Chapter 137: A Chaotic Battlefield (2)

‘I’ll follow you for the rest of my life.’

Just as Jake’s loyalty was increasing, Siegfried opened his eyes. 

“Jake.”

“Yes, My Lord?”

“I’m heading back to my country. I’ll be leaving you in charge here.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

Until now, Siegfried had thoroughly hidden Jake’s existence with his own shadow. However, to entrust such a job to Jake meant that Siegfried didn’t plan to hide Jake’s existence any longer.

“In my absence, I want you to keep the enemy contained rather than fight them. I’ll contact you at the right time. “

“Yes, My Lord, I understand.”

Once Siegfried gave Jake the command, Siegfried chose the bare minimum number of troops and mounted his horse. 

“Milton Forrest…”

Maybe? No, even if there wasn't any evidence, it was without a doubt Milton Forrest that caused this kind of ridiculous situation. 

“I’ll definitely kill you next time.”

With that, Siegfried left for the Eastern Front. 

***

Ready to harshly reprimand him, Fuhrer Bahasten was waiting for Siegfried back in their military headquarters. 

“Just what did you do to make things come to this point?”

Fuhrer Bahasten spoke as if Siegfried was responsible for everything that happened.

“I’m sorry, Fuhrer.”

Siegfried calmly bowed his head and acknowledged his fault. Truthfully, it couldn’t really be said that it was Siegfried’s fault. No matter how you look at it, it was insanity to attack the Hildes Republic by passing through the Northern frozen lands. Even now, when it had already happened, it still seemed impossible. It wasn’t right to criticize Siegfried for not expecting it. Not just Siegfried, but none of the other staff or officers of the Republic had considered and discussed the dangers of the North. Of course, this included Fuhrer Bahasten himself, but he pushed all the responsibility onto Siegfried. 

This had never happened in the past. Although Siegfried had risen through the ranks in the Republic quite quickly and was pushed back by the others a lot, he had been able to protect himself because Fuhrer Bahasten served as a political windshield. Fuhrer Bahasten had believed that Siegfried was his person, therefore, greatly appreciated Siegfried’s talent. He had treated Siegfried like his son in both the private and the public sphere. However, the trust that had slowly accumulated all disappeared with this one failure. 

The news that was coming from their country was getting worse day by day. Not only had they not been able to deal with the 5,000 troops threatening them in the North, but on the Southern border, Duke Palan of the Lester Kingdom was leading his army northward. The border guards had already been defeated and the forces led by Duke Palan were capturing the Hildes Republic’s fortresses one by one. There had been news that Duke Palan had already invaded more than a third of the country. 

Fuhrer Bahasten didn’t have the personality to maintain his sanity during this crisis and to calmly deal with it. 

“How can you bring such a crisis to the country? How will you take responsibility for this? Even if I tore you apart while you were alive, that wouldn’t be enough to forgive you for this. Do you understand?!”

Maybe it was because he wanted to avoid all criticism from a situation that had become too overwhelming for himself, but Fuhrer Bahasten was pushing all responsibilities for it onto his right-hand man, Siegfried. Of course, if you took a step back and looked at it, it was a folly that stemmed from desperation. But in a situation like this, the parties involved were never aware of this fact. 

“Forgive me, sir. Everything is because of my incompetence.”

Siegfried didn’t make any excuses and calmly took the blame. 

“Hoo… hoo…”

After rebuking Siegfried to the point he was almost denouncing him, Fuhrer Bahasten calmed himself and stared at Siegfried with bloodshot eyes. Then, as if he found some rationality, he finally said the thing he should have said in the beginning. 

“Is there any way to overcome this situation?”

“Yes, sir, there is.”

When Siegfried said there was a way without a moment of hesitation, Fuhrer Bahasten’s eyes opened wide. 

“You really mean that?”

“Yes, sir. I thought about it constantly on the way here. A way to save our country while improving our results from this war.”

