Chapter 12: Masks, Again
“Limited cease-fire agreement”
1. The Froysel Imperial Army (hereafter referred to as “the invading army”) is prohibited from invading territory beyond Fort Rembert in the Kingdom of Land.
2. The invading army is prohibited from actively using force within the Kingdom of Land at this time. However, the use of force shall be permitted when defending against hostile forces, including the Land Kingdom Army.
3. The fort defense force led by Lute Land (hereafter referred to as the Lute Unit) shall be treated as prisoners of war by the invading force. However, the invading forces are obligated to guarantee the Lute unit troops treatment that takes life and dignity into consideration.
4. Lute units shall be obligated to enter and follow the command of the invading forces, except for those that are an infringement of life and dignity.
5. As long as the above items are observed, the Lute units are forbidden to engage in any hostilities against the invading forces.
The above is an agreement, and I swear to abide by it in the name of Lute Land/Klaus Julius Froysel.』
“… and well, that’s how the story came together.”
Lute shrugged his shoulders as he fumbled with the agreement that had just been completed with one hand.
Currently, Lute is in the tent of the invading army that was prepared for his subordinates. The tent was set up because the negotiations were successfully completed and the men were to stay with Klaus until instructions were received from the home country.
Until the instructions are given, they will live in this tent for the time being. By the way, Lute was given a special tent as a de facto honored guest.
Even so, the reason Lute went to the trouble of appearing in the tent of his men was to explain to them what had happened so far and what was to come.
“I think we’re done for the time being. We’ll have to wait for instructions from the other side, but I don’t think things will get that strange.”
“… What’s the matter with you guys? You seem awfully vague in your replies.”
Somehow, the replies of his men lacked force, even though it was decided that the destruction of their country had been averted, albeit temporarily, and that they had become de facto heroes of the country’s salvation.
Why aren’t you more happy? Lute tilted his head, and Heinrich, who was probably the second most knowledgeable about this case after Lute, raised his voice.
“It can’t be helped. Before the cease-fire or anything else, we are surprised to know that His Highness is a wizard of the rank of demi-god.I was so surprised that even I, who had been standing by yourside for so many years, still could not accept the reality. I can understand why they are so preoccupied.”
“What’s that? Accept it as it is. That’s all.”
“”””Don’t you think it’s too sudden!?””””
The subordinates, who had been feeling a bit indifferent, raised their voices in protest at Lute’s response, which had no explanation.
“Idiots.I’ve already told you most of the reasons why I kept it from you. And it’s up to you to accept it. Don’t blame me”
“No, well, that’s right, though!？”
“Could you please put a little more emotion into it!?”
“We were like, ‘We’ll support you until the very end, even if it’s an unrequited master!’ But when the time comes, I want you to understand that I’ve been given the unbelievable title of a direct subordinate of a demi-god!!”
“Shut up, you idiots! Don’t you old men make a fuss like young girls! Understand that this is someone else’s territory!”
Lute yelled at his subordinates who were making a fuss, and slumped down into a chair that had been set up in the tent.
“Damn it. You guys aren’t in much danger, so don’t make a fuss about it. Rather, please pity me for the troubles that await me.”
“Troubles? Negotiations were concluded amicably, weren’t they? But the content of the negotiations was pretty dry.”
“Idiot. I’m trying to keep the content light so that it can be easily interpreted. What was exchanged here in the first place was only temporary until the emperor’s instructions were given over there. What are you going to do if it becomes rigid?”
On the surface, Lute’s affiliation is with the Kingdom of Land, and because it is a de facto independent force, they left the form as a formal document, but most of the wording is just a formality to keep up appearances.
After all, Lute and the others had no reason or merit to be hostile to the invading army any longer, and even the invading army had no reason to do anything in a situation where the Lute camp was superior in strength.
The Lute camp is no longer the de facto allied force of the invading army, and the terms “prisoners of war” and “under command” have no more meaning than to embellish an agreement.
“The important thing this time is that the invading army will not invade any further. Let’s get along with each other. As long as we keep this, we are free to do whatever we want. I have also received word from His Highness Klaus that it is okay to wander around as you please. Of course, we will be monitored.”
“… No, I don’t have the guts to walk around in an army that has been hostile until just now, and, if anything, get beat to a pulp.”
“Oh. Then consider it a welcome vacation, and relax in this tent until the time comes.”
“… His Highness who says so is the most relaxed.”
“Your Highness. As expected, that posture is good in various ways ……”
Heinrich’s men were amazed at Lute, who naturally gathered chairs in the vicinity and stretched his legs to relax, while Heinrich held his head and grumbled. Naturally.
“You know what? I’m tired after a hard day’s work. Don’t mind if I get a bit lazy.”
“No, Your Highness, you are royalty, and you’ve got a title that’s so big that you can negotiate with the empire. It’s not right for such a person to behave like a street thug. ……”
“It’s fine. Besides, we have a lot of trouble ahead of us. Until then, you can get away with being a lazy ass.”
“Well, didn’t you just say yourself that it was like a vacation?”
“That’s until I get a reply, idiot. Well, even if you get a reply, it won’t cause you much trouble, but I’m different.”
After saying that and letting out a heavy sigh, Lute started talking about the troublesome things that would happen in the future.
