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Chapter 266 – Heading for an Alliance ①
“…It’s got to be an alliance, huh?” I mumble out one of the options I have.
Next to me, Kanon reacts to my muttering.
“An alliance? Huh? Did such a special ability exist?”
《Subordinate Creation》, 《Domain Creation》, 《Separation》, and 《Reign》 are all special abilities only Demon Kings have at their disposal. Therefore Kanon is probably mistaking it for such a 『Special Ability』.
“No, it’s not a special ability. It’s just a plain, old 『Alliance』.”
“With alliance you mean…the thing where the parties tie a non-aggression pact and fight a common enemy by cooperating?”
“That’s what I mean, yeah.”
Since ancient times, countries have used alliances with other countries as strategy during wars. I’d say the Kiyosu Alliance between Oda and Tokugawa during the Warring States Period is a fairly well-known example for this. Also the SaCho Alliance…and the other extreme would be the Axis between Germany, Italy, and Japan. If you take a closer look at Earth’s history without limiting it to just Japan, you’ll find many instances where alliances have been formed.
“B-But…a special ability for alliances――that’s no function which would be acknowledged by the world, is it?”
“Can you trust them then?”
“Hmm…I wonder. If both sides have something to gain…I can probably trust the other side as long as their advantages in allying with me don’t vanish.”
“Advantages for both sides, huh…? So, who do you want to ally with?” Kanon asks me about the alliance partner while looking like she’s not really convinced of this whole idea. “Ah, please no 『Who do you think it could be?』, okay!?”
Kanon quickly adds as if to forestall my next words. Did she forget that it’s my guilty pleasure to play word games…?
“Who would say anything like that!? The alliance partner I’m aiming for is Demon King Kaoru.” I answer while feeling irritated by Kanon’s remark.
“Eh? Demon King Kaoru? Aren’t we in a full-out war with him right now? I’m sure he’s totaaaally hating you, Shion-san! You think he’d accept any such talks?”
Kanon unnecessarily emphasizes the part about hating me.
“Who knows. Going by my estimation, the chances are fifty-fifty.”
“Shion-san, albeit usually belonging to the group of people who’re so careful that it turns other people away, you’re occasionally pointlessly positive, aren’t you?”
What’s with her? Is Kanon trying to pick a fight with me?
“Okay, then let me ask you instead: Do you know a good method to overturn the current situation?”
“Umm…for the time being, we are the strongest force in three prefectures of the Hokuriku region. That’s why…wouldn’t it be fine to aim for advancing the invasion while relying on power and expanding our combat forces even further as we’ve done until now?”
“Haah… Is that supposed to be the opinion of someone who plans to become a strategist?” I sigh deeply at the idiot in front of me.
“Yes! I’m the strategist of the Aster Empire!” Kanon demonstrates a fine example for pointlessly positive thinking.
“Strategist Kanon, tell me about the situation around us.”
“Eh? U-Umm…the prefecture’s south ― Komatsu and Kaga ― is ruled by Kaoru! 90% of the neighboring Toyama Prefecture has been liberated by humans. The remaining Demon King of Kurobe is desperately resisting the human onslaught!” Kanon frantically answers.
“What’s the situation with Fukui Prefecture?”
“The Fukui Prefecture still has various powers vying for supremacy! The Demon Kings’ influence is strong in the prefecture’s south. The center of the prefecture is in the firm hands of the humans, and they’re somewhat dominating in the prefecture’s north at the moment!”
“How about Gifu Prefecture?”
“L-Let’s see…great numbers of humans have been flowing into the prefecture, fleeing the Aichi Prefecture as it’s the influence sphere of Demon King Hayate, one of the 『Thirteen Evil Stars』. With that being part of the reason, it’s become almost fully ruled by humans.”
“How about Niigata Prefecture?”
“Eh? I still haven’t…grasped the information of the Niigata Prefecture…auuu…I’m going to investigate it right away…”
“No need. We won’t need the information about that prefecture for a while to come yet.”
