Chapter 54: New Empire
I looked at the gathered rulers of the puny human nations as they looked at me, mouths half-open. I looked down and saw my favorite human walk up to me with a wide smile on her face.
“Did everything go well?” Cecilia asked with a warm smile.
“Very, by the way, this is yours,” I said as I reached into a small gap in the armor plate on my waist. I pulled out Cecilia’s little storage artifact and levitated it over to Cecilia.
Cecilia took the cube and she summoned out the contents. Then in her hand appeared a set of five snow white flowers, the Snow Orchids she wanted from the top of the mountain.
“Ohh… the deal was one…” Cecilia said as she took a sniff from the flowers.
“Well the one I found had four more next to it so I thought why not.” I replied with a shrug.
“Thank you friend. I will take good care of this.” Cecilia said as she beckoned to a nearby servant who bought a vase. I watched Cecilia put the flowers in the vase before casting a spell on it. Most likely it was a spell to preserve it…
“Now then friend may I introduce…” Cecilia said as she gestured to the rulers standing behind her and began introducing them one by one.
I noted how the one in armor, the one in mage robes and the woman looked impressed. The king called Edric seemed pissed and the other one called Leon was just scared.
“So I guess it’s time for you all to decide what you all want to do with the whole Tralis problem.” I said as I began moving forward with Cecilia walking beside me. The rulers all parted way as we moved past them as we moved towards this open sitting area.
I saw my designated spot… ohhhh the giant cushion is done… SWEET!
But first I gotta do something…
I looked over at the great men and women of Tralis as they sat down at their seats around this round marble table. I looked around at the six invisible figures hovering around the table. You might think security is bad here but usually there are these special mages protecting important individuals. These mages are called Scryer Mages, they were specifically trained to detect invisible intruders and are trained in a myriad of defensive spells to protect their charges…
And Cecilia didn’t use them at all…
The reason was simple, my Adjutants can beat any Scryer Mage in terms of surveillance and they could kill attackers much more effectively. She had put some Scryer Mages around the table but she told them not to activate their Scrying Spells. These spells would cause their eyes to glow so they were very obvious to an observer. She told me beforehand it was some trick to make it look like she trusted the other rulers.
Politics is so tedious…
As for what those invisible guys are… assassins I think, well I don’t like sneaky fuckers. Judging by their equipment… Well Cecilia did say she was going to intentionally piss off that Tralis idiot. But didn’t he want to fuck her or something? Maybe these guys are supposed to follow her and then kidnap her?
Yeah I think that’s it, they seem to be focusing on hiding. They are probably here to gather information and then grab Cecilia if possible. Legiana knows they are here and the Adjutants are on standby so they aren’t leaving this place alive with or without my presence here.
Well I guess this is one way to get the meeting started…
I sent a mental command to the Adjutants to prepare to kill or capture them.
“Do you desire any of them alive my king?” I heard Legiana ask in the hive mind.
“Yeah, leave one… that one… it looks like that one’s the leader.” I replied into the hive mind.
“Friend, are you not going to take a seat?” Cecilia asked curiously.
“Yeah hang on a sec, I need to deal with something first…” I replied as blades appeared from the chests of the assassins.
A son of one of the Kings screamed in fear as one of the assassins was right next to him. I watched as he stood from his seat eyes wide in horror as the assassin gurgled blood dribbling out of the corner of his mouth, a long white blade protruding from his chest.
I believe that was the shitty prince, the son of… what was it? Ah yes King Leo… no Leon of Arune. Ah whatever, I don’t care. It’s not that I can’t remember, it’s that I barely register their names since they mean so little to me. If I recall he was… shit… yes that’s the word… shit…
Well as long as I don’t have to interact with him he can be as shitty as he wants, I don’t care either way…
“Ah assassins… or perhaps kidnappers?” Cecilia remarked casually as she took a seat.
“Most likely kidnappers, your grace.” Queen Yatheria said calmly as she gazed at the Adjutant next to her with interest as it extracted it’s blade from the assassin's chest and dumped his twitching body to the side like a bag of garbage.
