In the territory of Marquis Nelson, the Doria Castle in the province of Kallenoa.
Gwak Seyoung was grinding his teeth while standing on top of the wall with his men.
‘Chun Woohyuk, that detestable bastard…’
He thought that if he helped suppress the rebellion of the nobles, he would be granted a small fief.
At that time, the enemy territory that was recovered and returned to the royal faction was wide and vast.
However, Woo-hyuk handed out parts of it to his direct subordinates only, and expelled the members of other clans to the border, to Marquis Nelson’s Army.
‘I should’ve killed Han Jangmi when I had the opportunity.’
Back when he left, he wasn’t sure if attempting a rescue was a good idea, and departed empty-handed.
She had a beautiful face which was advantageous back on Earth for her worklife, but that was in the past.
Now, she was in a world where it was difficult to survive, and if the smallest thing went wrong, she would forfeit her life.
Currently, Han Jangmi, who was locked in Blackburn, was his shackle.
Even if he fled to another country, he could get forcibly summoned by her as she was his clan leader, and he would have to obey Woohyuk's every command.
There was no limit to the range of orders that a clan leader could give, so it was possible to order clan members to commit suicide.
So, Gwak Seyoung and the other clan members had to obey Woohyuk’s every order, unless they were willing to accept the disadvantages of removing their Unity Rings.
“Is it true that the king returned with foreign mercenaries this time?”
"Yeah. As soon as they arrived, they were incorporated into the kingdom’s army.”
“The woman who was the commander of the mercenary group received the title of countess. I haven't heard why though.”
“They say she’s extremely hot and sexy. I bet she shared the bed with the king several times to gain that status.”
The Hwarang clan members, who were on the watch, were bored and couldn’t stop themselves from gossipping with each other.
Gwak Seyoung stood silently while listening to their stories.
'I must stay calm.'
He didn’t know if Woohyuk had abandoned them or was using them as sacrificial pawns, but he couldn’t let his emotions take over him.
This was the front line.
Due to the strict military rules, special attention had to be paid to their conduct.
‘As long as we wait, the perfect opportunity will come.’
As they were at a dangerous border, there was plenty of room for them to grow and refine their skills, such as holding Dane soldiers captive during some of the Dane Kingdom’s occasional provocations.
Although he was currently being ignored by Marquis Nelson for being a foreigner, his abilities would soon be recognized.
‘Just you wait, Chun Woohyuk. I will make you regret manipulating me.’
As long as he could free himself from the restraint called the Hwarang Clan, he would definitely leave the Rhine Kingdom at any moment and serve another monarch.
The problem was the negotiations.
With the number of soldiers he currently possessed, he would only be treated as a small and useless group wherever he would go.
He had to increase his influence little by little for now.
A soldier appeared and spoke while Gwak Seyoung was steeling himself.
“Lieutenant Gwak Seyoung, Commander Anderson is looking for you.”
“… I understand."
Seeing he was getting summoned during the shift changes, it appeared that the commander was about to order Seyoung to do some annoying chores.
When he followed the messenger into the commander's office inside the barracks, he saw a middle-aged man with a peculiar look sitting in his uniform.
“Gwak Seyoung. There is something you need to do.”
“I am all ears, sir.”
“There was a request for reinforcements from the Eastern Guard Camp in the Trevis region. The soldiers who were doing reconnaissance inside the Corcas mountains went missing.”
The Nelson march consisted of Sirien in the north, Trevis in the central area, and Kallenoa in the south.
However, Sirien and Trevis have always been stationed by guards only since ages ago, because the Corcas Mountains were present by their borders.
Moreover, if problems were to occur in those two regions, the main unit of Kallenoa would have to provide support.
“Are Rick and Daryl going with me?”
“Rick is currently in Media, in the Erutonia province due to his mission of escorting military necessities. And recently, Daryl has been busy training the new recruits.”
Rick and Daryl had participated in the subjugation of the Corcas mountains a few months ago and became lieutenants.
Originally, they were mercenary captains who wandered around the lands. But upon the recommendation of Aiden, the commander of the Northeastern Guard Camp, their statuses were raised.
