The Lazy Prince Abandons His Homeland 〜 a Life of Decadence Begins with Captivity - Chapter 6
Chapter 6 – The Incompetent Prince and the General Imperial Prince – Part 2
Klaus and Lambert looked at each other in utter surprise at the unexpected message from the messenger.
“…. What do you think?”
“…. No, it is absolutely out of the question. There is no way to negotiate a cease-fire in this situation. It is not even worth considering. After all, a ceasefire will not give our troops a single advantage.”
“I know, right….”
A ceasefire is concluded when both sides, for their own reasons, decide that it is more convenient not to go to war, rather than to wage war.
If both sides are exhausted, a ceasefire is called as a draw between the two nations, or the losing side may propose some kind of compensation as a way to cut its losses, and the other side, if satisfied with the offer, may accept it.
There are some cases where the winning side cannot continue the war for some reason and proposes a ceasefire.
However, the numerous “ceasefires” in history that have been concluded in this way were agreed upon because the scales were balanced after calculating the profit and loss of both sides.
There was no way, no matter what, that an agreement could be reached under the current situation between the Froysel Empire and the Land Kingdom.
At any rate, if the empire continued as it was, they would gain everything in the Land Kingdom. They would gain the entirety of the natural resources and fertile lands that were the hallmarks of the Land Kingdom.
As a technological superpower, the empire had always been in need of resources, so why would it voluntarily let the opportunity slip away like that? Unless a huge emergency occurred, such as the death of the current emperor, the outbreak of a coup d’état on a scale that would shake the country, or an all-out war with the Republic, it was highly improbable to happen.
“It seems that they cannot even grasp the situation properly. I guess the Land Kingdom is full of incompetents after all.”
“You think so?”
“I do not think so, it is the truth. It is obvious that our army will never sit down for negotiations. I believe this may even be a roundabout provocation from them.”
Lambert’s words probably represented the feelings of most of the invading forces.
In any case, the offer to negotiate a ceasefire meant that they had a basis for convincing the invading forces that it had merits.
However, it was obvious to anyone that could see that the Land Kingdom in its current state had nothing to offer whatsoever that would satisfy the Empire.
The fact that they were willing to negotiate on such a basis indicated that they believed that the invading forces would be stopped by what they were offering, which meant that they took the invasion force and, by extension, the Froysel Empire itself lightly.
Naturally, no soldier would feel good about having their own country looked down on like that. And even more so when that opponent had a blade held to their throat by that very country.
“We should just give them a quick word of rejection and take total control. It is a waste of time to even raise the subject in this way.”
“…. However, as long as the other side has raised the negotiating flag, it’s customary to wait a certain amount of time after the reply before resuming the battle. You must wait at least an hour.”
“That depends on the situation. Some people take advantage of this convention to buy themselves more time, so the recipient has the right to decide when to start the battle. It is true that it is customary to wait at least an hour, but in this case, no one will complain if you wait five minutes. Against an army of over 10,000 men, they are only 50-something soldiers in a meager fortress. No matter how much time we spend on preparation, the result should be obvious.”
“Is that…. so….”
“Your Highness Klaus?”
Lambert, who had been speaking at length about the situation, finally raised a question to Klaus, who had been acting strangely nonplussed for some time.
“Your Highness seems to be dissatisfied with the immediate conquest, what is going on? I do not believe this is the same man that just now yelled at his messenger to quit his flustered attitude.”
“…. No. Actually, I’m feeling a bit uneasy.”
Klaus’ brow wrinkled more than ever as he said this.
“First of all, it goes without saying that Lambert’s opinion is correct. In which case, my blood is boiling at the thought of being underestimated this badly….. However, I don’t know why but I got this unsettling feeling. And I know this feeling. It’s the same awful feeling that I get when I’m at a battle’s turning point and whether we win or lose depends on me making the right choice.”
“…. Is that so?”
