Volume 1 Chapter 5 Part 3
Siluca was shocked by Margret’s words.
[I may have misunderstood the Earl…]
If the situation with the Earl of Artuk is really just like Margaret said it was, then not only Siluca, but also everyone else have been misled and misjudged the Earl completely.
(If only I had asked Irvin to investigate him in more detail, I would have known about it.)
Siluca nodded to herself in a chastising way.
She didn’t even do that because she was so angry that she was forced to make a contract against her own will. There is also the fact that the current impression of the earl of Artuk that is circulating around the Magic University is simply too strong to ignore. But it is also true that Siluca made a contract with Theo out of pure desperation, and if she did not do it, then maybe his life would not be in danger right now.
(No matter what I am going to say right now, I cannot take back that which has already happened.)
If she had followed the teachings of headmaster Sembros and focused only on protecting his territories as his contracted Mage, or if she had followed her adoptive father’s teachings and suppressed her emotions and acted only with unbiased logic, this would never have happened.
Siluca stared at the Mage that everyone compared to Hellfire at the Magic University.
「Would it possible for me to meet the Earl somehow after all? Putting aside the matter of the negotiations, I feel like I should meet him in person so that I could properly apologize to him for the numerous times when I was rude towards him. 」
「Just as I said before: the Earl has no intention of seeing you right now. 」
Margaret answered immediately.
(Yeah, I should have expected as much.)
Siluca hung her head, but she immediately looked up.
「So, will you at least consider helping Lord Theo? 」
She asked with the last bits of hope in her voice.
「You should know the answer without even thinking about it! 」
Margaret said violently.
Siluca could feel the darkness gathering before her eyes. Since the biggest Lord belonging to the Fantasia Union in the region refused to help them, they are going to have no choice but to face off against the large army of the Factory Alliance on their own.
* * *
Siluca left the Earl of Artuk’s castle in his the carriage and returned to Theo’s current estate. She thought that they could somehow keep Waldrind and its army in check if the word that she went to negotiate with the Earl of Artuk got around, but it would seem that the news got spread as rumors well before Siluca returned to their territories, which means that someone must have spread the word intentionally, which should have been expected, since there are many people like Irvin in Waldrind, the ones who acted like shadows on behalf of their masters.
When Siluca returns to her castle, she went straight to Theo’s private room to make a report of anything that happened.
After listening to her in silence, Theo did not say anything immediately, but simply stared at her.
「My deepest… apologies… 」
Siluca found Theo’s gaze too painful to bear, and so she lowered her head as if to break his body.
「What are your predictions for the future? 」
Theo offered Siluca a chair and then sat down himself. Siluca sat down on a chair with her face down and prepared herself for what she was about to say to him before she raised her head again.
「There is no other choice left for us but to move to a castle that we have designated as a defensive base and make our stand there. A siege without reinforcements is only going to serve a purpose of buying us time, bit if we show to the enemy that we are tough and we are not going to make conquering us an easy feat for them, then even if we are going to be forced to surrender, at the very least it should not be an unconditional surrender. The matters that we absolutely have to settle is you getting to keep your life and your Crest, who are you going to subordinate yourself to and how much of our current territories can be secured… 」
「But in the end, it is all going to depend largely on what the other party involved is going to want, right? 」
「It seems that after the King of Selvis subordinates all the independent Lords of Selvis to himself, his goal is going to be to swear allegiance to Waldrind. However, such a scenario is something that the independent Lords are never going to accept unless they are going to be guaranteed to be subordinated not to the King of Selvis, but to the Kraische family directly, since the reason why they sided with you in the first place, Lord Theo, is because they wanted to protect their own independence. 」
「But since it is the King of Selvis we are talking about, then having the independent Lords join the Factory Alliance is only going to be a side effect for him. 」
「Yes, because his goal in all of this is using Waldrind’s military might to not only regain all of the territories that he lost, but to also unify the entirety of Selvis under his rule, just like he always wanted it to be. 」
「And Waldrind is just going to accept that? 」
「I think they are going to accept it, since the reason why they refused to allow us to join the Factory Alliance was to prevent the conflicts with between the Lords of the countries that are allied with the Factory Alliance. Their current stance is that in order to unify the entire Factory Alliance under the Kraische family, a firm attitude is necessary. 」
「Is that your adoptive father’s opinion? 」
「I think so, because when I was talking with Lady Marine, it seemed like she would have no problems with allowing Lord Theo to join the Alliance. 」
「We were all trying to be optimistic this time around, but as we now see, things don’t always go according to plan. 」
Theo gave Siluca a wry smile.
「No, this time everything went wrong because of my shallow thinking…」
「Maybe so, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. And besides, things have been going a little bit too good for us so far. 」
Theo didn’t seem to care about Siluca’s shortcomings.
「Tell everyone the situation and start the preparations to move to another castle immediately. We must be as prepared as possible before the enemy arrives at our doorstep. 」
Siluca stood up and bowed respectfully to Theo.
Now that things are happening they way they are, all they can do is to make sure that they will put up enough of a fight to make Siluca’s father regret not allowing Theo to join the Factory Alliance. After that, the only thing left to do is to negotiate their surrender and get even slightly better terms for themselves.
The next day, Theo led his army and moved out of the castle.
They are currently in the residence of one of the three barons of King Selvis who was defeated in the previous battle. The rocky mountain behind the castle was completely fortified, and about 5,000 men could be stationed there in order to defend it.
However, What Siluca didn’t know right now was how many of their allies would show up to fight together with them. Right now they had Lassic, Neman and Bettel, the man who was in charge of this castle as well as the forces of five independent Lords and wondering Lords who pledged their obedience to Theo after the previous battle, which should translate to an overall amount of 500 soldiers. Captain Grak’s mercenary army had also increased to 10 men after he called for reinforcements from Elam. Out of these 10 people, one of them is said to be an especially talented Artist sniper.
And there was also…
「Ugh, you again? 」
Siluca spotted the Priestess from the Order of the Crest inside of the castle and could not hide her displeasure, frowning at her. It would also seem that she came here with the assist of about 10 soldiers wearing coats with the emblem of the Order of the Crest embroidered on them.
「Of course I am here. I was sent here to help Lord Theo, after all. 」
The priestess replied to Siluca while making her own preparations.
「You are only doing this because of Lord Theo’s Crest, correct? Because the higher-ups of your church realized that if he loses this battle then his Crest might be lost for good? 」
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