For Aya's sincere request, Wang Lu actually didn't put on his usual calm expression, but rather somewhat felt embarrassed.
"Actually, I want to mention to you that I've never been a know-it-all, it's just that… I have witnessed a similar situation like this, so I can point out one or two references. What I will say is not necessarily right, but it should be a valuable reference."
Aya listened carefully.
Wang Lu said, "The current Brettonia does not need you anymore, and the truth is, it's the same when your Kingdom fell apart. A country is a complex entity, which is composed of many different people and different strata. As a ruler, it is impossible for you to carry out influence to each and every specific individual. When you lead your troops into battle, you ought to not just thoroughly understand brilliant strategy, but also carry them out through subtle tactics. In the war, those who implement your intention are your military officers, while as a ruler of a country, the implementation of your intention is through your bureaucrat class. What you really need to face is not every individual in Brettonia, but the bureaucrats that are the closest to your strata."
Aya could not help but retort, "There should not be obvious distinctions between people…"
Wang Lu said, "I know. You are the founder of the Knights of the Round Table, so you have always respected the equality of all. However, even in the heyday of the Knights of the Round Table, how many people were there? There are tens of thousands of qualified Knights in Brettonia, do you have a big enough round table to put all of them there? In the final analysis, only about a hundred people that were directly in contact with you in the round table. They were your right-hand men in ruling this country, but you don't care too much about their interest."
"People tend to look for benefits. Those Knights that followed you, although they have a unified belief, they are not god. They can't live by faith alone. They want to live and enjoy their lives. In addition, as a profession, they need massive resources to make themselves stronger. All of these are basic human instinct. Of course, I know you have a personality of a near-perfect king, but you can't ask everyone to be like you—they can't stuff their hunger with that kind of thing."
Contrary to her usual retort, this time, Aya actually listened carefully.
Wang Lu continued, "Those knights followed you because they hope that following you will benefit them. They long for glory and thirst for achievement, but at the same time, they also want their treatment to be in accordance with their achievement."
Aya interrupted, "I have never obstructed them in their pursuit of proper benefits, nor have I ever asked them to live an ascetic life."
"Yes, you didn't insist them to do that, that's why you can unify the whole Brettonia for the first time. Otherwise, you won't even be able to pull even the most basic team." Wang Lu said, "Your problem is that you didn't set an example. You are the Knight King, first among millions of people. If you live a poor an impoverished life, what do you want people under you to do? If you as the Knight King only pay yourself one thousand coins a month, do you think your ministers could take ten thousand coins? They can only bite their teeth and receive eight hundred or five hundred! But it's not even enough to live!"
Aya laughed in spite trying not to. "Do I have to be extravagant?"
Wang Lu said, "With only a few exceptions, have you ever seen a king who is not extravagant? Those poor but upright kings are either a mere figurehead or a ruler of a country that will soon be subjugated. Being a poor but upright king means that the whole bureaucratic system is broken."
"Then, according to your reasoning, there is no morally high king in the world?"
Wang Lu said, "More accurately, highly moral people are not suitable to be a king, simply because the concept of morality is not applicable to different strata. At the same time, the spirit of chivalry is not a suitable guide for a king to rule the country."
Aya has in fact been persuaded a lot by Wang Lu, but hearing him mentioning about the spirit of chivalry, the woman suddenly became dissatisfied. "Do you want to overrule even the spirit of chivalry?"
"Not overrule, but to put the spirit of chivalry in its position. If a thing is put in the wrong place, even if it itself is not defective, it would only be counterproductive. It's like when you put the fish heads on the cake looking upward to the starry sky, a naked tragedy."
Explained with such an example, Aya found it a bit easier to swallow. "Then where do you think the chivalry position should be?"
Wang Lu said, "It's very simple, to be enshrined and worshipped on the stage. The spirit of chivalry emphasizes justice, devotion, bravery and so on. They are all good qualities, but they are nothing more than a setup model idol that enlightens and guide people. However, an idol is an idol, reality is reality."
Aya said, "Do you mean to deceive everyone? The mouth is saying justice and fair, but the heart is actually selfish and greedy?"
"Deceive?" Wang Lu chuckled. "Without promises, there is no deceit. As long as you do not declare that the spirit of chivalry has spread extensively all over Brettonia, people can strictly demand all the ruling class with the spirit of chivalry, which is not a deceit. It should be said that the spirit of chivalry does not exist in reality, or has been achieved, but instead, it is a goal that we need to continue to strive for. Wouldn't this kind of explanation be okay?"
"In fact, we are indeed working hard for it. Despite the fact that the reality is still far from ideal, but a unified Brettonia is always better than a divided Brettonia that is being exploited by the church, right?"
Seeing that Aya was silent, Wang Lu added, "Let's use the military analogy, which is what you're good at. Assuming now you encountered an enemy whose power you can't withstand, are you going to go straight ahead and be killed, or do you want to accumulate your advantage step by step until the decisive battle? In this period, you might have both victories defeat, but compromise and retreat are also inevitable."
