༺ Religious Fanatics (4) ༻
The project ‘Tactical Temporary Totem: Tannian’ successfully obtained the approval of the higher-ups. However, it was still facing its final hurdle.
“You have to go alone. No one else can go with you.”
Tannian needed to give the others an excuse about why he had to go to a forest alone. Although the pastry club moved as a group most of the time, it wasn’t feasible for them to move as a unit for this matter.
Tannian’s request, his useful abilities, his role as the target, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs having accepted despite his accelerated balding in anticipation of the Holy Kingdom’s protests all combined to make Tannian’s participation possible. However, no one else would be permitted.
The Princes of Armein and Yuben taking place in the affairs of the Empire and the Holy Kingdom? It would be a diplomatic disaster of a huge scale that would probably get the Minister of Foreign Affairs replaced.
The last hurdle was easier to overcome than expected.
“I’m going to church.”
“Alright. Take care!”
That’s it. It wasn’t strange for the next Saint to visit the church, and no one would probably want to follow him there. It might have been different if Louise wanted to go, but even Louise quickly backed out at the mention of the church.
Frankly speaking, visiting a church during a trip could be quite boring.
‘It worked perfectly.’
Thanks to that, Tannian could leave the Capital without raising any suspicions. For me, the word ‘business’ was more than enough.
“I expected this reaction. However, it’s still disappointing.”
“It’s hard to expect a belief comparable to a priest from a civilian.”
Tannian felt a bit hurt after getting a free pass at the mention of the church, but that wasn’t a big deal, so it didn’t matter.
It was a bit scary how the members of the Masked Unit swiftly gathered around us as soon as I walked out of the gate with Tannian. Anyone would be startled if they were suddenly surrounded by a dozen people dressed in black. Even Tannian flinched a bit, too.
The 4th Manager, who’d been hanging around dressed as a maid, was naturally among the silent agents. She was cleaning the windows just before I left the mansion, but she seemed to move faster than me.
“We will escort you.”
We followed the 4th Manager to the temporary headquarters that had been set up to ambush the Twilight Cult. It’s called a headquarters, but it only consisted of a few makeshift tents since the mission would only last a few hours.
Tannian smiled after looking around the headquarters and feeling the menacing atmosphere.
It was indeed reassuring. Although the hostile atmosphere might be fierce, it was aimed at the Twilight Cult, not us.
‘Did the Holy Knights move, too?’
As I turned my gaze to the corner, I saw a group of knights wearing silver armor. They were the Dawn Sect’s Knights that were stationed in the church of the Capital. It seemed like they’d been dragged into this operation as well.
The Twilight Cult was the natural enemy of the Dawn Sect. Even if the suppression was taking place in the Empire’s territory, the Dawn Sect couldn’t just stand by. However, they probably didn’t expect Tannian to participate.
‘He’s going to fulfill his wish.’
Among them, I saw the former Army Commander who missed his promotion and was discharged. Congratulations.
He would fulfill his wish to take them down with his own hands. When someone holds a grudge, they could be tenacious and scary.
I became lost in my thoughts after seeing someone lead a passionate second life, but I quickly returned to reality after hearing the 4th Manager’s cautious voice.
“Let’s go inside. The Mage Duchess is waiting, so we shouldn’t make her wait.”
Among the tents, the biggest one was the one in the middle. The higher-ranking nobles were all gathered there. Besides the Mage Duchess, there wasn’t anyone with a higher rank than me. However, the one above just happened to be a Duchess.
“I’m the Prosecutor’s…”
“The homeland said they aren’t aware of it.”
“It’s a decision that was made after much deliberation. I’m sorry.”
As soon as I entered the tent, I felt the urge to leave again.
There was a fierce argument going on between someone wearing silver armor and another one wearing the uniform of the Empire. The atmosphere was so intense that it made me feel suffocated.
But I think I know why they’re arguing, and that’s even more maddening. Even without hearing the previous conversation, I could easily guess. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had chosen to do it first and ask for forgiveness from the Holy Kingdom later.
And to make matters worse, the two that were fighting set their sights on me since I confidently introduced myself as soon as I entered. I messed up. Let’s just pretend the greeting didn’t happen.
“Prosecutor’s Executive Manager.”
“I see the God’s son.”
The one wearing the Empire’s uniform greeted me, and the man in silver armor greeted Tannian. Their eyes were burning fiercely, probably because they had been in the middle of an argument.
