In a city in the center of the continent...
This is the court of Alicia.
In a room at the back of the court, Zachus the Wise and Riedal the Strategist are talking again.
"What's going on? Riedal the Strategist!
You have sent a large number of soldiers to send the demons to Kittle and Gurtra, but you have not been successful at all! It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're looking for.
"...... I didn't expect that. But...
It's not "but"! You'll be able to find a lot of people who are willing to help you. You've gone to a lot of trouble to find the demons and drive them into the ...... enemy's territory, but you can't talk about them if they have no ...... effect at all!
I'm not sure what to make of this.
It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out of your money.
"...... What are you laughing at? It's Master Riedal.
"How can I not laugh at this?
Riedal the Strategist looked sideways at Zacchaeus, shaking his feathered fan.
I thought we were working on the Centennial Plan of the Nation by order of the goddess Nemesis. Am I wrong?
"No, we are not. But ......
"Lord Zachus' goal is to rule the Kingdom of Arisia in the name of the Ten Sages. Our goal is to use your power to pacify the world. To this end, we are carrying out the centennial plan of the nation. It's quite pathetic that you're in a panic just because a single plan didn't work out in a hundred years. ......
"You laughing? Riedal.
I'm telling you, don't lose your cool.
...... Then what will you do?
I'll use a man, not a demon.
Master Riedal dipped his finger in tea and drew a line on the desk.
He sprinkled a few drops of water around it.
Let this line be the boundary of your territory. Let's call this point the soldier. So far, we have only driven the demons into their territory. Now we're going into their territory.
"You're going to attack? But what's the excuse?
Zacchaeus, the Tenth Wise Man, turned bitter.
"If we don't have an excuse to invade, they'll make a scene. If I'm accused publicly, ...... the other Ten Wise Men may dismiss me.
"How about ...... the excuse that I was chasing bandits who had escaped into the territory of the Grand Protector of Gurtra?
"And because of their zealousness for their work, their soldiers have entered the lands of other lords?
The Rikkokyudan has just been destroyed. The Rikkokyudan was just destroyed. Everyone knows how scary bandits and outlaws are. As long as it's for that reason, I'm sure they'll forgive a little overreach.
"...... I see.
"The soldiers will go around the villages in the southern end of Gurtra to look for bandits. It would be a good idea to get some food as well.
"But I can't let a soldier who reports directly to the Dragon Emperor do that. ......
We can use soldiers from the common people. There must be some who came to the capital and became soldiers after their villages were burned by the Rikaku Order. Let's use them.
You want me to cut them off if they become a problem?
I'm saying that we should mix in soldiers to take responsibility.
You're a terrible man. You are.
The sweat ran down the forehead of Zachus the Wise.
The Strategist Riedal's plan is certainly effective.
The Glutra Patriarchate has just had a new Patriarch. Some of you may not be so enamored with the new Lord Keeper, Princess Carol.
Take advantage of that.
If we can sway them enough, we might be able to take the territory easily.
But what if we get a counterattack from the soldiers of the Grand Protectorate of Gurtra? There is a possibility that our soldiers will be captured?
In that case, we run.
Didn't I tell you? I told you, this is the plan of a hundred years.
"I told you, this is a hundred-year plan." Riedal pointed to the sky with his fan.
"We must make the most effective and least risky move. We will weaken the enemy as if we were strangling them with cotton, and in the end we will win. That is the plan of the Ten Wise Men for the next hundred years. Isn't that right? Master Zachus.
A few days later, in the territory of the Grand Duke of Gurtra...
"Are the soldiers invading the towns in the southern part of the territory? ......
"Yes, sir. The King of the Frontier.
Some time after I started preparing for the wedding.
I had received a letter from Princess Carol and had come to the Castle of Fangs.
I used "ward transfer" so it only took a second. Today, I have Yukino as my escort.
I was worried about you because you didn't show up for the tour of the Dragon Emperor's Temple.
Princess Carol was also scheduled to attend the wedding.
I was planning to have Princess Carol attend the wedding as well. If she comes, we can show that the frontier and the Grand Protectorate of Glutra have become friends.
That's why I came to call her directly. .......
