Fortunately, Milton was now the Commander-in-Chief of the Central Army of Lester Kingdom. He was in the position to increase the nation’s military power through legal procedures. With this authority, Milton immediately began to recruit and train the soldiers on a large scale. Maybe because they had already gone a big deal once, but none of the nobles objected to investing a large amount of manpower or money for national defense.
Once he decided to expand the military, it felt like he was pouring gold into a bottomless pit. This was because they were training actual soldiers and not reserve military forces. Soldiers’ armament and wages, as well as the training process… Everything cost money. If Milton hadn’t hit the jackpot with his maritime trade, then it would have been impossible for him to afford all this. But thanks to all this, Lester Kingdom’s military was now much more advanced than before the previous war.
Milton commanded over 100,000 Central Army soldiers and the Northern Army under Duke Palan in the North was 50,000. A total of 150,000 troops. Even if he wanted to have a larger army than this, it was impossible considering the size of Lester Kingdom. Of course, just maintaining such a large army cost an enormous amount of money…
Because Milton was convinced that this era was heading in war, he refused to even consider reducing the armaments. Instead, he began paying attention to strengthening things that weren’t related to military power. Only recently have some of them paid off.
Today was a day where one of those came to fruit.
“Are these the guys?”
“That’s right, it took a lot of work.”
The place Milton was visiting was a horse raising pasturage. There, Bianca was proudly showing off her achievements.
“This is impressive. This… even just looking at them, they look different.”
Milton was admiring the huge horses in front of his eyes. The horses that were one size larger than regular horses looked stronger even on the outside. Usually, men who had large muscles were described as having horse-muscles but…
It seemed as though they would need to differentiate the horses based on their muscles. The prominent muscles that shifted as they moved around exerted an overwhelming pressure to the viewer.
These guys were the result of Bianca’s hard work. When Bianca had previously told him about the elixir used by Ghosts, Milton had asked her whether it was possible for her to make something similar. With an extremely unpleasant expression, she had told him that conducting biological experiments on humans was the worst taboo amongst magicians. If that’s the case, then what were the black skull knights that Siegfried had led in the war? Milton had to ask her more about it, but Bianca flatly refused and said no.
And so, a compromise had been made — instead of strengthening humans, they would strengthen horses instead. In this era’s wars, horses played a large part. In some countries, purebred warhorses would be managed separately and thoroughly controlled so other countries couldn’t steal them. Even in Lester Kingdom, there were purebred warhorses with a lineage going all the way back to ancient times. And so, they had tried to see if those horses would be strengthened with the elixir.
“Ho… Strengthen the horses? I’ve never thought about that before…”
Bianca had shown interest in Milton’s words. And so, Bianca had taken over the young foals and started to strengthen them with the elixir. Now, that achievement was right before Milton’s eyes.
“It’s not just their body that got bigger, strength, endurance, and even their muscles and bones have considerable improvement. Even without armor, puny arrows would most likely bounce right off of them.”
“How impressive. Seems like they’d be able to kick a small beast across the room with just one kick.”
Seeing Milton honestly admiring them, Bianca laughed.
“Actually, one of ‘em has fought against a bear and won.”
“What? With a bear? A horse?”
Milton was shocked as Bianca replied.
“Ya see that one over there? Yea, that black horse with the red eyes.”
Bianca was pointing towards a black horse that had an overwhelming sense of presence. The other horses were all the same breed and strengthened together, but when they were with that black horse, they seemed to warily be watching him.
“That one right there is my magnum opus. When the herd was released on the pasture, a bear suddenly appeared. All the other horses ran away, but that one ran towards it instead. In the end, he kicked the bear with one kick. It was unbelievable.”
Milton couldn’t speak.
“Maybe, ya or Jerome should ride that one?”
“Hmm… I think so too?”
Even to Milton, that black horse in front of him was impressive. Not only was he large, but there was an air around him, that confident and natural aura of the strong. For a moment, Milton was overcome with possessiveness.
‘I want him.’
What would it feel like to ride that guy? How far could he run if he was given free rein to sprint dynamically across the ground? In this world, there was a saying that the legendary horse had ran even faster than the wind. Of course Milton thought it was absolute bullshit, but seeing that horse, Milton believed that he might actually be able to do it.
“I’ll ride him.”
In the end, Milton tried to own him.
But considering Jerome’s abilities on the battlefield, it wasn’t a bad idea to bestow the horse to him.
But Milton really wanted to keep the horse himself.
‘I can understand how Lü Bu felt he was capable of betrayal when he saw his horse Red Hare.’
“Can I ride him once?”
“That’s if ya can.”
When Bianca crossed her arms, Milton smiled.
“I guess he’s got a temper?”
“A temper? He’s got more than one temper. Hahaha.”
Milton didn’t know who taught Bianca such bad jokes, but the moment he found out, he planned to harshly punish them.
At Milton’s orders, the black horse was tacked up and saddled. While they were getting him ready, the stablemen were very careful, almost as though they were handling a bomb. The stablemen of this stable were experts in handling horses, but their attitude towards the black horse was extremely careful.
