Chapter 176 Unexpected Connection with Gregor
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
After receiving the report from Diana, I leaned back deeply on the sofa in the reception room and looked up at the ceiling.
”It seems like you’re not here in your mind. Are you thinking about something again?”
”Is it because of this thing called ‘Gregor’ that your father mentioned?”
As I continued to gaze at the ceiling absentmindedly, suddenly a hand reached out and grabbed my head, pulling it forcefully downwards.
”How about now? Are you clear-headed?”
”Y-Yes! I am! So, please let go… my neck!”
As I appealed, fearing that my neck would be broken using the backrest of the sofa as a fulcrum, Lewya quickly released her hand, and I sat up straight, rubbing my neck.
”Haa… haa… I thought my neck was going to snap.”
”I did go easy on you. But more importantly, what are you thinking about so much? What is this ‘Gregor’?”
”When you ask what it is… I have to start from scratch to explain to someone who knows nothing about Gregor.”
After pondering for a while on how to answer Lewya’s question, I decided that I had no choice but to start from the beginning to explain about Gregor to someone who knew nothing about it.
”Well, Gregor is the name of the revolutionary army that was born during the time when the Empire was still called the Iladikius Kingdom.”
”A revolutionary army? No, more importantly, there was a predecessor country to the Empire?”
”That’s right. In the late Iladikius Kingdom, the nobles had more power than the royal family, and it was practically a country ruled by the nobles. But Gregor’s revolution gave birth to the Empire.”
”The nobles ruled the country? Why would something like that happen when there is a king? Nobles are supposed to obey the king, right?”
From the perspective of elves, the king is considered more important than anything else, and everyone is supposed to obey the king’s orders. I explained to Lewya about the relationship between the king and the nobles in the Iladikius Kingdom.
”That’s not the case. The relationship between the king and the nobles in the Iladikius Kingdom was not a master-servant relationship, but rather a relationship of business partners. It wasn’t like the current Empire where the emperor had absolute power, and even His Majesty couldn’t do whatever he wanted with the nobles.”
”I thought humans valued status above all else, but it seems that’s not the case… There are various things in human society. Anyway, I understand that even a king cannot command the nobles to do anything. So, does that mean there was a problem with the nobles’ rule that led to the revolution?”
”That’s right. The nobles imposed heavy taxes on the people of their territories while paying only minimal taxes to the country, keeping most of it for themselves. They didn’t reinvest in their territories, so naturally the people’s lives didn’t improve, but rather worsened.”
”They were like the corrupt nobles in stories. So, it’s obvious that a revolution would happen. But what about Gregor? Wasn’t it disbanded after the revolution?”
”Gregor as a revolutionary army was disbanded. But even after the revolution, they continued their activities under the name of the ‘Independent Execution Agency’.”
”That’s quite a menacing name, but what exactly do they do?”
”They are the Empire’s cleaners who execute those deemed harmful to the Empire. Do you remember the story I told you before about ‘the nobles who live extravagant lives will have their heads cut off’?”
”I remember, but is Gregor the one who carries out those executions?”
”That’s right. However, it’s not just because someone lives an extravagant life that they will be beheaded. More accurately, it’s because they squeeze blood taxes from the people in order to live an extravagant life, amplifying the people’s resentment.”
”So, as long as you use the money you earned yourself, Gregor won’t take action?”
”Probably… The thing is, no one knows the exact criteria for Gregor’s judgment. We know that any actions harmful to the Empire are not allowed, but where the line is drawn between what is considered harmful to the Empire is unclear. There have been several cases of nobles and imperial family members being killed in the past, and we can speculate that this was the cause, but we don’t know the exact reason.”
”Wait a minute, is Grelego going after the royal family?”
I answered Lewya’s question, which seemed to be bothered by the part about the royal family being killed.
”Grelego executes anyone who is deemed a threat to the empire, regardless of their status or morality. Even if their actions were good, if they harm the empire, Grelego will judge them without mercy.”
”So, Grelego is an ally of the empire, not a friend to the ‘people’ living there?”
”That’s right. That’s why whether you’re a commoner, noble, or royal, if you harm the empire, you become a target for judgment. Especially nobles and royals who are deeply involved in the governance of the country can unintentionally harm the national interest and cause harm to the empire. From their perspective, Grelego is a source of fear.”
”Even a simple mistake can be subject to judgment?”
”If it’s just one or two mistakes, Grelego won’t intervene. Grelego’s purpose is to protect the empire, not to judge those who harm it. That’s the job of another person. Grelego judges those who harm the empire and takes action to prevent the damage from spreading or occurring.”
”I see. Unless there is actual harm, it’s difficult to judge by law and often puts them at a disadvantage. So, Grelego exists to prevent that from happening. But why is an organization that goes as far as targeting the royal family and nobles allowed to roam freely? It’s something that is not normally conceivable.”
”There are three reasons for that. First, the first emperor of the empire, Gran Gradiugium, and his queen, Reina Gradiugium, were two of the four people who established Grelego and deeply sympathized with its ideals. They believed that the empire needed a strong deterrent to prevent it from becoming a self-righteous nation like the Iladikius Kingdom, so the first emperor gave Grelego its own discretion. Second, although Grelego is an organization recognized by the emperor, it is not a public institution but rather a secret society-like organization. Information about its base and members is completely unknown, and its members live their lives hiding the fact that they are part of Grelego. It is believed that they are lurking all over the empire.”
”So, there is a possibility that someone close to you is actually a member of Grelego, and if you raise opposition to Grelego, you could be killed?”
