The Experimental Log of the Crazy Lich - Chapter 673
Chapter 673: Shadowy Alliance
Translator: imperfectluck Editor: Kurisu
The essence of negotiation was compromise. Both sides would need to give up certain things in order to come to an accord.
That’s why, if you accidentally revealed what you wanted the most in a negotiation, you would completely lose initiative. If the other party caught on to what you wanted the most, then it would only be natural for you to lose the negotiation.
Thus, when I learned what Sandro wanted the most, it was destined that I would have the upper hand in our negotiation. Since our positions were unequal, it wouldn’t be possible for me to lose in negotiation.
He needed my help. Meanwhile, I would be fine both with and without him. This unequal negotiating position allowed me to take the initiative as well as demand whatever I wanted.
“…At least I know that Aso definitely didn’t desire a country only for the undead. He spent so much effort on corroding Bardi from the inside all in order to reestablish the Tark Republic as a country where the living and the undead could coexist. A country purely for the undead won’t possibly last long in the mortal plane.”
A country only for the undead would break the Cycle of Reincarnation, cutting off the power of belief at the same time. Even if the Gods could tolerate it, the natural balance of the land would gradually be destroyed.
The Undead Emperors were also mages. It wouldn’t be possible for them not to know about this. Even when the Tark Republic was at its peak, they hadn’t been foolish enough to transform every single citizen into an undead. That would mean cutting off the entire country’s future as well as hope.
“…Then, there’s only one path you can take to realize the revival of the Tark Republic. Rather than spending so much effort to conquer some land from the humans, and then using countless years afterwards to try and obtain human friendship again through showing good will, you might as well instead join me. The Mist Alliance has already accepted the Xiluo Empire, so it’s no big deal to add a Tark Republic.”
In a normal situation, actually reviving the Tark Republic would first require obtaining victory in the Holy War, as well as managing to secure some land during the vicious fighting between Order and Chaos. Only then could the Tark Republic be reestablished. Moreover, after the Tark Republic was revived, they would need to consider the diplomatic relationship with other species, as well as the attitudes of any new Gods who gained power in this Holy War.
This would obviously be of mythic difficulty. The Undead Emperors were no weaklings, as those old artifacts were powerful enough to give pause to even Gods and Main Gods. Although Conservation was at Main God power level, she wasn’t anywhere close to being the strongest Undead Emperor. To my knowledge, Sandro who was currently before me was more dangerous than 10 Conservations put together. But, even if the Undead Emperors were truly able to work together well, the outlook of their winning the Holy War still wouldn’t be that optimistic.
The undead army was quite powerful. They had high-level undead as well as weapons of mass destruction. They had endless cannon fodder. The undead’s greatest weakness was the living’s natural enmity for the undead. It would be impossible for the undead to have any ironclad allies. The giants would worry about the undead making them into bone giants, the dragons would naturally loathe the undead for making them into bone dragons, and the Gods hated the undead the most for breaking the Cycle of Reincarnation and wasting power of belief.
The undead didn’t currently have a true territory of their own, so they were still in a weak position here. The world didn’t view them with enough importance yet. In fact, the world even saw the undead as a pawn that could be taken advantage of. But if the undead truly did conquer enough land to reconstruct a new Tark Republic as an empire for the undead only, developing it smoothly… That would mean that the entire world would suddenly become their enemy!
The Xiluo Empire would definitely vouch for this. After so many years, they still didn’t have a single ally. Even though their land was territory that the living wouldn’t be able to live in, with nothing but deserts and swamps filled with death, the other countries still viewed the Xiluo Empire with immense hostility, always being on guard against it. If the Xiluo Empire dared to attack any human country, they would definitely be met with an “allied army of justice”.
This wasn’t fair. However, this was reality. Compared to racial discrimination in my previous world, the living’s discrimination against the undead here had the additional traits of being viewed as just and only natural. It didn’t help that the typical behavior of the undead and undead mages in history gave plenty of factual evidence to support this anti-undead discrimination.
“…Unless the Undead Emperors also find a territory that’s inhospitable to the living, it will be impossible to successfully reestablish the Tark Republic.”
I believed that the individuals wise enough to become Undead Emperors would definitely understand this.
However, Undead Emperors were existences that had broken past theoretically impossible boundaries for undead. So, Aso forcefully found another method.
His plan had been immense. He slowly moved his pieces, and invaded Bardi from the inside as a parasite would. He used the name of Bardi to slowly develop international relationships as the living and the undead began to live together in Bardi. The undead also gradually became high-ranked members of the Bardi government. This would slowly make other countries tacitly accept the existence of an undead country and lower their hostility by using the appearance of the Bardi Empire. Once things reached a certain extent, Aso would then change out those in power for only the undead… Basically, he was performing a foreign takeover of the Bardi government without others’ realizing it. This would lower everyone’s hostility as well as reduce possible unknown factors.
