"Hahaha. With the entire Guido Imperial Army and Yufu Dungeon Knights on his throat, I imagine even Zack Zaikaz would have no choice but to hand over the treasure willingly."
"That guy Zack said he had an idea what the thing was and brought it to us right away. The beastmen confirmed it was the real thing so the supreme commander told him they'd take it with 'em, Zack neither looked afraid nor attempted to apologize."
"He asked for Eda's <Purification> right then and there, and offered <Orb of Peace> as a compensation."
"That's... Quite some guts. By the way, did the enemy's supreme commander truly turn out to be the man you know?"
"Yea. Wanna meet him?"
"Guy's downstairs now."
Even Manfrey was at a loss for words at this revelation.
"Didn't anyone tell you I brought a guest along."
"N-no. I was informed. That you were with an acquaintance. He has speech impairment or so I heard. It cannot be."
"Quite rare to see you shaken like this."
"Hold on right this instance. The supreme commander of the invader army is, right in this instance, in my mansion. By himself."
Lecan didn't answer this. There was no need to.
"Sorry but could you please tell me everything, from the beginning. From the 18th the day you left to today, all of it."
Lecan gave an explanation. Eda would give supplemental info every once in a while. It took them quite a long time despite a summed up story.
Manfrey also revealed to them several things.
Palcimo Army really did come by Mashajain. They dropped by here after Lecan's departure, asked for the war situation, requested for food supply for when they're going home, and then departed after leaving an envoy of Marquis of Palcimo in Mashajain.
And once they did what they came for, they went back to Mashajain, reported to Palcimo Marquis envoy and Manfrey and went on their merry way back to Palcimo. There was a limit of well made large <Boxes>, thus since White-necked Dragons consume a lot of food, they had to hurry up. Palcimo envoy went to capital to report the situation.
Which means, back then Jiza was already aware that the group who was trying to break through the main enemy encampment was Lecan's.
Manfrey threw more questions even after Lecan was done explaining. Fujisur too. Lecan answered them.
"Uumu. To think it would go in this direction. However, this result surpassed my expectations. In fact, it's the best possible outcome. No, even better. Lecan. You've done a great job. You have my gratitude, and to you too Eda-dono."
"Guess that's one quest done then."
"Of course. Your reward shall be prepared in short order. Still, this was a huge blunder for the prime minister."
"How they dispatched the Royal Knights and Royal Mages in the beginning wasn't a bad move at all. However, the moment he found out that both forces suffered utter defeat, when the threat became clear, he should have organized lord knights with excellent coordination, and established a clear chain of commands to intercept the enemy force. Or at the very least, he should have gathered a force of 10,000 with a proper supreme commander."
"Can that even be done?"
"It should be doable if they put effort into it. Yet in reality, he put out a vague call to arms, and then deploy our forces in disarray not as one and without a clear chain of commands, the worst possible way to go about this."
"Why'd he do that?"
"Had the PM given definite clear cut orders, he would have to take responsibility. He surely loathed that. The reason why he didn't assemble them as one powerful united front with a supreme commander must be because he didn't want any specific lord to nab a huge achievement. As for why they didn't deploy the forces all at once, he must have been using this chance to strengthen the relationship between the royal family and other lords. Though well, I could only afford to say all this now because we've reached this conclusion. If the PM did attempt to assemble a force of 10,000 strong unit to face a mere force of 1000, we would have doubted his sanity."
"Eh, wouldn't matter even if there were ten thousand of them, they'd have lost if not for Palcimo force and Yufu Dungeon Knights."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Nevermind that. Guess the PM can take it easy now that the invading army has been repelled."
"Take it easy? That prime minister? No, it's the opposite. He's surely spending sleepless nights racking his brain to come up with ways to take control of matters right about now."
"Think about it. We were losing the war for all intents and purposes. And the force that turned the table around was Yufu Dungeon Knights, not a force the PM arranged himself."
"Ah. Yeah, for sure."
"The one who won against the enemy's supreme commander in a one-on-one duel and afforded our side a renegotiation was not someone from the unit he dispatched, no, it was an adventurer under a private request by an individual townlord."
"Your achievement to take."
"Indeed. It is mine to take. That adventurer is also a fiance of a lady of Wazrof."
"Also, his first correspondence was simply appalling. Guido Empire had always insisted that a group affiliated with Zaka Kingdom attacked the Great Forest Temple. Zaka Kingdom denied this accusation. Yet the fact came to light that it was the handiwork of a Zaka Kingdom's townlord. Of course the PM had surely sent his subordinates to investigate Kogurus."
"There aren't many places where a townlord can amass enough force to invade the Great Forest. Kogurus townlord must have been one of the prime suspects right from the beginning."
"Then why did he told Guido folks that they were making a false accusation?"
"It was an excuse to start a war. Then once we landed a hard blow to the other party in the ensuing war, solidifying our kingdom's position, he would discover the treasure and return it. It was a ploy to shirk from formal apology and reimbursement."
"I don't really get it, but was returning the treasure and sending the beastmen home a bad thing to the PM?"
"It was the best for the kingdom, but not so for the royal palace and the PM. Making an educated guess on the location of the treasure being in Kogurus, taking Guido Imperial Army there to negotiate and returning it to them are all extremely important political moves, and the PM Office sat completely outside while those events took place."
"Have I and Duo overstepped our bound?"
"Not at all. The PM recommended every representatives of knights to discuss among themselves when they were deployed out of the capital. And the highest ranking person on site was Viscount Nodlein Ruka. Yufu Dungeon Knights were the strongest with the least casualty. And you were the person who won a duel against the enemy's supreme commander and opened the path to a renegotiation. There is absolutely no issue at all. But the PM is surely deeply regretting his decision not to dispatch a PM Office's official to Aspora."
"What'd that do?"
"Of course they would have gone with you to Kogurus. This would allow the PM Office to officially announce that Guido Imperial Army had withdrawn after negotiation. They would hand down punishment to Kogurus, protecting the king's honor."
"Didn't he ask you about me at all?"
"As a matter of fact, he did. The prime minister himself in person contacted me through <Mirror of Nata>."
"What'd you say to him?"
"That I have requested the fiance of my cousin, adventurer Lecan to either defeat the enemy's supreme commander or make the beastmen empire's force withdraw by any means. Speaking of which, Lecan. What are your plans now."