After hearing my proposal, the complexion on Prince Leonard’s face changed.
His kingdom, the Axela Kingdom, was in a critical state at the moment. Instigated by the [Black] Demon Lord, they marched their armies onto the [Dragon] Demon Lord’s dungeon. However, the [Dragon] Demon turned the tides against them, causing them—the supposed-to-be attackers—to be on the receiving end instead.
Their losses were great and it continued to grow by the day.
Aside from their diminished numbers, medical treatment fees, bereaved family pensions, training costs for the replacement soldiers, replacement for the lost equipment, and of course, the creation and maintenance of the supply lines for their soldiers were all also very significant concerns.
To make it worse, even if they win, there was nothing for them to gain.
And yet, stopping the war was not truly an option for them either. For if they did, it was not unlikely for the [Dragon] Demon Lord to burn their cities to the ground in an act of retribution.
The Axela Kingdom knew full well the consequences of this war: whether win or lose, they would suffer. The only reason they were in this mess was because the Rigdolg Faith told them to.
For that reason, I decided to extend a helping hand.
“Is that true? Is that really true? Can you truly prevent the [Dragon] Demon Lord from doing any retaliatory attacks?”
“Definitely. I can only ask that you believe me on this matter, but the [Dragon] Demon Lord and I do not break our word.”
By guaranteeing there would be no retaliation, a peaceful conclusion to this war was made possible.
Of course, there was no way that that was the only complication in this whole mess.
“…I am deeply thankful for your proposal, but I am concerned of what the believers of the Rigdolg Faith might think of us letting their god’s enemy go unchecked.”
In the first place, this war was waged to take revenge against the wicked god that attacked the holy capital of the Rigdolg Faith.
“I advise you to say to them that you have fatally injured their god’s enemy and that it fled in fear of its life. In this instance, there is no harm in lying and making yourself look good.”
Even if you lost in a war, there was no need to be foolishly honest about it.
“Or, are you saying you are fine with how things are at the moment? With how you continue to waste money and resources on a war you can’t possibly win? How about all the soldiers you let die and are letting die?”
“I understand what you’re saying, but…”
“No, apparently, you don’t. Because if you do, you wouldn’t be second guessing right now. As you worry what to do, the nation you love is dying in vain each minute, no, each second.”
For some reason, my rather irresponsible comments seemed to work on the serious Prince Leonard.
“…I would like to agree to your proposal, but first, what were those terms you spoke of? I’ll form my decision after hearing those.”
Ohh, he’s become more inclined.
“To begin with, don’t you think there’s something wrong with the current state of affairs? How can a single religion have so much sway over an entire nation?”
“Of course, I have always found that to be troubling.”
“In my opinion, it is because your nation views the Rigdolg Faith as the state religion.”
That Rigdolg Faith’s strongpoints were their numbers and their dominance over such numbers. To take them down, they had to lose one or the other.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t follow, Procell-dono.”
“I’ll go over it in sequence. First, I propose that you abolish the idea of having a state religion; declare your government separate from religions. Next, approve of the introduction of Avalon’s religion. That is to say, approve the introduction of the Holy Grail Faith!”
It seemed like Prince Leonard’s quick wit allowed him to grasp easily the meaning of what I said.
If there was another major religion in his nation, the Rigdolg’s Faith’s influence would certainly diminish.
And if that happened, the Rigdolg Faith shouldn’t be able to freely manipulate the Axela Kingdom.
“Procell-dono, I’d like to confirm two points. First, unless something major has happened, most wouldn’t switch religions. While accepting the Holy Grail Faith into the holy capital is relatively simple, would you really be able to convert our citizens who are mostly devout believers of the Rigdolg Faith?”
“Do not worry about that. Our right and proper teachings of striving for a happy life and of the coexistence of humans and demi-humans will prevail, allowing our religion to spread quickly.”
In truth, the plan was to gather humans into the church we were going to build in the holy capital of the Axela Kingdom by promising them money and other things such as a free meal, and then using the combo of Aura’s [God’s Smile] and Ruru’s hymn. But in this case as well, there was no need to be foolishly honest.
I thought it would be more pragmatic to hire a minister that would be regularly present in the church. That way, our religion would still have a presence even when Ruru and the Ocean Singers only performed once a week.
The church in the holy capital wasn’t the only one I was planning on building; I aimed to build a church in at least three other major cities. Hopefully, a rotation system would work so that Ruru’s group still only had to perform once a week.
“I still doubt it would go well, but if Procell-dono says it will, I guess it will… For now, let’s move on to my second concern. Even at the best of times, the Rigdolg Faith has been troublesome, but now that we are going to adopt a new religion, their harassment is bound to get worse. What do you propose to do about that?”
“The only reason they’ve been able to do those things was precisely because they were the only religion. With another religion present, they would be much more careful.”
The prince understood, but in his view, if there were advantages to accepting my religion, there would surely also be disadvantages.
“…However, there have also been times that the RIgdolg Faith have been so helpful.”
“Maybe, but again, isn’t it because of your reliance on them and their help that they now have so much control over you? Believe me, things would only get worse if you chose to let the Rigdolg Faith be the only religion in your kingdom. In my opinion, accepting the Holy Grail Faith would be the more advantageous decision for you. At the very least, your current crisis with the [Dragon] Demon Lord would be solved. At any rate, please follow me.”
