Abe The Wizard Chapter 800
Chapter 807 The Prosperous Duchy Of Carmel Three In One
Not all knights came from rich and affluent families. It was one thing to possess armor and weapons passed down from one’s ancestry, but most of the time, that was about everything they had. It was the same for Lord Bennett when he was younger. If he was captured on the battlefield, no one from his family could afford the ransom.
Knights often served their duchies for two purposes: one was to improve their skills, and the other was to gain some political power within the group they joined. The former was more for knights who came from families that weren’t as rich and powerful, while the latter was for knights who came from families that were already stable in terms of their finances.
That being said, the very vast majority of knights didn’t come from families that were rich enough to buy their lives back. Even the five duchies combined wouldn’t be able to do that. Ten thousand knights were forced to stay at the duchy of Carmel. It’d be a waste to kill them all, but it’s also not a realistic idea to have all of them convert to serving the duchy of Carmel.
After being imprisoned for a month, the captives were drowned in despair. They watched as the luckier ones gradually became freed from their cells, while most of them had no choice but to keep waiting for god-knows-how-long. Eventually, when one month, there hadn’t been any news of anyone being brought back to their home state. They all felt like they were sold from their homelands.
Most of the ones that stayed were in the middle-low tiers. There weren’t many advanced knights and knight commanders, to begin with, and almost everyone in these two categories was brought back. One morning, when the rest ten thousand were brought to the hall, they all sat, hungry and in pain. They were pale from the torments that they had to go through. Their bodies were thin from the little food that they received.
Head Commander Bodley was in charge of looking after the rest of the captives. While all of his family members left Neking City before it was raided, his family suffered many losses from what these soldiers did. They couldn’t bring their money during an emergency exit. Also, while the duchy of Carmel did score a decisive victory, Neking City already became a treacherous city that, within the perceivable time, could not be reclaimed without threatening the livelihood of many of its residents.
For this very reason, Abel stopped supplying food to Neking City a month ago. It would be a long time before Head Commander Bodley could send his family back. This made him very angry. He didn’t want to treat the ten thousand knights kindly, but since he had to follow the knight’s tenets, the most he could do was provide these captives the bare minimum amount of food that could keep them alive. If any of them violated the rules, he wouldn’t hesitate to give them the sort of harsh punishment that they deserved. This made everyone fearful of him. They became more and more desperate, but no one dared to do anything too extreme.
As the days passed, these captives waited for a final decision from the duchy of Carmel. According to the other duchies’ customs, if all of the captives couldn’t be rid of, they would either be turned into slaves after having their combat qi removed from them, or they would be killed instantly. Of course, those who had a good record might be recruited, but that was only a very selected few. The main issue was loyalty. Knights were taught to be loyal towards their family since birth, and even if they were indoctrinated to serve another cause, there were still many instances that they would continue to work for the families they came from.
As the ten thousand captives waited in fear, Abel teleported in front of them in his wizard cloak. He was standing on top of the wooden platform at the very front.
“An intermediate wizard!” some of them screamed as they noticed what the white light was. Abel was not even twenty years old, but he became the very thing that most humans couldn’t defeat. And no, while he was an intermediate wizard, he was not bound by the Wizard Union’s rule that forbade him from interfering with worldly affairs. He was a wizard, but his identity as a grandmaster blacksmith deserved much more recognition in comparison. It was the reason that most people referred to him as “Grandmaster Abel” rather than “Wizard Abel.”
Still, that didn’t mean that his title as an intermediate wizard should be ignored. Intermediate wizards were the strongest beings that most regular knights would see in all of their careers. The advanced wizards barely showed up, so Abel’s current status was about the highest that many of them would see in their entire lives. They thought that they lost to the duchy of Carmel because their technologies were behind, but it wasn’t just that. If Abel wanted to, he could probably just kill most of them with his own bare hands.