Aya somewhat wearily asked, "But, how long will it take for the spirit of chivalry to spread extensively?"
Wang Lu asked back, "If I say ten years is enough, would you believe that?"
"I know you can't wait to see that day, but you have to clearly understand that what you can do has already been done. You have created an unprecedented foundation for Brettonia. But, your role is over. If you do more than that, it would only spoil things through excessive enthusiasm."
Aya nodded slightly, as if she had accepted Wang Lu's suggestion.
Wang Lu also didn't urge her anymore, but just quietly accompanied her walking in the alley outside Dragon City. It was a very tranquil spot because the noise from the city was isolated by the layers of high walls.
After nobody knows how much time has passed, Aya somewhat sighed with relief, as if she wanted to say something.
However, just at this time, a burst of muffled cry suddenly came from ahead of them. Aya focused her gaze, and immediately, her stature flashed and arrived at the source of the sound.
Wang Lu sighed, trotted up and saw a young girl weeping helplessly in a dilapidated house. However, the reason for this thing was simple. They used to be merchants who provided spring water from snow-capped mountain to the church. Later, when the church was expelled, they suffered as innocent bystanders. The father and mother were put on a trial as traitors who supported the church. Although they didn't lose their lives, their decades of accumulated family possessions were almost all looted. Under grief and indignation, the two had taken the extreme choice, leaving only a young daughter and a few possessions that were barely enough for her to survive. Unfortunately, the young woman has never been familiar with the ways of the world, very quickly her parents' inheritance was deceived from her. And now, even her survival was unsustainable.
"Wang Lu, in the future, should I continue to put up with such a sin?"
Wang Lu didn't give her an answer, because Aya didn't really need an answer.
"Wang Lu, I think there's always something that I can do in this country. Perhaps, as you say, I'm not fit to be a king, but I am still a knight and I can do what a knight should do."
Wang Lu asked, "Single-handedly doing chivalrous righteousness? Wandering inside Brettonia to take care of the injustice in the land, beheading the world's unrighteous people? Relying on your identity as the Knight King or perhaps the daughter of the Knight King to confront the rigid system? Aya, that is not at all according to the spirit of chivalry, but a knight errant that violates the military prohibition. Once or twice is okay, but sooner or later, one day you will find out that you will face off against the very country that you established. And the knights who still have reverence for you will unknowingly stand in the opposite of you. Do you... really want to see that scene?"
Aya's whole body shivered; she extremely unwilling. "Am I not allowed to do anything?"
"You can do anything you want as long as you can bear the consequences. From your point of view, this is a country that you have created, and thus you can do whatever you want with it. But, I guess that whatever you do, you will not be satisfied with the result."
Wang Lu reluctantly said, "So, do you now understand why in Nine Regions most of the immortal cultivators don't plunge too deep in the affairs of the mortal world? In Nine Regions, it is extremely rare for cultivators of Jindan Stage and above to directly meddle in the secular world matters, because they can't control it. In Nine Regions, the number of cultivators relative to common people is already one in ten thousand, or even rarer.
"In Union of Ten Thousand Immortals alone, there are already so many dog-shit-like affairs, much less in the mortal world, which is a million times more chaotic. The immortal cultivators seek to detach themselves from the world of mortals, in large part because they really can't stand the disturbance from the chaos of the world of mortals. You see, even as the founder of Wisdom Sect, I merely control it remotely; those who delve deeper into its affairs are the several vice leaders. If I involve too deep into its affair, as a professional adventurer, I would be constantly interrupted by its management and the chaos that is inherent in it."
Aya did not speak again.
Wang Lu patted her on the shoulder and also did not say anything anymore. Aya was never a fool. In her heyday, she very clearly knew what she should do compared to the overwhelming majority of people in the world.
Wang Lu actually didn't feel that he was really smarter than Aya. His biggest advantage was detachment. Aya has delved quite deep in her obsession for Brettonia, making it very difficult for her to extricate herself. Otherwise, with her extensive knowledge, no one needed to remind her of these truths. Now, all that should be said have already been said, and the only thing that he needed to do was to patiently wait for Aya to figure it out herself.
Then, Wang Lu no longer stuck to Aya's side, but instead left her plenty of time and space to consider; some things needed to be decided along. However, after the third day, when Wang Lu had concluded his short travel and returned to the agreed rendezvous inn, he discovered that Aya was nowhere to be seen.
Standing in the bedroom entrance of the inn, Wang Lu was stunned.
"Has she… been abducted by human traffickers?"
With that, Wang Lu immediately became dejected and could not help but put down the travel memorabilia: Aya's favorite mead, which has already been laced with the special efficacious medicine. This was the last resort that Wang Lu prepared. If this silly girl could not think it through, then he could only let her think in another place.
Unfortunately, things in the world were really hard to predict. Perhaps Aya really belonged to Western Continent and thus could not be brought back to Nine Regions no matter what?