Chapter 38, at last! Very late, I know, but as I said on the death flagsd chapter, there was a lot of stuff going on this month in my country and I was pretty involved as a uni student, pretty complicated really.
Anyway, here’s the chapter, hope you’ll enjoy it!
Lunaria’s private room.
【”Seriously, what do those people take her highness for!”】
Under Kurats’ and Lunaria’s eyes, Rosberg was in a grand fit of rage.
Felbell’s faction represented the majority of the royal court, and it was starting to push more and more for the marriage of Lunaria and Hemidall.
Most of the people involved were the type to want peace at any price, and they did not even spare a thought for the risks the marriage would entail.
They were a passive force whose only concern was to not provoke Heimdall’s temper, worried that that could lead to a war.
However, their many voices were becoming louder and louder, to the point where even the king himself would soon not be able to disregard them.
(Depending on the circumstances, I might really have to be wed into the Asgard family, don’t I?)
Even Lunaria was starting to feel down.
【”No matter how you think about it, anyone would be a better choice than Asgard. This is just like giving food to a wolf.”】
Being related to Asgard through a political marriage would undoubtedly be disadvantageous in the mid to long term.
Although both Christopher and Lunaria’s thoughts on the matter were the same, there were too many people who only had eyes for the near future.
【”Not to mention that Asgard just invaded our allies! What we should be doing is to immediately send reinforcements to Lapland!”】
Naturally, both Rosberg and Cellvis, the secretary of war, had tried to move things in that direction. However, all of the nobles on Felbell’s faction, as well as the king himself, had responded unfavourably.
At present, even Christopher was having conflicting thoughts regarding decisions which pertained to war.
【”Lapland has that Snow White Valkyrie as a commander. It doesn’t seem to me like they would fall that easily….”】
Nevertheless, anyone could tell that Lapland would ultimately be defeated by Asgard. That was because the national power and military forces of both nations were far too different.
Lunaria and Rosberg were both well aware that, if they were to send half-baked reinforcements, they would only end up being defeated alongside Lapland’s forces.
In short, in order to intervene in this war, Jormungand would have to go in an all-out war against Asgard.
【”…Lapland is at a longer distance from here than from Asgard. Going there would put a massive burden on the kingdom’s logistics supply chains. It’s no wonder his majesty is hesitating.”】
Rosberg was already fully aware of what Kurats was pointing out.
Even so, now was the time for battle.
【”Then we’ll just have to win! If Lapland is able to hold on, we’ll be able to succeed as well…”】
Lapland was a nation that stood out quite a lot among the group of small countries in the north. They were the leaders of their neighboring countries, such as Macbarn and Elthlead.
If Lapland were to fall, other small countries would naturally also surrender to Asgard.
At the same time, after abandoning Lapland, Jormungand would lose the trust of many nations.
In the end, the difference in power between the kingdom and the Asgard empire would stretch even further, and their situation would become worse and worse at a very fast rate.
【”His highness must naturally be aware of all that as well. Still, the cost of a failure would be much too high.”】
(――Oh, is that really what’s going on?)
Contrarily to what his words would lead one to believe, Kurats’ thoughts made it seem like he was just starting to understand what he had been speaking about since earlier.
『It should not take you that much effort to understand something so simple! This is unacceptable!』
As usual, Kurats was only playing the role of a tape recorder, projecting Bernst’s words through his mouth.
【”Given the current circumstances, I suppose you can’t go to the front of the battlefield and leave her highness Lunaria here, sir Rosberg. With that in mind, if you are allowed to, how many soldiers are you planning to send and under whose command?”】
In response to Kurats’ well-reasoned question, Rosberg responded with a frown and a groan.
【”Considering the transportation factor, I’d want to take an army of 30.000… As for the one who would command them… Other than me, I guess someone like Katil would be good.”】
Among the different generals of the Jormungand kingdom, general Katil was reputed for his solid tactics and his equally solid nerves.
Those who could make calm and level-headed decisions while defending a foreign territory were rare. However――.
