Behind the Scenes 01
“That concludes the report.”
“Thank you for your hard work.”
When the civil official finished his report and left the room, the King of Slantania Kingdom made sure that the door was closed before sighing.
The Prime Minister, who was also present, also had a grim expression on his face and a dark aura filled the room.
The King picked up a piece of paper that was on his desk.
“So the situations in the fiefs are still the same?”
“Yes. The situation around the Royal Capital has calmed down, but we keep getting more and more petitions.”
“Is that so?”
Sei had annihilated the black swamp that had appeared at the West Forest, and the number of demons around the Royal Capital had decreased incredibly.
However, the problem of demons appearing was the same as before.
There were a lot of inconveniences; up until now they had continuously hid information about Sei, but they couldn’t continue to do so because of the decrease in demons.
The success of the【Saint Summoning Ceremony】was already talked about amongst the nobles and they have been whispering about the 【Saint’s】activities because of that situation.
If so, then the nobles, who have remained silent until now, will also begin to take action.
Until now, the feudal lords understood that the Royal Palace and Knight Orders couldn’t send help to them because they had their hands full trying to keep public order around the Royal Capital.
However, the area around the Royal Capital has calmed down and the feudal lords have requested for the Knight Orders to be sent to their fiefs, since they were almost at their limits.
The King and his advisors also understood the state of the fiefs and thought that they should send the Knight Orders there soon.
That wasn’t the problem.
The problem was the 【Saint】.
Some of the nobles loudly exclaimed that their fiefs had the worse situation and there were even some who asked the 【Saint】to be sent there.
“It’s impossible to respond to all of these requests, even though we had anticipated this.”
“Let’s think about where to send【Saint-sama】later. For now, let’s prioritise sending the Knight Orders. Dispatch them to the worst place first.”
“Of course. The most problematic place right now is Klaussner, is it not?”
There was a stack of petitions from different fiefs asking for the Knight Orders and the 【Saint】to be dispatched to them.
The petitions that arrived at the Royal Palace were examined closely by the civil officials.
The petitions that were delivered to the King came from fiefs that seemed most likely to have a black swamp, like the one that was in the West Forest.
The topmost petition was from Klaussner, the fief that was said to be first or second in medicinal herb production in Slantania Kingdom.
The person, who had investigated this petition, concluded that it should be given the highest priority and put it at the top of the other petitions.
The King stroked his chin while looking at the petition in his hand.
“They also seem to be having problems with demons, but they also have problems with cultivating herbs.”
“Was that the reason why they didn’t deliver that many herbs to the Royal Capital this year?”
“That appears to be the case.”
The King passed the petition he was looking at to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister skimmed over the document and sighed deeply.
The petition from Klaussner stated that the reason why they were requesting for the Knight Order was because the increase in demons had effected the harvest of the medicinal herbs.
Of course, Klaussner, like the other fiefs, also employed mercenary groups to deal with demons but they couldn’t keep up with the spawn rate.
If Klaussner was a normal fief, then it probably wouldn’t have been given priority.
However, Klaussner was a leading fief in medicinal herb production and it was given high priority because medicinal herbs were being affected.
Medicinal herbs were also part of military goods because they were potion ingredients.
Klaussner was famous for cultivating medicinal herbs that couldn’t be cultivated in other fiefs, and they could cultivate them in large amounts.
The civil officials concluded that Klaussner should be given the highest priority, because a military good that couldn’t be replaced was being affected.
Of course, the feudal lord of Klaussner knew all too well that his fief produced military goods.
Klaussner, like the other fiefs, employed mercenaries, but the strength of those mercenaries couldn’t be compared to the ones in the other fiefs.
One needed a lot of money to hire excellent mercenaries. The feudal lord of Klaussner paid a lot of money to hire excellent mercenaries, so that they could avoid any damage to the supply of military goods.
The Royal Palace also knew this.
It was natural for the civil officials to panic, since a fief, where strong mercenaries were hired, were requesting the help of the Knight Order.
“Even so, it’s horrible. The market will definitely be affected by this.”
