Wizard! Chapter 525
William was glad he had many people helping him with government work. He doubted he would have been able to write up a good list of demands for the League’s surrender. At least, not as good. There were too many factors to consider. First, everyone on his already prepared list had to die. That wasn’t negotiable. It would have been one thing if there had been a political dispute that started the war, failed negotiations or trade disputes. However, the war had started with them attacking civilian ships at the orders of those very leaders. They needed to take responsibility for that.
That left somewhat of a dilemma. Liaoyang was very much into familial responsibility. He didn’t want to wipe out an entire clan. He’d already seen that done in the past, and he didn’t like it. On the other hand, just because he didn’t want to hold the families of those he killed responsible for their actions didn’t mean that they wouldn’t hold him responsible for their deaths and seek revenge. That meant they needed to be made to pay reparations significant enough to weaken them… but not so severe that the population as a whole resented Cruonia for it. That last part was going to be difficult, because while he could spread truthful facts all he wanted, he had no way to make the people believe him. Maybe enough of them would agree that Cruonia didn’t want the war and wasn’t the aggressor and that they had no reason for resentment… maybe not. Then again, maybe they wouldn’t care at all as long as they didn’t personally lose anything in the war.
It was a war the League had never had a chance of winning or even coming out even in, but they had started it anyway. Perhaps they had underestimated the response, or misjudged Cruonia’s military power. Either way, William couldn’t fathom why they would start the war. Hatred was one thing, but they should have at least thought they had a chance. Then again, there would always be things people did that nobody else could understand, because nobody could be another person. William had grown up in Liaoyang for one life, but that had been an entirely different country separated by many years.
Tiburcio sat on the docks, looking out on the ship, pondering. Orange was a cat, and cats didn’t like water. Would he even get on the boat? That question was answered fairly easily, as Tiburcio only had to vaguely goat Orange toward the ship before he leaped onto the deck.
The crew looked rather startled. Tiburcio didn’t blame them. Orange was a big cat, even for a tiger. Still, it wasn’t like Orange jumped on anyone, and he didn’t land on anything important. The ship did look a bit small though. Especially with the cage wasting some of the deck space. Tiburcio wondered what they planned to put in that. It clearly wasn’t Orange. He could barely even fit his front half in there. On the other hand, he was a cat so maybe he could squeeze in, if he felt like it. He didn’t seem interested.
It turned out Orange wasn’t one of the cats that was afraid of water. Tiburcio was surprised and a little bit sad to see Orange jump off the ship into the sea. Perhaps Orange just wanted to go home… except a short time later Orange was climbing up the side of the ship with a shark in his mouth. Apparently he was just hungry. Tiburcio couldn’t blame him. They could only afford to carry so much food, and while they gave Orange a huge pile of food every day, it probably wasn’t enough.
Even though Orange didn’t seem afraid of water, he didn’t seem to like being wet. Maybe it was the salt, because he spent a lot of time cleaning after being in the ocean… and then drinking from a barrel of water. Tiburcio was glad they had people who could magically purify water because otherwise they probably would have run out. Tiburcio could make enough water for himself, but he doubted Orange would have even noticed that amount of water.
Tiburcio’s land was right next to a large forest. He actually owned some of the forest, but for the rest of it he had hunting rights. That was good, because Orange was big and needed a lot of food and space.
It was more food than Tiburcio thought was really necessary, and Orange started getting fat alarmingly quickly. Tiburcio was surprised, because Orange was doing all the hunting himself and getting a lot of exercise.
Things suddenly made sense when one of Tiburcio’s servants mentioned that Orange might not be a he. A few months later, Orange had a litter of very large kittens, and Tiburcio was extra glad he had a large space for them to live in.
William wished that diplomacy would more often end up with everyone involved being happy and satisfied, instead of both sides being nearly equally unhappy. He felt like they hadn’t done enough with the League… but maybe that was just his pessimistic side speaking. After all, as long as they stopped causing trouble, everything else was extra.
The rest of William’s time was filled with continuing to constantly reassure others that he wasn’t going to go all Demon King and take over everything. Even if he would run it better. He didn’t mention that part.
It was kind of a pain to have to make new people trust him every couple dozen years or so as kings and other leaders cycled out. He needed to work on stronger relations with more than just Ustil. He couldn’t just count on everyone else to just realize he was a decent guy running a decent country… and there were so many years of old stories to make up for.
Then there was the other issue he had to deal with. He’d learned a few tidbits of information that made him understand why the League thought they stood any chance at all. They had some promises of military support from Eclea. Perhaps Eclea had never meant it, or had decided not to do anything because of the surprise tactics catching them off guard. Either way, William didn’t like the idea, and now they had to watch Eclea even more carefully. They had started to settle other lands, the full extent of which were not clear. The only thing that was sure was their steady growth. Perhaps it was time to update countermeasures he hoped he would never have to use.