Noble Reincarnation-Chapter 116


 Chapter 116: Emperor of Gazebo

“Hm?”

[If there are unsettling movements, isn’t it only logical to investigate thoroughly? Yet this report is so scant.]

“Yeah, that’s intentional.”

[Intentional?]

“That’s right. Spies like this usually mingle among the servants with a casual look on their faces. If such a servant saw something that made them curious and start probing….., that would arouse suspicion. They’re not specialists in infiltration or investigation.”

“Then why not use a specialist?”

“Fufu.”

[My lord?]

“Let’s say, for example, I left you at Oscar’s mansion and ordered you to report everything you saw. Do you think you could unearth any secrets?”

[…Impossible. My presence is too conspicuous to be suited for uncovering secrets.]

Livyathan responded in a slightly sullen tone.

It realized what I was getting at.

This question of mine essentially made it admit something it couldn’t do.

“That’s right. Your case is an extreme example, but the same applies to professional scouts. If someone like Oscar would definitely not miss the unusual signs given off by such people.”

[I see.]

“That’s why I instruct all those I’ve bribed to ‘report what they see’ and ‘not to delve too deeply.’ Instead, I establish multiple channels of information.”

As I spoke, I waved another piece of paper that I had under the first letter I was reading.

It was a report from another servant—a gatekeeper.

“Oscar’s servant seemed grave when entering, but when they were leaving, they seemed to have a smug attitude, huh?”

[Mm.]

“Even though I still don’t know the details, I can make some educated guesses.”

[Mmm… Impressive, my lord. To think you had considered all this.]

I smiled slightly.

I was glad that Livyathan seemed satisfied.

At the same time, I read through the two letters.

Although I couldn’t tell the specifics, it was plausible that Oscar might have been incited by a servant.

I thought that maybe he would come after me while I was on campaign.

I should keep Livyathan, my trump card, close at hand.

At the same time, I felt somewhat frustrated.

This method of this intelligence network was my own design.

Even if each piece of information was sparse and the quality was low, if multiple reports came in, I could piece something together. I thought of such.

It’s a method of covering quality with quantity.

The advantage of this method is that if something happens and multiple reports suggest it, I can be confident that ‘something has occurred.’

With a single high-quality report, there’s always doubt about whether it truly happened. But if five or ten reports all suggest the same thing, it’s certain that ‘something has occurred.’

“I wonder how my father handled this.”

I was well aware of my father’s incredible network of informants.

His system was unmatched in quantity, quality, and especially speed.

I imagined that if it were him, he would have fully grasped Oscar’s movements by now.

It’s unclear whether Oscar will act or not.

“…”

Sometimes there is an advantage of not knowing.

I don’t know whether Oscar will really act.

Because it’s unclear, I can remain ambiguous.

Imagining Oscar’s personality, 

He’s likely to hold off doing anything until he has a clear view of the other party’s hand.

If so, the action I need to take becomes apparent.

Looking up at the moonless night sky, I contemplated ways to further muddy the waters.

After some fresh air in the garden, I returned to my office to tackle more administrative work.

Being Emperor of the Empire is a demanding job.

Although I had some idea of what it entailed from watching my father, actually assuming the throne myself proved that my previous assumptions were too naive.

Being an Emperor is 100 times busier than I ever imagined as a commoner before my reincarnation.

There’s no time for indulgences like a wine pool and meat forest. Every day, I’m consumed with reports and directives from all over the land.

That’s what I was dealing with even now.

A letter from Evelyn in Almeria lay open before me.

As expected of a servant who had left my household.

Since he understood my directives well, I wrote back in red ink, giving him full authority to act.

“Your Majesty”

As I was doing this, one of the eunuchs approached me.

When I looked up, I saw a eunuch who looked like a young boy on the other side of the desk.

The boy knelt before me, raised his face, and looked at me.

“Your face is new to me. What’s your name?”

“Eh? Ah, yes. My name is Luke.”

The young eunuch was a bit flustered as he answered my question.

I put down my pen and wiped my hands with a nearby towel before asking another question.

“Luke, huh? You seem quite young. Why did you become a eunuch?”

“Y-yes. It’s for my sister’s medicine.”

“I see.”

I gave a small nod.

It wasn’t an unusual story.

Since eunuchs have to be castrated, it is natural to hand over a large amount of preparation money to the people who come in.

 This often lures people in, sometimes deceiving them to get the numbers.

Many young men from poor families, who don’t have to inherit the family line, volunteer to become eunuchs. 

For their families, that lump sum is a large amount of money.

I understood that the boy in front of me was one of them.

“So, what’s the matter?”

“Ah, yes. There’s a person called Neil-sama for…um, requesting a vis-aud…?”

“An audience?”

“Yes! He’s requesting an audience.”

“I see, let him in.”

I said with a faint smile, 

Although he was a young eunuch who was still not used to the job, I gave permission for Neil to enter.

