I’m Gonna Be a Wizard When I Grow up Again! Chapter 434

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Wizard! Chapter 434

William browsed through the reports spread across the table. “There are so many tunnels.. But we probably can’t explore them all without giving away that we’ve found them. Someone will slip up… Maybe they will anyway.” William held up a section of the reports, “These all mention that the tunnels quickly become hot, but that becomes less common toward the peak.”

Lila held up some other reports, “In a number of areas the tunnels go inside the magic barrier not too far inside. We might be able to collapse everything from inside there…”

“If you don’t mind collapsing a mountain on yourself… after which it might erupt from the disturbance.”

LIla shrugged, “Just pointing out the option. Besides, I suppose we’d realistically need some way to gather mana from outside the area to use, without it being absorbed.”

William looked around the room, “Jordan? Any suggestions?”

“All we really need is scouts who can determine which tunnels, if any, lead to where we want- and how well guarded they are. Of course, they also have to do so without being detected.” Jordan frowned, “If I were them, I would have a system to collapse select tunnels to prevent entrance. Alternatively, if I had supplies I would keep them in tunnels that didn’t lead to the outside- or collapse them from the outside.”

Lorelei chewed on a fingernail slightly, “We can assume they’ve done some of each. They could easily have explored everything and fortified key areas, reshaping the inside of the mountain to their will. Unless they thought it would never be attacked… but why build so many fortifications if you aren’t considering it? Underground fortifications should be at least as extensive.”

“That would certainly be a good reason to fall back here,” William admitted. “What are the chances that they have enough forces to actually defeat us?”

Jordan thought for a few moments before responding, “Not particularly high. Our troop estimates aren’t likely to be too far off, and if they were truly confident in defeating us they would have attacked one of the first nights. We’d notice any reinforcements coming from a distance, so even if they have some somewhere they wouldn’t be able to connect with them.”

“In that case, this is probably just their last stand. Still, keep thinking of possibilities.” William tapped the table a few times, “So, our plan would be something like… scout the tunnels to see if any of them lead into the castle. Preferably without being noticed. The highest chance of that is if I go myself-”

“Nope.” Lorelei said.

“What?”

“You’re not going in yourself without an army.”

William looked around sheepishly, “I wasn’t necessarily going to. I do have the highest chance of success though.”

Jordan contributed as well, “Even if we lose a company or an entire army, you’re more important. If you die the whole country will fall into chaos… or at least return to how it was, which will still be more deaths within a handful of years.”

“The lords on our side aren’t *that* bad, and we could still win…”

“But you would leave behind a weakened country and the humans might decide it’s a great opportunity.”

William waved a hand, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to convince me. I don’t want to die, you know? It’s not pleasant. Let’s finalize the plan and then set about convincing the lords that this is better than something stupid like a frontal assault.”

—–

William woke up to a voice outside his tent. “My king! There’s an urgent situation in the communication center that requires your attention!”

William shook the sleep out of his head and stood up, “I’m on my way.” Closing his eyes to concentrate for a second, he didn’t feel anything concerning there. Only the normal operators were around. It wasn’t an attack in the camp, then, but a situation somewhere else. Throwing on his robe was quick and easy, then he hurried toward the communications center. He was met outside by one of the people who was on duty there. “Well, what’s the problem?”

“My king!” The soldier saluted, “It appears that one of our communication devices has been compromised. We’ve received communication from an unknown voice without proper protocol. As ordered, we said nothing.”

William sighed. It was bound to happen eventually… but William wondered how it was now, after the enemy was on the full defensive, “Which device?”

“The one assigned to agent 3.”

It wasn’t actually possible for William’s face to pale, but he felt his stomach drop. “What did they say?”

“They repeated the message a few times, possibly unsure if they were heard. They said that they had captured… your parents.” The soldier swallowed nervously, “They had another voice speak that sounded like the agent- but he gave no confirmation codes.”

William just stood there, unmoving. That was the agent he had sent to watch over his family- except for his brother, who was working as a scout. He hadn’t really worried about them in some time. They weren’t anywhere near the front lines of the war. In fact, they weren’t involved in war at all- but merely going around trying to increase his public image, especially with other farmers and common people. They’d visited some cities when they weren’t friendly, but they should have been somewhere safe now- not even in any of the recently captured cities.

“My King? What should I do?”

William took a deep breath, “Go find Commander Jordan and Headmistress Lorenz. Tell them to meet me in the command tent.” William’s feet headed back to his own tent and Lorelei. He tried to think, but his brain wouldn’t work. It was just flopping all over the place without any coherent thoughts. Maybe someone else would have a brain that worked. He stumbled into the tent.

“You’re back…” Lorelei looked over William, “No good news, then?” She stood up from the bed and went over to her chest of clothes. “Tell me about it while I get ready.”

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