The Grand Strategy
Ria visited Vargas’ house in the high-end residential area of Jaeburg in the afternoon.
She was told by his wife that he was still somehow or another waking up and eating.
Ria firmly refused the wife’s invitation to come in, instead waiting in the foyer.
Meanwhile, Shizuna, who was asleep well into the afternoon, met her face to face. She was cute even when she was waking up. The person herself was quite frightened, though.
Her two younger brothers had come to see the Great Woman Hero that defeated their sister, but were surprised and charmed by her unexpected beauty.
The meal was finished before long and she took out the slightly troubled Vargas.
They chose a place where they could talk quietly. In this town, that could only be the park.
Sitting down on the bench, Vargas urged her to hurry.
“Surely you aren’t going to say we’re going back into the labyrinth so soon?”
Though it was improbable, Ria did things that were improbable. Vargas already understood that.
Of course, although Ria did unreasonable things, she wasn’t unreasonable. That was his impression at least.
“What kind of person do you think I am?”
“The representative of unreasonableness, recklessness, and thoughtlessness.”
Striking words. She deserved them though.
“Well, we’re not going back into the labyrinth. It’s fine to rest for a bit longer.”
Ria said so. It was an appeal called common sense.
“Since next time we’re going to be conquering the Dark Labyrinth.”
However, she spoiled it with her following words.
Vargas reluctantly nodded with an amazed faze.
“It’s not impossible. We can definitely make it there without anyone dying.”
“Of course. No-one will die.”
Comrades were important. To say nothing of Vargas, who had lost comrades many times in his youth, Ria also felt as though she has important people to protect.
“Is that what you wanted to talk about?”
“No, I wanted to ask your opinion on something.”
Ria hesitated, a little lost on how to start. It was probably best to start from the beginning.
“First, have you heard about the Imperial Capital’s disappearance?”
“Ah, it’s still a rumor. Though it’s a fairly credible one.”
“The fact that the Imperial Capital disappeared, for this Millennium, there’s a possibility that the human race may be ruined.”
Vargas’ body trembled faintly.
Jaeburg was close to demon tribe territory. If there would be an invasion at the start of the Millennium, it would probably be swallowed up quickly. 
With that, the human race would lose the majority of its population for this Millennium. In the battle three thousand years ago, apart from the southeastern island area and the Imperial Capital, you could say that human civilization ceased to exist.
“My family should take shelter…”
Vargas muttered. The further south you went, the less danger there should be.
“It would be good going to Casalia. I’ve even written a letter of introduction. The Royal Capital has powerful defenses.”
Ria could do something to that extent.
“Then here it is. To prevent humanity’s extinction, we need the Dark Dragon’s power.”
“So conquer the labyrinth? Although Dark Dragon Valis is a friend to humanity, that doesn’t mean he would actively fight against the demon tribe.” 
He was bound as a friend to Militant Emperor Ryuke Riana two thousand years ago, and was Founder Leyte Anaia’s spouse one thousand years ago. He exercised tremendous power at the fringes.
“Then that settles it. I just have to be like my ancestors.”
Vargas caught her eyes and stared at her.
“I haven’t said it yet, but my real name is Ryuke Riana Crystal Casalia. Though I’m an illegitimate child, I am Casalia’s princess.”
“Ah, I knew.”
“… That so?”
She wasn’t surprised he knew. Not having said it up to now, he probably just feigned ignorance.
She had grandly introduced herself as a princess in Labyrinth City after all. With information spreading here, it was easy to tie that identity to Ria, considering her capabilities.
Ria was impressed. Vargas still gave her advice.
“Labyrinth City’s mayor said that the Millennium would happen within ten years.”
Even with that, the information wasn’t obvious. Its range was too huge.
“Between ten years and a single year, it’s a different thing entirely.”
“Yeah, that’s why I already don’t think there’s any time to waste.”
They had lost the Imperial City, and perhaps even the Golden Dragon.
“Back up a little, were the spirits clamoring over that?”
“That’s… I see, at that time, that was when the Imperial Capital disappeared.”
All the way from the Imperial Capital to here, separated by thousands of kilometers, the mages detected vast amounts of magical power.
If that much magical power was used, it wouldn’t be strange for even a God Dragon, this world’s guardians, to disappear.
“I’ve been thinking about it. Without the Imperial Capital, how will we stop the demon tribe’s invasion?” 
