Chapter 119: A Marquis from Camus
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
Amid the chilly wind, a troop made up of a complicated and strange combination of people formed a long train and headed towards Dragon Clouds City.
Even though they escaped the horrible fate of being tied up and brought to Dragon Clouds City, the next day, without listening to their protests, the White Blade Guards, under Nicholas’ command, ‘invited’ them—the Constellation diplomat group—out of Black Sand Region’s escort range. They were to head to Dragon Clouds City under the tight ‘escort’ of the White Blade Guards’ instead.
Black Sand Region’s army slowly followed them on both flanks and from the rear in perfect order. Kentvida and Tolja still conscientiously fulfilled their duties and dispatched scouts to ensure the safety of the roads around them.
As for the White Blade Guards, these masked, elite soldiers were cold, detached and said very little. They were also rough and unreasonable; they almost started a fight a few times with Constellation’s soldiers just because they were pushed and shoved.
“… For the Jadestar Family’s royal bloodline to continue, and for there to be an heir to Constellation… This means a lot to the entire Western Peninsula… What I mean is that, the change in the ruling royal family might bring years of chaos, which will be hard for Constellation to subside. This is something all of Western Peninsula, including ourselves, the Camians, do not want to see…” the middle-aged marquis with his blond hair in a braided ponytail talked to the Second Prince of Constellation with an amiable smile while he sat elegantly on his horse.
“Thank you very much for your concern, Marquis Shiles of Good Flow City.” Thales nodded at the guest from Camus Union with an equally stiff smile while he sat stiffly on his horse. This uninvited guest just seemed a little too easy-going.
Thales felt that the smile on Shiles’ face was like those of the polite and neatly dressed people who stood in front of the Western City Gate of Eternal Star City, eagerly acting as ‘local guides’ for guests on their first visit to Eternal Star City. There were a number of such youngsters or tomboys in the Black Street Brotherhood. Often, they cooperated pretty well with the child beggars and thugs. Whenever they found a suitable target, they would get to work swiftly and decisively. As for the guests, their best outcome would be to have all their money cheated off them. If it was a little worse, they would have their wallet stolen. Worse still, they might even get robbed in some dark alley. Of course, the worst outcome… you would not want to know.
A languid voice said from beside Thales, “Be careful, brat. When Camians get close to you without reason, there is definitely something they want. It’s either money or… or… or… ah-choo!”
As Aida talked under her cloak, she held on to Thales’ horse and let out a loud sneeze, rubbing her nose pitifully.
“Aida, are you okay?” Thales asked worriedly, “You have been sick since we entered Northland.”
“Don’t worry! This temperature is nothing!” The elf waved her hand furiously, forty-five degrees to her left, not caring at all how boorish the movement looked. “Years ago, I hoisted my greatsword on my back and traversed the Wild Vast Mountain, battled on the Grand Banquet Hill with a human head in my hands- ah-choo!”
“Haih,” Thales sighed, “I had better make you an extra bonfire tonight.”
Unconcerned, Marquis Shiles laughed. “This lady who hides her beauty under her cloak must have misunderstood something. Although Camus Union is renowned for commerce and trade, we are not like those short-sighted people who deliberately flatter and curry other people’s favor for the sake of immediate interests. We strive for long-term gains and mutual benefits. Only trades like this can flourish and last.
“So, if you say that I want something from you, what I want would definitely be your friendship, Your Highness.”
Aida snorted. “All Camians are liars and good-for-nothings, especially those from Good Flow City.”
Ralf who was on the other side of Thales’ horse scratched his head awkwardly. On the other hand, Shiles smiled and did not say anything.
Wya, who was forcefully holding the reins of Thales’ steed to prevent it from running wild (‘Haih, I must have been bestowed the ability of being the “Enemy of Horses”.’—The second prince’s crazy words) shook his head and said, “It might be a little too biased to put it that way, there were also a few Camians in the Tower of Eradication. Although most of them were Camus Union’s citizens from poor origins, when it came to their abilities and personalities, I think they were not that different from our kingdom and Eckstedt’s apprentices.”
Marquis Shiles smiled and said, “Thank you for standing on the side of justice and saying what is true, Attendant Caso.”
