“Kurt, how are the preparations for the army I asked for coming along?”
The conference chamber is rarely used at night. Back before the country became stable, the empress however, did often hold meetings with her retainers late at night. However, after attaining peace, conferences were only held during the day unless there was something that needed to be discussed with the utmost urgency. The empress was capable of handling anything else.
However, all the major retainers were gathered in the conference chamber this time. The empress dressed in her battle attire and equipped her Commander Sabre once again.
That meant that she was waging war, and that she was personally taking to the frontlines.
Kurt knew that his head would roll instantly if he said preparations weren’t ready. The empress’s tone was very calm, but the calmer she is, the scarier she is. When the empress gets mad, she throws things and beats people, but when she gets extremely angry, she becomes quiet instead.
“Your majesty, the preparations are complete.”
“What about the troops by the border?”
“They’ve been ordered to move as fast as they can and should arrive in two days.” Kurt raised his head, looked at the empress and continued: “Your majesty, I do not think you need to personally join the front lines. You are our great empress. It is not right for you to personally join the fray for such a small scale battle. We… We are not back at the time where we were establishing our empire. It is fine for you to stay in the rear.”
“Castor’s people kidnapped my son. I must personally raze Castor to the ground. I’ve changed my mind. I don’t need a port or trade centre river delta. I want to conquer a scorched land. I want that place to be cursed by the gods! You’ve captured all the Castor people in the city, right? All those with the blood of Castor in them have been captured, correct? Good. Concoct wine from their blood for me before we set out!!! Oh, right, right, right. I want to use the skull of Castor’s envoy as my cup of wine!”
The empress took out a dagger and violently stabbed it onto map lying on the table. Her domineering voice was like a bell roaring in everybody’s ears. Her anger spread throughout the entire chamber and not one person dared to raise their head. Even the candles stopped swaying as though it was their version of bowing their heads out of fear.
A voice from outside broke the oppressive atmosphere in the conference chamber: “Your majesty! His majesty has arrived!”
The empress got surprised, quickly sat down on her thrown and shouted: “Make way for his majesty!!”
The retainers kneeling on the ground moved aside. Nier helped me into the conference chamber. My chest was still in a bit of pain. I was told my internal organs got injured, but I honestly don’t trust the medical skills of humanity’s doctors. They made me have a venesection in my injured state! Were you people trying to kill me?! You can’t just perform a venesection because of a blood clot!
Luckily Luna was there. Luna is an elf and was a priest of a temple in a small village so she could use healing magic. It was thanks to Luna’s treatment that I healed a lot. If not for her, I wouldn’t even be able to stand.
The empress ran over to me and supported me. Her domineering expression turned gentle like water. She carefully supported me and worriedly asked me: “Son, you’re not well yet so don’t move around excessively. Is there anything you would like to eat? I’ll get someone to prepare it…. Is there something you want to say, son?”
I struggled to raise my head and smiled at mom. I then gently pushed Nier away and wobbled up to the table with the map on it. I reached my hand out, grabbed the dagger handle and tried to pull it out.
I couldn’t pull it out. The empress is too strong. It’s like the dagger had roots growing in the table. I couldn’t even get it to budge. The empress walked up to me, looked at the retainers below and shouted: “Salute his majesty!”
I stretched my hand out… My head hurts and with you people shouting like that… Far out…
I took in a deep breath, tensed my body up so that I wouldn’t end up on the floor, stood proud and looked at the retainers below. I shouted as loud as I could: “Castell!”
Castell came forth from a direction I never expected. He looked at me and saluted me. He then smiled and said: “Your majesty, I have completed the task you asked of me. We collected a total of five chests of Castor’s coins. There are no more Castor coins circulating in the imperial capital.”
“Sorry, mom… Your majesty….”
“No, just call me mom. It doesn’t matter where we are, just call me mom.”
The empress’s eyes were shimmering. She tightly held my hands and stroked them. I looked at her and said: “Mom, if possible, please order the army to disband and pass down another order. Notify the army at the border that they don’t have to be in combat status as well. You don’t need to prepare to go to war either, mom. Just let those related to Castor go.”
“But, I… You…”
“No, it’s not like that. I don’t intend on letting Castor off the hook. But the reason we’ve needed Castor is because of their territorial position as well as their wealth. If we raze their land, then we’re essentially putting the cart before the horse… I have an idea that can turn Castor into a vassal state of ours.”
The empress looked at me and I could see from her eyes that she didn’t believe me. But she’s always let me have my way ever since I started calling her mom…. No…. I don’t intend to overrule her! I don’t intend to vie for power! It’s just that mom has become the type of mother who’d give her child anything he asked for!
I looked at the retainers below and pointed at the table. Nier placed down two silver coins. I looked at the retainers below who still didn’t dare to raise their heads, smiled and said: “As you can all see, these are Castor’s silver coins. One is the version that was previously circulating while the other is a recently released version. There’s no difference in terms of style between the two, regardless of whether its weight or the print on them, they’re the exact same. Even their lustre is the same. However, what you should all know is that the new silver coin isn’t made from silver, but bronze.”
One of the men from the formal clothing party shouted out. Nier drew her sword. I extended my hand out to stop Nier and continued: “That’s right. It’s a bronze coin. What does this indicate? This indicates that Castor is struggling financially and that they’ve had to resort to replacing silver coins with bronze coins. That’s why they needed to collect their silver coins. Now, how will they control the circulation of their silver coins? They spread rumours and said that Castor was going to increase the silver in their coins to be competitive with the empire’s coins. Because of that, people started hoarding, and after that they would announce that the amount of silver was in actual fact reduced. As a result, those who hoarded the coins would’ve shot themselves in the foot and therefore rush to exchange their coins. They could then swap the bronze coins for silver coins at a low price. They might’ve then taken the silver coins and refined them using some rare metal. Using such a desperate measure to address a symptom indicates that Castor’s finances are at rock-bottom, and they may possibly be deep in debt.”
I almost passed out from lack of oxygen saying so much in one breath. The empress was concerned and supported my back. I took in a few big breaths and continued: “As such, the success of their plan rides on whether or not they can re-collect all the silver coins. But now those coins are in our hands. They no longer have any money to use and will subsequently come here to beg us. When they do come, we can make them our vassal state without shedding a drop of blood. The above… Cough, cough, cough!”
“Mom… Instead of killing the envoy, how about letting him return to report to them. The king of Castor will personally pay us a visit within three days. When he does arrive, it’ll be up to you… Cough, cough…. Sorry… Mom… I’m a bit tired… I’m heading back to rest. Goodnight. Please do not ask the retainers to move.”
I honestly couldn’t hang in there any longer. I lowered my head and bid her goodnight. Nier then supported my shoulder as we slowly left the conference chamber.
The empress watched us from behind for a long time as we disappeared into the night before she let out a heavy sigh, and revealed a consoled smile. She then waved her hand and in her rare cheerful tone said: “You all heard what my son said. Leave now. Kurt, disband the army, and let those people go. Castell, you take over presiding over those matters.”
The retainers uniformly got up to prepare to depart. From behind the retainers, in a happy tone, the empress said: “Oh, right. You don’t have to see me if something comes up in future. You all saw his performance. My son is now a qualified emperor.”