Chapter 80 – A story of sleepy politics I heard somewhere before

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“I’m back.” (Wendelin)

“It looks like something serious happened.”

The meeting for the sake of exchanging information came to an abrupt end upon the momentous news of His Majesty Wilhelm the 14th’s death.
Something like a person, who was that lively until yesterday, suddenly dying is really unbelievable even for an old person, albeit he had an advanced age.
Once I returned to the guest house after the meeting finished, I was greeted by Ina and the others, but even the servants and maids of the guest house seem to be quite shaken by the death of their own country’s emperor.
The scenery of several of them gathering and whispering to each other catches my attention.
They would probably get scolded by their superiors right away under normal circumstances, but since even the higher-ups, who are supposed to scold them, are gathering and whispering amongst each other, it means that this is quite the major incident.

“So, what will we do from now on?”

“It seems that the events of the Friendship Visit Group will be postponed to next year.” (Wendelin)

The work of the magicians has been finished, however the work of the other commerce and technology exchange departments hasn’t ended yet.
The other side’s people in charge will be busy with the funeral of His Majesty the Emperor, too. Originally Bardiche should be lively at the time when the Friendship Visit Group arrives, but currently they ought to wear mourning clothes and grieve for the deceased emperor.
The majority of the Friendship Visit Group’s personnel had announced their decision to return to their country due to this.

“There’s that as well. It would be discourteous of us to make merry with sightseeing and shopping.” (Luise)

Luise, who realized that she won’t be able to play around in the streets of Bardiche until the country decides on a new emperor, seems disappointed.
However, that doesn’t mean that everyone will return to Helmut Kingdom.
Since both countries have been mutually dispatching condolence delegations if the emperor or the king died, it was decided that a part of the Friendship Visit Group will stay behind and form a condolence delegation.
Given that we are in Bardiche already anyway, the delegation will be chosen from among the members of the Friendship Visit Group in order to save time and expenses.

“In addition there will also be personnel who are going to appear at the enthronement ceremony of the new emperor, right?”

“It looks like it will take time.” (Ina)

Ina showed an expression meaning 『I wonder how long we are going to be restrained?』

“Even if it takes a long time, I hear it will only be for around 2~3 weeks.” (Wendelin)

“If they take too much time with choosing a successor, they will give Helmut Kingdom an opportunity after all.” (Wilma)

“Right. It’s as Wilma says.” (Wendelin)

As Wilma says, if they create a vacuum in political authority with the absence of an emperor due to unskilfully taking too much time, it will result in them creating a gap for Helmut Kingdom who is their current hypothetical enemy.
Once the funeral service for His Majesty the Emperor ends, a special Noble’s Congress will be held and the election of a new emperor will be carried out.

“They choose the emperor by a vote, don’t they?”

“Since normal commoners or such are not able to announce their candidacy, it’s not that different from the kingdom.”

90% of the members forming the Noble’s Congress are aristocrats.
Because the remaining 10% are wealthy merchants with political ties and great craftsmen, who run large-scaled workshops, there are many items which are decided without any particular issues.

“No one but the central’s imperial family’s head and the seven prince-elector lords are allowed to announce their candidacy.”

“That means, Therese-sama as well?”

“She said it before, didn’t she? She has turned it down this time.”

As it will become unfair if the emperor hails from the same household in continuous short intervals, the Duke Philip household won’t come forward as a candidate this time, Therese-sama said.
Since the person herself said that, it’s a safe bet.
Also, because she is a female family head, that might become yet another problem if she announced her candidacy.

“Balancing the households the emperor hails from…”

“That’s a perfect collusion.”

“You are right there…”

It’s just as Wilma has pointed out, but I decide to not particularly care about it since it’s not my country either.
Sharing the minister positions and such is common in our country as well.

“So, can we stay behind?”

Since the situation is as it is, a part of the personnel have already gone ahead with their preparations for returning home.
Especially since there’s no way for the wives and children, who were made to attend by high-ranking nobles, to enjoy themselves care-freely in Bardiche which is in mourning, and on top of that busy with the preparations for the funeral service, all of them were allowed to advance their preparations for returning home.

“You can stay since you are my guards.” (Wendelin)

Apart from Erw who is a genuine guard, Elise’s group can also stay behind while being treated as semi-guards as they are adventurers.
Although their families and attendants would be sent back, the other nobles had the justified right to have approximately the same numbers of butlers and guards stay behind.

“I wanted to enjoy the vacation abroad, but by now it has been replaced by a funeral and an enthronement ceremony for the new emperor which won’t be anything but mentally straining…” (Erwin)

Erw leaks idle complaints while sighing, but I feel the same.
A funeral wherever one goes has a nastier character than a rain-bringer.
At least I had no other choice but to pray that I’m not a man bringing about funerals.

“It saves trouble that we have brought along dresses that can be used at the funeral service.”

“Certainly…”

As Luise says, being told to do so by Roderich who prepared the departure, I stored everyone’s share of dresses that can be used at funeral services in my magic bag.
Given that I’m a magician, it’s no particular problem even if I wear a robe, but I was told by the nobles remaining behind that they want me to match our attires with theirs and change into those if possible.

