Chapter 65: End of the Civil War (1)

“They’re caught!”

“Besiege them!”

The Southern Army who had been waiting to ambush them, appeared from all directions at the enemy’s command. The Second Prince and his knights were surrounded in all directions — front and rear, left and right.

“How… how could this happen?”

For a moment, the Second Prince’s face showed desperation. Then he finally realized; he had walked into a trap with his own feet.

“Attack!!”

“Wahhhh!!”

The Southern Army who had pretended to be the Republican Army was now attacking the bewildered army of the Second Prince. Having come this far, the Second Prince realized escaping was impossible and commanded his knights. 

“Guh… Fight back!”

But, the surrounded Second Prince’s army couldn’t properly fight against the enemies. 

“Ack!!”

“Ughh..”

Seeing his men dying left and right, the Second Prince panicked.

“How…How could this happen…”

“Your Highness, you must retreat.”

His knights tried their best to help him escape, but they themselves were struggling from the enemies’ attacks that were coming from all around them. Then, from one direction, came a group of knights riding straight towards the Second Prince. 

“Byron, a traitor to this country and a sinner against heaven, I’ll have your head!”

Harshly shouting, Milton personally led a group of knights towards the Second Prince.

“Gah… that bastard!”

Though he gritted his teeth, the Second Prince didn’t dare fight against Milton. He was frightened after seeing the extraordinary destructive power that Milton held while charging towards him. The Second Prince’s knights were trying their best to defend but Milton’s group had reached them. Leon Valod bravely swung his giant sword at them. 

“You bastards! I’ll kill all of you!!”

Seeing him acting like a rabid bear, the other knights didn’t dare approach him. But then…

“I’ll be your opponent.”

One knight stepped forward. It was Jerome, Milton’s right hand.

“You?”

Leon Valod had a cruel smile on his face as he watched his opponent riding towards him. 

“You weren’t beaten enough then?”

The opponent who had run away with his tail between his legs during single combat was asking for another fight.

“Come at me however many times you want!”

Leon Valod pompously responded to Jerome. But he really shouldn’t have.

“Whooo…”

As he got closer to his opponent, Jerome controlled his breathing. And the moment they collided…

“Die!”

Leon Valod swung his broadsword first. When his attack sliced through the air and reached Jerome’s neck…

Pa!

Jerome’s sword became a ray of light.

“That’s… that’s impossible…”

After they crossed paths, Leon Valod had a horrified expression on his face as he bled from the crown of his head. Unbelievably fast swordsmanship. Only after he had been cut did he realize that he had been cut. Then he finally saw it.

“R— right hand?’

Unlike before, Jerome was holding his sword in his right hand.

Puhua!

Just as he realized that, Leon’s body split into two.

“I told you, didn’t I? Let’s see who goes to hell?”

As Jerome said that, the Southern Army cheered loudly.

“Wahhh!!”

“Hurray! Sir Jerome Taker, hurray!!”

* * *

“Guh…”

The Second Prince fell into despair when his trusted knight died from one blow. Then, Milton finally appeared in front of him.

“You are Byron von Lester, are you not?”

Watching Milton speaking so arrogantly, the Second Prince bellowed.

“You dare?! I am a member of the royal family of the Lester Kingdom. It may be a war, but how dare you, a mere Count… gah!”

He fell from his horse as Milton punched him. Milton got off his horse as well and walked to the downed Second Prince. 

“You think just because I’m taking it easy on you, I’m actually easy?”

Crack. Craack

Byron was terrified when Milton approached him cracking his knuckles. Not only was this situation frightening, but he was also confused from having been hit for the first time in his life.  And yet, Milton continued to be ruthlessly violent towards him.

Smack! Punch! Crack! Smack!

“Ugh! Gughh!”

Punched, kicked, slapped, trampled again…

Milton took this rare opportunity to beat up a member of the royal family and continued to recklessly pummel him. 

“Royalty? The bastard who turned to the Republicans is looking for the royal family now that it’s disadvantageous?”

“Gugh… s— stop…”

“Decorum? You started a civil war in this country and you’re looking for decorum? You wanna die?”

“Please st— ugh! Gak!”

“‘Cause you started the stupid civil war, I had to fight in another useless war! Argh!!”

“Ug— ughh…”

Eventually, the Second Prince was beaten to a pulp until he couldn’t speak. Once he had pummeled him to his heart’s content, Milton handed the Second Prince over to his soldiers.

“You can tend to his injuries, but no need for anything more than that. Tie him with the rest of his knights for now.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

And so, Milton had captured the leader of the rebels, the Second Prince. And Although the Republican army still remained in the North, the civil war was essentially over. 

* * *

“Very impressive, Viscount Sabian.”

After capturing the Second Prince, the first thing Milton did was to praise the driving force behind this battle, Viscount Sabian. 

“No, My Lord. The credit should go to the knights who agreed to my strategy without complaint even though I was an outsider.”

Viscount Sabian humbly refused the praise for his contribution. 

“I especially owe Sir Taker. Although it might have been the plan, it couldn’t have been easy to turn his back on the enemy, especially considering a knight’s honor. So I’m particularly grateful for his willingness to follow through with it. 

At Viscount Sabian’s sincere thanks, Jerome calmly and nobly replied.

“I was just following the command of my Lord.”

Viscount Sabian admired Jerome’s attitude.

‘He’s extremely loyal. Does that mean Count Forrest is great enough for a knight like him to be that loyal?’

