A Prosperous Future
Several days later, Sagami Co. mustered its entire force to give the Radols who had been taken prisoner in Camelot medical and food.
The previous lord had ran a tyrannical regime, and once they thought they had awaken from their nightmare, the Amrzs Kingdom’s forces had come marching in. The Radols, whose will had been siphoned by David, were easily overrun.
Naturally, we provided both physical and mental care to survivors, but—
“Hm. So are you saying the Amrzs Kingdom had plundered every tribe’s food and sent them packing?”
“Those idiots! They’re just leaving them to starve!” cried Satella.
She wasn’t wrong. Their invasion couldn’t be swept under the rug as just a few troops going haywire, so we couldn’t just end this by annihilating them.
“So how long will all the food last if we share the food that the Amrzs Kingdom had gathered?”
“About half a year, boss, but that’s only if we share with the five tribes near Camelot. It wouldn’t even last a month with everyone,” said Judo as he slovenly scanned through the documents in front of us.
“I’ll never forgive this injustice!” Carla yelled and slammed down on the table.
“Carla, the tea’s spilling. I’ll make you to leave if you’re getting antsy,” Judo said.
Carla gave him a glare while forcing herself back down.
This incident overlapped with what had happened in Tote, so she couldn’t just brush it off like it’s someone else’s problem.
“We have around a hundred prisoners of war in Camelot. They, along with the villagers living the base of the Radoa mountain range total up to thirty thousand……”
These one hundred people had been forcefully taken from various tribes in order to dampen their resistance. Naturally, they were only a small fraction of the total population.
More specifically, however, the kingdom’s forces had forcefully taken villagers from several different tribes, fearing any potential rebellion with the empire, although they didn’t even make up a tenth of the total number of Radols living near the Radoa woodlands. Over 90% were under the court nobles’ rule, and were effectively living as serfs and miners, their freedoms of movement and occupations having been taken away.
Eventually, we’d have to return the Radols to those lands, which meant a confrontation with the court nobles. Fine then. They’ve being doing as they pleased up until now, so I’d make sure to properly reward them.
“As indicated, Giresse-sama can provide 50,000 bags of rye. Margrave McBurn and Count Hartwig have also promised to help out with provisions, so we should be able to hold out for now.”
50,000 bags. That’s enough to feed 30,000 people for half a year, so they won’t starve for now. The receipts tally up to 100 million G; Giresse, you sure are going all out, and the other two’s continued assistance is really helping out as well. I’ll need to thank them all later.
“So? What about the heads of the families?”
“There are 32 representatives from the tribes, and they’re all standing by in Camelot’s office building.”
“Alright, let’s meet them.”
With Judo and the others in tow, I teleported us from Sagami Co.’s office in Straheim to Camelot’s office building.
I entered a large room to find myself face to face with 32 people sitting around a rectangular table, all staring straight at me.
Their eyes were filled with bewilderment, astonishment, disbelief, resentment, and hatred.
So ignoring their stairs, I waled up the furthest chair meant for the lord and sat down. Nobody batted an eyelid, probably because they had been informed about my circumstances beforehand to prevent any uproars.
“I am the lord of this land—Grey Ines Navarro. So, do you guys understand what kind of a situation you’re faced with?” I admonished them as gently as possible.
They were wounded in more ways than one, so they wouldn’t listen to me if I were to talk down to them. Sometimes you need to be polite and delicate, like soothing a crying child.
In addition, they had lost their most precious thing, so getting it back was number one on the list.
Silence. Was it because they were against a child as young as I ruling this land just because I was part of the empire or was it because they could barely even afford to speak? Either way, I didn’t plan on shifting the blame onto them, nor did I plan on providing them an outlet to escape from reality.
“As the David and the Amrzs Kingdom have drained your food reserves, they’ll only last a month until all Radols starve,” I said, sending a wave a despairing looks through the others. But this wasn’t enough—that wasn’t their true obstacle.
“On top of that, since you annihilated the Amrzs Kingdom’s forces, they’ll surely send even more to protect their dignity,” I continued.
“You and your troops were the ones who did that!!” screamed a woman. She had long black hair tied up behind her, and her eyes were bloodshot with rage.
“That’s exactly right. But they don’t know that, so it’s all the same to them. Let’s see, given two weeks, they’re sure to come marching in with an even larger force.”
I had killed off any nearby spies, so it would take roughly two weeks until the kingdom found out. Judging by the experience of the soldiers that had been stationed in Camelot, the kingdom would need another two weeks to get here, meaning we had about a month of peace.
I’m not saying all that, of course.
“You’re inhuman!” shouted one of the heads.
“You’re just the empire’s fucking lap dog! Why do you guys always, always have to play with our lives!?” shouted another.