“Roderich-san is just like a mother.” (Ina)

“You can say that again.” (Wendelin)

Certainly, it’s just as Ina says.
Which reminds me, when I tried to go out during my childhood in my previous life, my mother often said 『Take a folding umbrella since it might rain according to the weather report』.
If you say it resembles that, well, so be it.

“Wend-sama, Therese-sama hasn’t come back.” (Wilma)

“As expected, she might not come back.”

That’s inevitable.
Since she’s a duchess who has been granted authority as a prince elector, she has to spearhead the preparations for the funeral service.
She is definitely running about all night for the arrangements.

“When will the funeral service be?” (Elise)

“I think that it’s not far off. It’s the funeral service for His Majesty after all.” (Wendelin)

Elise appears to be worried about the funeral service’s schedule.
Be that as it may, just like the funerals in Japan, it’s not something that will happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
Given that it would be really wrong of us to go outside for playing, we will spend our time training our magic and swordsmanship in the garden of the guest house, but the funeral service’s schedule was decided one week later.
An official messenger came and gave us a written invitation.
And Therese-sama still hasn’t returned to the guest house.
I think that she’s very busy with the preparations for the funeral service.

“Will the provincial nobles be in time?”

“Probably not all of them.”

Since there’s also the meeting of the Noble’s Congress that will decide the next emperor right after the funeral service, the nobles, who are members of that, should be in time for the meeting.
Well, those who aren’t in time can’t be regarded as appropriate for being a member.
That’s why it’s probably no problem for the funeral service to be after one week.
I mention my own view to Katharina.

“If they were chosen as members of the Noble’s Congress, they have set up magic communication devices in their mansion!” (Armstrong)

“Doushi, where have you been until now?” (Wendelin)

“I bought sweets!” (Armstrong)

“Really…?” (Wendelin)

If it was another noble, it would be possible to consider him having gone to gather news by pretending to play around, but for doushi, who went even as far as pushing the duty of reporting at the meeting onto me, the possibility of that is low.
Usually he really devotes himself to clowning around, but that’s the worldly wisdom of doushi who is the favourite retainer of His Majesty.
However, since the person himself is enjoying that from the bottom of his heart, there was absolutely no need to to fuss about it.

“I heard that they are communicating with the magic communication devices, which were excavated in large amounts from underground ruins in the past, and not the small handheld ones!” (Armstrong)

It’s difficult to move with something like the big transceivers which were changed into magic tools, but it seems those have been installed in mansions by loaning them once a noble is chosen as a member of the Noble’s Congress.
As they can receive urgent messages with those, it means that they will be in time for the funeral service and the meeting to elect the next emperor.

“If they are late, apparently in a worst case scenario, they will be deprived of their membership as they don’t fit the requirements of a member.” (Burkhart)

Next Burkhart-san shows up as well.
He was nominated to stay behind in the country as representative of Margrave Breithilde.

“The empire holds the ownership rights for the magic communication devices. Once a person becomes a congress member, they are lent those and when they are removed from being a congress member, they have to return it.” (Burkhart)

Every year, a change of several congress members at a time is carried out.
There are those who will be appointed freshly as their households are thriving and in reverse there are those who will be removed as congress members due to their decline.
The spectacle of imperial officials retrieving the magic communication device from the mansion of a retired congress member seems to be a sad scene to the degree that it’s written about in books in the empire.
On the other hand, there seem to be some who hold parties and festivals when the magic communication device arrives at their mansion after they were designated as a congress member.
It’s truly what can be called the ups and downs of life.

“As the news travels fast, the group of congress members will be in time to the main funeral service. The appointed nobles of the central government and the nobles, whose territory is close to Bardiche, will be there as well.”

Since a preliminary funeral service and a post-funeral service will be held as well, those who are not in time will apparently go to offer their prayers by attending either of those.

“Then it’s split into those above and below, isn’t it?”

Given that we have been invited to the main funeral service, we will go to that one.

“So, there will be a meeting to elect the next emperor, won’t there?”

“It will be decided with a vote by the congress members.”

The fixed number of congress members is 500.
Candidates from the imperial family and the seven Duke households, who are congress members as well, will be announced and give an advertisement speech within a set time.
They will talk about their domestic affairs and foreign affairs policies within that set time and the congress members, who listened to those, will vote for the person they consider the best.

“They win by getting the majority.”

In the case of a divided vote, the lowest-ranking candidate will be excluded and they will vote once more.
This kind of rule was something often used on Earth as well.

“Be that as it may, since this time there won’t be any more than four candidates, it probably won’t take much time.”

I heard that the deceased emperor hailed from the Duke Metternich household.
Since his predecessor is Therese-sama’s great-grandfather, it’s been said that the Duke Philip household won’t put up a candidate.
If it turns out like this, it feels purposeless if at least six candidates won’t make an appearance.

“Two of them refused because of their advanced age.”

Only the present family head can become a candidate. It appears to be a custom to refuse the candidacy if a family head exceeds the age of 60.

“If they were to die right away, a new election would take time and labour. The common way of thinking is that a rule will be stable if the reign of a single emperor lasts for a long time.”

There’s also the possibility of the country declining if a no-good-person maintains their political power for an extended period of time, but the vote is likely for the sake of avoiding that.
It not always being absolute is probably the same in any society.

