I Become a Rogue Lord in a World Where Only I Level Up C84: The Road to King (24)
A garrison was organized a short distance from Voltaire Castle, and Fran immediately sent a scouting party.
“General! There’s something wrong!”
“What do you mean?”
“The castle is unusually quiet.”
Voltaire Castle is located on a flatland. Therefore, it was difficult to get close to it for espionage. Here, scouts were quickly spotted and repeatedly killed by archers in pursuit.
Besides, the refugees were now so sparse that it was impossible to blend in with the crowd. Especially after Erhin’s return and the search for scouts, they hadn’t been able to gather any information, so it was only when they got close that they realized the castle was empty.
Fran wrinkled his brow as he received the report.
“You said it was quiet…….? What do you mean? Explain it to me!”
Lamp asked in a frustrated tone.
“The flags are still up, but the gates are closed and there are no soldiers in sight. It’s like an empty castle!”
“An empty castle?”
Lamp looked at Lucana.
“I knew it. They didn’t plan to do anything in that low castle from the beginning. The plan was probably to split us up with the iron cavalry and take us by surprise. The second army should use the ladders to climb the gates and scout the area. Pay the utmost attention.”
Lucana replied, and Istin nodded and led his troops to the castle gate. However, when the soldiers heard that the castle was empty, they became even angrier.
They had planned to take out their anger on Voltaire Castle, but the feeling of emptiness that there was no one there and the anger that had nowhere to go showed no signs of abating. Therefore, the vassals hoped that the castle was not empty, but when Lucana returned, he reported to Fran with a furious face.
“General, the castle is empty!”
Hearing this, the officers bit their lips tightly.
Of course, Fran was the only one who remained calm, as usual.
“The captain said he would check the castle just to be sure, but there seems to be no danger of a fire attack, and there are no signs of oil being sprayed or wood being gathered.”
“All right, then. As soon as the reconnaissance is finished, open the gates.”
Soon after Fran’s order, the gates of Voltaire Castle were opened. However, there was still no one in the castle. The only thing they could get was a comfortable place to sleep, an empty castle with no supplies available. But even the comfortable beds were useless in a situation where they should immediately pursue the Aintorian army.
“Well, it’s not an important castle, so I expected it…….I don’t think they left without a plan.”
Fran thought that there must be some kind of trap, but the officers had a different idea.
“General, he’s human, too. Don’t you think you’re overestimating……?”
Although they were obeying orders, the Ten Warlords were actually surprised by Fran’s nervousness about Erhin.
The king of Narja was the same way. He thought that Fran’s defeat in the last battle was due to the fact that he did not have a proper general with him and was careless, so he thought that this time, with the Ten Warlords, would be different.
The only person who thought differently was Fran, who had the experience of being thoroughly beaten.
“We will pursue the enemy immediately. Your anger has gone nowhere, but I have been waiting for this moment. I’ve been waiting for this moment when the Aintorian army would return to their territory. Now, as they are retreating, is our chance. We must pin them down from the front and back and corner them!”
“So, the fourth army is finally……?”
In response to Lamp and Lucana’s questions, Fran nodded and pointed to the map.
“He will probably continue his retreat until Aintorian. I don’t know what strategy he’ll use, but……I’m confident in my plan. Let’s destroy him from the front and back in this area. After that, the rest of the soldiers will enter Aintorian and defeat him with the mana formation that we have prepared to attack the Aintorian castle. He won’t be able to escape.”
“Your Majesty, I think it’s time for us to make our preparations. If Narja continues to conquer the southern part of Lunan, the next target will be the Roserun Kingdom.”
The royal palace of Roserun was noisy.
“Has my sister asked for reinforcements?”
“There has been no word from Her Highness as of yet. Your Majesty, we do not have the strength to send reinforcements right now.”
“But we do have……Erhin. I’m sure he will protect us again.”
The young king said, but the nobles were quite upset.
“He was right in telling us not to send the promised supplies to Lunan. Because of that, we can now say to Narja that we have broken off relations with Lunan. So, wouldn’t it be better to take this opportunity to cut ties with Erhin and prepare for a new era?”
“How dare you, no matter how bad the situation is!”
The nobles of the princess faction stood up. The nobles of the king’s faction also opposed them, and a fight soon broke out.
