I know you guys should be sick by seeing the same title all over again, but bare with it for 2 more reads!
Part one of the chapter.
A little while before the special operations squad got in touch with Honeybee —
A guard carriage was driving through a small road in a forest, situated north east of Nossentes.
“Is the Gazzetta army still after us?”
“Yes! They are keeping their distance, probably because they are afraid of our counterattack using divine arts. But they have not given up the chase yet.”
A few days had already passed since the fall of Patrucia Nost. The Nossentes soldiers that had scattered around the country were already uniting under the Divine Parliament and were on their way to Fonclanc. They were currently traveling towards Blue Garden.
On the way they were spotted by a Gazzetta patrol. However Gazzetta was not regarded well in Blue Garden since their incursion during the battle at Paula. The ministers believed that Gazzetta would cease the chase once they crossed the border.
“Enemies ahead! Affiliation… they are Blue Garden’s regular army!”
“They are ordering us to stop!”
“Issue a refugee request. Tell them that we are pursued by Gazzetta patrol.”
However, when the answer from the Blue Garden army arrived, Nossentes’ hopes to cross through Blue Garden into Fonclanc were replaced by terror.
“…to sum it up, they are saying that they will attack us if we try to enter their country.”
“WHAT?! Is their commander blind or something? Can’t he see the situation we’re in?!”
Gazzetta was a country ruled by artless. It’s king was trying to overthrow the current rulers of the world – the divine arts users. The ministers expected that Blue Garden would sympathize and side with fellow divine arts users. Gazzetta currently controlled practically the entire territory of Nossentes. This dramatically changed the political map of Kaltcio.
Although Blue Garden had shown tremendous growth recently, it was still a ways off from a powerful country and was regarded by the other powers as an emerging nation. Travelling through Gazzetta territory was not an option, as even an amateur would have understood the situation the Nossentian’ refugees (T.N. used refugees, but should refer to this group) was currently in.
The ministers did not try to hide their irritation, but right now they could not afford to order their troops to attack Blue Garden. So they had to find some other way out before they got completely sandwiched between Nossentes and Blue Garden forces.
Nossentes knights immediately tightened their defenses around the carriage. Blue Garden’s troops surrounded them with a semicircle formation. Having finally caught up to their prey, the Gazzetta troops were unable to understand this standoff.
At first, Nossentes and Blue Garden soldiers glared at each other, with the carriage with the ministers in between the armies. However, after a short while the representatives of both armies met and exchanged a few words. The feeling they gave off seemed that all of this was just a prearranged act.
This guess soon proved to be true.
“Impossible… For Blue Garden to be working together with Gazzetta!”
“I can’t believe that…”
“No, how can we know that the Blue Garden army before us is the real one?”
Ministers whispered about attacking both armies and fleeing towards Fonclanc, but finally decided against it because breaking out of the current situation was too difficult. Having arrived at this conclusion they reluctantly accepted shackles from a Blue Garden envoy and surrendered to the Blue Garden commander. They were about to demand treatment, suitable for someone of their standing, but…
“You lot are clearly mistaken.”
Blue Garden’s commander flat out rejected their demand and continued in a commanding tone.
“We have come here to capture fugitives, not leaders of a country. You have no rights to negotiate.”
“What is the meaning of this?!”
“You are just a commander! Know your place!”
“You are mocking the Divine Parliament of Nossentes! The Queen will receive an official complaint regarding this!”
The commander was attacked verbally by all of the ministers. He had to explain them that order to capture the Divine Parliament was issued directly by the Queen. Hearing his, the ministers were visibly shocked. [“Why, why did the Queen of Blue Garden do this to us?!”], probably every minister frantically tried to think of a reason for this in his or her mind.
“What the hell are you thinking?!”
“I am sure that you had made a secret deal with the Gazzetta’s King.”
“You are hereby arrested for sending a covert ops force into our territory. We wish you a pleasant journey to Paula. We will be escorting you all the way.”
The commander mentioned the covert ops squad that had disguised to resemble Fonclanc troops. This was the same squad that had intercepted Gazzetta troops at the beginning of the artless villages’ raids. What shocked the ministers the most was that this was supposed to be top secret information. Ministers did not respond, but their faces became expressionless like they were crafted out of stones.
