When I arrived at the throne room, I was greeted by my trusted subordinates.
The dwarf chief, Gottlieb.
The Shinsengumi Vice-captain, Hijikata Toshizou.
And even the kobold ninja, Hanzou.
The only one who wasn’t there was Fuma Kotaro, who had joined us recently.
Or at least, I thought so.
But he appeared just as I sat on the throne.
He had been disguising himself as one of the soldiers, but he now removed the disguise to show himself as a masked ninja.
His appearance was the same as when I first saw him.
Perhaps it was his default appearance?
I asked him about it, but he just laughed. “Perhaps. Perhaps not.”
In other words, he changed his appearance so many times that he had forgotten what his original form was.
He was like Arsène Lupin, but who knew what kind of face lay behind that mask. I was quite curious.
But there must be a good reason for him to keep it on.
And I wouldn’t look very good if I forced him to take it off.
And so I had given Fuma Kotaro permission to keep it on at all times.
“Very good, my king. You respect our individuality. It is most motivating.”
Fuma Kotaro laughed under the mask. Or did he really?
“That is good and all, but I hope I am getting something in return?”
“Of course. Information. It will affect the outcome of the coming battle.”
“So, things have been going well?”
Fuma Kotaro nodded before beginning his explanation.
“The merchant caravan went on its route through Decarbia as you planned. I then leaked this information to the bandits, beggars, and the merchants.”
“So, you thought that Decarbia would be less suspicious if they heard if from multiple sources.”
“Yes, Demon King. Exactly.”
And then Fuma Kotaro continued.
“It is the basics of information warfare. And I was very thorough. I know how many moles and lovers every important person has. And I chose the strongest of them to leak the information to.”
“Those who are greedy are quick to believe. After all, they act based on money. Decarbia and the informers would not care about respect.”
“Exactly. Decarbia quickly took the bait and attacked the caravan.”
“Were the merchants injured?”
“No. I told them to run away as soon as they saw Decarbia’s soldiers.”
“That is good. I would rather not have people die for such a plan.”
Eve would occasionally make approving remarks, which I nodded at and returned to Fuma Kotara.
“That is good. But have they suspected that it is fake?”
“They haven’t. Decarbia is gladly gathering weapons and food. He is also hiring mercenaries.”
“Then he will be ruined within two weeks.”
“Why don’t we just watch quietly from here?”
“Yes, it would be amusing to sit here and watch him dance to my tune. Well, it would be more entertaining if he wasn’t so ugly, but we can have a beautiful dancer entertain us some other day.”
And so it was decided. We would wait for the passage of time.
Two weeks later, we saw the results.
The mercenary soldiers realized that the gold that was used to pay them was fake.
The metal was reduced to half the amount and was worth less than bits of iron.
This was followed by immediate objections.
Of course, the mercenaries had also spent the gold at taverns and brothels. And so the owners of those establishments had complaints of their own.
And of course, there were the merchants who sold weapons to Decarbia.
The circle of anger grew larger. Decarbia was called a swindler. It was known throughout all of the land.
Decarbia became furious when he heard the news of this. The anger was towards me, but also the mercenaries and merchants who insulted his name.
They were supposed to be under Decarbia’s rule. They should obey him whether money was involved or not. Or so he foolishly believed.
Many Demon Kings thought in such a way.
And so Decarbia went to the town square and used his soldiers to suppress the people who were protesting.
It was supposed to make the people docile and return things to normal. But this time, things were different.