«TN: So the title was changed for the LN version, the original syosetu page (with the old title) had already been taken down sometime ago, the author’s new posts in pixiv uses the new title(-ish), and Yukkuri had also started posting translations under the new title as well. So I figured I should follow suit and use the new title, too»
[Grand Chaos Empire]. It was a great empire that was without equal among the countries of the continent in terms of population, war strength, technology, and the prosperity of its people. Even compared to the second largest one in total area excepting the Demon Lord Territory, Elfrieden, it was a country that the Empire could blow away at will. If Elfrieden were to think of waging war against the Empire, it would require two to three times the national power it had even if it annexed the entirety of the Principality of Amidonia (as of now, it was only occupying the capital). Indeed, these figures only took into account the case of fighting the Empire on its own; if it were to make enemies of the Empire’s allies as well, it would no doubt lose its place in the continent.
Probably the only thing in which the Grand Chaos Empire was inferior to Elfrieden would be the length its history, for the Empire was a slight bit younger than Elfrieden. In the twilight hours of the [Chaotic Period] where the various races of the continent would fight each other, where countries would suddenly rise up to power, Elfrieden built up a united country of various races. On the other hand, the [Chaos Kingdom] of the time built up what is called a dictatorship, where rule was centralized under a single king and power was concentrated in the hands of humans.
In turbulent times, it was centralized countries like this that were the stronger. Because the decisions were made by one man and can be immediately applied, it was able to respond to situations more swiftly than other countries could. As the Chaotic Period came to a close, the Chaos Kingdom was a head above the rest of the countries, but was still only one of the forces competing for power, and nobody of the time would imagine that it would be the great empire that it was today. The great change is said to have begun about a hundred years ago, when a hero was born in the Chaos Kingdom.
Manus Chaos. The man who would later be called [Chaos Emperor]. Manus at the time was born as the second son of the King of Chaos Kingdom, but he inherited the throne when the King and first son was killed in action in a war with the Euphoria Kingdom to its northwest. When Manus took the throne, everyone expected a return match against the Euphoria Kingdom, but Manus did not do so. Far from it, he instead took a daughter of the King of Euphoria as his wife, and established familial relations with it. He even changed his name to Manus Euphoria, completely lowering their guard with regards to the Euphoria Kingdom.
Not a few rebellions occurred within the Chaos Kingdom due to this, but Manus was a prodigy in military matters and suppressed each and every one of them. Yes, the military prodigy Manus understood that there wasn’t a great difference in national power with the Euphoria Kingdom at the time. If they were to go into war, it would only serve to exhaust the country. Which means that the plan was to ‘first use Euphoria to swallow up the various small countries and once the country had a firm lead in power, turn around and swallow up Euphoria’.
In truth, Manus did turn and attack his wife’s parents’ home of Euphoria immediately after he swallowed up the small countries and gained a lead in power. However, he might have had a guilty conscience and even after the Euphoria Kingdom fell, he did not restore the Chaos family name and continued to use the Euphoria name¹. After the fall of the Euphoria Kingdom, Manus continued his aggressive wars and before long had become a large country controlling the western part of the continent. From this moment on, the Chaos Kingdom had been named [Grand Chaos Empire].
¹ The Royal Family of Grand Chaos continue to bear the name Euphoria even today
The appearance of such a large nation shook not only the countries adjacent to the Empire. This is a story of later times, but one of the reasons for Elfrieden’s expansionist policies under the antepenultimate King was due to anxiety towards the coming threat of the Empire. The world had already progressed towards cooperation, but before the threat that is the Empire comes, it would not do but to strengthen one’s own country. However, not having Soma’s ability, the antepenultimate King, upon taking possession of half of what was the Amidonia Kingdom’s territory, was stabbed to death by one of his retainers because of the suffering caused by the impoverishment brought forth by the unreasonable expansionism. Afterwards, the Royal Family fought among themselves for the right to the crown² and came to a near annihilation. In the end, Liscia’s mother, still a young girl at the time, survived by avoiding the whole ordeal, and inherited the throne. By taking the mediocre Alberto as husband, she somewhat calmed the country down.
² The Three Dukes of that time did not want to intervene in the fighting and confined themselves in their territories
To return to the Empire, though it had the vision of uniting the continent after having gained great power, the crucial Manus had died at the age of fifty, still a man able to move. There were theories about him being assassinated, but the truth was that he fell ill. Even heroes could not win against disease. After Manus passed away, the Empire’s situation became doubtful. It often happens even on Earth that a country built by a person with strong character would collapse once that person was gone. Alexander’s Empire, the Mongol Empire, Qin China … Empires that had sprung up too quickly and didn’t even last three generations before falling apart. Grand Chaos was no different.