So, although the three of them were of the same rank, Gwak Seyoung was treated completely differently, as he had been demoted and sent away by Woo-hyuk.
‘He’s saying he’ll risk my life and put me in potential danger, but not the other two. Well, I can endure that much.’
By going through many hardships, he could become stronger and hone his skills.
Gwak Seyoung showed a pleasant expression as he kept a soldier’s heart
“Then, I will investigate the details of the incident. Should I go to the East Guard Camp first?”
“No, go straight to the Corcas Mountains. We know the approximate location of their disappearance already.”
Commander Anderson lifted the letter he was holding in his hand.
In it was drawn a map of the Corcas Mountains and the usual reconnaissance routes the guards followed.
“Yes sir. I will tell my men to pack their bags as fast as possible.”
“Set off as soon as you can.”
Commander Anderson waved Gwak Seyoung away as if he couldn’t care any less.
The lieutenant turned around and walked away after saluting the commander.
‘Once I rise in ranks later on, I’ll get rid of this bastard first.’
They were exposed to discrimination due to the fact that they were part of the rebellion.
Gwak Seyoung exited the commander's office as he imagined himself sticking a dagger in the man’s neck.
Gwak Seyoung marched along the road with his troops.
There were a total of 1,000 men approximately, including himself, who were responsible for this mission.
He had gathered these soldiers by borrowing men from other units.
The reason there are not so many men available was because everyone was busy protecting the walls of the Doria Castle.
The castle walls of Doria were large enough to cover the entire border on the eastern side of the Kallenoa province, requiring a large number of troops to guard it.
In ordinary situations, the kingdom’s army would have joined them, but they were all summoned to the capital and were undergoing military training, so there was no leeway for them to send their own troops.
So, even if it was difficult, they had to investigate the disappearance incident with these thousand members only.
“By the way, Lieutenant, how do you think the recon troops vanished?”
“The monsters are mostly subjugated by now, so there is a high possibility that it was the Dane Kingdom’s army.”
In recent years, the Dane Kingdom had been performing armed provocations so often that it was considered strange.
They were enemy nations in the past, so minor conflicts were unavoidable. But as the Doria Castle walls and the Corcas mountains stood between each other, skirmishes were actually quite rare.
"Do, do you think that a war will begin?"
“I don't know, but I definitely don’t want to fight with my life on the line for this country...”
All the members of the battalion belonged to the Hwarang clan, as it was an important factor for him during the selection for this mission’s participants.
There were many people wearing adventurers' watches in other units as well.
"Don’t worry. They say that as long as you keep your calm, you can survive any situation you get thrown into.”
After cheering his subordinates up, Gwak Seyoung stared at the man on horseback on the front.
The supreme commander Thompson.
He was a new commander who had just arrived, but was a greenie with no experience in war.
'If we trust him and follow him, we’re dead meat.'
After experiencing the Primordial forest and adventurer's canyon, Gwak Seyoung knew the importance of having an outstanding leader.
Incompetent commanders inevitably endangered their own men, and unfortunately, Thompson also belonged in that category.
'I'll have to separate my squad and act independently.'
The activities he could do would get greatly restricted if he led 15 men only, but he didn’t care.
It didn’t matter whether the army would get annihilated or not. He just had to hone his skills and return safely to camp.
It would also be advantageous to capture and return with a few members of the Dane Kingdom’s Army.
As Gwak Seyoung was making plans, the procession in the front stopped their march.
“Squads, convert into search formation!”
Thompson exclaimed, pulling a long sword.
They were arriving at their destination and were about to start the mission in earnest.
‘Are those the Corcas Mountains?’
The mountain range that occupied about 70% of the border between the Rhine Kingdom and the Dane Kingdom.
Gwak Seyoung was not afraid at all, as Rick and Daryl, who were mercenary captains back then, had returned alive from this location.
As soon as they started climbing the mountain range, Gwak Seyoung secretly gave instructions to his men.
“Eat all of your ghost mushrooms. When enemies appear, you have to hide.”
His squad was in the rear.
It was possible for them to desert the army during the confusion of battle if a fight occurred.
