Chapter 143: The Changing International Situation (2)

Once he was alone with Queen Leila, Milton spoke. 

“Didn’t you accept too many of them, Your Majesty?”

“I’m tired. What do you mean?”

Queen Leila’s face expressed her tiredness from dealing with all the nobles who had been turned away every single day.

“I’m talking about the Strabus Kingdom’s nobles who are currently surrendering, Your Majesty.”

“Don’t worry about it. There’s no problem.”

“But I AM worried.”

Milton quietly went behind Queen Leila and gently massaged her shoulders.

“What do you mean you’re worried… don’t do that. Think about your image, dear.”

Queen Leila looked slightly shocked when Milton began to massage her shoulders. Even if she was a queen, it was pretty unconventional for a man to massage a woman’s shoulders in this era. But Milton liked seeing his lovable vixen showing a rare expression of embarrassment and continued to massage her shoulders.

“What’s wrong with me doing this? It’s just the two of us right now.”

“Still… ah…”

Queen Leila tried to get him to stop, but his fingers were too skillful. Acting as if she had given up on stopping him, she accepted Milton’s massage

“But what’re you worried about? Ah… a bit softer…”

“You have a lot of knots. Of course I’m worried. Too many lords surrendered to us. If you combine all of their territories, it’s almost as big as our country originally was, right?”

“It is a bit… ah… much.”

Queen Leila felt so comfortable she felt like she was melting in a puddle. She spoke weakly.

When Milton heard her sigh, he paused a moment before continuing.

“We’re too defenseless, it could be dangerous, Your Majesty.”

“Mm… what is?”

“That’s…”

He almost said, ‘you’re dangerous,’ but managed to turn what could’ve been a blunder into something work related. 

“I’m talking about the border defense. It’ll be difficult to protect the Western region from enemy attacks with our current troops, Your Majesty.”

Just like the Lester Kingdom didn’t pay much attention to the defense on their Eastern border, the Strabus Kingdom hadn’t paid much attention to the defense on their Western region. Milton didn’t have the confidence to protect a region without any defense if this large region became the frontline. Now that the Strabus Kingdom had surrendered, he would have to fight with only the Lester Kingdom’s troops. Currently, the Republican Army had the numerical advantage and with the frontline expanding, this was disadvantageous for them. 

“Mm… you’re right. Right there…”

“Look here, you have to respond when a person talks to you, okay, Your Majesty the Queen.”

“Ah… but your fingers are too magical.”

“……”

“Haha. Fine, alright. I’ll stop joking around and answer you.”

Queen Leila rotated her shoulders as if they were lighter and she felt better. She continued to talk to Milton.

“You don’t have to worry, the enemies can’t fight.”

“Why is that?”

“It’s said that the Hildes Republic fell and Siegfried took control of the Republican Army.” 

“I heard the news.”

It was unwelcome news for Milton.  He had a strong feeling that so far, Siegfried had a low position compared to his ability and hadn’t been shown his full ability, but now, Siegfried had been inaugurated as the commander-in-chief of the Republican Army.  He had full control of the war. For Milton, this news only made him tense even more, but Queen Leila thought differently.

“If Siegfried isn’t foolish, he’ll stop the war at this point.”

“What is your reasoning for that, Your Majesty?”

“First of all, he achieved their original purpose. From the outside, the Republicans won this war. They destroyed the Strabus Kingdom and captured King Bauchen.”

“That’s right. But because of us, didn’t the Hildes Republic’s mainland get passed over to our country? Not to mention, we took over the wester part of the occupied Strabus Kingdom…”

Milton sighed.

No matter how much he thought about it, they had done too well.

“If I was Siegfried, I wouldn’t stop the war here. At the very least, I would want to take back the Western region of the Strabus Kingdom.”

“Hmph, my dear, your political sense isn’t as great as your cleverness on the battlefield.”

When Queen Leila smiled as she said that, Milton responded sullenly.

“Sorry for that.”

Queen Leila clung to him and began to comfort him when she saw that Milton’s pride had been slightly bruised.

“Whoo. Don’t sulk. I”m happy to be able to support you when you can’t.”

“……”

‘She’s seriously a vixen.’

The moment he saw her acting cute, he lost his mental state. At this point, Milton couldn’t help but wonder if this wasn’t almost brainwashing.

“Ahem… could you keep explaining?”

Queen Leila nodded in response.

“In the first place, it wouldn’t be right to continue the war when you’ve already accomplished the purpose. That’s because you would end up using more forces than originally planned.”

“That’s true, but that’s only if you’ve reached your goal. We’ve swallowed the Western region of the Strabus Kingdom, do you think he’d get past that, Your Majesty?”

“He wouldn’t get past that. But, at this point, if he continues to fight against us, it’s impossible to see how long the war would be.”

“Would he be that vigilant against us?”

“Yes, to be more precise, he would be on the lookout for you, dear.”

“Me?”

Queen Leila smiled when she saw him so flustered. 

“You seem to have evaluated him highly even before the war started. In my opinion, he thought the same of you. Wasn’t it you that made Siegfried revise his plan multiple times in this war?”

“Well, that’s…”

Milton tried to speak humbly, but he couldn’t.

Why? Because everything she said was the truth.

“Whoo… In fact, it’s all because of you that I was able to devour the Western region so boldly.”

“Because of me, Your Majesty?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

Queen Leila leaned against Milton’s shoulder as she gave him a dazzling smile. 

