It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (93/115), enjoy~
The following day, Warren, as he had said the previous day, split up from Sylvird and the others.
“Lily, are you finished with preparations?”
“Yes. Everything went according to plan.”
In fact, Warren’s covert group actually had a uniform, though it was pretty obvious in the black robes they wore. In addition to Lily, there were about ten people dressed in such robes following Warren as he walked outside.
“Splendid. I’m going to leave the talks for the last day to Krone-dono, so I’d like to finish the troubles by the end of the day.”
As he spoke, Lily handed him a stack of papers.
“This is a summary of the replies from the nobles.”
“Thank you for this.”
“It’s due to Ain-sama’s popularity, isn’t it?”
“That’s right. This is the means by which he can choose to do so since he is called a hero and is held in the same high esteem as His Majesty the First.”
“I’ve heard that even Duke Fors is in favor of the idea.”
“The friendship between his son, Leonard-dono, and Ain-sama is deep. Perhaps because of this, Duke Fors seems to be in favor of it… Oh?”
A map of the continent of Ishtar is reflected in Warren’s eyes as he rolls up the paper.
It had been colored in some places.
“You can see the division between those in favor, those against, and those who are undecided.”
When Warren heard Lily’s words, he understood.
“…Magna and the royal capital are conspicuously in favor. Especially in Magna, almost the entire population is in favor?”
“This is the result of a survey conducted last spring. It’s not information that can be released publicly, so everyone’s answers are based on assumptions.”
“It’s a good reference.”
After reading it, Warren stuffed it in his pocket.
“The more information we have, the better because we can use it in situations like this.”
He laughed happily and went to the stage for the meeting with Heim.
Garland and Logas were not in Heim’s group, which arrived late.
In their place, Elena, Tigre, and Grint arrived with their knights and civil servants, but they were taken aback when they saw Warren sitting alone on the opposite seat.
However, only Elena quickly regained her composure. She was the only one who was quietly looking at Warren, preparing for the battle that was about to begin.
“Is it just you today, Prime Minister-dono?”
“Yes, everything is entrusted to me.”
“I see. Although His Highness is here, I have been entrusted by His Majesty.”
“Very well, then. Then it will be a talk between Elena-dono and me.”
Tigre already seems to have something to say.
The other party didn’t bring any of the royal family, just the prime minister, so it’s no wonder he felt dissatisfied. The only other thing he can think of is that he was disappointed that Krone was not present.
At any rate, he sat down on the seat where Garland had sat yesterday.
Then today, Grint stood behind him and waited, just like Lloyd did yesterday.
Elena was the last to take a seat.
“Elena-sama, over here.”
The civilian handed her a document.
“His Majesty said it. We must not be blamed. Don’t let Ishtalika have their way with us…”
“If there is blame to be taken, it is not only for the Heim.”
“Alright, you can stand back now.”
Then the civil servant withdrew, leaving Elena to take care of the rest.
“Prime Minister-dono, may I begin?”
But there was no specific agenda for the meeting. Elena was expecting to end up in a clash of opinions, or in a parallel track, or even in a corner with Warren, but she was prepared for the first move.
“I’d like to ask you a few questions about my father-in-law and daughter.”
“If there are any discrepancies with the information that Ishtalika has gathered, please point them out. The two of them went to Birdland for my father-in-law’s medical treatment.”
“It was our family’s carriage that took them to another country called Birdland. After that, they arrived in Euro by way of a merchant’s carriage and Euro’s carriage, carefully prepared and clandestine.”
“No doubt about it.”
“Then they voluntarily contracted a carriage. Are you also positive about this?”
Warren nodded, “Yes.”
He was curious as to why she was asking in such detail. It seemed to him that she was trying to get something out of him, but it also sounded like she was trying to steer the conversation in a direction that suited her.
“You didn’t believe our investigation, did you?”
“No, by all means. We are well aware of the power of the unified nation of Ishtalika. Everything the two of them have done is without a doubt.”
“Then what do you want to know?”
“I just want to be sure. Did they get taken away from ── or…?”
“You mean, for example, that they were defectors?”
Then Elena burst into laughter.
It was obvious that she was pleased with the word “defector.”
But the reason was unclear.
“So they defected to Ishtalika?”
“…Do you think it is important to your position?”
“For me, yes. So, what do you think?”
“If you’re not convinced, I’d like you to judge. They were not taken away, but they are certainly in Ishtalika. This was because they crossed the sea from Euro to Ishtalika on a ship. But Krone is now the crown prince’s assistant. There is no way that such a person could be a mere traveler.”
So you have to choose, she said.
“If you argue that way, I’d have to say, defectors. The two of them are already citizens of our country.”
The only thing she couldn’t understand was why he was telling her this.
