Chapter 4 Episode 20
Two days had passed since the battle match happened.
Right now, there were more than 30 people gathered inside a big room within the castle.
“These are the conditions our country currently is in. Today, I would like ladies and gentlemen here to discuss it and find a way to break our current situation.”
A map of the Zalda Kingdom was spread on the desk.
Grahart said those words while pointing his baton at pieces representing army units and forts on the map.
“I would like everyone to help defend our country.”
Sitting down next to Grahart, Julianus the First opened his mouth.
What was happening right now was a military assembly of the three nations that occupied and dominated the eastern end of the western continent dubbed a joint war council.
In addition to the Generals of the Zalda Kingdom and also those sent by the Mist and Rozeria Kingdoms, nobles and ministries of the Zalda Kingdom who dealt with diplomacy and finances were also present.
For most of them, this was the first time they met each other.
Inside the room, also present was the Zalda Kingdom’s king, Julianus the First.
Up until now, only in a few occasions did Julianus the first showed up during war councils.
With the king present, it also showed how much dire the situation within the Zalda Kingdom was.
With the king being present, the war council was full of heat from the beginning.
“No, I think we should maintain the frontline as it is while letting the coalition of armies to pressure the Ortomea Empire so that they back down!”
When a nobleman shouted those words, the young knight beside him snapped at his words.
“What are you saying?! That’s what Ortomea want us to do. Their aim is to occupy the national land while waiting for the chance to crush our army and occupy the country!”
“Calm down. In my opinion, the Zalda, Mist and Rozeria Kingdoms alone won’t stand a chance against Ortomea. Isn’t it better for us to wait until Ernestgora participate?”
“About that, since the outbreak of the war you’ve kept saying it, but even after a year had passed, they have not made any moves at all.”
“But still, we won’t be able to hold the frontline by ourselves. We need to drag Ernestgora by all means. That’s why we should make more effort for that, don’t you think so?”
“Are you stupid?! There’s no reason for Ernestgora to help our country. Don’t you know what the Queen of that country is called?!”
“Agreed! She only moves her army near the border, while answering our messenger evasively so she must have planned on obtaining our country’s land.”
Regarding the problem of Ortomea Empire invasion, the empire was having difficulties regarding the supply lines since they were surrounded by enemies from many directions, thus the elder generation of the officials suggested that the alliance should continue defensive battles while waiting for an opening, on the other hand, the young generation had developed a self-theory that they should make a rally to keep the morale of the conscripted commoners high.
Everyone voiced their wisdom and vigorously gave their opinion.
Meanwhile, four people Ryouma, Lione, and the Marfisto sisters were gathered in one of the corners of the room while observing carefully the others with a cold gaze.
“Fuh, they are all vigorously trying to be a smartass huh?… Damn it, if we continue with this situation, we’re already in a checkmate then. What are they doing shouting things that are certainly obvious.”
Hearing Ryouma mutters, Lione smiled bitterly.
Although he was saying those words carefully in a low voice, it was still words that should not be spoken inside this war council.
But still, the reason why Lione didn’t rebuke Ryouma was clear.
(Geez, boy, you’re being too harsh… But then again, it is the truth, so it can’t be helped eh…)
The contents of the hot debate that were currently being held in front of them had already been considered and discussed among the five people including Sakuya who was not currently in this place.
That was why, Ryouma and the others thought the heated argument that happened in front of them was just a mere farce. –
In the first place, the Zalda Kingdom national power was less than a third of the Ortomea Empire.
It finally had enough power to equal Ortomea Empire after the three eastern countries united their forces.
However, Rozeria was exhausted due to the civil war, and the Zalda Kingdom itself had suffered a massive defeat during the early invasion on the Notiz plains.
(If we stay like this… The fate of this country has already been sealed…)
Ryouma didn’t felt shaken with his own assessment of the current situation.
He had the will to face the disadvantaged that appeared in front of him.
Lione understood that possessing such will was one of the characteristics of Mikoshiba Ryouma and one of the reasons why he kept surviving despite all of the predicaments.
“The situation was already to the point that the front line was pushed near the capital’s suburb… As it is, the north and south of the national lands would be both cut off from the capital, if that happened, they would be defeated individually. Thus this country would meet its end…”
The Zalda Kingdom’s land area was close to a rectangular shape extending from north and south.
The capital city Periveria was located in the center, and also closer to the eastern border.
The frontline was a mountainous area three days walk on foot from the capital.
The army led by Joshua Belharres was desperately keepingthe frontline in check at this very moment.
However, speaking frankly, the invasion of the Ortomea Empire had advanced little by little every day.
Thus, it was necessary to reinforce him as soon as possible.
“Well, it is impossible to turn around the current situation here simply by telling them straightforwardly to do so after all. Or at least, I have no intention of doing so…”
Lione shook her head with a bitter smile.
