Chapter 203: A Trick (3)

The elixir used by the Ghosts strengthened their Aura in exchange for their vitality. However, the potion that the soldiers drank didn’t strengthen their Aura, it strengthened their physical ability. It made their muscles stronger and allowed them to continue moving even if they were on the brink of death due to the injuries they sustained. If looked at in terms of simply the effect, then there was nothing better to use to strengthen the soldiers. But because of its side effects, it had been deemed a failure. 

While this potion pushed the soldiers’ physical abilities to their limits, it used up the soldiers’ life force in exchange and as a result, 99% of the people died. That was why it had been classified as a failure.

On top of that, there was the possibility that the soldiers themselves couldn’t accept their bodily changes. How many soldiers could there be that would be able to continue fighting normally when their intestines were dragging on the ground? And that was why Eliza had independently created a drug that would stop the soldiers from feeling fear while raising their fighting spirits to the max and fed it to the soldiers along with the potion. 

For the past two days, she had been mixing a bit of the drug into the soldiers’ food and feeding it to them. She hadn’t fed it to them all at once because there was the fear that if she did, the soldiers may die from the side effects before it even worked. After acclimatizing their body to it bit by bit over the past two days, she finally mixed the undiluted drug into their breakfast on the third day. 

Since there was a limit to the amount of potion and drug, it was only given to about 10,000 soldiers, but that was enough. It turned 10,000 soldiers into berserkers who continued to fight until they died, all without knowing pain or fear even when their limbs had been cut. 

The 10,000 berserkers were stationed in the front as they began their assault on the Meichi Castle while the rest of the troops were placed in the back. As a result, the castle walls began to shake in a way that they hadn’t shaken before.

‘It’s definitely worth doing proper research on it instead of treating it as a failure.’

Even in Siegfried’s eyes, the clear power of the 10,000 berserkers was attractive. 

Of course, those 10,000 men would die as soon as the potion’s effects wore off, but as long as they helped him cut off Milton’s head, he was going to think of the potion as an advantage. 

***

‘It’s dangerous if it continues like this.’

Milton could feel the situation getting worse.

He didn’t know how it was possible, but the Republican soldiers were no different from a zombie right now. Even with Milton rampaging his way around the castle walls and the Southern Knights doing their best, the number of Republican soldiers on top of the walls was increasing. And then...

“Stop them! We have to stop them!’

“Do not let them get to the gates!”

The Republican soldiers on the wall had taken over the stairs leading down to the inside of the castle walls. Although they acted and howled like beasts, they were clearly aware of their purpose. They had gotten down from the walls and were now trying to operate the switchgear to open the gate. 

“Stop them! They must be stopped!”

The Southern Knights bellowed at the Lester Kingdom’s soldiers to defend the gates. Thankfully, waiting in front of the castle gates was the elite unit, the Iron Wall unit. 

“Overlap the shields!”

“Defend at all costs!”

The Iron Wall Unit’s heavy infantrymen greeted the Republican soldiers with tightly overlapped stainless steel shields.

“Guuuuuuuuu!”

“Kaaaaaaaa!”

Screaming and running like beasts, the Republican soldiers were barely maintaining their human forms, but the Iron Wall Unit stood firm like a solid wall and stopped them. 

Smack! Bang! Squish!

The Republican soldiers charged towards them like lunatics, but the Iron Wall Unit held strong.

Their commander shouted loudly from behind them.

“Overlap your shields! Trust your comrade next to you!”

“Yes, sir!”

The solidly Iron Wall Unit blocked the fierce attack by the Republican soldiers. 

The Republicans continued to run forward and crash into them, but couldn’t break through the shield wall of the Iron Wall Unit. Looking at them holding firmly against the Republicans was like looking at a seawall blocking the waves.

‘Seems like they’ll be alright.’

Milton let out a sigh of relief as he observed the Iron Wall Unit from on top of the castle walls.

