Ten days after Ardis took down the Thoria king.
「『There’s no knowing the dice face until it stops rolling』, was it Joan who said that? 」
「What’s up, Al? 」
「I didn’t throw the dice hoping for this outcome though.」
In a room inside Thoria’s castle, Ardis was sitting on a comfortable chair while tilting his head at the strange outcome.
The original reason why he took the castle was because the situation was only going to get worse if they stayed put, and so there was a need to change the tide.
Even if it wasn’t possible to take Thoria under control, he thought it should be more than enough to cause some chaos among the Rovres Alliance and buy some time.
But then what happened was something more convenient than what he could have hoped for.
「Isn’t it great for us? 」
「I can’t deny that at all……」
The reason why Ardis had an unamused expression was because the ruling of Thoria was too smooth.
Even if he took down the Thoria king and displayed overwhelming strength, it shouldn’t be this easy to takeover an entire country even if it isn’t that big.
Normally, there should be former governors resisting, an uprising of the citizens against the new governor, restoration of security in the country, and many more things to consider.
However, none of that happened.
The most significant reason was because of Moore and Minerva who came from Glock after hearing the Thoria invasion news.
Although Thoria is now considered its own country, it was a part of Nagras Kingdom before.
And it hasn’t even been a year since Marquis Thoria’s claim of independence after the fight with the Empire.
Moreover, even when they rebelled against Nagras Kingdom, it wasn’t as if Thoria turned into a battlefield.
Because of that, there were still many in the territory that hadn’t gotten a sense of reality that they were living in an independent country.
And after everything had happened, it was the duke’s daughter Minerva who holds the royal blood of Nagras Kingdom, and its right of succession that came.
Now that all the royalties were executed without any spared, there was nothing that could stop her from claiming her right to succeed the Nagras Kingdom.
In short, before the citizens here could be educated about being patriotic towards Thoria Kingdom, the willingness to return under Nagras Kingdom was greater.
It was several hundred years in the past when Thoria was independent as one of the city states of the Corsas Dynasty.
Since all the people here were born as a citizen of Nagras Kingdom, their thoughts wouldn’t be easy to change in just a few months.
If it was after thirty of fifty years, then the story might’ve been different. In fact, Ardis was overwhelmed by how easily the citizens of Thoria Kingdom accepted Minerva.
Naturally, Minerva’s existence wasn’t the entire story.
Although Thoria had been keeping its feet steady, the governing policies suddenly took a turn for worse when it became independent, and they were slowly losing the citizens’ support.
There was also the army’s distrust towards the Thoria governors after the detrimental loss from the march to Glock.
Finally, thanks to Ardis taking over the castle so easily, there were many citizens that didn’t even know a battle unfolded in their town, therefore avoiding a panic.
Although it was unclear who used it before, Ardis rested his cheek on the simple yet high quality office desk.
When Rona was raising a big yawn on the guest sofa, the entry door was knocked.
「Come in any time. 」
The door opened after Ardis’s response.
「T-That……Kyle-sama is informing the afternoon meeting is stwarting」
It was a girl that entered with a nervous face and spoke.
The person who was younger than Fillia and Riana was the servant that Ardis and Rona passed by when barging into the castle.
It seemed like she wasn’t a very resourceful person, as any matters pertaining to Ardis were pushed onto her by the surroundings.
Although they never killed any unresisting people or servants when they entered, for Ardis who managed to defeat an entire army and Rona who looked like nothing but a fierce carnivorous beast, there were many people afraid of them.
Therefore, this girl was chosen as the sacrifice among many servants to be attending matters anywhere close to Ardis.
For Ardis, he didn’t have any intention to stay in this castle for long, so he didn’t care about what message they had for him.
Still, rather than being attended to by someone with animosity, a person that would stutter from being nervous, or spill the tea grandiosely was funnier and acceptable.
It seemed like this girl was quite the klutz.
「She stuttered again. 」
「The afternoon meeting is starting! 」
Rona mercilessly retorted at how the girl fumbled her words, then she immediately repeated herself.
「Got it. The same place as yesterday? 」
Answering Ardis’s question unsurely, the girl looked quite nervous.
