"What we know right now is that Alice was the one in charge of the League of Mercenaries," Scarlet said, leaning back in her chair. "I do not know why they trust her so much, but I am sure that you know she is too ambitious to be in charge of just a few thousand mercenaries. With three top level powers, the League of Mercenaries will band together much quicker than we expected. What do you think, Your Royal Highness?"
Prince Jerrick sat next to Scarlet, staring off into space. He didn’t say anything because he did not know what to say. If he disagreed, than he would put Scarlet in a difficult situation. He did not want to do that because she was so loyal to him. If he agreed, it would weigh on his conscious. He was the one who suggested marrying Alice to ensure an alliance with Tiger of Tawau mercenary group. He couldn’t allow Scarlet to kill her.
"Anfey is too powerful right now," Scarlet said. "He fought with Desvidia and did not lose… we cannot do anything to him. Both Suzanna and Anthony are master swordsmen, which makes them unsuitable targets. Suzanna may be Anfey’s wife, but her death wouldn’t do anything to the League of Mercenaries. Anthony already handed Glory mercenary group off to his son, so there is no use killing him, either. If we kill both Anthony and David… then we risk Anfey reaping the benefits, and we cannot let that happen," Scarlet murmured.
"We cannot take on a top level power, my lady," one of the men said quietly.
"I know," Scarlet said. She turned to Prince Jerrick and said, "Which means the best target is Alice."
Jerrick’s hands shook. He knew that Scarlet said all that for him, in order to prove that Scarlet wasn’t going to kill Alice because of their personal conflict. Killing Alice was the best option for them at the moment. He also knew that Scarlet had already made her decision before the meeting began.
"The League of Mercenaries is still young, which means it still has a lot of flaws. That traitor Kumaraghosha is Anfey’s head of guards, but Alice doesn’t have a single guard. It is very easy to take her out."
Jerrick pursed his lips.
"Alice is what’s keeping that league together," Scarlet said. "As soon as she’s dead, the city will fall into chaos. Anfey wasn’t experienced enough to run a city, which means he would be tied to White Mountain City for a while. If he’s there, Suzanna will be there. Anthony, of course, will never leave White Mountain City. That will make our lives so much easier."
"Can’t… can’t we…" Jerrick took a deep breath and said, "can’t we defeat them on the battlefield? I don’t like the idea of assassinations."
"You don’t like it?" Scarlet repeated mockingly. "Really. Believe it or not, they are probably looking for ways to assassinate us at this moment."
"Scarlet!" Jerrick said with wide eyes.
"Don’t worry, Your Highness," Scarlet said. "They can’t touch me. Alice is a buffer between Anfey and Christian. A nation cannot have two kings. With Alice gone, Anfey and Christian must face all the difficulties that may arise when two parties vie for a certain position." Scarlet stood up and began pacing around the room.
"What does that mean?"
"That means that they have to divide the power between the two of them," Scarlet said.
"Which would result in more conflicts," Jerrick said. "One of them will get less power and become upset. They’ll hate each other."
"Probably not," Scarlet said, shaking her head. "They are good friends. I don’t think they will ever hate each other. But one thing is inevitable. If they split power, the mercenaries will take sides as well. That will divide the League into two parties. Anfey’s party would be filled with powerful mercenaries. But the upper class will never know the struggles of the lower class, and vice versa. If the two sides fight, that will surely put a rift in their relationship. A rift is easy to create and hard to mend."
"Christian doesn’t have his own men, does he?" Jerrick asked.
"He doesn’t because it’s unnecessary," Scarlet said. "The League is working now because Anfey and Christian are working together. The mercenaries don’t have to declare allegiance to one of them because there is no need for that." Scarlet paused and smiled at Jerrick. "If there is a rift in their relationship, if the mercenaries realize the two are not as friendly as before…then they will start choosing sides and Christian will have his own mercenaries."
"Maybe not," Manstuly said. "I’ve seen them. They are as close as brothers. Even if the mercenaries are divided, I am certain Anfey and Christian would find ways to mend their relationship."
"Friendship can change, my lord," Scarlet said. "For example, you and Bruzuryano."
Manstuly frowned. Bruzuryano was once a very good friend of his, and the druids always say as long as he and Bruzuryano are alive, the druids will be powerful again. As time went on, though, Bruzuryano thought Manstuly was too violent, and he thought Bruzuryano was too indecisive. Their friendship did not end well.
Scarlet knew what she had to do to benefit herself and her empire, but she did not know what kind of people Christian and Anfey were. It seemed like Christian was kind and honest. He did not care about power. Even as Anfey tried to push him into positions of power, Christian was reluctant.
Anfey seemed to be good at analyzing a situation. He knew Christian and trusted him. He had been rejecting friendships, but the friendships he developed were more precious to him than anything.
Anfey may be an evil man, but he still had goodness in him. He still had kindness in his heart. Christian was kind, but he had his plans. He was not afraid of intrigue. Christian was ready to do whatever it took to get what he wanted.
"Do you know what you need to do?" Scarlet turned and asked the men in the shadow.
"When you get to White Mountain City, you should try and contact Nishieva," Scarlet said. "She will cooperate."
"But," one of the men said hurriedly. "She’s been saying some…inappropriate things. She already has Anfey and Anthony’s attention. If we try to contact her, we risk exposing ourselves."
"Nishieva is Anthony’s wife and his son’s mother," Scarlet said. "She is in a relatively safe position. She is not a fool. As long as you are careful, you will be fine."
"Yes, general," the men in the shadow said.
"Alright," Scarlet said with a wave of her hand. "You may leave now."
Manstuly smiled at Scarlet. He admired her tenacity and her brilliance. If Alice died, Anfey would investigate. What would he do when he found out Nishieva was involved? Anfey wasn’t the type to let the murder of his close advisor go, but if he did do something to Nishieva, it would damage his relationship with Anthony and David.