Emperor of Steel

Chapter 597 - Parliament and Black Tower 1

The Opera House located in the center of Brandon city.

It was decided to use that building as the temporary parliament until the official building had been constructed.

It was around 300 nobles who had attended the parliament.

The royalists were seated to the right side of the stage and the noblemen to the left, while the neutrals were in the center.

“There are many young nobles on the neutral side.”

“Tch, what do the young ones even know about politics?”

“I know that. Shouldn’t the number of the neutrals be reduced and our noblemen need to be allotted more seats, right?”

“What are you talking about?! It should have been assigned to our royalist, not the nobles.”

Not only the nobles, but also the royalist saw the neutralists as unneeded group.

Someone even thought that they had to be given more seats.

Meanwhile, some men thought of it to be the best move.

Mostly, the high ranking or elderly nobles thought that the young ones who didn’t know about politics could be easily manipulated and asked to vote in their favor.

However, Aiden and the other neutralists weren’t dull enough to not know the intentions of the two sides.

‘Huh, now I am a neutralist but in the future, I will be called a republican!’

Hegel, who was the advisor to the neutral side, thought.

As knowledge spread widely, the position of the common people would grow due to the development of commerce, industry and the nobles would start paying attention to the people.

Right now, they were being called as royalists and noblemen, but in the future, they will be together as ‘conservatives’ and will be opposing the republicans.

That was the prediction of their teacher, Hegel, the advisor of the young republicans.

‘But the audience…’

Not just the officials of each party, but the nobles who weren’t given a seat, the common people who wanted to learn about the policies, could sit in the grandstand, overlooking the parliament.

Although they weren’t given the right to speak out, the presence of the audience was bound to influence the words of the lawmakers.

This meant that the words and actions of the lawmakers would be disclosed to outsiders.

‘Surely, King Luke isn’t an easy person to deal with—the audience’s seats and the seat restrictions…’

Wouldn’t it be an optimal situation for the republican’s rosy future as long as the people were there?

When Aiden was thinking that, the bellman, accompanying the Council head, announced.

“The chairman has come! Everyone, stand up!”

An elderly priest, who wore a high-class robe, stood on the platform.

Bishop Pascal, who served as the high priest in the Southern Baroque region, was appointed as Chairman by Luke.

He was a very knowledgeable man in the Symphonia Kingdom and ascended to the high priest position of the El Kassel order.

He was a man who lived with faith, so Luke was the only noble he was acquainted with.

It was also possible because Luke was very close to the Holy Pope of Arthenia Empire. Otherwise, he would have stayed away even if Luke was the King.

In fact, he was chosen as the chairman of the parliament because he had a neutral character.

Bishop Pascal cleared his voice on the platform and spoke, “I am lacking in many ways, and I have become the first chairman of the parliament that will remain in the history of the kingdom. I hope that all of you will work with your hearts and soul for the sake of His Majesty and the people of the Symphonia Kingdom.”

After the brief speech of the chairman, the parliament was started.

The first group to initiate the bill were the royalists.

A baron named Jordi, who had retired from the war due to the injuries he had sustained as a member of the Unicorn Knights, was the first to speak, “A lot of damage had been done to the forces because of the warlocks in Anbury City and the southern cities. To prevent the same thing from happening again, we need to search for warlocks and make sure this never happens again. We need to come up with relevant legislation and study on dark magic, and how to respond to warlocks and their skills.”

Not just the warlocks, but the audience too was disturbed by what they heard.

Searching for warlocks was understandable.

But to study dark magic?

Noblemen began to refute.

“Baron Jordi, are you even sane? Are you saying that you want to help the nation by studying dark magic?”

“We need to know the enemy to respond to his acts. There is nothing wrong with studying dark magic for that purpose.”

“It is plausible, but there is a guarantee that it won’t be exploited!”

Not just the nobles, but some neutralists and even some royalists raised their voices.

“If we take such measures, our nation will be degraded as a mess in the continent!”

“Right. As a response to the warlocks, the religious ones and wizards would have to work together. Won’t that solve it?”

Luke clicked his tongue as he watched the discussion from the audience’s seat. He saw that the reactions were a lot stronger than expected.

He had tried to change the perception that people had on warlocks.

The story of warlocks who contributed greatly to solving the zombie crisis in the Holy Empire, and the fact that Devil King Saymon wasn’t an evil person had been spread to the people with the help of the intelligence department.

Nonetheless, the perception of people in the Symphonia Kingdom regarding warlocks didn’t change much.

‘All of this is happening due to what Arsene did.’

Not long ago, half of the gateway city was blown away, and the port cities on the southern side were destroyed.

The incident only happened in the Symphonia Kingdom and not the other nations. That was why people were in doubt.

Yet, he couldn’t withdraw from his goals.

It wasn’t just Luke, but also Baron Jordi who had taken his orders.

Secondly, personally, him being called a warlock, there could be a rise of suspicion about the royalists’ identity too.

That was why he had to push away those thoughts.

However, enough evidence was given to Jordi from the king himself.

“When did the wizards and the religious men ever cooperate? Do you think that Anbury and the southern port cities would have collapsed if they came?”

No one could refute to Jordi’s words.

Once he picked up the momentum, Jordi continued to speak, raising his voice, “We do not know a lot about dark magic than what we know. If we fear and hate it now, the same will happen again and again. Do we all want the same things to happen?”

“But wouldn’t it cause diplomatic problems?”

