Chapter 237: Strategy Meeting?
Even though it would be a joint front, actually I thought that there wasn’t much need for strategy.
That’s because no matter what they did, the things we had to do would not change.
Nevertheless, I asked to hear about their plans thinking that if we can grasp their movements, we at least wouldn’t have to face any irregular situations.
Firstly, I asked regarding the subjects of His Highness.
“Your Highness Albert, what do you intend to do with the Imperial citizens in the Imperial Capital?”
“Hmm? If you are asking if I plan to bring the Imperial Capital’s citizens into the battle, the answer is no.”
“I see. That answer stands even if … your life is in danger?”
“I understood that there would be danger from the start. If I do not do this, the Empire will crumble eventually.”
It seemed like it was true that he treasures the Empire and the citizens in the Imperial Capital. Well, he fled the city for that very reason so I would be troubled if he didn’t have that level of resolve ―.
“I see. Then, I want to have an understanding of your battle strength, for the group that gathered under Your Highness Albert … the Resistance meaning to oppose the Empire, could you illustrate to me the battle strength of the Resistance?”
“In terms of battle strength, the majority of the people in this town of Ebiza are our collaborators. There are also collaborators in the Empire who relay information to us.”
Collaborators … I was wondering why there were so few people here who were subjected to the demonizations.
Perhaps the collaborators and Resistance troops are a different group?
I immediately asked. And I received a shocking answer.
” … How many troops do you have who can fight against the Imperial Soldiers?”
” … Only about fifty but even when they were Imperial Soldiers, they were my guards so they are the elite.”
Maybe nobody pointed out the possibility that there might be traitors among his Imperial Guard or perhaps he trust them because they have spent joys and sorrows together since they were chased by the Empire.
If it’s the latter then I won’t be able to do anything about it. However, just how much strength does that elite group possess? If he can proclaim them to be the elite so confidently, their skills should be quite considerable right?
” … Then, are there any outstanding person with strong military prowess like Lionel?”
“Unfortunately, there aren’t any who can compare to Sensei.”
His Highness averted his eyes when I asked him.
At that instant, I had an extremely bad premonition.
In order to dispel that, I asked to see their plan to recapture the Empire.
” … Excuse me for asking bluntly but how do you plan to recapture the Empire?”
“We have many collaborators in the Empire and of course, they have even infiltrated the castle of the Empire. Currently, due to the war with the Kingdom of Rubruk, not only the citizens but the soldiers are also exhausted so all that remains is to capture father.”
It’s not as if attacking from the front is the only valid strategy and setting up a plan to spring a surprise attack with a small number of people might not be wrong.
If that plan can lead them to invade the castle then I felt that it was a good enough strategy.
However, then why did they fail?
“How many times have you invaded the Empire?”
“About ten times. Until now, we have performed surprise attacks from various routes but for some reason, we always failed to succeed.”
That’s because there are spies but when I turned to Mr. Bazak, he met my gaze and shook his head.
I didn’t know what he meant with the action but I was also impressed that they could come back alive even after using the same strategy all the time.
“Did you use that same strategy during the most recent attack as well?”
“Yes. However, in the underground passage that leads from the castle town into the castle, we quickly had our tables turned by the imposter Sensei and we had no choice but to flee for our lives but if only that person wasn’t there, we would have been able to enter the castle ― ”
For some reason, I felt like this person had the Bad Luck skill.
But there was something that I didn’t understand. Mr. Bazak did not undergo demonization.
Perhaps there’s a possibility that he was a spy too so I tried investigating to be safe.
“Mr. Bazak, did you not follow them during their plan to recapture the Imperial Capital?”
“Yes. They did not allow me to enter the castle with them and I was given the role to cause a commotion in the castle town.”
Mr. Bazak told me without his usual smile and with a slightly remorseful expression.
His Highness Albert seemed uneasy when he heard that and averted his face.
A resentful sigh came from Lionel.
That’s quite unheard of. Why did they break off Mr. Bazak who is their chief officer and can be counted as one of their members with battle strength? Or was his promise to make him the Prime Minister just lip service? Or did he believe that there were spies within his guard but ―.
I lost count of the number of retorts I have.
“I see. Then next, did your bodies emit miasma after receiving some kind of attack?”
“When we were fighting the imposter Sensei, a red magic circle appeared and purple smoke filled the room instantly. The imposter Sensei disappeared while laughing and my body steadily became heavier as my consciousness became hazier, having remembered such a feeling, I ordered the retreat before I lost consciousness.”
