Chapter 51: Verifying Answers
The battle on the hills ended in an overwhelming victory.
The Gotilova had the terrain advantage, and the Atururu excelled in speed and manoeuvring compared to the Ghafur cavalry, who were slower and heavier. The result might have been obvious from the start.
After the pursuit we decided to return to the capital, escorted by the Atururu. The Gotilovas will be going back to their own territory. Well, the Gotilova tribe didn’t bring their horses with them, so I’m surprised they even made it to the hill.
I have completely lost the touring party and there must be some confusion in the capital about my safety. I need to return before the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies do something unnecessary.
The problem was how I should act once I return. The Chancellor and Regent factions will blame me, and I have the chance to reduce that criticism… but I will be eliminated if I overdo it.
Since I had abandoned the small fortress while I was fleeing, I had Timona prepare a regular carriage for me to return in.
This one had no annoying rules unlike the small fortress. It was a good opportunity to talk with Timona and Rosalia about how they should act once they return to the capital, so we all got into the same carriage but…
… there was a stranger here with us.
This man unexpectedly appeared when we got into the carriage. He had white skin, silver hair that reached down to his waist and his eyes remained closed.
He was dressed as a clergyman but was wearing a sword on his belt. He introduced himself as Defrott le Moissan.
“Would it make things clearer if I say I am Count Palatine Alfred Vedett’s son?”
I glanced at Timona who nodded, then turned to the man who called himself Defrott.
“I have heard your name before, and I understand that you are currently the cardinal. But… you cut off your ties with Count Palatine when you entered the clergy. What business… who instructed you to come here?”
Rosalia, who was sitting next to me, stiffened and our Atururu escorts put up their guard.
Well, this situation was perfect for an assassin since people would normally be off guard after a victory. The head of the Western Church is the Chancellor’s brother. They have reasons for wanting me dead too.
“Father TN: He uses a weird term I’ve never seen before… has told me to protect His Majesty. And… provide you with some help. First, please take this.”
With that, he pulled out a book from his pocket.
“What is this?”
“This is the Holy One Church’s original scripture.”
After a moment of silence, Timona was the first to speak up.
“That’s impossible. There are only a few copies of the ‘original’ scripture, and they can only be found east of the Heavenly Mountains. They are national treasures if they are found, and you treat it like this.”
“Yes. Of course, this is a translation of the original. It is translated into the Bungdalto language so that His Majesty could read it easier. But… I am confident that I have translated it quite accurately. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have if you will allow me to accompany you to the capital.”
He translated the original scripture which should not exist to the west of the Heavenly Mountains… Is he connected to another sect? But then he wouldn’t approach me with such dubious methods. I don’t know how high a ‘cardinal’ is, but he is most certainly a clergyman from the Western Sect. A clergyman will be immediately burnt for heresy if he is found to be connected to another sect.
Then, is the owner of the ‘original’ scripture also a Western clergyman? But the original scripture hasn’t been discovered in the Empire until now… No, it’s possible for it to exist here if it has been kept a secret for a long time. I have to be wary of the Great Leaders since their brains are only filled with politics. Is this ‘father’ at odds with the Great Leader…?
… Ah, I see. Him? That’s why Defrott appeared now… I see. Alright.
“Alright. I’ll hear more about what you have to say inside the carriage. I’ve made all you worry. Everything is alright.”
I pulled Defrott into the carriage after saying this to the Atururu tribe.
… Wait, do they understand the Bungdalto language? Well, whatever.
“Do you trust me, Your Majesty?”
Timona was still looking at Defrott with wary eyes inside the moving carriage.
“I don’t believe that father of yours wants to kill me even if he may use the assault of other nations to get the heads of the different tribes on his side.”
I said and Defrott chuckled.
“Yes, because father’s eyes seem to be able to see the future.”
“What do you mean?”
Rosalia raised her voice in surprise. Well, we were running for our lives, so I’m sure she’s surprised to hear that we were dancing on the palms of someone’s hands.
“You have good timing. I wanted some answers.”
There was one major problem with how the Ghafur army had crossed the border and the sequence of events that occurred after.
“The defection of the mercenaries who guard the border and the tour being attacked by an elite group of Ghafur cavalrymen. These two things happened so suddenly that we had to flee as fast as we could. Now, Rosalia, do you think this attack was spontaneous? Or do you think it was well orchestrated.”
“Of course, it was well orchestrated… Ah.”
Yes, their movements were too precise. It was as if they knew when the Emperor would pass.
“They definitely… knew about the Emperor’s movements. That information was only known to a small portion of aristocrats, so someone tipped them off… Now, who do you think it was?”
“Uh… Lord Raul, I presume?”
Hmmm. You do look cute with your head tilted to the side like that in confusion, but too bad. Rosalia’s answer gets 30 points.
“Lord Raul has the incentive to do so. He wants to get out of the unimportant Theanabe front lines and back to his own fief as soon as possible. If the Emperor is attacked in his fief, then that certainly is a great reason to retreat, but the risk is too high for him.”
Lord Raul’s prestige might have plummeted. Not only had he allowed the enemy to invade his fief, but the mercenaries he had hired had betrayed him, and then the Emperor who was passing through his fief was attacked and temporarily disappeared. To pour more salt onto the wound, the army that had protected the Emperor was not his own but was an army from a different tribe.
