The soldier before me was enraged. I remembered who he was; he was the same soldier that led the delegation before.
In the beginning, Avalon had received demands from the neighboring city to be under its control. When they had dispatched their first group of delegates, I pretended to be subservient and asked that they return while I thought about it, effectively buying us some time. Afterwards, they kept on sending demands for a definite answer but I only gave vague replies, further buying us more time.
However, I could only stall for so long; the other day, I had received their final notice. According to it, they would send out one last delegation. If I were to not comply, we were under the threat of being on the receiving end of a show of force.
“You, what’s with that mouth of yours!?”
The soldier yelled so and placed a hand on his sword.
It would seem that by being obedient last time, he was under a misunderstanding. The misunderstanding being that he was the superior one between us.
The responsibility then falls to me to clear this misunderstanding of his.
“Right back at you. What are you, a mere soldier, trying to pull? Mind your tone!”
He then finally drew his sword. As it was, he was going to swing his sword my way and yet, I only smiled.
I would say that this soldier was about as strong as a veteran adventurer or in monster terms, a C rank one. I, on the other hand, had 3 S ranked Covenant Monsters and thus had overwhelming power within me. Even if I didn’t do anything, I knew I would still be unharmed. However, for the sake of this show, I opted for a different response.
And so, something as fast as the wind got in between me and the soldier.
The soldier tried to stop his swing but it was already too late. The sword was drawn into the shadow and then made a loud sound as it made impact. The soldier dropped the sword and then held his wrist as pain coursed through it. The soldier who was the one that attacked was the only one that got hurt.
If it was perhaps a sword not made by Rorono, the sword would most likely have shattered. However, that was his misfortune. Had it broke, the impact would certainly have been less.
The soldier looked up and saw the orichalcum-bodied giant that stood a little over two meters. Compared to other golems, it had a smaller and more curvilinear form. Yes, it was an Avalon-Ritter.
The golems were programmed to automatically defend the citizens of Avalon if ever they are exposed to violence. Additionally, at the moment, the golems weren’t forbidden from attacking the soldiers. And thus, as response to the soldier’s act of violence toward me, the golems’ top priority target to protect, the Avalon-Ritter that appeared launched its fist toward the soldier.
However, its fist, like its body, was made of orichalcum. Moreover, an Avalon-Ritter had the power of an above-average A rank monster. If it were to punch a human that was only as strong as a C rank monster, that human’s corpse would scatter all over the place.
On the moment I judged fit, I gave that command. In accordance to it, the Avalon-Ritter’s fist stopped at about 10 cm from the soldier’s face.
The soldier looked scared beyond help before he was blown away. The fist stopped the exact moment I gave the command but the force from it alone was enough to send the man away as though he was but a leaf.
The other soldiers behind him then began to tremble. Even if it was done half in jest, they were still good enough as soldiers to be picked as part of this delegation. Thus, they should have had enough ability within them to have at least an inkling of just how much of a beast the Avalon-Ritters were.
Unfortunately for the soldiers though, their terror had to go on a little bit longer for in the next moment, Avalon-Ritters began to appear one after the other until a total—including the first one—of 10 had gathered.
One Avalon-Ritter was enough to easily murder them all but now, there were ten before them. In their fear, their teeth rattled and their bodies trembled.
“Avalon-Ritters, show them your power.”
Upon my command, the Avalon-Ritters unleashed the magic power from their twin-drives at full-throttle and howled menacingly.
At that, some of the soldiers wetted and shat themselves.
This had to be done so that they would stop taking us lightly. I had to make them realize the precarious situation their lives were in so that we could finally have a proper negotiation.
“I want to negotiate but as we can all see, that man whom I dealt with last time is unavailable at the moment. Isn’t there anybody who is going to replace him?”
I informed each member of the delegation so. I waited a while but there was no response. When I began to grow impatient, a man from the carriage at the back presented himself. He was a tall man that wore slim glasses.
“I will be the one in charge of the negotiations for today. Procell-sama, I am Telroma Roctinne. It is a pleasure to have met the leader of Avalon.”
His voice trembled as he spoke. He looked feeble as well.
Nonetheless, he had the courage to try to continue the negotiations under such circumstances. Not to mention, he mentioned Avalon’s name. Those, to me, made him quite the interesting fellow.
“So, Telroma-dono will be the one I’ll be dealing with? Alright. It seems we’ll be able to do some proper diplomacy.”
“……I look forward to working with you.”
We shook hands and then moved to my residence.
I won’t hold anything back anymore; I’ll make them know of our demands.
“Have some tea.”
“Thank you. Much appreciated.”
For our negotiations, we came to my residence’s reception room. In there, a Mythological Fox served tea. Telroma was captivated by the Mythological Fox’s beauty but then, in the very next moment, he was shocked by her fox ears and tail.
“I’ve heard the rumors but there truly are many demi-humans here in Avalon.”
“Yes. It’s a city built for demi-humans that are oppressed everywhere else after all.”
“……So you have no intention of driving those girls out of the city, then?”
“None at all.”