When she received information about a Nossentes covert ops squad operating within Blue Garden’s territory, Queen Rishause immediately linked them to the Divine Parliament and speculated that these two groups would attempt to join up. Thus, the Queen had placed her troops at the places, she had thought likely to be used by the Divine Parliament to cross into Blue Garden’s territory.
She had also passed this report to Reiford, instructing him to bring it to King Esvobus. Rishause had also offered to capture the group that has led Fonclanc’s army around. She expected that such an act would serve to lessen the animosity between their countries.
Besides repairing relationships with Fonclanc to some extent, by doing this Rishause would also be able to keep Gazzetta’s actions restrained. After familiarizing with the information that he had received from King Shinha, Fonclanc’s king immediately ordered his retainers to take appropriate actions.
It was an easy decision for him, because a messenger from King Shinha had arrived before Reifold, moreover, this information conformed to what Volmes had said during his interrogation.
Rishause understood, that both kings acted only to save their reputation. Gazzetta would mobilize their army and restrict the Divine parliament’s movements, while Fonclanc’s army would turn the captured ministers over should they manage to reach Fonclanc.
With this plan, Shinha had no way to lose.
“Are they aiming for the Darkness God Corps?”
“It seems so, but they have already concealed themselves within Fonclanc’s port town.”
When they had captured the ministers, the commander sent some of the knights ahead of the main group. He wanted to inform Fonclanc as soon as possible and obtain an official request to arrest them.
On Gazzetta’s side, Shinha ordered to inform Fonclanc of this immediately. He wanted to make Esvobus owe him enough so that he could ask him to recognize the renewed White Clan’s empire.
Thus, both countries simultaneously sent their reports to Fonclanc.
When the reports arrived, Fonclanc immediately issued an emergency sortie to support the Darkness God Corps. However, using wind arts in this situation was too risky, so they could not warn Yuusuke’s party about it.
When the reports arrived, King Esvobus felt that the time for King Shinha to make his stand at the frontlines had finally come. From now on he would need to not only keep a close eye on Gazzetta, but he would also need to try to improve his relationship with Blue Garden.
“But will they make it in time to support the Darkness God Corps?”
Esvobus looked towards the Moon Mirror lake from his own private room. Gradually his eyes drifted towards the overlook tower, where his daughter was probably looking towards the direction of the port town.
Yuusuke had endowed his corps uniform with various buffs. Therefore he always felt comfortable despite the circumstances.
He went to sleep early along with everyone, but he awoke before anyone else. It had become his habit to experiment with his customization power until dawn. He did not change it despite reaching the final stretch of his mission.
Today he was working on the medicine that would have strong healing powers, able to improve Rashanasha’s condition. Using the high quality ingredients that he had managed to obtain in Nossentes, Yuusuke was progressing well on creating the “Super healing potion” (named by Yuusuke).
“I’d love to eat something.”
The youth had a quick metabolism so he felt hungry even after staying still for a few hours. When he walked out of his room to get a late night snack, Yuusuke was suddenly overcome by an ominous feeling.
“…today feels quieter than usual.”
Ordinary guests were not allowed near the Darkness God Corps’ quarters. Empty rooms stretched around him, however the leader was unable to hear Fonke’s and Vermeer’s voices, nor the friendly conversation between the ambassador’s group members.
“They might be considerate of the sisters.”
Just when Yuusuke decided on that and was about to go down the corridor towards the kitchen…
Yuusuke stopped in his tracks after hearing a woman’s voice. While he was trying to locate the source of the voice, one of the three doors in the corridor had opened with a creaking sound.
Aisha was wearing her pajamas. She was gripping the door and seemed to be barely able to stand on her feet. The girl’s knees were shaking and she looked like she would fall down at any second. Helping her stand, the captain inquired about her health.
“Hey, what happened? Are you okay?!”
“I… I ha… ve been… poisoned…”
“Hey, hold on… Here, sit down… Drink this!”
Aisha was completely pale, her hands and feet were shaking. Yuusuke led his subordinate to a seat and had her drink the trial Super Healing Potion. Instantly, the girl’s cheeks regained their natural color, and her limbs settled down completely.