Lambert gave a small grunt at Klaus’ words. However, the meaning in this small reply was significant.
The reason for his reaction being so small was because of the messenger by his side, otherwise, he would have reacted more clearly and with astonishment.
Klaus’ intuition on the battlefield was extremely keen.
Klaus’ abrupt command had often completely destroyed the enemy forces’ plans.
Lambert knew very well that he could accurately sense the atmosphere of the battlefield and instinctively derive the best solution.
His intuition was almost absurd, one could think that he was able to see the future.
That Klaus, with his exceptional abilities, was mentioning even the possibility of losing the battle, defied all reason. It was so delusional that under normal circumstances he would be laughed out of the room.
However, those who knew Klaus well, with Lambert in the forefront, understood that his words had a persuasive power that transcended rationality.
“Tell all men to advance to a position where they can see the fort, and then stand by. I will go myself to respond to the negotiations. Don’t forget to remind the men to not do anything uncalled-for.”
“Understood! After advancing until the fort is in sight, all men will stand by! His Highness Klaus will respond to negotiations! I will make sure to deliver this message!”
After reciting Klaus’ instructions to himself, the messenger swiftly left.
“…. Is this the right move? Given the difference in strength between our two sides, I think it would be problematic for His Highness Klaus to give the reply himself,” Lambert asked Klaus, looking behind him.
Klaus was the general commander of the invasion force as well as a prince of the empire. For a man of that stature to go out of his way to respond to a 50-something armed group was, when given a thought about it, an impossible thing to do.
It was a barbaric act tantamount to the commander-in-chief himself disgracing the name of his own army.
Understanding that, Klaus gave the order.
“You’re right, in normal situations it’s appropriate to just have a field officer respond to them. …. However, this time it’s different. My intuition is warning me about something, and I’d rather not have the situation soured by some extraneous person.”
“But…. Your intuition in warfare is horrifyingly accurate, but that doesn’t mean that it can never miss the mark. If it fails, it fails. Shouldn’t we refrain from doing anything that might give troublesome people an excuse to make a fuss?”
“If there’s nothing going on, then that’s fine. I don’t mind making that small of a blunder. What is more important is to find out what exactly is causing this discomfort and, consequently, avoid the worst possible outcome.”
Klaus drew the conclusion that if the worst-case scenario, that is to say, “defeat”, could be avoided, he couldn’t care less about saving face.
If he could avoid that worst-case scenario, he knew he had the ability and confidence to make up for it again and again in future battles after this war.
At most, it would be a small blunder. On the other hand, if the worst happened, what would be lost was the face of the nation as the continental champion.
There was no need to even weigh those odds.
“Anyway, let’s head out straight away. Even though we gave orders, there’s no guarantee that some of them won’t get ahead of themselves.”
“Furthermore, it seems likely that high-ranking officials who are not satisfied with those orders will come to us for an explanation.”
“…. There’s that too, yeah. We’d better hurry then. Lambert, give me information about the other party as we move. The representative is a prine, isn’t he? A lowly soldier is one thing, but if he’s a prince there should be at least some information about him.”
Lambert, who was thus ordered by Klaus, began to tell all he knew about the fourth prince, Lute Land, as he proceeded at a quick pace.
“Lute Land, the fourth prince. Sixth in line of succession to the throne. He is the bastard son of the current king, who had him with a maid in the castle.”
“So, his mother isn’t even a concubine? He must have had a difficult life then.”
“Although she was allowed to give birth due to the prevailing conditions in the Land Kingdom at the time, the mother and child may have been kept in the dark, depending on the circumstances. …. Well, it seems that the mother was eventually sent to a monastery after the fourth prince became a little older.”
“I guess a small country is no different from ours then.”
Klaus’ expression was indescribable as he listened to the sordid details of the privileged class.
It was a common story, and he himself was a part of that world, but it was still unpleasant to listen to such stories.
As Klaus did not enjoy beating around the bush, and preferred to keep things simple, he felt this way even more than usual.