“That is because you have not—ah-choo—seen the worst among those men.” Aida sneezed again and put her hands on her hips in dissatisfaction. “They will definitely leave a huge impression on you.”
“On that note, have you met such a Camian, Aida?” Thales asked curiously.
“Yes,” Aida said fiercely and with disdain, “an abominable liar, a boastful man! A master in fine words and opportunistic… Ah-choo!” The elf rubbed her snot and shivered.
‘It seems that she was once deceived by Camians, and she was deceived pretty badly.’
He refocused his gaze on Marquis Shiles Bamra of Camus Union, from Good Flow City, which was at the Western side of the peninsula.
“Your Excellency, I heard that Camus Union is a kingdom of traders,” Thales asked slowly, “I wonder if that is true?”
“Of course. Many people know it as such, and I cannot say that such a description or representation is completely wrong either.” Hearing the prince’s enquiry, it was as though Shiles suddenly gained driving force. He spoke joyfully, “However, it was all the result of history, Your Highness, history.”
Thales’ interest to research and explore was also piqued. “History? I heard that Camus Union is a kingdom that was formed by a few states after the Battle of Eradication, a kingdom that began by relying on commerce. So, this forged your kingdom’s tradition and foundation?”
Seeing Thales’ expression, Marquis Shiles smiled and said slowly, “To be precise, we are not considered a kingdom. At least, we are not a conventional kingdom. After the Battle of Eradication, four cities in the western part of the Western Peninsula formed a union to help one another, and to try their best to protect themselves in that chaotic time. Located at the southwest of Eckstedt and northwest of the Great Desert, Good Flow City was one of them. This is the origin of Camus Union.
“We lack resources and reserves, and are stuck between a few forces of power. The people of Camus Union can only find a living through commerce and trade, supporting our tradesmen to make a living outside with an open environment and a lenient tax policy. Besides, we serve as the transporters of merchant goods and resources for various main forces of power. Looking at it from this perspective, we are indeed a kingdom of tradesmen.
Marquis Shiles directed the topic of discussion to something deeper. “Although these cities belong to Camus Union, they operate independently and have their own governance. Apart from the ‘Union Public Law’, all the cities have their own statutes and decrees, their own ruling family, their own manners and customs, and of course their own unique features. For example, I am representing Good Flow City within the union on a diplomatic mission to Eckstedt. For this purpose, we are not like a kingdom, but a mutual organization formed by a group of tradesmen.
Thales could not hold back his interest and asked, “But all of you are known as a union, right? There should be something that shows that it is a union, like a highest authority that all the cities follow?”
“Of course.” Shiles laughed mischievously. “The so-called Highest Unified Parliament of Camus, responsible for allocating the resources within the union and harmonizing the relationship between the states. At least, it is nominally that way. A lot of people also believe that, but reality is often stranger than fiction… much stranger.”
As if mocking himself, Shiles shook his head and sneered.
“Still, I heard that Camus’ influence is not to be underestimated.” Thales navigated through the knowledge reserves in his mind. Most of them were things that Gilbert taught him within a short month. “Camus is rich and has plenty of resources… the ‘Wallet of the Western Peninsula’. There are people who place you together with Constellation and Eckstedt, calling us the Western Peninsula’s Strongest Three.”
“Wallet?” Shiles laughed bitterly and said, “Do you really think that is a good nickname?”
Thales shrugged. ‘Alright, that is indeed not a good nickname. Just like how no one would ever feel happy for being called a “fat sheep”.’
“The mere act of interceding and protecting ourselves within various kingdoms through these past few hundred years has exhausted a lot of our energy.
“And an influence that is not to be underestimated? It is more of an extensive business route.” Marquis Shiles shook his head. “Like I said before, having helped and defended each other’s countries up to this point, the union’s business grew, and our trading routes increased in number as well.
“And so, the four little cities became four states, and new cities began joining our union. Now, Camus Union has sixteen independently operating business states, and our business routes span through the entire Western Peninsula.”
“The entire Western Peninsula? How did all of you achieve this?” Thales asked curiously, “Can you describe it to me in detail?”
