Chapter 121: Trap (2)

It had been very frustrating to hide Jerome’s status while waging war. However, it had been the right decision to hide that trump card until it was a critical situation. In fact, it was because they hid his status that Milton had been able to use Jerome’s status and power most effectively. There was no way the enemy could have thought a Master was on the other side of the blockade. 

‘Even if he is a Master, there’s a limit to what he can do in the current situation. First, we have to block the Eastern gate and stop them from entering the castle.’

With that in mind, Milton immediately ordered Jerome to recapture the Eastern gate. Once he had received the command, Jerome stood at the front and lifted his sword high into the air as he shouted.

“We will block the Eastern gate! All Knights, follow me!”

“Wahhh!!”

The soldiers, whose morale had risen, began to rally against the Republican Army. It was a small amount, but a seed of hope had sprouted.

***

“The Eastern gate’s base is being pushed back? A Master appeared?”

Siegfried frowned as he heard the messenger’s report.

‘Did he pull out something new in this situation? I was expecting him to have hidden something, but…’

This was an unpleasant situation for Siegfried. He had put in a lot of effort into this operation. Siegfried had received the report on the situation in Kobrook Republic a bit too late. Despite wanting to get to the castle quickly, he had to be patient and move his army in small batches to avoid catching the enemy’s attention. And once he had arrived at the castle, Siegfried still had to hide his own existence for the sake of the plan. The overall plan was to create a trap by sacrificing Lieutenant General Bison, a veteran commander, and burning down Litinque Castle which was an important bastion for the Republic. So how could Siegfried be willing to accept failure when he had put in this much effort? He wanted to avoid that at all costs. 

“Block the Eastern gate and keep shooting the fire arrows into the castle. Oil has been poured liberally so it’ll burn quickly.”

“Yes, Sir!”

“There may be a counterattack by the enemy, so tell the soldiers guarding the other gates to be careful.”

“Yes, Sir!”

After commanding his men, Siegfried turned to look at Litinque Castle with a serious expression. 

“Master… A Master…”

It was an unexpected variable, but the situation was still favorable for him and his allies. Siegfried believed that as long as he could hold the blockade without faltering, he would capture the enemy.

***

“My Lord, Sir Taker recaptured the Eastern gate and created a barricade to stop the Republican Army from entering.”

“Good!”

Milton clenched his hand into a fist as he listened to the messenger’s report. Although things weren’t great, they had managed to stop the Republican Army from continuing to attack them inside the castle. However, Milton knew this wouldn’t last long either. 

Even if Jerome was a Master, if he continued to use the Aura Sword, he would get tired soon. If Milton was Siegfried, he would have the Ghosts continue to attack in waves. That way, when Jerome got tired, he would send the soldiers back in to break through the Eastern Gate, leaving it free for the Republican Army to attack the castle again.

‘We have to do something before that happens.’

“How about extinguishing the fire… do you think that’s possible?”

He ordered some troops to mobilize and put out the fire in the castle. But…

“Most of the buildings within the castle are covered in oil, so it won’t be easy, My Lord. Not to mention, the enemy keeps shooting fire arrows into the castle.”

“So it’ll be difficult.”

It seemed as though putting out the fire would be impossible. In that case, they needed to leave the castle as quickly as possible…

‘I need… I need an opportunity.’

Milton racked his brain. If the Knights he had sent managed to open the other gates and attempted to escape, the enemy would have to stop concentrating on one location and spread out. When that happens, if Jerome tried to break through the blockade with the soldiers at the Eastern gate then…

‘It’s still difficult. That won’t be enough.’

If the opponent was a regular person it would have been enough. However, the enemy was Siegfried. He had most likely foreseen it and created a plan to kill the enemies who managed to escape from the castle. 

‘I need… just one more thing…’

At that moment, a bird flew through the sky. It was odd that a bird would fly into this inferno. But when that bird flew straight to Milton, he immediately realized what was going on. 

‘It’s Miss Bianca’s Familiar Magic. In that case…’

A small piece of paper was tied to the bird’s leg. When Milton unrolled it, he immediately noticed Viscount Sabian’s handwriting in the brief letter.

        - Princess Violet, enemy’s back, Eastern gate. 

Although Viscount Sabian had written just the key phrases, Milton was able to immediately understand what he was saying.

“It might be possible with this.”

Milton nodded; he was convinced now. He immediately mounted his horse Leonard and commanded the remaining troops.

“The entire army will prepare to charge out of the castle.”

Once he had warned them, Milton summoned Jerome who had been fighting at the gate. 

“You called for me, My Lord?”

“Soon, our allies will be attacking from the enemy’s rear.”

“Our allies will be attacking? Who do you mean, My Lord?”

“Florence Principality’s army.”

“Ah!”

Jerome exclaimed. Princess Violet had been left behind because her personality hadn’t been suited for this particular operation. As a result, Florence Principality had been standing by at the rear, waiting to provide reinforcements.

“Although Princess Violet will lead her men and attack the enemy’s rear, she doesn’t have enough troops. So we will attack the enemies first and draw their attention to us.”

Jerome nodded at Milton’s words. 

“I will put my life on the line and carry out your orders, My Lord.”

“I will be going with you.”

“My Lord, you should be at the rear…”

“If the bait isn’t good enough, the enemy might get suspicious. Me being there will get rid of that suspicion.”

At those words, Jerome tightly grasped his sword and spoke with determination.

“If that’s the case, then I’ll definitely protect you, My Lord.”

“I trust you. Then…”

Milton let out a sigh before regulating his breathing. Once he had calmed himself down, he bellowed.

“Charge! All of you, charge!”

