The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 162

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Ed Rothtaylor Conquest (2)

The prestige of the Clorel Imperial family pierces the sky.

Thumbing through history books reveals it wasn’t always so. Bordering dukes who held military power and formed private armies, and grand dukes who encroached deep into imperial central power, at times enjoyed authority comparable to the Emperor’s.

But under Emperor Clorel, touted as the most perfect monarch in history, no noble could spread their wings.

Starting with ending the war with the Ains, redefining the logistics distribution and monetary system to increase commercial efficiency, reclaiming the northern plains territories, and personally intervening in the establishment of military training procedures to elevate the level of forces.

Moreover, he was diligent enough to directly mediate the large and small disputes among the fiefdoms and when employing officials, he looked only at capability; always tender with the Empress and strict with his subordinates.

“It’s already been two years since Lindon brother has shut himself away in his room.”

“Hmm…”

The Emperor’s private garden.

For a garden that was maintained solely for the Emperor, it was excessively large. It was fitting rather to call it a park.

In the wooden gazebo at the center, the second princess, Persica, and Emperor Clorel were playing chess.

“I wish he’d cheer up soon…”

Although Emperor Clorel was famous as a flawless monarch, he lacked one thing compared to others: a clear successor to the throne.

It had been a considerable time since Crown Prince Lindon renounced his succession rights and holed up in his room. If he would cry out wanting to take over the succession now, Emperor Clorel was ready to call an imperial teacher immediately.

However, it became a real headache as Lindon just stayed in his room with a blanket over his head, merely accepting food…

“The only brother I have is unwell, and the two sisters have left the imperial city… It’s quite lonely not having anyone to speak with openly. Father.”

“You spend your time holed up in the library and rarely come out, yet you have quite the cheek. Persica.”

“I still want to see my family’s faces. That’s why I’ve come to see father.”

Persica then smiled at Emperor Clorel.

The immense prestige and power of the imperial city mostly emanate from Emperor Clorel.

Along with the central army that commands the imperial city, even the famed magicians and alchemists who belong to the royalty look up to Emperor Clorel.

All the members of the imperial palace who have watched him handle national affairs smoothly over a long period held the same respect.

The problem lay in his successor. Among the three princesses, who would inherit that lofty name?

Initially, Phoenia’s forces were the highest, and after she joined the Sylvania Academy, Sella’s forces surged.

Core personnel of the empire… from prime ministers to captains of the knights and stewards, all had close associations with Sella.

Each of these individuals possessed immense wisdom and power. Sella was so formidable that they all wished to align themselves with her.

Only a few like Magnus, commander of the Northern legion, and the head royal alchemist Delrum remained silent without supporting any side.

These two were old-fashioned and only concerned themselves with the will of the Emperor. They weren’t the type to worry about who would be the next Emperor and whose side they should take. Excluding such individuals, everyone else quickly moved to stand by Sella’s side.

All Persica had done so far was to immerse herself in the library and read books.

‘I might need to start taking some action soon.’

The Clorel Imperial family had proved their achievements and strength over a long period, wielding omnipotent power. The three princesses had often benefited from that immense authority.

Who would directly inherit that vast power was of great interest. It was time for Persica to initiate some moves.

“Father, by the way, have you heard the story about the treasure left by the great sage Sylvania?”

It was the moment Persica tried to shift the topic seriously.

Before the Emperor could answer, suddenly a soldier ran in, saluted politely, and reported something.

A sudden report at this late hour meant it must be a matter of urgency.

Listening to the soldier’s tale of the tragedy at the Rothtaylor estate, both Princess Persica and Emperor Clorel’s expressions hardened.

Both seemed to have sunk into a long reflection.

* * *

“You’ve saved our lives, you deserve a proper reward!”

“Truly grateful… I’ll personally report to Her Highness and His Majesty so you shall receive a grand recompense!”

“We owe you our lives…! We almost fell victim to the filthy hands of the Rothtaylor… those despicable beings…”

Yenika Faelover fidgeted with the tips of her fingers, not knowing what to do.

Looking here, a baron; there, an earl—noble after noble crowded around her, expressing gratitude to Yenika … a situation overwhelming for someone who had lived as a commoner all her life.

At the Sylvania Academy, she had seen many nobles, though they were mostly younger aristocratic students, and the policies of the academy didn’t require her to show such scrupulous manners.

But now, after leaving Sylvania and receiving high praise from the nobles themselves, she felt dizzy not knowing how to behave.

‘I’m exhausted….’

Waiting for the arrival of the imperial army, those stationed at the Rothtaylor estate, Yenika among them, were sweating profusely amidst the tension.