“There is a difference between Bridget and Narja. Narja has ten generals like Bridget’s Ganev. In addition, there’s also the Duke Flan, a genius strategist from the Twelve Families, which means we need to be prepared for any eventuality!”
No matter how much they discussed it, they could not come to a conclusion. In the end they settled on a cautious argument that they would come to a conclusion after assessing the war situation a little more.
“Narja’s guys are behind us again! It looks like they’re totally after us. They won’t even look at the other castles. They’re so stubborn. They don’t seem to be interested in taking over the rest of Lunan’s territory, do they?”
Givens exclaimed with a disgusted look on his face.
“They’re really tricky.”
Next to him, Yusen nodded.
“The Narja Commander has been beaten to a pulp by me. He probably thinks he’ll suffer badly if he doesn’t put me away.”
I felt the same way as Givens and Yusen.
It would have been a little easier to fight if they had just looked down on me and let their guard down, but they were moving cautiously, as if they were outnumbered, despite having an overwhelmingly superior force.
The iron cavalry did a little damage, but it was not fatal.
“If they don’t let their guard down, we’ll just use that against them.”
Protect the kingdom of Lunan and live as a noble. If that were the case, it might not be that difficult to use all of Lunan’s troops to stop Narja’s attack at the northern Lunan barrier and Lunan Castle. But then, I’d still be just another noble being used by that king and Ronen.
That’s why I’m going to destroy Lunan with the help of others. In order to gain independence later, I have to take the hard road like this. Only by overcoming this difficulty will my power be legitimate.
Even if I tried to protect Aintorian when Lunan was destroyed and other countries were targeting the land, it wouldn’t do any good because it was full of enemies and geographically open on all sides.
“We’ll settle this at Aintorian as planned!”
I pointed to the open fields of Aintorian, this was where we were going to launch our misdirection. And so we hurried to the scene of the showdown.
Currently, I have a total of 33,000 troops. Depending on the perspective, that may not seem like a lot of troops. But in war, it’s important to decide on a location and prepare for battle, and we had already retreated a day’s distance ahead of Narja’s army. Even if we hadn’t, we would have marched faster than them, but I slowed down on purpose.
As we were slowly making our way to Aintorian Bente, who had remained in the territory, came running and shouted.
“Huh-hah…….Oh my god, my lord!!!”
When he was right in front of me, he jumped down from his horse and reported to me.
“Bente? You’re supposed to be in the castle, why are you here?”
I had no idea why the guy who was supposed to be guarding Haddin and Aintorian Castle would come this far…….
Yusen, Givens, Yurasia, Voltaire, Elheat and others behind me looked quite surprised. Zint doesn’t seem particularly interested, but that’s how he is.
“It’s the Narja army. The Narja army has invaded. They’re advancing toward us now!”
“The Narja army?”
“Yes, my lord!”
Bente nodded widely at my question. Yusen, who was shocked, asked him.
“Narja army is supposed to be behind us…….No way, another army⁉ Bente, is that right?”
“That’s what I’m saying!”
Bente nodded vigorously.
“Based on their course, I’m guessing their target isn’t Castle Aintorian. They’re heading this way, where my lord is!”
“Everyone, except for me, was stunned when they heard Bente news. If Bente’s words were true, we would be facing the Narja army from the front and back.”
“Damn! I knew……I should have run away from the beginning…….”
When Voltaire inadvertently spat out such words, he quickly covered his mouth with his hands and shrank back.
“So what? We’re going to fight them eventually.”
Elheat said nonchalantly as he held his spear.
I had expected this from the beginning. That’s why I deliberately slowed down our march. We were going to be pinned down from the front and the back, and the entire force of the Narja Kingdom would be revealed to us.
For this purpose, I moved the Doro Trading Company. In order to obtain reliable intelligence, I spent a great deal of money blackmailing the nobles of Narja. The targets of the threats were the nobles who were illegally buying slaves.
The information obtained through them was the total number of troops that Narja had mobilized in this war and that number was about 300,000.
However, only 150,000 made it across the border to Lunan. Where did the rest of the 150,000 go? According to intelligence reports, the emperor himself led 100,000 troops to occupy other countries. Then, what about the remaining 50,000? Where are those troops hiding?
Now, that question has been answered. That’s why I was right to slow down our retreat.
The reason for deliberately getting caught in a pincer attack is simple, to destroy the entire Narja army. That’s why I was waiting for them to gather in one place like this.
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