Episode 70: The Prince’s real intentions.
The group resumed the negotiations, this time, with the prince of the Hisan Empire, Loki.
The place they transferred to was an office used for the royal family located in the deepest parts of the Imperial palace. There, the discussion was advancing.
“I see. I more or less understand the situation.”
“Thank you, Your Highness Loki.”
The talks between Loki and Orn’s consul regent, Isis finished somehow safely.
“A few days from now, there’ll be a conference held by the senior imperial aristocracy. I’ll discuss it there and give you an answer, Isis-dono.”
“Thank you very much, Your Highness Loki.”
An unexpected positive response came from the prince sitting on the other side of the table.
In light of the situation in the continent and the story of Isis, the intelligent Loki was aware of the importance of this friendly relationship.
Goods have been exchanged between the Hisan Empire and the City State of Orn via road for a long time now.
And Loki was able to see that there was profit in the furthering of relations between both parties.
I see, so this is the kind of man Loki is… not a simple muscle-head knight.
While standing behind Isis as an attendant, Yamato renewed his evaluation of Loki.
Although the Empire was one of the most powerful forces in the continent, its military power and chain of supplies were not infinite.
Currently, word was that the emperor himself was leading the army, spearheading the southward advance.
However, unlike in games, soldiers consumed large amounts of food.
They also had to replenish the broken and damaged weapons and armors, along with other supplies.
As a result of this, it was virtually impossible to wage war against countries from all directions.
If the war were to continue indefinitely, no matter how big a country is, it would self-destroy due to the lack of food.
Thinking about this, and with the empire’s most important diplomatic strategy in mind, the imperial prince Loki had met with Isis.
“With what has been spoken so far… do you have any opinions, Yamato-sama? ”
After the discussion between the two representatives came to an end, the girl Isis asked for an opinion from the person who was behind her.
She wanted to see if, even after the reasonable talks with Loki, she had somehow missed something somewhere.
“My opinion? Before that, may I ask a question? Loki.”
“I don’t mind.”
Loki said, acknowledging Yamato.
Normally, it wouldn’t be strange for a person is such a high position to simply disregard it since it basically came from a mere villager.
However, Loki wore a serious expression as he waited for his next words.
Incidentally, Isis had previously said to Loki that Yamato was a foreign person, and thus, not used to speak to royalty.
“The Empire aims to unify the continent. But have you thought about what will happen afterwards? ”
Both the diplomacy with between the Empire and Orn, and the relations with the Holy Kingdom in the west may be important.
However, what Yamato wanted to hear were the prospects for the future.
“As one of the imperial princes… and as a warrior, I’m willing to put my life on the line for the sake of my people.”
Keeping calm, Prince Loki answered with a voice filled with a strong will.
He was third on the rank to inheritance, yet he would do his best for his people, wielding his sword for their sake.
“An exemplar answer. But what I want to hear are the ideas of the “individual called Loki”. I want to hear your real answer, the one from you who is filled with burning ambitions.”
“How dare you!? ”
In response to Yamato’s pursue of the truth, the knights behind Loki raised their voices.
They were members of the Crimson Order, elite troops trained in both body and mind.
They had been ordered by Loki not to speak or make a move previously.
However, they were provoked by the words spoken to their lord, and couldn’t stay silent any longer.
“I’ve been trying to remain silent, but you’ve been disrespectful since a while ago! ”
“Your Highness! Please allow me to slay this bastard for his blasphemous attitude! ”
The knights placed their hands on the handle of their swords, showing the will to slash at Yamato at any second now.
Their killing intent was on a whole other level compared to the defeated soldiers of the previous room.
They were that serious in their allegiance to their lord, Loki.
At such subordinates, prince Loki simply raised his hand.
Reacting to his words, the knights regained their composure.
Looking at the flow of events, one could see the charisma Loki had as a commander.
“Yamato… honestly speaking. What is the real meaning of your question? ”
Prince Loki’s words remained quiet… however, his expression changed as he asked that question.
On the surface he had his usual cold-like calmness, yet in his eyes reflected a burning flame of whatever his real intention was.
“Real meaning, huh? In my hometown a conqueror once said 『If a bird doesn’t sing, kill it』. I was just expecting you to be different.”
He spoke a phrase once said during the warring states era of Japan.
The emperor of the current Hisan Empire was very similar to that personage, as he aimed to conquer the continent.
However, Yamato was thinking there was a possibility that Loki, the third prince would be different.
“Oh… I see. So that was your intention.”
“Yeah, ‘The vicissitudes of fortune’… What’s important is not the unification, but what happens afterwards.”
Even in the long history of Earth, there were no kingdoms nor empires who were absolute.
No matter how powerful their weapons were, or how much skill their people had, they would always fade and perish.
He explained to Loki, along with the meaning of “vicissitudes of fortune”.
“So, I’m not the only person… who is trying to read that far ahead. As expected of the rumored ‘wise man in the north’, Yamato.”
“I’m not that great of a man. I’m just an inhabitant of the village of Urd.”
Prince Loki nodded as he quietly took in the meaning of Yamato’s words.
As expected of him… of Loki…
The prince instantly understood the true meaning of Yamato’s words, coming from a world where the civilization was far more advanced.
His speed of thought was as frightening as his foresight was rare.
Third prince of the Hisan Empire, Loki… a man one couldn’t be careless with.
“Excuse me! ”
It was then.
A shrill voice echoed inside the special room where the talks were held.
“Your highness Loki! Are you in here!? ”
It was a knight who was visibly out of breach due to being constantly running.
Judging from the armor he was wearing, one could tell he was a high-ranking knight.
“What’s wrong? It’s not like you to lose your composure like this. ”
“I’m very sorry! It’s just, there’s something I wanted to report to Your Highness… immediately…”
After noticing the appearance of the messengers from Orn, the knight’s words became muddied.
He probably had a confidential report that he didn’t want people other than imperial soldiers to hear.
“It’s fine. I’ve acknowledged them. Report it.”
After moving his gaze towards Yamato, Loki stared at the knight and told him to continue the report.
His eyes included the meaning of “hurry up”.
“Understood, in that case… Barrès-sama… while exploring the spirit cave in the Eastern Sea of Trees, the troops led by Sir Barrès were attacked by multiple Spiritual Beasts and have gone missing! ”
“What… that Barrès was…”
Loki’s complexion changed after hearing the unbelievable report.
His mind was shaken by that report of a missing friend and absolutely trusted aide.
Knight Barrès… He was that large sword wielder… from when I rescued Isis from the aristocrat Butan…
Yamato was also astonished inside.
From the information referring to that incredible swordsman with whom he had actually exchanged blows a few months ago.
That Barrès… and multiple Spiritual Beasts…
It was an unpleasant event, and with a timing after the negotiations between Orn and the Empire might succeed.
The large sword wielder Barrès, one of the top three in the imperial army, was attacked by several Spiritual Beasts and had gone missing.
TLN: “If a bird doesn’t sing, kill it.”
This is a famous Zen parable about a fictional account of a Zen master asking the three most powerful warlords of the Sengokuor Warring states period (Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu) what they would do if a hototogisu or cuckoo didn’t sing. It was a parable which illustrates the character of each of these three different types of leaders.
Oda Nobunaga was known for his fierceness and cruelty and thus would answer, “Kill it.”
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the most cunning and would therefore coyly say, “Make it sing.”
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the most diplomatic and patient so he would most likely say, “Wait for it to sing.”
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