“Perhaps because of this background, the fourth prince does not have a good reputation. He seems to be doing only the bare minimum of his royal duties and is basically living a life of idleness. And yet he has a haughty personality. His habit of not working and only talking big has resulted in him being called “the incompetent prince” behind his back.”
“….. So he is called incompetent even within the Land Kingdom?”
A prince who is despised as incompetent even by the upper echelons of the Land Kingdom, which has an even worse reputation.
Again, that was a pretty big deal that turned up, and Klaus felt his expression becoming even more subtle.
Lambert’s information was collected from the “official” sources, such as rumors and publicly known facts gathered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and from the “hidden” sources, such as undisclosed facts gathered by the Intelligence Services.
Therefore, when comparing the two sides, the “official truth” and the “unofficial truth”, the divergence between them will naturally come to light.
…. However, there seemed to not be an ounce of difference between the two sides when it came to the fourth prince.
That meant that the prince’s reputation of being “incompetent” was an undeniable fact, ans if Klaus wasn’t careful, there was a possibility that he’d end up face to face with a fool beyond his imagination.
“Then the fourth prince, the representative, may be just a puppet. He may have a subordinate behind his back who is extraordinarily sharp-minded.”
“As for me, I think that His Highness’s intuition overreacted to the prince’s wild idea, which was too stupid to be true.”
“That’s something that we’ll be able to tell when we meet the person.”
Following Klaus, who looked as if he would never let his guard down, Lambert covertly let out a small sigh.
Klaus’ attitude was by no means wrong as the leader of an army.
The way he sought victory with the forces at hand without letting his guard down, no matter how low-ranked the opponent, was probably even the ideal for a commander.
However, ideals are only ideals, and reality is reality.
Lambert predicted that, no matter how well-reasoned Klaus’ intuition was, this time it would be for naught.
After all, this was the Land Kingdom they were dealing with, the country that the Empire assigned the lowest value to, and on top of that it was only a single unit of their force.
The top brass of the Empire, which reigned supreme on the continent, had declared that “victory was assured even if the enemy nation applied all their strength,” so why on earth would they need to be concerned about a mere unit?
“That’s the hardest part about being a subordinate, isn’t it?”
“Did you say something?”
“No, I was only speaking some nonsense that came out of the battlefield.”
“I see, you’re just being sarcastic as usual.”
Still, as long as his master, Klaus, was on the alert, Lambert had no choice but to do the same.
He grumbled to himself some unabashed complaints due to their close relationship, but in the end, he took no further action.
Well, as he’d stated so many times already, Lambert was well aware of the irrationality of Klaus’ intuition on the battlefield.
That is why he knew there was a possibility that he would not miss his mark this time as well, and, depending on the circumstances, “something” threatening would pop up, an outstanding figure that would leave its mark on history.
That is why he did not try to forcibly stop Klaus, but rather followed his barbaric behavior with tacit consent.
── And when Lambert saw it, he was convinced.
After silencing the high ranking officers who had come to give the advancing army instructions and demand explanations, the two of them finally saw the fortress they had been marching towards and the group with the negotiating banner, and unconsciously let out an exclamation of admiration.
Soldiers, who at a glance were recognized to be powerful, stood in a single file formation in front of the fortress.
And the boy who was supposed to be called the “incompetent prince,” with such elite soldiers in tow, glaring imposingly at the invading army. The reigning prince who had the aura of “royal power” too monumental to be called incompetent.
“…. I think we should file a complaint against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Intelligence Ministry.”
“…. I am in total agreement with Your Highness.”
How was that person supposed to be incompetent! Both Klaus and Lambert wanted to shout these words at the top of their lungs.
That was clearly a man that would be known throughout history, one that would be called a hero within his country!
Lute Land, the fourth prince of the Land Kingdom. Klaus’ intuition screamed at him that this prince was to be a great man.
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