Chapter 48: Hishanove Case 02
We camped on the hill that night.
We have gained a considerable distance in the south from where the group had stopped. The difference in elevation in this area should have slowed down the Ghafur army since they weren’t familiar with the terrain. Although, Rosalia and I were also not familiar with the terrain and even Timona, who had the area mapped in his head, struggled with the discrepancy between the map and the actual terrain. It seems that the maps of this area are still not very accurate.
We could also run all night… but since the enemy had dispersed their forces to search for me, we had to give priority to information gathering.
We set up a simple camp on the opposite slope to create a blind spot from the area where the Ghafur army was thought to be deployed.
The only equipment we had was a simple tent and bedding that had been hastily purchased in a nearby town by the Belbe Kingdom mage unit, so it was more like sleeping outside than camping.
We had to be careful in our escape so that the enemy couldn’t track us. This was a blind spot, so we should be able to sleep through one night without being caught. They might be able to see the smoke from the bonfire… but they shouldn’t be able to tell that it’s smoke unless they’re close by. The mage unit was also on watch duty.
“If we get caught then it will be in the morning.”
“If the enemy camps out and gets a good night’s rest… then we’ve opened up a day’s worth of distance from them.”
Timona was right. This will depend on how the enemy moves, that was why we were waiting for information.
“But that is unlikely, since they have penetrated deep into the Empire. They will want to capture the Emperor as soon as possible.”
We’ve done all we can for now, all that was left was…
“Sleep. Timona and Rosalia, you two should also sleep while you can. I’ll leave the watch duty to them.”
The troops from the Belbe Kingdom are from another nation. I really shouldn’t trust them… but we didn’t have the energy to take turns for watch duty. Besides, if they really betray us, then it would be pointless to have someone on watch duty. I’ll worry about it if it happens.
I woke up to the sound of people talking. They didn’t feel dangerous… So it’s an ally?
Timona was already awake when I stepped out of the tent. Next to him was a man who was covered in dust and dirt. He had his head down.
“Your Majesty. This is Henri du Malow. He is Count Palatine Vedett’s subordinate and the current leader of the spies on this tour.”
“I have no excuse for exposing you to danger, Your Majesty.”
I see, so a spy survivor has finally caught up to us.
“You don’t need to apologize. Report.”
The information he brought back to me was priceless.
First was the movement of the Ghafur army. Apparently, they were moving while periodically taking short breaks.
When the Ghafur army confirmed that the Emperor wasn’t in the carriages, they concluded that he must be planning on fleeing to the city. Well, I would think that way too since the Emperor is foolish. Their conclusion wasn’t wrong; unfortunately, however, I didn’t head in that direction.
The Ghafur army had blocked all the roads leading to the surrounding cities, but they failed to capture the Emperor, so they were preparing to retreat.
They must have concluded that they have already achieved their minimum goal.
Their goal was to confuse the Empire, damage Lord Raul’s dignity and instill fear and wariness towards the Ghafur Republic in the Emperor. They had certainly achieved those goals when they attacked the tour.
But they received a report that changed the situation drastically. They had ‘found the Emperor’s carriage’. This not only raised the possibility of the Emperor being in the vicinity but that he was fleeing on an unfamiliar mount. The Ghafur commanders ordered their entire army to advance since they believed that they could catch up to the Emperor.
They recalled the troops who were blocking the highway and continued southward, widening their circle of search. I will be captured on this hilly area tomorrow morning if things continue the way they are.
Then, the spy reported the movements of the Empire. Lord Raul had taken his main force to the frontline and had hired some mercenaries to make up numbers. I had already known that.
But the Chancellor didn’t place his army at his fief border, but at a city instead and he left the border security to the mercenaries.
The reason behind this attack was probably because several mercenaries that were guarding the border had betrayed Ghafur for money.
… They weren’t scheming diplomats, but that was just who mercenaries are.
Now, that didn’t mean that the Empire wasn’t resisting Ghafur. Apparently, the aristocrats in other fiefs have begun mobilizing their troops, but they will definitely not make it in time.
There are two armies who are currently on their way towards me. Well, two tribes to be exact.
First, the ‘Gotilove tribe’. The only self-governing tribe in the Bungdalto Empire. Their territory is located at the foot of the Heavenly Mountain Range further east of Lord Raul’s fief. They are a so-called mountain tribe and were the first to make a pact with the Gades tribes when they moved south. Since then, they have supported the Gades tribe as neighbours and allies even after the Gades tribe became vassals to the Lothar Empire and even after the Bungdalto Empire was established.
But they aren’t on friendly terms with the present Empire. The Chancellor has some conflicts of interest with them and has been constantly trying to interfere with their autonomy in the name of the ‘Empire’.
The current chief, Genadieffe, is a tribal hero who united the divided north and south Gotilova tribes in his 20s. Therefore, he was sometimes respectfully referred to as the Chief of both Gotilova tribes.
They have come all the way to the western part of Lord Raul’s fief… which means they had information about this in advance. That’s disturbing… I want to know… if they are here to save me or kill me.
The other army is the ‘Atururu Calvary’. Although they call themselves a mercenary group, they are actually a nomadic equestrian tribe. They aren’t native to one region like the Ghafur tribe and are also one of the reasons why the Western faction of the Holy One Church has been working hard to eliminate different ethnic groups.
They can receive temporary protection from local aristocrats by operating as mercenaries. Having survived this way, they are now employed by Lord Raul. Under the leadership of the current chief, Peter Pearl, they are, according to Henri du Marlow, ‘the most dangerous mercenaries’.
They, too, shouldn’t be considered allies.
The older brother is at odds with the Gotilovas and has hired the Atururu Calvary. The younger brother, however, is pushing for the persecution of the Atururu’s and is not at odds with the Gotilovas. Because of this, it isn’t clear what both tribes want with the Emperor. I also heard that these two tribes are on good terms with each other.
Both these groups were coming straight towards me. They must be here to capture me.
“What should we do, Your Majesty?”
“Running away is out of the question. I don’t see the situation getting any better. We will have to wait and see.”
There was no way we could escape from a real nomadic tribe.
“They may take advantage of this chaos to take revenge on Your Majesty.”
“We’ll worry about it when it happens. I’ll fight for my life.”
Things will work out if I go on a rampage with my magic. If that doesn’t work… then I’ll die here. That’s all there is to it.
That’s war. I don’t intend on being on a different stage.
“How long until they get here?”
“They should be within our sights by dawn.”
“The eastern skies will welcome the sun soon.”
Timona added information about the eastern skies… I see, so soon?
“The Ghafur army will be heading this way as soon as they notice the movements of both groups. If things go well and the two tribes are on my side, then we will battle the Ghafur army here. Henri du Marlow, make a map of this hillside and the surrounding areas to the best of your abilities. I will allow you to use light for this task.”
“Yes. I will do as you wish.”
“Timona, prepare to welcome the two tribal chiefs as attendants to the best of your abilities.”
This was a gamble. If things go well, then I will have gained two powerful allies. Or rather, if I can’t persuade them then I won’t be able to make it as the Emperor in the future.
“I guess we should wake Rosalia up now.”
Only God will know what will happen next.