Volume 6 Chapter 11. The Battleship, Decapitated
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In our society, human lives are considered to be as light as feathers.
This is true even in an intergalactic empire.
In fact, I’d say that human life is valued even less in this world than in my previous world.
Tens of thousands of people can easily lose their lives in a small skirmish, and millions could perish in a single war.
I’m sure that a war of such scale is happening somewhere in this universe even as I speak.
No matter how much development we see in science and magic, there’s no meaning in them if we as humans do not develop alongside them.
Now, enough with the introduction.
Human life isn’t valued much in this intergalactic nation, and one of the reasons is because it’s not difficult to have children.
I myself was born in a test tube and raised in machines.
My parents didn’t love me either and left me with a debt-ridden territory as soon as I was five years old.
Children are born just as easily as people die.
That is the reality of this world.
“I’ll hear your excuses, but before that! Klaus, tell them what they’re charged with.”
I’m sitting on my chair with my legs crossed and my chin resting on my hand as I look down at the two people with their heads hanging low.
I’ve called over Tia and Marie, who were busy at work, and ordered them to kneel.
Klaus is standing beside me.
Rather than looking exasperated, he looks like he’s entered the realm of enlightenment.
He reads the charges out loud.
“First, you two allowed Baron Norden to lead Isaac and his men into the territory. Not only that, you used Lord Liam’s fleet without permission and started a revolt in some of the territory’s planets. Finally, you two illegally obtained Lord Liam’s genetic information in an attempt to give birth to his descendants.”
What a mess.
Knights are meant to protect their masters’ house if and when they’re gone.
They aren’t supposed to be moving around however they want.
“You two have disappointed me many times in the past, but your greatest sin this time was betraying me and acting independently.”
Tia raises her face and begins making excuses.
“Lord Liam! Since the territory was lacking a successor, I…”
I stomp on the floor to silence her and tell the girls something very important before allowing them to continue with their excuses.
“I’m fine with valid excuses, but I’m not here for those. Just know that I’ll be cutting you down if your excuses turn out to be boring.”
They’ve supported me for decades, but I have no need for subordinates that betray my trust, even if they’re competent.
I’m interested in gathering beautiful female knights, but if they all turn out to be like these two… I’d have to think again about adding them to my harem.
I should pick knights based on their skills rather than their appearances—yup, let’s recruit better people from now.
The two girls fall silent.
Guess they’re not much different form Isaac and the others after all.
Thinking so, I reach out for my sword that’s leaning against the chair.
Marie sweeps her hair to one side and shows me her neck.
She’s telling me to do it if I want to.
“Oh, how bold of you. I’ll make sure that it’s painless and slice off your neck in one—”
“I just wanted to bear Lord Liam’s child!”
The excuse that she gives at the next moment is so absurd that I can’t help but give a retort.
What the heck is she saying?
Marie continues with her excuse, but it only gets worse from there.
“E-even if Lord Liam did not acknowledge the child as his successor, I was ready to raise the child by myself! P-please forgive me!”
I look towards Klaus for help, but he seems just as confused as I am.
Her excuse is shocking even to someone with common sense like him.
For a split second, I wonder whether this is the norm in an intergalactic nation.
But then again, these two are everything but normal.
Tia also begins to speak with tears in her eyes.
“I wasn’t hoping for Lord Liam’s affection, but I wanted to feel a connection in one way or another. Even if this accident hadn’t occurred, I was planning on giving birth to a child using Lord Liam’s gene to continue the family name. I wasn’t planning to have the child become the Banfield Family’s successor or anything. B-basically, I fell for the devil’s temptation and…”
What do children mean to you both?
“You two wanted to bear my children?”
Marie nods while shaking and explains her reason.
“As impudent as it may sound, this Marie wished to have a connection with Lord Liam. I understand that what I’ve committed is a heavy sin, but I just couldn’t help myself. However, I wouldn’t mind dying if it’s from Lord Liam’s hands!”
They want to establish some form of connection with me?
They don’t mind being cut down if it’s by my hands?
I don’t feel like doing it anymore…
I stop myself from reaching out for my sword.
“Since you two are imperial knights, I can’t revoke your licenses, but I refuse to recognize you two as my knights inside my territory. You will both work as maids inside the mansion for the foreseeable future.”
