Reincarnated Princess Wishes To Avoid Death - Chapter 237
Attracted by the Smell of Turmoil
The Central Orthodox Church has been around for a long time, and it became prominent long before the Tearmoon Empire and Ganudos Port Country were created. Before it became an official religion, it was just a group of people led by a prophet who could hear God’s words.
They told people all over the world what the Holy Book said, laying the foundation for a shared set of morals and values. They thought it was part of their job to write down the histories of different countries and leave a record of how far people had come for future generations. They did this because they had been taught that their God was one who “blessed people. And He took pleasure in seeing what people had made because He saw them as gifts to Him.”
Because of this, it was very important for those who serve God to write down the histories, cultures, and systems of order that people had made, because these records were a tribute to God.
Ganudos, of course, was home to a church of the Central Orthodox. It was in a corner of the capital, but it didn’t have any facilities like an orphanage next to it. It was a simple building that wasn’t too big or too small.
Ludwig and Vanos sat in its basement archives just as the sun was turning orange in the late afternoon. Earlier in the day, their meetings with different senators had not gone well.
“I didn’t expect much, so it’s not really a shock… All right then. What’s next?” Ludwig asked.
He wasn’t really discouraged, but the fact that they kept using the Greenmoons as a distraction fuelled his suspicions. Ludwig went straight to the church’s archives after greeting the local priest at the church door. He was trying to figure out Ganudos’s history by reading old documents. He leaned back and ran his hand through his hair. He could feel a headache coming on. His anger wasn’t because he didn’t have enough information. In fact, it’s the opposite.
It was hard to believe how easy it was for him to get it. The information was all there sitting in plain sight, and it spelled out a history he’d had no idea about.
“Ever since Ganudos Port Country was founded, the Duke of Yellowmoon had been friendly with its people. He had sometimes given money from his own pocket to help the country. Then, at some point, the Duke of Greenmoon took over his job…”
He looked at the pages in front of him as if he wanted to make sure he understood what he had read. Then he shut the history book and looked up at the ceiling.
“How could they have kept these facts from us? At least, the Tearmoon government doesn’t know about them. Or have I been the only one who didn’t notice? Know that you don’t know anything, huh? The words of my master are turning out to be painfully accurate…”
Ludwig knew how secrets were kept and how to keep them. The more people tried to hide secrets, the more obvious they became. It might have been harder to find out what was in the secret, but the fact that it held important information became even more clear.
The problem with what he had just found out was that it wasn’t a secret at all.
All it took was a simple question. If he had known what to ask, he probably could have just asked around. And that was where the problem was. Why didn’t he already know?
He didn’t know because no one bothered to tell him. These facts were left out of reports because they were thought to be so unimportant that they didn’t deserve to be mentioned.
“That’s the problem. These facts were not kept secret. They seemed so unimportant that even if someone found out about them, they wouldn’t realise how important they were.”
Ganudos was a small country that most people didn’t see as much more than a place to stop on the way across the Galilea Sea. It didn’t matter much who spoke for the empire when they were negotiating with them. No one would have given it a second thought if the Yellowmoons gave their jobs to the Greenmoons.
That is, no one until now.
Had it just been a chance? Was the way things are now just a matter of chance? At first glance, that did seem like a possibility…
“But no. I should think that there is a plan behind this.”
His starting point was Mia. She had told him to find out more about this. The Great Wisdom of the Empire, the princess he worked for, thought there was something here…
Something important enough for her to send him and Dion Alaia, the best soldier she commanded, to this country. That gave Ludwig enough to think about. To dig deeper and look for logical threads, with the hope that they would connect to make a web of intrigue.
“If this situation was set up on purpose, then what could be the point? Why should all communication be centralised under the House of Greenmoon?”
The first thing that came to mind was that the Duke of Greenmoon would be a better person to talk to about things. In other words, he was easy to take advantage of and more likely to agree to deals that benefited Ganudos, so they’d rather keep him as their one and only way to get in touch.
This looked like a real possibility…
“But if something happened to the Duke of Greenmoon, that would work against them. For instance, if he were ever killed, all business with the Port Country would stop. Trade would go downhill. But then, maybe that’s the plan?”
The Tearmoon Empire had a low rate of food self-sufficiency, so it had to bring in a lot of food from other places. Ganudos was a major place from which these imports came.
“Still, I don’t think that would cause enough damage.”
