Editor : Starbuck11
“Everything has advanced as Your Majesty had expected… Am I right?”
Grisson sighed while he wiped his glasses with his handkerchief.
Anxiety floated on his face… It was a question whether he had such an expression because of the person in front of him or because his prediction was correct.
“Oh my, Arnold, if you sigh too much, happiness will escape from you, you know?”
Grindiena teased Grisson while she lays down on the sofa, inside a room where Ryouma and the others previously performed the negotiations.
Even though her dress would become wrinkled because of her action, Grindiena didn’t seem to care about it.
Looking at her childish manners, Grisson leaked another sigh.
Despite looking like that, she was a lord worthy of respect who showed extraordinary talents in both political intrigues and warfare.
(If only her childish mannerism could be cured… But well, I guess no human is perfect, huh?)
Grindiena’s slovenly behavior was painful to see, but there was certainly a part that makes it feels lovely as well.
It humanizes her… <TLN: I can’t word this properly, basically it felt like when you saw someone so smart being bad at doing something which makes you feel closer as fellow humans.>
“Please don’t joke. Being able to serve your majesty as I am, there’s no happiness greater than this.”
“Hnn, I wonder, somehow your answer is a bit weird, don’t you think so?”
Hearing Grisson’s answer, Grindiena looked puzzled.
She felt his response was the exact opposite of what she had expected.
“Is that so ? I don’t know what your majesty is thinking but, I swear that I have told your majesty the truth.”
it was a remarkable statement that might come out because he was a vassal, but Grindiena only showed a bitter smile and didn’t have any plan to tease Grisson further.
Within the ErnestGora Kingdom, there were four Generals.
Among them, Grisson was one of Grindiena’s aides who had served her since before the time she usurped the throne from her father.
Although they never show it in public, there was a certain bond between them that goes beyond lord and vassal.
“Well, let’s leave it at that… So, has the army finished its preparations to move?”
“Of course. I’ve ordered my adjutant to leave the garrison in Manviz and ordered the rest of the army to move.”
The preparations for war had already finished.
The eighth chivalric order under Arnold Grisson’s command was currently waiting for the war to start.
After that, they only needed to decide where to attack.
“The problem is where and how we’re going to attack… If possible I don’t want to wage a war inside the Zalda territory.”
For Grisson, although he didn’t want the Zalda Kingdom to fall into ruin, if possible he didn’t want to fight inside the Zalda Kingdom’s territory either.
Since it was difficult to move a large army in a mountainous area.
The Zalda territory was mostly filled with thick forest and mountainous areas that obstructed their line of sight.
It was extremely difficult to move a large army on such land. If he did something wrong, even just once, the movement of the army might get disturbed.
If nations have the intention of waging a battle with more than 100,000 men, it was better to perform such battle at a place where there were only a few things that could hinder the visibility, like an open plain area.
“Although we have informations from our spies, it does not mean we have detailed informations like a person who is familiar with the land… Well, first let us hear Mikoshiba-dono opinion during the war council tomorrow, then after that, we can decide our next move. Probably, he already has a plan…”
“Indeed, probably that is right… Since looking at these letters, he seems to be a man that we should not make light of…”
Grisson eyes stared at Grindiena.
“The problem is whether or not he would become our enemy… How does your majesty see him?”
However, looking at Grindiena’s smile in response, Grisson could only heave another sigh.
It was good for us to be an ally, but if we become enemy, it will become troublesome.
Although Grindiena understands that, there was not even a single particle of anxiety appearing on her face.
“You don’t have to worry Arnold. Mikoshiba Ryouma would never turn against ErnestGora as long as the Alliance is standing, he knows very well the importance and profits he would gain from it.”
While laughing off Grisson’s concerns away, Grindiena took a candy ball and threw it into her mouth.
Rozeria, Mist and the concerned country, Zalda. Three letters from the sovereign of these three countries were something that cannot be handled carelessly, yet it was being left on the table just like that.
(Geez… No wonder her majesty has the nickname of the northern female fox…)
Grisson swallowed the words of admonition that were about to come out, then he opened the letters present on the table.
“But still, he’s quite a man. Being able to push a trade agreement while at the same time trying to form an alliance… Like this, all four countries would be able to earn profits.”
“For Zalda, since formally we have become the leader of the alliance, they can expect us to send a reinforcement. For them, to save their lives and their beloved country this was a small price to pay.”
Grisson nodded his head toward Grindiena’s words.
“Rozeria which has exhausted their national strength due to the civil war should be the most reluctant about the current conflict. They would be pleased if the war end faster than predicted because my country joined the war… And because of the alliance, the Rozeria who seek a way to restore their national strength could get our backing, the war turned into a godsend for them.”
“Right, and from the agreement, the Mist would be able to strengthen their economic power due to the activation of the trade agreement. A splendid plan where nobody loses… That is if we looked only at the appearance…”
She was right, no one will lose from the agreement.
In fact, it was a splendid plan that ensures everyone gains profits from it.
However, these two are fully aware of Ryouma’s intentions behind the scenes.
“He is really a clever one… Because he is the owner of the Wortenia peninsula, he would be the one who gains the maximum profits from this.”
Grindiena’s eyes shone mysteriously while she looked at the map where Wortenia Peninsula was located.
The biggest problem of the northern route was the existence of the Wortenia Peninsula, also called the unexplored area filled with demonic beings.
A horrible land where monsters wander around and pirates make their bases.
However, with this agreement, his territory had turned into a gold mine.
Among the letters sent, other than defense matters, clauses on trade were also included.
Especially the standardization of tariff rates should greatly improve import and export.
