Normally, the Noctein forces would have quickly recovered from the losses they suffered on their eastern front and strengthened their borders. However, the unexpected Griffindor invasion led to chaos in the west, and the reserve forces that should have reinforced the east were instead dispatched to face the new threat.
As a result, the Noctein Eastern Army was still feeling the effects of the previous war. All that remained to protect the borders were regiments that had already been half-decimated.
The fact that the Adenburg Kingdom suddenly launched an offensive in this environment signaled disaster for the Nocteins.
“Forward! Annihilate the enemy!”
The Adenburg Western Army crossing the border and the Mangsk infantry pouring out of Fort Kalstein swept through the eastern part of the Noctein Kingdom. The pitiful remnants of the Noctein army collapsed in an instant, and the front was immediately pushed back.
The Nocteins desperately tried to regroup and reset the front, but they lacked the ability to revert the already lopsided balance of power. The Noctein Eastern Army had lost too much manpower to deal with the elite soldiers dispatched by the Adenburg Kingdom.
If the Adenburg Kingdom had not prioritized stabilizing the occupied territory, the Nocteins could have lost control over all of their eastern lands before making a single move.
That said, this did not mean that the war situation was so favorable that the Adenburg leadership could remain at ease. It was simply that the current prospects were bleak for the Noctein Kingdom.
Even so, the Nocteins still had not used their full military might, as they still had their knights and mages – the true powers of a kingdom. In the end, the Noctein Kingdom decided to deploy their knights not only to their western front, but also the eastern front against the Adenburg Kingdom.
Following the Griffindor invasion, the Noctein leadership essentially vowed to destroy all precedent and block the Adenburg movements with all their might.
“The Knights of the Blue Wolves have arrived at the front!”
“The Royal Mages have arrived!”
Superhuman figures not seen in the east for a long time finally appeared at the battlefront.
Two superior knights. Five senior knights. Thirty rank-and-file knights. Thirty-six apprentice knights.
The war situation changed rapidly from the simple fact that a group of knights and thirty mages, despite combining to form barely a company’s worth of soldiers, decided to participate. Although they had slowly and steadily pushed into the front lines, the Adenburg forces were forced to stop at the news of these new combatants and lost their momentum.
“Avoid combat with enemy knights as much as possible, and prioritize preserving our manpower!”
Even Commander Wittenfeld Royen Mangsk, Adenburg’s Shield, was nervous.
However, battle was not something that could be avoided unilaterally. In the end, the retreating infantry regiment was overtaken and suffered near annihilation.
“Leave the battlefield at all costs if you see the flag of the Blue Wolves! You will not be charged with desertion if you return to Fort Kalstein!”
Having suffered a series of setbacks upon the arrival of these superhuman beings, Commander Mangsk finally ordered an unconditional retreat. Nonetheless, they could not completely avoid the damage caused by the knights and the mages, and in this brief period, they suffered several times the losses they suffered in their previous engagements.
It was the moment when all came to realize why kingdoms cherished their knights and mages so dearly.
Knight and mages were literally one man armies. Everything was meaningless in front of their overwhelming and transcendent power. The only ones capable of stopping these superhuman beings were other superhuman beings.
It was around the time that the Noctein forces were turning the battlefield into a chaotic mess that Seon-Hyeok departed Rheinperle.
“I’ll see you in the west.”
Bluegon departed first, travelling along the meandering river. Seon-Hyeok imagined it would be no longer than a week before he saw the sea dragon again, somewhere in the river passing to the west of Fort Kalstein. He climbed onto Redvern’s back, hoping that Bluegon’s obedience would not drop during that time.
“My lord, please be careful.”
“My lord, don’t overexert yourself.”
Seon-Hyeok gave a quick farewell as he watched his squire and cavalry send him off.
“I’ll see you all when I get back.”
With that, he headed to Fort Kalstein with Aria Eisen. Normally, the journey would have taken several days and nights on horseback, but it took just a day to reach with Redvern.
Seon-Hyeok had Redvern slowly descend after circling the air far above the fort’s highest point.
A soldier stationed on the walls and gazing far into the plains turned his head after hearing the flap of wings and immediately stiffened.
Before Seon-Hyeok could say anything, the fort’s emergency bells rang, and archers fired off dozens of arrows towards Redvern.
He did not even need to call on Atiya. With a single flap of its wings, Redvern caused the arrows to lose their momentum and fall helplessly towards the ground.
“Stop firing! I’m an ally!”
Seeing the archers swearing while reloading their bows, Seon-Hyeok urgently shouted. The archers stared blankly at the unusually clear voice, heard despite the shrill winds blowing atop the walls.
“It’s Earl Drachen! Inform Commander Mangsk that Drachen is here!”
Fortunately, a company commander was able to identify him and stopped the archers from attacking. With that, he was able to safely land inside the fortress.
“You’re making quite the appearance again.”
Commander Mangsk welcomed him with a smile as he watched the soldiers gathering around to catch a glimpse of their newest ally.
“It’s been a while.”
“So there’s no way a drake suddenly sprouted wings, so what is it this time?”
“This is a wyvern. I named it Redvern.”
The commander expressed his admiration as Seon-Hyeok answered in an indifferent tone.