However, this was no longer possible.
The moment that Aso died, the undead invasion had already half failed. Thanks to the memories and knowledge that he passed on to me, I respected him even more as I now better understood his “intent” in passing these memories on to me.
Aso had a “nuclear bomb” aimed right at the Truth Symposium in the Cloud Tower. Aso had a potion that was capable of transforming all Bardi citizens into undead. Aso also had control over Emperor Orloss, along with a list of high-ranking humans in various countries who had fallen for undead temptations and were now working for the undead. All of these were major weapons that could cause inconceivable harm in the hands of anyone ambitious.
This was all a gamble to Aso since he didn’t have anything else to lose regardless. Thus, he felt he might as well toss all this nuclear information over to another Undead Emperor. He would only possibly win, not lose. If I had been a normal Undead Emperor… No, just an Undead Lord with a personality like Harloys’, or even an ordinary human, would likely do fearsome things with all the information that Aso gave me.
Aso’s plan was that I would take over all his information, and use it to transform all Bardi citizens into undead, continue controlling puppet Emperor Orloss, gain full political control over the entire Bardi Empire, kill all the strongest archmages of the Truth Symposium whenever I wanted, and thus finally end the most dangerous adjacent external threat.
And then… the Holy War would truly arrive, bringing the Undead Emperors’ descent and an Undead Calamity.
During all of this, I would gain many personal benefits, and even be able to fully control the Bardi Empire, which was the strongest country in all of Eich. This would make me into one of the most powerful rulers of all. But at this time, the Tark Republic would also be able to successfully revive with the Bardi Empire as its foundation, giving the Undead Emperors the best start possible. The Undead Emperors would never miss this golden opportunity to revive the Tark Republic, and this would also greatly reduce the likelihood of the Undead Emperor alliance splitting up, thus realizing Aso’s dream.
This was no guess of mine at all. As I analyzed Aso’s memories, not only did I discover why my analysis had been slow to progress, I also discovered the key that Aso set for analyzing his memories: “The desire to become stronger and gain more power.”
“Do you wish for power and higher status? I shall give you the information and strength necessary to reach the very top.”
Although this sounded like something out of a chuunibyou anime, this was indeed the key Aso set to unlock his memories. Very few people would be able to resist such a natural temptation with such treasure right before them.
Desiring more power and status would almost be a base instinct. Anyone ambitious who obtained such information that could help them would naturally use it, which would realize Aso’s goal.
It could be said that if it weren’t for how strange I was… Ahem, I meant if I weren’t a little different from others, I really could have fallen for his trap.
Since I didn’t have such ambition (which would be incredibly inconceivable for an Undead Emperor), my analysis of his memories was slower than others’ would be. The nuclear bomb left behind aimed at the Truth Symposium would have likely been set off by one of Aso’s other plans if I hadn’t done anything about it. This would have destroyed the Undead Emperors’ greatest threat had they invaded Bardi full force: the human archmages.
Even right before Aso’s death, he managed to complete his plan which deeply understood the nature of humans. He would profit no matter what. Even if he died, his dream could still be realized. Even though I had countlessly raised my assessment of Undead Emperor Aso many times, I could only exclaim over how impressed I was.
Ahem, I was getting off topic. In a way, killing Aso was truly a fortuitous accident for me. Aso’s death also meant a huge obstacle for the Tark Republic’s revival.
The Undead Emperors were definitely no idiots. In fact, they would be some of the smartest individuals across all the dimensions. The reason why they had agreed to invade together with Aso was because the invasion would possibly succeed. But now, the invasion’s success rate had been greatly diminished. This naturally meant that all the Undead Emperors now had their own ideas. Their alliance had failed, with everyone scattering.
Although they all realized that their alliance would fail and everyone would scatter in the end, this was still an acceptable result to them. It would be far better than gambling everything on something with a low success rate and then losing everything… Actually, when I thought of all this, I truly felt that sometimes being foolish was better. Many idiots would manage to accomplish grand feats that a “genius” could never accomplish simply through willpower. There were too many “geniuses” out there who were actually quite capable but felt that doing something would be “impossible” or a “waste of time”, thus giving up on opportunities that should have been theirs.
In a way, the undead didn’t actually care too much about the mortal plane, which was the foundational reason why they lacked the will to fight with all they had. They were different from other dimensional invaders who wanted survival space and a better future for their species. Apart from a few among them, most Undead Emperors had only returned to the mortal plane for the sake of the former Tark Republic’s glory. The moment that they were impeded slightly, they all wanted to retreat to easier battlefields and scheme their own plans.
Cough, cough, I was getting off topic again. I should get to the point.
Aso’s unexpected death caused the original undead invasion plan to completely collapse. It also caused the Undead Emperors to each have their own ideas. So now, Sandro, the Lord of Withering, had come to talk to me.
