Contrary to Ninim’s expected, things went as Wayne had speculated.
Although there was a backlash within the military, it was only for a brief moment, Wayne’s skillful persuasion made the military reorganization went as planned.
And the result was beyond expected. The Kingdom army, which incorporates Imperial army know-how, and the Empire abundant fund, grew very fast.
And now, three months had passed since that meeting.
The Natra Kingdom army had become more professional and powerful more than before.
“Woohoo~… As I’ve expected, everything turned great!”
Naturally, Wayne also showed a happy change.
Usually, he always complaining when he was inside his office, now people can even see him humming once in a while.
“The strengthening and reorganization of the kingdom army seem turned favorable huh?”
Ninim standing beside him admit the result while looking a bit dissatisfied.
“But if you let your guard down, you might trip over your feet you know?”
“Oi oi, Ninim, what do you mean by tripping? Everything has been set in stone, only a natural disaster can ruin our plan by now. How about you think of what to do after retiring?”
‘It might be good to travel around the continent once…’, While Wayne daydreamed, Ninim heaved a deep sigh, and at that moment, something knocked on their window.
Turn out it was a bird beak pocking the window. On the bird foot, there was a tube on it. It was one of the birds used for communication.
When Ninim opened the window, her hand was extended to the cylinder tied to the bird’s ankle and a paper was taken from inside.
“What’s the matter?”
“It’s an emergency contact from a spy stationed at the Empire.”
“Emergency contact? What, is the emperor who becomes energetic immediately led the army and invade somewhere?”
“Emm, let me see…”
Ninim opened the small paper and read through the message.
And after reading the message, her face turned pale.
“… The Emperor has passed away…”
Wayne blinked his eyes.
Strang silence fell in the office. Wayne and Ninim didn’t make any movement, they looked at each other like a child being thrown into the wilderness, they were at a loss… Breaking the silence, Wayne started to talk while looking fearful.
“…S-Somehow I heard something I cannot ignore just now, but I’m sure I heard it wrong, so Ninim, can you repeat it?” –
“The Azworld Empire’s Emperor is dead…”
Hearing that, Wayne covered his face and looked at the ceiling.
“I see—… You’re dead huh, Emperor…”
After he muttered those words, Wayne inhales a deep breath…
“Died?! He is dead?! No no, you said he was recovering before?! What do you mean he’s dead now?”
“Recently he fell sick again, took some rest and didn’t appear in front of the public for a while…”
“M-Maybe this is misinformation?”
“This news is officially announced by the Empire. … They might be able to hide it for a while, but maybe there’s something happen within the imperial court causing the news to be released faster…”
Wayne held his head as if he was about to die as well.
“…T-This is bad. Wait, then what’s going to happen now? If the Emperor died, the influence on Natra… The impact…”
At that time, the door was opened forcefully without any knocking. It was a messenger from the Kingdom Army.
“Excuse me, your Highness! The Imperial army stationed in our country suddenly began to move!”
It was a miracle that he could hold his scream within his heart and didn’t voice it. Without noticing Wayne’s unrest, the messenger continued.
“They are heading toward the east border! Their destination is unknown! In addition, commanding officer Raklum is waiting for an order whether or not to follow them!”
While listening to the words of the messenger, Wayne mind was working hard thinking. The Emperor’s death. Imperial army heading to the border. It was definitely linked.
(If that is what happen, then the things that happen after this would be—…)
Then someone come, supporting Wayne’s premonition.
“Please wait! Let me take over here!”
“Ambassador-dono! Please withdraw!”
“I”m sorry for being disrespectful! But there’s not much time!”
Noise coming from outside the wide open door. It was a sign that several people would come to the office while arguing. Ninim then moved and stand between the opened door and Wayne. Wayne himself had guessed who going to appear.
It was Viz Brandel who appeared while making rough footsteps and pushing away the soldiers. As soon as Viz could see Wayne, she immediately kneeled on the ground.
“For causing a disturbance within the royal palace, I have no excuse! But, I have something to tell to your Highness as soon as possible!”
“… I hear the imperial army is heading toward the border.”
Wayne turned cold gaze toward Viz.
“I do understand you have the right to command the imperial army. However, to move the army without telling me beforehand, do you think I would forgive you? Was it a misunderstanding on my part, that the Empire wants to build a good relationship with our Kingdom?”
(— I have no choice but to say that!)
Wayne was in total agony, in contrast to what he said.
(I know! I can understand you’re in a hurry! But don’t you think this is going too far?! Like this, we can’t keep the circumstance a secret! If only you waited for a bit, I could match everything for your convenience, damn it!)
In this place, looking at Wayne and Viz. Ninim, the Messenger, the Royal Guards watched them full of tension. And due to the previous commotion, other retainers also coming to see what happened.
“We’re very sorry about this matter! However, we have no ill motive by any means!”
“Then, what is the reason you moved the army?”
“… It is an instruction from our home country. My country asked the imperial troops stationed here to return as soon as possible!”
“And what is the reason for such instruction to come?”
Viz showed a hesitated expression. She wondered whether or not she should mention the important news. And Wayne cannot do anything but asked her the question to convince his retainers who currently present.
“His Majesty, the Emperor…Has passed away…”
Commotion then spread.
(… Good lord!)
Hanging her head down, Viz heart feels very bitter.
It was not because of the Emperor death or the movement of the army.
She regretted that she could not expect Wayne’s scheme.
