Wizard! Chapter 532
William almost regretted modernizing Cruonia and improving the country’s roads. Overall it was still better, but it would allow enemy soldiers to move more quickly. The same was true of his own soldiers, but even with good roads it would take more than two weeks to gather a proper force in the right section of the country. That meant they had to evacuate the two port cities closest to Eclea- and the path the approaching ships had to take. Even if they turned off course once close to the continent those were still the easiest targets.
Civilians didn’t like being evacuated… and some of them refused to do so until the ships actually approached Jellyfish Harbor and started shelling it. That meant the soldiers there had to hold out for longer before retreating to give them a chance to flee. Fortunately the Ecleans couldn’t immediately disembark their entire complement of soldiers. A single ship’s soldiers wasn’t enough to overwhelm the dozens of gevai soldiers protecting the harbor… but the cannons of over a dozen quickly took care of most of the defenses, magically fortified or not.
So another war had officially started… and William wondered why. Obviously the answer was “because they were demons” but that wasn’t good enough. Did Eclea actually think it could win the war? That was possible, but only if they had more up their sleeves. So far, the keeps guarding the passes between the mountains hadn’t reported any troop movements. Perhaps they had been keeping the number of troops on the mainland small merely as a ploy, and would be moving out in the coming weeks or months.
William doubted they would start an all out war believing they could win. There had been countless wars between humans and gevai in the past, and the gevai were more powerful than they had ever been. Cruonia also had something else that hadn’t been the case before… humans. Elves and dwarves too, but in much smaller numbers in most areas. That meant he could bolster his troops more easily, even if for the most part non-gevai were weaker individually. However, they could still be excellent marksmen. Even without them, Eclea wouldn’t be able to actually win easily, so there had to be something else.
If Eclea couldn’t win- and they should know that they couldn’t- then they had to have another objective. Did they just want to expand their territory? That would be difficult. There were reasons country borders had remained so stable, especially between the human countries and the northern half of the continent. There were sizable mountains that made troop passage difficult. Even if troops could be ferried around by sea, it was still hard to hold onto that territory for long. It was easier to provide reinforcements and supplies from the defending side. So, was there any reason to take over the area? William and his advisors couldn’t think of anything in particularly special about it, besides it being closest. There were no special resources or anything of cultural significance.
Without any statement of intent, they could literally be after anything. They could even be after William himself. They might not believe- or care- that he wasn’t the Demon King. If they killed him, that would be a sign of… something. It was entirely possible that if he was the old Demon King that he would have gone to fight them himself and died. Rather, he was certain that would have happened. Maybe they had a plan to kill him… besides just attacking him with a large number of soldiers. It was also possible they had a plan to destroy him.
William had no knowledge of Eclea having a method to destroy souls… but that didn’t mean it couldn’t be developed. They would know that the Demon King’s soul had to be destroyed to stop him- at least, they had at one point. Two gross years could make many things be forgotten with the passage of time. Assuming they believed he was the Demon King or another one like him they might make the attempt. The Order certainly had a method to do so- though he wasn’t sure if anyone could actually put it into practice. Furthermore, that relied on ki cultivation which Eclea wasn’t known for. They could do it with magic… but that required someone very powerful to destroy even normal souls. On the other hand, they had no idea how strong William’s soul really was… so if they had any method at all they could believe it would work.
Every possibility was discussed between William and his advisors- though William left out the details about his own soul. Those who would know already knew… and those who didn’t weren’t going to be told. It was brought up that Eclea might be launching an attack in the hopes the human nations would turn against him after they killed a large number of humans. William had already talked with emissaries from other nations… and they had already stated there would be no objections to killing those within his own borders. That did mean a counterattack might not be tolerated… but that was something for another time.
In the end, Eclea’s motives couldn’t be known, and they hadn’t had diplomatic communications with any other country in dozens of years. Just as William was resigned to let it stay a mystery, they received a communication from Ostana.
Apparently someone claiming to be a diplomat from Eclea had gone to the border with Ostana and requested a meeting. As for why they hadn’t gone directly to the Cruonian border… they had feared they would not get a chance to talk. With the soldiers being on high alert William didn’t particularly blame them.
It was possible they weren’t actually a diplomat from Eclea- but they had certainly come from there with their retinue, and Eclea was very strict about nobody going in or out. William thought it was likely true.
Like that, William found himself heading to the communications center to talk to the diplomat over the phone. Preferably it would have been done in person, but that would take a month- weeks at best, if they met somewhere in the middle. William couldn’t afford to wait that long to hear some reason for the attacks… even if it just ended up being “you’re demons and we hate you and want you all to die.” He hoped it was something else, but he knew that sometimes people got stuck on ideas that they couldn’t get out of their head.