The Saint Series 3: The Demon Saint is Missing, so I Ran to Another World, Vol. 14
***The city of Helfan, capital of the personal fiefs of the demon lord, Noir of House Usarved***
In the aftermath of the Demon Unification Wars, the clan of House Usarved emerged as the undisputed leader of the demon people. Aside from the size of their lands, and a large, growing population, their power was further strengthened by the support of the other clans, the advances made in industries and weaponries, reforms in the education sector and military thought, and—most importantly—the backing of the Special Scholar, Greg ‘Kuro’ Santos, the human who started all the changes Cherflammen was benefiting from nowadays.
However, with all the petty politics and clan rivalries, the reforms in Cherflammen wasn’t over just yet. As such, the demon lord, Princess Noir—under her ‘disguise’ as the Prince Hurion Devras IV—summoned all the clan elders to her personal capital for an important council.
“I believe now is the time we demons create a constitution!”
The entire demon assembly was quiet, as many of them had no idea of what the demon king-president had just said. Everyone looked at him with puzzled expressions on their faces, waiting for their leader to elaborate more. However, Prince Hurion quickly directed his gaze on his teacher, the human lord Greg Santos, which the latter took as a sign for him to speak.
“Well,” he cleared his throat first, before continuing, “to put it simply, because Cherflammen would now be governed by a republic, and not under the rule of a king or a monarch, a constitution is a must. It’s just a set of laws created to guide your leaders and guarantee everyone’s freedoms and rights, as long as you submit to the authority of those you elected to the positions.”
“Hm?” a goblin elder spoke, “Isn’t it that the Prince Hurion swore to uphold our rights and privileges when we agreed to submit to his rule before? Isn’t that enough?”
“You did swear fealty to me,” the demon prince confirmed. “And I thank you and your fellow elders for that wise decision. However, a constitution would set our freedoms and limitations on paper, which we can always read and consult before making a major decision.”
“For short,” Lord Greg was quick to back him up, “think of it as something of a ‘covenant’ between the demon clans, and your demon king-president, which is currently the Prince Hurion. Once your clans approved of it, it will guarantee your rights, privileges and freedoms, but also outline your personal responsibilities and limitations to your ruler. The good thing about this is that, you can hold your leaders responsible for any violated laws without resorting to bloodshed.”
“A demon king who can’t bend his people to his will?” the demon nobles were murmuring amongst themselves. “This is unheard of! What kind of a ruler is that?”
“Let me remind you that once you agree to a constitution, you’re bound to follow the limitations placed on you as well," the Lord Greg added. “It is a ‘neutral’ document by principle; it won’t distinguish a noble from a commoner, a lord from a lady, a brother from a sister, and most importantly, a monarch from the lowest slave. If someone sins, then that person is to be punished, according to what is written and prescribed by the law.”
“W-Wait, Lord Scholar,” a noble from the Tambara clan stood up to speak, “if I’m to understand your words, are you trying to remove the differences between us elders and nobility from the common folk?”
“Yes, I am. That’s the goal,” the human revealed, much to the shock and consternation of the entire assembly. Sensing that his proposal would garner fierce opposition, the Lord Greg played his trump cards, “Don’t worry about losing your privileges, great noble lords and ladies of the council. I implore you to please listen and consider my suggestion first, before outright rejecting it. Let me ask you a question, do you believe that all demons are created equal?”
“What do you mean by that, Lord Greg?”
“Well, for example,” the Special Scholar pulled his pistol and placed it on the table. “If I asked you who among the clans here should I kill and annihilate in the name of the demon king-president, who will you choose and why?”
Tense silence suddenly engulfed the room as the elders from each clan waited upon their counterpart to speak. Everyone knew that one slip up could end in a diplomatic incident, and no one was brave enough to cause it, having just survived the recent conflict. But then, after a few minutes, the delegation of the ghouls raised their hand.
“Why are we talking of killing here” they raised their objection. “Haven’t you guys had enough of your wars?”
“But do you have any clan in mind, ghoul lords?” the Lord Greg replied.
