Chapter 191: Joint Meeting
One could say that the progress of the joint meeting between the Heraldic religion and Ghazalia went very smoothly.
Largud Ann, with her face and attitude somewhat hardened, took the reins of the meeting as a spokesperson. Next to her stood the presence of Saint Matia, the representative of Heraldic Order, and Fin Eldith, the Queen of Ghazalia. Despite the current pressure, the meeting was functioning smoothly.
If both powerhouses took this sort of exchange with messengers, it would take days or weeks to make a compromise. A direct meeting was the best choice given the current circumstances. In other words, discussions about what action to take and what kind of authority should be given to had to be held with both powerhouses present.
When I thought about the possibility of this meeting being substituted by messengers made my head dizzy. That’s right, how troublesome would have been for the messengers to go back and forth with formal documents.
To be honest, this formal meeting felt overwhelming to me because I was used to strategic meetings in the slums, shanty towns or gatherings of mercenaries, where crucial decisions were made amidst the flow of heavy drinking and gambling. Those meetings were by no means pre-planned or a formal gathering of many important people.
Because of that experience, I sat at the meeting and stared at both sides, feeling quite impressed. Unknowingly, I forcibly bit my own lips to kill the yawn that was about to come from my throat.
The other attendees, Caria and Filaret, seemed to be snarling at me. Did I really yawn? But I felt that I avoided it somehow.
Anyway, the meetings that I had attended so far were small-sized. But this meeting felt substantial because big forces had their fangs against each other. Whether the opinion of someone like me was meaningful or not, I did not know that well.
「…Everyone is saying lots of things, but employer, do you know what they mean?」
Like me, Bruder sat near the last section of the meeting table. He spoke to me in a low and soft voice to avoid disturbing the meeting.
Bruder, who seemed to be attending on behalf of Vestaline, shook the brown hair around his eyes, wrinkled his eyebrows and sharpened his eyes since he didn’t understand what was going on.
When it came to formal procedures and fancy talk, I had little knowledge because I did not accumulate much of that wisdom during my previous journey. I doubted that my knowledge was that different from Bruder.
「…Well, whether the end of the word is right or wrong, I don’t care.」
I narrowed my eyes and made my voice mutter low. My voice could be only heard by Bruder.
The Great Holy Church along with the Allied Forces of the Gharast Kingdom and neighboring countries, was organizing an army to go up against the walled city of Garoua Maria.
Originally, it would have been easier to first invade the mercenary city of Belfein or the Hanging Gardens of Ghazalia, but the whole plan was not to invade those who belonged to the Great Believers after falling to the Heraldic Order. The true purpose of the upcoming war was to annihilate the Old Believers that transformed the walled city of Garoua Maria into the center of their administration.
However, the army size of the Great Holy Church and its allies far exceeded that of the combined Heraldic and Ghazalia armies. If I were to make a comparison between these two forces, I would compare it to a single combat between a dragon and a human being. We just couldn’t win. To be frank, one breath of the enemy had the power to sway us and a single gaze could even get us killed.
I explained this sort of situation to Bruder. Then, Bruder said there was no chance of winning, shaking his lips as if it were someone else’s affairs. Bruder was sitting shallowly in a chair, now holding the big hat on the edge of his hand.
「It would be easy if God gave us a miracle instead.」
When he asked about my opinion, I had no choice but to make a bitter expression on my face. If by any chance the Great Holy Church became a perfect dragon and fell over here, then we would not win the battle. To be honest, it was difficult to find a means to win.
That’s why, if we had a chance to win, we’d have no choice but to break the feet of the dragon. There was no choice but to repeat the performance that was once performed at Belfein.
The Great Holy Church was a large religion, large enough to swallow the great power of the Gharast Kingdom and the surrounding small countries. The Great Holy Church had a large scale, impossible to be identified as a simple structure that could be solidified into a monolith.
The inside structure of the Great Holy Church was divided into numerous factions, including several small ones.
Among them, the two major factions were the secular group, which said that a good relationship with the world would be beneficial, and the ideological group, which said that the ideals to be sought were those of the Great Holy Church.
Most of the aristocrats supported either of these, but that did not mean that they had good ties. At first, it may have been a mutually beneficial relationship, but now it was customary to hang out with each other.