I was planning on getting rid of them, but their absurd reasons have sucked away my motivation.
The two girls begin crying and thanking me profusely, but I really don’t care at this point.
“A hundred thanks, Lord Liam!”
“Even as a maid, this Marie swears to have unwavering loyalty towards Lord Liam!”
I left them be because of how skilled they were, but I was wrong in doing so.
From today onward, I’ll have Serena teach them about what it means to be feminine.
“Just leave. Oh, and Klaus.”
“Yes, my lord?”
“You see, I’ve been thinking of assigning numbers to my most competent knights. You’ve worked hard for me this time, so I appoint you the position of my number one knight.”
After nodding in acceptance, Klaus opens his eyes in surprise.
He must be confused by the sudden appointment.
“I’ll make sure to increase your authority and your salary. Keep up the good work.”
“Y-yes, my lord!”
It’s amusing to see Tia and Marie looking at Klaus with eyes that have lost their lights.
They seem to be having a difficult time accepting the content of my conversation with Klaus.
“Anything I can do for you, Lord Liam?”
“If you guys had stayed put and done your jobs properly, I would have assigned this position to one of you two. What a pity this is.”
The girls freeze in place.
Satisfied by their reaction, I stand up from my seat and leave the room.
Cold sweat trickled continuously down Klaus’s forehead.
There had been a rumor going around about Liam assigning numbers to his knights and implementing a special class system.
Baron Norden and the heads of Liam’s other vassal households had mistakenly believed that they were the only ones fit to support Liam as his twelve knights.
Even members of their households, that came to Liam’s territory to study abroad, were saying such things.
Although Liam personally denied this allegation, rumor had it that he would indeed be numbering his knights.
Who would be the chosen knights?
This topic had sparked many heated discussions among the knights.
(How come I was chosen as his number one!?)
This came as a bolt from the blue to Klaus.
Inside the room where Liam had left; Tia and Marie, who had their position of number one stolen by Klaus, were still present and they were staring at him with dark, dark eyes.
Tia slowly rose from her position.
The way she stood up was extremely eerie, almost as if she couldn’t find the energy within her to stand back up.
Marie also stood up with lifeless eyes, her movements sluggish like a zombie’s.
“Being Lord Liam’s number one knight. My… what a wonderful title. Ah… just saying, but if the incident this time hadn’t happened, I would’ve been the one to receive that title.”
They had received a considerable amount of damage knowing that they had failed to become Liam’s number one knight.
“W-well, it came as a surprise to me as well. Lord Liam must have said it on the fly. I’m sure that the matter will be dismissed at the meeting between the knights and the military… hopefully.”
Klaus experienced yet another stomachache from being looked at by the girls’ envious eyes.
(Why must I become the leader of the knights!?)
As talented as they were, the majority of Liam’s knights were problem children, and Klaus was tasked with the responsibility of managing them.
Klaus’s anguish had yet to come to an end.
Inside the palace at the Capital, Calvin was alone and wrapping his head around the recent events.
“They’ve finally caught up to us.”
Liam’s data was displayed on his desk.
According to what was written; “Liam’s biggest weakness stemmed from his one-man rule, and his absence would leave the territory vulnerable to attacks.”
There was some truth in this statement.
When news of Liam’s disappearance became public, the territory swiftly fell apart and entered what seemed like the Warring States period.
As the report said, it left the territory very vulnerable.
This would normally be a good thing, as they would only have to deal with Liam and Liam alone.
Unfortunately, that proved to be an insurmountable task.
“Assassination attempts. Failed. Sending him to battlefields. Failed. Spreading rumors in his territory. Failed. How am I supposed to deal with him when he can breeze through most of the sabotages that we set up?”
With the shadow clan protecting him, assassinating Liam was nigh impossible.
Even if they were to launch a head-on assault, they had very little chance against someone that could cut down a Sword Saint, not to mention that Calvin’s reputation would be sullied.
Erasing him on the battlefield wasn’t easy either.
Liam’s individual prowess was one thing, but his knights and military officers were extremely talented as well.
Furthermore, now that Liam had reigned in his officials, betrayals were unlikely to happen.
Their plan of having the territory fall apart from within was crumbling down.
Through this event, Liam successfully cleaned up the territory and rooted out the spies that Calvin and the others had sent
The Banfield Family was nothing without Liam, but there was no easy way of getting rid of him.