“Will that finish in one day?”

“It will still take three days.”

A single candidate has around half a day for their campaign speech and questions & answers session. As there’s four of them, it will take two days.
Since it will be decided after performing the vote on the last day, it seems to be a schedule of three days.

“That’s long. Though it doesn’t matter, as it’s not like we are going to participate.”

The result is that we will be caged in the guest house until a new emperor has been decided anyway.
Because Holy Empire Urquhart is in mourning until the enthronement of a new emperor, outings with the goal of playing around have to be voluntarily restrained regardless of upper or lower social standing. Theatres, pleasure quarters and such are closed, too.

“Well, we will go to the place of assembly as well though.” (Burkhart)

“Why!?” (Wendelin)

“As it will be the election of the emperor of our neighbouring country, it’s common to gather information, right? It’s an important task for you, Earl-sama.” (Burkhart)

Burkhart-san shows an expression saying 『Why ((are you asking about)) such an obvious matter…?』
Since the Friendship Visit Group consists of people dispatched by the kingdom, its members who are staying behind, have the duty to investigate the new emperor’s policies as well as what kind of person they are and report that.

“In this country the authority of the emperor has been strong until now. Even the other candidates, who dropped out from the election, will have political influence that can’t be ignored depending on the number of votes they obtain.”

It’s something like a strong political opposition, thus it’s likely necessary to gather information about them.

“I do understand that, but why do we have have to attend to that?” (Wendelin)

“It’s because you are members of the Friendship Visit Group.” (Burkhart)

Due to Burkhart-san’s reasonable opinion, we drop our shoulders in a crestfallen manner.
I, who was originally an unaffiliated voter who never even went to an election in my previous life, expected continuous boredom for over half a month from now on and eagerly wished that I would be able to go back home quickly.

◆◇◆◇◆

——————————————- End of Part 1 ———————————————

“Yawn~~~” (Wendelin)

“Don’t sleep, Earl-sama.” (Burkhart)

Eight days after the sudden death of His Majesty the Emperor, I listened to long speeches while yawning in my spectator’s seat in the venue of the Noble’s Congress which is located close to the imperial palace.
The funeral service, which was held yesterday, finished safely thanks to Therese-sama and the other’s preparations.
Many attendees, from nobility to commoner, visited the funeral service. We got stuck with listening to the preaching of a priest at quite the seat of honour as representatives of Helmut Kingdom.
At such occasions it’s common for the preaching of priests to be long no matter which country or world it is.
Not hearing anything but the incantation of a sleep spell, we, who came here after sweating at morning training, entering the bath and eating breakfast, were close to nodding off many times.
I wondered whether we will be scolded, but once I looked properly, Earl Schultz’s group was slightly sleepy as well.
Different from us who are just there for decoration, they were probably very tired since they were busy with stuff like gathering intelligence.
And it’s the same for today’s special emperor selection congress.
With it still being the time of the first person, Duke Brandenburg, everyone seemed sleepy.
Once I check properly, there are some fellows who are sleeping nonchalantly despite being congress members, different from us who are simple visitors.
They were probably busy at the funeral service, but I wonder what to think about a related party sleeping.
I end up worrying a bit about the politics of the empire.

“Congress members are sleeping.” (Wendelin)

“They are a bad example of adults.” (Burkhart)

“Burkhart-san, even next to you there’s a bad example though.” (Luise)

As Luise has pointed out, once I thought he was awfully quiet, doushi was sleeping while snoring lightly.

“Doushi is fine.” (Burkhart)

“Why?” (Wendelin)

“His eyes are open, aren’t they?” (Burkhart)

“I think it’s impolite to say such thing, but he’s truly eerie.” (Ina)

Certainly, doushi had been dozing off, but his eyes were open.
I consider that to be quite skilful, but according to what Ina said, it’s simply eerie.
Alongside his outer appearance, he might make children cry if seen by them.
Earl Schultz’s group listened to the speech without sending even a glance to doushi while fighting their drowsiness.
They probably avoided the risk of confronting doushi to blame him for nodding off.

“Even if I don’t listen to it, I will be able to get the manuscript of the speech.”

Together with the question and answer session afterwards, the details, which will be summarized on a paper after the stenography official recorded them, will be distributed to the congress members and authorized personnel.
As it seems like our side will be able to obtain those as well, I decided that even dozing for the time being will be no problem.

“However, it’s just the important facts.”

“Even if you say that, there won’t be that much of a change in the policies no matter who becomes emperor.”

Given that it’s an emperor election in a time of stable peace, there won’t be such change in political measures as long as it’s someone who leans towards a mid-stream conservative approach.
If they continue the ceasefire and gradually conclude anti-war treaties, the expansion of trade will gradually advance.
Let’s lift the ban of free coming and going of people a bit more too?
The liberation of monster domains, the advancement of undeveloped area development and the effort to make the national power grow, will continue.
Let’s advance the development of magic technology in the same manner as before, too.
Starting from afternoon the campaign speech and Q&A session of Duke Baden was held, but there wasn’t much of a difference between his and the former’s policies.
What’s different are the areas emphasized for development, but that’s because they are prioritizing areas which are located in their own territories. This is something that can be called the same for any candidate.
Otherwise they won’t be able to gain the vote of the congress members hailing from the same region.
People won’t move if there are no benefits to be gained.
At any rate, I was sleepy to the degree of dying since it was after I ate lunch.
Diet members, who were dozing in my previous life, were told something like 『Outrageous!』, but this is certainly sleep-inducing.
Even the congress members in the assembly hall, almost all of them were apparently fighting their drowsiness.