“Starting from the north, we have a direct route for our land merchants going through Eckstedt’s City of Faraway Prayers and Prestige Orchid Region, moving south to Thornland’s Alumbia Kingdom and Dragon-Kissed Land’s Anlenzo Dukedom, East White Mountain, Alliance of Freedom, and even the west of the Great Desert. This route alone allows us to pay a visit to most of the Western Peninsula. In fact, the entire left half of the peninsula is within our reach.”
With a look of exultation, the marquis continued to talk.
“On the other hand, our western harbor which is near Demon Sea allowed Camus Union’s business to penetrate into further regions. There are the Three Demon Islands, the various kingdoms of the West Coast such as Alumbia Kingdom and the Tarundy Collegium in the west. As for the north, after crossing the Sea of Despair and reaching the Sea of Long Corridors, there would be the Norton Dukedom, the Anlenzo Dukedom, the Archipelago of Long Corridors, the Sera Dukedom and various kingdoms on the east coast.
“There are also trading fleets that have greater trading aspirations that make them want to expand their businesses beyond this place, so they continued east, out of the Sea of Long Corridors, and across the Mystery Sea and the Mist Sea. They will arrive at the rich and populous Evergreen Island which stands alone outside the Southwestern Sea and is ruled by one of Constellation’s Thirteen Distinguished Families, the Seucader Family. They might even continue east, past Crystal Jade City which was built on Crystal Jade Island by the Western Sea Merfolk, and following Constellation’s sea business route to the Sea of Termination and even the Western Peninsula. This way, the entire right half of the peninsula is also brought into the union’s business route.”
“That sounds amazing.” Thales furrowed his brows and said seriously, “Camus Union’s influence extends all over the peninsula… this is not an exaggeration at all.”
“Exactly the opposite.” Marquis Shiles shook his head and said, “Camus Union only has city defense teams that belong to all the states and does not have a unified army force. It is all the more so impossible for us to wage war. Even trifle disputes within the unified parliament can last for three years.
“As we rely on trade and commerce to survive, even if we are nobles we need to go outside and explore new horizons, then trade with new people. When I was thirteen, I followed my father to Alumbia Kingdom for the first time, our family’s caravan was detained there.”
Beside the horse, Ralf walked on the snow-covered ground and clenched his fists slightly.
“So, you can understand now that I am sincerely happy for there to be a new Prince of Constellation. This means that a powerful kingdom in the Western Peninsula like Constellation would remain stable.” The marquis shook his head. “Even in Eckstedt where the king selection system has become the norm, whenever the royal power shifts to a new archduke family—like from Dragon Clouds City’s Walton Family to Beacon Illumination City’s Poffret Family, or Prestige Orchid Region’s Olsius Family—there would be considerable turmoil for us. The trade routes and long-term business agreements we have established have to be reconsidered or even completely erased according to the ruling order and customs of different families, compared to a traditional kingdom like Constellation which is laden with rules and has a long-ruling hereditary royal family like Jadestar.
“So from this, our business is often disrupted by the frequently changing circumstances within these countries,” Shiles sighed deeply, “If there was a competition for places where nobles live a harder life compared to members of the populace, please cast Camus Union a vote.”
“Hmph, serves all of you right,” Aida snorted coldly, “Wanting to make a profit and living comfortably at the same time. There is no way that something this good would exist.”
“What you said is indeed the truth, madam,” Marquis Shiles sighed and placed the gentleman’s cane back in his saddle, “As you can see, at the age of thirty-eight, I still have to go out and work hard to survive.”
“So, you sought me for a reason,” Thales chuckled dryly, “Is this considered an effort to carve out a future business network in Constellation?”
“It is for the sake of friendship.” Shiles blinked in amusement. “Of course, if you have anything—and I do mean ANYTHING—you need, and it is beyond the territory of your kingdom, please be sure to let me know,” Marquis Shiles laughed, “As a marquis of a small city, I am not good in other things apart from owning a few networks and social connections with various kingdoms.”
“Wait, marquis?” Thales furrowed his brows. “There are dukes, counts, viscounts, barons and lords… But I have never heard of a title called marquis in the world.”
Hearing this, Shiles looked at Thales with a resigned gaze.
 Camians: Citizens of Camus. The same case as Eckstedtians and Constellatiates.