Home Post 1152-chapter-16


In the grand council hall of Arachrene, crucial matters of the house were debated. With ten elders present, discussions were often intense.

“Why should we oppose the Imperial family? Disbanding the army would be more beneficial for us. Haven’t we clashed enough with the Imperial family over this issue?”

“That’s impossible. We’ve grown strong because we maintained an army and monopolized military goods…. Disbanding the Arachrene army would mean losing Arachrene status.”

Marquis Crender and Count Charlotte took turns to speak.

Duchy Arachrene, the only house authorized to maintain private soldiers among the noble houses, managed the empire’s largest military supply business.

This privilege was a sufficient reason to distance themselves from the Imperial family. The imperial family viewed their military capabilities as a potential threat, especially since the current peaceful state of the Decler Empire contrasted starkly with the chaotic times under the previous emperor.

“The empire is now at peace. Shouldn’t the Arachrene family consider a new direction? I agree with Marquis Crender.”

Marquis Asili softly said as he quietly listened to the elders’ opinions. His eyes were sharp despite his gentle smile.

“This tension is also hindering our expansion into the capital.”

“…I’m at my wit’s end too. The subtle pressure to give up the exclusive rights to military supplies trading is causing not just one or two but numerous difficulties.”

Count Atran said while sitting disheartenedly.

Those arguing for the disbandment of private troops were mainly elders from collateral families involved in military goods trading.

Listening to the elders’ complaints, Archmond was frustrated.

This topic was a recurring issue at every meeting, but today, there seemed to be a concerted effort to push their agenda.

‘It was likely due to the Crown Prince’s birthday approaching.‘

“…It was easier to argue when the young duke was on the frontier, but now it’s tricky.”

Marquis Crender remarked loudly as if intending for all to hear. That was one reason Fernore had been on the frontline. It was the question of what role the Arachrene family played in the peaceful empire.

“How about we get closer to the Imperial family this time?”

Count Atran cautiously opened his mouth.

“With the Crown Prince’s birthday approaching… it seems like a good opportunity.”

A silence fell over the council hall as the proposition that no one had dared to voice was laid out.

Archmond’s expression turned icy. The current emperor was known to feel inferior to the unique abilities of the Arachrene lineage. It was unthinkable to bow down to such a dangerous person, especially without knowing what they might demand as proof of loyalty.

This might potentially endanger the Arachrene family.

“I disapprove.”

“…If we’re not careful, this could permanently block the Arachrene family’s entry into the capital.”

Marquis Asili gently supported Count Atran’s argument.

Duchy Arachrene was currently blocked from expanding to the capital. It was because it hadn’t renounced its military rights, thereby being declared unable to influence the empire’s broader issues.

It made sense.

It aimed to prevent excessive concentration of power in a single place. Following the imperial decree, the Duchies relinquished their military powers one by one as their hands and feet were tied.

Currently, in the Decler Empire, the Arachrene family stood as the sole noble house still having their own army. Of course, this didn’t mean they passively endured the imperial family’s pressure. With various collateral families within the Duchy, they had the means to exert influence whenever they decided to.

“It makes sense. A permanent blockage from the capital would indeed be problematic.”

The quiet Fernore finally spoke up. As he responded positively, a few elders nodded in agreement.

“Yes, that’s true. Therefore, attending the coronation ceremony for the Crown Prince’s birthday could be a good gesture.”

Rocinante agreed.

As the two people, who had been quiet, suddenly started talking, Archmond frowned, not knowing what they were doing.

“How good it is to always celebrate the brat’s birthdays.”

Fernore suddenly retorted sarcastically.

The room fell silent again, unable to grasp Fernore’s inscrutable attitude. The elders exchanged wary glances, perhaps suspecting another trap.

Memories of Fernore’s atrocities past as the Young Duke resurfaced. He skillfully feigned support, only to betray them at the last minute. They recalled the frustration of being eagerly swayed by his agreement, only to be met with his cunning rebuttals.

“Really? That’s disappointing. I was actually considering siding with your opinions this time.”

This frustrating situation unfolded once more.

‘Oh no, I’d forgotten about that!’

Count Atran grimaced, covering his face as a tense silence began to fill the hall.

Fernore, who had been silently observing with his arms crossed, suddenly let out a hollow laugh, causing the elders to start nervously.

“Indeed, taking this opportunity to consider advancing towards the central power might not be such a bad idea after all.”


Marquis Crender leaned forward in disbelief.

“It might be good to remind everyone who has been maintaining the peace of the empire until now.”

Fernore uttered with a slight smile.

The Imperial family would soon realize just how much the Arachrene family had been holding back and whom they had dared to challenge.

“The Crown Prince would be very pleased.”

Fernore nonchalantly added. Until now, the Arachrene family had never shown interest in attending imperial events that did not involve the emperor directly.

If this news reached the capital…

‘We need to act quickly before it spreads.’

The elders thought.

Archmond, having observed the meeting, clicked his tongue in annoyance.

‘Such fools.’

They hadn’t realized the game Fernore was playing and happily walked into his trap.

With just one declaration of attending the Crown Prince’s investiture ceremony, Fernore had achieved three things.

First, the elders who had been secretly collaborating with the Imperial family were now internally conflicted. Until now, they might have risked danger for the gains from their connection with the Imperial family, but if the Arachrene family were to create a foothold for advancing to the capital…

‘They would be able to gain much more than what was offered by the Imperial family.’

Doing things secretly on their own versus collaborating with the Arachrene family would now seem far more beneficial. Fernore was nudging them to naturally sever their ties with the Imperial family.

Second, he had directly identified those whose interests were more important to themselves. Marquis Crender, Count Atran, and Marquis Asili were among them.

And for those among the elders, who he would keep…

‘Was it Ian Charlotte?’

He was a young count who stood against these three elders, thinking of the Arachrene family’s welfare until the end. Archmond had taken a special note of him.

Lastly, what Fernore gained was…

“Thinking about it, attending the investiture ceremony would indeed please the Crown Prince. After all, there’s widespread talk that the Arachrene family supports the Crown Prince.”

Rocinante mentioned.

The elders stiffened at the mention of ‘voting rights.’