Or maybe not? Maybe their debate became hotter because the protagonist in question appeared. If so, that’s not a good sign.
‘She isn’t here yet.’
I looked around and noticed that the Mage Duchess hadn’t arrived yet. If she were here, they wouldn’t have been arguing before her.
For a moment, I felt resentment towards Mother Mage Duchess. I wouldn’t have needed to witness this if she’d come earlier.
“Mr. Tannian, you don’t need to get involved in something like this.”
While I was harboring a small resentment, the man in the silver armor quickly approached Tannian. Perhaps he thought that it would be easier to persuade the actual party involved than someone who simply apologized repeatedly.
However, that’s going to be even more difficult. Tannian had a terrible mixture of the stubbornness of a high-ranking person and the beliefs of a future Saint.
“Since they came looking for me, I should greet the guests.”
“They aren’t guests, nor do they deserve such treatment.”
“Yes. I know that, and that’s why I’m stepping in.”
I discreetly moved away from the one-sided plea unfolding right next to me. Good luck in convincing him. By his position, he seemed to be the head of the Holy Knights, but I wonder how assertive a mere Holy Knight could be towards Tannian.
As I turned my eyes from them, I looked at the Imperial Knight. Based on his badge, he seemed to be a high-ranking commander.
“I’m Francis Neville, a Senior Commander from the 1st Army Corps.”
Ah, I was right.
As our eyes met, the Senior Commander lowered his head. The Commander of the corps did not come in person, but he sent his Senior Commander instead.
If the Commander had come, an embarrassing scene would have unfolded. It would’ve been a meeting between the former and the current 1st Army Corps Commander.
“I’m Prosecutor’s Executive Manager, Carl Krasius. Nice to meet you.”
Anyway, I returned the Senior Commander’s greeting. There was the Masked Unit, the Holy Knights, a portion of the 1st Army Corps, and the Mage Duchess, who would soon arrive.
It was over for the Twilight Cult. Not only them, but any regular legion wouldn’t be able to win against us. If they somehow managed to assassinate Tannian, they should be grateful for having killed Tannian and end it.
“Don’t worry, brother. Even if I die, you’re all innocent.”
“Mr. Tannian, that’s not what I’m worried about.”
I pretended not to hear the terrible words coming from the side.
In the end, the Holy Knight’s Commander failed to persuade Tannian and honorably withdrew. It was a result I’d expected since the beginning, so I wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“After cross-checking the information provided by the Holy Kingdom and the Empire, there are 32 members of the Twilight Cult heading for the Capital.”
Regardless of whether the Holy Knight’s Commander was ablaze, the Mage Duchess had arrived, so the strategic meeting began.
“And we’ve confirmed that the leader of the Twilight Cult is among them.”
“That’s a big fish.”
I nodded at the words of the Mage Duchess. Throughout the Twilight Cult’s activities so far, it was rare for the leader to appear in person.
It was also noteworthy that over 30 members were moving.
There were some inexplicable points. Regardless of their previous success, targeting the Empire that had finished the subjugation war in the North and moving hastily enough so that the intelligence network of both countries caught them made it look more like a haphazard move than a thorough plan.
But it doesn’t matter. The fact that the leader was leading a large group towards death remained unchanged. Regardless of the circumstances, we would wipe them out today.
“Thanks to Mr. Tannian, the Twilight Cult has lost its advantage of stealth.”
Because it was a formal setting, I referred to Tannian with formality. As I said that, everyone looked at him, and he calmly spoke.
“I can use it right now.”
That answer was enough. While Tannian’s tracking technique couldn’t cover the entire continent, it could at least encompass the area where those running toward the Capital would pass.
“As soon as Tannian uses his technique, the Mage Duchess will deploy a large-scale magic barrier.”
The Mage Duchess was ready to change the landscape of this area. A mere barrier could be made two or three layers thick.
The minor issue was that neither the Twilight Cult nor we could go outside during the barrier’s duration. But we had no intention of leaving until they were all defeated, so it didn’t matter.
That’s how the strategy meeting concluded. With the conditions overwhelmingly in our favor, there was no need to prolong the discussion.
“Enen protects the Empire, so there’s no place for filthy heretics to step in!”
After that, there were relay speeches from high-ranking people to the forces that would be deployed. However…
“One great silver coin for a neck, two for live capture. Five for the cult leader, dead or alive. I’m going to pay immediately.”
I kept it short. What was the point of having a long speech in front of guys who are about to fight?
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