4 years later
Marseille, Capital of the Kingdom of Valois
King Hector POV
"How's the situation of the country right now?" I asked the nobles currently on the audience room.
"Your Majesty..." A rural noble, Baron Clarent, spoke first. "The crop failure have increased and the yield have drastically declined. With the advent of the recession, we cannot do a thing about it. Without the elven blessing, I doubt that our side of the country would recover from such yield shortage."
"Your Majesty..." Another noble, this time a count, spoke to me and said. "We are also lacking merchandise and equipment. Our weapons are now... mediocre at best. Without the dwarven blacksmiths, we are really short on armor, weapons and everything in between."
"My king..." the next one to speak was another count but a rural one. "Hunted animals and livestock have now drastically dropped. The herders also have a problem with the ongoing hunts on their livestock by the beasts from the forest. Without the beastmen regulating and controlling the animals in our forests, I doubt we would be able to produce that much meat for the market and the growing populace."
Having said that, many started bickering amongst themselves. I, on the other hand, just listened to their debates and such of the rabble in front of me. 4 years have passed since my son, Beale, conquered the whole north to himself. This made him the most powerful man in both military and national might. If only I wasn't a coward back then, we wouldn't be suffering like this. Beale established a pact with the elves and dwarves, something that every human country did before but broke due to the emergence of the Anthropocentric Church. When they heard my son's cooperation with the demihumans, they began what they called "Crusade" against the new kingdom of Agmanac that my son created. All human countries from the central plains marched their armies and made a pass on Valois to reach Agmanac but what halted their advance are the weapons and warmachines my son had in his army. Not to mention that even if they get passed the barrage of projectiles from those weapons, what awaits them is the dreaded Black Army. Numbering more than 50 million. Not even the whole Cetral Powers have an army of that size even if they wanted to.
Not only that, even the see was dominated by the Agmanacian Kingdom. The Former kingdom of Dya Ntotila is now a dukedom under Beale's rule. That dukedom ruled the sea with its superior ships. With those metal ships numbering more than a thousand, all fleets that the Central Powers sent to my son's kingdom, sunk before they could even see the port of Edinburg. Finally, last year, the Central Powers halted their crusade. They lost too much against Agmanac. They didn't even step beyond the wall and they never saw what it's like inside. If I wasn't such a fool before, I would have experienced the wealth and power Beale currently have. As I was thinking to myself, a noble count spoke to me.
"Your Majesty... This might be a bit too much to hear but... wouldn't it be fine if... we seek Prince... I mean King Beale's help? He was a former Valoisian prince who was supposed to be the heir to the throne. And because of some greedy nobles, he denied his supposed birthright and claimed an even greater power for himself. For familial bonds, wouldn't he be able to help us?"
Count Lisbon immediately countered the earlier statement. "Count Aron, your words are quite inappropriate. The Prince, err, King Beale's move towards independence is an illiegal move. True, he declared war against the former empire as his right to rule was undermined and his life was almost taken by the hands of a person sent by the emprire as its envoy. Nonetheless, declaring such while not informing the Crown and the Court is subjected to heavy penalties. I say he should cede-"
Before he could even finish speaking, I intervened. "If you are thinking of that, then by all means, I will make you the kingdom's envoy for Agmanac. Tell King Beale of his mistakes and his transgressions against Valois. Make him cede some of his territories and have his entire kingdom be made into a vassal state of our kingdom and have it divided into provinces and states to be given to nobles like you. Tell him that he should return to Marseilles immediately and be persecuted for his blatant disrespect to the Court and the Crown. Please, Lord Envoy. Tell King Beale about what I said."
Count Lisbon's body shook when he heard what I said. He immediately exclaimed. "Your Majesty! I... I have a bad heart condition and I cannot travel far. I-"
"That's even better. The King might show compassion at a sick man trying to send a message from me. It might soften the heart of the Hydra King who destroyed a country just because they disrupted peace talks and pointed a blade at him, all while we all know that any person that wants to attack my son would meet an inevitable death. You all know that after the show of power my son did four and a half years ago. With all those things collected together, you all know what that means right?"
