Chapter 69. Abyss Rising 6
The city assembly of Wittenweier was decimated in one night. They were made up of an incapable leadership to begin with. They were lucky to have a liberated city due to the side effects of the Harpheim War, but as it lacked any substance, it wasn’t expected to last long.
“These bastards have taken in so much graft…..”
Based on the obtained secret ledger, so much of the budget had been swindled. The level of corruption was so profound that it needed no particular strategy to place blame on them to prosecute.
“Please! Be gracious! Duke Valer!”
The mayor of the city and the members of the city assembly were all lined up, bound and on their knees before me. Having overtaken the city capitol, the full authority has been delegated to me by the city assembly. Of course, it was only superficial which has been put in place by me.
“I’ll let you live.”
Their countenances turned brighter from being shivering with fear.
“Oh, oh! Thank you!”
“May the god’s blessings be with you!”
Seeing them sighing in relief, I demanded one thing of them.
“Raise your hands if you believe in god.”
Everyone looked flabbergasted when they heard this, out of the blue request.
“If you have faith, move to the left, if not, move to the right, please.”
The 2/3 of them were faithful, and the remaining 1/3 did not have faith. I sent the unbelievers to prison. Then I showed a smile to the believers in god.
“Be thankful to the deity that you serve. His high grace has saved you all.”
Everyone was so happy when they heard me. And in their own ways, they expressed their gratitude to their gods.
“Now, let’s go face the people.”
Then their expressions darkened, thinking about facing the angry mob. Everyone insisted that they could not admit to their own wrong doings.
“I don’t know how they can claim that we have conspired, but that is not true!”
The loudest one among them was the mayor. I nodded as I looked at him.
“Of course. Mayor. I, too, do not think that you’ve conspired with the demon race.”
“Oh! You believe us?”
That was because it was I who brought that insinuation, in the first place. I should, at least, believe their innocence in this regard.
“However, there is one thing that you have to admit to. The corruption that is recorded in this ledger cannot be defended, no matter how big of a mouthpiece you have.”
Even the mayor kept his mouth shut when it came to swindling the funds. I then spoke to them in a conciliatory manner.
“I will not tell them that you have conspired with the demon race. However, you have to admit to this before the people. Only then I’ll spare you.”
They all appeared very hesitant. However, they were given no other option as they have been captured like the pigs about to get slaughtered. Finally, they agreed to my demand.
“Alright. We’ll admit to our wrong doings, so do keep your promise.”
“That’s a prudent decision. I’ll protect you from the eternal death.”
They tilted their heads little bit when they heard the words ‘eternal death’, but they did not pay much attention to it.
“Then let’s go see the people.”
In the square, outside the capitol building, the citizens who have succeeded in the great movement were gathered.
“Bring them out respectfully.”
The troops took the mayor and the assemblymen who were bound by ropes to the square. I leisurely followed them.
“Whoowowww! Kill those bastards!”
“Traitors! Traitors! The agents of the demon race!”
When they were outside, the angry mob of people spewed out their criticisms. The bound perpetrators adamantly insisted their innocence when it came to the charges of conspiring with the demons.
“That’s absolutely not true!”
“Fellow citizens! Please heed to what this old, gentleman is saying!”
However, such an excuse was no use. Rather than the excuse having a positive effect, their excuses were muted by the mob’s voices. However, the perpetrators seemed to have subtle faith in me.
“O, our dear citizens.”
When I raised my hand and began to speak, everyone became quiet as if it was magic. So many people were looking in my direction. I yelled as I raised my fist.
With that single phrase, the square went wild.
I felt good as I looked at the exhilarated people. How great was this relationship?
Make the situation which they desire, and respond with the words which they wanted to hear. In return, I use them. There could not be any better fitting relationship than this when it came to give and take concept.
“Look at these shameful individuals! They have been brought to justice by you, the people!”
As I have promised them, I have never called them traitors. However, I had no issue with getting the result I wanted. That was because they were already traitors in the eyes of the citizens.
“Kill them! Kill them! Kill them!”
They were like the spectators in the Roman coliseum. Then like the emperor who gives them joy, there must be shedding of blood.
I clapped lightly. Then the executioners, holding wide Richtschwerts, marched forward in unison. The motionless mayors and the assemblymen began to flutter in shock.
“No! Did you not say you will spare us!”