After the aristocrats finished their tour performance, the last person to arrive was Saint Clarice of the Telos Order.

“You’re here, senior Yenika.”

“Oh, ah… Saintess. I really appreciated earlier. Thanks to you…”

“We need to get Ed out.”

With no time to spare, Clarice directly broached the main topic after making sure no one was listening.

“… What?”

“Right now, Ed is perfectly vulnerable to being politically manipulated. Of course, he would have managed himself well if he were conscious, but he is not right now. He needs time to regain his bearings and reassess the situation after waking up.”

Clarice looked straight at Yenika and whispered.

“The Rothtaylor name is receiving terrible public backlash among the affected nobility. My testimony and influence could quell the negative sentiment temporarily, but it’ll only be a momentary phenomenon. The family has committed a collective treason against the imperial power.”

“But that’s not true… Ed was the one vigorously fighting against the lord Crebin. You witnessed it, saintess, and so did Princess Phoenia…”

“Even so, power can twist even the truth if necessary.”

No one could attest to the manipulations of power better than Clarice, who had lived at its very pinnacle.

While Clarice’s support could be significant, if a princess stepped into the picture from the opposing side, things could get complicated. If it escalates into a conflict between imperial authority and ecclesiastical power, it’s not just Ed Rothtaylor’s problem anymore. It would also be detrimental to him.

Ed Rothtaylor’s position was particularly delicate.

Better to catch any acceptable pretext to take Ed Rothtaylor to the capital, a much cleaner approach without the noise.

“You need to take Ed to the capital. There’s no reason to execute him. This… something’s not right, saintess.”

“Ed has the purest Rothtaylor blood.”

The power-holders in the empire would want to erase the Rothtaylor name following this incident.

Not only those in key positions within the empire but anyone implicated by association with the Rothtaylor family must forsake office.

So, in the empty spaces, power-players will vie to place their people—a nonverbal bout of opportunism for which no explanation is necessary.

From that perspective, it’s best to eliminate the remnants of the Rothtaylor lineage. If someone capable of continuing the Rothtaylor glory surfaces, old powers would simply persist.

Therefore, the power-holders would frame the incident not as ‘Crebin’s individual deviation’ but as ‘a problem with the Rothtaylor family as a whole’ to bring down all their influence.

When the power is grand, all praise and uphold it, but when downfall looms, they pounce like hyenas to tear apart. That’s the constant nature of power struggles.

Saintess Clarice, sitting high in the capital, had seen the end of many such sordid struggles. High clerics were no different.

She always tried to keep her conscience clean, focusing on prayer, but wasn’t ignorant of the blemishes of power.

In such circumstances, no one knew how the unconscious Ed could be exploited. However, Clarice’s intuition whispered ominous premonitions.

“So, if you can catch a reasonable premise then…”

“Even if it’s the capital… would it be any different…?”

That was something one should never voice before the representative saintess of the Telos Order.

The reason this could be said is that Yenika was not a Telos follower.

“Right…?”

“I don’t think you’re scheming to use or harm Ed, saintess. But… higher opinions might differ.”

Pure-hearted Yenika pinpointed the blind spot without restraint.

Who in the Telos Order ranks higher than Saintess Clarice? If pushed to name someone, there is one.

It is none other than Pope Eldain.

With the juicy bait of Ed Rothtaylor now within grasp, would they truly nurse his wounds, provide peaceful sanctuary, and send him on his way from the capital?

Logically, that seemed improbable. Group decisions aren’t swayed by human sentiment—they follow efficiency and rationality.

While high priests are controllable by the Saintess, Pope Eldain is not.

If Eldain harbors a separate intention, Clarice has no means to intervene.

However, Eldain’s character isn’t so devious. Although well-versed in worldly politics, he isn’t someone who sold his soul to temporal matters. It’s discomforting to rely solely on sentiment, but there’s a chance the Pope will hear Clarice out if she appeals ardently. It seemed a possibility worth considering.

Yet Yenika doesn’t trust Eldain. It is inevitable.

Ed Rothtaylor had bitterly fought with Telos Apostles and was gravely wounded, all while Pope Eldain stood by.

Sylvania portrayed Eldain as indecisive and conciliatory, a fact best known by those closest to him, like Yenika.

“But… even so…”

Clarice hesitated in her response.

Yenika leaned back with Lucy, who fell asleep next to Ed, lost in thought.

The number of troops stationed at the Rothtaylor estate isn’t overwhelming. They are fatigued from maintaining vast elemental legions but could manage to escape with Ed.