“Is that really possible?”

The look of Fuhrer Bahasten’s eyes changed again. Until a moment ago, his gaze looked as if he was staring at a traitor who threw his country into a dangerous situation, but now, Fuhrer Bahasten was looking at Siegfried as if he was looking at his trusted right-hand man again. 

“Tell me, how can we do that?”

“That is…”

As Fuhrer Bahasten listened to his explanation, Bahasten’s expression was constantly changing. Once Siegfried was done explaining, Fuhrer Bahasten spoke up. 

“Is that the only way?”

“I may be incompetent, but in my opinion, I don’t think there’s any other way, sir.”

Fuhrer Bahasten considered it with a serious expression.

‘Is it possible? It seems like a dangerous and reckless plan.’

But it seemed unlikely that there would be any other way now.

“I’m sure you know that this is your last chance?”

“Of course, sir.”

“Carry out the plan.”

“Yes, sir.”

With Fuhrer Bahasten’s permission, Siegfried immediately moved his army. From that day on, the Hildes Republic’s army in the Republican Allied Forces began to move. They weren’t leaving the war. Even if they wanted to, the other two Republic nations wouldn’t allow it, but more than that, the current situation wasn’t something that could be stopped just because they left. 

Instead, the Hildes Republic moved towards the Western part of the Strabus Kingdom. They moved very quickly, destroying the fortresses and estates in the Western region of the kingdom. Everyone seemed to know that the Hildes Republic wasn’t aiming to occupy the Strabus Kingdom. They knew the Republic was racing towards a different destination — to the West of the Strabus Kingdom. 

Lester Kingdom was in that direction. 

“Sure enough, it was an excellent plan.”

“Incredible. When I think about it now, I think this might be the only effective counterattack.”

Seeing the Hildes Republic’s troops advancing to the Lester Kingdom, the operations officers who were carrying out their duties in the Republican Allied Forces were in awe. This war’s main purpose was to invade the Strabus Kingdom. But strangely enough, the most troublesome person in this entire war was Milton Forrest from the Lester Kingdom. The Kobrook Republic had been in danger because of Milton’s outstanding performance in the East. After that, the army that appeared in the Northern part of the Hildes Republic was also revealed to be the Lester Kingdom’s army. In addition to that, Duke Palan of Lester Kingdom was currently advancing with his army as if he planned to end the Hildes Republic at this opportunity. The country they needed to pay the most attention to right now was Lester Kingdom. That’s why Siegfried was trying to attack the Lester Kingdom with the Hildes Republic’s forces.

Currently, Lester Kingdom was devoting all of their strength to the expedition and attacking the Hildes Republic. That meant that there weren’t any forces behind in their kingdom. Not to mention, the Strabus Kingdom and Lester Kingdom were basically allies. In other words, the Lester Kingdom’s border defense would be weak. It could be said that once the Hildes Republic invaded, there would be no way for the Lester Kingdom to stop them. 

By doing this, Siegfried could achieve two things. One was to save his country. Duke Palan was currently attacking the Hildes Republic, but if his country was in danger, he would have to move his army. With the Lester Kingdom’s current defensive preparations, they couldn’t stop the Hildes Republic. Duke Palan would have to return since he would be the closest and most able to return the quickest. 

The second thing Siegfried could achieve was restraining Milton Forrest. Currently, Milton was fighting against the forces Siegfried had left in the Eastern Region. But if his country was in danger, it would be difficult for Milton to continue his expedition. Even if Duke Palan returned in time, the Hildes Republic’s Army that Siegfried led was a serious threat. If Duke Palan’s Northern Army was the fastest, then Milton Forrest’s Central Army was the strongest army. While Duke Palan returned and bought them some time, Milton Forrest would quickly hurry back to attack the Hildes Republic’s rear. This was the most stable defense the Lester Kingdom could attempt. 

Having predicted the situation, the officers of the Hildes Republic knew their roles very well.

