When I noticed, half a month had passed since the war started.
The damage the Marden army had suffered from the previous night assault was as many as 700 dead and 2,000 injured. Including those who were died fighting against the Natra army, many of their soldiers were deserting, leaving only about 23,000 soldiers left in the Marden army.
Of course, that didn’t mean the Natra army was left without casualties either. From the five thousand soldiers they had at the beginning, only three thousand were left. Their overall layer of defense had also become thinner.
However, looking at the result so far, it was clear that their struggle had an effect, making the Natra soldiers morale remained high. That was the difference between Natra soldiers and the Marden soldiers.
Inside the tent where the high spirited Natra soldiers had built, Wayne was staring at the documents in front of him.
“Our food supply is okay for now… As for the materials… As expected, we’ve barely scraped by, but looking at it, we still can go on…”
Reports coming from all direction indicate that the current situation was better than Wayne had expected.
“No, this is actually too good! It’s going too well than I had planned!”
Toward Wayne, who shown such dispirited behavior, Ninim showed agreement to his words…
“It is good that everything has been going well, though… Compared to that, Marden’s assault has been decreasing a lot lately, are they going to withdraw soon, I wonder?”
Wayne shook his head, hearing Ninim’s words.
“As expected, it’s impossible for them to do that now. It might be possible if they did it during the first week of the war, now it is not possible anymore… The damage they suffered is too big for them to withdraw now…”
Knowing the one who caused all of that was Wayne himself, he laughed in a good mood.
“Knowing they could not break through against us, I guess right now they are preparing? For a single large assault that is…”
“By preparing you meant… Siege weapons?”
“Yes, they would mostly prepare field types of equipment. By now, they should have gathered some ladders, catapults, and others, I guess?”
“But bringing catapults to the mountain, I think that would be really hard?”
“When human being cornered, they won’t even understand what is normal anymore…”
Only after their preparation was done and they performed the assault, and if we manage to surpass them and make their plan sunk. The possibility for them to negotiate for peace would appear.
Though it was essential for them to survive the assault first, one still need to lay the groundwork.
“There’s no deviation in my arrangement. In half a month, I will leave this place alive.”
Toward Wayne who was in full confidence, despite still half in doubt, Ninim responded…
“Then that would be great… I’m really bored with the scenery here already…”
“You sure can say that… I also want to spread my wings in the royal palace too…”
“Have a nice hot bath would be nice. Since we can’t afford to use hot water here…”
The water on the battlefield was something precious. The most they could do was wiping their body once in a while, though it was possible to have a hot bath, it was very inappropriate to do that here.
‘Indeed,’ Wayne responded to Ninim words with a deep agreement.
“I’ve been worrying if we standing closely, the smell would– wait, oi, that’s hurt!”
Ninim flicked Wayne’s forehead with her middle finger.
“Don’t say that…”
“Uooooh… I-I never thought I would win like this…” -TLN: In argument.
“No, this is not about winning or losing, you know?”
When they had such pleasant joke between them, they feel a presence in front of the tent.
“Your Highness, please excuse me.”
Raklum showed up. Wayne and Ninim immediately fixed their position and greet him.
“What’s wrong? Is something happen?”
“Yes, sir. A messenger has come from the Marden army.”
“A messenger you said?”
Sending a messenger means they have the willingness to discuss the war with him, and it was something Wayne welcomed very much since he wanted peace as soon as possible.
But, the timing was weird… He had predicted that Marden army should’ve prepared their last big offensive, and the negotiation of peace would come from the result of that afterward…
(I’ve cornered Marden more than I had imagined…No, I guess that is not it… Which mean are they trying to disturb us? Or…)
After quickly thinking about the meaning behind it, Wayne gives out an instruction.
“I understand, for now, let us hear them… Ninim, go set up the meeting place… As for the place… Hmm, let’s see, I think the middle of the mountain path would be great. Raklum, be cautious and watch around the surrounding. The other side might move while I’m responding to the messenger.”
“Please leave it to me!”
Ninim and Raklum immediately left the tent.
Until the meeting time come, Wayne continues his thought…
(… Or something happened in their home country… Marden’s plan has already failed considerably… Fushtar would be angry by now questioning why the Gold mine has not been returned. The vassals must’ve started to feel uneasy by now… And someone, might be proposing it would be good to ask for peace now, huh?)
If that vassal was someone who Drawood could ignore, it had the possibility that this meeting was only for form sake.
Of course, that was only Wayne speculation, he didn’t know what really happens on the other side entirely… However, in this war, who had been ongoing longer than anyone had planned, there was no doubt, the pressure from the central would be enormous…
“Isn’t it about time for your butt to catch fire? Drawood!”
Thinking about his opponent agony, Wayne smiled…
While looking at the other side, Wayne’s expectation was right.
“General, a massage from the royal palace, has come…”
Toward the commander who comes with a cloudy face, Drawood smacked his lips and responded…
“Treat him appropriately and turn him back. We have no time to deal with the royal palace now…”
“But General, if we ignore the royal palace more than this, the royal palace might do something…”
“They might intervene with our siege weapon preparation…”
Drawood could not hide his frustration, but he could only grit his teeth.
This was the difference between Wayne and Drawood. Wayne was a prince and a regent in the Natra Kingdom, he was effectively the leader of the Natra. He had the authority to push forward.
