The emperor was highly appreciative of Antras.
“I see. So you can also fight a war like that.”
However, from the side, Duke Sebastian spoke as if he couldn’t understand something.
“But Antras, wouldn’t we also be consuming an outrageous number of people and supplies as well?”
“Yes, but even if we consumed at the same rate as the Republic, the Empire’s strength is much greater than theirs, aren’t we?”
“That’s true, but wouldn’t it be harmful to the country to drag out the war? Can’t we focus our strength and end the war sooner?”
“Tsk, tsk. Sebastian, my frustrating and naive friend. You’re thinking thoughts that you should never have on a battlefield.”
“What do you mean? Think thoughts that I never should on the battlefield?”
“It’s an ironclad rule that a war should be fought so that it’s favorable to allies while harming the enemy.”
“The Republic will surely be wishing for us to gather our troops and stake everything for our country. But why should we, when all we have to do is continuously cause the enemy to consume their troops?”
“Ahh… I see.”
Antras continued to talk once it seemed like Duke Sebastian had finally understood.
“In terms of strength, the Empire is the strongest on the continent. Even if we were to fight head to head, the Empire would win. On top of that, the Republic cannot focus all of its strength and power on us right now.
“You’re talking about the Lester Kingdom’s Grand Duke Forrest?”
“Exactly. As long as the Lester Kingdom exists, they cannot focus all their strength on us. In the end, they have to face us with only half their force… ha, I guarantee that within the year, the Republic will meet its end.”
Duke Sebastian trembled at those words.
‘So you can win like this. Hahaha.’
He knew that the friend he had gained in his later years was remarkable, but he didn't know that Antras was this monstrous. It had been less than three years since he started looking into the situation in the continent, and yet, he was able to pressure the Republic with such a bold and thorough strategy… Antras was worthy of being called a titan.
“But, if the enemy shrinks away from the frontline, we wouldn’t be able to continue like this.”
Antras stood up from his seat.
“What’re you going to do?”
“We have to start giving out orders faster than we have been so far. It’ll be too late to use carrier pigeons from the rear.”
“Surely you’re not saying that you’re going out the frontlines?”
Duke Sebastian looked startled while the emperor tried to dissuade Antras from going.
However, Antras just responded calmly.
“Weren’t you going to head out to the battlefield with the secondary troops? I’ll just tag along then.”
“You and I aren’t the same. Think about your age.”
“Tsk, it’s not like there’s a big difference between our ages.”
“Well, I’m a Master and you’re an old man who looks like you’re about to go to the underworld tomorrow night.”
“Hahaha… you’re not wrong.”
“So why do you patiently…”
“Like you said, I could die tonight or tomorrow. So what’s the difference between dying here or on the battlefield?”
For a second, Duke Sebastian unwittingly agreed with him, mentally.
“Ahem… it’s still not okay. It’s too dangerous.”
The emperor tried to stop him again but Antras was resolute.
“Your Imperial Majesty, if the enemies have retreated from the frontline, that could only mean that Siegfried has personally come out. Even if it’s me, I can’t control his movements from a distance.”
In other words, it was absolutely necessary.
Neither the emperor nor Duke Sebastian had any evidence to persuade Antras to stay and in the end, the emperor could only allow him to go out into the battlefield. But, they didn’t go empty handed. They went with 200,000 reinforcement troops and all the Empire’s Masters that had been ordered to participate.
The young tiger Lucas Florian.
The guardian of the Empire, Duke Hector Sebastian.
The open-minded Marquis Baker Gotham.
The Empire’s second rank, Duke Dominic Florian
And finally, the first sword of the Empire; a man considered one of the strongest in the entire continent alongside Barron of the Republic, Duke Christian Schweiker. Even he was mobilized.
[Even a tiger has to give it his all to capture a rabbit, sire.]
This all-out war was the result of Antras’ advice.
“200,000 additional troops?!”
Once he arrived on the frontlines, Siegfried was shocked after hearing the report on the Empire’s movement.
“Yes, sir. And it’s said that all the Masters in the Empire were mobilized as well.”
“So they’re not worried about pride or anything? It’s not like the Empire.”
Siegfried’s face hardened.
During the Second Ideological Conflict, Siegfried had unilaterally thrashed the Imperial Army. When Siegfried destroyed them as easily as flicking his wrist, people had even said that the Empire’s era had come to an end with Siegfried’s war accomplishments. They said that the Imperial Army had deteriorated as a result of the long period of peace that caused them to become lazy.
Siegfried also agreed to that to some extent.
In the last war, the Imperial Army really had been sluggish. Adding that with the arrogance and obsession for military accomplishments, it was no wonder that Siegfried had been able to play with them in the palm of his hands.
But this time, it was different. From the beginning of the war, the flow of the war was completely different from before. The enemies were doing their best without overdoing it, while making Siegfried’s least favorite choices for each situation.
‘This is completely different from Milton… Who the hell is controlling the Empire’s army right now?’
Although Siegfried didn’t know the existence of Antras, he still guessed that there was someone in the shadows.
‘A total of 500,000 troops and five Masters…’
There was no way this was good news for the Republic.
“But still, we have to try.”
Siegfried didn’t have the phrase ‘giving up’ in his vocabulary.
First, Siegfried completely changed the arrangement of troops on the front line. He concentrated as many troops as possible at the front and made it so that they could move while supporting each other. Then he led the Ghosts with Jake and disappeared from sight. They hid so thoroughly that even their allies didn’t know where they were. From then on, the Republican’s counterattack began.
