78. [The 4th Chapter] Chapter of The Base – Epilogue
An event that would overturn the entire continent had occurred. The Holy Kingdom had broken the Continental Law and had invaded the Kingdom of Aylans. They had committed a crime by breaking a law that had been upheld for thousands of years. The Holy Kingdom was considered to be the most powerful nation on the continent, but this was still an act that crossed a dangerous line.
“Crazy! He’s crazy!”
“They might be a nation of faith and God, but to dare to break Continental Law? Are the Pope and the Archbishops beneath him crazy?”
“It just means that they’re not a nation that can be excused any longer.”
The other nations strongly disapproved of the Holy Kingdom’s actions, to say the least. Both the King and the Queen of Aylans had been openly mocked in a manner that set a disturbing precedent. The Holy Kingdom was the strongest nation, but the nation of Aylans was by no means weak. The fact that the Holy Kingdom had been willing to break ancient laws without a care to invade them demonstrated that the Pope did not respect their strength. The Holy Kingdom could have invaded anyone by ignoring the laws like this, so their invasion could be considered an act that looked down upon every nation.
There had been rumors that the Pope had gone crazy, but no one had suspected that it was to this extent. The invasion hadn’t been a sudden, impulsive act―or an accident. It had been premeditated. Fifty-thousand soldiers had been rapidly assembled and organized―an extraordinary feat that could not be done at the drop of a hat. Yet they had finished less than three months after the announcement. This could only mean that they had aggressively drafted their citizens in a unilateral violation of Continental Law, before the refugees could escape to their home nations, to be ready within that time frame. The Holy Kingdom ended up receiving a ton of criticism from smaller nations everywhere for this, but the Pope, after hearing their outrage, didn’t care.
He actually found it funny.
“If you’re going to bicker so much, why don’t you do something about it, cowards!”
The kings of various nations felt great insult and humiliation from these words. In their minds, this wasn’t something that should be glossed over so easily.
“War? Now that the Continental Laws have been broken, the cause for war is plenty!”
The Holy Kingdom had ended up giving the casus belli for every other nation to declare their own war. Every nation that had been abused by the Holy Kingdom in some form or another over the years now stood up and prepared for war. As a result, many great thinkers and philosophers from all across the land made the prediction that a great war that would shake the entire continent would arrive soon.
There was an indirect implication to this prediction, however, and it caused the reputation of the Aylan’s Kingdom to soar. They had managed to withstand the Holy Kingdom’s invasion and halt it in its tracks. In a battle in which they had been outnumbered five to one―50,000 to 10,000―they had come out as the victor. And moreover, their army had included untrained refugees.
Despite having orchestrated the whole incident, and having plenty of time to prepare―as well as the element of surprise on their side―the Holy Kingdom, could not conquer the Canibar Territory of Aylans. They had been forced to turn back in failure despite their superior position. All but 500 deserters among their 50,000 soldiers had been obliterated as well.
The cause of the Holy Kingdom’s failure was attributed to Count Shabel’s resourcefulness. He had been judged to have used formations that best suited each type of troop at his disposal and utilized the climate to his favor.
In addition, he had allegedly taken advantage of a large group of Wild Demons hiding within the forest and had sprung them upon the exhausted Holy Kingdom soldiers. This was what was told to the continent, anyway. One thing was definitely clear, though. The reputation of Count Shabel had skyrocketed due to the incident. At least, this was true to the average citizen among the continent. However, many of the higher-ups in the other kingdoms that were ‘in the know’ had already suspected that an ‘unknown force’ had backed the Kingdom of Aylans.
There were also talks of a ‘Hero-grade’ monster helping them. However, information on that topic was extremely limited. The various kingdoms who couldn’t obtain the exact information that they sought out on this individual and the faction that they suspected was behind him, focused their agents on digging up the background of this mysterious person in the hopes of establishing diplomatic contact.
It wasn’t clear what the nationality of this mysterious person was, but it was clear that they were an existence that didn’t fear the Holy Kingdom. They wouldn’t have helped the Kingdom of Aylans otherwise.
