Chapter 135: Trike (3)

After an overwhelming victory, Trike had returned to Milton with both good news and bad news. The good news was that Siegfried had been baited as planned and as Viscount Sabian had said, was dealt a big blow. The bad news was…

“What? Repeat that for me one more time.”

Trike repeated himself when Viscount Sabian frowned and asked him to do so. 

“Without a doubt, Siegfried is a Master.”

“What nonsense are you…”

Viscount Sabian fell into a slight panic. For him, Siegfried was a distinguished strategist. Viscount Sabian thought of himself as a genius, but Siegfried’s brilliance wasn’t any less than himself. He even thought that perhaps Siegfried was even better than himself. But how could such a person have reached the level of a Master? How could one person have that much talent and ability?

“You’re really sure about this?”

“He blocked an Aura Arrow. He fell off his horse because it was an unexpected attack, but if he expected it from the beginning…”

Trike spoke sparingly because of his pride, but everyone knew what he was saying.

“If once wasn’t enough, can’t you try again?”

If Siegfried was a Master, it was even more disappointing that Trike hadn’t been able to kill him then. When Viscount Sabian couldn’t let it go, it wasn’t Trike who defended himself but Milton who defended Trike.

“While Trike’s Aura Arrow is powerful, he can only use it a couple times a day.”

But…”

“And if the first surprise attack failed, then it’s likely he’d have avoided or blocked the second attack more proficiently. He made the right decision to retreat without hesitating.” 

When Milton said that, there was no way Viscount Sabian could say anything more to Trike. From the beginning, this wasn’t something that he could reprimand Trike about. Viscount Sabian was only stubborn because he was disappointed that something he had been so certain about, Trike’s arrow, had failed. Above all, for Siegfried to be a Master meant…

‘He’s dangerous. My Lord was right. Siegfried really is an extremely dangerous man.’

Milton had been collecting information on Siegfried for a while now, but he hadn’t known that Siegfried was a Master. That’s how well Siegfried had hidden that fact; of course he had hidden it from his enemies, but he had also hidden it from his allies. If Siegfried hadn’t hidden his Master status, there were a couple moments where he would have used his abilities. But what could he have been looking for by hiding that fact even from his allies? Viscount Sabian hated that he had only found out today. 

“My Lord, did you already know this?”

Although Viscount Sabian’s question didn’t specify a topic or subject, Milton knew what he was asking.

“I had a feeling. Ah, he’s ambitious. Doesn’t matter that he’s a Republican or whatever, I felt like he was born into this era to rile things up.”

At those words, Viscount Sabian let out a deep sigh.

“Why didn’t you say anything, My Lord?”

“You wouldn’t have believed me even if I told you. I didn’t have enough evidence to prove it either.”

“That’s…um…”

Viscount Sabian had nothing to say. Before they had been defeated at Litinque Castle, he had underestimated Siegfried. If he thought about it now, it had been a ridiculous misjudgment. He knew better now; he finally understood why Milton was so wary of Siegfried. 

Siegfried was like a beast lurking in the wild grasses of the Republic. He was a beast that was hiding in the grass with only his eyes visible, making it impossible to see exactly what kind of beast he was. That’s why Viscount Sabian had thought he’d be a wolf at best.  But today, he had gotten a glimpse of Siegfried’s true self. Siegfried wasn’t a wolf. He was a clever beast that knew to hide himself until he was big and powerful enough.

Clap!

Seeing Viscount Sabian’s thought process getting progressively negative, Milton calmed him down. Milton clapped his hands once to bring the attention back to himself. 

“Let’s think about this positively. We found out what the enemy had been hiding. Trike accomplished something great just by bringing back this information. Well done, Trike.”

“Thank you, My Lord. But I’ve failed…”

He was ashamed to be getting praised when he had failed in his mission to kill Siegfried. 

“No, you made the right decision to retreat at the right moment. Thanks to that, we were able to find out the information that Siegfried had been hiding.”

In that sense, Trike had done very well. Milton stood up and drew his sword as he spoke to him.

“Kneel down, Trike Low.”

Trike knelt and Milton lightly tapped both of his shoulders with the sword.

“Trike Low, I award you the title of Baron and give you 10 Destroy bred horses as well as 500 gold as a reward.”

“Thank you, My Lord.”

Milton gave Trike a big reward. Although knighthood was almost like being a noble, it didn’t have the same status of nobility, so being awarded the title of Baron was a huge reward. When Milton had become a Marquis, he had the power to confer titles of lower nobilities, but he was always careful about. This was because by conferring a title of nobility to someone, Milton was also obligated to give them a fief. So far, Milton had done this only once before for Jerome Taker. 

Milton had awarded Jerome with a title and given Jerome a bit of his own territory. The title of Viscount might seem a bit pathetic to award to a Master, but it had been the best Milton could do then. Jerome had accepted it gladly. Although Jerome had originally been the heir to a Marquis, it held greater meaning for him to accept the title of Viscount from the Lord he had chosen to follow. Since then, Trike was the first person Milton had awarded with a title after Jerome. 

“I’ll give you a territory once we return back home.”

“Thank you, My Lord.”