"It means the empire only made a reason for Beale to attack them. They never knew the strength and power of Beale's army and they underestimated his small principality. Even me and everyone in this chamber underestimated Beale. But now we see the outcome. He invaded and conquered the former empire with one fell sweep. No negotiations, no armistice, no treaties. He just proceeded to destroy every armed obstacle in front of him. He even destroyed the imperial army that was attacking our northern border four years ago! We had 2 million soldiers there yet we were easily routed by the empire's vast army. Then what happened? Beale came with even lesser soldiers than we had yet he completely obliterated the empire's forces! After Beale rose to kingship and claimed all lands from the former empire, the elves and dwarves readily joined his kingdom and they established a triumverate. Now, only the Kingdom of Agmanac enjoys the elven blessings and dwarven craftsmanship. You all know this, right?
Shortly after its creation, the Central Powers exluding us, rose up and did their Holy Crusade to destroy Agmanac. They sent their forces marching through our land and proceeded to attack Beale's kingdom. But you all know what happened. 3 years of fighting. 3 years of one-sided fighting. In the end, the Central Powers lost too much of their soldiers and resources, all while only staring at Agmanac's border walls. They haven't even did a single step beyond the wall! And mind you, that is at least 20 million troops from all the countries from the central plains that are under the Anthropocentric church. Yet almost all those 20 million soldiers died fighting under the heavy assault of the Beale's weapons and his army's spellcasters. In the end, the crusades didn't do anything but send a bad impression to Beale. He then closed all borders from any human country including our kingdom and have sent notices to all his nearby neighbors. He will never trade or do business with anyone from the countries who attacked him and those who supported them. He said he is giving everyone their final warning. 'Cross me again and I will make you the next Luxum.' After such declaration, no country dared to do anything again. You all know this too, right?"
The one who I appointed as Agmanac's envoy trembled and kneeled while knocking his forehead to the ground. "Forgive this one for his transgressions, Your Majesty! I only wanted what's best for the kingdom."
"What's best for the kingdom? You want to ask King Beale for reparations and to try and talk to him about our kingdom demanding that he giveup some of his territories that HE earned HIMSELF. Do you think that is the best route our kingdom should trek? I will tell you, Count Lisbon. The Kingdom of Agmanac holds the largest army in the world, with over 50 million which is the biggest army ever recorded in history. He has almost a million flying units that dominates the skies and more than a thousand metal ships that rules the sea. They also have a tripartite agreement with the elves and dwarves. He can literally call upon them should he need their aid. There is also a rumored that Beale is in possession of a red dragon with green scales. A very large dragon that if compared to our griffins, ours would look like plush toys in its palms. Also, King Beale's retainers are all powerful with strength that even a Hero wouldn't be a match. If you are lucky to be accepted inside and be given an audience to my son, would you dare utter words like reparations, punishment and subordination? Can you do it, Lord Count?"
"I... I... I cannot."
"Then shut up and stop your self-righteous acts. Your greed will be the death of your family and everyone here in this chamber. You know how decisive King Beale is."
"Your Majesty..." Another count spoke. This time, it's Count Aron who was refuted by Count Lisbon. "May I ask? Could Crown Princess Alaine help us speak to King Beale? Perhaps... Perhaps she might be able to help us."
"And sever one of the two connections left between Valois and Agmanac? I dare not. Alaine, aside from my wife Victoria, is the only person who could meet King Beale without any notice. She goes to Agmanac every year to check on King Beale and learn from him. Could she help us? Given their relationship, she might. But I don't want doubt to enter my son's heart. I cannot risk it."
"But Your Majesty! What of your people?!"
"Imbecile! You still don't get it?! Do you even know why the other central countries didn't bother us, even after their defeat against Agmanac?! It's because of our connection with King Beale! If that connection is severed, do you think we stand a chance?! Dotard!"
"It may not lead to that, My King." a very familiar female voice rang through my ears.
I looked at the direction where the voice came from and spoke. "Victoria."
"I will go to Agmanac. I will try to talk to our son. Perhaps he might listen to me. I won't press him on the issue though. He is my son but also a monarch. I respect him as much as I love him. Please, let me be your envoy." my wife, Queen Victoria said.
"Is there no changing your mind on this, my love?"
"There is none. Let me go see my son, my King." she said as she lowered her head.
"Very well. Go, along with my love and blessings."
"I thank you, my King." She said as she stood up from her seat and immediately departed.
When my queen's figure can no longer be seen, I sighed. "This is the result of our weakness. We even had to send our own queen as an envoy. I just hope everything will be alright." Straightening myself, I spoke again. "With that done, let us proceed to our next issue."
The session continued after my words though gloom and anxiety shrouded the chamber. I know. They know. We all know. Our fate lies on how successful my wife's negotiations are to my son, the mighty Hydra King Beale.
