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Settling Debt

Here's the third release of the week. Enjoy~


The second highness took more than ten days to bring his army of five thousand to Kobo, fully equipped with the Whitelion Legion's gear. He hanged all 47 members of House Madras, including the captured duke. Even a four-year-old child wasn't able to escape his fate. There was even a sign engraved with these words beside the corpses: 'Thus is the fate of traitors to the empire'.

On the 14th day of the 5th month, Year 1775, the Andinaq kingdom's former king Auguslo hanged all the members of House Madras, exterminating one of the oldest noble houses of the Krissen Empire.

Kenmays, who was traveling with the second highness, wrote Lorist a letter and warned him to be wary of the second highness, stating that while the second highness appeared to be a forthright, ambitious and intelligent person on the surface, he had an extremely petty personality and was the kind of person to remember even the smallest grudges. Even in the starkest situations, he would persevere and endure. Such a person might prove troublesome in the future, especially when they had attempted to take advantage of him through the contract.

Lorist fell into deep thought after reading the letter.  His reply was thus: 'Sheer might and our alliance. We'll execute the plan as scheduled.'



On the other hand, he wasn't too surprised at the fate of House Madras. When the duke suddenly announced the independence of his duchy, he had spoiled the third prince's chances to exterminate the rebellious first and second princes. Despite the third prince's efforts to conquer Kobo, he ended up retreating, defeated. It set the once mighty empire on the path of civil war and certain doom.

As the successor of the third prince, the second highness bore a deep grudge against Duke Madras. While Lorist was well aware of it, he didn't think the second highness would actually go so far as to kill even a four-year-old child to ensure the blood of House Madras, passed down for three centuries, was extinguished forever. Perhaps, such cruelty was the second highness's shortcoming. A king should not act ruthlessly with exclusivity -- seeking the fear of his subjects -- he should also be willing to compromise and tolerate.

It was precisely the second highness' cruelty that caught Lorist's attention. When he regained his position on the throne, the four dukes of the central duchies would probably be unnerved, given what had happened to House Madras. Lorist believed they would definitely focus all their attention on the second highness's actions and thus decrease the extent of their support for House Fisablen.

Kenmays understood what Lorist meant in his short reply instantly. No explanation was necessary, it was clear that 'might' referred to the strength of the singular house. As long as one had might, one need not fear others. 'Alliance', on the other hand, obviously referred to the maintenance of the four houses' alliance. In the past, the four houses had stood united in The Northlands against foes outside. Now each of the houses had their own dominions and had expanded their power, they didn't have to worry about the second highness in the slightest -- if they could maintain their alliance. If he attempted to cross any of the four houses, the other three would definitely jump to their aid and resist him.

Kenmays suddenly felt helping the second highness back on his throne was a rather good idea. Even though he didn't believe Lorist when he said House Fisablen was the most dangerous enemy they would ever face, after some thought, he felt that, even without House Fisablen around, as long as the second highness was still there, the four houses would stand united against any enemy. Additionally, they wouldn't dissolve the alliance just because they no longer had a common foe.

Let's execute our plan. First, we'll make the second highness king again and let the Union feel threatened. We'll have to reorganize our dominions and military this year and attack Iblia next year. Let's see how Duke Fisablen intends to cope with us.

After leaving Kobo, the second highness and Kenmays continued their journey to Vanades. On the way, they passed the depressed citizens of Sidgler who were migrating to the Norton dominion, carrying with them whatever belongings they could take with a simple pull-carriage. Sounds of crying could be heard from both sides of the road where they passed.

When the second highness saw the Madras soldiers constructing the road, he couldn't help but reveal a desiring expression.

"Lord Count, could you give me these captives..."

Before the second highness finished, Kenmays interjected, "Apologies, Your Highness. We are nobles and must abide by the oaths we take. We promised these soldiers they would be allowed to reunite with their families after three years of service. Forgive me for being unable to agree to your request, we are truly unable to go against our word."

"Forget it then," said the second highness as he waved his horsewhip with dissatisfaction.

