Chapter 131: A Definite Strike (2)

As soon as they received the order from Siegfried, the reconnaissance team moved to verify the information and quickly returned back to him. 

“Reporting, sir. The enemy’s cavalry is gathering at the expected point.”

“At the exact locations?”

“It’s right here, sir.”

The messenger pointed to a spot on the map. It was the exact location that Siegfried had pointed out earlier. 

Siegfried nodded once he verified the location. 

‘So you’re trying to get there in the quickest way possible, huh?’

That location was the fastest route the enemy could take. Seeing how they choose the quickest path, then they most likely wouldn’t give up in the middle even if they’re caught. It seemed like they planned to use the cavalry’s speed on the shortest route as quickly as possible. 

“We have to quickly do something.”

“Wait a moment.”

Siegfried stopped the officer who wanted to get moving immediately.

“What’s the size of the enemy?”

“At the time of surveillance, there were about 5,000 troops, sir.”

“Then they might gather up to 10,000.”

Siegfried muttered to himself before pointing to a location on the map.

“I want you to set up an ambush here.”

The location he was pointing to was a spot that the enemy had to pass through if they moved. 

“Yes, sir. How many should we have waiting to ambush?”

“300.”

“…sir?”

For a second, the officer thought he had heard it wrong, but Siegfried repeated himself with a serious expression. 

“Have 300 troops waiting in ambush.”

“With only that, it’ll be impossible to stop the enemy, sir.”

“The point isn’t to stop them. The unit’s purpose is to check the enemy’s troop size and see who the commander is.”

“Ah…”

“Depending on who the commander of this division is, we have to change our approach. Have the 300 men waiting in ambush be made up of the fastest cavalry so they can retreat quickly. They will surveil and act like they’ve encountered the enemy by chance. It’s fine if they retreat immediately after they’ve seen the enemy’s troop configuration.”

Despite reading the enemy’s movement, Siegfried continued to study and think over the enemy’s movements. His action of studying it over and over was like checking to make sure a bridge made out of stone was solid. 

“Will we have time to respond if we take too long?”

“No matter how fast they move, they’ll have to bypass this location. If we quickly move on the shortest path, then we can get there before them.”

Siegfried had already calculated it thoroughly in his head. 

He spoke to his officer.

“Trust me. We won’t miss them.”

“Yes, Sir!”

And so, on Siegfried’s command, 300 cavalry moved to the ambush point. 

***

“They’re coming. Everyone, prepare yourselves.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Keep this in mind. We’re a reconnaissance unit that coincidentally encountered the enemy. Do not forget this.”

“Yes, understood, sir.”

The 300 men who were waiting at the ambush point at Siegfried’s order were incredibly elite soldiers. They were able to capably handle Silfid, a horse breed, and quickly retreat. Not to mention, they were extremely loyal to the Republic and were willing to devote their lives to their country. They were also mentally strong and capable of withholding information even if they were caught by their enemies and tortured. As long as they were dying for the Republic, they were able to handle anything. Milton would call them ideology fanatics. The reconnaissance unit acted as if they coincidently encountered the enemy troops at the front line. 

“Stop! We are the Kobrook Republic’s patrol unit. Reveal your affiliation.” 

When the man at the lead spoke up as he rode forward, the approaching troop sent out one man. He slowly rode forward.

“I’m coming.”

Although it was just one man, the reconnaissance troops didn’t let down their guard. 

“Wait, stop right there and tell me who you are.” 

“It’s a top secret mission so it has to be reported in secret. So, you’ll have to wait a bit.”

“Stop right there. If you approach any further, you will be attacked.”

At that, the man, who had stepped out on his own, let out a deep sigh.

“So, this is as far as we get.”

“What…”

“I am one of the Lester Kingdom’s Marquis Forrest’s Knights.”

“They… they’re the enemy!”

Although they already knew this, the reconnaissance unit pretended to be surprised. Then…

“He’s Jerome Taker!”

Jerome rushed forward like a gale and attacked the reconnaissance unit. 

Clang!

“Ugh!”

“Dodge it!”

Even though it was just one man fighting against 300 men, no one could stop him. Every time he swung his Aura Blade, horse or human, they were all cut down without hesitation. 

“Retreat! Retreat!”

The cavalry quickly scattered and escaped but within that short period of time, Jerome had killed 50 of them.

“It’s more important to advance than to chase them. Let’s hurry up.”

Jerome led his men forward instead of pursuing the enemy. Because of that, the rest of the cavalry were able to escape and report back to Siegfried. 

***

“They verified that it was Jerome Taker?”

“Yes, sir. Without a doubt, it’s him. We definitely saw him use the Aura Blade.”

Siegfried was finally able to calm himself down once he heard the report. Milton’s best aide, Jerome Taker, was leading the assault troops. That meant the assault troops that Milton was leading were taking a detour. 

‘So you’re going that way, Milton Forrest?’

Pursuing the retreating army while intercepting the enemy who was attempting to ambush them. Those were both things that needed to be done. But Siegfried had still wanted to check the location of Milton Forrest. 

“Quickly prepare the army. I will lead 20,000 troops and kill the detouring enemy. Nathan!”

“Yes, sir?”

“Lead the remaining 20,000 and attack the enemy’s rear. But take it easy, as long as you can wear them down, it’s fine.”

“Yes, sir. I understand.”

Having entrusted the rest of the army to Nathan, Siegfried immediately left with his men.

‘Milton Forrest, I’ll end you this time.’

