A little while time after King Shinha’s announcement.
Despite it being late at night, a long line of the city’s inhabitants stretched before the northern gate. Shinha was watching it through the Divine Mirror. This mirror was a special device that was constructed in the center of the Divine Halls and allowed it’s user to look into the distance.
It was said that this mirror was created by an ancient Evil God. It had the power to show any place within Patrucia Nost or it’s surroundings from a bird’s eye view. It could practically be used to track the movements of anyone within the mirrors effective area.
The reason why the cooperation between the different knight squads of the Nossentes’ military was so good was because of this mirror.
The approximate range that the mirror could be used in was the city itself and the distance around half a day’s trip with a carriage around it. Thus one could see the entire area until the edge of the forest in great detail. The mirror was the reason that Nossentes knight corps became extremely weak once they entered the forest.
Currently, Gazzetta had occupied two gates and the central tower. Including the invading forces that took the tower, the cavalry that stormed the gates, and the spies, previously sent into the city, Gazzetta military strength numbered slightly less than eight hundred people. This force was not enough to completely occupy a city like Patrucia Nost, however reinforcements were already on their way.
Occupied by a nation of the artless, divine art users had no idea what to expect from their occupants. Thus city folk began fleeing to the nearby cities before Gazzetta army arrived.
Currently Gazzetta forces were glaring at Nossentes knights that had taken up a defensive formation near the central tower. It was troublesome to prevent city folk from fleeing like this. However, less people would mean less trouble after occupation, so Shinha did not even bother to stop the fleeing people.
With this, trouble after occupying the city was reduced to the minimum. The price for that was the remaining members of the Divine Parliament. They had surely mixed in between the refugees, and escaped their would-be captors.
“We were only able to capture one member of the Divine Parliament, however we at least got an influential one…”
“It would be troublesome if the remaining members fled to another country and established a government in exile…”
Thinking about the countries that believed in the same religion as Nossentes, Fonclanc was the first country that came to mind. Trentorietta was a country that was antagonistic towards Gazzetta, however it had no military power to speak of. Although Blue Garden also believed in the same religion, it did not approve of the caste system thus the Divine Parliament ministers were unlikely to find refuge there.
“What about the whereabouts of the Evil God?”
“Unfortunately, we were unable to pin him down.”
They have confirmed that Fonclanc’s ambassador had escaped with refugees through a separate route.
The ambassador’s party had boarded a simple carriage which then drove to the northeastern wall. Shinha’s men were only able to note that they used some sort of a special tunnel to pass the protective wall. The tunnel itself was gone already, but the soldiers were able to confirm several footprints and carriage tracks on both sides of the wall that looked like those people passed through like the wall was not even there.
“Hehehe, Yuusuke probably did it.”
Chasing an escaping carriage was impossible so Shinha had to give up on catching Yuusuke.
“Ah well, send a search party after them, just in case.”
“You are rough as always, little Shinha”
“… Grandmother, am I not only doing my job?”
Having finished inspecting the tower, Ayuukas approached Shinha, who had just finished instructing the troops, tasked with occupying the city. She addressed the king of Gazzetta in a manner that she used to call him when he was little. Although that was an unacceptable way to address a king, with a casual “Here” she passed him the documents that she had found inside the tower.
“The location of the office or the vault had not changed over the years, so I found these immediately.”
“Hmm… As I thought, they were behind the incursions into Fonclanc’s territory.”
“Aren’t troop composition and budget documents enough of an evidence to confirm that?”
“I know, but these documents could still be useful to us.”
While he was concentrated on rebuilding the White Clan’s empire, Shinha thought to use these documents to capture the escaped Divine Parliament ministers, who were likely fleeing towards Fonclanc.
“First of all, let’s send a messenger to Risha’s place. I’ll ask her to organize a search party for the escapees.”
Having reclaimed the former castle of the White Clan empire, the current king started walking the path to revive its long lost glory.
“We will enter the forest soon. We will use a different route from thereon, we will not be able to use the carriage as before.” (T.N. probably means that they have to let some people off as it will be too heavy to ride in the forest otherwise)
“Is that so? Thank you for everything you have done to us. You have been of great help!”
“No, no… We were only able to escape because of you all.”
“So did we.”