Ria used a stick to make a rough sketch of the continent on the ground.
“From the far east, the Giant Swamp, the Istria Kingdom, the Oomori Woods, Holy City, the Sacred Mountain Cyrus and Magic City, the Mountain Range of Death, Casalia, groups of small to medium cities, the Dark Labyrinth, and the Large Inland Sea.”
Touching all of this was the layer of permafrost, the demon tribe’s territory on the other side.
“The Giant Swamp will be no problem since the Water Dragon is there. Oomori woods has the great war potential of the elves. If Holy City and Magic City cooperates, they might have enough war potential. Casalia is stable. The Dark Labyrinth is the Dark Dragon’s domain.”
Though Vargas wasn’t too detailed on the continent’s situation, he didn’t interrupt. There was no mistaking what Ria was trying to say.
“To begin with, the Mountain Range of Death is a protective barrier by itself. Same with the Large Inland Sea, throughout history the demon tribe has never invaded by crossing its waters, so it’s probably fine to disregard it.”
Then there were two places remaining.
“The problem is with the Istria Kingdom, there are small and medium sized cities around it.”
“Yeah. Istra’s known for civil wars… it’s far too useless. When the time comes there’s nothing that can be done but leave it to leave it to Oomori Woods’ elves. What we should work on now is definitely this area. The scattered city-states don’t have a collected war potential. They do however have considerable personal strengths.”
Ria struck down on the crude map.
The beastkin villages, the ogre villages, the dwarf villages, Labyrinth City, Jaeburg. There were even other areas.
“The Manesh Kingdom kills Dragons.”
“Tentatively, though there are only five kingdoms officially… well it’s fine. What’s necessary is to bring the scattered people together.”
“The Cordova Kingdom?”
Right, although Ria abhored the Cordova Kingdom, it was probably the strongest faction on the northwest edge of the continent.
“Ignoring likes and dislikes, it’s a problem that Cordova is a militaristic power that rules by force.”
If they don’t include all of mankind, demi-humans as well, they wouldn’t be able to win against the demon tribe. Past history had proven it.
But even so, Ria thought about it.
If Cordova was left to rule, the ogres might side with the demon tribe once again.
For the beastkin, dog beastkin like Kobolds were on the demon tribe’s side. Though they were fundamentally demon tribe, there were many kinds of groups more open-minded than humankind. They weren’t things to ridicule.
“Wouldn’t it be good for Casalia’s dominion to spread into this area?”
In terms of tolerance towards other races, Casalia Kingdom was a pretty excellent country, even Ria thought so. While it was her own country, her ancestors had done good work.
“I’d also thought about that, but if Casalia’s national power brought the area together, I think that Cordova would invade. Rather, I don’t want Cordova to have a reason to be openly hostile against Casalia.”
Vargas didn’t understand the meaning behind Ria’s words. He thought that the reason why the two countries didn’t fight was because there was simply another nation between them.
“The empire is gone. The war potential supporting Casalia for times of emergency is gone. If Cordova and Casalia go to war now, though I think that Casalia will be able to barely win, it would ruin both countries.”
Right, the empire was the immovable stone that defended the human race’s order.
The Labra Kingdom is in the southwest, but although its power was decreasing it had still kept its authority. There was a mutual understanding that the empire would support it in times of emergency.
While Ria believed it would be difficult for that country from here on, she returned to the problem at hand.
“In other words, my plan is to get the Dark Dragon Valis’ help, build a union between the ogre and beastkin city-states and with Casalia, confine Cordova’s movements, and fight against the demon tribe.”
A staggering sentence.
Unable to keep up, Vargas shut his eyes for a brief moment.
“… It might be natural since you’re an Ojou-sama, but you’re like a politician.”
“No, no. Politics is much more troublesome and subdued. I’m just talking about a strategy.”
Ria, who had been closely watching her father’s work, understood that. But even if it was a strategy, it was a grand strategy.
“Is something like that possible? Making such a large, new country? I’d think there would be rebellion from leading them.”
“There is that…”
Still, Ria thought there was no helping it.
“For now, I have an idea on uniting the ogres. I have fighting relations with the Ogre King.”
Though Ria had surprised Vargas yet again, she didn’t notice and continued thinking.
“Labyrinth City’s mayor is also my acquaintance, so I think I know how to create an alliance with them. For this city, I want to leave to you, Vargas.”
