Chapter 252 - Volume 3

Chapter 31 – Expansion (12)

================= Carglise’s POV ===============

Lord Macsen went back to his camp to command his subordinates after he solved the sudden situation that had cropped up.

He was thankful that he was fighting against an unruly mob. If the enemy’s leader led his army out to fight an open battle, he would not be able to take time out to capture his reckless son and change his mind.

Once Lord Macsen turned his back, Carglise’s servants and subordinates surrounded him. They gave a relieved sigh. They were around the same age as the youth and inquired inquisitively like children: “Young master, are we going to war?”

Carglise nodded and smirked: “Of course we are. Our enemies are just a bunch of villagers in this uprising. How can they be stronger than Aouine’s formal army? Remember this; the future enemies might be the kingdom’s true elites. As for this rebelling mob, we will have them become the first stepping stone for our future—”

“But based on our Lord’s description, the enemy leader seems to be an incredible person!”

“Calm down, no matter how brilliant a commoner might be, they would be limited in their insight,” Carglise scoffed, “also, it’s not as if I don’t understand what my father is trying to do here. Does he truly believe I can’t tell he’s delaying me? His words are possibly false, and the enemy leader isn’t accomplished at all. But that’s fine; once I refute everything my father said, I’ll be able to see what other excuses he can come up with!”

He curled his lips into a cunning smile as he watched Lord Macsen’s body gradually disappear from the forest.

=============== Brendel’s POV ============

Brendel continued to work in his room, but there was a commotion outside that became louder over time. He frowned and finally stood up, went over to an arched window and looked down to the courtyard.

He quickly discovered the master craftsman Bosley, Amandina and the mercenary commanders arguing. Medissa was trying to stop them from doing so, while Scarlett was lying against a tree with her halberd, biting on a blade of grass and appeared to be uninterested in the quarrel.

“What’s going on?”

He did not understand what they were arguing about, but after a moment of hesitation, he decided to check it out for himself. It was not a good thing for his core subordinates to fight.

After he opened the door, a dark shadow charged into the room with two hands extended out with the intention to push open the door. If his reactions were any slower, they would have collided. He jumped backward while Felaern stopped herself and took several steps back. She calmed down before handing out a piece of paper, and spoke in a crisp voice: “My lord! An urgent message!”

“What is it?” Brendel knitted his brows as he stared at the paper. He wondered what kind of unfortunate day he was going to have as events seemed to start piling up. He took the piece of paper and closed the door, while he studied the message’s content, before speaking in surprise: “Samuel’s troops have gone past Port Gris?”

The name Samuel was Lord Macsen’s real name.

Before the battle with the Subterrane Dwellers, he had sent scouts near Port Gris. When Lord Macsen’s army finished their journey over the river, the news had already reached Brendel’s hands.

“Yes, my lord.” Felaern nodded.

“Based on the previous reports, he must have gathered his soldiers yesterday. This is much faster than what Ciel had predicted. This fellow isn’t simple—” Brendel could not help but praise him.

Ciel had great insight to Aouine’s politics and understood the nobles’ deployment speed the best amongst his advisors. Based on his judgment, Lord Macsen would not ignore the rules, and even delay his approach as the majority of the nobles were cowards or reluctant to send out their army. But it seemed like Lord Macsen’s commanding abilities were much better than many low-ranking nobles.

The only ‘noble’ who would ignore the rules was Brendel who came from another world, naturally.

“How many men do they have?” Brendel asked.

“A few hundred, but the numbers don’t exceed a thousand,” Felaern answered with her usual stoic expression, “but Cornelius’s scouts did not venture too far past Port Gris, so they don’t know if there are going to be reinforcements.”

“No, that’s all the men he has,” Brendel shook his head and smiled wryly, “Samuel is just a retainer, how many men would he have? But to gather only a few hundred men instead of borrowing more, it seems like he’s looking down on us……”

“I would rather have everyone look down on us, instead of the odd idea of wanting to fight more enemies, my lord.” She looked at him and refuted him.

Brendel smiled in response and was about to drop the topic before he suddenly thought of something.