Within the Empire, many people believed in the Emperor, Viz was also among those people.
That was why the situation right now was very unexpected. Or to be more precise, it was something she didn’t want to think about.
Something like, ‘What would happen, if the emperor died amid the strengthening the Kingdom Army.’
(But the crown prince seems not that naive. He seems to have foreseen this to happen!)
If the Empire didn’t occupy the territory immediately and only stationed the army in a friendly country, there was a high chance that a return order would be issued when there was a political change in the home country.
Since Viz was someone belonged to the diplomatic department, from her standpoint, she could only request to the military but not the command, and she could not stop the return order either.
And if the Empire force leaves, what left would be Empire-funded Natra Kingdom army. And the Empire won’t be able to annex the Kingdom until the Empire’s politic situation settles down.
(I’ve never thought about if the westward policy being delayed. Yet, the crown prince seems to have considered even up until that point.)
Inside her head, she had no choice but to admit it. That the crown prince ability was the real deal.
Inside Viz heart, she felt a mix of regret and praise toward Wayne. She thought to herself ‘What is he thinking now that he ended up as the winner?’. She wondered, behind his cold gaze, what kind of scheme playing out.
Although Viz would never know the truth of reality…
(Now, it ended up like I was scheming against the Empire, Nooooo!)
Thinking of selling his own country, and now writhing in agony due to the situation. It was better for the other side to not know the truth.
“Regent, we have no intention of invading the Kingdom, the purpose of the military movement is to return to the home country promptly. Please allow us to withdraw. All of the military action is because of their loyalty and love toward their lord, the Emperor.”
Viz begs for permission while prostrating herself. If he were a foolish ruler, then he would aim at the back of the imperial army which was retreating, but for better or worse, he was not foolish.
“… I can understand the circumstance. I also knew how it feels for the officer who just lost their lord. If you wish to return to the Empire immediately, we will not interfere…”
“Thank you very much, your Highness!”
“It’s alright, although it is regrettable that this is happening in the middle of the kingdom army training. But since this circumstance happens unexpectedly, there’s no helping it. I hope the chaos within the Empire end as soon as possible.”
“… I’m most grateful for your words, your Highness.”
Thus, the news of the Azworld Empire’s Emperor death spreads to the whole continent like wildfire, causing great unrest within the annexed country.
That day, it was said that there were a scream and howling cry ‘Why this is happening! But there was no detailed record about it.
The Azworld Empire, located on the eastern part of Vuno continent, the Empire was headed by a talented Emperor with strong leadership. Many talented warriors and civilians who swear allegiance to the Emperor, and it was said that this was the golden age of the Empire.
The people of the Empire proud of their country, they didn’t doubt that tomorrow would be brighter than today.
However, that thought collapsed overnight. An outbreak of unrest all over the place caused by the sudden death of the Emperor. All of the Empire citizen who thought that every day the Empire would shine brightly began to believe that dark clouds were hanging over the Empire.
The Imperial Palace now had turned into a demon den, filled with a brutal power struggle, as they start to move to decide who should lead the Empire. The lost of their Emperor that was like a Sun, causing darkness to oozing out after being suppressed.
Of course, there were also people who had the desire to put an end to the situation.
Viz Brandel, who had returned from the Kingdom of Natra was one of them.
(… But still, how disappointing.)
Viz who came out from one of the rooms within the imperial palace sighed.
It was her aide who had been waiting outside the room who began asking while feeling worried…
“Ambassador, how is the decision?”
“I’m under house arrest for a while.”
Viz blunder was when she was at the Kingdom of Natra. And today was the day she supposedly received her punishment.
“That is good, it was lighter than I had expected. I’m sure this is all due to the ambassador’s past achievement.”
“That’s right, though I cannot be bothered by that more than this.”
Being forestalled by Natra aside, for the official, it was treated as an incident in a small country. Right now, the Empire had many other priorities that needed to be done.
Of course, there were also things that Viz could do as well. However, she was not allowed to do anything right now.
“This is the time where I should contribute to the Empire, and yet…”
She felt regretful. Her heart was filled with frustration.
“You can’t, ambassador, if you do something during house arrest, the punishment would just become harder…”
“I know. That’s why I will stay quiet until my house arrest is over.”
But she continued…
“But you know, it is fine for me to do some research, no?”
“Research you say… About what?”
“About Natra Kingdom’s crown prince.”
Her aide then showed a troubled expression.
“Ambassador, I can understand your feeling, but what over is over, we better think about other matter..”
“You’re wrong… I’m not angry at that young man unless I hate him.”
Viz’s words were the truth.
It was understandable if she blamed her current situation was because of him, but her impression on Wayne was still quite favorable. She did her best, and she accepted that she lost against him this time.
That was why. Next time, she determined to win.
“This is just a hunch, I feel that crown prince will do many great things in the future. In some cases, he might bare his fangs against our Empire. When that happens, I want to keep our country not to fall behind…”
“I feel like the ambassador is praising him too much… But well, I will help you.”
“I appreciate it. So first, let’s find out about him when he studying in the Empire. I know about him to some extent, but there are still many things left to be discovered.”
“I know, then I will immediately prepare the material to browse.”
Her aide left immediately.
Then Viz gazes out of the window. Toward the western sky, where the Natra Kingdom located.
“Well then… I wonder, what the crown prince is doing right now…”
While thinking about the boy who had become her rival, Viz proceed to the corridor.