“There’s still tomorrow as well~~~!?”

Since Erw stood as my guard all day long, he got pointlessly tired.
Even though he listened to the incantation-like speeches while standing, he got more exhausted than the times when he’s moving.

“Just listening to talking for the whole day is painful for an adventurer.” (Katharina)

Even Katharina walked the road to the guest house while rubbing her sleepy eyes.

“I’m sleepy and my stomach is empty.” (Wilma)

“Let’s return quickly and eat something.” (Elise)

“Yes, Elise-sama.” (Wilma)

Wilma was dozing off on the way back as well, but as Elise is a perfect superwoman, she diligently listened to the speeches until the end while taking notes.
It’s a great achievement that can’t be imitated by an ordinary person.

“You aren’t sleepy, Elise?” (Wendelin)

“There is a spell to awaken from sleepiness among 『Holy』 Healing magic.” (Elise)

“I didn’t know that…” (Wendelin)

This spell was apparently developed so that priest won’t fall asleep during the sermons of their superiors and similar.
I see, for me, who doesn’t approach the church except for donating, it’s a spell I never got in touch with.
And, priests are humans too after all.

“Tomorrow there will be one speech that is bothering me.” (Elise)

“Bothering you?” (Wendelin)

“It looks like a slightly different policy will be presented.” (Elise)

“You are well aware about such news, aren’t you?”

“Since it’s from ojiji-sama, ((he obtained the information)) through the church.” (Elise)

With Helmut Kingdom’s state religion being Catholic, it was different to the Protestantism which is the state religion of Holy Empire Urquhart, but in reality 30% of Holy Empire Urquhart’s people are Catholics.
It seems the church is acquiring independent information from them.

“Oh hoo! Thee have heard of Duke Nürnberg?”

Suddenly a voice was audible from behind and at the same time someone linked arms with me.
The wonderfully soft sensation of this arm belongs without a doubt to that person.

“It’s been a while, since His Majesty’s death.” (Wendelin)

“I lodged at the Imperial palace owing to the readying of the funeral service. It’s been a long time, Wendelin.” (Therese)

Having her breasts pressed even further against my arm, I felt a sensation of supreme bliss due to their softness.

“(Completely like dope…) So, what kind of person is Duke Nürnberg?” (Wendelin)

“A tad radical gentleman.” (Therese)

The other emperor candidates altogether are around the middle of their thirties to the middle of their forties. Their policies are no more than a follow-up on the political measures of the deceased Wilhelm the 14th.
However, Duke Nürnberg turns 22 years old this year.
I hear that he is a young and ambitious person with sharp, eagle-like, blue eyes, shortly trimmed blonde hair and a forged large body.

“That gent hails from a household that flourished as a military family for generations with their territory being adjacent to the territory directly controlled by the imperial family. There were many family heads who were a tad too lively, but the present family head Max-dono is a rigid ultra-nationalist with a pure patriotism.” (Therese)

If he wishes for Holy Empire Urquhart’s further growth, he should be currently straightening his preparations as that requires a southern campaign.
He apparently doesn’t have any scruples to propose this to his surroundings.

“He is dangerous, isn’t he?”

“It bears a possibility of peril. However, there’s also the possibility of it being a bluff.” (Therese)

Given that the candidate won’t say only the same thing as everyone else in his speech, he might be mentioning extreme points to stand out.
However, since war is difficult in the current situation, isn’t the probability of a war starting low, even if he actually becomes the emperor?
Therese-sama predicted something like that.

“For the sake of obtaining the support of the military, he will increase their budget?”

“Usually, that’s likely, isn’t it?”

Because we will know about it tomorrow, it’s probably pointless to guess any further with just us.
We close the topic and return to the guest house. Once I entered my own room after enjoying a dinner and a bath, Therese-sama sama once again awaited me there while wearing her negligee.

“Therese-sama?” (Wendelin)

“This room calms me. I wasn’t able to return as I had also been assiduous with the funeral service after His Majesty passed away.” (Therese)

Therese-sama talks with me while drinking aquavit diluted with warm water.

“I’m much obliged to the deceased emperor.” (Therese)

With her just succeeding the Duke Philip household at a mere age of 10, he was apparently able to help her greatly as a guardian of Therese-sama who didn’t know left from right.

“Otherwise someone like me would even now be a puppet, I suppose.” (Therese)

“Moreover, he might have ended up shortening his life span by accumulating needless anxiety over the matter of marrying off his own daughter”, Therese-sama’s expression becomes gloomy.

“(Continuing from Karla, are distressed beauties lovely…?) Since I have heard that the official business of His Majesty the Emperor is an exhausting task, none of it is just your fault, Therese-sama. Besides, His Majesty favoured you, didn’t he? His Majesty will be unable to ascend to heaven in peace if you have such depressed expression.” (Wendelin)

“Wendelin, thou are gentle.” (Therese)

Due to the sensation of Therese-sama snuggling up to me after saying that, I’m deprived of my reasoning.

