The Strategist Knows Everything - Chapter 7
Arc 2: The Reconstruction - Change Chapter 7
’’I shall object that.’’
We were tricked. At the moment I thought of that, Kaguya-sama and Sophia on my left and right made such statements. Just that, with that, they will drag the conversation further. At this rate, we might end up making a big promise we have to commit later.
Though that said, it's difficult to stop both of them who are furious from that joking request. Both of them have lost their composure in an instant. It's going to take some time to have them calm down or to calm them down. During this period, Admiral Arnold will definitely make the next move.
But, I wonder if it's okay for them even if it end up in war. As long as Sophia and Kaguya-sama are here, it's not difficult to defeat the Empire's navy with the current military strength. Of course, though it will make the fight with the waiting Dominion difficult, I do not think the Empire's 1st Fleet have any reason to sacrifice themselves to support the Dominion.
Admiral Arnold smiled and replied Sophia and Kaguya-sama.
’’War is impossible.’’
As Kaguya-sama was about to nod to Admiral Arnold's words on impulse, I interrupted her at the best timing as silently as I can.
Though it's fine for Veris to fight the Empire, it's the Empire that can't have that happen. That's what I thought but I might have to re-think that. From the conversation till now, Admiral Arnold doesn't seem to show any hesitations on going to war.
Though it might be a bluff, I do not have the means to expose that. I have not learnt how to read the thoughts of the other party from their faces yet.
Since I can't predict, I can only try to anticipate in my own way with the information I can acquire. For that, in the current situation I will need to sort out the information but I wasn't given the leisure to do that.
’’Then you will accept the hostage demand?’’
’’Please don't joke around. Even though the hostage is your Excellency's daughter, Liasha-denka, Liasha-denka does not hold an important position as the Empire's pivot. I do not hold one as well but, I am currently sitting here, negotiating with you. Though it's weird to say it myself, I am quite an important existence in the country.’’
’’That's true. However, Liasha is also considered one of the indispensable person in the country. She's the captain of the newly released warship model that just commissioned the other day. She's also entrusted with the independent fleet's command. Is that insufficient nonetheless?’’
How shameless. It's fine for her to leave the country so she was sent as an envoy, isn't she? Even if you gave her a forced post, that fact would never change.
Liasha had already left the country for a month after all. And from seeing how easily he can nominate her as a hostage, I can understand slightly how Admiral Arnold evaluate Liasha-denka.
’’I apologize but it's not enough.’’
’’Fumu. In that case, is this the breakdown of the negotiations as expected?’’
As expected, he's trying to go to war. Why. Even though it's their side that's going to take the largest casualties. Is there any plan to this? No, if they have a counter for Sophia's wind magic arts, they should have invaded at once. WIth just that, they would have routed us who are using Sophia's magic arts as the key point of the defence.
Are they stalling for time? Are they preparing something? Or are they waiting for something. Nah, in that case, they should have waited in the ocean. The other side has the initiative of attack. They should have no reason to stall for time.
I don't know. Why is this person trying to go to war? Could it be that he has no aim and just a battle junkie?
’’Donahugh-denka. Since a while ago, you seems to have been speaking like you wanted war? Could it be that you wish to create unnecessary sacrifices?’’
Maybe she's angry, Sophia made such a statement. Since the talk about hostages, her anger has been accumulating considerably, and I guess it's reaching its limits. Nominating his daughter easily might have also spurred on her anger as well.
’’I do not wish to create sacrifices. But, if necessary, I will have to. Of course, with the smallest amount.’’
Saying that, the expression of Admiral Arnold looking at Sophia overlapped with Dio-sama's expression.
I guess saying that is overlapped is wrong. It should be it looks similar. When Dio-sama wants to do something, he would not waver when it's necessary. And after deciding it, he would give a expression showing his resolve. That's the same expression Admiral Arnold is showing.
That statement is likely his true thoughts. And if we use this to think about it, it would contradict with his actions all this while.
The sacrifice of the 1st Fleet is not the smallest amount of sacrifice. And it's not something necessary. Then, why is he trying to bring war with the 1st Fleet that is supposed to be unnecessary.
Having reached that thought process, I recalled the conversation I had with Liasha-denka. At that time, under the presumption that she couldn't investigate due to her disadvantageous position, I stalled for time and made her think that Sophia is in her room. With that assumption, it led to her defeat.
If I were the one being done in, how would it be? The fact that I was already trapped before the negotiations.
Right now, there's a chance where I am standing at the edge of the cliff without knowing it. I might have been looking at only Admiral Arnold and not anything else.
