Chapter 110: To the Eastern Front (2)

“Hmm…”

Marquis Bologna and his advisors became even more curious after hearing Viscount Sabian’s ambiguous words. However, since he said it was important to safeguard it, they couldn’t continue to pressure him. But more than that, the two reasons that Viscount Sabian had told them before was enough for them to cooperate in this war. 

Marquis Bologna couldn’t hide his envy as he turned to look at Milton. 

“Marquis Forrest has a really talented advisor.”

For Marquis Bologna, this was the greatest possible compliment he could give to a foreign operations advisor. 

“Thank you for acknowledging him.”

As Milton responded with a happy smile, Marquis Bologna spoke. 

“Operation Attack Kobrook Republic. I think it’s perfectly doable. All of Eastern Front will cooperate with this plan.”

And so, the Eastern Front’s counterattack was decided. 

***

After the meeting with Marquis Bologna was over, Milton turned to speak to Viscount Sabian.

“You’ve worked hard. Thanks to your explanation, we were able to get their cooperation.”

Even as an ally, it was quite difficult to intervene in plans created by the Eastern Commander. However, thanks to Viscount Sabian’s excellent strategy and eloquence, there was no need for Milton to win a battle of wills.

Viscount Sabian lowered his head at Milton’s praise. 

“I only did what I should, My Lord.”

“Being able to do your job well is something praiseworthy in and of itself.”

Milton smiled as he thought to himself.

‘I picked up a real treasure. That brat, the First Prince, who couldn’t properly utilize him sure was stupid.’ 

Milton had many talented people, but Jerome, who was in charge of the military, and Viscount Sabian, who was in charge of creating strategies, were two important pillars for Milton. However, even though Viscount Sabian’s intellect and strategic tactics were high, Milton wasn’t a puppet who just listened to whatever Viscount Sabian said. 

“But My Lord, do we really need a third arrangement? Personally, I think it might be too reckless.”

Milton shook his head in response.

“The third arrangement will be necessary if we can’t break through the Eastern Front and the frontline is pinned down. And weren’t you the one who came up with the plan itself?”

“That’s true, but…”

Viscount Sabian paused to think for a bit before continuing to talk. 

“That third arrangement is an insurance in case we cannot break through the Eastern Front. If we’re able to break through the Eastern Front, then… wouldn’t it just be pointless work, My Lord?”

“Then Sabian, you think we don’t need that kind of insurance?”

“If I’m being honest, yes, My Lord.”

Viscount Sabian was confident that the Eastern Front’s attack would succeed. 

He knew very well how infamous the Kobrook Republic’s defense was. Their defense was so great it’s said that even the Strabus Kingdom, which is said to be a military powerhouse, hasn’t been able to penetrate the Kobrook Republic’s defense in more than a 100 years. But, the enemies were most likely tired from concentrating their forces on the Northern Front. 

In a situation like this, Viscount Sabian believed that if Marquis Forrest joined forces with Marquis Bologna and led a large army of 90,000 troops, it would be enough strength to tilt the scales to one side. 

Although it seemed like he was being too confident, Viscount Sabian believed in his strategic tactics and the strength of Lester Kingdom’s army that Milton had been diligently raising. Even after carefully calculating it multiple times, the probability of breaking through the Eastern Front was over 90 percent. However, Milton believed that the enemies on the Eastern Front could block their attack and asked Viscount Sabian to create a plan for that very moment. As a result, the third arrangement was created. Viscount Sabian only made the arrangement because his Lord told him to, but as the creator of the plan, he personally didn’t see the necessity for it. 

‘If we win the war on the Eastern Front, it’ll be an unnecessary insurance…’

Milton laughed as if he knew Viscount Sabian’s feelings.

“I don’t think the Eastern Front attacks will go that smoothly.”

“So just what exactly is the reason for that, My Lord?”

Viscount Sabian had asked for the reason multiple times, but Milton hadn’t given him an answer. But now that it’s come to this, Sabian was determined to hear the reason.

Milton gave him a grim smile.

“If we earnestly attacked, what is the probability of breaking through the Eastern Front?”

“I think at least 80 percent, My Lord.”

Truthfully, Viscount Sabian calculated that it would be about 90 percent, but modestly shaved off 10 percent.

“Right, I assume so. In that case, what if…”

“What if, what, My Lord?”

“What if Siegfried personally appeared in the East?”

“Is the 80 percent still there?”

