When I took Eric to the conference room, Wiegraf and General Commander Rolentsor welcomed him as if nothing had ever happened between them, and began making preparations for the formal declaration of attack.
Since bringing up the fact that Eric had refused to grant permission to attack before would benefit no one, and only us here know about it with me being the messenger between them and Eric, it’s treated as an open secret.
In any case, this troublesome problem has finally been resolved. As for the preparations for the formal declaration of attack, it’s not anything that I need to be involved in. I just have to wait for my next orders.
In order to use our time more efficiently on other work and various matters, Ergnade and I left the conference room first since there was no meaning to us being there at the current time.
“You still care about that in the end?”
“……So disrespectful, as expected.”
“Who might you be referring to, I wonder?”
On our way to the training grounds, Ergnade laughed coolly as he walked next to me. I felt rather annoyed at his expression that said he wouldn’t give up on this topic, and I sighed.
“I wouldn’t mind if you stuck a little closer to me, though. I wager I would have won the bet if that was the case.”
“Could you stop playing games about betting on people?”
“If I remember to, let’s do that next time.”
Well, what he was betting on was most likely whether or not Eric would give in to me in the end. The players in their betting game were Ergnade, Wiegraf, and Marquis Rolentsor. Given their personalities and understanding of me, I believe that Wiegraf most likely won their bet. He used to be the strategist for Fort Jugfena, and he has a sharp mind.
“Because Eric’s attitude didn’t soften at all after coming here, I thought that he wouldn’t be able to change. You were probably also able to cancel out his bad attitude towards you because of his loss of status, right?”
“Well, it’s developed into a factional struggle, to the point where one faction completely overpowered the other.”
Ergnade means that Eric having come here also affected his standing with the crown prince. To put it simply, he lost favor.
I want to have an appropriate political distance from the crown prince and Grays, as they will probably become the next king and archduke, and it seems that the general commander’s grandson wants to make friends and hang out with me, as long as it doesn’t cause me to get too close to the crown prince, I’m fine with that. In that regard, Eric whose status is sort of low despite his noble rank is just perfect for acting as a barrier between us.
Eric, who is the son of a concubine, started an entire factional struggle at noble school over a personal feud because of my mock duel with Sieghart, and in the end the royal army’s highest-level commander Marquis Rolentsor and Archduke Dovadain both learned about it and had to take action.
This was clearly a black mark against Eric. Of course his social status and power would be greatly diminished.
“Well, I found it unexpected that he would abandon his rigid way of thinking and change. I thought that you wouldn’t be able to break him, and that we’d have to enter battle without the ability to attack as we wished.”
I knew that full well. As a last resort, even if it caused the royal army’s morale to drop dreadfully low, I planned to have the Kaldia army and the Fort Jugfena troops slaughter the enemy’s slave soldiers acting as meat shields that the royal army wouldn’t be able to deal with. If it became necessary, I was also prepared to request reinforcements from Margrave Genas.
“I wasn’t about to allow him to continue thinking the way he did.”
“Well, that’s just how it turned out. But, even though it wasn’t necessary, why did you make the effort to fix your relationship with him?”
I formed my mouth into theへ shape. He suddenly changed topics to this one, was this something he planned on asking all along?
“……I mean, I cared because I found it nostalgic, it……”
Just as I sighed deeply, Ergnade exploded into laughter. While he was laughing heartily, I glared at him with my eyelids half shut. That’s why I hated the idea of saying it out loud. I thought about summoning Rashiok and having him toy with Ergnade, to get back at Ergnade for this.
That’s when it happened.
From in the distance, we heard a low booming sound, together with the impact of the ground shaking. Ergnade and I both froze, and looked at each other.
“……That was from underground.”
“The captured children……!”
“I’ll go there first. You should call Rashiok to come with you.”
I nodded, as Ergnade ran off first while adjusting his black uniform. I’m going to go straight after him as well, but first, I went out of the hallway, and blew a high-pitched sound with my fingers in order to summon Rashiok.