Chapter 144: Armistice (1)

Milton hadn’t had the time to calmly analyze Siegfried’s stats right away when they had first met. That’s why, he had waited for the mood to settle and his mind to calm down. Finally, he was able to check Siegfried’s stats with his abilities.

[Siegfried]

Social Climber LV. 7

Strength — 93         Command — 95

Intellect — 97                Politics — 99

Loyalty — 00

Special Traits — Villain’s Ambition, Sovereign’s Absolute Obedience, Strategy, Bargain, Level-Headed, Silver Tongued, See-Through, Valiant

Villain’s Ambition LV.5: Able to use whatever means necessary for his goal and is persistent beyond belief. Has a strong driving force beyond everything and makes every effort to achieve the goal without taking a break. 

Sovereign’s Absolute Obedience LV.6: Able to strongly restrain talents who are under their command. The chances of being betrayed are greatly reduced and the loyalty of vassals strengthens as the time passes. Able to obtain absolute faith in the end. 

Strategy LV.9 (MAX): Excellent ability to discern the overall flow of war. The possibility to quickly and accurately analyze the impact of how each small battle has on the entire game of war. 

Bargain LV.8: Able to assert one’s own conditions more successfully when making deals or entering negotiations

Level-Headed LV.9 (MAX): Increases the perspective of seeing the entire battle situation during a war. Even in a crisis, has the ability to turn things around if the enemy makes a single mistake.  

Silver-Tongued LV.8: Persuade or subdue others through dialogue. May be counterproductive when utilized on an individual with strong pride

See-Through LV.8: Able to grasp the truth of the conversation partner's words through innate observational power. 

Valiant LV.9 (MAX): Increases combat power in battle and increases the morale of subordinates. The effect increases if you make a speech in person or intervene in a battle earlier.

‘…That’s insane.’

Based on his outer appearance, Milton looked collected, but on the inside, he was tremendously agitated. It was a good thing he hadn’t looked at the status window immediately. He wouldn’t have been able to fight so viciously in the verbal battle if he had seen just this kind of ability before. 

‘It would have been impossible. But what the hell is it? What kind of a monster is he?’

All of Siegfried’s stats were over 90, with the lowest being his Strength stat at 93, not to mention, he had eight special traits. This was ridiculous. While using his ability, Milton had found out that if you don’t use special traits often, they’ll either decrease or even completely disappear. In fact, Milton also had the trait Bargain in the past, but because he gradually stopped using it, it had disappeared. In the past, his circumstances weren’t the best, so he had been inclined to use it, but as his circumstances got better, there was no need for him to Bargain anymore and it disappeared. 

The same was true for the others. That’s why one person usually had about three to five special traits. But, Siegfried maintained eight special traits. That meant he was alway using his traits to the fullest everyday.The reason for that was most likely…

‘Is that it? A Villain’s Ambition?’

Villain’s Ambition LV.5: Able to use whatever means necessary for his goal and is persistent beyond belief. Has a strong driving force beyond everything and makes every effort to achieve the goal without taking a break. 

Being tenacious beyond belief in order to achieve his goal. Perhaps that was the foundation for Siegfried’s ridiculous stats. Having stats that were all over 90, not to mention, being able to maintain eight special traits… He was willing to put in a lot of time and effort for his goals. 

‘Social Climber… damn it, what an outrageous bastard.’

The special traits fit with the Social Climber that the status window had labelled Siegfried. Milton had assumed Siegfried’s stats would be this high since he had already known about Siegfried’s cleverness and power, but he hadn’t thought that Siegfried’s special traits and ‘identity’ would be like this. The identity of a Social Climber and a Villain’s Ambition special trait; the combination of these two could only mean one thing. If it was for his goal, then Siegfried would never give up. How could someone like him appear as the enemy in this era’s conflict of ideology? Milton felt like the world was turning dark in front of his eyes.  

***

“That’s why I’m saying you must immediately withdraw your troops from our territories.”

“The nobles in the Western region voluntarily fled to our country. Why should we have to withdraw?”

“But before that, the Strabus Kingdom’s king surrendered to us. At that point, all the territory of the former Strabus Kingdom became ours.”

“It doesn’t matter what or who was first. A noble of a feudal territory has the authority to do whatever he wants with his territory. As long as they formally defected, it’s quite natural for their estates to go with them.”

“Our Republic does not acknowledge either the concepts of aristocrats or fiefdoms. You think you could convince us with that kind of logic?”

“Following that logic, our kingdom doesn’t recognize your republicanism.”

“What did you just say?”

While Milton was looking at Siegfried’s status window, the diplomatic negotiations were taking a turn for the worse. At the heart of the debate was the kingdom’s nobles who had recently surrendered to the Lester Kingdom. Because they had surrendered their estates, the entire Western region of the Strabus Kingdom had been passed over to the Lester Kingdom. Given that the territory was quite large, it was natural that the Republicans, who occupied the Strabus Kingdom, would be offended. 

The Lester Kingdom had basically devoured most of the Hildes Republic and grown in size. If you added the Western region of the Strabus Kingdom, then a great power encompassing the Northern Eastern part of the continent was about to be born. In the perspective of the Republic, this was absolutely unacceptable. The two Fuhrers of the Republic came here with the determination to trample down the sprouts before it grew bigger. At the very least, they had to take back the Western region. If that didn’t work, they were willing to continue with the war.  

