And on that day they were dismissed thus, unanswered. During the night which followed, a double care distressed the consul:
he was unwilling to abandon his allies, unwilling to weaken his army, an action which might either delay his engaging or cause danger in the fight.
His decision not to weaken his forces remained unchanged, lest he suffer the disgrace of defeat at the hands of the enemy; he determined to offer to the allies hope instead of actuality:
often, and especially in war, appearances have had the effect of realities, and the man who believes that help is at hand acts as if he really had it, and by this very confidence, which inspires both hope and daring, is saved.
On the following day he answered the ambassadors that, although he feared that he would diminish his own strength by lending part of it to them, yet he was paying regard to their emergency and peril rather than to himself.
He ordered warning to be given to one-third of the soldiers of each cohort to cook food in good season and put it on board ship, and the ships to be made ready for sailing the third day.
He directed two of the ambassadors to take this news to Bilistages and the Ilergetes; the chief's son he kept with him, persuading him with kindly treatment and with gifts.
The ambassadors did not leave until they saw the soldiers marching on board the ships; reporting this as unquestioned fact, they filled not only their own people but also the enemy with the news of the approaching Roman aid.