“That… no, My Lord.”

Milton had shared all the information he had collected on Siegfried with Viscount Sabian, who was a part of his advisors. So naturally, Viscount Sabian knew very well how monstrous Siegfried was. 

“If Siegfried joins this battle…our odds will go down quite a bit. I don’t know how many soldiers he would bring, but our odds may fall to 50 percent or less, My Lord.”

Viscount Sabian had coldly analyzed the situation. 

“But My Lord, I don’t think there’s any chance that Siegfried would abandon the main battlefield, Northern Front, to appear in the East.”

“No, he’ll definitely appear.”

When Milton confidently refuted him, Viscount Sabian thought Milton had new information that he didn’t know. 

“Is there a reason for you to believe that?”

“That reason is…”

Milton hesitated before continuing to speak. 

“For now, let’s just say it’s a gut feeling.”

“My Lord…”

Just a gut feeling? From Viscount Sabian’s point of view, no other answer could be as bleak as that. However, Milton was confident. 

“But really, he really might come. So keep that in mind and get ready for it. You probably have all the information on him in your head?”

Viscount Sabian still wasn’t confident, but when his Lord gave him his order, there was only one thing he could do.

“Very well, My Lord. I’ll plan an operation with that possibility in mind.”

“Thank you.”

After giving instruction to Viscount Sabian, Milton thought to himself.

‘He will appear…’

Although Milton hadn’t said it, there was a reason beyond just his intuition. 

‘Because I’ll be here.’

He hadn’t been able to say it out loud because it felt like he was overestimating himself, but, it wasn’t just a gut feeling, it was a certainty. Milton was certain that he and Siegfried would meet in this war. 

***

Far from the battlefields in the Northern Front of the Lester Kingdom. 

In an impenetrable location where Duke Palan was at, two knights received secret orders. 

“You said there were orders from our Lord, Tommy?”

“Yea, we have to carry them out in secret. And I’ve gotten permission from that devi… I mean, our Master.”

“What? So then, we can go to the battlefield and avoid the devil’s… Our Master’s influence?”

“That’s right. Finally…”

“Ugh… Finally…”

‘I can finally escape from that demon.’

‘I can finally escape from that demon.’

Looking like they were about to cry, Rick and Tommy both thought the same thing. In order to understand the reason why these two were thinking like this, it’s necessary to understand the situation in the Lester Kingdom’s Northern Front. 

Duke Palan left for the Northern Front after receiving two orders. One order was obviously to defend the border and the other was to train the younger knights. Once he had received these two orders from Queen Leila, Duke Palan had decided to do his best to carry out the orders.

However, unless it was wartime, there wasn't much that he had to do personally in order to defend the border. Strengthening fortresses, deploying border patrols, and training the regular soldiers; all of these could be done more competently by the staff and the knights under Duke Palan’s command. 

Naturally, Duke Palan was able to concentrate on bullying, aka training, the younger knights. Numerous young knights, including Rick and Tommy, had been sent by the nobles of Lester Kingdom to join the Northern Border knights. Because it was a great honor for the knights to train under Duke Palan, who had reached the level of Master, many knights had applied. They soon regretted applying. 

This was Duke Palan's thought process: Why were the standards of Lester Kingdom’s knights so low while the officers of both Strabus Kingdom and the Republics were strong?

‘The difference is in practical experience.’

Knights who fiercely train by fighting in actual battles versus knights who placidly practiced their swordsmanship like a flower grown in a greenhouse. It was natural there would be a difference. Even if he had to become a devil to do so, Duke Palan was determined to get rid of the stigma that the Lester Kingdom’s knights were of low standards because of their indolence. 

Either get stronger or die. Choose one of the two choices.

Those words that Duke Palan said weren’t just pretense or empty words. Duke Palan only trained the younger knights after he had gotten a written oath that it was alright if they died during training. 

The training itself wasn’t anything special. Except for basic training, Duke Palan had made the younger knights fight against him. In other words, in order to take the place of fighting in actual battles, he decided to fight and continuously beat the younger knights. He beat them just until the brink of death again and again. If they died while training, then it can’t be helped. Having made up his mind, Duke Palan ruthlessly crushed the younger knights.

In the eyes of the viewers, that wasn’t training but a brutal assault under the guise of training.

“Kughhh!”

Ack! Bone… my bones…”

“Wait… wait a minute… gah!”

