Chapter 46: As Chief of the Shadows of Nejia (Gauche POV)
Things have taken a riveting turn.
Nejia has revealed their belly, and Baratonia has placed their unwavering faith in us, and vice versa.
Nejia is a diminutive nation that has sustained itself since time immemorial by spinning and “stretching” threads.
The iron wire weapons utilized by myself and the Nejia covert operatives are produced by spinning iron, while the remaining armaments consist of short swords and lengthy needles.
Despite being adept at leaving behind no traces, no evidence, and executing hits, deceptions, information-gathering, and then vanishing, Nejia has become quite intriguing.
It was an amicable arrangement while the Faithnum Empire ruled over the Baratonia Kingdom.
Both nations were practically identical, and there was no apprehension of getting caught up in a conflict despite being surrounded by more prominent countries.
Geographical considerations played a role as well.
However, the Faithnum Empire, which never envisioned that their own treasure would be mistaken, opted to dispatch Claire-sama to Baratonia.
Little did they know that this was why Nejia eschewed the road to the Faithnum Empire and opted to carve one out to the Baratonia Kingdom.
Ours was a diminutive nation, so small that a single gust of wind could lift us to the heavens.
Nejia’s only claim to fame was their exceptional expertise in silk production, a valuable commodity that was produced exclusively in the mountainous terrain of their land.
Without their silk, the country would be utterly inconsequential and vulnerable to being overrun at any moment.
Therefore, obtaining and safeguarding information was a matter of life and death.
To ensure their survival, the people of Nejia studied various languages and carefully controlled the supply of silk, enhancing its scarcity value.
They walked a tightrope, deftly maneuvering so as not to be subjugated or dominated.
Thus, we were bewildered when the Faithnum Empire sent Claire-sama to the Baratonia Kingdom.
From Nejia’s perspective, Claire-sama was a dangerous individual, and you would never make the mistake of allowing her to leave the empire.
However, the Faithnum Empire had become too vast, and the emperor could only measure his own daughter with the same standard as everyone else.
He had even entrusted such a precious treasure to Baratonia.
Following the war’s end, the Peace Treaty was promptly signed, and upon learning this, Nejia was incredulous.
Nonetheless, they still had to decide which side to align with.
The only feasible option was the Baratonia Kingdom.
The Faithnum Empire could only evaluate things through their ruler, regardless of whether they were favorable or unfavorable.
They couldn’t negotiate on equal terms with Nejia, who they viewed with an inflated sense of superiority.
We cannot show them our hand.
Hence, the Baratonia Kingdom was chosen.
Firstly, for silkworm cultivation, which was an agreed-upon measure by the Elder as there was no limit to the amount of silk that could be used to defend the country.
Becoming a vassal state of the Baratonia Kingdom was not an ideal scenario.
Equality was what we sought.
Being a vassal state meant we would have to offer all the knowledge accumulated over the years for free, akin to surrendering and exposing our vulnerability to be killed.
Regarding knowledge, there was only one person who possessed all of the Faithnum Empire’s knowledge and could converse with Nejia on equal terms – Claire-sama.
She assumed an air of naivete and embraced life as one of Baratonia’s people, but she loved the kingdom and accepted it as her home.
In my opinion, the Faithnum Empire is foolish to have let someone as wise as Claire-sama go.
There appears to have been some trouble when she left.
The peace treaty has been signed, but one of its provisions is that they must offer up someone to try to kill the Faithnum emperor’s daughter.
The Faithnum Empire is brutal, truly brutal, for they can use that as an excuse to breach the treaty with the Baratonia Kingdom.
However, Claire-sama is not so foolish.
She has precise knowledge of poison, antidotes, and neutralizing agents.
If she had ten arms, she could write copies of a medical book countless times.
It might have been a mistake to show them the world map.
If she studies it closely, she should be able to memorize it after just one viewing.
The Baratonia Kingdom also values Claire-sama.
Because of their positive relationship with her, Nejia has designated Claire-sama as their top priority.
——If anything betrayal happens, it means to kill this person.
There is certainty that this will not happen.
The Baratonia Kingdom will not betray Claire-sama, and Nejia is equally loyal.
“That’s right, Felk is the quickest and most reliable.
The bespectacled young man vanished into the inky night after delivering the letter, without any further instructions.
Had it not been for Claire-sama, the war would have undoubtedly begun, and the Kingdom of Baratonia would have suffered defeat.
Though she may not have been well-versed in deep-sea fishing, it was no fault of hers.
There are books and knowledge that even the Faithnum Empire lacks.
However, wisdom comes with time.
As soon as she learned of the impending seaborne attack, she was quick to determine what was necessary to counter it, skillfully applying her knowledge.
Most rulers would ignore the advice of a rogue like me and brush it off with a disdainful snort.
But Claire-sama understood and supported it herself, much to the ruler’s (King’s) satisfaction.
That’s because she is Claire-sama, after all.
Nejia’s decision to reveal its hand to Baratonia was ultimately influenced by my successful persuasion of the other chiefs and the Elder that Claire-sama’s welfare was of great concern to the entire Nejian population.
Upon closer scrutiny, her intrinsic nature proved to be commendable, and even a humble servant like myself was captivated by her desire to learn and embrace a foreign culture without being prompted.
Unlike typical figures of authority, Claire-sama showed unwavering dedication to Baratonia’s future, despite being an outsider and a bride.
My words, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she were with us?” were embraced by Nejia because they were already familiar with Claire-sama’s character.
Later on, I found out that she had earned the title “woman of living knowledge” in Baratonia, which made me chuckle.
“Claire-sama, being by your side would be fascinating…but I won’t take you away from here because it’s more fun to see you laugh.”
Let’s work for the prosperity of Baratonia.
Our threads are entwined with the rest of the world, but we need not worry about the minutiae of other nations anymore.
With Nejia’s intricate web of connections, we can bring about peace and prosperity to Baratonia, which is essential for Nejia’s own survival.
I leave the task of ensuring Baratonia’s surface prosperity to you, Claire-sama, and Your Highness Auglia.
Meanwhile, I will safeguard the shadows.
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