“Therese-sama, isn’t this indiscreet at the current time?” (Wendelin)

I try to intersect somehow, but Therese-sama releases an outrageous statement,

“His Majesty was also worried about the matter of my husband. For the sake of making him feel relieved, I shall bestow thee the privilege to mate with me to thy heart’s content.” (Therese)

“(This again!?)” (Wendelin)

It was an extreme remark which she fired off once again, but today as well it was stopped by intruders.
Opposing Therese-sama, Elise and the others entered the room while wearing silken nightgowns and started to take them off all at once.

“Thou did well to own such see-through nightgowns.”

“We bought them in the lingerie shop last time.”

For the purpose of facing off against Therese-sama, Elise presented a black, Ina a blue, Luise a red, Wilma a green and Katharina a yellow see-through negligee to us.

“Therese-sama, from now on it’s the time of husband and wives.”

“How regrettable.” (Therese)

“Sorry, but spouses have priority.”

“True. Spouses have antecedence. Thy colours look like those of the quadruplets who attended the previous dinner party…” (Therese)

“Interrupting is strictly prohibited… Everyone, aren’t you embarrassed by this?” (Wilma)

Therese-sama was overwhelmed by the negligee appearance of the 5 girls, but she was immediately lifted up by Wilma, who boasts of superhuman strength, and taken outside the room.

“Dear, please feel safe as you will be guarded by everyone from now on.” (Elise)

“That helps, but is that alright?” (Wendelin)

There’s a lot of doubt in regards to my attitude towards Therese-sama.
As I’m not accustomed to being continuously around women since my previous life, I end up feeling bad if I reject them too strongly. At the same time I end up thinking that it might become the reason for a quarrel between both countries since she’s a major noble.
I’m aware that the other party is using that, but I’m troubled because she is attractive as a woman and that’s something I have difficulty dealing with.
As a matter of fact I noticed it most recently, but I might have more of a fondness towards elder women than I thought.

“Given that you think that it’s bad to deny meeting face-to-face with Therese-sama due to your position, she was rejected by us, dear. That makes others believe that it’s not a dispute between fellow nobles but a genuine quarrel between women.” (Elise)

If I reject Therese-sama directly, people, who will take it as relationship between fellow nobles, will appear. However, if it’s Elise’s group that does the rejection, it will be possible to give others the impression that it’s the result of a conflict between women.
Elise explained it to me like that.

“In exchange you have to love us plentifully, dear.” (Elise)

“It’s as Elise says. Rumours of discord between us will offer a gap which Therese-sama will take advantage of.” (Ina)

“In short, it’s about you not looking at anyone but us.” (Luise)

“Therese-sama is persistent. It’s no good if you don’t deny her thoroughly.” (Wilma)

“Just as Wilma-san has said. Since that person is more determined than you think, Wendelin-san, it will be alright even if you tell her off a bit more strongly.” (Katharina)

Elise and the others were able to help me who has many hesitations, but it’s of course wrong if I don’t reply with gratitude to that.
Forgetting even the mourning on that day, I ended up getting completely squeezed dry by the five of them.

◆◇◆◇◆

——————————————- End of Part 2 ———————————————

“Wend, you are also stuck in the prison called marriage, aren’t you? With this you won’t be able to go to the pleasure quarter even if the new emperor gets decided.” (Erwin)

“Erwin-san, I told you before, but it’s wrong for Wendelin-san to play around with women.” (Elise)

“It’s the usual Erw.” (Ina)

“If you say such things, you will be given a cold shoulder by your desired woman.” (Luise)

“Erw has no sincerity.” (Wilma)

“That’s right, isn’t it? Even if I met you in the next world, I wouldn’t marry you.” (Katharina)

The next morning I was teased about last night by Erw, who finished his early morning training, once I stepped out of the bath, but in reverse he ended up knocked-out after suffering a counter-attack by the words of Elise and the other girls.

“Everyone, your mercilessness is too much. Once I heal from the shock of having my heart broken…” (Erwin)

Once I enter the spectator part at the Noble’s Congress venue after preparing to go out once again, the third candidate starts his speech right away.
With him being well-bred, he wore luxurious clothes albeit they weren’t too flashy. It was a young man, around his mid thirties, with a calm demeanour.
His age is approximately the same as that of Margrave Breithilde, I guess.

“It’s Walter-dono who has become the candidate of the central’s imperial family.”

Holy Empire Urquhart decides its emperor with a vote, but there is an imperial family which directly governs the central territory.
With their peerage being titled as Archduke household which is above a regular Duke, they are treated as a bureaucratic organization that supports the emperor if the emperor doesn’t hail from their family.
It was possible for them to employ personnel, that can be used by them, within the budget set by the emperor, but even so it’s not like all their costs are covered by the empire.
For the reign of the empire the cooperation of the imperial family was indispensable.
That part might be an advantageous aspect for the imperial family.

“An emperor who came from another household, has to pay attention to the imperial family. This is ((what it means)).”

