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Chapter 30 – Sudden Change
As Joachim’s army retreated, my slaves became headhunters and chased his army around, causing a break in their formation, and then, a collapse in their entire action. More than half of the enemy had been killed, which was enough to send them packing. I managed to poach 200 slaves, which were formerly Joachim’s. Overall, it couldn’t have gone any better.
And it looked like I had been bad-mouthed enough by the goddess, and at the same time, donated enough that I acquired the “Piety” characteristic at 13 years old, which made it easier to do business with the church. It was worth being subject to verbal abuse by that black-bellied goddess every day. It was not cheap, but it sped up the justification toward the non-legitimate lords.
The Reuter county that Joachim took from David’s third son hadn’t been under strict management for a long time. Well, the same could be said about the Triore county and Fentz county I had… But either way, acquiring justification for such territories was easier.
That said, it would take over a month to acquire the justification from the Reuter county, so the war would continue until then. I had no reports on Countess Jeremias’ movements either, so the stalemate continued. In the midst of the warmongering, an urgent message had swept through the Carling Empire. The eldest son of His Majesty Paulus had died.
With the death of the first and eldest prince, the heir to the empire’s throne, the world had gotten even noisier. Apparently, it was acute alcohol poisoning. That medical term didn’t exist here — he just drank himself to death but… he was definitely assassinated.
After all, it was hard to think that the first prince, who had been in his late thirties, would seriously not know the dangers of binge drinking. His attendant definitely would have prevented that from happening. Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t ‘definitely,’ but there was a 90% chance that it was an assassination. The problem was, who did it?
The other aristocrats under the emperor’s faction were currently desperate to find the culprit. Wagner’s wife was the sixth imperial princess. It was the perfect opportunity to make accusations, but even if they found the culprit, who was the next successor?
If I wasn’t mistaken, the first prince’s sons were 6 and 5 years old. Here was the biggest evil of the split inheritance system.
If the first prince didn’t have children, the second prince would have ascended the throne. However, with the first prince’s sons, the throne would be succeeded by the eldest son of the eldest son. Thus, the throne was defaulted to the six-year-old.
If you looked at it, the territories under the emperor’s direct control had been divided more or less fairly between his sons. Obviously, the eldest, who was supposed to inherit the throne, got the best split, but that territory would be further divided by his two sons. With the first prince’s death, it was removed from the original partition.1
When His Majesty, Emperor Paulus dies, the emperor’s power will immediately decrease. Knowing he had many children, he prepared countermeasures with the split inheritance system… but since his method had been to give the rest of his sons distant land, it was a recipe for disaster. It gave the sons time to prepare.
As a greedy vassal of the emperor myself, several new counts would come into being. Those who weren’t the second and third princes, who expanded their territory by themselves, would have a hard time in the future. Before his death, the first prince owned four counties. They would be divided in the future, but even if they included the territory he was supposed to inherit from the emperor, that meant that the next emperor would only have three counties under his direct control.
Even if you added the imperial capital, that was still only four counties in total. It was possible for me to win against the emperor without forming an alliance. There was a tax in the form of the vassal contract, and the family’s elite army from my father’s generation paid the tax, so it wouldn’t be as easy… but once the generation changed, it was possible that the emperor’s army could be halved to 10,000 all at once. The dukes who had been biding their time might declare independence.
…I guess the long stable reign of His Majesty Paulus backfired this time. It was the bargain sale of the seeds of war. However, I couldn’t participate in that wave unless I had risen to the rank of a duke before then. I hope I can obtain the justification over Reuter county already to replace Joachim Hars’ justification over Fentz county.
“How old is His Majesty Paulus this year?”
“He should be 61 … I don’t think he will have long.”
“If you say that, the heir would be a child. History has already proven what happens when a child succeeds the throne.”
A child who succeeded the throne wasn’t that uncommon. It happened a few times for the Carling Empire. But each and every time, dukes and kings declared their independence, and territories rapidly shrunk and expanded.
I was suddenly feeling rather motivated, but as I increased my slave soldiers to 800 men and the standing army to 700 in anticipation of fighting Count Jeremias, I received a letter from her. Correspondence between vassals rarely occurred, but when it did, it was either a marriage proposal, an alliance, or a declaration of war.
…For some reason, I was afraid of breaking the seal of the letter.
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