Episode 68: Diplomacy
The day to visit the Imperial Palace, located in the heart of the Hisan Empire finally came.
“Oh, isn’t it Lord Vlad, it has been a long time! Please, come in! ”
“I’m glad you all seem to be doing fine.”
The horse-drawn carriage owned by the Imperial aristocrat Vlad, passed through the checkpoint in the Imperial Palace.
There was no carriage examination and they simply let him in with a ‘face pass’.
“You sure are a big deal here, Vlad.”
“I’ve swung the sword since I was a kid all the way to joining the battlefields. This is the result of that, Yamato.”
Said Yamato as he rode the carriage, deeply impressed by the image of the imperial soldiers showing respect just by seeing his face.
The old Vlad had already retired from the front lines of the imperial army.
But regardless of that, he received the respect from imperial soldiers in several places and his personality and past achievements could still be felt from their attitudes.
“You are calm as always, Yamato-sama… Even as we are in front of the Imperial Palace…”
Slightly stiffened by the current circumstances Isis, who was riding the same carriage, spoke.
The fate of the city of Orn was on the table, and she soon would begin the negotiations with the imperial diplomat.
She couldn’t help feeling anxious when thinking about it.
“The other party is a high-ranking government official. Is not like we’re meeting the royalty. So, there’s no need to be so nervous, Isis.”
“I see, I guess that’s one positive way of looking at it… thank you, Yamato-sama! ”
After hearing what Yamato said, something changed slightly in Isis.
She probably used that as a hint to switching gears.
Her complexion improved and the forced smile returned to the usual gentle smile.
“Still, you are the same as ever… Yamato.”
“Is that so? Well, if push comes to shove, I’ll be counting on you, Lienhardt.”
Isis’ guard, the Knight Guard Lienhardt, wore an amazed expression at Yamato and Isis’ exchange.
But one thing was certain, he was a skilled and reliable knight.
They were ready in case of an emergency, but prayed that nothing went wrong as they advanced to the deepest part of another country.
The members of the group that were on their way to the Imperial Palace were Yamato, Isis and Lienhardt.
The rest of the group was currently in the bazaar in the imperial capital, tasked with doing business as usual and collecting information.
“Even with the Imperial Palace right in front, your boldness is the same as ever. Yamato.”
“I don’t think this much can be taken as boldness.”
Vlad said, after quietly watching their exchanges.
Yamato felt that, from the encounter two days ago, this nobleman was overestimating him quite a bit.
It appeared that the interaction with the Valkyrie Knight called Sildria, lighted the spark of interest in him.
But for Yamato, that was an overvaluation.
“Anyway, there are currently some troublesome people in the Hisan Empire… Be careful, Isis.”
“I will… Vlad-oji-sama.”
Isis tightened her resolve after hearing the father-like words of Vlad.
And among such a casual talk, the carriage then came to a stop.
At last, they arrived at the Imperial Castle, the huge castle that was their destination.
The three of them were guided to a pavilion located in a corner of the incredibly vast Imperial Palace.
It was a special place dedicated to do important diplomacy discussions with other countries.
They were separated from the old aristocrat Vlad and after passing a long hallway, they arrived at the room where they started conducting the negotiations with the empire’s diplomats.
“I understand the circumstances so far, Isis-dono.”
“Thank you very much.”
The negotiations were conducted mainly by Isis, on behalf of the city of Orn, and a senior civil officer of the empire.
Yamato and Lienhardt just stood behind Isis after she arrived at the table, the same way as an attendant would.
On the other side, around ten imperial soldiers doubled as escorts as they too stood there with their mouths closed.
The weapons of both Yamato and Lienhardt were being kept at the entrance of the pavilion and only were allowed to carry small self-defense knives.
“In other words… Can I take this as you willing to enter a friendly treaty with the empire, Isis-dono? ”
“Yes. As I was saying, I would like to strengthen the friendship between the trade city of Orn and the Hisan Empire.”
Since both territories were at a considerable far distance from each other, there was no precedent for diplomatic negotiations among them.
However, with the rapid expansion of the Empire’s territory due to its militaristic advance, the moment they would be close was near.
One of the purposes of Isis’ visit to the imperial capital was also to strengthen the friendship between the Empire and Orn, in order to try to keep a balance in that military aspect.
“I see… Then, in frank terms, what you mean to say is: “I want to borrow the military power of your glorious Hisan Empire to fight against those of the Romanus Holy Kingdom in the west” is it not? ”
“No… I’d never go that far…”
“But this is how we’ve interpreted it.”
Yet, the other diplomat completely misunderstood her intentions.
Or not… after fully understanding the situation, the talk properly had the point of “help the troubled Orn”.
But Isis was at lost as to how to respond towards the strong attitude of the other party.
“Then, let’s do this, Isis-dono. If you seal this document, our glorious imperial army guarantees the peace of the city of Orn! ”
Picking a single contract form from his bag, the imperial diplomat presented it to Isis’ hands.
While sneaking a glance and thanks to his good eyesight, Yamato checked the contents.
(“Treaty of military support”, huh? …although hurried, it’s carefully prepared…)
In the contract, the agreement was that the imperial army would rush to help the city of Orn in the case of an emergency.
It was probably a document created in a hurry after the old aristocrat Vlad informed them of Isis’ visit.
