They were still wary of them, yet, but it couldn’t be denied that the forces of the demon king were dormant.
“They could just be preparing their forces for all we know!
If we don’t attack they attack us, we will lose the initiative…”
“—There’s no such thing.”
The archbishop continued to argue his position vehemently, but someone rebutted. Only, this time it wasn’t Lilisha, but someone else.
She was the next youngest woman after Lilisha. She was outfitted with light armor and wore a helmet over her head, possessing a beauty that was less lovely and more akin to that of a sharpened blade. She was a female knight.
“…What do you mean by that, Knight Commander of the Duchy of Phileas?” Believing that since she was a military representative, the one to answer her should be him, the general of Damores raised his voice.
The female knight answered him fearlessly. “If it were immediately after the incident, then perhaps there might have been some plausibility to the fears of Archbishop-sama, but from our investigations until today, the Demon King’s castle has been in a state of alert, wary of any attacks or invaders, all this time.
On that day, the castle that was strictly being monitored by them was easily invaded by Masquerade without their knowing. And of all things, it was their Demon King who was attacked. It is only understandable that they would be in alert.
And they should remain in alert for some time to come.”
The already fortified castle had its defenses further bolstered with the addition of demon tribe soldiers that patrolled it day and night.
Moreover, because it was their king himself who was attacked, even from an objective point of view, their morale was evidently high.
Given their current state, even if the entire human race were to gather and attack, it would be difficult to break through.
“But just as Archbishop-dono is saying, it is possible that they are merely putting up an appearance and are in fact preparing to attack…”
“I didn’t expect to hear those words from the general of Damores who has often seen how these members of the demon tribe fight.
You are aware that they usually do not employ any tactics when they fight, yes?”
She was exactly correct. The general of Damores had no words to rebut with.
After all, the difference in their physical capabilities were simply too great. Even a few soldiers could crush a few countries with just their strength.
There were many countries in the past that were crushed by this great power of theirs despite trying out different strategies.
Even Damores found them a threat. At least, if one believed what they say, anyway.
In the first place, scheming and strategizing are things that the weaker side resorts to.
There is little meaning in the demon tribe attempting such tricks when they are so mighty. Ever since they have always only needed one strategy, and that is to conquer their enemies with pure power.
“Even if we were consider your hypothetical situation and say that they are indeed preparing to attack, considering that they are able to provide everything with mana – from their attacks to their equipment, and even to their methods of transportation – with such convenient methods at their disposal, any time needed to prepare should be but a moment at most.”
No matter how different the clock, the ones who will always attack faster are none other than the demon tribe themselves.
This was despite everything else they did other than that being as carefree as one would expect from a long-lived race.
“And another question begs itself. Just how long will this ‘temporary’ state of alert last?
There is a large discrepancy between our time and theirs.
It is doubtful if they would even cease being alert in our lifetime.”
The demon tribe were said to have over 10 times the lifespan of humanity.
The present demon king, Gior, is recorded to have been in power since 300 years ago.
The time of such a long-lived race was simply too different compared to the human race that could at most last for a hundred years.
“Indeed. Unless something extreme were to happen, they should remain alert for the next 20 to 30 years at least,” Lilisha said.
“20 to 30 years!? Is that true, General!?” The archbishop asked.
“…As regrettable as it maybe, it is a likely story,” the general replied.
The princess was tacitly asking if this alliance would hold until then.
Not knowing how to answer, the archbishop inadvertently turned to the general, but facts were facts.
“T-This is preposterous!
We were just one step away from finally recovering the holy land, Gareth Tuul, and yet!”
As the archbishop collapsed into his seat and held his head, the general spat. “Damn him! What legendary assassin!?
Because of his failure, everything has turned into a mess!”
The assistant consoled his depressed boss, but the sudden change had him puzzled.
Until then the representatives of the other countries have been watching the exchange between the princess and the general as if they were bystanders. They gave off an aura as if they were ‘intentionally’ watching over the result of the debate.
But as soon as the general uttered those words, the atmosphere in the place suddenly became subdued.
The general himself hadn’t noticed that in his irritation he had spat out contempt for Masquerade.
The young man could sense from that evidently condescending gaze toward them.
—There is another reason behind Masquerade’s actions.
This reason has somewhat become a well-known fact among the representatives other than the archbishop and the general.
And it was because they couldn’t see that that they looked down on them. Greenhorns that couldn’t see through the veil.
And yet the archbishop who continued to hold his head was still oblivious to it.
Ahh, it’s over. Though the man didn’t say it, internally, he laughed.
“Yes, that’s right… It’s exactly as the general said!
Unforgivable! How dare he dirty our holy war and get in our way!
Masquerade is an unnecessary variable! An element of noise! The alliance should move posthaste to remove him!!
Bring down our Goddess Rimoa’s hammer upon that suspicious masked—”
“—Enough! This is unsightly!!”
A dignified yet commanding voice resounded at the round table.
Even those other than the ones the youngest princess was talking to could feel the pressure.
“You dare call yourself the archbishop of the renowned Rimoa Faith while acting like that!?
Not only did your plans fail, but now you’re shifting the blame onto Masquerade?
Moreover, you actually dared to use the Great Alliance that was concerned over the future of the human race for the sake of your self-interest!
But you weren’t satisfied with just that, and now you’re even demanding that our goddess herself exact judgment? Who do you think you are!?
Have some shame!!”
“Shut up! Already, your words have no value.
My kingdom is no longer able to lend you even the few soldiers it could prior!
On this day, my Earthgant shall withdraw itself from the alliance.
The official process and documents will be handled at a later date.”
“In that case, the Duchy of Phileas shall do the same.
Try as we might to unite the country, expelling the demon tribe with our present circumstances is nothing more than a pipe dream.
The demon tribe also isn’t of much threat right now. There’s no reason to make such frantic efforts.”
The two of them leaving the alliance was the impetus that set fire to the oil. The rest of the representatives began standing up one after another.
They gave many reasons why. Some said that if Earthgant was leaving it would no longer be possible to defeat the demon tribe, others argued that the war costs couldn’t be covered, and so on and so forth…
As they said these things, the general and the archbishop finally noticed that the representatives wore contempt on their face, but it was already too late.
Even if they understood what that meant, the pressure pushing down on them from the princess prevented them from moving an inch.
“Impossible. Why is this happening? …It is my destiny to expel the demon tribe!”
“I gambled my whole life to get this far! Why, Goddess! Tell me why!”
Although everything had already come to an end, the general and the archbishop still couldn’t come to terms with it.
Only the young man’s eyes chased after the two of them with interest as they took the lead and left.
One week later.
The alliance that ‘used’ the name of the church and Damores failed. With that also meant the failure of the demon tribe expulsion.
The general and the archbishop were made to take responsibility for their failure, and as a result, they lost their power and position.
—But this was exactly the end of the alliance that most of the politicians of the world had predicted.