“Fire! Don’t let the enemy rest!”
Count Solon, who led 20,000 Imperial troops, diligently commanded his men and attacked the Republican Army. His target wasn’t castle walls or fortresses but the 10,000 Republican Army camped out in the field.
“Count Solon, the enemy lines are slowly collapsing.”
He grinned when his lieutenant reported to him.
“Hmph, what an easy battle. Start preparing the cavalry. We’ll attack while the enemy retreats.”
There were three main instructions Antras gave the Imperial Army.
- In the case of a siege, fight with three times as many. In the case of a field, twice as many troops.
- Fight with only standard tactics without pursuing the enemy deeply.
- There’s no need to win, so if there’s danger, retreat immediately.
Having heard about the situation from Duke Sebastian for the past two years, Antras was trying to raise the level of the Imperial Army. Although the Imperial army was the largest and the strongest in the continent, the overall level was too weak. Compared to the Republic and the Lester Kingdom that had been trained through actual battles, the Imperial Army fell behind.
That was why he had told them to train the army as much as possible during the two years, but there’s a limit to how much the level of the soldiers could be raised just through training. It was unavoidable that they would be worse than the Republican Army who had fought countless battles and been trained that way.
That was why Antras had given them instructions that would help the Imperial Army fight without losing many troops. In fact, it was because of the three orders issued by Antras that the Imperial Army had been able to fight so far without consuming a large number of troops.
And recently, the commanders had gained confidence after realizing that they were winning and the Imperial Army only became stronger. However, confidence also had a flip side: arrogance.
Currently, Count Solon was preparing to send out the cavalry in hopes of ending the enemy when they were weakened. If he was just going to cause them to flee, then he could have fired a volley of arrows at them while advancing forward with his infantry. But he was preparing his cavalry. And just as he was about to send them out…
The battle trumpets sounded and a group of soldiers appeared on Count Solon’s left.
It was the most elite Republican troop that Siegfried commanded.
“Get rid of them.”
With that one phrase, Siegfried had finished giving his instructions. In order to move onto the offensive, they had grabbed onto the enemy’s flank. On top of that, the ones leading the sally were Jake and elite Ghost members that had fought countless battles with Siegfried. What more did he have to say?
At Jake’s single command, a group of cavalry led by the Ghosts roared towards the enemy like a storm, and the 20,000 Imperial soldiers under Count Solon’s command collapsed like a sandcastle swept away by the waves.
The Ghosts led by Jake showed overwhelmingly destructive power and the soldiers following after them were also the most elite in the Republican Army. Having been carefully selected by Siegfried, they were the Fuhrer’s personal corps and were under Siegfried’s direct command.
In the end, the Imperial Army was destroyed without having to make any resistance.
“Your Excellency, we’ve dealt with the enemies.”
Jake had gotten rid of the enemies quickly.
“Good. Then let’s move on to the next.”
Siegfried led his corps and disappeared into the rear again. Whenever Siegfried appeared in the front line, he fought the same way he did right now. He would hide his position in the back and just as the enemy was succeeding, he would show up and wipe out the enemy. Thanks to that, he fought and won all five battles against the Imperial Army.
For the Republican Army who had been getting tired of the endless pressure from the Imperial Army, Siegfried was like the rain in the middle of a drought.
“The damage is greater than I expected.”
Antras had joined the frontline a bit later than Siegfried. He couldn’t help but click his tongue when he was given the casualty report.
Once Siegfried had joined, the Imperial Army suffered considerable damage. Nearly 50,000 soldiers had either died or were so severely injured they had to leave the frontlines.
No matter how large the Imperial Army was, the loss of 50,000 men couldn’t be swallowed easily.
“Tsk, I’m sure I told you to avoid going on the offensive…”
At Antras’ words, all the field commanders flinched.
From their point of view, Antras was someone without any title and wasn’t even a person from the Empire. But because he was a friend of Duke Sebastian and was favored by the emperor, they didn’t dare complain out loud. In fact, the emperor had sent in Imperial Guards as Antras’ escort and had given them the order that if the field commanders were rude to him, then they were to execute the impertinent commanders immediately.
“But, the war has been going so well that I must have gotten greedy. I can understand it.”
The field commanders let out a sigh of relief at those words. They had been certain they would be reprimanded for damages the Imperial Army suffered, but they felt lucky that he was willing to overlook it.
“However, I hope that you will follow my instructions carefully from here on out.”
After he caused the field commander’s hearts to drop in panic and raised them up again, he gave them orders once again. The battle lines were refined and the frontline was arranged to become more precise. And then…
“Marquis Gotham, Sir Florian.”
“You wanted me?”
“You wanted to see me?”
Antras summoned two Masters.
“Please work together and lead 100,000 forces. And Duke Sebastian, Duke Florian.”
“The two of you, I wish for you to also join forces with 100,000 men. These two forces will become the spears against the Republic.”
Antras decided to spread out the frontline in order to make the enemy spread their troops thin. Then, he decided to have two crops with a large army of 100,000 men each with two Masters. This was only possible because of the Empire’s strength, but Antras was making full use of the Empire’s advantages.
“The two corps should attack where they’re stationed and give the Republic as much trouble as possible. But, there’s no need for you to pursue them too deeply into their own territory.”
While four Masters nodded their understanding, one of them wasn’t satisfied.
“I have a question, Silver Sage.”
“Please speak, Sir Florian.”
The one complaining was the youngest Master of them all, Lucas Florian.
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