Kings Are Worried Because of the Freedom of Interpretation (Second Time in 8 Months)
The elders fell silent.
It was clear what Kurususarina’s received oracle was pointing to.
It seemed to be “Defeat the Rose Princess of Hellrage”.
The oracles from their ancestors were always concise, just the conclusion.
What thoughts lie behind it; the living could only speculate.
And whether it was truly right or was right, there was no way to confirm.
Following the oracle might lead to many deaths, but it was probably considered a better outcome than not following it, or perhaps the method was flawed, and everyone would agree.
The Elder Council could avoid taking responsibility for their judgment.
Even if one followed the oracle, its concise nature left room for interpretation.
There were times when the content was twisted to be more favorable, and people followed within reasonable limits.
… At least, that was fine until now. Until the Khenis Empire attacked.
At first, they thought they could win, but it didn’t take long to realize it was a naive thought.
Now, it was certain that the Khenis Empire would eventually crush the warriors and take control of the forest.
The members of the Elder Council believed that.
The oracles from the ancestors had been conveying strategies for the battle to protect the forest. However, none of them seemed to be very effective; it appeared that there were only more casualties.
If there was no chance of winning due to the difference in strength, any strategy would be meaningless. Was it because of insufficient strength or because they were not fully carrying out the intentions of our ancestors? Or perhaps there was a deeper meaning to it?
The elders were in a state of confusion. Increasing casualties, repeated defeats. At this rate, the “Divine Decree” would no longer be valid, and the tribe would fall into chaos.
In the midst of this, the content of the oracle suddenly changed.
A few days ago, it abruptly stopped mentioning the Khenis Empire and began repeatedly saying, ‘Defeat the Blood-stained Silver Calamity’. Salesaya, Kurususarina’s predecessor, had already received the same oracle.
The meaning of the oracle was understood… She realized it was the “Rose Princess of Hellrage” when she saw her.
Perhaps impatient with the descendants who did not understand the meaning of the oracle, at the recent meeting with the “Rose Princess of Hellrage,” even the ‘Projection’ appeared.
The ‘Projection’ was a manifestation of the will of the ancestors who returned to the forest.
It should not appear unless specific conditions and circumstances were met.
That ‘Projection’ attacked the “Rose Princess of Hellrage”.
Looking at it from another perspective, it was an incredibly significant event.
The elders were further perplexed.
There was simply no room for a two-front strategy.
At this rate, the forest would be taken. Yet, the ancestors prioritized the battle with the “Rose Princess of Hellrage” over the Khenis Empire. No, they even became a ‘Projection’ themselves and were ready to confront her. Clearly, the seriousness of this oracle was different from the previous ones.
The elders had not conveyed this oracle to the tribe. Initially, it was simply because it was incomprehensible, and they needed time to think about the meaning of the oracle. But the reason they had not announced it was different.
If they prioritized the oracle, they would immediately draw their bows against the “Rose Princess of Hellrage”.
But what would happen if they did that?
The “Rose Princess of Hellrage”, the Great Forest, everything would just be mowed down and swallowed by the Khenis Empire.
“Elders. Now, is it not clear that our enemy to fight has become apparent? Honorable ones have become ‘Projections’ and shown us.”
Kurususarina said decisively.
The elders exchanged glances.
“How do you know that?”
“In prayer, my spirit touched the spirits of the honored predecessors. I felt it. Those who returned to the forest, abandoning name and form to guide us, were determined to fight with noble will. And I saw it. The figure of the evil that should be destroyed…”
She, who was offering prayers in the hollow of the Great Spirit Tree, was the closest to the spirits of the ancestors.
Perhaps that’s why not only did she receive the oracle but also felt their movements as if they were her own.
Jibalmagza inwardly felt somewhat bitter about this miracle. It had become troublesome.
“Listen well, High Priestess. It seems that the ‘Silver Calamity’… wishes to form an alliance with us.”
Kurususarina made a strange face as if a fly had flown into her mouth.
When Jibalmagza explained the details one by one, she covered her face with her hands as if she had seen something ugly.