"Don't be mad, Your Highness," Kenmays laughed, "We just received word today that Tigersoar occupied Vanades yesterday. They'll rush to the imperial capital straight away. For now, the refugees and soldiers at Welbassia and Yungechandler are yours from which to pick. A good number of them are your old subordinates too. I'm sure you'll be able to form a new legion. Using the men you're familiar with is better than using the duchy's troops, no?"

"How could things go this fast?" the second highness exclaimed, "I fortified Yungechandler myself. Lichtana Citadel and Mountainmidst Castle are the core of the province's defenses and I've had many experts in fortification design the battlements, mainly to stop a sudden invasion by Duke Madras. Did the garrison soldiers surrender as well?"

"I'm not too sure about the details, Your Highness. Actually, Mountainmidst Castle was already conquered by the time we left Kobo. As I understand it, Tigersoar is the sharpest knife House Norton has. It is mainly a cavalry unit that excels at attacking. Its capabilities are beyond what we can imagine. If the troops at Yungechandler weren't well-prepared, it's not surprising that they didn't manage to withstand Tigersoar's assault."

Well, had they not needed to wait for the arrival of Ovidis's Thunderbolt Brigade, they might've already reached the Great Andalou Plains already. he thought as he spoke.

Both Lichtana Citadel and Mountainmidst Castle were unable to resist the Thunderbolt Brigade's barrage. Lorist had long told Fiercetiger Loze to ruin every castle they came across so they wouldn't become obstacles in the future.

After hearing about Tigersoar's performance, the second highness couldn't help but feel the burning desire to fly to the legion and command it himself during the capital's siege. He deeply desired to make his grand entrance into the palace.

It was too bad that the moment they arrived at Yungechandler, the second highness was held back by too many other matters. As the first province of the kingdom he retook, many acquaintances and old subordinates couldn't wait to meet with him. Additionally, there was the matter of absorbing the surrendered troops and captives into Whitelion. He was so busy he barely had time for a good meal.

Word of Tigersoar's results kept on coming, but the second highness was finally able to relax when he heard they finally began to face the royal defense legion at the imperial capital. That legion was originally the second highness's second royal local defense legion he had stationed at Yungechandler to defend it. They had joined Queen Carey's side and become the kingdom's only official legion, numbering just 76 thousand in total. They had been stationed at Flowater Creek and Jillin Harbor.

Faced with Tigersoar's fierce attacks, the ones in control of the kingdom had to order the royal defense legion to regroup. At the same time, they had sent a call for help to the Zitram duchy, Allied Duchies of Britt and the Forde Trade Union in the hopes they would be able to send reinforcements to prevent the second highness from returning once more.

The second highness hurriedly wrote an impassioned letter to Loze, first praising the general's results, before suggesting Loze hold his ground for half a month. He stated that he would be able to finish reorganizing Whitelion and be able to send aid by then. He wanted to unite the two armies in the effort to conquer the capital.

In less than half a month, however, word from the frontlines was that House Norton's Firmrock Legion had arrived at Jillin Harbor and encircled the capital completely. The royal defense force was defeated by the two legions' combined attack. The legion lost 30 thousand men and the rest either surrendered or deserted. The old empire's most prosperous city finally opened its doors to the Nortons. The victors, Firmrock and Tigersoar, stepped into the city proudly and hung the banner of the Raging Bear all over the palace's walls.

On the 11th day of the 7th month, Year 1777, The Northlands' House Norton defeated the Andinaq kingdom's royal defense legion with the Firmrock and Tigersoar Legions, conquering the imperial capital. Queen Carey I and her three lovers drank poison to self-terminate. The former king, Auguslo I, once again took his position on the throne.

This stunning war showed others the overpowering might of the House of the Raging Bear. They had launched their attack on the 14th day of the 5th month and completed their objectives on the 11th day of the 7th month. In the span of just two months, they had swept three provinces of the kingdom without any apparent resistance, winning battles one after another.

When the neighboring powers resisted Tigersoar at the capital together, House Norton sent Firmrock to Jillin Harbor and dealt the decisive blow to the kingdom from behind. Their actions were so swift that the surrounding nations weren't able to react in time. Before they had even decided whether to send troops to reinforce the kingdom, the dust of war had already settled.

