Chapter 254: A Turbulent Continent (1)

Arshelly’s shining star-like eyes started to tear up. 

She was a Unit, having lost most of her memory from the past, but it wasn’t like she forgot everything. 

First, Kang Chul-In, no, Julius Berlineta Pon Aurangzeb. 

Arshelly remembered that he was the emperor of the empire and a generous father who loved her very much. 

She didn’t remember all the times she was with him, but she could remember that emotion. 

Also, Arshelly firmly believed that Kang Chul-In was Julius Berlineta Pon Aurangzeb. 

She also remembered one more thing: 

The wife of the Emperor of Blood and Iron, the empress of the empire, the person who had birthed Arshelly... 

Arshelly also remembered this person, who couldn’t be justified with just words. 

Drip!

Clear tears like the mist of dawn dripped down her face. 

“M… Mo…”

A choked voice escaped her mouth. 

Ah, how could she forget?

Even if she forgot everything else, she wouldn’t forget the Emperor of Blood and Iron, her father, or the empress, her mother. 

“Mommmmmm!”

Arshelly called the name that she hadn’t been able to for a thousand years and jumped into the arms of the woman she met in the hallway. 

Hug!

“Heuk… heuk heuk… m-mo… m…!”

Arshelly began to sob in her arms.

“I… missed you… mom… gulp…! Heuk heuk…!” 

“...”

“I… was waiting nicely… I was brave… I didn’t cry!”

Arshelly wasn’t able to think reasonably and acted like when she first met Kang Chul-In. 

“Uh… that’s...”

The woman was about to say something but instead just patted Arshelly’s back. 

And after some time, the woman spoke when Arshelly was somewhat calmed down. 

“So you’re... Arshelly... Did you miss your mom?”

Arshelly raised her head to look at the face of the woman who was much taller than her. 

A sharp nose. 

Large and beautiful eyes. 

Vibrant red lips. 

Porcelain skin. 

And a perfectly balanced body. 

Other than the fact that her hair was brown, she looked exactly like Arshelly’s mom, like how Kang Chul-In was like Julius’ reflection. 

“Do I look a lot like your mother?”

The woman smiled. 

“...”

Arshelly didn’t answer. 

No, she couldn’t. 

It was because although her instinct told her that this woman was her mom, she realized it was just her who thought like that. 

***

The war started with the Valhalla Kingdom attacking the Gullveig Coalition first. 

Obviously, there was no such thing as a declaration of war. 

The retaliation of the lands around it? The glares from the Pangaea International Security Association? Reason for attacking?

None of that was important. 

Uniting the continent and building the empire! 

With these two slogans, the Valhalla Kingdom didn’t care about what others thought. 

No, they didn’t know how to care. 

Everyone, regardless of their gender, was motivated to enlist, so Kang Chul-In and Kwak Jung didn’t have to incite them to join. 

Like the saying that said water had to flow cleanly at the top to flow cleanly at the bottom, the people of Valhalla were burning with passion... just like their dominating ruler, Kang Chul-In. 

Of course, there were also some who just joined the war for fun. 

***

Security operations were rotating guards around every hour or two for the protection of their squads and for anything unexpected.

This was an extremely important task for soldiers. 

General Douglas MacArthur, too, once warned: “The history of failure in war can almost be summed up in two words: Too late. Too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy. Too late in realizing the mortal danger. Too late in preparedness. Too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance.” [1]

“Haaa~!”

To Corporal Doughman in the Gullveig Coalition, security operations were just something that took time away from his sleep.

 “Ugh… I’m so tired...” Doughman grumbled.

“Do I have to make time to do this, too? Huh?”

“N-No, sir!” Private George responded in a loud and clear voice. 

“Sheesh!”

Doughman glowered at the newbie soldier. 

“Hey, are you the only person here?”

“N-No, sir!”

“Then do you have something blocking your ears?”

“No, sir!”

“Then why are you shouting so loud? Hm? Are you supposed to make loud noises in a security operation?”

“No, sir!”

“How did you learn to talk?”

“W-With a low and dignified voice...”

“Then you must know what you did wrong.”

“I apologize, sir!”

“Why did you do something to apologize for? To break my eardrums?”

“N-No!”

“Then to make me mad?”

“Definitely not, sir!”

“Then why did you do that?”

“I apolo...”

“Apologize?! Didn’t I just say that it’s forbidden to apologize?”

“Yes, sir!”

“But you apologized?”

“...”

“You’re ignoring me?”

“N-No, sir!”

“No and everything else is forbidden from now on. Understood?”

“T-That’s!”

Private George looked like he was about to cry. 

Tears were going to drop from the full grown man’s face if Doughman grilled him anymore. 

If George had more experience, he would’ve gone over it thinking ‘that guy’s always like that so I’ll just nod my head,’ but it had only been a week since he was assigned here, so he didn’t even have the mind to curse. 

“Hey, it’s a joke.” Doughman smirked. 

“Pardon?”

“Pardon?”

“I-I didn’t hear what you said!”

“I said it was a joke.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“T-That’s a relief...”

“Ha, punk.”

“...”

“I just grilled you because I was bored, so don’t be scared. Everyone ends up like this in the army.”

“...”

“What the heck? You’re thinking, ‘that fucker’s doing all kinds of dumb shit,’ right?”

“No, sir!” George shouted. 

“Huh, I just randomly said that but it seems like you really did think that.”