The second Emperor, due in part to Manus’ close associates still being alive, held a steady reign. By the time of the third Emperor, however, those associates had already left the mortal coil; being a human superiority nation, they did not have vassals of other races that could support several generations of rulers like Ecksel. Because of that, the third Emperor waged aggressive wars in order to win the support of his vassals, showing to those both inside and outside the Empire that he was to inherit Manus’ project of uniting the continent.
However, this war that happened some sixty years ago grew into the scale of a global war, bringing many countries to ruin. To that, the Empire was no exception, the war expenditures that went higher than expected impoverished the country and conversely caused the Emperor to lose support. Revolts became a frequent occurrence in the Empire, and during one of those, the third Emperor fell into the hands of bandits and died. The damage caused by the third Emperor wanting to inherit the project of uniting the continent has been cynically said to have instead shifted the world toward the path of cooperation.
The fourth Emperor who inherited the throne of the troubled Empire abandoned the path of unification and concentrated his efforts on domestic affairs. It was said to have been a wise move, but this time, he received disdain from the princes for being too conservative. By the time of the fifth Emperor, the Empire had already lost its unifying power and was considered on the verge of breaking up in the near future.
However about ten years ago, the most unexpected thing happened: the emergence of the [Demon King Territory]. The Empire lost much of its northern territories to the onslaught of the grotesque hosts, including the former Euphoria Kingdom. The same, however, can be said about other countries; this situation called for the human side to unite. The task of being the leader was sought of the largest and the most militarily powerful Empire. As a result, the Empire was able to avoid dissolution.
Even after the Empire had become the leader of the human side, they were forced to fight hard by the Demon King Army, in part due to the fact the human side still hadn’t gotten their acts together. The fifth Emperor was a literary man who does not excel in matters of war. The unfamiliar battlefield wore away into his body and mind and as a result, he passed away from this world five years ago. The fifth Emperor had no sons, and the throne fell to a then fourteen year old young girl.
Maria Euphoria. Currently nineteen years old, she was the current Empress³ of the Grand Chaos Empire. There were many who had misgivings on handing the throne to the young girl she was then, but after she was enthroned, she exhibited a natural charisma. First of all, she changed the human-centric policies of the Empire and began appointing talented people of other races to posts. If it were peacetime, there would be opposition from the humans, but it was now a state of emergency due to the threat of the Demon King Army. Rank and honor are things one can hold if one were alive, and her policies that was well suited to the spirit of the time received support from the people.
³ The title of Emperor was reserved to males, so a new one had to be instituted
Among the policies Maria instituted, among the greatest was the advocacy of the [Declaration of Humanity’s Coalition against Demonkind], or the “Humanity Declaration” for short. It was a call for a common front for the whole of humanity against the oncoming threat of the Demon King Army. With the three main points of [To allow no change in borders due to wars or military operations between humans], [To respect the rights to equality and self-determination of all peoples within all nations], and [For countries far from the Demon King Territory to support the bulwarks that are the countries near the Territory], the Humanity Declaration was a groundbreaking declaration that not only created a [Common Front against the Demon King Army], but also a [Cessation of wars] and [Prohibition of ethnic discrimination].
Also, Maria devoted herself to salvation of those in need, her beautiful visage and gentle heart that touched all peoples rich and poor won over the hearts of the people, and somewhere along the way earned her the appellation [Holy Maiden of the Empire]
◇ ◇ ◇
That Holy Maiden of the Empire was now slouching despondently in her room in the Imperial Capital [Valois]. It was nighttime, The young girl Maria with a feminine body line wrapped in a white dress and fluttering wavy golden hair was loitering by the window where the moonlight filtered into the unlit room, looking wistfully outside. Nobody would believe she stood at the top of the world’s most powerful country in her current state. As she looked at the brightly shining moon outside the window, she breathed another sigh.
Right that moment, the door to the room was knocked. Maria straightened herself up and said, “come in”.
A lone girl opened the door and entered, clad in military uniform. Her face was the spitting image of Maria, the only difference being that her long hair was tied up in a ponytail and that she had a more gallant look in her eyes. Little wonder, for she was Maria’s two years younger little sister Jeanne Euphoria. Jeanne stood up straight before her sister and did a sharp bow.
