Chapter 102: Difficult War Preparations (2)

Currently, their ally forces were little less than twice the enemy’s forces at best. With this kind of strength, Milton’s plans wouldn’t be carried out successfully. And on top of this, King Bauchen himself was a problem. Milton glanced around the room he had been led to; it was full of works of art decorated with jewels and lavish furniture. But there was a reason for this kind of treatment. 

Commander-in-chief of the Allied Forces — this was the position King Bauchen had offered to Milton during a private meeting. No, rather than offer, King Bauchen had decided. 

Since the military system of the Strabus Kingdom was thorough and complex, it was difficult to incorporate the armies of the other countries. And so, King Bauchen had decided to create an Allied Force with the reinforcements given to him and gave independent operational rights for them to operate separately from his own military. From there, King Bauchen had decided that Milton would be assigned as the commander-in-chief of it. 

As the Lester Kingdom had brought the most reinforcements, and Milton had been very active in the previous war and had built a reputation for himself, it was only natural for Milton to be the commander-in-chief. However, the problem was the intention hiding behind King Bauchen’s action.

[Andrews Empire is already thinking of us as potential enemies.]

He had said ‘us.’ It wasn’t just the Strabus Kingdom by itself, but the Lester Kingdom had been implied by the word ‘us.’ And on top of that…

[We will have to unite together if we are to survive the Andrew Empire's violence. If the Strabus Kingdom and the Lester Kingdom were to work together, what is there to be afraid of?]

As he listened, Milton thought he was going to go crazy from the absurdity of all this. Turns out, King Bauchen wasn’t taking this war seriously either. 

Although it was a small number, reinforcements had still come and as a result, the country’s power had exceeded the enemy. With this opportunity, King Bauchen planned to block the Republic’s attack and counterattack to finish them once and for all. And once the Republic was finished, it would be necessary to confront the Andrews Empire, and that was why King Bauchen was trying to bring the Lester Kingdom onto his side. The way Milton saw it, King Bauchen was fantasizing about Strabus becoming an empire after the war when the current situation on the Northern Front was very unstable. 

“Nothing in life works out easily.”

There was nothing about this situation that Milton liked. The current Republic wasn’t an opponent that could easily be won against with just a slight advantage. Milton knew this because he had both the experience of personally fighting against Siegfried during the war and because he had continued to investigate him afterwards. The enemy was a true genius of war, maybe even a genius strategist who was comparable to Hannibal or Napoleon in the history of Earth. And for them to be this careless while fighting against a monster like him?

“These crazy motherfXX…”

Even if he didn’t want to curse, he couldn’t not curse. Milton knew he couldn’t give up, but that’s exactly what he wanted to do. The current situation was like walking into a pile of shit and he didn’t want to take a step further. But even if the other guys were throwing shit around, Milton couldn’t just throw his too. 

“Stay calm. Let’s stay calm…”

Once he had cooled his head, Milton summoned Viscount Sabian. When he understood what was going on, Viscount Sabian let out a sigh. 

“It’s only natural to think about life after the war but… this is definitely too much, My Lord.”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Milton gulped down a glass of cold water before continuing to talk. 

“I came thinking that we could win this war as long as we weren’t careless. But now…”

“Are you saying that it’s become a difficult war, My Lord?”

“It’s becoming ridiculously difficult.”

Seeing Milton’s bitter smile, Viscount Sabian spoke. 

“But isn't war always like this? Variables will always happen, My Lord.”

“You’re a very positive person.”

“If I think negatively, it’ll just continue to spiral out of hand, My Lord. And didn’t you call me over to change the situation?”

Milton gave him a grim smile. 

“I did indeed.”

Finally calm, Milton looked straight into Viscount Sabian’s eyes.

“This war has become difficult, but it’s also something that we cannot afford to lose. So Viscount Sabian, as the Chief Operations Officer, is there anything that we can do?”

Milton was hoping that Viscount Sabian’s brilliant mind would come up with a trick that would break this frustrating situation. Currently, Viscount Sabian’s Intelligence was at 95. When Milton had first discovered him, it had been 91, but the stat had gone up since then. The Strategy trait had also reached LV. 8 and would soon become MAX. Although Viscount Sabian wasn’t renown yet, Milton believed no one could even come close to matching Viscount Sabian’s abilities. While waiting for Viscount Sabian to talk, Milton felt like he was seeking wisdom from Zhuge Liang. 

“First of all, the good news is that you’ve been recommended to become the commander-in-chief of the Allied Forces, My Lord.”

“Of course, after all, we have the most troops.”

“Yes, My Lord and it’s really fortunate that we do because as long as you have the right to command, we can get out of difficult situations.”

“I’m glad you think so.”

In this frustrating situation, if Milton was under someone else’s command, then it would be better to give up on the war and go back home. 

Viscount Sabian interrupted Milton’s thoughts. 

“This most likely means that the Strabus Kingdom has high expectations of you, My Lord.”

“I don’t like that at all.”

“It can’t be helped, My lord. Since he entrusted you with the large army, it’s only natural that he’ll expect you to achieve brilliant war records.”

If Milton led the Allied Forces and participated in this war, then he would be playing a very large role. Even if the other countries had barely sent any reinforcements, each soldier added up into a large army of 170,000; an army large and powerful enough to determine the outcome of the war. 

“The strategy that you had originally planned was good, My Lord. Using the large number and spreading out to dominate the battlefield — if we could only utilize it, it would be a winning strategy.”

“So what? That’s all water under the bridge now.”

“Although it’s impossible to limitlessly spread out our troops now, partial expansion is still possible, My Lord.”

