It was prudent to check up on my agents to ensure that nothing was going wrong. After communicating with them, using the crystal balls, several of them came running to receive me.
“My lord! You are here in our humble abode in person!”
“I stopped by to see someone I know. Lead me to your base.”
One of them took the Philly’s reins and others escorted me as we walked. I rode leisurely while surrounded by the vampires.
“This must be the place.”
The vampires said that they were hiding here while renting the place. As the vampires naturally possess the power of charm, it wasn’t all that impossible to assume that they were probably cheating the villagers using their powers.
“My lord! Welcome!”
There was a war room like ambience once he entered the building. Although it has not been too long since they were dispatched, there appeared papers and documents all over the place, indicating that they had been working hard. The walls were plastered with maps, timetables and reference materials.
“This is what we have so far, identified as the devil king’s military units. We’ve been constructing this using recon missions that are based on the intel from the mercenaries.”
“Oh, this is really a great work.”
Since the vampires are stealthy, the prepared materials had details which human spies would have had great difficulty in finding out. It was, certainly, the right decision to employ the vampires, as I am able to see the full deployment of Pajemut’s forces.
“Something’s not quite right here…the placement of their camps? There are holes in their coverage.”
“We also thought that was suspicious, so we checked them several times, but this map is correct.”
I had a strange feeling while looking over the material prepared by the vampires. Pajemut’s camp locations was not optimal in terms of protecting the occupied territory.
“Yet, they didn’t appear to be traps either… Why are they are placed near the headquarters?”
“We also have the same question.”
“I’m not sure, but we ought to be able to use it. This map. Be sure to complete it.”
This was an opportunity. If it was possible to put together a military force from somewhere, now would be the best time to obliterate Pajemut.
The initial plan was to leave the empire’s southwest region alone as it would be a quiet period. However, seeing the enemy, exposing a vulnerable point, changed everything.
Is there anywhere from which a military force can be put together?
Although the Walpurga Sisters Society numbered about a hundred, they really weren’t a military force.
Bavaria is too far from Pfalz.
Because putting together a mercenary unit would take a while, there was a high probability that the enemy would adjust their positions during that time.
Although an opportunity had presented itself right now, there wasn’t a good option. There had to be some way. The crystal ball rang as I was deep in my thoughts.
A call came in from Heidelberg, the capitol city of the Electorate of Brunswick-Luneburg.
“Pappenheim. Has something happened? This is not your scheduled report.”
“My lord! My apologies! But, I am contacting you to report an unusual occurrence!”
Pappenheim was very excited, unlike his normal character.
“What’s going on?”
“They ran off!”
“What are you talking about?” I asked strangely, somehow instinctively feeling the roll of the dice in my head. Pappenheim’s reply was beyond my imagination.
“Philip’s remaining vassals, who were in the city, have taken the Golden Bull and ran off!”
I was dumbfounded by that.
What? The Golden Bull?
The Golden Bull was a letter, comprising of 31 pages, with the Emperor’s golden seal. This document has more meaning than being simply a royal letter.
It was simple. The royal letter proclaims the sacred right of the prince elects to ‘elect the emperor’. The authority of the prince elects to vote in the election of the emperor is contained in that Golden Bull.
Every one of the seven prince elects in the empire has one. The symbolic meaning of a Golden Bull held by a prince elect was the same as their royal seal, so it was very important.
It’s not that a king is not a king, just because he did not have his royal seal, but it can damage his reputation. The Golden Bull was similar. If one was to lose his right to elect the emperor, by misplacing the Golden Bull, it would certainly be highly embarrassing.
This was especially true for Friedrich who pushed out his nephew in an attempt to rise to the status of a prince elect. It was already damaged for having fought within the family, but to lose the Golden Bull on top of that would add to the embarrassment.
It was obvious how the empire would ridicule him. Furthermore, as there is no Golden Bull, it was highly possible that the emperor would delay naming him as a prince elect, or demand something of great value in return for handing down a replacement Golden Bull.
In other words, Philip’s remnant minions have unloaded a final parting shot to Friedrich. I, was so excited with this unexpected report that I yelled out in thunderous voice.
“Where did they run off to!”
“It is certain that they ran off towards southeast.”
“That is not enough!”
Impatiently, I brought the crystal ball up to my eyes and stared at it.
“There is some unsubstantiated information though….”
“There is no time to delay. Speak now!”
According to Pappenheim, he has been in contacts, from several days ago, with a servant of Sir Marda, who is a Philip’s minion. Based on that servant’s story, his master was preparing a journey, probably to Salzburg.
“It’s not for sure. However, if he had run off to the southeast direction, he will come to Salzburg for sure.”
“When did the bastards run off?”
“It has been less than three hours. Having obtained that information, Friedrich is now readying a manhunt.”
“I see! Get back to me when new information is available.”
When I put down the crystal ball, all the vampires around me were looking at me. I stood up quickly and shouted.
“Arm your swords! We will catch them!”
The vampires swarmed around as they armed themselves.
“Quickly! Friedrich’s troops will soon catch up to them! We have to catch them before they do!”
“Yes sir! My lord!”
My hands shook with excitement. A twisted smile remained on my face. A euphoric story line was being developed in my mind.
Philip is in my hands.
On top of that, a Golden Bull will be mine as well.
Then, to whom does the land of Pfalz belong?
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