Chapter 386: The Rear’s Normality
The expedition of the Heraldic’s Saint Matia and Hero Lugis to the royal capital could be called one of the roughest campaigns during the Gospel War.
In the first place, sending troops to remote areas was in itself extremely difficult. No matter how well they progressed, if they were to be defeated on that expedition, it would be all over. Furthermore, the intensity of marching through the death snow was beyond words.
However, like many campaigns, if there was a big fight going on in the front, there was also a significant fight going on in the rear.
The puppet city of Philos. Largud Ann, who was burdened with a pile of the city’s laws and governance, had a very grim expression on her face. Even her lips were closed tightly. She glared at those parchments several times over, but there was no way the numbers engraved on them would change.
As she placed one of the parchments down, Ann intentionally let out a sigh. She felt frustrated but her appearance looked relaxed.
The reason why her expression became as cloudy as the rainy season was clear.
The food supplies meant to be sent to the frontline were visibly running low. Even though it had only been about two weeks since the Saint left the city of Philos.
Of course, Ann couldn’t say the situation was very favorable.
It was completely unknown how long it would take to seize the royal capital from the demon’s hands and take absolute control.
It could take several months, or even more than half a year, if something went wrong. Ann had given this place more than enough thought before they left. She calculated that food supplies were enough for several months, if not six months.
Even though they had received an envoy and guest soldiers from the southern nation of Elizard, the estimated numbers would’ve not declined so much.
How did it turn out like this? The answer was already on Ann’s lips.
「…Chief Administrator. What’s the status of Garoua Maria? 」
An elderly man, who was also looking through the reports, swept his gray hair when he heard Ann’s question. The man had enough understanding to be able to guess what was going on without Ann professing specific words.
「It’s difficult to secure food because of the death snow. Also, the supply route was attacked and damaged by magical beasts, so it’s taking a lot of time to repair it.」
That was a plausible reason. Ann shrugged her shoulders in response. Then, she changed her posture and looked up at the ceiling.
However, for Ann, it was an empty excuse. She knew the number of supplies Garoua Maria had, and if there was an attack that required repairs to the supply route, she knew they’d send troops instead.
However, no such reports had come to light. The story of the damaged supply route was all nonsense.
「It’s probably an instruction from the elders. It’s obvious even if you say it isn’t, and there’s no one who can stop them now.」
Ann responded to the Chief Administrator’s words by flicking her eyelashes. Although he was an honest man, he didn’t expect that she would say something so bold as to draw attention to the elder’s actions.
Lugis and Saint Matia. Now that the main members had gone to the frontline, there was no one who could stop the elders centered around Saleino, who had a lot of authority, and thus, a lot of ideas.
This impediment was also no doubt what the elders had in mind. They hoped that this expedition would end in failure.
If the supplies from Garoua Maria, which was the main location to gather supplies, were cut off, there would be nothing left to send to the frontline from Philos, which was just acting as a transit point.
It was often said that the most important thing in a campaign was the supplies. Soldiers without supplies were as good as dead. Frontline soldiers would have no choice but to retreat.
Normally, supplies could be accessed locally from surrounding villages.
Unfortunately, the Heraldic soldiers couldn’t access them. The Gharast nobles were simply allowing the Heraldic soldiers to pass through their territories. If they were to commit plundering, the nobles would surely turn against the Heraldic Order.
Moreover, what the Heraldic Order had to accomplish from now on was the coronation of Philos Trait. Her position was extremely weak. The only things that proved her royal authority were a few documents and the frail support of those nobles.
That’s why the Heraldic Order had to create a story. A wonderful story where everyone would applaud. A pitiful story about a princess who had been cast away by the royal family, but which led her own soldiers to save the royal capital after her father the King had abandoned it.
There was no way the Heraldic soldiers could plunder the nobles after creating that wonderful and pitiful story. For the sake of this plan. For the sake of Philos Trait. That’s why the Heraldic Order had to be the savior.
The elders didn’t want that to happen. One could even say they were afraid.
Why? Because what they wanted was not the prosperity of the Heraldic Order. What they truly wanted was to retain the power in their hands. For them, the Heraldic religion was already a fully ripened fruit, so they were no longer willing to take risks to make it bigger.
No more blood should be shed in vain. That was the basis of their thinking.
Ann didn’t try to deny such thoughts.
Ann also liked to take the reins of the Heraldic Order, but she had less ambition. After all, her talent was withdrawn.
In fact, the differences between the elders and Ann were small.
At the end of the day, there was only one choice to make: accept the different path to glory or just reject it. Ann accepted it while they rejected it.
That’s why Ann understood how the elders felt. She even felt empathy.
They were frustrated. It was only natural for them to be that angry and wary. Something unknown was about to destroy everything they had built through efforts.
The “person” who was about to destroy everything they had was often praised and raised above their authority.
As if their lives were denied when in “his” presence. It was as if the path they had followed for many years was thought to be wrong. It was easy to imagine the humiliation of having the internal organs burnt and the heart pierced. That humiliation naturally turned into hatred.
The ideals of the Heraldic Order, Saleino’s authority, and the elders’ beliefs were in no way compatible with Lugis. This was no longer a matter of personality or compatibility, but a fundamental problem.
Ann knew that the rebels were against Lugis. Therefore, the elders opened their eyes to this unique opportunity.
They moved precisely because Saint Matia’s management was out of their way and Lugis’ blade was no longer visible. Perhaps they disliked even the Saint who affirmed Lugis’ important status.
Ann pushed those parchments to the edge of her desk and said something that was flashing within her now.
「…What a bold move. If you were just a little bit more obvious, I could have easily branded you as a traitor.」
Are you listening, Chief Administrator? Ann intertwined the fingers of her hands and looked at the man. The man looked up from the reports for a moment, then quickly returned to his original position. He behaved as if he had no idea what Ann’s words meant.
Both Ann and the man knew that they were both participating in a council of elders who were at odds with Lugis. However, Ann’s words seemed as if she were supporting Lugis.
That’s why the conversation stopped for a moment. The man carefully thought about his words before speaking.
「…I’m not suited to incite other people. I’m not like Lord Lugis. 」
After hearing those words, Ann thought this man was an intelligent person. He had the ability to understand people’s true intentions and was able to express them honestly.
If he was a person who was close to the elders, then he would respond vaguely to Ann’s words, and later inform the elders of Ann’s betrayal. Even if Lugis was responsible for everything, the Chief Administrator would only be able to respond vaguely in front of Ann’s suspicious words about him being a traitor.
But he didn’t do anything like that. Ann shook her head and opened her mouth.
「What Lord Lugis does is something that drives people rather than incite them. What I would like to ask you is something simple, Chief Administrator.」
The man’s eyebrows rose at those words, but he didn’t open his mouth. He listened to Ann’s words and thought for a moment, then the lines on his face deepened.
Within a few days, the letter was successfully delivered to Saleino and the other elders who had moved to Garoua Maria.
The content was simple and did not contain detailed information like the usual reports. It simply conveyed the facts of what had happened.
Saleino was listening to the letter calmly, yet the other elders were listening to the letter with concern.
…The only thing written in the letter was that Largud Ann had betrayed the elders. The sender was the Chief Administrator of the puppet city of Philos.
Saleino was the only one who laughed as he listened to its contents. The lines that had been engraved on his face for many years became greatly distorted. His white teeth were clearly visible.
「I’ve been waiting for you, cunning little girl.」
Ohhh Ann has guts! But now she has more enemies, and from her side! There’s conflicts from everywhere now.