Steven called for a soldier.
“He is a native of this area. He has a perfect grasp of the surrounding terrain and will be a useful guide.”
“I am Kobe.”
The soldier that had just arrived had a dark face. Roman accepted his greeting and moved to the commander’s room. He then spread open the map on the table.
“This is the map of the Southern Front. What is the fastest way to get to the rear of the Southern Front?”
“…Are you seriously asking about the way to the rear of the Southern Front?”
Kobe’s eyes widened. Steven had told him that Roman needed his help in order to go and help the other Defense Lines. Thus, he assumed Roman would ask him about the fastest way to the other Defense Lines. However, as he asked about the fastest way to the rear, he was stunned.
There was no need to explain why. Still, for active cooperation, Roman said his thoughts out loud.
“I do not think the Defense Lines on the Southern Front can hold on any longer. Even if we move fast, one place is bound to collapse, and enemies will break through. Thus, there is a high probability that we will be isolated in such a situation. That’s why I want to go to the rear of the Southern Front first. We will understand the situation of the Defense Lines and respond with flexibility after joining the forces in the rear.”
Kobe then realized that it was quite a sensible decision. As Roman had said, with a small number of troops, he could not tackle all the threats on the Southern Front. Finally, Kobe’s gaze turned toward the map. He said, pointing to a path, once he had searched for the fastest way to reach the rear.
“I think moving on this path will be good. If we follow this road, we can get there in around 3 hours.”
It was one of the many paths to the rear. Still, it was the safest way to travel there.
Nevertheless, Roman shook his head.
“No. We cannot take the safe path now. What we lack is time, and in order to shorten the time, we need to move fast, even if there is the risk of falling off of steep slopes.”
“Uh… then how about this road?”
It was one near a mountain. The terrain was much rougher than the one he had suggested first, and even though they needed to go up a slope, they could get across the mountain quickly. If the first one took 3 hours, then this one would take around 2 hours and 30 minutes. He thought it was good enough, but Roman didn’t seem that happy with it.
“From what I know, it takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes for an average person to go through this road. That isn’t enough as well. My soldiers have the ability to maintain their speed in any terrain. And considering our level, we need a path that can get us there within 2 hours.”
At that moment, Kobe felt something strange.
His two questions were answered with two diligent and informative answers. When he noticed Roman’s ability to grasp the road, he only looked at him with a stunned expression.
The first method was one that anyone, including those not originally from the Southern Front, could understand. When considering Roman’s perspective, it was reasonable asking for a quicker path because it was obvious from the map that the area was flat. Nevertheless, that wasn’t the case with the second one.
‘How does he know that the path behind the mountain takes 2 hours and 30 minutes? It cannot be a simple prediction. Obviously, he spoke with confidence, so he must have calculated it. And as it is like that, it means that he is someone who understands the terrain of the Southern Front to some extent. Then why did he choose me as a guide?’
He wondered about that. He wanted to know just what Roman was thinking.
“…I didn’t know you knew the way around so well.”
He asked a question indirectly. He didn’t know why he had been called when Roman knew about the terrain that well. And Roman responded to his slightly provoking words while looking at the map.
“When I was assigned to the Southern Front, I decided to research this place for a while. How will the place I will live in for 2 years be? Just what is the terrain like? I studied it a lot in case something happened but obviously, I couldn’t fully understand the place. Still, I, at least, know what any other person who can read a map knows.”
The information Valhalla had given made Roman order Lucas to investigate the Southern Front. It didn’t mean he only had to check for signs of war. While he prepared for the war, he also had Lucas check the current situation on the Southern Front many times and even mark the routes that led to each Defense Line.
When the Fifth Defense Line was attacked, Roman arrived on the battlefield in less than an hour. Obviously, people thought he had reached here by sprinting as fast as he could, but the truth was that he had used the shortcut he knew of.
Also, Roman had gotten more information thanks to McBurney. It was similar to the one Lucas had given him, but a bit more detailed. And thanks to that, he now knew the local and unknown routes of the Southern Front as well.
Kobe couldn’t understand Roman’s answer that well. If he had got this far from all that, then why did he need Kobe?
“When Steven called you, you probably thought I was just an ignorant man on the Southern Front.”
“There is no need to be this shocked. I only used common sense. The reason I told Mr. Steven that I needed someone familiar with the land was because the information one gets through papers and books is different from reality. The information I checked said the route takes 2 hours and 30 minutes. But what if there is bad weather or something else which happens on the path? Then we will have to take a detour which we have no idea about. That is why I need your help. I thought that information in the books was right, but the natives always have a way on a terrain compared to a person who just came. Is that enough reason?”
“Huh?! I-I fully understand!”
Kobe stuttered. It felt like, somehow, Roman had read his thoughts.
Roman understood what Kobe was asking, and he hoped to clarify all his doubts as soon as he could.
Roman looked different to him. In the entire time he had served here, many nobles had come to the Southern Front, but he had met someone like Roman for the first time today.
‘He is different from the nobles who come to live a life comfortable here. He is even ready to go to the war. Even if no one else will get to know about it, if I can help him carry out his will, there will be hope for the Southern Front.’
Kobe looked at the map with such thoughts and then pointed to a new path.