【”Is he a good enough tactician to deal with an opponent like Asgard’s army?”】
【”I am not sure he is, however, Lapland’s terrain is not suited for cavalry warfare. That being the case, it would be hard to find a general who would manage better than him in that location…”】
Lapland was a territory of many mountains, it was not a place where the cavalry tactics that Jormungand prided themselves in would be easy to use.
Apart from Katil, it was impossible to find a commander in the kingdom who could handle a large army and whose trump card was not related to cavalry.
【”That must be the reason why his majesty is worried. Still, it would be pretty troublesome if he doesn’t make a decision soon, right?”】
As he said so, Kurats smiled roguishly.
◆ ◆ ◆
When Kurats and the others went to visit the king, they found that Christopher had just finished a meeting with Albert.
The territory governed by the marquis of Strasbourg, Albert, had a common border with Asgard, which meant he received all the pressure that the prospect of a war with the empire entailed.
It was therefore very natural for him to appeal for an improvement of relations with Asgard.
Upon noticing Kurats, Albert whispered something to him with a cynical smile.
【”Do not waste your time. His majesty has no desire to start a war.”】
Judging by the triumphant expression on Albert’s expression, it seemed like Christopher was currently more inclined towards avoiding conflict.
【”I’m grateful for the advice.”】
『Which does not mean I have any intention to listen to it.』
Bernst found it funny that, to this day, Albert was still naively looking down on him.
He was going to have to teach him that there were people in this world whose power could not be measured by someone of his puny level.
Then again, no one in this world could fathom the power of an existence close to a god like the magic king.
【”First Albert, now you?”】
Without trying to conceal his bad mood, Christopher looked down at Kurats.
Had he not been accompanied by the king’s beloved daughter, perhaps Kurats would have been sent away on the spot.
Christopher was clearly lacking sleep, and his puffy eyes were still full of anguish, just like they were when this ordeal first started.
【”Your majesty, I believe you have heard this many times already in the last few days, but I am here to talk about her highness Lunaria’s diplomatic marriage.”】
【”―― I beg of you your majesty, please decline that proposal!”】
Unable to stay silent, Rosberg loudly interrupted Kurats and prostrated himself before the king.
This display was exhausting from Christopher’s perspective.
If prostrating was enough to get the proposal rejected, he would have refused it from the very beginning.
Christopher could not help himself from feeling disappointed that a warrior of Rosberg’s level was unable to realize such a simple political truth.
【”I understand how you all feel. I will instruct you further on the matter at a later time.”】
A blunt answer.
That response alone was enough for Rosberg and Lunaria to realize that Christopher was leaning more towards accepting Asgard’s proposal.
【”―― So basically, the only issue here is whether the kingdom can gain victory against Asgard or not, isn’t it?”】
When Kurats suddenly smiled and said so, Christopher impulsively felt like killing him on the spot.
Night and day, this problem been the only thought occupying Christopher’s mind.
If he were to send reinforcements to Lapland and to therefore open hostilities with Asgard, would Jormungand be able to win?
The answer he had finally landed upon was that nothing was more important than protecting the nation.
With safety having become the priority in his mind, it was absurd for him to think of making the very risky decision of sending reinforcements to Lapland.
Still, at the very least, he wished to prevent the marriage of Lunaria with Heimdall. However, it was difficult to completely ignore the intentions of Albert and the other nobles on Felbell’s faction.
That being the case, Christopher was doing everything in his power to try to find a compromise between both sides of the kingdom.
It was only natural for him to get mad when Kurats spoke of the situation with a know-it-all smile.
【”Sending reinforcements to the mountainous territory of Lapland would put too much burden on the kingdom’s logistics. Moreover, there is no commander other than Rosberg who would be able to gain victory there. This is my guess on the situation and I know I’m right since Rosberg confirmed it.”】
【”I am already well aware of all this without having to be told by you!”】
【”However, your majesty, you would approve of the battle if you knew we had a real chance to win, wouldn’t you? If so, you can be at peace. Our Jormungand kingdom will win.”】
Kurats’ declaration was filled with extreme self-confidence. Even Christopher found himself attracted by those words.
