Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Summer was coming to an end, but the intensity of the sunlight was still the same as mid-summer.
It was said that it was still cooler in the West than in the Central region. However, very few people could sense such a small difference in temperature. Even if it was a little or a lot cooler, the sweat never stopped, and summer was summer, and winter was winter.
The difference between the two regions was their livelihoods. While agriculture thrived in the Central, cotton, and sesame were the specialties of the West. In addition, they also put a lot of effort into horse breeding, and many of the stagecoaches in the region were produced in the West.
There was another difference between the West and the Central.
The West was always adjacent to other countries, and because there were no natural barriers, skirmishes occurred frequently. For this reason, many forts had been built on the borders, and fortresses continued to protect the land with their stares.
Among them was a fortress called Delisha.
Delisha was located on the border with Felzen and was a strong fortress that should be called the keystone of the defense of the Great Grantz Empire. It was currently being used as one of the main bases for the plan to recapture Felzen.
September 4th, 1026th year of the imperial calendar.
Liz, the sixth princess of the Great Grantz Empire and the acting emperor, arrived at Fort Delisha.
She was welcomed by the people of Grantz who live in the fortress, and many nobles and lords came to greet her.
Despite the festive atmosphere that enveloped Fort Delisha, the command center was filled with a heavy atmosphere.
“Aura, Skaaha, it’s been a long time. How are you?”
Liz entered the command center and smiled at the two people who greeted her.
The appearance of Liz ― just with that, the gloomy air that filled the room underwent a gentle change that was akin to a refreshing coolness.
“Aura has grown a little taller, hasn’t she?”
“…..I’m not growing at all.”
Aura said, her mouth agape with disapproval. Aura was still as small as she was two years ago and had not grown to the point where one wondered if she had “dwarf blood” in her veins.
It was hard to believe that she was really older than Liz. Her military uniform was also sagging because the sleeves were not the right length. She wore a woman’s uniform, but it was still too big for Aura. Since there was no such thing as children’s uniforms, she would normally have custom-made uniforms made for her; but she liked women’s uniforms, and she insisted that she was still growing and that long sleeves were better for her.
Leaving a smile on her somewhat childlike side, Liz turned to Skaaha, who was standing next to Aura.
“Skaaha looks… you don’t look well, do you? What’s wrong?”
Skaaha wore a somewhat gloomy atmosphere.
The air was so heavy on her that even compared to the people around her, the difference was obvious.
“No, there is nothing. Why do you ask that?”
With a single vacant smile, Skaaha let a weak smile form at the corners of her mouth. It was clear that she was forcing it so as not to worry Liz.
Liz was about to pursue the matter but noticed that Aura was looking at her suspiciously.
Then she understood. She realized that she was “seeing” again.
Liz shook her head with a smile to cover it up.
“Yes, it’s okay. It was just my imagination. I’m sorry.”
“Hmm, the royal family is finally on the verge of a revival. There is no time to be discouraged. I’m feeling rather uplifted.”
The fact that Skaaha spoke a little too quickly showed the darkness behind her back. It was obvious to Liz that she was hiding something, but the others did not seem to notice anything unusual about her.
The changes were so subtle that even Liz, who could “see” them, thought she had misunderstood them.
“I guess it’s true. At last, Skaaha’s dream is about to come true, isn’t it?”
Perhaps sensing Liz’s probing gaze, Skaaha turned her head away and folded her arms over her head.
“Well, not without some concern.”
Skaaha stubbornly avoided being perceived. Considering her stubborn nature, further probing was dangerous. There was even a possibility that she would close her mind.
“After all, you can’t find any clues to intervene with Felzen?”
“Yes, it’s a tough situation. The Six Kingdoms have been increasing the rationing of supplies recently.”
The Six Kingdoms had been focusing on the west side of Felzen, but recently they began distributing supplies to the east side, maintaining security and rebuilding destroyed villages, and they were gaining support from the people of Felzen.
“Still, there are loopholes.”
Aura turned her back to Liz and went to the desk surrounded by the staff.
Liz moved away from Aura and headed for the honorary seat. When she reached the chair, she stood erect and steadfast, looking at the staff members surrounding the desk. She watched them salute nervously, then returned the salute before taking her seat. After confirming the situation, Aura pointed on the map to the Senan region, which was governed by Tigris, one of the Six Kingdoms.
“The country of Tigris is a nation made up of only the long-eared race. Among the Six Kingdoms, the Tigris is a nation that has a strong disdain for the human race. This is no different in Felzen. The haughty way in which they deal with the situation has led to a great deal of opposition in many places.”
Aura explained the situation while muttering nonchalantly.
“In order to break out of this situation, the Six Kingdoms have installed a new commander dispatched from Anguis in Tigris, but due to racial differences, coordination has not gone well, and the chain of command is in disarray.”
“In other words, it’s an opportunity… What about the pleas from the inhabitants of Senan?”
“They are addressed to the Felzen Liberation Army. The cause and the name are now complete. Using the Senan area as a foothold, we will reach out to the whole of Felzen.”