Since they are an existence that manages to raise a budget by controlling the area under their direct control, an emperor has to take them into quite the consideration.
I see, even if someone from another household becomes emperor in the vote, it’s not that much of a problem from the imperial family’s point of view.

“Overly progressive policies are impossible.” (Wendelin)

“That’s how it is.”

It’s no wonder that all the candidates mention things in their speeches which seem to resemble everyone else.

“Even so, since it’s about His Majesty the Emperor, the imperial family will try to get the position back. Those of other households also announce their candidacy because the title holds benefits and prestige.”

“I see.” (Wendelin)

The speech of Archduke Walter, who is an elite of the central government, didn’t have that much difference to the two from the previous day.
It’s probably complicated to go for novel political measures in the current political situation.

“If he is elected, he will become His Majesty, Urquhart the 17th.”

That would be the name of him as emperor. If someone from the central’s imperial family is elected, it’s the empire’s name Urquhart. If someone from another household becomes emperor, they will choose a name from several choices.
The previous emperor has chosen Wilhelm as there were many emperors, who were free from fault and had a high evaluation, with that name.
In reverse there also seem to be several emperor names which weren’t chosen ever again due to the bad reputation of a former name holder.

“Finally it’s the last candidate, Duke Nürnberg-dono.”

I have heard that he is quite the hardliner, but what kind of speech will he really hold?
I listened attentively as I was slightly curious, but his speech was radical.

“Our Holy Empire Urquhart is currently facing a grave crisis!” (Nürnberg)

Due to the sudden remark, Therese-sama who sits in the seat of the chief congress member, the other candidates, moreover Duke Hohenzollen, who didn’t become a candidate, and Duke Maisen opened their eyes widely in surprise.

“At present our neighbouring country, Helmut Kingdom, is experiencing a steep growth! Why is that!? It because a hero appeared!” (Nürnberg)

At the end of Duke Nürnberg’s hawk-like, sharp gaze was me who is sitting in the spectator section.
It might also be doushi, but he snored lightly with his eyes open even in this situation.
It can be called emotional strength of threatening.

“(Eh!? Me?)” (Wendelin)

“That hero defeated a legendary ancient dragon and liberated the Palkenia Grasslands by defeating an elder dragon at the age of 10. At present Palkenia Grasslands is advancing the development into a huge grain-producing region.” (Nürnberg)

Certainly, the Palkenia Grasslands, which were liberated by us, is advancing its development as a large-scale grain-producing region.
Duke Nürnberg seems to have gathered information without leaving any gaps.

“Furthermore! Due to the workshop of the ancient craftsman Earl Ishrubark, the number of magic airships, that can be operated immediately, has increased! The difference between both countries has already reached a difference of more than two to one. In addition, they are carrying out training and trial runs of a super magic airship that was crowned with the name of this continent! It’s probably just a matter of time until it’s officially deployed!” (Nürnberg)

Both countries have a number of large magic airships that won’t move even after being excavated due to lacking huge magic crystal gems which corresponds to those ships.
It was a fact that this balance has broken down thanks to me.

“They have also started the development of the Savage Lands at the southern tip! Moreover, they succeeded in the liberation of the great mine belt Herthania Valley! If we don’t fill this gap, our country will be in a situation where it won’t be possible to avoid a northern campaign by the Helmut Kingdom in the future!” (Nürnberg)

Due to the Helmut Kingdom Threat doctrine without mincing matters, Earl Schultz’ group, who was in the spectator section, has become speechless.
It appears that even in the past nobles of Helmut Kingdom have occasionally watched the congress, but there wasn’t anyone who discussed the threat of our country this boldly at this location.

“It’s probably because it’s a diplomatic affront or rather strangely provocative.” (Wendelin)

“That’s how it is.”

With more than 200 years of ceasefire, there isn’t anyone who has actually experienced real combat.
“Once it’s past the throat, one forgets the heat”, or rather both countries have raised marginal groups and a young generation whose opinion of desiring war can’t be ignored, and they are putting effort into extinguishing that motion.

“The old people and those of the main faction approve the current state of affairs.”

On the other hand, there are those who want to rise to the top one way or another among the marginal factions and those who yearn for beginning a career in the military. There are many people who consider war as profitable, even among merchants and such.
It’s pointless to tell them “Think about the entire profits.”
Since they can’t rise in the world in the current system, they are wishing for the destruction of the current state through war.
Actually, many of those stubbornly stating their opinion within the military are secluding themselves within the main faction.

“It’s only natural for them to enlarge their commerce due to the acceleration of domestic development! However, at the same time they consider strengthening their army as necessary! In reality there is a tendency to marginally raise the budget of Helmut Kingdom’s army!” (Nürnberg)

With the liberation of the Palkenia Grasslands, the defense jurisdiction increased and the number of soldiers as well as posts increased in proportion. The Royal Air Force has added personnel in order to change the magic airship dock, which was hidden in the underground ruins, into a base.
The posts and work for guards increased in Herthania Valley as well.
Since it’s something necessary, the military budget has increased although it’s just by a bit.