The current situation of Zalda Kingdom had already been analyzed by Ryouma and the others.
The conversation Ryouma had with the others last night was re-emerging inside his mind. –
One year ago, after the Ortomea Empire army had achieved a decisive victory, they advanced their army eastward, then they stopped their advance near the mountainous area.
There they built a fortress, and after they finished doing that they took advantage of their national power and brought a lot of additional troops and supplies to the Zalda Kingdom.
After reorganizing, they then gradually moved eastward from that fort.
And it was clear by looking at the advance route the Ortomea Empire army took that they were not rushing toward the capital.
The route they had taken was slightly south of the royal capital city Periveria.
Which meant the aim of Ortomea empire was to divide the south part of the kingdom from the Capital.
Once it was divided, the nobles who had territory in the south of Zalda Kingdom will be blocked and isolated, unable to contact the capital, and from there the Ortomea Empire could just take on and destroy the shaken nobles one by one.
“As expected, I think we can only break the current deadlock by using Ryouma-sama’s plan…”
To Sara’s remark, Lione lifts her lips and shrugged her shoulders.
“I think that is impossible right now. Well, certainly, if we could realize the things we had discussed yesterday, we can change the situation drastically. However, whether or not we can realize it is the problem. After all, changing an opinion is something that is not easy to do, don’t you think?”
“Another problem is the Mist Kingdom… Whether or not they are willing to go with our plan is a huge question.”
In response to Lione’s remark, Laura nodded her head lightly.
“Well, Mist Kingdom aside. I’ve ordered Sakuya to gather some information on them. Besides, I’ve not yet told the aforementioned plan to his majesty, Julianus. For now, we should persuade Elena-san and his majesty, Julianus, first.”
Then the line of sight of Ryouma was directed toward a young woman standing in between Grahart and Elena.
She had gorgeous raven-black hair and smooth white skins.
Her age was around mid-twenties and early thirties.
Her elegant behavior and appearance made her look like a princess from somewhere.
And if it was only her beauty, she would be a good match on par with Queen Lupis.
“Eclatia Marinel… goes by another name, ‘Windstorm’… Although its hard to see which part of her bear the nickname due to her appearance…”
Lione murmured those words while showing a distorted expression as if she had chewed some worm.
Certainly, in Ryouma’s eyes, the appearance of Eclatia could only be associated with an elegant noble daughter.
“Lione-san had met her once in the past, am I wrong?”
Before heading toward the Zalda Kingdom, Bolts had told him something about it.
She didn’t expect Ryouma to know about it, Lione opened her eyes in surprise.
“Bolts told you huh? Geez, that blabbermouth guy… Yes, I’ve met her before. A few years ago, I’ve fought against her during the time when the Mist Kingdom collided with the various southern countries. In the first place, her name was already pretty well known back then, while we were only one of the pawns in that war. I think the other side was not even aware of us.”
The thing that appeared inside Lione’s memory was a bitter defeat.
Lione kept on talking about her memories as if she was spitting some regret.
“I thought that it was dangerous, thus I stopped the pursuit back then, which in turn makes me glad that I took such decision. Anyhow, only our company didn’t sustain much damage, while the other mercenaries got completely annihilated… Thus we ended up being defeated… At that time, it wouldn’t have beenweird if we had ended up getting obliterated by her scheme… Honestly, she has such a gentle face yet she’s such a scary woman. “-
Looking at Lione’s attitude that was filled with regret while admitting Eclatia’s ability, Ryouma could only respond with a faint smile.
In Ryouma’s eyes, as a commander, Lione had an excellent ability.
She was capable of making a calm judgment and had the capacity to inspire soldiers.
Although sometimes she would lose her temper, she was still able to immediately hold it down and remain calm.
If there was no such things such as status barrier, she would have been hired by many countries.
Having this Lione recognizing Eclatia Mariel’s competence, Ryouma could not make light of her. –
(Well, it is not bad in having more capable people around right now… Because Elena and I will not overturn the current predicament alone… I also should make an acquaintance with Joshua Belharres, who currently remains in the front line, as soon as possible… And whether or not the Mist Kingdom can see eye to eye with us is also a problem.)
Until this very day, Ryouma still could not see the true intentions of the Mist Kingdom’s reinforcements.
What was their aim, and how far were they willing to sacrifice.
It was too dangerous for Ryouma to voice his plan if he didn’t know about the others’ thoughts.
“I can expect something from the way they look at it, I guess…”
How far were they willing to sacrifice to save the country…
That words were not only being directed to the Zalda Kingdom’s king Julianus the First.
At the time Ryouma muttered those words, he was looking calmly at the foolish people who had fiercely continued their heated argument from the corner of the room..