Chapter 212 - Upcoming Battle (3)
Despite Theodore's clear voice, there was no reply. The people who had been expressing their opinions earlier fell silent, while Kurt's expression became momentarily dumbfounded. A letter from Prince Elsid? Moreover, the guest who came to visit Theodore was the courier? The meeting room in Meltor's royal palace was silent.
'No, a letter from Prince Elsid at this time...'
'It is certainly good if it is true, but is it good that the prince predicted the timing? It is strange.'
'I want to question Sir Theodore, but my position...'
The people had different reactions. There were some who were confused and couldn't accept the situation, and others who scratched their ears because they doubted what they heard. There were also people who turned red with excitement, and people who were worried about asking for the authenticity of the words...
The situation was too perfect to simply accept, but it didn't look good to question the kingdom's hero. So, it was natural for them to stay silent. Therefore, it was up to Kurt III to break this silence.
He reviewed Theodore's words several times before speaking, "Quattro's Captain."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"I don't mean to doubt you, but the timing is too perfect. How did you form a connection with Prince Elsid, and who brought this letter to you? Can you explain first?"
"I will follow Your Majesty's will."
They were valid doubts, so Theodore paused before picking what words to say.
Theodore had spent a while in the Soldun Kingdom, but he needed to explain it so that people didn't misunderstand. He would talk about the time he'd bought the mansion after arriving in the Soldun Kingdom from the Pirate Archipelago.
Theodore arranged his thoughts and opened his mouth, "Starting from the Pirate Archipelago, I moved to the port city, Piris, in the Soldun Kingdom..."
He didn't mention Randolph, who had accompanied him. Randolph's heart didn't belong to Andras, but the fact that the sword master was from Andras could be interpreted as something else.
It would be natural to doubt Theodore's information if they found out Randolph had accompanied him for more than a year. He would be naturalized when he escaped from the empire, so there was no need to reveal Randolph's identity right now.
Theodore's life in Piris...
The arrival of the Baek Family and the spar with Baek Jongmyung...
The unexpected meeting with Crown Prince Elsid...
And Theodore's connection with the boy called Baek Dongil.
It was a long story, but it wasn't hard for people to understand. There were people who started sweating nervously when they heard about the spar with Baek Jongmyung, and others who showed pity toward Baek Dongil's circumstances.
However, one thing was the same. At the end of Theodore's story, the people exhaled at the same time, "Hoo..."
It was a ridiculous sight, but no one smiled. Kurt III understood the circumstances and spoke with a voice which carried an unknown weight, "It is a persuasive explanation. That's why he sent a letter to us through the boy called Baek Dongil."
"That's right, Your Majesty."
"This timing is so perfect that it can be said that the heavens are helping Meltor. If the boy had arrived three days later, he would've missed the timing," Kurt was speaking to himself. However, he then glanced at Theodore with sunken eyes and held out a hand.
Kurt could listen to the letter, but he wanted to read it himself.
"Show me the letter sent by the crown prince."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
Theodore used simple wind magic at Kurt's request. There was a gentle breeze, and the letter jumped a few meters. The letter entered the king's hands, and people watched silently. Kurt's purple eyes scanned the letter slowly from the top to the bottom.
He read the contents with a strange expression in his eyes before muttering, "...How interesting. Crown Prince Elsid was a vulnerable boy when I last saw him. Now he wants to talk about a new monarch? It is a truly bold and reckless plot."
The minister of foreign affairs asked carefully, "Your Majesty, do you mind if I ask about the contents?"
"Of course." Kurt nodded with a smile and raised his head from the letter. "The fundamental content is a request for our support. He also wrote down the size of the troops that Lairon sent, a map of the area where a battle is expected to occur, and the route to use to enter secretly."
"Ohh...! That means...!"
"It means the royal family is tolerating Meltor's involvement in Soldun's civil war. There is the royal seal stamped at the end of the letter, so there is no need to worry about any accusations of interference."
It was as he said. Justification to interfere in international conflicts was an important matter, and it was more strictly applied to the stronger powers like Andras and Meltor. Without justification, there was a chance the whole Central Continent would unite in a war against the northern powers.
However, the situation was reversed with this letter.
Unlike Andras, Meltor had received permission to move a large number of troops into the Soldun Kingdom. The Lairon Kingdom would only be able to send covert support, so the balance would tilt to the side of the royal party.
Kurt was excited by the contents of the letter and created an agenda. "Prince Elsid has presented two paths of entry. There is the overland route that goes through the Sipoto wilderness on the outskirts of Kargas and also sea route which goes through the eastern waters toward Piris. Let's discuss which method will be more efficient."
His words were spoken lightly, but there was a weight to them. Depending on their choice of entry, the timing of the troops' arrival and their strategic efficiency would vary greatly. The best way was to get there as quickly and secretly as possible.
The path where they could move a larger number of troops would also be advantageous. The level of the soldiers was important, but the superiority of numbers wasn't something that could be ignored in war.
