Chapter 118: Siegfried’s Intervention (3)

Milton knew that Bianca could detect and manipulate underground water streams with her magic. But he never thought about using that magic during the siege.

‘Don’t they say geniuses not only have a lot of knowledge, but they’re also able to use that knowledge? Geniuses are really amazing.’

It was possible. It was definitely possible. It would certainly take half a month to implement that particular operation, but it was a plan that would capture Litinque Castle with the least amount of damage.

‘It may take some time to find and cut off the underground water stream, but once we succeed with it…’

Milton pounded the table with his fist.

“Carry out the plan right now.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

With Milton’s permission, Viscount Sabian left the barracks to implement the operation. Marquis Bologna spoke to Milton from the side.

“An expert in tracking underground water sources? You brought someone like that to the battlefield?”

“Hm… Yes, just in case.”

“……?”

Just what kind of ‘just in case’ situation was Milton preparing for that required an underground water source tracking expert? Even Marquis Bologna who had spent decades on the battlefield couldn’t understand him.

***

“Ya sure know how to work people to the bone. Wat if I said I couldn’t do it?”

Viscount Sabian grinned at Bianca’s words.

“That’s a problem for them. But are you really telling me you can’t do it?”

“I have to try it out first.”

Having said that, Bianca explored the vicinity of Litinque Castle with a couple knights escorting her. 

Three days later.

“I found the underground water stream. But…”

“Is there a problem?”

“The water stream is too large for me to contain it by myself. Well, if ya want me to, I can but it’ll take me at least a year.”

“That’s too long, Miss Bianca. Isn’t there anything else you can do?”

“Anything else…”

Before, Bianca had looked troubled, but now, she turned thoughtful.

“So ultimately, ya want no water in the castle, right?”

“Yes, that’s exactly it.”

“Then instead of stopping it, let’s lead it somewhere else.”

“Miss Bianca, what do you mean?”

“Isn’t it fine if we block the stream in the middle and divert it somewhere else? The water won’t get to the castle then.”

Viscount Sabian smiled broadly.

“Yes, it’ll ultimately cut off their drinking water so that’ll work just fine.”

“‘Kay. I’ll point out where to block the water, so have the soldiers work on it.”

“Can’t you do it quicker with magic?”

“Am I yer drudge?”

“…Miss Bianca?”

Viscount Sabian didn’t know what a drudge was. Bianca seemed frustrated by Viscount Sabian because she scowled at him. 

“Never mind. Anyway, I can’t do it so have some people do it.”

Viscount Sabian just nodded in response. 

‘Doesn’t matter either way, the existence of magic had to be hidden anyway.’

***

The location Bianca indicated was at the foot of a mountain a bit further away from Litinque Castle. She said that if they drained the water by digging a large hole there, then the water flowing into Litinque Castle would decrease by about 90 percent. In order to keep the enemy from detecting them, Viscount Sabian secretly removed 1,000 men to start construction. 

“How long will the construction take?”

Milton asked after hearing Viscount Sabian’s report. 

“According to Miss Bianca’s report, at the current rate we’re digging, it’ll take about a month, My Lord.”

“A month… So it’ll take a bit longer than the originally reported 15 days.”

“I’m sorry, My Lord.”

“No, it’s alright. A bit of error is possible.”

Milton didn’t mind too much. Objectively, Viscount Sabian’s operation was excellently planned out. As long as they were able to besiege and cut off their drinking water, victory was guaranteed. Even if it took a bit more time, it was worth the time if the operation was good enough.

“Is there any news on the enemy’s movement up in the Northern Front?”

“No, My Lord. There’s been no news.”

“I see. But just in case, make sure the men are prepared. If reinforcements come, our siege may fail.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

Milton nodded at the confidence in Viscount Sabian’s voice.

***

Ten days after besieging Litinque Castle.

Until now, the enemies inside the besieged castle had been quiet, but they were now beginning to react. It wasn’t a big reaction; all they did was quickly send out their cavalry and shoot with their crossbows before running back into the castle. Milton had tried to chase after them a couple times, but failed when they ran straight back into the castle. If he moved the siege any closer to the castle, Milton’s army could have caught the cavalry that came out, but then, soldiers with crossbows on the castle walls would have attacked them. 

“How annoying.”

Milton frowned at the report that the eastern side of the siege had suffered some damages from the enemy’s arrows. Seeing Milton scowling, Viscount Sabian gave him his opinion. 

“I feel that the siege is set up too close to the castle, My Lord. How about we move it back a bit?”

“But wouldn’t the siege weaken then?”

“As long as we set up the siege so the enemy can’t escape, it’ll be fine, My Lord. After all, we aren’t trying to attack the castle directly.”

“I see.”

Following Viscount Sabian’s advice, Milton loosened the siege a bit by moving it back a bit. If the enemies still came out to attack them, then Milton would personally ride out to fight back. At this point, it was more like a surveillance network than a siege. Their siege had become weaker and farther from Litinque Castle, but because of this, the enemy couldn’t continue to ambush them. 

‘Now, the construction on the water stream just needs to finish. There’s no reason to deal with the enemy until then.”

Viscount Sabian went to look at the situation of the construction site. 

Either way, there was nothing else the enemy could do. Now that the enemy couldn’t continue to struggle, Viscount Sabian decided he didn’t need to worry about anything else and went to see if he couldn’t speed up the construction of the underground water stream. 

