"We can't let emotion dictate our move," John said to Thaergood. "We got a bigger picture to consider here."

"This is not about emotion. This is about our kingdom's pride!" Thaergood returned.

"When I was still in school, my teacher taught me that pride is classified as emotion," John said without any attempt of concealing his mocking tone.

"No. Thaergood is right," Jack said, cutting their debate short before it heated up. "We won't send any gift to Sangrod. We will, however, send a delegation to give them a message, informing them of our new management. It is not the time yet to antagonize them. When the time comes, I promise we will ask for their responsibility for the late King Themos' incident. But before we can do that, we need to prepare two things. Firstly, we need to stabilize our kingdom, both politically and militarily. Secondly, finding out who is the vampire that turned King Themos."

"My spies are already on the case," Isabelle informed. "But since it was almost a year ago, I won't expect any fast result. Also, if the vampire was indeed a high noble from Sangrod. He must be a very aged vampire. Such a vampire possibly has a good disguising skill."

"That's okay. Take your time. We still need time to stabilize our kingdom." Jack said. "Tell your spies to be careful to not get found out during their investigation."

"Try checking also if there are any records of high-profile vampires passing through our borders one year ago," John suggested.

Isabelle nodded.

"Well then, let's send a gift to the other countries except for Verremor, Sangrod, and Liguritudum," Jack said. He then asked, "Do we have intel on whether Aurebor is in an alliance with Liguritudum?"

He asked because the elven country had previously helped Liguritudum's rebel prince in deposing the ethereal country's legitimate ruler. They didn't have an embassy in Aurebor, so the details on the screen didn't show that country's diplomatic relations with the other countries.

"We don't have a clear idea. But considering the elven queen had sent an army to help the Liguritudum's prince, I think it is safe to assume so," Isabelle answered.

"I see. Ok, let's just assume it to be so. We will exclude Aurebor from gift-sending as well," Jack said.

"What should we do with Verremor?" Thaergood asked. "We should be sending them a demand for war remuneration."

Everyone looked at Jack after Thaergood's words. He was now the king, so he got to make the decision. Jack didn't want to get into another conflict with the orcs' nation in their current situation. But to do nothing would make their country appear weak, even if they had successfully beaten the orcs back. The officers of this kingdom were sure to pay attention to how he dealt with this matter. If it was not to their satisfaction, their loyalties would most likely go down.

Jack felt an incoming headache. He knew it won't be easy being a king. He preferred being an adventurer, free to do as he liked.

"Can you tell me what exactly is the source of enmity between our kingdom and Verremor?" Jack asked. "I don't think that we are enemies since ancient times, are we?"

"Actually, our two countries used to be allies," Isabelle said. "Our first king, King Theridan, built this kingdom with the help of an orc tribe. King Theridan then returned the favor by supporting the lord chief of this tribe to unite the other orc tribes and became their grand chief, forming the current ruling system in Verremor."

"From this history, our two countries should have a strong relationship," Jack said. "What happened?"

"It was an incident that happened during the reign of the fourth Themisphere King," Isabelle said. "Verremor used to have a national treasure. A legendary-grade artifact called the Totem Banner. It was a powerful artifact that could share its power with the multiple war banners linked to it. With these war banners, any Verremor's army led by an orc leader carrying one of these banners would receive powerful buffs.

"However, during a friendly visit to Themisphere by the son of the grand chief, this totem banner and the grand chief's son were lost within Themisphere's region. The news was that the king and the grand chief's son were going on an adventure to an unknown ancient ruin. The fourth king wasn't able to share any explanation because he returned with grave wounds. Without being able to explain much, he died soon after. Whatever happened during their adventure was lost with his death.

"Verremor nation didn't buy our kingdom's explanation. They accused us of stealing the Totem Banner. The grand chief himself was in great grief due to his missing son. He demanded that Themisphere Kingdom be opened to his army to conduct appropriate searches.

"Our fifth king, who was the fourth king's brother, was crowned soon after the fourth king's unfortunate demise. He wasn't exactly an orc lover. He denied the grand chief's demand. This led to the first confrontation between our two countries. The war raged for almost ten years. Both sides suffered heavy losses.

"It was only when the Hydrurond Dominion interfered that we and Verremor ended the conflict. During that age, Hydrurond Dominion held the strongest power and considered itself the leader of the seven main countries. That's how it managed to force the two countries to back off from the unending war.

"Verremor had been bitter about our kingdom since then. They closed their border to us and no longer accept any human guests. They would also attack if any opportunity arose, just like their invasion recently."

Jack pondered Isabelle's tale. This enmity had its roots in a time long past. It would be difficult to remedy.

"Those orcs are just unreasonable brutes," Thaergood uttered. "We also lost our fourth king at the time. Can't they see it was just a misfortune that happened during an adventure? They are just trying to lay their frustration on us."

"Let's send them a message," Jack said. "It is not wise to demand war remuneration at this time. They will simply reject it and put us in an awkward position. If we don't retaliate for their refusal, they will think we are just spouting nonsense. But we also couldn't afford any offensive operation at this time. We will instead send them a warning. That Themisphere will remember their invasion. If their army dares to cross our border again, we will return in kind."