Chapter 66 is here!
For the Patrons, chapter 65, Chapter 66, chapter 67 and chapter 6 are all available on the Patreon page.
Anyway, here’s chapter 66, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
There was a big change in atmosphere in Jormungand’s royal court as of late.
And though he did not show it on the outside, Albert did not like that at all.
He knew the reason this was happening.
The news of the victory of the small kingdom of Lapland had considerably reduced everyone’s fear of the Asgard empire.
Jormungand was now once again showing its pride as one of the five major powers.
Aristocrats were strange creatures. They could throw their own family away for their own survival, yet, at the same time, they were very proud individuals.
They would never lower their heads to some other country if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
【”For god’s sake, why can’t they just quietly accept their demise…”】
Lapland’s miraculous victory was a beacon of hope for all those small countries that were always victimized by the major powers.
If these sorts of feelings spread over the continent, even the small countries that were already fully occupied might start rebellions against Asgard.
Albert also felt like the Asgard empire was being slow and dull in its reaction.
(They’re not actually in trouble, right? It can’t be.)
The losses they took in the war against Lapland may have been significant, but it didn’t seem like that could have been anywhere close to fatal for a major power like Asgard.
But Albert did not have the power or authority to know what was truly happening.
The biggest issue as far as he was concerned was that Lapland’s win had revivified princess Lunaria’s faction in Jormungand.
This was a truly maddening turn of events.
The losses from the war were nothing to Asgard.
With their multiple squadrons, they could take on four countries at the same time.
(Why can’t these peace loving idiots understand that a country like Jormungand would get decimated by the empire?)
Albert had managed to spread his influence over 70% of the royal court, but lately, the neutral nobles had switched sides to Lunaria’s faction, allowing the princess to come back to an equal standing with Albert’s side.
As things currently stood, it was very likely that the plan to marry Lunaria to the emperor of Asgard, Heimdall, would not bear fruit.
【”I was so close…”】
At one point, Albert had felt that king Christopher had definitely begun leaning to his side.
It seemed to him like with just a little more time, the king would have decided to accept emperor Heimdall’s request and would have sent him his daughter.
But for some reason, Albert also felt like the king had been waiting for something. Like he never actually intended to make a move at all.
Suddenly, the face of Kurats, one of the few men who had never tried to curry favor with him, popped up in Albert’s mind.
【”That man? No way.”】
Albert knew that that annoying pest of a mage had been sent to the Isengard territory to investigate the magic of the mage who could control monsters, Oliver.
He also knew that Kurats hadn’t had any contact with Lunaria as of late.
The king was not the type of a man to make a decision for the nation based on feelings.
If it came down to it, he would have mercilessly discarded Lunaria for the best interest of the kingdom, no matter how much she or Kurats opposed it.
Then, the heir to the throne would have been Felbelle by default. And as her husband, Albert would have become the legitimate head of the Jormungand kingdom.
He had been one step away from achieving those ambitions, but all his plans had gone awry now.
【”If that damned girl was dead, I wouldn’t have to deal with all this trouble.”】
Ultimately, the reason this was all happening was that Lunaria had recovered from her seemingly untreatable illness.
Following this, baron Isengard’s plan had ended up being exposed, which made Albert himself seem suspicious.
And now, trying to assassinate Lunaria again was no longer an option.
If the whole conspiracy was somehow revealed due to a second attempt at Lunaria’s life, then let alone Felbell not ascending the throne, Albert’s very life would be in danger.
【”All because that damn mage put his nose where it doesn’t belong. But knowing that he could be watching me anytime feels quite eerie.”】
Albert recalled the bitter memory of the day Kurats used his mysterious magic to project images of what had transpired in the Isengard territory.
(That man is serious trouble.)
Ever since that day, Albert had never been at ease. There wasn’t a single moment when he didn’t feel like he was being observed.
【”Should I consider using more drastic measures?”】
Albert did not want Jormungand to become weak.