As imperial forces begin to secure the Rothtaylor estate, escaping will grow harder.

“What are you thinking about, senior Yenika…?”

“Erp…”

Caught off guard by Clarice’s sudden query, Yenika gulped her breath and offered Clarice a sheepish smile.

From that expression alone, Clarice could surmise Yenika’s thoughts.

“You’re not entertaining reckless ideas… are you?”

“It’s situation-dependent…”

At this juncture, Yenika concluded that Ed mustn’t fall into any power group’s hands.

Better for Yenika to abscond with Ed back to her homeland, Phulanshan.

Yenika’s home village is a calm, remote valley untouched by power struggles.

The villagers, all kind-hearted, live in an area abundant with medicinal herbs, fresh air, excellent for convalescence, and the land is not easily found. If Yenika requests, the entire village would unite to conceal Ed’s presence.

They would find Ed impossible to track. The search party can’t hope to out-understand the locals in geography.

Thus, no power group could easily find Ed, providing ample opportunity for him to recuperate and reset his course of action.

“While there may be risks, Ed must be taken to the capital. Let me assure that his situation remains stable. If I appeal to His Holiness with fierce determination, he will surely comply. You alone shouldering this is too dangerous.”

“I don’t think it’s dangerous. I can protect myself well enough.”

“But Senior Yenika, you’re a hero. Soon will come your imperial rewards. Such rash actions could render you a fugitive in the blink of an eye.”

“If necessary, I’m prepared to be a fugitive. Hero, rewards… that doesn’t matter to me.”

Yenika turned towards the unconscious Ed, without hesitation confirming her stance.

Their conversation derailed. Sensing something out of the ordinary, nearby soldiers seemed to glance their way.

Since the topics were not intended for others, Clarice leaned close, pleading softly with Yenika.

“Truth be told… you’re harboring personal feelings…! It’s a matter of safety…! Decisions based on such sentiments could be problematic…!”

“Personal feelings… such a thing…”

The unspoken truth began to unfold.

Memories of comforting words delivered even at the door of death rise in my mind.

Clarice quickly regulates her breath as heat surges to her face.

Somehow she manages to retort Yenika’s remarks naturally.

“Could it be… you don’t think so? It isn’t necessary!”

No, she didn’t succeed.

“Lies!”

“Why would I lie about something like this! Do you really think I would drag Senior Ed to Holy City to gloat about my position and authority, to see him marvel at it, and to witness how he spends his days convalescing? Or perhaps you suspect I want to invite him to the top of Holy City’s Spire to enjoy the view while sharing tea and snacks…?”

“Why be so specific…!!”

Taking short breaths, Yenika and Clarice exchange glances, entering a moment of silence and a temporary lull.

“I’m sorry, saintess. I think I got too excited.”

“No, it’s my fault, senior Yenika. I apologize for raising my voice.”

After an exchange of polite apologies, another bout of awkward silence ensued.

“Anyway, I’ll make sure to bring Senior Ed to Holy City’s side. Since he threatened my life, I can justify holding a Sungbeop trial there… As long as the Imperial side doesn’t change their minds…”

“No… Perhaps we need to rethink this strategy…”

Whether it’s the lands of Phulanshan or the holy city Carpea…

Naturally, there was no convergence between their opinions.

Staring at each other with daggers in their eyes, it was an issue without a solution because neither side had room for compromise.

* * *

It’s like acquiring an army of ten thousand.

This thought comes to Phoenia after she sees the face of Lortelle.

Lortelle is friendly toward Ed Rothtaylor. Despite not quite getting along with Phoenia, an enemy’s enemy is an ally.

Even if Lortelle is known to be greedy for profit and won’t shy away from dirty work to keep good relations with those in power… the story changes entirely when Ed’s life is at stake.

Although relations between Phoenia and Lortelle are awful, Lortelle will side with her this time.

And so, Phoenia spoke confidently.

“Ed Rothtaylor should be treated as a hero. The Imperial family should commend his hard work and restore the Rothtaylor family, who was ruined. He is capable of righting the wrongs of the family.”

“The world, Phoenia. Are you suggesting saving a family that nearly overthrew the empire and the family who stopped it doesn’t make sense?”

“Because the person who stopped the coup is from the same family.”

After telling Sella of her views, Phoenia looked at Lortelle, who had been silent.

Lortelle’s intrusion on the table of negotiation between princesses was surely to make her voice heard. Lortelle Keheln is a merchant seasoned in every battle, a master of negotiation.

Using her position and situation to her advantage, she’ll propose a compromise that could smoothly resolve the issue. Especially now that Ed’s life is at stake.