“In order to oppose this, it won’t do unless our Holy Empire Urquhart doesn’t replenish the amount and quality of our armaments!” (Nürnberg)

Among those listening to the speech, the congress members, who have deep relations with the army, burst into applause and cheering.
From the viewpoint of those, who are engaged in military affairs, an increase of the budget is warmly welcomed.
Accordingly, since they want to go to war no matter what, they don’t harbour much reasoning.
From the standpoint of the group who is at the top of the army, an increase in budget is splendid, but once they considered the risk of losing, there were many people who took a stance of being against war itself.

“(They wish to increase the army’s budget with the pretext of it being a threat towards the neighbouring country which is increasing its national power. That’s what it means, I guess…)” (Wendelin)

It’s an agitating speech, but the method of increasing the support is quite severe.
Even if it doesn’t result in him becoming the emperor, this Duke Nürnberg of a young ambitious household is probably a person that has to be carefully watched by Helmut Kingdom.

“While it may be true that it was peaceful until now, resting on our laurels due to that will lead to our ruin! The next emperor has to make a huge change in the dealing with the relationship between the both countries. At times it’s necessary to carry out reforms that are painful! I, Max Erhart Armin von Nürnberg, shall promise you to guide us towards the empire’s true prosperity!” (Nürnberg)

Quite the percentage of the congress members gave applause towards Duke Nürnberg’s speech.
Compared to the harmless and inoffensive speeches of the previous three, he was a person who was worth to be listened to.
Even at the Q&A session afterwards, Duke Nürnberg answers the questions promptly.
His sharp look and gaze catch one’s eye, but even so, those stand out as his characteristic features. His young face isn’t bad either.
Above all, his speech was skilfull.
Even looking at the way he answers the questions, it was obvious that he was a very intelligent person.

“(However…)” (Wendelin)

On Earth there were dictators who were skilfull at speeches as well in the past, like Hitler or Mussolini.
And, the people, who chose them, have later on met with disaster.

“(It might be my own imagination. Since it’s not about Helmut Kingdom…)” (Wendelin)

Even while feeling a bit of discomfort, we returned to the guest house since the campaign speeches of the four candidates had finished.

◆◇◆◇◆

“Duke Nürnberg’s reputation, thee ask? It’s not bad.” (Therese)

After dinner, since it’s troublesome to be intruded upon with a negligee every day as expected, I decide to have a talk after gathering everyone in the living room.
Therese-sama, doushi and Burkhart-san join us as well. While Therese-sama, Doushi, Burkhart-san and I drank alcohol and Elise’s group drank tea, we chatted about the campaign speeches over the past two days.

“That way of making radical propaganda for a doctrine of expanding towards the south is one from the old days. However, in his own territory, the Nürnberg Dukedom, there hasn’t been any augmentation of the armaments which makes his financial regulations suspicious.” (Therese)

Instead he actively strives to stand at the head of his own elite army.

“Monster hunting is a part of this gent’s army’s training regiment.” (Therese)

They go hunting in a group after employing adventurers to act as guides and they skilfully withdraw before stimulating monster groups.
In addition, they help in cultivating new land and maintaining the roads in the name of training the construction of encampments. They hire unemployed civilians into military service and make them participate in that training.
Thanks to that, the number of unemployed people in Nürnberg Dukedom is lower than at other places. Since his army is moving all over the territory due to the training, the public order isn’t bad either.
His government is basically a good one and his popularity among the fief’s population is high, Therese affirms.

“It seems 『His army is powerful as a group』.” (Therese)

“There’s no mistake in that.”

Since there’s rarely an existence like doushi, an army will be strong if it goes to war by becoming skilled in group actions.
Though it’s not like they are particularly negligent in training their own martial arts. Duke Nürnberg’s feudal army is apparently known as the most powerful in Holy Empire Urquhart.

“How about their magicians?”

“There isn’t much of a difference to other Duke households.” (Therese)

Given that the central government has the tendency of sheltering excellent magicians at any costs, even Duke households can’t employ advanced magicians with considerable magic capacity.
I hear that they skilfully make use of the limited magicians.

“So, it seems that Duke Nürnberg will become the next emperor, doesn’t it?”

“That’s probably difficult.”

There were many people who harbour expectations towards the young, capable Duke Nürnberg, but that doesn’t mean that the government of Holy Empire Urquhart was extremely bad until now.
Even regarding the political measures, there are many who wonder whether it isn’t alright to bring about changes little-by-little following the flow so far. There appear to be rumours that the name of the emperor will become Urquhart after a long time after the Archduke wins according to the forecast of the majority.

“Certainly, the Archduke is the most popular in bets.” (Armstrong)

“You do something like betting on it?” (Wendelin)

“I heard that a special event always takes place at the moment of the emperor’s election!” (Armstrong)

While saying that, doushi shows a wooden credit ticket to us.
Once I look at it, it had unexpectedly the name of the sound and most popular Archduke written on it.

“Why didn’t you aim for a lucky break with another person?” (Wendelin)

“Earl Baumeister, it’s meaningless if you don’t win in gambling!” (Armstrong)

“A comment I can agree with, but…” (Wendelin)

“Before that, there are various problems with that…”

Is it fine for doushi to bet in his position? Is the act of betting itself illegal?
Ina and Luise seem to feel quite uneasy.

