Chapter 1, Part 3
He put down his quill pen and breathed a heavy sigh.
Not even thirty minutes into today’s work, and Konrad Steinmetz was already worn out. He still hadn’t shaken off the fatigue that had built up until yesterday, so it was only natural.
At the entrance to his office there was a full-length mirror on the wall, next to the hat rack. Gazing into it, he saw his exhausted reflection staring back at him: a bitter middle-aged man with reproachful eyes. He had the feeling that the slight bit of remaining hair above his ear had recently also begun to recede; it probably wouldn’t be too long before he was completely bald.
“—By the way.”
His female aide Karen Bombardier called out to him from the other side of the mountain of official documents on his desk; seeing him put down his pen, she had apparently determined he was now taking a break. As she pushed up the glasses on her no-nonsense face with one finger, she spoke in a deadpan tone of voice.
“About the aforementioned matter…”
“And which one might that be?”
Konrad was fifty-eight years old. He was still able to take pride in his strong memory, but expecting him to remember all of the “aforementioned matters” that were added to his workload every day by the dozen was asking too much.
Konrad and Karen belonged to the post-war reconstruction organization known as “Kleeman,” and the number of issues they had to deal with one after the other made the work incredibly stressful.
For better or for worse, the end of the war had brought about change in the continent of Verbist. There were no bones about the differences in values of an era where war had been commonplace and an era where peace reigned. Politics, economics and the like had changed completely.
In particular, the statesmen and nobility who had championed the war under the banner of “just cause” now had to take a long, hard look about how to run their territory from here on out.
We’re in a war right now. Now’s not the time to be frivolous.
If we lose the war, we’ll have everything taken from under our noses. Are you all really okay with that?
They were no longer able to use such rhetoric to steer the dissatisfaction of the masses towards an enemy.
The problems were piling up in every nation.
Everyone had believed that all their anxiety and unhappiness would end with the war’s end, and it was this unshakable faith that had carried them all through the harsh era. However, the period of conflict had lasted several centuries. When it was finally time for the war to end, no one could associate the concept of “peace” with anything concrete.
The nobles had no choice but to change their way of thinking.
Of course, there were nobles that adapted to the new era with no problem, but many of the ones set in their ways of using coercive tactics to rule the people received a rude awakening.
Though the masses’ expectations had swelled in anticipation of this “peace” that they knew nothing about, when it finally came they were just as bad off as they had been. They became discontent.
The result of all this was—rebellions and riots were cropping up all over the continent of Verbist.
Knights were pointing their swords in the direction of the very people they sought to protect.
Naturally, even the nobility knew it couldn’t continue like this.
However, not all the nations and towns were having issues.
Whether by happenstance or by pure ability to rule, there were some areas that had, in the most literal sense, been able to find peace without much trouble at all. Some nations and towns even had their economies revitalized, propelling them to even greater wealth.
The nobility, deciding to attempt to imitate the successes of those few, began to exchange information with each other. The large number of wizards that had been relieved from their duties after the war’s end were re-employed, and the nobility used the wizards’ communication magic to conduct repeat meetings.
These past several hundred years, research into political science and economics had been at a standstill, but now there was a mad rush of information.
Of course, with all this information at once it quickly became complicated and confusing.
In order to keep the disorder to a minimum—in order to organize and distribute the information accordingly—all the nations got together and instated an ultra-nationalist organization.
That was the Organization for the Advancement of Post-War Reconstruction, Kleeman.
Its primary objective was to research and supply methods for the ideal management of each nation.
In some respects, the entire future of Verbist rested in their hands of this organization.
But there were a mountain of employment prerequisites, and the number of people involved was pitifully low.
“The matter of the “Demon King’s” legacy.”
Among the bevy of various issues that he had to deal with, this one was by far the most troublesome.
“Gillette Corps is scheduled to arrive in Del Solant tomorrow. I received a transmission from them yesterday.”
Konrad grabbed a directory of the nobility in Verbist from a side bookshelf and began flipping the pages.
The authoritative figure of Del Solant was—
“I see. One of the men who subjugated the Demon King.”
“He might not necessarily have one, though,” said Karen. “I sent a letter detailing our request for his cooperation in the meantime, but we have yet to hear anything back.”
“Well, that’s to be expected,” said Konrad, heaving a sigh. “He and everyone else are busy. Busy and exhausted. We’ll probably get a reply back saying that he ‘doesn’t have time to entertain this nonsense.'”
“What shall we do, then?”
“We’ll leave that up to the ones on-site,” said Konrad. “I’ve got things like riots, infectious diseases, currency crises, and ethnic conflicts on my plate. I don’t have time to be diddling around on an issue that ‘might’ become a problem when I have so many things in this pile that are already problems.”
As he said this, he indicated the huge pile of documents beside him.
“Understood. Do as you will.”
Karen, perhaps also tired of looking at the tall tower of documents, nodded—and didn’t press the issue any further.
As expected of the Demon King, Konrad muttered in his heart. Even after his death, his shadow still haunts us.
Arthur Gaz—Emperor Gaz of the Gaz Empire.
The “Demon King.” The “Taboo Emperor.” The “Great Sage.” The “Mad General.” The “Genius Ruler”—-with the death of this man that had so many monikers, the long, long war had come to an end. It was as if the man himself had been a symbol of the era of war.
Now then. I hope this is all just needless anxiety.
With that thought, he took the quill pen in hand once more and resumed his paperwork.