“Pleased to meet you, Prince Helmut.”
Anyway, since he was being greeted, at least he needs to greet him in return. Wayne greeted him with slightly bowed his head for courtesy.
“I believe you’ve already known who I am, I’m Wayne Salema Albarest. The crown prince of the Natra Kingdom. …. I believe there would be various things we could discuss but, before that, please let me thank you first. For the liberation army who saved me during a time of crisis. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“It’s fine. As the prince of Marden, I have to subjugate bandits. In fact, it is our weakness that caused those people to thrive.”
“Your Highness, to say such a thing…”
Ziva tried to stop him, but Helmut holds him back by raising his hand.
Wayne then took a seat across Helmut’s position.
“And so, what do you want to say first?”
“Then, let me talk to the point. … Why are you wearing armor even though you’re indoor?”
“… When the capital city fell, I was once captured by the Cabarine army. They burned my face.”
Helmut then stroke his helmet.
“Then I swore to god. For the sake of fulfilling the royal duty of restoring the Marden Kingdom, and as a punishment as a royal family member who let the capital fell, until the day I could recapture the capital, I will always wear armor and never take it off in public.”
“… I see.”
It was slacked response, which makes Ninim wanted to protest but held back, and Wayne glanced at her.
(What do you think?)
He continues to wear armors to hide his burned face and also to inspire his allies. It was indeed a good thought. However, something feels wrong…
(Which means someone might actually act as a wire puller huh? But, well, in this situation, there’s no way for me to complains about that…)
They were surrounded by soldiers, and he only had Ninim with him. Both sides did have their own plan but, if battles broke out here, Wayne thought the chance of him winning would only be 50-50, and that would further decrease if he includes escaping the place into the equation.
(Well, let us go with the flow for now.)
For Wayne, he didn’t care if the person in front of him was actually prince Helmut or just a shadow puppet(Double body). Since the Liberation army treats this armor as the Helmut, then Wayne thought he just needs to do the same. That was what important right now.
“It seems I’ve asked a hasty question. Pardon for my rudeness, Prince Helmut.”
“I don’t mind. Instead, I wish to talk about the main topic immediately.”
One could feel an aura of intimidation comes out from Helmut.
From here on out, it was the battle between the two princes begins, Everyone on the spot was holding their breath.
“Prince Wayne, let me ask what is the purpose of you coming here?”
That was it, that was exactly the focus of discussion this time.
While looking at the two, Ziva had some thoughts.
(There was no contact between us… It is obvious that he just wants to go through the land by doing back door dealing. … And before this as well, information about the arrival of the Cabarine messenger in Natra’s capital had arrived here…)
The remnants army was aware. That Natra was trying to have a relationship with Cabarine.
Ninim also thinks like that.
(However, speaking about that in all honesty, would mean taking the other side as the enemy, and for the remnants army, Natra and Cabarine have a closer relationship means the end of them.)
That was something hard to avoid. Furthermore, if this discussion handled badly, it could end with a lot of blood spilled.
How will Wayne answer such a question?
Everyone had such thoughts in their minds.
“— On the way to participate in the Holy spirit festival in the capital city of Cabarine…”
Unrest could be felt from the surrounding.
(He didn’t hesitate at all?!)
Ziva couldn’t hide his surprise.
(This is… Maybe I should get ready for battle huh?)
Ninim tried to relax her body just in case she needs to move at any time.
Only two people didn’t show any change in their behavior, Helmut, and Wayne. Of course, Helmut had hidden his face with armor but, Wayne’s arrogance that he could say that with a smile on his face was also not normal.
“… Do you understand what you say just now? If you want to withdraw those words, this is your only chance, Prince Wayne.”
“I just speak about the fact. Thus I have no intention of withdrawing them…”
“That is true, then–…”
Helmut extended his hand to his sword.
“As expected, there’s no other way but to end your life here…”
The air immediately froze. Not only Helmut, but all of the soldiers in the room also put their hands on their swords. Ninim and Ziva obviously looked very nervous— But then, Wayne laughter resounded in the room.
“… What is funny?”
“Oh no, I’m not trying to be disrespectful. But, I would like to ask a question, what would happen after you killed me here, I wonder?”
“Preventing the alliance between Cabarine and Natra.”
Wayne’s eyes glowed.
“This just my guess but, do you think your liberation army could win against Cabarine?”
It was the guard’s turn to voice their anger when they heard that.
“Are you saying we’re going to lose against Cabarine?!”
The angry voice could be heard one after another.
With that voice alone, all of the guards shut their mouths. It was not due to fear that they shut their mouth but it was due to the feeling of loyalty toward the person who speaks that word. Wayne was impressed when he saw that.
“… Why do you think we would lose?”
“It is a simple story. Cabarine could mobilize an army of more than 20,000 men. How much the liberation army have? I think I could estimate around 2,000 to 3,000 men, no?”
Natra was also doing an investigation on the liberation army. There should be not much mistake in that number.