A smoke ― instead of poison gas, it’s miasma gas huh? Not only embedding magic stone in the body, they have developed a different method now so it will become more troublesome to deal with the longer we delay it.
If they knew that the Empire was researching on demons then shouldn’t they have made countermeasures against it? I was about to say it but I stopped myself. They’ve been completely played.
Well, even though I don’t use it often, we probably won’t suffer from demonization if I apply Aura Coat and it might even cause the opponent to lose their composure, but more importantly, what should I say to comfort His Highness?
For now, I’ll just patch things up.
“I understand. As expected, with traitors and whistle-blowers, regardless of Your Highness’ measures, you would end up rolling in the opponent’s palms but it will be different this time.”
” …… ”
Shit. As usual, I ended up spitting out more than I intended.
Maybe my words were unexpected as His Highness had a look of chagrin with trembling shoulders, the Saintess had a dumbfounded expression while Mr. Bazak was, for some reason, trying his best to stop himself from laughing.
However, if I do not make them reflect on their incompetent information gathering and for not using Mr. Bazak’s brains wisely, this joint front would be nothing but demerits for us.
… But, to be honest, what should I do? There was honestly no merit to having a joint front with them. No, there is a way to use them, as sacrificial pawns and after everything has ended, have him govern the Empire properly.
As long as Lionel does not intervene more than necessary, they will probably face all kinds of conflict.
And Lionel has told me that he no longer wishes to become a General.
All right, I’ve decided.
I’ll have them think about what they themselves can do.
“I’ve been able to roughly analyze the Resistance. Then, our plan will be to enter the Imperial Capital from the sky and Lionel will lead us directly into the castle. We’ll cleave through anybody who tries to stop us and I will release those who have been demonized. That is all.”
Apart from Lionel, the three of them were stiff from shock after hearing the overly simple plan.
Surprisingly, it was His Highness who stood up first.
“My country has the Winged Dragon Squad! Once they discover a flying object, they will shoot it down.”
“While the Winged Dragons specialize in flying in the skies, I have heard that their breath attack is not that powerful. Furthermore, we purposely ride the Flying Ship so as to stand out. If the Imperial Soldiers see Lionel’s figure, they will certainly stay their hand.”
“It, it’s true that they will stop attacking once they see Sensei. However, how do you plan to reveal the imposter Sensei’s actual identity?”
“General Sen’Oni is a warrior. We will request a duel. He will be playing into our hands if he rejects it and even if he accepts it, it’s fine as long as Lionel wins. Then, by proving the actual identity of the imposter Lionel, we can directly enter the castle.”
『Clap clap clap』 I heard the sound of clapping and it turned out to be Mr. Bazak.
“How bold. To believe in your own strength and break through the front … If that actually works, there wouldn’t be a single innocent victim. Is this the resourcefulness of a Sage?”
Mr. Bazak was completely misunderstanding me but I posed a question to them without correcting him.
“As you’ve mentioned, our plan is to directly break through the front. For the people of the Resistance led by Your Highness Albert, what can they do?”
“If that’s the case, can’t we also ride on that Flying Ship and return triumphantly as the Empire’s first prince?”
Too shallow. I thought that he was similarly a worldly-wise man but I was completely wrong. However, he is somewhat better than the Emperor who advanced the art of demonization —
“Firstly, within the Empire, Your Highness has probably already been disinherited or even have a warrant out for your arrest right?”
“He has been disinherited but there is no warrant.”
The Saintess Melfina explained to me but it didn’t change my reasoning.
“I see. The Flying Ship is neither the property of the Empire nor Your Highness. Furthermore, depending on how the situation plays out, once the country has been stabilized, there’s the possibility that the Flying Ship will become the symbol of the Empire. I cannot allow that.”
“If that’s the case, what is the reason for having this joint front …”
His Highness said those inexcusable words.
At that moment, a thought sprang into my head and I decided to utilize His Highness’ slip of the tongue to negotiate.
“That’s right. We have no merit in having a joint front with the Resistance led by Your Highness. On the contrary, the joint front has nothing but demerits.”
” … What are you trying to say?”
“It is up to Your Highness to interpret. Please come to a decision.”
Thus, His Highness accepted the two demands I had and the alliance became official.
And finally, I found that they would only be able to arrive at the Empire in a week at the soonest, so the attack on the Empire was postponed for a week.
Thank you for reading.