‘Aren’t they overdoing it?’
Watching the horse placidly allowing them to tack and saddle it, Milton thought the horse wasn’t as wild as he had originally thought. But the moment Milton got on the horse’s back, he realized it was a mistake.
“This psychotic horse!”
The black horse seemed gentle when Milton had first gotten on its back.
He had walked gently and ran lightly. Just as Milton was feeling relieved and thinking if he should let the horse gallop freely, the horse started to run wild as if it had been waiting for that exact moment. The horse bounced back and forth and ran so wild that Milton, who was an Expert, was almost thrown off.
When Milton wasn’t thrown off, the horse became wilder and tried even harder.
“This motherf…. Was that gentleness all an act?”
Milton ground his teeth. If it had been violent from the start, Milton would have prepared himself. But this guy had acted gentle at first and waited until Milton had let down this guard, then had suddenly turned aggressive. This horse wasn’t just violent, he was also smart. Either that, or this wasn’t the first time he had done something like this.
‘No wonder the stablemen were carefully treating him like a bomb.’
Milton clenched his teeth. He had decided. Milton couldn’t approach this particular horse with the plan of taming it. He picked up a whip and approached the horse like he was taming a savage beast.
Although Milton didn’t use his Aura, the horse stopped for a second when Milton struck it with the whip.
Then, he turned his head back and looked threateningly at Milton.
[Did you just hit me?]
There was no way he was able to communicate, but that’s what the horse seemed to convey with its eyes. Looking at those rebellious eyes, Milton emitted a murderous spirit as if he was facing an enemy on the battlefield.
[That’s right. I hit you. Whatcha gonna do?]
For about ten-seconds, it was a battle of wills. And then…
The horse gave in first. There was no way he could win when Milton, who was an Expert, was purposefully emitting a murderous spirit. Rather, it was more surprising that the horse had even tried to fight against him without losing. Normal horses would’ve pissed in fear before fainting at Milton’s spirit.
“Are you going to be more obedient now?”
Milton slowly reined in his murderous spirit and stroked the horse’s mane.
Carrots come after the whip; this was common sense when training beasts. But…
“This f*cking crazy horse!”
Almost as though it had been waiting for Milton to rein in his spirit, the horse turned aggressive again. It’s aggression continued for some time.
Twelve hours later.
“Ah… is this what happens when a stubborn man meets a stubborn horse? Learned something new.”
Bianca had gotten hungry in the middle and left to go eat. Now that she’d returned to the pasture, she admired both of them. Milton had been in a power struggle with the horse for the past twelve hours. Sure, they were both physically fit, but at this point, it could only be said that they were stubborn.
“Ho… this stubborn punk. Why don’t you just give in. You can’t beat me.”
Milton sighed from atop the black horse. His whole body was covered in sweat as if he was in a sauna. Bianca had said she’d increased the horses’ endurance, but he didn’t think he’d have to do this for twelve hours. He’d even thought about giving up, after all, it’s not like there was only that one horse in the world. But Milton changed his mind every time he felt with his entire body just how strong that horse was. If this horse could be his ally on the battlefield, then Milton would be reassured. It seemed like it could just charge at the infantry and completely destroy them.
With those thoughts, there was no way Milton could give up on him. And that’s how he ended up here.
“Give up now. Aren’t you even hungry… huh?”
Just as he was talking, Milton suddenly came up with a great idea.
“Hey, bring me some sugar cubes.”
“Yes, but do you mean sugar lumps, sir?”
“Yea, sure. Quickly.”
Milton remembered something from his previous life. There were cases where horses were given sugar cubes to calm them down. But, that never happened here since sugar was an extreme luxury. Only nobles were able to have it and commoners were lucky if they were able to have it once a year. No one ever thought about giving such a luxury item like sugar to a horse.
A while later.
Milton received the sugar cubes that had been quickly airlifted and shoved it in front of the horse’s mouth.
The horse seemed to be guarding against him, but the sweet scent seemed to change his mind. Then, he swallowed a piece of the sugar cube.
Milton remembered what a veterinarian had said in his previous life. Most creatures in the world, from ants to elephants, love sweetness. Fascinated by the sweet taste, the horse bolted down the sugar on Milton’s palm. He seemed regretful that there wasn’t more.
“You’ll rot your teeth, you punk.”
Milton once again climbed onto the black horse and gently stoked its mane.
“If you listen to me, I’ll give it to you often.”
Could he have understood Milton? Or did he realize something? The black horse’s attitude towards Milton was now different as it accepted his touch and became more obedient than before. Realizing that the horse wasn’t being stubborn anymore, Milton grabbed the reins and kicked it with his heels.
And following Milton’s orders, the black horse began to gallop.
1. 적토마에 배신을 결심한 여포의 심 정을 알겠군. Lü Bu was a Chinese military general and warlord. While he is historically known to be heroic, he is also known to be temperamental and switch allegiance and betray his allies easily. Red Hare was his horse. It’s said that when Dong Zhuo sent him the horse as a gift, he was so pleased that he was convinced to betray his Ding Yuan. source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lü_Bu and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hare