With these thoughts on everyone’s minds, the soldiers of the Canibar Territory held a procession through the capital of the Aylansian Kingdom.
“Cheers to Aylans Kingdom!”
“Cheers to Count Shabel of Canibar!”
The soldiers marched through the outer gates. The Aylansian subjects threw out cheers and flower petals as they passed through.
It was their first victory. There had been a lot of uncertainty regarding the war against the Holy Kingdom―whether they could win against such a powerful nation had always been up in the air. But they had broken all expectations and had obtained their first victory. In addition, they had also obtained a political win. With the Holy Kingdom’s illegal invasion, the Kingdom of Aylans had gained the justification that they had needed to call upon the other nations to begin making new alliances and deals. As a result, the kingdom had been able to obtain a lot of benefits through non-aggression pacts which had been created specifically to suppress the Holy Kingdom.
Unlike the citizens that were cheering wildly, the soldiers entering looked grim and pale. Count Shabel―the one leading them―was no different.
It felt as if a weight had started pressing down on his shoulders upon arriving at the capital. Everyone, including the royal court, was celebrating Count Shabel. But the count lowered his head, feeling increasing amounts of guilt amid the fanfare.
He could see a figure gripping a cane sitting upon a throne before the luxuriously decorated palace.
It was King Paulie Aylans. The greatest magician of the Aylansian Kingdom, and their sovereign leader.
“Please come forth, Count Shabel. You have performed a great feat in stopping that invasion! To be able to stop an invasion of 50,000 in that manner…!”
Count Shabel felt his fists clench at the word “stop”. He wanted to deny it. He had to. Because the victory did not happen by his hands.
“It was magnificent. You have managed to steal the victory from the wicked Holy Kingdom.”
Akareal, the wife of King Paulie, smiled as she sat beside her king.
Count Shabel grit his teeth under the praise.
“Your Royal Highness, I-I―!”
“Ah, I’ve heard. There was another person of merit that aided you?”
King Paulie’s gaze turned straight ahead.
“You’re… Tom, correct?”
Count Shabel jumped as he turned behind him. Tom was on his knees before the Count had even noticed him.
‘When…? No, did he come in at the same time that I did?’
He couldn’t feel Tom’s presence at all.
“My lovely wife, please say a word. These are the heroes that defended our kingdom!”
Akareal nodded and turned her gaze to Tom.
Her eyes quickly grew wide and her face froze. Tom’s golden blond hair and pumpkin-colored eyes were strikingly familiar. And after looking at his face, Akareal spoke with a trembling voice.
Tom twitched at the name, but he lowered his head and replied.
“Yes, I am called Tom.”
‘Aren’t you the Hero Thoma?’
Akareal held the words on her tongue before nodding in response.
“… I see.”
Her body faintly trembled as though she was clearly still bothered by it. The resemblance between this man and the Hero that she had met a long, long time ago was too great. He looked exactly like Thoma had, back in his youth. If he had ever had a child, she would have believed Tom to be him.
King Paulie did not notice his wife’s state and looked at Tom fondly.
“I’ve heard you are Hero-grade. Still, to fight with our kingdom against the Holy Kingdom, I am truly grateful.”
“Think nothing of it, it was just something that I had to do.”
“So humble as well! Haha! I like it! Yes, yes. What nation do you belong to? To help us, it must mean that you wish for diplomatic ties! I have a desire to discuss such terms with your nation. What do you say?”
Count Shabel began sweating after hearing Tom’s words. King Paulie was in an excited state and had forgotten the weight of the words uttered by kings. He was speaking too carelessly.
Tom was a monster.
“What nation did you say you were from?”
Count Shabel, noticing the smile, felt a chill. There was no telling what this monster would do next and so he was extremely nervous.
“Your majesty! Truthfully, that man is…!”
As Count Shabel tried to speak the truth, Tom replied first.
“The Kingdom of Hell.”