The battles saw the reputation of three of House Norton's gold-ranked knights soar. Naturally, among them was Tigersoar's commander, Fiercetiger Loze, who swept the battlefield with incredible ferocity and speed. Dulles had commanded the carroballista division and launched a massacre-like attack on the royal defense legion. Half of the 30 thousand dead had died by ballista fire, their corpses were piled up like mountains, accompanied by rivers of blood. The last knight was Ovidis. The heavily bearded guy crushed one citadel after another with the Thunderbolt Brigade. No matter how hard the defense, he managed to break it into shambles.

The second highness finally returned to the capital in the 7th month with the newly formed Whitelion Legion. His first action after he returned was to admonish the nobles who had betrayed him. Under the purview of Tigersoar and Firmrock, who were in charge of the city's security, the noble's blood was spilled. The massacre disrupted the city's hitherto peaceful streets. Soldiers, garbed in the Whitelion Legion's gear, stormed the lavish mansions and dragged the nobles out one by one before beheading them on the streets. As for the women, they were brought back to the army camp as spoils. Their cries and shrieks echoed across the plains and down the city streets.

"How can they do that?!" Loze roared angrily, "Did the second highness forget he's the king and this his capital?"

"He doesn't have a choice," Potterfang said with a troubled frown, "You and I both know the second highness didn't bring much of his wealth with him when he escaped to The Northlands. Apart from the Whitelion Legion equipment and the funds the four houses gave him, he has nothing else, and that money is also almost entirely used up. I thought he would only punish a few of them at first, but I didn't think he'd exterminate them all. He's intent on clearing out almost all the kingdom's nobles!"

"His Grace shouldn't have let the second highness back on the throne. Given how cruel he is, he will definitely become a most fearsome threat to our house one day," said Loze as he gazed at the walls where many heads were hung.

"It's about time we left. Since you already rescued all your paramours, don't butt into the second highness's business any longer. Even though I think he doesn't have the bearing of a king, this is something His Grace should worry about. It's not our business to participate in this discussion. I will say, however, that the second highness will never be able to reunite the old Krissen Empire as he is now," said Potterfang.

On the 32nd day of the 7th month, Year 1777, Auguslo I -- who had just been reinstated as king -- ordered the bloody execution of all the traitorous nobles. Not a single one in the imperial capital was left alive, save a few exceptions. The massacre spanned three whole days and more than three thousand nobles had their heads cut off and displayed on the city walls. As for the young noble ladies, most were disgraced at the army camps until they expired and departed the world. Word of the atrocity eventually spread and shocked the whole of Grindia. The nobles of various nations considering the second highness public enemy number one. He was eventually known as the Slaughterer King, and the incident was later termed 'The Bloody Cleansing of the 7th'.

"He's a freaking demon, not a king!" Loze complained even after leaving the capital, "It's one thing if he kills the nobles, but do why the attendants, servants, and knights have to die? Not only did he not spare the women, he didn't even give them a swift death! This is something only a demon is capable of doing. He's destroying our honor as nobles! I really feel like we need another war..."

Kenmays was currently seated in front of Loze and Potterfang. He had accompanied the second highness on the way to the imperial capital and had witnessed everything.

"In terms of the law, the second highness wasn't wrong in what he did," he sighed, "Those nobles were traitors. They had intentionally delayed or ignored his decrees and caused Kanbona's. The second highness had already ordered the province be strongly defended, yet they didn't bother and caused the second highness's efforts to go to waste.

"When he was trapped at Frederika, not only did they not send aid, they even crowned Princess Carey queen. It's an indisputable act of betrayal. Perhaps, they thought all they had to do when the second highness returned was admit their wrongdoing. Even they didn't think he would hold his grudges so close. The second highness is not the slightest bit tolerant the way they thought he was. Since he had used up almost all his funds in rebuilding Whitelion, slaughtering the nobles and confiscating their wealth is only par for the course.

"Then again, we really didn't see how cruel he could get, for him to kill even the women and everyone else related to the noble houses by blood. He did it to extinguish any seed of revenge that may sprout in the future. The both of you are still right. The second highness doesn't act like a king should at all. He's just a slaughterer."

A guard entered the tent and reported, "His Grace is here!"

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