“I can assure you that this route is the best option if you are truly confident in rushing in and not caring about the terrain. It is a path my village friends and I have secretly traveled since we were children. If we travel through the thick forest, we can reach the rear of the Southern Front in just 2 hours. Nevertheless, we need to be careful. Even a little stumbling can lead us to fall off a huge cliff.”
This—This was the type of answer Roman had been waiting for. Thus, that answer also signaled the end of the meeting.
The meeting didn’t take too long. Actually, it took only 10 minutes.
And when Roman left the room, the first thing he was greeted with was his soldiers. They had already finished their preparations and lined up sincerely.
“Chris and 30 others. All the preparations have been completed.”
It was a sharp blade-like reaction.
However, next to his soldiers, he saw an unwelcome face.
“Henry Albert and 50 others. All preparations have been completed.”
That was Henry. He had looked at Chris and imitated what he was doing. Naturally, there was a huge difference in the aura they gave out, but Henry tried to be as serious as he could.
Roman asked, “Why are you here?”Where Stories Blossom: N♡vεlB¡n.
He couldn’t accept the presence of someone like Henry. Obviously, it was good to have many troops in a situation where time was running out, but Henry’s group would only slow them down. Besides, there was no need to fight alongside Henry Albert, who was like a spoiled child since their first meeting.
Henry himself knew about it, but he couldn’t speak the truth.
‘If I tell him that I am mainly here because I was tasked to become a friend of the person who is called Dmitry’s Future, he will tell me to get the f*ck out.’
Henry couldn’t show his sincerity and only had a stiff expression. What he needed to do now was act his role.
“First of all, I want to apologize for the mistakes I had made before. The reason I am here and want to follow Mr. Roman is because I, too, am a citizen of Cairo. The Hector Kingdom has declared war on the entirety of Cairo. In a situation where innocent people are dying, I thought I should add my forces as a noble of Cairo. Just give me the orders, and I will risk my life to do my best to help.” He spoke aloud. It was like noblesse oblige. He proudly puffed his chest.
Nevertheless, Roman knew that Henry Albert wasn’t someone who would move without an objective, so he said, “You have the freedom to follow me if you want to. Nevertheless, I will not give you any orders. It is up to you to do what you want. Still, let me tell you this one thing in advance—If you ever get in the way of my plan, then I will shatter the shackles that hold me down mercilessly and move on without a care in the world.”
It was a terrifying warning. And as soon as he finished his words, Roman turned.
Finally, it was time for him and his soldiers to head out once again.
Even though Roman had given him a warning, Henry followed him. Nevertheless, he was quickly left behind in the dust, and Roman and his soldiers moved out of his sight. When Henry and his soldiers couldn’t catch up with Roman on flat ground, how could they catch up while on a steeply inclined land?
There was no need to talk when moving. Roman and Kobe were in the lead, and everyone was moving according to the guidance of Kobe.
They even had to go through overgrown bushes. Truly, it was not a path anyone usually went through. And even they themselves wouldn’t have gotten to know about it without Kobe.
How far did they go?
Suddenly, they heard a strange noise.
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As soon as he heard the groan of a human, Roman stopped the soldiers. They had heard it from a certain distance away, but he deemed it necessary to confirm the identity of the person before going to the main destination.
“A soldier of the Southern Training Center?”
Roman’s soldiers recognized him at once. He was one of the soldiers under McBurney and had also controlled the intense training of the soldiers.
Nevertheless, the condition of the soldier looked pitiful. His clothes were stained with blood as if he had been attacked, and his face was so pale that he was going to die any moment now.
Roman ran forward quickly. After checking the condition of the soldier, he performed simple first-aid and used the healing potions on the serious wounds first. However, that didn’t help that much. It was too late.
Seeing him in his last moments, Roman asked, “What happened?”
The soldier looked at Roman with hazy eyes. However, the focus in his eyes returned quickly when he saw the one in front of him. He recognized that it was Roman who was in front of him. Soon, he spoke desperately, “T…The Southern Training Center… was attacked. P…please help them. Please…!”
As soon as he finished those words, his body went limp. It seemed that once he had uttered his last words, albeit with difficulty, he was able to accept his death.
‘The Southern Training Center was attacked?’
This was quite unexpected. The Training Center was closer to the rear of the Southern Front than the Defense Lines. And such a place was attacked? Even before Roman had left for the Fifth Defense Line, he hadn’t heard anything like that.
‘The soldier of the Training Center was able to escape to here. That means the Training Center must have been attacked around 30 minutes ago.’
This implied that the effectiveness of the Defense Lines had no bearing on the outcome.
‘The Hector Kingdom attacked all the five Defense Lines at the same time, and at the same time, they also sent another unit that was prepared to clear out any variables from the outside.’
Why the hell was such an operation carried out? It didn’t seem to make any sense, and Roman couldn’t guess what Hector was trying to achieve without more information. At that moment, Roman could only think of one thing.
’…The Southern Front may not have as much time left as I had anticipated.’
It was clear that the Hector Kingdom hadn’t attacked Cairo blindly. They had decided to attack today after preparing thoroughly.
Roman got up.
“We will head to the Southern Training Center now.”
Now, helping the Southern Training Center was the utmost priority.
Editor’s Thoughts: Roman’s actions are just something else. Also, RIP that soldier. Although he couldn’t defend the Training Center, Roman is heading there now. He did a good job. It seems the true intentions of Hector will also be revealed soon.