The next morning, Charlotte was brought to the back room of the Emperor’s palace.
The room was much smaller than the grand hall, the ceiling much lower. It was much more dim in there, and the only source of light emanated from a stone table in the center of the round room. The table itself was a lovely transparent jade map of the entire land including both the Hyang and the Choung Empires. Simple colored crystal flags decorated the table top, marking important battles, strategies in planning among other things.
It gave off a mysterious air that Charlotte enjoy thoroughly.
She was led to the table where the Emperor was already standing at, his advisors surrounding him. The guard walked up and notified the Emperor who immediately turned around and welcomed her.
“We’ve been waiting for you for a while. Please, there is an empty spot across the table.” The Emperor gestured across the table to the empty space right across from him. Charlotte nodded and made her away to the other side.
She could feel the eyes of the advisors staring at her, but she ignored them, holding her head up high. She stopped at the spot and looked up at the Emperor expectantly.
“You said you have a solution to HeiLi.” He extended a finger over to a spot in the map labelled with a red marker. Charlotte nodded.
“I do. Would you like to hear it?” Charlotte tilted her head up slightly.
The Emperor nodded. She leaned over and swiped the red marker off of the city.
“HeiLi is located in the valley between two mountain ranges. That makes it hard to invade, but at the same time, HeiLi isn’t a self sufficient city, which makes it easy to cut off and just as hard to defend. Am I right?”
The Emperor nodded. There was nothing special about what she had said so far. Anyone with a map and some common sense would have been able to figure that out.
“The Choung have blocked off either ends of the valley, making sure that nothing gets in and nothing gets out. They have patrols in the mountains, but since assuming the treacherousness of the mountains, there’s not much need to protect that area. Even if you got past the guards, you most likely would get taken out by Mother Nature.”
Charlotte set down a green marker on the mountains on the left.
“This is precisely their weak spot. They won’t be expecting a siege from over the mountain, especially not now, when food is running low.”
The Emperor nodded slightly, getting the slightest hint of an idea.
“Keep going.” He beckoned, realizing that she might actually have a good point. Charlotte nodded with a small frown.
“Now here, I’m not sure how you’ll do it, but you’ll need to find a way to send a message to the people in HeiLi. You need to tell them to attack the guards along the KenZi mountains and escape from over the mountains. This may seem like a suicide mission, but this will be their only hope. The Choung’s lines of forces on the KenZi side are weak enough that your troops would be able to get through, once they get by, it’ll be up to them to get over the mountain and back.”
Charlotte set two more markers at either end of the valley.
“While they’re doing that, we need to draw the attention of the rest of the Choung army. We can’t let let your troops run the risk of being chased by a group of men more than twice their numbers. The attack needs to look like a futile attempt to fight through and save your stranded men. Which is why this plan also can only happen when food is running truly low.”
She looked up at the Emperor, ignoring the low whispers running throughout the room.
“It’s risky and many will die, but this is going to be your only chance to save those men.”
The Emperor stared hard and long at her before he finally gave her a solid nod.
“Order!” He demanded. “We will follow the woman’s plan.”