The battlefield full of black smoke filled fully with the monsters' shrieks.
The Lancephil Legion's hundred-man commanders, meticulously searching the battlefield, found out the monsters that were perhaps alive or pretending to be dead and thoroughly massacred them all.
It was a measure to stop the Grain Mountains' monsters from passing over the Longfort Castle and entering into the kingdom's center in a situation when kingdoms called North Rinse and South Rinse were founded in the South and North.
'Since there now won't be strength left to care about something like monsters.'
Roan stood in the middle of the battlefield and exhaled a long sigh.
Around him, Austin, Pierce, Harrison, and Brian whom together fought the fierce battle with were seated.
Though all showed somewhat exhausted looks, there was no place that was greatly injured.
"To think they destroyed tens of thousands of monsters leading a mere five thousand soldiers."
"You said it. All we've done was facing the monsters that ran out."
The Lancephil Legion's soldiers who were cleaning up the battlefield looked at Roan and the four generals and shook their heads.
"Thanks goodness those men are on our side."
"Of course. There's no one to fear if we just have our lord and the generals."
"I was worried since all of South and North were enemies, but……"
"Looks like there's no need to be at all."
The soldiers spat out long sighs and smiled.
The one strand of worry left in their hearts disappeared as if washed away.
On top of that, their strengths that were exhausted from repeated battles too felt as if they were instantly being recovered.
Roan looked at the appearances of nearby soldiers and formed a faint smile.
'It's all going as Ian has planned.'
Himself, Austin, Pierce, Harrison, and Brian attempting the somewhat haphazard offense was due to Ian's strategy.
Ian, through this battle, planned to boost the morale of the soldiers.
He had planned to blow away the restlessness and anxiety that they laboriously hid through the overwhelming might of Roan and the generals below him.
Of course, it wasn't as if Ian had blindly commanded a reckless attack even so.
He, after considering Roan, the four generals, and the five thousand taemusas' level of might well enough, told them numerous formations and tactics so that they could use the topography and effectively face the monster legion.
Ian had unfolded the plan under the judgment that there was sufficient chance of victory.
"My lord. It's a grand victory. A complete victory, sir."
Austin looked long around and made a bright smile.
Roan wordlessly nodded his head.
They had completely annihilated the Grain Mountains' monster legion infamous to be fierce and powerful without particular loss.
But they still couldn't carelessly relax their hearts.
'Now it starts.'
The real battle, the real war started from now.
Roan sheathed the Travias Spear at his waist and moved his steps.
He personally stepped up at battlefield cleanup together with the soldiers.
Thanks to that, even the thousand-man rank and above commanders all had to pulled up their sleeves and step up.
There was no one who spun out complaints.
For this was a much too natural a thing in the Lancephil Legion.
Thanks to everyone working together and jumping in, the battlefield cleanup finished quickly.
Roan let all soldiers rest fully for a day and then headed towards the Longfort Castle.
And it was a complete triumphant return.
Because the messenger had arrived a step ahead, the Longfort Castle's West Gate was fully open.
Roan set up camp outside the West and East Gates and made the soldiers of the legion stay there for the castle's residents.
Of course, he took measures so that the injured were moved to the temporary sheltered set up beforehand and could receive medical treatment.
Furthermore, he ordered to separately and carefully preserve the corpses of the comrades who fell while fighting bravely and to prepare a grand funeral.
Roan only after entering the Longfort Castle and looking after the soldiers' states and the citizens' conditions went to visit Princess Katy Rinse staying in the inner castle.
"Princess. The monster legion has been annihilated. You can relax, your highness."
A terse report.
Katy sat on a hard chair and stared at Roan with composed eyes.
A complicated expression floated on her face.
"Sir…… Count Lancephil."
Katy who always spoke informally to Roan as she wished formalized her words.
"Good work, sir. And……"
She hesitated for a moment, then with a short sigh spoke on.
Katy stood up from her seat and walked up to Roan.
Roan kneeled down on one knee and lowered his head.
Katy quickly extended her hand and pulled him up.