“Eehh…? Why did you ask then!?” Kanon protests with a sulky look.
“What I want to tell you is…to predict the future.”
“Uuhh…I’m doing that. Isn’t that the very reason why I’ve been investigating the situation in our neighborhood?” Kanon objects while waving her hands and legs around.
“Hooh…in that case, let me ask you something. Who was the strongest among those we’ve fought so far?”
“Huh? If you’re asking about who gave us the most trouble…it’d be Alyssa…I’d say? Hmm…but, the one we’re currently struggling with is Kaoru, I think?”
“Correct. A part of it stems from us maintaining the status quo for the sake of leveling, but if it comes to taking him down completely…it’d probably be quite challenging. Going by that point of view, which power gave us the second-most trouble?”
“If you’re talking about difficult as in taking down…then it’d be the 『Kanezawa Liberation Army』?”
“Correct. What’s the answer that can be derived from those two?”
“Eh? Huh? Kaoru is a Demon King…the 『Kanezawa Liberation Army』 were humans, so…the strategies and ways of fighting are completely different… What could it be…? Umm… Ah, the question is whether the numbers…the combat forces are big?” Kanon asks me with upturned eyes, groping for an answer.
“Big combat forces, huh…? In a certain sense, you’re not wrong. The common point in the relation with us by those two powers lies in both having been forces we fought just recently.”
“In other words, the more time passes…the bigger the forces we have to face.”
“But, we’re becoming stronger as well.”
“That’s true. In a certain sense, the one with the biggest growth will win. And what becomes a problem with that is whether there’s a difference in growth up until now.”
“Be it humans or Demon Kings…the surviving powers are desperate to stay alive in the future. And they’ve fully adapted to this broken world. In short, the future won’t hold any battles that can be won easily anymore.”
“Uuhh…u-umm…is that the reason why you want to form an alliance?” Kanon, who’s become depressed, tries to go back to the original topic.
“What do you think are the main reasons for our Aster Empire having expanded up until this point ― why have we survived up until now?”
“Huh? Your strategies which might as well be called clairvoyance?”
“If I could truly foresee the future…I’d have handled things a lot smoother. There exist several reasons. Luck is one reason, and strategies working out successfully is another. But, the most important reason―” I explain my analysis of the Aster Empire’s development to Kanon.
Chapter 267 – Heading for an Alliance ②
“The most important reason is our location.”
“Fortunately I became a Demon King in Ishikawa Prefecture. This prefecture is adjoined by the ocean on its northern and western sides. Hence I could focus on defending the southern and eastern sides.”
Even in a certain Warring States game, playing the daimyo of the southernmost Kyushu or the daimyo of Tohoku was the easiest. After all, it was simple to set up defenses, making it easy to come up with strategies. For the same reason Ishikawa was advantageous in the initial phase, but…if we advance south ― towards Fukui, my Domain will stretch out vertically, and if we aim for Toyama ― the east, the Domain will stretch horizontally.
Stretching out your own territory leads to more enemies touching upon its borders.
“If the future enemies are going to have military forces similar to the 『Kanezawa Liberation Army』…or Kaoru, we probably won’t lose in a one-on-one fight.”
“Quite so…in reality we’re going to win for sure!”
“But, what if it’s 1 vs. 2?”
“Hmm…that’s… But, how about trying to get them to fight each other like we did when we confronted the 『Kanezawa Liberation Army』 and Kaoru? It’s not set in stone that we’d be cornered into the inferior position of a 1 vs. 2, is it?” Kanon states her view after brooding it over.
“Is it really going to work out like that?” I reply to Kanon with an evil smile on my lips.
“In my case, the enemy of my enemy can’t become my ally. Rather, everyone is an enemy. 『Kanezawa Liberation Army』 and Kaoru were mutual enemies. But, what about further down the line…?”
Looking at the map, Kanon notices the obvious.
Demon Kings are hostile towards each other. Demon Kings and humans are hostile towards each other. But! Humans are allied.
