Book 5 Chapter 104 - The Return of the King (4)

The middle of the night, with the moon high up in the sky.

Gwak Seyoung was running with an unconscious Thompson on his back.

‘I didn’t think it would go this well.’

Not only did he survive, he also got the opportunity to become a genius.

The corners of Gwak Seyoung’s mouth rose as he recalled the discussion he had with Priscilla in the Corcas Mountains.

'Everyone is frantically trying to get rid of him?’

The true ruler of the Dane Kingdom, Demon King Dantalion, was extremely wary about Woohyuk, because he had defeated Demon King Volak once and killed the Witch of Envy Kriemhild.

If they were to fight against each other, there was a high chance Dantalion would lose.

Therefore, Dantalion devised a scheme against Woohyuk.

He persuaded Priscilla, the Witch of Sloth, to advance through the Corcas Mountains, and asked for Demon King Amii’s aid, a member of the same demon circle.

'They will obtain the Rhine Kingdom.'

While he wasn’t told of the details, their plans were roughly predictable.

They would catch Woohyuk's attention by causing a disturbance in the Corcas Mountains. As Marquis Nelson's army was busy defending Doria Castle, Woohyuk would have no other choice but to send the kingdom’s army to the mountain range.

However, one army alone would not be enough to stop the Witch of Sloth.

Once the subjugation would fail several times, there was a high possibility that Woohyuk would eventually come out to deal with the problem himself.

If that were to happen, the two Demon Kings who stood on the side observing the situation would attack him together and kill him, and would conquer the lands and take over the capital Heidelberg.

'After this war, I will be granted a small fief.'

His role was to monitor Doria Castle and create confusion at the opportune moment.

Considering the strategic importance of Doria Castle, this was an important duty.

If he succeeded, he would be recognized for his achievements.

When he arrived at Doria Castle, Gwak Seyoung got off his horse and spoke to Thompson.

“What will you report to Marquis Nelson?”

“The monster army… attacked... we were annihilated…”

Thompson’s mind had been corrupted by Priscilla.

Gwak Seyoung, who watched him drool like a fool, clicked his tongue.

“Now that he’s a puppet, he’s become completely braindead.”

But it didn't matter much, as Thompson was not very useful for this operation in the first place.

His role was simply to report the situation to Marquis Nelson in an appropriate way. Afterwards, his existence would become meaningless to the plan.

After pulling Thomson off the horse, Gwak Seyoung went straight through the castle with him.

Once he got past the strict identification procedures and arrived at the marquis’ room,

“You cannot go inside now.”

A guard standing in front of the door blocked Gwak Seyoung.

“This is Sir Thompson, Commander of the Corcas reconnaissance army. We are here for urgent business, so get out of our way.”

“The Marquis is currently talking with His Majesty the King, so please wait for a while.”

‘Chun Woohyuk?’

Gwak Seyoung couldn’t keep up his act and his expression subtly turned dark.

“Why has His Majesty come all this way?”

“I'm not sure about that. He simply came with a single escort knight...”

Chun Woohyuk had arrived at a bad timing.

As Gwak Seyoung began sweating and stepping backwards,

Clack!

Leifina revealed her presence by opening the door. The conversation between Marquis Nelson and Woohyuk was over.

"Him? Who are these people?”

“Oh, they were sent to investigate the Corcas Mountains some time ago…”

The guard briefly explained the situation.

Leifina nodded and whispered to Woohyuk, who stood patiently behind her.

“The commander of the reconnaissance army has returned.”

“Perfect timing.”

Woohyuk stepped forward and alternated his gaze between Gwak Seyoung and Thompson.

Immediately, his eyes became sharp. He could feel demonic energy from the two of them, although it was very weak.

“What happened during the investigation?”

"Monsters… attacked... the army...”

As Thompson has been brainwashed, he falsely reported the events within the mountains. Although the story sounded plausible, it couldn’t erase Woohyuk’s suspicions.

“Many parts of it sound suspicious. We’ll need to do an interrogation.”

“…”

Gwak Seyoung's expression immediately darkened. He hadn’t expected something like this to happen even before the plan had been set in full motion.

It would spell trouble if Woo-hyuk noticed that Thompson had been brainwashed.

When his thoughts reached this conculsion, Gwak Seyoung quickly spoke.

“Your Majesty, it was such a sudden attack that we couldn’t gather enough information about it. If you give me another chance, I will go back to the Corcas Mountains and...”

“Leifina, arrest them.”

Woohyuk gave the order as if there was nothing else to listen to.

“Yes, my lord.”

Leifina, who was standing by his side, moved behind the two survivors and grabbed them by the neck. Her movements were so swift and quick that Gwak Seyoung had no time to react.

'I’m completely trapped.'

Gwak Seyoung swallowed his saliva.

Running away in this situation was the same thing as admitting he was a traitor.

Plus, he didn’t have the skills and abilities to run away safely as of currently.

Gwak Seyoung despaired as he watched Woohyuk converse with Marquis Nelson, who had come out of his office in surprise.

***

After an hour of interrogation, Woohyuk was able to make them spit out the truth.

He had hypnotized Gwak Seyoung with Jake's Pocket Watch and made him answer truthfully. On the other hand, Thompson had already been deeply eroded with demonic energy that it didn't help Woohyuk during the interrogation.

Woohyuk got a clear idea of the situation and ordered the two people to be locked up behind iron bars and shackled.

‘They’re thinking of using the Corcas Mountains as an outpost.’

As he had expected, they did not attempt an all-out war. If they publicly declared war, the Holy Aperian Empire would send paladins to arbitrate the conflict, which was undesirable for the Demon Kings and the Witch.

