The dwarves didn’t have any way to quickly communicate with their homeland. This disappointed William because he couldn’t send them a message quickly… but it also meant he had more time to make plans. Also to sit around doing nothing.
Of course, he found it preferable to talk with dwarves and deepen his knowledge of their language. Even the dwarves who were locked away grudgingly spoke with him some. Their relatively good treatment was a large factor in their willingness to speak- and the fact that he didn’t ask for any secrets also helped. Even so, they remained wary of him.
William couldn’t blame them. After all, he was the big bad Demon King. They had little reason to like him, and more reasons to be afraid. Unfortunately since they hadn’t chosen to engage in diplomacy he had to keep subduing them by force which resulted in… worse relations. It was an annoying cycle.
Why had the dwarves even launched attacks? They hadn’t been prepared. Their forward outpost’s entire fleet was barely enough to deal with one well defended port- and certainly couldn’t have done much to an entire country. They successfully disrupted trade, but the entire attack had been ill planned. Almost suicidal, as if the entire point was just to get people killed.
That thought sparked William’s memory, and he didn’t like it at all. Such tactics were very commonly used by the Demon King. The real one, who enjoyed getting people killed. Perhaps he hadn’t always enjoyed it, but either way he perpetuated it. Could there be a fragment or fragments among the dwarves? They should have already died of soul necrosis. Unless… they found a way to recover from it.
For all his faults, the Demon King had enough charisma to reach positions of power and get people to start killing each other. It was easy enough, when people already hated each other.
Lorelei hated being queen. It came with far too much responsibility. She barely had any time to do things she wanted… but William was in the same boat, and they both knew they could hardly do any magical research if everyone got themselves killed. However, just because it was necessary for the survival of either the humans or gevai- or possibly both of them and the dwarves- didn’t mean she had to like it.
Lorelei didn’t mind interfering with politics, but being so public about politics was a real pain. Some people showed up just to cause trouble because as the queen she was obviously weaker than the Eternal King and therefore could be walked all over. While she admitted she was weaker than William, the only thing that stopped her from killing half of the people who showed up in the audience chamber was the mess it would create.
Besides, it was better to calm down and think about things logically. If they were going to be killed, it would be later. Because of that, many fewer people died… and almost none in a way that could be traced to her.
Lorelei was starting to think this one in front of her would be an exception. Othmar Viterai was an insufferable lord who had thrown in with William’s side during the civil war. His contributions had been minimal, but at least he had stayed out of the way.
“…and I don’t see why I should have to pay them such high wages when they are so lazy.” Lord Viterai was complaining about having to pay his workers wages high enough to afford food and clothing for themselves and their families. He was used to paying them little enough that they had to borrow from him and basically spend their time as his slaves, working in his mines.
“If they don’t perform enough work to earn a proper day’s wages, then you should find different workers or find other ways to improve your efficiency. Refusing to follow the laws is not acceptable.” Lorelei was certain the miners would have more than earned their wages. Lord Viterai was one of those who didn’t see that time off- even unpaid time off on weekends- would improve the efficiency of his workers. It was true that paying them fair amounts would cut into his profit margins, but the amounts required were really only just barely fair. William had wanted better, but knew that it would take a long time to transition.
“Where is the king? I demand to speak with the king!”
“He has important business elsewhere… and I have the same authority to make decisions. Either follow the laws or suffer the consequences.”
Lord Viterai turned up his nose- a sickly green color, which when added to his arrogant sneer didn’t do much for sympathy toward him. “Hmph. I was simply here to inform you of my decisions. You need me. Don’t be surprised if the price of my products rises in the future.” Lord Viterai turned to leave the audience chamber.
As he was nearing the door, Lorelei spoke out from behind him. “You’re wrong about one thing. We don’t have any need of you in particular. Also, I didn’t say you were dismissed.”
Lord Viterai turned as if to say something, but slipped on the floor beneath him. He tried to speak, but found himself becoming dizzy with only unintelligible words spewing out of his mouth.. He hadn’t even had time to react as all the mana in the area was mobilized to remove the oxygen from the air around him… and to make the floor so slick he couldn’t stand.
“You have openly stated your intent to continue flouting the law of the country. You have threatened the crown, and disregarded the authority of the Eternal King. For your crimes, you are sentenced to death.”
Lord Viterai tried to mobilize his ki, and to push himself off of the floor… but his oxygen deprived mind wasn’t functioning as he wanted. He could only lie on the ground and accept his death. His body was soon carried out of the audience chamber.
“Send in the next petitioner.” Lorelei commanded. “Oh? Humans ambassadors?” Lorelei smiled. “I’m sorry you had to see that… but the man insisted on working his fellow gevai like slaves. His holdings will certainly be better handled under another owner. So, what is it you have to propose?” Lorelei looked out over the ambassadors- representatives from Liaoyang, Ostana, and Ustil.