"Your highness Sartus," Elanoire, having given an audience with the king, knelt down in front of him.
"Rise," King Sartus was in his throne room. Though, he wasn't sitting on his throne but on his large, dusky oak desk. His inverted reflection could be seen on its sparkling surface like a mirror. One half of the room represented the grandeur of a throne room the other half was a plain office.
"A letter from Trinity Kingdom," Elanoire placed the wax sealed letter in front of King Sartus. After that, she sat cross-legged on the chair pulled by a maid beside her.
"Thank you. Please take a seat, make yourself comfortable," King Sartus looked at the letter, hadn't expected it to be so soon.
Opening the letter, he read the contents. It was indeed another creature swarm headed for Haital. Based on the data collected by observatory sky ships stationed at the border of Monarch Empire. The predicted path of the swarm would cut through Nessy Earldom, bypassing a few dukedoms and other earldoms before leaving through the east side, towards Rozel Kingdom.
However, he also knew that this was but a speculation. Anything could happen in between, there wasn't such a thing as 100 percent certainty as to how swarms would behave. In hindsight, since the swarm consisted of jellyfish of an unknown species, the chances of it changing trajectory would largely depend on the weather. So the external factor that could possibly affect the swarm had become limited to an extent.
"Miss Elanoire, so you recommend holding fort at Nessy Earldom? What would you do if the swarm changed route?"
"Your Majesty, I would send out my vassal and make sure the swarm heads over the targeted zone. Our initial thought was to guide the swarm into a funnel formation before sending them away. However, as of late, the size of the swarm has yet to be confirmed. If the swarm is found to be a leviathan-class, we may face trouble in altering its course. If that isn't possible then we might have to settle for an extermination plan instead— ah thank you," Elanoire received the cup from the maid and enjoyed the tea.
"Do you have confidence in the extermination plan?" bluntly speaking, the moment King Sartus heard the word leviathan, a sense of unease welled up inside his heart. Previous records of attacks done by leviathan class swarms were all marked red, a cataclysmic disaster. Any regions hit by the swarm were left to ruins. Decades worth of human progress destroyed in an instant. Evacuating all people off the pillar cluster was the modus operandi when a swarm above geoprimal class was found treading through the region.
There had been 2 records of leviathan swarms intruding Monarch Empire recorded throughout history so far. One of them led to the destruction of the previous capital of Froque Kingdom; their strategies to defend the kingdom failed in utter defeat. It had been almost a century since that tragedy.
Taking a sip and lowering the cup, Elanoire looked at the king. "No, but the least we could achieve is reduce the size of the swarm. Even if we were to force alter the direction of the swarm slightly to miss Haital kingdom and major subregions, it would most probably enter the inner range of Trinity Kingdom, something the Monarchs are trying to avoid. That aside, having the swarm enter the inner boundaries of Monarch Federation would only foreseeable casualties, logistics work and the likes would be affected and the ecosystem may be heavily damaged.
"Are you implying an evacuation of the people in Nessy Earldom? What would you do if it does turn out to be a leviathan class swarm?"
"Not at all, Your Highness. But if it turns for the worse, and we have to rely on the central pillar, we might need Your Highness' assistance to evacuate the people-- However, that is in the worst case. Even if it turned out to be a leviathan class swarm, it would be pulverized by the battalion. So there isn't a need to bet on the evacuation plan," Elanoire bluffed.
King Sartus leaned over his cushioned chair and made an exhale.
'Pulverize a leviathan swarm.'
It sounded like an impossible feat. At the same time, it didn't sound non-plausible after checking the facts. The previous swarm that intruded Haital almost a year ago, a geoprimal swarm, had been successfully dealt with by one-fourth of the battalion, about 25 people. No need to mention damage in costs or casualties reports stated that they were none
"I will provide all the support I can, what do you need?"
"4 ships," Elanoire raised her finger," including the personnel working on them to transport the current platoon at present. Other than that, it would be those that can transport the people for evacuation."
"Understood, I will try my best to have these arranged before your departure."
"Also, any mage that you find have extraordinary abilities."
King Sartus nodded suspiciously.
"Thank you, Your Highness. If anything, I will first take my leave. I apologize for the short notice."
After she left, he read the letter again. He was still unsure why she would be so confident. A leviathan swarm would at least be 50 times larger than the geoprimal swarm. The number of troops dispatched was about a hundred. Could it be that the number of battalion members has not increased since the last time? He baulked in his heart.
Putting the letter down, leaning his head against his propped hands, he thought about how he could improve on the situation.
He could only trust her to delegate the duties. Or, may perhaps have to arrange an emergency protocol secretly in case any misgiving were to occur. But what could he plan? He couldn't prepare an evacuation to evacuate the entire Nessy Earldom in a single day if the plan fails.
