The Elf Saint is a NEET, so I Forced Her to Work in Another World, Vol. 16
***The Port of Maverny, a port city in the northern shores of Empire of Chersea…***
The Maverny Cathedral, a church building dedicated to the worship of the Human Saint, was the most prominent structure in the skyline of its city. As such, anyone wouldn’t miss the events happening within its walls; be it wedding celebrations, holy masses, and even wakes and burials. In the case of the latter, grey ribbons would usually hung all over its façade, bell towers and fences, telling the inhabitants of the city that there was a dead prominent person lying in state within its immaculate halls.
In its courtyard were the carriages of the dignitaries invited by the household staff of the deceased. The sheer numbers of the soldiers from the Imperial Legion—the emperor’s personal bodyguards—was enough to tell everyone that His Imperial Majesty Jean Durres III was present for the occasion. As for his exact whereabouts, he was inside one of the cathedral’s inner chambers…those that were used for private prayer time for the templar monks of the church, as well as for meetings meant for private ears.
Flanked by several of his most trusted people in his government, the emperor sat on the most important part of the long table. Opposite him was his minister of the interior, who had just arrived from the viewing room. With him were thick stacks of paper, kept in place by a crude leather cover similar to a modern clipboard. “Your Imperial Majesty,” the minister began, shuffling through his documents. “Our agents report that as of the moment, the Lord Dupree, Viscount of Maverny, had no eligible heir to his vast properties and estates. There are…distant relatives, all belonged to other noble houses within and outside the empire, but no children from marriage, not even bastards.”
The emperor was silent. His hand was on his forehead, massaging his temples. It was the first time Emperor Jean encountered such problem with his subjects, more so a member of the nobility. Even when the viscount was on his deathbed, the issue on his heir to his fiefs was already well-known to the other nobilities, hence they were mobilizing support to petition the emperor to have the estates be given to them.
The Lord Dupree was a well-known eccentric. In his prime, he focused his energies and talents researching about the ‘cracking light’—the Chersean term for ‘lightning’. For the viscount, he believed that with proper equipment, they could harness its energies and turn it into a powerful weapon and an asset to the empire. However, unmarried in his old age, he kept on his research, and ignored the realities of his noble house, of which, he was the sole child and the last of his line.
Now the Emperor Jean Durres was in a pinch. He thought if it was a wise decision to promulgate a decree forcing the nobility to marry at least three partners and produce an heir for each, so the issues on inheritance would be easier to solve.
After all, they have laws dealing about who’s going to inherit what remains on the estate.
“Sire,” it was the interior minister. “The Dukes of Renne and Doole have already petitioned to have an audience with you as soon as you returned to the capital. Both of them have a connection to the House of Maverny, though it is through the parents of the Lord Dupree. If I may add my own opinion, milord, I’d say they are interested in his fiefs, especially this port city, which is lucrative for trade.”
“I cannot allow that,” the emperor declared. “The Houses of Renne and Doole are already powerful enough. Any more assets to them and we’ll upset the balance of power between the nobilities of our empire. And same can be said to the other houses vying for the viscount’s fiefs.”
“But Your Imperial Majesty,” this time, the finance minister spoke up. “If we don’t decide immediately, who will take over it? The Lord Dupree is dead, with no heir to claim his properties.”
The interior minister asked, “Can’t we just appropriate the fiefs?”
“We can. However, I doubt if the other noble houses would take it lightly, after all, the emperor is already the ruler of this land. They beseech His Imperial Majesty’s wisdom on the viscount’s fiefs, but they don’t expect their liege to give those territories to himself.”
“Yes, I agree with your observation, sire,” the emperor backed his finance minister. “While it is legal, if my house seized the properties of the Lord Dupree and become its owner, I’m afraid it’ll only lead to future instability. See, my heir is already dead; my son, the crown prince was killed during the Great Rising of the Undead. And my wives are already too old to bear children, or has joined my child in the afterlife. I believe I’m also old to take another young woman to be my wife. While it may be possible that these powerful nobles do not quarrel while I’m still living, once I’m dead strife would surely erupt as they’d fight for whatever fiefs left in my house.”
The entire room was quiet. No one dared to speak as the possibility of an armed conflict sank in everyone’s hearts.
“Do not be vexed, my faithful servants,” the emperor reassured them. “These are just me, thinking ahead and not just of the present. Yes, the possibility is high…if we don’t act now. We can still avoid bloodshed. The successor to my reign is already assured of who wins the Imperial election; we just need to solve the matter of inheritance in case a noble house is extinguished, like the case of Viscount of Maverny.”
“Then, Your Imperial Majesty,” the interior minister rose from his seat, “what is in your mind?”
“The emperor will decide on whom the properties will go,” Emperor Jean declared. “He or she can choose any house or person to his or her liking. However, under no circumstance that he or she will appropriate the fiefs to his or her own house while living.”
“Understood,” the ministers answered in unison while writing and taking notes of his decree.
But then, the emperor continued, pulling a rolled paper from his robes, “Therefore, with all the circumstances considered, fret not my faithful subjects! Your emperor hereby declares the House of Maverny—its estates, other properties and corresponding titles—shall be inherited by the Lord Kuro of Arles, Servant of the Human Saint, the Rock of Chersea, the Commoner General…and if I may add, the greatest hero of all the realms after the legendary Cassandra David.”