The Grand Prince Has Run Away - Chapter 54
Translator: NovelMultiverse | Editor: NovelMultiverse
Late at night, Marquis Fabius arrived at Duke Wastein’s camp. After barely being inspected, Fabius entered the camp. A magic lantern was lighting inside the camp and Wastein was reviewing documents. Once he knew he had a visitor, Wastein rose up from his seat and delightfully welcomed his guest.
“Good evening, Marquis Fabius.”
Duke Wastein was in his late 40s and his hair was white but he had quite a babyface. So, he looked like a man in his 30s. Yet, no mana energy could be felt around him. He was a great commander and general but his swordsmanship was as good as that of an average man.
“Good evening, Duke Wastein. So, why did you want to see me?”
“I have something to discuss with you. You’ve been to Kara last time, right?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Can you tell me what happened during your stay in Kara?”
“Sure. Why not.”
“Thank you. Please have a seat here.”
Both Duke Wastein and Marquis Fabius took their seats around a table.
And there was a chessboard on the table.
In fact, Wastein was known to be an excellent chess player and Fabius was a very competitive man. Not surprisingly, both men wanted to play chess together.
“Why don’t we play a chess game while having our discussion?”
“Actually, that’s not a bad idea at all.”
Duke Wastein took out pawns and pieces. Then he chose white and Fabius chose black. They didn’t waste any time. Fabius made his first move with his pawn.
“So, what do you want to ask me?”
“I’ve heard that two Master Swordsmen join forces with Kara. Do you know them?”
“Yes, I met them in person.”
“Who are they? I’ve got their information from our spies but I’m still not sure what kinds of men they are since there are so many rumors.”
Then Wastein moved his pawn. Fabius mulled over for a brief moment and moved one of his knights.
“First, the guy called Zenbe, the Holy Meteor is like this knight. He’s very honorable and determined. He only goes the way which he thinks is right.”
“Then I guess you can take care of that guy.”
“You’re right. If he’s on a battlefield, I will fight against him.”
“So, who is the guy called White Mask?”
As Wastein made a move, Fabius moved his pawn again.
“I’m not 100% sure but he’s like a pawn. He only cares about making money and always acts vulgarly. He doesn’t work and chases women all the time.”
“What a prodigal man.”
Wastein moved one of his bishops in a diagonal direction. Fabius countered with the pawn which he moved in his previous turn.
“Yet he’s a pretty likable person.”
“Is he a patient person?”
“No, he’s not. He’s quick-tempered.”
“Is he a wise person?”
“He seems like a wise man but he often brags about himself.”
“Then I guess we don’t have to worry about him much.”
Fabius cupped his chin with his hand.
“I am not quite sure about that.”
“Last time I went to Zenbe’s street vendor, the White Mask got really pissed off somehow and I felt intimidated a little bit. So, I couldn’t have a duel with Zenbe but only ate munchies.
Wastein made a worried look. If Fabius, the strongest swordsman in the neutral states, felt intimidated by someone, he must be a very dangerous man.
Wastein moved his bishop to capture one of Fabius’s pawns.
“Then, who should keep him in check?”
Fabius moved a rook to protect his pawn.
“Well, he’s such a hard nut to crack…”
“Why do you say that?”
“He seems to have an extreme hatred of war but somehow he has decided to get involved in this war.”
Wastein gave Fabis an odd look.
“Perhaps he’s a pacifist?”
“No, I don’t think so. He’s more like being humble when it comes to war. He’s certainly a guy who likes bragging but when he talks about war, he shows a great modesty.”
“Really? Like how?”
“He told me that he’s such a poor commander who lost 100 times in 100 battles. So you must know how he thinks about war.”
Wastein was about to move his queen but he paused.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m pretty sure. It was a great humiliation for him to admit his failure in battles so I think he told me the truth.”
Wastein showed great concern.
“Oh well… if everything you’ve said is correct, he’s such a huge factor in this war.”
“Why do you think that way?”
“I think the White Mask is one of the greatest generals in this world.”
