Wizard! Chapter 506
William looked over the reports in front of him, then up at Jordan, who was standing there waiting. “Are they stupid?” The three lords Cermak, Alvey, and Ivers were gathering troops and arming them.
“I don’t know, sir.”
“Do they not know we have spies?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“Do they not remember that I still have an army with people that participated in an actual war?
“I don’t know, sir.” Jordan coughed, “I suspect they are relying on their guns and cannons to make up for the lack of training, and some of their soldiers did participate in the war under those lords.”
“But the guns are so… awful.” William shook his head, “If I sent my army up against them, how many could be killed by those guns?”
“It’s hard to predict exactly what will happen on the battlefield.”
“Let me rephrase… if Kyle over there was shot at by a dozen people, would he die? Would he even get injured?”
Jordan looked at the guard in question. He was arrayed in full armor, including a helmet. “He wouldn’t die, but he might get injured.”
“How would he get injured?”
“… Shrapnel might get through small parts of the helmet, or his fingers could get… slightly damaged.” Jordan shrugged, “The cannon would not leave him in a good state, however.”
“Clearly not… but there’s an easy solution to that.”
“Get any soldier close enough to create a spark and everything explodes. Unless they have it magically contained.”
“Which they don’t.”
“Not according to the reports. But they might.”
“A fair point,” William nodded. “However, even with magical defenses, it just requires getting closer. Unless they spent more on protecting the cannon ammo than the cannons are worth.” William folded his hands in front of him, “So, what’s your tactical advice?”
“Send someone in to kill the offending lords while they sleep.” Jordan shrugged, “However, that conflicts with my political advice. That would be to declare their raising of troops a violation of the laws, as well as their refusal to follow certain other decrees. However, if your troops march out before such declarations, it could result in other political problems. If they don’t… the lords could cause quite a bit of damage to cities and infrastructure, though not much more than that.”
“That’s one of downsides of trying to keep up my public image,” William shook his head. “It says here there hasn’t been much progress with finding who was selling them the weapons?”
“Very little. Some they made on their own, but they must have acquired the methods elsewhere. There hasn’t been enough time from when we first got wind of their preparations for them to outfit an entire army on their own, and they didn’t seem to have a stockpile prepared beforehand.”
“Alright then… start the men preparing to move out in a week or two. I’ll draft up the declarations of their criminal violations.” William shook his head, “I wonder if I’ve been too soft in the past.”
Jordan shrugged, “Times are changing… and some people aren’t able to handle it. And… none of these lords saw you in battle, in person. Otherwise I doubt they would make this mistake.”
The next day, William found himself with an unexpected guest. It was a large man, covered in scars. It wasn’t that William didn’t recognize Tiburcio but… “Why are you here?”
Tiburcio awkwardly saluted. “Sir, I want to fight in the upcoming battles.”
“How did you even-” William shook his head. While it would be incorrect to say Tiburcio knew everyone in the army, everyone in the army knew Tiburcio. At least, they knew of him. A normal soldier who climbed up the ranks into the elite troops by just not dying was an easily shareable story. That was even without the fact that the held off one of the enemy lords long enough for William to kill another one. That technically made him a less impressive combatant than some lords- but that didn’t count the fact that he often fought in inferior armor. Besides, he achieved his rise to power in only a short number of years. William shook his head, “Sorry Tiburcio, but we don’t need you.”
“But I… I can still fight!” Tiburcio did his best to not look like he was struggling to remain standing at attention, but William could see his wounded leg was barely managing to hold on, and one of his arms was somewhat limp. Even after all of the years, he hadn’t healed. William had to admit that the fact that he was standing up at all already showed his determination.
“I appreciate your willingness to fight, but…” William wondered how to explain that Tiburcio wasn’t needed without making him feel like he wasn’t worth anything. Whatever he said would sound like it was just meant to make him feel better- which wouldn’t be entirely incorrect, but not the complete picture either. William decided to just settle for the truth, even if it involved some risk to his plans.
Lord Cermak was a fearsome looking man, though lords Alvey and Ivers weren’t lacking in intimidation with their armor. They were gathered in his castle, as it was the most central of the three and he was the most influential. He started off the conversation about the declaration, “The king has finally declared us to be in a state of rebellion and has started preparing his army. However, our combined armies are already ready to move out. None of the other lords are making any moves. Within a month we can have the castle under siege, remove the king, and get back our rights.”
“We’ll need to be quick,” lord Alvey commented, “But as long as the other lords don’t feel threatened they should leave us alone… or be too late to act.
Lord Ivers nodded, “I’d like to see this Eternal King stand up against a cannon. We’ll see just how eternal he is then.”
Lord Cerman grinned, “We’ll move out within the day and-”
“Rebel lords!” A booming voice echoed throughout the castle, “Surrender yourselves now I guarantee you will live to see your trial. If you force an armed conflict, I can make no such guarantee.”
“Dammit!” Lord Cerman frowned, “Who dares- no… how could he…?” He stomped out of the room, shortly followed by the other two lords.
“Lord Cerman!” A soldier came running toward them, “There’s a man outside the castle… he seems to match the description of, um… the Eternal King.”
“How could he have brought his army here already? Our sources tell us they barely even started preparations… and our scouts didn’t report anything.”
“Uh…” the soldier shook his head, “There’s no army, Lord Cerman. Just… just him.”
Lord Cerman blinked, then grinned, “Well… that makes this easy.”