“As you know, a demi-god is a force that can overrun a nation on its own. ‘Such a disaster in the form of a human being is selling himself to us without requiring much compensation, for whatever reason.’ That is the current perception from the imperial side. What would you guys do?”
“Well, I would suspect that there is something behind it…”
“Correct. But as it stands, they are friendly and their reasons are relatively convincing. And the one who brought it to them was the second prince, who, unlike me, is known for his competence. If that is the case, we can’t do anything that shows we doubt him outright.”
If he were to be suspected of something strange, it would destroy the face of the second prince who had interceded with him, and above all, it might cause the displeasure of a super power such as a demi-god.
The empire definitely wants to avoid turning a friendly attitude into a hostile one.
If he were to become displeased and go on a rampage domestically, it was clear that the damage would be enormous, even if there were several demi-gods of the same rank.
Even if that’s not the case, if the super-strength of a demonic deity were to flow to another country, even to a vassal country, they couldn’t ignore it.
“In that case, the empire can only take one move: to do everything in its power to win the hearts of the people. Status, wealth, women. They’ll try every trick in the book to get me in. ……”
“Ah, it’s certainly nothing but troublesome from His Highness’s point of view…”
“You don’t like socializing or anything like that, Your Highness.”
Lute exuded a troublesome atmosphere with his whole body, and everyone who was there raised their voices of understanding.
His slack-jawed and disheveled appearance is the exact opposite of the “heroic” appearance of strength and supremacy that he had displayed in front of Klaus and his group earlier in the day.
If Klaus and his colleagues had seen Lute’s current appearance, they would have been stunned in many ways.
However, for these loyal retainers of Lute, the current Lute is a figure they are familiar with.
This finally washed away from them all the slight feeling of “awe” that remained in their hearts.
“Well, why not? Sure, it might be a hassle, socializing and all, but if it were a woman, wouldn’t you welcome her as a man?”
“Yes, that’s right. His Highness is an important person whom the Empire definitely wants to capture, isn’t he? If that is the case, there are plenty of beautiful women and girls to choose from. You might even be able to get an Imperial noblewoman, won’t you?”
Lute let out a heavy sigh at the fools named “loyal subjects” who regained their usual mood and sent their condescending encouragement.
“Shut up, you old perverts. Or rather, you idiots. It’s not a realm where you can have your pick of the best and brightest, and it’s only natural that a high ranking noblewoman will be assigned. You are betrothed to some high-ranking noblewoman, and concubines are assigned to you from there as well, and after getting locked in place, you end up as a stallion, you idiots.”
The erotic men all screamed in a dumb voice at Lute’s unexpected response.
The ridiculing words were all affirmed, no, on the contrary, the expectations that surpassed them came from the master. It’s only natural that it’s terrifyingly surprising.
But it was also in a way a sad “natural” thing for Lute to talk about.
“You see? Aside from physics, emotion is the most suitable way to bind people. Emotion sometimes surpasses even reason, so it’s natural. And, of course, family members are naturally capable of feeling it. In some cases, it is unlimited. Having a family is synonymous with putting down roots in the land. If you marry several women and have children accordingly, that is already a fine fence. Much less a noble’s wife. If so, it’s like an iron grate.”
If you marry the daughter of a noble who serves his country, you are effectively joining the ranks of the nobility.
The more amicable the relationship is with the wife, the more effective it will be as a ‘wedge’. It can be used simply as a chain to bind Lute, or as a weakness in case something goes wrong.
Of course, if the couple’s relationship is cold, the wedge will have no effect at all, but that is unlikely to happen.
After all, she is the daughter assigned to Lute, who is so light on his feet that he would abandon even his homeland if necessary, and who retains his power as a demi-god.
There is no way that an empire under heaven would impose such a fool who cannot make a political decision.
First of all, the daughters to be assigned to Lute will undoubtedly be good-looking and of excellent character. They will also have the talent to play the role of an ideal wife to suit Lute’s taste and convenience.
“It would be good if he could be bound by the empire with his wife and children. In addition, if it becomes weak enough to become material for negotiation, it will come to the woman with all its might.…-also to keep the precious demon-god blood in the empire. I’m sure the flame god has proven that it’s not the kind of power that can be inherited by blood, but still, there will be a future where you’ll get a grand shake of the hips, just in case.”
As expected, even the perverted old men didn’t feel the need to ridicule Lute, who had a troubled face.
“…… how unfortunate that is.”
“Really… They say a harem is a man’s dream, but it’s absolutely dull to have multiple wives. If that’s the case, it would be better to go to a brothel. Or go to a bar where you can get a woman to stay with you. I prefer the ease of a relationship that can be cut off by money.”
Saying this, Lute was drooping in anticipation of a future that was very likely to come.
“…By the way, Your Highness. From what you’re saying now, you have experience with women, right? Certainly, if you’re a member of the royal family, you’re expected to gain experience at a certain age. However, I, Heinrich, I have never heard of anything like that since I have been in your service. ……”
“Hmm? Oh, that’s right. When I was too busy, I’d freeze the people’s perception of me in the castle and get out. Then I’d wander around town at random. I’d use my royal allowance to go in and out of stores like that.”
“… what the hell…!!”
“You’re a prince, and you did that!?”
“That’s right, this prince is so well versed in the affairs of the common people!!”
“It’s definitely better to change it to [Bad Prince] instead of [Incompetent Prince], for sure!!”