His reputation will be ruined. Even his position as the Chancellor would be shaken. He has too much to lose.
“Who do you think it was, Timona?”
“… Lord Raul schemed to have the Ghafur army make disturbing movements, but the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies used that scheme to have them actually attack?”
That’s a good guess. But 60 points. If he had just answered with the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, then he would have gotten 30 points like Rosalia.
“It is the perfect opportunity for the Chief of the Ministries of Ceremonies to gain power in the capital now that both the Emperor and Chancellor are away from the capital. If the Emperor dies then it’s highly likely that the capital would come under his control, but there is one problem with your guess.”
“… Count Vadpo?”
The aristocrat who was the first to flee during the attack. Count Vadpo, a Regent faction aristocrat.
He even declared that he would be ‘escorting me as the Emperor’s aide-de-camp’, and yet, he abandoned the Emperor and fled.
If the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies had planned to kill me or have me captured from the beginning, then he wouldn’t have bothered to have someone from his faction accompany me.
I intend to point this out when I return to the capital and thereby reduce his power.
“Now, my guess is that… It clearly started with the Chancellor. He wanted to withdraw to his own fief, so he passed my information onto the Republic of Ghafur. However, he probably only told them the vicinity I was in. If there were any movements from Ghafur then he planned on using that as a reason to return home.”
He planned to withdraw even if the Republic of Ghafur had only sent spies or scouts.
“Then… the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies learnt of the Chancellor’s plans. He used this to discredit the Chancellor and raise his own reputation. The Chancellor’s honour would be damaged if the Emperor was attacked in his fief. If someone in the Regent faction defended the Emperor, then his own prestige would rise. I don’t know what exactly he had in mind… but he could have asked the mercenaries who the Chancellor employed to attack the approaching army then retreat before they suffered any damage.”
Count Vadpo was deployed so that the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies would get credit for defending me, that was why he panicked when the Ghafur forces attacked before schedule and made the mistake of fleeing first.
“There was someone who saw this back-and-forth situation as an opportunity. He had the Ghafur army attack in full force and sent the Gotilova and Atururu tribes to the Emperor to protect him. If I’m not mistaken, he may have been the person who set up the hill as the battlefield.”
The Gotilova territory was in the mountainous regions near the Heavenly Mountains to the east of Lord Raul’s fief, but the hill where the battle took place was in the north-western part of Lord Raul’s fief. They had traversed a long distance which would have taken several days even on horseback. It was safe to assume that that person had been aware of the Ghafur army’s attack for several weeks.
“He took caution to inform Salomon of this information in advance so that he could control the Emperor’s movements to some extent. He stalled the Ghafur army with false information about the Emperor being in the city to prevent them catching up to the Emperor. He really did an amazing job.”
Defrott laughed. His laugh seemed to indicate… that I was correct.
“First, he wanted to ruin the reputation of the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies at the same time. Second, he wanted to bring the Emperor and the Gotilova and Atururu tribes together without the Chancellor or the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies noticing and have the Emperor win them over to his side. And lastly… he wanted the Emperor to know that he had a supporter.”
And his fourth reason which I hadn’t stated… was probably because he knows I am a reincarnated person. I think he wanted to convey that to me.
I know where he got his information from. It was from that reincarnated man who was dressed in a butler’s outfit. That was why he was there on the battlefield. He may not have been visible, but he was there using all the magic that he knew to let me know that he was there.
He must have provided this information because he thought it would be beneficial for me to have more allies. So, I guess he’s almost willing to accept my proposal. Wonderful.
His participation in the fight might have been his way of apologising for telling someone else that I was reincarnated.
But I don’t blame him for that. He is not my vassal yet and I have gained a powerful ally because of his actions.
Most importantly, I don’t have proof, so I can’t rebuke him if he feigns ignorance.
Well, let’s not talk about him for now.
“And lastly… he wants to confirm if his intentions have been properly conveyed. That is your role, Defrott le Moissan. Your so-called father is that person. Am I correct?”
“Excellent, Your Majesty. It seems that Father’s message has been conveyed perfectly.”
The question was ‘who’ is this ‘father’… He is someone who is in a high position within the Western Sect and doesn’t belong to the Regent faction. I could identify him if I wanted to… but I’ll stop. He’s supporting me this openly, so he’ll contact me if he needs to.
“I believed that it would take a few days to get an answer… What should I do?”
Hmm? That’s great.
“Then I’ll read this translated scripture, and I’ll ask questions if I have any. Is that alright with you?”
“Yes, of course.”
I don’t know if this is an accurate translation of the original, but this is the first time that I’ve read the scriptures. This is necessary to live in this world and I must finish reading it before we arrive at the capital.
The scripture was written in ridiculously small letters to fit everything in. It was difficult to read in a carriage that was shaking violently… but I surprisingly got used to it.
Rosalia, who was peeking at me from the side, soon felt sick and fainted.
Oh yeah, I’ve never gotten motion sickness before even in my previous life.
|↑1||TN: He uses a weird term I’ve never seen before…|