However, Drawood, on the other hand, was only a military commander, his power was delegated by the King. If the King’s mood was compromised, he could just blow away Drawood both professionally and physically. In order to prevent all of that, Drawood needed to continue to show easy-to-understand results to the King and his surrounding.
But, that was not possible right now. The plan was for them to take back the gold mine within a week, and now, half a month had passed. The strategy didn’t advance, and now Drawood demand to prepare siege weapons…
It was inevitable for them to sent a messenger to ask what was going on… At first, Drawood manages to turn back the messengers several times, but there was a limit for doing that… And the voice who demanded Horonie, who had backed Drawood, to take responsible had started to raise.
“… What is the message?”
Drawood exhaled deeply and then asked the commander quietly…
“Yes, sir. Take control of the mine as soon as possible. For that reason… To take into consideration for negotiation for peace with the Natra Kingdom.”
Hearing that, another commander stood up.
“That’s stupid! Peace, at this late of time?!”
“Impossible! How much blood do you think my men had shed blood?!”
“General Drawood, let’s ignore those royal courts people who know nothing and advance the preparation for the offensive!”
The commanders speak one by one refusing to end it with peace, though their feeling could not let this war to end peacefully, there was also frustration that they haven’t been successful. Since if they asked for peace at this late of time, they won’t receive any war merits…
Of course, Drawood felt the same.
He understands their feeling, but…
“It’s fine, let us sent a messenger to the Natra army.”
“But that is!”
“Calm down. It’s just for appearance sake. If we sent a messenger out and the Natra army refused the negotiation, we will stand. In the meantime, continue with the preparation, we will take the mine by force. If it is like this, then, it should be fine.”
The commanders agreed to his words uniformly.
“Logan, you will go as the messenger.”
Drawood named his adjutant. In order to make peace never happened, there was no choice for him but to choose the person he trusted the most.
“Don’t flatter them. Make them wants to do resistance to the bitter end.”
“Which mean, it is fine if we just incite them, yes?”
“That’s right. But, don’t overdo it and get yourself killed.”
Thus, after they discussed the condition for peace, the messenger went to the mine where the Natra army situated.
The moment they meet the messenger, Ninim sensed that he didn’t have any intention for peace.
The man who called himself Logan, who was sitting across the prince didn’t even try to hide his rude behavior.
“In this negotiation, my words could be treated as General Drawood’s words, who was in charge of the Marden army’s command. Your Highness Wayne, it seems your ability to handle that pet dog of yours seems to be excellent. General Drawood was also highly regarded your ability in that…”
Hearing his remarks, the guard voltage who was on guard raised greatly in an instant. Had Wayne didn’t control them by waving his hand, Logan would’ve died.
“So Logan, what are you coming here for today? There’s no way that you come here just to provoke us?
“Of course, Marden didn’t have time to spend time on such a useless thing. I’m here to negotiate peace.”
However, the conditions of peace that had been spoken out were too ridiculous.
Immediate withdrawal from the mine, disarmament, return the mine citizen, and compensation for illegally occupying the mine. It was transmitted to them that the other side didn’t have an intention for peace.
“How is it? Your Highness, Wayne.”
“It was regrettable, we can’t hope peace with those conditions.”
Naturally, that was Wayne’s response…
“We’re willing to make the most compromise but… If you continue this war, you might return to your homeland without your head?”
“How terrifying of a story indeed. But Logan, I have a high expectation, and I feel like I would go back to my country in triumph.”
“I see, it seems there are only dogs around you like we’ve thought. My advice might just fall into the old woman deaf ears but, for Your Highness well being, Your Highness should choose better people by Your Highness’ side.”
Logan then stood up. It seems the talk was over.
(Geez, it was a waste of time…)
As Ninim sighed inside her heart, she began to think about how to clean up the meeting place.
However, something unexpected happens. Logan turned around ad spit out while looking at Ninim.
“Especially that ‘ash’ should be thrown away quickly. It is not very noble to keep a low life on one’s side.” -TLN: Ninim has silvery-grey hair, thus Ash.
At that time, Logan probably didn’t understand why the air had frozen.
Ninim was trying to talk to Wayne quickly, but he blocked her before she was able to speak. That was because she could feel that a demonic aura was leaking from him. -TLN: Just a metaphor, he did not possess any superpower.
Wayne’s voice was surprisingly flat.
“The words you said were General Drawood’s words, are you certain?”
“Indeed, anything wrong?”
“No. Tell the General, please be careful with his health.”
Logan showed doubtful expression, but he left.
After Logan leaves, Wayne didn’t move from his chair, Ninim decided to speak to him despite the tense air around him.
“Y-Your Highness, about that…”
“I’m very sorry, Ninim.”
Wayne spoke, cutting Ninim’s words.
“It wasn’t like that went we talk with Ziva. Thus I let my guard down. As expected, prejudice against Fulham still very persistent on the west. I’ve carelessly exposed you to such eyes and made you uncomfortable…”
“N-No, such a thing is…”
“Let us be more careful next time. Now, can I ask you to clean up the place? I will go back first…”
Wayne stood up and walked to the top of the gold mine.
Ninim, who was ordered to clean up, could only see off his back, and when he was finally out of reach from her gaze, Wayne speaks to the escort soldiers…
A few days after the meeting, the Marden army completes preparation for the offensive.
The war for the Gold mine was reaching its final stage