DB – Chapter 68

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The Conference Isn’t Dancing [1]

 

On the next day, the conference for the Cordova invasion’s strategy planning began.
Those present were Archduke Ryuke Riana, Regent Guinevere, all cabinet members, the various heads of the army corps, and the great nobles of each country—dukedom’s territories.
And in the middle of all of them, Serge.
In the middle of all of them, Serge. So important that it must be said twice.
He wasn’t a formal soldier, but a low class noble. He was a young mage, but he took the seat that was directly next to Ria.
“I feel a bit out of place here…”
“Endure it. If we didn’t have your transportation capabilities, we wouldn’t be able to build this strategy.”
“I’m just an ordinary guy though…”
“You’ll be given a special two-rank promotion and be turned into a baron when this war is over. You will even be given a good territory. There’ll even be a great feast.”
“Well, I just want to be alone with a girl… no no, as a noble’s duty, maybe multiple people are needed?”
Serge’s desires took a peek out on the surface for a moment.

A great number of people entered the large conference room.
Normally, a certain amount of time would be allowed for acquaintances to greet each other. However, Ria would not allow it.
“For assembling here, I thank you all. Though this may be quick, we shall begin creating our Cordovan invasion strategy plan.”
A rough map of Cordova was displayed on the wall behind Ria. There were already a few markers placed on it.
“First is our main goal, Cordova must suffer a crushing defeat. Is there anyone in objection to this?”
Ria invoked her Dragon Eyes. Nevertheless, a brave veteran raised his hand.
“Could we cut them off by isolating them economically through an embargo? If we invade after that, I think it would become easier.”
“That won’t work. First off, Cordova produces enough of its own food to be self sufficient country. And then there is the fact that it is near the sea, it would be near impossible to control smugglers. If we spent the time trying, the Millennium would arrive.
The man consented with a hmph, but Ria pursued further.
“The Millennium will arrive within the next eight years. This is something that I heard directly from the labyrinth’s master.”
The room became noisy in response to her words.
Those foolish enough to make light of the person named Ria were not here. However, to put faith all of her words, it was hard as a person.
“It will not be possible to fight a country like Cordova with the Millennium on our backs. For this reason, we have no choice but to crush Cordova even a day sooner.”
“We will fight with our lives on the line to liberate our home countries from Cordova!”
The one to shout that was an exiled noble from a country that Cordova had destroyed. Ria merely nodded to his shout.
“Cordova is a large country. The amount of forces that it can mobilize, even after being decreased by our recent fight, should be around 450,000.”
That could be considered a hopeless amount. The nobles here, at most, could arranged between just 20,000 and 30,000.
“On the other hand, the total war potential of our dukedoms exceed 3,000,000.”
Again, her words caused a stir in the conference hall.
‘Do we have forces like that?’ In truth, it was simply Ria’s bluff, but only Guinevere and Fio knew that.
“Then again, those are truly our last-resort measures. Only once the demon tribe attacks during the Millennium would those numbers be helpful.”
When Ria suppressed the disturbance with both of her hands, she returned the topic back to Cordova.
“Among Cordova’s forces are those those that are at the border, and excluding those forces stationed in its capital, its working force is about 200,000. We will defeat these.”
Someone swallowed back their saliva. Even 200,000 could be called a sufficiently hopeless number.
Ria would give them realistic numbers to the last.
“Our reinforcements from Casalia are 50,000. Manesh’s army is 50,000. The ogre army is…”
Here, she purposely trailed off. To give a shock, nothing was better than putting on airs as much as possible.
“100,000.”
The greatest amount of turmoil thus far was born in the room.
“It is expected that the beastkin’s army will be able to arrange 100,000 as well. Although they lack strength on the battlefield, they will be useful in destroying Cordova’s prided information network and supply lines.”
Just how important would disrupting the rear for their victory against Cordova? Ria put her strength into explaining it.
“If we include all of the feudal lord’s war potentials to this, defeating even Cordova isn’t unreasonable. With these numbers, I think you all can understand as well.”
Ria ended that topic there.

