Let’s talk about this country’s feudal system.
The social ranks in this country, excluding the royalty and the Three Dukes, were divided into three major castes: <Nobles and Knights>, <Commoners>, and <Slaves> (“refugees”, being non-citizens, aren’t categorized as any of these). Slavery needs to be explained on another occasion, but what distinguishes <Nobles and Knights> from <Commoners> is “whether or not they own land”. Thus, the <Nobles and Knights> came to be called <Lords> and the <Commoners> living on their lands are called the <Populace> (<Slaves> are not included since they count as private property). <Lords> have all kinds of rights with regard to their territory but on the other hand, they bear a duty to serve on the country’s military.
<Nobles and Knights> come upon their titles and land by inheritance, but there are cases where those among the commoners that had performed a distinguished service were granted land and a title and became a <Noble or Knight>. If their deed was in the field of domestic affairs they would become nobles, and if military then they would become knights. Otherwise, it is also possible to marry into a <Noble or Knight> family (in this case, land is split and given to them). This particular case is referred to as <New Nobles or New Knights>. While in truth there was no distinguishing between them, hardheaded folks call them “upstarts that weren’t born Nobles or Knights”. <New Nobles and Knights> titles can be inherited, and after about three generations they are recognized as new Houses.
On the other hand, <Noble or Knight> ranked people who commit a crime might be demoted to <Commoners> or <Slaves> depending on the magnitude of those crimes. In this case, lands and titles granted by the state is forfeit and the entire family of the criminal had their statuses demoted. This is referred to as [The Crushing]. The fact that the <Nobles and Knights> distinguish themselves from the <New Nobles and Knights> was probably because of pride that they were able to maintain their statuses for over three generations without getting [Crushed].
Now those <Nobles and Knights> are not required to govern their own lands themselves. <Knights> in particular have to spend most of the year serving in the army, so management of their lands is entrusted to someone of their house. This also applies to the Royal Guard Captain Ludwin Arcus. Among the <Nobles> too, there were those who likewise entrusted territory management to someone of their house, took up residence in the Royal Capital Parnam, and worked in important posts like senior internal bureaucrats or chairmen of the National Assembly. They are called the <Royal Capital Nobles>, the former Prime Minister (current Shichuu) Markus was one of them.
However, the number of these <Royal Nobles> had decreased to only half of what they were last year. The missing people were those who were found guilty of corruption when Soma did his government spending review. The people charged with crime left their posts at the Royal Capital and was under house arrest in their territories. Those whose crimes were light had to pay back the embezzled amount and resign their family headship to someone else but their houses were allowed to continue. However, those with heavy crimes were forfeit of everything they own and was [Crushed].
Of course, the kind of people who would commit corruption wouldn’t abide with the [Crushing] order willingly, but gather their private armies and assets and escape. However, having expected that line of reasoning, Prime Minister Hakuya had already blockaded the borders, and they were unable to take their assets outside the country. Being unable to stay in their territories nor leave the country, they ended up turning to the Carmine Duchy. Under Georg Carmine who was opposed to the King, they lay and wait for their chance.
¹ «TN: it’s Georg with a hard ‘G’ (as in ‘game’, not ‘gem’), hence ‘Georg’ and not ‘George’, like in ‘Georg Cantor’»
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The central city of the Carmine Duchy, [Randel].
It was inferior when compared to the Royal Capital Parnam, but it was large-scale compared to any other city, and only here there was enough people to be a city-state. The castle of the Army General Georg Carmine was here, and the city was developed as that castle’s castle town. It’s just that the generations of Army Generals were not too proactive regarding city administration, so unlike the Royal Capital that was bustling in accordance with the King’s policies, the scenery here is that of a nostalgic cityscape that hasn’t changed since a hundred years ago. It can be compared to Kyoto or Nara in Japan.
There was a coach stopped on a street corner in this Randel. In the coach was a blue-haired young beauty in her mid-twenties. She had the looks that would unmistakably make men sigh in admiration were they to see. She had a voluptuous body line that were visible over her Japanese kimono-like formal clothing. Only the reptilian tail extending from the buttock of her clothes and the small horns protruding from her blue hair indicate that she’s not a human being.
From inside the coach, she attentively listened to the hustle and bustle of the city. She was close to a tavern. The noises of drunkards grumbling over their drinks were heard.
[Sheesh, what’s the deal with …. that new King …. what does he …. think we are … hic]
[Right. We‘re the ones who’s been supporting the country for years and years]
[And that King, he thought squat about all that, and just ruled however he wants!]
[Why did King Alberto turn the country over to that whippersnapper…]
[And his retainers too, you know! All of them, youngsters with no experience! What’s with that gloomy black bastard! What’s with that fatass!]
[Heh heh heh, anyhow, he’s probably just putting up bootlickers]
[Yeah, like any greenhorn would! After tossing out those of us with experience and only listening to bootlickers, that king’s not going to last long!]
[That’s right! Let’s take back the country from that fake king with our own hands!]
[Yeah! For our beloved motherland!]
[[[ For our beloved motherland! ]]]
(For the motherland, huh…. that’s really, self-seeking of them)
The girl in the coach sighed. Each and every one of her movements alluring.
(You’re the ones who’s been betraying the country with your corruption. Then when you’re judged for them all, you ran, and had the gall to say the king tossed you out. And the king putting up bootlickers? Didn’t you see the personnel gathering? That king would even put up people that dislike him as long as they have the talent. Both Hakuya-dono and Poncho-dono were put up because of what they are capable of. The reason he didn’t use you is simply because you’re useless)
(It’s been a few months since His Majesty Soma took over the Kingship but he hadn’t made outstanding mistakes, nor lost the people’s support, either. In fact, he solidly resolved the grave food problems, now that can be called a unique ability. I’m amazed at King Alberto’s keen eye, I can’t think of why I would go “why that greenhorn”)
She rested her elbows on the window sill and propped her chin up with her hands.
(So the proud nobles from the founding of the country have fallen this far … The Founder must be rolling in his grave)
Though she looked about thirty years of age, she remembered her compatriots from the dawn of the country five hundred years ago, and made a sorrowful smile. As one with sea serpent blood, it would be another five hundred years before she could return to their side.
“It’s times like these that’s hard on those of us long-lived ones, even though I’m supposed to be used to farewells with the short-lived, I had to see what I would rather not. I really envy ‘you all’ who could die saying [Like I’d know what happens after I die]”
The Admiral of the Navy Ecksel Walter, said so as she smiled in self-derision.
[Lady of the Sea]
A voice called from outside the coach and Ecksel straightened herself up.
“… what is it?”
[Aye, a report came in from ‘Canaria’]
[Aye aye. It’s here]
The letter was handed through a gap in the coach. Ecksel took and opened it and scanned her eyes over the contents. As she continued reading, she finally broke into a smile.
(Seems she’s doing well over there… There are lots of places where the words are like she’s talking about her lover, though I’m having mixed feelings there)
Ecksel froze the letter in her hand with a breath and let it out of her hold. The moment the frozen letter fell and hit the floor it was smashed into pieces.
(Let me correct myself. Living so long is not that bad at all. Though I had to see what I would rather not, I can also see a new light I never expected. ‘You all’ who have died can’t enjoy anything like this can you?)
Serves you right.
Ecksel smiled like a little girl with not a speck of her age showing through.