“Hm… keep talking.”

Milton got interested. It seemed like Viscount Sabian was getting to the main point now. 

“Right now, the war between the Strabus Kingdom and the Republic is concentrated on the Northern Front, My Lord.”

“That’s right, and they’re saying that the current situation isn’t great.”

“Yes, My Lord. And while it wouldn’t be a bad idea for us to go and turn the tide of war…”

“You’re saying that an army of 170,000 is too big to use for that, is that it?”

“Yes, My lord. And…”

Viscount Sabian continued with a grim smile.

“Even if you have obtained permission from King Bauchen to lead the Allied Forces, it’s questionable whether you’ll be able to smoothly command them, My Lord.”

“So you’re talking about an already existing problem.”

Milton muttered as he sighed. 

Even if Viscount Sabian hadn’t said it, it was a problem that Milton had already been thinking about.  Although King Bauchen had given Milton the authority to command the Allied Forces, would they listen to him? They were all from different countries and it was likely that they would not listen to Milton’s orders. But because Milton felt it was pointless worrying about the problem when he hadn’t even met them, Milton had been ignoring it. However, after listening to Viscount Sabian and giving it some thought, it did seem likely that there would be people who would rebel against Milton’s authority. The probability of that happening was very high. 

‘Ah… I really don’t want to fight in this war. Should I just go back?’

At this point, everything felt bothersome and annoying. 

Viscount Sabian laughed when Milton’s face expressed exactly what he was thinking.

“Please don’t worry about it too much, My Lord. Even if they’re uncooperative, there’s a way to still use that.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“This is the real main point, My Lord. First…”

Viscount Sabian broadly smiled as he explained his tactics to Milton. Milton admired him as he spoke without hesitation and had an answer to all of Milton’s questions.

“That’s it, My Lord.”

And when all the explanations were over…

‘That’s amazing.’

Milton felt like he was getting goosebumps all over his body. Viscount Sabian’s proposed plan was great. He had solved this frustratingly knotted and twisted situation and even came up with a strategy that had a high probability of winning the war. How could he come up with something like this?

“Did you think something like this would happen before this war even started?”

Viscount Sabian shrugged at him. 

“No, My Lord. I’m not a prophet so how could I see the future?”

He laughed before continuing.

“I just kept thinking of the different possibilities and prepared a variety of strategies for them.”

“……”

‘Isn’t that even more impressive?’

Milton realized how amazing a strategist with an Intelligence stat of 95 was. Either way, he had hope now.

‘Let’s do this.’

Milton reaffirmed his determination for the war. 

***

King Bauchen held a grand banquet to welcome the soldiers who had come as reinforcements from other countries. Although Milton wanted to question why he was hosting a banquet when the front line was struggling, other people seemed to think it was natural. 

To be honest, there were many reasons to hold the banquet. First, it served as an excuse to finagle money out of the nobles as ‘aid funds’ and it also served to appeal to the nobles of the allied countries that everything was going well. And at this banquet, King Bauchen planned to formally declare the existence of the Allied Forces and designate Milton as the commander. And in doing so, Milton would have the right to act within the Strabus Kingdom as the commander of the Allied Forces. Exactly like how Duke Derek Brans had operated the reinforcement forces independently in the Lester Kingdom before. 

Because it was a banquet that would have formal procedures, Milton couldn’t miss it and attended the banquet with his officers. 

“Is that man Marquis Milton Forrest?”

“To be a marquis at such a young age. Seems like the Lester Kingdom is still lacking in talented people.”

“But it seems like he made his name known in the last war?”

“Hmph, that’s something we’ll have to wait and see. Tsk, he only fought a bit in a war that took place in a small country by the borders…”

“It does seem like people are overestimating him.”

Milton walked calmly amidst the praise and criticism of the people. There was no reason for him to care about dogs barking around him. The really important person was…

“It’s nice to meet you, Marquis Forrest.”

The person who had directly walked up to Milton and introduced himself. 

“Yes, it’s nice to meet you as well but you are…?”

A man who looked to be in his mid-forties talked to Milton with a friendly smile. 

“Oh, sorry, I haven’t introduced myself. I am Zion Johannes. I came from the Hereford Kingdom with reinforcements to participate in this war.”

Milton smiled at the person in front of him. 

“I am Milton Forrest. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Marquis Johannes.”

Outwardly, Milton was politely smiling at him, but he was really checking the person out. 

[Zion Johannes]

Politician LV. 7

Strength — 18         Command — 85

Intelligence — 80        Politics —88

Loyalty — 00

Special Traits — Diplomacy, Conspire, Bribery, Silver-Tongued

Diplomacy LV. 6:  The ability to propose conditions that are more advantageous to one’s own nation during negotiations with other nations. 

Conspire LV. 5:  Increases the proficiency of creating schemes to endanger hostile individuals and other entities.

Bribery LV. 7: Induce others to act according to one’s intentions by offering what they desire

Silver-Tongued LV. 4:  The ability to persuade or subdue others through dialogue. It may be counterproductive to someone with strong pride.

‘Politician? Not a soldier or a knight, but a politician?’

Milton began to get an odd feeling. 

Looking at the other person’s status window, this wasn’t a military person but a perfect politician. How could the person leading reinforcements to participate in a war with other countries be a civil servant and not a competent military officer? Even if the people under Marquis Johannes were expert officers and commanders who could fight in the war, wasn’t this too much? This was proof that they’d come with different intentions from the very beginning. 

‘This’ll all happen exactly as Viscount Sabian planned.’

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