Translator: Kell | Editor: Ryunakama
Whoever locked the prince up could write the letter, but it had to be signed by the prince himself. A slight difference in the direction of the signature would raise no concern. With this method, you can send information under any circumstances.
If the signature itself had been forged, it would be easy to tell. Forged documents are carefully crafted, and people won’t go to the trouble of writing the signature at an angle. In other words, if the signature is completely level, it’s fake.
And this time…
“It’s rising to the right.”
The signature was clearly written in such a way that it tilted upwards towards the right side. This was no coincidence.
“If the king is being used as a puppet, that’s good news,” I said.
“Really?” Maiar sounded doubtful. “It sounds like bad news to me.”
It’s true that if the new king was being used as a puppet by someone (probably our enemy), it might seem like the worst situation. But compared to other possibilities, this situation is the best.
“Think about it,” I said. “If the new king wasn’t a puppet or an impostor, it would mean the real new king was trying to make an enemy of us. If you ask me, going up against an impostor is better.”
“That’s true, but if the new king is a puppet, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re going against his authority. That doesn’t sound like good news at all.”
“If he’s a puppet, yes. But being a puppet means he’s alive. If we destroy the puppet regime, everything will turn back to normal.”
“But I don’t think the puppet regime will ever fall. You can’t turn the new king into a puppet if you don’t have full control of the palace. I doubt rounding up other nobles would help much.”
“Launching a political attack would not work, true. But even the people behind this whole scheme are human beings. They probably employed some nasty methods. If they die, things should change.”
If this whole thing was done politically, we could be charged with crimes if we got involved. For example, when the new king had no authority and other prominent nobles actually had the power. Destorying the puppet regime would do no good since the king himself doesn’t have power.
But that’s not the case. With the king imprisoned, all we have to do is rescue him and things will return to normal. Actually, the situation will be even better than before the late king died, since the new king will owe us for saving him.
“That’s true. Do you have any ideas?”
“Ideas?” I said, pointing at the letter. “They’re already inviting us over.”
The letter clearly asked us to come to the royal palace.
“Don’t tell me you’re planning to go. It’s obviously a trap.”
“We don’t have any other choice, do we? Or are you going to ignore the letter from the king?”
If I let myself be lured into a trap and fought them, I would be at a huge disadvantage. I can’t possibly create a favorable situation for me when I’m fighting in the enemy’s home base. If they attacked us, at best we’d be outnumbered ten to one, and there would be traps everywhere.
But not accepting the invitation meant ignoring the king’s letter. If they intend to crush us, we might end up fighting a whole kingdom.
The training to fight Cardinal Georgis has raised the strength of our army, but we don’t have enough supplies to fight a long war. Myna wouldn’t be able to procure large amounts of supplies by turning the nation against her. We would starve to death before the battle even began. That’s what it means to make enemies of a nation.
But if I were to go directly head into the palace to fight, I could end it in a short battle. We don’t need food if we just go with a few elites and suppress the bastards occupying the royal palace.
Besides, the disadvantage of accepting the invitation and fight only applies if our forces are evenly matched. Even though the enemy has the place under control, they probably didn’t have many people to command. If they had the power to directly take control of the kingdom, they wouldn’t take such a slow method like turning the king into a puppet.
“Good point. I’d rather have a war than lose Eld,” Marquis Maiar said. Besides, the letter says that you two should come together. Eld might make it, but…”
“I don’t mind,” the Count said. “I might die, but I was supposed to perish before anyway.”
“It’s settled, then. Let’s figure out a plan of action.”
Thus we decided to accept the invitation of someone who used the new king as a puppet. I have no intention of letting Count Meigis die, though.
“Okay, we’re all here.”
The day after the letter arrived.
Me and Count Meigis were about to leave for the royal capital.
“That’s not a lot of guards. Are you sure you’ll be all right?”
“Yes. Only two of us can enter the palace anyway. I’m more worried about leaving the domain with less protection.”
I chose ten people from Count Meigis’ army to come along as escorts. Although not part of the Count’s troops, Myna also decided to tag along.
Our other guards also learned Skills suitable for guarding, so even with fewer people, they can still perform their duties better than the average noble’s guards.
The carriage we were taking was rather luxurious, the kind that screamed “nobles are riding this.”
Count Meigis originally had a modest two-seater carriage on the ready. I talked about how a three-seater would be better for security reasons, and then the next morning I found this carriage in front of the Meigis Trading Company.
There was only one person in this territory who would do such a thing. The wheels of the carriage bore the words “Made by the Maxia Trading Company.” The king’s rescue mission was backed up by Maxia itself.
“You really didn’t have to get such an extravagant carriage.”
“A flashy ride like this is appropriate, considering you’re being invited to the royal capital by the king himself.”
She made a good point. We’re headed to the palace for a negotiation with the king, so we’d want something that made us look good as nobles, at the very least. They might even think lightly of us if we arrived in a plain vehicle.
Aside from the king himself, other nobles could become allies in the future. We might draw attention if a battle broke out in the palace.
It is preferable, then, that we rode in a carriage fit for a noble. We can show a degree of power so that people will think we can be allies. That aside…
“I don’t recall telling you why we’re going to the capital,” I said.
“I can imagine why. There’s only one piece of news that would cause you to make a sudden move.”