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Chapter 131: Ririnrara in despair
The party comprised of myself, Ruti, Lit, Tise, Ugeuge-san, Misufia, Ririnrara and her three High-Elf subordinates.
We rushed toward the harbor district.
The town was overflowing with people fleeing but there wasn’t anybody who seemed to suffer from collateral injuries due to war.
Ririnrara was stunned and her shoulders drooped after seeing the Veronia flag flutter in the air at various places in the harbor district.
“This can’t be happening.”
“At the moment, the only external forces around Zoltan is the Veronia army. There’s no reason for Zoltan to wave their opponent’s flag.”
But I could understand why Ririnrara was stunned.
The order to dispatch the troops this time was a decision made by Prince Sarius and Ririnrara on their own authority.
In the Avalon Continent, it is typical for generals and nobility of the countries to have the right to freely use the army they possess. Incidents, where lords have small skirmishes among themselves or generals intervening in matter on their own authority, was commonplace.
In kingdoms formed by a coalition of countless lords, it isn’t too farfetched to say that the king is nothing more than a lord with the greatest power and superiority.
On that note, the Demon Lord Army was a gathering of power with the Demon Lord at the apex, and the Four Heavenly Kings and various commander-level demons that lead each division are merely given the responsibility of commanding the army belonging to the Demon Lord. Unlike the Avalon Continent lords who possess their own army, during times of peace they do not have any responsibility to feed their own army and are only tasked to achieve the strategic objectives they have been ordered to with the given army.
That may be the reason why the Avalon Continent combined army formed from a gathering of armies from individual lords suffered repeated defeats.
However, even for a successor of the throne and the highest general of Veronia, they must have a sound reason for warring with another country without the permission of the king.
Moreover, with Veronia’s current stance to remain neutral, it was probably forbidden to war with another country without the king’s orders regardless of any reason. That warship was nothing more than a means for intimidation against the people of Zoltan who were unaware of the situation. For those who knew, it was clear that the Prince Sarius side was the side that was hard-pressed.
Unlike privateering acts without any military flags, the Allied Army will never overlook an invasion army carrying their army flags. Veronia will somehow have to make a concession to the Allied Army.
At the very least, if Leonor has the political sense that Ririnrara said she has, this was a serious problem enough for her to deal the final blow to Prince Sarius.
“But no matter how I look at it, there is no smoke rising. There is no stench of a battle.”
Ririnrara looked around after hearing Lit’s words.
During the battle in the Principality of Logavia, Lit had seen to the point of disgust of her homeland being burned by fire.
To Lit, this town didn’t display any scars of battle.
“I observe that too. If the Veronia army was closing in, the Zoltan army would prioritize civilian evacuation and rapidly withdraw. The Harbor District has a small population in the first place so there might not have been any battles or looting.”
It was a fundamental art of war to defend before the enemy can land but if a war ever broke out, Zoltan would have no chances of winning.
They have no choice but to withdraw while ensuring no casualties and continue their diplomatic efforts … of course, that was if Ruti or Tise didn’t join the battle.
If the two of them fought, one warship won’t even serve to be their opponent.
But they are still only just two people. It will be a small number, but there will still be casualties if they wish to defeat an army attacking a city.
More than anything, they probably don’t wish to return to the battlefield and be embroiled in the tornado of blood after finally finding a place to take it easy … is it impossible to wish for such peace?
“I’ll take a look from above.”
Tise ran up the wall of a nearby warehouse and climbed up the roof to confirm our surroundings.
“I see Zoltan’s army flag there. And Zoltan’s general Sir William’s flag as well.”
“Can you see the army?”
“Sir William’s running drake cavalry are all lined up with their riders on but … gathering cavalry in a town is useless.”
“He’s an old general with no actual war experience. Don’t criticize him too much.”
We should be able to find out what happened if we went over there.
We decided to join up with them.
Zoltan’s Harbor District was susceptible to storms so all the building were built with emphasis on being easy to build and were unreliable.
Even the warehouse Sir William was in was not built with brick but with wood and the walls were earthen walls that crumbled to the touch.