Siegfried’s calculations were correct. Even if the enemy moved quickly, they would still need to take a detour in order to avoid Siegfried’s allies. Siegfried believed that as long as he was able to predict their route, he would be able to intercept them and attack their rear. Then, he’d be able to quickly catch up to the enemy. 

“Stop.”

Siegfried stopped his men and asked the troops who had gotten to the location ahead of them.

“The enemy hasn’t passed by yet?”

“No, sir, they haven’t.”

‘Good, I haven’t missed them yet.’

He hadn’t been able to leave quickly because he had been collecting information. Thankfully, it seemed like he still had a chance to catch his enemy. Siegfried made his aide-de-camp check the army’s condition.

“How are the soldiers?”

“They’re alright, sir.”

“Good. Have the cavalry spread out in either direction. As soon as I give the signal, have them quickly go back to the enemy’s rear. Tell them to focus on blocking the enemy’s retreat rather than fighting.”

“Yes, sir!”

“Place 2,000 infantry at the front and 1,000 archers behind them. When the enemy comes, have the first wave step down immediately. I’ll lead the second wave myself. Arrange the men…”

Once he had ordered every single soldier into position, Siegfried waited for his enemy to come.

Two hours after the arrangement of the military.

“The enemy is coming, sir.”

“Good. Tell the entire army what the plan is again. I will not forgive any mistakes.”

“Yes, Sir!”

Siegfried’s plan was to use the first wave of soldiers to lure the enemy and use the remaining troops to destroy them. It seemed simple, but it was enough for the current situation. The enemy’s purpose was to disrupt the Kobrook Republic from the inside using a small number of troops. In that case, it was important for them to reach their destination as soon as possible. Since time was of essence for them, they would most likely try to get rid of any enemies in front of them by confronting them head-on instead of detouring to avoid them. 

“The enemy has found our allies. Their leader is fighting our troops, sir.”

“Good.”

Siegfried clench fist when he heard the messenger’s report. Reading the enemy’s movements and checkmating them. It was Siegfried’s favorite ‘hunting’ method. 

“The first wave has clashed with the enemy. They’re retreating as planned, sir.”

“Good. Send the signal immediately!”

The messenger blew his longhorn at Siegfried’s command.

Buemmmm!!

The Republican Army that Siegfried had arranged in advance made their moves. The cavalry quickly charged towards the enemy’s rear to block their path of retreat while the other troops attacked the enemy. Siegfried himself led the second wave to confront the enemy head-on. He had the infantry stand closely together and created a ‘wall’ blocking the enemy from advancing further. The enemy had been quickly charging forward, but were dumbfounded once they were surrounded. And once the knight at the front stopped, the entire army slowly came to stop behind. 

“Now’s our chance! Encircle them!”

Siegfried took the opportunity when the enemy’s formation was disrupted and moved the rest of his troops. He had previously spread out his men, but now, they were moving forward and tightening the encirclement. Seeing the tightening ‘net,’ the enemy couldn’t do anything besides moving in a confused mess. 

“What’s this?”

Suddenly, Siegfried had an uneasy feeling as he watched the trapped enemy. Their response was too weak and lackluster. If he was in the same situation, he would have tried to escape one way or another. After all, the tighter the net, the stronger it would become. Even if he had to sacrifice some men, Siegfried would have tried to escape the encirclement. 

‘In order to respond to them breaking through the net, I had the cavalry stand at the rear where they’d be the weakest but…’

But the enemy wasn’t responding at all. Just as Siegfried was thinking like so…

“Retreat! All of you, retreat!”

The enemy began to turn around and retreat.

“Don’t let them escape! Squads Four and Five, immediately rush forward!”

Once Siegfried commanded his army, he had two groups of his personal troops, the Ghosts, sally forth. Even if the enemy tried to retreat from the back, the cavalry he had previously arranged would buy him sometime. Siegfried was waiting for a time where he could attack his enemy from the back with the sharpest blade he had, his Ghosts. No matter what army it was, they were most vulnerable when they were retreating. Once you stopped them in their tracks and blocked their rear…

“They… they’re coming!”

“The enemy… from the rear… guh!”

Crack! Crack!

“That’s what would happen.”

Siegfried smiled as he watched the Ghost attack the enemy’s rear. The enemy was completely hobbled. The destruction of the enemy was guaranteed and all that was left was for Siegfried to capture the big fish. 

“Milton Forrest. Jerome Taker. Hurry up and show yourselves.”

Since there was no reason to hide Master Jerome’s abilities now, Milton was most likely planning to have Jerome lead the retreat. In that case, it would soon be time for Siegfried to show himself. 

Waiting by his side were the higher ranked Ghost members from Group 1, 2, and 3. The stronger the Ghost was, the higher he would be ranked. In the past, Jerome had fought against Group 6. That group was a special unit that focused on fighting together rather than individual strength. However, usually, Ghosts focused on individual strength, and the stronger they were, the higher the unit they were assigned to. In other words, the blade that Siegfried was aiming with was the best of the best among the Ghosts. 

‘Hurry up and come out!’

Siegfried concentrated on the enemy’s movements. But then…

“Sir, the enemy is collapsing.”

There was no need for Siegfried and the elite Ghosts who had been waiting with him. The enemy was collapsing just from Groups 4 and 5. 

“……”

A chill ran down Siegfried’s back. There was no way this could be happening. At first, Siegfried thought they had made a mistake when he saw what they decided to do. But what about individual strength? Even if something was wrong, this was too wrong. If Milton and Jerome were in that army, there was no way they would show this kind of weakness. 

“…no way.”

Although they were overwhelmingly winning right now, Siegfried’s expression twisted. He turned towards the south and sighed.

“I lost.”

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