“Bring that one to me…” I said lazily as I laid down on the cushion.
Ohhh this is comfy!
I watched as two Adjutants dragged the last struggling assassin towards me before forcing him to his knees in front of me.
“Now, I’ll make this simple, who sent you?” I said as I looked down at the struggling idiot.
“Go to hell monster!” the assassin shouted in response.
“That idiot in Tralis? Is he that much of a degenerate that he can’t keep it in his pants for a season?” I asked dryly and I saw him snarl in anger at the comment.
Anger, indignation? Dead giveaway…
“Ah temper temper, Tralis it is then…” I said with a laugh as the assasin’s eyes widened in shock.
“How long do you think I’ve been around you humans? Half of you can barely shit in the right place let alone control your emotions.” I said airily..
“Ptu…” the assassin then proceeded to spit at me and the wad of saliva landed on the cushion.
Did you just spit on my cushion?
I growled as I sat up and loomed over him. I saw his eyes widen as his breathing quickened. This was a gift, a very nice gift… oh I’m in a bad mood now…
“Break his legs… and arms…” I growled and my Adjutants obeyed. Next the sound of snapping bone and screams of pain echoed out into the garden.
“I’ll never talk!” the assassin shouted as he groaned in pain.
“Oh you think that was to make you talk? I haven’t even asked you a question. That was for spitting on my cushion…” I said as I fired a spine into each of his mangled legs, the spines sank in right above the knee and pinned his legs to the ground.
“That was to make you talk. Now why are you here?” I asked as I magically forced the spines deeper into his legs to a blood curdling scream.
“GO TO HELL!” the Assassin shouted in response.
Normally Assassins like them would try to kill themselves by biting their tongue or something but with so many mages nearby. Nothing short of decapitation was going to actually kill him.
“Alright…” I growled as I reached down and grabbed his torso. I pulled him up and I heard his legs tearing apart due to my spines pinning them down. The sound of bone cracking and flesh-tearing sounded out as I tore his torso right off his legs.
“Listen here you deflated snail, I suggest you start talking or you are going to beg me to kill you…” I snarled at his face. But then I noticed he was slowly going pale from the blood loss.
I turned my head to Cecilia and she calmly raised a hand to cast a spell. Her hand glowed and healed his stumps shut. I guess full regeneration wasn’t needed here…
“Now then… I have so many ways to hurt you, you have no idea what pain is. If you tell me I’ll kill you quickly, if not I’m going to turn you into a meat puppet.
Then when I roll over your pathetic little nation I will find your family, friends, wife, children, whatever it is you care about and I’ll make them watch as you dance a little meat puppet jig while naked. Then I’ll kill them and I’ll make sure there’s still enough of you left in your empty skull for you to understand what is happening…
You won’t die, I’ll turn you into something else, maybe my personal jester, I could use a new table to hold my things… or perhaps some kind of ornament…” I said and I saw his pupils dilate in terror.
“Five, four, three…” I said as I started to count and I saw panic start to set in.
“We were to gather intelligence and kidnap the Queen!” the assassin shouted in panic.
“Anything else?” I asked as I squeezed slightly and he gasped for breath.
“No…” he rasped out.
Well he wasn’t lying… and that was the most likely reason…
“Alright.” I said as I opened my mouth and tossed him in.
I chewed but I suddenly felt something hard. Oh right… he probably hid a dagger on him somewhere…
I reached into my mouth and pulled out the mangled piece of metal before calmly flicking it off the side into the grass.
As I turned around I saw Cecilia standing next to my cushion with her hand out as she cleaned the stain off the cushion with her magic.
“Thanks…” I said with a smile that Cecilia returned.
“It is no trouble, I did not spend all that coin for my gift to be ruined by an assassin.” Cecilia said as she began walking towards her seat at the head of the table.
As we both sat down I heard a small chuckled escape Cecilia’s lips.
“What?” I asked.
“Deflated snail?” Cecilia asked as she turned her head while suppressing a laugh.
“It just came out…” I replied dryly.
“I see…” Cecilia said with another small laugh.
