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Volume 3: Chapter 251 – Failed Negotiations (2/2)
There was clamor outside when Pale left.
Armed elven warriors glared sharply at the goblins surrounding them. The tanned skin of these elven warriors were not features that could be found among the wind elves (sylphs). The goblins were also on the edge from the last battle, so they didn’t break their threatening posture.
A voice from the elves called out to Pale, and when she turned around, she saw the man that could be said to be the conscience of the Burning Bright Moons Clan.
“Berk Alsen Royon…”
“Friend of the North (Noizan Arata), do forgive me for not showing my face in a while.”
“Friend of the South (Zauzan Arata), my apologies as well, I haven’t been keeping in touch either.”
As Pale greeted him with grace, the elves became noisy.
“Who is that? That’s not an earth elf (one of ours).”
“Looks like a sylph. So there were survivors.”
When she overheard them, Pale turned to the surprised gnomes.
“So, what business do you have with us?”
“Right… Briefly put, we wish to fight with you.”
Berk was a tall man. He got on one knee and gave Pale the highest greeting he could give. With both of them being elves, they were both exceptionally beautiful; hence, this exchange of theirs looked just like a painting.
“…Why so suddenly?”
“Of course, it’s not because we were touched by your spirit.”
“Of course not. Let’s go in and talk.”
Pale nodded and invited the representatives of the gnomes, then she told the goblins that there was no need to be on alert and that they could return to their posts. The gnome warriors were surprised to see the goblins obey her, but Pale ignored them and spoke with the representative of the gnomes.
They were a tribe of earth elves (gnomes) that came from a place known as the Land of the Southern Barbarians. In the process of the humans establishing their hegemony, their clan was driven to those lands. It has already been 100 years since the gnomes settled in those lands, and it has been quiet for a long time, but recently, the footsteps of the humans reached their ears once more. At this rate, they will surely be persecuted again, so the elders of the gnomes decided to investigate the human world. A duty Berk fulfilled by taking advantage of the clan system.
“And you found out about us?”
“Yes,” An old gnome warrior nodded. “The things Berk told me were truly interesting.”
It must be because they lived in the desert for a long time that his skin was so tanned. With his bulging muscles, he was probably also really good at close combat.
When the elders heard Berk’s report, they decided that they couldn’t just remain as spectators.
“A decision one would expect from the brave gnomes indeed.”
The old warrior seemed proud as he nodded to Pale’s words.
“That’s the gist of our situation. We have 400 gnome warriors, every one of which is a sword or spear that could match a thousand warriors. Please allow us to fight with you,” Berk said.
“…I take it you want to recover the territory of the gnomes?” Pale asked.
“Yes. Specifically, we wish to recover the area extending from a portion of Eastern Holy Shushunu Kingdom to about one-half of the minor nation, Gernio.”
Those territories weren’t much, so Pale didn’t think it would be an issue. The goblins weren’t greedy for land, and they had to destroy the minor nations allied with the Holy Shushunu Kingdom anyway, so they didn’t need to hold back for anyone. As for the rest, that depended on the king’s decision.
“Do you know where the water elves (undine) and the fire elves (salamander) are?”
Pale took their silence as a yes.
“Hiding things won’t do either of us good. I’m not saying that you’re weak, but I’m sure that it’s also because you understand that defeating the Holy Shushunu Kingdom with just the 400 of you won’t be possible that you wish to work with us, yes?”
“…Pale-dono, you are a brilliant tactician. Your tactics aren’t something we could hope to imitate. Hiding things indeed won’t do either of us any good.”
When Berk said that, the frowning old warrior spoke.
“We’re no strangers, but it would be best if you don’t expect much from them.”
“Nothing will change if we don’t try. Can you tell me where they are?”
The old warrior finally gave in and nodded his head while groaning.
“If that’s what you wish.”
This meeting allowed Pale to come up with a new scheme against the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
After parting with them, Pale called upon Gi Za’s help. Speaking of which, Gi Za was still furious for having lost face due to the Kushunora incident.
“Blanche the War Princess… This time we will be the victors.”
Blessed by the goddess of vengeance, the hands of the tactician reached out for the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
After repelling the goblins, Blanche gave a full report to the king at the imperial court of the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
Her victory did not only mean that the goblins were repelled, but it also established their border and earned them political merit. But Blanche lost more soldiers than she’d expected. They were able to snatch victory, but the losses they suffered weren’t something she could ignore. She had hired skilled adventurers, but even the adventurers guild suffered a lot of losses. If they were to fight any more than this, her power will grow weaker.
“That monster was more than I expected.”
After repelling the fiendish goblins, her influence in the imperial court has become greater than ever. She was already acting as if she were the head of the three great nobles, but no one disputed it.
“As you command.”
“There’s no need to stand on ceremony.”
“As you will!”
