Surrounded by Dark Clouds
I didn’t know if the rocky ride toward the South was a result of the cannonballs and corpses in the water or the woeful state of the ship. The closer and closer we got to the South, though, the less and less happy the boy was. I didn’t let a chance to add insult to injury. “See our courage now?”
He thought his military was invincible, but he couldn’t deny the reality that seven worn-out wooden ships annihilated his fleet. Their ships carrying supplies and soldiers were overturned if not sunk. The soldiers, who could barely stay on their feet used firearms the soldiers didn’t want, to completely demolish his fleet.
That was the first time their people saw firearms. An instant after they saw white smoke, a tiny object had pierced them. Their armour couldn’t protect them when the bullets could even pierce the wooden boards on both sides of their ships and wound their archers indoors. As a matter of fact, someone lit up a fuse he connected to a powder of gunpowder and catapulted the barrel onto the enemy ship.
The South relied on courage and flesh to fight. Our soldiers relied on the power that nature granted instead of nature. The metal nature granted humanity could be utilised for combat, but add in an extra man-made touch, and it was more effective.
“Hmph, trickery is all it was. You’d never win face to face!”
The kid ate my food, yet he was still puzzlingly loyal to his nation. I, at the same time, didn’t play charades. Sisi would’ve killed him by this point. I take that back; she would’ve tortured him before ending him.
“I don’t think there’s any room for discussion. The battle has concluded. Say whatever you want. My goal is to have a peace talk, however. We never had any intention of conquering your people. You were the ones who started the fight.”
The boy didn’t respond, but he looked bitter. I felt I sort of punished him with a vendetta as my motive. As we headed to his home, he got to see the tragic scene after his comrades were felled. There were burnt corpses thrown into a ditch, removed armour and weapons piled up to the side. Survivors were locked in cages as prisoners of war. He, on the other hand, was able to freely move about as a VIP guest. Guilt and self-loathing were the most miserable forms of punishment for him. Instead of viewing his attitude toward me as arrogance, I interpreted it as his way of making himself feel better. The best blade was delivered back to Sisi, and their general’s armour was also sent to her as a spoil of war.
I didn’t know if he noticed it or not, but the reality was we lacked the strength to continue fighting with them. Having our navy on standby at shore was just burning money since the navy was done. Seven ships they had. They were basically wiped out in the last battle. They’d either have to take a fisherman’s boat or stand there on the shore and chuck rocks or something.
The soldiers stationed at the shore asked for money the moment they opened their mouths. Sisi would have to feed them without ever getting anything back in return. All I was achieving with my parley was setting a stepping stone, but even then, there was no guarantee it would succeed. Not all of their people were as idiotic as the boy. They also might’ve realised what I just pointed out. Therefore, the talk wasn’t going to be easy to initiate.
Present time in the South – Tianshou.
“Your Majesty… our soldiers in the North have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty for you… They now occupy our camp and are carrying out construction work on site. They will soon cross the ocean.” The voice sounded extremely loud in the empty room.
In essence, the united kingdom’s foundations were destroyed from the moment the elites, the children of the aristocrats were decimated. It was but a delusion to even think of defeating their invaders with their remaining forces. Is surrender our only option, wondered everyone present.
“You need not panic, everyone. They cannot attack us,” asserted a young man, with a sabre in his grip. With all eyes in the room on him, he cleared his throat and stated, “You all know that we have never seen the enemy’s navy. We prepared for a long time before we could cross the ocean. At present, they have only gathered at the shore. They have no warships coming to their aid. To put it explicitly, they do not have a navy. Our fleet was defeated due to panic when they tried to avoid a storm. The only other explanation is that the enemy’s navy suffered heavy losses in the last battle and do not have what it takes to cross the water channel now. I think that they will soon send somebody over to enter peace talks with us.”
Interested, the Queen asked, “Should we enter a peace talk with them?”
The young man took a moment to collect his thoughts. “We now have two choices. We can either have peace talks or ask Sunset Kingdom for reinforcements. I believe they will send their military over to us if we bow our heads and submit ourselves as vassals. We will then be able to launch another attack with a higher chance of victory. It is definitely possible. It is on you to decide, Your Majesty.”
“Mm…” mumbled the Queen, with a nod.
While he offered two options, there was only actually one, which was surrender. The only question was who to. They could surrender to powerful and prosperous Sunset Kingdom as vassals or their uninvited guest. The only difference was one was more reasonable, while the other was embarrassing.
The Queen stood up and softly said to her vassals, “I need some time to think.”
The Queen’ vassals exchanged glances with each other and then bowed out.
The supposed united kingdom wasn’t actually that robust. Sisi’s empire didn’t just defeat the enemy’s frontlines but also their political personnel in the rear.
Note: I changed “Empress” to “Queen” because it’s more appropriate. You won’t need to worry about the three Queens getting jumbled up in conversation. I’ll go back through previous chapters to make the edit.
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