A month ago, Steinbeck Fief had had many projects but had lacked the capital to complete them. At that time, getting capital assistance from a big tycoon clan had seemed impossible. Clyde hadn’t even dared to have such extravagant hopes. At that time, if Miss Morais had offered her sponsorship, Clyde would have definitely agreed without the slightest hesitation. Now, however, was different. The wealth Clyde had obtained from the treasury of Lamina Dynasty and Earl Harrison’s private collection far surpassed Adelaide Kingdom’s national treasury. In fact, he didn’t lack for finances; he could even become a financial backer of others.
“Eh, Mister Clyde, you don’t seem to be interested? Do you think my initial offer of 200,000 gold coins is too little? It can be discussed. Everyone has a price; please don’t mind letting me know what your price tag is…”
“Cough, cough, Miss Morais. It is not an issue of money. Even without your sponsorship, I would snatch back the Needham Plains.”
The ideal price in Clyde’s heart was Miss Morais herself. However, he was too embarrassed to speak out such greedy and wicked words. Thinking this, Clyde pretended to get up. He wanted to see the highest price Morais would put on the table. Upon seeing that Clyde wanted to leave, Morais looked hesitant. However, Paladin Luolan who had been sitting at the side immediately stood up and blocked his way.
“Mister Clyde, don’t be in such a rush to leave! Treat this as helping Morais. She is too embarrassed to say it, so let me help her explain!”
“Luolan, wait! That’s not pertinent, no…”
“Morais, how’s this off topic? Do you really want to marry him?”
After Luolan asked this, Morais’s complexion became bright red. She lowered her head and played with the handle of the teacup in front of her as if she had tacitly agreed for Luolan to overstep and reveal the truth. After hearing Luolan’s explanation, Clyde understood many secrets. Originally, in order to resist Douglas Clan’s offense, Morston Clan had intended to form an alliance with Stuart Clan that had monopolized Adrian Empire’s iron mines and forging industry. For this political alliance, Morais needed to marry Stuart Clan’s Young Master Astor.
However, Morais didn’t like this arrangement. Young Master Astor was a typical profligate son. Although he was capable, he craved to indulge in hedonism and lead a decadent life. He didn’t match Morais who liked to study and research. Therefore, Morais felt wronged and acted impetuously, seeking a proxy to help her. As long as the matter of the Needham Plains was resolved, Douglas Clan would be suppressed, and Morston Clan might reconsider the political marriage.
The financial backers of most of Adrian Empire’s aristocrats were fixed. In addition, since Morais had impetuously left upon feeling wronged, contradicting her clan, those big aristocrats who were supported by Morston Clan were secretly instigated to look for various reasons to refuse her commission. Helpless, Morais could only ask for Clyde. Steinbeck Fief was the only place within Adrian Empire that had over 10,000 troops but didn’t already have a financial backer behind-the-scenes.
“Since that is the case, I can help. I don’t want your sponsorship. However, when the time comes, you can publicly announce that I’m your proxy. Your sponsorship is unneeded.”
“Mister Clyde, thank you! What remuneration do you want? I don’t want to accept others’ help for nothing. If there is anything I can do, I will do my best!”
“There’s nothing for the time being. We’ll talk again after the warfare for Needham is over. After all, it’s hard to say whether we can win.”
A hint of gratitude unintentionally showed on the two girls’ faces, and they expressed a thousand thanks to Clyde for his help. Smiling to himself, Clyde prepared to leave the room. Now, he had spread the net. After the battle for the Needham Plains ended, he could reel it in, capturing Miss Morais, this precious beauty. If he were lucky enough, he might even capture Paladin Luolan in passing.
Before the end of the Needham battle, Miss Morais would hide in this “Morton” Hotel. Therefore, Clyde planned to immediately arrange for demonic creatures to protect this hotel. After all, Miss Morais was the nominal financial backer of Steinbeck Fief. If she were unprotected and suffered an attack, that would be inexcusable.
After an agreement was reached, Miss Morais had to immediately arrange a lot of things. She was unable to see him off, so she assigned her close girlfriend Paladin Luolan to send Clyde off on her behalf. Before she left though, she insisted on giving him a gift. Although he had repeatedly expressed that she didn’t need to pay him any compensation and could quietly stay in Steinbeck Fief and “win without needing to even lift a finger,” Miss Morais felt sorry in her heart and forcibly gave Clyde a special card with her signature. As long as one had this special card, everything in “Moston” Hotel would be free of charge. One could even bring along two friends who would similarly enjoy this privilege.