「Ah-, no need for you to reconfirm. If Moore is there, then I can know where it is. 」
Stopping the girl who was almost turning around in a panic, Ardis stood up.
If it’s a meeting, Moore should be there too.
Then he can use mana detection to find where Moore is, Ardis concluded.
「Let’s go, Rona. 」
「Eeeeh. Me too? 」
「Aren’t you related too? 」
「I’m just a lowly beast, so I don’t know~」
「That’s not gonna work against someone who’s similarly related. Quickly get up. 」
Ruffling around Rona’s head, Ardis exited the room and looked for Moore’s whereabouts.
After everyone had assembled in the room, the meeting began with a status report, as is customary.
「About half of the castle personnel and soldiers are cooperative. Looks like the Thoria king wasn’t that popular. 」
It was the bureaucrat named Kyle that reported.
He was someone that Ardis had met once quite a long time before when he accepted a request from the Nagras Kingdom.
After Minerva appeared publicly holding the right of succession, talents from the former Nagras Kingdom with nowhere to go had started gathering.
Kyle who was one of Moore’s subordinates was one of them.
Ardis, Moore, Minerva and ten other attendees were seated around a long table in a big room that was previously used by the Marquis Thoria for generations.
Minerva was on the main seat, while her right was Moore, and her left was Kyle.
For Ardis, the attendees were mostly familiar faces from Glock. Only four of them were unfamiliar to him.
All of them were talents that weren’t utilized during King Thoria’s governance, and they were only idling about, or were forced off their position and worked in fields after Thoria became independent.
「It’s been proceeding well thanks to the low casualties. Thanks to a certain someone somewhere taking over the castle on their own recklessly. On top of that, no servants were harmed, and there were almost no casualties from the soldiers. Not buying too much hate was probably the most significant factor. 」
Moore after hearing Kyle’s report teased Ardis.
「Not alone, me, and Rona. 」
「That’s basically the same thing. 」
Even when Ardis corrected him, Moore only laughed it off.
「With this, the resisting organizations were all cleaned up. Well, it’s thanks to Ardis-san’s cooperation. 」
As Kyle reported, Ardis played a big role in cleaning up all the resisting forces.
Although it would be terrible if the entire town revolted, there was less resistance than expected.
The biggest resistance was the Thoria army that the general led.
The general was the elderly man that was present when Ardis killed King Thoria.
After getting hit by Rona, the general passed out, and was sent to the dungeon. When he came to know what had happened, he started gathering people under him, so they decided to preemptively punish all his subordinates that were moving with his instructions.
The bureaucrat that was hiding with King Thoria was the prime minister.
He was supposed to be imprisoned until his sentence was given. but that old man Costas tried to escape recklessly during the transportation.
Naturally, his escape wasn’t successful, and while he was being held down by the surrounding soldiers, he unfortunately hit his head and died.
Thanks to prematurely stopping the general’s plans, Ardis and the others could keep the resisting forces at the minimum, therefore taking over the former Thoria’s authority was going smoothly.
「Next up, it will be regarding the new name of the country……」
「Country name? Isn’t it Nagras Kingdom? 」
As one of the attendees raised a question at Kyle’s words, Minerva answered in response.
「Naturally, that’s one of the candidates. After all, there are many benefits to reclaiming the name of Nagras Kingdom. Just cause to recover territory, authority of the royal blood, gathering talents from the citizens of the former kingdom will be many times easier with that name. Still, thinking about the future, it’s not all great. 」
Kyle added on.
「Although it might be presumptuous to talk about this now, we still have to think about what happens after we retake all of the former kingdom’s territory. 」
「Yeah. I can already see a future of the nobles that didn’t do anything when the Empire invaded us and claiming their rights over their land afterwards. 」
Albeit a little peeved, Moore agreed.
『This is the land that His Majesty granted upon us. We reluctantly surrendered to the Empire for the sake of our citizens, but since the old ruling has returned, it is only right for us to rule over the territory again』
There were not just a few nobles who would claim so shamelessly.
Considering how they keep their land and peerage without doing anything when the others were sacrificed, for those that fought, it’s unforgivable.
It’s not like they wanted them to fight to the degree of annihilation against the Empire, but having the nobles claim their rights when they abandoned their responsibilities was annoying.
