Wizard! Chapter 542
“So, what do you think you should do?” Lorelei asked William.
“If I didn’t think it was a reasonably good idea I wouldn’t even be here asking. But I could be wrong about it.”
“Perhaps. I imagine you will have a significant effect on a single battlefront. The question is whether or not that is a desirable effect.”
“It is, right? Winning is good. It will reduce the amount of combat experience that division gets, but also their casualty rate. But the drawbacks would be…”
“Maybe New Eclea wants you to join the war. The big bad Demon King is coming to pick on poor, little New Eclea. Which is ridiculous of course. If you were going to be a Demon King you would have been successful long ago and there would never have been a New Eclea.”
“I… appreciate the vote of confidence? Maybe they do want to be attacked by a Demon King… we’ve learned that they don’t really know anything about me. However, maybe that’s just an opportunity to show that I’m different from what they think.”
Lorelei nodded, “But that will require time, and an occupation… and that won’t make them feel particularly inclined to like you. Unlike with the League, they’ve done a good job with their propaganda.”
“That is a problem. I’m not really a fan of the options there…” William frowned as he thought for a handful of moments. “It would be nice if we had someone they wouldn’t mind in power… maybe a certain someone who has been complaining about how stupid their council was and how they should never have started the war.”
“Is he capable of leading a country?”
“He’s not dumb and managed to convince a third of the first army to desert with him. He’s got something going for him, at least. I don’t know if he’d even want to be dictator or whatever, but he could certainly be the head of a revolution and set up something else. That would also solve the problem we have with all of those prisoners. Though some of them already don’t want to go back…”
“A decent plan…” Lorelei nodded, “But not one that hinges on you being personally involved in the fighting. Since that is the question of the day… is it a good idea or not?”
William stroked his chin, “It would make things easier. Even if it helps their propaganda somewhat, opening up a sea route would make depositing a number of revolutionaries easier. I could also escort them to the capital… or wherever they need to go. If I do it right, nobody even needs to know that I was there when they took over.”
“Hmm…” Lorelei looked William over, “Well, if you can avoid trouble with the horns, you don’t even have to magic your skin color that much to make it believable. You’d have to work on your language skills though. It would be best if you sound something like a native.”
William nodded, “I’ll avoid their mages. The leader will know, of course… but if he doesn’t want to rule then whatever government replaces the current one can be spared the details. Or not. It wouldn’t necessarily hurt to let them know they can be replaced any time if they get stupid. Not that I really want to go to the hassle of controlling them. I’d rather just throw up a big sign that says ‘don’t be stupid and you’ll be left alone’. Being big and scary is good for that… and if everything works out it could be the last war I have to get involved in.”
“But maybe not.”
“Maybe not…” William agreed, “But before now we hadn’t even really been considering that as an option.”
“Hmm…” Lorelei thought for some time, “I suppose it’s for the best. I agree with your considerations and give my personal support on the condition that you try your best to make it the last war you have to go to… and that you don’t die.” Lorelei grabbed the front of William’s robe and pulled his face closer to hers, “I am not spending the next who-knows-how-many years without you… worrying about whether or not you’d come back at all.”
“Deal. You know I don’t like the idea of being dead either. I just need to tell Jordan the plan…” he looked meaningfully at Lorelei, “… A bit later.”
Uzoma Idowu had to consider carefully who he was. What did he stand for? What were his ideals?
He liked to consider himself a thinking man. Some might have called him a coward, but placing himself where he was at a smaller risk of dying was just logical if he could accomplish it. That said, it wasn’t like he had no empathy for the plight of his fellow soldiers.
That was where his current predicament was a problem. He had a chance to get out of the whole soldier business. He never should have gotten into it in the first place, but at the time he hadn’t expected the terrible decisions made with his life and the lives of others.
If Uzoma brought his passable mathematical skills to bear, the number of others who were involved was… a lot. The numbers changed when he considered all who might be involved, and not just his fellow countrymen, but it was a large number anyway. Many times the number of men he’d risked his life to convince to desert with him.
Uzoma hadn’t heard much about the war. In fact, he hadn’t been supposed to learn anything about the war, except a few bits and pieces everyone was told. He was a prisoner, after all. Even so, he knew it was still going. It also wasn’t going amazingly for New Eclea. Now, that didn’t mean they couldn’t make a comeback… but Uzoma had heard bits and pieces of other countries starting to get involved. He knew that information was good, because it hadn’t been intended for his ears. He’d heard it from several of his spies in the prisoner camps, and gotten inklings of it himself.
Lots of people were going to die… but the question was whether his actions would save more. The De- the Eternal King seemed like a decent fellow, but he knew it could be a facade. It wouldn’t be hard to keep up good appearances for a few years when you heavily restricted the flow of information. He certainly wasn’t as bad as he was made out to be in New Eclea, but that didn’t make him a good fellow.
On the other hand, he was a real person and not just an idea. Uzoma had seen him… and more importantly talked to him. For a conversation between a prisoner and king of a country, it was almost casual. No, actually, it was almost casual regardless of any of that. That by itself didn’t mean anything- again, it could have all been for a purpose.
Regardless, Uzoma’s options had been laid out. He could help with leading a revolution or… he could not. That was it. He would be able to choose where he went, as long as it wasn’t New Eclea before the war was over. It wasn’t ‘help with this or die’. At least, it didn’t appear that way. Perhaps that really was the option, and if the king was that sort of person then dying was actually the right option. On the other hand, even if he didn’t keep his promise, the proposed actions would result in fewer deaths, even if he ended up taking control over New Eclea instead of letting it be independent. Though other things couldn’t be known for sure, it was at least clear enough the king wasn’t the type who just slaughtered people for fun. He was the smart, calculating type… which could be worse… but could also be better. Uzoma sighed. He wasn’t cut out for that sort of decision making. How did anyone do it?