He was not against using the strength of the Asgard empire to take the throne, but if the Jormungand kingdom’s power declined too much in the process, Albert would likely be eliminated the moment he outlived his usefulness.
Jormungand had to stay strong. Strong enough that the empire would prefer to cooperate with its future king rather than risk a war. And Albert believed that future king would be him.
That was why he only considered civil war as a very last resort.
But even that last resort would only work on the premise that his side had the upper hand.
◆ ◆ ◆
【”I am Frigga, the younger sister of the king of Lapland. I would like to have an audience with the king of Jormungand, his majesty Christopher!”】
Canney, the head of the garrison stationed at Jormungand’s border, had his eyes wide opened as he stared at the beautiful face of the woman in front of him, who was speaking with an equally beautiful, resonant voice.
There were three war maidens on the continent.
One was Asgard’s Mad Princess, Skuld.
The other was Lapland’s Snow White Valkyrie, Frigga.
And then there was Gertstein’s red god of death, Muselina.
There was no one in the military who hadn’t heard of these names.
Canney could not be blamed for being befuddled after seeing one of those living legends in the flesh.
Especially since he had heard about how Lapland had defended itself and overturned a completely hopeless situation.
【”…Forgive my rudeness for questioning you, your highness, but am I wrong in assuming that you came here, to the Miever fort, from the direction of the Asgard empire? “】
【”Of course we did, we cut right through Asgard. We took the liberty of doing as we wished since we’re still not at peace with them. Is that going to be an issue?”】
【”Of course not! I-t’s just that, you only brought a hundred knights with you so…”】
Even for the Snow White Valkyrie, this should not have been possible.
Canney was in his mid-forties, he had been through countless small battles in his life.
From his experience, it was impossible for a small group of a hundred cavalrymen to confidently pass right through an enemy nation with no regards for logistics or the geography of the terrain.
【”Well, I can understand why you’d have suspicions, but we have proof. You see, on our way here, we completely erased fort Mercury. There is no trace of it left.”】
【”I-Is that a joke?”】
The Mercury fort was a small fortress that was built and maintained by the Asgard empire in order to use it as a frontline in case of an invasion of or by the Jormungand kingdom.
Moreover, cavalrymen were not suited for siege battles in the first place. Even if said cavalrymen had the numerical advantage, no guarded fortress would have any trouble dealing with them.
【”Unfortunately, I don’t make jokes. If you think I’m lying, you can confirm it by sending some scouts.”】
Canney nodded resolutely at Frigga.
As the one in charge of looking over the border, he could not ignore this.
The fall of the Mercury fort would be great news for those at fort Miever.
This would mean the base of operation of the potential enemy that they had been stationed here to observe was now gone.
However, if Frigga had really destroyed the Mercury fort, then letting her inside Jormungand was going to be problematic.
This could lead to the start of a war with Asgard.
Canney even suspected that this was a well crafted plot by the Asgard empire to trigger a war.
However, he knew that refusing to let Frigga and her men inside would also be a problem.
Due to their lack in power compared to Asgard, the Jormungand kingdom had thrown any sense of duty they had and abandoned a friendly country, Lapland, leaving its people to their faiths.
The only reason the war had ended up taking another turn was Kurats’ intervention. But the future of the abandoned Lapland could have been much grimmer.
The Lapland kingdom’s reputation had increased all across the nations after they successfully forced Asgard’s army out of their territory to protect their independence.
If Frigga was turned away at the border of Jormungand, the kingdom as a whole would surely be labeled by the whole world as being unreliable.
Jormungand could not afford this kind of reputation. Creating and maintaining alliances with other countries was a matter of life and death for them, given their inferiority to the Asgard empire from a military perspective.
Either way, these matters were all clearly above Canney’s authority.
But he was of a high enough rank in the military to be able to imagine the kind of issues that could potentially arise from this situation.
That being the case, Canney had no other choice but to make a request of the princess, while praying that nothing bad would come out of it.
【”―― Would you be willing to stay here until we receive instructions from the royal castle?”】