“Don’t you have a meeting to run?” I asked.
“Of course.” Cecilia said as she with another smile as she turned around to face the silent rulers of Elysia.
“Now then…” Cecilia began.
I watched as Cecilia laid out her terms. They were generous terms, considering she could just ask me to roll over the region in a hungry tide of teeth and claws. I couldn’t do that obviously because of certain winged humanoids living on high. Still the threat was there so Cecilia could have been more demanding.
“Those are generous terms.” Queen Yatheria said with a nod.
“So Istland will the hub of magic in the new empire?” Archmagus Rael asked his voice betraying his interest.
“Yes, I can think of no better place to be trusted with this responsibility. You were the heart of magical research and the main arcane archive of the Elysian Empire. I think you are best equipped to continue this tradition. But naturally your secrets will be shared with the rest of the Empire.
However, you will get resources and funding on projects I deem worthy. I think that should be acceptable since I am a Mage as well, I will know what is worthy and what isn’t. Also my friend intends to find the other Elysian Vaults, and some relics and old tomes will be require… examination by capable individuals…” Cecilia said and I saw the Archmagus’s vitals jump in excitement.
“That is a tantalising offer, your grace.” the Archmagus said with a smile, for all intents and purposes he looked like he was on board with this.
“I must confirm one thing, your grace.” the Lord Warden said.
“Speak your mind, Lord Warden.” Cecilia said.
“What is your relation with the Great Beast? I can see you share a… friendly relationship. So I was wondering if there was anything else, any other arrangements that would secure this continued alliance and friendship. It would put many minds at ease to know that your alliance is bound by more than fragile whims.” the Lord Warden said and the other rulers nodded in agreement.
“We made a deal…” I said calmly.
“You see, the one thing I hate most about you humanoids is that when you see anything too big or scary you try to kill it. That’s quite annoying and even if I kill those who try to kill me, you all breed like flies so more eventually show up.
So Cecilia offered me a place in her nation, she would stop idiots from coming into my home trying to kill me or burn it down. In exchange… I help stop idiots from coming into her home to try to kill her or burn it down.
Pretty straight forward deal.” I said with a wave of my hand.
“So I take it you will be willing to defend Elysia from Tralis.” Queen Yatheria said.
“Oh I’ll do more than that, I’ll give Cecilia Tralis, all of it. By the way things are going, I think she’ll probably get Beralis and Averlin too. I’m not interested in the territory, you humans can have it. But I am interested in the Volerian vaults…” I said with a smile.
“So you will get first pick?” King Leon asked, I could sense a little unhappiness. Greedy little shit… asperous constitution indeed…
“Yes, it’s not like all of you will be able to find it. It’s been 8000 years, how many vaults have you found? By the way I am referring to the ones which were still properly sealed and you needed to actually put in the work to open it, not the ones that were broken when you found them. Not all Vaults are created equal afterall…” I said.
“I believe we have collectively found four ruined vaults, I have seen my dear friend’s vault. The wards still hold strong, and the wards are powerful. I highly doubt we will find any of the more valuable ones on our own.
If we can’t even find the ones in the land in our home I feel we will have even less luck in a foriegn land.” Cecilia added.
“Would we be able to borrow them for study?” Archmagus Rael asked.
“If I’m not using them and I’m in a good mood I might. You could ask Cecilia to ask for you, it would improve your chances of me saying yes.” I replied nonchalantly as I subtly just gave Cecilia more power over the others.
This statement raised some eyebrows as the gathered rulers all darted their eyes towards Cecilia before refocusing on me.
“I wonder what great wonders you will share with us then.” Queen Yatheria said with a smile and a nod.
Ok that’s one more potential yes…
“Tell me your grace, how exactly will you help the Wardens in our sacred trust?” the Lord Warden asked, pressing forward.
“As it stands we spend too much resources guarding our borders from each other. Once reunified these resources can be better spent.
I am not ignorant of the importance of your valiant efforts in the Elysian Sea. Some of these resources will be redirected to aid you. You will be able to draw manpower, materials and ships from the coming Empire.” Cecilia said, to a nod from the Lord Commander.
