Chapter 44: Country of the extreme winter land
“There is a region called extreme winter land, which means winter in the extreme.
I understand you might not have a map of this region, but take a look at this world map that Nejia has spent years creating.”
Gauche explained, as he took out an old and worn-out paper from his pocket that he carefully unfolded on the table.
As His Highness Auglia, His Majesty, and I gazed at it, I realized that although I was familiar with maps from within the Faithnum Empire, I had overlooked the significance of looking at the bigger picture.
It was rather embarrassing.
Nonetheless, the map was an accurate depiction of the region.
If Nejia was a formidable nation, it could have easily overwhelmed the Faithnum Empire.
I immediately brushed aside such far-fetched notions and focused on Gauche’s narration.
The official name of this country is La Mousseul Kingdom, located in the northernmost region of the world, on a continent where winter reigns perpetually.
Despite being a hunting country with high-nutrient animals, it had experienced fishing shortages for over two years.
While the land had preserved foods, the depletion of animal population was an alarming issue.
As a result, they were compelled to import grains which they were unable to grow themselves.
With a decline in fishing and hunting, the national budget became perilous, and the only viable option left was to invade other nations before their resources were completely depleted.
“Hm…I see the reasoning, but are there not any neighboring or allied countries that could help? Why is Baratonia relevant?”
“The issue is that they can attack us by sea.”
To circumvent this problem, Gauche pointed around the sea, connecting La Mousseul Kingdom with Baratonia’s port.
Baratonia’s port is the only viable option for attacking and securing food supplies by sea for the extreme winter, as there are no other nations near with the necessary resources.
Even in a country where crossing the sea takes less than a day, the food supply is inadequate to meet its own demands.
“Previously, the Faithnum Empire was a nuisance, but at least there was food.
However, it takes time for animal populations to replenish after being hunted, and even large whales have become difficult to catch.
It appears that the ocean’s currents have changed, causing the warm sea to disappear and resulting in a year of poor fishing.
Now they are scrambling to construct ships.”
The mere mention of shipbuilding sends shivers down my spine.
The port town is home to numerous trade organizations and is the most crucial trading center, as well as the closest point to the coastal mining country.
A war would deal a severe blow to the country’s growth, and, more importantly, innocent lives would be lost.
The mere thought sent shivers down my spine.
We needed to devise a countermeasure, even if it meant momentarily diverting from the topics of the wedding and Sekisei-shaku.
“They have nothing of value to trade for food.
Their society primarily relies on hunting and gathering, and the currency is foreign currency for use by royalty and aristocrats.
What they wear… in this case, practical clothes.
No, dresses and jewelry… they must be imported.
Now, it seems they are prioritizing the acquisition of food over such luxuries…It seems that hunger is spreading.”
His Majesty’s expression darkened, and he fell silent.
Our country was striving to develop by tapping into our treasury to rebuild after the war and invest in new technology.
But even if we fortified the port town and reinforced our defenses against sea attacks, it would be a temporary solution that would ultimately deplete our resources once again.
I racked my brain, desperately trying to come up with a solution.
The extreme winter land was in dire need of stable food supplies, but they couldn’t afford to pay for them.
It had come to the point where they felt they had no other choice but to launch an invasion.
Unfortunately, Baratonia was not in a position to offer food without compensation.
We had ongoing trade relations with various countries and were in the process of replenishing our own food reserves that had been depleted during the war.
However, if it was a trade, we did have food available for sale.
“By the way, what about their shipbuilding capabilities? How many ships do they have?”
“In the extreme winter land, they have an abundance of wood.
Their skilled workers cut down trees from the snowy mountains.
Two weeks ago, the report stated that they had 30 ships, each capable of carrying 200 soldiers.
And they are still building more.
It’s safe to assume that they plan to invade with a full-scale attack of 10,000 troops.”
“10,000 troops with 200 people per ship…”
I muttered under my breath, contemplating the gravity of the situation.
Naval warfare differs significantly from land warfare.
By utilizing advanced technology such as trebuchets, a ship can even target and attack the land from a distance by anchoring near the shore.
Although there are ships in the vicinity, they are solely trade vessels.
While it may be plausible to send small troops to engage in hand-to-hand combat, it would be futile if the ship itself is seized or annihilated while the troops are returning.
However, our primary goal is to avoid war altogether.
By chance, I glimpsed at Gauche, who had a look of a mischievous act being exposed.
Perplexed, I inquired.
“Gauche, is there something on your mind… have you, or the Nejia, thought of any strategies to prevent the war?”
“Nothing can be concealed from you, Claire-sama.
But joking aside, Nejia has a proposal.
Your Majesty, would you be interested in purchasing the ship from the extreme winter land?”
“As I mentioned, whales tend to swim in warm seas, but there are also other fish present… Therefore, I’m contemplating the possibility of enhancing the fishing industry by chartering a vessel capable of accommodating fishermen from the frigid winter lands.”
As Gauche expounded on the plan, an idea began to form in my mind.
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