Elena knows why Krone and Graff crossed the sea, so she doesn’t need to bother confirming these facts. Even if she did, it would only be a factor in explaining the situation to Tigre and the others.
But there was no need to do it here. More than anything, Elena wouldn’t like wasting time.
“Krone and my father-in-law are defectors, already citizens of Ishtalika… I see.”
“Is there something on your mind?”
“It’s about my family. I thought I had a right to be concerned.”
She should have taken a statement for something else, but she had no chance.
“Yes! Elena’s family has been taken away from her, hasn’t it?”
“Enough, I’ll tell him!”
Elena only lightly admonished Tigre for his sudden outburst.
Warren felt uncomfortable.
It hadn’t gone badly up to this point, so why hadn’t she stopped Tigre more forcefully? If she had the brains, she would have come up with a way to do that, and being interrupted here would definitely be a bad move.
“No matter how much of a defector they are, Elena has been separated from her family! It would be a sad thing to do so for the convenience of those around you!”
“Oh! It makes me feel very good to hear that!”
Suddenly Warren was happy.
“I never thought I’d feel so happy to share my feelings with you, Third Prince-dono.”
Tigre’s cheek twitched, though he seemed to agree with him.
“You seem to be trying to tell me something.”
“It’s a coincidence, but I believe there are people in our country who have lost their families.”
“It is none of my business. If they are from your country, they should be dealt with in your country!”
“It seems that our people have lost their families to Heim… I’m sorry to remind you of this at a time like this, but do you have any idea?”
“I don’t know! Why do you think Heim took away their family?”
In contrast to Tigre, who raised his voice, Warren still answered calmly.
“If you ask me why, I’ll say that I did some research.”
This time Tigre really did not understand. He had not been able to find out Warren’s true intentions, not even a little.
But the truth soon came out.
“I heard that Heim’s first prince is a very wealthy man and has several mansions of his own. According to my research, the families of our people are imprisoned in his mansions.”
Tigre finally gasped.
It must be the convenient people Layfon had prepared.
They were easy to use because none of them were from Heim, and none of them could be in Rockdam or Birdland. So, even if they were suspected of having a relationship with Heim, they were the ones who could say they didn’t know Heim.
“It’s sad to be separated from family. I agree with that.”
This changes the situation.
If Warren insists that they are Ishtalika’s people, even if it is unclear when Ishtalika discovered them, it is a different story.
Here Elena returned to the center of the conversation.
“Prime Minister-dono, could it be that they are also defectors?”
“Oh, how well you know them.”
“I have good intuition. I was not aware of what you just said, but would you like me to handle the matter of sending their families to Ishtalika?”
“Hmm… I thought this might be worth a preemptive strike? I was thinking.”
Elena laughed at Warren’s words.
“The families of the defectors came to His Highness Prince Layfon before the defectors crossed over to Ishtalika. If you call this our country’s crime, then I have something to ask of Ishtalika as well.”
“Yes, after all, my father-in-law and daughter are great sinners.”
The two of them are members of the Archduke family.
“Although they were members of the Archduke family, they left the country without speaking to the royal family. It’s only natural that this would be considered treason.”
“Shouldn’t we consider the circumstances?”
“The law does not need sentimentality. They lost their devotion to their country when the secret agreement had been broken… Even if this is how the facts behave, their crimes are unassailable. And the Ishtalika who accepted them is nothing but a kind of convict.”
Her words made sense.
She said that if Ishtalika was complaining about the new defectors who had come to Ishtalika, then there was no reason to blame them for what had happened to Krone and the others.
That’s why she said it was impossible to blame one side or the other.
“Heim will send the family to Ishtalika. That’s all there is to it. But if you turn on us here, you will be disobeying the words of His Majesty the First King of Ishtalika.”
“…..You may be right. All right, then.”
“Yes, I would be happy to have Third Prince-dono’s approval.”
“B-but! But I can’t do anything about my brother──”
“With all due respect, Your Highness, this is not the time to be worrying about it. It might give them an opening to attack us.”
As expected, Tigre was horrified by the words and shook his hands, gripping them tightly. He bites his lip, his face turning red, and slams the desk. He slammed the desk hard.
Warren, who was sitting across from him, nodded and said, “I see.”
He smiled as he realized Elena’s true aim, which she had kept quiet until now.
“I, as the third prince… apologize for my brother’s behavior.”
“So you will release them?”
“That would be very nice. Would you be so kind as to write me a note?”
“Well, have it your way.”
Tigre sat down helplessly and gazed at his blunder.
How could they have known everything? It was a plan that should not have been so easy to find out, even if it was in Ishtalika. If they even know about Layfon’s mansion, even Tigre will know that he can’t get away with it.
“…I’m tired today.”
Tigre breathed heavily and said without effort.
