They stopped right outside the valley and set their camp there. Charlotte stared up at those looming mountains in awe and realized that they were much bigger than she had thought they were to be. If the Emperor wanted his men inside in the valley to survive, they were going to have to set their plan in motion a little earlier than planned.
Tents were scattered throughout the grassy plain and the sound of men shuffling about echoed throughout the camp. The atmosphere of the camp was deeply intense. There was a tent set up separately from everyone else just for Charlotte. She didn’t complain though. As highly as she thought of herself, she still didn’t think she would be able to tolerate sharing a tent with 5 other sweaty, smelly, and very possibly perverted men.
Her tent was furnished simply with a cot, a table to write on and a chair. There was a single lamp to illuminate the entire tent, which was not very big to begin with. The tent seemed to be rather old and gave off a slightly musty smell. Thankfully, Charlotte was able to solve that problem with a quick sprinkle of perfume which she always had on her (though she never used it on herself – to her it was always more of a short term tracking device).
Happy with the way her tent was, she took a step out and approached the Emperor’s tent. There were some things that she needed to tell him.
“The Emperor is currently not accepting visitors.” One of the guards blocked her off rudely as she neared the tent.
“Will you send him a message that Charlotte wishes to see him.” She beckoned. The guard gave her a sideways glance before striding into the tent. Moment later he stepped out and let her in.
“The Emperor will be waiting inside.”
Charlotte nodded and walked in.
“You were looking for me?” The Emperor was sitting down in front of a table, reading messages of some sort. He sounded conversational, unlike the formal speech he usually used with his advisors.
“I have two tactical errors to point out in my plan.”
“Oh?” The Emperor didn’t quite sound surprised. “I saw some myself. I think that took you long enough to realize.”
Charlotte tried hard not to blush. He knew already? Was he trying to play games with her?
“I didn’t realize the size and height of either mountains. I believe we must launch the attack earlier than as planned.”
The Emperor nodded silently, putting the message in his hands down.
“And you’re second point?”
“Forgive me for forgetting to mention this, but the Choung aren’t stupid. They may very well expect your men to attack. There will be need to watch for ambush from behind. There’s no good in saving a couple of men if the rest of your army dies for it.”
The Emperor nodded once again.
“This is good advice, but I believe you may be too inexperienced. Don’t underestimate the strength of Hyang men.”
“But, my Emperor, if your troops get ambushed, there may be greater losses and needed.” Charlotte glanced at him frantically, getting quite upset at the rejection of her ideas. These were all lives that could be saved! “Are you willing to sacrifice your men like that?”
“I am not sacrificing any of my men.”
“How can this not be sacrificing when these deaths can be very well avoided?”
“Do not question me!”He slammed a fist down on the table. “Because I agree to your plan in does not mean your are a part of the Hyang. You are a woman and an outsider. I have tolerated you up until now, but if you continue to act in such a manner, I will not hesitate to execute you and have your body displayed as an example to all other arrogant fools who think they can best the Emperor.”
He paused for a moment to calm himself down.
“You are dismissed.” He said with a tired wave. Charlotte turned and ran out without a word.