Even if Ganudos stopped sending food to the empire, it wouldn’t fall apart right away. It had a lot of time to choose a new leader. Honestly, it wasn’t impossible for the empire to stop trading with the Port Country completely and still stay in business. So why…
Ludwig jerked up. Like a bolt of lightning, he saw the truth. Since the first time they met, what had Mia been thinking about all the time? She kept telling him that a crisis was coming and telling him over and over to get ready for it.
“Of course, the famine. That’s it.”
Everything made sense all at once. Let’s say there was a famine, which made the empire’s already low rate of food self-sufficiency even worse.
If the flow of food from the Port Country stopped at that exact moment… Right now, under Mia’s direction, they were building up their stockpiles and setting up new supply routes through Forkroad & Co. If they had been forced to face such a crisis without any preparation, the results would have been unimaginable.
“If you follow that line of thinking, the Duke of Greenmoon would be more useful to Ganudos alive than dead. If her Highness’s prediction comes true and there is a famine, it wouldn’t be strange at all if the Duke of Greenmoon ran away to another country. Ganudos could help him escape from behind the scenes, then make it impossible for his replacement to do anything by insisting that all talks go through the Greenmoons. A replacement would be chosen no matter what, but if the Duke were killed, they would have no choice but to accept the new face. A Duke who ran away was still the Duke, which gave them a reason to drag out the process. By itself, that would do a lot of damage to the empire.”
First, they would make Tearmoon dependent on them. Then they would stop their support. Dependence makes people weak. Without relying on military power, Ganudos Port Country was set up to strike effectively at the heart of an opponent who was much stronger.
“What’s going on, Ludwig? You eat some bad stuff?”
Ludwig looked up at the worried look on Vanos’s face.
“I’m fine,” he said with his teeth clenched.
“We got what we wanted. Let’s go.”
As night fell, they walked out of the church into the dark. Ludwig laughed and shook his head. He had thought about things for longer than he had thought.
“It looks like I’m starting to take after my master…”
“But did you figure out something?”
On the way back to the inn, Ludwig told Vanos why he thought the way he did. The big man listened carefully and nodded until the end, when he said, “Okay, I understand what you’re saying, but isn’t there a flaw in their plan?”
“That’s a good point. Yes, there is, and I haven’t figured out how to fill it yet—”
“Whoa, hold that thought!”
Vanos put one hand on Ludwig’s shoulder and pulled him. The other one hit him in the waist and pulled out his sword. The blade made a metallic clang as soon as it was out of its sheath.
A trail of sparks flew through the air, barely illuminating the shapes of men whose dark clothes melted into the night.
Five people with curved blades stood around them.
“Son of— When did they appear?”
Vanos glared at each attacker in turn as he held his sword out in front of him.
“I don’t know, but based on their weapons, I’d say they were pirates.”
They just looked at each other.
After taking two deep breaths, the assassins attacked from the sides. Vanos kept them away by swinging his sword left and right and clicking his tongue.
“You guys are tough! They know what they’re doing. Not regular pirates.”
“How likely are we to win?”
“Not good! They’ll wear us out in the end. We go big or go home. Even then, I can only finish three before I fall. Possibly four. I don’t like trading lives in that way. But you have to do what you have to do sometimes!”
Vanos took a step forward. The muscles on his strong body puffed out to show that he didn’t care about their enemies. He growled and pulled his lips back in a mean-looking grin.
“I’ll fight, and you run,” he said. “Godspeed, Ludwig. If you get away, say hello to Her Highness for me.”
Ludwig tried to stop the big man, but the move just made him run faster. Vanos took off like a rocket.
The killers pulled out their swords. Just before he ran into them, there was a sharp swish that split the air.
It made an arc with the curved blades of the assassins.
In its wake, there was a gust of wind that made a ringing sound and then the sound of broken metal hitting the ground. The darkly dressed men all raised the ends of their weapons and gasped in shock at the same time. The timing was so good that it was almost slapstick.
They were scared and tried to turn toward where the wind was coming from…
“Ha ha, if I were you, I wouldn’t do that.”
“Whoever turns, dies.”
The voice was lighthearted, but the person behind it was not. They instinctively knew that death was close because the hair on their necks stood up. When the flat of a heavy blade hit one of them on the shoulder, he let out a short yelp.
“Hey, this is good. I now understand why that Jem guy did what he did to the princess. The shaking can be felt in the blade. Fun.”
The blade jumped around playfully just a few inches from the killer’s neck.
“Got you out of a tight spot just now, Ludwig, didn’t I?”
Dion Alaia, the best soldier in the empire, smiled.
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