Chapter 73: Sting operation
” That’s it,…… what do you mean?”
Henry looked at me quizzically, tilting his head.
“Bandits – people who work in the underworld – are very territorial. We use that to our advantage.”
” …… So you’re trying to get these people to fight each other?”
I nodded my head.
“Using poison to control a poison. As I found out from Jerry, such people are more interested in honor than knighthood. It’s natural to think about it, as long as you are in the underworld business, you have to give it up, but it’s only because you think you can’t help it. You should hang the bait of appropriate honor on it.”
“What exactly do you intend to do?”
“We’ll find the right people and give them honorary knighthoods.”
Honorary knight is a system I came up with a few years ago.
It is literally just an honor, with no real power, given only to those who have donated to the treasury.
Since they are “knights,” I’m currently only granting them to “decent people”.
Those who are thieves and other underhanded people have absolutely nothing to do with it.
But that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
It’s not a traditional system, and since it was invented by me as a Prince, it’s up to me as an Emperor to tweak it however I see fit.
“Then those who did not get the honorary knighthood will be jealous of those who got it. And then…”
“They will naturally start to disagree with each other. Control poison with poison — as expected.”
Henry said with a look of admiration.
“Yeah. I can think of a few lines for those who didn’t get it. They’ve become the dogs of the empire, I suppose.”
“I think it will definitely happen.”
Henry agreed with him.
Jealousy is an emotion that most people have that they can’t escape.
If we poke at it well, we can …….
” Look up a few candidates. Those with armed forces – bandits who only rob and do not violate women.”
“Why do you want that type?”
“There are two types of bandits.”
I said “two types” but held up one finger.
“Those who are forced to do it because they can’t afford to eat, and those who don’t. The ones who have no choice but to eat don’t do anything wrong unless they have to. Women are one way to measure that.”
“Find out about them. It’s easy to make an excuse to make them honorary knights, and there’s a good chance they’ll ‘convert’ as Jerry did.”
“By your will — as expected, Your Majesty, that’s an excellent idea.”
Half a month later, Shirley and I were on a public road in the suburbs.
It’s not the usual carriage that we are riding in, but a cart.
In the back of the cart was a pile of goods that resembled a peddler’s, and Shirley and I were sitting shoulder to shoulder on the peddler’s stand.
“Even now, it would be better to leave ……, wouldn’t it? Your Majesty.”
It’s been almost a day since we left the capital, but Shirley still seems to have not given up on persuading me.
“It’s dangerous, no matter what, for Your Majesty to take the bait yourself.”
“You cannot just do nothing because it’s dangerous.”
“I understand that, but …… I don’t think that this is something that His Majesty would go out of his way to do. ……”
“That’s why I have to go.”
“That’s why ……?”
Shirley tilted her head.
“Look, if something goes wrong, that is when the people involved are dealing with it. I am the Emperor now, and if I leave at such a time, I will not see the truth of anything.”
“That’s …… right, …….”
Even though she hesitated, Shirley nodded quietly.
“You can’t rule a country if you don’t know the truth. Therefore, you have to go out and see with your own eyes and feel with your own body, even when nothing is happening.”
“But it’s dangerous.”
“There is no such thing as danger.”
“I mean, you are one of the escorts, aren’t you?”
Shirley’s eyes widened in astonishment, as she realized what I meant.
After a while, she regained her composure.
“Yes, sir. With 2,000 units under Sheryl’s command, we have them waiting for a few kilometers to the rear. We also have cavalry that can be on the scene in a matter of minutes.”
I stood up easily.
Using Ziz’s power on the platform, I sprouted wings on my back and flew up vertically.
Thanks to my daily training for almost a month since I acquired Ziz, I can now fly up to ten meters vertically.
From that height, I looked behind me.
Although I couldn’t see it when I was on the ground, I could see it from this height.
Shirley was right, there were about 2000 soldiers slowly following behind us.
After confirming this, I slowly climbed down onto the wagon.
“That’s overprotective. Well, if it makes you feel better, go ahead and do what you want.”
Shirley and Sheryl are both my knights, it is their duty to look out for me and take measures to protect me.
Shirley was staring at me blankly for some reason after I descended.
“Hey, what’s the matter?”
“—Yes! N-Nothing at all, sire! Excuse me!”
Shirley blushed profusely when she came to her senses and turned her face away.
After doing so for a while, Shirley’s complexion returned and she turned to me.
“But it’s amazing, Your Majesty. What was that?”
“It’s my new power. All it does is fly.”
“Just ‘flying’ is amazing. It was like an angel or God. After all, His Majesty is an amazing man. ……”
“That’s all well and good, but you’re gonna have to fix that.”
“The way you call me. This time, I will be hiding my identity, and if you keep calling me “Your Majesty,” it won’t work, will it?”
“U-Understood! I’ll call you Master from now on!”
Shirley, who has a serious temperament, straightened her back on the platform and responded as if she was saluting.
After I had her correct the way she addressed me, we continued on our way in the wagon.
We kept going, taking a path that Henry had suggested would be targeted by a potential bandit group.
The day was uneventful and we reached an inn along the way.
I stopped the wagon and entered the inn with Shirley.
“Welcome, are you two here?”
“Yes, we are. One room is fine, just make sure you get the best one.”
Shirley, now my servant, negotiated with the innkeeper.
“Yes, thank you for the patronage. We will prepare hot water right away, and I will show you around first.”
With that, the innkeeper led us to our room.
It was an isolated room further inside the inn, in a house of its own.
The furnishings inside were reasonably good, about the size of a village chief’s house.
It would be quite a feat to have a room like this in a suburban inn.
“So what do you think, is it to your liking?”
The innkeeper asked me curiously, and Shirley looked at me.
“All right, let’s spend the night here.”
I took out a leather bag from my pocket and threw it to the innkeeper.
“There are 200 reens. Keep the change.”
“Thank you very much, thank you very much!”
The innkeeper was overjoyed and went out of the room, saying he would bring him some hot water and towels for us to wash our faces and feet.
Once we were alone, Shirley asked.
“Master ……, isn’t that a bit much to give?”
“That was bait.”
“It’s to spread the word about the generous merchant. If we just walk around aimlessly, we never know when we might be targeted. We have to spread some bait to get them to bite.”
“I see! That’s great!”
Shirley said with a look of admiration on her face.
That night, I gave the innkeeper double the amount of 400 reens saying that his service was good.
Needless to say, the owner’s eyes narrowed like a thread and a big smile appeared on his face.
I had Shirley confirm that this had been overheard by the other guests staying at the inn and had become a rumor.
That did the trick.
The next day, less than an hour after we left the inn.
We were surrounded by a group of bandits.
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