At the same time
Ponchayiv Lavra, Capital of Volhynia Kingdom
King Lodomeria POV
I am currently with the leaders of the Central Council, talking about our recent failed crusade against the the n!ewly created Kingdom of Agmanac. We are currently seated around the large conference table of my castle designated for meetings of the highest importance. Here with me are Duke Casimir of the Ducky of Galicia, Duke Cardigan of the Duchy of Ceredigion, Emperor Rumili II of the Thracean Empire, Prince Adrasteia of the Principality of Nemea, King Aegisthus of the Kingdom of Mycenae and President Nawab of the Merchant Union. Also here with us is His Holiness, Pope Phillip of the Anthropocentric Church. We are currently discussing our next move after our devastating loss in Agmanac.
Duke Cardigan began speaking. "I suggest we ask an armistice to Agmanac and have some of our people enter Agmanac as goodwill ambassadors. They will then secretly study the terrain, army composition, structures and-"
He was then countered by Emperor Rumili II. "Fool! That's exactly how the former Luxum Empire fell! That is the mistake of that greedy bastard that led to the destruction of his empire that started even earlier than my empire! You want to do the same mistake?! Do it on your own! I dare not try to anger the Hydra King even further!"
"You are a coward, Rumili. Just like your ancestors." said Prince Adrasteia. "That is why your empire is... how do you describe it... Ah! Mediocre at best."
"It is true though. Just losing once caused you to lose your wits. Attacking the Hydra King is not easy if he stays in his borders. We could lure him out for, let's say, a peaceful meeting of the continent's leaders. It would be impossible for him to carry an army on a peaceful meeting, right? Then-"
"You said that the Emperor Rumili is a fool but so are you, Prince." said Duke Casimir. "Why would the Hydra king even come out of his domain? His domain is 5 times larger than our biggest member, the Kingdom of Valois. And with the elven kingdoms and the dwarven underkingdoms, he now controls a third of the entire continent. He has everything he would want inside his domain. Crops, fruits and vegetables? The elves can help him. Merchandise, armor and weapons? The dwarves could provide for him. Mercenaries, hunters and herders? No need. He has the largest army in the continent. He could use them to hunt some game for his populace. Besides, why need greedy and spineless mercenaries when you have an immortal army. All in all, even if the whole continent declares war against Agmanac, the Hydra Prince will just laugh at our stupidity and lack of intellect. I will say this. I am bordered with the elves in the north and northwest while I share a border with Agmanac in the east and Valois in the southeast. If war errupts, it will be my country who will be the first to enter the crossfire. I will not let my people die for nothing. So, Pope Phillip." He looked at the Pope sitted near me. "You call this a crusade but this expidition caused me to lose my men that are supposed to be needed back in my country. I hope you can give me a good reason to continue supporting your cause."
Pope Phillip just smiled and said. "This crusade did indeed fail but not in all ways. We know that King Beale is powerful. Added by the strength of his troops, I doubt that any of us would be alive here should he decide to retaliate. But we learned a special information out of our losses. The Hydra King isn't planning for world conquest. Well, at least not yet. For reasons unknown, even while having a very enormous army, he didn't conquer Galicia Duchy and Valois Kingdom. There are many factors that plays here but... all in all, we have a chance to clear our hostilities and achieve peaceful cooperation from him. If we could just convert him, he would realize how right our path is. For the Lord is my Father and my Savior. Only thorugh Him can we gain internal life." He said while clasping his hands.
""""""""May He bless us with His blessings."""""""" We also said, replying to the gospel Pope Phillip just said.
"But..." President Nawab spoke. "I heard the Hydra King isn't fond of 'peaceful' approaches. How will we be able to talk to him?"
"I heard that the Prince is 16 years old tomorrow. I also heard he is still unengaged. Perhaps, a partner would be our way to make the Hydra Prince see the light." Pope Phillip said with a gentle smile.
I suddenly had a thought. My Meleina is already 17 years old and Cassandra is now 15. As a princesses, they won't be able to succeed me but if any of them wed King Beale, they would even be more useful to me than their brother. I have long since gritted my teeth for always being a servant to a stronger country. But no more. Not only one but I have two who could be potential wife-to-be of the talented yet dreaded Hydra King. As I organized my thoughts, Emperor Rumili suddenly spoke.
