Overlord Light Novel, Volume 14: Prologue (Part 3)

overlord volume 14

Overlord Light Novel, Volume 14: Prologue (Part 3)

Volume 14: Prologue (Part 3)

Regarding the logistics. Due to a lack of protection for the caravans, if they were to be attacked by bandits or monsters, the responsibility for that would fall on the Sorcerous Kingdom. Hiring mercenaries would be the obvious solution, but the Sorcerous Kingdom proposed to simply install a flag that would make it extraordinarily obvious that those carriages belonged to them, apparently as some form of self-defense. The Kingdom, wishing to avoid unnecessary conflicts, agreed to the Sorcerous Kingdom’s proposals under the conditions that their undead are not to enter the Kingdom’s borders and that a transit tax must be paid. Looking back on it now, accepting it was undoubtedly an erroneous decision.

They had essentially allowed caravans hoisting the Sorcerous Kingdom’s flag to march through the royal capital in procession, all the way to the docks where they were bound for the Holy Kingdom. This clearly showed, to both domestic and foreign eyes, how weak the Kingdom appeared compared to the Sorcerous Kingdom. Nevermind the fact that the Sorcerous Kingdom appeared enthusiastic about such aid, and those shipments were frequent and continued on to this day.

If a nation’s dignity was lost bit by bit like this, sooner or later the Kingdom would have to choose between a full rebellion against the Sorcerous Kingdom or kneel in servitude to them. It’s theorized that the Empire had already experienced such an attack and was forced to choose the latter. It’s an insidious plot, but an undeniably effective one.

What’s worse is the fact that they were doing this in the name of humanitarian aid, it was virtually impossible for the Kingdom to refuse.

The Arch Fiend that had once turned the Kingdom’s capital upside down, the one who was eventually defeated by the Sorcerer King, Jaldabaoth, had led an army of demihumans to attack the Holy Kingdom. The Northern region had been torn asunder and was barely even recognizable. Compared to the damage sustained by the Kingdom, the Holy Kingdom suffered a worse fate. At least according to what Zanac heard.

Though the northern half of the Holy Kingdom was almost completely destroyed, its southern half was barely touched.

After the Holy Queen passed away and the new king ascended to the throne, the death of the nobles in the north caused general unrest in their lands, the nobles to the south began feuding internally, and other similar incidents caused quite a bit of trouble for the Holy Kingdom.

The simultaneous conflicts caused the two halves of the Holy Kingdom to fight over power and their own interests.

The result was delayed aid for the people of the north, some could not even reliably acquire food.

Their saving grace was the grain provided by the Sorcerous Kingdom, the grain that was being shipped from the Kingdom’s warehouses to the Holy Kingdom through land and sea routes.

{An absolutely brilliant plan}, Zanac thought.

In such dire straits, they had no time for scruples about where the food came from, even if it was from one of the undead.

“If it were us providing the food aid instead, the goodwill that the Sorcerer King has been receiving would have undoubtedly been ours. But… there’s no way we could do that in these conditions.”

What if that battle never happened?

No, at the bare minimum, if Jaldabaoth had not plundered all kinds of resources during the chaos in the royal capital they would at least be in a better position than they were now. If they had been the ones to provide the Holy Kingdom with food aid, there would be no way that undead’s reputation would be as good as it is now.

But that was not what happened. After receiving news of the new king’s coronation, the diplomat sent by the Kingdom was given the cold shoulder according to reports afterward. This wasn’t a cold war caused by national policies that antagonized neighboring countries. The relationship between the two countries had never been this bad during the reign of the late Holy Queen, Calca Bessarez.

Perhaps relations began souring before the grain shortage, back when the Kingdom refused to provide military support against Jaldabaoth’s invasion of the Holy Kingdom. That might’ve dealt a fatal blow to their relationship.

Of course, sending aid at that time was completely out of the question.

After all, it had been an even more chaotic time for the Kingdom due to the heavy losses inflicted by the powerful magic of the Sorcerer King, Ainz Ooal Gown. In addition, they had lost some of their most celebrated warriors, the most important of which was the Warrior Captain Gazef Stronoff, famed for being the strongest in the entire Kingdom. What aid could they have provided against such a powerful demon at that time?

Whatever they could say now would only sound like some bitter excuse from a heartless kingdom, but any other country in the same position as the Kingdom that received such a plea for help would respond in the same way. Only the Sorcerous Kingdom sent both military and domestic aid, so the Kingdom paled in comparison.