Trike seemed to be greatly moved since his voice was trembling. He had originally been a mercenary so he seemed particularly touched to become a noble now. 

“Congratulations, Sir Low.”

“No, shouldn’t we call him Baron Low now?”

“Hahaha… once we return, you should treat all of us to a meal.”

Milton looked on with satisfaction as the other Knights surrounded Trike to congratulate him. 

‘Everything’s going as planned.’

 Milton had awarded one of his men like this because Trike had made a great contribution to the war but also to bring up the mood of the army. Viscount Sabian and others seemed greatly burdened by the fact that Siegfried was a Master. If the command structure was relaxed, then that relaxation would be trickled down to the soldiers. That’s why Milton had conferred the title of Baron to Trike in front of everyone else. It had been to raise the mood of his command structure. And just as Milton expected, the atmosphere turned happier and the other Knights were busy congratulating Trike. 

In that happy atmosphere, Milton sought out Viscount Sabian.

“Sabian.”

“Yes, My Lord?”

“Are there any changes to our future plans?”

“There’s no changes to the plans even if Siegfried is a Master, My Lord.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, sir. We’ve created a favorable situation for ourselves, so if we maintain the current state of the frontline…”

“An urgent message, sir.”

At that moment, a messenger rushed into the meeting

“What’s the matter?”

“A carrier pigeon came from Sir Tommy Croix, sir.”

Milton and Sabian’s eyes both sparked. 

“What did it say?”

The messenger briefly relayed the message to Milton. 

“The message said it was a success, sir.”

“Yes!!”

“Milton jumped out of his seat with his hand clenched into a fist.

Viscount Sabian also had a smile on his face.

“My Lord, this… this is truly…”

“Wasn’t this all your plan, Sabian?”

“Yes, sir. But who knew it’d be possible…”

Viscount Sabian spread open their strategic map.

“My Lord, it’s possible to counterattack now.”

“Can we hit them hard again?”

At Milton’s question, Viscount Sabian grinned at him.

“I won’t let it end with just that, sir.”

He continued to speak with his voice overflowing with confidence.

“I will try my best to end the war, My Lord.”

He sounded confident. 

***

The Northern garrison in the Hildes Republic. 

This garrison was rumored to have the harshest training but within the Hildes Republic, it was known as the honey post or the demotion station. It was a honey post for the soldiers but for the commanders, being assigned to the Northern garrison was like being sent for demotion. Why? Because there were no enemies to the North of the Hildes Republic. 

Although a garrison had been created, since the founding of Hildes Republic, there had never been records of the Northern garrison ever going into combat. If you want to quibble over it…

The polar bears had come down to the village and had to be fought off because they attacked the villagers. 

That was the extent of the Northern garrison’s action. That’s how peaceful it was. After all, a war had to be fought between humans. 

So what was the point of deploying a garrison in a place that was so cold that humans had a difficult time surviving? In fact, within the Hildes Republic, there had been several proposals to eliminate the Northern garrison. But each time, they decided not to get rid of it because the Northern garrison played another vital role. There was nothing more useful than being able to send the commanders who were annoying you somewhere out of sight forever. In other words, the Northern garrison served as a dumpster where the Republican higher-ups could legally dump the people they didn’t like. 

Of course, there was also a valid reason they told the public for keeping it. 

[Learson, The first Fuhrer of our Hildes Republic once said this — Our enemies might try to attack the Republic’s Capital by coming from the North, so send soldiers to the Northern garrison. In order to obey the will of our first Fuhrer we blahblahblah…]

This, or something similar, was their justification. Of course, the Republicans knew this was actually all bullshit. What kind of man would brave the extreme cold to attack from the North? Even the Northern people would get disoriented and be lost during blizzards. But to say that enemies would use the North to move their armies? Only an insane person would do that. 

However, an insane person really did do that.

“Huh? What’s that?”

“There’s something coming?”

“Is it a herd of sea lions? Or maybe penguins?”

“No. That’s… an army?”

“What? You crazy bastard, how could there be an army here?”

“You’re right. But, what’s that then?”

“Lemme see… it does look like one… but there’s no way it's an army. What is that?”

The guards were the perfect example of how indolent soldiers can become during peace. They had been drinking hard liquor in order to keep warm as they stood guard and continued to play ‘Guess What That Is’ until the enemy was right at their gates. And then…

Having arrived within attacking distance without any interference, Tommy bellowed.

“Attack!!”

“Waaaaaaaahh!!”

The guards finally realized what was going on and tried to ring the alarm, but it was too late. The troops led by Rick and Tommy quickly got rid of the guards and invaded the fort in order to occupy it. Considering how long they’ve been marching through the bitter cold, the troops’ morale was quite high.

“Shit! It’s the enemy! They’re the enemy!!”

“Yes!! Oh my god!! I don’t care that they’re the enemy, I’m just glad to see humans!!”

“You’re all dead. I’m glad to see you, but you’re all dead.”

“Ah!!! It’s the enemy! The enemies are finally in front of us!”

“Mother!! We finally found some enemies!”

Actually, rather than high morale, it might be more accurate to say that they had a couple of loose screws. 

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