She invited Far of the Short Sword Battle Maiden (Valkyria) to her house. Blanche enjoyed a cup of black tea, but Far was overly serious and just stood there with her back straight, not even touching her cup.
As Blanche heaved a sigh, Far asked her.
“…I hear things aren’t progressing so well.”
She looked at her reflection on her cup and spoke.
“Apparently, the underlings of the Kushunora House are causing trouble. ‘We should fight again and take the Highway of Wealth for ourselves,’ is what they’re saying.”
“Is Kushunora-dono aware of that?”
“He’s not that much of a fool. He knows full well that we’d be bankrupt before we could take the Highway of Wealth for ourselves. Unfortunately, his supporters don’t understand that. It seems he’s having a hard time suppressing them, and there are also those among the army who support it. To make things worse, those few supporters are able to whisper to our dearest king.”
“…The adventurers guild is also moving strange recently.”
“Hmm… It would be good if they’re merely overeager because of the victory. Though, having to wait for them to cool down does mean we will be giving the goblins more time to recover.”
‘Perhaps I should line up the heads of my own allies too,’ Blanche thought as she glanced at Far, but upon seeing her stand so honestly, she sighed and shook her head.
“Ridiculous. If secrets need be whispered, they should be kept only to honeyed words! We defeated the goblins. What we should be doing now is to either ask them to surrender or send them an envoy of peace. Why don’t they understand this?”
“…Perhaps they are hesitant to establish a diplomatic relationship with goblins?”
“They are strong, that’s why they could build a country. My cute subordinates didn’t lose to people we can’t work with!”
“Yes, clan leader!”
“Hmm… We have to do something.”
The troubled Blanche was actually troubled by the inner palace (reserved for women).
“Oh, right, Far. What do you think about the inner palace—”
“If you’re going to refuse it that much, then… I suppose there’s no choice. I’ll have to offer myself as a candidate.”
“Won’t His Majesty run away?”
“Sigh, I wonder if there’s a queen somewhere willing to be my pawn.”
“You’re being too blunt, Clan Leader…”
In the end, it took Blanche 30 days after defeating the goblins before she was able to bring together the imperial court and send an envoy to the goblins seeking peace and an alliance.
The reason it took Blanche so much time was partly because she didn’t believe that the goblins would be able to get themselves back up in just 30 days, and partly because she was not as harsh toward her own allies. She also believed in the time that Esgare bought in exchange for his life. Her naivety to believe in that gave the goblins enough time. Unfortunately for her, in just 30 days, the situation would undergo a tremendous change.
The Goblin King’s health returned to normal after 3 days.
Pale used that as an opportunity to reorganize the army and propose to the king a new plan to deal with the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
“In the first place, we threw away our advantage the moment we stepped onto the same ring.”
Pale analyzing their defeat was to show the king that they would incorporate even that into their plans.
“She also doesn’t have many subordinates with which she can entrust the battlefield to.”
Pale had been keeping an eye out for the War Princess during the battle, but in the end, she could never figure out where she was. One thing for sure was that Blanche Ririnoie was there during the turning point of the battle, so she could just start there.
If the War Princess had many subordinates she could entrust with the battlefield, she wouldn’t have had to be so elusive. A general of the entire army like her could just hide behind her forces. Pale figured that if she thought about it like this, then she would be able to catch the War Princess.
Yes, she could just give them the turning point herself, and then the War Princess will appear on her own volition.
To that end, they needed to lose and they also needed enough soldiers to crush them.
“The Holy Shushunu Kingdom is a great power that reins supreme in the meadows. It sources its rare slaves, such as the demihumans, or the elves, or those that became slaves due to the war with the minor powers from the eastern minor powers.”
“You wish to make use of that?”
“Yes. I’ve already sent my people.”
If Pale’s plan were to be put in simple words, she intended to lure out the War Princess and crush her with supplies. Hence, she intended to greatly increase their numbers by incorporating elf, demihuman, and human combatants, and then suppress Shushunu in one fell swoop. When Pale said that she would crush her with supplies, the Goblin King became thoughtful.
They probably won’t have any problem with supplies as long as Yoshu was in charge.
It would be troublesome if the War Princess were to escape and fight them with guerrilla tactics. If they defeat the Holy Shushunu Kingdom only for it to betray them, it would just cause them more problems. The Holy Shushunu Kingdom had to fall with the War Princess.
“The elves and the demihumans, I understand. But what about the humans? Even if you forcefully conscript the soldiers in my lands, they won’t be of help.”
If anything, they might just create an opening for the War Princess.
“We have an ally for that.”
“The Kushain Believers?”
“Do you believe Queen Mira to be the kind of person who’d keep quiet after everything?”
“Well, now that you mention it… Can you give me an estimate?”
“As you will.”
In fact, in less than 10 days, a letter from the queen of the Kushain Believers, also known as their saint, Mira Vi Burnen, was brought to the king.
‘I will also be sending soldiers for the next campaign!’