Standing up, the king looked out the window. The night was still young. Squinting his eyes, he peered over the edge of the kingdom, towards the abyss. The abyss wasn't as dark as people thought of it to be. A faint tinge of a purple could be made out, enshrouding the blackness in a deeper, more ominous envelope.
That was when King Saturs realized something. He had arranged to meet with those Jesters.. no, unorthodox mages in the prison. Elanoire said something about mages with extraordinary abilities. If she knew about it then— perhaps the Magic Artillery Battalion had capitalized one or more of these unorthodox mages in their ranks.
If this was the case,, King Sartus thought it wouldn't be such an impossible feat after all.
The night was cold, the lights were flickering in the distance. The lights at the horizon looked like a sea of lanterns. Each dot representing a skyship in the far distance.
The Magic Artillery Battalion had already grown to twice the number since two years ago, amounting to around 200 units. Elanoire did not mention the specifics to King Sartus but the Battalion had to be split. 100 of them were assigned to her. The other half was managed by Darwin, who was to follow the Monarch to Tyst Empire. It was said that the Tsyt Empire was about to face a swarm of an unknown category. To strengthen ties between the two Empires, the Monarchs agreed to help by dispatching the Magic Artillery Battalion to the site.
During the midst of the preparations, news came citing that a swarm was also entering the region of Monarch Empire. With this, the battalion was split into two.
Learning that the swarm could be a leviathan class, Elanoire felt unease. The bluffing she did when talking to the king was merely a setup, something to put the king at ease. She hadn't predicted the swarm to be of this scale. It was too late now, the other half of the battalion had already left for Tryst Empire.
Elanoire thought to gather possible mages that she thought had the capability and give them basic training. Because of this, the number of members in her battalion had increased by one. There were now 101 members.
Standing at the edge of the pier, Elanoire asked, "Do you think we can make it?"
The 101st member of the battalion beside her shook her head. The twirl on her hair bouncing around, as she replied, "M-maybe?"
Elanoire tapped her feet, making a gentle clack sound when the soles hit the wooden surface. Elanoire faced the girl, the girl shuddered.
The girl wore the same robe as her, her hair looked like it was made with sapphire, glittering despite the absence of light. Her silver-vermillion eyes showed a hint of nervousness as she rubbed her fingers between each other.
A beautiful young adult with a very attractive body, similar to Elanoire's. The synergy between them.. cough.. could cause a nosebleed. Which was also the reason why Elanoire's robe fit her perfectly.
This girl was someone Elanoire picked up along the way. An unusual fellow. Elanoire had only known her for a week but learnt that her magic capabilities far surpassed hers. The first time they met was at one of the dukedoms, the interchanging port between Haital Kingdom and Trinity Kingdom.
An entire restaurant had been booked by the battalion, and that was when Elanoire met this waiter. Surprising her was her ability to serve multiple dishes all at once, using precise wind magic that caused quite a shock. No wonder so many people recommend the restaurant, it wasn't because of the food, but the awe-inspiring performance by that waitress.
Her name was Nu MinDao, excessively shy but she got the work done. After much persuasion, Nu MinDao agreed to join their battalion— temporarily. Until the whole operation was over, she would do her best to protect the kingdom. Though, Elanoire didn't think that lying to her about her favourite restaurant being destroyed if the operation failed would lead her to come to accept such an offer.
"Ekk! I don't know!" Numin— her shortened name, panicked.
"Well, I don't know either, but you're our hope."
Elanoire had already gotten used to this person's inferiority complex. She acted shy, always doubted herself but had a magic aptitude similar to Darwin. Not though Numin had met Darwin before. Whatever it may be, she was an interesting encounter. "Have faith in yourself, we can do this," not like Elenoire believed in herself either.
"Well...well.." Numin blushed, hands rubbed against each other again.
Seeing that, Elanoire smiled. There were many things she didn't know about this person. Numin was similar to Darwin, their past shrouded in mystery.
"You said we found, hiccup*, his highness here right?" Numin squeaked. "With him on our side, the fight will definitely end in victory."
Elanoire looked at her in shock. More so when she saw Numin's serious expression. "The king?"
Numin shook her head, "Hi..his highness Curtis."
Elanoire fell silent before opening her mouth. "That boy is a king?"
Numin shook her head again, this time with more vigour, "He's the prince...aaa...sorry"
"The prince?" but before Elanoire could ask any more, Numin just disappeared.
Since Elanoire knew she wouldn't be able to find her even if she tried. So she just gave up.
It was this afternoon when she talked with those two girls that she noticed a change in Numin's reaction. Afraid that she would jump out of her concealment spell, Elanoire left in abrupt.
She didn't know what kind of relationship Numin had with Curtis, or if what she said was true--
Whatever it was, Elanoire hoped that she would find Curtis, similar to how she found Numin, it could help guarantee the success of the operation.
Tomorrow, they would have to leave for Nessy Earldom. If she had the chance, she thought she should just write a letter to the king to find the person Curtis for her.