“Duke Valer! What is this!”
Perhaps, they thought that they were conned as they fluttered about, but the mercenaries were already pressing down hard on their shoulders. The people became more excited by that and they kept screaming.
“Cut off their heads! Cut off their heads! Cut off their heads!”
The single, unison sound of those words reverberated in the square.
“Hand me a sword.”
I, too, took the Richschwert.
“Valer! You bastard!”
At this time, the mayor’s eyes flipped, realizing that he had been fooled. However, I just shrugged my shoulders.
“I did not go back on my promise.”
“Did I not say that I’ll spare you from the eternal death? It may not be today, but you will thank me someday.”
The eternal death which I was referring to was to make them undead. As they cannot be turned into undead due to their faith in deities, I wanted to use them to satisfy the mob’s demand.
Holding the Richtschwert, I read the words ingrained on the side of the sword.
“Wan Ich Das Schwert Huie Auffheben-So Wunsche Ich Dem Sunder Das Ewige Leben(Each time I hold this sword, I wish the guilty one to obtain an eternal life.).”
Amazing. Whoever wrote this was truly reflecting my true thought!
“Let your soul obtain an eternal life!”
The mayor’s head was severed with a single swing of the Richtschwert. Warm blood splashed on my face. Holding the cleanly severed head, I picked it up, and raised it to show to the mob.
There was a loud cheer. And I yelled when they got what they wanted.
“Be in peace! O, respected citizens! I will protect you from now on!”
Then the people raised both their arms as they cheered.
“Valer! Valer! Valer!”
“Savior! Savior! Savior!”
That was how I overtook Wittenweier in one night. After slaughtering those who opposed me by accusing them of being traitors, not even one soul spoke out anymore.
That’s right. This city was now mine.
The executed ones were the lucky ones. That was, compared to those who were before me.
“Serve me with all your loyalty.”
“We’ll. My lord.”
Ten assemblymen who were in prison were kneeling down before me. They were just recently reborn as day walkers. They were now my supporting actors in helping me rule Wittenweier.
“As my appreciation for your hard work, I’ll allow you to collect taxes from the citizens. What you can collect from them in the form of taxes is their blood.”
“Thank you for your graciousness.”
As soon as I placed the assemblymen under my command, the officials who were under them quickly came to cooperate. I did not stop here.
“Now, Wittenweier will become the most powerful and wealthiest liberated city in the southwest of the empire!”
Although it was an absurd promise which was not going to come true, I provided a rosy, future picture to the citizens.
“Every citizen will receive 50 Florins in order to commemorate this victory!”
I also showed generosity. I used the funds of the dead mayors and the assemblymen.
“Wow! Long live Duke Valer! Valer!”
“The trusted leader!”
People exclaimed. The overtaking of Wittenweier appeared to have gone smoothly like this.
However, there was a new variable.
Kookooshirak, the commander of the demon king’s army, was going through a tough time.
“How big is the enemy force?”
“There are 5,000 troops, but I’ve heard that additional 5,000 men will be added. On top of that, militias were being organized in large scale.”
He had 15,000 troops, so he was superior. However, all the intel coming from over the river kept Kookooshirak nervous.
“The ability of the one who conquered Wittenweier is extraordinary.”
“Based on what I can see, he seemed to have utilized fear in his favor.”
Kookooshirak felt the need to get prepared for the events that took place on the other side of the river.
“If he rose to power by using fear, could we not handicap him by eliminating that fear?”
“By that, you mean?”
“Send a message to the city. And propose a peace treaty. Tell him that I’ll dispatch a delegation in a few days. Promise him that we’ll pull back our forces if the talks go well.”
Kookooshirak had a fair number of human cooperators or underlings. Therefore, he wanted to use them to create an environment which will work out well, rather than to engage in a battle.
A strange rumor began to percolate within the city, in a few days. It was the one about the demon king wanting to send a delegation to negotiate a peace. That put me, who overtook the power by using fear, in a difficult situation.
The citizens who were just making big noises were, in fact, fearful, like scared rabbits, but when that news hit the city, they badly wanted a peace negotiation.
“Duke Valer! We trust that you’ll make this happen!”
“Please, we hope you will restore peace back to the city!”
I was perplexed. The head of the enemy was trying to dethrone me by using a simple tactic which wasn’t even very strategic, either.