And it didn’t end there. These captives didn’t know how long intermediate wizards could live, but some of them clearly remembered seeing a few in their own home states. The ones they saw had looked the same back when their parents were young, and they looked like they’ve barely aged over the years. If they guessed correctly, Abel wasn’t just a strong and mysterious king, but he was also a king that could live for a very long time.
Abel spoke loudly after scanning through the captives, “I’m sorry to tell you, knights! Your duchies have abandoned you.”
The crowd immediately exploded with all kinds of voices. They did try to mentally prepare, but to actually hear about this was still very devastating. After all, it was their own duchies that began this war, but they were abandoned like pawns in the end.
“Quiet,” Abel spoke with might. As he said so, his essence as a double-elemental head knight commander, intermediate wizard, and dragon essence silenced everyone that was within his sight. The captives felt like they couldn’t breathe when they heard his warning. Ten commanders almost lost consciousness. Many tried to breathe as hard as they could before they focused back towards him.
“I took my time to think about what I should do with all of you. The original plan was to throw you into the pit and have you dig up mines for the duchy of Carmel.”
Abel changed his tone for a bit, “But I think the duchy of Carmel is more merciful than that. After all, it is the duchies that lured you to come here. If it weren’t for them, you would’ve never come here to put so much at stake. I’ll now give you two choices: One, abandon your combat qi and work in the mines. After working for twenty years, you will be able to regain your freedom.”
No one wanted the first choice. They became official knights by dedicating more efforts than regular people. To throw all that away and work in a pit for twenty years, the better option was actually just to commit suicide. Forget about twenty years. They would be lucky if they could survive for five more years. And what was the point of surviving after twenty years? There would be nothing once they were out of the pit.
Everyone waited as Abel spoke about the second option.
Abel spoke grimly, “Your second choice is to become knights that serve the duchy of Carmel. There is a premise for that. You must write a letter to your family first. Ask them to immigrate to the duchy of Carmel. Of course, the duchy of Carmel will recognize the same title as what’s in your home state.”
“Forgive my imprudence, your honor,” one head commander stood up and spoke, “My family came from the duchy of Tex. If I request their immigration, the duchy of Tex won’t permit it.”
As insignificant as most captives were in their home states, the duchies wouldn’t just give out their knight commanders to another state. Even if the knight commanders wanted to move, their families would still be put under a lot of pressure.
Abel laughed back, “Ha, hahaha! Are you implying that the duchy of Tex will stop me if I tell your family to move?”
The duchy of Tex was at a very low point now. It was going to get even worse from here. Abel still hadn’t asked for his compensation. If he didn’t get the money he was after, the duchy of Tex might just become a thing of history.
The knight commander bowed on one knee, “King Abel, I, Head Commander Jeremy, will become the sword in your hand. Your enemy will be my enemy, and your wish shall be my command. I will serve forever to your throne. Please, accept my loyalty.”
Abel was very satisfied with Commander Jeremy’s actions. Public loyalty had a big effect on the others that were watching.
Abel tapped on Commander Jeremy’s head three times, “I accept your loyalty.”
After that, about half of the captives did the same. It was the same for the remaining knight commanders. They all pledged their loyalty to Abel in the same way as Commander Jeremy. Of course, some didn’t do the same right away, but their circumstances were a bit different. For example, some families had two knights to rule over them, while some were just too hard to immigrate to the duchy of Carmel.
Once Abel left the captives, about three thousand knights were enrolled to serve him. No one was going to fake their loyalty once they pledged themselves to him. Loyalty was the most important thing to a knight’s career. Now that their duchies abandoned them, they were free to serve a new lord that would help them regain their status as knights. Of course, for them to truly be treated as knights, they must first have their families move to the duchy of Carmel first.
Having one’s family move was not a very easy thing to do. Still, as the war’s victory, the duchy of Carmel managed to let the other duchies give in without too much resistance. If anything, it was what these five duchies wanted. Even now, their families still asked them to release the knights that were put into captivity. Sending them to another region would also help ease the problem with lack of food.
To sort out these affairs, the five duchies sent out representatives to visit the duchy of Carmel in person. It wasn’t like they didn’t try the same thing before, but Abel didn’t feel like talking to them.