From the start, The Iron Wall Unit was meant to be a unit focused on defense. While they had a short sword as a weapon, their main armament was their shields. It was bigger and thicker than a normal tower shield. It didn’t seem like a big deal when the shields were used individually, but when the Iron Wall Unit used the shields as a group, then at any time, any place, they would become a strong wall for their allies. 

They had been placed in front of the castle gates on the off chance it would be breached from the outside, but thankfully, it seemed like the Iron Wall Unit was responding well even to the attacks from the inside. 

The only reason this was possible was that the captain of the Iron Wall Unit was capable.

“Forget about yourself! Become a group.”

“Yes, sir!”

The captain was a middle-aged man who appeared to be in his mid-40s. At first glance, he seemed quite ordinary, but looking at how well the soldiers moved as a group, it was obvious that he was a good commander.

In the beginning, the Iron Wall Unit had been stationed looking out towards the castle gates. But the moment they realized that the enemy was coming from the inside, they had immediately reversed their formation and met the enemy. The fact that they were able to move so quickly showed his capabilities as a commander. Thanks to that, the Lester Kingdom was able to defend the castle gates.

Observing the commander, Milton could only say one thing.

“It’s a good thing he’s on our side.”

***

His name was Shawn and while he was the captain of the Iron Wall Unit, he didn’t have a title nor was he a knight. Milton had offered to knight him, but he had refused. And while Milton could have offered him a title, Milton himself felt that it would be too much.

In fact, even within the Lester Kingdom, there were a lot of people who were against Shawn receiving a title. Why? It was because Shawn was from the Hildes Republic. And he wasn’t just anyone from the Hildes Republic. He was a man who had risen to the rank of a brigadier general before he had turned 40. 

Shawn had graduated from the military academy with excellent grades and played a pivotal role in the war against the Strabus Kingdom and had risen to the rank of a brigadier general; in the Republic, a brigadier general was the equivalent of a count in a kingdom. 

Having received such a rank at a young age, Shawn had devised a plan for the benefit of the Republic. He published it as a thesis titled “The Plan to Strengthen the Republican Army.” In it, he called for a plan to give the mountain troops a separate reconnaissance team of 5 people per group and install traps using falling rocks alongside the mountain roads. It was a masterpiece that had taken a young genius all his life to create for the sake of his country.

However, Shawn’s thesis wasn’t accepted. The existing factions were trying to keep him, someone who had made remarkable achievements at such a young age, in check. Instead, the heads of the Republic had told him that it was just a delusional armchair argument that it would be foolish to put in the money to make that a reality. While that had been the reason given to him, but truthfully, the existing factions hadn’t wanted Shawn to advance any further.

In the end, his plan to strengthen the Republican Army was abandoned and he felt disillusioned with the Republican Army that was a part of the political battles of the factions. How could this be considered a place where equal opportunities were given regardless of status? The reality was that those who monopolized high-ranking positions were busy using underhanded methods to try and help their own factions occupy even one more position.

Frustrated with reality, Shawn had given up his position and retired out to the countryside. Until the moment that the Hildes Republic was destroyed, he lived as an ordinary countryman. 

***

Milton had discovered Shawn while going through the official documents dealing with the Hildes Republic when he came across Shawn’s thesis and instantly realized the value of Shawn’s thesis to strengthen the Republican Army. 

The information contained within the thesis was 100 years ahead of the times and full of points that maximized the geographical advantage of the Hildes Republic. He had even argued for a Northern defense line to protect the Capital since there was the possibility that someone would cross the frozen lands of the North and attack them.

‘If they had considered this plan…’

Then perhaps the Hildes Republic would still have existed. 

Recognizing Shawn’s value, Milton had invited him to come. 

Shawn refused. Even if his country was conquered, the high-ranking officials of the Republic had zero intentions of answering Milton’s call.

When Rick and Tommy heard that Shawn was refusing to come with the excuse he was too ill, they were furious and said they would immediately drag him back with them. However, Milton had stopped them and instead thought, ‘it’s better this way.’ Milton had been wondering how to win him over, but Shawn had given him the perfect way to express his sincerity.