In fact, Northern Holy Kingdom had already become quite favourably inclined towards the Sorcerous Kingdom according to the diplomats.

“Problem after problem without solutions caused a delay in responding…”

It was at this moment when he could finally see the bigger picture and the equally bigger problem. Though this seemed to be the confluence of numerous coincidences, the situation could give one the false impression that everything was connected.

“No, could it be-”

“Onii-sama!”

“Oh! … oy sister. I can hear you alright, no need to shout. I’m not that old.”

“… because you’ve ignored your sister who’s standing right in front of you to drift off in your own thoughts, I’ll create some nasty memories for you as revenge. Or were you thinking about something?”

“Nothing…just…being a bit too paranoid.”

Renner turned towards him, her eyes filled with pity, “I’m not too sure, but that has to be it. You talk about negative things all the time, so naturally, every one of your trains of thought would inevitably veer towards the worst-case scenarios.”

That made sense.

“Maybe.”

“Mhm, that has to be it… About the Holy Kingdom, the schism between north and south means they’re only a step away from a civil war, right? If that’s the case, then which side will win? Though the exhausted north doesn’t seem to have a fighting chance at all…”

“Well, perhaps. The fact that someone of great renown from the north died is an influential factor. After all, that female paladin died too…”

“I don’t know much about that. Was it someone famous?”

“Mhm. From what I heard she could be tied with our Warrior Captain. She visited our Kingdom once, it’s a shame we couldn’t meet.”

Skipping the normal sequence of meetings to grant immediate audience to an unofficial envoy was not appropriate for both parties.

The royal family would be looked down upon if the meeting came too early. By the time diplomats made that judgment they had already left the capital.

If they knew what they do now, they should have set up a meeting with her no matter what. Perhaps it could’ve helped them gain a potential backup option for the future.

“Back then, your judgment was diplomatically correct. If it wasn’t for you telling me not to do it all the time, I would have thought that it was not that big of a deal to meet them. Having the king meet them right away would have definitely been inappropriate, but if a prince did so, it should have been fine.”

“Wasn’t it Onii-sama who made the final decision himself?…”

Renner pouted. It was an expression cute enough to easily win over the hearts of most men, a countless number of people had already fallen victim to it.

“Onii-sama is the current successor to the throne, but not everyone approves of you behind closed doors. Any possible cause of gossip, however small, must be avoided. It would trouble me a lot if you don’t secure the throne. Oh and causing a rebellion right now would be a problem as well. If that happens, you wouldn’t be able to fulfill your promise.”

“Mhm, that’s true…”

She did not disguise her intentions at all, but it was convincing nonetheless.

“Hm, normally this is how things would go… the Sorcerous Kingdom has been providing aid to the Northern Holy Kingdom, if all went according to their plans, they would have an easily manipulated country in their hands. Should we try to contact the south?”

If it was the Northern Holy Kingdom that was maintaining amicable relations with the Sorcerous Kingdom, then the south must view the Sorcerous Kingdom as their enemy. If the Kingdom were to form an alliance with the south, it was possible they could contain the Sorcerous Kingdom’s efforts somewhat.

“That’s true, it would certainly be a desirable development. There’s another reason the two halves are against each other, namely the faceless progenitor’s new teachings, that can’t be good for the Kingdom either.”

“Aaaaah, that one…”

The faceless one.

A nickname for the proselytizer who showed up after the chaos caused by Jaldabaoth. Though it appeared that her true name was made public, the nickname had already spread much further than her real name.

Her teaching, treasured by her many followers, was that “Weakness without the drive to improve one’s self is a sin, everyone must strive towards the goal of becoming stronger.” That was more or less an understandable concept for most people.

Though there was widespread support for her teachings in the north, it was not only unpopular but also shunned in the south.

However, this was the predictable outcome. To the ruling class, that kind of mentality would only invite instability to those who are at the top.

Perhaps that was the main reason why the nobles in the south, who still retained their authority, and the rapidly deteriorating north are at each other’s throats.

What was led by the faceless one was more of a community than a religion. Because of that, the Four Great Gods were still being worshipped as usual and problems with religious institutions never arose. At the same time, the newly crowned Holy King gave his acquiescence to the group, further dividing the north and the south.

“…by common sense, isn’t it odd to hide one’s face?”

Apparently the faceless one always appeared in public wearing a mask.