A month ago, the Shalorian court in Audis suddenly announced that Angelina, the Faustian princess, had been killed by Blood Red. The news caused quite a wave across the nations.
The current Faustian king and Kenzir, heir to the throne, was well known for their love for Angelina.
On the day Shalor announced the news, the furious Kenzir disregarded the opposition of the ministers and generals and ordered the three corps to attack the city. They were to breach Entil and Eilis within two weeks. Before the joint forces met in Audis, they’d have to overrun the entire territory of Shalor within a month.
The order caused an uproar in the army. Shalor was over, this much everyone knew. The prince could just slowly let it crumble. It was a matter of time anyway. This way, it would minimise their losses and also leave Shalor intact to be assimilated.
Choosing to go with a forceful attack at this time was a complete appeal to death and destruction.
However, the noteworthy thing was that the current Faustian king did not stand up against it. It was as if he had completely given up power to Kenzir.
Falcon, which was far from reaching Entil, was ordered by the prince to speed up their march. The one with the most advantage in Falcon was the cavalry division. The prince directly asked De Sandro to command the cavalry division to clear all obstacles within a week. Of course, they completed this mission within the specified timeframe.
Woode, the commander of Gale, that had already surrounded Eilis, was also ordered by Kenzir several times to forcibly attack the city. He had already arrived and attacked Eilis as early as half a month ago, but the last city in the north of Shalor was defended by Campbell, also known for his fearsome reputation as a war god. So, Woode went with the safest method to trap the beast.
A month ago, before the final battle between Faustian and Shalor, the most famous battle known as 'Gale's Requiem' took place under the following circumstances.
"General, the herald of His Highness is here!" a tall officer reported to the burly middle-aged man in front of him.
The burly middle-aged man rubbed his eyebrows. These past two days, this man had worried so much that it caused even his hair to turn white. With such a distressed look on his face, it made people wonder if he was aging way faster than he should be.
After nodding, he told the soldier to let the herald in. The herald greeted him and said, "Herr Margrave Woode, His Highness orders you to attack the city at once without any further delay!"
This burly man was the corps jarl of Gale, one of the four margraves of the Kingdom of Faustian, Margrave Woode. From his bared muscles and fierce face, it was not difficult to see that this margrave was actually a man of upright character. Yet at this time, he did not match his image at all. Instead, with an unhappy look on his face, he ignored the herald who was delivering the order. "Does the royal capital know about the prince's order?"
The interrupted herald remained silent for a moment before he said, "His Majesty already knows!" After speaking, he respectfully retreated. His mission had been completed, and it was now time for him to return to Kenzir.
The herald’s answer was quite thought provoking. Woode asked whether the royal capital knew about the battle command of the prince, and the herald only answered "His Majesty already knows." Did this mean that only the king knew of this, but not the council of nobles and elders?
Faustian was a monarchy, and the king’s words carried much weight. Despite that, the council of nobles could still limit the powers of the king; not to mention the council of elders, comprising royals not directly affiliated with the ruling family. Strictly speaking, the council of elders could pick the next heir to inherit the throne if all direct heirs to the throne of the Faustian royal family perish.
The prince's order, in the eyes of others, was an impulsive choice. If the nobles knew about it, it would inevitably cause strong backlash.
But did the tacit permission from the Faustian king mean anything? Woode, who had served the current king for almost 20 years, knew his character and long-term considerations. Even if Angelina was his favourite daughter, he would not be so enraged as to end up making such wrong choices.
Woode was part of the elite noble circle in Faustian. Now, not only had he received the order, the other three margraves must have also received similar ones. Since the council of nobles had not said anything so far, it meant that the minor nobles had been left out, and the margraves did not intend to convey this news downwards, choosing to keep them in the dark.
In fact, those nobles occupied the most important seats in the council, being the most vocal among the rest.
The more Woode thought about it, the more irritated he was. It was said that one’s true intentions were clear from one's appearance. Judging from Woode's, it was obvious that he was not suitable for all this noble scheming. In the past, he only needed to stay as far away as possible from such things; no one could do anything to him anyway.
