Chapter 170: The Reemerging War (2)

The Valence Kingdom. Traditionally, it was a kingdom that occupied a fairly large territory in the center of the continent, and at one point in time, it had contended for supremacy in the continent. Of course, those glorious days were hundreds of years ago. The current Valence Kingdom was on the verge of collapsing due to two problems. 

The first reason was the spread of republicanism. Unlike the Lester Kingdom, the poison that David spread within the Valence Kingdom was very effective. As a result, many people revolted, they argued for republicanism and insisted that the status system be abolished. Thanks to that, the Valence Kingdom was going through a terrible civil war. While the commoners, who started the rebellion, didn’t have a lot of power, they were persistent. But more than that, subduing the commoners led to a decrease in production, which caused much headache for the Valence Kingdom’s leaders.  

The second problem was the pro-imperialism expressed by the leaders of the Valence Kingdom. As mentioned before, there was once a time when the Kingdom was a powerhouse that fought for supremacy in the continent. The mere fact that the kingdom was able to contend for such a position in the continent in the past was glorious.  However, that was a thing of the past and the current Valence Kingdom was a vassal state that could do nothing but bow its head to the Empire. 

While the former Strabus Kingdom had been a military powerhouse, the Valence Kingdom could only function as a country by leaning on the Empire. They made money by trading with the Empire, paid tribute to and gained political cooperation from the Empire, and the nobles themselves acknowledged that the Empire was of higher status and nobler than themselves. The nobles of the Valence Kingdom believed that in order to get the best education, it was necessary to send their children to study abroad in the Empire. In fact, the politicians who held power in the Valence Kingdom had studied in the Empire. 

The nobles had a tendency to be pro-imperialistic and believed calling for cooperation with the Empire as much as possible was the best thing to do. They drained their people by heavily taxing them in order to fulfill the Empire’s unreasonable tribute demands. Although some discerning people criticized such pro-imperialist actions, it was useless. The high-ranking people already had pro-imperialist tendencies and believed that the Valence Kingdom could last for a long time only if they stayed under the eyes of the Empire. Because they were such a country, the people’s lives had worsened and the idea of republicanism had spread more rapidly and radically.

And Siegfried took advantage of such problems and further incited the kingdom.

-The Valence Kingdom has long oppressed and exploited the people. Even worse, the Kingdom has presented the goods produced to the Empire and used them to further their own advancements. The people who have been oppressed and suppressed, stand up firmly. Do not be afraid of the blade of the oppressor. If you do not want to pass on the humiliation and the disgrace to your descendants, you must shed blood now. You will not fight alone. Look to the side. You will find brothers who believe the same thing. Look back. We believe the same thing and will help you.

Siegfried spread this manifesto throughout the Valence Kingdom. It was a subtle criticism that pointed out the evils that the Valence Kingdom had committed so far and persuaded people to his side. But most of all, the manifesto gave the people hope that Siegfried would join them with reinforcements. 

“The Commander-in-Chief Siegfried is coming!”

“The great Republican hero is coming!”

“Long live the Republic!”

Siegfried had become big enough that just his name was enough to influence the battlefield.

When it became known that he was going to lead an army and cross into the Valence Kingdom, the people became even more enthusiastic. Of course, the upper ranks of the Valence Kingdom could not ignore this.

***

“We must defeat the Republicans here. Everyone, prepare yourselves!”

A man was loudly encouraging his men while preparing to fight against Siegfried at the Valence Kingdom’s border. He was Marquis Mikhail Berg. The Valence Kingdom was a mess, but he was considered to be the most capable general in the Kingdom. He had stayed away from the political battles and had devoted only himself to training Knights in his territory. He was a military nobleman to his very bones. 

Now, he was confronting Siegfried with a total of 100,000 troops. This number included his personal Knights and enlisted soldiers as well as the troops sent by the Kingdom. However, he could not pick a fortress to turn into his headquarters and fight from. Most of the major fortresses on the border were suffering from internal issues. If he chose to make a stand from within a fortress and there were people inside it who sympathized with the Republicans, then it would be the worst possible scenario for him; he would have to deal with the enemy both inside and outside the fortress. Therefore, he had chosen to take his troops and camp at the border and intercept the enemy there.

“I want all of you to firm your hearts. Morale is the most important thing during the war.”

“Yes, My Lord!”

He fell deep in thought even as he encouraged his knights around him.

‘All we have to do is hold on. Give up on the idea of winning and just hold on until reinforcements from the Empire comes.’

Marquis Mikhail Berg knew very well his own abilities. As a noble family focused on the military, he had studied strategic tactics, however, he had very little practice experience. He himself wasn’t sure if he could command a large army of 100,000 men. On top of that, his opponent was Siegfried, someone who had overthrown the Strabus Kingdom that was once a military powerhouse. Mikhail Berg wasn’t arrogant enough to believe that he could contend with someone who was known to be the most dangerous even amongst the Republicans.

‘Fortunately, the allies’ troops are twice the amount of the enemy’s. As long as we don’t overextend ourselves and keep to the standard tactics, then even if we don’t win, at least we won’t lose easily.’

