Genjitsushugisha no Oukokukaizouki - Volume 2 - Chapter Ep1

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Prologue to the Post-war Period

 The Gran Chaos Empire was in the west of the continent.

 On this continent, if you excluded the Demon Lord’s Domain, this state had the largest territory. When it came to population, war potential, technology, and even the quality of life for its people, it was a great empire to which no other country could compare.

 Even the Elfrieden Kingdom, which had the second-largest territory on the continent, was insignificant compared to the Empire. If the kingdom wanted to compete with the Empire, even after annexing Amidonia, they would still need to double their strength.

 In fact, that calculation only worked if they were fighting the Empire alone. If they made enemies of the Empire’s allied countries, too, there would be no room left for them on the continent.

 About the only area where the kingdom could compete with the Empire was in how far back their histories went. The Empire was younger than the kingdom, though only by a little.

 It had happened towards the end of the Chaotic Period. There had been conflict between the many diverse races of the continent, and many countries had suddenly risen to power. Unlike Elfrieden, which was founded by the coming together of many races, the Chaos Kingdom of the time was ruled by a single king. He centralized power, concentrating it in the hands of the human race, and created what might be called a dictatorship.

 Especially in troubled times, centralized states are more powerful. This is because the decisions made by a single individual are immediately reflected, so they can make swift decisions and act immediately. By the time the Chaotic Period was drawing to an end, the Chaos Kingdom stood head and shoulders above the other nations on the continent. However, at that point, it was just one power among many. The people back then would never have thought it would become the sort of massive empire it was today.

 The biggest revolution came around one hundred years ago, with the birth of a heroic individual in the Chaos Kingdom.

 Manas Chaos.

 The person who would later come to be known as Emperor Chaos.
 Manas was born as the second son of the King of Chaos, but he inherited the throne when his father and elder brother perished in the war with the Euphoria Kingdom, a country which existed in the northwest of the continent. When Manas took the throne, those around him naturally expected a war of revenge against the Euphoria Kingdom.

 However, Manas not only didn’t launch a war for revenge, he also took the King of Euphoria’s daughter as his wife, forming a marital bond between the two countries. What was more, he went as far as renaming himself Manas Euphoria, so those in the Euphoria Kingdom let down their guards.

 There was some resistance to this in the Chaos Kingdom, but Manas was a military genius and suppressed all of the dissenters.

 As a military genius, Manas understood. Right now, the gap in power between the Euphoria Kingdom and his own wasn’t that large. If they were to fight in these circumstances, the war would be drawn out and it would only succeed in exhausting the country.

 His plan was to first use the King of Euphoria, absorb the smaller countries around them, and then, once the difference in power between them was overwhelmingly in his favor, he would try to swallow the Euphoria Kingdom again.

 In fact, Manas did absorb the smaller countries, and then, when the difference in power between them was great enough, he invaded the Euphoria Kingdom, his wife’s home, and destroyed it.

 However, perhaps out of some small feeling of regret, even after he destroyed the Euphoria Kingdom, he didn’t return to his former name of Chaos and continued to use the Euphoria name. Even now, the imperial family of the Gran Chaos Empire used the Euphoria name.

 Even after destroying the Euphoria Kingdom, Manas continued with his wars of invasion, and before he knew it, his country had become a large nation controlling the west of the continent. This was when the Chaos Kingdom renamed itself the Gran Chaos Empire.

 The appearance of this massive country was a cause of great concern even to countries that didn’t neighbor it.

 This happened some decades later, but in the Elfrieden Kingdom, the reason that the king who was Souma’s predecessor’s predecessor had taken the path of expansionism was out of fear over the existence of the Empire.

 The world had already been transitioning towards an atmosphere of cooperation then, but he must have wanted to strengthen his own country before the threat that was the Empire closed in on him. However, lacking the genius of Manas, when that former King of Elfrieden had seized half of Amidonia, his followers who were unhappy about the exhaustion of the country that had come from his excessive expansion assassinated him.

After that, the kingdom saw a succession war between his relatives (the three dukes of the time didn’t want to get involved, so they secluded themselves in their duchies) which led to the near-elimination of the royal line.

 In the end, the young girl who would later become Liscia’s mother survived the troubles, inherited the throne, and managed to make things settle down in the kingdom by taking Albert as her husband.

 Let’s get back to talking about the Empire.

 The Empire had become a great power and was even looking at unifying the continent, but the core figure in all of this, Manas, had passed away at the age of fifty, when he still could have done more. There were rumors of assassination, but the truth is that it was illness. Not even such a great man could defeat illness.

 With the death of Manas, the situation in the Empire began to look dubious. When a country is built around a strong personality, it often fractures when that strong personality is lost. There have been examples of this on Earth, too. There were Alexander the Great’s empire, the Mongol Empire, Qin Shi Huang’s Qin Dynasty, and more. The faster a country expands, the more likely it is to fracture before three generations have passed. It was the same with the Gran Chaos Empire.