"I have some urgent business that I need to attend. Everyone, I will leave first." He spoke as he began to stand up.
"I, too, have some business to attend to." said Prince Adrasteia.
"As do I." said Duke Casimir.
"I as well." stated Duke Cardigan.
"I have an urgent matter to attend as well." said King Aegisthus who didn't speak during the discussion.
"I too have to go now." President Nawab stated.
"Wait!" I said while standing up. "We still haven't finished our talks. What is our decision regarding Agmanac? Should we stop hostilities and... recognize it as a country?"
They all looked at each other for a while then turned their attention to me and nodded. I then finalized our discussion.
"We, the Central Council, hereby proclaim the end of the crusades and thus recognise the Kingdom of Agmanac as Luxum Empire's successor and claimant to the former empire's territories."
After hearing that, they bowed slightly and hurriedly went out. I then looked at the Pope seated next to me and said.
"With all of that done, I would like to ask. What of the elves and the dwarves?"
"They are under King Beale's protection. Unless we can sway the Hydra King's decision, those unclean bloods are untouchable."
"What of Valois? How about making them change their neutral stance?"
"If I were them, I will stay neutral. Joining us will lead to their downfall. The greatest betrayal one could experience is betrayal of your own family. They might not be allies but my contacts have confirmed that Crown Princess Alaine often go to Agmanac to see the Hydra King. And if they act against us, with their unstable connection to Agmanac, they would be left stranded in the middle with no resources coming in from the outside. Either way you see it, they are at a disadvantage so staying neutral was a wise choice."
"Then all we have to do is wait."
"Yes. But not idly. We will begin our move soon."
"The unification of the continent under the Light of our Father." He said while giving a very gentle smile.
Atalanta, Capital of the Kingdom of Agmanac
I am currently seated in my chair at my study while looking at the cityscape below. I was just idling while I waited for someone to arrive. Suddenly the doors opened and in came Paimon and my retainers. They all lined up in front of my study table and Paimon walked towards me.
"My King, we have arrived. Is there anything you need from us?"
"I am leaving. I'll be taking Seraphiel, Kapharel and Sygax with me."
"Where to, my King?"
"South. To the Great Expanse and the Sundering Sea."
"The places where the beastmen, sirens and mermen are located?"
"Yes. I want to have their cooperation for my plan to be properly executed. After that, I will explore the continent beyond this one. After looking at Seraphiel's memories, I now know where Sandalphon is located. Besides, I need a place where Heaven's eyes couldn't see through as I would like to invoke a wide-area summoning."
"You are now going to summon your own legions?"
"Yes. I think it's about time I use my own soldiers. Not that I am dissatisfied with my current men but... Having my own men will be one of my mark as a King."
"Very well, my King. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?" she asked with a serious tone.
I moved my attention to her back and spoke. "Gaap, how's the seas?"
"In our complete control, Your Majesty. In the last 4 years, we have sunk so many ships and vessels that the ocean floor is riddled with wreckages. He have also began to make some ships off the cost of the Sea of Ghosts at the elven country. Once they are finished, the whole northern waters will be under our control."
"Good. Zagan, what's the situation in yours?"
"Business is booming so much, Your Majesty. With Chernobog Citadel's coffers full to the brim, I have no choice but to move all our revenue to the newly built Ludwigsburg Palace's coffers. Business is booming as elves and dwarves are good customers and providers. Dwarves supply us minerals and elves supply us wood and products from the local flora. As for infastructures, we have extended the wall around the country, which includes both the dwarven and elven kingdoms. Fortresses have been made every 5 kilometers and are all connected by a tunnel system. Also, undercities are currently being developed under the former imperial capital Celtrieze and other major cities of the country."
"Excellent work. Amon, how's the work going?"
"I have tamed most of the fire beasts that resided on this country's volcanoes. There are even fire drakes and wyrms lurking their. As for the training of the new mages, I have put it on halt. I need the denizens to be 'converted' more so that their aptitude would be better."
"I leave that to you then. Leraje, what about your part?"
"Your innovations are shocking even me. No wonder you are feared even in Hell. The weapons you invent are heaven-defying. I have been able to mass produce your railguns and your long-ranged mortars as well as your cannons. Soon, each fortress would be allocated with those weapons in no time. Also, my scouts have captured, interrogated and killed scouts coming from the Central Powers but nothing substancial."
"I see. Asmodeus?"