Her competitive spirit and great anger could easily be felt through her letter. When the Goblin King read it, his expression was indescribable.
The Governor-General of the Western Capital, Yoshu, also sent him medical supplies after getting word of their defeat.
He also gathered 2,000 goblins that normally did patrols and had Gi Ah lead them to the king along with a letter imploring the king to employ the humans as guards.
When 2,000 wounded goblins came back with the king’s letter of agreement, Yoshu sent them to the Forest of Darkness and then sent the some of the proceeds of the Western Capital to the king to help. Moreover, Gi Ii also ran to the Goblin King along with some of the goblins from the Forest of Darkness like the crippled goblins, the goblins in charge with educating the newly born goblins, and the goblins who wished to go back to the front lines. They numbered 500.
All of this was arranged by Yoshu.
At this point, even the Goblin King was shocked by Yoshu’s skill, but he was also happy. A month later, they had another 2,000 soldiers plus a thousand more from the south. Yellow’s messengers also joined them.
By this point, the situation has swung largely out of Blanche the War Princess’ expectations.
The chaos at the Western Capital was minimized by Yoshu, and while at first it seemed as if their headquarters had been attacked, in truth, only one village had been attacked, and their headquarters was actually in good health.
The monster with endless stamina yet held his power as he looked vigilantly toward the east.
It was at a time like that that the diplomats from the Holy Shushunu Kingdom came.
—Let us engage in diplomacy and have peace.
The diplomats probably never expected that they would be rejected. After all, the goblins suffered great losses and were forced to flee to the west. If they didn’t want to be attacked, then they had no choice but to accept their conditions. Although they didn’t actually give any because Blanche had persuaded their king. Unfortunately, her efforts were wasted as the Goblin King rejected the messenger’s call for peace and diplomacy.
“We will not form an alliance after a defeat.”
The king’s firm decision was supported by Pale, but it was also made after seeing the thorough logistical support offered by Yoshu and their alliance with the Kushain Believers. The tiger and spear army (Aransain) and the twin-headed beast and axe army (Zeilduk) positioned at the south were also in perfect condition. What’s more was that even the bow and arrow army (Fanzel) positioned near the borders was still in good health.
“Let the War Princess know that we look forward to a rematch.”
The Goblin King was full of leisure as he said that with a fierce smile. To the diplomats, he was the very picture of a demon king, but in truth, things weren’t that easy for them either.
Regardless of the truth, the king couldn’t afford to show weakness during diplomacy. This was something that the Goblin King himself acknowledged, as well as something that Pale counseled him on, but if they were to meekly accept the alliance with the Holy Shushunu Kingdom, the path to the east would be closed, and they would no longer be able to stand against the downwind of the Holy Shushunu Kingdom.
The defeat against them would weigh heavily upon the goblins and the territories that opposed them would gain momentum and seek reinforcements from them. With the kingdom’s domestic affairs unstable, the Goblin King had no choice but to put on a brave act.
Had Blanche come here as diplomat herself, then her tenacity might have brought their two kingdoms into a peaceful alliance. It was not because she liked the goblins that she wanted peace with the goblins. Rather it was merely the result of her comparing the strength of the Holy Shushunu Kingdom with the goblin’s. In other words, they had to form an alliance with them even at the cost of a few concessions, or the kingdom could be in danger.
Unfortunately, none of the diplomats were as privy as her to the current state of the kingdom. Neither did they understand the threat of the goblins, and neither were they brave men.
The Holy Shushunu Kingdom also wasn’t used to negotiating with a neighboring kingdom much bigger than it.
In the end, the diplomats took the king’s words as is and went back to their country after just three days as if they were running away.
Blanche Ririnoie was furious upon getting word of that, but unfortunately, it was already too late.
Behind Ririnoie were the military and the adventurers guild.
Behind Kushunora were the traders and the merchants guild.
Behind Agarmua were the farmlands and the judicial affairs.
Such were the privileges of the three great nobles that represented the Holy Shushunu Kingdom, but traditionally, diplomacy was a special right of the king. As a subject of the king and as a great noble, she had no choice but to act with reservation toward the king. After all, if her arrogance were to go too far, it could be taken as treason.
Despite that she still repeatedly warned the diplomats that the king chose before they left, but in the end, they came back with no results to speak of. To make things worse, they now had to consider another battle.
This was an affront to the people who died fighting under her, so her fury was perfectly justified.
Because of that even though she knew that the battle could no longer be avoided, in her anger, she directly appealed that the king execute every single relative of the people he sent as diplomats.
Naturally, this could not be granted, but the king did order for the execution of the diplomats’ leaders.
Blanche raised their heads and was about to send the diplomats still alive to the goblins, but before she could, a terrible report reached her.
The Kushain Believers had declared war against them, the Holy Shushunu Kingdom, in order to help their allies.
Now, Blanche had no choice but to plan for another battle against the goblins.