Chapter 0242 Consequences of Failure
“Deputy Chief, King Raymond’s attack on King Abel failed.”
The place was Catlow, the capital of Count Gothar’s domain in the northern part of the Kingdom.
Count Gothar is one of the most important members of the northern nobles, who follow King Raymond. The Count’s territory is located on the northeastern edge of the Kingdom, bordering the Empire.
As such, it has had powerful knight orders and magic corps for generations.
On the map, the Count’s territory borders the Union to the east, but there is a huge canyon called the ‘Rift’ between the two.
The ‘rift’ narrows to some extent to the south, and several bridges have been built across it, but the canyon near Count Gothar is not of a scale that can be bridged.
In addition, the river flowing at the bottom of the canyon is too swift to be crossed by boat, and no military invasion across this ‘rift’ has ever taken place in the past.
Nevertheless, it remains a strategic point for the Kingdom.
And Count Gothar had already chosen to leave the Kingdom and join the Empire.
“By attack on King Abel, you’re talking about the top-secret mission, where the ‘Five Dragons’ were dispatched, right? The King himself is certainly strong since he’s an A-rank adventurer, but…all five members, or rather all four of them were present, and yet still failed. Are there any reports of him being wounded or anything like that?”
“No…but it says Swordsman San was slain by King Abel with a single strike. And the other three were captured.”
Jurgen, the adjutant reported.
Having made the report, he still looked somewhat unsettled.
Oscar, who had known him for a reasonably long time, recognized the look.
“Jurgen, do you have anything else to add to your report?”
“Uh…my apologies. Apparently, the three were caught because they were frozen in ice.”
The moment Jurgen reported this, Oscar’s mood changed.
It was an atmosphere that even Jurgen didn’t like to experience…to be honest, as if ice were sliding down his spine.
“It’s that magician.”
After saying that, Jurgen could see that he was clenching his molars tightly.
Frankly, he didn’t want to see that….
The fact that Oscar would never forgive the water-attribute magician who said that he would bury his beloved princess Fiona in ice…Jurgen understood that, for better or worse.
After a minute or so, Oscar’s mood suddenly changed.
He returned to his usual state, so to speak.
“In Whitnash, King Abel said they were adventurers from Rune city…so I guess this means that he stays close to King Abel.”
He was still talking about the water-attribute magician, but the way he said it was like his usual self.
“What’s his name again, uh Ryo, I believe?”
Jurgen asked, and Oscar affirmed simply.
But then he continued.
“Jurgen, King Abel is our enemy at the moment. We will likely confront each other at some point. When that time comes and you see that magician on the battlefield, I want you to have everyone retreat.”
“I can’t stress this enough, be sure to retreat. Since you guys won’t even serve as a warm-up for him. I will take him on alone. I don’t believe my victory is assured, but I’ll at least aim for mutually assured destruction.”
Oscar’s determination was so fierce that Jurgen was unable to continue.
“I guess he’s that formidable.”
“Hate to admit it, but I’m afraid so. Even so, I will kill him.”
The last part was so faint, so quiet …that even Jurgen could just barely hear it.
But because of that, Jurgen felt the will that was contained in it.
(A water-attribute magician who can defeat even A-rank adventurers… truly a monster. But then again, so is the Deputy Chief.)
“Did you just say…they failed…?”
In his office in the royal castle, King Raymond was squeezing the words out of his mouth.
An assassination mission involving four A-rank adventurers…failed?
A-rank adventurers stand at the pinnacle of mankind. In some cases, you might even call them monsters.
Raymond could not believe that four such men, even if their target was a King and an A-rank swordsman, could fail to assassinate a single person.
“Could it be that they betrayed us and abandoned the commission?”
King Raymond looked at Parker with suspicion.
“No …the news of Swordsman San’s decapitated body has been released, the other three are still on public display as well, frozen, in the town square…”
“How is such a ridiculous thing possible…?”
Raymond paced around the room, moaning over and over.
Parker simply watched and said nothing.
He knew from long years of experience that talking to Raymond at a time like this would cause him to become agitated.
He’d just have to remain quiet and wait.
For more than five minutes, Raymond paced around the room.
Parker was used to this and waited patiently.
Finally, Raymond looked at Parker and spoke.
“Parker, guess I’ll just have to crush him head-on.”
“But the problem is the imperial army. What are they up to?”
Raymond feared that the imperial army would attack him from the rear while he was confronting King Abel’s army in battle.
Logically speaking, there was no way that the Imperial Army would side with King Abel, but at this juncture, Raymond was feeling pretty skeptical…and it goes without saying that the failure of the five dragons was the reason for that.
“According to the present status of the imperial army, Marquis Musel and the main troops seem to be stationed at Wingston, and a garrison of a few hundred men at Stonelake and Slanzewi.”
“Those imperials… seriously, what exactly is their objective?”
The agreement that Raymond made with Emperor Rupert VI before the war included a clause that all cities taken by the Imperial Army shall be transferred to King Raymond after the war.