“Now then, we are definitely invading Cordova, but I believe there are no less than four routes. Not that we will truly divide our army into four parts to invade, but by maintaining the possibility of all four routes, we can keep our enemy from inferring our plans.”
She struck three areas from the southern tip to the north-east. Then, the most important part was near its border to Manesh.
To be specific, they would use this route to invade. Manesh’s outskirts were grain-producing regions, so it would be suitable for collecting food.
“For the other three areas, I would like to be defended to the last. The aim is to divide Cordova’s troops. This I beg of you all.”
Ria bowed deeply.

After that, with Ria having requested that of the feudal lords near the invasion points, there was the preparation of siege weapons.
The backbone of their war potential were the armies of Casalia, Manesh, and the ogres. By using this to acquire experience, true elites could be trained.
Although she didn’t know what part of Cordova’s interior would turn into their battlefield, concerning the decisive battle, Ria would be counting on these three armies.

They still needed to settle the detailed, but it had been roughly decided on. When she’d asked for comments, a noble who had territory near the coast raised his hand.
“For ships trading with Cordova, what if I issue a pillaging license? Even if Cordova is an agricultural country, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t trade. Even if the purpose to disturb its people’s hearts, it might be effective.”
“Alright. Let’s allow it. Provided that you manage it and prepare a time span for it.”
“Also, your majesty…”
With a feeling that could be called timid, an aristocrat raised his hand.
Contrasting his behavior, to be able to not flinch despite Ria’s glance, he probably had a considerable amount of courage.
“It is a problem of her majesty’s partner, but when thinking about the future of the dukedom, as a successor is indispensable…”

Ria sighed very, very deeply.
She knew that his thoughts were common sense, both for nobles and commoners. You could even call it the common sense of any living thing. Leaving descendants.
However, it was impossible for Ria. Thinking that, this was a good opportunity.
“I do not menstruate. In other words, I cannot have children. Even setting aside my homosexuality, there cannot be a successor that inherits my blood.”
This time, her statement filled the room in silence.
“There is a skilled doctor in my country…”
“Even the God Dragon Valis said it was impossible. No human could do it.”
This time, the noble was at a loss for words.
Towards the archduke that was his lord, he shouldn’t have spoken that simply to at all.
“Well, don’t worry about it. Even I don’t mind it. Rather, if you have a beautiful daughter, send her over for my personal care.”
“Yes, certainly!”
What happened for a little while after that moment about that noble sending his beautiful daughter to serve Ria… that’s another topic.

 

*

 

“Ah~, so worn out~”
Slowly soaking in the bathtub, Ria groaned. Both of her mounds floated up in the hot water.
“I think you did well! The nobles’ morale went up too.”
Besides Guinevere and the prince, Maal and Irina were also in the bathtub that could be mistaken for a pool.
Irina had Maal washing her hair. She was weak to shampoo.
“I just want to leisurely travel the world, fighting various monsters…”
“Give it up. For now we have to somehow deal with Cordova, it won’t be easy.”
“Compared to domestic affairs, I’d prefer war~”
Although Ria was lamenting, it couldn’t be helped due to her station.

A voice came from outside the bathroom calling for Ria, who was now sinking into the bathtub and sighing loudly under the water.
“Ria-sama. A merchant named Fernoss arrived. I showed her to the parlor.”
“Got it. I’ll be there immediately.”
When she immediately got out of the water as she’d said, she wiped down her body, refusing the maid’s help. Still collecting her hair, Ria entered the parlor holding Nagasone Kotetsu.

 

*

 

Her impression from their first meeting was: ‘What’s up with her?’
Her chestnut hair was cut at shoulder-length, a girl in male attire.
Her eyes were cool and her lips shapely. Though her figure definitely fit Ria’s preference, none of those things were the problem.
“Thank you very much for nominating our firm this time. I serve as the director of the northwest branch, my name is Fernoss Crystal.”
She then stood up. Ria almost instinctively moved to unsheathe Nagasone Kotetsu.