This creates great advantages for ErnestGora and Mist which mainly had trade ports dealing with other continents, but it didn’t mean the other two countries lost in term of profits either.
With the activation of a trade agreement, tax revenue should see some improvements.
Since all four countries will have to put more efforts into their commerce.
In line with that, the number of goods transported will increase at an accelerated rate.
If the land transportation couldn’t meet their demands, the merchants will consider alternative ways via the sea.
“Not only that, transportation via the sea was quicker compared to land transportation. With the pirates being eradicated from the Wortenia peninsula, the merchants would once again consider the northern sea route, with that being the case the city in the peninsula would be able to prosper as a trade point.”
Not only being used as a point where ships can resupply, but also a place where ships can discharge the goods that needed to be transported to the Rozeria Kingdom.
This trade agreement promises prosperity for the Wortenia peninsula unless they implement some stupid policies.
“With this, I can clearly see his character. Bold yet cautious. Not only that, his cautious mind makes him able to maneuver around while showing as little of his ability as possible. Fufufu, he’s indeed a scary man… While securing the maximum profits for himself, he also maneuvered around to make sure that the surroundings won’t complain. But well, I guess it can’t be helped since there was some aspect that he could not do alone with his current strength.”
The more gold you get, the more you would try to monopolize it.
However, such an act would invite others’ envy.
Of course, even if Ryouma wanted to monopolize everything, right now he had no power to protect his interests.
And Mikoshiba Ryouma understood that very well.
“This deviates from your majesty’s expectation a little. Originally with the surroundings isolating him, we would pull him over to us…”
“True… I didn’t expect him to be that sharp. It seems like I’ve underestimated him too much.”
Raising her body up, Grindiena picked up the teacup on top of the table and took a sip from it.
Grindiena had been paying attention for a long time to the geopolitical value of the Wortenia peninsula.
After all, if she managed to do something to that territory, she would be able to open up a route from the Mist Kingdom to the ErnestGora Kingdom.
For Grindiena who knows the commercial value of such territory, she doubted the sanity of the political apparatus of the Rozeria Kingdom, who had left the territory vacant all these years.
“Well, I guess everything is acceptable for now. I have no particular complaints.”
“But is it really okay? We might actually able to get the land itself depending on the negotiations.”
Toward Grisson’s remark, Grindiena opened her lips and laughed.
“I have no intention of personally controlling the Wortenia Peninsula. If Mikoshiba Ryouma is capable of governing that magic land and brings profits to me, everything is fine…”
Saying that she smiled full of dignity and majesty, fitting enough to be called the northern female fox.
The most important thing for Grindiena was that the trade network would be expanded due to the establishment of this alliance.
By doing so, ErnestGora would become more affluent.
Grindiena understands that territorial expansion was certainly important, but having too big of a territory could also become an obstacle to governance.
Having big territory with bad management might cause revolts to happen all the times, which spell more troubles than profits.
“Whew, that was scary just like the rumor said… As expected from someone who had been called the female fox of the north. Lupis is no match for her. She’s indeed a monster.”
After his audience with Grindiena, Ryouma sighed deeply inside the lodging room while drinking.
On his face, awe toward the northern female fox could be seen…
The cooled malt ale that Laura had poured for him helped to chill down his burning heart.
“But, didn’t the meeting end up successful?”
Laura smiled at Ryouma while pouring more ale to his glass.
The marfisto sisters had already changed their attire from the dirty travel clothes into neat town girl attires.
It was woven hemp skirts which looked gorgeous on them.
Their bodies also gave off the scent of roses.
It seems like they had bought perfume together with the clothes.
“That’s right. Even Gurido-san left in a good mood because of how smooth the negotiations had gone.”
“Well, I guess so…”
Looking at Sara who said those words with a smile on her face, Ryouma gulped down the ale once again.
“Is there something that Ryouma-sama is worried about?”
“Right, I think I’ve overdid it a little…”
Ryouma recalled the gaze Grindiena had when they were about to leave.
Her eyes looked like those of a carnivorous beast aiming at its prey.
He didn’t think he had done a bad job but, he thinks that there were more he could have done…
“I wonder if I should’ve hidden my cards more…”
He thought that it might have been better if he had chosen someone else to come here rather than do it directly.
(Well, I choose to move directly because I feared that the other side would be suspicious of us, but then again…)
If Ryouma had decided to delegate someone else, Grindiena might have hold some suspicions toward the Zalda Kingdom.
And the lack of time also caused Ryouma to have only so short to think about his plans.
“But then again, if we took it more leisurely than this, we might not make it back in time… As expected, I think this is for the best?”
“I guess you’re right…”
Toward Laura’s remark, Ryouma had no choice but to nod his head.
It might be a hard blow for him not to be cautious of Grindiena but, he should worry about that later.
What’s important right now was to make it in time to help Lione who is currently fighting against the Ortomea Empire.
“My elder sister is right. If everything goes according to plan, by now they should have confronted the Ortomea Empire around the Ushas basin. Even if it has to be by combining the power of the three countries, I think they could at most buy half a month’s time.”
Hearing Sara’s words, Ryouma directed his gaze toward the ceiling.
(Time, time, and time… Although everything with ErnestGora had gone smoothly, as expected, we’ve barely managed it in time… Damn it, I hope nothing goes wrong…)
They were currently trying to turn the situation which was overwhelmingly disadvantageous.
If they didn’t gamble something, somewhere, the situation wouldn’t change.
Although saying that, it didn’t mean that they should win a single gamble either.
“Right now, we have no leeway to mess around. I have no choice other than to put my faith on Lione-san and Joshua-dono that they would be able to hold on… At least until we manage to bring down the Notiz fort.”
The face of the two people appeared inside Ryouma’s mind. –