voices or cause a disturbance, no matter what.
“Now that we’ve completed introductions, let’s begin our final discussion about the plan.
Gentlemen, the time for our uprising is drawing near.”
In the basement, where all the attendees had left, August sat deeply in his chair and chuckled to himself as he tilted his glass.
Everything had gone smoothly, almost too smoothly, which was why he couldn’t help but smirk.
The preparations were impeccable, the divine palanquin was carried by fools who were easy to manipulate, and the assistant who had come was a bigger catch than expected.
And to top it off, the biggest obstacle, Prince Carl, who was thought to be the greatest threat, was absent due to the invasion.
With everything so perfectly arranged, failure seemed almost impossible.
“Yet, here I am, still worrying ‘what if,’ I’m such a pathological worrier…hahaha,” August murmured with a self-deprecating smile as he tilted his glass and savored the wine.
The rich aroma wafted into his nostrils, and the refreshing sweetness and acidity delighted his tongue.
It was a luxurious and valuable vintage that could sustain an average family for a year, but August poured it generously into his glass without any hesitation.
Taking another sip of wine, August looked back on his life in contemplation.
As the eldest son of a duke, he was born into a privileged environment and had everything he needed.
Despite facing some challenges, he was talented and highly regarded, and he had grown up to be the kind of man befitting of his family’s status.
The man had married a woman he became engaged to through a family connection, and they were blessed with two daughters.
Both of his daughters had already been married off to other families and had given birth to grandchildren in their respective households.
August had plans to adopt a capable and outstanding boy as his heir, who was not the eldest son of his daughter’s household, to continue the lineage of the ducal family.
His life was indeed sailing smoothly with great fortune.
“The sons-in-law are both outstanding.
Their children will surely grow up to be intelligent individuals.
If I educate them, they will undoubtedly become distinguished figures.
Our Dalbaren ducal family will be safe as it is, but…” August let out a tired and heavy sigh.
In reality, there was little merit for him to join Prince Ludwig’s plan.
If the coup d’état were to fail, everything that he and his ancestors had built up until now would be for naught.
So, why did he decide to cooperate? It wasn’t out of unwavering faith that he was willing to sacrifice everything for.
He acted as a devoted follower of the “God of Justice” in front of the prince, but it was a blatant lie.
He was actually the type of person who would choose a god to pray to only when necessary.
August was aware that there were others at the meeting earlier who, like him, pretended to be faithful believers.
They were only vying for the positions promised to them when Prince Ludwig ascends to the throne, driven not by faith or loyalty, but solely by ambition and self-interest.
That was precisely why August found them easy to deal with.
Such people wouldn’t betray him as long as there was a benefit, but he could easily cut ties with them when necessary.
But if he were asked whether he was also driven by ambition like those people, the answer would be different.
Being the Minister of War, he already stood as the head of the military.
Although Prince Ludwig promised him the position of Prime Minister once he ascends to the throne, August was not interested in that position.
“I might have had it easier if I were a farmer’s son or something.
To fulfill my mission…”
August had a secret that he had never shared with anyone.
It has been on his mind since he could remember; he believed that he had a mission to accomplish, even if it meant putting his life on the line..
He never spoke about his mission to anyone, nor could he.
Whenever he tried to articulate the content of his mission in front of others, his entire body would freeze as if paralyzed.
At the same time, it was a life-threatening mission when it came to its contents.
“To become the king of a country… huh? Haha, it’s an easy thing to say.” August muttered before moistening his lips with wine once more.
If he were to stage an uprising, he knew that he wouldn’t have the luxury of enjoying wine at his leisure, whether he succeeded or failed.
So for now, he would enjoy himself.
His solitary drinking party would continue for a while longer.
(TN: Oh, what a twist! So there may be more reincarnated individuals other than mc each with his own mission.
I still think that our mc’s mission is the hardest considering his starting point.)
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