When he was leading the Southern Army, Viscount Sabian had been surprised that they were much more impressive than he had thought. In particular, Count Forrest’s personal knights and soldiers were of great quality and high level. He had been shocked that Sir Jerome Taker was an Expert at such a young age. And for him to be the highest classed Expert, that meant in the future, he would soon surpass Master. That such a knight was willing to be with Milton was enough to raise his value. And that surprise only grew as the plan was executed.

If Viscount Sabian’s strategy was to be described in one word, it would be bait. In order to bring out the Second Prince who had been hiding like a turtle, Viscount Sabian sought ways to make the Second Prince careless. And in order for the Second Prince, who had suffered a devastating defeat in a previous battle, to become careless, he had to be given numerous victories. The passive fighting during the siege had allowed the Second Prince to easily win against them, but that wasn’t enough. 

So, Sabian had quietly suggested a plan to Jerome, the strongest knight in the Southern Army. He had asked if Jerome could purposefully lose the single combat. But he didn’t think Jerome would actually agree to it. Considering the pride of top-notch Expert, and his own position as an outsider to the Southern Army, he had thought it would be more likely to be rejected. But Jerome had accepted the plan like it was nothing.

Since Milton had given Viscount Sabian command of this battle, Jerome had considered the plan as an order from his Lord. It was unthinkable for him to reject his Lord’s orders for the sake of his own pride. In the end, Jerome deliberately lost the single combat and even humiliated himself as he escaped from the fight. 

As a result, the morale of the Second Prince’s army soared into the sky…

Ironically, that was the moment where the Second Prince’s confidence turned into conceit. 

Disregarding the fact he had suffered a heavy loss before, he had the illusion that he could win unconditionally if he looked down on his enemies. That was when Viscount Sabian’s final plan was set in motion. The Republican’s flag would be used to lure out the prideful enemies from the castle and a group of elite soldiers personally led by Milton would be waiting to surround them once they left their safety. 

The result was great success. The Second Prince was captured and the damages to their own troops were minimal. If the siege had gone as originally planned with standard frontal attacks, the casualties would have ranged from 3,000 to 5,000.  But with Viscount Sabian’s strategy, there were less than 500 casualties. 

Milton turned to Viscount Sabian who had kept his promise. 

“Thanks to you, I was able to minimize the casualties. If there’s anything you want as a reward, tell me.”

Pondering, Viscount Sabian opened his mouth…

“The war isn’t over yet. Do you mind if I ask later?”

Milton gave him a wry smile at his reluctance to ask right away. 

“You’re absolutely correct. We’ll do as you say.”

Milton spoke as though it didn’t matter to him either way. But on the inside, he had a rough idea of what Viscount Sabian had wanted to say. 

‘His Loyalty rose to 65 now. I guess we can say that he’s leaning more towards me now?’

Milton looked at Viscount Sabian with satisfaction.

* * *

Contrary to Viscount Sabian’s words, the actual war had ended with the capture of the Second Prince. And once he had been captured, Princess Leila began to actively encourage the remaining rebels to surrender. They surrendered surprisingly easily when they heard that, ‘those who had been forced into rebelling by the Second Prince’s threat will be treated leniently.’ Princess Leila decided to first arrest the recruits and deal with them later in the future. 

Even if the Second Prince was now gone, it would have taken quite some time to deal with the rest of the rebels if they recklessly ran around, but with Princess Leila’s timely response, they quietly disappeared. 

But, there was one person who was not happy with this situation…

“Well, this got complicated.”

It was Siegfried of Hildes Republic. 

“It certainly won’t be easy to deal with.”

For Siegfried, looking at the sharply focused elite army in front of him was like whetting his appetite. 

* * *

Marquis Marius had come to ask him for reinforcements when the Second Prince had been under siege. When he heard the request, Siegfried gathered and moved his army, but his reason wasn’t to help the Second Prince who was falling, if not already toppled. No, he was moving his army to attack Lorentia, the capital of the Lester Kingdom. In the first place, the Second Prince had only been an expendable chess piece; a piece that would give him the justification and opportunity to move his people into the Lester Kingdom. Siegfried had never considered him to be an ally. 

After helping the Second Prince out a couple times, showing off their strength, and increasing his dependence on them, Siegfried had gained their full trust with talks of marriage. Of course, the marriage talks had been a complete and perfect lie.

The Second Prince might not have known because there was no official exchange between the kingdom and the Republic, but Bahasten, the Fuhrer of Hildes Republic, was single. Naturally, Roxanne didn’t exist. Even if there was an official letter, how could there be a diplomatic marriage with a woman who doesn’t even exist? It was all bullshit. 

Hildes Republic planned to take this opportunity to completely swallow the Lester Kingdom and use it as a bridgehead into the South. With the North secured, all the orders Siegfried had received from the Fuhrer had been carried out. But then, he got greedy.

In order to gain influence over the North region of the Lester Kingdom, Hildes Republic used the Second Prince and his followers as part of a military expedition. If their capital attack succeeds, then great. If their capital attack fails, then it fails and Hildes Republic would move onto the next plan. And when Marquis Marius asked for troops, Siegfried immediately gathered an army and personally led them to the capital  

* * *

Everyone from Duke Palan to the Southern Army…

Siegfried believed it was the perfect timing to take over the defenseless capital when all the forces were concentrated on the Second Prince’s army. If it was successful, he assumed that he would have fulfilled 150percent, no, 200 percent, of the orders he had received from the Republic.

However… 

They were met by an elite corps led by Duke Palan as they were traveling down south to the Lester Kingdom. 

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