“Come to think of it; I remember there are several areas in the river towards Mountain Graham that are shallow. Surely the scouts would be able to avoid the enemies’ eyes from there and check whether there are reinforcements, right?”

“Yes, but they would be risking their lives.”

“This is why the mercenaries are no match for a formal army. Ahh, but I’m not referring to you.”

“The Mercenaries of Lopes are not that different either.” She replied.

“Well, leaving that aside, what’s going on down there in the courtyard?”

“I don’t know—” Felaern shook her head. She had seen the quarrel as well when she walked into the building, but she had a disinterested disposition and did not care about things unrelated to her.

Brendel nodded and did not ask further. He left the room and walked down the spiral staircase as she followed behind him, reflecting on the state of his army.

Even though the mercenaries worked for money, they did not act as involved compared to actual soldiers. They saw wars as transactions and only accomplished as much as the money paid to them.

The majority of the mercenaries tend to only follow their orders and were mostly used to pad the army’s numbers. Graudin was an exception who abused his position to use them and bully the citizens into submission. Very few nobles would treat them as their main force, even if their quality and experience were excellent.

In a real war, discipline was the most important aspect. This was also the reason as to why Brendel did not regroup his mercenaries. The veteran mercenaries’ undisciplined characteristics were very difficult to change, so he decided to integrate them all into The Amber Sword Mercenaries, and allowed them to what they do best on their own in a war. (TL: In case you can’t remember, Brendel rescued mercenaries from way back, Leto and the others, are The Amber Sword Mercenaries.)

As for the make-up of his formal army, he would recruit the natives and take a few men with extraordinary potential from the mercenaries, and did not plan to place the mercenaries in important positions. Currently, the ideas on his armies were very rough, and he had just started building a corner of the blueprints he had in his mind.

In his eyes, he was in a complicated position.

[The pressure that I’m facing isn’t small. Samuel has already set out with his soldiers, and I’m still nothing more than a pilgrim on his journey. Putting aside Randner’s forces that would dwarf my own multiple times, even Palas and the cavalry under him would be enough to cause me trouble—]

At this moment, he was unable to put eyes in the north, but he was certain that ‘Merciful Knight Palas’ had received news of Graudin’s defeat and was preparing to gather his forces. Knowing that man’s loyalty to Graudin, he was certain that his army would move at the quickest possible time to reach him.

[I’m not completely worried about Palas commanding Graudin’s most elite riders, but it’s a pity to defeat them. They are Trentheim’s true soldiers who trained for battle since they were young. If only I could use them……]

He obviously knew that it was wishful thinking, and after a moment he crushed the paper into a ball and put it into the bag on his belt. He understood that building up his army had to be done step by step, and there was no point thinking about it.

[Well, I’m not surprised at Samuel sending out his army, but my battle with the Subterrane Dwellers wasn’t pointless. The river extends to the Firburh’s forest, but Tagiv and his men have already controlled that area.]

Brendel did not need to overthink about Lord Macsen’s fate. A few hundred private soldiers and a handful of knights going up against thousands of Subterrane Dwellers and his own mercenaries as reinforcements. It was easy to know what the results were going to be.

Brendel and Felaern walked out of the entrance hall and into the courtyard. The area had been cleaned up the previous time where he made a mess by unleashing a Sword Arte, and even the benches and tables were changed.

The quarreling noises were becoming clearer, and words could be picked out.

Brendel first saw Romaine sitting down at one end of the long table with her body hunched over it; she was wearing a strange pair of glasses, with both elbows were pressed against a big pile of parchments and seemed to be copying something—

The arguments did not get her attention, but when she heard the footsteps behind her, she abruptly turned around. When she saw the young man, she immediately got up and yelled: “Brendel!”

Brendel gave an exasperated sigh and picked off the glasses from the girl’s narrow nasal bridge: “What are you doing exactly with this look?”

“Accounting.” She lifted her chin up and answered as if it was the most natural thing.

Brendel’s eyes went wide in a moment of comprehension before nodding. Graudin’s private wealth and trophies were naturally taken over by ‘Lord Brendel’ when the latter took over Firburh, and there was still money left over after paying the mercenaries and investing in the city