"The ones that surrendered are not professional soldiers of the Kingdom of Vetten. Some of them are farmers. Some were forced. Many more were prisoners that were forced to fight. All are men forced by circumstances not of their own making"
But George is not satisfied with this explanation and reason
"So? They still killed my people and such thing must be avenged or the hearts of my people would turn cold"
George seethes with anger remembering the good men and women that died protecting the Kingdom.
Aero shakes his head and keep fanning his fan.
"This humble subject has considered the pros and cons of this move Your Majesty. But will they return to Vetten army? After surrendering?"
Aero asked, his hand keep fanning the feather fan. The King did not answer. Because he knows the answer. Both of them do. The only difference is George doesn't really care.
To him the prisoner of war is useless to him and is only burdening his kingdom. On the other hand, Aero still has use for them
Then Aero continued. This time with a smile on his face
"I understand that Vetten III is not exactly a forgiving king." Aero remarked.
George also knows that. Vetten III is an impulsive man. Bradheim always described him as an opportunist.
And even the war happened because Vetten III senses an opportunity to strike.
If Aero did not manage to see the deception and uncover the mastermind and the plots hidden by General Kyle, Vanheim would be finished.
"What do you intend to do by releasing them Aero?" George suspects Aero has something in his sleeve after he calm himself down.
After thinking about it, this strategist of him really likes to made dramatic remarks that infuriates him but his remarks always have a reason behind them.
Thinking of this eccentricity of his strategist made George believes Aero has a reason for giving him this advice.
Aero then explains his thoughts
"Imagine this. A king that is capable, protect his people, sparing his enemies showing the world an image of benevolent monarch.'
Then smiling he continued
'Your Majesty, like this subject always reminded Your Majesty, win the heart of the people, and Your Majesty will win the world. Your Majesty with this move, you will be regarded as a wise and benevolent king attracting people of talents to come into Your Majesty service.'
Then he added
'Your Majesty will be praised everywhere. Songs and poems will be written of your act of mercy." Aero said full of spirit.
"I don't want praise" George said curtly.
Aero just smiled shaking his head looking at George behavior.
"And there lies the problem, Your Majesty. Praise is useful. It establishes reputation. And the reputation of a wise and benevolent king can be more useful than Your Majesty would know."
"Trust me when this humble subject say, when the prisoners are released Bradheim will find it easy to conquer Vetten and each city would fall down like sand castles."
Then he added
'In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.'
'When the enemy has made a plan of attack against us, we must anticipate him by delivering our own attack first'
'And what are we attacking Vetten with by sparing their captured soldiers?' George asked
Aero smiles and said
'We are capturing the hearts of the people.'
Then he added
'By capturing the hearts of the people, trust me when I said Bradheim could capture a city without even one drop of blood being shed.'
But the King still look unsatisfied.
Aero sighing then said
'A sage ruler always has the welfare of the people at heart. He would never wage a personal vendetta at the expense of public interest. He who dreams of great ambition and success will not hold a grudge over minor matters. A good leader deploys military forces to save and not to harm, to salvage and not to create crisis. ...Thus it is said: "Warmongers will be annihilated, but he who fails to prepare for war will face danger."
Bradheim is the general that will be leading the troops to attack Vetten. But George could not understand how releasing the prisoners will help Bradheim conquer Vetten.
There is hesitation in George heart. But he is already being reprimanded by his advisor and he had no words to rebuke his advisor.
The words of his advisor are not wrong. He is pursuing this because of his personal vendetta against Vetten III.
If it is up to him he would execute them all as a tribute to his people and the humiliation in his early years as a King.
But because he knew his action could be considered excessive, he wanted confirmation from his advisor or to be more accurate he wanted permission.
It is because he knows he is in the wrong that he hesitated trying to find Aero but the fact that he is here and patiently listening to Aero reprimand him shows that he is an enlightened ruler, capable of listening to remonstration.
Aero look at the King and knew he is seeing the errors of his way so he said
'An army raised to rescue people from tyranny is a righteous army. It will win the support of the people. An army raised to defend the territory against invasion is a counteracting army. It will win in the end. An army raised to fight bitterly at the slightest provocation is a wrathful army. It will lose the war. An army raised without discipline will steal and rob people's belongings. It is a greedy army that will be dislodged. An army raised to believe that it is an army of a superpower state is an arrogant army. It will be annihilated. These five principles are not the doing of any human. They are the way of natural law. If your Majesty wanted to rule the world, Your Majesty benevolence must encompass the whole world.'
George pondered as he looks at the confident face of his strategist. He then struggles for a bit before he finally relented.
He will heed Aero strategies.
'I mean there is no other choice. Can't ransom them, can't kill them and can't keep them. What a dilemma.' He thought to himself.
Tomorrow he will release the prisoners and give them supplies for their return home.
Little did George know that by doing this, he will gain the approval of Vetten people in the future.
These former prisoners that were released by George told their kinsmen of their capture and release and of their fair treatment they received at the hands of King George troops.
Thereupon the Vettenians that heard the story were elated, and wherever General Bradheim and his troops went a great number of nobles and peasants alike came forward to give their allegiance to the Vanheimnian forces, fulfilling Aero words "to capture a city without shedding a drop of blood"
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