“Jeanne Euphoria, as the Army Commander-in-Chief, will be heading to the capital of the Principality of Amidonia, Vannes as of now”
Jeanne reported. She possessed the talent that earned her the nickname of the “She-Manus”, and was currently the first in line to the Imperial Throne, and also the commander-in-chief who commands the entire army. By dividing the work – administrative affairs for Maria and military ones for Jeanne – the sisters managed the imperial business that caused the previous Emperor to collapse from overwork. Incidentally, they had a younger sister after Jeanne, but because of rumors of her being a strange eccentric, she doesn’t appear in public. Jeanne said to Maria apologetically.
“I see … You’re going to meet with the hero, right”
“… yes. I don’t like it that we’re being used by the Amidonians, but we have to negotiate the return of Vannes that’s currently under occupation”
Jeanne grimaced like she just bit a sour bug. Several days ago an envoy came from Amidonia’s ‘Prince’ Julius. They stated matter-of-factly:
[Elfrieden’s occupation of Vannes is a challenge against the signatory nations of the Humanity Declaration that banned the changing of national borders. We ask Her Highness Maria Euphoria as the leader to somehow take back Vannes from them]
Of course, the Empire already knew that it was the Principality of Amidonia that started the whole thing. When inquired as such, the envoy defiantly gave the excuse of “that was the previous Prince Gaius acting on his own and not listening to the Prince Julius when he remonstrated him. His Highness Julius had nothing to do with it”. Jeanne wanted to pull her sword out hearing their tone of voice, but as the representative of the Imperial military, she restrained herself and bore with it. That was how she unwillingly became responsible for the negotiations.
Though the fault lies with the Principality, she had to uphold the Humanity Declaration, because the Humanity Declaration is the Empire’s dignity itself. This was a most mortifying decision for Maria.
“I’m sorry, I made you uneasy”
“What are you saying? You’re the one who’s grieving the most, Elder Sis. We’ll certainly make Julius Amidonia pay for this”
Sensing Jeanne spitting out her real feelings, Maria tried talking her down as calmly as possible.
“I think it’s going to be fine. Elfrieden’s new King Soma is a wise man from what I hear. I can’t think of him being so foolish as to wage war against our country”
“Is that so? We did demand his person once before, though …”
“True … we might’ve left a bad impression on him”
About half a year ago, the Empire delivered a demand to Elfrieden for [anti demon war support money], and if they can’t, an additional clause was added that said [use the hero summoning ritual handed down in the Kingdom of Elfrieden and transfer control of him to us]. In the end, Elfrieden in its stringent financial situation chose to summon the hero. The hero Soma Kazuya that they summoned is now the King of Elfrieden. There were many unclear points such as why the previous King Alberto so easily handed the throne over to him, but Soma restored Elfrieden’s financial situation and delivered the [Support Money].
After that, King Soma would settle their food problems, purge the rebellious Three Dukes, and invaded back the Principality of Amidonia that used the gap to invade them, and occupied their capital Vannes. He was a young man who was about the same as Maria in age but was able to do this in such a short time. He was an outstanding talent she would’ve wanted even if he weren’t a hero. In truth, rather than Julius who just did whatever he likes, she would rather tie a bond of friendship with King Soma, but because of the prior incident of the Empire demanding his person, friendly relations seemed hopeless. “However,” Maria said, not abandoning her hope.
“Based on what I hear, I think Lord Soma is a person who would listen to reason”
“Really? I think that you and him would get along like oil and water, though, Elder Sis …”
Jeanne, however, contradicted her opinion. Through all the reports that she heard about Soma, she can’t help but feel that he would be Maria’s opponent in the game. If in the face of the Demon Race invasion, Maria would call for humanity to band together, Soma would’ve thought to make his own country stand on their own two feet. Also, where Maria would respect the laws and conventions even in hard times, conducting things with empress-like reasoning, and be rendered immobile, Soma would consider royal authority, Three Dukes, laws, and conventions as mere tools and select them based on his sensibilities of “if it can be used I’ll use it, if not I’ll throw it away”.
Maria who moves on reasoning and Soma who moves on senses⁴. In other words, the idealist Maria and realist Soma⁵. Jeanne thought that the two could never possibly understand each other.
⁴ «TN: i.e. Maria does things based on how she thinks they should be, while Soma does so based on how he sees things are»
⁵ In this case, the moral philosophical term naturalism is more pertinent, but to distinguish them would make things unnecessarily obscure so I made it realism to match its counterpart idealism.
“I think the two of you would be facing in the exact opposite directions …”
So Jeanne said. Maria had a blank look for a moment but then smiled.
“My, if we’re both looking in opposite directions, then that means we won’t have any blind spots, doesn’t it?”
Saying that with an impish smile, Maria looked sweet even to her sister Jeanne.
«TN: ugh, I’m getting the urge to play CK2 again >.<»