Chapter 34 - The meeting

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"We may have four times their numbers but we'll still lose if we face them in a head-on battle," Cecilia said in a loud and imposing voice. She touched the map laid on the table. "So we'll bring the fight to this hill."

Despite her young age, as the Lord of Iron, she sat at the head of the table. Alonso was sitting on her left, with Faela on his side. On Cecilia's right were two men and two women. They were the heads or envoys of the four families who had sworn loyalty to the Vidal family centuries ago.

As the girl's words echoed around the table, the nobles grew agitated.

"My Lady, there's no need to do this," a man in his late forties said. "We can crush without using my territory as a battlefield."

"You just don't want to stop the mining operation," another noble said.

The other two hummed in agreement and the man became more agitated.

"O-of course I don't want that! With everything that's happening in the Kingdom, we need money to pay for food and hired swords!"

"But they're coming through your territory. We can't let them advance anymore."

Tetsuko snorted as she saw the vassals' reaction. They all think the same, but since it's not in their territory, they don't care at all.

"I understand your position. I'll find a way to compensate you after the battle," Cecilia said, all the eye turned to her. "But we cannot face them. I'm certain you have heard the news about their new powers."

"T-that's are just rumors, my lady. We've been fighting them for generations. There's no way they could have found a new power in less than ten years. We can face them in the open fields. There's no need to use my mine," the man insisted.

"Are you saying my father died of a simple illness?" Cecilia asked in a cold tone, her eyes matching.

The nobles on the girl's right became stiff. The man who spoke sweated as he struggled for words.

And they weren't the only ones.

There's no need to get angry by that, my wielder, the soul in the sword thought as Alonso's energy stirred.

Almost as if he had heard her, his energy settled, though he was still clutching his hand beneath the table.

"O-of course not... my lady... Lord Diogo's death was... tragic... we all agree to that..." the noble said, looking around for support. He found none. "W-we're all still mourn his death..."

"Thank you for your words. However, because I know of their new strength, I'm certain we can't face them head-on. Even Lord Alonso agrees."

"Yes. They're no longer the simple Worshipers we knew. They have found a dark power," Alonso said, the flames casting a shadow over his face. "We cannot face them as we have been all these centuries. Even if we do win, it'll cost too many lives."

As the nobles grew quiet, Cecilia took control of the conversation.

"That's why we'll use the higher ground and prepare traps."

"What kind of traps do you have in mind, my lady?" Alonso asked, his voice less strained than a moment ago.

Tetsuko smiled as she watched the staged conversation.

With everything, I forgot he was good at acting. He already knows everything but is doing to help the girl.

"Iron spikes set in strategic places. I've been reading the reports from the battles. The new worshipers have a tendency to jump and race towards the enemy like animals. If we play this right, we can dwindle their numbers a bit."

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