The young eunuch, Luke, stood up and, in a flurry, turned and left the office.

After a while, Neil came in to replace him.

Neil stopped in front of the desk, knelt on one knee, and bowed according to protocol.

“Haha.”

“Wh-, no, Your Majesty? Is there something wrong?”

“No, it’s nothing. The boy who was just here is new, so it’s understandable that his manners and speech were lacking. But it seems you’re not too keen on formalities either.”

As I said this, Neil blushed slightly and gave a wry smile.

“I’m not used to this sort of thing.”

“That’s fine. There’s no need for formalities when there aren’t any nagging old people around.”

“That’s a relief.”

Neil let out a small laugh and stood up straight. 

I admired that he didn’t feel the need to overly humble himself.

Neil Noble. 

The third son of Damian Noble, the Empire’s strongest old general. 

When Damian recommended his sons for official positions a while ago, he didn’t recommend this third son.

For his eldest, second, and fourth sons, Damian—an honest and upright warrior—had plenty of praises to sing, yet he didn’t mention anything about this third son.

Curious, I investigated this third son

And I found out that, unlike his brothers, he had the talent to make a name for himself without parental recommendation or nepotism.

People are treasures. 

Knowing this, I couldn’t just stand by. I went to him directly, persuaded him, and added him to my ranks.

Although he was a man with great swordsmanship he was ill-suited to rigid formality.

I thought it would be a waste to force such a man into the mold of strict formalities, so I told Neil that there was no need for him to adhere to such things.

Leaning back deeply in my chair and completely stopping my work, I asked Neil,

“So, what brings you here today?”

“Please take me along on the upcoming campaign.”

“What, you want to earn some merits?”

“To put it bluntly, yes, something like that.”

“Fumu.”

I nodded slightly, looking at Neil. 

He was probably one of the least ambitious men I knew when it came to things like accomplishments or career advancement.

He seemed uninterested in glory or climbing the ranks.

“If it’s necessary, I’m even willing to guard that songstress. I’d be more useful than some of the other guys.”

“You mean Alice? Don’t worry, I’m not planning to send her anywhere out of my sight.”

“I see.”

“But, well…”

I pondered for a moment. 

Neil was one of the most “useful” pieces in my arsenal.

_____________________________________________

Name: Noah Ararat

Emperor of the Empire

Gender: Male

Level: 17+1/∞

HPC+BMPD+C
StrengthC+SStaminaD+C
IntelligenceD+ASpiritE+B
SpeedE+BDexterityE+C
LuckD+C
FireE+S+SWaterC+SSS
WindE+CEarthE+C
Light E+BDarknessE+B

_____________________________________________

Even from my status, I can tell he has pledged loyalty to me.

On top of that, he is skilled with the sword.

Indeed, I thought it would be a waste not to place him in a useful position.

“……”

After thinking for a moment, an image appeared in my mind.

“Then, there’s something I want you to do.”

“Oh, what is it?”

“First, some preparation is needed. Go to the Fourth Minister and win as much as you can.”

“Win? What are you talking about?”

“Start with that. In the meantime, I’ll make my preparations.”

“……”

Neil stared at me for a moment.

“I just need to win as much as I can, right?”

“Yes.”

“Got it.”

Neil nodded, swiftly turned on his heel, and left the office.

I thought his good sense and quick decision-making were talents in themselves.

After watching him leave, I,

“Someone.” 

called out.

Then, the young eunuch Luke from earlier came in.

Luke entered hurriedly, almost tripping, and prostrated himself in front of my desk.

“Y-You called, Your Majesty?”

“Summon the Minister of War. I’ll be in the garden, so bring him there.”

“Yes!”

Luke responded and hurriedly crawled out of the room.

I also stood up and left the room.

Walking down the corridor towards my destination.

Immediately, a lady-in-waiting quietly approached and draped a cloak over my shoulders.

To shield me from the chill of the night breeze.

I accepted it silently, keeping my pace steady, and headed to the garden.

The garden of the palace is illuminated in various places even at night.

Reliant of those lights, I made my way to the pond.

The reasonably large pond had an island in the center, with a pavilion set upon it.

In the pavilion, there were stone chairs and a table, blending naturally as ‘part of the island’.

I sat on one of the stone chairs.

Immediately, a lady-in-waiting brought tea.

The iced tea, made with ice, pleasantly cooled my mind, which had been heated by various thoughts.

I placed the cup on the stone table.

The iced tea caused condensation on the outside of the cup.

Two small puddles formed on the table: one where the lady-in-waiting had placed it initially, and another where I had put it down after drinking.

Watching that, I waited for thirty minutes until Henry came rushing in.

He crossed the bridge and landed on the island, kneeling at the entrance of the pavilion.

“Prince of War, Henry Ararat, has come in response to your summons.”

“Umu, sit there. Bring tea for the Prince of War too.”

I instructed both Henry and the lady-in-waiting who had guided him.