“Third Prince-dono seems to be tired, so let’s take a break.”
“That would be good. …Elena, take this.”
He handed Elena the royal seal.
“I leave the matter to you. You can make any promises you want in my name.”
──I’m going to go get some air. I will be back in a little while, and you can wait here until then.
Then Tigre walked out with Grint and the knight.
Elena took her seat, but she approached Warren, who was sitting across from her. The civilian and the knight almost walked with her, but she stopped them with her hand.
“Just me, stay right there.”
Elena stepped in front of Warren.
Warren motioned for Elena to sit in the chair next to him.
“I will prepare a letter for you; please wait a moment.”
Warren grinned happily as he heard her reply.
“Was it part of your plan not to stop Third Prince-dono strongly?”
“Yes. Since I was dealing with the Prime Minister of Ishtalika, I had to take advantage of everything I could.”
“That’s a good mindset. Did you also use one of our knights for that purpose?”
“Were you dissatisfied?”
“No, not particularly, because of the content. However, I was very surprised when the knight told me about the exchange with Elena-dono. I thought you were just trying to save the women.”
After saying that, Warren took out an envelope. The envelope contained information about the women that Layfon had imprisoned. It also contains details about those who have gone to Ishtalika.
“The reason you sold me the information was so that Elena-dono could control the fate of Heim, wasn’t it?”
“…..I would never have sold it for free.”
“You mean you knew what I was up to?”
“If it were not for Ishtalika, but for Prime Minister-dono personally, I would have known.”
“Interesting. Would you like to share your thoughts with me?”
To those around them, the two of them appeared to be discussing the Layfon matter. But the content of the discussion was a probing impression.
“In addition to severing diplomatic relations with Heim, Ishtalika wanted a clear guarantee against it.”
“Yes, you are right, Elena-dono.”
“That is why we had this meeting, but Prime Minister-dono has different intentions. You don’t trust Heim to any extent… and that’s why you wanted another guarantee or even a cause.”
“You wanted an excuse that would allow you to attack Heim.”
But Warren did not nod. He doesn’t deny it. He just smiles.
This was his way of clearly disobeying the first king’s words, but from Elena’s point of view, Warren was now as good as agreeing.
“It’s just a pretext for Ishtalika to move first if Heim makes a move. This meeting should have provided this for you, Prime Minister-dono.”
“Why do you think so?”
“A promise made on a paper can be broken at any time. Prime Minister-dono must have been thinking the same thing, and then you want another way to deal with it when it happens.”
“Hmm… you are a smart person, after all, Elena-dono.”
At this point, the letter that Warren had approved of was completed.
After receiving the letter, Elena checked its contents and signed it when she found it to be in order. She then picked up the royal seal that Tigre had given her and stamped it strongly.
“Now we, Heim, can no longer make demands regarding Krone and my father-in-law.”
That meant that Tigre would also have to give up Krone.
“Elena-dono had several objectives. One was to get Third Prince-dono to give up on Krone-dono. The other was to rescue the women that First Prince-dono had imprisoned.”
And then there is the most important objective of all.
“And most importantly, there is the goal of using all of this to make things easier for everyone…”
Tigre’s request, rather than Heim’s, was the whole point of the meeting. If he gave up, there would be no one to complain about the break with Ishtalika, and much of the trouble would be settled.
The worst possible outcome of a war with Ishtalika could then be avoided.
“Prime Minister-dono, I never thought from the beginning that we would win this meeting.”
“Hmm…. that’s why you decided to take advantage of the First Prince-dono’s case. Then, at the meeting, by taking the word of defectors like Krone-dono and your father-in-law, you obtained my assurance that they were unrelated to Heim.”
Then Ishtalika would not be able to complain about Layfon.
The problems that remain are trivial.
Heim, who was obsessed with winning and losing as a nation, could no longer make any unnecessary moves. When the case of Layfon came to light, Elena could not imagine that Tigre or Garland would make a strong move.
So Elena decided──.
“For me, this deserves a victory.”
With the royal Tigre broken, there was no need to worry about unnecessary disputes. The only way for her to win was to break off the relationship with Ishtalika peacefully.
“Good grief, it seems that Elena-dono has outsmarted me.”
It was one of the many games that she had been able to win. This meant a lot to Elena, and it must have been a bitter pill to swallow for Warren as well.
“There were a few minor misunderstandings, but it was pretty much what we expected.”
Warren had asked if they could go over the answers first. This was not a question of Elena’s intentions but rather a confirmation for Warren that he had been right.
“Elena-dono’s plan was brilliant but a little unsatisfactory.”
“But it’s not so bad if Elena-dono’s only goal is to avoid war. I want more than just a good cause, you know.”
His eyes glittered fearlessly, and Elena’s heart was strongly agitated.