The previous delegation that arrived presented to us their side’s terms and among them, some were impossible for me to accept. One of those terms were the prohibition of granting the demi-humans the same rights granted to humans. It pretty much obligated us to either to exile the demi-humans or let them be treated as the humans’ slaves. There was no way I would let either of those happen to my cute little monsters.
“Procell-dono, if the demi-humans were perhaps to be treated better, to an extent, will you then agree to our terms?”
I was a little surprised.
I initially thought they were going to force me accept all of their terms. I did threaten them with the Avalon-Ritters and all but even so, this timidity was surprising.
“We of Avalon could never condone any discrimination toward the demi-humans in our city. This city stands because of them. In fact, this city’s main attractions—the fruits called apples, the high-performance swords and armors, and the golems protecting this whole place—all are because of them and their skills. One other feature of our city—and it might have already become part of gossips—is that the training of the monsters used for air transportation is taken care of by them. This city will not be here now or at any point of time without these demi-humans.”
Such was our official statement. It was already common knowledge that there were elves and dwarves here in Avalon but instead of saying they were monsters, we had declared that they were demi-humans.
“I see. Then, is there anything else we could discuss?”
“I’m a little surprised to have a more proper negotiation. Well then, here.”
I handed to him the documents I prepared just in case. It detailed my response to the terms initially given to me. If all my counterproposals were approved, even becoming a city of the empire was fine by me.
“We have closely examined the terms given to us by the previous delegation and concluded that those are realistic halfway points. In other words, Avalon can only concede that far.”
“I’ll take a look then…… t-this is impossible! There’s no way we can compromise this much!”
Telroma spoke so with a gruff voice. Those points might be beyond his authority, I thought.
“We can easily say the same. We have compromised a lot already with those points and anything more will be impossible.”
Telroma the civil official trembled.
“Let’s start with the taxes to be paid. This amount is still within acceptable values.”
What I had written there was that we were to pay in gold coins the same kind of poll tax implemented by the neighboring city as well as 30% of the total harvested wheat. Originally, we were demanded to pay 50% of the total amount harvested and that was with the actual wheat.
Avalon’s wheat was worth more than its market price. Moreover, paying with the gold which we could get as much as we want of from the [Mine] was more convenient. The materials mainly used for the golems were orichalcum, mithril, and silver. We didn’t have much use for gold so we solely used it for money. Even at that moment, we had mountains of gold coins lying idle in storages.
“Then tell me, Telroma-san, which do you find unacceptable?”
“First of all, we cannot agree to you not complying to send out any personnel to provide us with your technology.”
What he was referring to was the demand for us to send out experts to the neighboring city so that those experts could then share their knowledge on our advanced technology regarding the waterways, the preparation of the soil, and the production of the weapons and equipment. Moreover, it was a long-term kind of deal. Don’t screw with me, was the only response that I could initially think of.
“If you want to gain Avalon’s technology, you can just send out you experts here and have them learn from observing. I have no intention whatsoever of refusing that. If it’s the weapons and equipment, they can buy one and examine that. They’re not children, are they?”
“If you want to steal our technology, fine but steal it by yourselves. We cannot and will not compromise more than that.”
I strongly declared so. At that, Telroma was quite conflicted. It might have been the most important condition for them so that they themselves may have all of the things that made Avalon fascinating.
The natural response then was to not allow it to happen but since stealing it completely would be impossible for them, I allowed them to send out their experts.
“……to the next point then, Procell-sama. Won’t you consider adopting the same set of laws being followed by my city and others all over the empire? After all, the empire has prospered for many years using these laws. Our tested and proven laws are much better than your unrefined laws.”
“I refuse. Our city will operate with our own rules. That being said, as stated in those documents, we will permit you to establish your own consulate here and everything within that territory can be under the jurisdiction of your laws if you so choose. However, even one step outside of that territory will remain to be under the jurisdiction of Avalon’s laws.”
This was absolutely necessary.
If I allowed them this, troublesome fellows would come here from the neighboring city and do whatever they pleased. Extremely speaking, it was possible for those guy to rob and rape but be judged and punished only by that city’s laws.
“Procell-sama, do you even intend compromise!?”
“But I already am and hence, that suggestion.”
How dare he accuse me of such when I have been compromising so much already!
“Then, lastly, will you also completely reject the implementation of tariffs and tolls to those going to this city and the handing over to us the 30% of the collected total?”
“Yes, we will. After all, Avalon is best known as a free city. Not being one anymore would mean the death of our city.”
We were being pressured to do this as well.
Our city’s charm lied with its cheap taxes. If we allowed the other city to apply more and more pressure on us, Avalon would also have to adopt high taxes. If that happens though, we would also have to burden our citizens with the taxes and thus, our charm would be halved at the very least. Though that might just be what they had in mind.
“Unacceptable, Procell-sama! Do you even understand the state your city is in!? If our city was to put an embargo on your city, you would wither away even before the fighting begins. Avalon is dependent on our city after all.”
“Feel free to do so. Your city is no longer our only source of business.”