“Yes, it was probably also modified with the water arts.”
After listening to Aisha’s explanation Yuusuke hurried to his room, took several more vials of the same medicine that he had given to Aisha, and went to confirm the condition of the 4-other members of his party.
Aisha started feeling the effects of the poison while she was still lying in bed and reading a book. She immediately started using her healing arts, yet she was unable to cure the numbness that was threatening to overcome her entire body.
In the end, Aisha was completely paralyzed save for the arms that the girl could still somehow use. She then remembered a recovery ring that was lying on the bedside table.
“I must inform the captain about this!” – after equipping the ring a thought flashed in her head. Thus Aisha put her utmost effort to get out of the room.
“I am leaving the room on that side to you!”
Giving Aisha enough potions to cure everyone on her side, Yuusuke split up to his side of the corridor. After checking all of the rooms, they found out that, including the ambassador, everyone was incapacitated similarly to Aisha.
“This is Isotta’s room, right? Isotta! Are you okay?!”
Yuusuke hesitated to enter a female subordinates’ room alone, but hearing Isotta’s pleading voice he finally decided to enter the room without waiting for Aisha.
Isotta laid collapsed in front of the bed. It looked like she was preparing to go to sleep, but her body gave out before she could make it.
Yuusuke rushed to the collapsed girl. Breathing a sigh of relief when he confirmed that Isotta did not get any serious injuries, Yuusuke placed a bottle near the girl’s lips.
“Drink this. It will make you feel better.”
In the meantime, Yuusuke’s eyes got used to the darkness of the room. He inevitably noticed the light sleeping gown that barely covered the girl’s features. Yuusuke then envisioned himself holding Isotta in his hands like a baby that was being fed the super recovery potion and his face reddened from embarrassment.
When every member of the corps was cured, they gathered in Yuusuke’s room to confirm their present situation. Just around the time that poison started to take it’s effect, Isotta had received an urgent transmission from Sanc Adiet. She now told the other members of what little she managed to remember of it. (T.N. she did not remember all of it because of the poison)
“The Darkness God Corps are the target this time…” (Yuusuke)
“Certainly, this time the attack was targeted at us.” (Aisha)
“You think it’s because of the numbing poison being used on us?” (Yuusuke)
“Uhm, it’s the first time I had experienced a drug with such effect and effectiveness, but I think that the poison’s effect was delayed.” (Aisha)
Fonke and Isotta confirmed that there were no traces of a wind art being used to make everyone inhale the drug. Then the gathered members tried to make out the moment of when the poison started to take effect. One by one they spoke on when they started feeling the poison’s effects and what they were doing at the time.
“I didn’t eat anything when I returned to my room.” (Vermeer)
“Me neither. I only drank some alcohol that I bought before.” (Fonke)
“Same with us. We collapsed around the time when we were talking about going out for a drink.” (Ambassador’s party?)
“So, no one ate anything else after dinner…”
The inn’s cook and Razshia were responsible for tonight’s meal.
“Razshia is not here?”
“Yes, I – Rashanasha-san was sleeping in her bed, but…”
Covert ops were able to intercept the urgent transmission from Fonclanc, but they failed to completely block it. Although Nossentes’ squad did not understand the fine details, it was clear that an escort from Sanc Adiet was on it’s way. In response, the covert ops squad had to hurriedly change their plan.
At first, they planned to attack the harbor guards and prevent them from interfering, but being pressed for time they decided to directly attack the Darkness God Corps.
“Is the medicine still working?”
“Don’t worry, it’s custom made for this occasion.”
“The target will be unable to move until morning [If they did not mess up],” added one of the subordinates, glancing over his back towards the Temptress (Honeybee) and the Child Assassin (Elfiona).
Razshia, who came here to report the completion of her mission, was obviously uncomfortable. She definitely thought of fleeing when the capital fell. Moreover, her feelings for her target were also obvious.
Since she had let the feelings get in her way, the commander of the covert ops wanted to punish her so she would never think of acting like that again. However, when the headquarters were lost to the enemy, there was no adequate facility left that could properly retrain the Honeybee.
[“We will properly retrain her after this mission…”]
Just like that, commander of the covert ops decided that the Honeybee would serve as a fine example to other troops.