I didn't doubt what I should have doubted. It's Liasha-denka's words. I wonder if Admiral Arnold really told Liasha-denka the truth. If he provided her with fake news, obviously, I, who thought it was true, were deceived.
Then, taking that what Liasha told me was a lie, then what's the lie? Though I can't deny that Liasha-denka is inexperienced, she is smart according to her status. It's going to take a bit to deceive her. Even if it's her father.
Also, after listening to it myself, I do not think Liasha-denka was lying. At the very least, Liasha-denka felt that it was the truth. That's why what she said were all true. And it was changed after that.
Peeking a look at Admiral Arnold, he's sitting with an air of composure. His smile is to prevent people from sensing his true intention. His words is to confuse and prevent analysis. And his provocative actions were to attract attention to himself.
So he doesn't want us to take notice of something? That's simple. It's the 1st Fleet. Nah, either it's a fleet that raised the flag of the 1st Fleet and decorated itself as one or a fleet where only the ship themselves comes from the 1st Fleet but everything inside it including the sailors were changed and different. Well, no matter which, Admiral Arnold doesn't want us to take notice of the 1st Fleet that we thought it was in Veris's sea.
Telling Liasha-denka the truth and changing it afterwards. In that case, Liasha-denka would confess that information to Veris without suspecting it. And Veris that was under the impression that it was the truth, would request for negotiations, thinking that the fleet in the sea was the 1st Fleet. In actual fact, it ended up that way.
Towards Veris that thought that the Empire wouldn't want to hurt the 1st Fleet, Admiral Arnold would bring the situation to a fight and lose. Admiral Arnold can only make such moves in the case of a war. And Veris, having the trump card of Sophia expending her magic power would allow the invasion of the Dominion. Taking advantage of that, the Empire would either also attacked Veris or actually attacked the Dominion and save Veris, turning into a situation where the alliance would be made with them in the superior position. I believe that there are many other alternatives. After all, even if it ends up in war, the Empire's losses wouldn't be great this time. It was planned this way. By Admiral Arnold.
It's a plan that make used of Sophia's wind magic and also having the confidence to have the chance of escaping certainly. That's probably correct. If you know it's coming, you should be able to run away.
If we wanted to preserve Sophia's magic arts, they would attack and if Sophia's going to use her powers, he can escape even if he sacrificed the main fleet. There wouldn't be a problem if we can pinpoint the ship Admiral Arnold boarded, but I doubt he would allow us to detect him that easily.
Even if we use a large-scale magic and cause a storm, they should be capable of sense it beforehand. If not, he wouldn't be able to stay so calm. This person knows what is going to happen to his life that he can compose himself. And he has the confidence that as long as his life is fine, the Empire would be as well.
If he's assassinated, it would be taken as Veris assassinating the negotiation envoy and result in no other countries willing to entitle a negotiation front with Veris anymore. And Veris would be taken down by the other alliance. From Veris's perspective, we definitely can't do that.
But, if we allow him to just go, no matter what methods we use, he should be able to escape. The ocean is like their backyard. Even if we give chase with our navy, we can't catch up with them.
In the end, whether the negotiation breaks down or was a success, it doesn't matter for Admiral Arnold. It's fine as it is if in the superior position, Dio-sama or I are being taken as hostage. If it doesn't work, we go to war and lose one of our trump card. While their side take minimum loss.
No matter which, it would only be the Empire's gain. And Veris's loss.
If it continues like this, that is.
’’How about we end this facade? Your Excellency’’
The talk about hostage was suggested by Admiral Arnold. And from then on, the initiative has been in Admiral Arnold's hand all this time. We have to move from now on to take it back.
’’Facade...what a fitting phrase? ’’
’’Totally. Though I totally didn't realize it until a while ago.’’
The instant I said it with a meaning that goes ’’You have been seen through’’, Admiral Arnold's slightly opened his eyes. Though it went back quickly, he is definitely surprised.
’’I see. No wonder Lia wasn't a match for you. ’’
His atmosphere changed. Lia should refer to Liasha-denka. The words now felt close and with love.
His provocative smile turned into a gentle one and Kaguya-sam and Sophia who were tensed up from the change also changed their demeanor. Most likely they felt lost at the sudden change.
Though I thought some form of acting was included, it seems to have been quite the serious act.
’’Honestly, I am also tired. So let's end this here for now.’’
Saying that, Admiral Arnold rotated her shoulders tiringly and also supported his weight with the chair's back slovenly.
’’....if it continues like this, your Excellency would have won? Why did you react to my words and stopping lying to us?’’
