Chapter 100: Proposal (3)

The auspicious news of Milton and Queen Leila’s marriage spread quickly throughout the kingdom. Previously, the news about the war in Strabus Kingdom had thrown the political landscape into a mess, but with such happy news, the citizens’ anxiety over the war had significantly decreased.  

“I heard that Lady Sophia Philinover is also getting married to him.”

“How does that make sense? He’s becoming the husband to the Queen, how can he take a Second Wife?”

“From what I heard, Lady Philinover will become the Forrest Family’s Mistress and Marquis Forrest will become the Grand Duke and help support Queen Leila.”

“Will that be alright?”

“What’s there not to be alright? Now the issue of heirs will be solved so it won’t be a problem, aren’t I right?”

“That’s true. Anyway, since they’ve worked so hard for this country, I wish all of them were happy.”

“Agreed. If there’s anyone who disagrees, I’ll just…”

Most of the public welcomed this marriage. Just as Queen Leila had said, regardless of whether they were right or wrong, there wasn't much opposition to Milton and Queen Leila’s decision. Not to mention, she had also changed the public opinion to save Milton’s honor.

And Milton, a member of this marriage…

“My Lord, please, sit here.”

“Sophia, there’s no reason for you to still call me Lord now.”

Sophia shyly smiled.

“We haven’t gotten married yet, how could I…”

Currently, Milton was having tea with his two fiancées in the gardens of the temporary royal palace. Since he would soon be heading out to the battlefield, he was trying to spend as much time as possible with the two of them. 

“It’ll be better if you got used to it faster, Lady Philinover.”

“Yes, I understand, Your Majesty.”

Queen Leila sat on Milton’s right side and gave Sophia a smile. It would have been different if she hadn’t accepted it, but now that she had, it wasn’t in her personality to be territorial over her man. She took a sip of her tea before smiling. 

“We should change how we address each other as well. Mm… Would you be alright if I called you Sophia?”

“Of course, Your Majesty.”

“It’s not possible in front of others, but I wish you’d treat me as an older sister in private. I don’t hate our situation, it feels like I have gained a sister…”

“Thank you.”

The atmosphere between the two ladies was great. 

‘Haa… I don’t want to go out onto the battlefield.’

Seeing his two fiancées being sweet and friendly with each other, Milton suddenly didn’t want to go out onto the battlefield. He knew it wouldn't be possible since the reinforcement forces were ready and waiting for him, but he still didn’t want to leave. 

The vixen queen who had seen into his heart spoke up.

“Marquis Forrest, won’t you rethink about you personally leaving?”

Hearing that, unthinkingly, Milton almost agreed, but…

“I still have to go. We’ve finished gathering the troops, so how can the Commander-in-Chief not go?”

When Milton smiled bitterly as he spoke, Queen Leila sighed. 

“You’d leave two beautiful women like us and go to the battlefield? You’re a heartless man, Marquis. Don’t you agree, Sophia?”

When Queen Leila turned to Sophia looking for agreement, Sophia shyly smiled.

“I’m… Since My Lord is someone who has an important job, I’ll just trust in him and do as he says.”

Growing up, Sophia had been taught that obeying her husband was a virtue. She couldn’t openly hold him back now. However…

“But please promise me one thing, My Lord.”

“What is it?”

“Please… you must come back.”

Sophia had gathered all her courage to request this from him and at those words, Milton’s heart trembled.

‘Why are you so cute?’

Milton hugged Sophia tightly in his arms. If it wasn’t for the war, Milton wanted to tuck Sophia away in his pocket like a kangaroo.

“Oh dear, am I the third wheel?”

Sophia tried to get out of his arms when Queen Leila spoke from the side. But Milton didn’t let her go, instead, he reached out with one arm.

“Come here.”

“Now you want me to join you?”

“You don’t want to?”

Queen Leila gave a faint smile as walked into his arms. Milton tightly hugged the two ladies who were now his.

“I promise you that I’ll definitely return.”

Milton was determined to return from the battlefield more than ever before. 

***

The preparations for the reinforcement troops to leave for Strabus Kingdom were finished. There were a total of 80,000 troops and 300 knights with Marquis Milton Forrest as the Commander-in-Chief and Viscount Randol Sabian as the Chief Operation Officer. It could be seen from the numbers that the Lester Kingdom was determined. Originally, the reinforcement troops were only supposed to be 50,000 but Milton had stubbornly insisted on increasing the troop size to 80,000.

‘This war must see results.’

From the start of this war, Milton had firmly resolved himself. 

This was the confrontation between the ideals of republicanism and monarchy. 

On top of that, Strabus Kingdom, a military powerhouse, had almost collapsed before. 

Under such circumstances, this war, in which most countries in the continent were participating, was in fact a world war. Depending on the outcome of such a big war, the political landscape of the world would change. Some countries would become more powerful as winners while others would fall as losers of the war. This war was one where they couldn’t be careless. 

And so, Milton was heading for Strabus Kingdom, leading 80,000 troops made up of the Lester Kingdom’s elites. 

***

Milton arrived at Tempeulliche, the capital of Strabus Kingdom, leading his large army. 

“Welcome to Strabus Kingdom. Where are you from?”

An official of Strabus Kingdom welcomed Milton who had led the reinforcement troops. 

“I am Marquis Milton Forrest of the Lester Kingdom. As allies, I came leading reinforcements to join the war.”

He handed over a document with the royal seal. When the official had politely received the document and opened it to read it, he had been shocked by the contents of the document. 

“A total of 80,000 troops and 300 Knights, is this really true?”

“That’s right.”

The official beamed at Milton’s confirmation.

