The Healer Walks Into a Trap!
All the final details regarding the meeting with the three hostile countries have been decided, and although it’s unofficial, the three countries have promised to cease all fighting until the negotiations have finished.
As of late, Ellen has been incredibly busy. Well, that probably shouldn’t be a surprise. During the talks, we will not simply be negotiating with the three hostile countries, we will also be dealing with a ‘neutral’ third party country that will act as a moderator.
It is actually rather common for a third party to participate in ceasefire negotiations or other kinds of diplomatic talks. After all, the matter will never be settled if the only parties involved are the ones at war with each other; even if it can be settled right there and then, how long will that agreement actually last? But when there is a witness present, you can enforce your contract. Unfortunately, it is nigh impossible for a country acting as a third party to be neutral. Thus, it is necessary to embrace that neutrality is impossible and prepare in advance. Before the meeting, every country will be pulling out all the stops in a desperate attempt to prepare for it. In a certain sense, this too, is war.
Freya: “Keyaruga-sama, is there anything I can help with?”
Keyaruga: “To be honest, it’s better to just leave this kind of stuff to Ellen.”
It’s already past noon. Despite that, I’m still lazing around in bed with Freya.
At the moment, Kureha is busy training the knights at the castle. Under the guidance of the sword-saint, not only will their skill rise dramatically, their morale will also improve. Setsuna is also training with the knights under Kureha’s guidance. Although Setsuna’s fighting style is incompatible with a sword, there is still something for her to gain from this training.
Everyone is doing their best to assist the kingdom in their own way. On the other hand, Freya seems to be quite distressed that while everyone else is hard at work she has been intertwined with me since this morning.
Keyaruga: “It’s fine, Freya. The best way for us to help is by not getting in Ellen’s way. During the meeting, you’re going to have to act as Princess Flare on behalf of the country. Your words represent the will of the Dioral Kingdom.”
Freya: “…Yes, I’m quite nervous about that.”
Keyaruga: “It’s okay to be nervous sometimes, but we won’t always have that luxury. That’s why I’m trying to forget about it like this.”
I hug Freya from behind and enjoy the sensation of her soft skin.
Keyaruga: “You don’t need to think, Ellen and I have already written the script. If things take an unexpected turn, just look to Ellen or I for guidance. All you have to do is follow our lead. Even if you make a mistake, just keep going, you don’t have to think for yourself. Keep in mind that everyone at the meeting is a professional, especially the enemy. You will be unable to keep up with them.”
I’m not just being meaninglessly lazy by staying in bed. I cannot afford to lose Ellen at this moment in time, which means that I cannot afford to make the first move and risk leaving Ellen vulnerable. While in bed with me, Freya is surrounding Ellen with protective wind magic.
In addition, I am currently coaching Freya by repeatedly telling her to not think. The only true concern I have is that Freya is rather emotional and not really suited for this kind of task, which might cause some problems down the line.
While giving love to Freya, I repeat ‘Don’t think, just send a message with your eyes if you don’t know what to do’. I continuously repeat that message in order to imprint it into her. The scenario has already been simulated. As long as nothing too unexpected happens, everything should flow quite smoothly.
Eight days before the meeting.
We have departed for the destination with a minimal number of escorts and diplomats accompanying us. It will take about seven days to arrive at the meeting place because of the detours that have to be made as a result of the main road being blocked. Although we are still cutting it a bit close.
If we were to take the shortest route it would involve Freya blowing up the rubble on the main road in order to make a path for us, but doing so would greatly increase the risk of a surprise attack on the Dioral Kingdom.
Thus, the slow detour is the ‘route’ we have decided to take. All my women (TL Note: What happened to Eve?) are traveling with me to where the talks are going to be held in the Grantsbach Empire.
Even if the main road isn’t available for a long time, it won’t have too detrimental of an effect on the Dioral Kingdom. As long as Freya and Ellen are alive it will be possible to rebuild the Dioral Kingdom regardless of the state it’s in.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the Grantsbach Empire will attempt to assassinate Freya and Ellen at the meeting, after all, it’s highly likely that the talks themselves are a way to lure Freya into a place where they can easily kill her and take away our ability to use the bombing tactic.
Freya: “Keyaruga-sama, the carriage is slow. I’m a bit bored.”
Keyaruga: “It only feels slow because we’re used to going much faster on raptors, dragons, or planes. This is actually quite a fast carriage with excellent horses.”
In the best-case scenario, a horse-drawn carriage can travel at 12km/h, which is not all that fast. If we flew at full power we could probably get there in half the time it would take on a horse, but it would be quite unstable.
Keyaruga: “Setsuna, monitor our surroundings and watch out for anyone who pretends to be a bandit.”
Setsuna: “Nnn. Leave it to me. I’m always vigilant.”
Setsuna’s white wolf ears fluttered searching for any suspicious noises. In terms of being able to locate and detect enemies, Freya’s [heat-sensing] is far superior, but it puts too much of a mental strain on her if she has to use it for prolonged periods of time.
In situations where we have to monitor our surroundings for longer durations, Setsuna’s ears are incredibly effective. This is a job I can leave to her.
The carriage goes on…
It’s incredibly boring. It’s far too boring, at this point I actually want an assassin to come at me. To entertain myself a little bit, I put Setsuna on my lap and play with her tail. Setsuna’s tail has a silky smooth feel to it and touching it calms me down. Setsuna lets out a moan which is also very fun.
Setsuna: “Ahh-, Keyaruga-sama, not there!”
Keyaruga: “Why not? It’s a nice place.”
I was bored and had wanted an assassin to come, but we were just getting to the good part.
