"What is it now?" he demands of Generaloberst Hugo von Guus-Steppe.
"A message sire. From the border sire." replies the General. "You remember we sent scouts to confirm early reports of enemy forces concentrating just across the border in Velikye Byelgorodniyan territory?"
"Ah, yes of course. Well, don't just stand there man, send him in!"
"At once sire." mutters the General, already turning to the guard and clicking his fingers to indicate the door be opened and the courier admitted.
Feldwebel Ulfric Gruber of the Korps von Führern enters, crosses the room and snaps to attention, carefully looking into the empty space between the room's two occupants.
"Oh. It's you..." growls Herzog Mikhail. "Where's your idiot uncle Franz Gruber then? I'm sure you were sent out together."
"Ah, well, yes we were sire." stammers Feldwebel Gruber. "That is, mostly sire. When I could keep him in sight sire. He was right behind me a few minutes ago. I think he turned left at the kitchens. He insists there's a shortcut to here from there. Sire."
|Velikye Byelgorodniyan scouts at the border|
"Excellent! Some good news then!" replies Herzog Mikhail rubbing his hands gleefully and grinning like a man who's just found out the Beetroot Surprise he had for breakfast actually contained beetroot. "We won't be seeing him for a couple of weeks at the very least. Now we can get on with things knowing if we do go to war it will be against the right people and at the right place and time!"
Generaloberst von Guus-Steppe descends into a fit of coughing before gathering himself and demanding "Well, out with it man! What's your report?"
Conscious he's onto a good thing and not likely to get a dressing down after all Feldwebel Gruber pours out his report in a breathless rush. "Sir! I have to report our information is correct sir. Velikye Byelgorodniyan forces are massing just North of Bystro at Glob. It appears they intend to cross into Nizhny Bublik very soon now sir. At least that's what it looks like sir. That's all sir!"
"Well done Gruber." replies the General. "You may go now. Don't bother looking for your uncle. That's an order by the way. Do NOT look for him. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir!" confirms Feldwebel Gruber. "Crystal clear sir!". That said he spins on his heel and exits as fast as possible, hardly able to believe his luck.
A heavy silence falls as both men contemplate the news. "I told you Hugo, did I not? They can't be trusted. Cursed vegetable obsessed northerners, you just CAN'T trust them!"
"Yes, sire, you did say that as I recall. Several times in fact. Just this morning." replies von Guus-Steppe. "What would you like to do now sire? Send an envoy? Open negotiations? Something else?"
"Negotiations be damned Hugo. Summon the General Staff. It appears we're going to war at last..."