I said so, stood up, and then walked toward a carriage. The prince and his subordinates also stood up and followed me into the carriage.
Our destination was a certain warehouse. Avalon had many of such warehouse under its strict control. To top it off, each one was also as big as a mansion would be.
Upon arrival, I greeted the Mithril Golems guarding the warehouse, told them to unlock the entrance, and went in.
“What!? A mountain of treasure!? This is enough to match an entire city’s fortune!”
“This is not all that we have. We have three other warehouses that holds the same amount of fortune, if not more, than this one. If it means you would accept our Holy Grail Faith, I am prepared to hand over all the contents of this warehouse over to your kingdom.”
Our golems were mining 24 hours a day non-stop in my [Mine] dungeon room. Frankly speaking, from our point of view, minerals like gold and silver whose value was less than mithril were failures.
However, simply throwing them away was wasteful, so we instead stored them in warehouses.
Furthermore, we also gained money through taxing. Even though our taxes were much, much cheaper compared to other cities, since we had a lot of people to tax, we still wound up collecting a huge amount.
“So, what is it, Prince Leonard? I imagine this amount is enough to cover for all your spent war expenditures and even pensions, is it not?”
Upon hearing my proposal, the prince gulped down.
As I thought, this is the effective move.
By showing rather than just telling them of the warehouse, the effect rose multiple times.
Well then, one more push.
“Don’t worry though; this is not all we’re willing to offer you. We’re prepared to give you a hundred golems which are one of this city’s prized possessions. The ones we’ll lend are not for fighting though; they are specialized for transportation. To complete the set, I’ll add in special carriages too. I believe you’ve become familiar with their abilities, haven’t you?”
“…you’re giving us those magical, untiring carriages that outpace even our kingdom’s fastest? If we have those, our circulation of goods will surpass those of other countries… and did you say you’re going to give a hundred golems?!”
“In addition, like I said in the beginning, you may send your injured soldiers to Avalon so that they may recover faster. Medical fees are nothing to scoff at, and your facilities for treating all the wounded should be insufficient now with the ongoing war. If you send your injured here, we just might be able to lessen the loss of excellent soldiers.”
In Avalon, rather than use horses or such animals for our carriages, we used golems.
Silver Golems were strong enough to match even a C rank monster or a first-class adventurer. In other words, it was strong enough to protect itself and oftentimes didn’t need an escort. Unlike a horse, it could continue to travel non-stop, without ever needing to sleep, eat, or even drink. It was the perfect existence in terms of workforce.
It was worth killing and dying for. The Axela prince wasn’t so ignorant as to not know its value.
That’s why, we were only going to give Silver Golems, and not Mithril Golems or Avalon-Ritters. Otherwise, it would actually cost us.
By also offering to heal their injured, I had made the deal perfect for them, if I may say so myself.
But then again, by having a lot of high-level humans in Avalon for an extended period of time, I would be able to feed on lots of delicious emotions and also gain DP. It was actually also a boon for us.
Once the soldiers have known of the many great things in Avalon, they just might decide to move and live here. If they did, there was the chance they might be influenced by the Holy Grail Faith and become believers themselves. If that happened, we could send them back to the holy capital of the Axela Kingdom, this time as devout believers of the Holy Grail Faith who would enthusiastically spread our religion.
“It is time to make a decision, Prince Leonard. You just need to accept our Holy Grail Faith and nothing more. If you do, you will receive all the support that I promised.”
He was faltering.
Although I called it support, they were basically just cash offers. However, considering the Axela Kingdom’s treasury was almost non-existent due to war expenditures, it was the better option. The only other option of getting money being raiding other countries.
“…before I say yes, what does Avalon stand to gain in all this?”
“This is a necessary step in spreading our Holy Grail Faith. Furthermore, I want to weaken the [Black] Demon Lord’s influence no matter how much.”
I didn’t put it into words, but the reason I wanted my religion to spread outside of Avalon was because I wanted humans to someday make a pilgrimage to Avalon. That way, I could obtain the pure emotions of my believers from all over the world at a regular interval.
Also, some of those believers would surely want to live in Avalon itself, causing Avalon’s population to grow.
“…Are you in conflict with the [Black] Demon Lord?”
“Yes. It’s futile to hide it, so I confess: he is my enemy.”
His suspicion confirmed, the prince looked straight at me.
“I want you to promise one thing in regards to that. Don’t make the Axela Kingdom your battlefield. If you can keep that, then I agree to your terms. I’ll stake my pride and convince my father to agree.”
I see. He worries about his country in his own way.
If the [Black] Demon Lord and I were to seriously fight, it wasn’t an exaggeration that a whole country could be destroyed.
“I promise. But if I am attacked, I will have to counterattack. In that case, I promise to at least try to keep the damage to the minimum.”
“Fair enough. Then, I formally request financial aid, the loaning of the golems, and the medical treatment of our injured.”
The third prince said so and then lowered his head.
Despite his social position of being a prince, he was ready to do so for the sake of his nation. That made a good impression on me.
Afterwards, we discussed the finer details of our deal.
Little by little, my influence was making its way to the capital of the Axela Kingdom.
I need to work hard to realize my plans. Things are going to get a whole lot hectic, but also a whole lot more exciting.
I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. We had obtained many great things in exchange for things we didn’t really care about.
My ideal city where humans and monsters could peacefully and happily coexist was slowly but surely becoming reality.
Note: I changed Axera to Axela.
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