“Duke Wastein, I’ve just told you that he’s a commander who lost 100 times in 100 battles.”
“Marquis Fabius, actually a commander who lost 100 times in 100 battles is like a commander who won 100 times in 100 battles.”
“They both fought 100 battles.”
Wastein sighed deeply and started to tell his story to Fabius.
Duke Wastein had an older brother who died at an early age due to illness. His brother was very smart but had poor health from a young age. So, everyone in his family was worried about his health.
One day, he got really sick and he couldn’t even walk or exercise for a while.
As he laid on his bed for many months, his father felt sorry for him and soon his father started teaching him how to play chess because he didn’t have to move his body much to play chess. Thus, it could be a great hobby for him.
And actually, he liked playing chess a lot. From the first day he learned how to play chess, he was completely absorbed in the game.
In fact, his father was a well-known chess master in the Kingdom of Robros. He and his father played many chess games. Not surprisingly, he lost every time but he still loved to play chess with his father.
As he lost hundreds of games to his father, one haughty guy made fun of him all the time. And it was young Wastein who thought his brother too stupid because his brother lost every game against his father.
So one day, Wastein asked his brother to play chess with him.
“Who won the game?”
“I suffered such a disastrous defeat. I didn’t even want to play chess for a while after that defeat because it was so humiliating.”
Fabius looked a little bit surprised.
“According to a war strategy book written in the ancient time, a general’s skills and knowledge are like a bloody flower which blooms only after sucking the blood of his countless soldiers. It doesn’t matter whether he wins a hundred times or loses a hundred times. If he fights a hundred battles, he is a great general.”
Once hearing that, Fabius signed. In fact, Wastein was right. War was like chess. If anyone gained hundreds of experiences, he would certainly become a master.
“But there must be a reason why he lost every battle he fought.”
“Of course, there must be a reason but I think it’s no longer a problem for him.”
“You’ve just said that he’s humble when it comes to war.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“That means he admits his mistakes and has already reflected those mistakes. Thus, he’s more dangerous now as humans often learn more from their failures than success.”
Fabius signed deeply.
“Hmm… what is your plan then?”
“Well, I will spread a false rumor about him in Kara. Maybe he and Kara will break their alliance because of the rumor. If not, we still have nothing to lose.”
“Yes, I think that’s a good idea.”
Both men kept playing their chess game but still thinking about the White Mask who was the greatest factor in this war.
* * *
Padilla and I stood at the balcony from where we could see the entire Kara Castle. She was breathing very quietly since she was nervous. And I liked the way she was acting.[Read this novel and other amazing translated novels from the original source at the “Novel Multiverse dot com” website @ novelmultiverse.com]
“Padilla, the sky is so clear, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is.”
Before we knew it, a romantic atmosphere was surrounding us. But I could think of what I should say next. We already talked about the first day we met when we were very young. So, we got nothing to talk about now. The only thing I could think of was a pickup line such as “Shall we go to your bedroom?”.
When I was about to put my hand gently on Padilla’s waist, Razal was rushing towards us with a loud scream.
“The White Mask! You bastard! I knew it from the beginning.”
Padilla turned around with a furious face.
“Razal! How dare you!”
Razal knelt down and said earnestly.
“Your highness, he’s a liar. The White Mask is actually a spy from the Kingdom of Robros.”
I chuckled and Padilla made a dumbfounded look. We both knew exactly who I was.
“Where did you hear that false rumor?!”
“Your highness, everyone in the streets is talking about it right now. And one of the spies I captured has told me that the White Mask is a spy from the Kingdom of Robros. Please trust me, your highness. The guy standing next to you right now is a spy.”
“Razal! How dare you say such…”
I stopped Padilla and walked closer to Razal.
“So, you’re saying that I’m a spy?”
“Yes! You’re a spy. I have a testimony from another spy. Also, the time you came to Kara is another reason. And you’re even wearing a mask. On top of that, you’re breaking all our noble traditions which have been followed since a long time ago. Who else would do these kinds of things except an actual spy?”
“Haha, only because of those reasons, you’re suspecting me?”
“Those reasons are enough!”
