The Hector Kingdom was once a power comparable to the Kronos Empire. They were growing rapidly based on their defenses, but they fell to hell after losing the war against the Valhalla Empire. Their current situation wasn’t much different from the Cairo Kingdom. They had no choice but to look at what the Empires were doing while making any decision. And as a result, a meeting was being held covertly in the Royal Palace, away from the prying eyes of other people.
A man with a scarred face, Jackson, who was also the commander of the Ranger Unit, knelt before the King of Hector and reported the information he had learned.
“Last year, the Ranger Unit scouted the Southern Front of the Cairo Kingdom 48 times. We came to learn that the Southern Front consists of 5 defenses in total, and the Cairo Kingdom is not interested in the Southern Front, and they mainly use their forces to defend the Western Front, which is constantly at odds with the Kronos Empire. The guards of each defense line usually work for 4 hours before they change their shift, and the guards and soldiers both have noticeable lazy attitudes. It must be because they think that they have a peaceful relationship with us. From all of that, I don’t think it will be too difficult to capture the Southern Front.”N♡vεlB¡n: Where Every Word Sparks Wonder.
Indeed, it was something they could do without even losing the lives of their soldiers.
They were giggling as they observed the drunken guards when they snuck into the bushes to inspect the fortress walls. A long time ago, when the Hector Kingdom was called a great power, the Cairo Kingdom had never shown such complacency. At that time, they used to guard the Southern Front as well as they did the Western Front. However, as time passed, the Hector Kingdom lost its power, and the Cairo Kingdom began to believe that the Hector Kingdom was the same as them. And why would they be afraid of someone of the same level? From that point onward, they didn’t even think that the Hector Kingdom would invade them.
“Father, can I say something?”
In addition to the King of Hector and Jackson, there was one more person there. He was a man with red hair. He was Edwin Hector, the only son of King Hector.
“The Hector Kingdom has been going through an incredibly bad harvest for the past five years. The drought has caused the soil to dry up and die, and the crop and showers are also being swept away by the powerful winds. Also, the strain on us is only increasing as a result of the money we borrowed from the Golden Bank to fix the issue. The might of the Hector Kingdom is no longer sufficient to endure this. The national treasury has been drained for a long time, and if this trend continues, it won’t be long before Hector loses the name of a ‘Kingdom’ on the continent.”
“…It isn’t like I don’t know that.”
King Hector looked distraught hearing all that. The former King had started a war to achieve his grand dreams, but the consequence of that was still being borne by his descendants. King Hector was also a victim of that. The situation of the Hector Kingdom wasn’t good even before he took the throne, and he took on the throne when the nation was going down fast. Thus, people said that the heavens were angry.
Seeing people sitting on dry and twisted land while weeping, Edwin decided the time to make a decision had already come.
Edwin said, “From a long time ago, the Hector Kingdom has shunned war with the belief that we can’t make the same mistake twice after we lost the war with Valhalla. But we can’t do that anymore. Since we are the ones alive now, we must take action to help our people who are in despair. The defeat Hector suffered in the past wasn’t actually suffered by us. We have spent the entire last year putting a lot of effort into our preparation, and this time, we have to go against Cairo, not Valhalla. We need to choose now, for the sake of the kingdom.”
War was a word no one dared to say in Hector.
Although King Hector was considered to be weak, he was actually cautious. That’s why he planned it for a whole year. And finally, after they were ready for war, he discussed it earnestly.
‘Is that man really my son?’
Edwin Hector didn’t resemble his father. He was strong and had inherited the mighty bloodline of the once mighty Hector family.
Looking into his son’s eyes that were burning with greed, the King asked cautiously, “Are you sure?”
“Yes. If I wasn’t sure, I wouldn’t have spoken of this in the first place.”
“I get it.”
He got up from the throne. As the saying went that heroes were born in times of turmoil, he considered Edwin’s growth to be inevitable.
“All the matters related to this war will be entrusted to you, Edwin Hector.”
“Thank you, father.”
Finally, the Hector Kingdom had come to a decision.
Around that time, the 3 weeks of training at the Southern Training Center were also finished.
In front of hundreds of trainees, Viscount Bale delivered a boring speech.
“Everyone has been through a lot. Unlike the Western Front, many battles don’t take place on the Southern Front usually. You will spend more days bored than you think once you have been assigned to a unit, but you must not forget that you all are soldiers who protect the Cairo Kingdom and cannot carelessly invite disasters into the Cairo Kingdom. I hope your time on the Southern Front will be peaceful.”
Those were words Viscount Bale had constantly repeated each time the training of any unit finished. And just like that, he ended his speech with words even he knew would not make sense. Right after finishing the ceremony, he called for Roman to meet him separately. Just like when they first met, he gave him some sweet coffee while having a kind smile on his face.
“From today onward, your unit will be formed as a reserve unit that will serve on the 5th Defense Line. You have probably heard of what the other nobles have to say. It is a paradise where all nobles wish to be assigned to, and it is the place where one can live most comfortably while their freedom is limited the least. And… Hmm, I also used my contacts a bit to assign you to the 5th Defense Line.”