During training, there wasn’t a day where no one was injured. But, Duke Palan didn’t slow down or make it any easier for them. He planned to continue to crush them until these delicate young knights became as resilient as weeds. It bears repeating, but Duke Palan’s two choices were to either get stronger or die. Some of them ran away while others with bigger guts directly rebelled against him. But Duke Palan didn’t blink an eye and continued to step on them all equally. He thrashed them again and again. 

“Do you think it’s unfair? If you think it’s unfair, then get stronger. I will even accept it if you said you’d get stronger and cut off my head in revenge.”

This training gave the Northern Knights a new understanding of the duke, Duke Sean Palan = the Devil. The really annoying thing was that this training method actually worked. Within one year of training as the Northern Knights, 11 of them managed to reach the Expert level. Truthfully, all the knights who had reached that level were already the best of the batch. However, even taking that into consideration, the training clearly had some effect. 

With these results, Duke Palan spurred them on even more. He now had the justification to say: See, look at that. Wasn’t I right? With these results, he planned to be even harsher because it’ll be fine. In fact, thirty people had already been eliminated, but Duke Palan didn’t remember that. Instead, he pushed the younger knights even more.

“Get stronger! If you’re not going to get stronger, then die! It’s all the same whether you die on the battlefield or you die right here! What more is there to life?”

And so, Duke Palan forcefully raised the level of the knights, and Rick and Tommy managed to survive and be tempered by this hellish training.

Roughly six months ago, the two of them had reached the level of Expert.

Seeing their swords’ aura, they teared up from happiness.

“Sniff… now… we can go home.”

“This… this really was like living in XX hell.”

Even though they were happy to become an Expert, they felt even happier that they were now free from the Devil. And so, the two of them planned to return back to the South. But…

“Rick, Tommy. The two of you can’t return yet.” 

They were trapped by Duke Palan’s words.

“Sir?”

“Sir?”

They both felt like they'd been hit with a lightning bolt when the sky was clear. 

“I don’t think the two of you reached your limits yet. Don’t worry. I’ll definitely train you so you can reach your limits.”

In fact, this was Duke Palan’s thought.

‘I can’t let these two return just like this. Marquis Forrest has done so much for the country, how can I let these two return like this?’

For Duke Palan, Rick and Tommy were special. How could he return the two young men that Milton Forrest had entrusted to him when they were only Experts? Duke Palan felt an unnecessary sense of responsibility towards the two and felt they should be at least an Intermediate. As a result, Rick and Tommy had to go through even more intense training. Now, the two of them didn’t care about being Experts or whatever, they just wanted to get away from the Devil - Duke Palan - himself. 

Just as they couldn’t stand it any longer, Milton sent an order to them. 

“An order from our Lord? Truly?”

“That’s right. A messenger secretly delivered it.”

At Tommy’s reply, Rick gave a grin big enough to show all his teeth. 

“Then, should we hurry to join them on the battlefield?”

Rick was so excited he wanted to run to Milton immediately. With his newly improved skills, in Rick’s heart beat a knight’s romantic notion of fighting in the war with his Master and making a big contribution to the fight. But…

“Wait a minute, this…”

Tommy’s face gradually turned white as he read Milton’s orders. 

“Hey, what’s wrong? Did something happen to him?”

“No, but something might happen to us.”

“What?”

“According to our order…”

Tommy explained Milton’s orders to Rick.

Having listened to the explanation, Rick’s face expressed the absurdity of the situation.

“You’re sure our Master sent that order?”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“An order should feel like an order. How is that an order…”

“According to our Master, we should rip out the page that defines the word ‘impossible’ in the dictionary. Then, we’ll be able to do it.”

“What kind of crazy bastard would do that?”

To Rick, Napoleon became a crazy bastard. 

“How would I know? Damn it…”

Even Tommy, who was always calm, swore in the end. 

The order that had been given to the two of them was absurd. 

“Damn it, think about this carefully. It’s possible that a Republican spy wrote a fake order to trap us. Please, please tell me that’s what happened. Please!”

“It’s our Lord’s handwriting.”

“But a handwriting can be forged, right?”

“There’s also a seal on the letter.”

“……”

“And I also knew the messenger who delivered the order.”

“XX.”

All of a sudden, Rick and Tommy wanted to give everything up and return back to their hometown and farm.

***

“Hm? Who’s cussing me out?”

Maybe it was a coincidence, but far away, Milton’s ear became itchy all of a sudden. 

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