It was the neutralist Aiden who responded.

When he listened to Jordi, he was very much convinced, yet he couldn’t agree with his words.

“If diplomatic problems are what is holding us back, then would Holy Arthenia Empire be able to achieve what it just did?”

Baron Jordi, who said that, unfolded the proclamation of the Holy Empire, which was passed to him by Luke beforehand. He then continued to speak, “This was a recent report. There might be a lot of people who don’t know about this. Under the orders of the Holy Pope, we are encouraging the surrender of the warlocks to the Holy Empire.”

In the report, it was written that those who would surrender before the given deadline would be able to avoid the death penalty, and if they cooperated with the study of anti-dark magic, they would be granted limited pardon according to the pope’s ordinance.

The decree was considered highly confidential even within the Holy Empire.

That was because, till then, it was an iron rule that if a warlock was found they had to be killed.

Surely, there were good warlocks, who had helped the people during the zombie disease outbreak, but the negative perception about them was still existent in the minds of the people and the priests.

Even if that wasn’t the case, there was a strong negative opinion that warlocks wouldn’t really respond to it.

Since they had mentioned a limited pardon, it meant that the warlocks would be under surveillance all their lives.

The warlocks, who were used to hiding and living in the dark, would they really have the confidence to come and surrender in those conditions?

‘Huhu. There were a lot who thought like that, but there were a lot of people who surrendered.’

Luke smiled as he recalled the stories he had heard directly from Reina and the Argos agents.

Not because of greed, but because of a moment of curiosity, and like Wilf, the man Luke met in the village of Ribek, many had learned dark magic because of the unavoidable circumstances they faced.

They didn’t know when they would be caught and burned, so they immediately succumbed to the decree as soon as it was issued.

In just half a day, dozens of people reached the capital, Bless.

And among them was a wizard who had disappeared while he was in the Arthenia Magic Tower.

The Empire, which was proud of being a state that had no warlocks in it, couldn’t help but feel shocked when they saw the number of warlocks coming to the capital.

“There is a proverb in the Southern Continent that said something about a barbarian being the only one capable of subduing another barbarian.”

No one in the seats wasn’t aware of what Baron Jordi said.

Since the trade with the Southern Continent had been revitalized, many products of the South were a sign of wealth and authority for the nobles.

And as Baron Jordi spoke about the proverb of the Southern Continent, he displayed an understanding to the culture and the traditions of the South.

“As we can see from the zombie outbreak in the Holy Empire, the way the warlocks attack is beyond our expectations. To prepare for it, it is necessary to study dark magic.”

“But what if something unexpected happens?”

As Aiden continued to ask questions, Jordi frowned and continued, “Don’t we need to manage the laws and supervise it for the warlocks? The only thing our kingdom can say to warlocks is, ‘Dark Magic and those related to it are to be exiled or punished’.”

His words created noise once again.

Even if the study of dark magic was put aside, no one knew how to manage and supervise those beings, who were being considered fearsome.

“I think it is better to just find them and get rid of those…”

“And then, if a situation like the zombie outbreak happens again, where do you plan on getting help?”

“I am not saying that they are all bad, but get everyone you can find and then use them until we get the answers out.”

Bang! Bang! Bang!

When the atmosphere turned noisy, Bishop Pascal, the chairman, hit the wooden hammer on the table.

“Let’s not do the back and forth talks but decide whether or not we will be able to make a relatable bill.”

A high ranking priest, a bishop, the first person who opposed to dark magic related talks.

Until a while back, dark magic was considered to be against El Kassel.

However, when the Holy Empire took the move of embracing the warlocks, he was forced to change too.

From the standpoint of a bishop, going against the pope’s authority was impossible. The pope was the representative of God.

Fearing the words of the chairman, the attendants diligently walked and handed the lawmakers a small marble.

When everyone was holding it, the chairman pointed to the small room at the side of the platform.

“Go inside that booth and vote. Putting the marbles in the white box means that you agree, and putting it in the back box means that you oppose it. We will decide by the number of marbles in the box.”

‘What? Not in front?’

Count Joon, who was watching from the auditorium above, was astonished.

If the voting was being done in a booth and not in front of the platform, there was no way to know who voted whom!

There was no need to look at others and form an opinion. There should a lot of ‘shifters’.

For example, Lamerit’s own members, who had criticism for the less seats, could go and vote along with the royalists.

“This is not the right way!”

“We are nobles! We should disclose your opinion openly!”

Nobles, who thought similar to Joon, started to protest.

However, the only thing that came back was yelling and ridicule from the royalists and neutralists.

“You dare go against the way His Majesty wishes to run the parliament?!”

“Openly? Hmm, that is funny to hear when you are the ones who do all sorts of mischief behind the scenes.”

Despite all the accusations, many noblemen persisted, saying that they couldn’t agree with the secret ballot.

Bishop Pascal spoke sternly to them, “If you refuse to vote, you can abstain from it. However, if you continue to object about the voting method in the coming future, I will have to disqualify your position in accordance with His Majesty’s parliamentary law.”

“Ugh…”

With that, the noblemen reluctantly entered the voting booth.

Count Joon, who was watching it from the stand, trembled.

How foolishly he believed that the king had accepted the establishment of the parliament. He was tricked!

‘This is a mistake! I should have looked into things once the seats given to use were limited!’

It was too late and regret had hit him strongly. However, he could do nothing.

Looking at Count Joon’s crumbling face, Luke had a smile on his face.