Chapter 172: Siegfried’s Advance (2)

Marquis Berg boldly appeared before Siegfried and pointed at him with his sword as he spoke.

“The enemy shall state his name!”

“Commander-in-Chief of the Republican Army, Siegfried.”

Unlike Marquis Berg’s ostentatious display, Siegfried was extremely calm and composed; even with his entire body stained red with the blood of the enemy, he didn’t seem ruffled or agitated. When Siegfried revealed his name like so, Marquis Berg gritted his teeth.

“How dare you launch an underhanded surprise attack without an opening signal!”

“Opening signal?”

“Don’t pretend you don’t know! Are all the Republican generals dishonest barbarians like you?”

“……”

Siegfried was flabbergasted.

‘An opening signal? Did he change his formation in the beginning because he believed in that?’

If he wanted to debate it logically, Siegfried would have been able to logically defeat all arguments, whether that was one or ten of them. Risking himself and his men on the battlefield by expecting courtesy from the enemy; Siegfried would have personally cut the head off of a man who did something so insane if they were under his command, but he didn’t try to convince Marquis Berg or make any excuses because…

“Shut up and lift your sword. I’ll kill you immediately.”

In Siegfried’s eyes, Marquis Berg was only someone who would die shortly.

“You ill-mannered savage!”

Marquis Berg’s face flushed with anger. Looking at Siegfried up close, it seemed like he was very vigorous and had a strong spirit, but Marquis Berg was confident in his own skills as he attacked.

“Die, Siegfried!”

“How noisy.”

Then, for the first time, Siegfried’s sword began to emit an Aura. That swinging sword soon took on a distinct shape. 

“Huh?!”

Marquis Berg was astonished when he saw the Aura Blade, a symbol of a Master, appeared on Siegfried’s sword.

“Aura… Aura Blade? You’re a Master?”

It was only then that Marquis Berg realized that he had greatly errored, but by then, it was too late. As Siegfried’s fierce attack started, Marquis Berg quickly raised his sword to block it. 

CLANG!

“Kuh…”

It was just one attack, but Marquis Berg let out a loud groan as he was pushed back. It was just one exchange, but his arm had gone numb and his stomach seemed to rebel against him. The other soldiers around Siegfried were also astonished when they saw a clear image of an Aura Blade exuding from his sword. Until now, Siegfried had completely hidden his strength from everyone besides those close to him, and so, it caused ripples of shock even within his own men.

“M…Master?”

“The Commander-in-Chief is a Master?”

“Ha… Hahahaha…”

Siegfried was on their side, but how much of a monster was he? Not only was he a tactician capable of causing waves throughout the continent, but he was also extremely capable as an individual. The soldiers of the Republican Army were stunned by the appearance of a new Master, but they were quiet for only a moment, soon after, they shouted even louder in exultation. 

“Long live, Commander Siegfried!”

“Follow the Commander! Wipe out the bastards from the Kingdom!”

“Waaahhhh!!”

Siegfried smiled as he watched his men’s excitement. 

‘It had a great effect.’

As much as the information had been hidden so far, it seemed like the effect of revealing that he was a Master at such a dramatic moment was great. Seeing his soldiers chasing after the Valence Kingdom’s army more energetically, Siegfried looked his opponent in the eye as he spoke.

“I’m attacking again.”

“W… wait a min… Guh.”

Siegfried aggressively attacked before his opponent could even correct his stance. 

CLANG! CA-CLANG!

Marquis Berg stumbled at each attack. It was like watching a sandcastle gradually collapsing with each successive wave and it was only a matter of time before he completely collapsed. 

“Marquis… Ugh!”

“That damn… Guh…”

The knights who had been personally trained by Marquis Berg tried to help him, but it was impossible. Just as Siegfried was revealing his full strength and skills, the Ghosts were supporting him from behind. The Ghost members who were able to exude an Aura without drinking the elixir stepped forward and blocked the enemy knights. Whether quantitatively or qualitatively, and even in terms of practical experience, the Ghosts were overwhelming, especially Jake. Although he was concealing his skills and pretending to be an Intermediate leveled Expert, just him alone was enough to deal with five of the enemy knights. He was constantly maintaining a close distance so that he could jump in should Siegfried fall into danger, however…

‘I was worrying needlessly.’

Jake was relieved to see Siegfried unilaterally pushing back the enemies. He didn’t seem like he needed any help from Jake. In the end, there was no one who could help Marquis Berg. Isolated, Marquis Berg continued to struggle against Siegfried.

“Huff… huff… huff…”

He was a mess, but he had still managed to last thirty exchanges. What kept him going? Hope? Fighting spirit? Anger? No, it was none of those. The only reason Marquis Berg had lasted until now was simply his instinct to survive. He was only focused on saving his own life as he fought against the powerful enemy in front of him. He had no time to worry about the situation of the war. He could only move desperately to survive. However, his struggles, fueled by his desperate survival instinct, finally came to an end. He was out of breath and his Aura was weak but Siegfried continued to swing his sword without an ounce of pity.

“It’s over now.”

“W… wait…”

Shing!