Since he couldn't figure it out, Woode simply gave up thinking. This was Kenzir’s third message with which he attached his gold medallion. In any case, he could no longer delay the orders.
"Heed my orders! The whole corps is to assemble. Eat well, and tomorrow morning, we’ll besiege the city!" Woode said to the corps herald outside the tent.
The herald was stunned for a while, before suddenly nodding as he headed to the various divisions to convey Woode’s orders.
"My dear Angelina, this is the last thing Uncle Woode can do for you," he murmured.
Like Marmen, Woode also treasured Angelina dearly. This smart and lovely princess was exactly the same as her mother, the late Queen Sophia.
Before the current king succeeded the throne, he and the heir of the Marmen family as well as the heir of the Woode family were once close friends. They were also rivals in love. Sophia had truly left a deep impression in Faustian’s upper nobility.
In the early morning the next day, the Faustian troops marched out from the several Faustian camps around the city.
In just a quarter of an hour, the ten-thousand-man troop of the Faustian Gale corps completely surrounded Eilis with a human wall.
Eilis, with only eight thousand defenders, was in full panic at first. Judging from the huge force of the Faustian army, they were going to attack the city. In the past half month, there had been a lot of small skirmishes between the two sides. However, it was a first where the whole Faustian force gathered.
But when Margrave Campbell, the war god and one of Shalor’s 'Three Pillars', appeared, the panic that permeated Shalor’s troops and civilians vanished. The charm and talent of Campbell deeply inspired everyone who knew him.
Campbell was dressed in noble robes, wore a crown of thorns, and held a book in his hand. He now presented himself not as an army commander or a nobleman, but rather, a bard. He stood upon the city walls indifferently as he watched Woode, who was riding a high-headed war horse, wearing full-body armour and dual-wielding hammers, come out of the ranks of his troops below the city.
Woode, standing in front of the entire army, rode his horse towards the gate of Shalor. When he was 500 yards away, he stopped. This was his safety distance. He was at the peak level of a Knecht and this distance could absolutely guarantee his safety.
Looking at the man on the city wall whose facial expression remained unchanged despite being surrounded by their troops, Woode admired him a little. Since the breach of the Felmo Grand Canyon, Gale had been preparing to sweep the north of Shalor. But Campbell's superb strategy had slowed much of their progress. Gale had the absolute advantage, yet Campbell caused Woode to suffer a lot of unfortunate losses.
Half a month ago, Campbell suddenly had his troops retreat, and all the soldiers that could fight in the north of Shalor regrouped at Eilis. Only then did Gale manage to progress in their occupation quicker. Although they managed to quickly occupy the north of Shalor, Eilis was the hardest shell left to crush.
"Since the bloody battle in Gordon Heights, the man known as the king of battle has died. You should be able to see how today will turn out!" Woode yelled with aid from his impetus. It was so loud that everyone on the battlefield could hear it.
Campbell raised his eyebrows. He tilted the book in his hand. A low-rank Lehrling next to him came forward and applied a simple Sound Amplification Spell to him.
"The death of Margrave Clark is painful for all Shalorians,"Campbell said with his arms around his chest. His expression looked painful at first, and then it morphed into one of determination. He threw his fists up and loudly proclaimed, "But we will use blood and flames to make you invaders pay!"
In the city, the commoners and soldiers went wild. Their faces were flushed with not only their admiration for their margrave, but also because of their determination to make the aggressors pay.
Shalor had the 'Three Pillars', Clark, the king of battle, Campbell, the war god, and Felippe, god of prosperity. These three margraves directly controlled more than 30% of the military, political, and business circles in Shalor.
Looking at the Shalorian soldiers and civilians boiling in the city, and at the neat ranks of Faustian troops outside the city, nobody could tell if Campbell was as calm as he seemed. He had always never been able to let go of Clark's death.
Campbell could not imagine how Clark, a Ritter who was at the peak level and was about to reach the next profound realm, had been killed.
If it were not for the sudden death of Clark, the Shalorian army would not have been defeated, nor would they have lost the bloody battle at Gordon Heights.