Albeit one-sided towards the Empire, it was a contract with apparently good conditions.
“But… this is a unilateral treaty. Are you trying to turn Orn into a vassal state!? ”
After reading all the contents, Isis raised an unusual loud voice.
But that was to be expected.
The documents prepared by the imperial diplomat could be read as a “support Treaty” and it sounded good, but the reality was a one-sided contract.
In the guise of relief, the imperial army would be able to occupy the city of Orn at any point in time.
“Good gracious… Just what would you be talking about, Isis-dono? Nowhere in there says the word vassal state.”
However, the empire’s diplomat never changed his expression as he answered Isis.
His was a cunning expression, one that tried not to show any opening nor feeling towards the other party.
He was competent and never careless, a person suited for diplomacy where trickery and finesse were the bread and butter.
“I will not be forcing you, Isis-dono. Ahh… By the way, I have been left in charge of the diplomatic negotiations with Orn by His Majesty. Or in other words, this policy will never change in the future.”
The other party further pushed Isis, whom was at loss for words, into a corner.
Even if tribute was to be offered and schedule another meeting at a later date, the policy the Empire decided on Orn would never change.
(In other words… what’s left for Orn is either becoming a vassal state of the empire, or being attacked by either the Empire or the Holy Kingdom? Those are the only three options they gave us.)
While watching the exchange of the two people in front of him, Yamato summarized the information in his head.
The future diplomatic prospects of Orn was a long-term war, in which being a simply city state was disadvantageous.
The fate of the city, in these warring times, depended urgently on diplomacy.
Isis, the daughter of the Consul, voluntarily came to the Empire.
Her purpose was to keep in check the Romanus Holy Kingdom in the west by forming a friendly relationship between Orn and the Empire.
If the shadow of a large country was behind them, neither of those big powers would be able to make a move, it was that kind of diplomatic approach.
But in the negotiations here, they were in the inferior position.
Isis, the Consul Regent, was a very talented girl who had received the best education.
Especially in regards to domestic affairs, she took into account the voices of the people and had the talent to do what was needed.
However, she was clearly lacking in experience in regards to diplomacy.
The other party was a man who had climbed up to the position of senior diplomat, passing through a battlefield of chaos and conspiracy.
In such a case, it could be said the other party was a bad match for Isis.
“Well then, could I trouble you with a reply soon, Isis-dono? Messengers from other countries are waiting, I’m not quite free, you see.”
“I c-can’t, even if you say that…”
Being hurried, her mind turned blank.
Isis was at lost about how to respond.
Her words simply couldn’t come out.
It appeared that no later than today, the negotiation between the Empire and Orn would be concluded.
And in terms of results, it was obviously Orn’s defeat.
“Isis, the negotiations are over.”
Coming closer to the negotiations table, Yamato placed his hand on Isis’s shoulder and declared so.
The role of Isis as a messenger had ended.
“Yamato-sama too… to say such a…”
“Yamato, you bastard! You are being rude towards Isis-sama! ”
Isis looked at him with a clouded and heartbroken expression while the Knight Lienhardt directed feeling of anger at him.
At the cruel words of her ally, the “wise man in the north”, who should have helped her.
“What do we have here? …Internal discord? Just because a mistake was made there’s no reason to fight among yourselves.”
The diplomat of the empire looked at the situation with an obscene smile.
For a man who lived in a world of duplicity and bargaining, the falling apart of the other party might be the “best feast”.
“Don’t get me wrong, Isis. What I mean is 『There is no use negotiating with these people in the Empire.』”
“Yamato… what in the world are you…”
He then explained.
Without being able to look at the large picture of the future in the continent, and only taking strategies of self-interest, there was no need to seek friendship from the Hisan Empire.
They might have momentum right now. But the future of a country that could not fix its “serious weakness” was not a bright one.
“B-bastard… despite being a lowly merchant… to insult our glorious empire…”
Said the empire’s diplomat on the other side of the table with a trembling voice.
His face, previously concealed under a deadpan mask, was now dyed bright red with anger.
Perhaps, this was this man’s true nature.
“Are you alright? You don’t look so well. ”
Yamato poke fun at him, a person involved in diplomacy, losing his calmness at such simple words.
And as he compared this person to his previous self, who worked as an office worker in Japan, he saw nothing but immaturity.
“What a great sin… I will permit it… you guys, kill them and dispose of them! ”
Turning towards the imperial soldiers that were waiting in the room, the man gave them instructions.
The plebeians who came from Orn went crazy and negotiations broke up.
And they tried to attack a defenseless imperial diplomat using a self-defense knife they hid.
Therefore, in self-defense, the people of Orn was slaughtered.
“Kill them!! ”
Towards the frantic words of the diplomat, the soldiers obediently followed.
It was an incoherent order, but they couldn’t turn down a command from a senior officer.
“This is an order… don’t blame us…”
Over ten soldiers unsheathed their long swords and pointed their sharp tips towards the groups
And on the other hand, the group from Orn consisted only of Yamato and Lienhardt who had only a small knife.
The helpless girl, Isis couldn’t be counted as fighting force.
(Imperial soldiers, huh? …They look quite skilled…)
The doorway, which was the only way out was closed, and they were completely surrounded.
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