He had already heard the rumors from when the nobles were talking in the shade. Many nobles spoke of the 5th Defense Line. As it was famous for being the most comfortable one, it was difficult to get assigned to it without any connections. And Viscount Bale usually exercised his power for a special price. However, this time, he was in a position where he had to show himself as someone nice, and he had to reveal his own power so that Roman would do him a favor.
“Why thank me? I am just doing the right thing. And I already told you earlier—There isn’t much I want. I only want you to tell Marquis Benedict that you had a comfortable life on the Southern Front because of Viscount Bale Frank. That is all. So, if you ever need anything while staying on the Southern Front, feel free to come to me. The job of the commander is to help the ones who come here.”
As Viscount Bale smiled and Roman nodded his head, the meeting ended.
Roman left the commander’s room. There was one more person looking for Roman. It was McBurney. He was the instructor of the Southern Training Center, and he spoke to Roman with a different expression than usual.
“…Thank you for all you did. Actually, there was no noble yet in the Southern Training Center who showed the passion for training as much as you, Mr. Roman Dmitry. Thanks to you, I realized what I was working for, and I think I will be able to teach the future ones even more passionately. Also, I prepared this because I thought it might be a bit helpful.”
It was because McBurney wanted to give Roman some gifts. They were a shabby book and a map.
When Roman looked confused, he added, “This is a compilation of information about the Southern Front. If a war breaks out on the Southern Front, this is the information you will need. Of course, spending two years in peace would be the best situation. I also hope for that. I hope that Mr. Roman Dmitry will get out of here in good health.”
As it was a favor without any malicious intent, Roman accepted it while smiling.
Seeing that, McBurney’s heart instantly began to pound intensively. His heart told him to follow Roman until the end. As a man who was once a warrior, he already knew that Roman Dmitry was a man worth giving his life up for. However, he couldn’t.
‘Someone like me will only get in his way.’
He had already lost one of his arms. And it was impossible for him to even wield his sword properly with his left hand. Roman Dmitry was going to be a big person in the future, and he already had a bunch of talented people like Chris and Kevin.
He doesn’t need a broken man.
If he could not do anything, then he would only get in the way, so he decided that staying here was the right thing to do.
And like that, their conversation ended.
Roman moved on. Now was the time for him to head to the 5th Defense Line.
Roman pulled something out after he moved away from McBurney.
‘I was told Lucas worked quite hard to get this.’
It was a map that had “The Southern Front” written on top. It was actually very similar to the gift McBurney had given him. Truthfully, Roman already had the gift McBurney gave him. Before he came to the Southern Front, he had already gathered the required information, so this gift wasn’t extremely necessary. Still, Roman smiled as he wanted to thank McBurney. Even now, he kept it in his pocket as he felt grateful to McBurney. There was no particular reason for that. Roman only wanted to accept the sincerity the man had shown him.
Roman thought that pure kindness itself was something that had to be respected.
The deployment of the troops was now finished. And on the way to his unit, Henry walked helplessly.
‘Why do I have to move on my own? Shouldn’t the nobles be given their own wagon to carry their things?’
His soft feet, which had never suffered till now, were hurting. As he had to travel a long way on his feet, which had no calluses yet, he felt thirsty and sweaty.
However, he could not demand a wagon. It wasn’t impossible if he used his connections with Viscount Bale, but the problem was that he was too concentrated on Roman Dmitry. It didn’t seem as if he was dissatisfied with the situation of walking with his own soldiers.
‘Haah… How did such a situation come about?’
Viscount Bale called Henry aside and emphasized a few words countless times yesterday evening.
“Henry. I have organized it so that your unit serves on the 5th Defense Line, along with Roman Dmitry. Within 2 years, you need to somehow get close to Roman Dmitry. Keep it in mind. This is a very serious matter on which your uncle’s future depends. So, no matter how precious you are to me as my nephew, if you don’t do this job correctly, I will be angry.”
He felt lost. Being assigned to the 5th Defense Line was good news. If it had been just that, he would have been smiling and jumping around, but now, the thought of spending time with Roman Dmitry made him annoyed. Still, what could he do? The reality was already in front of him. So, all he can do is try and show Roman a little of his better side. Thus, rather than ranting, Henry chose to walk with his soldiers too.
How far did he walk? After moving for a long time, the group was finally able to arrive at their destination. But the scenery there was different than they had expected.
“Everyone, prepare for combat!”
It was a total mess. The sound of bells ringing loudly could be heard, and everyone was running around constantly.
Back then, they didn’t know what had happened. And as Henry was wondering what could have happened, an officer approached and said, “Just now, the 5th Defense Line of the Southern Front has been attacked! The Hector Kingdom has declared war!”
The moment Henry heard the word “war”, his heart sank to the bottom.
Editor’s Thoughts: Man, McBurney’s lines were sad. Him giving the gift to Roman and Roman’s thoughts were quite wonderful though. Also, the war has officially been declared! It seems there will be quite some bloodshed on the battlefield soon.