“Could it be that we easily fall for such sweet words…”
“Ah, I know it’s suspicious. But continuing to fight the Khenis Empire like this won’t solve anything.”
“Calm down. I’m not suggesting we go as far as licking the same honey as that one. If we have to fight both the attacking Imperial Blue Army and the ‘Rose Princess of Hellrage’… Ah, that’s the nickname of that undead. If we have to fight both, isn’t it better to feign cooperation and gain an advantage by wearing them down for a while?”
Jibalmagza spoke in a tone as if chewing on green grass.
However, Kurususarina did not nod.
“Listen to me, Elders. Now that the enemy we should fight has become clear, isn’t it? Even though it might be a simple strategy that even I could think of. If it’s useful, let it be. If the oracle says so, then it must be done. However, the oracle insists on ‘defeating him.’ There seems to be some significant meaning in this. If we join hands with the so-called ‘Rose Princess of Hellrage,’ there might be a viper lurking in the path.”
Her clear gaze without any wavering pierced through Jibalmagza.
Jibalmagza couldn’t make a sound at this. The suspicion also existed within him.
However, if they didn’t stop the Empire first, he couldn’t see a ray of hope…
Jibalmagza, who was a political leader of the tribe with some experience in warfare, couldn’t help but feel that way. Therefore, he had been struggling with the oracle.
Or, if he were to take the plunge into battle with the “Rose Princess of Hellrage” here and now, would everything miraculously fall into place due to a well-balanced distribution?
Like pushing the bottom stone in a stack and everything collapsing?
Kurususarina seemed to believe that, but… if he made the wrong move now, the tribe could be on the verge of destruction. That’s why Jibalmagza couldn’t make a rash judgment.
“Anyway, we should first convey the contents of the oracle to everyone. When Salesaya-sama heard the same oracle, it was postponed because the meaning was still uncertain…”
“Wait, not now!”
Jibalmagza promptly stopped Kurususarina, who seemed ready to tell everyone about the contents of the oracle.
“… Now is not the time. The village will lose its harmony.”
“Rumors of an alliance with the ‘Rose Princess of Hellrage’ have spread among the villagers from somewhere. Unfortunately, there are many who hope for this. And if, on top of that, the story of this oracle is thrown in… the village will be thrown into chaos and torn apart.”
“Even so, would there be a problem? If the Elders decide, everyone will follow.”
“Originally, yes. But now it’s dangerous.”
Jibalmagza held concerns that were difficult to articulate and explain. They were of a kind that could be felt only by those who had led the tribe for many years.
It was a kind of intuition derived from accumulated experience, a seasoned veteran’s instinct, so to speak.
But it was certain that the tribe was on the verge of exploding. He believed it was not advisable to casually throw in information that could be provocative.
It seemed that these concerns did not fully resonate with Kurususarina.
“It seems there is no need to hesitate. We have the oracle from our ancestors, and if the Elders decide accordingly, then it’s just a matter of carrying it out. What is important now is to remain unwavering. If we do that, everyone’s hearts will come together.”
Hearing Kurususarina’s words, Jibalmagza was impressed to some extent.
Her words were as radiant as sunlight streaming through the trees in a straight line. She believed that sticking to the ‘right thing’ would make everything go smoothly.
It was a beautiful vision of the future. He felt like surrendering himself to it.
However, Jibalmagza thought it wasn’t that simple.
—Perhaps, too straightforward.
Why did the Elders choose Salesaya as the High Priestess and not Kurususarina?
It was because Kurususarina had a temperament that was too straightforward.
She couldn’t swallow political considerations or expedients.
In a sense, it could be said to be a characteristic befitting a priestess. Priestesses, separated from the mundane daily life, spent their days in quiet prayers and training.
However, the High Priest, who was the religious leader of the tribe, was an extremely political figure. To smoothly guide the entire tribe, one couldn’t manage with just being straightforward.
“Please guide everyone. I will do my best as the High Priestess.”
Jibalmagza gave an ambiguous response.
Where should he guide them? The answer had not yet been found.
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