I grabbed my Yojo and looked at Razal.
“If I’m a spy, who do you think will survive? You or I?”
At that moment, his face got pale white. Then I tapped his shoulder a few times.
“I don’t care if you suspect me as a spy. But let me tell you something. You should not report such information this way. I don’t care if you’re dead or not but you know, the Emir is present here right now. What if she gets in danger? You should’ve waited for a little bit and reported in secret after I leave. Please use your brain.”
This guy was completely hopeless. Even if he got so upset, he should know how to act. But fortunately, I had a plan for him. I would let him only stay in one of our castles later. Since he was very loyal to the Emir of Kara and respected by the people, it seemed that he could at least take charge of the defense of a castle yet he should never get out of that castle until the end of this war.
“Anyways, just follow me. I will show you who the spy is.”
“Let’s go out and find the real spy. Not a wrong spy you’ve just found. Hurry up.”
Razal and I walked outside.
In my opinion, the real spies from the Kingdom of Roboros spread the rumor. My guess could be wrong but if I was right, they would probably keep making disturbances like this one down the road.
So, it’s better to find the spy as soon as possible.
Lately, many people from other cities and states came to Kara. Their number was too many so I was trying to put them into one place all at once later but this kind of thing was not something I expected and it could be a huge setback in our plan.
I ordered Razal and Uddin to capture those who stockpiled war supplies for the last few months and those who frequently visited the magic communication center in Kara.
If there’s really a spy, it’s very likely that he’s one of us.
* * *
In a dark underground prison, I was interrogating some guy. His name was Alif and he’s a Shikar who was originally from another city. A long time ago, he came to Kara with people he knew and settled down here. He was a self-made man who built a food trade business and made a lot of money.
“Tell me the truth. At the time you purchased a large number of war supplies, there was no one who knew about the war in Kara. How did you know the war would happen soon?”
“Sir, I am just a merchant and I heard that the war would happen when I went to the Kingdom of Robros.”
It’s a plausible story. First, it was not strange at all for a merchant buying goods to sell later. And if he really went to the Kingdom of Robros, it wouldn’t be so difficult for him to find out that the war would happen soon.
“Oh really? Then why didn’t you tell anybody about the war? That’s treason.”
“Well… because I was not sure, sir.”
“You weren’t sure but you spent all your money to buy war supplies?”
“Sir, it’s about a business mindset. Only those who are willing to take risks can make a huge amount of money.”
I smiled brightly.
“Alright then. I will make you rich right now. Where are all those war supplies? I will pay you good money. You’re such a lucky man.”
“Are you trying to tell me those war supplies are not stored in Kara?”
“It’s very expensive to store those war supplies here in Kara, sir.”
“I know, it’s quite expensive. So, where are those right now?”
“At the territory of Hussein.”
Hussein already took the side of the Kingdom of Robros. So, there was no way I could check them.
“You’ve got all your excuses.”
“No, sir. I’m not making excuses. I’m telling you the truth only.”
“But you know what?”
“You’re not the only one who’s here. Your acquaintances and all the people who work for your business are being interrogated right now at this prison.”
Suddenly, his body was trembling. And at that moment, the guy outside the interrogation room came closer to me and whispered in my ear.
After getting my information, I sat on my chair and continued the interrogation.
“So, your war supplies… Someone has told us that you’ve kept them in storage built in a mountain near the Raul Tribe’s town. Is that right?”
“Yes, sir… I’ve kept some of those war supplies over there as well.”
“Well, I know you must not put all your eggs in one basket.”
“Yes, you’re right, sir.”
“But you know what? You’re getting more suspicious to me. And if you are an actual spy, it would be better for you to admit as soon as possible. I don’t always kill spies but only those who don’t give me the information I need because they are useless.”
“Sir, please trust me. I’m not a spy.”
“Well, you don’t have to say that. We can find out the truth soon. For now, just keep answering my questions. Why did you meet the Robros ambassadors when they were here? Again, don’t tell me a lie. We have eyewitnesses as well.”
Alif got a little bit panicky and shouted.