“I’ve been acting under the premise that even if the Lester Kingdom’s 50,000 troops might not be a lot, as long as the renowned general Milton Forres is leading it, it’ll be enough to deter the enemy. So…”

She whispered softly into Milton’s ear.

“It’s all thanks to you, my dear Milton.”

‘Wow…’

For a second, Milton got the chills.

Devious devious devious… There was no other vixen as devious as her. First with logical facts and persuasion, then she praised her man’s abilities and struck the final blow with her love.

“……”

‘Patience. Let’s be patient.

Milton repressed himself with superhuman patience. If this hadn’t been the barracks in the middle of the battlefield? If their relationship was beyond engagement and were actually married? If Queen Leila wasn’t a monarch and just an ordinary noblewoman? If one of these conditions had been missing, Milton wouldn’t have been able to endure it. 

‘Just you wait until we’re married. Once we’re married…’

Queen Leila laughed as if she found it funny as she watched Milton seeming to struggle with something.

‘He’s the cutest when I’m teasing him.’

Queen Leila stroked Milton’s cheek as she spoke.

“An envoy will most likely be arriving from the Republic in a couple of days.”

“You really think so, Your Majesty?”

“Yes. Since it’ll be difficult to keep fighting, we’ll have to engage in diplomatic negotiations to end the war safely. They’ll also want to take back the Western region that we slowly took from the Strabus Kingdom.”

“Will it be alright? After all, aren’t we a country that lost? Wouldn’t that be unfavorable during negotiations?”

As a result of this war, the Lester Kingdom had more than tripled its territory and eliminated a potential threat, the Hildes Republic. However officially, the Lester Kingdom was a defeated country. It was always the winner who had the advantage in negotiations after the war. Even though he believed in Queen Leila’s skills, Milton was still worried she would struggle in these disadvantageous conditions. 

However, she smiled softly at him. 

“Don’t worry, dear. I won’t waste the sweat and blood you shed on the battlefield. From now on, it’s my battlefield.”

She was asking that all diplomatic wars be left to her.

‘It’s definitely something Leila’s good at… Ah!’

A thought crossed his mind as he was thinking.

“Leila, I have a favor to ask of you.”

“… what is it?”

“You’ll eventually meet with Siegfried in the near future during diplomatic negotiations, right?”

“That’s right.”

“Let me join you. I want to see him in person.”

“Sure, that’s not something difficult. I was planning to do so anyway.”

‘Good.’

Milton clenched his fist in victory. It was important for him to see Siegfried with his own eyes. Why?

‘I have to check that monster’s stats.’

Because he would be able to see what kind of enemy he was. 

***

It was just as Queen Leila had expected…

Siegfried sent his envoy to attempt negotiating with Queen Leila. Once both sides agreed to meet with a minimum number of personnel, they established a neutral zone.

On the arranged date…

Representatives from both sides met in a spacious place where everyone could look in from the outside. 

“It’s the first time we’re meeting. My name is Leila von Lester.”

Queen Leila smiled brightly as she said hello first.

“I am Schheimer of the Kobrook Republic.”

“I am Painheim of the Hanovirtue Republic.”

The two Fuhrers responded with hard faces. Truthfully, if you considered the ideological differences between a kingdom and a republic, you couldn’t show relaxed demeanor even in a diplomatic setting. The two deliberately took on a hard attitude in order to control their thoughts when they saw the beauty of Queen Leila. Now that the higher ups of both sides had greeted each other, it was time for the people below them to say theirs. No, even if you said, ‘people below them,’ it didn’t mean that their importance was low. In fact, this greeting could be the most important during this diplomatic meeting.

“Milton Forrest.”

“Siegfried.”

Neither deferred to the other. There was no handshake. Even their expressions had a sharp edge to it that did not suit the diplomatic setting. Normally, these two didn’t have an arrogant personality, but nevertheless, the two took on an arrogant and stiff attitude towards each other. It was as if both believed they couldn’t lose face and be pushed by the other.

“……”

“……”

It was the first meeting between Milton Forrest and Siegfried in an official setting. In the future, countless plays and songs would arise from this meeting as the first encounter between the two heroes who divided this era.

“It’s the first time I’m seeing you so closely.”

Milton spoke first, then, Siegfried responded.

“Yes, I thought I’d see you at Litinque Castle… but your ability to run away was impressive.”

The two Fuhrers who were on Siegfried’s side were rather dumbfounded by Siegfried’s tone.

‘Why’s he doing that?’

‘Is this his real personality? Even if Milton’s the enemy, why’s he doing this here?’

Without changing his expression, Milton responded to Siegfried’s blatant provocation.

“My equestrian skills are pretty great. But, are you alright?”

“About what?”

“I mean, according to my subordinate’s report, he saw you falling off your horse all of a sudden.”

“……”

Milton was bringing up what happened when Trike had struck Siegfried.

“If you were gonna do that, you might as well have broken your neck. I would’ve sent you a flower in condolence.”

Hearing Milton’s thorny words, Queen Leila thought to herself.

‘He’s different from usual. He’s more biting than I thought?’

There was no one in this meeting who was hot tempered.

At least that’s what they thought but…

Just in case, Queen Leila immediately tried to smooth things over. 

“As a weak woman, my feet hurt too much to keep standing. Why don’t we take a seat and talk like civilized people?”

At her words, everyone sat down at the prepared table.

As Milton sat, he narrowed his eyes and looked at Siegfried.

‘Shall I check it now?’

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