There’s no way that subordinates and vassals would disregard an agreement made in the name of their absolute monarch, the Emperor of their Empire.
Raymond could not understand the current actions of the imperial army at all.
“The biggest question is how the Empire will respond.”
Abel and Ryo were the only ones in the office.
Ryo was lying on his usual sofa, reading a book on alchemy that he had borrowed from the library.
“Abel…there’s no need for that theatrics screaming, hey I’m working here…”
“The hell I am!”
Ryo was like, oh dear, here we go again, shrugging his shoulders, and Abel yelled back.
“It’s just easier to put together in my head when I say it out loud.”
In fact, Abel was doing his job.
He announced to all the Central Nations that the ‘Five Dragons’ had attacked him, that he had perfectly repelled the attack, and that he had personally defeated and slain the leader, Swordsman San.
Although no country or noble in the Kingdom publicly reacted to the announcement, many citizens knew that it has become a hot topic of conversation in various lands.
And the three frozen perpetrators still sit in the square in Rune. Alive.
Of course, San’s head and corpse were not on public display because that would just be too much.
“I’m really grateful to you, Ryo. This time, you saved not only my life but the lives of my friends as well.”
“Aww, you’re making me blush…but if you’re really grateful, grant me a privilege, a real privilege.”
“Privilege? You mean like, a noble’s?”
Ryo made a rare request other than requesting a treat, and since it was a ‘request for privilege’, Abel asked, a little skeptical.
“I’d like the privilege of having cake with my coffee break at least once a week! ”
“Yeah…if, if that’s too hard, once every two weeks then…or even…you know what, fine! Make it once a month!”
Ryo demanded coffee with cake once a month with a look of bitterness on his face…which was probably the result of compromising on the proposal after much worrying.
“Once a month…”
“J-Just so you know, I won’t compromise any further! I firmly demand a monthly cake privilege!”
Ryo literally jumped up and did a fist pump pose. Over and over again.
It seems that Ryo hasn’t changed after all…Abel was relieved.
Abel’s office was peaceful again today.
But, in that peaceful office, came news that was anything but.
It was brought by Marquis Heinlein.
“Your Majesty, I have urgent news from the North.”
Marquis Alexis Heinlein handed a piece of paper to King Abel.
“A rebellion of nobles in the Empire? The ringleader is the Duke of Moorgrund…”
Ryo asked, tilting his head at Abel’s involuntarily muttered words.
Marquis Heinlein took over the explanation.
“Duke Moorgrund is the most prestigious of the upper-class nobles, with a fiefdom in the southeastern part of the Empire. The current Emperor, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Rupert VI has purged quite a few nobles since his accession to the throne, but the one who has even been called the ‘last great power’ is Duke Moorgrund. It is no exaggeration to say that he is one of the most powerful noble in the Empire, a match for Marquis Musel, who is currently the commander-in-chief of the expeditionary force against the Kingdom.”
“Oh, quite a bigshot indeed~”
That was the extent of Ryo’s impression, as someone unfamiliar with the aristocratic society.
“I see, so this was all in the cards from the beginning…”
Ryo heard Abel mutter that quietly.
Marquis Heinlein also seemed to have heard it and responded.
“I’d agree. I think it may have been within His Majesty Rupert’s expectation that a rebellion would break out and he would have to put it down.”
“What do you mean?”
“Whenever Rupert VI conquers another country, he always leads his army into the country himself. The so-called Emperor’s conquest. He did the same thing when he attacked the small countries to the north and west. However, this expedition to the Kingdom was different…even though it was an expedition against a power as great as the Kingdom. In other words, he had no intention of attacking and destroying the Kingdom from the beginning…but to get Marquis Musel out of the country, and once he had divided the power of the imperial nobility, he would move to destroy Duke Moorgrund, who is a thorn in his side, as the ringleader of the rebellion. If Marquis Musel were to fail in his expedition, he would be forced to take responsibility for it and suffer the same fate. Effectively wiping out the last remaining pesky nobles in the Empire.”
“That’s amazing…talk about ingenious scheming…”
Hearing Abel’s explanation, Ryo honestly thought it was amazing.
Of course, if the expedition to the Kingdom succeeded and brought the Kingdom under his control, it was all good.
There were no downsides for the empire…he must have made such calculations.
“The relationship between Emperor and nobles…is so complicated~. I wonder if the Kingdom is going to be okay…”
Marquis Heinlein and Abel looked at each other involuntarily after hearing Ryo’s muttering.
Since the two were precisely in a ‘king and noble’ relationship.
“Oh, but don’t worry, Abel. I’m on your side.”
Ryo said emphatically, turning to Abel and nodding broadly.
“…What if Marquis Heinlein says he’ll give you cake with your coffee every week?”
“I guess there’s no helping it in that case. I’m sorry, Abel. But I’m going to have to side with the nobles.”
“Yup, thought as much…”
Alas, how tragic, the King was sold out for a slice of cake…
What a tough world he lives in.