Lord Brook bowed as he went inside the royal palace, “Your Majesty! There has been an influx of knights recently. Our duchy is having a problem settling all of them down.”
It was very rare for Abel to appear inside his palace. Still, after the war ended, he had to sort out plenty of things himself. One of them was to settle down the knight families. If the family had a crest, they must have their own piece of land to live on.
For the families that didn’t have their own crest, the least that they would need would be a job with a stable income. There had to be enough cities to provide job opportunities, and things were not so easy as that. As small as the population of the duchy of Carmel was, the noblemen had control over all the core interests of the city. If there were suddenly many people moving in, Abel had to make sure that the locals could work with them without having their interests violated.
Abel smiled at Lord Brook, “Yes, Lord Brook. The duchy of Carmel is too small. I know that.”
Lord Brook said enthusiastically, “Yes, your Majesty! Our duchy is too small!”
Abel turned to Lord Bennett, “Father, if you can negotiate with the five duchies with Lord Brook for me, ask for as much land as you can from them. I don’t care how they discuss amongst themselves. I just want enough cities for these families to move to.”
“Father” was not the right title to use on this occasion, but it wasn’t like the officials could say much about it. Abel could do whatever he wanted. Even Burbridge had to respect the fact that the king had the power to do whatever he wanted.
Lord Bennett followed the rules, “Your Majesty if it is your wish, I’ll accompany Lord Brook and join this negotiation. I’ll make sure that the five duchies pay a heavy price for what they did.”
With that, Abel decided to leave the other administration to his more experienced officials. Since he wasn’t all that experienced, he thought that not participating was the right thing.
Spring came after a few months. The duchy of Carmel was in its new era. There were now ten thousand more knights under its command. Their families became citizens that lived to serve the duchy of Carmel. There were more lands now. Instead of “negotiating” for it, the duchy of Carmel simply demanded land, and the five duchies had to find ways of giving it out.
Eventually, the duchy of Carmel gained three major cities from four of the five duchies. They were from the duchy of Thunder, the duchy of Laka, the duchy of Koror, and the duchy of Larvid. As the one who started the war, the duchy of Tex had to give out five of its cities. If one was looking at a map, the duchy of Carmel gained area by taking parts of the edges of the duchy of Thunder, the duchy of Laka, and the duchy of Koror. He didn’t care how the five duchies tried to adjust things. The only thing that mattered to him was the fact that he got the lands.
From his past experiences with Neking City, all the noblemen of the seventeen cities he received were exiled. Such a decision would create a lot of power vacuum, but with the knight families that surrendered to him, that power vacuum was replaced almost instantly. Soon, he was able to gain total control over all the new cities he received.
After losing many of its knights and wizards, the five duchies were on the brink of extinction. The Kingdom of St. Ellis didn’t do anything. This ancient empire was very afraid of the duchy of Carmel.
If King Ambrose had to pick, what he was most afraid of was Abel’s fighting ability. Abel’s killed four advanced wizards and six advanced orc priests so far. There wasn’t any advanced wizard that was going to make an enemy out of him. Also, what happened to Niyan City was a nightmare to the other three empires. Without making sure just what exactly Abel did there, no empire would try to openly wage war with the duchy of Carmel.
It’s been four months since the war ended. After sorting out all the clean-up work, the duchy of Carmel became the largest duchy in all of the Holy Continent. In fact, the only states larger than it would be the three empires. This wasn’t just about the area of landmass, but also the size of its military.
Burbridge went to report to Abel, “Your Majesty! King Kenneth of the duchy of Keyen wants an audience with you.”
Abel dropped his book and asked, “What’s the duchy of Keyen want with me?”
Burbridge replied, “The duchy of Keyen is full of dread, your Majesty. They don’t even have seeds to spread during Spring. If things keep going like this, the lack of food may just bring an end to the state.”
Abel was a bit confused, “So you are saying they want to buy food from me?”