He figured that maybe this sage had come up with a plan that even he had not been able to think of.
【”――And how would we go about that?”】
【”Please allow me to go there, I will definitely be able to save Lapland.”】
Kurats was left aghast by what he had just said.
『Be quiet, you’re too noisy. We are speaking of just a single, insignificant army corps here.』
(What do you expect me to do by myself against an army corps?!)
Kurats had spoken Bernst’s words to the king by reflex, but in his mind, he was greatly flustered.
Although he was not afraid of fighting against 100 or 200 soldiers, Lapland was being invaded by the fourth corps of Asgard, which was a military unit of at least 40.000.
Moreover, the Asgard empire had the strongest mage order in the continent.
【”The opponent is the Asgard empire, and yet you are saying you will be going by yourself?”】
【”K-kurats, I am happy about your concern for me, but please just calm down a little, okay?”】
Rosberg and Lunaria both tried to stop Kurats, who was making a suggestion that was completely outside the realm of common sense.
No matter how great of a magician he was, they still felt like having to win against a whole army was too big of a responsibility for him.
(TL note: Illustration should be here but can’t post it for legal reasons, please ask on discord for more info)
【”If I go by myself, then even if someone officially investigates the reasons for my presence there or anything like that, you’ll easily be able to justify it. However, once I do manage to splendidly repel Asgard in Lapland, will you please be willing to believe that our country can win in a full-out confrontation with the empire?”】
(Seriously?! Are you freaking serious?! I’m going to get banished from the country if I don’t win!)
『You’ll be fine, have some faith in me and you!』
Completely unaware of the conflict that was taking place between Kurats and Bernst, Christopher felt a wave of hearty laughter welling up inside him as he listened to these absurd, excessively confident words.
【”Would it not take you too much time?”】
【”Well, I think one month should be enough for me.”】
This time, Christopher burst out laughing from Kurats’ nonchalant reply.
He laughed from the bottom of his heart, with all his might, like he had never laughed before in his entire life.
All the worries he had been having lately seemed ridiculous now.
He was feeling envious of Kurats’ incredible confidence in himself, and was yearning for the bygone days when he used to feel similarly omnipotent.
Although it was completely outside of common sense for an individual to face off against an army, Christopher did not doubt for a second that Kurats seriously believed he could win.
【”So be it, if you manage to get Lapland to win, then I’ll firmly reject the marriage proposal, and I will face Asgard straightforwardly. You have my word.”】
【”W-wait! Father, Kurats, have you both lost your minds?”】
Lunaria started panicking as Christopher approved Kurats’ suggestion.
This was just like sending him to his death.
Even though Lunaria knew of Kurats’ out-of-norm powers, that did still did not change her opinion on the matter.
【”Please believe in me. There is no way I’d let a perverted fiend from Asgard get his hands on you, your highness.”】
【”I-I appreciate your feelings but…..”】
Faced with Kurats’ fervent gaze, Lunaria shyly looked away.
『This is your chance! If you kiss her now, she’ll fall for you on the spot!』
(There is no way I could ever do that!)
Under Bernst’s pressure, Kurats barely managed to softly grasp Lunaria’s hand.
As they both firmly held hands and looked at each other’s eyes, Lunaria and Kurats got closer and closer, like two magnets obeying the laws of nature….
【”WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN HIS MAJESTY’S PRESENCE!!”】
But yet another fit of rage from Rosberg came to interrupt the moment.
【”I do not acknowledge you! I will never acknowledge an unknown man like you as her highness’ companion!”】
【”Well, I don’t know about that. If he really is able to win against Asgard’s forces by himself, why not consider it?”】
【”B-but, your majesty…”】
Looking at the miserable appearance of Rosberg, who dejectedly dropped his shoulders, Christopher once again surrendered himself to the urge of laughter that had built up inside him.