“It’s nice to see you again, General Miralda. It’s me, Golan the Ogre.”
I followed General Farneze into the meeting room and faced Miralda, much like I had last time.
She was wearing the same clothes, which looked a lot like an old Japanese kimono.
“Ah, it has been a while. You might be the only Ogre whose name I remember.”
“I see… Perhaps I should thank you.”
“Well, you’re also just about the only Ogre I know.”
“Then of course I’m the only one!”
I couldn’t help but shout.
But Miralda just laughed. She wasn’t angry.
“I talked with General Farneze yesterday. But things get so formal. That’s why I’m quite relieved to see you here.”
General Farneze chuckled.
“You were full of threats yesterday. What’s changed?”
“I get sore muscles when talking about such serious subjects for so long. Besides, I went through the trouble of coming all of the way here. I was very much expecting to be treated to a welcoming party that would last a few nights.”
After hearing that, I was certain.
“I guess that means you don’t really care if your presence here is known?”
General Farneze looked at me with a questioning expression.
On the other hand, Miralda now had a mischievous grin.
“Mmm. As for why I came here…”
“We’re to use you as a feint.”
Realization finally appeared on General Farneze’s face.
Up until now, our alliance with Demon King Tralzard was a secret.
As we had the same goal, we would both move to help achieve it within our means.
Something like that.
So, why had Miralda come here instead of sending a messenger?
And we weren’t in the General’s town, but the royal castle.
Not only was she here to tell us that her army could no longer be stationed by the border, but she was making a show of this alliance between our countries. She was helping us from behind the scenes, so that we could maintain the advantage even a little.
“You can’t become a Demon King by just being strong. Greed is also important. You need to eat others. And so battles between Demon Kings are especially vicious.”
Leninoth and Fara. If one of them became a Demon King, they would still have a Great Demon King neighbor to the east.
Which meant they would have to go west in order to strengthen their forces.
“Demon King Janius and Demon King Tralzard are in the west. If someone were to attack one of those countries, which do you think they would choose?”
I wanted to know what Miralda was thinking.
“The country that my master rules. It’s our country that is exhausted from this war. And in spite of our lands being so vast, we don’t have enough soldiers.”
“And there is also the war with Demon King Bardoto.”
Said General Farneze. This time it was me who looked puzzled.
Demon King Bardoto was no longer here. He lost during the invasion from the Celestial World.
His country had been split up, and several Lesser Demon Kings were now fighting for prominence.
“That’s how it is. The war with Legard is only getting worse each day, and we still have to have soldiers guarding the border with the old Bardoto lands. They were our enemy from long ago, after all.”
“I didn’t know that.”
Being a Demon King seemed like a lot of work.
“And things have been particularly bad in the west recently–in other words, those Wild Hunt fools have been making a mess of things. And so we’ve had to send many soldiers to the border as well.”
“Seems like you have trouble on all sides.”
“Indeed. While Demon King Janius isn’t hostile towards us now, if we were to attack Leninoth or Fara, it would make him feel threatened. After all, it would mean that our country would be surrounding half of his.”
In other words, she was saying, ‘look, things are really tough for us now. So could you just deal with this by yourself?’
“I heard about what was discussed yesterday. You’re going to withdraw your troops. …However, that would hurt us greatly.”
The Lesser Demon Kings who had stopped fighting would turn to us next.
We were the only target left.
“And it’s my wish that you’ll crush them all, somehow.”
Miralda said without a hint of concern.
“Can we do that?”
I turned to General Farneze. She shook her head.
“Perhaps if it was just one country. But there are four countries who fought on two sides. If they come, it will be as part of an alliance.”
They would likely quarrel over how to split the country after they conquered it, but they had apparently stopped the war because they feared that it would drag on for too long. And so if they were going to attack us, they would want the battle to be as short as possible.
In other words, they would come in full force and hope to win a definitive battle.
“And so we really need those soldiers by the border so that doesn’t happen.”
“Well, I do feel bad for you. Really, I do. But my hands are tied.”
Miralda was the Demon King’s General.
She could not make any decisions about where to move her army.
“Are there any alternatives?”
If this alliance was to be maintained, then cooperation was a necessity.
Surely Miralda would understand that.
Miralda fell silent and seemed to ponder it.
Currently, it felt that it would take a series of very fortunate events for our country to be able to survive.
“There is…one alternative.”
Oh? My eyes widened.
I had assumed she would say that there wasn’t, and that’s why we had to fend for ourselves.
“And what is it?”
“I cannot change what I already told you yesterday. I must obey the order of my lord. However, it might not necessarily be the case if we’re talking about my own subordinates.”
“…What do you mean?”
“The other Generals would object if I just allowed you to borrow my men. However, if it were to be a trade… Well, it would be difficult, but not impossible.”