“Very well, that is acceptable.” the Lord Warden replied with a nod.
That’s another yes…
“Queen Yatheria I am aware Cathy has always been at the whim of the trade tolls of the surrounding nations. With the borders gone, you can expect trade to commence much more efficiently.
In addition, once the war is done, the empire will likely need a logistics center. With your experience I think you might do well at the role.” Cecilia said as she acknowledged Queen Yatheria’s consent.
“Then what about Arune your grace, trading tolls to the west has been an important aspect of our economy.” King Leon asked.
“There are other ways to earn money, your grace. Arune has some of the most fertile land in Elysia. We could improve your harvests…” Cecilia offered.
“I can help you with that. My hive are burrowers, we can plow your fields faster and on a larger scale. Part of my agreement with Cecilia was that I help enrich her nation.” I added from the side.
“But that may cause prices to fall.” King Leon replied.
“Then grow other things, if I recall your region used to have a lot of vineyards in the Elysian Empire. You don’t have to ten fold only wheat and barley, you could diversify. I know you humans like your wine.” I retorted, betraying a slight irritation at how slow this idiot’s mind worked.
This comment caught the rulers off guard.Yeah I admit it’s a little weird for a beast like me to know commerce. As to why I know this, well…Averlon has a big library and I don’t sleep.
“Either way, with the increased capacity it would increase your revenue. Also do not forget I don’t intend for the coming invasion to be left unanswered. I will have that Prince chained at my feet and more importantly Averlin will be brought back into the fold.
My cousin Maria and Averlin are Elysian. I will not forget that even if the rest of the world has.” Cecila said and I saw the Lord Warden give her an approving nod.
“So with the Tralis treasury at my disposal you can expect more coin to be circulating in the economy. Which also means Marina will have more presence on maritime trade, your fleets no longer need to guard your sea routes alone. With our forces combined we can better secure the trade routes. Also with Marina as the hub of maritime commerce, if we need to source foreign goods, I am sure you can make a nice profit as a middle man. Your trinkets and jewelry would also have a wider market.” Cecilia added as she shifted her gaze to King Edric.
He bit his lip as his hands shook. This was a very good deal, if he could just put down his pride that is.
“That is acceptable…” King Leon of Arune said.
“I promise all of you a seat at… our table…” Cecilia said as she turned her head slightly to look at me.
“I intend for our lands to enter a new golden age, gold will flow and we will all grow stronger together. All I ask is that you surrender your crowns.” Cecilia said evenly, as she did so a servant approached with a stack of parchment and began handing them out. Then a finer sheet of enchanted parchment was put in front of Cecilia.
“If you choose to sign, your signatures will appear on this treaty, please read the terms. If you desire to return to your halls to discuss the matter you may. There is no rush, but I hope we can have this settled within the fortnight.” Cecilia explained as she tapped the enchanted parchment in front of her.
I watched as the Lord Warden looked at the Archmagus for a moment who gave him a small nod. No surprise there… honestly resisting me and Cecilia was suicide at this point. Me alone would be a massive problem, throw in my hive and my new phoenixes… well let’s just say there were easier ways to commit suicide…
With such good terms, resisting would only mean a worse deal later down the line…
They effectively have autonomy and only need to adhere to empire wide decrees. In my opinion the unified economy will benefit them much more than they would lose. With me around their security is also quite secure, no other foreign nation can really threaten them if they sign.
“There is no need for further discussion…” the Lord Warden said as he picked up the pen and signed his signature.
“The Wardens are at your disposal Empress Cecilia.” the Lord Warden said as he bowed his head.
“At our disposal Lord Warden, but I am not Empress yet, you are an order, not a state afterall.” Cecilia said with a gracious smile.
“You are now Empress…” Archmagus Rael said as he penned his signature and I saw his signature appear on the parchment in gold below the Lord Warden’s.
“I am a proud woman, Empress… but there is a fine line between pride and stupidity…” Queen Yatheria said as she raised her gaze slightly to look at the phoenixes surrounding the table. Their majestic figures looming over the table.
