Chapter 368: Decision
The sandstone country. The southern nation of Elizard.
The situation between the Gharast Kingdom and Elizard, which bordered each other, had calmed down, but it didn’t mean the conflicts were over.
With one chance, both would bare their fangs and bite each other. However, the current situation in both countries didn’t allow the creation of that one chance. For a long time, the two countries had maintained this stagnant relationship.
It did not change even in the era of death snow.
The fact that the two countries cooperated actively because of the magical beast disaster felt somewhat surreal, as if a story told in history books.
It was true that both countries felt an unmistakable build-up of hatred and resentment with one another. Everybody felt that antipathy. The feelings between nations were so powerful.
On the other hand, they also understood that, no matter how much they hated each other, both knew their power was not to be taken lightly.
National strength, military strength, wealth. These countries were the most outstanding nations on the continent.
If they were to engage with each other, those who obtained the delicious wine of victory would suffer a great loss. Despite wanting to annihilate the adversary, both countries only recognized each other’s existence as a threat.
That’s why the news created a significant amount of shock.
「…The royal capital of the Gharast Kingdom has fallen? How credible is this information? 」
A dark-tanned skin woman, who wore the heavy black armor that was characteristic of Elizard, tilted her short hair while speaking.
Among the military units in Elizard, the armor of the distinguishing color she wore was only worn by high-ranking fighters. The elegance of her demeanor also justified her status.
The spokesperson next to her answered her questions while kneeling to show her respect.
「I have sent out a group of three messengers, but all three had obtained the same information. So far, there’s no doubt that the Gharat Kingdom’s royal capital suffered a great deal of damage due to the magical beast disaster. What shall we do, Lady Telsarat?」
After hearing those words, Elizard’s high-ranking fighter Telsarat Rwana nodded while placing her hand on her chin.
She still hadn’t swallowed all of the information. She forced it into her mouth and narrowed her eyes.
The royal capital of the Gharast Kingdom fell. It was hard to believe, but Telsarat concluded that it was true. So what happened? For Telsarat, the fall of the adversary’s royal capital meant that her country’s golden castle wall could collapse as well.
Who managed to conquer and destroy a place that most couldn’t even touch?
One thing came to mind. Telsarat tilted her shoulders and turned her thoughts around.
「…I don’t want to think about it too much. But what came to my mind was the magical devilish beings. Let’s assume that an individual with that title has appeared in Gharast.」
A strange form that was different from magical beasts and monsters. The threat of something unknown. Telsarat didn’t know when they named themselves or if there was someone else who created that name. But for Elizard, those were foreign beings.
Even in the southern country of Elizard, that foreign substance left its mark. It was known that one of the seven major cities of Elizard was partially destroyed by that single demonic form.
Telsarat heard that her country’s fighters used all kinds of techniques and attacks to no avail. What was a magical devilish being, and how was it born? Telsarat didn’t know. However, it was clear that those foreign species were a threat to the human race.
Besides, they had the power to crush the capital of Gharast. Telsarat unwittingly frowned. A wrinkled formed between her eyebrows. Then she said to the spokesperson who was still with her.
「Thank you very much. Let’s report this to the city ruler…Tora. If necessary, I will personally go to Gharast as a messenger.」
Telsarat felt the presence of heavy iron in the depths of her viscera. It felt like a sense of crisis and frustration mixed together.
To be honest, it wouldn’t be strange if the people of Elizard wanted to drink upon hearing the news of the fall of Gharast’s capital. If a hateful opponent received a fatal wound, it should be applauded.
However, for Telsarat, she could not bring herself to have such thoughts.
The reason for this was simple. The person whom she was indebted to was a Gharast citizen. But there was another reason. An uncontrollable chill overwhelmed her spine.
There was no justification for it. It was just a feeling.
“…Perhaps this isn’t a temporary disaster. Perhaps this is the invasion of demonic beasts to the human realm.”
It was a chill that lasted for a long time.
She lightly caressed her cheeks. At that time, Matia noticed that her fingertips had become surprisingly cold.
When she looked below, she noticed that the letters engraved on the parchment in her hand were distorted. She made corrections by using the ink at the top of the table.
But when she tried to write the continuation, she lost her consciousness again for a second.
She let out a deep breath. The cold air rushed down her throat.
It was useless. Matia couldn’t do these political affairs now. She narrowed her eyes, wondering if she had picked up the quill because she couldn’t get her thoughts together.
She drank the water from the cup in her office desk in one go. Even so, her inner emotions were floating as if they were attached with wings.
What was swirling like waves inside her skull was the fall of Arche, the royal capital of the Gharast Kingdom.
