This extra chapter is my thank you to you guys who subbed to one of the channels. He emailed and told me you guys subbed, and he loved it. He didn’t give me your names, so I can’t give you a shoutout. Nonetheless, a favour done is a favour that will be reciprocated.
Current time in the imperial capital at the guards’ headquarters.
“Guys, guys, guys, come over and sit. While we are assigned to different locations, we’re all comrades. You have it tough out there, as well.”
The young man took off his cape. The female bodyguard behind him took it and hung it up. He didn’t even spare Zero, who was smiling, a glance. The field military had always looked down on the garrison soldiers. Capturing cities and conquering land was the job of the field military. The field militaries soldiers and officers lived and died on the battlefield for the land then handed it over to the garrison soldiers to guard. They sweated and shed blood. Only to turn around and see the garrison soldiers merrily drinking and eating. There, understandably, was no way the field soldiers wouldn’t be angry and look down on the garrison soldiers.
Though the Northern military was comprised of nobles, the field soldiers had always taken pride in themselves. Zero was also aware of that and so were the rest of the garrison soldiers. The field soldiers went through life and death, after all. That was why the garrison soldiers were in no place to be clapping back for being looked down on. Who could argue that dignity was more important than life? Both groups maintained a silent harmony between them, in the sense that neither of them interacted with each other. The field military took charge of matters outside of the city while the garrison soldiers were in charge of the interior. If their paths didn’t cross, they couldn’t clash.
The guards were a part of the garrison soldiers. The mightiest small team of garrison soldiers in the imperial capital consisted of the most experienced and strongest soldiers, who served under the cautious and decisive officers. That was also precisely why the guards were previously split up and managed by different individuals to avoid them uniting to usurp the throne.
The young man removed his long sword and pressed it onto the table. He candidly said to Zero, “What exactly do you people want?”
“What do we want?” Zero paused then revealed a hopeless smile: “We don’t want anything. We’re just guards who are tasked with protecting Her Majesty? What could we do?”
The young man slammed the table with his long sword. He thundered in Zero’s face, “Quit playing the fool with me. Nobody would be happier than you lot after hearing that Her Majesty wants to attack the elves! You don’t want to go, yet you took the initiative to offer to lead a team to take on the task? What are you playing at? Are you questioning us?!”
Zero dawdled for a moment. In his mind, he thought, “It’s an undeniable fact that you field soldiers have a merit credited for capturing cities and conquering land, but the garrison soldiers and we guards are the ones who guard this place. You’re coming to our headquarters to yell in our face? You’re pushing it too far, don’t you think? I can ignore the daily slander and mockery you make of garrison soldiers, but you’re now insulting us in our faces. Nobody can stand it. We’re all military personnel. The garrison soldiers also deserve to be credited for defending the city. We can’t have you, a kid, slamming the table and stepping on us.”
The guards reached for their sword handles, and so did the field soldiers’ guards. Zero wore a sombre look but remained silent. The young man also sat in his chair in silence. The both of them served Her Majesty as military personnel, yet had their weapons drawn in a confrontation with each other in her very imperial palace. It appeared a physical altercation would break out between them at any moment.
After a long silence, Zero answered, “I don’t plan to do anything. Do you think we can convince Her Majesty? Do you think she would listen to us? Instead of all that effort, why not realise Her Majesty’s wish? It’s not impossible to attack the elves. When it comes time to attack, we can just enter the forest and reach a few stalemates.”
The young man brought his emotions under control and seriously replied, “We are Her Majesty’s vassals and soldiers; we must take responsibility for her decisions. We must be dutiful to her! It’s clear that Her Majesty is in the wrong. We need to dissuade her. We can’t allow her to destroy the empire and our predecessors’ sacrifices all for naught.”
“Is there any point in you saying that? Do you still not understand how Her Majesty thinks? Previously, everyone doubted we could attack the demons and fight with them head to head. They claimed that our nation couldn’t support it. What happened in the end? Her Majesty took a sword, held it up to her neck in front of everyone and asked everyone to prepare for war. Last time, she threatened us with her life. What about this time? If we try to talk her out of it, it’s likely going to have the same outcome. What gives you the idea we have the power to dissuade her?” Zero sighed then added, “If you turned down Her Majesty, do you think things will end well for you? Do you?! Even if you do die, Her Majesty won’t change her mind. What’s the point of all your effort? How about you hurry up, prepare, and do your best to realise her plans?”
The young man clenched his teeth. He stood up and left without a response. He knew that; he knew he couldn’t talk Her Majesty out of it. Still, he went and tried. He genuinely didn’t want to let her ambition destroy the nation and to march his soldiers to their meaningless deaths. The veterans in the military had retired while the new recruits lacked experience. Plus, the military officer wasn’t experienced with forest warfare. Starting a war without thinking it through would only result in wasting their soldiers’ lives.
The young man thought, “I want to try everything. My words aren’t falling on deaf ears. It’s just that Her Majesty hasn’t met someone who she is willing to listen to. I should do as much as I can. Who knows, maybe the next person to tell her will get through to her and convince her to give up on her unrealistic endeavour.”
However, frankly, the young man knew such a person may not exist.
Current time in the North.
“These books…” The diplomat was surprised to see the neatly arranged books in the chest. She gently ran her hand over the books. She was so touched that she shed a few tears. In a shaky voice, she stammered, “These… are the books from my home… I thought… I thought… that I would never get to see them again…”
“Lucia sent them. She didn’t want to send them. After all, they are elves’ assets. Moreover, they are a very important asset,” I said.
Ciara watched us from the other side. She had a drink of water and sardonically scoffed, “I guess those elves still have a semblance of a conscience, then.”
The diplomat tightly hugged one of the books. She started to shed more tears. There wasn’t just one chest but three. I could see the diplomat hailed from a family of scholars, for her household had many books. After transmigrating here, I could understand the writing and speech, which was why Leah considered me well-studied. In reality, however, I was unable to write.
“Leah, from now on, learn humanity’s and the elves’ language from this elder sister. Make sure to read a lot. Become an outstanding woman in the future.”
Leah didn’t understand the text, but she was extremely elated to see the books. She sat on my thigh and looked at the elf across from us. She lightly hopped off my leg and gave the elf a deep bow. With a smile, she declared, “I will be your student from now on and wait upon you, Teacher!”
The diplomat was dumbstruck. From her expression, it was clear that Leah got through to her heart with her smile and by calling her “Teacher.” The diplomat shifted her hands. I was sure that she had a strong urge to pull Leah straight into her embrace. Succubi sure were scary, huh?
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