Chapter 205: Catch ‘em by Surprise (1)

‘Either way, the results would be the same so there shouldn’t be any problems.’

Milton spoke up as he saw Siegfried being so sure of his victory.

“Don’t you think it’s unfair and even cheating that two Masters are working together? Don’t you have any pride?”

“Can’t fight a war with pride.”

“You don’t think it’s cowardly?”

“Nope, not at all.”

“Fine. That’s how you want to play?”

The corners of Milton’s mouth rose sharply. Siegfried’s heart sank when he saw that. 

‘What? Does he have something that’ll turn this situation around?’

Milton spoke as Siegfried was beginning to become anxious.

“You said it first.”

When Milton gave the signal, the sound of a horn rang out loudly across the battlefield.

Puuuuuuu.

As the sound rang out, a red flag was raised from the spire above the castle walls. And then…

“All troops, advance! Our goal is Siegfried.”

Waaaaaahh!!”

Jerome Taker appeared from behind the Republic army leading a company of knights on horses.

***

“That’s impossible…”

Siegfried panicked. How could an army appear from behind them? Why was Jerome Taker leading them?

“How… Keugh!”

Panicking, he barely managed to hastily react to Milton’s powerful blow. When Siegfried staggered backwards, Milton’s horse, Leonard, took advantage of the moment and bit the other horse’s neck.

“Huh? Hey, what’re you trying to do…

Even Milton was startled.

The other horse let out a high pitch sound as if a lion had bitten him in the neck.

Neighhhh!

And as if he was a carnivore, Leonard continued to bite the horse’s neck and swung it around

“That’s impossible!”

Bang!

As he was flung off his horse, Siegfried shouted out loud as if he thought it was all illogical and absurd. The weight of his horse, the weight of his armor, and the fact that he was sitting on the horse, that should all weigh about 400 kilograms. 

So how could a horse swing around a weight like that so easily?[1]

“That monstrous horse…”

Siegfried, who had just barely managed to avoid being squashed by his own horse, looked at Milton’s horse as if he was frightened and overwhelmed by it.

“I agree.”

From on top of Leonard’s back, Milton also looked as if he thought it was absurd. It was a well-known fact that the Destroyer breeds were physically better than normal horses. However, Leonard’s physical abilities were even better than the other horses of the same breed. What horse in the world could bite and throw around another horse like he could?

“Either way, this is great since there’s no way you’ll be able to run away quickly.”

Milton got down from his horse and pointed his sword at Siegfried. No matter how great Leonard was, it was still difficult for him to properly respond to a Master’s abilities. Rather than lose a precious horse like Leonard, it was better for Milton to dismount on his own.

‘It’s enough that Siegfried’s lost his means of retreat.’

Jerome wasn’t behind the Republicans in order to fight them from the rear.

He was there because it was the shortest distance to Milton. 

‘I just have to last until then.’

While Milton was thinking all this, Siegfried had been clenching his teeth before shouting, “How is Jerome Taker there? How?”

“Why’s it matter to you?”[2]

Milton rushed towards Siegfried as if there was nothing further to say.

Even as he continued to attack, Milton thought to himself.

‘You won’t ever be able to think up such a ridiculous scheme.’

***

Having arrived at Meichi Castle first, Milton looked at the condition of the castle and realized that since it was in such good conditions, there wouldn’t be any issue fighting off a siege.

‘But, that’s only if the enemy was an ordinary person.’

His enemy was Siegfried, someone that Milton acknowledged as a superior opponent. If he was being honest, he had no idea what Siegfried would do.

‘Can I really win against Siegfried?’

Even if he had the advantage of being inside the castle,[3]Milton was still nervous. Because Milton knew Siegfried’s abilities better than anyone else in this world, he knew he could never let down his guard. That’s why Milton had made a decision.

‘I need another plan as insurance.’

Milton immediately summoned the one person he trusted above all, Jerome Taker.

“Immediately leave Meichi Castle with a unit of Southern Knights and 1,000 cavalry.”

“Sir?”

Milton continued to speak when Jerome questioned him.

“I want you to leave this castle and take a big detour, then, take the rear of the Republican Army.”

“Are you telling me to cut off the enemy’s supplies, sir?”

“No, don’t do that.”

“......”