“N-No, sir!”

“Really?”

“Yes, sir!”

George firmly denied it. 

“I really didn’t!”

“Hmm... this is suspicious.”

“Really...”

“Mm… I’ll trust you this time.”

Actually, Doughman knew that George probably was cursing him from experience, but he decided not to bring it up anymore. There was a time when he was a brand new private as well. 

“Ugh… it’s cold. Let’s smoke a joint before we go.”

Doughman pulled out a cigarette holder from his pocket and held it out to George. 

“Huh? What’s this?”

“It’s a cigarette, you punk! Don’t you smoke?”

“N-No, that’s not it...”

“You think that if you smoke while on your post you’ll get in trouble?”

“...”

“Whew, you poor punk. Tsk tsk...”

“...”

“Hey, you can smoke a little bit as long as you’re careful about it. Military life is already like shit. Do you want to do it according to the manual? Huh?”

“I-Is that so?”

“Shouldn’t we at least smoke if we’re forced to stand out here in the middle of the night?”

Doughman squatted on the floor and pulled the fire near his cigarette holder. He was careful not to let the light leave outside of the guard post like the seasoned veteran that he was. 

“Whew~!”

Smoke flowed from Doughman’s mouth. 

“This is it! Smoking during your post is the best.”

“...”

“Here.”

“Pardon? I-I should smoke, too?”

“You said you smoke.”

“That’s true, but...”

“Gosh... if your superior gives it to you, just smoke it, alright?”

“Y-Yes, sir!”

George couldn’t resist him and squatted down like Doughman. 

“Is it good?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Punk.”

“Thank you!”

“It’s nothing. Be a nice superior like me one day, okay?”

“Yes, sir.”

Secretly smoking in the guard post was really the best. 

It was a feeling that surpassed being promoted.

Of course, this attitude was what ended their lives and led their territory to ruin. 

Swish!

A dark shadow whipped by the guard post, and Doughman and George toppled over like they fell asleep. 

Plop, plop!

“Lazy soldiers deserve to die.”

The girl wearing a black suit laughed coldly looking at Doughman and George. 

Above her short golden hair, there was a pair of black cat ears sticking out. It meant that she wasn’t a human, but a cat-human. She was a demi-human. 

“Commander Niu.”

Another demi-human reported to her. 

“We’ve taken care of guard posts 1, 2, 3, and 5.”

“Good job.”

They were killers in Section 20 of the assassination squad of the espionage bureau in Valhalla. 

“It was easier than I thought, commander.”

“I think so too. I don’t know why they gave such fools the job. They’re totally relaxed right now.”

What Niu said was true. 

This place that Section 20 had just taken care of was a strategic point with the best communication systems and three magic engineering beacons. 

It was because this was a supply route for the Esmeralda Territory. 

“Could it be… a trap?”

“No.”

Niu shook her head at the question. 

“That perv… n-no. Tactician Kwak said that the enemies wouldn’t be expecting us to attack first.”

“Oh?”

“It’s true that the Gullveig Coalition’s scale is bigger than ours.”

“I see.”

“And according to the information we learned beforehand, the Lord of this Signoleon Fortress isn’t that interested in expanding the military. He’s just happy with the supply route being protected safely. So it’s not weird that their guards are lax.”

“Yes, commander.”

“Since we took over the guard posts, let’s get the beta team to block all communication systems and the beacons. That’s the end of our task.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Niu glanced at the sky. 

The silhouette of a boat head flashed for a moment, but it was quickly hidden behind clouds. 

“Then, let’s move.”

Niu jumped. 

***

Kwang!

It was deep into the night when a loud sound exploded in the Signoleon Fortress. 

“W-What was that!?”

Someone who had been far away in dreamland, the person in charge of Signoleon, the two-star Major General, Dust, jumped up from his bed. 

Kwang!

Another loud sound rang out. 

Rumble!

He could also hear the building collapsing. 

“Is it… an earthquake?”

It didn’t occur to Dust that this sound and vibration was from a raid. 

This was understandable since the Signoleon Fortress was located where enemies couldn’t easily attack. 

“Sir!”

It was then. 

“We have a big problem! The enemies have attacked!”

The deputy burst open the door to report to Major General Dust. 

“What?”

“The first through fifth guard posts have been immobilized, and the beacons have all been destroyed. Also, there was an explosion in the communication’s...”

“...What are you talking about? No, today isn’t even April Fool’s, so why are you telling me those bad jokes?”

“Dammit!”

“...!”

“It’s an attack! An attack!” The deputy shouted. 

“The enemies came!”

“W-What kind of... nonsense…?”

The major general couldn’t believe the situation as told. 

Just how would the enemies have been able to attack?

This place was right in the middle of the Gullveig Coalition where it was impossible to attack.

[Ahem, mic test.]

Just then...

[Hi, cuties.]

The voice of a husky woman rang out.

“What!?”

Major General Dust quickly opened his window. 

He then shrieked in shock at the sailboat that was floating in the night sky. 

The bombing plane-fortress Temeraire that symbolized Hecate was aiming 74 magically-engineered cannons at them!

[1] CuppyNote: The original quote here was, "a commander who fails a strategy can be forgiven, but a commander who failed to defend can’t." However, I found that with some research this wasn't a real quote, so I replaced it with a real quote that General MacArthur did say that carries a similar meaning. 

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