Chapter 452. Finding Weak Spots (1)
Translator: Aura / Editor: Tiny Zebra
When the 4th Commander made the offer, Sovieshu raised his eyebrows. The 4th Commander smiled confidently, as if he had no doubt that Sovieshu would accept.
“No, thank you.”
However, Sovieshu refused without giving it much thought.
The 4th Commander was astonished.
“Are you sure?”
A disdainful smile appeared on Sovieshu’s lips.
“I certainly wouldn’t shoot myself in the foot.”
He still had no concrete evidence, but even if he did, he would not share it with the Transnational Knights.
Mages constituted the Eastern Empire’s strength. The Transnational Knights would initially use any evidence to corner the Western Empire. But what would happen after? Surely, the Transnational Knights would turn against the Eastern Empire.
The port was precious, but it could be recovered, whether by force or diplomacy.
But that wasn’t the case with the mages. Sovieshu would never reveal the weak spot of his country’s power simply to temporarily harm the Western Empire.
The 4th Commander’s eyes narrowed.
“I see. It’s a shame, Your Majesty.”
The 4th Commander bade Sovieshu a courteous farewell and left the Imperial Palace.
His adjutant, who had been waiting outside, approached Angel as soon as he came out.
“How did it go, Commander?”
“He won’t cooperate.”
The 4th Commander answered with regret.
“His image will worsen with the loss of the port, so I thought he would cooperate.”
“He must know that mages are more important than the port.”
“No, both are important. Besides, there was a way to keep both.”
“Had I been in his position, I would have handed over the information to keep the port. Then, after the Western Empire was weakened by the Transnational Knights, I would destroy them, and finally I would get rid of the Wol Continent Alliance.”
The adjutant got goosebumps as he listened to the 4th Commander’s ruthlessness.
“That’s a terrifying prospect, Commander. What if Emperor Sovieshu comes up with a similar plan and suddenly changes his mind?”
“He’s too stubborn and rigid. It probably won’t happen.”
“Is that so?”
‘Actually, it’s someone like Emperor Heinley who would think like this.’
He completed the thought only in his mind, so his adjutant was puzzled.
“Commander? You were saying?…”
“Let’s go to Blue Bohean. Unfortunately, the plan to complete both missions simultaneously has failed. We have no choice but to solve them one at a time.”
“Ah, one more thing.”
The 4th Commander, who was already on his way to the carriage, suddenly turned around.
A smirk flashed in the 4th Commander’s eyes.
Meanwhile, back in the Imperial Palace, Sovieshu sent for Marquis Karl.
By the time Marquis Karl hurried into his office, Sovieshu had a report open on his desk. It was about Duke Elgy and Rashta.
After he waited a while in silence, Marquis Karl asked cautiously.
“You sent for me, Your Majesty?”
With his eyes still fixed on the report, Sovieshu finally gave an order.
“Convey to the King of Blue Bohean to carefully consider his actions, for the sake of the friendship between our countries.”
Sovieshu was busy protecting the port, the 4th Commander was busy with the two missions, and Heinley was working hard to eliminate traces of his preparations for war.
After he said goodbye to Navier and turned into a bird, he flew to another location where he had cleverly concealed a mana stone. Once he retrieved the mana stones, there would be no evidence to support the suspicions against him.
He didn’t want to leave Navier since she was pregnant, but he had to act fast to prevent the Eastern Empire from finding out about his schemes.
Heinley wanted to keep the method he used to speed up the phenomenon of mana decline a secret. Although he had been forced to abandon the war, he could someday pass on the secret to his children.
He flew arduously until he finally spotted his destination.
It was a beautiful open-air temple without walls. Many pillars held up the ceiling. Heinley had embedded a mana stone in one of those pillars. It was so well hidden that he had to retrieve it himself.
However, just as he finished a reconnaissance flight, he spotted some suspicious people in the vicinity, so he continued to fly.
‘Who are they?’
Although the suspects were disguised as merchants and travelers, they couldn’t be. No merchant or traveler would remain hidden near the temple, monitoring activity in all directions.
‘Have they discovered that there is a mana stone around here? Are they Sovieshu’s subordinates?’
Worried, Heinley circled the sky. When one of the men separated from the group and went into the forest, Heinley quickly flew in that direction.
Heinley swooped down towards the man and returned to his human form just before he hit the ground, knocking the man down from behind.
The man fell to the ground. Heinley grabbed him by the hair and pulled back hard.
“Who are you?”
“Who… Who am I?”
“You heard right. Who are you? What are you doing here?”
The struggling man tried to draw his concealed knife, but Heinley stopped him with a jerk. The man then tried to bite his own tongue, but Heinley squeezed his jaw tightly, forcing the man to open his mouth.
Since he still refused to answer, Heinley seized his knife and threatened him. The captive man sobbed and began to talk.
“The Alliance… I’m from the Alliance. I was assigned to investigate this area.”
“Which Division? Say it properly.”
“I’m from the 4th… The 4th Division of the Transnational Knights!”
Heinley clicked his tongue and released the man’s jaw. He knew that the 4th Commander tried to borrow the Knights of the 5th Division from Navier.
‘He wasn’t just looking into the port.’
Heinley had wondered why the 4th Division was so short-handed as to have to borrow another division.
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‘He must be short of men because he’s investigating the mana decline, too.’
The 4th Commander had sent all the knights at his disposal to areas where mages were known to have lost their powers.
Such a time-consuming investigation was tedious, but effective.
It was also a method that could jeopardize Heinley’s plan to retrieve all the mana stones on his own.
Just then, he heard a groan. The Knight he had captured was staring at him with frightened eyes.
Although he had confessed his purpose under duress, he belatedly seemed to realize that his life could not be spared. He had seen the face of Emperor Heinley.
After a while, Heinley disposed of another Knight of the 4th Commander lurking near the temple, unearthed the hidden mana stone, and left the place.
Even though he had achieved his objective, he felt uneasy.
‘I am running out of time.’