Chapter 191: Milton’s Participation (1)

Siegfried’s face hardened when he heard the messenger’s report. 

“Lester Kingdom? Are you sure?”

“Yes, sir. I’m sure. And we’ve also identified a military flag representing Milton Forrest.”

“Milton Forrest… Why are you here?”

Wrinkles etched on Siegfried's forehead.

***

Milton climbed onto Leonard’s back and examined the battlefield.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the battlefield.”

He smiled bitterly. It was strange to think that he had gotten used to the odd smell of blood and dirt mixed together.

Jerome approached him and spoke.

“My Lord, I have the name of the commander who leads the Imperial Army.”

“Who is it?”

“It is Marquis Ryan Catel from the Strabus Kingdom, sir.”

“Marquis Catel… I see. It’s only because he’s that strong that he’s been able to hang on so persistently.”

Even from a distance, Milton could see a speck running wildly within the Republican encirclement. The situation looked precarious, almost like a candle flickering like it was about to go out in the middle of a raging storm.

“It’d be a waste to let him die here. What’s the development of the troops?”

“They’re all finished, sir.”

Milton nodded when he heard Jerome’s response.

“Good.”

Milton put on his helmet, then stroked Leonard’s mane once.

“It’s been a while, but let’s work together again.”

Leonard snorted as if he was responding to Milton’s words, like the horse was telling Milton to just believe in him.

“All troops, move out!”

At Milton’s orders, 30,000 Lester Kingdom’s troops moved forward.

***

“2nd Corps, face right! Archers, stand by and wait for the signal! Messenger, you’ll instruct the pikemen and the archers of the 3rd Corps and call them this way!”

In a loud voice, Siegfried personally commanded his troops. How did Milton come all the way here to the battlefield in the Valence Kingdom? He hadn’t heard that the border between the Republic and the Lester Kingdom had been breached. He could think about a couple of theories, but what was important right now was fighting against Milton’s army. Even without disrupting their vigilance against Marquis Catel, who had been captured in the encirclement, the Republicans had created a formation that could deal with Milton. This kind of precise military command was only possible because it was Siegfried. 

‘It’s fine. This is enough to fight against him.’

After arranging the battlelines, Siegfried calmed himself down. They had enough troops and the soldiers' morale was high. Siegfried believed that he could most definitely win and perhaps even take this opportunity to capture Milton as well. 

Having created a rough plan in his head, Siegfried made his first move. 

“Mounted archers, move out! Make a detour to the left and attack the enemy!”

The mounted archers of the Kobrook Republic - that was Siegfried’s first move. The mounted archer unit, who rode on the fleet-footed Silfids and used the long-ranged special crossbows, had been trained with particular effort by Siegfried after he had gained control of the entire Republic. Originally a strong military unit from the time of the Kobrook Republic, the mounted archer unit was a favorite of Siegfried on the battlefield. Fast mobility and long-range: with these two advantages, they stood at the forefront and dominated countless battlefields. 

However, in the Lester Kingdom were horses that were even faster than the Silfid, so Siegfried’s mounted archers couldn’t be utilized in the same manner as before. 

‘I think they were called the Destroyers? We can’t underestimate their mobility and explosive power.’

That’s why Siegfried was thinking of using the mounted archers as bait. If the enemy was more confident in their mobility, then they would most definitely use them to lead the cavalry and intercept the Republican’s mounted archers. 

Siegfried was planning on using that chance to send out the main Ghost units led by Jake. At that point, their goal would either be the main army without their horsepower, or the cavalry that had separated from the army. Either was fine. He planned to keep both options in mind and, depending on the situation, send his troops to whichever one that seemed like it would be more advantageous to them.

This was where Siegfried made a mistake. To be more accurate, the lack of information was what led to the error. Even if Siegfried was a genius, if he lacked information, then he would naturally come to the wrong conclusions. That was where Siegfried’s mistake was.

***

“Are they the archers from Kobrook? It’s been a while since I’ve seen them. I’m even feeling affectionate towards them.”

They were an opponent Milton had faced before. At that time, he had been quite wary and carefully timed it so that the Destroyer breed would eat them up.

Milton smiled and raised his hand.

“Composite bow archers, get ready to defend!”

The archers pulled on their bowstrings. After carefully measuring their distance from the enemy, Milton shouted.

“Fire!”

With the clear sound of the bowstring twanging, the arrows flew high.

***

“The enemy is aiming their bows, sir.”

When he heard his deputy’s report, the commander leading the mounted archers spoke.

“They’re bluffing. Don’t worry about them!”

Having led the mounted archers since the days of the Kobrook Republic, he had always been able to accurately gauge the exact distance. In his view, they, the Republican army, needed to get 50 meters closer in order for them to even have a chance of shooting the Lester Kingdom. Personally, he planned on attempting to attack after 70 meters.

‘Let’s carefully gauge the distance and if they move, we’ll have to escape fast since they have faster horses than our Silfids.’

He was being more careful than ever as he led his men closer and closer. But then…

“Captain! The enemies are shooting their arrows.”

“That’s dumb, there’s no way they’ll reach h… Gah!”

The captain who had been talking was shocked. He had thought there was no way the arrows would reach, but the enemy’s arrows had reached him. That was the beginning of the arrows raining down upon them.

Thud Thud Thud Thud! Thud! Thud!