"I have completed training your flying armies. Their strength can rival even that of archangels and lower principalities. As for mission reports, we have seen sightings of an unknown flying creature that was spotted in Okeanus. I have sent a team to investigate but have yielded no results."
"Continue the search for that creature. It might be something that could help us in the wars to come. Gremory?"
"My king." Gremory spoke in a very formal tone. "The humans are steadily being 'converted' for the past three and a half years. Most of them have already been 'converted' while there are still others who are not showing signs of 'conversion' but they are of the minority. As for the kingdom's financial, political and domestic problems, they've been dealt with already. You can be at ease." she said with a cheery smile.
"The Gateways are now fully operational, sire. You can go to whichever place the gateway is linked without any hassle. There are Gateways that are on standby for a new connection in case there is a new place you want to attach it to. Also, all fortresses are now equipped with gateways that can only be tapped and authorized by us. It makes troops deployment a whole lot easier and reinforcements are easy to handle. Aside from that, there is nothing more I could report, sire."
"The citadel forces are adequate as of now, Your Majesty. Training of the recruits are still on the way. The Nephilims are... they are behaved most of the time. But they seek to see you from time to time, sire. As for the citadel's defences, it could be said that due to the combined efforts of the Lords and Ladies, this citadel would even withstand a cherubim's attack or maybe even a lower seraphim. But in case this citadel falls, escape routes and the gateways are always available for a quick retreat."
"Is that so? Malek?"
"SIre, we have been scouring and talking to the northfolk about the defences we are putting up their. Right now we are making fortifications and temporary shelters for its denizens. As for the training of the young flyers, Lord Asmodeus have already taken care of it."
"Hmmm... Glasya, any new information for me?"
"Quite a few." said the shadow-like being in front of me.
"Your birth mother, Queen Victoria have set out as Valois' envoy of peace to Agmanac. She will arrive in possibly 4 months, 3 if she is fast. Also, there is talks about your engagement in the central plains. The Central Powers have began to send their daughters here in Agmanac for a possible marriage alliance."
Hearing the later part of the report, I laughed out loud. "Hahahaha!!! Fools! They think they are so clever! Imbeciles! Haa... They are really idiots. Decline them. Their stupidity might be contagious."
"I have a better idea, sire." said Liliana.
"And what would that be?"
"Why not 'convert' them? Don't take them to be your wives. That would be degrading to you. Maybe a cocksleeve or a stress reliever. I can teach them good techniques."
"Is that so? That would be a mojor slap on those human monarchs if their prized daughters became nymphomaniacs huh? Fine. Let's do it your way, Liliana."
'Yes, sire." She then smiled and bowed.
"As for my mother, I will just meet her along the way. If she want to come here, Gremory, you entertain her."
"As you wish, sire. Gremory replieed while bowing.
"Any other reports, Glasya?"
"Strange movement in the south. The church is moving."
"I see. I'll keep that in mind. Lastly, Murmur. How's the army?"
"Self-sustained and battle-ready, sire. They are revenants. They need no sleep or food. I just wish the Central Powers continued their assault. That way, the revenants will evolve."
"Great. I'll leave that to you then. Any other reports?" Seeing as no one spoke, I continued. "If there is none then I better get going."
"Sire..." Paimon suddenly talked.
"What is it, Paimon?"
"Why wait for 4 years?"
"What do you mean?"
"You could have explored the world 4 years ago and no one would be able to hinder you. So why wait for 4 years before you decide to venture out?"
"I needed 4 years to completely control my powers. My sudden jump of strength made me unstable. I needed time to stabilized myself. Plus, while I was stabilizing my powers, I was also tapping into a certain seraph's memories. I was also laying in my plans for this world and its denizens. Besides..."
"I wanted to know the moves the church and the human countries will do. It is fun watching them struggle and despair in front of the Wall."
"I see. I have no more questions, sire."
"Then I leave the country to you all, my retainers. Await for my glorious return."
They all kneeled at one knee and put their right hand to their chest. """"""""""Glory to the Hydra King!""""""""""
"Seraphiel, Kapharel, Sygax, let's go."
A magic circle unique to me appeared under my feet and expanded for around 3 meters. It engulfed my three chosen subordinates and with a flash of light, we disappeared from Atalanta.
Bio: Just an ordinary guy with a voracious appetite for novels. I may not be an index for novels but I have read a lot since it is one of my most defining trait: reading. Do give me some pokes if new novels are published or give me any recommendations you have. I will gratefully accept them all!