***

“Lieutenant General Bison, the enemy’s siege moved farther back.”

“As expected.”

Lieutenant General Bison nodded after he heard his aide-de-camp’s report. 

“Has there been contact?”

“Yes, Sir. They said they’ve just arrived. We’re told to do it around 4 o’clock in the morning.”

“I see. Very well.”

Lieutenant General Bison looked at the western sky beyond the castle walls. The beautiful sunset had turned the world in shades of red.

‘They say that when your death is near, everything in the world looks beautiful. It really is indeed.’

Lieutenant General Bison stared attentively at the sun until it disappeared completely. As soon as the sun had completely set, he turned to look at his aide-de-camps.

“Are you all alright?”

“What do you mean, Sir?”

“I’m asking if you’re alright following me and dying.”

Lieutenant General Bison continued to speak.

“Since the enemy’s siege has weakened, it’s possible that there’s a way for you to survive. So, it’s alright if you don’t want to be a part of this operation.”

All his aides looked at him with determination.

“How could we leave you alone and run away, Lieutenant General?”

“There’s no room for cowardice in our Republic.”

“That’s right, Lieutenant General. There’s no way that’ll happen.”

While a part of him was touched beyond words, another part of him felt sorry and apologetic. In the Republic’s military, there were usually factions and a faction could be both good or bad. The aide-de-camps that were by Lieutenant General Bison’s side had all been raised by him since they were soldiers and now they were all officers. These young men were his disciples, no, at this point, they were his children. That’s how much affection he felt for them. Having no children, Lieutenant General Bison really wanted to save these young men. 

“I’m fine. Considering how long I’ve been on the battlefield, I’ve lived a long life. But you still have a future. Even if it’s for the Republic, you should…”

Thud!

Before Lieutenant General Bison could finish his sentence, all his aides knelt before him. 

“Our future is to fight honorably with you, Lieutenant General.”

“That’s right, sir. We will stay by your side until we die.”

“If you really plan to send us away, then please kill us here now!”

Their determination surprised Lieutenant General Bison. Just as he valued them, they respected and trusted him in turn. At first, Lieutenant General Bison was embarrassed by their actions, but then he began to laugh.

“Ha… ha ha ha…”

Recently, he had lost his self-confidence because he believed he had caused the Republic to suffer a serious defeat and set them back. However, when he saw the young officers who followed him express their loyalty, his heart began to burn with passion once again.

‘I haven’t lived my life in vain, then.’

Determined, Lieutenant General Bison spoke to his aides.

“Fine. If that’s how you feel, I won’t hesitate then.”

Having regained his confidence, Lieutenant General Bison’s eyes glinted.

He drew his sword from the scabbard at his waist and lifted it high into the air. 

“I will show the invaders what a terrible price they will pay for invading the Kobrook Republic!”

“Yes, sir!!”

The veteran of the Republic was determined to grab onto that sudden spark of life one last time.

***

Four o’clock in the morning.  

Professors of military science all refer to this time as the best time for a night raid as well as the time to be the most vigilant about. While you should always be wary about a sudden attack in the middle of the night, four o’clock in the morning was a time when the guards became inattentive and the soldiers were sleeping deeply. The most dangerous time was between four o’clock and five o’clock in the morning. Of course, a theory is only a theory; it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll happen in reality. However, for it to be an established theory, that meant there was some truth to it. And as if they were carrying out a textbook example for it, the Republic conducted a night raid.

“The enemies are attacking!”

“All of you, wake up! It’s the enemy!”

Milton jumped out of his bed at the guards’ shouting. As soon as he got up, he put on his armor, raised his sword, and ran out. He shouted a question at a messenger.

“What’s the situation?”

“Sir, the enemy launched a night attack. We haven’t been able to figure out how many there are or what the damage is yet, sir.”

Milton mounted Leonard, his horse, and looked at the situation himself.

“Wahhhh!!”

“Defeat the invaders!”

“Kill them all!”

Milton nodded as he took in the situation.

‘It’s not bad. The guards responded well.’

At least for now, from what he could see, they weren’t being pushed around by the enemy and their battle formation had not collapsed yet. It was evident that the guards had responded very quickly and very well to the sudden attack. But the strange thing was…

“We weren’t pushed back, but we also can't end it.”

Why? Even when the allies were doing well, the fact that the situation wasn’t ending was because…

“Those bastards. This isn’t just a night raid; they’re trying to break the siege.”

The size of the enemy was much larger than expected.

‘You attacked with a plan.’

Unlike the previous blitz attacks, this was an attack that was meant to try and break the siege. A great deal of troops had been mobilized and they were all boldly fighting. Then was this a critical situation for Milton and his allies? No. This was an opportunity.

“Jerome, where’s Jerome?!”

Milton quickly summoned Jerome, his closest aide.

“Did you call for me, My Lord?”

Jerome, who had been commanding their troops from the side, quickly came running at Milton’s order.

“The enemy has chosen to self-destruct. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Yes, My Lord. I also think that.”

Jerome understood exactly what Milton was talking about.

“Good! Then lead all the Knights and follow me. We will wipe out the enemy!”

“Yes, My Lord!”

Under Milton’s direction, Jerome assembled the Knights and Milton personally led them towards the enemy who came to attack them that night.

“Charge!”

“Ohhhh!!”

“Follow our Lord!!”

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