In fact, if some aristocrats ostensibly talked about their beliefs in the Great Holy Church but firmly held on to their ancient beliefs, it seemed that all kinds of beasts would eat each other’s flesh. They would often argue with each other and create bad blood among them. Nowadays, there was a unified enemy called Heraldic Order. Perhaps, the reappearance of a common enemy united them for good, but their insides were full of hatred and misery against each other.
Ann, the spokesperson at the joint meeting, enthusiastically said that we should all aim at the dragon’s weakness.
…We gain a tactical victory against the ideological faction, which is the main war-oriented faction, but to accomplish it we must gain a strategic victory by lobbying the secular faction, which is the non-war-oriented faction and the old sect of aristocracy.
We did not have to beat all the battlefields and all the enemies. Saint Matia picked up Ann’s words by saying that the main battlefield drained all its strength into the battlefield alone where its fangs were wielding, but for a tactical victory, a precise strategy would eventually break the opponent’s feet without the crazy environment of a bloodied battle. Her eyes seemed to be lacking something. Her eyes did not show her usual gaze.
After all, it was somehow a negative move. It felt like a bitter choice, so to speak, such as abandoning a total victory of forces by forcibly swallowing melted iron. Yes, it was a strategic approach that was not that noble.
But being noble and righteous did not secure us our survival. If we took the battlefield approach, we would certainly lose. What in a case of victory? Unfortunately, that did not mean a safe future. The enemy soldiers would come back again once the cold season was over. And this time, the same means would not work anymore. Choosing the battlefield approach would only earn us a little more time before our downfall.
People explained that the inside of the Great Holy Church was miserable, but this one was also not very good. The inside of this organization was still vulnerable, and they had difficulty in strengthening the armament. Even the structures lacked maintenance. Now, I had no choice but to endure the cold wind that blew through the walls.
However, Matia, who put calculation and reason first above everything else, said that we should earn time. I felt some hesitation in her bones. Well, we should be careful, that’s right. Nobody knew what could happen if we made a wrong move. Even nature was unpredictable. At least in the past, when the Gospel War ended, the earth struck, so the situation may change if the catastrophe happened in this place right now.
Suddenly, a pain ran to my head as if something scratched my brain. From the depths of my viscera, I felt that something with indescribable anxiety crept up. I involuntarily narrowed my eyes and my fingers quivered. I rubbed my nape upon feeling that way.
…That’s weird. Somehow, my calculation for the number of years did not match. Did my memory make a mistake?
When I tilted my head lightly after noticing that irregularity, I suddenly found that the air in the entire room had changed. It became too quiet.
It must have been a lively debate, but now everyone was serious and had their lips closed. I wondered why they all stared at me.
「…Lugis, did you hear me? 」
Amid the mysterious silence, Eldith leaned her head and spoke to me.
I blinked my eyelids for a few times without knowing what to say. I was wondering what was going on, so I just turned my gaze back to Eldith.
To be honest, I had decided that I wouldn’t speak about the current issues during this meeting, so I just listened to the stories around me.
Before I noticed, all the eyes around the table were directed toward me. Ann, Matia, Caria and Filaret also stared fixedly at me. Was it my fault that their eyes looked like shooting beams?
No. Not only their gaze. I could even feel some pressure in their line of sight.
Eldith sighed as she moved her shoulders, and opened her lips again. Just before I heard her words, I felt numbness on my fingertips.
「So, in the campaign against the Great Holy Church, you will join my forces as a knight of Ghazalia. This is all I wish to say.」
Ahh, it was that kind of story, I see.
I felt glad it wasn’t a complicated story of tactics and strategy. But, I already had an answer when it came to my position in this whole conflict. I opened my slightly heavier lips, cleared my throat at once, and adjusted my voice.
「No, I’ve already decided on my role. I will now stand as a mercenary hired for the Heraldic Order. I’m thinking of officially following that position and I’ll be moving independently.」
I turned my gaze to Eldith upon saying those words. I wanted to decide on my own path while helping both the Heraldic Order and Ghazalia, but independently as a free individual.
Eldith’s expression looked truly mysterious. Her expression said, “What the hell are you talking about?” I noticed that her lips swayed quietly.
…Lugis, you’re supposed to be my knight, is that not right?
At that moment, I saw Eldith’s blue eyes shining as if they reflected the dull light in the room.
Ohhh Lugis you keep digging your own grave with these girls….:D Anyway, it seems a earthquake happened in the previous timeline, but something is not right with the current timeline. Will the earthquake happen again? If yes, will it happen around the same time as it happened in the past? Or will it happen at a different day and hour? So many questions.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!