Chapter 192: Milton’s Participation (2)

Once it was confirmed that Siegfried was leading the charge, Milton smiled with satisfaction. 

“It’s your mistake, Siegfried.”

Siegfried had never lost a head-to-head fight against Milton. Of course, Siegfried had tasted some bitterness, but that was only because of external interruptions. Truthfully, he had never lost a head-to-head fight against Milton, instead, there had been a time when Milton had almost died after he fell into a trap. On the other hand, Siegfried had been relaxed as he dealt with Milton.

Milton himself knew that very well. That’s why he had always judged Siegfried to be better than himself. However, this time it was a different story. When his calculations were wrong and the situation went beyond what he had expected, Siegfried went out to the front lines himself in order to reverse it. He believed that was the right action to take, but Milton thought it was self-fulfilling. 

‘He’s doing that because he doesn’t know what I’ve prepared. This is an opportunity for me.’

Siegfried was someone who interfered the most with Milton’s wish to live a peaceful life while living in this era in this world. The opportunity had come to finally kill Siegfried.

“I must finish this.”

Having said that, Milton gave out orders to his entire army.

“Spread the wings!”

At that command, the soldiers of the Lester Army moved in unison and changed their formation.

***

“This? So you’re gonna encircle us?”

Jake, who was leading the elite Ghost members, frowned. Facing them, the enemy was sending troops forward to the left and right sides, as if they were spreading their wings wide, all the while keeping their infantry strong. The enemy’s intent was to go up against their charge while surrounding them. 

‘Are they that confident? Even if our side has two Masters charging towards them?’

Using an encirclement against an attacking enemy was only possible if you were confident that you could stop the enemy’s assault. That was because as you sent the troops out wide to the left and right sides, your center became weaker. 

‘Are they really? But then, it doesn’t seem like these guys are making a reckless decision.’

Jake had half a mind to go back and stop Siegfried, his master, but that was nothing more he could do, it was too late. He saw a horse furiously approaching him while a group of knights. 

“Is that?”

The knight rushing towards him in the front of the group shouted at Jake.

“Jake! I have come on the orders of My Lord to come and take your head!”

“Ah, it’s him.”

Jake bared his teeth in a grin. All thoughts disappeared from his head as his instinct to fight caught on fire. And…

“I am Jake of the Republic!”

“Come!”

CLANG!

The Masters clashed head-on. With Jake and Jerome in the center, the knights of the Lester Kingdom and the Ghosts violently collided.

“Piss off, you punks!”

“Die, you dogs of the Republic!”

There was a perception that the average level of the Lester Kingdom’s knights was very low. Now, the Lester Kingdom was a powerful country in the North, but previously, it had been a peaceful kingdom for a very long time and had become an indolent and vain country where the knights only had a cool exterior. But that was before. 

Now, Milton and Queen Leila had worked hard to raise the level of the knights. First, they had removed all the knights who didn’t have any skills but had still occupied positions because of their family power. They had also routinely conducted tests twice a year to assign the knights positions based on the results. On top of that, the most talented knights, regardless of their background, were sent to the Northern Knights in order to be trained by Duke Palan. Of course, the knights welcomed it since all the costs of it were financed by the Royal family.

Thanks to that, more than half of the knights in the Lester Kingdom were commoners. The noble families secretly complained about this, but they didn’t dare to confront Queen Leila or Grand Duke Milton. And as the Lester Kingdom’s reputation for giving preferential treatment to those who were talented, regardless of their background, spread wide, the wanderers and mercenaries who were confident in their skills all flocked to the kingdom.

Picking from the best out of countless talents gathered, they were placed in four companies of knights: the Central Knights of the Lester Kingdom, the Royal Knights under Queen Leila, the Northern Knights commanded by Duke Palan, and the Southern Knights commanded by Grand Duke Forrest. These four companies consisted of the best and the most elite knights in the Lester Kingdom.

The ones fighting the Ghosts right now were the Southern Knights. They had been chosen by Milton himself and trained by Jerome. Even if their individual strengths might be a bit worse than the Ghosts who had drunk the elixir, there were still more of them. There were even some amongst the knights who could stand against the Ghosts who had drunk the elixir. 

“Our leader will soon have the enemy! We can’t fall behind!”

A man with an X-shaped scar on his face and holding two long swords in both his hands bellowed. His name was Ropon Taros. He was originally a mercenary, but he had been knighted by Milton and had become a vice captain of the Southern Knights. The Southern Knights’ leader was Jerome Taker and had five deputy commanders, one of whom was this man. 

Jerome rarely spoke about the knights’ assignments, but he had personally asked Milton to make this man his deputy. Once Milton checked Ropon Taros’ abilities, he had been willing to listen. 

[Ropon Taros]

Knight LV. 2

Strength - 84                 Command - 80

Intellect - 70                 Politics - 69 

Loyalty - 77

Special Traits - Valiant, Level-Headed

Valiant LV.5: Increases combat power in battle and increases the morale of subordinates

Level-Headed LV.5: Increases the perspective of seeing the entire battle situation during a war. As a field commander, your flexibility can be used to create favorable situations for your allies. 

When he had checked, Milton realized that Taros was so talented, that it made the taciturn Jerome recommend him. A Strength stat of 84 was powerful, but all his other abilities were also high. He had a nice combination of Valiant and Level-Headed Special Traits and with his Loyalty stat at 77, there was no need to worry about betrayal. He was a man who could deal with almost anything. When Milton listened to Jerome and promoted him to deputy commander, Ropon Taros was greatly moved and was now a loyal knight to Milton. 