“I want you to hide your existence and prepare to ambush them. Then, do nothing.”

Jerome couldn’t understand Milton’s orders.

“Sir, I’m sorry but I don’t understand what your intent is..”

“Intent… To be honest, it’s just absurd nonsense so it'd be difficult to explain it.”

Milton let out a sigh and then told Jerome his real intentions. If it were any other subordinate, he would have been reluctant to show such weakness in front of them, but considering Jerome’s loyalty, Milton had no problem telling Jerome everything. And once Jerome heard it…

“Are you saying that we should wait in the back until you’re defeated, My Lord?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“......”

Jerome thought about it for a moment before speaking.

“I don’t understand, sir.”

“What don’t you understand?”

“It seems like you think we’ll most definitely lose this battle, sir.”

Jerome’s words stung Milton’s conscience as they pointed out his weakness.

“Even generals would naturally feel pressured before a battle, but My Lord, right now it seems like you’re planning a strategy on the premise that we’ll be defeated.”

“... That’s right.”

When Milton admitted that, Jerome looked at him with a slightly disapproving expression.

“My Lord, are you afraid of the enemy?”

“I am.”

Milton quietly admitted his fear. Then, looking at Jerome, he continued to talk.

“Jerome, between me and Siegfried, who do you think is better?”

“Of course it’s you, My Lord.”

There was no hesitation in Jerome’s words but Milton only smiled bitterly as he responded.

“No, Siegfried is much better than I am.”

Jerome looked as if he would never agree.

“That’s not true, My Lord. Haven’t you beaten him multiple times before?”

So far, Milton was the only person who had ever won against Siegfried on the battlefield. Thanks to that, the more Siegfried’s name was known, the more Milton’s name was known to the people. However, no matter what the public thought, Milton knew it wasn’t true and calmly grasped reality.

“Siegfried is much more talented than I am. There’s no way I can’t acknowledge this.”

“But, sir…”

“Think about it. When I usually won against him, either external factors played a big role or he wasn’t ready.” 

“That’s a variable of war we have to accept, sir.”

“I know that, but when it comes down to it, Siegfried is better and more capable than I am. Don’t you remember what happened to us at Litinque Castle?”

“......”

Jerome bit his lower lip harshly.

The Siege of Litinque Castle. It had been a battle where Milton and the Lester Kingdom’s army had been devastated by Siegfried. It was also a battle in which Milton had very nearly died. It had been a humiliating battle in which Jerome had barely managed to survive and that was only because of Violet’s perfect timing as she came to rescue them with her army.

“That’s the difference in our skills. Siegfried is resourceful and clever enough to play with me on the palm of his hand while I can’t even begin to guess what he’s going to do. The difference in our skills is huge.”

“......”

Jerome continued to look at him disapprovingly, but he couldn’t argue against what Milton had said. The humiliation they suffered during the siege at Litinque Castle was something that Jerome would never forget. But then…

“However, if you asked whether there wasn’t any possibility of winning… that wouldn’t be the case either.”

Milton changed his words. Previously, Milton’s words weren’t just full of humility but had been predicting defeat, but now, his words revealed a glimmer of confidence.

“If you try to play a trick when the chessboard is already set up, it’ll be impossible to win. Why? Because that bastard’s better than me. But, what if I set up and hid a trick beyond the chessboard before it’s even set up in the first place?”

“Outside the chessboard, sir?”

“That’s right. Think about it, most of the times I won against him were like this. Thanks to Rick and Tommy causing a ruckus in the mainland of the Hildes Republic, we were able to mess with Siegfried’s plans.”

“I see. That’s true, sir.”

“There’s most likely no one who can beat Siegfried in a war. So that’s why I’m spreading the chessboard beyond the battlefield. Jerome, you must become my hidden move.”

“I understand what you want, sir.”

“If we continue to have an advantage in the battle until it’s over, then you just have to continue waiting. But, if we were to fall into danger or other problems occur, then toss everything to the side and focus on one thing.”

“By one thing you mean…”

“Siegfried’s head.”

Jerome clenched his fist.

“When I give the signal, then forget about everything else and get to me in the shortest distance possible. Can you do that?”

“Yes, sir. I can definitely do that.”