“Sir, that’s a setup. I only met the merchants who came to Kara with the Robros ambassadors. And it was just a business meeting.”
“What is his name?”
“His name is Jevons, sir.”
I made a fishy smile. I actually lied to him but he admitted it by himself. Next, I walked closer to the guy standing outside the interrogation room, and whisperingly ordered him to tell others about what I just found out.
Shortly after, I got more information from other rooms.
I sat on my chair and started asking questions again.
“They say his name is Peral, not Jevons. And he works for a continental merchant guild. Is that right?”
“Well… actually sir, I also met the guy called Perral.
“You should’ve told me earlier. Now, you look more suspicious to me.”
“It’s been a long time so I forgot, sir.”
He wiped the sweat on his forehead.
“So, why did you meet the guy called Perral?”
“For business, sir.”
“It’s weird. I’ve just heard that he’s your friend.”
Alif quickly changed his word.
“He’s my friend and I met him to do some business.”
“Oh, I see. It’s no strange at all to do business with your friend. So, you guys still keep in touch lately?
“Why not? You guys are friends. And actually, I’ve just heard that he’s still here in Kara too.”
“Sir, what are you talking about?”
“What a coincidence, right? And you know what? He’s also in this prison. Somehow, he visited the magic communication center so many times. There must be some kind of reason, right? Anyways I will let you meet him later so you can say hi to him.”
Alif smoothed down his face. Soon, I got new information again and then I asked another question.
“Hey, have you been bad-mouthing me lately? They say you’ve called me a spy from the Kingdom of Robros.”
“Sir, that’s… There’s already a rumor about you in Kara and I also think you are a suspicious man because you’re wearing a mask.”
“Hmm… Do I look that suspicious?”
“A little bit, sir.”
I cupped my chin with my hand and kept staring at him.
“Hey, why don’t you tell me the truth now? You’re from the Shikar Tribe anyway. Why would you sacrifice your life to stay loyal to the Kingdom of Robros?”
“Sir, I’m not a spy. Please trust me.”
“But you know what? You’re already a dead man because of the things you did. Since Kara is in war right now, anyone who looks suspicious will be killed immediately. So, why don’t you tell me the truth and save your own life?”
“Hey, you also know what’s happening right now here in this prison. Other guys are telling us the truth to save their own lives. I am sorry for you because you’re gonna be the only man who will die here. Just tell me a little bit about what you know. I will not tell anyone that I’ve heard it from you. The only thing you gotta do is to stay in this prison until the end of this war. Whoever wins this war, either Kara or the Kingdom of Robros, you will be alive. This is a good deal and you should take it.”
It was true. Other guys already told us what they knew. There was no point for him to keep his mouth shut anymore. So, I was sure he would tell me the truth pretty soon.
And I even made it easier for him.
“Hey, I know you didn’t want to betray your own people and tribe. But you gotta make your living. I totally get it. When someone offers a huge sum of money, people do all kinds of stuff. I am on your side. Please help me so I can help you. And I will even give you 50 riffs of gold if you tell me the truth. You can also keep doing your business here in Kara. How about that?”
Alif got all tensed up. After thinking carefully for a while, he opened his mouth at last.
“The spy’s name is Gordon, sir.”
“He’s disguised himself as a mercenary soldier but he’s actually a spy from the Kingdom of Robros. I came here two years ago and he’s my superior. And he’s currently working for the Kara government.”
“Good. Now, all your trouble is gone. Actually, your life will be turned around from now on.”
This was a big thing. It seemed that Gordon was sent to Kara to cause a disturbance when the Robros army would start their attacks. He could be a real threat to us but now we found out his name. Perhaps Kara didn’t run out of luck yet.
I must arrest every one of them in one big raid.
And there’s another windfall. We could take a large number of war supplies from Alif.
He had 1.6 million arrows, 6,000 tons of grains and dry food, a huge amount of metal, and other war supplies. Soon, they would be all ours.[Read this novel and other amazing translated novels from the original source at the “Novel Multiverse dot com” website @ novelmultiverse.com]