"There's no need to do so to me, sir. And……"
She took out a small envelope from her pocket.
Roan cautiously received the envelope and stared at Katy.
Katy bitterly smiled and spoke in a quiet voice.
"This is a letter written in my, Katy Rinse's, name. It's a story about how older brother, no, King Simon Rinse allied with the hexers and turned the citizens of the kingdom into marionette dolls and committed horrendous acts, and was defeated by Count Roan Lancephil while marching towards the capital, Miller, to raze the kingdom and have paid for his sins."
The tip of her voice slightly shook.
Tears filled up in her large eyes as if they would fall down at any time.
"I'm not sure how much of help this would be, but as a royalty, as a sister, I wished to right older brother's wrong even a little bit. I sincerely hope that this would be of help in Sir Count Lancephil's way."
Katy laboriously smiled and then returned and sat back down on her chair.
Roan stared at the envelope for a moment, then soon placed it within his pocket and slightly lowered his head.
"Thank you for your deep concern."
He stared at Katy for a moment, then soon exited out of the hall.
Abruptly becoming an orphan without a single relative.
'Well, that's also the same for me.'
Being an orphan was also the same for Roan.
But he could understand Katy's heart even more because of so.
His steps quickened.
There was someone to meet.
Thankfully, that person wasn't far away.
When he exited out of the inner castle, Pierce who was standing by was seen.
"Has your business finish, sir?"
Pierce glanced over Roan's shoulder at the inner castle's inside even while asking in a polite voice.
Whether he was worried of Katy, or wanting to see her couldn't be told.
Pierce straightened his pose at the quietly calling voice.
Roan glanced once at the inner castle's inside and then gave a short order.
"From now on, protect Princess Katy's side unless there is something special."
Pierce asked back with a surprised expression.
Roan, with a nonchalant expression, gave the order again.
"I said to protect Princess Katy. Why, you don't like it?"
"N, no, that isn't it, but……"
Pierce stuttered his words and his face blushed.
Roan looked straight at Pierce's such face.
Quiet but powerful voice.
Pierce indecisively wavered for a moment, then soon lowered his head.
"Yes sir. I will carry out the order, sir."
A strange joy was floated up on his face.
Roan saw that sight and tapped Pierce's shoulder few times, then moved his feet.
His steps led not to the inner castle, or the outer castle, but to outside of the castle gate.
He couldn't stay in a mansion within the castle alone while making the legion's soldiers sleep outside.
Roan gathered the thousand-man rank and above commanders, staff officers, and administrators and proceeded the merit awards together with the military meeting.
In this process, the subject decided the foremost were the treatment, reward, and honoring for the fallen.
Roan, with the name of Count Lancephil, prepared a humble for formal and somber funeral and memorial ceremony.
On a good day, the funeral proceeded with the Milta Military Band's funeral march song.
More than hundreds of wooden caskets moved on top of soldiers' shoulders.
On top of the wooden caskets, clothes embroidered with Count Lancephil House's crest were covered.
The surviving soldiers, standing at the procession's sides, made short salutes.
The hearts of those whom watched the comrades' finals ardently sizzled.
The residents of the Longfort Castle too poured out to the streets and paid their respects.
Roan quietly watched the backs of those whom left while wearing black suits.
Katy who was nursing her body and heart in the inner castle too showed up.
For she knew well of what they fought for, for what they had sacrificed their lives for.
Ppababam! Ppabam! Ppabam!
Milta Military Band's performance reached its peak.
Right after the comrades' caskets exited out of the castle gate, more than thousands of wooden caskets newly appeared.
Unlike the caskets that went ahead, they were simple wooden caskets without the Count Lancephil House's crest.
The owners of the wooden caskets were the innocent citizens of the kingdom who became hex dolls and lost their lives.
Roan and the Count Lancephil House's retainers paid respect and prepared a funeral at least for the citizens whose corpses they could recover.
It was an act that revealed their thoughts and devotions for the kingdom's citizens.
The soldiers who saluted lined up neatly and lowered their heads.