Vargas instinctively shouted. Jaeburg was an oligarchy city-state. The position of mayor was rotated between distinguished families.
“Besides, I’m not saying you need to be a politician. Since you have the renown of Thunder’s Fangs, I want you to explain the advantages of the alliance to the mayor. Aren’t you acquainted?”
Vargas folded his arms and grumbled, though it’s not like he didn’t understand what she was saying.
He was definitely acquainted with the mayor, they’d drunk together at the bar. Though he wasn’t softhearted, he was clever when it came to his interests.
“If we conquer the Dark Labyrinth, your fame with increase more. If it’s your comment, the mayor probably won’t be able to refuse it that quickly.”
“Even so, do we need to meet the Dark Dragon? I don’t think we do if it’s just to talk.”
As he digested their conversation, Ria probably should meet and speak to the mayor. If it was a princess of Casalia, she would be able to meet him normally.
“But even with that, I think various other problems would pop up…”
“Even if there is a problem, it’ll be useless if we can’t advance…”
His eyes weren’t filled with strong determination. Muttering that it couldn’t be helped, Ria sighed.
“Well, I’d like to go to a dwarf town, and I have business to do at a beastkin town, and of course there’s the problem of the human countries…” 
“You have it hard too huh.”
Vargas knew that compared to her, he had it easy.
If the demon tribe invaded during the Millennium, what would explorers do? Since they weren’t existences that belonged to a country, they also had the choice of just running away. However, guild regulations required forced mobilization during states of emergency, like when the city was attacked.
As for a demon tribe invasion, it could be nothing but a state of emergency.
Even if they could run away, Vargas didn’t want to run.
He only wanted to send his family to safety. However, he would remain. Born here, he would defend the town he grew up in. And fight, then die.
Exploration aside, Vargas didn’t think he would survive a war.
“Incidentally, it’s unrelated, but I’d like you to hear a story.”
Though he thought about a problem earlier, he’d restrained himself. But since Ria spoke unrestrained so far, she would probably listen.
“How are you so strong? I’d thought that those who reincarnate certainly do so by training proportionately in their previous lives, but…”
After being defeated by Ria, Shizuna was depressed. Though that could be called a good medicine, he wanted to hear about it.
“Oh, that? Well, it’s already fine to talk about it since it’s you.”
She had already come to trust Vargas.
“There are two reasons for why I’m so strong, the first is reincarnating as you said just now. I’ve studied battle skills that have been handed down across centuries for around thirty years.”
Vargas nodded in acceptance. If that’s how it was, Shizuna being unable to be her match was understandable. Since she had reincarnated, it was like already being trained.
“Then there’s the other reason. My Gift. I don’t require much sleep or rest, and I am resistant to poisons and curses, that’s from my Gift.”
“Even your strong build and strength?”
“Yeah. The Gift’s name is [Dragon’s Bloodline]. I have the power of a Dragon. I’m not saying that I’ve fully mastered it yet though.”
Ria replied easily. Vargas was surprised when he heard ‘power of a Dragon’, humans were no match against a Dragon. Even heroes probably couldn’t win against a Dragon.
“So you being so fixated on the Dark Dragon, that has to do with your Gift?”
“Un, well there’s a sense of affinity with it, so I guess so?”
Though he might help simply because of her ancestors.
“For those that know of my Gift, even among my comrades, it’s just Serge. Please keep it a secret for now.”
“That kid? He also seems like he has a Gift.”
Since he had Identify, it shouldn’t be hard to find out. However, Serge had acquired Read Resistance magic during their journey.
What Vargas found curious was that among her group, Ria found Serge to be the most reliable.
She consulted Carlos and Lulu for general things and cherished Maal the most. But when it was for important decisions, she would listen to Serge’s opinion without fail.
In fact, Serge’s opinions were often beneficial. Especially when they fought formidable enemies, he was surprised at how fast he would give help from using Identify. He couldn’t believe his age matched his appearance from the judgements he gave.
“We~ll, you’ll have to ask Serge about that. It’s not something I should say.”
That was the truth.
After that, the two talked about conquering the labyrinth for a while.
They would resume five days later. From there, they would sprint through the labyrinth.
Since she was invited, Ria came to Vargas’ house for dinner.
After that, she taught sword lessons to his sons.
Eating his wife’s delicious cooking, Ria recalled the taste of home cooked meals for the first time in a very long time.