However, there was one person who put a brake on Kurt's thoughts.
"I'm sorry, Your Majesty. But perhaps we can't use the sea route this year."
The Blue Tower Master, Blundell said with a grim expression on his face, "The south wind is very intense at the eastern waters in this period. It is expected that it will take three times as long and more manpower than usual to get to Piris from the north."
"Three times... White Tower Master, can the invention of the white tower be used?"
"If we use the balloons, the time can be reduced to two times. However, further reduction isn't possible."
"Two or three times as long is too slow," Kurt grumbled and shook his head when he realized it was pointless.
There was no point harassing his people about things which couldn't be changed. Anyway, something bad would pop up when something good occurred. Elsid's letter had arrived in time, but now the paths were causing trouble.
Then just when Kurt was about to give up on the sea route...
"Excuse me, Your Majesty. I have something to say."
"Something? Go ahead, Quattro's Captain."
Theodore made a subtle expression as he glanced at Blundell before speaking, "I might have a way. Then we can arrive there more quickly than usual."
"Is that true?"
The eyes of the people present widened with surprise. Meanwhile, Theodore continued speaking, "In the past, I received the 'Sea Dragon's Blessing' from Aquilo. That blessing can be used to overcome the wind."
"Indeed, a sea dragon rules the water!"
"Then the reasons for not being able to use the sea route are gone!"
As their astonishment and excitement grew, one person spoke their mind without thinking, "Sir Theodore, what if you are accompanied by the sea dragon? Won't her power be a great help?"
However, Theodore smiled bitterly and shook his head. "She won't go. She has no interest in being involved in anything else and is going to help Austen. If we want her help, we have to pay a corresponding price or give up the covenant with Austen."
"T-That's right... I'm sorry for bringing it up."
It was too much attempting to use the power of the dragon. At first glance, they would be able to crush all the soldiers in the civil war, the Lairon Kingdom's troops and Andras' shadows, if they were accompanied by Aquilo.
However, it was a law that greed would cause disaster. The people abandoned their foolish thoughts and focused on the next agenda. Obviously, there was only one thing remaining.
"Then from now on, let's discuss who will be dispatched to the Soldun Kingdom."
The meeting continued for a long time.
* * *
Theodore had arrived at the meeting around noon and only left in the middle of the night when the stars and moon were shining.
He hadn't even been able to have a proper meal. Simple sandwiches had been placed before everyone, but they had barely eaten. It was because most people couldn't express their opinions properly while eating sandwiches. It had been the same for Theodore, who had made the meeting like this.
"...Hah, I'm tired."
Still, even after the meeting ended, he didn't return to his bedroom. Instead, he walked with a tired gait to find someone. It was around midnight, so the person could be asleep. However, he was convinced it wasn't the case.
Unsurprisingly, his confidence was exactly right.
It was the place where the delegation from Elvenheim was staying. In the lush garden, she was walking like a fairy. The moonlight shone on Ellenoa's green hair. She was Mother Nature's beloved daughter, and buds sprouted under her feet, filling this place with vitality.
Theodore forgot his words as he looked at her. He was accustomed to seeing beauty, but Ellenoa was an exception to his common sense.
Ellenoa was worried about him standing still, so she hastily approached and placed a hand on his forehead. "Theodore, are you feeling well? Your complexion looks bad."
"N-No, I'm okay."
"I'm glad to see you, but... what is so urgent that you came so late at night?"
Theodore took a moment to think after listening to her words. He had forgotten his words due to unforeseen thoughts. The words he had thought up during his walk here were now scattered. Then Theodore somehow gathered them together and opened his mouth, "Ellenoa."
"I have to participate in important work starting from tomorrow. Perhaps I won't be able to see you again before you return to Elvenheim. So, it is late, but I came to see you today."
"Ah..." Ellenoa was dismayed that she wouldn't be able to see him anymore, then she blushed at his last words. It was because of the atmosphere and the fact that he had come to meet her late at night.
Theodore didn't confirm or deny that positive thought as he gazed at her with a serious expression. "I've thought a lot about it."
"...Yes." In contrast, Ellenoa lowered her face with a red expression.
"It is as Ellenoa said. I don't know if my answer right now is due to sincerity or a sense of responsibility. I didn't come to see you before because I couldn't answer, but I thought it would be cowardly to leave without saying anything."
Then Theodore hooked his little finger around Ellenoa's little finger. Even elves who didn't know the culture of humans were aware that this meant a promise. Ellenoa raised her head with wide eyes and Theodore responded to that gaze.
"Please wait for a little bit."
"I have to go to the world tree again. It is for Mitra, Myrdal, and various other reasons. But I won't use that as an excuse."
As he felt her trembling finger and heard her trembling voice, Theodore swore firmly to himself as well as to her, "On that day, I will give you an answer on the branch of the world tree that we walked together."
With this, his preparations were finished.