Chapter 519: Late (4)

He didn't know the enemies had so many soldiers.

“My apologies, your highness!”

The Lord of the Stan territory. Taylor Stan was bowing toward Alberu Crossman.

“Why would it be your fault?”

Taylor started to frown after hearing Alberu’s calm voice.
But Alberu was actually thankful to Taylor.

“I heard that you already had the first battle. Thank you for safely getting past it.”

There was a short first battle prior to Alberu getting here.
Lord Taylor Stan had defended against the enemies through the battle.

“The White Star does not seem to have any intentions of fighting as he attacked for a bit before withdrawing.”

Taylor recalled the first battle.
The White Star's forces had scoped them out as if they were making sure the food was seasoned properly.

“They then started to bring over more troops! Because of that, because of that-”

Taylor could not continue speaking.
Alberu started to speak instead.

“That must be why there are so many enemies here.”

Taylor clenched his eyes shut.
However, Alberu was looking forward, past the walls.
He could see the enemies that the White Star had brought over.

He started to list the enemies by group.

“…The Bear tribe, are those Arm members over there? Swordsmen and mages. There are quite a lot of them.”

Boom. Boom. Boom.

The ground shook every time the Bears in their berserk transformations moved.
They each had a weapon in their hands as they slowly marched toward the walls.

They did not rush.
There were many strong individuals behind them.

‘Are those the strong individuals who were supposedly in the second secret base?’

Alberu recalled the information Cale told him about Arm's second secret base.

“…Your highness.”

He heard one of his vassals speak in a low voice.
Alberu sighed as he knew what the person was trying to say.

“Yes. The Bears and those bastards are not the biggest problems right now.”

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Those bastards who were shaking the ground and slowly approaching as if they were sieging the central city in the Stan territory were not the problem.

“There are many unknown individuals in the rear.”

There were a large number of people stationed behind the approaching enemies as well.

‘The black mages I can tell.’

Alberu started to speak.

“Marquis Stan. Have you figured out who those people in the rear are?”

They didn't know the identities of the people in the rear.
Those people who were all wearing different colored robes did not all seem to be black mages.

This was especially the case for the people who seemed to be wearing grey robes that reminded him of priest robes who were giving off odd auras. That made him feel as if they should not approach them without a plan.

“I'm sorry, your highness. They must have used teleportation magic, as the enemy numbers suddenly exploded and we weren’t unable to figure out who they are!”
“That makes sense. I understand.”

Taylor had said that with remorse but ended up feeling an unexplainable feeling after hearing Alberu brush it off as if it was nothing.

‘…They’re different.’

Taylor had been able to see how Cale fought from a distance when he had gone to Mogoru.
This was his first battlefield with Alberu.

The two of them were similar but different.
It was as if they were siblings.

Taylor could not continue his thoughts very long.

“Your highness! Please look over there!”

It suddenly started to become chaotic above the city walls.
One of the generals subconsciously shouted in shock.

“Shit! The White Star can control the wyverns as well!”

The wyverns appeared as the mages and the unknown people in grey robes moved to the side.

Screeeech-
Screech- screech-

The screeching wyverns moved forward once the White Star gave the signal.
Black mages and knights were on the wyverns together.
This was possible because these wyverns were larger than normal wyverns.
All of them were black as well.

The White Star got on the only white wyvern in the group.

The vassals on top of the city walls started to raise their voices.

“The ground battle was already an issue, but now an aerial battle! What should we do-”
"The wyverns attacks are a problem, but…! There are mages on their backs, black mages! It’ll be bad if they cast spells inside the city walls from the air!”
“What shall we do? We need to come up with a plan right away!”

They were as loud as a busy supermarket.
Everybody was raising their voices and busy shouting their thoughts to one another.
However, none of them were able to come up with a good solution.

Marquis Taylor watched this for a bit and opened his mouth to speak before closing it back.
He had a thought, but he could not say it out loud.

However, there was someone else who ended up sharing the same thought.

“…Just like the battle at the Henituse territory!”

The battle at the Henituse territory.

Everybody stopped talking for a moment after hearing that.
The Roan Kingdom had already fought against and defeated wyverns once.
It was during the first battle against the northern Indomitable Alliance at the Henituse.

“That’s right! If young master Cale casts his shield as he did back then-!”
“Let’s contact young master Cale immediately!”
“That’s right! Why don’t we contact Commander Cale right away?”

