062 Before the storm p.3

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"That's the Kingdom of Arquell......."

"Look, the leaves! The forest isn't black!"

"It's the sun, it's so warm......!"

"It's a wheat field! It's not harvested yet!"

One by one, shouts of joy rose up from the crowd, eventually spreading to the back of the line where they could not even see the end of the pass. The eyes of the troops all lit up at once. It was the light of hope and desire.

The general continued to spur them on.

"We have come. But for what purpose! To stamp on the ground with our horses’ hooves, to leave our footprints, to take and conquer!"


"It's all ours! The harvest of the fields, the meat from the farms, the gold of merchants, the wine, the women! Do not hesitate. Take it all! Kill anyone who stands in our way!"


A wild shout echoed from the foothills, and a startled wild antelope ran down the cliff in escape.

The soldiers were now turning the negative thoughts they had directed at their general against the unseen enemy troops.

The general shouted.


With his command, the spearhead of the St. Gallen army began to move.

Moving their tired bodies with their burning soul, they avalanched down to the defenceless earth before them.

At the same time, in the royal capital of Broussonne, the declaration of war was being read out as if it had been planned.

The attack was perfectly timed with the declaration of war.

※ ※ ※

—and back to Marlan.


I couldn't help but distort my face as a shiver of realisation came over me.

"Huh? What is it, my lord? Did something happen?"

"The Second Order of the Imperial Guards is still stationed here since summer."

They were led by an absurd female knight called Elisha Rosmond Balbastre. Even after the inspection was over, they continued to stay in the territory, giving excuses such as military exercises, training, and whatnot.

"Ah, yes. Is this the silver lining? If we work with them and deal with the enemy—"

"Silver lining? What's fortunate about that?"

Laubert twitched at my sharp rebuke while Uni looked up.

"Do you mean that? Master."

"Ah. Then that must have been an opening move......!"

A group of knights of the Imperial Guards came to inspect the area under the pretense that there were disturbing movements in the neighbouring country. At the time, we thought it was an escort attached to my brother. No, it may have truly been that as well. However, the true intention of the people who sent them was different. They really thought that St. Gallen was going to attack.

Margrave Doldran opened his mouth while stroking his beard.

"Having the Imperial Guards patrol the borders was initiated by—"

"Lavallee. The Imperial Guards was an armed organisation that the Centralist faction could easily win over to their side, and the old man was promising to expand their ranks. He could have easily influenced an Order to do an inspection."

"—Indeed so. He was the one who saw this surprise attack coming?"

The fact that he was able to move his forces to prepare for a surprise attack at the same time as the declaration of war, and then have them attack. It was enough to regain his reputation in the Centralist faction, and gain his position as leader once more.

"It's probably more than that. I wouldn’t think it was as simple as seeing the surprise attack coming."

When things align too well, the first suspect is that it was all planned. That old man also went through this method of thinking and realised that I was the one who started the Great Fire in the royal capital. The Great Fire had moved too much in my favour.

This time, on the contrary, a big deal happened at the right time to benefit Lavallee. So, I'm going to follow that line of thought as well.

"And what do you mean?"

"Of course, he must have played an active role in fanning the flames of war."

I said with conviction, and Margrave Doldran blinked.

Why would he be surprised now? I can't imagine the old man being a fisherman, patiently waiting for his desired result to come. In fact, since he was paying a not-so-low price and taking a not-so-low risk, he must have started the war in order not to waste his investment.

After all, he was a centralist with close ties to the nobles. Even before his downfall, he had been encouraging well-connected bureaucrats and ministers to adopt policies that would provoke neighbouring kingdoms.

He must have realised that he couldn’t stop me from bringing more nobles to my side. That's why he had been planning and executing a secret plan to finish me off with a single blow. But I didn't know that and I was so absorbed in the small victory I claimed earlier. For the old man, it was only a bait so that he could deliver a stronger blow later.

......He got me this time.

I was so annoyed that I started scratching my hair.

"Ahhh, damn it......!"

A voice that sounded so anxious that I couldn't believe it was my own leaked out.

War? No kidding. A place where countless people try to kill me in a battlefield… that is far from what I enjoy. I was the one who spared no expenses in order for me to not die. If all I want was to not die, why do I have to go through all this trouble one after the other?

I casually look at the scenery outside the window. There was still no sign of the enemy army in the fields of Marlan and the outskirts of Volden. But over the horizon, I thought I saw the figure of the enemy who had driven me into this predicament — that old man with a wicked grin, standing there as if to say, "How about now?"

※ ※ ※

"Well, you're in big trouble, new Count."

It's been a few years since Lavallee left the royal capital for his own territory. In a mansion where even he, who had grown used to the royal capital, did not find nostalgic. In one of the rooms, the old man was sipping tea alone.

He was completely composed. In spite of losing Linus as a pawn, being kicked from his position as the leader of the faction, the fact that the abominable 'man-eating snake' became a count, and the news of the war.

He had known everything from the beginning. Why should he be shocked at all?

"St. Gallen is strong, you know. After all, they’ve been my enemies for fifty years......"

Why had Lavallee a centralist faction in the first place?

They had lost the war fifty years ago. It was because they had been defeated by St. Gallen that he preached the necessity of centralisation as a means of building a wealthy and powerful nation.

In other words, the neighbouring country was the biggest enemy of the old man. It was the reason why he wanted to get rid of Tullius, who was making suspicious movements in the province. In order to fight against such a powerful enemy, the nobles who were undermining the country for their own interests, and those unknowns who he could not trust to have his back were a hindrance.

No, perhaps Tullius was now the more fearsome of the two. He was a parasite that brainwashed the nobility, corrupted the state from within, and fed on the silkworms. At the same time, he was a monster crafty enough to make a fool of him once.

Two insurmountable enemies, one on the outside and one on the inside. What should he do about them?

The old man's answer was to pit the two tigers against each other. If they kill each other, all the better. If one of them remained, he would take advantage of the power he had left over and strike them down himself. That was Lavallee's plan.

He had gone to the trouble of throwing away his longtime position, and had even chosen the unstable and dangerous means of war. And this was the first time that the old man had ever pulled off such a large-scale trick. It was truly a bloodcurdling gamble.

He felt a bewitching energy fill up in his legs. The blood rushed to his old bones, and his body temperature rose.

"This is the biggest one I have ever pulled. Now, what will you do on this stage?"

He cast a peeking glance towards the empty seat in front of him.

It was as though his eyes reflected the image of a young brat.


  1. Seems like Tulius will be forced to show a bit of his power

    1. Yep, the only thing he doesn't lack is powerful and loyal troops.

  2. Fuck, that old man is really crafty

  3. Very excited for this new arc. Thanks, as always.

  4. That was quite the trap he fell for, now let's see how much restraint he will show. Thanks for the chapter.

  5. Damn bro that was really a tricky shot i really wasn't expecting it


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