“I had expected a little since Lucia-sama had said you were different than the others, but you’re just the same. You’re just treating us like animals!”
One by one, they began to stand up and hurl insults at me.
Woah, so they have enough energy to stand up for themselves. This will be quick, then.
“You all sure are short-tempered,” I said. “There’s a way to get out of this, you know.”
“Like we can trust you!”
“We won’t listen to anyone from the empire!”
The room descended into angry shouting once again.
“Silence,” muttered a giant man with dreadlocks as he slammed down on the table. The wooden table caved in beneath his fist and a cobweb of cracks spiraled out.
Then, the room returned to silence, as if the tumultuous scene from before had been a lie.
Nice, he seems like quite the guy. So the Radols still have assertive people like him left. My plan should proceed smoothly as long as someone like him is around.
“All I’m saying is just change your perspective a little. I mean, why do you guys always have such a pessimistic outlook on the world?”
“How can we look at this situation optimistically!?” yelled the black-haired woman as she bared her fangs at me.
“The Amrzs Kingdom has dug their own grave,” I began to explain. “They crossed over the Radoa mountain range and invaded this land without so much as a declaration of war.”
“And how is that them digging their own grave!?”
“You don’t understand? They’ve accidentally given us time to recover.”
The Radols and the Amrzs Kingdom coexist with the Radoa mountain range, which serves as the border between the two. More precisely, it was originally the Radol’s land, but had been swiped while the Radols were busy fighting the empire.
The Amrzs Kingdom had crossed the border without even declaring war, and they had even stolen food from every tribe. It’d be a bad example to the world if we didn’t make them take responsibility, so we had the perfect reason to take back the land.
“……That sounds like you’re telling us to win against the Amrzs Kingdom,” said an old man with white hair as he stroked is long beard.
“Yes. Roughly three weeks from now, we’ll capture Fort Arkroy beyond the mountain under the premise of taking back our land. Then, all of Radoa will be the Radols.”
Once I finished my explanation, the room burst into chatter.
“How stupid. That’s impossible.”
“Imagine the retaliation we’d face if we lost……”
I was fed up with all of their negativity. I thought I had said earlier that the Radols would be wiped out if they didn’t move, so what’s the point in grieving over what ifs? The empire and the kingdom have sucked them dry to the point where they’ve lost their fangs. This was as far as I’d humor them.
“H-hey, Grey—” said Aquido, hastily grabbing my shoulder after seeing my expression change.
“Stop making excuses!!” I boomed, continuing while ignoring their idiotic expressions. “Didn’t I say? Your only choices are destruction or prosperity. It’s not about whether it’s possible or not. If you don’t want to lose your motherland or your family, then you have only one option.”
The giant man with dreadlocks looked down and began repeatedly tapping on the table, but his dark eyes pierced through me.
“Lord-dono. You’re saying we can win against the kingdom?” he asked.
“That’s up to you.”
“They’re not someone we can win against with just ideals.”
“What an idiot! The very thought sends shivers down my spine! You know, the stronger one wins in war. And the stronger one isn’t the braver one, but the one who has killed more,” I replied.
“Basically, you’re saying we can kill more?”
“Yeah, if you implement my plan and my weapons.”
The room returned to a strange silence as the man with dreadlocks burst out in a grin.
“Then lastly, tell us your objective, Lord-dono.”
“Is that your condition for getting on board?”
“No. It’s to build trust.”
Building trust, huh. That’s also one of my objectives.
No matter what I, someone from the empire, say, they won’t fully believe me. Even if I use Sagami Co. to repel the kingdom’s forces by myself, they’d just interpret it as me using the empire’s forces and hide further into their shells.
As a result, they’d never lend an ear to anything I say and choose to be subordinated. And if that happened, my plan would crumble soon after.
Without completely eliminating their self-deprecating nature, I won’t be able to truly fulfill my objective.
“Alright. I’ll only say this once, so listen up,” I began. “I plan to industrialize this place into the best in the world—to turn it into a city of science— and I’ll need an enormous amount of manpower, land, and money to do so. Radoa mountain range? 30,000 citizens? Ha! That’s nowhere near enough.”
“Are you going to free our brethren, Lord-dono?” the man with dreadlocks asked in bewilderment.
“Don’t get conceited. That’s your job, right?”
“……That’s……no. I’ll stop there. That’s all a pipe dream right now. In any case, we don’t have any other choice.”
He stood up and looked at everyone else. The other heads nodded and, one by one, stood up as well.
“I am Theo, the head of Grune. We will follow you into this war, Lord-dono.”
Theo corrected his posture and stood to attention.
“Don’t look back. You don’t need your miserable past anymore,” I said, cutting off for a bit. Then, I raised my voice and proclaimed, “A prosperous future awaits.”