“Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? It looks like you are busy, but is everything alright?” (Puuse)
“You too, Puuse-san, are you holding up well? Ah, this is a present from Zanga-sama.” (Viine)
Greeting Origa and Viine, who visited the royal castle, at the entrance, Puuse bowed towards Origa and then noisily chatted with Viine.
The one welcoming Origa is Imeraria.
“A report from the border and a letter from a person calling themselves the leader of the demons have been delivered.” (Origa)
“A letter from the demons? The territory of your husband does not lack excitement, does it?” (Imeraria)
“Yes. Fortunately it does not get boring.” (Origa)
Seeing the two young beauties exchanging words while smiling sweetly, the guards patrolling the castle looked warmly at them as if seeing a pleasant scene. As long as one doesn’t know about their rivalry revolving around Hifumi, they simply look like close noble associates on the surface.
“There is something Origa and I have to talk about. Puuse-san, I am sure you have plenty of things you want to tell Viine-san, so it is probably a good idea for you to slowly catch up with each other.” (Imeraria)
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty.” (Puuse)
Seeing off Puuse and Viine, who delightfully bowed their heads and then left, Imeraria orders a nearby knight to have sweets and tea brought to their room. She’s conducting herself very calmly and naturally.
“Thank you very much for taking even my husband’s servant into consideration.” (Origa)
“Do not mind it. That much is the duty of an employer.” (Imeraria)
Puuse’s official position is 『Advisor』, but she has been treated as guest and not as retainer. As elves are long-lived, it might turn into a problem in later years if she’s given a high position as retainer. Having said that, the prime ministers and his subordinates pondered and racked their brains over the whole matter, as it would be weird for a person with the position to consult the ruler to be a low-ranking noble or a government official, and decided to handle her as “Advisor who had been temporarily invited from the elven village.”
She was granted a living room and an office within the castle, and an exclusive maid was assigned to her. Recently Puuse, who had always lived providing for herself, was finally at the point of getting used to the suddenly changed lifestyle. Though she still hasn’t accustomed herself to giving orders to her maid.
“There are several magicians in the castle, so I have the ambition of wanting to train fighting against magic users even if I can’t use magic myself. Recently I have been even helping out in the training of the knight order.” (Imeraria)
“I see. That is nice.” (Origa)
They changed location to Imeraria’s office. And then, once Imeraria had told the maids to leave the room, any smiles vanished from the two’s faces as they sat across each other.
“So, can I have you show me that letter?” (Imeraria)
“Here you go.” (Origa)
Seeing the letter that had been handed to her curtly, Imeraria considered it unexpected for the sealing wax having been left untouched.
“Hifumi-sama has not checked the contents?” (Origa)
“In the eyes of my husband, he has already retired, so he does not have any interest in it. Those were his words.” (Origa)
“I see” (Imeraria)
Even while nodding obediently, Imeraria didn’t have even the slightest intention to swallow that story. He probably confirmed the contents with some kind of method or used magic to do so, she assumes.
Imeraria carefully undid the seal with a knife and thoroughly scanned through the content.
It was signed by Queen Vepar and basically requested to hold armistice negotiations. It also mentioned that the queen herself is preparing to head towards Imeraria’s royal castle.
It’s dangerous to use only the contents of the letter to make a judgment, but just supporting the garrisoned forces, who were left in charge of the royal army’s soldiers at the border, costs money even if the whole battle finished with a skirmish with insignificant damage. Wanting to make something like that to end as soon as possible is the true wish of any statesman.
Being told to come to area where the demons are would resulted in me suspecting a trap, but if she says that she will visit, I think I will be able to arrange a meeting.
Imeraria was brooding over it, but suddenly feeling a gaze on her, she lifts her head. The one expressionlessly staring at her was Origa.
“Anything the matter?” (Origa)
“It is a proposal for a ceasefire from a person calling herself queen of the demons. If it is actually implemented, that will be great, but…” (Imeraria)
“A ceasefire? Those are good news. If the battle drags on for too long, it will also become a burden for Alyssa. As the other side seems to also be at a loss how to continue, I guess it is just the right time.” (Origa)
Origa’s words strongly contain implications that it’s only natural to accept the ceasefire. It’s unknown whether those are her own thoughts or something she was told by Hifumi, but Imeraria has no reason to not go along with this.
