Chapter 2020 Triple Threat (Part 2)
Emperor and Divine Beasts needed to eat as well since the Unwavering Loyalty array granted them nigh-immortality but was helpless against hunger.
Both sides knew that the first to strike the food reserves of the others would also be the winner of the war.
Vesta, instead, was the main hub of the Dimensional Gate system, holding the database of the coordinates and passwords for every city Gate.
Without it, transportation between the cities would be much slower because mages would have to input everything by hand each time.
Also, without Vesta, Royal Override codes would become meaningless and Thrud would gain full access to the Gate network.
Even without the passwords, she would be capable of finding the secret bases of the army and the Association just by consulting the database of the dimensional coordinates.
\'Back when the Horsemen targeted the three cities, the Royals sent Manohar, Vastor, and the Corpse to protect them.\' Lith thought.
\'With Manohar dead, they\'ll need me to take his place.\'
He spent his days practicing Demon Grasp to strengthen his mana core, Awakening his newly formed vortexes into auxiliary cores, and training together with his Demons.
Even if one of them managed to grasp the secrets of Blade Magic, it would have a huge impact on the battlefield.
Locrias and Valia couldn\'t wait for the call to action whereas Trion liked living in the Desert.
There he could spend his free time with his parents and siblings, trying to make up for the many bad things he had said and done.
He and Raaz were trying to learn chess, playing against each other with so little skill that Solus cringed every time she looked at the board, when Lith felt his consciousness drawn to his communicator.
A quick Hush spell ensured him that no one would eavesdrop nor disturb the call.
Archmage Verhen. King Meron gave him a polite nod with his head.
We have upheld our side of the bargain.
Your wife is safe and back to her job.
Now it\'s your turn.
What can I do for the Kingdom, my liege Now that he was back being a subordinate of the Crown, Lith bowed to the King until he gave him permission to stand up.
The Mad Queen is knocking at our door and we need to send her off with extreme prejudice. Meron replied.
Are you up to date with the war\'s development
Yes, my liege.
Then there isn\'t much to say.
Thrud is staging a three-pronged attack to force us to spread our resources thin and ensure her army gains a solid foothold in our territories.
You are to go to Belius as soon as possible and to coordinate your forces with General Berion.
If the city falls, Thrud will gain a bridgehead in the north and the entire Kellar region will quickly follow.
If Vesta falls as well, conquering the entire north will be child\'s play and we\'ll lose any chance we have left to win this war. Meron said.
Wouldn\'t it be better to send me to Vesta then Lith asked.
With all due respect, at the moment Belius is of little strategic importance and the north is but a constant drain for our food supplies.
Losing it would leave the nearby territories exposed, but it would also force Thrud to split her attention between the Empire and us.
On top of that, until the harvest comes, having more people to feed will weaken her army.
You have more than one point, but you are wrong. Meron shook his head.
Our intel says that Thrud has already made a deal with the Empire\'s black market.
If she conquers Belius, Spirit Warps will ensure her a steady supply chain since the smugglers would only have to pass the Empire\'s defences.
As for splitting her attention, it would mean violating our truce.
If we abandon our people just because we lose the city, the morale of the troops will plummet.
Thrud always defended our borders, even when Belius was in our hand and we can\'t be outdone.
It would show the citizens who really cares for them and that the current Royals cannot be trusted.
We would lose our face and the people\'s trust, something that cannot be easily regained.
Last, but not least, leaving one of the three cities unprotected would mean allowing Thrud to increase the number of Divine Beasts assigned to the invading force of the other two.
Right now, she has sent about ten of them to each target and we want to keep things that way.
Ten Divine Beasts Lith said in incredulity, suddenly weighing his options.
Yes. Meron nodded.
It\'s both a threat and an opportunity.
With her generals away, we\'ll launch a counterattack to the most exposed areas of her territory and reconquest as much fertile land as we can.
Wait, I\'m strong, but not that much.
I can\'t take on so many enemies alone.
That\'s why you won\'t be alone. Meron replied.
In a battle between Awakened, our regular army would be just a hindrance.
You\'ll have the help of the Mage Association and of a few mercenary beasts who have agreed to join our cause.
I\'ll be honest with you.
I sent Vastor to Prode and the Corpse to Vesta because my hope was that after spending so much time in Belius, you\'d consider it your home and would fight tooth and nail for it.
It\'s disheartening hearing you talk about it merely in terms of numbers.
I consider Belius my home, but if its citizens are going to treat me like the colleagues of my wife are treating her, I find it hard giving a damn about them. Lith replied.
Ever since Kamila had resumed her work as a Constable, her smile was gone and the rare times it appeared was faint.
She rarely spoke about her day and would often space out.
Due to the time zones, by the time she arrived everyone was already asleep and she would leave again before they woke up.
Lith and Solus did everything they could to keep her company but the feeling of isolation she experienced at home as well only made matters worse.
I\'m aware of Constable Yehval\'s situation, but there\'s nothing that can be done about it. The King shrugged.
I\'m afraid the same might happen to you.
It\'s the reason I want you to take care of Belius.
Your reputation as a hero of the north will protect you and allow you to coordinate your actions with the rest of our troops.
Anywhere else you are still considered a traitor and I\'m afraid that not even my direct order might be enough once the battle starts.
People blame Yehval because of you, and you because of the crimes Meln perpetrated against the Kingdom.
Belius is your best chance of redemption, Archmage Verhen.
If you lose, it will be very hard to clear your name and ensure your family a peaceful life after the war ends.
King Meron out.
Lith stared at his amulet in disdain, pondering if returning to the Kingdom was really a good idea.
What do you think, Solus Even with the Hush spell active, she had followed the entire conversation via their mind link.
That we have to win this battle. She replied while sitting beside him.
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