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Orwell's Point, Marine Stronghold, CO's Office

Joseph disconnected from the video conference he just had ended with Captain Blake and gave off a deep breath as he relaxed his body. He started to tidy up his desk as his mind reviewed the meeting he had with Blake.

Six thousand, four hundred and three Imperial soldiers had surrendered or captured. Another two thousand seven hundred and twenty one Imperial soldiers with vary degrees of wounds, from gunshots, shrapnel to burns.

Intel has estimated another five to six thousand Imperials has fled the battle, leaving behind an estimated five thousand dead. And there was also the matter of the slaves brought along by the Imperials as heavy labor.

Another five thousand slaves recovered, all in poor health conditions that require medical attention and care which was badly straining his already thinly stretched out medical personnel.

The Captain had promised to send as much aid as possible, but it would still take a few days for the aid to reach his side. The Captain had said they had come up with some new ways to hasten the logistical problems between the two cities.

Thankfully, they had taken quite a bit of spoil from the Imperials which was more than enough to sustain the prisoners and slaves captured. The carpet barrage had caught the Imperials with their pants down, totally demoralizing and wiping out any concentrated troops in the open.

And with the sudden blitz attack directly into their camp, they effectively cut off the retreating Imperials and without any supplies, while facing monsters that spew flames and deadly spells, most of the Imperials had surrendered meekly.

As for materials captured and recovered from the battlefield and the Imperial camp, the logistical departments and quartermasters were still sorting out everything. But they estimated roughly 80 tons of food and another 30 tons in armor and weapons.

He has placed the prisoners to clear the battlefield of the dead and other mental tasks to keep them off mischief. Looking at the numbers on the sheets of paper, he sighed heavily and spoke to himslef. "How the hell am I going to feed all these people!"

As he was pondering on his options, someone knocked on his office door. "Come in!"

The door swung open and the Marine guard ushered in Titanna and Tidus Rothschild. "Sit."

The two siblings took a seat before the desk and Joseph took the time to observe them both. Titanna's eyes looks puffy and red while Tidus had a look of indifference and boredom.

"Now, I have invited you both here to discuss what is next for the betterment of both of our countries and people," Joseph said.

"Tsk," Tidus gave an irritated click of his tongue. "What is there to discuss! You better release us and surrender!"

Joseph gave a small sigh and he leaned back on his chair. "You do know your army has been defeated, yes?"

"Hmph," Tidus gave a dismissal wave, "Just keep believing in your own lies."

Joseph shook his head as he could not understand how detached from reality the young man was. He turned his attention to the silent Titanna, "I am sorry for the death of your father, you have deepest my condolences."

Titanna gave a small nod in acknowledgment while Tidus rolled his eyes. "Seriously, you believe their lies and tale of how they defeat our army that easily? Women will always be women!"

Titanna glared at Tidus with her puffy eyes and hissed angrily. "I have seen father's body and the battlefield! Have you seen the bodies? The dead? The prisoners?"

"Its just one battle!" Tidus retorted back sharply. "Doesn't means the war is over!"

Titanna gave a frustrated sigh and looked after from Tidus, too tired to argue with him. Tidus gave a victorious smirk before he turned to a bemused Joseph and demanded again. "Release me now! You can have this... whore if you want!"

Joseph leaned forward and said in a very serious voice, "Boy, I think you are the one here that is misguided. As I have said and you have listened to the other Imperials prisoners, that the war is over."

"We won, simple as that!" Joseph added. "There is no other war or another attacking coming for a very long time or at least till after winter."

"You can keep up the act that you are superior to us or whatever that keeps you happy, but the fact still remains that you are still here breathing is due to the mercy of me," Joseph stated plainly. "If you wish to deny yourselves that you will be rescued or someone will come rescue you, please by all means go ahead and keep believing that."

Joseph gave a smile, "But in the meantime, you are still in my hands!"

"Yo- you dare to lay your hands on me?" Tidus sneered. "When I get out of here, I will make you my slave! I will tear your tongue out! Put your eyes out! I-!"

Titanna suddenly stood up and gave a hard kick at Tidus, sending him sprawling off the chair. "Enough of your nonsense!"

"I know that Father and Mother have pampered you, but not to this extent!" Titanna shouted at the shocked Tidus.

"Do you even know what situation are you in now?" Titanna asked. "He can just kill you as easily as snapping his fingers and no one, I repeat, NO ONE, can do a single thing about it nor help you!"

Tidus slowly stood up and glared at Titanna, "You dare! You are just a bastard child!"

Joseph's eyes rosed up as he heard what Tidus said and he whispered softly to himself. "Interesting..."

"So what?" Titanna's face turned red. "At least I have more brains than you!"

"Whore!" Tidus took a step forward with his hand raised.

"ENOUGH!" Joseph smacked his table hard just as the door to his office opened as the Marine guards heard the commotion inside and came in to check.

