Battle of Wits
The genius strategist of the Mediterranean world, Hannibal Barca had told me the name of the ant army leader.
I took this information back to the castle and told the others in the war council.
The expressions of each official changed and they spoke their mind one after another.
“So the ant army is led by a Demon Queen.”
“Simply put, yes. A Demon Queen in the form of an ant named Alioshe, seems to be leading them.”
“In that case, we only need to defeat her, and the army will collapse.”
Upon hearing those words, Bradenboro, the werewolf, let out a sigh of relief.
“That’s good. Currently, the Ismalia castle is in a terrible state. Nearly all of the residents were taken into the castle and made serfs or soldiers, if not outright eaten.”
It is a terrible thing, agreed the slime.
“So they are being forced to work in the hive. While I do want to rescue them, we have to fortify our defenses first.”
“About that, do you think that Alioshe will attack this castle as well?”
“I think that she will definitely attack it. They are ravenous and breed in great numbers. Ismalia will not be enough for them.”
“So then war is unavoidable.”
“Aye. The arrival of Hannibal and the old man with the fox mask is proof of it. There is no avoiding war now.”
The problem is…
Asked Slash the slime.
“The problem is when and from where they will attack. I heard that their usual tactics involve creating a nest underneath a town and then attacking from there. So it’s possible that they already have a giant nest under this castle.
“No, surely not. How could we not notice if something on such a scale was happening?”
“Yes. We would feel the vibrations. You worry too much.”
“I’m sure Count Ismalia said the same thing. And now he is a resident of the Underworld. I do not want to make the same mistake that he did.”
Everyone fell quiet at these ominous words. And after some time, those words would come true.
Though I strongly wished that they wouldn’t…
Fuma Kotaro the ninja, opened the great doors and walked into the room.
“It’s unusual for you to come in through the front door. You always disguise yourself and sneak in.”
I said jokingly, but he didn’t react. He just calmly stated the truth.
“A hole was discovered in Ashtaroth town.”
“A hole? An ant hole?”
Eve asked frantically.
“At this point, I would be surprised if it was a different kind of hole. I see. So it seems that Alioshe really was targeting this castle at the same time that she targeted Ismalia.”
“Aye. Numerous ants came out of the hole. My men are currently fighting them.”
“In that case, I’ll send reinforcements to support them. And the hole must be sealed at once.”
“That won’t be possible. My men are strong and wouldn’t lose to mere ants…”
Kotara paused for a brief moment.
“Currently, there are holes all over the town. And the ants are coming out at the same time.”
“In that case, we’ll have to split up the soldiers.”
I said, but Eve was against it.
“It must not be! Master, they are after your head. They would want us to have the soldiers spread out, and they will find an opening and destroy the core in the castle.”
Upon hearing this, the officers all thought of the core that was behind my throne.
I would lose my power if it was destroyed. And then it would be game over.
However, I was not worried about that.
“I’m sure that you are right, Eve. …Yes, I do not doubt it at all. However, knowing that, I will still separate the soldiers.”
“For the people. Right now, they want me to help them.”
When I listened, I thought that I could hear them shouting.
“The enemy’s plan, Hannibal’s plan clearly involves a diversion. They are sure that I will split up my soldiers. Because they know my personality well. While it may be crafty, I don’t see it as cowardly. I would do the same thing in their position.”
“The reason that my people trust a young Demon King like me, is because I’ve shown that I have the will to protect them. And I’ve kept my word. If I abandon them now, the same thing will happen to me in the near future.”
Eve seemed to be satisfied by this, and she did not protest any further.
I thanked her lovingly, and then told my subordinates of my plan.
“There is no time to hesitate. Bradenboro, you head to the north of the town with the werewolves.”
The werewolf marched off.
“Robin Hood, you go to the west. I’m sorry to send you when you’ve only just formed your unit.”
“Not at all. I want to see the fruits of their training.”
Robin left immediately as well.
“And I think Jeanne will take the east.”
Jeanne said, ‘certainly,’ and left.
Only Toshizou remained.
“Then I suppose that leaves the south for me.”
And he headed off on his own.
As Fuma Kotaro had gone to fill up the first hole, there was no one left in the room. Well, Eve and the slime were still here, but they were to protect this castle.
Now, up until this point, everything was happening according to Hannibal’s plan. But that wouldn’t last forever.
It would not be his turn the whole time.
After the remaining soldiers were positioned throughout the castle, the battle of wits with General Hannibal began.
Bonus chapter. Thank you, Wiz!