And so, Jerome, along with Rick and Tommy, had disappeared with a company of Southern Knights and 1,000 soldiers. Just as Milton had said, they slipped away from the chessboard that was the Meichi Castle battle and quietly snuck behind the Republic and settled down to wait. Truthfully, they could have hit the rear of the Republican Army when they had been busy besieging the castle.

But Jerome had waited. Like a tiger crouching and watching his prey, he bided his time. The moment Milton realized that Siegfried had used himself as bait and separated from the Ghosts, Milton had given the signal and the crouching tiger immediately pounced.

“Lester Kingdom’s Jerome Taker has arrived!”

Leading the elite Southern Knights, Jerome ran straight towards Siegfried. 

***

‘It’s dangerous. It’s really dangerous.’

Siegfried gritted his teeth.

Milton was continuously attacking so that Siegfried wouldn’t have time to think, but Siegfried didn’t stop thinking. If it went according to his original plan, then Jake, after clearing the wall, would come down and attack Milton with him. But sounds of a tumultuous battle could be heard from inside the castle and Jake didn’t show up.

“Make your defenses five-layered. Block the gate thoroughly! We must stop the enemies here!”

‘Is that guy the reason?’

Siegfried gritted his teeth as he watched Shawn commanding his Iron Wall Unit with veins bulging on his neck.

Even as he stood watching, Siegfried felt like he could hear Jerome pounding towards him. How long could he last fighting against Milton Forrest in front of him while dealing with Jerome Taker behind him?

‘1 minute? Maybe 3 minutes?’

No matter how he looked at it, it didn’t seem like he could last long. That’s why before it got any worse, he had to cut off Milton’s head first.

“Die, Milton Forrest!”

“You die!”

Siegfried rushed forward to deal the finishing blow and Milton blocked it without hesitation. Just as Siegfried was pressured by Jerome, Milton was equally pressured by not knowing when Jake could be coming up from behind him. Although Shawn continued to command the Iron Wall unit and kept blocking the gate…

‘There’s no guarantee he’ll be able to keep blocking it.’

Ultimately, it was a race against time. Which side’s right-hand would arrive first? This was the key. Of course, the best result would be if Milton or Siegfried was able to cut off the enemy’s head first.

The first person to arrive at this tense scene was…

“I am Jerome Taker! If you don’t want to die, get lost!”

...Was Jerome, Milton’s right-hand man.

“Jerome!”

When Milton happily called out his name, Jerome jumped off his horse as if in response. Then, he stomped on the head of a Republican soldier who was blocking his way.

Crunch!

“Hup!”

With the momentum of the stomp, he once again jumped high into the air with a powerful sound. Then, as he fell towards the ground again, Jerome’s sword flashed down in a straight line as it aimed for the top of Siegfried’s head.

Keugh…”

Feeling a sense of danger, Siegfried immediately moved to dodge Jerome’s strike.

CLANG!

Jerome’s powerful blow left a huge mark on the ground as it missed Siegfried. But even though Siegfried had managed to escape the attack, he didn’t escape completely unscathed.

“Ugh…”

He had escaped the blow, but the sword left a deep wound on his thigh.

“What a pity. I wanted to completely cut off your leg.”

The one who had managed to wound him was Milton. He hadn’t missed the opportunity given when Siegfried moved to avoid Jerome’s attack and had quickly struck Siegfried.

Jerome hastily checked on Milton’s condition.

“My Lord, are you alright?”

“Of course. But before that, we have more urgent matters to take care of first.”

“Understood, sir.”

There was no need to talk about the urgent matter Milton was talking about. Milton and Jerome simultaneously turned to look at the wounded Siegfried. Siegfried felt a chill running down his back as the two of them looked at him.

‘I might really die…’


1. 그런데 그걸 집어 던지다니? Direct translation would be: but to throw it around like that? But I decided to flesh it out a bit so that it would flow better.

2. 알아서 뭐 하게 While the direct translation would be, ‘why’d you wanna know?’ contextually, it made more sense to me to say, ‘why’s it matter to you’ since Milton is brushing him off. To me saying ‘why’d you wanna know’ didn’t sound like a brush off

3. 수성이라는 유리함. 수성 is defined as protecting a castle from an enemy, so basically the people inside the castle as it’s under siege, but generally, being under siege isn’t an advantage, so I took it to mean that Milton had an advantage since the Meichi Castle was under his control.

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