Its downfall was too substantial.
The threat of the magical beast disaster was enough to bring up a negative view within the Heraldic Order. In particular, since the Heraldic Order didn’t receive any major damage yet, there was a strong feeling that they shouldn’t involve themselves unreasonably.
There was even an opinion that the city of Philos, which stood at the front line, should be abandoned at once. Everyone seemed to be playing a game, shifting their words from day to night.
Matia, the Saint, had the right and duty to control those words and make judgments. In other words, her authority had the power to dissipate all the negativism.
However, that power could lead to a separation from the elders of the Heraldic Order. Even if it didn’t become public in the future, there would be two powers within the organization.
The poised side of Matia’s skull stopped the urge to create separation. In the midst of the ongoing instability, it would be nothing more than a foolish plan to divide the forces.
But the other side of her skull…the part that was neither calculated nor reasonable…said, “This is a good opportunity.”
It was synonymous with the collapse of the royal capital. The flower of glory that bloomed in full had finally withered and fallen, and the fruit was also rotting.
Right now, even if things didn’t go well, as Lugis as said plenty of times before, this was a good opportunity to create a firm ground. That was the greatest wish of the Heraldics. Those who didn’t own a homeland could have a peaceful place.
This good opportunity would surely never come around again. At least in Matia’s lifetime.
“But I also understand. It’s a very dangerous road. It’s like crossing over thin ice. Still.”
Matia closed her eyelids for a moment to rest her exhausted eyes. In the darkness, a lone figure emerged.
A hero carrying a sword. He didn’t hesitate to speak his thoughts. How did Matia come to seek his advice? Why, when she hated him at first? With her eyes closed, Matia smiled.
She wanted to hear his words. What were his thoughts and what did he decide? It felt pitiful, but she wanted to hear that voice now.
“The final decision is mine. But I just wanted a little help.”
A reserved sound knocked on the door of the office. Matia knew immediately that Ann had returned. She must have brought Lugis with her.
Before Matia allowed her inside, she turned her gaze into her mirror and saw what she looked like. A repeated lack of sleep showed her fatigued expression. She also felt that her hair was a little untied. She tried to change her expression while combing her hair lightly.
It was good. For the time being, Matia created the face that could meet people. She took a deep breath and strengthened her voice to urge Ann to enter the room.
「…Excuse me. I’m sorry to bother you. 」
Ann hesitantly opened the door and entered the room. Contrary to her expectations, Ann was alone. Matia opened her eyes and asked.
「What’s wrong, Ann? Is he not awake? 」
“It’s not dawn yet. It seems that he was drinking alcohol yesterday, so it’s natural that something like this would happen.”
Ann said while averting her gaze.
「No, you see, about that…he has already talked with Queen Eldith. He’s preparing to march north. He…the Lord Hero told me to inform you…」
It was unusual for Ann to speak broken words. It looked rather awkward. Rather, her sharpness with words got lost somehow.
Just by looking at Ann’s attitude, Matia’s intelligent brain understood it immediately. Ann’s words were serious. Just because he had a conversation with Eldith didn’t mean he’d go his own way again. However, the contents of that talk were serious.
Matia felt she should’ve been the one to speak with him. Now that he heard about this crucial information…he won’t feel the need to meet her.
Predictable. Once he decided on something, he wouldn’t give it up. It felt as if he had an aversion to give up.
Matia told Ann that he wouldn’t bend anymore. That was okay. He was like that.
“Ah, but. But.”
“…What do you mean you don’t need to see me? Since we haven’t seen each other in a long time, you seem to be taking me lightly. Isn’t that so, Lugis?”
“I see. It’s useless.”
During Flimslat’s expedition, Matia thought Lugis understood the need for her own control.
After all, it would be useless for him to move on his own. Children who played pranks would always do so when their parents weren’t watching.
In order to correct his childish behavior, Lugis had to stay by Matia’s side. Also, it was strange for the crown and the sword to be separated.
Matia quietly let out a hot sigh from her lips and smiled deeply with her cheeks.
“…Very well, Lugis. Once again, what do you need for your endeavors? Who is the person that will give what you need? Let’s engrave your mind with it. Then, I’ll conclude that your actions are also for the sake of the Heraldic Order.”
Saint Matia made a decision on this very moment. An opportunity for the Heraldic Order. That decision was also a breakpoint.
Matia’s skull knew this was a good opportunity. She took one last push before deciding.
“…On this day, the invasion of the Gharast Kingdom by the Heraldic Order is decided.”
We have lots of new characters in this arc 🙂 Nice to have some freshness.