And, since chapter 61 was only a character introduction, I’ll also post chapter 62, the beginning of Book 2: The Empire’s Blade.
Chapter 62: A Messenger from the Neighboring Country
“Thank you for coming, Zest. I see Bea is doing great too.”
His Majesty said and laughed.
He came to visit us several times, and recently he started to act more like a relative who comes to play every once in a while.
I’m a duke and I’ll be getting married to his daughter in the future.
I’m not planning to deliberately sow discord among us, since opposing each other would be too troublesome.
After all, it was in order to remain allies that I was forced to accept his daughter, Princess Tsubaki, in marriage…….
I can’t trust him unconditionally, but I can rely on him.
“However, the spirit drops are delicious, aren’t they?”
……………..Isn’t this the real reason behind your friendliness, your Majesty?
After we greeted each other and done some idle chat, it was time for the main topic.
We were inside the palace’s residential area.
Although we could talk about anything, there were certain limits to that too; Nobles are too troublesome and that’s a fact.
“To tell you the truth, we are expecting a messenger from Tarminal Kingdom, the neighboring country…..And so I want you to be present to this meeting.”
It was the country next to the Frontier Count’s domain. It was a shady country that promoted a doctrine which allowed supremacy to the human race.
At first, the Frontier Count wanted to cause internal conflict in this country, but now it was different.
‘If we get the chance, we ought to start a war.’
All the nobles of the empire were in agreement with this idea.
It seemed we couldn’t remain at peace much longer………..
“I can’t predict the matters to be brought in discussion, but it is certain that this country is dangerous…..Well, we won’t know anything until he gets here, but I’ll have you there, just in case.”
The Emperor had a grim expression on his face, as we both drank some black tea.
Just in case…….In short, he was gathering the strongest battle powers as a counter-plan for a possible assassination.
Even if the Emperor would get killed, I would kill the assassin and start a war of revenge, or something like that.
Well, me being there would also mean that it’s in order not to let him get killed, but I still have to think about the worst it could happen and prepare.
After we finished talking about this matter, Princess Tsubaki and Empress Natasha joined us for an idle chat.
As usual, Princess Tsubaki was playing with Bea and Toto.
“Bea nee-sama, will you sleep together with me tonight?”
“Yes, we’ll take Toto-chan with us too.”
(Tsubaki, you’re so lonely.)
………It seems I’ll be free for the rest of the day. Shall I go drinking with Albert?
“It shows on your face, the innocence of the newly-wed.”
“Oh my! Zest is beyond help.”
You two, stop reading into me.
I don’t regret anything, all right? I don’t.
I left Bea and Toto behind and returned to my room. They prepared a room just for my use inside the imperial palace.
I just went to sleep…….
And so, after 3 days, the messenger in question arrived.
The audience room.
I was standing behind the Emperor, not leaving his side.
It was my place as a duke and as his daughter’s fiancé.
The messenger was a slender old man with red hair.
His magical power was concealed……That in itself was a statement that he was considerably strong…..
“I am the Emperor of the Grun Empire. You may speak.”
With his face still covered, the messenger started his speech.
“My name is Harnil and I’m a Count of the Tarminal Kingdom. I must thank you, your Majesty, for giving this humble old man the chance of having an audience with you.”
“Good. I’ll listen to your matter.”
“Yes. I was entrusted with a letter from my Tarminal Kingdom along with a vocal message.”
He took out the letter from his chest pocket and carried it on both his palms.
Just for precaution, I approached him and took the letter.
It didn’t contain any suspicious magic. I used my observation magic just in case, but everything seemed in order.
I handed over the letter to the Emperor, and he started reading it.
The Emperor wasn’t his usual self.
Normally, he wouldn’t let his feelings show on his face, but now he was clearly angry.
The nobles inside the audience room sensed that something wasn’t right and their faces turned pale.
Before long, the Emperor put the letter aside and started to talk.
“Are you people serious? Do you know about the letter’s contents?”
“Even if you ask me this, I have a vocal message to deliver to you.”
The messenger didn’t even quiver the slightest bit.
“The letter is authentic. Starting today, our Tarminal Kingdom declares war against the Grun Empire.”
He raised his head and, without changing his expression, he delivered the message.
They are serious.
In this case…….
“A message! An urgent message!”
The gates were violently opened and a worn-out, wounded soldier tumbled into the audience room. His torn figure wasn’t suitable for such a room like this.
“What is this? You insolent fellow!”
“How dare you show yourself like this in front of his Majesty!?”
“Guards! Take this guy away immediately!”
These officials can’t even judge the situation…….
“Silence! If it’s an urgent massage, he can ignore the etiquette. Report!”
As I was releasing my entire magical power to pressure and control my surroundings, I already took out a sword from my item box.
They already proclaimed war, which means we must apply the war time rules.
“Yes, your Majesty. The Tarminal Kingdom’s Army is attacking the Frontier Count’s domain! The battle has already begun at the Border Fortress.”
After he finished his report, the soldier collapsed.
I knew this guy…….He was part of the Frontier Count’s Army.
“How can this be?….The battle started at the same time with the war proclamation……”
“We must dispatch our army fast.”
“Gather all the generals…..”
With a single word, the Emperor made everyone fall silent.
There was no point whatsoever to panic like that.
“Zest, what do you think?”
Why me, your Majesty?….
It can’t be helped. We don’t have much time.
“The messenger came to declare war against us, in short, the battle has just started. The enemy army’s force is unknown to us, that’s true, but if we let them overtake the Frontier Count’s domain and fight them afterwards it’s nothing but a foolish plan. If we lose our elites, all that awaits us is collapse. We must promptly send them reinforcements and gather information, while we create a second battle formation composed of our greatest military force, and drive them away completely.”
He stood up at once.
“As for the reinforcements, I’ll take my own army and lead them towards the battlefield right away. I was thinking that maybe it would be best to gather the main army’s forces at once and send word to other territorial armies to prepare for battle.”
“I understand. I’ll do just that. Gather all the army commanders immediately and send messages to the nobles of the empire. The officials must arrange for the supply of materials and the Prime Minister is entrusted with…….sending that messenger’s head back to his kingdom.”
Everyone started to move with the Emperor’s words.
I rushed out of the audience room, found Albert and confirmed with him.
“Albert, we’re at war. How many soldiers can we bring along?”
Albert understood the situation in an instant.
It was all too suspicious from the beginning.
There was no soldier inside the audience room who started to panic when everyone else did.
“In total, 100 soldiers. But if we go back to our territory, we can take another 1000 soldiers.”
It’s good he understood the circumstances.
This time, it was a match against speed, so we had to take only the elites.
“Send a message and tell everyone to start preparing. We’ll only take the most powerful. The rest are going to join the supply unit and line up the supply goods on the main road that goes to the Frontier Count’s domain, so that we’ll run through it at a breath.”
“Yes sir! Immediately.”
It usually takes 3 days to get to my domain by carriage, but leaving that aside and counting only the time it’d take to get to the imperial capital from the Frontier Count’s domain, it would be about 8 days…..
If we only take the strongest soldiers with us, we can reach the battlefield in half the requested time, even less.
If we get there in 5 days, it’ll be just in time……..
The faster we get there, the better the chance to find the Frontier Count’s Army unwounded and fight together with them.
In this case, we wouldn’t lose that easily.
As quickly as possible, I must reach the battleground.
This was the only thing I was capable of thinking at that point.
DA BEST (among the worst): Mockii