"Take him away!" Joseph gestured to the angry Tidus. "Throw him in the cell and let him cool off!"

"Yes Sir!" The Marine guards quickly grabbed the struggle and cursing Tidus and even after the door was closed, they could still hear him yelling.

"Sit down," Joseph gestured to Titanna who looked to be on the verge of a breakdown. "Something to drink?"

Titanna gave a nod as she sat down and tried to calm herself down. She accepted a drink from Joseph and without tasting it, she drowned the whole goblet down and she choked from the fiery liquid.

"Whiskey," Joseph took a sip of his and sighed happily. "The hoomans introduced this drink to me, and I came to enjoy it after some time."

"Now, I know we are enemies here, you with the Empire, and me with the UN," Joseph said. "Your father and people were even killed by my troops."

"But because of that," Joseph poured himself another drink, "The situation at your home is now very messy."

"And by messy, what I meant is civil and political unrest," Joseph explained. "Without the army and the leadership of your father, the nobles are looking to enrich themselves and fill in the vacuum caused by the death of your father."

"Your family has too much feuds with everything and without the strong backing of the army," Joseph looked at Titanna in the eye. "Your enemies will destroy what is left of the Rothschild."

Titanna took a deep breathe in as she too knew of the risks and dangers involving her family status now. "We will appeal to the Emperor! He will not tolerate any unrest in his lands!"

"Do you think the Emperor could come save you in time?" Joseph smiled. "By the time, his army comes, what will be left?

"Now, I have an offer here that will save you and your family from destruction and a lot of future troubles." Joseph dropped his bait.

"An offer?" Titanna narrowed her eyes in suspicion. "What is the catch?"

"Oh, don't worry about it! As long you follow our plan" Joseph replied. "Your family will retain their position as the Overlords of the South Region."

"What is the plan?" Titanna asked suspiciously. "And what is the cost?"
 
"Oh, we won't charge an arm or leg in helping you." Joseph laughed at his own joke. "Just allow UN troops to be stationed in the capital city of the South Region and we will help put down any unrest or enemies that threaten your rule."

"You mean... you want me to rule as your puppet?" Titanna's eyes went wide. "Impossible! The people will revolt! The Emperor will kill us all!"

"I won't say puppet," Joseph made a tsk sound. "Too harsh a word. More like a non aggressison treaty between us."

"A non aggression treaty?" Titanna frowned. "But you want to station troops inside the capital city!"

"Oh, that is just a precaution and we can help with whatever threats you face," Joseph grinned. "After the dust has settled down, we will move our troops out."

"But what is to prevent you from doing a sneak attack on the city?" Titanna objected. "This is like having a sword hanging over my head!"

Joseph gave a shrug and kept his smile. "Well, either that or have your enemies storm the city with their soldiers and see your pitiful household troops get slaughtered."

"We are not saying that we want to have control of the city defenses," Joseph explained after seeing Titanna's disbelief look. "Give us a landed manor and we will establish an embassy there. Hopefully, over time, we might even become allies in the future!"

"But... the Emperor would not approve of this!" Titanna urged. "It will be humiliating to him! You stole one of his cities and defeated his Southern Army and now wants to take land for an embassy in his Southern Region capital?"

"Oh, well, you can slowly think about it," Joseph grinned. "We have all the time in the world!"

Titanna's eye twitched at Joseph's word. "All the time in the world? Are you..."

"Ha!" Joseph laughed, "Well, I was hoping you would agree to our offer. I mean, if you do, I could release you now to return to restore faith in your people!"

Titanna frowned and she seriously considered his words. "If I don't agree with this?"

"Well, then, you can enjoy our hospitality for a while longer!" Joseph smiled. "Besides, if you agreed, I would have to release all the prisoners for you to bring back home. No point for me to keep them around any longer than needed, right?"

"With some troops at your back, your enemies would think twice before they act, yes?" Joseph eyed Titanna who was trying to very hard to look uninterested.

"If I accept your offer, you would release the soldiers back with me?" Titanna asked in confirmation. "In exchange, you get a landed manor for an embassy and permission for troops to be stationed in the embassy. And also a non aggressive treaty between us?"

Joseph nodded. "We will even throw in weapons, armors, and supplies to send you home."

"But what if the Emperor wants me to attack you?" Titanna asked.

"Oh, I am sure you can come up with all sorts of excuses to reject the Emperor's orders," Joseph smiled wryly. "You are a very smart girl. You would know what to do. Besides, you can't afford another expensive battle with us, nor would your troops have the guts to fight after this round!"

Titanna was very tempted to accept his terms right now. If she returned with the portion of the army still intact, she could at least buy enough time for the Rothschilds to reestablish their strength in the city and stave off their political enemies.

"Could you give me some time to consider your offer?" Titanna asked.

"Sure, of course!" Joseph winked his eye. "Don't take too long!"

"Tick tock, Ms Rothschild, tick tock!"

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