Taylor started to frown.

This was not it.
This was not what he had been thinking.

It was at that moment.

“Silence!”

Silence instantly filled the area.

Everybody was looking toward Alberu Crossman.
However, their gazes quickly turned elsewhere.

“People in charge of the battlefield should not be acting like this!”

They could not face Alberu’s fiery gaze and his calm but stern comments.
Alberu turned his head.

“Captain!”
“Yes, your highness!”

The Mage Brigade Captain lowered his head.

Alberu was said to have significantly invested to grow this Mage Brigade.
They had left a small number of people in the capital while the rest of them came here with Alberu.

Alberu asked the captain a question.

"Can you protect the castle with a shield?”
“…I believe it will take some time! We need to create many magic circles in order to create a shield at young master Cale’s level!”

A large shield that was big enough to protect the entire castle would require time to create the magic circles to support it.

Taylor and the others started to frown.

Screeeech-
Screeeeeech- screeeeeeech-

The wyverns were still screeching and heading their way.
They could see the large black wings that seemed to get closer every time they raised their heads.

This was bad.
What could they do?!

The chief executives quickly started to think.
It was at that moment.

“Alberu Crossman.”

A loud voice echoed through the battlefield.
The voice was coming from the white wyvern's back.

The crown prince was in the castle while the enemies were outside.
The White Star who stopped about halfway between the two forces looked at Alberu as he started to speak.

“Alberu Crossman.”

He called for Alberu again.

“T, that! How dare he say his highness's name like-!”
“How can dare be such an arrogant person?!”

Some of the old vassals raised their voices in anger, but the White Star continued to speak as if they could not hear them.

Both allies and enemies could hear his voice.

“Fighting will only lead to destruction. Why don’t we have a chat?”

Alberu’s gaze instantly started to sparkle.
However, his vassals turned pale.
They walked up to Alberu and quietly whispered to him.

“Your highness! You cannot trust that man!”
“It makes no sense that he wants to chat!”

Taylor strongly urged him against it as well.

“I'm certain that he is trying to draw you out and take you hostage!”
“That’s right! We must return to our defensive formation and not chat with them!”

A chat between Alberu and the White Star?

That was unbelievable.

Of course, there were times when leaders would have short chats on the battlefield, but that was only possible when the leaders believed the other leader was somewhat trustworthy.
But this was none other than the White Star.

This bastard had done all sorts of terrible things.
Would a bastard like that really just want to chat?

“Think about everything that man has done, your highness. He may be calling you out while saying he wants to chat and negotiate… But he’ll definitely do something dirty if you go out.”

Taylor strongly emphasized his opinion.

"Furthermore, our role is to resist for as long as possible. I'm sure you'll agree with at least that much, your highness.”

Resist until Cale’s group gets there.
Hold ourselves back even if we want to fight.

It was because the White Star’s forces were strong.

“I don't think there is a need to head out of the sturdy walls and walk into the enemy’s trap.”
“That’s right. Marquis Taylor is correct, your highness. You can send one of your vassals as your representative, but you cannot go out yourself.”

It was at that moment.
They heard the White Star's voice again.

“I don't think you should take too long to make up your mind.”

Screeeeeech Screech, screech.

Multiple carriages appeared on the same path where the wyverns had been on the ground.

“Soooob.”
“Sniff! P, please-”
“S, save us. Sooooob.”

There were wooden cages where luggage should have been.
There were people imprisoned inside those cages.

“T, those crazy bastards!”

Marquis Taylor's expression instantly changed.

He started to frown and clenched the ledge he had walked up to.
His two hands were shaking.

The White Star sneered before continuing to speak.

“These are your citizens that my subordinates just captured. I'm sure some of them are from the Stan territory.”

The vassals started to frown.
They had wondered why the first battle had not been very fierce, but they seem to have attacked a small village away from the Lord’s Castle in order to capture the residents living there.

“…It’s my fault.”

Taylor lowered his head.

He had not thought about the other residents nor the rest of the kingdom’s citizens because he was busy defending against the White Star’s subordinates’ sudden attack.
But the fact that he had no time to think about them because he was busy guarding the Lord’s Castle was just an excuse.

‘…I am the leader of the northwest region.’

The fact that he was the leader of the northwest region's nobles meant that he had the responsibility to protect their lands.

Taylor wanted to smack his own head.

‘…Cage. Is that why you went out of the castle?’