This was Marquis Berg’s plan and it was the most practical plan he could make. While he believed he was just ordinary, just by realizing the extent of his abilities, he could be seen as a very capable person. It was very fortunate for the Valence Kingdom to have someone like him still remaining when the rest of the country was a mess. If it was a run-of-the-mill enemy, then he could block them as planned. Of course, that was only if the enemy was just ordinary and unremarkable.

“My Lord, the enemy is within our line of sight.”

“Good. Tell the entire army that we will not be attacking first. We will be fighting defensively. Understood?”

“Yes, My Lord!”

Once he gave the instructions to his subordinate, Marquis Berg calmed down his beating heart as he spoke to himself.

‘Don’t be afraid. You can do this. You are protecting our country, Mikhail Berg.’

***

Once the enemy was visible, Siegfried stopped his army for a bit and had them make preparations while he stepped forward a bit to look closely at the enemy’s formation. After taking a look, he turned towards Jake who had been at his side.

“Do you know who the enemy’s commander is?”

“He is Marquis Mikhail Berg of the Valence Kingdom, sir.”

“I’ve never heard of him. Anyway, it seems like he’s a very meticulous person.”

Siegfried continued to look at the enemy’s formation, then gave a cold smile.

“They’re basically a turtle. Very obviously curled up.”

Although he had only seen the formation from a distance, Siegfried had already seen the enemy’s troop placements and the reasoning behind it. Mikhail Berg’s intention most likely was to prepare several lines of defense and focus only on defense. 

‘They’re most likely going to try and endure until the reinforcements from the Empire arrive, right? Then should I assume that the Imperial Army of the Andrews Empire has already arrived in the Valence Kingdom?’

Not only did Siegfried clearly read Marquis Berg’s intentions, but he was also able to obtain further information from them. And no matter how solid their formation was, Siegfried had the confidence to win. Perhaps he’ll divide the army and create a diversion? Or maybe he’ll use the diversion as bait and trick the enemy into coming out on their own? In a short period of time, Siegfried’s mind had already come up with seven different strategies that could be used to win effectively. However, Siegfried erased all of them from his mind.

‘It’ll get troublesome if I did that. The important thing isn’t to win this battle efficiently. The important thing is how much of an impact we leave behind.’

If he was only trying to win this one battle, then being efficient would be the key. But, Siegfried had a bigger picture in mind. This battle was using the Valence Kingdom in order to fight against the Empire. In preparation for that war, Siegfried had to show their strength. Not only did they have to fight hard, but they also couldn’t use petty tricks.

“Jake.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“Instruct the entire army that we will be using the C-AB lineup. We will be neutralizing the enemy’s shield.”

“Understood, My Lord.”

“And Jake, you’ll be in the front.”

“…What do you mean, My Lord?”

“I’m saying that there’s no reason for us to keep hiding you.”

At those words, Jake responded with a look full of anticipation.

“Yes, My Lord.”

***

“Marquis, the enemies are preparing for battle.”

“I’m watching them.”

Marquis Berg had gone up to the temporary watchtower and mumbled as he looked at the enemy’s formation.

‘The cavalry is in the front, the infantry in the back, and the archers behind them… are they using a typical assault formation?’

Marquis Berg muttered to himself as he continued to look at the enemy’s formation.

“The cavalry is in the front… Do we look that easy?”

Currently, the Valence Kingdom’s forces were 100,000 men and led by Marquis Berg. That large army had prepared several layers of solid defense in order to confront the army. If they played by the book, then the fact that the enemy was fighting them head-on even if they had such a small number was absurd. And even if the enemy was confident in the quality and the strategy of their troops, the infantry should be standing in the front if they wanted to fight head-on. 

It was standard to have the infantry, with their thick shields and armor, stand at the front and have them create a gap somewhere in the defense line. Then, the cavalry used that gap to dig further into the defense line and try to break it. However, the current Republican formation had the cavalry standing in the front with the infantry behind them. It was an attack pattern in which the cavalry would first make a hole within the enemy’s formation and the infantry would follow after them causing the enemy’s line to collapse. If the attack was successful, it would be much more destructive.

In the cases where the infantry stood in the front and the cavalry followed, then the purpose of that formation was to break down the enemy lines and turn the tide of war into their favor. However, if the cavalry was in the front and the infantry behind them, then the purpose was to completely destroy the enemy’s line. But this was only possible if the cavalry was able to unconditionally defeat the enemy in front of them. 

‘They’re completely underestimating us.’

For a moment, Marquis Berg felt something surging within him. The Republican Army’s troops might be better, but they had double the number of men. Not to mention, they even had a solid formation. How dare the Republicans assume they could break through such solid formation with a frontal attack by the cavalry? Marquis Berg felt like the enemy wasn’t just being self-confident, he felt they were looking down upon him and his men. However…

“Whooo…”

Marquis Berg took a deep breath and released his anger. 

‘Let’s not get angry. It’s only natural that I’m an unknown factor to them.’

He decided to get rid of his anger and aggressiveness and just fulfill his original purpose. He just had to solidify his defense and hold on until the reinforcements from the Imperial Army arrived. It would be better if the enemy looked down upon them. If the enemy hit their solid defense line that had multiple layers, it would be like an egg hitting a rock.

He just needed to calmly respond to them.

“Have the front line infantry switch from the long spear to the shield. Prepare for the cavalry to attack.”

“Yes, Sir!”

He gave the orders calmly, following the textbook to the very end. 

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