○ ??? ????
It was part of the outer gardens of Tralzard’s castle. In a corner that no one came close to.
A place covered in shadow, that was dark even during the day.
There was a small, usually unused building at the end of a narrow pathway between two buildings.
Stifled laughter echoed from the building.
When it was night time, this place would be shrouded in complete darkness.
So even if someone scaled the lantern-less walls, no one would notice.
In the first place, this area was unknown to most of the people who worked at the castle.
When the sun had sunk completely, and the surrounding area was dark, someone appeared from within the building.
And without hesitation, it walked through the alley and looked up at the wall.
There was a small window in the castle wall.
It then started to climb, as smooth as a lizard.
And in the blink of an eye, it reached the small window and disappeared inside.
…Some time passed.
“I see. I see…”
A satisfied voice could be heard. And then the shadow left once again.
The place that the shadow left was a neighbor to the room where Demon King Tralzard and tactician Seitry held their secret talks.
○ Demon King Tralzard’s Castle – Tralzard
“I see. So Legard has invaded.”
Tralzard’s eyes narrowed at this report from the south.
This war between Demon Kings was becoming more severe.
As the damage to her army would be great, this was not an enemy to fight light-heartedly.
Unless they were desperate, or intended on taking it to a decisive battle, every clash would have to be considered carefully.
Of course, there were some Demon Kings who didn’t care about such things.
But Tralzard knew that Demon King Legard was not that type.
“Now that the Demon King has come out directly, the others will only be able to slow him down at the most.”
“That is true. Damn that Legard. What is he planning?”
Tralzard cursed with irritation. But Seitry was calm.
“I believe that it has to do with our fights in the southwest.”
This was Seitry’s opinion.
If Tralzard was to invade Legard’s lands, what reasons for it would be the most likely?
Of course, it would be when Legard became more active, in an attempt to rise to Great Demon King.
In that case, the most obvious course of action would be to eat Tralzard and grow.
The moment that Legard showed signs of doing this, Tralzard would make the decision.
Now was the time.
While Legard and Tralzard shared a border, there were also many other small countries in the area.
If Legard wanted to rise to Great Demon King, he would first try to swallow up at least ten of them first.
And with that increased strength, he could challenge Tralzard.
On the other hand, in order to stop this ambition, Tralzard would attack Legard’s castle while he was busy invading the smaller countries.
While Legard tried to increase his strength, Tralzard would chip away at it.
“Do you think that this action is him showing his ambition to become a Great Demon King?”
“It is likely.”
Tralzard thought about it.
She had actively sent soldiers to the west and east. She had even fought the armies of the northern Demon Kings.
However, Tralzard only fought back when antagonized.
But how would it appear from the outside?
It might look like she was making enemies in every direction.
And so perhaps Legard had felt that he was in danger, and decided to strike out? That was what Seitry was suggesting.
“So that is why he’s come out in person.”
“Regardless of the reason, he must be defeated.”
“That is true. How very troublesome this is. …So, Seitry. Do you have a plan?”
“The measures we take will depend on Legard’s aim. But there are several ways we can deal with him, if this is simply an invasion that he is leading.”
“Indeed. We just have to meet him on the battlefield with full force.”
“However, if he just intends to weaken us, or to challenge you directly, or even to lure you in… Well, we do not know yet.”
“It is possible. Up until now, you have sent men to the west, east and north. Perhaps Legard wants you to go south now. So if you attack him, he might retreat into his own lands.”
“Hoping that we would chase him across the border…”
“Perhaps he has prepared a trap in order to wipe out your army.”
While it was easy to calmly make decisions while sitting at your desk, it was different on the battlefield.
You often chased after fleeing enemies, and even if you realized there was a trap, you may not be able to retreat.
This was especially true for Dragons, who did not stop until they had annihilated their enemies. They could not stop.
And so it was quite possible that they would be lured into a trap.
“Indeed. What should I do, Seitry?”
“We don’t have enough information yet. However, I do believe that this is a good opportunity to strike Legard.”
“So, we should intercept him all the same.”
“Yes. However, I think you should leave soldiers in this town as well.”
“Because of the Wild Hunt?”
“Exactly. Perhaps you could leave General Miralda here to protect the castle.”
“Mmm. Then I will take my direct subordinates with me.”
“In that case, I will make arrangements so that you can unite with reinforcement at one of the towns on the way.”
“Yes, that is good.”
After that, Demon King Tralzard and tactician Seitry continued to iron out the details of the battle.
Tralzard would set out with her men and travel down south through the main road.
If they continued to march, they would be able to arrive at the fortress city of Guesto in three days.
There, they would meet with their reinforcements… That was the plan.
And so began Tralzard’s military expedition.