If that's the case, it's no wonder Princess Carol can't move.
Yes. I was going to come to you right away. ......
Princess Carol sat down on a chair in the reception room and sighed.
I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one who's a little nervous about this.
It's something you can wear in public, right?
No problem. When you pray for the first Dragon Emperor, you will become oblivious and everything in the world will disappear from your consciousness.
He was unexpectedly dangerous.
That's why I'm interested in the songs that are currently popular in the remote areas. That's why I wanted to hear it.
"It's a song in praise of the True Lord, or rather, the Deformed High King.
Wait, Yukino. Don't mention it now.
What if it catches on in our territory?
You're ...... the King of the Frontier's Demon General, aren't you?
"Yes, I am. I'm also his first wife.
"Then you must know about the song in praise of the Deformed High King that is popular in the frontier. Can you tell me about it?
"As long as it's allowed by the king at .......
That would be fine.
All right. See you at .......
Yukino looked at me and nodded.
Then he took a deep breath.
"Oh. The great [censored deleted] king of the frontier." ......
"...... is over.
It's a pretty simple song, isn't it?
All the parts that Prim and I thought of were cut out. ......
Of course not.
I can't have a song that makes my left arm tingle spread around.
And it's not fair to play it late at night when I'm sleepy.
It's not fair to play it late at night when you're sleepy. You almost woke up a demon species because you were sleepy.
Princess Carol. It's about the soldiers that are invading our territory.
I changed the subject forcefully.
Is it ...... true that they're rounding up the residents, interrogating them to see if they've seen any bandits, and taking their food?
Yes. Yes, I'm sure.
What is the princess doing about it?
We have soldiers on patrol. However, they are wandering around the borders of the territory and it is difficult to locate them. They seem to be targeting villages that are poorly defended. ......
What's the real damage? Food and fear?
I'm sure you're right. ...... I'm not sure I'm up to the task. ......
Princess Carol looked down anxiously.
In the event that you've got a lot of money to spend, you'll be able to take advantage of it. If I had been better, I wouldn't have made the residents so anxious. ......
It's not Princess Carol's fault that we don't have enough troops.
Her brother, Tonia Gurtra, was using black magic to control the soldiers.
A lot of soldiers got sick because of that black magic. It seems that Tonia-Gurtra was forcing them to do things that were quite impossible. The black magic was warded off, but many of the soldiers are still recuperating.
That's why they're running out of soldiers to protect them.
"I have a proposal for Princess Carol.
I said in the tone of a high king.
"Would you mind if I use my troops to guard the borders of your territory?
I would like that. Would you be willing? "King of the Frontier.
That's fine. But you'll have to move the walls of this castle.
No problem. I've seen the King of the Frontier's soldiers in action.
Princess Carol is looking at me with sparkling eyes.
Contrary to Princess Llanes, she seems to have taken a liking to the Soldier of Will.
Well, as long as she's given her permission.
I'll just have to "Global Enchant" the walls of this "Castle of Fangs" and "Warding" it near the border of the territory.
I also wish there was another way to lure the ...... enemy in.
The invading soldiers will be targeting villages that are poorly defended, right?
Yes. Villages with fewer guards and fewer people, yes.
I see. ...... So, let's set a trap.
It's common. It's called the "Empty Castle Plan".
I'll use it this time.
"Mr. Shoma. Can I have a word?
What's up, Yukino?
I have an idea. Can you help me?
Yukino then whispered in my ear.
"I see. A plan to capture the enemy soldiers safely?
"Yes. Yes. It's called 'City of Me North'.
"All right. Let's do it.
Let's hope it works.
If it works, we'll station them in our territory as well. We'll station them in our territory. That way, it won't be too much trouble and we'll be able to deal with the same thing if it happens again.
Besides, it will make the enemy soldiers think that attacking the Gurutra territory is a bad idea.
It should be enough of a deterrent.
I'm sure you'll agree with me. Princess Carol.
I looked at Princess Carol.
Princess Carol looked a little surprised, but...
"I believe in the King of the Frontier for saving the Grand Protectorate of Glutra.
"Thank you. Princess Carol.
