The reactions of the various envoys to William breaking the table were quick and loud, but William was louder than any of them, “Oh no! I think I broke it!” He ignored the fact that many of the humans had drawn weapons, quickly sweeping the phone off the table and throwing it into the box before snapping it shut and throwing it away from the tent. “Sorry about that, but I couldn’t risk being overheard. It won’t be long before I have to ‘fix’ that and we can continue the negotiations, but I overheard something I had to address immediately.” He looked toward the representative from Ustil, who had backed away several meters, “What is it in Eclea? Something about the Demon King?” The representative stared in shock for a moment, not speaking. “Seriously we don’t have long, so I’m just going to say this. I know the humans tried to destroy the Demon King’s soul in the previous war. There are some among the gevai who would be very interested in confirming his permanent demise. What do you know?”
William was taking a risk. Perhaps he had been reading into things too much… but Ustil had been terrifyingly accurate with their divinations to try to defeat the Demon King before. He hoped that trend continued. The representative from Ustil spoke cautiously, “If there were something… like the Demon King here… what would you do?”
Sometimes, dramatic measures were necessary… and William had been observing those from Liaoyang closely, and listening to their whispers. He intentionally released the feeling of his ki flowing, though only as a display of power. He raised Chris into the air above him. From the perspective of those not trained in ki, the tent above merely rippled slightly, but the eyes of the two martial artists widened as William attacked the air above him. Nothing happened, because there was nothing there with a soul. He locked eyes with one of those from Liaoyang, addressing them in their own language, “Convert the soul to power. Destroy the cycle of reincarnation. Shattering of the soul.” It was slightly different from the original scroll, but the one they would be familiar with would be the one he had made. “The Order survives, does it not?”
The two martial artists trembled, “W-what… how did you…”
“It doesn’t matter. Just trust that I can and would do it to him. Maybe tell the rest that.” His eyes looked at the knight who still had his sword drawn, ready to fight if William made even a slight move toward the rest.
Surprisingly, it was the representative from Ustil who spoke first, in his own tongue, “I see now. The enigma of the Demon King who is not the Demon King.” He closed his eyes, as if in memory, then nodded. Finally, he opened his eyes and spoke in Ostanan, “We believe what you say.”
“Just like that? What did he even say?” The knight kept his sword in a ready stance.
“That he would destroy the Demon King if he stood in front of him… more or less.” The representatives from Liaoyang nodded together, “And we believe he could.” They turned to look at those from Ustil, “He is much weakened, as we know thanks to you.”
“That’s right, and there’s just one more. In Eclea.” The representative of Ustil turned toward them.
“Is this that nonsense about fragments of the Demon King becoming human? We will not let one of our own be killed for such nonsense.”
“Why not? We did it.” The representatives from Liaoyang nodded.
Those from Ustil concurred, “Us as well, though we had to wait for the right opportunity.”
The knight just shook his head, “What are you even talking about?”
“It doesn’t concern you. Ostana was lucky. It doesn’t matter right now, however. We believe peace is for the best, and actually possible.”
“Right.” The knight nodded. “If you think this… man can be trusted, we can negotiate terms of peace.”
William smiled, “If you’ll give me a moment, I need to go ‘fix’ the sound device.” As he did so, he kept his ears open, listening to the whispered discussions between the groups. They had already discussed their plan before they had come, but with new details revealed some of them had more to say. The representatives from Ustil had gone from somewhat wary of him to almost supremely confident in him, while those from Liaoyang were more conflicted. Even so, they still urged peace at any cost. William went over to the box with the phone and banged on it a bit. “Hello?” he said with a hand covering his mouth, then more banging, “Hello? Is it working now? I think I’ve fixed it.”
“You’re coming through clearly now, Lord Rutten.” It was weird to hear Lorelei address him that way, but this was a formal setting and it was most appropriate.
“Excellent!” William brought the phone back to the group of envoys. There was no longer a table to set it on, so he settled for holding it awkwardly. “Now then, we were going to discuss terms of peace. I propose a complete removal of humans from gevai lands,” he held up a hand to stave off the protests, “Hear me out before voicing your complaints. I know your men have fought long and hard for what they have gained… but it is truly nothing of import. A few forts in unimportant places? Even if we let you keep them, there is no point in your men staying here. It would trouble you to provide them with supplies.”
The knight- vice-knight-commander by his insignia- couldn’t help but speak. “How do we know this isn’t just a ploy to get us out of your land while you prepare a counterattack?”
“I suppose you will have to trust us… but if you don’t trust us, trust in the strength of your walls. You would be in a much better position to fight us from there. If I might be blunt, your current attacks aren’t doing much but resulting in unnecessary deaths. If you really wanted to defeat us, you should have come up with a better strategy. But of course, you can’t just return empty handed. Nobody likes to declare a loss, or even a stalemate. If you fulfill the terms of our agreement, we can return some of your men that we have captured.” William watched everyone’s faces to see how they would react to that news.