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 from yesterday, so it was only natural.
At the entrance to his office was a dresser and hat rack. When he turned his gaze to the mirror on the dresser, he saw his exhausted reflection staring back at him: a bitter middle-aged man with reproachful eyes. He had the feeling that his hairline above his ear had recently 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 official documents that had mercilessly piled up on his desk; it seemed that putting down his pen had signaled to her that he had decided to take a breather. She continued to speak in a deadpan voice while with one finger she pushed up the glasses that crossed the center of her tense-looking face.
“Pertaining to the aforementioned matter…”
“And which one might that be?”
Konrad was fifty-eight years old. He was still able to boast of his strong memory, but expecting him to remember all of the “aforementioned matters” that were added by the dozens to his workload every day was asking too much.
Konrad and Karen were a part of a post-war reconstruction agency known as “Kleeman”, and the number of issues that piled upon them in succession made the word incredibly stressful.
For better or for worse, the end of the wars had brought about change in the continent of Verbist. There was no way around the differences in values of an era where wars had been commonplace and an era where none existed. Politics, economics, and other such affairs had all changed.
In particular, the statesmen who had championed the war under the banner of “justice”, especially the nobility, now had to take a long, hard look about how to run the kingdom from here on out.
‘We’re in a war right now. Don’t be selfish.’
‘If we lose the war, we lose everything. Is that really okay with you all?’
They were no longer able to use words like this to redirect the spear of the masses’ dissatisfaction towards an enemy.
Problems were now piling up in every country.
Everyone had believed that all their anxiety and unhappiness would end with the war, when peace came at last, and it was this belief that had carried them all through the harshness of the wars. However, the period of conflict had been so drawn-out that by the time it was over, no one knew what “peace” really entailed.
So the nobility 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 them had been set in their ways of using coercive tactics to rule the people, and they received a rude awakening. The masses’ expectations had swelled in anticipation of this “peace” that they knew nothing about, but when it finally came and 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.
The knights’ swords that they had wielded to protect their country were now pointed in the direction of their own people.
Naturally, even the nobility thought this was a bad situation.
It wasn’t like all the regions and districts in Verbist were having issues, though. Whether by happenstance or by pure ability to rule, there were some areas that had been able to find their own definition of “peace” without much trouble at all. Better still, some had even been able to jump-start their own economical prospects and come into quite a bit of wealth as a result.
Attempting to imitate the success of those few, the nobles started exchanging information. The large group of wizards that had once been dismissed at the end of the war were once again employed, and the council of magic users had been reborn.
For those several hundred years of war, politics and economics had been put on hold, but now they became active again at an incredible speed. Of course, this sudden onslaught of information was confusing and disorderly. In order to keep the disorder to a minimum, it was necessary for someone to judiciously regulate that information, so the countries all combined to create an international superagency.
That was the post-war reconstruction agency, Kleeman. Its primary objectives were researching ideal methods for running the countries and supplying aid to all of them.
It could even be said that in some respects, the entire future of Verbist rested in their hands.
But for an organization with so many cases to handle, it had pitifully few staff.
“The matter of what the Demon King left behind.”
Konrad grimaced. Among the mountain of various issues that he had to deal with, this one was the most troublesome.
“Tomorrow, Gillette Corps is scheduled to head to the city of Del Solant to investigate. I contacted them last night.”
Konrad grabbed a directory of the nobility in Verbist off the edge of a bookshelf and began flipping its pages.
The ruler of Del Solant was…
“I see. One of the men who subjugated the Demon King.”
“We’re not sure if he has it or not,” Karen said. “For the time being, I’ve sent a letter detailing a request for cooperation, but we have yet to hear anything back.”
“Well, that’s to be expected,” Konrad said, heaving a sigh. “He and everyone else are busy. We’ll probably get a reply back saying that he’s gotten so many of those types of messages that he doesn’t have time for ours.”
“What are we going to do, then?”
“We’ll leave that up to the group on-site,” Konrad said. “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 amount of documents beside him.
“Understood. Well then…”
Karen must have also been tired of observing the growth of the tower of documents, because she nodded her head and didn’t press the matter any further.
As expected of the Demon King.
Konrad’s thoughts whirled around his head.
Even after his death, we’re still scared of him…
Arthur Gaz—Emperor Gaz of the Gaz Empire.
The “Demon King.” The “Taboo Emperor.” The “Great Sage.” The “Mad General.” The “Genius Ruler”—-through the death of the great Emperor Gaz of so many titles, the wars that had dragged on for so long had come to an end. It was as if the emperor himself had been the warring era.
I hope we’re just worrying for nothing.
While thinking that, he once more took his quill pen in hand and resumed his paperwork.