“Last year, the Cabarine withdraw to the comfort of their occupied territory because of the approaching winter, but now, that the winter has come to an end, this year, there would be no doubt, they would use all of their power to wipe out the liberation army. Now then, let me ask, do you have a plan to prevent that?”
“If you kill me here, you may earn time. But, one should only try to earn a time if one thinks one could exceed the enemy. Unfortunately, as time goes by, it would be more disadvantageous for the liberation army.”
He didn’t show it but Wayne thinks Helmut had some liabilities in him.
And one of them was the mismanagement done by his late father, King Fushtar.
Cabarine’s reign in the occupied territory was not especially good. However, for the people, compared to the tyranny of King Fushtar, the Cabarine was much better.
(If I was in their position, I would’ve tried to capture the capital before the winter ends, even if the chance of winning is super thin.)
Before the heats cool down. Before the wounds heal. Before the people compare between the two regimes.
He would instigate propaganda and tells the people that Cabarine’s people were evil and they should join him to drive them out.
However, in reality, they didn’t do that. There might be a reason why they didn’t do that, and Wayne didn’t know about it but, due to that, the remnants army had missed their biggest chance.
“… In other words, this is what you want to say huh? Everything is over for us and you want us to release you, is that it?”
One could feel slight anger in Helmut’s voice.
The hand extended to the sword once again, but unlike the previous gesture, this one was accompanied with murderous intent.
However, instead of changing his attitude, Wayne showed a smile.
“Of course not. What I want to talk about is something more constructive.”
“Constructive proposal, meaning?”
With that as the introduction remark, Wayne continued…
“Prince Helmut, are you not aware of those capable people who attacked me during my journey to the Cabarine?”
Those words caused more confusion than surprise. But then, Wayne keeps continuing…
“Sure, they might look like the bandits, but I believe they were Cabarine people…”
“… I can’t understand. Why Cabarine would do that?”
“That is the reason why I want to give this proposal.”
“I’m not going to stop going to Cabarine. However, depending on what awaits me, I might need to form an alliance with the Liberation army. If that is the case then, isn’t it better to have liberation army personnel nearby?”
Wayne then continues to press more…
“All saint lords would gather in Cabarine this year. Security would be strict but, if you’re a member of a delegation, you would be able to enter without a problem. You may be able to make contact with them like this, no?”
The western countries were silent when Cabarine attacked Marden. That might be because there was a saint lord in Cabarine, thus making the others unable to voice their complaints.
However, what if someone with equal rank voiced it? No one would be in favor of Cabarine’s way of doing things. And if the liberation army could show some benefits to those people, they might help.
(… How fearful. What a terrifying person…)
While listening to the meeting of the two princes, such thought crossed Ziva’s mind, he could not hide his admiration.
This place was the enemy territory for Wayne. However, he didn’t show being intimidated at all, but instead, boldly negotiated, and now, everyone in the room listened to his words. He had taken the leadership of the meeting place.
“But still, the proposal he speaks about is indeed not bad at all. From the beginning, we’re planning on using this negotiation to bring Natra into cooperation.”
As Wayne had pointed out, the situation in the Liberation army was bad. Insufficient supplies declining personnel, the will of revenge that started to wane,… Soon, the thought of failure would start to appear in people’s minds. In order to prevent that from happening, it was necessary to get a helping hand from another country, but the prospect had been bleak during the entire winter.
That was why they had bet everything in the Prince of Natra in front of them right now. True, Wayne said all of that unilaterally but, not only he showed distrust toward Cabarine, he also indicate a potential for cooperation.
(Intimidation and threat won’t work against this kind of person. Taking him a hostage would only gain our anger. Your highness, I believe we should accept the proposal…)
Ziva had sent such a signal toward the armor.
And then Helmut replied…
“Let me admit it that your proposal is indeed worth it.”
Helmut blocked Wayne’s words.
“As expected, that proposal alone couldn’t wipe away my doubt. I am wondering if everything you say was just a lie and you just want to escape from here. Tell me, can I trust you?”
Ziva was surprised but, he immediately gives a thought.
He could see an outcome that everything was just a lie. That was why Helmut wants to get more bargaining.
“If you wish for me to say something then…”
However, what Wayne said next would catch everyone in surprise.
“Then isn’t this fine already?”
“What did you say?”
“Trust is, Prince Helmut, let me tell you something… It is because there’s the chance of betrayal that trust is worth it. I may talk about a lie. I may try to trick you. But, you bite your anxiety away and decide to trust me, that is how you win one’s heart.”
“Now then, Prince Helmut, let me hear it… … Can you trust me?”
Now, it was a painful counterattack.
There was no offer from this side. Such an unexpected. Wayne said that with a bold attitude as if he stood at the top. His words mean that, if they want cooperation, then he wants them to show him their ability.
Like that, Helmut had no other response other than…
“… Fine then. I shall trust you, Prince Wayne.”
“I will ensure you that the decision you make this time is not a mistake, Prince Helmut.”
The two princes shook hands, and the meeting finally comes to an end.