The Seven Paladins were powerful enough that they could rival the strength of Demon Kings as long as they were not of high ranks. They could also easily detect demons who had hidden themselves.

Therefore, the Demon Kings of Ars Nova had mobilized monsters instead of the Dane and Lydia Kingdoms’ armies. They were trying to eliminate Woohyuk while doing their best to avoid international conflicts between nations.

In such a situation, the Corcas Mountains, which was always infested with monsters, was the best possible battlefield they could ask for.

‘They won’t stop their plans right now just because we caught onto their schemes.’

Priscilla was most probably watching the situation here through the imprints on Thompson and Gwak Seyoung.

However, it was unlikely that she and the Demon Kings of Ars Nova would significantly change their original plans, as they knew that the Corcas Mountains were a strategic location that Woohyuk wouldn’t dare to abandon.

'If I don't step forward, the Nelson march will become a large graveyard.'

Priscilla had joined hands with the Demon Kings because she needed sacrifices to be made to Lilith and a forest to rule as a sanctuary.

If she were to attack, the guards in the northern and central regions of the Nelson march would get slaughtered without having a chance to retaliate.

Something had to be done before it would be too late.

“What do you plan to do, Your Majesty?”

As Woohyuk stood silently in deep thoughts, Marquis Nelson asked with an anxious look.

He had also listened to the contents of the interrogation and understood the gravity of the current situation.

However, there was nothing much he could do other than waiting for the king’s order.

“Since they’re attacking us first, there’s no other choice.”

He had been prepared from the very beginning. It was impossible for him to stay confined within the Ionel Peninsula from the start.

Even if it was a bit unreasonable, he had to defeat the two demon kings and conquer the neighboring countries to lay the foundation for the peace of the Eeth continent.

“In my opinion, it would be a good idea to send a message to ask Emperor Tiberius for help. If the Paladins of the Holy Aperian Empire help us, this problem can be easily solved... .”

“No, that would be problematic.”

Woohyuk also possessed the demonic energy of Asura, so in the paladins’ eyes, he was no different than the 72nd Demon Kings. The situation would worsen if they actually asked the Holy Aperian Empire for help.

The Demon Kings of the Ars Nova Circle also knew this fact, which is why they were daring enough to plan out a scheme like this.

“If push comes to shove, are you planning to deal with them on your own, Your Majesty?”

“No, I will need some help.”

They could hinder Priscilla for a while with the help of the Izuna Kingdom's Spiritual Society.

Woohyuk returned to Marquis Nelson's room and quickly wrote a letter.

'It's time to get the military support that was promised last time.'

There was no need to ask the Izuna Kingdom to send troops, as they could keep the Dane Kingdom’s army in check at their border.

The Spiritual Society and the priests within the group were more than enough support.

“My Lord, shall we issue a draft order to all the feudal lords?”

“No, wait a moment. I will make a separate list of lords.”

If they were to engage in an all-out war, there was a high possibility that they could get attacked from behind, from groups such as the Golden Rose Society, the Witch Cult, or demons.

When Woohyuk handed over the scroll with a list of names written on it, Leifina made a puzzled expression.

“Is this truly enough? I personally don’t think that there are enough on the list...”

“This conflict is not at the stage of an all-out war yet.”

If they were to lead a lot of troops, Priscilla and the Demon Kings of the Ars Nova Circle would not descend the Corcas Mountains.

However, if they were to blindly climb up the mountains, they would end up like Gaius, the commander of the 5th corps, due to the countless ambush areas and locations of danger that were within the Corcas Mountains. They could also potentially get ambushed from the rear.

Therefore, it was wiser to focus on defense rather than offense, and to wait for the priest unit led by the Spiritual Society to join them.

“There is a high possibility that Sirien, the northern region, will be targeted first rather than the central region, Trevis. I'm going to send Maximus, the most outstanding general, to that region.”

As he observed the map of Nelson march placed on the desk, Woohyuk calmly planned out an operation.

Meanwhile, Marquis Nelson and Leifina were listening to him attentively, when...

“Marquis Nelson! This is an emergency!”

One of the soldiers ran into the room.

“What’s the matter?”

“Lieutenant Gwak Seyoung escaped his prison cell by opening the iron bars with his bare hands!”

“What?”

Marquis Nelson stared at the soldier with a face of astonishment as he couldn’t believe this absurdity.

It's impossible to bend those sturdy bars unless he had the strength level of an ogre.

However, Woohyuk nodded as if he had expected this news.

“He ran away as I expected.”

“Did, did you let it go on purpose?”

“It’s meaningless to keep him locked up since he’s of no use to us now.”

It was better to free him and find out where Priscilla was hiding.

At Woohyuk's explanation, Leifina spoke urgently.

“If that’s the goal, shouldn’t we send some men to pursue him? Men that will pretend they can’t catch up and keep a certain distance between them and Gwak Seyoung…”

“No, there’s no need to.”

He had the reward obtained from the 96th floor of the Twilight Tower, the Messenger’s Wings.

By using it, he could see his vision with someone else’s for a maximum of 3 days, someone he was in physical contact with. However, it could only be used three times. Woohyuk had used it twice in the Witch's Forest previously, so this was his last chance.

Nevertheless, he didn't think of it as a waste.

With this last usage, he could find out where Gwak Seyoung was headed to without having to pursue him.

“Then, can’t Gwak Seyoung also see this place through your eyes, My Lord?”

“I dealt with that in advance.”

Before using the Messenger’s Wings on Gwak Seyoung, Woo-hyuk had secretly imposed a partial restriction on his five senses using demonic energy.

Now, the effect of the Messenger’s Wings could only be enjoyed by Woohyuk.

Woohyuk’s eyes brightened as he observed everything that was reflected in Gwak Seyoung's eyes.

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