After placing a new piece on the map, Aura turned to Liz.
“We have already entrusted one of the five great generals, General Cain, with the First Army of 30,000 and have begun the invasion with the cooperation of the Felzen Liberation Army. According to the report I received yesterday, we have succeeded in liberating three forts and two towns.”
Liz felt a twinge of doubt in her heart as she listened to Aura’s story.
Her eyes dart over the map, and she opened her mouth as she searches for the answer to her question.
“When did General Cain leave?”
“Six days ago.”
He attacked three forts and two towns in such a short period of time. That is equivalent to half of the Senan region. Even though they were led by five great generals, the speed of their attack was astonishing.
“Did the enemy not put up any resistance?”
Liz said, and Aura affirmed.
“I heard that the enemy didn’t fight but fled at the mere sight of the First Army’s shadow. There is a possibility that they may have set a trap, so I’ve instructed them to march carefully, but… nothing has happened so far.”
There was a plan to make the enemy army win a series of battles to catch them off guard. No matter how well trained they were, repeated victories would give them momentum, but the tension would be broken. Laziness would sprout. If they were attacked at such a moment of slackness, it would not be easy to regroup, even if they were led by the five great generals. As Liz thought about stopping the march and seeing what happened, Aura’s story from a while ago came back to her mind.
“…They may not be willing to fight for the human race.”
The Senan region of Felzen is too far away from the mainland of Tigris in the Six Kingdoms. Two years was too short a time to consider such a place as one’s own territory.
If the commanding officer had been replaced with a human, it was unlikely that the egomaniacs, with their strong self-esteem, would comply with the order to defend their country to the death. Even if they didn’t, if the confusion in the chain of command was prolonged, Liz’s prediction becomes more realistic.
Aura nodded in satisfaction when Liz looked at her and wondered what she was thinking.
“Yes, there are no traps. So now we are allowing them to engage Tigris at random, without worrying about the rear. Our future plan is to have a second army by the end of the day. Then, in one month, the main Grantz army will occupy Scheue, the former royal capital of Felzen, so that we can establish a standoff with the West. Then the east side of Felzen can be taken back by Grantz.”
Aura began to place the pieces on the table with a lively thumping sound.
“This time, it’s a race against time. So we chose the shortest path and rebuilt the logistics. We will continue to use the path we used before as a decoy.”
After listening to Aura’s story, Liz put the plan together again in her mind to see if there were any problems.
Aura looked at Liz in such a way that she seemed reassuring.
“The Six Kingdoms will probably cut off the eastern side.”
She said, confidently. From the beginning, the eastern side of Felzen was unstable due to deteriorating security.
If they were going to be a liability, it was best to cut them off. If the Six Kingdoms were considering this battle to be a long-term war, they would use the eastern side of Felzen as a buffer zone to prepare their military and invade again.
Liz gave Skaaha a concerned look once before opening her mouth.
“From what I’ve heard… the eastern side has been abandoned for a long time, and if it’s going to be a battleground, the Six Kingdoms will abandon it if it doesn’t have a good flavor. And even though supplies are being brought in, the damage is still minimal at this point.”
If this was the case, then considering that the Grantz would rule in the future, they should avoid further chaos and work to improve security. Even if they regain the Senan region, people would not return to a place where bandits and rebels were rampant, and if they start a rebellion, they would be blinded by it.
“Yes, the people of Felzen have reached their limits. We need to take back Felzen in the shortest and fastest way for smooth future governance.”
Waiting for Aura to finish, Liz turned serious eyes on Skaaha.
“Just one more time, this is the final confirmation.”
She spun her words as if, of course, giving Skaaha as much time as possible to think.
“Are you sure about this after we recapture Felzen?”
“Yeah… no problem.”
Skaaha nodded deeply and then smiled self-mockingly.
“Even though I am a survivor of the Felzen royal family, I am the kind of princess who invited back the one who killed my parents, brothers, and sisters. No one will accept me. Once the Felzen royal family is restored, the throne will be handed over to someone else.”
That was the condition presented by Skaaha to the Grantz for the recapture of Felzen.
Even the Grantz, who were touted as the supreme power on the central continent, could not afford to wage war without compensation.
The only thing that precedes it was money ― there was no way that Skaaha personally had the money to pay for the enormous war, and the only thing left to replace it was her title.
Therefore, Skaaha used the Felzen royal family as collateral, and after recapturing it, she handed over control to the Grantz by placing a person whose blood flows through their veins on the throne. It was because of this that the noble lords of Grantz were cooperating with the recapture of Felzen this time with heavy hearts.
“I understand. Let’s do everything we can to get Felzen back.”
No matter how much it pained her, she must put aside her personal feelings.
It was forbidden for a person who aspires to be emperor of the Grantz Empire to act only out of sympathy.
“I appreciate you. I, too, will give you my unsparing power.”
Liz could not find the words to say to Skaaha, who bowed deeply.