“When I first met you, you were little more than a foreigner with a strange class. Now? You’re a proud earl of the kingdom, one worthy of being called a dragon rider.”
Commander Mangsk seemed truly proud of Seon-Hyeok’s growth. Seon-Hyeok belatedly smiled as he heard the sincere praise.
While Seon-Hyeok greeted the commander, Aria Eisen jumped off of Redvern’s back.
“And who’s that lady? Oh! Those are the robes of a Royal Mage.”
The commander smiled, recognizing the runes on the mage’s robes. However, instead of greeting the commander, Aria Eisen bent over and threw up.
“Sir Aria Eisen used to be a member of the Royal Mages, but she’s now affiliated with the Rheinperle territory.”
With an embarrassed expression, Seon-Hyeok patted the mage on the back and introduced her instead.
“It’s a rough ride.”
When the commander expressed his concern that the precious mage was ill, Seon-Hyeok offered an excuse.
“I, I’ll take a quick break.”
Aria Eisen seemed exhausted from just that simple flight, and she requested some time to recover. The commander quickly obliged.
“Do you need to take a break as well?”
“No, I’m fine.”
By now, Seon-Hyeok was able to endure all but the most violent of maneuvers following his extensive training. He shook his head, and the commander, expecting this response, guided him to the command center.
“Then let’s get moving. The current situation isn’t enviable.”
The situation was worse than expected. The Adenburg Kingdom had lost most of their territorial gains made at the start of the war, and the soldiers had suffered serious losses.
“We’re avoiding combat as much as possible, but if we back away any further, we’ll have to hand over Fort Kalstein as well.”
“Is the situation that bad?”
“Knights aren’t treated as the true measure of a kingdom’s firepower for nothing. Each and every one is capable of facing a well-trained infantry company on his own. To think that it’s not just one or two of them, but dozens… it’d be strange if the situation was any better.”
The normally stoic and mountain-like Mangsk commander shook his head. The Noctein reinforcements were just that significant of a problem.
“Why haven’t we sent in knights as well?”
Seon-Hyeok had already experienced firsthand the power of knights over the course of several duels. As such, he knew better than anyone else at the fort that the only ones capable of checking these superhuman beings were others of their kind. He could not help but question why the Adenburg knights had not appeared on the front lines yet.
“The Central Knights and the Royal Mages are already on their way. They’ll be here in a week at the latest.”
“That’s too late. If they had left a little earlier, we could have avoided much of our losses.”
Considering it was the Adenburg Kingdom that incited the war and drew in the Griffindors, it was unfortunate that the knights were dispatched this late. However, Commander Mangsk suggested that if the knights had participated from the beginning, the Nocteins would have been quick to notice. Even this was a calculated scenario.
“For now, you should join in with the Central Knights when they arrive. I have no doubts about your abilities and accomplishments, but it isn’t just one foe you have to deal with.”
The only force that could deal with dozens of knights was a similarly sized force of equivalent individuals. No matter how much growth he had experienced in the previous war, it was impossible for Seon-Hyeok to handle them alone.
“The allied losses will be too severe if we just wait.”
Despite this, Seon-Hyeok decided to move first, instead of waiting for reinforcements.
“I’ll buy you some time.”
“It’s impossible to face off against the enemy knights, even if we bring in all the cavalry on the front. No matter how strong you may be, it’ll be hard for you to return alive against a united group of knights.”
The commander tried to dissuade him.
“I don’t need the cavalry. This time, I’ll move alone.”
It was because he had planned to act alone that he even left his most reliable ally, Asha Trail, back at Rheinperle.
“It’ll be dangerous. Do you have any plans?”
The commander asked him expectantly when Seon-Hyeok remained adamant in his position.
“Have you ever heard of a saying like this?”
Seon-Hyeok confidently answered.
“He who rules the heavens, rules the battlefield.”
“What does that mean?”
It seemed that even Commander Mangsk, despite his extensive battlefield experience, had difficulty in immediately understanding his intentions.
Then again, there were no concepts of modern aerial warfare in this world, where it was customary to fight on foot and on horseback. Even if there had been, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to put into practice. After all, it was only feasible for those who had successfully tamed a flying monster, like his wyvern.
Seon-Hyeok picked up a placeholder fixed to the map on the conference table. He opened his palm on top of what he imagined to be an enemy knight.
The weight crushed the knight figures on the table.
“I intend to rain death from far above the enemy’s reach.”
Seon-Hyeok happened to have quite the useful explosive on his side. Depending on how she was used, Aria Eisen could be a more effective weapon than any in the other world.
“I’ll try to stop the enemy knights.”
Seon-Hyeok bragged as if he would head into battle right away, but unfortunately, he had to wait. The most important factor in his aerial raid, Aria Eisen, showed no signs of getting up after a full day of flight.
Ultimately, he was forced to leave the mage at the fort and climbed onto Redvern alone.
Redvern’s advantage was not just in the ability to attack enemies from high above. As far as he knew, it was the only bomber, fighter jet, and reconnaissance aircraft in this world.
“Let’s take a look at the faces of those knights, shall we?”
It was time for him to scout the enemy.Previous Chapter Next Chapter