Milton spurred his horse forward without hesitation with Jerome following right behind him.

“Follow our Lord! Break the siege!”

“Wahhh!!”

As if they realized this was their only way out, the soldiers powered through their exhaustion and ran forward.

***

Phew! Phew!

As soon as Milton and his men left the castle and broke through the blockade, arrows poured down as if the enemies had been waiting.

“Protect our Lord! The Knights, gather together!”

Jerome gave orders to the Knights and rode to the very front. He charged forward and met the blockade head-on.

“Leave if you don’t want to die.”

Clang!

A Master’s Aura boasted explosive and destructive power. No one could stop Jerome from advancing, not the spearmen who tried to block him with their long spears nor the heavy infantrymen with their shield. But even if they couldn’t stop Jerome, they kept firing arrows from all directions and continued to surround Milton. When one was killed, another would take his place to keep Milton trapped. 

“As I thought… he’s prepared a grand welcoming ceremony.”

Milton gritted his teeth as he blocked the downpour of arrows with his shield. Whether they lived or died depended on them getting past the blockade. 

“Charge! Charge forward! We have to break through the blockade!”

Even as he was shouting, Milton was spurring Leonard forward. The enemy’s goal was himself. If he, as the target, stopped moving, the blockade would only get larger. So whether it was dangerous or not, Milton had to keep moving.

Even in this unlucky and the worst possible situation, Milton still had two advantages. One advantage was Leonard, the horse Milton was riding. Leonard was wearing barding, that didn’t mean his entire body was protected. As a result, there were already dozens of arrows sticking out from Leonard. However, Leonard hadn’t collapsed, instead he was still moving with overwhelming strength. Leonard’s endless stamina and fierceness was Milton’s lifeline in the present situation where even one-second of a pause would lead to a downpour of arrows. Milton’s second advantage was Jerome’s existence. 

“As long as I am here, no one can come near my Lord!”

Jerome’s usual image was that of a serious and composed knight. Even Sanson, the most stubborn amongst all the knights that Milton knew, didn’t dare criticize Jerome because of his serious attitude. But now, Jerome was different. He became a demon. He rode in front of Milton and mowed down everything and everyone that threatened his Lord. Whether it was the cavalry holding a long spear -a horseman’s natural enemy- or a heavy infantry, none of them could withstand Jerome’s Aura Sword. Like a snow plow plowing through the snow, Jerome created a path for Milton to move forward with destructive power.

Because of that, the Republican Army decided to do something to slow him down. Ten Ghosts were sent to target Jerome. 

“Whoo… Whoo… reveal your name.”

Jerome regulated his breathing as he spoke to the Ghosts who were blocking him.

“……”

However, the Ghosts didn’t care about the etiquette of a Knight. 

When the one who seemed like the leader sent a hand signal, they all took out an elixir out of their armor and drank it.

Jerome frowned as he watched them. 

You rely on drugs to increase your strength and level? How pathetic.”

Jerome knew all about the Ghosts; naturally he knew what that elixir was. An elixir that instantly boosted vitality and amplified power? In Jerome’s eyes, that was a dishonorable and disgraceful way of getting stronger.  

Whether you lived or died on the battlefield, those were just results. Even if he died on the battlefield, it wasn’t the Knight’s Way to hold resentment against his enemy. But that didn’t mean he wanted to die because of such despicable people. He never wanted to.

“Come. I’ll deal with you as much as you want.”

Even before he finished talking, all ten Ghosts rushed towards him exuding auras from their swords.

Milton’s eyes widened as he took in that sight.

‘All of them have a Strength of 80 or higher. The highest is 87?’

How dangerous.

The ones attacking Jerome could be considered an elite even amongst the other Ghosts. Seeing how they rushed to attack Jerome knowing that he was a Master, they probably thought the odds of them winning were pretty high.

“Jerome! Be careful…”

“Ahhhhh!!”

Clang!

Before Milton could finish, Jerome had already clashed with the Ghosts. With that first collision, two out of the ten Ghosts staggered and fell. However, while the two Ghosts met Jerome’s attack head-on, the other eight Ghosts surrounded him. Not only that, but the other two Ghosts quickly recovered and positioned themselves in front of Jerome. In an instant, he was surrounded by ten Ghosts. Then, the supposed Ghost’s leader raised his hand and spoke.

“It’s time to hunt. Don’t let him escape.”

‘Hunt?’

Jerome’s eyes sparked at those words. 

“Try if you think you can!”

The intense battle between the two opposing sides began. 

Bang! Clang!

The auras clashed with a booming sound while the swords blazed brightly. In a situation where he would die if he was careless for even a moment, Jerome swung his sword around fiercely. It was as if he was a lion surrounded by a pack of wild hyenas. Without a doubt, a lion was powerful. In a one-on-one battle, a lion could kill a hyena with one bite. However, if the hyenas slyly took advantage of their numbers and attacked as a pack, the story would change. Little by little, the lion would get hurt.

“Guh…”

Jerome gritted his teeth as a Ghost’s attack sliced his thigh. He tried to attack back, but a sword swung towards his head. He ducked his head to avoid it when a knife appeared and cut his side.

“Ugh…”

Jerome staggered and barely stopped himself from falling off his horse.

‘Dangerous. These guys are good.’

Although he didn’t like the reason for their strength, every single one of them was very strong. Not only were they dangerous, but there was no confusion even as ten people fought as a group to attack him together. It was as if they had practiced fighting together many times. They all fought as if they had abandoned all honor and desire for victory and were fighting only with practicality in mind.

‘This is dangerous.’

Jerome felt a chill going down his back. 

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