“Eh…nothing comes to mind, milord! Everyone looks down on us until recently, but we only want peace, so we don’t keep vendettas.”
“And besides,” a Biorno elder spoke, “we demons come from the same ancestors, who were once the envy of even the Lord Gaius himself! Why should we kill each other, when we have other enemies to defeat?”
A chorus of cheers and applause erupted, and Greg could only stare at the Biorno elder in disbelief. As far as he could remember, the Biorno stubbornness to avenge their fallen master was the reason for the escalation of the frozen conflict that led to the outbreak of the ‘second phase’ of the Unification Wars. But since he wanted to make a statement, he decided to play along with words of the incubus representative.
“So you do believe that all demons are your brothers and sisters, hence we can say that they are your equals—both nobles and commoners alike. If so, then why give others limited rights and freedoms, while shower yourselves with excessive privileges? Isn’t it the cause of your wars of old? Everyone wants to rule; everyone wants to be powerful! With a constitution, we can distribute the power to rule equally, and give other talented individuals a chance to implement meaningful reforms! Not to mention, a single lord can’t do anything drastic like killing and annihilating an entire clan based on his whims, or he’ll answer to your laws!”
There were groups of nobles who were now convinced, but others remained skeptical. At worst, some were stubborn to the proposals of the human lord, and one of them tried to discredit him by pointing out, “Lord Scholar, I made research about your past. If I’m not mistaken, you are also known as the Lord Kuro of Arles, right?”
“I and that person are the same, milord.”
“And this ‘Kuro of Arles’—you—is also the king of Cherwind, ruling together with your beastman queen, Lady Ursura of the Beastfolk. Now, looking at these proposals, I can’t help but think of the time when you founded the beastman kingdom. See, you became its first monarch, yet, from what I can understand, this ‘federal republic’ and your new ‘constitution’ is radically different to the government you formed in Cherwind. May I—and this entire assembly—know the reasons behind the different systems you’re espousing?”
The Lord Greg glanced at the demon prince first, who gave him a light nod, before answering, “Milord, there are several things you need to know about my circumstances in Cherwind. First, I did not install myself as its king. I’m a human, and I lived in Chersea. As such, I know—and expect—that my stay in Cherwind is only temporary. Second, and in connection to the first, my temporary stint is the reason the Lady Ursura became queen and the kingdom’s first monarch. And third, she was acclaimed by both the humans and beastmen, and then, riding on that waves of support, she chose me as her king.”
The demon noble was taken aback by the new information; however, his attempts to discredit the Lord Greg wasn’t over yet, “Alright, I admit I may have overlooked those parts, but the matter on the different governments remain. I’m sorry for being blunt, Lord Greg, but you’re a human. And, as far as our history goes back, we don’t have much good relations with your people. What’s keeping you from giving us a system of governance where we will be weakened in the long run?”
The Special Scholar could only smirk and shake his head. Then, taking a deep breath, he explained, “Honorable lord and ladies of Cherflammen. I stand before you not as a human, but rather, as a friend. You are aware of my deeds and sacrifices made to bring about peace into your realm. However, let’s set those aside and start with a clean slate. Please think of me as someone who did nothing, but is proposing a new system for your people. As you know, back in my world, I was a teacher—a mentor of your hero, Lady Cassandra David. And my interests lie mainly on the study of history.”
The demon nobles’ attention were all fixated on him; only the Lady Baraquiel, and Lady Nara were clapping their hands in excitement (though it was a soft clap to avoid disruptions).
“Why did we establish a kingdom in Cherwind, while I’m advocating a federal presidential republic here in Cherflammen? See, in Cherwind, humans and beastmen live side by side, and are often at odds to each other. This is because of their different beliefs, values, and culture. Now, I believe—based on what I observed and studied in my world’s own history—that for a state with two or several diverse groups of people to have a stable government, there should be a powerful person sitting at the top, who can bend his subjects to abide to his will. I admit, a one-person rule can easily be abused, but with someone well-meaning at the helm, authoritarianism can actually benefit a country well.”
