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Chapter 158 – Into the Eastern Campaign
[A report came from the Dragon’s Eye hiding in the east.]
Ares began the topic following George’s words. Everyone’s eyes gathered on him.
[The Dormadia Kingdom has invaded the Horus Kingdom, a neighbouring country of the Istrea Kingdom. Horus couldn’t defend against the sudden invasion. It is said that the invasion has reached the center of the country as we speak.]
Listening to Ares’ words, everyone present turned solemn.
[That’s not all. The cavalry of Byzerd was seen along the border of Toronto Kingdom, another neighboring country to the Istrea Kingdom. Toronto is currently in the middle of consolidating their defense to meet the Byzerdians in battle.]
Ares then turned his gaze towards Shion. He left the rest to those more adept on this topic.
As usual, Shion sighed. Instead of his usual unwilling lazy face, he had this serious look as he spreaded out another map on the table. It shows how urgent the situation was.
[This is the map of the eastern part of the continent. We can say that this is the latest map as it only been drawn recently by the folks from Dragon’s Eye.]
Everyone’s eyes were focused on the map. Surely, it’s a wonderfully detailed map. But what amazed everyone was the territorial lines of each country.
Byzerd actually owned two-fifth of the east, and Dormadia also had two-fifth of the entire region. The remaining one-fifth belonged to the combination of Horus, Toronto, and Istrea. That also included their vassal states; Renato and Lyon Principality.
[When did Dormadia and Byzerd grow that big…?]
Gail raised his voice in amazement.
[It seems that these two countries, Byzerd and Dormadia, are in a race of swallowing smaller countries while at the same time avoiding conflict with each other. Most likely, both sides decided that they will deal with each other once there is nothing else left to conquer.]
[And… this time they are aiming for…]
To that person’s muttering, Shion turned his gaze back to the map.
[They want to conquer Istrea no matter what. Anyone who conquers Istrea will obtain fertile land, abundant funds, and lots of supplies. It should give them the edge to break the current stalemate.]
Shion then gave everyone a look.
[Once any of them conquer Istrea, they will finally clash to decide who is the true lord of the east… I think that is their ongoing strategy.]
After listening to Shion, Eckhart unconsciously muttered his thoughts out loud.
[How about leaving them as they are and attack the two countries as they engaged in battle when they won’t be able to defend properly against an outsider?]
Shion smiled hearing that opinion.
[Certainly, there is that method. However, that one is out of the question.]
He then looked at everyone present.
[First of all… in the unlikely event that one of them falls and the other rises to become the lord of the east… means that another great power will rise alongside the already established 4 Great Powers. We want to avoid that as much as possible.]
[Secondly… the timing coincides with the Empire’s upcoming campaign. Everyone’s eyes will focus on the battle in the west.]
If the Frontier is to intervene with the conflict in the east at a different time… no matter how tight the iron curtain is spread to regulate the information from moving past Redgear, there’s still a possibility that a leak will occur due to the extent of the conflict. If that happens, the cover might break and a lot of people will be able to tell what actually transpired inside the frontier area.
The inside of the frontier area… the fact that demihumans and demonkins could live alongside humans alone could turn the entire continent, including the church, against them. A situation that must be avoided considering that they’re about to engage in a huge battle.
However, now that most of the attention is focused on the west, each major power would likely ignore the movement in the east.
Thus. it’s the best timing to initiate a military intervention.
[Until we have enough strength to stand against the Great Powers on our own… I want our situation here to stay secret.]
Many showed their agreement to Ares.
[And third… we do have a clear reason to intervene with the conflict in the east. Right now, both Dormadia and Byzerd violently devour the eastern region. If we go in with the intention to liberate the people, our cause will be justified.]
Ares wanted to gain power before the Empire falls into disarray. But if Ares were to take over the eastern region, he would do so while maintaining the power of any outstanding local aristocrats.
Invasion can cause unrest among the people which in turn will cause the new governing body to take a very long time to stabilize. But what if it’s liberation instead?
The people would most likely be happy to obey. Even if… they have to go against the teachings of the church.
[And the last reason… is our secret pact with Istrea.]
[Yes. To tell the truth, an Istrean ambassador came to us to forge a secret alliance between the frontier area and Istrea Kingdom quite a long time ago.]
This was new to almost everyone. But they remained silent as they waited for Shion to explain.