Miss Morais forcibly squeezed this special card into his hands. There was no chance to refuse. In the last moment, Clyde decided not to quibble and accepted it. After receiving her gift, Clyde left the luxurious private compartment together with Paladin Luolan and went downstairs. He wanted to see whether Suhiya and the others were still there. After all, they had initially come together, and it would be inappropriate for him to abandon them and go home first.
“Sire Clyde, thank you for helping Morais. Nevertheless, the Needham Plains, that place might… Marquis Charles was once a famed general. Not long ago, when Franconia Empire invaded us, they detoured around his territory to not lose resources against him. In addition, he has an army of over one hundred thousand…”
“Miss Luolan, you don’t need to worry about this. People have limits. No matter how strong Marquis Charles is, in the end, he is just a human, nothing more.”
“Eh, fine. Perhaps, I’m being oversensitive.”
Luolan didn’t understand the deep meaning behind Clyde’s words. She just treated it as a casual joke, nothing more. This beautiful paladin couldn’t participate in the war because she was the commander of Adrian Empire’s Imperial Knight Regiment. The current domestic situation of Adrian Empire was quite grim, so she couldn’t help her friend. The big aristocrats of various places had taken advantage of the empire’s declining national power to gather their troops, attempting to demand greater authority from the emperor.
Now, with the exception of the capital, Samuel City, the imperial clan of Adrian Empire no longer had control over the other regions. Only the territories at the borders like Steinbeck Fief were relatively safe due to their distance from the disputes. However, it was only a matter of time before war spread. Various Suzerains who had received financial aid from the three big tycoon clans who secretly controlled Adrian Empire were attacking each other. They wanted to take advantage of the chaos to expand their own territories. It was hard to say when the flames of war would reach Steinbeck Fief.
The local aristocrats of several territories near Steinbeck Fief were all attacking each other, with the most intense fighting being around Leopold Lake. In order to fight for this large lake with an abundance of freshwater and fish, an army of 50,000 led by Earl Fred, an army of over 40,000 commanded by Earl Gerard, and an army of 60,000 commanded by Earl Edgar had surrounded the lake and become entangled in combat. This war had been named “the Battle of Three Earls”.
The behind-the-scenes financial backers of these three earls were all different. Earl Fred was sponsored by Stuart Clan, Earl Gerard was aided by Morston Clan, and Earl Edgar was supported by Douglas Clan. Ownership of the Leopold Lake area had always been disputed because it lay between these three earls’ territories. Now, taking advantage of this time when the imperial family’s power had weakened, these three earls had directly shed all pretenses of cordiality and commanded their troops to fight for ownership of Leopold Lake.
At present, Steinbeck Fief had not yet been eyed by these three earls because its strength was too weak. Now, the three earls had each already roped in a group of small and mid-sized aristocrats, and they were continuing to court more allies. Many viscounts, barons, and so on had chosen sides. In the neighboring areas of Leopold Lake, over 200,000 troops had already gathered, and the war was only further intensifying. Although Clyde didn’t want to participate in this chaotic battle, he feared they would drag Steinbeck Fief in. At that time, it would be difficult to avoid conflict.
In the main hall of “Morton” Hotel, Clyde saw many intoxicated Light Church’s priestesses and nuns as well as four saintesses lying on the table. They had all fallen asleep. As for his sister, she had somehow mixed in with the members of Light Church without her true form being discovered. Lucifer had a mischievous expression, sitting beside “Ice Saintess” Shirley while playing with her smooth and silky hair.
“Sister Lucifer, this is…”
“Ya, Big Brother Clyde. I… I just accompanied them to drink some wine. I didn’t expect them to get so drunk; it really wasn’t intentional.”
From her smiling expression, it had obviously been intentional. Clyde even suspected that if he hadn’t come over, this wicked Lolita would have revealed her true instincts and begun to hunt Light Church’s members. Looking at the drunken members of Light Church, although all were beauties, Clyde felt a headache coming on. Could it be that he would have to carry them all back?
“Mister Clyde, Morton Hotel has free rooms. If you don’t mind, they can rest here for the night.”
“Then, I’ll have to trouble you, Miss Luolan.”
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.