No one dared to counter the Special Scholar’s defense. For his part, the Prince Hurion Devras proudly smiled as his teacher continued his arguments.
“As for Cherflammen, I think the time and conditions are right for the demon people to transition from a one-person rule, to one that works for the welfare of everyone, through the cooperation of all. Why? See, your population is literate and well-educated. Your industries have developed complicated concepts that needs special attention, and it’s obvious that a single ruler will need people to govern its operations. And finally, you are all demons, who have same sets of beliefs, values and culture. Democratic institutions and systems will fare better in your realm, having same ideas on how to progress, so I’m pushing for a ‘federal republic’ in Cherflammen.”
“A federal republic…?”
“Yes, a federation will fit your society more, for the demon clans are used to their ‘freedoms’ before. In our new government, each clan will be accorded certain freedoms to rule themselves, in contrast to a ‘centralized’ republic where every decision comes from the higher-ups. That’s why, you need not to worry about ‘losing’ your privileges. It’s true that you’ll have to submit to the authority of the demon king-president, but you’ll still be the leaders of your clans, and you keep some of your privileges not detrimental to the existence of your state.”
“If you’re giving the clans freedom, then what’s the use of the demon king then?”
“He’s the one in-charge of keeping the peace and protecting you from external and internal threats, that’s why we agreed to disband everyone’s armies and formed a new, unified military under his command. That’s his responsibility. Your job as civilians will be to become productive members of your society. For short, this new arrangement will have you worry only about your contributions to your people, effectively removing your concerns for your everyday protection and survival.”
“Ooooh…” some of the nobles were impressed that they began clapping, which was soon followed by the others.
“The human lord surely thinks of us!”
“He’s really a friend to our people!”
However, the Lord Greg wasn’t done yet…
“Besides, you were already ruled by a succession of demon lords and still fought against each other. If the old system is not working for you and your people anymore, then why bother to keep it?
“That’s one long exhausted sigh, Sir,” the Prince Hurion, now back to his ‘other self’ as Princess Noir, commented. “Tired of your lectures about the demon republic?”
“Well, yeah…I’m pretty exhausted,” I admitted. “The clan elders got a lot of questions, and there were several instances that they were just repeating what I already explained before.”
“I guess they can’t help it,” Princess Noir replied. “You’re introducing a new way of government, and honestly, it’s a bit radical to what we are used to.”
“That’s true. You know, the first 'presidential' republics in my own world were born out of conflicts as well. The first one from a revolution against their overseas masters, and the second from toppling their own king who oppressed and starved his subjects.”
Princess Noir stared at me like I said the most morbid of things she had heard. But I was just telling what Earth’s history recorded, see? The United States kicked the British from their lands back in 1783, after fighting a war for twelve years. Then, the French followed by beheading their king (the symbol of France’s Ancien Regime excesses) in 1793.
Still, I guess I scared the Usarved princess by retelling these events.
“Ah, don’t worry much about what I just said, Your Highness,” I reassured. “This is the very reason we’re founding the Federal Demon Republic. With the federal system, the demon clans are free to determine their future, with minimal ‘supervision’ from your government. For short, in case they fucked up, there’s no one else to blame but their own leaders.”
“O-Oh…you’re surely thinking ahead, Sir…”
“Your Highness, your ancestors already committed similar mistakes. They ruled through decrees, most of which only enriched their lands, much to the detriment of the other clans. They punished and killed people they did not like, even if that person did nothing against them. As I wanted to create a stable government that rules over its subjects with reason and justice, an absolute monarchy will never fit that ideal. It’s what history is for; learn from the errors of the past, so we can all progress in the future.”
“Wow…” the demon king-president could only say. “I surely didn’t think of that.”
“Well, as long as I’m here, I’ll make sure your rule will be smooth and secure.”
“Eh, why do you talk like you’re going to leave me?” Princess Noir grabbed my arm and pulled me close to her. “I said it before, right? You’re mine, Sir Greg!”
“Haha! I appreciate the sentiments, Your Highness, but I still got a lot of things to do!”