"It's strange. You remind me of a mural of the first Dragon Emperor.
Maybe it's just my imagination.
I hope you're right.
I don't want you dancing weirdly in front of me.
So, with Princess Carol's permission, I created the Soldier of Will in the Castle of Fang.
After that, Yukino and I set up a number of "enemy soldier whips".
The soldiers who invaded from the south of Gurutra's territory...
...... There's another village over there.
"A village surrounded by walls. No ...... watchtower. They don't seem to have noticed us.
It's got a nice wall. New houses. So it's a newly settled village. ......
No wonder they're so poorly guarded. Let's move!
The soldiers started running at once.
They were soldiers hired by the Ten Wise Men.
There were dozens of them.
They had been ordered to find and capture the bandits who had invaded the Gurutra Guard territory.
So they went to a village in the south of Gurutra, gathered villagers and asked for information about the bandits.
It's an important mission. Even if the villagers were at work, they had to gather them all and listen to what they had to say.
Food is to be procured from the villagers.
If the bandits attack, the villagers will be harmed. This is unavoidable.
"All right. Go around to every village near the border. If they don't cooperate, you can scare them with your weapons. This is an order from the Ten Sages, Lord Zachus.
The captain, alone on his horse, knows this is a lie.
The purpose of the soldiers is to destabilize the Gurutra Patriarchate.
To put it bluntly, it's harassment.
"We're going into the village. Follow me!
The soldiers all jumped into the village in front of them at once.
"What? There's no one here.
The captain of the soldiers looked around.
There was no sign of human habitation.
There are weeds on the ground. There's no well. There were no signs of crops being grown.
But the houses in the village were magnificent.
They are as solid as if they had just been built (・・・・・・). The walls are clean.
"Someone may be hiding. Disperse and search the houses!
I'm coming with you. If there's no one else, we can turn this place into an encampment.
The captain dismounted and went into the house with the soldiers.
There was no one there.
Inside, the house was empty.
There was literally nothing. There was no bed, no straw, no furniture.
There was not even a sign of human habitation.
"What is this place? What is this place?
I think it's under construction. They're building it up, turning it into a village.
And we're going to steal it from them? That's funny.
The captain laughed throatily.
"Carol-Gurtra just became a lord. I'm sure he wanted to look good for his people. But the Strategist's wisdom is admirable. We'll be able to take our place in the village he built.
"It may only be a matter of time before we take the Gurator's domain.
"Indeed. Let's get out of here. Gather the others. We'll use this as a base...
It was a maze.
In just a few minutes, the village had been transformed.
The captains were in a corridor only wide enough for one person to walk through.
There must be an ally on the other side of the wall. But I can't see them.
Look to the right and you see a wall. Look to your left and you see a wall.
There's just a narrow passage.
What's going on? What's going on here?
Is this some kind of magic? Are we trapped in some kind of weird formation?
Oh no. Just get us out of here!
Escape to where?
There's a light to the south. Everybody, get over there!
The captain shouted to the soldiers who were supposed to be in the village.
You hear me, men! This maze is nothing to be afraid of! If you keep walking with your hands on the walls, you will eventually reach the exit. Just keep walking with your hands on the walls and you will eventually reach the exit, but be careful, for you never know what traps may lie ahead.
Yes, sir." "Yes, sir!" "Yes, sir!" "Yes, sir!
And so the soldiers began to walk towards the end of the passage...
A few hours later...
"Which way is the ...... exit ...... exit ............?
We should be out of the village by now. ............
Help me. ...... How do I get out? ......
Climb over the wall. ...... No. ...... I'm being shaken down. ...... It's moving, this wall.
What's going on? ...... Are we lost in another world? ............ Aaaaah!
The soldiers, like ghosts, just keep moving their feet.
We called for help, but no one came.
Not even a hint of human presence.
All they could hear was the sound of their own footsteps and the sound of clanking, clanging stones.
"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.
"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.
"There's no ...... hand in the maze.
"I don't want to go to ...... anymore. Help me .............
"Please ............, please ...... get me out of here .......
It would be several hours before the exhausted soldiers were rescued by the soldiers of the Gurutra Patriarchate.