 The second emperor, thanks in part to Manas’s loyal associates still being alive, ruled the Empire with a steady hand. However, by the time the third emperor ascended the throne, those loyal attendants had passed away.

 Partly because it was a country centered around humans, there were no vassals of other races, such as Excel, who had served the royal family for generations. As a result, the third emperor launched new invasions in an attempt to gain the support of his retainers. He must have wanted to show people both inside and outside the country that he could continue Manas’s work of unifying the continent.

 However, the war that had broken out sixty years ago had turned into a world-wide war, with many countries being exhausted as a result. The Empire was no exception. With the unexpectedly high war costs ruining the country, it had damaged the support it had been trying to build.

 There were repeated civil wars in the Empire, and the third emperor died at the hands of rebels during the fourth such war. Ironically, it was actually because of the losses inflicted in the war that the third emperor started in on an attempt to carry on the work of unification, one which caused the world to shift towards an atmosphere of greater cooperation.

 The fourth emperor, who had inherited an empire in disarray, abandoned the expansionist policies and focused on domestic politics. It could have been called a wise decision, but he was called too passive and was looked down on by the lords of the empire.

 When the fifth emperor took the throne, the Empire had already lost its centripetal force, and it was thought it would soon break up. However, roughly ten years ago, something completely unexpected had happened.

 The appearance of the Demon Lord’s Domain.

 The sudden advance of these aberrant armies caused the Empire to lose the former territory of the Euphoria Kingdom along with many of its other northern territories. However, the threat was the same for all countries, leading to calls for mankind to unite in the face of this situation.

 And so, they turned to the largest, most powerful nation, the Empire, for leadership. As a result, the Empire managed to avoid the threat of division.

 They became the leading power in the alliance of mankind’s nations, but, owing to the fact that mankind wasn’t working in unison at first, they were forced into a hard battle against the monsters. Then, in a battle during the invasion that pushed deep into the Demon Lord’s Domain, mankind suffered a crushing defeat.

 The fifth emperor was a man of culture, not gifted in the art of war. As a result of the unfamiliar battlefield grinding him down, body and soul, he had passed away five years ago.

 The fifth emperor had no boys, so the one to inherit the throne was a girl who was still only fourteen at the time.

 That girl was Maria Euphoria.

 Now, at the age of nineteen, she was the empress of the Grand Chaos Empire (“emperor” being a title for males, the position had been newly created.)

 At the time, there had been many voices concerned that such a young girl was to take the throne. However, once she did take the throne, she immediately put her natural charisma to work.

 She first changed the human-favoring Empire policies, employing those with talent even if they belonged to another race. In peace time, the humans might have pushed back against that, but this was a time of crisis with the threat of the Demon Lord’s Domain bearing down on them. Their positions and prestige were dependent on their survival.

 Her policies, which were suited to the current era, received the support of her subjects.

 Included in Maria’s policies was the one said to be her greatest, the Declaration of Mankind’s Common Front Against the Demon Race (also known as the Mankind Declaration).

 In response to the encroaching threat of the Demon Lord’s Domain, she called for a common front between all mankind.

 The Mankind Declaration with its three articles, “The acquisition of territory by force between the nations of mankind is deemed inadmissible,” “the right of all peoples to equality and self-determination will be respected,” and “countries that are distant from the Demon Lord’s Domain will provide support to those nations which are adjacent to it and are acting as a defensive wall,” was revolutionary in that it not only established a common front against the forces of the Demon Lord, but also made reference to stopping wars and forbidding racial discrimination.

 Also, Maria gave her undivided attention to saving the weak. With her beautiful appearance and the gentle disposition she greeted everyone with, regardless of their background, she seized the hearts of the people.

 At some point, the people naturally came to call her this:

 The “Saint of the Empire.”

 ◇ ◇ ◇

 That Saint of the Empire, Maria, was now in her room in the imperial capital of the Gran Chaos Empire with a gloomy look on her face.

 It was a quiet night. There was something transient about the way she looked as she stood next to the window with moonlight streaming in, not bothering to turn the lights on. Her feminine, well-balanced figure was wrapped in a pure white dress, and she looked beautiful with her wavy blond hair.

 Who would have believed that she stood at the top of the most powerful state on the continent?

 As Maria looked through the glass at the moon shining in the night sky, she let out another sigh. At that moment, there was a knock at the door to her room.

 Maria corrected her posture, then said, “Come in.”

 Another young girl entered. “Excuse me, sister.”

 This girl was clad in a military uniform, and had a face that looked identical to Maria’s.

 If there was a difference between them, it was that she tied her hair back in a ponytail and that her eyes looked slightly more courageous. It was only natural that they would look similar, because she was Maria’s sister who was two years younger, Jeanne Euphoria.

 Jeanne stood in front of her sister, giving her a salute. “I, Jeanne Euphoria, will head to the Amidonian capital, Van, as commander of the Army.”