“I guess you are right there. I probably should accept to hold those talks.” (Imeraria)
Suddenly the idea whether she can’t make use of this situation crossed Imeraria’s mind.
“…Origa-san, do you have any plans for tomorrow’s lunch?” (Imeraria)
“I plan to spend time with my husband.” (Origa)
Imeraria conceals her irritation at Origa saying it is as if it was just natural to do so with a smile.
“If you like, Hifumi-sama can join us as well. How about a luncheon in the castle that at the same time serves as preparatory meeting? I want to wrap up the official details at that time, but I would like you to escort the queen of the demons from the border to this place.” (Imeraria)
“…Is that not something which should be carried out by the royal army?” (Origa)
“I would like it to take the shape of it serving as training for the knights who are currently being trained by Hifumi-sama. Besides, in worst case if the demon elites started to act up within Orsongrande, Hifumi-sama would definitely be capable of suppressing them.” (Imeraria)
“I would like to discuss the request fee and the schedule when Hifumi-sama himself is with us,” Imeraria added. Because of that, Origa put the decision it on hold.
“As I have to consult with my husband, I would like you to allow me to contact you at a later time today.” (Origa)
“Understood. Please take care of passing on my request.” (Origa)
After exchanging simple words of parting, Origa leaves the castle.
Imeraria told the maid, who entered the office in exchange and started to clean up both women’s tea sets, “Please hurry.”
“Also, please tell Sabnak and the prime minister to come here right away.” (Imeraria)
“As you order, Your Majesty.”
The maid swiftly placed the tea utensils on a tray, and left at a quick pace.
“…Yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend…no, I can’t call them friends, now can I?” (Imeraria)
While becoming fed up with her thoughts steadily becoming dark as she deals with politics, Imeraria gently caressed her belly. A definite medical diagnosis still hasn’t come up, but somehow she has a hunch that there’s a life dwelling in there.
“…After all one wouldn’t consider to make use of one’s friend.” (Imeraria)
“Yes. Thank you for your efforts.” (Vepar)
Vepar gently thanked the man who visited her to make a report.
The office of Vichy’s central committee that’s being used as the queen’s office as is was gradually getting buried in documents. In a corner of the room Nyarl and Pheres are sorting documents while breathing heavily. Vepar, who had become troubled by the increasing amount of documents, ordered the two to sort the documents by their level of urgency.
The man threw a fleeting glance at Nyarl who is processing documents while continuously grumbling, but he didn’t address her. If I talk with her, I might get dragged into it as well.
“The disguise was perfect, so I certainly didn’t expect them to see through it. It’s my blunder.”
“Since you came back to report after properly passing on the signed letter, you don’t have to worry over it too much. As I might ask you to infiltrate them once more, you just have to be careful at that time.” (Vepar)
“Yes, Your Majesty. If you allow me another opportunity, I’d like to show you that I can accomplish my mission even more perfectly.”
According to the information brought back by him, Hifumi has resigned as feudal lord and is staying in the capital of the country called Orsongrande. Also, it’s possible for the country called Horant and Orsongrande to have formed a cooperative alliance.
“Certainly I didn’t expect him to retire, much less to say about him staying in the capital.” (Vepar)
After telling the man that they would talk about the reward on another day and having him withdraw, Vepar looks up to the ceiling while saying, “That was a surprise,” and covered her face with both hands.
“If I had known about that, I wouldn’t have written about going to their capital! Please give me a break. If I’m careless, it’s not unlikely that something unnecessary might happen between the demons and humans. Not just the ceasefire might be a lost case then.” (Vepar)
“It can’t be helped,” Vepar at this point stopped complaining about the letter she had already sent. He won’t go as far as causing a disturbance in the capital of the country he belongs to, she judged.
“If he did something like that, it would only result in him turning both sides, humans and demons, into enemies with the castle as stage.” (Vepar)
She drowns out her anxiety by deliberately laughing it off loudly.
