“Tell me, what has happened?”
Naturally my voice also got strained. Just why these two came in haste with such desperate expression… hardly could it be due to some kinds of witless reasons, I suspected.
“It’s the Church of Darryl – they were going to pronounce an excommunication against Milady…!”
To the turn of event which would not happen even in my wildest imagination, I involuntarily let out a scream-like voice.
My face was turning pale. A sudden wave of dizziness overwhelmed me as if I was suffering from anemia, and my heart was beating wildly inside my chest.
…In this country, the Church of Darryl is the official religion, with most of the population being affiliated as its followers. Strictly speaking, being regarded as representatives of God whom the citizens worship as the object of faith, the words of Darryl Church’s Pope and its Priests carry significant weight. At times, such can easily surpass the aristocratic authority.
As may be expected, it was set up so that the son of Darryl Church’s Pope should attend the academy reserved for nobles’ children only.
Meanwhile, a pronouncement of excommunication by the Church of Darryl means that the subject will no longer be recognized as one of its followers… or to be frank, they have been banished from the communion on moral grounds for good.
Almost every citizen in this country is a follower of the Church of Darryl. Conversely, non-believers in the eyes of the rest are referred to as merely “heretics.” Let alone being excommunicated, they are considered sinners to the Church as well as a public target of contempt.
For a noble’s daughter who should be a leading exemplar of the country to be excommunicated… this isn’t a matter on the level of giving me a bad name. It is something which should not have occurred in the first place.
Obviously, all credit and personal connections I have built up so far will also be gone.
To speak as an Earthling, perhaps this is rather similar to the event referred to as the Humiliation of Canossa. Without doubt, many would make use of this excommunication pronouncement to strike at me… just thinking of that already gives me a headache.
“The reason was?”
“For deliberately having a church destroyed. To disrupt the land devoted to God is an impudent act against Him, a sin which could not be forgiven… such were the reasons stated.”
“…For deliberately having a church destroyed…? Don’t tell me, the land readjustment project…?!”
Certainly, I did destroy one of their churches. It was the building served as an orphanage where Minae used to live. Nevertheless, it should not be a trouble since that place is no longer in possession of the Church, a plot of land currently belongs to no one. Furthermore, we already have a plan to build another big church as a replacement though.
This was totally against me… no, the more I think of it, this pronouncement is an attack directed against the whole Armelia Duke House.
…Was that son of Pope – Van – the one pulling the strings from behind? Or perhaps, the Church itself orchestrating this incident? Or again, this being another ploy of the Second Prince’s faction?
“As for the countermeasures… that’s right, let’s submit the construction plan and design of the new church to them. We need to clarify that it was not mere destruction, but a relocation of the old building to another place.”
In the meantime, our main concern is not to find out who did this. Certainly, it would be great if we knew their identities though… but for now, our priority is the reality presented before us.
Rather than putting any effort to search for the mastermind, it is necessary to deal with the excommunication in one way or another… Surely, I must apologize Father and Mother for the inconvenience I’ve caused, as anxiety spreads through town the fief’s affairs will stagnate, and damage to the Conglomerate will become immeasurable.
“Sebastian, please make preparation at once.”
“As you wished.”
Sebastian gave his bow, then immediately turned back, and left the library.
“And Tanya, what about your emergency?”
Nothing can surprise me at this point. Rather, I believe there is no such matter more devastating than having the Church declare you as a sinner.
“Milady, there are two things I want to report to you. First is the progress update on the investigation of the attack against Milady the other day.”
“That is not important right now.”
To put it bluntly, I don’t have the luxury to listen to the progress report on that matter at the moment, even though my life was in danger back then.
“I don’t think so, please listen to this, Milady. As I proceeded with the investigation, I found out that the fief, where the attack occurred, was in fact supporting the Second Prince’s faction. Still, it is unknown whether that and those bandits have anything to do with each other though.”
“I see. What’s next?”
Unfortunately, even though under normal circumstances this would become quite a bombshell, the impact from the previous report was so great that Tanya’s discovery seemed trivial at most.
“Yes, and here is the second report. That fief has announced an increase in trade tariffs and toll against the Armelia Duke House.”
Again, I involuntarily let out a scream-like voice.
…At any rate, the neighboring fief located at the north is the major route from our Armelia’s fief to the royal capital. With the east side facing the sea and the west side totally occupied by rugged ranges of mountain, there is no choice but to make a detour should we choose to travel on southern roads to the royal capital located northwest. Inevitably, most of the exports from our fief had to pass through that northern neighboring fief to arrive at the royal capital.
“The reason was…?”
Nonetheless, that neighboring fief is small to begin with, having half of its northern area being just mountain. Moreover, since they have become an important point of trade, they have been putting more effort in developing inns and tourism rather than field cultivation – hence the number of arable land wasn’t much and they have to rely on grain export from our fief. To think such circumstances have made me completely overlook this possibility…
“For their lord being an excommunicated sinner, is what they stated. And also, to protect our domestic agriculture.”
“To protect their domestic agriculture…!? They only have a few plots of cultivated land for such a huge population!”
Their food self-sufficiency rate is terrible, and without the affordable agricultural products from our fief, I doubt they can even manage to feed themselves… I wonder, is this an attack by the Second Prince’s faction?
“How come… for both of these to happen at the same time…!”
With the announcement of the neighboring fief, the current situation has become dire. Other fiefs… especially those belong to the Second Prince’s faction, would take advantage of this development. Besides, it is not only the export to the royal capital. The Conglomerate’s process of getting new shops established in other fiefs will also be affected as well…!
Gradually, we are trying to expand the scope of commerce, not only to the royal capital but also to other fiefs and foreign countries. That is, in case an internal strife occurs at the royal capital, we can still make good income out of the business.
However, it can’t be helped if other territories decide to impose tariffs on our goods.
“Rehme, please do some research on how long the transport will take and the cost incurred should we switch to the alternative route from the south, then make comparison and report to me. And Tanya, please ask Moneda and Sebastian to come see me as soon as possible.”
After Sebastian finished making preparation for the previous matter, we can discuss the impact of current situation on our fief’s affairs. At that time, I will also summon the fief’s main bureaucracy to the meeting.
“As you wished.”
Tanya once again departed. I also left the room right afterwards.
I almost felt like collapsing on the way back, but still struggled to stand firm though… Now is not the time I can allow myself to pass out!
The road to the study is strangely long for me today. It would be great if everything happened so far was just a bad dream.
Nonetheless, cold sweats rolling on my cheek and back made me realize that this is the reality.
At any rate, I have to quickly return to the study…