 Jeanne had such a great gift for the military that she was called “the female Manas,” and despite being first in the line of succession, she also acted as the commander of the entire Army.

 Maria handled the administrative side while Jeanne handled the military. By dividing the roles between these two sisters, they had managed to handle the tasks which had made the previous emperor collapse from being overworked.

 Incidentally, there was another sister who was one year younger than Jeanne, but according to rumors she was a rare eccentric and not allowed out in public.

Maria looked at Jeanne apologetically. “Yes... You’ll be meeting with that hero king.”

 “...Yes,” said Jeanne. “I don’t like being used like this by Amidonia, but I suppose we’ll have to negotiate the return of Van, which is under occupation.” Jeanne looked as if she’d just bitten into something unpleasant.

 A messenger from the sovereign prince of Amidonia, Julius, had arrived in the imperial capital, Valois, just a few days prior.

 “The occupation of Van by the Elfrieden Kingdom is a challenge to signatories of the Mankind Declaration, which forbids the changing of borders,” the messenger had told them. “As the leading power of the treaty, we ask that Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Maria Euphoria, use her power to take Van back from that country.”

 Of course, the Empire knew that the Principality of Amidonia had been the one to initiate hostilities. When pressed on that point, the messenger had said, “That is something the former prince, Lord Gaius, did despite Lord Julius’s warnings to the contrary. It has nothing to do with Lord Julius.” The excuse sounded almost defiant.

 When he spoke to them like that, Jeanne nearly drew the sword at her hip, but as the one in charge of the Empire’s military, she restrained herself. Then, despite really not wanting to, she agreed to take over the negotiations.

 Even if the principality was at fault, the Mankind Declaration had to be respected. The Mankind Declaration was the embodiment of the Empire’s prestige. It was a bitter decision for Maria and Jeanne to have to make.

 “I’m sorry,” Maria said. “Making you go to all this trouble.”

 “What are you saying? I’m sure you’re the one troubled most by this, sister. I swear we’ll make Julius Amidonia pay for this someday,” Jeanne spat.

 Maria could understand how Jeanne felt, but she told her in the calmest tone possible, “It will be fine. The Elfrieden Kingdom’s new king, Souma, is by all accounts a wise man. I can’t see him being so foolish as to fight with our country.”

 “Are you sure?” Jeanne asked. “We once demanded he be handed over to us...”

 “True... He must have a bad impression of us.”

 Roughly half a year before, the Empire had requested that Elfrieden provide subsidies for the war against the demons. If they couldn’t do that, the Empire had included a condition wherein they could carry out the ritual of hero summoning which was passed down in their country, and turn that summoned hero over to the Empire instead. As a result, the financially troubled Elfrieden Kingdom had chosen to summon a hero.

Then the summoned hero, Souma Kazuya, had been given the throne by the king and become the current King of Elfrieden.

 There were many points that remained unclear, such as why the former king, Albert, had handed over the throne so easily, but Souma had improved the health of the Elfrieden Kingdom’s economy and begun to provide subsidies.

 Since then, the new king Souma had solved a food crisis, put down a rebellion by the three dukes, and dealt with Amidonia, which had used the rebellion as an opportunity to invade, by launching a counter invasion and occupying their capital, Van.

 A man who was close in age to Maria had accomplished all of that in a short time. Even if he hadn’t been a hero, she would want someone that capable for herself.

 To be honest, rather than Julius who had acted arbitrarily, she would have preferred to be on friendly terms with King Souma. However, because the Empire had demanded he be turned over to them, it was assumed that there was no hope of them forming a friendly relationship. However, Maria hadn’t given up hope yet.

 “From what I hear in the reports, I think Sir Souma is the type who will understand if we talk to him,” she said.

 Jeanne, on the other hand, disagreed with her assessment. “You do? I feel the opposite, sister. You and he are like oil and water...”

 From all the reports Jeanne had heard about Souma, she felt like he was Maria’s polar opposite. For instance, Maria was trying to unite mankind in the face of the threat from the Demon Lord’s Domain, while Souma seemed to be thinking his country needed to be able stand on its own two feet first.

 Also, no matter how unpleasant things got, Maria respected the law and rules, trying to act logically, like an empress should. Meanwhile, for Souma, when it came to his powers as king, his subjects, and systems, his policy seemed to be, “If they’re useful, I use them, and if they’re not, I don’t,” with his criteria for which was which being decided by his own sensibilities. If a system wasn’t in line with the facts, he would change it, while if it was practical, he’d employ it even if no one had ever looked at it before.

 Maria acted according to logic, while Souma acted according to his feelings. Jeanne didn’t think the two of them would ever understand one another.

 “To me, it feels like you two are facing in entirely different directions...” she said.

 Maria was silent for a moment, then giggled. “Oh, but if we’re both facing different directions, don’t you think we could eliminate our blind spots if we cooperate?”

 When she saw Maria’s mischievous smile, even as her little sister, Jeanne thought she was very cute.

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