Everyone froze and turned to Tom.
“The Land of Heretics, the Nation of Devils made up of sinister demons, the great Kingdom whose strength makes every human tremble in terror…”
Tom looked at them and spoke with a smile.
“That is the Kingdom of Hell ruled by our Demon Lord, Lily Golt.”
Pope Salem tilted his head quizzically as he sat upon his bed with a woman in his embrace. Helpharon gave his report without response.
“It looks like interference from a third kingdom. Fifty-thousand men… they were all killed.”
“A third kingdom? Which nation was it? Someone else dared to defy the Holy Kingdom, the sovereign nation of the continent? That is completely…”
Salem kicked the woman in his arms and shouted angrily.
“Isn’t that completely crazy?!”
“Hah! What a dumb joke. They say that the world is full of heretics, but where was such a crazy bastard hiding? It’s not even funny. Before we formed the invasion force, who was appointed as the head commander?”
“It was the Heretic Interrogator named Janus. Also, he was a member of the Evilesse Holy Knight Order.”
“The Evilesse Holy Knight Order?”
Salem’s expression was incredulous.
“Who’s the crazy bastard that dared to pull out a member of the Evilesse Holy Knights for this? Huh? Who? I want his name!”
When Salem glared at Helpharon with a crazed expression, Helpharon kept his gaze steady as he replied quietly.
“It was you, Your Holiness.”
“Me? Huh…? Did I do that? Haha! Then, it can’t be helped. Hahaha! Hahahaha! Hahahaha!”
Pope Salem suddenly exploded in laughter before stopping instantly.
“You said I did?”
“Aaah, my. I needed someone to take responsibility this time. It’ll be troubling if I’m the one at fault. Yes, very troubling indeed. Do I have to take responsibility? Then, what should be done? Should I cut my own head off? Or maybe I should cut that off and offer it to God instead?”
“I’ll make up someone to take the fall.”
Salem’s expression relaxed as he was taken with Helpharon’s simple response. He nodded with a magnanimous smile.
“Yes, do that. But for one of the Evilesse Holy Knights to die… I think I heard that the last time around, but it’s strange.”
“I can’t be sure, but it appears that the same figure, ‘the Devil of Lania’, could be to blame.”
The Pope stepped on the woman that he had kicked onto the ground earlier as he clumsily picked up his clothes.
“… Helapharon, you’re getting funnier by the day. The Devil of Lania? Why are you pulling up some ancient existence from way back? It’s been, what? Twenty years? I’m not going to tremble in fear by the name of a monster from thirty years ago.”
“Even if you say it’s the Devil of Lania… wasn’t he just some Necromancer? He’ll be old at this point. Between an old fogey that lost his strength and a youthful me, who would win? Ah, unless he became a Lich with nothing but bones due to his age, hahaha!”
Helpharon lowered his head again and continued.
“It looks like he’s staying at the Kingdom of Aylans. I think you should delay the war for the bigger picture…”
Salem peered over at Helpharon.
“What about Akareal…?”
“I don’t need anything else. I just need her in my arms.”
Salem, who had just finished putting on his clothes, looked over at Helpharon bitterly.
“If it’s so hard beating the Kingdom of Aylans, we just have to assassinate that Devil of Lania or whoever that bastard is, first.”
“… Are you talking about using a Hero-grade warrior?”
“It’s not impossible. Even if the enemy is a powerful Hero…”
Pope Salem smiled warmly once again.
“Wouldn’t Archbishop Holffmann be able to face him?”
He was among one of the Archbishops, of which, only eight existed. They were the most powerful, but also the most evil existences within the Holy Kingdom. And there were rumors that they weren’t even human.
Salem tapped on Helpharon’s shoulder.
“Tell him, please. There is a heretic, so punish him accordingly.”
“He won’t be pleased. He’s already retired and is living quietly…”
“That’s why we’re requesting his help. There is someone that dares to threaten the Pope, after all.”
Helpharon sighed in response to Pope Salem’s explanation.
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