“A messenger huh ? If you’re someone from the Ortomea Empire, then… I guess you’re a new face ? I’ve never seen you before… Your name is Sudou, am I right ?”
Heavy silence dominated the office room.
Julianus the first sit deeply into his chair while turning his line of sight towards the man kneeling in front of him with pity and ridicule.
For someone who was in the position of disadvantage all this time, this scene was the best.
A reversed situation.
A sense of superiority dominated Julianus the first sensation.
“Yes, your majesty. Thank you for granting me this audience…”
“So, what do you want by coming to my place ? Is it to surrender ?”
A sarcastic tone leaked from Julianus the first’s mouth.
It was only a few days ago that a report that the Ortomea’s rear supply base, the Notiz Fort, had been destroyed by Mikoshiba Ryouma.
As a result of that, the Ortomea’s imperial army, which was locked in a battlefield around Ushias basin ended up getting isolated inside the enemy’s territory, with their supplies line cut off.
With that, the Ortomea Empire invading strength of nearly 60,000 men ended up becoming like rats inside a bag.
Even if they were a big army, the fact that they were separated from their home countries was devastating.
The commanding officers aside, the unscrupulously drafted citizens and mercenaries would definitely become upset with the situation.
Under such circumstances, the Ortomea Empire’s army could not do anything else but send their messenger to Julianus the first to negotiate for surrender.
An unconditional surrender.
Although what Julianus said was indeed the truth, Sudou felt the words he had heard were very ironic.
But because Sudou understood Julianus’ feelings, e didn’t feel angry from such ironic words.
Sudou raised his face slowly and opened his mouth towards the pathetic clown sitting in front of him.
“There is no such a thing… An unconditional surrender negotiation, I didn’t come for that…”
Sudou shook his head.
“Then, why did you come here ? It can’t be, but did you come here for a cup of a tea ? But then I guess you cannot afford such a thing now, huh ?”
Arrogance came out from both men’s mouth.
Toward Julianus words, Sudou smiled bitterly.
With just a single victory.
However, no one really understood the meaning of this victory.
Up until now, it was always the Ortomea Empire that took the initiative.
When and where to attack. They completely controlled the flow of the war.
In that sense, now with Notiz fort fallen, Ortomea and Zalda-led allied forces changed roles.
Towards the figure of Julianus who desperately held back his happy expression, Sudou desperately tried to suppress his laughter.
(Such a stupid man… As expected of a clown. Despite the victory he had, it was not something he obtained with his power…)
Certainly, one existence had lit the light of hope towards the Zalda Kingdom.
Considering the current state of the Zalda Kingdom who had been always on the defeated side, this rear-blocking strategy could be said as their hope of resuscitation.
But, that didn’t mean it solved all the problems.
While there were some problems solved because of such event, it also created other issues that were harder to solve.
Furthermore, it had the potential to become fatal unless the Zalda Kingdom solved it by themselves.
(Now then, just how far does the Zalda Kingdom knows where they are standing…)
Indeed the situation was greatly reversed, and now the Ortomea Empire’s army was being cornered.
However, that was only a temporary situation.
“The reason why I’ve come here is to end this unfortunate war…”
Sudou slowly opened his mouth.
He had used a tone that was befitting of a young child pulling a prank.
“What did you say ?”
Being unable to understand Sudou’s unexpected words, Julianus knitted his eyebrows.
“To put it simply, Ortomea Empire wishes for a harmonious relationship with the Zalda Kingdom.”
Thirst for blood surged from Grahart Henschel’s body who stood by Julianus side after he heard Sudou’s words.
Murderous intentions start to leak out like a snowstorm towards Sudou.
(I guess they are not stupid enough to show anger at this place, huh ? Splendid…)
Sudou had gathered information regarding Henschel and Julianus beforehand, but both of the men were calmer than he had thought.
But that was natural, after all, if one was trying to win in a diplomacy battle, one should hide one’s feelings.
(Julianus aside, that Henschel man, he is far better than I had thought… Looking at this, there seems to be some room for negotiations.)
A reconciliation negotiation proposal comes from the Ortomea Empire side who was the one that started everything.
Thus it was natural for Henschel to feel anger since his nation had been overrun by them all this time.
But thanks to his strong discipline, he had managed to show a deadpan face despite Sudou’s remarks.
It was evident that he understood that it won’t mean anything if he gets emotional here.
But it also meant that there was a room for negotiations.
(Because there won’t be any if the other side was already spewing anger before talks begins…)
As long he was being given a chance to talk, Sudou was convinced that he would be able to obtain victory.
“Pardon me, but I don’t understand your words. What do you mean by that, I wonder ?”
“The meaning is the same as I had said, your majesty. The Ortomea empire wants a temporary harmony between our nations.”
Light shone in his eyes.
“You… are serious huh…”
Hearing Sudou’s serious words, Julianus sighed deeply.
He felt amazed.
After invading another nation, they had shamelessly proposed a reconciliation, Julianus felt amazed.
“Do you realize that it was your nation that triggered this war?”
“Of course, your majesty. It was all started the moment my country attacked yours.”
Towards Julianus’ question, Sudou answered back smoothly.
It was an anticipated question.
In diplomacy, it was important to have both confidence and some slight arrogance.
“If you understand that, then why do you think we would accept reconciliation proposed by your side?”
Hearing that, Sudou’s eyes glinted.
