Day 180 after being summoned to another world: (Decisive Battle 8)
“Fuuh, thank goodness, I made it in time!”
With a subtle smile on her face, Elena dismounted from her horse and stood before Ryouma.
However, Ryouma could feel the malice hidden behind that smile..
“Elena-san… Shouldn’t you be leading the attack on Irachion?”
“Oh? It looks like you aren’t part of the force yourself either, right? Well…”
Hearing her words, Ryouma couldn’t help showing a bitter smile.
(As expected, even though she is known as the hero who saved the country back in the days…. Despite being old, once she’s angry she could still show this kind of expression, huh… She wouldn’t stop at anything until she could kill ‘that person’ by her own hands…)
Ryouma immediately understood her intentions for coming here as soon as he saw the expression on her face.
Just like Ryouma, she also predicted that Hodram will attempt to flee.
Her grudge with Holdram has to be settled sooner than later.
“How many soldiers did you bring?”
“300 of my most trusted men.”
(No room for mercy, huh. But then again, I suppose, it can’t be helped…)
Within Elena’s heart, revenge has become her reason for living.
The total number of soldiers under her direct control is around 300.
Judging by how she brought almost everyone of her close associates, it was clear as day that she has no intention of stopping until Holdram is dead and gone.
Even if Hodram chooses to surrender, she would most definitely execute him regardless.
“So, how’s the situation? Has Holdram made his escape?”
Ryouma shook his head.
“Is that so? Regardless, there is no way he chose honorable death in Irachion, right?”
The color of anxiety crossed Elena’s face.
This possibility was outside of her expectation.
However, she’s not so naive to think that her expectation is always right.
However, she can’t afford any mistake this time.
Because her grudge will never be settled if Holdram died that way.
“I doubt he would do something like that. Plus, I’ve heard that he has been securing a large amount of escape funds…”
“… As expected… What else should I have expected of that despicable man.”
Elena said those words as if she was spitting on Hodram.
“Do you know where he’s heading?”
Ryouma received a map from Sara and spread it in front of Elena.
“We have narrowed it down to two possibilities… The first is, assuming he uses a horse-drawn carriages to escape and considering that Hodram’s family can’t go around the dangerous terrain, I think he will flee toward the south.”
Ryouma’s traced his index finger around the map.
“I see… Indeed it would be difficult for him to head east. If he were to go that way, he would be caught by the nobles who want to butter up the princess…”
Ryouma nodded his head.
Since Princess Lupis is about to win,
The nobles who were hostile at the beginning will attempt to curry favor with the princess to save themselves.
It would be a suicidal act if Hodram chose east.
Everyone would want to take Holdram’s head to please the princess.
“West would also be impossible… The terrains toward Zalda’s kingdom are full of mountains… Which left South as the only other option,huh?”
Elena’s analysis was similar to what Ryouma has in his mind.
In fact, her expression shows that she is quite sure about it.
Ryouma couldn’t help but wonder if there’s a reason behind that.
“Ryouma-kun, you seem worried about which way he is going huh?”
Ryouma nodded his head silently.
“Do not worry. Hodram’s escape route is down south. I’m sure he won’t choose the other one.”
Elena said those words with confidence.
“What makes you think that way?”
“Because his wife is a noble of the Thalluja Kingdom.”
The Thalluja Kingdom.
A country located roughly 100 Km south of Irachion.
Certainly, if his wife is from that country, then it would be a safer choice as an escape destination.
Since his family has such connection, there is a good chance that they would be happy to shelter him.
“I see… Indeed, it would make sense if he chose to escape to the Thalluja Kingdom when he has such connection, but wouldn’t he know that we are aware of this fact?”
Ryouma is by no means trying to find faults with the plan itself.
Elena’s theory is already quite convincing.
However, based on his experience from escaping from the Ortomea Empire, the most ideal solution may not always work out best.
This is because the most ideal option is the easiest to predict.
Hence, a good strategist would usually go with the second best option instead.
“Not choosing the best option on purpose, huh? Worry not. I don’t think that will be the case… After all, if he were to go southeast, he would reach the Britannia Kingdom”
Elena’s finger pointed to the territory next to the Thalluja Kingdom.
“It looks like the distance between here and the two places are about the same. Is there a reason preventing him from choosing the Kingdom of Britannia?”
Elena shook her head in response to Ryouma’s question.
“That is not the case… Truth is,Thalluja and Britannia Kingdoms are long-standing nemesis… If Hodram intends to escape, he won’t be able to flee to Britannia with his wife who is from the Thalluja Kingdom. Furthermore, Hodram can’t just leave his wife either. After all, if he does that, he would lose all of the backings that he has…”
“Does Elena-san think that Hodram will try to make a comeback by borrowing the power of Thalluja Kingdom? Will he keep looking to reinforce his power?”
“Absolutely. He’s not the kind of man who would back off without a fight.”
If what Elena has said is correct, then Hodram would definitely escape to the Thalluja Kingdom.
For Hodram, a country where his wife has some degree of influence is much preferable to one that he has no connection with whatsoever..
However, Ryouma has a new concern after he heard Elena’s explanation.
He previously did not have any concern towards Holdram’s wife, since she was not an important factor.
