me time after the good news of Eltia's pregnancy, the answer came from the messenger sent from the Barsto.
The contents of the message were the worst for Elias.
"The offer of the Renalute nation was completely out of the control of the Barsto nation.
If it were true that dark elves were kidnapped by outlaws and sold through our country , we would sympathize.
However, the slave trade in Barsto is in accordance with the laws of our country, and we are not responsible for it.
If any responsibility exists, it is that of the outlaws who abducted the people of your country.
We are not involved in this matter, and your country's claims are highly regrettable."
Elias asked Zack for his opinion with a bitter look on his face.
"Zack, What do you think of this Do you think Barsto's goal is war with our country"
With the strength of the nation and their slave soldiers, I think they intend to bring our country down, not in the short term, but in the medium to long term.
Elias nodded at Zack's words and meditated thoughtfully.
Last time, there were still some aspects of Barsto's purpose that were not clear.
But with this reply, he could see Barsto's purpose.
Zack is right, they intend to engulf Renalute in the medium to long term through war.
Renalute's military strength is not in numbers but in quality.
And they will only show their true value if they are in the right location, such as in a forest.
Barsto knows this, so he is provoking them by kidnapping dark elves and trading them for slaves.
The goal would be to draw the troops out into the field and wear them down without letting them show their true value.
The Renalute have difficulty replenishing their depleted army.
The low birth rate means that far fewer children are born than soldiers die.
If the current army is lost, this will directly lead to Renalute's inability to keep its forces in place.
For this reason, Renalute has survived on a defensive posture in the case of war, so as not to exhaust its military strength as much as possible.
However, the strategy that Barsto has set up this time is cunning.
No matter how much they know they will lose the war, public sentiment will not allow Barsto's inhumanity.
If this happens, he will be forced to go to war as king and as country.
The Renalute army, a tiger cub, would only be able to demonstrate its true value within its own territory.
If they fight in the field, they will surely suffer damage.
However, there is no way for Renalute to compensate for that damage.
There are three things Renalute can do now.
First, engage in an all-out war with Barsto while Renalute's forces are at full strength.
Second, continue skirmishing and search for a way out.
Third, seek help from other countries.
Elias opened his eyes and explained his thoughts to Zack with a grim expression on his face.
Then he asked Zack which of the three options was more realistic.
Elias had the answer in his mind, but he wanted to be sure.
Zack pondered, and then answered,
"I think it would be better to proceed with the second and the third at the same time.
The first one is very dangerous because of the Empire's movements.
If the empire launches its attack on Barsto when we do, we will not be able to defend ourselves.
There is also the possibility that Ballusto will set up a separate unit."
"After all, Zack thinks so too.
Elias replied with a tired look on his face.
The whole war would be out of the question.
There is no guarantee that the empire will not move.
The possibility exists that Barsto is preparing a large detachment.
If that were to happen, Renaloute would be limited in what he could do.
Elias asked as if he suddenly remembered.
''Have you heard back from the Empire and the Reiner frontier counts yet"
I have yet to hear back from both of them."
'Well, then I guess we'll just have to wait until those replies arrive.
Elias turned his head down with a grim look on his face.
A few days later, the influential Renalute families gathered for a meeting.
Elias explained the possible details of the abductions that were taking place in the country.
The reaction of the nobles was one of anger toward Barsto.
One of them raised his voice.
, "Your Majesty, may I ask you a question"
Norris is the oldest of the leading royalty and is related to Queen Liesel.
He is also related to Queen Liesel and has recently been gaining more and more influence within the royal family.
"I understand the situation.
However, the people will not be satisfied with the situation as it is.
In order to prevent an all-out war, it is necessary to show our stance both domestically and internationally.
To that end, why don't we deploy some of our troops only near the border on the Barsto side Ostensibly, this would be to catch the outlaws who are kidnapping people."
Norris explained to Elias and the other members of the nobility present.
A few members of the nobility seemed to agree with Norris' words.
Elias replied to Norris with a dubious look on his face.
"We will consider placing some of our troops near the border with their nation , but what about after that If it is a permanent placement, it will cost a reasonable amount of money.
I would like to hear some concrete solutions"
If we deploy our troops near the border, we can check them against Barsto.
In the meantime, why don't we make an alliance with the Empire to eliminate any lingering danger , and then attack Balusto from our side Our army has never lost a battle.
If we show them how strong we are, they will be reluctant to attack us."
Elias shook his head at Norris' words and said in a strong tone.
"I agree with you about the checks and balances, but 'launching from our country' is out of the question.
Did you not hear what I said Besides, the reason we've never lost a war is because we've always been committed to defending ourselves.