However, no matter how much they tried to bully and browbeat her, Queen Leila didn’t blink an eye. No matter how much the other party attacked her, she just smiled and let the attacks slide past her. As he watched the process, Milton thought his fiancee looked extremely dependable. For her, this diplomatic table was the place where she could best utilize her skills.

As the negotiation continued, the conversation eventually went around in circles. Each side had said everything they wanted but they couldn’t find a compromise and attack each other’s fundamental principles and neither side had a clear effect. In order to get out of this circle, one of them had to make an aggressive move. The first one to do so was Fuhrer Schheimer. 

“If you’re going to be this uncooperative, then we’ll have no other choice to forcefully regain what is rightfully ours.”

In other words, if Queen Leila didn’t take a step back here, he would take back the Western region through war.

‘What’re you gonna do now?’

Fuhrer Schheimer waited for Queen Leila to speak. The ball was in her court. To be honest, it wasn’t the best option to go to war with the Lester Kingdom right now. The Republic hadn’t completely stabilized the occupation of the Strabus Kingdom yet so going to war with the Lester Kingdom would be burdensome on the nation. But, if they just handed over the Western region right now, the Lester Kingdom would grow too large. 

What exactly had been the reason for conquering the Strabus Kingdom; they had planned to take over the southern part of the continent after completely merging the northern part. That was the purpose behind conquering the Strabus Kingdom. However, if the Lester Kingdom was reborn as a powerful country, it would be difficult to aim for the Southern part of the continent with ease. The only thing that would change is switching opponents from the Strabus Kingdom to the Lester Kingdom. In order to avoid that worst case scenario, they were willing to continue the war even if it was burdensome. 

This ‘card’ that Fuhrer Schheimer had shown wasn’t just a bluff, but it was something he was committing to. But Queen Leila only had a calm expression on her face.

“You’ll take it back with force…”

Taking her time, she gave him a bright smile.

“If you think it’s possible, why don’t you try.”

Even before she could finish her sentence, the two Fuhrers leaped out of their seats. 

“Queen Leila!”

“That’s how you want to play this?!”

Queen Leila continued to smile as she watched them.

“Then, did you think I'd withdraw? Why would I when the odds are against you?”

“The odds are against us? You must not know much about war because you’re still young.”

Fuhrer Schheimer mocked Queen Leila.

“Is that so?”

Despite his blatant ridicule, she continued to smile. It was a beautiful and bright smile, but depending on the time and location, it was the perfect smile to piss someone off. In the end, Fuhrer Painheim exploded.

“Currently, our remaining Republican forces are over 150,000.”

“Is that so?”

“Even if all the available troops the Lester Kingdom has is only 50,000 or so?”

“That’s about right.”

“But you still want to try?”

Queen Leila maintained her smile and nonchalant expression. 

“Who do you think is leading the 50,000 troops?”

She pointed towards Milton on her right side.

“It’s an elite army of 50,000 troops led by Milton Forrest who defeated your Republic many times. Do you think he’ll be easy to deal with?”

Queen Leila proudly introduced Milton. 

A thought crossed Fuhrer Painheim’s mind. 

‘He’s definitely annoying…’

Milton was no longer unknown. Although he had made his name known a bit in previous wars, in this war, he had established himself much more and spread his reputation far. The weight behind the name Milton Forrest was enough to be treated as a powerful tool. That’s why Queen Leila had been able to put it out on the table during a diplomatic meeting. However, that didn’t mean the Republican side had no other cards to respond with.

“It looks like you’re overflowing with confidence but we’re not frightened of Milton Forrest as much as you think. Isn’t that right, Commander Siegfried?”

Siegfried responded in a calm voice to Fuhrer Schheimer’s question.

“If you give me the order, I’ll erase the Lester Kingdom within a month.”

Of course, there was no way Milton could leave that alone.

“One month? If you think you can, why don’t you try it?”

A spark flew between Milton and Siegfried when Queen Leila narrowed her eyes and spoke to Siegfried.

“You must have to work hard, don’t you.”

“…what are you trying to say?” 

“A month isn’t enough for you, is it?”

“……”

“You’re actually thinking that you can’t drag out the war for longer than a month, right?”

A wrinkle appeared between Siegfried’s eyebrows. 

‘This woman…’

Siegfried had judged that Queen Leila was a competent monarch, but it seemed like he had underestimated her competence. Seeing the anxious expression the two Fuhrer sent him, Siegfried remained silent while Queen Leila confidently continued to talk.

“If the war continues longer than a month, then all that will be waiting for you will be ruins.”

“How funny. What are you basing that on?”

When Fuhrer Schheimer questioned her, Queen Leila calmly explained.

“Because if the war was prolonged, then the Valence Kingdom in the south would take that chance and come up?”

Fuhrer Schheimer flinched before he recovered.

“That’s just an assumption. As long as the Strabus Kingdom is destroyed, our army fighting against them is meaningless. It’ll be enough to move them to the southern border to guard it.”

“You’re planning on ordering your country’s troops here? Will there be enough time for that? If I was the Valence Kingdom’s monarch, I would do exactly what I did here in the Western region to the Southern region.”

“……”

For a moment, Fuhrer Schheimer felt like he had been struck on the back of his head. 

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