“So, what do you think of the Tark Republic? Do you want to revive its civilization, or the name and the return of the Senators? This will directly impact if we can cooperate or not.”
Actually, it was just a rhetorical question. If the latter had been true, he wouldn’t have come to talk to me at all, nor would he be so astonished or delighted at seeing the undead and living coexist peacefully in equality. Obviously, Sandro wanted the return of the Tark Republic civilization and culture.
But right now, as long as he said that out loud, that would mean prematurely mentioning his objective during negotiation, which meant that I could ask for as much as I wanted.
Sandro’s mouth moved, but he didn’t say anything in the end. Just as I was wondering if he was trying to force himself not to say anything in accordance with some new type of negotiation technique, he suddenly waved his hand, bringing out the mummy translator like earlier. Right after that, Sandro held on to his neck while panting.
I then understood how it was. Sandro hadn’t talked for so long already that he had already forgotten how to talk when he was excited…
It was likely that he was already accustomed to giving orders with only his soul voice. However, for existences like ourselves where the soul was our true body, casually letting out one’s own soul would be an incredibly dangerous challenge. It would obviously be best to avoid doing so unless absolutely necessary.
“His Majesty Sandro desires the continuation of the Tark Republic civilization. At the very least, the Tark Republic’s history and culture should spread in this land again…”
Well, at least the mummy’s explanation was eloquent and easy to understand.
I could understand why Sandro would think this way, since this was also what Aso wanted. Aso had originally intended to forcefully start teaching the ancient Tark Republic language after the undead had full control of Bardi, along with forcefully teaching undead magic, the Tark Republic’s history, and other similar courses. This would extend to politics, philosophy, art, and even sociology, gradually reviving the entire Tark Republic’s civilization.
It would require conquering another human country as the prerequisite, but for me, realizing this wouldn’t be that difficult.
The Xiluo Empire already had undead and living coexisting together. Not to mention, the Xiluo Empire didn’t have much of a culture or inheritance. It would be possible to achieve part of the Tark Republic’s revival simply by taking their undead into the Xiluo Empire.
The Mist Alliance had already legalized and normalized undead magic. We had even revived the Elven Empire, so of course it should be possible for us to also revive the Tark Republic. We simply needed to allot some resources from the Xiluo Empire, which would be nothing in comparison to the tremendous benefits we could obtain in exchange.
Moreover, after the Holy War’s end, if the Mist Alliance survived until the end, there would be plenty of empty land around. Since we didn’t have enmity towards the undead, reviving a new Tark Republic where the living exceeded the undead would be no problem.
“…The Mist Alliance is the only place in Eich that will accept you. You can also see that the undead and undead magic are quite welcome here. However, how much you can obtain in the end will depend on what you’re willing to pay.”
I had plenty to offer here, but would need to actually pay very little. No matter how I looked at it, this looked like a good deal to me.
To be quite honest, I felt that as long as Sandro was willing to help me out, that would be worth any price. Without mentioning anything else, Sandro was one of the strongest among Undead Emperors.
Of course, I wasn’t telling the full and complete truth. Something like reviving a country couldn’t possibly be allowed so easily.
It would be impossible for us to sign any contracts on paper. On the surface, the Undead Emperors were still attacking Bardi. If rumors of our agreement spread, not only would it shake the undead’s confidence and morale, it would also cause the Mist Alliance to be tainted with the reputation of secretly allying with the dimensional invaders.
Not only would the Mist Alliance become diplomatically isolated in such a case, the Holy Church would even finally have an excuse to formally attack us.
“Some things can only be done without saying them out loud…”
Since Sandro intended to revive the Tark Republic in the Northlands, then he would definitely send personnel, magical research, historical documents, and other similar valuables. The Northlands would prepare empty land and people to accept all this information and arrange for orphans and youths to begin studying about the Tark Republic. Once the Undead Emperors saw our progress in reviving the Tark Republic, we would achieve our goal.
If they were satisfied with what we had done, that would mean that they recognized the new Tark Republic, and that anyone who attacked the Northlands would become their enemy.
As for what the other Undead Emperors who hated the living thought, that wouldn’t matter to us. Currently, it was only Sandro of the Undead Emperors who had allied with me.
Of course, nothing about all this could be recorded. No evidence could be left behind. As for rumors that might be leaked… there would always be countless rumors out there. I would only need to deny everything.
The right of being the powerful included being a diplomatic hoodlum. All that was needed were some empty words to deny the rumors. As long as there was no solid evidence, it would be very easy to deal with for the Mist Alliance’s diplomats.
Finally, Sandro opened his eyes which were revealed to be blank. But, judging from his offered hand and the forced smile, he had “agreed” to my deal.
The living me shook the undead Sandro’s hand, sealing this alliance in the shadows.