Chapter 64: Vol1 Ch64: Seth
The current Interkam was in total chaos with internal power struggles in every large organization.
The war had been ongoing for 7 years straight, but as soon as it began, Interkam had been stuck in an endless cycle of internal strife, leading to defeat after defeat in every single battle. After 7 years of this, the morale of Interkam's army had already reached its absolute bottom.
What was even more irritating was that the other small countries had also turned up to declare war on Interkam and sent soldiers to occupy Interkam's territories at their borders.
At this point in time, the Royas army had reached the final defense lines of Colomier, once Colomier fell, Interkam would essentially become a little girl that had been cornered into a dark alleyway, helpless to defend against anyone.
And yet, the entire country had no confidence in being able to defend Colomier. Even though Colomier had the geological advantage, the Royas army was simply too powerful, their morale, their equipment and their supplies all surpassed Interkam by several times.
It wasn't that Interkam was poor, but rather all of the country's wealth was concentrated in the pockets of the nobles and merchants, leading to Interkam barely having enough funds to maintain their army. Technically, if Interkam was able to pool its power together, then they still had a fighting chance, but if technicality could directly translate to reality, then there would be no such thing as strife in this world.
Tonight, a huge banquet was being hosted by a noble in Ingmarlo, as it had been for the last few days. In fact, if someone didn't know the situation, they would've thought that Interkam had won the war and a festival was being hosted in celebration.
Seth the First stood on the balcony of his palace, glancing down at the unnaturally prosperous castle city below. He could only smile bitterly.
Aristocrats were selfish creatures. In their eyes, the benefit of their own family outweighed everything else. They understood perfectly well what would happen if this country fell, they also knew that they would only lose more if Royas broke through the final defense lines and attacked. The aristocrats who lost their territories that were taking refuge here were the best proof of that, but if they were asked to provide the funds and people to protect their country without any reimbursement, the only possible answer was ‘NO'.
Aristocrats weren't stupid, on the contrary, as they had received education from a very young age, they were smarter than the majority of peasants. It was not that they couldn't see the terrible state that Interkam was in, they knew better than anyone else what state it was in, but as long as the Royas Kingdom's killing blade still hadn't come down on their necks, they would never regret a single thing.
Because they were nobles. Even if the Royas Kingdom completely took over Interkam, they would still be nobles. To rule over this country, they were necessary, because if the King relied on the foolish peasants instead, that would only cause the country to be plunged into more turmoil.
If these aristocrats completely bowed down to Seth the First who represented the Crown – which was the royal authority, and contributed manpower as well as wealth outside of their duties, that would mean that the Crown would have complete dominance over the aristocrats. This was something that these nobles would never allow to happen no matter what.
Nobles had the rights and responsibilities of nobles. After they had fulfilled their responsibilities, if the Crown wanted them to give up even more, then the Crown would need to give them more benefits. But at this point, the only thing Seth the First had was his throne, and it was simply not possible for him to give up the throne.
Seth the First held major responsibilities for turning the situation into what it is today. All those years ago, it was none other than him who instigated the internal conflict within the royal family to ascend to the Interkam throne. For the sake of this goal, he promised to grant many benefits to the aristocrats and obtained their backings.
But the things that he gave away couldn't be taken back, the aristocrats tightly held on to those benefits to the point that they wouldn't let go even if it meant the end for their country, because the benefit of their family outweighed everything else.
Seth the First couldn't do anything but watch as the nobles numbed themselves with their banquets and parties and pretended not to see the looming threat over their heads. But if one asked Seth if he regretted anything, he would reply that he wouldn't have regretted instigating the coup, rather, he had only regretted that he was too impatient. If only he had ascended in a more stable manner, he wouldn't have had to give up so many benefits.
"Your Majesty, the people of the Church of Divine Grace are here" an official nervously approached Seth the First and reported to him. Due to the war's situation, Seth the First's mood had been quite erratic recently. Although he might have seemed helpless in the war, he was still a King in charge of considerable power, and quite a few officials had already vanished without a trace.
"What are they here for?" during the royal family's internal struggle, these people acted impartially towards the chaos and even took advantage of it to prosper considerably. Before the war, they were completely supportive of putting a new King on the throne, but as the war became hopeless, these people instead turned to support him.
Seth the First knew exactly what the Church of Divine Grace was after. If it wasn't Royas who were invading Interkam, or if the envoy that the Church sent to Royas over a dozen years ago was successful, then the current Church of Divine Grace would have definitely remain impartial to the war.
Truthfully speaking, the people from the Church of Divine Grace could no longer be considered the part of Interkam. They represented a different class of people, the class that held ‘divine authority'. If it wasn't for Eldridge's disdain of their God, the Church of Divine Grace would never support him.
"I heard that it was because… of the Saintress of Salvation" the official hesitated a bit before he replied. He could still remember clearly how Seth went berserk when this prophecy first spread. He sent out his black ops to eliminate a large number of young girls from various royal branch families who fit the description, resulting in him offending many aristocrats. This was also one of the reasons why those aristocrats didn't want to help him right now.
The official had thought that Seth the First would become furious, but unexpectedly, Seth remained completely calm.
In that brief moment, the official almost felt like he saw the young Seth the First again. At the time, Seth could definitely be considered a great leader among leaders. Step by step, he pushed the royal family at the time into a dead-end and even obtained the support of most great forces in the continent at the time. If not for Eldridge, Seth could definitely be considered one of the greatest rulers in the history of Interkam.
In fact, at the start, Seth and Eldridge were considered equals, some even considered Seth to be a bit more praiseworthy. Afterall, Eldridge was already the crown prince of Royas, while Seth was only a small aristocrat from the Interkam royal branch family.
But being one step behind resulted in being every step behind. Seth's efforts still couldn't match up to Eldridge's background. The impatient Seth believed that he would be able to gradually unite Interkam under his rule after he ascended the throne, but he failed.
Where he stagnated and couldn't move forward any longer, Eldridge did not, and now Eldridge became the one who held the absolute advantage, leaving behind the rival who was once on the same level, or perhaps even slightly ahead of him.
"I've already reached the end of my rope" Seth the First commented, naturally, he could choose to give up on his throne right now. With the power he was in charge of, even without the throne, he could be the leader of a considerable organization, but Seth would rather die than do such a thing, as that was his pride as a King.
"Who is the envoy from the Church?" Seth the First asked.
"Luen Donner" the official sighed in relief and replied: "A newly appointed Cardinal of the Church, as well as the eldest son of the Donner family"
"Call him in" Seth helplessly said. At this point, as long as it wasn't the throne, he could agree to compromise on anything.