Chapter 30:Strategy To Rescue The Prince
Note- Due to chapter-length adjustment, some part of the previous chapter has been shifted down to this chapter.
Drayce was in his room, accompanied by Arlan and his two knights, who were like friends to him.
The four men were standing in front of a wooden table, looking at the detailed map of the royal palace with interest. Drayce looked at Arlan, who was standing beside him, with a gaze close to admiration. "You are worthy of being my friend."
Arlan gave him an unpleasant look. The prince was already not happy about giving his friend something that he should not have, and his words just now felt like rubbing salt to his wound. "Thank you so much for thinking so highly of me, Your Majesty."
Drayce knew how upset his friend was but could only smile at his sulking behavior. Just as he was to tease him again, Drayce went silent as he heard something and signaled everyone to keep quiet.
Servants could be heard passing the corridor in front of the room and talking among themselves.
"It's definitely because of that witch."
"True, we all saw she did black magic."
"Poor Prince Cian."
"Didn't Prince Cian care for her and even asked His Majesty to take her out of the tower?"
"Yes, and because of her, Prince Cian was punished for leaving the palace."
"Ungrateful witch! Didn't spare her own brother!"
"His Majesty will realize the truth soon and banish her out of Abetha."
"Banish her, huh? Witches should be burned!"
"If I can, I will be the first one to burn her."
Hearing their words, Drayce clenched his fists as his red eyes turned fiery.
"What happened?" Arlan asked. Although he did hear people talking outside, he didn't catch the content of their conversation.
Drayce merely? instructed, "You should go and visit King Armen."
"Not me, him. He will need something from us," Drayce answered as he moved away from the wooden table and went towards the window to stare outside.
Arlan knew his friend's temper. Drayce would never say anything without reason, and so, without nagging him for an explanation, Arlan did what he said. After all, if he talked to King Armen, his question would be answered.
After the prince left, one of the knights folded the palace's map while the other knight went to Drayce.
"Your Majesty, any instructions for me?"
"Get all our soldiers ready, except for the injured ones," Drayce ordered without a change in his expression.
The knight nodded. "May I ask where are we headed, Your Majesty?"
Inside the King's study, the high-ranked officials among the Abethan knights and soldiers were all gathered around the much calmer King Armen, busy arguing among themselves.
They were looking at the map of the continent unrolled on top of a huge wooden table.
"Your Majesty, we might have to ask for Griven's help," Sir Berolt suggested after several more minutes of heated argument regarding how to breach the enemies' defenses.
The King nodded. "To enter Thevailes as fast as possible, our army alone might not be able to take down the enemies within a month. Hatha will surely set up ways to hinder us from crossing their kingdom. Several months is too long. If we have Griven adding more soldiers, we can bring them down faster."
Sir Berolt pointed his finger at the tiny kingdom separating Abetha and Thevailes. "We don't have time to deal with Hatha. Our army and the support from Griven will act as decoys, while we will send our elite knights in secret to save the Crown Prince. Once Prince Cian is back, we will deal with them once and for all."
"What do you think, General?" the King asked the robust middle-aged military man whose pitch-black eyes were still fixed on the map. General Cavrois wore a serious expression as he considered the question, his gloomy face not yet recovered from the scars earned from the previous war.
"Your Majesty, it will be better for our army if we take help from Megaris," the general suggested as he pointed towards a certain place on the map. "Megaris and Thevailes share a long border between their kingdoms, and it would be easier for Megaris to enter through this mountain range. If the King of Megaris is ready to help us with his army to put pressure on Thevailes, then things will turn easy for us."
"Last time, we managed to defeat them on our own," Sir Berolt interrupted.
"At that time, Hatha was working with us, but now it looks like things have changed," the general replied.
Sir Berolt shook his head. "Griven is our ally, therefore asking for their support is reasonable. But if we get help from Megaris as well, our national treasury might bleed. We are still recovering from the last war."
"The faster we save Prince Cian, the better." General Cavrois was firm in his stance. "We do not know what demands the King of Thevailes will make in exchange for his safety. Thevailes is known for their cruelty so to deal with them, we should seek help from someone even crueler."
Unable to convince each other, Sir Berolt and General Cavrois looked at King Armen for his decision.
Just then, a royal guard entered the study. "Your Majesty, the First Prince of Griven seeks an audience with you."
"Let him in," the King instructed.