More Important Than Life
We managed to build a cooperative relationship with the Imperial Ministry of Magic quite smoothly.
Particularly because we managed to solve their greatest riddle, which was opening the Forbidden Box.
Hilda had kept her promise.
In addition to all of that, it seemed that even the Ministry of Magic sensed that a crisis was lurking around the corner since the current prosperity within the Empire was completely supported by one single superhuman known as Dorothea.
For the Ministry of Magic, as long as Dorothea was still well and healthy, they could not have any power or authority of their own.
On the other hand, if Dorothea was no longer around, the Empire would not be able to stand tall any longer, and all of their current power would be lost.
In the midst of all of that, when they heard of Philine’s proposition, it was an opportunity for them to change ships.
Dorothea could be replaced as the leader and the Ministry could become the pillars that support the Empire, and at the same time, when the shift towards implementing new policies begin, they’ll be able to have a say in it―― is what it seemed like they were working towards.
As for whether or not that’ll actually happen, that all rests upon Philine’s shoulders.
“Anyway, our number of allies has increased now. This is Hilda.”
“Princess, why are you introducing me to them?”
We were currently in Philine’s room.
The members that were gathered here included Philine, Hilda, Claire-sama, and myself – just the four of us.
Neither Yuu-sama nor Misha were here right now.
And as for why, I will touch upon that later.
“Now then, I’d like to move onto the next allies to recruit.”
“Did you have someone in mind?”
“Claire, weren’t you the one who mentioned it before? Something like the anti-government rebellious forces.”
“Ahh, so you’re planning on reaching out to them too.”
“Yes. I’ve already prepared myself for this. For the sake of winning back the Empire’s future, I won’t be picky about my methods.”
Philine had already become quite reliable.
“Please wait a moment. Did you just say the anti-government rebellious forces? I never heard anything about this.”
Hilda stopped us right there.
“I mean, to begin with, this is the first time I’m even hearing about their existence?”
“Well, that’s to be expected. They’re engaging in life-threatening activities. If somebody like you, who worked so closely with the Imperial government, ever found out about them, they’d end up being cracked down on by the government.”
“I suppose you’re right…..”
The situation was a little bit different from the resistance group operating during the revolution in Bauer.
They were only able to operate so openly since Bauer’s government was weakened so much and were quickly losing public support.
Originally, the anti-government rebellious forces were planning to expand their strength without letting other people know about it.
Ideally, they wanted to become so strong that by the time the government found out about them, they’d be so overwhelmingly powerful that there was nothing they could do about it.
Otherwise, they’d end up being completely crushed by the government instead.
“I’m against the idea of you working with those forces.”
“Princess, you must behave righteously, and the rebellious forces represent the complete opposite of that. If you were to join a group like that, you’d――”
“Is that really the case though?”
Philine voiced her doubts while Hilda was in the middle of presenting her argument.
“In short, I heard from Claire that the rebellious forces are mostly comprised of people from religious countries that had their nations destroyed by the Empire. If that’s the case, could you call the Empire righteous for stealing their country away from them?”
“They have their own reasons to fight back. There is justice in their cause. No matter how far I must go to change the future for the Empire, I would never let myself side with evil. However, I don’t believe they are evil.”
Shocked, Hilda fell silent.
“Eh…… W-What’s wrong, Hilda? Did I say something strange?”
“No, I was just surprised. Princess, you really have changed a lot. Or rather, you’ve always been like this, but now you’re finally letting it all out.”
“Is that a compliment?”
“Yes, without a doubt. And it’s just as you say. There is justice in their cause. To begin with, this whole war is centered around justice versus justice rather than justice versus evil.”
“I’m happy you were able to understand that, Princess,” Hilda said with a smile.
“W-Well, I can’t stay as a decoration of a princess forever. Especially since Claire and Rei went out of their way to train me too.”
“I’m really curious about what sort of coaching they provided you with, so please tell me about the details later.”
“Of course…… Anyway, let’s return to the topic. Regarding the rebellious forces…… Claire, could you do the honors?”