At the edge of a forest, locates south east of Patrucia Nost, Darkness God Corps – Ambassador’s party separated from a platoon of Nossentes knights.
Around the time that Gazzetta army attacked the southern wall, Yuusuke was returning from the royalty district. On his way back he spotted a knight, arguing with his corps. When he heard their reasons, he asked for Isotta’s assistance. The girl immediately sensed multiple artless towards the direction of the central tower, however she could not comprehend their intentions. Although Isotta tried to ask their escort-surveillance companions about the tower, however the escort perceived that as an attempt to probe into their country’s most secret institution and harshly told Isotta off.
Yuusuke tried his best to explain to his escorts that neither he, nor his subordinates had any intentions to probe into the secrets of Nossentes. At that time a knight from the central tower rushed to them. At the same time a notice from Shinha resounded throughout the city.
That moment, everyone stood dumbfounded, unable to comprehend the situation. They soon noticed the Divine Council’s ministers and Fonclanc ambassador’s groups rushing back from the dinner party. With this everyone got back to their senses and started busily running around.
Avoiding streets that Gazzetta’s occupational troops would likely use, everyone reached the residential district and procured a carriage. The Divine Parliament ministers had disguised themselves as ordinary townsfolk and had intermingled themselves amongst the commoners, and had escaped using service passage along with some of the knights who had disguised themselves in a similar manner.
The Darkness God Corps and Ambassador party used the procured carriage and cut through the buildings towards the same route that they used to come to Nossentes.
Yuusuke customized walls to open paths and created the shortest possible road to the city walls for his party. The flashy method he used to escape also became useful to Divine Parliament ministers because it caught Gazzetta troops’ attention and allowed them to escape.
Yuusuke was moving his finger in the air and muttered “Execute”. Knight’s eyes became round once a tunnel, leading outside of the city, suddenly opened before them.
“Uhm… Yuusuke-san, will we be fine by ourselves? I heard that there are evil beasts inside the forest.”
“I think we’ll be fine. We’ve had no problems on our way here, my guys are quite skilled after all.”
“Hey! Why are you pointing at me?”
Razshia seemed uneasy about travelling through the forest with Yuusuke’s party and asked for reassurance. To calm her down Yuusuke jokingly pointed towards Fonke.
Yuusuke saw the sisters (Rashanaasha and Razshia) amongst the people that were lining up in front of the tunnel entrance. Thinking that Rashanasha had come here to visit her hometown, he called out to her and invited her to go back to Fonclanc together. It was inevitable that Razshia would also join them.
They separated with the Divine Parliament ministers and their escorts, who headed towards the north-west wall of the city and headed north east. They planned to head north until they reached the peninsula in Trentorieta’s territory and then send a wind art’s transmission to Fonclanc’s port town and ask for a boat to ferry them over the lake.
They asked for one knight to accompany them as they planned to leave the carriage once they reached the peninsula.
Because it was dangerous to travel through the forest during the night, Yuusuke created an underground shelter for them and the carriage that was barely undetectable from the outside. The party spent the night in this shelter.
It was probably persistence of a Japanese character, but although no one would have minded cuddling together and spending the night in their sleeping bags, Yuusuke went as far as to create separate rooms for everyone in his party.
Members of the Darkness God Corps and Ambassador party were already used to this, but the sisters and the remaining knight were surprised by the unique divine art.
When everyone settled down to rest for tomorrow’s journey, the two fake sisters met in one of the rooms and discussed quietly amongst themselves under a minute light on a small oilwood fire. Rashanasha could return to Fonclanc like that without any risks, however to Razshia, the situation was much more complicated.
Some people amongst the Fonclanc’s higher-ups knew her, mainly because of her “Honeybey” occupation.
“I give up. I can’t believe everything turned out like this.”
Not only did they failed to seduce the captain of the Darkness God Corps, the country that they he was supposed to deflect to was also gone. For the first time, Razasha complained about their situation. Although, the possibility of success of this mission was not very high, so the failure was not entirely their fault.
“Did you think about returning back to your family, Razshia?”
“Of course I can’t. Not in this line of work. Also, you can call me Shia.”
They understood that, depending on the situation, they might be forced to continue playing sisters for an undefined time. Visibly tired, Razshia fluttered her hands.
“Hey… what kind of place is Fonclanc?”
“Eh? You don’t have any acquaintances there?”