The situation had thrown Julianus the first into confusion.
He also felt anxiety from Sudou’s attitude.
“Pardon me for interjecting…”
Henschel’s voice echoed.
“Do you really think that our country would listen to that?”
A few months ago, Julianus would’ve definitely jumped into the negotiation.
However, the scale of the war was leaning towards the Zalda side right now.
Thus Julianus didn’t feel it necessary to take Sudou’s proposal by this time.
However, Sudou who didn’t feel shaken by Julianus words opened his mouth with a smile on his face.
“Indeed, if your Majesty understands the position your majesty’s country is in, I think your majesty will definitely accept our proposal.”
“What do you meant?”
“It is simple, really. I come here as a friend who wishes to help you out from the predicament you find yourself in.”
Towards Sudou’s arrogant attitude, Julianus even forgot to shout.
There were indeed people who would show such arrogant attitude before the ruler and get punished…
Yet, Julianus could not shout such order against the smiling man in front of him.
If one were to ask why, it was because he felt a premonition, a gut-feeling, a survival instinct…
“In the first place, does your majesty realize ? That your majesty has been dominated all this time…”
Sudou lifted his lips into a smirk.
He was sneering.
He was sneering towards the fools who didn’t realize the position they were in.
“When was it ? Ortomea Empire’s army 60,000-strong men are trapped like rats inside a bag. Not only that, they should be in the position of lacking supplies due to the surprise attacks, and should soon runs out of reserve.”
Although he felt uneasy, Julianus kept his calm expression towards Sudou’s bullish attitude.
“You will run out of supplies, and replacement for armor, then no matter how big an army, it will only turn into a paper tiger, no ?”
“Certainly, that is a fact. As your Majesty said, our army is being cornered. However, if your majesty thought that your majesty is in a superior position then that is nothing more than an illusion.”
(Here comes the critical moment…)
Just as Sudou thought of that. His body trembled with excitement.
“Well then, how about this… How does your majesty intend to end our army ? Does your majesty really think your majesty could destroy our Empire entirely ?”
“What did you say ?”
Julianus knitted his eyebrows unable to understand Sudou’s words.
“Just like I said, your majesty. There were three ways to end the war. One of them is to destroy the enemy completely, lose against the enemy, or negotiate for a ceasefire and reconcile during the war… With that being the case, which kind of way does your majesty wish to end the war ?”
Win, lose or a draw.
Each of them had its own variation, but to put it briefly that were the three choices that existed.
Hearing Sudou’s words, Julianus was at a loss for words.
He realized that Sudou had pointed out his lack of vision.
The other day, right after the Notiz Fort fell, Elena while leading the Zalda army inflicted significant damage to the retreating Ortomea Empire’s army.
The trend of the war indeed began to tilt toward the Zalda’s side.
However, that was only limited to this war.
In the Zalda Kingdom, it was the aristocrats who held the real power. The Royal Order and the Royal Guard had also suffered a lot of damage to their war potential in men right now, and the reinforcements from the other countries will not help in the invasion of the Ortomea Empire going forward.
Under such circumstance, it would be impossible to make a reverse invasion strategy against Ortomea Empire.
Unless Julianus managed to direct the entire alliance army to invade the Ortomea territory, he won’t be able to do anything.
If that was the case, only two options were left.
Continue the unfortunate war until the day the Zalda Kingdom is getting destroyed, or negotiate a peace agreement.
In that view, it was a huge improvement that a peace request had come, compared to the previous messenger who advised surrender.
“Let me ask your majesty once again who seems to understand the current situation. Would you like to keep this unfortunate war going?”
He sounded like a devilish temptation.
Towards Sudou who said those words with a smile on his face, Julianus had no other options but to agree with Sudou’s proposal.
On that day, the capital city of the Zalda Kingdom Periveria was being covered with wild enthusiasm.
Or rather, it was not just Periveria. It was likely that the entire Zalda Kingdom felt the same atmosphere.
It was a proof that the dark cloud that had covered the Zalda Kingdom until the other day had been cleared up.
On both sides of the main street, a lot of people gathered.
It was full of young and old people, even an old man holding a cane continued to wave at the soldiers marching the road.
“Hurray ! Zalda Kingdom, Hurray !”
“God Bless the King ! Glory for our country !”
People line up on the sides of the main street and shouted words of victories.
Just the other day, the war against the Ortomea Empire which lasted more than a year had come to an end with a peace negotiation.
That mean, the various taxes that were being imposed due to the wartime emergency had been lifted, and the men who had wife and child finally can go back home.
The news had brought them the hope of returning back to their former calm life.
However, there were some people who didn’t share the same sentiment.
One of the men was the king of the country who had made the decision to proceed with the peace talks.
He was sitting deeply in his chair inside his office while looking at the ceiling.
“I wonder if what I did was the right decision ?”
It was a deep voice filled with anxiety.
It was proof that he was not confident with the decision he made.
“I don’t know…”
In Julianus response, Henschel slowly shook his head.
“At least, we managed to earn some time, that was a fact…”
The Ortomea Imperial army had begun their full retreat.
Although temporary, depending on the future, it was possible for them to gain a few years of time.
Thus it was possible to gain the time to rebuild the war-torn Kingdom.
“I cannot waste the little time we have now…”
“By your will, sire…”
Grahart Henschel nodded his head deeply, confirming Julianus words.