062 Before the storm p.2

Prev Page | 1 | 2 | 3 | Next Page

......This is giving me goosebumps.

"Marquis Lavallee."

He gave the name of an annoying person. The old schemer who was supposed to have been ousted from his position as the leader of the faction due to his relationship with brother.

Ah, it makes sense. If there was something stirring up, it had to be the old man.

"I heard that the old man, when challenged with your brother's problem, backed down swiftly without any opposition."

"Yeah. It's too unnatural, now that I think about it."

What did Laubert say when he brought in the information that led to brother's ousting? He was confident that Lavallee was not aware of this. In other words, the earlier move made should have been a complete surprise. He didn't even hesitate to admit defeat in the face of it.

Normally, he would have said it was a mistake and stubbornly resisted.

Aristocratic grace? That's impossible for him. This was a person who lived longer as a schemer and as a faction leader than my previous life and this life combined. When it came to persistence, he was second to none, even to me.

Why would he so easily give up then? The reason is obvious. If he was reluctant and made a fuss of it, it would affect his plan to return to the stage.



"Have Laubert go over the documents from the investigation on Lavallee again. Tell him to focus on the flow of money and goods."

"Yes, master. At once."

I doubt it. But at the same time, that old man could have done something.

What if Laubert was wrong and Lavallee had actually caught wind of brother's scandal? What if he had sat on it and let our ploy progress? What if he had expected and prepared himself to be ousted by Langogne?

What would be his final goal then?

"To distract and stall for time."

—There is another scheme going on under the surface, and the plan was to keep us from finding out about it. And to buy time until it was time to use it. In other words, even brother was just a pawn in this.

Margrave Doldran frowned, though I'm sure he didn't mean to be in sync with my scowl.

"If that's what Lavallee is up to, we're in a bad spot. Since he still has influence within the faction, it seems that he has a plan to take back the title of leader from Langogne when the time comes. And he will do it even if he has to give up his position temporarily. He must have in place a trap that makes it all worth it."

Definitely. If Lavallee was sacrificing my brother, his position in the Centralist faction, and without regard to my increasing power, it had to be a scheme on a much larger scale than last year's fiasco, which was just a matter of a small political marriage.

Of course, it has not yet been decided that the old man is up to no good. It's possible that it's just a matter of the Margrave and I overthinking things. Of course, for the sake of my peace, that would be the best…

However, such naive hopes would soon crumble.

Before I could even knock, Uni, who was supposed to have been sent away earlier, came back.

"Master, Lord Laubert has arrived."

"That’s fast. Is the matter finis—"

"No, that's not the point!"

The man who was brought before, Laubert, carried a look of impatience on his face that I have never seen before. He didn’t even seem to notice the Margrave, above him in rank, was present as guest too. That was how anxious he was.

The nagging feeling inside me grew worse.

"We have received word from our agents in the royal capital! The neighbouring nation of St. Gallen has declared war on our kingdom! On the very same day, they broke through the border and are now advancing on us!"


Declaring war? Already breached our borders?

"Doesn’t that mean it is a full-blown war?"

"Yes exactly...... a full-blown war!"

I blurted out without coming to grips with reality, and received a scream-like reply. Margrave Doldran interrupted us, ignoring the lack of master-servant relationship in our conversation.

"Calm down, young man."

"Haa...... oh, this is Margrave Doldran. I'm sorry for my rudeness."

"Good. I don’t think it would stop at that. Perhaps the border that was breached was not Allemande at the north?"

The name of the place he mentioned was the only bordering flat land connected to St. Gallen. Common sense would dictate that the other country would choose to start their skirmish from there. But that wasn’t where they chose to attack?

Whoa, whoa, don’t tell me...

"—Yes. The enemy nation crossed the mountains from Alpes Roune. It is this province of Volden that is being invaded."

At Laubert's answer, I looked up to the skies.

Volden. My territory, which I had just acquired after eliminating my brother. It's a defenceless land that was still in the process of being reorganised, not only in terms of military equipment, but also in terms of the bureaucratic organisation. And it's a place that I'm obligated to defend to the death, under the guise of being entrusted this land by the king.

And then, without warning, the enemy attacked us?

Silence prevailed in the room.

※ ※ ※

Slightly earlier, on the same day.

The mountain range that separated Volden in the Kingdom of Arquell and the province of Erebus Rohtlehrgen in the Federation of St. Gallen - formerly known as Alpes Roune. There was a group who walked through the mountain pass.

It was an invading army.

The weather in the mountains was cold and harsh. The chilly air, made worse by the strong winds, was as cold as midwinter on the plains even though it was autumn.

In the bitter cold and strong wind, soldiers clad in meagre winter clothings continued to march, shivering in their teeth. One of them tripped and kicked a pebble in the process. The pebble fell to the bottom of the valley with a crunching sound. The wind was blowing so hard that it was deafening, but the ominous sound was unpleasantly clear. There were some who listened carefully and were relieved to hear that it was not accompanied by a lingering scream. More than fifty soldiers had already been swallowed into the mouth of the Reaper through this way.

Marching through the mountains was tough. In addition to the climate, falling accidents, difficulties in transportation, and that they have to fight with monsters that have made the mountains their home before even engaging in battle with the enemy soldiers. There were many factors that increased the difficulty. Those who have succeeded in surprise attacks over the mountains have left behind their glorious names in the history of war, but it was understandable that many of the younger generation were hesitant to do the same.

Many of the soldiers are looking with resentment at those on horseback leading the army. It was the general who forced them to march through the mountains so recklessly. From the hatred in their eyes, it wouldn’t be a surprise if in the next moment a mutiny started.

Why this has not happened yet was because the general…...could grasp such a mentality. He led the soldiers who he commanded for this mission, ate the same meals as the soldiers did, wore the same thin winter wear to sleep. He rode on horseback simply because it was necessary to show his authority. As proof of this, even in the midst of a gust of wind strong enough to cause people to bend forward, he stood up with his back so straight that others might have thought there was a rod in him to keep him straight. That's why the soldiers were enduring as best as they could. They were maintaining whatever sanity they had, trying to release their resentment every time they stopped for a break.

Suddenly, the general stopped his horse. The neigh of a horse, thin with fatigue, sounded, and the soldiers looked up to see what was going on. Then, as if he had been waiting for enough attention to be drawn to him, the general pointed his saber forward.

He pointed at the top of the mountain pass.

The descent started from the area where the horses stood and continued to the plains. The gray clouds parted, and the autumn sunshine shone through the gaps into the land of Volden.

"......Soldiers, look! That is our promised land!"

A voice was raised, echoing through the mountain wind.

"Do you see, the land illuminated by the sun! At long last, we have arrived at Volden, with its sea of golden ears and flowing rivers of wine! To the Kingdom of Arquell!"

A look of understanding spread across the faces of the soldiers, then exuberance replaced it. Those closest to the front of the line were the first to go, eager to see the sight they had been waiting for.

At last, at long last, the time had come for them to be rewarded for their labour. They would be free from the toil of the freezing cold, of terrible tasting food, and from the tiresome journey.
Prev Page | 1 | 2 | 3 | Next Page
© yAmi Translations
Maira Gall