Chapter 317 – 26th of Month of Platinum: Royal Castle of Spada
The war council was established within the assembly hall of Royal Castle of Spada, and showed no signs of closure even as the day turned to night.
The topic of discussion was about the sudden appearance of a powerful group,『Crusaders』, who had captured the neighbouring country Daedalus.
According to the most important concern regarding city-state’s security at present, it was only natural for the argument to reach climax.
「――How about a pre-emptive strike from our side?」
The person to bring up the pre-emptive strike idea was the leader of Spada Army’s Second Squad:『Tempest』’s general, Emilia Friedrich Bardiel.
The brave woman from one of the Four Great Nobles, Bardiel Family, had an amazing intimidating air around her, to which even a veteran knight wouldn’t be able to refute to.
「How many times should I tell you that it’s the difficult thing……aa, aren’t we just going around the circles now……」
However, there was a young man who opposed her idea upfront; or rather he was tired of even replying to her.
He was the First Prince of Spada and also the vice-chief of Spada Army’s First Squad:『Tempest』, Aizenhart Tristan Spada.
He turned his eyes towards the commanding officer seat while he scratched the red hair inherited from his father as if to say he has given up now. On the seat sat the King of Spada, Leonhart Tristan Spada.
The figure of him looking over the assembly hall with a stern expression surely seemed fit for a king, however within his mind he had surely been annoyed of the situation getting out of hand.
It was about time to let him calm down doing sword-swinging practices, or else he might go with the flow and order to attack right now, or so Aizenhart thought half-seriously-half-jokingly.
In short, the son knew all well that his father wasn’t good at brain work.
The one annoyed right now wasn’t only King Leonhart, but also he himself; the commission officers attending right now and the followers of generals too were the same.
The one having conflicting views with Aizenhart, General Emilia, too was feeling fatigue both physically and mentally, although she wouldn’t show it.
It was already the point to decide the common grounds within this war council, even if they cannot decide on a plan right now.
Sighing again, Aizen said his opinion.
「General Emilia, I sure know the effectiveness of a pre-emptive strike, but these aren’t times to allow for that」
Aizenhart’s opinion was a nonaggressive defence.
「It might be weird to say this here, but there won’t be any progression at this rate. So let me be frank, you mean that there is no problem with Spada Army, but with other countries, right?」
「……Do you mean to say, we’d have to wait for the ally nations to change their views?」
Emilia wasn’t employed in the army just for farce. She had overwhelming martial prowess and also was quite an intelligent girl.
She already understood the main point, no it was more like she already had guessed it since the start, but still tried to avoid the topic just like Aizenhart.
「Well elder sister is in Fauren, and with the recent Slave Dealer incident they owe us, so there shouldn’t be a problem with this one」
Once upon a time Spada and Fauren used to fight for the territory of Iskia, but in present time these two city-state could be said to be the friendly nations with the most interexchange amongst all the city-states.
The「elder sister」Aizenhart said was, in other words, the First Princess of Spada. She had been engaged to First Prince of Fauren, leading to a deeper relation between the two countries in King Leonhart’s era.
If Spada were to ask for cooperation from foreign allies, Fauren would surely be the first to accept that.
But looking behind the lines, it meant there was little hope from others except Fauren. And the first on list on the other side was a neighbouring country literally on the other side of Fauren.
「So it is Avalon, huh. It wouldn’t be easy」
Emilia raised her eyebrows gracefully as if to consent to Aizenhart’s words.
「The territory of Demon King itself is now a peace-loving idiot, just deplorable」
The group of city-states in the centre of Pandora Continent had lived a long time in peace.
That wasn’t because of a good intention of giving up on fighting, but just because of consistent diplomacy and an exquisite military balance.
Naturally, with long-lasting peace, the feelings of avoiding wars along with friendship with neighbouring countries has seeped deep within the citizens, but were the power balance to be tripped, it would undoubtedly start a new warring-era.
That was the reason Spada took on non-aggressive defence plan as a countermeasure against Daidalus up until now.
It was a famous story that Pandora’s Dragon King, Gaevinal’s ambition was to uniform the whole of Pandora. Hence, at the time of defensive battle, it was easy as a piece of cake with cooperation of allied nations starting with Avalon.
That was one of the main reasons why Spada could avoid the powerful Daidalus Army, and also could fight on the defence without worrying about the future.
However the enemy, Daedalus, which was deemed as a threat by other nations, was destroyed and now that the power was in a new enemy’s hands, the story changed altogether.
In other words, it meant whether they should support Spada or not? The talks had returned all the way back to zero.
「The Crusaders are a enemy needing more caution than Daedalus. They are barbarians without the knowledge of war-etiquette.」
The intuition of His Majesty Leonhart hit the bulls-eye, and the envoy they had sent before never made it back, ever.
Gaevinal was an avid fan of the ancient Demon King Legends, and used to fuss over the war-rules little too much.
It was a declaration of war by all means, but he still notified the date and time of the war. Even more, he asked for one-to-one combat with the retired generals of various city-states.
And His Majesty Leonhart was strange to accept it every time. His power and conduct was also strange.
Anyhow, if an envoy from Spada was to go to him, Gaevinal would not kill rather welcome him, listen to the message, and write a letter with his own hands as a reply.