[The content of the pact was… when Istrea is under attack, the frontier area will send help to repel the invader. And….. in return… Istrea will obey the Frontier area from then onward. Mind you, they specifically pointed out that they’re making this pact with the 『Frontier Area』instead of the Arcadia Empire.]
Shion’s explanation was too astonishing for many. It’s like Istrea was showing their willingness to be ruled by Ares.
[The Istrea Ambassador probably took into account our post-war policy and the eventuality of us trying to 『unify the east』. He most likely wanted the people of Istrea and the royal family to be protected while retaining the influence of the latter. Therefore, he went to request this directly to our Lord, instead of going to the Arcadia Empire.]
Shion perhaps said all this with a rather casual tone. However, the air in the Round Table room instantly changed when the phrase 『unify the east』came out from Shion’s mouth.
Right… the frontier grew and developed itself apart from the Arcadia Empire and did not bother themselves with the succession war. That’s because they actually aimed to conquer the east.
There were many warriors in the Round Table room and most originated from Grants. All of them showed a uniformly excited look.
[We will secretly move to join Istrea and move while disguising ourselves as the Istrea army. On the surface, it will seem like it’s Istrea who unified the east when in truth, we are actually in control. And then… once the time comes, and the empire falls into disorder, that will be when we reveal our true flag.]
Many nodded in response to Shion’s exposition.
[Let me say this once more… I feel sorry for the people in the eastern region, but this is an opportunity that only comes once in a thousand. Not receiving too much attention, having a proper cause and easily stabilizing the government after the war… we can’t afford to miss this chance.]
After confirming everyone’s approval, Shion began to touch upon the detailed instruction.
[Count of Redgear, Count of Trevoir, Brittany Representative Gray.]
[ [ [ Yes! ] ] ]
[You are to return to your land to secure the defenses. While we are focusing on the east, there will be nothing we can do about the west. We are still not strong enough to spread our influence around us.]
[Also, send in your troops to us. The amount will be in the instructions later.]
The three nodded.
[ [ Yes! ] ]
[Reorganize the Second and Third Armies and lead them toward Fort Harline in the eastern border. Always be prepared for immediate departure.]
Sigurd’s and Darius’ eyes shone when they heard the instructions.
[Shu, you will lead the Fourth Army that will march alongside our Lord’s first army a little later on. There are no 『samurai』yet, but you should teach them on how the Yashima’s warriors fight so that there will be no problem adapting when your compatriots join in the future.]
Shu deeply bowed.
[Arnold and Dirk will also set out as deputy commanders for Sigurd and Darius respectively. And this time, not only Lauren but also you, Eckhart,, will also head out. So get ready.]
Eckhart’s eyes shone after hearing that… but then he recalled something.
[Then who will maintain the territory security while I’m away?]
[Territory security will be temporarily maintained by Elan and Shadow. In addition to that, I will have to ask Sharon-sama and Liliana-sana to stay in the territory during this campaign as a precaution.]
That kind of arrangement of course incited protest from the two women.
[Wha- I can’t accompany Ares again this time!?]
[Are you saying dear husband will leave us at home again!?]
Ares who received Shion’s frosty gaze immediately went to calm the two.
[Now now… I understand that you two are eager to test out your newly gained powers… but if all of us go, there will be no one left capable of responding should monsters or bandits suddenly spring out somewhere in the territory… so please?]
[As Milord said, this is a very important role. What’s scary here is the power of 『Darkness』. We don’t know what they will do in the background. And among us all, you two who wield 『Holy Sword』and『Holy Spear』are the most well equipped to defend against their ploy.]
The two reluctantly nodded.
[Lastly… once our Lord arrives at Fort Harline, we will immediately march to Istrea. Our deadline is one month. Let’s get everything ready before that.]
Everyone nodded in affirmation. But there’s still someone asking a question.
[But… this amount of military movement. No matter how strict the Dragon’s Eye works, and even if most of the continent’s attention are currently focused to the west… wouldn’t some rumours still leak out one way or another?]
Shion acknowledged this problem.
[The story will leak alright.]
[However, by the time the story spread, we would’ve already conquered the east. And by then… the Empire would’ve been in shambles and we would’ve already gained enough power to stand on our own. No one will be able to complain.]
Everyone was rendered silent. Until Ares finally spoke up.
[That’s all. This battle, like the Northern expedition, will be a very important one for our Frontier area. Everyone should do their best to prepare.]
Everyone nodded as the tense atmosphere spread once more.
The fateful battle for the Frontier area is about to begin.