“Lieutenant, we have a lot of men on our side, so is it really necessary?”
“I have a bad feeling.”
Gwak Seyoung's intuition was quite accurate, and he was impressed by it himself. So whenever a life-threatening crisis would occur, he would always follow his instincts and move according to his gut feeling.
'The air feels unpleasant.'
It was a completely different feeling compared to the one he got when he watched the mountains from a distance.
As he expressed his displeasure, a horse cried in front.
The warhorse that Thompson was riding suddenly had a seizure and fell down while frothing in its mouth.
Thompson was slammed against the hard and cold ground.
“A-are you okay, Commander?”
The lieutenant, who was near the commander, ran to Thompson in astonishment.
It was an unexpected mishap.
As the soldiers began gossiping, a black fog suddenly emerged from all four directions and covered them.
“Wha, what is this?!”
“Is it dark magic?”
It was too atypical to be called a coincidence or a natural phenomenon.
‘Fuck... Now it’s harder to run away.’
It was difficult to discern their surroundings as the view was blocked.
Gwak Seyoung clenched his teeth and raised his senses as much as possible.
‘We have to get out of here, one way or another.’
Again, his intuition was right.
Although it may have been different in the past, the current Corcas Mountains was a very dangerous place.
It would be difficult to train and hone his skills, if not to survive.
As Gwak Seyoung was sweating, a creepy female cackling resounded from beyond the black fog.
“Hoho, these fresh new offerings came rolling at my feet. What a joy!”
“Who, who are you!”
The lieutenant who was trying to shake Thompson awake, to no avail, shouted as he desperately scanned his surroundings.
The woman laughed loudly as if his reaction was interesting.
"You want to know? Then I'll give you a hint. I am one of the seven deadly sins. Pride, lust, greed, gluttony, envy, sloth or wrath. Can you guess which one of these I am?”
One of the seven witches who assisted Lilith.
When the enemy revealed her identity, the lieutenant trembled with fear.
“A, a witch…”
“If it’s too difficult, should I tell you another hint? Envy was extinguished some time ago. Well, it wasn’t completely annihilated, but from a human’s point of view it has disappeared.”
“Now it's time to answer the question. Go ahead and pick something quickly, before my patience runs out and I wreak havoc.”
The woman's voice gradually grew colder. The lieutenant swallowed and opened his mouth carefully.
A huge purple monster popped out of the black fog and grabbed the lieutenant.
When he got crushed alive by the monster’s grip, the soldiers turned pale like a sheet.
“O-oh my god!”
A mix of shock and fear.
However, no one dared to attack the enemy, as they knew that death would reap their souls like it did for the lieutenant if they caught the witch’s attention.
“Hohoho... Should I give everyone a chance too? Oh, but now that I think about it, it's too bothersome. I’ll just kill them all.”
Immediately, monsters jumped out from all directions and began grabbing and slaughtering the soldiers.
The men tried to resist, but bizarrely, they couldn’t muster any strength.
“Isn’t the whole world just bothersome? Just accept the sin of sloth quietly. Then the agony and torment will end quickly.”
The woman was called Priscilla, the Witch of Sloth.
The reason the soldiers became powerless was due to the manifestation of her power.
The power gap was so severe that the army was helpless in front of her.
Gwak Seyoung stared through the black fog, struggling as much as he could.
‘If I don't do something, I’m dead.’
He took a moment to wrack his brain, when a good idea suddenly came to mind.
“Wi-witch of Sloth! I wish to make a suggestion!”
"Hm? Who do you think you are to negotiate with me?”
“I am a follower of Demon King Volak! So if you kill me like this, won’t it be troublesome for you?”
While he did ally himself with Woohyuk for a short while, few people knew about that truth.
Most of the people who had participated in the rebellion were either killed or captured already.
As Gwak Seyoung continued to shout out loud, a portal was created in the air and a woman with light purple hair appeared.
“Ho, Demon King Volak? How interesting. I didn’t expect to meet someone related to him here.”
Coincidentally, she had many things to ask about him.
Priscilla smirked as she looked down at Gwak Seyoung, who was spitting and breathing roughly after getting released by the monster that was holding him.
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