“I don’t. I haven’t traveled outside Patrucia Nost even once.”
“That’s a tough situation to be in…”
As a child she had only traveled as far as the next district. Having been selected from orphans as someone who had shown potential, she had been trained in the arts of seduction. Since then she had done nothing but train and use her skills.
“When I struggled to perfect my skills, I sometimes became afraid that I don’t remember my real self anymore. Sometimes my target developed real feelings for me. Seeing them die was the worst.” (T.N. changed this to first person. I think it sounds better this way.)
No matter how many missions did Razshia undertake, all of them were fixated in that huge birdcage, Patrucia Nost.
“I understand , but at the same time I don’t. I can’t fully comprehend how you feel.” (T.N. literally:I don’t have similar experience to fully relate to you)
Because of her work, Rashanasha had heard a lot of gossip. She also had to analyze the information. What she wrote in her reports almost always were written from the perspective of other people. The only hobby she had that was not related to work was creating medicine.
“Although I knew it deep inside, it is different once you actually experience it.”
Razshia was much more talkative due to all her worries. Rashanasha calmly heard her out. Just this once they had forgotten their superior – subordinate relationship and talked to each other like true sisters.
Having left Partucia Nost, the remaining ministers of the Divine Parliament had separated from the refugee convoy and took the northern main road along the lake. They had traveled the road for a little bit, entered the forest and set up their base of operations there. Currently they were busy processing intelligence that was brought to them by special operations squad that was returning to Nossentes’ capital from Blue Garden.
Their primary objective right now was to use this information to create a plan to take back Patrucia Nost.
“The situation seems dire. Currently Patrucia Nost is occupied by roughly three thousand Gazzetta soldiers and the townspeople are—“
“I don’t care about the townspeople! I want you to report every little action that either of the armies make.”
Maybe because they were not used to camping out like this, but the remaining members of the Divine Parliament were in a terrible mood. They were standing around a map, spread out on a simple table. Their spittle was flying around as they barked out their instructions.
“There are no movements in Fonclanc, but they barely even had time to get the information about this. Blue Garden has strengthened their border with Gazzetta and Trentorietta remains silent as usually.”
Due to the dense forest, the Sea of Trees, which covered the entire territory of Trentorietta, the country was said to be an impregnable fortress. Ministers of the Parliament thus threw this option out of their consideration and focused on monitoring the movements within Fonclanc and Gazzetta.
“It would be good if we had the Darkness God Corps here…”
“It can’t be helped. They have to escort the ambassador’s party.”
“We should sent out an assistance request to Fonclanc.”
It was the evening of the second day after the fall of Patrucia Nost. The ministers were arguing over how much they should involve Fonclanc into this, when they received a report that the “Honeybey” has met up with the Darkness God Corps.
“This is truly a fortunate turn of events”
“Yeah, with this we can put that prearranged plan into motion.”
“Immediately order the covert ops to start their mission.”
The ministers planned to stay in this forest for a while so they ordered their guards to secure the perimeter and gather the intelligence about the surrounding area.
The ministers planned to stay in this forest for a while so they ordered their guards to secure the perimeter and gather intelligence on the surrounding area, yet none of the knights had noticed the emergence of a new unit.
Grasping an unexpected opportunity, the voices of the ministers returned to their usual volumes. They had prearranged a plan that would make Fonclanc and Gazzetta jump at each other’s throats and they had started giving fine instructions to the operatives that should make it all possible.
The knights thought of the Divine Parliament as something more sacred, more holy. Thus, seeing the “people from above the clouds”, the ministers, acting like that, doubts started sprouting in the knights’ hearts.
Absolute control. Equality amongst the castes. Deep spiritual knowledge. These were the leaders that guided their country since the ancient times.
[“… this is not just a simple strategy…? No, one controlling the country does not only rely on diplomacy… But, how do I say this….”]
However most of the missions for the covert ops were handed down directly by the Divine Parliament. A rumor was floating for a while that the Divine Parliament relied more on their covert ops then the simple knights.
Thus the situation that was happening in from of these simple knights had thrown their hearts in disarray.
“So, you should do it like this.”
“Yes, failure will not be forgiven.”
After receiving their instructions in from of the bewildered knights, the cover ops troops left for Fonclanc’s harbor town on the opposite shore of the lake.