However, Elena’s revenge is not just Hodram’s life alone.
She wants to get rid his entire family.
Naturally, that also includes Hodram’s wife.
By killing Holdram’s wife, it could create an international dispute between Rozaria and Thalluja kingdom, resulting in a new hostile relationship..
(Elena-san knows Hodram well… Right now I should just follow her judgment… Although I was a little bit worried since Hodram’s wife is a former noblewoman from another country… Is it really alright to kill her just like that?)
However, Ryouma immediately shook off such concern…
“I understood. I will follow your lead then…”
He intended to make Elena’s revenge a top priority.
Elena nodded her head.
“So, what’s the plan? Shall we attack them immediately after they left Irachion, or should we wait until they are a little further away?”
“I vote to kill him immediately here… What do you think?”
Elena moved her finger to a nearby spot on the map as she answered Ryouma.
According to the map, the place she had pointed to are mostly covered by forest.
It is a good place for setting up an ambush.
“I see… In that case, we should split our units into two… Let’s see, how about I take 200 troops with me and chase them from the back? Will that be alright with you, Elena-san?”
Ryouma knew exactly what Elena wants, and his suggestions clearly reflect it.
And Elena understood Ryouma’s intention.
“Thank you, Ryouma-kun.”
Those words represent all of her heart.
And also the fate of Hodram and his entire family.
“Kyle, Is there anyone on our tails?”
Kyle glanced back one more time before answering.
“We are safe for now, your Excellency…”
“I see… It seems it was a good call to listen to your advice, escaping at the same time when Princess Lupis began to close in…”
“Sir! Thank you for your kind words!”
Kyle deeply lowered his head.
After Hodram had cashed in on all his assets, he gathered a few of his aides in his mansion and waited for the right timing.
They all waited for an opportunity to escape Irachion.
And the time is today.
The time when Princess Lupis begins her assault on Irachion.
Huge panic broke out in Irachion.
While Holdram is well aware that Gerhardt had changed his allegiance to side with Princess Lupis, this information has yet to be known to the public.
As a result, the residents thought that the princess is marching her army to purge the duke.
Regardless of what the ruling class did, it has nothing to do with the citizen.
However, if the city is under attack by a large army, the citizen will, without a doubt, suffer damage.
With the city being under dire situation, the citizens attempt to escape the city to protect their wealth and lives.
And Hodram took full advantage of the window created by the confusion to escape.
“Fuuuh! I never thought that it would go this smoothly! I will reward you later, Kyle.Curse you, Lupis and Gerhardt… I swear I will make you pay for what you’ve done!”
Feeling relieved that no pursuers are after them, Hodram began to curses his enemies.
His words had no trace of respect whatsoever.
Usually, it is extremely disrespectful to address a royal family member by their name without any honorifics.
However, he had already given up his position within the Rozeria Kingdom.
Prestige, knighthood, and reputation.
Hodram has thrown away all of his status as ruling class within the Rozeria Kingdom.
However, even with all of the things that happened to him, there’s no justification to his grudge.
The princess was not the cause that costed him his status.
If anything, it was him who betrayed the princess first, and then tricked by Gerhardt.
Karma came back to bite him hard.
But he could not accept the reality.
All of his hardship was caused by others and none of it was his fault.
And because being that kind of man, he is even willing to abandon everything and flee to another country.
“How are my wife and daughter doing? Is there any problem?”
Hodram turned his eyes to the carriage behind him.
Inside, his family members are on board.
“Yes, sir! We’re doing our best to ensure they are comfortable in the carriage.”
“Hmph. They are my last trump card! Listen to me! I will not tolerate any mistake, you hear?!”
“Please rest assured. We will surely take them to Thalluja safely! Isn’t that right, men?!”
“””Yes, sir! Please leave it to us!”””
The surrounding knights voiced their agreement in unison.
Hodram’s trump card can also be regarded as everyone’s trump card.
Just like Hodram, everyone who is present here are people who cannot live within the Rozeria Kingdom anymore.
They are the people who have benefitted from Hodram’s influence in the past.
That is why they did not betray Hodram.
If Hodram became influential, then so would they. And vice versa.
It was not a loyalty relationship, but rather a mutual benefit and survival.
“Good! If the prince of Thalluja Kingdom marries my daughter, then I will gain power despite being a foreigner! When that happens, I shall reward you all accordingly!”
Hodram’s last trump cards are his wife and his daughter who are nobles within the Thalluja Kingdom.
He wants to set himself up by marrying his daughter to the prince of Thalluja.
This was what Hodram had planned for since the beginning.
After all, he does not have much influence within the Thalluja Kingdom’s nobility and the royal family yet.
In order to gain more control, he needs more backings. And there are only a few possible options to do so.
And among them, the prince is the likeliest to provide Holdram the platform he needs to gain power.
His heart has yet to give up.
(I will not let it end like this! I will definitely reclaim my power again with these hands!)
Such aggressive thoughts from a former general, drunk in former power.
The pleasure of being the person in power.
It is similar to that of narcotics, devouring one’s heart and mind.
“As if I will let it end like this!”
Holdram’s eyes reflected nothing but darkness.