’’That's simple. You realized that you were deceived. Likely you wouldn't be in line for the next negotiations. If you release some form of information to the Dominion, the Empire wouldn't be able to create obligations from Veris. And the Empire would be on its path to ruin.’’
’’That's what Veris could do at most.’’
’’Even that is a problem for the Empire. From the start, the Empire has no approach for survival, other than allying with the Veris.But without needing to ally with the Empire, Veris has the power to take on Dominion and Albion. A power the Empire doesn't have. Before the start, the dominant position has been set. Any more tricks will only create a more inferior image, right?’’
I can no longer see the previous appearance of Admiral Arnold who smiled powerlessly. I can't think of them as the same person. It's as if he aged for another 5 years.
But what he said was true. If it continued like this and acquired the displeasure of Kaguya-sama and Sophia, even if it's okay now, it won't go the same way the next time.
’’Yukito. Would you explain this to me?’’
If you looked at Kaguya-sama from the side, she's making a frowning expression. On the opposite, Sophia was making a puzzled expression. They are likely unable to understand the situation.
’’Kaguya-heika. We, the Empire, have lead a fleet pretending to be the 1st Fleet to Veris. And even if this fleet is being annihilated by Veris, it would not become a big loss. After all, we have chosen personnels that would not be regrettable, even if lost.’’
Admiral Arnold's back left the chair and started talking. But, maybe being a hunchback, his back has a slight bent to it.
’’What!? Then are you saying that we have been under a misconception since the start...?’’
’’That's correct. So if they can negotiate to ally as a dominated side, then the alliance would be form. If not, initiate the war and reduce the numbers of Veris. Veris, having their numbers reduced would have a hard fight with the Dominion. At that point, the real 1st Fleet would ambushed and destroyed the Dominion attack, and bring the negotiations to a situation where Veris is obligated to the Dominion in the dominant position. That's the plan I have crafted.’’
’’Then in the form of having the dominant position. In the case we decide to agree to the matter of the hostage, what do you plan to do? Were you thinking of fighting the Dominion fleet with a incomplete fleet?’’
’’It's not necessary to win. Once we can form the alliance with dominance, there's no problem even if we were defeated against the Dominion's fleet. The 1st Fleet will soon arrive in Veris and attack the Dominion from the rear while they were preparing their land assault.’’
No matter what situation it turned to, it doesn't matter even if we lose. The plan was made under such thoughts.
In Admiral Arnold's plan, victory is not important. And there's only one thing that has to be done no matter what. That is the safety of Admiral Arnold. If he can protect that, he can bring the result into a more favourable one.
From the appearance of answering Kaguya-sama's and Sophia's question, he seems undependable but what's changed is only the outside. He has not changed. A smart person is always a smart person. (TL: Makes me think of ’’People died when they are killed’’ meme)
’’Strategist-dono. The facade is over. Where do you think this negotiations can be agreed upon?’’
’’Let's see. The Empire and Veris shall form an alliance upon a non-aggression pact and a promise of reinforcements when required. Towards the public, it will be that the negotiations have broke off and the Empire has retreated. That would be the best, I believe.’’
’’And then the approaching Dominion fleet would be attacked from the rear by the 1st fleet, I see. If Sophia-sama create a storm, the Dominion fleet would be in great chaos. Annihilating them is easy. However, the Empire would be at risk.’’
If the Empire opposes Albion and the Dominion, obviously, they will be targetted. Ablion have not make their move yet. Their invasion is most likely definite.
’’Yes. Towards preparation against Albion, allow Veris to assist. And in addition, we shall include the provision of techniques in that as well.’’
’’In that case, the 1st Fleet shall be sent to include Veris in its defence space at all times. However, doesn't Veris have little leeway for military strength as well? Thinking of dealing with Albion, isn't it meaningless to send out a lesser group of units too?’’
If we allow the attack on the Empire by Albion, Veris's coastals that will be protected by the Empire's navy would retreat to its defence. In that case, Veris will be again taking a pincer attack and this time, for sure, it will be taking it singlehandedly.
To prevent that from happening, we have to send quite a powerful unit to the Empire. And the Veris right now is in no condition to send any reinforcements to fight Albion. In the main army that is.
There's one unit that is being taken charged by Dio-sama as the supreme commander. And there's few people who would question their abilities.
’’Let's see Nox as the reinforcements. Doing that, Albion wouldn't be able to cut down the Empire's strength and Veris's wouldn't be so pressurised.’’
Just a problem though.
’’Yukito. Who would take the command then?’’
’’You wouldn't say yourself, would you?’’
The problem of persuading the 2 person on my left and right.