We cannot wage war outside our territory.
You have not forgotten that, have you"
"You are right, Your Majesty.
Therefore, I advise you that you should set an example ‼."
Elias shook his head and muttered in his mind.
(I can't get into this.
Even if an alliance is formed with the empire, it does not eliminate the possibility of the empire invading Renalute.
At the moment, there is no merit for the empire to form an alliance with Renalute.
In fact, it is a situation in which they would be targeted as a fishing expedition.
Norris does not understand this.
Elias told everyone present at the meeting.
"We will not start a war, and then think of a good plan.
Of course, I myself will think about it.
We will overcome this crisis at any cost."
Some of the nobles, including Norris, looked bitter, but they generally looked satisfied.
Elias returned to his room and sagged in his chair.
He had said he would think about it at the meeting, but to be honest, he was in limbo.
At Zack's direction, Shadow and his team conducted various investigations, including the difference in troop strength, location conditions, and Balsto's anti-assassination defenses.
As a result, they found that even if they fought a one-time all-out war, the chances of winning were infinitesimally small.
Even if they were to reach the capital of Barsto, the Renalute troops remaining at that time would not be able to bring down the capital.
In other words, they would be forced to retreat.
Even if they attacked at a cost, Renalute would gain nothing.
He would only lose men.
"So it all depends on the empire.
Elias muttered weakly.
The king of a country is forced to rely on other countries for the fate of his country, and he is so frustrated by this situation that he ends up hitting the desk with his hand as hard as he can.
A dull sound echoed hollowly in the room.
Elias sent messengers to the empire and Bardia again.
The Empire would hold the fate of Renalute in its hands.
Thereafter, some Renalute troops were deployed near the border line between Barsto and Renalute.
Naturally, this was to crack down on the outlaws who were abducting and kidnapping their own citizens.
However, Barsto claimed that the deployment of troops near the borderline was an act of war against our country.
For this, Barsto also deployed his troops near the border of Renalute.
Elias tilted his head at this.
Why are they placing them at this time
Even if they wanted to go to war, he did not immediately understand the reason for the placement by the Barsto side.
It took a little while, but I soon understood the reason.
can't get salt Nonsense, we should have been able to stock it through various channels."
Elias was outraged by the reports from Zack and many other noblemen.
Renalute is a landlocked country, so it relies on imports of salt from Barsto and the empire.
As soon as Barsto deployed its army near the border, the salt merchants in and out of Renalute stopped selling salt at once.
To be more precise, it is said that the salt merchants in and out of Renaloute were no longer allowed to purchase salt.
In the worst case, they were assassinated.
The merchants in both Magnolia and Barsto were no longer able to sell salt at the same time.
At that moment, Elias understood.
This was the reason why Barsto had placed his army near the border.
If the salt runs out, the country will not be able to survive.
In other words, they would have no choice but to strike out.
That is why he placed his army near the border so that he could intercept them at any time.
They instructed Zak and the Huayi to check the stockpile of salt and to find out where to purchase new salt.
Then came the startling revelation.
"There is almost no stockpile at ......⁉ That's ridiculous."
"Sorry about .......
It seems we've been completely outfoxed."
Zack muttered bitterly.
In order to deploy troops near the border with Barsto, instructions were issued within Renalute to prepare as much military funds as possible.
After that, a group of merchants who had been in and out of the country for many years offered to lend money to the army by pledging salt as collateral.
The trading company offered to the administrator, a member of the Han Chinese family, that the salt they used as collateral would be kept in Renalute, and that the country's stockpile would remain unchanged, but that they would effectively only gain military funds.
The nobility accepted the proposal.
However, a few days later, all the members of the trading company were killed in the country.
All the salt that the trading company had carried out as collateral and managed the place was said to be gone.
'......How long do you think it will last'
'I don't think it will be affected right now, but I don't think it will last very long ......'
They got hit.
The messenger still has not returned from the Empire, nor from the Bardia territory.
Barsto and the empire had already joined forces.
And as soon as they were ready, they stopped the salt.
"It seems that the two countries seriously intend to crush Renalute."
Elias muttered as he sagged.
any way to break the deadlock We did not expect Barsto to be so cunning.
We may have been conceited,......."
"Your Majesty, you must not give up.
You are the king who leads the country and the people.
You alone must not give up until the end."
"I am not giving up .......
I too have people to protect."
Elias replied to Zack with a drooping but powerful voice.
A few days later, Zack reported to Elias that the frontier Count Reiner of Bardia had offered to meet with him in secret.
Elias accepted, and a confidential meeting between Elias and Rainer was to take place.