“Your Majesty, our military has assembled by the ocean. Unfortunately, we do not have ships to transport our army over. As such, we are amidst discussions for alternatives,” courteously reported an officer.
Queen Sisi irritably sat in her throne she hadn’t sat in for a long time. “You don’t have ships, was that it? Have people transport timber there and construct ships on site.”
“Your Majesty… umm, constructing ships is not simple… Furthermore, we also need a dock…” He didn’t dare to mock Sisi despite her suggestion being what a child would senselessly say.
“Do I look stupid to you?”
“No! I would not dare to say such a thing! We have all witnessed your wisdom and prudence. I would never think that!” the officer quavered. His voice, however, didn’t successfully express his fear and so-called loyalty to Sisi. Instead, he annoyed her even more.
Sisi got to her feet and shouted, “In that case, how come you still don’t understand what I have in mind?! You think I don’t know what constructing a ship entails?! You think I need your education?! I was telling you to create a fleet of fake ships to deceive the enemy into thinking that we have an abundance of war ships to back up Count Lin, who went to negotiate with them!”
“Y-yes, Your Majesty!”
The officer was surprised to hear there was a negotiation and didn’t know the reason for it, but what could he do besides tremble in the face of Sisi’s rage and leave with his head down? He didn’t think of what she said. He thought she actually wanted to attack the South, which rendered Sisi befuddled…
Indeed, negotiation was the best choice for the empire with their current circumstances. It was a awkward situation for Sisi, after all. They won a battle, yet they couldn’t deal the finishing blow. If they let the war drag on, she’d burn money for a pointless endeavour, which was why she directed all of her efforts to making the most of the negotiations. She wasn’t thinking about how to win anymore. Sadly, the negotiations had reached a deadlock, too. Simply put, they were in the tightest pinch.
Many people saw the stalemate. They sat there and tried to pick on individual words and semantics every day because both parties refused to compromise on their bottom line. Shishiang refused to shoulder all of the consequences of the war, while I refused to make Sisi bear anything. I was insistent on making them bear the repercussions as that made things easier for us in the future. With neither of us reaching a consensus, we entered an impasse.
We didn’t continue with futile debates. Leah was still outside, and I didn’t want to bore her. The slow pace didn’t seem to rustle Shishiang’s feathers. The two of us shut our mouths as though we had perfect chemistry, though did offer each other toasts after and let Leah come in to enjoy a meal. Although it resembled a reunion for old friends, we were both conscious that we wasted a day.
We wasted several more days the same way, neither of us giving way, resulting in the nerves to start kicking in. If either of us loosened up, the negotiations would fall through and war would resume. Strictly speaking, we were still at war, but neither side took any further steps mainly due to neither side being able to attack. It was a waste of money to continue the way we were, which was why we needed to find an opportunity to stop the war as soon as possible.
If we couldn’t downplay their morals, power and influence, we couldn’t realise our goal – to rule the place. Shishiang was well aware of that. We either gave up on negotiations or waited. While he had all the time in the world, I didn’t. I didn’t want to waste time on their continent. I was fairly confident that Shishiang knew we couldn’t cross the waters to fight. Consequently, he knew we had to talk, therefore remaining calm.
What I had to do was convince Shishiang that we had what it took to rain hell down on their continent if they didn’t talk. They would get the point if I could get as little as one ship with a dozen men. I wasn’t forcing them to negotiate. I called it offering them a suggestion for development and out of kindness, both of were imperative to him.
The issue was that Sisi didn’t have a navy to send over, and she couldn’t just click ships into existence overnight. Since the latter was impossible, the former could be possible. Still, I hoped that somebody could threaten them.
Shishiang arranged a nice room located at the highest location of their place for Leah and I. Down below was the beautiful and tidy small town. Further out was the ocean with glistening waves. Further out from there was my pregnant wife, Veirya…
“Papa, the bed is ready. Let’s go to bed,” notified Leah, voice quiet as she tugged my sleeve. With a smile, she stretched her arms out to me. I didn’t need to guess what she was suggesting; it was plenty obvious – a hug.
I nodded and shut the window. I ensured that it was shut before pulling a table over to block the window. For the door, I blocked it with a chair. We weren’t in the imperial capital. They just suffered a defeat. I had no idea how many of their men died. I didn’t put vengeance past them. If they wanted revenge, they’d do anything. That was the reason I had to be extremely careful.
“Leah, is there anyone who is a threat to us?”
Leah sniffed the air then shook her head: “Leah cannot sense anyone giving off hostility. Papa, don’t worry. If Leah senses anything, Leah will tell you.”
Leah pulled me down while giggling as I carried her to the bed. She didn’t appear lonely or not used to being in a foreign country. If anything, she was glad to be away from Veirya.
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