“We’ve temporarily stopped supply to the Royal Palace and have instructed people to secure the market supplies, but probably……”
The yield of medicinal herbs listed in the petition was about half of the previous year’s.
Klaussner had seen a downward trend in yield in recent years, but this year’s rate was abnormal.
The feudal lord of the fief where medicinal herbs were mainly cultivated must have felt an extreme sense of crisis.
The King and Prime Minister didn’t think that it was unreasonable for him to send a petition like this.
“Is it because of the demons……?”
The King put his elbows onto the desk and intertwined his hands together.
He looked down and pondered for a while, before saying those words.
The thing that had popped into his mind was the swamp from the West Forest.
They thought that the swamp that Sei had annihilated with her mysterious technique was made from miasma.
They had two reasons for this.
The first was that demons were gushing out from the swamp.
Demons were born when miasma reached a certain density.
Furthermore, Alberto, the Captain of the 3rd Knight Order, and the others who went on the subjugation mission with Sei, reported that the miasma got thicker the closer they got to the swamp.
The second reason was that after the swamp disappeared, the spawn rate of demons clearly decreased as well.
It was unclear when the swamp appeared at the West Forest, but since its annihilation, the number of demons have clearly decreased.
The people, who were observing the area, had reported that the miasma around that area had thinned out with time.
It was called a swamp because it was dark and stagnated, but it was essentially like a fountain that gusted out miasma.
The Court Mage Division’s Head Magician, Yuuri, had also reported his own opinion of the swamp.
It was possible that a similar swamp had appeared at Klaussner, considering their current situation and petition.
If so, then there was only one solution.
The King wasn’t the only one who thought so, the Prime Minister, who also seemed to guess what he was thinking, spoke.
“We might need【Saint-sama】to go on this expedition.”
The King nodded.
It wasn’t definite, although they’d reached a solution and the mood around the King and Prime Minister remained unchanged.
The King and Prime Minister discussed more about what they should do as a heavy atmosphere surrounded them.
Thirty minutes later.
Alberto, the captain of the 3rd Knight Order and Yuuri, the head magician of the Court Mage Division, were called to the King’s office.
The Prime Minister explained that they’d planned to send the Knight Order to Klaussner while the two sat on the lounge suite.
The two had expected that the Knight Order would be sent to other fiefs, so they didn’t react and just listened.
However, the stoic Alberto’s eyebrow twitched when the Prime Minister hinted that there was a high probability that a swamp, like the one in the West Forest, had appeared at Klaussner.
“You want to send Sei-sama?” Whereas Alberto’s face was slightly twitching, Yuuri had an unchanged smile plastered on his face as he asked the Prime Minister that question.
“Yes. There’s no one other than her that can use the technique that can annihilate that miasma.”
The Prime Minister’s words felt like they were wounding Yuuri’s pride, since he was apt in magic, but Yuuri’s expression didn’t change as he replied, “That’s true.”
The person’s whose expression changed was the Prime Minister, because of what Yuuri said next, “But she can’t use that technique freely.”
“What do you mean she can’t use it freely…?”
“To be more accurate, she hasn’t been able to activate the 【Saint】technique since that time.”
Yuuri had reported to the King and Prime Minister that Sei hadn’t been able to use that technique again, since she’d returned from the West Forest.
Since then, there had been no report stating that Sei had become able to use it.
However, they held onto the small hope that she could use it now.
The Prime Minister frowned in order to cover that up.
“Isn’t it too early to send Sei-sama, since she can’t use the technique?” Alberto asked in a somewhat stiff tone.
Sei wasn’t injured at the West Forest, but she was exposed to danger and that made Alberto cringe.
It was undeniable that Sei could be exposed to the same situation if she went on the expedition.
Besides, unlike the Royal Capital, they didn’t know the situation or the geography in Klaussner.
Klaussner was more dangerous than the West Forest.
Therefore, Alberto hoped that Sei wouldn’t be sent on this expedition.
The Prime Minister, who noticed that Alberto was worried about Sei and didn’t want her to be sent to Klaussner, put his hand to his chin and pondered.