“Well at least, the nobility who were held hostages won’t be convinced.”

“And?”

However, Lortelle spoke contrary to Phoenia’s expectations.

Even if she is a cold-hearted opportunist, Ed Rothtaylor’s life was her Achilles’ heel.

Still, Lortelle continued her spiel with an air of nonchalance and overflowing confidence.

“On the contrary, for Your Highness, wouldn’t it be politically convenient for Rothtaylor family to completely exit stage right? After all, the Rothtaylor family dominated the royal positions, sharing power like kings.”

“It seems that the talent to lead such a grand merchant guild at a young age really gives you a different perspective.”

Sella looked at Lortelle with a satisfied expression. At this point, Phoenia realized.

Human relations are ultimately a tightrope walk. Whose rope one holds is the key.

Lortelle sitting between Phoenia and Sella.

Between them, Lortelle chose Sella’s rope.

Sella blinked her eyes naturally, without a hint of tremor.

If asked who seems more likely to become the emperor, they would support Sella without a second thought.

Phoenia could not deny this. She hadn’t shown any power-hungry ambitions herself.

Normally, the fact that Lortelle sided with Sella wouldn’t have been strange… but given the gravity of the situation, this was no trivial matter.

“Using this opportunity to deal with Ed Rothtaylor once and for all could be advantageous for strengthening imperial power in the future. He is cunning and capable. If we don’t deal with him now, he could become a major stumbling block later on.”

“Lortelle Keheln.”

Even when addressing the young woman coldly, Lortelle did not show a hint of agitation.

Instead with a faint smile, she made clear to Princess Phoenia.

“Truth doesn’t always bring profit. I am someone who pursues profit only.”

And she emphatically added,

“Just so you see, I’ve judged that creating a connection with Princess Sella would be more profitable.”

“Do you think Yenika and Lucy will stay silent?”

“There are widespread ways to silence the two of them. If I simply secure and conceal Ed Rothtaylor, they won’t dare to act hastily. With the power over his life and death in my hands, that would be enough.”

The threat that they could take Ed Rothtaylor’s life at any moment. That would prevent them from rash actions.

However, if Ed Rothtaylor was truly killed… Lortelle Keheln’s own life wouldn’t be safe either. There’s no way she wouldn’t know this.

So, does she have other additional means to suppress the two? Phoenia cannot even begin to imagine.

“Lortelle… you are…”

Princess Phoenia felt anger surging up her spine.

She had always been aware of her lack of personal affinity with Lortelle Keheln.

Even for a cold-blooded character like Lortelle, she thought there must be at least a minimum standard…

But, Lortelle was the kind who would step over even these minimum lines for profit and power.

Such a fully-fledged merchant was a despicable being.

Realizing that, Phoenia’s eyes turned cold as she looked straight at Lortelle.

It’s the same contemptuous look Lortelle once had in her eyes when she looked at Phoenia, who was confused in front of Tarkan.

Now, it was Phoenia projecting that pure, unadulterated contempt.

Phoenia and Lortelle are two parallel humans, lines that shall never meet.

With a deep sigh of resignation, Phoenia stood up and spoke with a chilled tone.

“Don’t think I’ll just stand idly by.”

No longer wishing to engage in talk, she turned and quietly left the tent.

Her eyes blazing with anger aren’t fitting of the moniker “Princess of Compassion.”

But Phoenia couldn’t just sit back and do nothing.

“People see potential in you, that’s why you could become such a big figure at a young age.”

“Ambition for power and success are natural human traits. Those who try to hide such desires are even less trustworthy. So, my fellow feeling for Princess Sella could be considered natural.”

After Phoenia left, the tent shared by Lortelle and Sella was significantly more relaxed.

For Sella, who had wanted to establish relations with Elte’s merchant guild, there couldn’t be a better opportunity.

By openly taking Sella’s side, it was proven that Lortelle, at least, wouldn’t side with Phoenia.

What significance this had in the struggle for imperial power was beyond stating.

“If you ask who has a better chance to be emperor between the two, it would have to be Princess Sella.”

“Indeed. Phoenia lacks the qualities of an emperor. She’s perfect as a compassionate princess.”

Sella said with a sigh, sipping her tea.

“Phoenia should realize that. It takes more than frolicking in flowerbeds to enrich the empire. A ruler must walk their path.”

“It’s also valuable to live as a princess. Princess Phoenia will come to understand this in time.”

“Yes. That would be fortunate.”

Sella smiled contentedly, then turned to Lortelle.

“Having Elte Trading Company on my side is very reassuring. If I take the throne, perhaps I can dream of the entire western port of Oldec becoming Elte’s territory.”