Nyarl and Pheres look at her with faces full of pity, but at this point she felt as if she knows how she’s regarded by her subordinates.
When her emotions finally settled down after laughing for a while, Bashim entered the room hurriedly. He’s the man who commanded the attack on Vichy as general of the demons and who had one of his arms stolen by Hifumi.
The man, who wore a metallic armor, proceeded towards Vepar with rough steps and knelt down with a thump.
“I heard that you sent an envoy to the human city!” (Bashim)
“Rather than an envoy, I only sent a letter to them. What about it?” (Vepar)
Vepar’s words lacked any emotions. She couldn’t get to like Bashim who bluntly exposes his desire to get promoted. I won’t go as far as telling him to show some respect, but if I plan to go to another country to have an exchange with them as an organization that’s called a state, I should make sure that he can show respect towards his queen, even if it’s only for form’s sake.
Vepar didn’t have the slightest intention to raise Bashim, who doesn’t look as if he would be able to do that, above his current position.
“Just what have you written in the letter you sent? Certainly it’s something like a recommendation to surrender, right?” (Bashim)
Vepar was completely fed up with Bashim’s remark. We are in a situation where we are losing against the humans, which includes you yourself as well. Haven’t you guys been continuously telling yourself that you are overwhelmingly superior while repeatedly covering up the reality with excuses such as missing the means to attack? Vepar cynically thought.
No matter how you look at it, the war progress isn’t in any situation to recommend surrender, but for Bashim sending a letter to the enemy probably is limited to using it as provocation or as capitulation recommendation.
There’s no need to tell him about the contents of the letter. Since such a rude fellow is nothing more than a hindrance for Vepar in her management of the organization, she was at the point of wanting to get rid of him as soon as possible, but it was a problem that he has so much power that he can be used to make up for numbers if placed on a battlefield.
Besides, the contact with Orsongrande at the same time also serves as camouflage towards the hawks in the demon army.
“If you only look at the content of the letter it looks as if we are sounding them out about a discussion to conclude peace through a ceasefire.” (Vepar)
“Ceasefire, you said!? … Excuse me. However, in the current situation there’s no way for us to lose. Not to mention that we made a whole country surrender. Even now we are polishing a two-front-strategy without any big losses. At the current stage a ceasefire, moreover one proposed by us, is unnecessary and a foolish move.” (Bashim)
I see, reaching that point, she understood the reason why Hifumi, who came to the demon territory, started a conversation with the demons without going on a rampage right away after entering the city while being led by Phegor. It looks like people will be that retarded, if they lack information.
“Calm yourself.” (Vepar)
“The armistice is just a means. Bashim, you know about my restrictions for new transfer destinations, don’t you?” (Vepar)
The transfer destinations are limited to set-up “marks filled with Vepar’s mana” or places she herself had visited.
Considering the possibility of the demon army’s hawks coming up with strange proposals, Vepar quickly announced the flaw of her own magic.
“Ooh! In other words, the favor of you, Your Majesty, personally heading into the center of the enemy territory is a preparation to smash the enemy headquarter in one swipe!” (Bashim)
Vepar grinned broadly at Bashim, who was speaking in a slightly excited manner, thinking I skillfully managed to deceive him. “If you understand, have the soldiers train. At worst, if it develops into me being injured in the capital, the battle will start there.”
“As you command, Your Majesty!!” (Bashim)
Bashim, who left with his face being all smiles, is certainly heading to the soldiers and gleefully spreading the strategy he heard in the conversation just now. And then he should come attacking with the highly-spirited soldiers under one command.
“I think I will call them at the moment when it seems that Hifumi is holding that sword.” (Vepar)
And then I will have him become a splendid shield to buy time for allowing his queen to escape. Let’s choose someone, who can guess what their queen thinks a bit better, as Bashim’s successor.
All of a sudden she called out to the two who still grappled with the documents inside the room.
“Nyarl, Pheres, don’t you want to have try on becoming a general?” (Vepar)
“Absolutely not.” (Pheres)
Pheres replied immediately and Nyarl also kept nodding her head repeatedly in agreement.