Milton personally went to see Shawn in the small house secluded away in a mountain village in the Northwestern region of the Hildes Republic. In other words, a Grand Duke of a country had personally gone to recruit a talented individual. And once Milton arrived at Shawn’s house…

“Are you Shawn?”

“That’s right, but who’re you?”

“I am Milton Forrest.”

“Haa… So you’re His Grace, the Grand Duke. Forgive me if I’ve been rude.”

From behind Milton, Rick and Tommy wanted to fly into a fit of rage at his sarcastic tone but because Milton had previously told them to leave it to him, they could only hold back.

Milton took the chance to check Shawn’s stats on the status window.

[Shawn]

Military Solider LV. 8

Strength - 68                Command - 99

Intellect - 90                 Politics - 74

Loyalty - 50

Special Traits - Training, Tactics, Level-headed, Ambush, Fortify, Siege

Training LV.8: Efficient when training soldiers. Able to quickly turn new recruits into elite troops. If you lead the soldiers you trained into the battlefield, then you’ll be able to receive the absolute trust from those soldiers.

Tactics LV.8: The integrality and effectiveness of tactics used in battle are increased.

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. 

Ambush LV.5: Capitalize on advantageous terrain to lie troops in ambush. If successful, it has a high probability of causing confusion for the enemy.

Fortify LV.7: When defending a fort, increase the morale of ally troops and increase your ability to command. 

Siege LV.3: In a siege battle, the ability to command allied troops increases. The rate of fatigue for your troops has decreased.

‘Wow, he’s the real deal.’

His abilities were remarkable. Perhaps it was because he had been on battlefields for over 20 years and made many great contributions to the battles, but Shawn’s traits were specialized in war.

And once Milton saw that Shawn’s Loyalty went up to 50 with their first meeting, Milton was certain.

‘He looks calm, but he’s really surprised to see me in person.’

Milton knew that it had been a good idea to visit him in person. Thanks to that, the chances of recruiting Shawn had skyrocketed.

Milton spoke to him bluntly.

“Will you join my army?”

When he heard that, Shawn looked at him suspiciously.

“How can you treat me like this? Aren’t you a monarch of a country?

Milton responded to him politely and respectfully.

“That’s how desperate I am for you to join me.”

“Then why don’t you order me? This is now a part of the kingdom, and as a commoner, I can’t disobey the Grand Duke’s orders, right?”

While Shawn had been sarcastic, Milton answered him seriously.

“There’s no way a man as spirited as you would willingly obey me just because I ordered you.”

“......”

“In the end, all I can do is beg like this. Please, become my strength.”

Milton bowed as he spoke.

Seeing that, Shawn groaned unintentionally.

“Ughh…”

Although Shawn had grown up in the Republic, he knew what kind of authority and power a country’s monarch held, so how could someone who was like a king of a country bow his head to a person like him?

‘Has there ever been a person in my life who acknowledged me like this?’

Shawn’s heart pounded. Power, wealth, fame. He wasn’t interested in these worldly gains. But the dream he had was too big for him to remain as a mere countryman. He wanted to be acknowledged and recognized by someone; he wanted to be known for being loyal to that someone. And for Shawn, Milton Forrest was the first person who had acknowledged him.

He knelt down on the spot.

“I sincerely apologize for the rudeness I’ve shown you over and over again. Please forgive me, sir.”

“Stand up.”

When Milton took his hand and helped him up, Shawn spoke to him with tears in his eyes.

“I am Shawn, a brigadier general of the Hildes Republic. I swear my allegiance to you, the Grand Duke from here on out.”

The moment he swore his allegiance, his Loyalty stat went from 50 to 93.

“I’ll put my trust in you then.”

The moment their relationship turned into that of a sovereign and subject, Milton began speaking to him informally. And so, that was how the man named Shawn came under Milton’s command. 

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