The residents who fully filled the streets burst out in tears.
Majority of them were survivors who survived just before becoming hex dolls.
Katy who was at the side too couldn't endure and cried.
She couldn't endure the foul sorrow and guilt.
Roan signaled towards Pierce with his eyes.
"Princess. It's okay. It isn't princess's fault."
Pierce comforted Katy with a quiet voice.
Katy wordlessly nodded and leaned on Pierce.
Together with a short sigh, Roan turned his head again and watched the funeral march.
'I must make sure that no event like this happen again.'
His heart burned up.
The humble for formal, sad but warm funeral and memorial ceremony finished solemnly.
The residents of the Longfort Castle and the nearby regions showed deep thanks and gratitude at Roan's compassion.
For the people who experienced the horrendous event, Roan gave them plentiful recompence and words of comfort.
Due to this, the citizens' praises of Roan began to spread with the Longfort Castle at the center.
Now the only one the Rinse Kingdom's citizens could lean and depend on was Roan Lancephil.
Roan, the instant the memorial ceremony ended, called a grand meeting where all retainers sat in.
For Chris and Keep they had awaited had finally arrived at the Longfort Castle.
"My apologies. I was late."
"My apologies, sir."
The two people's exhausted looks were obvious.
From running here from the Rinse Kingdom South and North, they couldn't rest even a moment. No, they did not rest.
For they knew the urgency of the issue.
Because Roan too knew well of how urgently Chris and Keep ran here, he did not speak any reproaching words.
The meeting fully began with the short compliment.
First, Chris reported the events that were happening in the Kingdom's North, the North Rinse Kingdom.
"Though the North Rinse Kingdom's king is Barry Webster on surface, Clay controls the actual power. With druids and mercenaries at the center, Clay instantly occupied the headless Duke Webster House and grasped the duchy's military within his hand."
"If he has done all that, wouldn't it have been fine for him to have personally climb onto the throne and found a country?"
One commander creased his brows and muttered.
Chris quickly shook his head.
"His base faction itself is weak and because it was obvious that the noble factions would madly oppose the moment Clay himself climbed to the throne. Due to that, Clay elevated to the throne the Duke Webster House's firstborn Barry who was drifting around and raised his faction. Simultaneously, he put out a banner called revenge for Duke Bradley Webster. When Duke Webster House that was originally one of the kingdom's four founding dukes stepped up, the prominent nobles and powerhouses that followed him swarmed to the Webster Duchy."
"And Clay must have seized those factions."
Chris nodded at Roan's words.
"It was an event that happened in an instant. Clay took over the factions of numerous nobles and powerhouses and at that instant attacked Mills Voisa and the Estia Imperial Army that had appeared in the duchy's Northern border. It was an event that he had arbitrarily done while all of them were proposing amity in fear."
They knew well of the story afterwards.
Clay defeated away Mills and the Estia Imperial Army and then enthroned Barry onto the king's seat and announced the founding of the North Rinse Kingdom.
"And the current situation?"
Roan asked shortly.
"It isn't bad, sir."
Chris faintly smiled and added on.
"Mills who got scolded by Clay has reorganized the Estia Imperial Army and allied with the Byron Kingdom and is preparing to once again attack the North Rinse Kingdom."
Austin bitterly smiled at those words and nodded his head.
"Meaning they don't have the room to pay attention on our side."
It certainly was not a bad situation.
But the feelings weren't so good.
"So we have to be thankful to the Estia Imperial Army and the Byron Kingdom Army. Tch."
One of the commanders clicked his tongue with a disgusted expression.
There was no one who reproached him.
For everyone was of same feeling, of same thought.
Roan moved his gaze and looked at Tenebra Troop's Keep.
"How's the southern situation?"
"It isn't good, sir."
Keep stood up from his seat and shook his head.
"The South is a hell. A hell."
The tip of his voice shook.
Him forcibly pressing down on his rage was felt.
Every commanders and retainers' gazes turned towards Keep.
