Emperor of Steel

Chapter 601 - Back to Southern Continent 2

Around the time Luke was heading to the Southern Continent.

Emperor Rudolf of the Baroque Empire was busy purging the rebels in his nation.

“Those f*cking rats…!”

When he first stepped out to subdue the rebellion, he thought that he could rid of the peasant rebels very easily.

And he did have a great streak in the battles.

Well, rather than fighting, there were more cases where the subjugation army entered the scenes and the rebels fleeing.

However, the rebellion didn’t cease.

As soon as the main force of the subjugation army led by the emperor passed the region, they would once again hit the place.

They would relentlessly attack the squad that the subjugation army left behind to patrol the region.

The rebels knew that there would be no victory for them if they went to a head-on-battle against the army, so they ended up attacking by poisoning the wells or food and burying explosives underground.

There were cases where the rebels disguised themselves as villagers. They treated the troops very generously, and at the end of the day, they would seal off the doors and windows and burn the soldiers’ rooms while they were sleeping.

“We can’t let this go on, Your Majesty! They must be taken care of right away!”

Dick, the commander of the Central Army, insisted on the extermination of the rebels.

He took over the Central Army on behalf of Count Ferrero and rose from his own title to Count.

However, his attitude and thoughts didn’t change from the time when he decided to slaughter the sick people during the plague.

“The main force of the rebels are the peasants. We need to set a clear example for them.”

“Aren’t we already setting the example?”

Count Voltas, who was beside him, shot back.

Just as he said, the occupied lands, those who were involved in the rebellion, were searched for and executed, not just the person but their entire family and relatives too.

If the man didn’t have any family members or relatives, the neighbor next door would be killed under the charges of aiding the rebellion.

“Didn’t you listen to what I said? Not just the relatives and the neighbors, but the entire village where the rebels stay or come out from needed to be wiped out! Entirely!”

“You mean killing all the peasants of the empire?”

“Of course, killing them all would turn difficult for us because we need them to farm and pay taxes. However, as an example, a few villages can be burned down…”

‘He went completely crazy!’

Voltas frowned at the man’s words.

It was an answer for them to stop the rebellion from turning any more troublesome.

The reason for the uprising was the harsh taxation and the constant wars.

Well, rather than trying for subjugation, there was a need to make the people understand.

However, Emperor Rudolf and Commander Dick were ignoring that basic principle.

In particular, Dick was encouraging Rudolf to make all sorts of absurd mistakes.

Fortunately, the cruel Emperor hadn’t completely lost his sanity.

No matter how much rebellion they were causing, they had to be torn apart to decrease the momentum, it was foolish to cut the belly of the goose, which laid golden eggs.

“First, we need to turn a bit.”

“Huh? Your Majesty, really?”

At the question of Commander Dick who was shocked, Emperor Rudolf nodded his head.

“It would be hard to fight against them. So, if we ask for negotiation, they might respond to us.”

According to the reports from the Imperial Intelligence Agency, the Volga Republic and the Libiya Kingdom were backing the rebels.

And if they were involving themselves in the rebellion, they wouldn’t stop with just supplying weapons.

They would certainly make the peasant rebels rally to various places and turn it difficult for the Imperial Army to handle.

If things went wrong, the peasants would try to set up independent lands like Symphonia and Libiya Kingdom.

“This is why we need to get things out. We can direct and hit them all at once.”

‘He is talking about a fake negotiation attempt.’

Count Voltas liked the sound of it.

However, the only thing that bothered him was asking them to come for negotiation and hitting them in the back without even listening to their demands.

“Your Majesty, that is a good way, but I am worried that your name and honor will be broken by doing it.”

“Huh, it is about the nation, does that even matter? And in terms of those being sneaky, the rebels did a lot more damage to us.”

If the peasant rebels heard that, they would jump up right away.

It was because they knew the reason why they were rebelling.

It was because their lives were being exploited and constantly insisted on living their lives while being surrounded by war on all sides.

“By the way, I heard we have insufficient weapons.”

At Emperor Rudolf’s question, Count Voltas answered, “Yes, the farmers’ rebellion made the corps harvesting inconvenient, and the trade with the other nations was very insignificant…”

Currently, the Baroque Empire was in full force and working, yet their weapons were constantly decreasing.

The taxes were increased to a high amount as there was a need for military equipments. Even the nation’s finances were all directed toward the military.

However, it all reduced the economy and production in the nation.

It was because all the money needed to invest in the economy and trade were being directed to military equipments.

As the nation’s economy reached stagnation, the military equipment turned insufficient.

However, Voltas didn’t point it out.

The emperor already decided on what he was going to do, so if Voltas pointed it out, it would be like blaming the emperor.

In order to keep his life, he decided to keep his mouth shut and go along with the emperor’s words.

“If we have a hole, we need to think about filling it.”

“Please, don’t. You are not thinking about raising the taxes again, are you?”

Count Voltas was shocked.

It was because it was obvious that once the taxes were raised more, even those who were silent would end up joining the rebellion.

Fortunately, Rudolf wasn’t thinking about that.

“We have already gathered enough from the living, so let’s try and reap the dead.”

“Huh? What do you mean…?”

“What do you think? Do the dead have any use for gold or wealth? Dig their graves and take all the money!”

At Rudolf’s words, Voltas and even Dick’s face went pale.

Although the cultures and the values differed from countries and ethnic groups, there was taboo in every culture.

And that taboo was to regard the dead with respect and to not act rashly with the dead.

Even if one’s sins were revealed after their death or if their descendants had committed great sins, there was no reason to rob the dead.

This was enough to turn away the nobles who supported the emperor too.

“Your Majesty, no one will follow that order!”

“Who wouldn’t follow that?!”

“Would the nobles even understand if we threaten them?”

At Voltas’s words, Rudolf laughed.

“Who said that we will be using a sword? I will take the lead.”

“Huh? You mean to set an example…”

“Right, dig into my ancestor’s tomb.”

Rudolf’s order was to dig into his own ancestor’s grave.

He gave specific instructions to Voltas and Dick, who were still not able to understand his orders.

“As far as I know, Majesty Karno, the founder of the nation, had extraordinary accessories. And the emperors after him also offered enormous gold and jewels to the temples, which were maintained by the Imperial Family.”

“Ha, I see…”

“This is all to overcome the national crisis we are in. The first emperor will understand, so don’t be afraid to act.”

As his men didn’t oppose his orders, Rudolf left them to their thoughts.

Shortly after, the royal tomb of Karno de Baroque, which was near the capital, Nemesis, was torn down.

That too at the hands of the SS Knights, who were known to be the emperor’s hands.

Numerous people at home and abroad were shocked at the disgusting act.

They all called Emperor Rudolf crazy and a gravedigger.

However, Rudolf rarely cared about what others thought about him.

‘The winners record history. If I am the winner, I can wash away every stain and rewrite everything.’

The emperor chose the path which he thought would bring him victory.

Karno de Baroque, the ancestor and the first emperor of the Baroque Empire, paid a terrible price for the evil he had accumulated in his life.

It wasn’t by the hands of those who held resentment against him but by his own blood.