Currently the humans of Fukui, Gifu, and Toyama are fighting with the goal of liberating their own lands as separate organizations. But, the common point shared by the humans of Fukui, Gifu, and Toyama is them not being hostile towards each other.
“The painting of the map is misleading.”
The map spreading out in front of me had been colorized depending on the respective forces in the area to make the differences easier to see. The reason why Kanon guessed wrongly lay in the various powers being separated by different colors.
“Eh? But, Shion-san, you were the one who told me to do it for an easier visual distinction――”
“For this reason I’m considering forming an alliance for the sake of gaining a locational advantage once more.” I go on with the talk, ignoring Kanon’s nonsense.
“I’ve understood the reason for tying an alliance, but…is Kaoru going to go along with the proposal of an alliance? Kaoru hates you…badly…really, really badly, you know?” Kanon questions me while obviously putting her own emotions into her words.
“Is that so? Right now, I think that Kaoru would be the only power able to form an equal alliance with me in this world.”
“In the first place, alliances aren’t guaranteed by the logic of the world ― its system.”
“Quite so…that’s why I think it’d be difficult.”
“But, don’t you think there’s room for consideration, if both sides gain something out of it? The alliance I’m going to propose Kaoru is going to be one of equal partners.”
“An alliance of equal partners?”
“It’ll be a simple alliance of equals…where we conclude a non-aggression pact.”
“I get that part, but…is Kaoru going to accept that?”
Probably because of Kanon’s extreme distrust towards other people, she seems to be rather reluctant about this whole alliance idea.
“Kanon, currently our Aster Empire and Demon King Kaoru share a hostile relationship, right?”
“Which side dominates the war’s progress?”
“Overwhelmingly our forces!”
“Right. Exactly because it’s a situation where we’re overpowering his side by a huge margin…it’s very likely for Kaoru to form an alliance with us.”
“Are you going to rely on your strong point of threatening others, Shion-san?”
Every once in a while I wonder what Kanon is actually thinking of me.
“I won’t use threats, but negotiations.”
“Oh, I got it! There’s going to be threats under the pretext of negotiations!”
“Haah…so this bug has been that much of an idiot…?”
“――Wh-!? That’s totally rude!!”
“I wonder which of us is the rude one… What did I say about the nature of the alliance I want to form with Kaoru just moments ago?”
“Umm…――! An alliance of equals!?”
“In spite of being in an extremely advantageous position in the war, I’m going to offer Kaoru an alliance of equals.”
“Proposing an alliance means negotiating. During negotiation you try to make the other party concede by adding all kinds of conditions in order to make your position as favorable as possible.”
“That’s the basics of negotiating, yes.”
“For example, in the past…a certain Fairy Demon King offered herself to me for the sake of survival.”
I give her an example she should understand without any problems.
“Huh? Was that Fairy Demon King a lovely fairy with a keen foresight?”
“She wasn’t lovely, but her future looked bleak as she had erred on how to spend her BP… However, seeing how she’s still alive, she might have had some foresight.”
“Oh my? Are you praising her? Or are you actually badmouthing her?”
“Seeing how we’re going to offer an alliance from our side, just like the bug who had offered her life…the negotiations won’t succeed if we don’t offer something from our side.”
“She turned into a bug after having been a fairy?”
“What you offered while being in an extremely bad position was yourself. But, what I, as someone holding an overwhelmingly superior position, offer――”
“Even though it was just a pseudonym…for my name to be used here…”
“――is an alliance of equals.”
Because I’m in a superior position, an alliance of equals should have an extremely high merit for Kaoru.
“Umm…is it no option to recommend surrender?”
“If I could get him to accept a surrender…it’d rectify a consideration, but currently an alliance would still be the better option.”
“But, if he surrenders, you can tie him down with orders, no? There won’t be any fear of him backstabbing you, you know?”
“Leaving aside the huge amount of work it’d require to make him surrender…the only merit of him surrendering to me would be my authority of absolute orders. In that case, what do you think would be a merit of forming an alliance that would go beyond the value of making him surrender?” I toss that question at Kanon with a mean smile.
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