That’s strange, given how bad his relationship was with a duchy of Keyen a few years back.
Burbridge asked again, “Should I call the messenger over, your Majesty?”
“Fine, fine,” Abel waved his hand, “Tell the messenger to come to the hall room. Also, I want Lord Brook and Father to come as well.”
After saying that, he stood up and did a stretch. After things finally settled down, he became busier with his exploration in the dark world. About more than half of the real Ta Rasha was explored. More importantly, he was very close to being promoted to become a rank thirteen wizard.
After walking out of his study room, he had a maid help him get into a proper outfit. The duchy of Keyen might be in a very sorry state now, but he still had to give some sort of basic respect.
Once Abel was prepared, he went to the hallroom and sat with Lord Bennett and Lord Brook. At the same time, Burbridge brought the messenger in.
“Your honor, I am Viscount Brege of the duchy of Keyen. I’ve come here on behalf of his Majesty King Kenneth.”
Abel didn’t know what to think. Viscount Brege was bowing halfway. It was a very unorthodox way of greeting. In fact, the way he was acting showed that he wasn’t just any ordinary messenger. One thing was clear. This man came on behalf of King Kenneth.
Abel bowed and smiled, “Greetings to you, Viscount Brege. Please, have a seat.”
“Thank you, your honor,” Viscount Brege bowed as he sat on the chair Burbridge prepared for him.
Viscount Brege praised Abel as soon as he sat down, “I’ve got to say, your honor, his Majesty was so pleased when you defeated those five robbers. It was such an excellent display of your excellence. The world will surely remember your victory.”
It made sense that Viscount Brege would use the term “five robbers.” After all, four of the five duchies did invade the duchy of Keyen.
Abel smiled and replied, “I don’t like wars, but I’m not afraid of waging one, either.”
“On behalf of my king, I must make a very bold offer to you, your honor. Would it suit you if the duchy of Keyen wants to become part of your state?”
Lord Bennett and Lord Brook stepped in as soon as they heard that. They were very emotional, while Abel was slightly hesitant about accepting the offer. If he could be honest, he would prefer not to take in any more territories that would slow down the progress of his wizard training. Of course, the way he was progressing was still much faster than anyone else.
Actually, he was very confused about something. The duchy of Keyen had many other choices, but it had to choose the state that it once had a bad history with.
Viscount Brege said sincerely, “Your Majesty, the duchy of Keyen is at its limit now. Our people are starving. Our army cannot defend against any invaders. Our king, I am saddened to say, no longer has the power to lead us. There are robbers and thieves are after us. The only thing that can keep us alive is the duchy of Carmel.”
The duchy of Keyen was an empty shell now. The neighboring four duchies weren’t doing so much better after losing against the duchy of Carmel, but they still had enough power to take advantage of their very weakened neighbors. Now that they were losing territories, they needed to invade the duchy of Keyen to make up for their losses. That had to wait a bit later, however. There was still some time before they could recover themselves enough to prepare for another invasion.
Abel asked rather calmly, “What does King Kenneth want from me?”
The duchy of Keyen was quite big, but it was not directly connected to the duchy of Carmel. If it was to become a part of the duchy of Carmel, there had to be a road that could connect them. Giving the current political circumstances, it wouldn’t be hard to open that road through either the duchy of Laka or the duchy of Koror.
Anyways, Abel was more interested in what King Kenneth wanted. There was no way that a duchy would just be given for free.
Viscount Brege bowed, “One condition, and one condition only, your honor. His Majesty wants the Keyen Royal Family to be treated the way that they deserve.”
Not a very high demand. Actually, it was too humble to be even called a demand. King Kenneth must have been very desperate.
Abel spoke after considering for a while, “Understood. King Kenneth will continue to rule the region as the grand duke. His family will forever possess a city that’s designated for them.”
It was the kind of response that Viscount Brege so desperately wanted. He knew that it was about as good as it could get. King Kenneth might not be a king anymore, but what Abel provided was more than they could beg for.