Undeniably, they were our source until a few days ago. However, now, that was nothing but a tale of past. Now, we had air transportation via the Hippogriffs. Thanks to them, we had rapidly gathered commodities from all over the world.
Applying pressure and prohibiting their ally cities from selling to us might work if not for the fact that the Hippogriffs could fly 600 kilometers in a day even with some load. Influencing their way through every settlement and city within that range simply wasn’t possible.
On the other hand, merchants from the neighboring city were even choosing to pay for fines just so they could come to Avalon and buy the goods gathered here.
“Wh– Th-then, what if we prohibit the very travel to this city?”
“Feel free to do so as well. Rather, please do so. As things are, if you were to do that, the number of people that will leave your city and settle on ours will be quite significant, won’t they?”
Currently, Avalon was overflowing with supplies and even entertainment.
Our tax was low and the cost of living here was already lower than in the other city.
We were constantly building houses and yet we could still not keep up with the increase of people. That inflow of people would increase all the more should they prohibit the travel to our city and for that, we would truly be grateful.
“I-it will come to war then. This little city will be erased in instant. Before even that happens, with war on the horizon, your residents will dessert your city.”
“That is certainly worrying.”
At Avalon’s heart was its immigrants.
If they were made aware that staying here would put their lives in danger, they would probably return to their home city.
“I think most of them will remain though. Even supposing a war does happen, we will come out as the victors after all.”
“How can you even believe that?”
“You’ve seen them, haven’t you? The golems, I mean.”
Telroma was at a loss for words.
He knew I wasn’t spouting nonsense.
“Avalon is not afraid of engaging in war…… that said, it’s pretty much inevitable to lose the lives of civilians , isn’t it?”
To my rather reserved words, the civil official smiled broadly.
“Yeah! So, compromise more—”
“Quit screwing around!”
I purposefully showed my anger and slammed the desk. The desk creaked and then broke.
“I’m only going to compromise as much as I said I would. I don’t have to but I have conceded to those things and you’re asking for more!? No, I absolutely refuse! ……Follow me, I’ll show you something good.”
After my outburst, I suddenly laughed.
The civil official stood up and nervously followed behind me.
Our destination was a [Plain].
Avalon was bound to get cramped for space so I purchased another dungeon room. In the future, I would also be making this a part of the city but for the moment, I intended it to be the battleground for the upcoming war. I could only earn DP by killing if my party was the one that killed an enemy or if the death happened within my dungeon. There was no way I was going to waste the tremendous DP the war was going to give and hence this dungeon room. If the fighting took place here, I could earn all those DP.
Anyway, in there, I had a little surprise prepared for Telroma.
We had arrived in the [Plain] that was in the backend of Avalon.
Upon seeing the spectacle I had prepared, the delegation, beginning with the civil official, froze in place.
What they saw was the gathering of all our golems, even the ones not assigned to guard Avalon.
All in all they numbered 332 golems.
It was bizarre spectacle, indeed.
Upon my command, the golems all at once unleashed their magic power.
At that moment, the delegation was convinced. Convinced that should there be a war, they would be on the losing side.
“These are the golems made by this city’s dwarves. Each and every one of them holds at least the same power as a veteran adventurer. You are free to wage war on us but in the event that you do, even assuming that you win, expect your side to suffer enormous casualties.”
“This is impossible. Even if you’re a sage of the country, it should still take you months and years to build this many golems that are this powerful.”
It was a natural response. For the humans, it would probably take at least someone with the capabilities of an A rank to build even the C rank golems that the Dwarf Smiths could make.
“Do we have an understanding? If you want to go to war with Avalon, do so with the resolve to fight against them. Well then, this negotiation is hereby concluded. I shall guide you to your carriage.”
And so, I guided the frozen-in-place delegation toward the entrance of the city.
Showing them the golems served both to threaten as well as to misdirect them. As far as Avalon was concerned, the golems were but foot soldiers placed in the front lines. If the enemy was to focus on thinking up of counter-measures against them, it would be easy to surprise them with our other troops.
For this war—should they foolishly choose to proceed—our forces would be composed of the sniper corps led by Aura, the golems, the dragons, and the intelligence unit led by R’lyeh Diva. The other monsters would be kept in reserve. After all, we still had to appear like a city of demi-humans.
As the delegation that turned ghastly pale returned home, I wondered whether the other city would still choose to go to war with us even after all these threats. I’m looking forward to see the humans’ response.
Several days later, a letter arrived.
It was a proclamation of war from the neighboring city. The war was scheduled to begin three weeks later.
There was also a recommendation for our surrender. It seemed like that if we were to surrender, aside from being forgiven, we would also receive slightly better terms than what we were originally given.
Of course, I hastily threw away the paper that contained the recommendation for our surrender.
“Are they stupid?”
From the declaration of war to giving us three weeks, it was stupid.
Oh well, now that it’s like this, it can’t be helped; I’ll now have to show them their place. And then, I guess I must do some adjustment within Avalon so that I can lessen the humans that will want to leave our city.