“We should stop Milton Forrest.”

“Exactly. Even if we don’t directly confront him, as long as we drag things out, it’ll be enough.”

“Especially since the longer we drag things out, the more the Lester Kingdom will be in trouble.”

The Allied Force officers determined the course of action and reported it to their superior. At the same time they were making their report, Jake, who had been guarding the Eastern Front, sent a messenger. Milton Forrest, who had been fighting on the Eastern Front, had retreated. The Republican Army’s officers heard the information and were convinced that their decision was correct. They immediately reported it to their superiors and the Republican Army turned their blade to the right. They believed that the person they had to be more wary of in this war, Milton Forrest, would be attacking from the East. However, of the remaining Allied Force officers, one of them was looking at the situation with a disgusted gaze.

“Idiots.”

He was David, Siegfried’s right-hand man. He had a cold smile on his face as he watched the Republican Army moving busily. 

***

“Reporting, sir. The Republicans are reacting to our movements, sir.”

When he heard the scout’s report, Milton wasn’t flustered at all. Instead, he looked at Viscount Sabian who was next to him.

“It’s exactly as you expected.”

“It was obvious, My Lord.”

Viscount Sabian responded to him calmly. In fact, when Viscount Sabian heard that Siegfried was leading his army to the West, Viscount Sabian had anticipated this situation. He had reacted like this because he had anticipated.

“What will you do now? Do I just have to chase them away from here now?”

The enemy’s army was 100,000 men. Milton had 50,000 men, but, in his eyes, the 40,000 army that had included Siegfried seemed much more difficult. If he had to fight, he had the confidence he would win against the 100,000 troops. But…

“It’s honestly a waste of time if we deal with them. We have to get to the West as soon as possible, sir.”

“That’s true. Then, do we just rush past them?”

“No sir. We confront them.”

“Didn’t you just say it was a waste of time?”

“Yes, sir. But if we were able to pass through them without fighting, then we can save that much strength.”

“Pass through without a fight?”

“Yes, sir. I predict… that in three days, the enemies will voluntarily get out of our way.”

Milton couldn’t help but laugh at Viscount Sabian’s assertive words. 

“You’re very confident.”

“Yes, sir. Please trust me.”

“Fine. But apart from that…”

Milton secretly told Viscount Sabian something and Viscount Sabian nodded his head as he laughed. 

***

As Viscount Sabian said, without fighting, Milton directly confronted the Republican forces. He stood his ground about a day’s distance from the Republican army without any provocation. He just spent his time quietly. 

Instead of Milton, it was the Republican Army that was flustered. They had thought Milton would aggressively attack them, but he had just set up a battle formation and quietly stood his ground. It was nothing like their expectations. The two Fuhrer leading the Republican Army ordered their officers to analyze the situation; the officers immediately conducted a meeting.

“Why are they doing this?”

“It doesn’t make any sense. If I knew my country was in danger, I would have moved my army. Shouldn’t he be hurrying?”

The Republican Army’s officers couldn’t understand Milton. At that moment, someone asked David a question. Up until now, David had been purposefully hiding his sense of presence. 

“What do you think? What do you think the enemy is targeting?”

David answered the question as if he was greatly flustered.

“Um… I don’t… I don’t know.”

“Huh… you’re saying you don’t have a single guess? Wasn’t it your operation that destroyed the Northern Front? How can a strategist who thought up such an operation be so passive and half-hearted?”

The officer’s gaze was focused on David. David’s face turned red as he responded shamefully.

“Actually… that operation… wasn’t thought up by me.”

“What? Then who thought of it?”

“Um… I saw Secretary Siegfried come up with it before he left. It seemed… like a good one so…”

At David’s response, all the officers frowned as one.

‘So he stole someone else’s strategy?’

‘He turned that into his own accomplishment?’

‘He’s less than trash.’

The officers all looked at David with scorn. 

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