Even if there was a swamp in Klaussner, if she couldn’t use the technique then the situation wouldn’t be solved even if they sent her there.
If it was pointless to send her to Klaussner then it would be better to keep her at the Royal Capital, where they could see to her safety.
But things weren’t that simple.
The nation was unified during a national crisis, but there were factions and they were in no way a monolithic society.
Some prioritised their own interests over those of the Kingdom’s and there were people who would sometimes go against the will of the Royal Palace.
Now that the crisis around the Royal Capital had settled, the Royal Palace had to help the other fiefs, or else the nobles from those fiefs would loudly criticize the Royal Palace.
If the Royal Palace didn’t help those in times of need then the nobles who had been on the side of the Royal Palace may also distance themselves.
If the Royal Palace just wanted to show them that they would provide aid, then they probably only had to send the Knight Order.
Although it was only a temporary solution, the demons around the area would decrease.
The problem was that the nobles already knew of the usefulness of the【Saint】against demons.
As the Prime Minister, he wanted to only send the Knight Order to Klaussner if he could, but then it would take time to solve the problem.
Besides, it was only temporary.
It was needless to say that they could solve the problem with the【Saint】technique, and it also wouldn’t take much time.
That was proven in the West Forest.
Nevertheless, if they said that they would only send the Knight Order, then those who prioritised their own interests wouldn’t approve.
The Prime Minister raised his head and spoke. “No, I want Sei to go.”
“Even though she can’t use the technique?”
“The problem isn’t whether she can use it or not.”
The Prime Minister realised that Alberto looked grim, so he explained that there was a problem.
Moreover, what mattered was sending the【Saint】to Klaussner; it wasn’t a problem that she couldn’t use the technique.
Alberto heard what the Prime Minister said and frowned.
“It’s important that Sei goes. We’d definitely be pressured by those who run the fief if we didn’t send her just because she couldn’t use the technique.”
“I know that, but wouldn’t the result be the same if we sent her there when she can’t use the technique?”
“I certainly heard that Sei-sama couldn’t use the technique anymore, since she’s returned to the Royal Palace. But what if she couldn’t use it because it’s not necessary?”
“That’s……” Alberto was speechless because of the Prime Minister’s words.
The 【Saint】technique was still an enigma and they only knew a few things about it.
Therefore, like the Prime Minister had said, it could be that the technique couldn’t be activated because she didn’t need it like she did at the West Forest, and there was nothing to purify.
There was talk that the 【Saint】technique had been activated at the Medicinal Herb Research Institute, but the Prime Minister didn’t take that into account.
He’d thought that since the target had been medicinal herbs and not a swamp, that it was a different technique and not one meant for purifying.
At the end of the day, the conditions to activate the 【Saint】technique weren’t clear.
Even the Prime Minister realised that sending Sei to Klaussner under the present situation was a big gamble, since it wasn’t guaranteed that Sei would be able to use the 【Saint】technique even if they sent her there.
Although the Prime Minister knew that, he had taken many things into consideration and could no longer afford not to send Sei to Klaussner.
Alberto knew the problems that the Prime Minister was facing, but he couldn’t approve of him sending her away under the present situation.
If Sei couldn’t use the technique when they went to Klaussner then the problem wouldn’t be solved quickly.
It would take time to solve the problem, even if the Knight Order was involved.
Alberto wondered if the nobles would criticise them anyway.
It was still fine if they criticised the Knight Order, but what if Sei was the one to receive the brunt of it?
Bad situations came to Alberto’s mind one after the other, and he felt uneasy sending Sei to Klaussner when she couldn’t even activate the technique.
The King, who had been listening the whole time, interrupted Alberto as he tried to argue once again. “We’ll send Sei-dono to Klaussner.” He had the final say.
That wasn’t the decision he had hoped for. Alberto gripped his fist gently and swallowed the words he had wanted to say.
The King had made his decision and brought the discussions to a conclusion.
Let’s leave for now and stop Sei from being sent to Klaussner, Alberto decided and left the King’s office with Yuuri.