So it was like that.

One who held [Natural Talent in the Sword], so it was like that.

She was level 40, but that couldn’t be it. The tiny bit of magical power that leaked out despite being restrained was, perhaps, even above Serge’s.
She fully unleashed Dragon Eyes. As for what she could then see, first was a talisman equipped at her chest. This was likely a magic tool for recognition inhibition.
“Fernoss, no, is it alright to call you Ferna? Please call me Ria.”
Vehemently, she wanted to fight the girl before her eyes.
Her usual disease.
She wanted to confirm that her swordplay was better. Perhaps, in swordplay alone, this girl was better than Carla.

“Terribly gracious, then I shall call you Ria-sama.”
“Then Ferna, as for the thing concealing your ability, it’s that talisman on your chest right? Or is it some magic?”
With a start, Ferna stopped moving.
She lowered her center of gravity. Seeing her shift in weight, Ria grasped Nagasone Kotetsu.
Despite her opponent being barehanded.

“For Black Cat… as it is a business, we have certainly invested into Cordova. Nevertheless, we have changed our plans and from now on shall be doing business with Ogress Dukedom-sama alone.”
Although Ferna was nervous, she wasn’t afraid. Did she think that she could deal with Ria even if she unsheathed Nagasone Kotetsu?
However, Ria wasn’t stupid enough to actually pull out her katana here.
“I anticipate Black Cat’s transportation capabilities. We are also being treated favorably.”
Then, Ria indicated the sofa, motioning for Ferna to sit.
“What I want to say is… right… there was still a master like you as an anonymous person? What level is your swordplay? 8, 9? Or maybe 10?”
“I wonder? As a merchant, information is one of my commodities…”
“Hmm… Black Cat has seized the flow of goods through the continent… with its power of money, does it plan on dominating the world behind the curtain?”
“Nonsense! We simply wish to earn people’s words of thanks and their smiles, we only transport luggage safely.”
From her words alone, they seemed to be spoken from the bottom of her heart.
“Well, I didn’t say to tell me everything. I’ll be relying on you from now on.”
Ria presented her right hand, which Ferna grasped with both of hers.

 

*

 

“Ah, Ferna-san, how did it go?”
Leaving from the royal palace, Ferna saw Halt’s always calm face and almost collapsed.
“What happened? You look pale you know? Were there any unreasonable demands?”
No. No!
It wasn’t nothing at that level.
“I felt like my life was in danger…”
She instinctively confirmed the sword was still hanging at her waist. As long as she had it, she could somehow manage to escape.
“That queen was scary after all?”
“Mou, yes! It’s a huge difference seeing her up close!”
She saw her fight with the Dragonslayer, but when she actually drew close, the bloodthirst emitted from her was different. It was majestic. There’s no way that could come from a 15-year old girl.
“Well, according to other people, Ferna-san is the scary one.”
Since he said something upsetting, Ferna beat against Halt with a thud.
“Although the business talks were settled, there is a vast amount of arranged goods. Could Halt-san help as well?”
“Yeah, I originally planned on concentrating on Ogress after all.”
Seeing his natural smile, Ferna finally felt some of her nervousness ease.

On the way to head out together with Ferna for dinner, Halt looked back at the royal castle once again.
One who had defeated the Dragonslayer, as well as traverse the labyrinth. Moreover, showing a talent for war and opposing the militaristic country of Cordova.
There were still a few years until the Millennium. His choice was here.
(I don’t want to fight…)
Halt felt that from the bottom of his heart, following Ferna.

 

Footnotes:
  • The title, from what I understand, is a pun & reference to some real-world parallel. I apologize, but I haven’t read into it… Just know that it isn’t entirely nonsensical? … Yeah. Here‘s a link to the JP Wiki page about it. Return

 


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