No idiot who would actually wait if asked to wait on the battlefield, expecting Siegfried to wait was unreasonable. Siegfried decapitated Marquis Berg and lifted his head up high as he shouted. 

“I have beheaded Marquis Mikhail Berg of the Valence Kingdom!”

“WAAHHH!!”

“Long live, Commander Siegfried!”

“Long live the Republic!”

The soldiers burst out in cheers and at that moment, the Valence Kingdom’s troops realized they couldn’t continue to fight their enemy and hurried to surrender. It was an overwhelming victory.

***

Just one battle. A battle that took less than one day. The Valence Kingdom had lost 100,000 elite troops in that battle. It wasn’t that the enemy had more men or that they had been fooled by a new revolutionary tactic. This was the result of a simple and straightforward head-on battle.

Having suffered a big enough of a defeat that it would leave its mark on history, the Valence Kingdom fell into a deep shock. They had heard about Siegfried before and so, had known about him, but they never thought it would be like this.

The 100,000 troops couldn’t even last a single day and had been pushed back? Siegfried, was that bastard a monster? This wasn’t possible. How could this have happened?

The upper ranks of the Valence Kingdom wanted to deny reality. But unfortunately, the nightmare they wanted to deny, was indeed reality. But there were also those who found hope from that nightmare… They were the Republicans who had risen inside the Valence Kingdom.  

“Sir Siegfried is coming! He is coming to save our people from the oppressors’ tyranny!”

“Let’s drive out the oppressors! We have the great military of the Republic with us!”

“Ooooh! Great Lord of the Republic, please protect us!”

Milton had often compared the Republicans to fanatics. Currently, it perfectly described the Republicans in the Valence Kingdom. The reason for that was the battle that took place on the border not too long ago. A small army had overwhelmingly defeated a large army of 100,000 in just a day. It was an incredible achievement. It would be believable if it even became a legend. 

With the additional information that Siegfried was a Master, the rumor grew even bigger until it became exaggerated into a legendary scene. Some said that when Siegfried wielded his sword, a thousand Valence Kingdom’s soldiers disappeared while others said that Marquis Berg was terrified of Siegfried’s fighting spirit and died while pathetically begging for his life. 

There was nothing for Siegfried to manipulate within the kingdom. The Republicans, who had been desperately looking for hope, idolized Siegfried with endless fantasies. Right now, the reverence Republicans within the Valence Kingdom held for Siegfried was almost at the level of religious belief. The Republican God of War.  Previously, Siegfried had been known as an excellent strategist on the battlefield, but now that he had fully revealed himself, he immediately became a god to the people. And this had been exactly what Siegfried had been aiming for.

By ignoring strategic efficiency and revealing that he was a Master, he had overwhelmingly won. For the Republicans who had been struggling inside the Valence Kingdom, Siegfried’s victory was a ray of hope. He was someone who protected them, would defeat their oppressors, and would suggest a way forward to them. It was the birth of absolute charisma.

Siegfried had clearly emphasized his existence with just one battle and that effect was evident even across the borders. The Republicans living in the Valence Kingdom began to cross borders and flocked to Siegfried. With poor armaments, they went to join Siegfried’s army. There were even children and women, who without any weapons, wanted to join him and Siegfried accepted all of them. Of those people, Siegfried only armed men with strong bodies. As if he had expected this to happen, Siegfried had brought with him extra weapons and equipment.

At the time he was crossing the border, Siegfried had 50,000 men, but that quickly increased to 100,000 once he had crossed the border. The women and children who couldn’t directly enter the military were evacuated to the back and given separate work. He convinced them that it was an equally important task to work on producing the military supplies as he stationed them in the back. In truth, it really was a great help. Basically, a war costs money. In that sense, securing a labor force while saving on labor costs could result in significant budget savings. 

Having entered the country and occupied some of Valence Kingdom’s territory after just one battle, Siegfried had doubled his army’s strength without fighting any further.

With that move of his, the Valence Kingdom felt like they were going to go crazy. They had believed in Marquis Berg, but he had died after one battle and ended up costing them 100,000 troops.  After that, the other lords were frightened and fled without fighting against Siegfried. Could it get any worse than it was now? From the Valence Kingdom’s standpoint, it was impossible to know what they should start fixing first.

The only hope left for the Valence Kingdom was…

“An envoy from the Andrews Empire has arrived.”

“Ohhh… They’ve finally arrived?”

King Nicholas Theron Valence of the Valence Kingdom cheered from inside his palace hall. What great news was this? With just the arrival of the envoy, he felt like he could finally breathe again.

“Send him in immediately.”

As soon as he gave the order, the hall doors opened and three men and one woman entered.

And as soon as they entered, noise erupted throughout the hall.

“How could this be?”

“That person really came?”

“Ha… hahaha… Those Republican bastards are all dead now.”

Most of the high-ranking nobles of the Valence Kingdom had studied abroad in the Empire when they were young so they had made sure to keep up with the news in the Empire, especially the names and faces of the high-ranking people of the Empire. Of course, they knew who had entered the hall right now. 

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