“As for the gambling on its own, there’s no problem since it’s an imperial bookmaker.” (Therese)

“It’s organized by the empire?” (Wendelin)

“Quite so. There are the costs for His Majesty’s funeral service and the establishments related to amusement are holding back on business until the enthronement of the new emperor. Some amusement is necessary for the the common people as well, right?” (Therese)

Katharina can’t hide her surprise due to Therese’s explanation.

“I’m truly unable to understand that.” (Katharina)

“That’s because the bookmakers make the highest profits from the bets.” (Wilma)

“Wilma, you say acrimonious things while absent-minded. You are an interesting one. In contrary, 『Storm』-dono, you are too serious.” (Therese)

As a matter of fact, poison towards the authorities is mixed into Wilma’s comment, but Therese-sama, who noticed that, praised Wilma while laughing.

“No matter what one does, money is necessary. That’s because the budget is limited.” (Therese)

“What if Duke Nürnberg becomes the next emperor by some mistake?” (Elise)

“Elise-dono, are you vigilant of Duke Nürnberg?” (Therese)

It seems that Elise, just like me, is cautious of Duke Nürnberg.
She based it on the information through her grandfather. I had no more than my intuition and knowledge from my previous life though.

“If that gent’s fortunate, he will become third in the number of votes obtained? I believe that there won’t be such ups and downs this time.” (Therese)

No matter how popular a person he is, the one doing the voting are the congress members.
That means there are many people who are obliged to cast their vote for other people due to regional bonds, blood relations, factions and concessions.

“Well then, will we go sleep ahead of time in preparation for tomorrow?”

Since there wasn’t a night visit by Therese-sama on that day, I slept normally. The next day, the poll which decides the next emperor, finally started.

“The vote will apparently be repeated until someone obtains the votes of the majority, but…”

First, the starting vote has been carried out.
The congress members hold one voting note, write their candidate onto it with with a quill and throw it into a ballot box.
Once the voting of all the congress members finishes, the votes are tallied immediately and they start totalizing the numbers.
This task is performed in front of all congress members in order to prevent fraud.

“The result is yet another vote!”

Due to the announcement of the government official who was in charge of adding up the numbers, they enter a second vote.
The first result was: 221 votes for the Archduke who is the favourite, 111 votes for Duke Nürnberg, 97 votes for Duke Brandenburg and 71 votes for Duke Baden.
Therese’s prediction was off and Duke Nürnberg was second place in the number of votes obtained.
He seems to be more popular than expected.
First, Duke Baden, who is on the last place, is removed from the vote and a revote with the remaining three is carried out.

“Will it be decided once the Archduke gets the majority in the next run?” (Wendelin)

“Therese-sama seems to have predicted it like that.” (Burkhart)

Pretending to not see doushi, who sleeps even today with his eyes open, I continued to talk with Burkhart-san.

“Even if we go by the percentage of obtained votes, it feels ((like it will go down like this)).” (Wendelin)

However, at the next vote troubles crop up.

“The result is yet another vote!”

Probably because their predictions were off, there were many congress members talking noisily in the assembly hall.
With 249 votes, the Archduke didn’t get the majority.
The rest turns into 154 votes for Duke Nürnberg and 97 votes for Duke Brandenburg. This settles the dropping out of Duke Brandenburg at this point.
Duke Brandenburg is surprised, but he apparently didn’t believe that he can become emperor himself. Rather, he looks surprised at the situation of Duke Nürnberg becoming second place.

“Ye~~~~a, I think the Archduke’s victory is certain, but…” (Wendelin)

What’s problematic is that even Therese-sama wasn’t able to read the course of the votes.
The 71 votes of Duke Baden who was fourth at the first vote.
More than half of these wandered to Duke Nürnberg. They might have thought that they likely wouldn’t get any favourable treatment even if they had voted for the Archduke who was rumoured to decide it with a victory according to the predictions of the majority.

“Also, did the votes of the merchants go to him?”

The limit of non-nobles is set to 10% of the congress’ seats.
The majority of those was occupied by large craftsmen of the carpenter section, major merchants who possess overwhelming assets and poor nobles, but they might have judged that they want to place their expectations into the new economic policies of Duke Nürnberg.

“With this it’s the last vote!”

The third vote begins. Once again the tallying of the votes and the totalization of the numbers advances swiftly, but sighs were leaked inside the assembly hall due to its outcome.
267 votes for the Archduke and 233 votes for Duke Nürnberg.
The result turned out as initially anticipated, but it was a result where you couldn’t take Duke Nürnberg’s popularity lightly.

“This makes it necessary to consider Duke Nürnberg as next emperor to be set in stone.”

Due to the unforeseen result, Earl Schultz’ group, who was at the spectators seats, entered that in the records of their report drafts.
It’s probably about harbouring wariness towards the rise of the still young and radical Duke Nürnberg.
At any rate, he is an advocate of an expansion towards the south.

“Since he’s still young, there’s also the possibility of him running for being elected as next emperor.”

“One can’t say that it’s impossible.”

Be that as it may, that threat is likely a matter of a few decades later. The one who has to deal with that is the Helmut Kingdom of that time.
Even if we worry about it from now on, it’s pointless. We harboured the heartfelt wish of wanting to quickly return to our territory once the enthronement ceremony finished.

 


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