“I do my best within my means. But, you shouldn’t completely disregard Princess Phoenia.”

“Yes, I’m aware. The forces behind Phoenia are quite strong too.”

Sella pursed her lips, organizing her thoughts for a while. Lortelle set down her teacup and spoke softly,

“Right. That’s why blindly bringing Ed Rothtaylor to the palace might be a bad move. Although that’s where Princess Sella’s influence and power are strongest, it’s also where Princess Phoenia’s voice grows louder, right?”

“Phoenia lost a lot of her forces while studying at Sylvania Academy.”

“But there’s still the variable of Princess Persica. If you plan to use Ed Rothtaylor as a pawn in the imperial dispute, having him where the competitors are may just provide new issues and opportunities for them.”

“Right… I’ve considered that danger to some extent…”

Lortelle whispered quietly, slowly, her voice seeping into Princess Sella’s ears in a way that couldn’t be resisted.

The very same person who openly sided with Sella even in the presence of merciful Princess Phoenia. It’s as if she’s crossed an irreversible river.

A girl quietly whispering seductive words as if from genuine concern.

“Not only that, but variables like Yenika and Lucy are more difficult to control than you might think. They are stronger and more problematic than Princess Sella imagines. To control them, Ed Rothtaylor’s whereabouts must be hidden, giving off the nuance that his life could be taken at any time.”

“Indeed…”

Sella also acknowledged Yenika and Lucy’s power. She understood that Lortelle’s words weren’t empty boasting.

Even with the high authority of Clorel Imperial Family’s backing, they were opponents who couldn’t be easily subdued. She had realized this, but the thought that they would risk their empire’s prestige and future to break into the palace had not crossed her mind.

“In that case, it might be more suitable to hide the man somewhere other than the palace. Someplace not easily discoverable by anyone.”

“Princess Sella.”

Lortelle’s voice continues to flow.

She is a master negotiator who has frequented numerous negotiation tables since her days of maturity.

“A great open space with many large storage warehouses lies along the western bay of Oldec City, heading northward.”

But the line between a negotiator and a swindler is thin.

She’s not only a negotiator but also a born con artist.

Negotiation or scam.

Toying with contracts, walking a fine line of ambiguity – that’s a merchant’s skill.

“There, you’d find cargo for transcontinental trade, stored away. The sheer volume of Oldec’s trade means extensive warehouse space, and due to the daily turnover, even warehouse owners often don’t know all that’s inside. Unless you’re the owner of the goods, you hardly ever go near the warehouses.”

“Is that so?”

“Given their size, people losing their way inside happens almost weekly. Who cares what’s inside? Whether it’s fruit for the West, trendy clothes, books, or minerals…”

Lortelle subtly hints, smiling faintly.

“Or even a person.”

Of course, they were referring to a particular person without saying it outright.

“If we could secretly manage Ed Rothtaylor’s custody in such a way, it would be greatly advantageous in many ways. If it becomes politically inconvenient to publicly execute him later on, we could poison or strangle him in secret and claim he died of excessive bleeding. Even if there were controversies over his death, Elte Trading Company would bear the brunt, not you, Princess Sella.”

“Are you saying Elte Trading Company would accept all the blame without concern?”

“We live off trust. And I wish to establish a new relationship of trust with you, Princess Sella. This is the verification process.”

If that time comes, she believes Princess Sella will take good care of her. It’s a stance that looks like a deliberate acceptance of disadvantage, due to the differences in status and authority.

This implies forming a long-term symbiotic relationship while supporting each other’s vulnerabilities.

A relationship in which each holds the other’s weakness tightly is no less reliable.

“Managing risks is critical to achieving great things. This is what we do best.”

The words of a merchant roll off her tongue, quietly entering Sella’s ears.

She chose Sella’s side, even antagonizing Phoenia.

She understands the weight of power better than anyone and is prepared to sell her soul for profit.

“Would you like to make a purchase?”

Sella’s response was a slight curling of her lips.

Underneath her robe, a smiling Lortelle nodded and stood up.

“Then, Ed Rothtaylor’s custody will be taken by Elte Trading Company. We will escort him to Oldec.”

If she comes to her senses, everything she wants is in her hands.

Such is the might of the three-inch tongue of a merchant…

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2 responses to “The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 162”

  1. Lortelle is so eager to get dibs on Ed’s person.
    Hahahahaha!!!

  2. Bottomline: Lortelle getting custody of Ed is the only thing that matters. A natural conman and schemer, it’s Sella who got conned, not the other way round.

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