His close friend Cage had stealthily left as soon as the battle had started, saying that she had something to do outside.
However, he could not continue his thoughts about his close friend.

‘What can we do?’

Taylor could not raise his head.
The White Star continued to speak.

“If you are a crown prince who loves the citizens of the Roan Kingdom, shouldn't you save your beloved citizens?”

‘We lost.’

That was the only thought on Taylor's mind when he heard the White Star's comment.

‘We lost before we even fought.’

“…Ha. My goodness.”
“…Shit.”

The vassals were gasping as well.
How could the crown prince and the future king decline a negotiation when the enemy had his citizens as hostages?

That could not happen.

The vassals realized that they could only be dragged around however the White Star wanted now.

‘We lost.’

They had lost a battle of the minds before their forces even fought.

“T, that damn bastard!”

One of the generals could not hide his anger and shouted.

“Hahaha.”

There was someone who was laughing at his comment.
They all turned their heads.

Alberu was laughing.

He was quietly looking at the White Star on his wyvern.

“I can see you better now than you are closer.”

They were at a distance where he could somewhat make out his features now.

“So that’s what the White Star looks like.”

‘It’s odd.’

The only thought in Alberu’s mind after seeing the White Star’s face was that it was odd.

‘My ancestor was the ancient White Star?’

Alberu did not like the fact that the ancient White Star was his ancestor.
On the other hand, this White Star was someone who wanted to be like Alberu’s ancestor and become him.

‘How funny.’

It was very funny.
He opened his mouth to speak.

“Bring me my helmet.”
“Your highness! Personally going out is-!”
“Do you want me to ignore my citizens?”

The vassal was at a loss for words after hearing Alberu’s question.
Alberu mischievously commented to the vassals who were looking at him.

“I'm just going to go out like this if you don't bring me my helmet.”

The vassals’ shoulders flinched.

“You don’t want my damn head to be blown off, do you?”

Smirk.

Alberu started to smile.

He was speaking more coarsely than normal, but that made his intentions clear to his vassals.

“Here it is, your highness.”
“Thank you. Marquis Stan.”

Taylor Stan who had his head down took the helmet from his subordinate and handed it to Alberu.
Alberu calmly thanked him.

“…It was nothing, your highness.”

However, Taylor still could not raise his head.

Pat.

Alberu put his hand on Taylor’s shoulder.

“You are the only one who can lead this castle now.”

Alberu quietly looked at Taylor who had his head down.

Taylor Stan did not look good.
He had led the troops from the front during the first battle, so his clothes were a mess and his body was covered in injuries.
He had apparently been hit by an arrow as well. That was probably why he had bandages tightly wound around his side.

“…Marquis Stan. Snap out of it.”

Some of the chief executives approached Alberu.

“Your highness. The castle will not fall.”
“Okay.”
“…Young master Cale will be here soon.”
“That’s right. The situation will change as long as he gets here.”

Alberu laughed and responded to them.

“It’s not good to rely too much on one person. You shouldn’t expect one person to fulfill multiple people’s responsibilities.”

The smile disappeared from Alberu’s face.

“You see, I… I am someone who knows how to do my part.”

Taylor’s head slowly started to rise.

Pat, pat.

Alberu patted Taylor's shoulder twice as he removed his hand.

“You do your part too.”

Alberu then headed toward the tightly closed castle gates.
The gates opened and he raised his head after heading out with the Knights Brigade.

He could see the white wyvern.

‘…Mother.’

Alberu thought about his mother.

His left hand tightly clenched his helmet.

He recalled something his aunt Tasha told him in the past.

‘You've inherited your mother’s talents. This item allowed your mother to live in the palace. This will hide you.’
‘Nobody, no living beings will be able to find out about your power.’
‘It’s different than the magic item that dyes your hair. This is an item that hides your power. Anyway, you will be free if you carry this and the dye magic accessory with you.’

He also recalled something he told Cale.

‘I'm not fighting.’
‘You absolutely won't fight?’
‘…Of course, I will step up if something happens to the Roan Kingdom or the Roan Kingdom's citizens.’

He recalled what Cale had said.

‘Alberu Crossman. Your highness, your existence is meant to be.’

‘Mother, aunt. I am already a free person who is meant to be here.’

He looked toward the white wyvern and started to speak.

“Come. If you want my life that is.”

‘Whether my life is your goal or if you want something else…

‘Come.

‘I will be waiting.’

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