「Complaints like that, is there even a need to listen to them? 」
「Well, it’s better if we can ignore it. But no matter whether we want to hear it or not, there’s sure to be many of them. 」
The attendees were all agreeing with Moore and showed annoyance.
「Moreover, with all the direct descendants of royal blood executed by the Empire, causing vagueness in the succession, there might be people that comes out and claim 『Our house is the rightful successor!』. 」
Another attendee responded to Moore’s words displeased.
「Most of the nobles like them are only wringing benefits from the citizens without doing anything anyways. Why not just remove all their peerage with this chance? 」
Although it would be difficult to do so if they claimed the name of Nagras Kingdom, it will be easy to ignore all the nobles if they formed a new country.
「Still……. A change of name, is it……」
「Will the people agree? They are supporting us because of the successive legitimacy of Duke Nyrestia’s daughter. I don’t think it’s a good idea to discard that legitimacy ourselves. 」
「If our legitimacy as the succeeding country is clear, the name shouldn’t matter much, would it? 」
「No, that wouldn’t work. Isn’t it exactly because of the people’s willingness to return to Nagras Kingdom that we’re facing less resistance? 」
「That part is a little unclear. After all, citizens of Thoria were referring us as 『Wisteria army』 or something. 」
While many opinions flew around, one of them particularly caught the others’ attention.
「What’s with that? 」
「Was it not known yet? That is what is being told in town. 『Wisteria army has taken over the castle after defeating the Thoria army』. 」
As the attendees other than the culprits were tilting their heads at each other, Rona who was sitting near Ardis’s leg looked at him.
Hearing Rona’s voice, Moore and Minerva shifted their gaze towards Ardis.
Following them, the others looked over at Ardis as well.
Suddenly faced with everyone’s attention even though he attended without any expectations, Ardis’s eyes were swimming furiously.
At that time, the outcome was unclear, so he hesitated to name Glock as it would involve them, but it can’t be denied that Ardis felt a little excited at a siege after a long time.
He came up with the name of Wisteria from nostalgia, but even Ardis himself didn’t know how it had led up to this development.
「Leaving aside the country’s name, I won’t leave the church’s jurisdiction to anyone else. 」
Unable to endure the gazes on him, Ardis voiced out one of his concerns.
「Ah, he dodged the topic. 」
Ignoring Rona who muttered teasingly near his leg, Ardis glared towards the attendees――especially the four unfamiliar ones from Thoria.
「The new church will have Elma’s teachings as the foundation. Any sabotage, false accusation, and rejection is not allowed. Absolutely. 」
Naturally, Thoria has its own church too.
Moreover, it’s the church that regards twins as forbidden children, that are enemies to Ardis.
Although he really wants to chase them out and stop all their activities right now, it would only make him the same as the selfish church in Gran that chased out Ardis after branding him a heretic.
As for the citizens here, they would suddenly be forced upon another doctrine after the old church was chased out, and chaos would probably ensue.
That’s why, as the bare minimum, there’s a need to get them into a non-interference pact.
The new church will only welcome clergymen that have accepted Elma’s teachings.
On top of that, by spreading the knowledge of Elma’s investigation that the current church is what deviated from the original, they will increase their believers.
It will take more time and effort than what was done in Glock, but Ardis didn’t intend to spare any effort in making it a reality.
Regarding this matter, Moore and Minerva, Elma, and Sera had all agreed.
The hidden village located deep inside the Canobis Mountain Range.
It is Ardis’s wish to create more places like that hidden village where twins could live peacefully even while believing in the goddess.
「Of course. 」
It wasn’t the four from Thoria that replied, but the most influential person here, Minerva.
「It is thanks to Sir Ardis’s help that we have today. Naturally, I am not one who forgets a favor. A favor must be paid. Therefore, I assure that the promise regarding the church will be carried out. The others here, keep it in your mind that any matters on this will be on Sir Ardis’s discretion. 」
Minerva spoke in a dignified manner, equipped with the aura of a ruler.
It was unclear whether she was born with the qualities of being dignified or was it because of her education as a duke’s daughter.
What was clear to Ardis was that there were no inconsistencies between what she said and what showed in her eyes.
『As for Wisteria, I will make sure to make you spit it out later, Shishou 』