”That possibility is very real, and there is also the problem that it is simply difficult to eliminate them. Grelego is extremely secretive, and even the lower-ranking members who carry out the operations have very little information. It is rumored that even senior members do not fully understand the overall structure of the organization.”
”Even if you manage to destroy one of their bases without knowing the full picture, it’s hard to say how much of a blow that would be to Grelego. It’s like running a marathon without knowing when to stop or where the finish line is. It wouldn’t be wise to blindly act without knowing any of that.”
”And the last reason, which is the biggest reason why no one touches Grelego, is that Grelego is working for the empire.”
”Hmm? Does that mean there are many people who believe that since Grelego is working for the empire, its existence should be accepted?”
”Well, that’s one way to look at it, but it’s a little different. Opposing Grelego, which works for the empire, is like declaring, ‘I am a threat to the empire.’ If you do that, you will be recognized as an enemy of the empire by those around you.”
”I see. So, Grelego only judges those who harm the empire and is harmless to anyone else. If someone actively tries to eliminate them, it means they are aware that they are being targeted by Grelego.”
”Yes, that’s right. That’s why nobles and royals don’t go after Grelego. In fact, just being targeted by Grelego would make them look suspicious to those around them. So, there are hardly any nobles in the empire who do foolish things.”
”I see… Wait, could it be that the reason why the empire’s nobles are skilled in clandestine battles is because of the existence of Grelego?”
”That is the main reason. Due to the existence of Grelego, the nobles who can no longer exploit the common people indiscriminately started competing to seize each other’s private fortunes. The incompetent ones who can only rely on their noble power became prey for other nobles, and as a result, only the cunning ones survived.”
”That’s what Neil called a ‘special situation’? So the imperial nobles have become skilled at scheming behind the scenes… When I heard this story, I became more worried about whether Neil can continue to live as a noble in this empire.”
”I guess so. I’ve been so anxious that I’ve been saying since I was eight years old that I’m not suited to be a noble.”
”That might be giving up a little too early, don’t you think? I think it’s a diligent judgment when I look at Neil now, but no one took it seriously because you were already being praised as a prodigy of Atmiras. But in the end, no one took it seriously.”
”But what does it mean that Gregor is lurking in the settlement? Is Gregor lurking all over the empire? If there are rumors that he is being targeted, it’s one thing, but if he’s just lurking, it’s not something to be rumored about… No, maybe that’s why. It’s strange that something that shouldn’t be rumored about is becoming a rumor.”
”Yes, that’s why I’ve been thinking about the meaning for a long time. Considering that the rumors are spreading from the banquet, the source is probably His Majesty, but I don’t understand his intention. I thought it might be a reminder to the nobles, but even if they were to be impressed by the existence of Gregor now, I don’t think the nobles’ response would change. Ah, what is that person really thinking?”
”The Emperor of the Empire, Gracius Gradigium, seems to be quite a tricky person. By the way, when I heard that the names of the first emperor and his queen and the founder of Gregor were all four people, I thought that maybe Gregor’s name is a twisted version of the initials of the founders’ names.”
”Oh, you noticed. Yes, the ‘G’ of the first emperor Gran, the ‘R’ of the queen Reina, the ‘R’ of their twin sister Reila, and the ‘G’ of the mysterious man Gorafu, whose details are unknown. That’s why it’s ‘Gregor.’”
”It’s a strange name, isn’t it? He probably used a fake name to avoid revealing his true identity, but it would have been better to use a more well-known name rather than a name that makes it clear it’s a fake name… Right, Lewya?”
Lewya put her hand on her mouth and thought seriously about something.
”Neil, how many years ago was Gregor formed?”
”Huh? Um, it’s about three hundred and twelve years since the founding of the empire, and Gregor was formed about ten years before the revolution, so it’s about three hundred and twenty years ago. Why do you ask?”
”…Gorafu is the name of my uncle who disappeared about three hundred years ago.”
”What!? Lewya’s uncle!?”
Surprised by the unexpected connection, I raised my voice, but I quickly regained my composure and thought. I had thought it was a strange name, but when it was pointed out, the sound of the name did resemble that of an elf.
The timing of his disappearance coincided with the establishment of Gregor, but could such a coincidence really exist? It’s also possible that someone who knew about his existence mentioned his name.
But if the leader of Gregor is an elf and has never changed, it would make sense that they have been operating without compromising their ideals for three hundred years.
”How should we think about this?”
”I don’t know either. Even if Gregor’s leader is Lewya’s uncle, there’s no way to contact him, and does Lewya have something she wants to talk about?”
”No, my uncle disappeared before I was born. I was just told by my mother that I had an uncle, and there’s nothing in particular that I want to talk about… But if there’s an opportunity, I would like to meet him and talk.”
”I see… but that would be difficult.”
Gregor is a highly secretive organization. It is said that there are very few people connected to the leader, so it wouldn’t be realistic to pass on the message to that extent.
”I’m sorry for bringing up this topic suddenly and causing confusion. Forget about it. Let’s think about the future for now.”
”Oh, yeah, that’s right… There will definitely be some small-time villains targeting the elves gathering in the settlement, but we don’t know how many will gather. We need to inform the security personnel about the existence of elves and ask them to be more vigilant than before.”
”Should I reveal my true identity?”
”No, it’s enough to inform them that there are people who are targeting the elves and aiming for the settlement. It’s better not to reveal Lewya’s true identity considering the risk of the secret being leaked.”
I gave instructions to Lewya and came up with a plan to deal with the people who would gather to target the elves. But a few days later, I couldn’t help but realize that the people gathering at the settlement had more than just the elves as their purpose.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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