He hadn’t been able to make his name known to the world, but that was only until today. He was valiantly wielding two swords and wasn’t backing down a single inch from the enemy in front of him.

“HAHAHAHA! How weak! So weak! You’re going to block the Southern Knights with just those skills?”

“What?! You bastard…”

The person facing Ropon Taros was the leader of Ghost Group 2. While he hadn’t drunk the elixir in case something happened, he was still an Intermediate Expert. Ropon Taros was at the same level - an Intermediate Expert. Although he was at the higher end of the Intermediate, because he had started using his Aura when he was older, he was still an Intermediate. However, he was pushing his opponent hard.

“HAHAHAHA! Here I come!”

Ropon Taros was overwhelming the Ghost leader as he continued to attack mercilessly without a moment’s rest, making it near impossible for his opponent to defend. His attack was the epitome of super-aggressive swordsmanship. While it is often said that an attack was the best defense, very few people actually do it.  But that was what Ropon was doing. 

That’s why he was using double swords. Double swordsmanship. Usually, double swords were considered blasphemous to the knights who usually fought with a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. There weren’t a lot of people using a double sword technique and Rophon had never learned it from anyone else. However, he had realized from his time as a mercenary that using double swords suited him best. Ropon’s double swordsmanship was developed by him as he trained with it thoroughly during practice.

This was the reason why Jerome had valued Rophon so highly. Ropon Taros hadn’t learned his swordsmanship from someone else, instead, he had thought and created his own path for him to walk on. Normally, this would only end up a third-rate swordsman who was half-trained at best, but Ropon had blossomed brilliantly. If you look at it just based on swordsmanship, then Jerome would be better, but in terms of a discerning eye and knowledge of swordsmanship, Ropon was better. That was evident in the fact that Jerome was the only one out of the entire Southern Knights who could beat Ropon with pure sword fighting.

The leader of Ghost Group 2 struggled as he fought against such a person.

‘What should I do? Should I drink the elixir? But…’

If he drank the elixir, he should be able to win against Ropon, however, there was a limit to how long it would be effective. The elixir had the side effect of extremely draining their energy once the time was up. He couldn’t decide whether he should take it or not. 

In the end, the knights and the Ghost’s strengths were equal. The duel between Jerome and Jake’s was most likely going to be the determining factor of this battle. Currently, the two of them were

Bang! Clang! Crash!

The two of them were in their own world.

After the initial rush, the two of them exchanged about 10 blows before dismounting from their horses. Knowing that their horses could not withstand the forces of their blows, both Jerome and Jake had implicitly agreed and dismounted to fight. From there, it really became a world for just the two of them.

While they were on their horses, there had been a slight distance between them because their mobility was dependent on their horses. However, now that they had their two feet on the ground, they began to really demonstrate their physical abilities. They clashed together with their Aura Blades whirling around them, they were at the center of the pandemonium.

Fearing they would get hurt, other soldiers didn’t dare to get close to the two of them.

“AHHHHH!”

CLAANG!

Jake’s massive two-handed sword had such destructive power that it seemed like it would tear the earth apart.

“All you have is strength.”

Jerome spoke calmly as he swung his sword until it became a flurry of sword strikes. His attack, which had reached its peak in speed and finesse, was impossible for Jake, someone who was a Master as well, to find a weak point in it. But…

“Quit your petty tricks!”

As if he was going to sweep everything away, Jake struck aside Jerome’s sword with his own two-handed sword. 

Clang!

They once again clashed, then lengthened the distance between them while getting their breathing under control.

“Pretty good.”

“You’re one to speak.”

They were speaking calmly, but on the inside, they were thinking pretty hard.

‘He’s strong. Stronger than anyone I’ve ever fought before.’

‘Strong, he’s at least a whole level stronger than Marquis Burkel.’

They acknowledged each others’ strength and realized in their guts that winning in a short period of time would be impossible. If it took a while to win, that meant that neither one of them would be the deciding factor in who won this war.

‘Oh well.’

‘I’ll leave the rest to you, My Lord.’

The two entrusted their respective masters in determining who would win the war. They knew that they would only be able to focus on the opponent in front of their eyes and nothing more. And so, the two of them controlled their breathing again and collided with each other.

***

“Piss off!”

Unlike Jake, who had been caught by Jerome, Siegfried had successfully broken through the infantry of the Lester Kingdom. When he swung his Aura Blade at the front, the enemy’s infantry’s defense crumbled in an instant. Siegfried jumped into the gap that it left without hesitation and created a large hole for his troops to enter through.

In a loud voice, he bellowed towards the forces following behind him.

“Brothers of the Republic! Follow me!”

“WAAHHH!!”

“Follow the Commander-in-Chief!”

“Long live Siegfried!”

Not only the knights, but the soldiers were struck by Siegfried’s charisma. The Republican Army’s morale rose sharply as he personally encouraged them from the frontline. However, Siegfried’s face continued to be hard.

‘These bastards, they’re not frightened at all.’

What Siegfried didn’t like was the Lester Kingdom’s army in front of him. Usually, when you see the enemy’s general in front of your eyes and feel the enemy’s morale rise, you would naturally lose some of your courage and spirit. However, the Lester Kingdom’s troops were not shaken at all. They were gritting their teeth and continuing to give their all to their tasks. While the soldiers in front of Siegfried showed fear, none of them hesitated.

‘This isn’t possible just because of strong military discipline. What’s holding them firm like this?’

Siegfried’s question was answered when he faced the second battle line after he broke through the first line of defense. 

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