What’s more, the people that were supposed to act as baggage and drag Liam down had suddenly flocked over to him.
Calvin was stumped. How did all this happen?
He had just provided them with some superficial help, yet he had become their patron before he could tell what was going on.
“Things aren’t looking good for me.”
He could actually see Cleo taking his place and becoming the crown prince.
Calvin really felt like holding his head in his hands.
There was someone that had his head in his hands—or more precisely—someone that had his hat in his hands.
Yes, it was the Guide, and he was crouching down on the floor with his tiny limbs.
“No matter what I do, it benefits Liam in the end.”
He had sent Liam far away with summoning magic so that he could make a mess out of his territory.
It had worked in the beginning, but it only ended up highlighting the problem that was bubbling beneath the surface, allowing Liam to deal with it.
The Guide was currently inside the Banfield Family’s territory, and he was crouching on the main street watching a huge monitor.
“This video was released by the government, and it’s of Lord Liam participating in a party together with Lady Rosetta.”
“It looks like they decided to release the clip to the public after being told that their relationship wasn’t progressing. Either way, they look exceptionally good together.”
The news broadcast showed the figure of Liam playing around at the Capital, but the citizens’ reaction was rather bland.
Instead, their interest was somewhere else.
“Oh, so they’re on good terms after all.”
“I guess there was no point in the demo?”
“Well, it was something closer to a festival. Anyway, it looks like we don’t have to worry about the matter regarding his successor.”
The people were walking about the main street and laughing joyfully.
“Next up: the government has announced that the tax will be increased for the sake of improving social welfare.”
“As for what this really entails—”
On the huge monitor projected in the sky, the news reporter was talking about the tax increase.
Just like before, the citizens barely reacted to this.
“Tax is going up?”
“Lord Liam’s the worst.”
“But it says hospital treatment would be cheaper.”
“Oh, so Lord Liam’s the best after all.”
They didn’t like the fact that they had to pay more tax, but they were willing to accept the burden since it would be used to improve social welfare.
The Guide felt like the ground beneath him was hotter than usual, and he was right.
It was as if he was standing on a smoldering hot iron plate.
“I-it’s hot!? IT’S HOT!! GYAAAAAA~!!”
He flapped about on his tiny legs before tripping and rolling over.
The top hat which was essentially the Guide’s body started to burn.
“NO! IT’S HOT NO MATTER WHERE I GO!!”
The sound of sizzling could be heard as black smoke rose from the Guide’s body and began to rob him of his power.
At this rate, he would be burned to death.
The Guide was desperately looking for a place where he would be safe, but found none.
Just as he was about to be turned into charcoal, the Guide figured out the reason behind this phenomenon.
“C-could it be!?”
He floated up into the air and continued to ascend into space.
The planet from outer space looked divine as it shone and emitted gold particles into its immediate surroundings.
“Huh? What’s causing this!?”
Liam’s gratitude alone would not have caused such a big phenomenon.
What force could possibly envelop the entire planet and kick him out of it?
After much thinking, the Guide remembered something.
“T-the World Tree!!”
Something that could extend beyond time and space was flowing out of a distant planet.
It was a planet that had just been revived, and it contained the World Tree that Liam had taken custody over.
As it had just been revived, it was but a small sapling.
Nevertheless, its gratitude toward Liam was genuine, and it manifested in the form of a sacred force that protected him from harm.
“The World Tree’s trying to protect him!? How on earth am I supposed to beat him then!?”
World Trees were sacred plants, but they were more like poison to the Guide.
Blinded by the immediate benefits, the Guide had taken away the devious elves’ hatred, thereby dismissing their desire to kill the World Tree.
Normally, World Trees did not go so far as to help a certain individual.
The Guide trembled at this unexpected situation.
“I-I can’t deal with him by myself anymore. Since things have gotten to this point, I must gather beings like me that are in this universe.”
If he couldn’t do it alone, he would hire the help of others.
Until now, his pride had prevented him from seeking help from others like him, but the Guide was willing to throw away his pride to defeat Liam.
“I’ll do anything if it means beating Liam!”
Brian (・ω・｀): “Lord Liam, this Brian believes it’s quite rude to compare the rest of the female knights to those two.”