“This is amazing. You’ve brought the largest amount of troops out of all the allies, Marquis Forrest.”

“I’ve brought the most? …Then how many troops were sent from the other countries?”

“That’s not something I can really say… But you’ve definitely brought the most reinforcements, Marquis. On behalf of the kingdom, I thank you.”

Milton thought it was odd even as he accepted the official’s thanks. It was true that he had brought a lot of reinforcements, after all, even if it was a bit burdensome, he had brought as many troops that could be spared. However, 80,000 was burdensome to the country only because the Lester Kingdom wasn’t a powerful country. If other countries wanted to, they could easily have led that many troops or more to Strabus Kingdom without burdening their countries. 

‘But I brought the most?’

Even if Milton found it strange, he couldn’t find the answer and sate his curiosity immediately. 

Perhaps it was because he brought a lot of reinforcements, but the officials of Strabus Kingdom all treated Milton very politely. Soldiers were provided space outside the capital for their barracks and were provided with maximum comfort and convenience.

Milton handed over command to both Viscount Sabian and Jerome before stepping onto the Royal Road where he was immediately led to the King of Strabus Kingdom. Once he entered the lavish great hall, Milton knelt on one knee on the red carpet and paid his greetings to the king. 

“Greetings to the only monarch of Strabus Kingdom. I am Marquis Milton Forrest of the Lester Kingdom.”

The King sitting on his throne responded.

“Welcome Marquis Forrest.”

He looked at Milton as he continued.

“I am Bauchen Freiberg Strabus.”

‘What a ridiculously long name.’

“It’s an honor to meet you.”

Even as Milton spoke differently from what he was actually thinking, he was also checking King Bauchen’s status window. 

[Bauchen Freiberg Strabus]

King LV. 7

Strength — 65         Command — 95

Intelligence — 77         Politics — 89

Loyalty — 00

Special Traits — Discernment, Persuasion, Selection, Diplomacy, Charisma, Strategy 

Discernment LV. 7: A great ability in judging people and able to skillfully grasp to see whether a person is good or bad. 

Persuasion LV. 5: The ability to bend the will of those in disagreement to align better with oneself

Selection LV. 5: The ability to select individuals that fit one’s objectives and assign them to the places where they are most effective.

Diplomacy LV. 8: The ability to better propose conditions that are advantageous to one’s own nation during negotiations with other nations. 

Charisma LV. 8: The ability to use the carrot and stick appropriately to raise the loyalty of subordinates.

Strategy LV. 6: Excellent ability to discern the overall flow of war.

‘This is very impressive. With this, he’d be a very competent king.’

Milton was surprised to see King Bauchen’s status window. It could even be said that there was no one better in all of Strabus Kingdom, the continent’s central military powerhouse. He had all the virtues needed as a king of a country. Compared to him, King August, the former king of the Lester Kingdom, was a piece of trash that only cared about his own power and authority. Milton realized that this man, King Bauchen, wasn’t someone who he could underestimate. 

“You've brought a total of 80,000 troops, something that we’re very thankful for.”

“It was our pleasure, Your Majesty.”

“But isn’t this too much of a burden on the Lester Kingdom?”

As King Bauchen subtly probed him, Milton responded politely but briskly.

“Our country, like the Kingdom of Strabus, is a country that shares a border with the Republic. With that in mind, this isn’t something that’s happening in someone else’ country, it is something that also impacts us.”

King Bauchen nodded at his words.

“I see, that makes sense.”

He sighed before continuing. 

“There’s definitely a difference between a country that’s like mine and shares a border with the Republic and the countries that are further inland and safe from the Republic because of the Strabus Kingdom.”

Milton realized something as he listened to the bitter tone of King Bauchen’s voice.

‘There’s a problem.’

King Bauchen continued to speak.

“This war is a big war that all the kingdoms of this continent must fight together against the Republic. But… do you know how many reinforcements the other countries sent?”

“I don’t know for sure, but I know that it’s a bit less than what I’ve brought, Your Majesty.”

King Bauchen laughed at Milton’s words.

“A bit less…”

King Bauchen had his attendant give Milton a document.

“Check for yourself.”

Milton looked at the document and found a report of the reinforcements sent from each country.

Lester Kingdom — 80,000 troops                Commander — Marquis Milton Forrest

Valence Kingdom — 20,000 troops                Commander — Count Gale Dios

Gloucester Kingdom — 20,000 troops        Commander — Count Josh Carbon 

Stravin Kingdom — 15,000 troops                Commander — Count Elliot Taurus

Hereford Kingdom — 25,000 troops                Commander — Marquis Zion Johannes

Florence Principality — 10,000                Commander — Third Princess Violet Ron Florence 

“What the fu…”

Milton forgot for a second that this was another country’s war and almost cursed.

Cough

“Forgive me, Your Majesty.”

As Milton hastily apologized, King Bauchen spoke.

“It’s alright. I fully understand your feelings, Marquis. I also feel the same way.”

King Bauchen gave him a grim smile.

“Isn’t it ridiculous?”

“Yes… it really is.”

Is this what people mean when they say something is absurd?

Milton couldn’t understand the size of the reinforcements sent by the other countries. Not only had they sent such a small number of reinforcements, but most countries had also sent their Counts as the commander of their troops. What on earth were they thinking? Except for Florence Principality, all the other countries on that list were more powerful than the Lester Kingdom. They could all easily have sent at least 50,000 troops, but they had all sent less than 30,000 troops. Not to mention, most of the commanders were a Count. 

Why were they doing this? If the Republic were to break through Strabus Kingdom, then the Republicans’ blades would reach beyond the Central part of the continent and into the South. The surrounding kingdoms’ lackluster support did not make any sense. 

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