"The Third Prince Kallum Rinse received the support of Diez Kingdom's Crowned Prince Lukan and has founded the South Rinse Kingdom. He claims himself the descent of the Rinse Kingdom but in truth he is no more than Lukan's puppet."
His voice slowly grew bigger.
"From watching Lukan's mood, he is ignoring the Diez Kingdom Army's atrocities even when he sees them. Pillaging, arson, rape, murder, robbery…… every horrible act in the world is happening in the kingdom's South. The kingdom's citizens are losing their lives as they cry tears of blood and scream."
Every retainer in the meeting let out a groan.
They did not quite know that the South's situation was that horrible.
Keep's words continued on.
"Currently, Kallum and Lukan have fully mobilized their army and are advancing towards the capital, Miller. As of now, the Lancephil Legion's guard troop and detached troops are defending against their advance in the southern region of the Miller Castle."
A battle with lives on the line.
No, a fierce fight with life thrown away were continuing.
Thanks to the guard troop and the detached troops' actions, Kallum and Lukan's advance was much more delayed than they had thought.
Keep suddenly saluted and bowed.
His body sharply shook.
"Please rescue the citizens of the South. Everyone, every citizen……"
Words he spoke aloud syllable by syllable.
"Are awaiting my lord."
A burning voice where ardent heart was melted in.
Silence fell down inside the barrack.
Roan quietly stared at Keep and then stood up from his seat.
Everyone's gazed poured down on Roan.
Roan stared back and forth between Chris and Ian.
Chris and Ian, as if they had been waiting, nodded their heads.
Roan too exhaled a short sigh and then nodded his head.
Finally the decision was made.
"We head south."
Keep tightly straightened up his back and let out a heavy exclamation.
Roan looked long at Keep and the many retainers' eyes and added on.
"We head to rescue our comrades who are lonesomely fighting with their lives on the line. We go to rescue our kingdom's citizens who are cruelly dying on. Not anyone but we……"
Roan slammed the table with his fist.
"Silence the South Rinse Kingdom."
He chose the South first instead of North.
Thankfully the situation wasn't bad.
"All ready for……"
Suddenly the barrack's door fully opened up when Roan's order was just about to continue.
The one who urgently showed up was the thousand-man commander who was undertaking the camp's security.
"What is this in the middle of a meeting!"
Austin jumped up from his seat and criticized.
The thousand-man commander quickly saluted and lowered his head.
"My apologies, sir. But it was too urgent an issue so……"
At those words, Roan raised his hand and calmed Austin, then looked at the thousand-man commander.
"What is it?"
At the shortly asking words, the thousand-man commander quickly answered.
"The nobles have come, sir."
Instantly, numerous retainers creased their brows.
"The nobles you say?"
It was truly a strange event.
Although Roan had high popularity between ordinary citizens and knights, he wasn't so to the nobles.
Though there was also the problem of his background, most of all it was because Roan had greatly reduced the power and honor of the original nobles and had not recognized them.
Due to this, the current number of nobles who sent support and fought together with Roan was small enough to count on hand.
Since he said not a noble but nobles had come in middle of that, they couldn't help but be surprised.
"Who are the ones who came?"
Roan asked with a composed expression and voice.
Everyone awaited the thousand-man commander's answer.
"The name of the one who represented them was Baron Sith Wiggins, sir."
Few retainers formed startled expressions the moment his words finished.
"By Baron Sith Wiggins, was he not the representative of the youth party called 12 Hatchlings?"
"Right. He should be that very noble who outspoke at Prince Simon and got chased out."
"I thought he had died since his appearance long disappeared……"
"To think he so suddenly and abruptly came. Hmm."
Numerous words poured down.
At that moment, the thousand-man commander formed a complicated smile.
"Um, that is……"
His gaze swept long across Roan and the many retainers.
An expression saying the words he really had to say was another.
Everyone widely goggled their eyes and awaited the next words.
The thousand-man commander collected his breath once and then added on.
"Baron Sith Wiggins has come with the insignia of the senate."
< Amaranth (25) > End.
Translator : CSV