“Damn it. As I used fear, he, too, is using that fear.”
However, I won’t give up this easily. I, soon, called upon my underlings and had them spread a new rumor.
“The demon king wasn’t really coming here for peace negotiation. He is coming to the city for a reconnaissance purpose.”
“What! Is that true?”
“It is. He is about to launch an attack on Wittenweier, so he must be trying to figure out where the troops are located, and where the weaknesses are in the capitol!”
“Damn, atrocious bastards.”
“The foolish are joyful over forthcoming peace, but stay awake. What peace brings forth guns and swords?”
Pappenheim and the day walkers were going around, rather skillfully, spreading the rumor. However, this wasn’t enough to establish that point as the dominant opinion. The opinions were divided in to two factions, and they began to collide.
“Peace negotiation is the only way to survive!”
“Shut up! You cowards!”
Something was needed to make it stick. I quietly called on an individual.
“Yes, my lord.”
Kurud was one of the city’s assemblymen, but now he was working for me as a day walker. He had a great influence among the assemblymen.
“You may have to help me.”
I gave him a secret assignment.
“I’ll carry it out with all my loyalty. I’m honored that you’ve called on me for your endeavor, my lord.”
“You are the loyal servant of the servants!”
What Kurud was assigned to do was simple. He was to confess that he was conspiring with the demon race. Four days later, on the day of the delegate’s arrival, I gathered the people.
“Here! Here stands a terrible perpetrator! He wishes to confess his crime, so please hear him!”
People showed much interest as Kurud was suddenly brought out as a criminal. Kurud confessed as all the people watched him.
“Dear citizen brothers! Please forgive my foolishness! I wish to confess my bad behavior with a pang in my heart!”
What Kurud admitted was simple. It was that he conspired with the demon king’s forces, and the delegation which was to arrive this time was, in fact, a spy. He said that he was going to hand over the castle’s drawings to the delegation when they got here.
“Having that drawing in their possession, they will be able to destroy the wall since it will identify the weak areas!”
The people were going berserk when the unexpected confession was made. Everyone was fluttering, claiming that they will all die soon.
“Truly, cannot trust a demon!”
“Damn it! Everyone sold us out!”
In order to console the angry mob, I executed Kurud before everyone. When the traitor’s head fell to the ground, some sense of serenity returned.
“Do not worry! I’ll find out their true intentions! They will not be able to obtain any of the city’s secrets!”
I told them that I’ll, personally, meet the delegation in a prudent way.
“Please return to your homes, and keep this secret. If we remain quiet and calm, we should be able to read their eyes, and see their suspicious intentions!”
The mob dispersed, having trust in me. With this event, the opinion for the peace negotiation ceased. Everyone’s attention was now on the demon king’s delegation.
At 3’O clock, the capitol city’s gate was opened, and the delegation sent by the demon king entered. Everyone was talking as they observed the delegation. They all had anxious looks. Nervousness was rising to the highest point.
The delegation also appeared to be uneasy, perhaps, sensing some unsettled sentiment. They repeatedly looked around the area. Then someone whispered.
“Look at that. They claimed to be here in peace, yet they are spying on the city.”
That whisper has rode the wave of uneasiness, and instantly spread among them. And when the delegation came into the square, at the front of the city hall, the inciters which I had planted suddenly screamed.
“Kill them! Must kill the spies, so we can survive!”
That was like a triggering moment. That was, it was even like magic. At the moment of that incitement, all the people grabbed their weapons and attacked the delegates.
“Kill the demons! Kill the demons!”
“No piece of land will be given up to you, bastards!”
The angry mob attacked the delegates by using long swords, bats, and halberds as weapons. Screams of terror and loud yelling broke out. The delegates fell to the ground, like rugs. The people trampled and spat on the, already, dead bodies
“Kill them! This horrible bunch!”
“It’s not a crime to kill the demons!”
I looked down on the scene from the terrace of the city hall, while sipping a cup of tea.
“Pappenheim. Do they look brave to you?”
“No way. They are scared stiff and desperate. Like scared pigs.”
“Hahaha. That is absolutely correct.”
The citizens were crossing a bridge which they can no longer cross back on. I, soon, lost my interest in all of that commotion. Instead, I watched the birds fly away in the distant sky.
The sky was unusually clear today.
“It is a good day for a war.”