Keyaruga: “Setsuna, do you think you can deal with them alone?”
Setsuna: “Leave it to me. I wanted to move anyway.”
It seems as if it’s an assassin intent on killing us. With its strength, it should be a good challenge for Setsuna. Regardless of what happens, I’m only going to watch over and won’t interfere.
One week later.
We have arrived at the capital of the Grantsbach Empire and it’s the day before the meeting is to be held. That first attack was only one of many that we encountered on our journey. All of our assailants, without fail, tried to commit suicide using a poison that they kept in their back teeth once we captured them. Although, it was pretty obvious that they were hired assassins trying to kill us and not the bandits they disguised themselves, after all, real bandits would be disheveled and dirty.
As long as you are alive, there is still hope for the future. That is what true bandits would think and thus would have no reason to commit suicide. But, they are merely imposters.
And imposters who were far too weak. Certainly, they were first-class trained professionals, but that’s all that they were, first-class. If first-class assassins were all that they sent to kill us, they are seriously underestimating us.
It seems unlikely that this is the work of the Grantsbach Empire or Bullet, Bullet would not waste resources in such a messy way. Therefore, it must be the work of the other two countries.
With that in mind, we had caught the second assassin before he could commit suicide. Because the other assassin had committed suicide with the poison that was in the back of his teeth, I made sure to crush the jaw of the second assassin so that he couldn’t bite his back teeth.
What an idiot.
You can’t get information from a dead person. I knew that he would try to commit suicide and it’s only natural to take countermeasures once you know what you’re dealing with. Thanks to that stupidity, I was able to catch three idiots, make them spill everything they knew, and train them to be honest.
Luckily, there was a knight who was quite proud of his strength and volunteered to die. Now, however, if I instruct him to do so, he will testify at the meeting that he was ordered to disguise himself as a bandit and attack us on behalf of his country.
Since we entered the capital, the attacks have stopped. After all, it would be a big diplomatic issue if Princess Flare was attacked while heading to a meeting within their territory. I’m quite glad that I captured those people before getting here.
Keyaruga: “Just don’t get frustrated.”
The attacks thus far have been far too sloppy, it’s like being played around with and it’s unpleasant.
I was in a bad mood for a couple of days because of that so I had Setsuna take care of the assailants. But, that bad mood is gone now after being invited to an expensive mansion that is usually used to entertain important guests and receiving nothing but the finest hospitality.
The Grantsbach Empire was the most powerful nation on this continent before the rise of the Dioral Kingdom, and there are many wealthy people around the world who have their own personal accommodation facilities set up here.
I was a little surprised, actually. The culture here is far richer and more refined than that of the Dioral Kingdom. It is amazing just how much superior the food and art here is compared to the Dioral Kingdom. I guess, regardless of how much military power you have, you cannot catch up with a sophisticated culture that is the result of the accumulation of nothing but the best over the course of many years.
Their tactic in doing this is actually quite simple, if you enjoy good food, good music, and great artwork, your anger will merely fade away.
But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not being careful. Everyone here is an informant that is watching our every move and mentally noting everything that we say, no matter how innocuous it seems.
As well, everyone around us reacted quite strongly to bringing out just a little magical power. It seems unlikely that we will be able to hold a strategy meeting here. But, it would be unreasonable to not expect that. I don’t make it a habit to talk while in enemy territory.
Still, they are being so welcoming and friendly that I am very much looking forward to what’s in store for us. At night, a woman was assigned to me. A beautiful woman who has thoroughly learned how to entertain a man. She also burned incense which was a little annoying given that I was trying to find out various things, but it was a fun time so I think I can be forgiving this time. It’s also a good thing that she taught Setsuna all the techniques that she demonstrated. If possible, I would like to avoid making this city a sea of fire and chaos.
The next day.
We are going to the meeting place arranged by the Grantsbach Empire.
The meeting room that they chose to use was deliberately designed to be awe-inspiring and show off the overwhelmingly rich culture of the Grantsbach Empire in an attempt to demoralize other parties before negotiations. Even I was rather impressed with the display.
The representatives from the Dioral Kingdom, Grantsbach Empire, and the two other countries cooperating with the Grantsbach Empire have all finally gathered. The position of moderator has been given to a third-party country.
The beginning of the meeting has started and the first one to speak will be Freya in the form of Princess Flare.
Flare: “We of the Dioral Kingdom, do not wish for needless or pointless bloodshed and are quite willing to agree to the armistice. There is only one condition which we will present, and that is the delivery of Bullet, the [canon hero] to the Dioral Kingdom. We do not ask for anything else.”
From the beginning, I had set this up.
The Dioral Kingdom had been the victim of a one-sided war and possessed a massive advantage in terms of raw military power. The other countries were in a position where they should be paying compensation to the Dioral Kingdom and asking for leniency.
To abandon all that negotiation power and only ask for one person is an exceptional deal for the other countries. As well, the two countries allied with the Grantsbach Empire will not be affected in any way by this. In other words, it’s a deal that makes the other countries want to side with the Dioral Kingdom. The two countries allied with the Grantsbach Empire will be bombed if a ceasefire agreement cannot be reached, thus, they have to establish one at any expense.
Not to mention, if they try to refuse Freya’s one and only condition while also trying to establish a ceasefire agreement, they will have to pay a lot in compensation.
They cannot afford to choose either option.
Their only choice is to get the Grantsbach Empire to hand Bullet over.
Previously, I had been the one who was stuck in a desert city squirming around trying to find a way out, but now it’s your turn, Bullet.
Everyone except the Grantsbach Empire is your enemy, show me what you can do.