“I will not cross that line today…” Queen Yatheria said as she signed her signature as she reached up and removed her royal circlet before placing it on the table.
This was apparently what had happened long ago, when House Elysia claimed the region, they demanded the crowns of all the other houses and kept their crowns in their vault. A symbolic gesture to signal the exchange of power from sovereign to lord and lady.
That’s three… two more…
“I would like to confer with my advisers first…” King Leon muttered in response as he rose to his feet and pushed the pen away.
“If you will excuse me, I must now return to my halls, there is much to discuss…” King Leon said shakily as he looked at Cecilia.
“Of course, your grace. I eagerly await your response, no matter what it is.” Cecilia replied graciously.
Now that was a subtle threat, peace or war, we were ready for it. Good luck fighting in the dead of winter dip shit…
“You will have your answer…” King Edric seethed in response as he stood up and began walking off.
Once the two kings and their delegations were gone I heard Lady Yatheria let out a small chuckle.
“I wonder which is worse, a weak vacillating fool or rash hot headed fool.” Lady Yatheria said.
“At least the weak vacillating fool has a chance to land on the right side of the coin.” Archmagus Rael said with a chuckle.
“Even a stopped clock is right twice per day. I doubt Marina will bend, they may have to be broken.” the Lord Warden said gruffly from the side.
“I think so too… another pointless war…” Lady Yatheria said with a sigh.
“Then Empress, I think I should return to Warden’s Vigil to marshall the Wardens. They will be needed in the war to come.” the Lord Warden said.
“I should return to Istland as well, I will need to rally the Knight Enchanters. I trust we can expect swift travel across Cathay?” Archmagus Rael asked as he looked at Lady Yatheria.
“Naturally. Will moving your force from Warden’s Vigil be a problem, Lord Warden? Are the Ostayan’s giving you trouble?” Lady Yatheria asked.
“The sea ice limits their mobility on the open seas, favouring the battle conditions to our slower but more heavily armoured ships. They will not attempt anything too ambitious during the snows. Usually we send out raids to their lands to damage their ports and ability to resume raiding in spring but that won’t be possible this season.” the Lord Warden replied.
“If any issues arise with the Ostayans, whatever ships I can spare are yours, Lord Warden.” Lady Yatheria said.
“We will manage, we have held back the Ostayans with less. Secure your coast from Marina’s fleet. But the offer is appreciated, Lady Yatheria.” the Lord Warden replied with a nod.
“They are at your disposal should you need them.” Lady Yatheria said with a nod of her own.
“You should marshall your forces on the Arune border, a threat will entice King Edric to make the right choice.” Cecilia said.
“I can handle Marina just keep an eye on Arune for now…” I said.
“Thank you friend.” Cecilia replied.
“Also Lady Yatheria, you may keep your royal circlet and wear it. I am happy to instate you as the Duchess of Cathay, may your circlet be a symbol of your house’s claim to that title.” Cecilia said graciously.
A Duchess is just one rank below the royal family, this rank means Yatheria will be allowed to rule a large piece of territory or large sections of the economy. I suspect this was a ploy for Cecilia. If Arune decides to do something stupid, Cecilia can just give the lands of Arune to Cathay. Cecilia will then take Marina which should even out the land distribution. Even if Arune doesn’t rebel, the Empire will grow and land can be given then.
“Thank you my Empress, my court will no doubt appreciate this gesture.” Duchess Yatheria said as she placed the circlet on her head once again.
“As for you Archmagus and Lord Warden, I assume you are happy to maintain your titles. The Archmagus was once the head mage of the Elysian Empire. I think you are fit to maintain that role. The Lord Warden is an honoured post and I would be grateful if you maintained your role. It would bring peace to my mind if the west is secured by one as capable as yourself.” Cecilia said.
“Of course Empress.” the pair of them replied with a bow.
“We will host a proper declaration of the coming Empire when Elysia is secure. We can have a feast and celebration then. After that we will rally against the Volerians and make them rue the day they dared to look south with ill intent.” Cecilia declared and the others all bowed in acknowledgment.
As you command Empress Cecilia…