Not reacting at all to an envoy was creepy, rather than rude.
If only had they returned the severed head of the envoy, it would show their hostility precisely and give a catalyst to Spada for mobilizing all the nations. Of course Aizenhart wasn’t an idiot to speak this imprudent thought of his in public.
「Certainly, the Galahad Mountains were in a bad shape, but――」
「”Bad shape” doesn’t do it justice, that was obviously an slaughter」
The reason Emilia was vigilant towards Crusaders is because she had seen the traces of the fight with her very own eyes.
To trace back three months ago, just about time it was the start of Month of New Flame. An envoy with the joint signatures of all villages from Daedalus came to Spada asking for rescue.
At that time Spada sure got the whiff on a turbulence occurring in Daedalus, but still didn’t know what exactly was happening.
With the help of the envoy from Daedalus, they finally got their hands on the decisive information.
Immediately His Majesty Leonhart dispatched the rescue squad. On that very day, the Second Squad:『Tempest』got their orders because of their highly-skilled mobility and the number of cavalries.
And the Emilia-led Squad saw a place where brutal massacre had occurred, right in the heart of Galahad Mountain Range.
「Well, calm down. I know you’re cute little brother was in danger, so it couldn’t be hel――」
「Pardon me Emilia-senpai, it was miss on my part」
A soft air filled the assembly hall, easing the tensed atmosphere.
In the Royal Spada Academy it was a famous story of Emilia being a senior of Aizenhart. Or more precisely, it was their legends made when enrolled in school that were famous.
And among the Spada Army, it is a known relationship of Aizenhart not being able to match up with his senior, Emilia.
「Anyhow, I’m vigilant towards the Crusaders the most at the moment. The fact that the old man of Baphomet isn’t here is the biggest proof, isn’t it?」
「……Certainly, I’ve heard General Gezenboul entering the Galahad Fort」
About half a month earlier, right after His Majesty Leonhart returned from the Galahad Fort inspection, he immediately gave orders to fortify the defences of the stronghold.
The one selected for that duty was the General Guzenboul from the famous high class demon, Baphomet. The Spada Army’s Third Squad『Rampage』was sent as reinforcements to Galahad Fort.
「Furthermore, Dragons, Pegasus and Gryphons are also gathered as aerial arsenal, scouting is a given and can also be used in time of emergency」
The fact the precious aerial war potential had been gathered meant that Spada was vigilant enough to think of any day as the calm before storm.
It also meant Spada, no, His Majesty Leonhart actually not taking Crusaders lightly.
「Interpreting it other way around, that’s the limit of the current time Spada」
「Yeah, your pre-emptive strike wouldn’t work」
Emilia spoke coldly, as Aizenhart only nodded quietly. That was the common sense that didn’t need any reason to speak about.
If Spada were to attempt a pre-emptive strike in this situation, other nations would take it as a will to conquer over the territory of Daedalus.
They wouldn’t be blamed for the inhumane act of aggression, no, they would be criticized like that, at least publically, but the main problem was the enlargement of Spada’s territory.
If the vast territory of Daedalus were to be swallowed by Spada, the national power balance would definitely break.
Even if Spada didn’t had any ill intentions it would still create problems, and even if they cessed over the territory of Daedalus in a proper manner it would of course became a spark to light a fire.
「It might sound retarded to wait for the enemy to prepare their arsenal, but it cannot be helped」
That was the reason Spada could only take on defensive measures.
It was only recently that Crusaders took over Daedalus, in that case their defensive stance shouldn’t be that hard to break past. Let it be defence or conquering or even ruling the occupied land, it all needed time.
「There has been a report on possible uprising within Daedalus territory」
「Though it is not known if they are bandits or remnants of Daedalus army, but there is surely turbulence in every place」
That was exactly why the chances of completely destroying the Crusaders were perfect at the current moment. That could also lead to Spada’s flag rising on the Royal Castle of Daedalus.
But no one wishes for the conclusion of Spada’s big victory.
「In the end, nothing changes from usual, it can’t change」
“The Crusaders were after all a Second Daedalus”, this point of view was quite relieving.
Nonaggressive defence meant Spada only had to be the shield of various nations even now.
At the very least, that way has maintained the peace in Pandora for very long, and even Spada wouldn’t want to destroy it.
「It can’t be helped……but we are certain to be on war with Crusaders. Lay down the groundwork at the frontline base of enemy, I believe it was called Alsace, so we can prepare for an pre-emptive strike, no, at least be ready for emergencies」
「I agree. At most I’ll have to make our diplomat work hard enough to scare the Avalon’s royal court」
In any case, the opinions showed signs of finally being decided.
The moment when His Majesty Leonhart who had been silent all long finally got the time to give orders as the head that something happened.
「Your Majesty, there is an emergency to report」
One of the Imperial Guard appeared silently and whispered as such in the sitting Leonhart’s ears.
Everyone could see the King hearing some information, and because they couldn’t hear what it was, the commissioned officers started murmuring.
That strange waiting time ended within just a minute.
Leonhart abruptly stood up from the seat and spoke in a loud voice, as though giving orders on a battlefield.
「We’re departing right now!」