Keugh…”

“Ugh…”

“Damn it, how could they… ack…”

In order to take advantage of their mobility and range, the mounted archers had minimized their armament and so, had poor defense. As the arrows continued to fall down on them, they all fell without being able to put up a fight.

***

“How could they get that reach?”

Siegfried was greatly surprised. It didn’t seem like the captain leading the mounted archers had misjudged the distance. The enemy’s arrows had a further reach than the Kobrook Republic’s specialized crossbows.

“Milton Forrest… Just what did you get up to?”

Siegfried gritted his teeth. 

***

“Failure is the mother of success. That’s certainly right.”

Milton murmured to himself as he was gloating about his results.

The bow, which had a longer range than the Kobrook Republic’s special crossbow, was a type of composite bow made by mixing wood and metal together. Its official name was Long Point.

At first, Milton had been trying to make a gun. It might have greatly changed the history of war in this world, but Milton hadn’t been sure he would be able to deal with Siegfried, that monster, so he had wanted to use a cheat key of civilization. That’s why he even had ambitious plans to build tanks and helicopters, even missiles, if he was able to make a gun. 

But of course, that plan had failed. Milton’s knowledge of weapons was too abstract and fragmentary and as great as Bianca’s magic and knowledge were, she wasn’t omnipotent. However, the by-products created in the process of making firearms had been surprisingly useful.

In order to make strong metal for bullets, Bianca had utilized her knowledge of alchemy and metallurgy. In the process, she had created a different type of metal by chance. It was lightweight, hard, and very elastic. Even Bianca, who had been tormented by Milton constantly harassing her, had been surprised by the results. Milton decided to call that metal stainless steel. He wasn’t sure if the stainless steel on Earth actually had the same properties as this one, but he had named it that because he thought it was very useful. 

While this stainless steel wasn’t suitable to use as a weapon due to its lightweight, it was perfect to use as armor. Since the weight of their armor was reduced by more than half, the soldiers’ movements became more agile and it increased their defense capabilities. And since stainless steel was very 'springy,' the composite bow made out of it gave a better range than the special crossbow from the Kobrook Republic.

Along with the Destroyer breed, the special metal stainless steel had been classified as an important military secret of the Lester Kingdom that was strictly controlled. 

Now, it was making its debut on the continent. 

“It’s a good thing we kept it a secret. Thanks to that, I’ve managed to make that disgustingly horrid genius miscalculate.”

After overwhelmingly crushing the mounted archers sent out by Seigfried, Milton turned to give further instructions to his entire army. 

“We keep up our confidence and move forward in high spirits. Move out! Archers, when the enemies enter your crosshairs, shoot autonomously.”

Milton sped up his troops’ movements. For once, Siegfried’s calculations had been wrong, so Milton had decided it was best for the Lester Kingdom to attack without giving him time to think. 

***

Milton’s prediction was correct. Just like when a precision machine broke down, it would become a lump of scrap metal, once Siegfried miscalculated once, he began to make mistake after mistake. 

Keugh…”

“Guh…”

The pikemen in the Republic’s infantry lines began to fall down after being shot by the Lester Kingdom’s arrows. 

“Sir, the enemy’s arrows are reaching our men.”

“I know that.”

Siegfried bit his lower lip at Ghost Group Leader 1’s words.

‘It was a mistake. I should have sent out shieldmen first to deal with that new bow.’

As long as you were a human, everyone made mistakes, but for Siegfried to make this kind of mistake meant that he had been mentally shaken. Realizing that he had been shaken, Siegfried tried to pull himself together.

“Jake!”

“Yes, sir.”

“You and I are going to separate and rush in. You’ll lead Ghost Group 2. I’ll go with Groups 4 and 5.”

“Yes, sir!”

In order to change the bad situation, Siegfried decided to use force. Jake and himself were going to personally enter the fray and even put in Group 2, the best of the Ghosts.

‘It’s a shame I can’t send in Group 1.’

Currently, Group 1 was laying siege to Marquis Catel so he wasn’t able to mobilize them. Either way, this was the best judgment that Siegfried could make at this point.

‘Will it be alright?’

Even while carrying out Siegfried’s orders, Jake was feeling a bit uneasy inside. Having served Siegfried as his master for a long time, this was the first time he saw the look of nervousness on Siegfried’s face. Jake didn’t think Siegfried made the wrong judgment. 

As long as the enemy’s bow had a much longer range, it was stupid to wait any longer. It was absolutely necessary for the Republicans to narrow that distance as much as possible and it was standard procedure to use the cavalry as the leading force to narrow the distance. However, even if he could understand it in his head, there was still something that was bothering him.

‘No, let’s trust my master.’

Jake somehow got rid of his doubts. He was his master’s sword and it was better for him to crush the enemy in front of him with his sword than for him to think.

‘And Milton Forrest would have come from Lester as well.’

He couldn’t fight against Marquis Catel, but there was someone who caused his heart to pound even more.

“Charge!”

“OOOOOOHH!!”

At Siegfried’s words, the two formations jutted out from the rest of the army like a bull’s horns.

“Keep pace with the left! We’re rushing in at the same time!”

It had been a while since Siegfried rode at the front and charged at the enemy. Although he usually put a lot of importance on strategic tactics, he was still a man who had risen to the level of a Master. Just like Marquis Catel had done, Siegfried was aware that he himself was a valid strategic tool to break through the enemy’s battlelines. 

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