Chapter 240: Right and Wrong
Philos Trait, the ruler of the autonomous city of Philos, was unknowingly biting her lips in the office.
Her white eye reflected the piece of parchment sent by the Heraldic Order. Seeing the Heraldic symbol stamped on it meant that it was not a forged document.
The content engraved in the parchment was not that different from what Philos Trait had expected. In other words, it forced her to make a decision.
…Would she cooperate with the invisible Heraldics, or would she fall along with the city?
"Will I die here now, or will I extend my life a little longer and die later?" Philos thought she was facing two obvious predicaments. The result was the same regardless of whether she chose the worst or the worst of the worst.
"Even if I take the hand of the Heraldic Order, I can only escape the danger for a while. The moment the main corps of the Great Holy Church approach this land, both the city of Philos and the Heraldic Order will be overthrown by the giant named Great Holy Church."
Philos thought it would be difficult to choose a siege or do other fortified tactical means against the main corps of the Great Holy Church.
The area around here had already entered the full-fledged cold season. In the northern part of the continent, the appearance of white cloth was already visible. No matter how huge the sacred religion was, snow would certainly hinder a large army. Philos Trait felt her white eye stiffening and her fingertips slightly numbing.
No matter how many rumors were created, the Great Holy Church was defeated by the Heraldic Order. The giant that resembled a dragon was defeated by a lizard named Heraldic Order.
Once could mean an accident. But twice, could no longer be considered just fate.
For the Great Holy Church, the next defeat would not be tolerated. People at the upper level of the Great Holy Church understood that well. That was why they would not dispatch a large-scale army next time.
They would try to gather enough strength and morale during the cold season, so that their hatred for the Heraldics would increase. Now, they have decided to wait for the snow to scatter.
Then, suddenly, the life of the city of Philos would begin to fall to the bottom of the earth.
This place was a city with given autonomy. Of course, it had a certain amount of troops to protect itself from night thieves and bandits. The troops used in the Battle of Sanyo were at best within the range of Philos Trait’s private army.
If Philos Trait officially used the troops of the city, they would be able to fight properly. Rather, most of the Heraldic soldiers were injured in the previous battle. Then, if Philos could get around well, it would be possible to have an advantage.
Nonetheless, no matter how well Philos’ soldiers did it, they wouldn’t win. Philos Trait felt something tenacious crawling from the bottom of her viscera.
"After all, the soldiers know. The Great Holy Church army was swallowed by the Heraldic army. It showed an existence of a crazy devil who penetrates the army and pierces through the skull." Unknowingly, Philos Trait’s spine tightened. Her tongue felt uncomfortable.
"The defeat of the Great Holy Church is devastating to the morale of the city soldiers. I’m sure their spirits won’t uplift soon because of that outcome."
"Is it possible to lead a war without that fever? War is a ritual that strikes the heat of people’s madness. Without heat and without the will to crush the enemy, you cannot win."
Besides, there was another reason why they must avoid war. Philos lightly touched her chin as she immersed in her thoughts. As her body slowly moved back at the office chair, she realized that it was about time.
The sound of a knock hit the door several times. "Come in", said Philos in a stiff voice. She was informed in advance there would be a visitor today. There was someone who could take away the diplomatic means of war from her.
The clerk’s quiet voice echoed. And then, he showed up from the end of the door.
「Sovereign Philos Trait. I am honored to meet you. 」
「Thank you for your hard work. Let’s get to the point right away. 」
At the end of the door, Roseau, the representative of the People’s Assembly Hall, was dressed in formal attire and bowed his head reverently.
The birth of Roseau was not a celebratory occasion.
Roseau did know his father’s name, and he did not even remember his mother’s face. Born from the belly of a lowly prostitute, Roseau did not have a parent-child relationship nor did he have his own name. Therefore, he didn’t know his name no matter how hard he thought about it. When someone called him "Hey", he understood that it was directed to him. If he didn’t understand it, he would be struck with hot iron on his cheek.
By the time his hands and feet began to move, Roseau was moving around as a servant of the brothel. His main job was to keep washing sheets that would get dirty, kill lice endlessly, and be beaten by bad-tempered customers. It was a natural routine for Roseau, and he didn’t question it much.
There was certainly nothing in Roseau’s heart at that time. He didn’t think for himself, and maybe his emotions were lost. He just moved when he was called, and didn’t move unless he was called. His body and soul were oppressed. Roseau remembered that he only ate muddy soup and bread that was about to damage his teeth.
Yes, he had nothing, nor money, status, bloodline, nor even power. God did not give anything to Roseau.
The only thing he was given was the teaching to live correctly by God’s will.
「I am aware of the ruler’s workload. And I am just the spokesperson for the People’s Assembly Hall. I do not dare have a mouth to exchange words with you directly.」
Roseau moved his lips and tongue in order to speak. His voice was strangely powerful and heavy. Such voice echoed through the room, shaking Philos Trait’s earlobes. Perhaps, because of how he used his voice, Roseau’s words slip through her head.
Philos Trait nodded a little to encourage Roseau to continue, and turned her gaze from the parchment in front of her to Roseau.
The white and emotionless eye pierced Roseau’s face. He took that hard gaze that was directed to himself to his chest just as he was used to, and said.
「You’ve agreed to cooperate and sent troops to the Great Holy Church army. As a result, our autonomous city of Philos suffered a painful damage. There is an argument in the People’s Assembly Hall that we can no longer participate in the war.」
I know, Philos Trait shook her lips and nodded. She was saying that she knew about it without asking.
However, Roseau thought the same thing. The ruler was well aware that hearing the opinions of the People’s Assemble Hall did not mean that her attitude would change immediately. It had been like this and would continue to be so.
That was why people like Roseau came out.
Roseau opened his lips, blinking his peculiar, cold eyes. As he said, he had no authority to speak to Philos Trait. His lips just conveyed the decision of the People’s Assembly Hall.
「Therefore, the People’s Assembly Hall says that you can lay down spears with the Heraldics, cooperate, or, of course, succumb…」
「…If I make a decisive refusal, so to speak. I am aware of that.」
Sitting in the office chair, Philos Trait was no longer interested. Therefore, she took her eyes off Roseau and looked at the parchment again.
Roseau understood that his words were unreasonable. They wanted Philos to avoid cooperation with the Heraldic religion, but at the same time, they did not want Philos to engage in the war. Was it possible to follow such convenient path? The city of Philos was clearly hostile against the Heraldic religion.
Rather, if such a convenient path really existed, then this world would have been wonderful. Wishes came true, there was true salvation, and extended hands were received. It would have been a beautiful world.
However, there was no such thing anywhere in the world.
The current state of the autonomous city of Philos was full of thorns. No matter which option you grabbed and pulled in, its limbs would be entwined beyond salvation.
In fact, Roseau was impressed with this girl, Philos Trait, who showed a strong will in her eyes even thought she was in a perilous position. If it were Philos’ former rulers, they would have been in exile in the Gharast Kingdom long ago, or they would have swung their tails to Heraldic religion early on.
However, this girl was still sitting in a chair named "Ruler", clenching her teeth while trying to choose the best of the worst.
She was the wonderful mirror of a ruler, the righteous one that the Great Holy Church often preached about. One would even say "hurrah". If she was not the right person for the job, then who would it be?
Except for the fact that such righteousness was of no use.
Roseau received Philos Trait’s words and said with a friendly smile.
「The above is just the consensus from the People’s Assembly Hall. Our citizens hope that our ruler, Philos Trait, will choose a better path.」
Roseau murmured in his chest, wondering if this girl would continue to choose the right path.