Translator: Kell | Editor: Ryunakama
The Cardinal Comes Up with a Good Idea
「The solution is simple. Start a war.」Georgis said.
「A civil war?」
「Yes. There should be an altar in the Count’s domain. We just have to steal that and then destroy his production. After that we can resume manufacturing healing medicine. We can turn the tables around in one sweep. A recovery from a hopeless situation, wouldn’t you think?」
「Indeed. That might work.」
There was a heavily-guarded forest in Count Meigis’ domain. Judging by the flow of goods, the healing medicines were no doubt being manufactured there.
At this point, it didn’t matter what kind of method the Count used. All Georgis wanted was to get his hands on medicines once more. A war was a little violent, but now was not the time to be picky.
The question now was could he really start a war or not. And could they win?
「Can you really start a civil war?」
「Yes. We’ll just say: “Count Meigis stole a device from Cardinal Georgis and used it to start manufacturing healing medicine. The device is buried deep underground and hard to find. So we demand the forest where it’s buried. If you don’t comply, we will declare war.” How about that?」
「It sounds too forced.」
The stolen device part was fine. But after that it was just ridiculous. Asking for a whole forest just because they couldn’t find the device was too irrational. In the first place, how would the Count use the device if it was buried underground?
「I am well aware of that. There’s no point in giving a sensible reason now, is there?」
It was a well-known fact that Cardinal Georgis wanted to crush Count Meigis. He didn’t need to give some convincing reason. His real motive would be too obvious. In that case, accusing Meigis from the start would be more sportsmanlike. The Cardinal could make an example this way—a declaration of some sort that “this is what happens if you cross me”.
「You’re right, but will the war be approved?」
「Of course. Those people at the central government can’t stop us.」
This country was technically a kingdom, which meant it was ruled by a king. But the king actually didn’t have enough soldiers to cover the whole kingdom. As such, maintaining peace and order within the kingdom was mostly left to the nobles.
The king didn’t actually have much power in the first place. If all the nobles conspired to start an uprising, the kingdom’s army would easily get destroyed.
The king was more of a noble on top of the kingdom rather than an actual ruler. He couldn’t possibly stop a war between two nobles with his measly power. So warring was done at one’s own risk.
「But an all-out war might be difficult. A war with rules might be more realistic.」
Cardinal Georgis’ domain and Count Meigis’ domain weren’t situated next to each other. Nobles in the middle would get dragged into the fighting if he started an all-out war. If that happened, the nobles caught in the crossfire wouldn’t just stand by and do nothing. The one who started the war—Georgis in this case—would make enemies of them.
So the only option was to fight while restricting the war zone. For example, they could designate XX Plains as the war zone, and fighting outside of it was not allowed. That way, other nobles wouldn’t get involved. Georgis could avoid losing power since civilians also wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire.
War with rules had happened several times before. In fact, a war without rules was rare. The victor in these cases would be too exhausted and only have the opposite effect.
「Can we win against Count Meigis?」Georgis asked.
「Definitely.」the commander of the army answered without hesitation.
Meigis had some troublesome personnel like Mylia the Flame Spear and Eld, but they were few in number.
War is all about numbers. Meigis’ most powerful asset, the Flame Spear, wouldn’t possibly survive against a hundred elite soldiers attacking her all at once. They didn’t know much about Eld, but if they came at him with numbers, he would surely get crushed.
Count Meigis probably had a force of more or less a thousand people, while Marquis Maiar would have three thousand max. Maintaining this many forces would require considerable effort in this age.
Cardinal Georgis, on the other hand, had an army of more than 30 thousand, ten times that of Maiar’s. An extraordinary number.
The Cardinal’s monopoly on healing medicine and his large domain gave him this overwhelming military force. It doesn’t matter if the Flame Spear and Eld are strong. They’re nothing compared to an army of thirty thousand.
If there was one thing Georgis was worried about, it was the Steam Explosion that was used when the altar was attacked. It didn’t matter how many there were. It mowed everyone down in its area of effect. But Georgis believed that wouldn’t be enough for him to lose.
He assumed the spell was a ritual magic that required a number of high-level Mages and a long time to prepare. If a war broke out, they might only be able to use it once. That would deal some damage, but not enough to make up for the difference in the number of forces between the two sides.
Georgis’ army outnumbered the enemy’s by one digit. He couldn’t possibly lose. Which is why the commander said what he said.
「Good. Make preparations to declare war. Considering Marquis’ movements, we don’t have much time. Declare war as soon as possible.」
「As you command.」
And so Cardinal Georgis began preparations for a war, one he firmly believed he couldn’t lose. After all, he had ten times more men than the enemy.