Immediately, the lady-in-waiting brought tea for Henry.

It was the same iced tea I had, made with precious ice.

“Good work, you may leave.”

“Yes.”

The lady-in-waiting followed her orders.

I idly watched the garden scenery, while Henry glanced at the lady-in-waiting until she was out of sight.

After she was gone, Henry faced me directly.

In doing so, he briefly glanced at my cup and the two puddles.

“Calling me to such a place, do you have some confidential matters to discuss?”

Henry was quick to grasp the situation.

There is a saying that the walls have ears.

When discussing confidential matters, a garden island like this, with no places for anyone to hide, is the best.

A sealed room, in fact, is not ideal.

While it may appear to be a place where one cannot be overheard, you can never know who might be listening beyond the walls.

This kind of open space is most suitable for secret talks.

Though it no longer exists, there was a sport called holeball that was popular among the aristocrats a few hundred years ago.

It was a game played on a vast field, resembling a great plain, where players would hit a stationary ball with a stick, aiming to get it into a hole several hundred meters away with the fewest strokes possible.[TN: So basically ‘golf’, rich people sports I heard]

The sport itself was somewhat popular, but more importantly, the fact that each course was hundred to several hundred meters long meant that two people could be alone in a vast area.

This meant that whatever they discussed couldn’t be overheard by anyone, making it an ideal location for secret talks.

Similarly, I chose this open place where no one could eavesdrop, and Henry immediately understood that.

“Your Majesty?”

“Oh, sorry. I was lost in thought.”

I flicked the half-empty cup with my finger and redirected my gaze to Henry.

“I have something to ask. Are there any problem people in the Military Affairs Office?”

“Problematic… you say?”

Henry furrowed his brows and looked at me with a puzzled expression.

His face clearly says, “Why would you ask that?”

“Yes, anything will do. As long as they’re ‘problematic.’ Preferably an entire unit, but even a few individuals will suffice.”

“There are a bit over a hundred people, like a ragtag bunch…”

“What kind of people are they?”

“They were originally like bandits, but then—”

“That’s fine. I don’t need the details. There might be things you can’t say.”

“Much appreciated.”

“The important thing is whether they will listen to you, Henry.”

“Well…”

Henry looked thoughtful.

He seemed to realize from my tone that this was an important question and was genuinely considering it.

“As long as they don’t feel ‘expendable bunch!’ they will follow most orders.”

“Hahaha, straightforward, aren’t they? Are they well compensated?”

“Reasonably.”

“Good. I’ll add a bit more. I’ll give them 500 reens each.”

“On behalf of them, thank you, Your Majesty.”

Henry stood up and bowed deeply.

Then he sat down again.

“So, what do you want them to do?”

“You know Neil, right?”

“Neil… Noble’s son?”

“Yes, I want Neil to take them and disappear into the shadows.”

Upon hearing that, Henry’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Why is that?”

“I’m currently building up Neil’s reputation. If things go well, Neil will be the number one. If the best disappears into the shadows with the ‘problematic’ unit from the Military Affairs Office, what would you do, Henry?”

“That would…”

Henry looked thoughtful again.

While waiting for his answer, I traced the two puddles of water on the cup with my fingers, merging them into one.

“….I see, no one had come to see me.”

“Who did you think it was?”

“The Fourth Minister or the Empress.”

“Haha, two opposites, indeed. Well, yes.”

I felt a bit amused and laughed aloud.

“You’re clever, Henry. Including Audrey was a nice touch.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty.”

Henry stood up and bowed deeply.

Whenever I use this gazebo with someone, it’s either for secret discussions or for leisure with the consorts. 

Given that I’m meeting Henry, ‘this time’ is likely a secret discussion.

However, Henry also considered the possibility of leisure with the consorts.

Understanding that he considered even the slightest possibility— made me a bit delighted.

“Let’s get back to the topic.”

“Yes, by increasing the options, the other person becomes more suspicious.”

“Exactly. The same will happen with Neil. Even if he’s just out sightseeing, they’ll suspect him. The more intelligent they are, the harder it is to stop considering possibilities.”

“As expected, Your Majesty. They will surely fall into doubt.”

“That would be helpful.”

I nodded and stood up.

With my hands behind my back, I turned around to face the pond.

“The Imperial Guard is stationed outside, but they’re in the open. Spies can easily infiltrate them. I need pieces that can be placed in the shadows, known but completely concealed.”

“When people can’t see, they hesitate.”

“The smarter they are, the more so.”

I nodded slightly, agreeing with Henry’s words.

“Once again, do you think that ragtag bunch is suitable for this role?”

With my hands still behind my back, I turned my head to look at Henry over my shoulder.

“Yes. They might need some bribing or persuasion, but leave that to me.”

“Understood. I’ll leave it to you.”

I faced forward.

Facing forward, I gazed into the distance.

Henry fell silent, waiting for my next words.


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