Claire-sama gave a big nod and began her explanation.
“Right now, there are three forces from the rebels that are operating against the Empire. Merica, Dana, Kico―― all of these were religious nations that ended up being destroyed by the Empire.”
“Three whole countries, huh……”
For the record, the reason why Claire-sama knew so much about the topic was because of the knowledge from the game that I instilled in her prior to moving to the Empire.
I raised Claire-sama myself!
“We referred to them as religious nations, but they’re basically religious denominations of the Spirit Church. These countries separated themselves based on their differences in doctrines and interpretations.”
This was something that resembled the branches of Buddhism from my previous world.
Their roots were roughly the same, but they ended up branching off somewhere in the middle of its history.
In any case, the one with the most authority and history was the Bauer Cathedral, but its denominations were powerful enough to form their own separate nations as well.
But this was the reason why I chose not to invite Yuu-sama and Misha here, since they belonged to the Bauer Cathedral and our discussions here could’ve made things difficult for them.
In the end, it was absolutely necessary to report these things to them and convince them to join us as well, but at the very least, I wanted to keep it hidden for the time being.
I decided that I wasn’t going to tell them until we actually start to get the ball rolling.
“These three forces have always been independent of each other, but recently, something spurred them to finally start working together. That would be because of the alliance Sousa, Appalachia, and Bauer tried to form with one another.”
“So they took advantage of the opportunity and are now working towards being able to overthrow the Empire in one go, huh.”
I supplemented Claire-sama’s explanation.
Claire-sama nodded before continuing.
“The people of Merica are spearheading their forces due to having been the most powerful and the largest nation out of the three. You could say that the people of Kico and Dana have given in for the time being.”
They decided that, rather than fighting each other, it was more important to work together to overthrow the Empire.
They knew that if they missed the opportunity to form their alliance like with Sousa and the others, they would most likely never be able to restore their respective countries.
“In that case, do you think we should reach out to the people of Merica to see if we can gain their cooperation?”
“That would be ideal, but I don’t think things will pan out so smoothly.”
“Why is that?”
“They hide their identities and engage in their activities in secret. If they were to get found out by other people, they are more than prepared to take their own lives if need be.”
“T-They’re willing to go that far in order to protect their secrets, huh……”
For people that don’t follow a religion, the actions conducted by people of faith might seem difficult to comprehend.
I couldn’t fully understand it either since I grew up in a country that never enforced religion, but there were people who were so committed to their faith that they valued it more than their own lives.
Even in the 21st-century, when a certain epidemic plagued the world, there were many priests that were willing to risk their lives to hold funeral services for patients that were forced to isolate themselves from their families.
For the people that lived their lives in the name of faith, they had something that they valued as more important to them than their own lives.
“So then, how are we supposed to earn the cooperation of those people?”
Hilda had a defeated look in her eyes.
“It’ll certainly be difficult, but it’s not impossible.”
I reassured her.
“So then, how should we go about it?”
“We’ll have to negotiate with the people that can’t let themselves die so easily. For example…… the members of the royal family in their native countries.”
Perhaps that might ring a bell and bring a certain somebody into your mind.
However, for someone like Hilda, who didn’t have any knowledge of the game, she probably couldn’t draw the connection.
“That may be the case, but wouldn’t those people be even more secretive than the rest? How are we supposed to find them?”
“There’s no need to go and look for them. We already know of somebody.”
“…… Even aside from the whole situation with the Forbidden Box, just how vast is your information network anyway?”
“That’s a secret.”
There was no way I could just tell her that I had prior knowledge from a game, after all.
“Please don’t leave us hanging. So just who might that person be?”
Philine asked impatiently.
Although it wasn’t like I was trying to keep her waiting or anything.
“It’s somebody that you know very well, Philine.”
“Ahh, Frieda…… I see.”
“Eh,” Philine paused for a moment,
Based on just how astonished her face was, it was easy to tell what kind of impression she had of Frieda.