The sky was covered by black clouds without anyone noticing.
Maybe it would rain.
“Oh! Isn’t that Ririnrara-dono!!”
Sir William shouted as soon as he saw Ririnrara.
“Sir William, why do you know about Ririnrara?”
It shouldn’t have been conveyed to the Zoltan authorities yet that he had captured Ririnrara.
“Well, that’s because there was a request from the guys occupying the port to return the prisoner Ririnrara and her three subordinates. They gave the conditions that they will pay 42000 Peryl as ransom, release the occupied Harbor District and pay an additional 8000 Peryl as compensation.”
That was a tremendous amount of compromise given despite their overwhelming military occupation.
Somehow it gave a very incoherent impression.
From Ririnrara’s story, Prince Sarius was definitely not an incompetent noble.
“I don’t know how you caught Ririnrara-dono but I am glad you brought her over. We’ll send a messenger immediately. No, actually we can set off directly.”
I could clearly see the state of relief on Sir William’s face.
He was probably at quite a loss seeing an opponent they can’t hope to beat occupy the town and demand the return of a captive he doesn’t recall capturing.
“Please wait, we still do not know what happened. Moreover, they have only just attacked? We have to grasp the situation first …”
“I don’t know who you are but you do not have the authority to order me, I hold the right to command the army. I don’t know when they will change their minds and move the army! We must not waste a second to return the prisoners and regain peace for Zoltan!”
His tone was strong but all his words were utterly fainthearted.
While I was feeling troubled, Lit and Misufia stepped out from behind Ririnrara and continued.
“Calm down Sir William. We have Ririnrara in captivity so we have superiority. We should first gather what is going on and then make the best choice.”
“That is correct. It is understandable because this is an unprecedented situation for Zoltan but … William, if you panic, the entire Zoltan army will panic.”
“Hero Lit!? And Mistome-shi!!”
Sir William opened his eyes wide and raised his voice when he saw Misufia.
Then, he lost the strength in his knees and knelt.
“Mistome-shi, it’s impossible for me … please take my place and command the army. This burden is too heavy for me. Please save us once again, as you did in the past from the goblin army … !”
“Will, don’t rely on a grandma like myself. This is now your generation.”
A middle-aged man was clinging to an old grandma. I couldn’t say that was a very cool figure.
But his subordinate knights did not look down on Sir William even if they saw that scene. Since they were still looking at Mistome-shi with clinging gazes.
I understood that scene very well.
It was the gaze of desperate soldiers in the face of the Demon Lord Army when they sought Ruti’s salvation. The hope for a hero.
Ruti frowned just slightly at that scene.
“The soldiers will fear if you feel fear. Please stand Will, don’t worry, I have seen you work hard. Now, tell us what you know about what happened. I can’t command the army but we will do what we can as citizens of Zoltan.”
” … Yes.”
Sir William started telling Misufia and Lit what he knew while bowing.
That said, Sir William was overwhelmed with evacuating the Harbor District residents and calling the soldiers to gather so he hardly had a grasp of the situation.
I left it up to the two of them to gather information on the situation and I moved toward Ririnrara who was beside Tise.
Tise rushed to my side quickly.
“Red-san, Ririnrara’s condition is weird.”
Tise whispered to me.
Ririnrara’s bearing now was completely different from the strong general, legendary pirate and proud High-Elf that she had displayed until now.
Her three High-Elf subordinates were looking at each other worryingly after seeing her condition.
“Is it … my fault once again …”
Regret and despair was shown on Ririnrara’s face.
” … Ririnrara, are you all right?”
Ririnrara covered her face with both hands without any reaction to my words.
“Once again I … I only wanted to be useful to him/her.”
Her distressed murmurs were very silent as it leaked through the gaps of the fingers covering her face but my enhanced perception skills caught it … I wonder who is the person she is referring to?”
I couldn’t do anything at this point.
“Sir William seems eager to return Ririnrara and the others. At any rate, we will set off to meet Prince Sarius after their conversation ends.”
I told that to Ririnrara and her High-Elf subordinates.
The High-Elves nodded in relief and supported Ririnrara from both sides.