Duke Pendragon - Chapter 230

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“I will be reorganizing the army.”

“Hm…”

Viscount Moraine spoke in a somber voice, and a heavy atmosphere descended in the barracks. All the commanders and the nobles had gathered.

“As you all know, our enemies have increased to two.”

“…..”

Those gathered nodded silently.

Everyone was well aware of who the new enemy was. Apart from the monsters, which had been the coalition’s original target, the demonic army had betrayed them to join the enemies.

All of the southern nobles and landlords became aware of their true nature.

It was also revealed why certain villages and territories had been ruined or suffered destruction. On their way to fight the monsters, the demonic army had passed or resided in certain places. Then, under the guise of fighting the monsters, the demonic army had sent the soldiers of nearby territories into dangerous areas and sacrificed them, truly walking on a tightrope.

Then, they had ambushed the United Southern Army, which was being headed by a commander of an imperial regiment who was delegated full power by the emperor. They specifically targeted a duke of the empire.

Anyone could see that it was a clear act of treason.

“The 11th regiment and the United Southern Army will focus their efforts on suppressing the monsters while building supply routes to the Great Forest as planned. The 7th regiment will destroy the demonic army.”

“But the movements of some lords supported by the Arangis Duchy are quite alarming. While we are fighting here, if they rally their forces…”

A southern knight stepped up.

Many people nodded with worried expressions.

Many of the southern nobles and landlords had brought troops to join the coalition, from dozens to hundreds of men. At such a time, if the lords under the Arangis Duchy decide to invade their territories with the support of the Arangis Duchy, it would be no different from robbing an empty house.

“The troops from the coastal cities, including Gapusa and Agadir, have arrived. We can have them take over.”

“But commander, the lords that are currently gathering forces are doing so with the permission of the Arangis Duchy. This means that the Arangis Duchy has risen in earnest.”

“Hm.”

Viscount Moraine frowned, and the others present in the barracks also displayed grim expressions. The troops of the Arangis Duchy were superior to their own in both number and quality.

Even if all of the soldiers in El Pasa and the coalition united, it would be impossible to defeat the Arangis Duchy. They would be hard-pressed to fight against the Arangis Duchy even if they were united, but now they were placed in a situation where the troops needed to be divided.

“Hmm…”

Despair was evident on everyone’s faces.

Justification was useless in the face of overwhelming force.

“I have immediately contacted the imperial castle so the imperial army should be on its way. If the Arangis Duchy riled up an army against El Pasa and us, it is clear treason.”

“But how long will it take for the imperial army to get to El Pasa…?”

“…..”

A heavy silence descended on the barracks.

It would take a month at the earliest to get the news delivered to the imperial castle. Even if the emperor gave orders immediately after receiving the report, it would take another month for the imperial army to arrive in the South.

However, it would only take around 10 days for the fleet of the Arangis Duchy to reach El Pasa. In the time it would take to get a messenger to the imperial castle, the Arangis Duchy would have enough time to grasp not only El Pasa, but the entire South in their palms.

Everyone from the coalition would either be dead or be waiting for the Arangis Duchy to dispose of them.

“We do not need to divide our troops.”

An icy voice pierced through the somber silence from the entrance of the barracks. The eyes of the nobles and the commanders widened after they looked towards the source.

“W, what!”

“Sir Isla…!”

Elkin Isla was always expressionless. But for some reason, his expression appeared much colder and heavier than usual as he walked forward.

“What do you mean we will not have to divide our troops, Sir Isla?”

Isla answered softly to Viscount Moraine’s words.

“It is exactly as it sounds. The coalition can prepare for the battle with the lords serving the Arangis Duchy.”

“Then what about the monsters? At the least, we need to drive them back into the Great Forest. Moreover, the demonic army will target our backside. Do you mean to let them do as they wish?”

Viscount Moraine provided a cold insight, and Isla answered without hesitation.

“We will take care of them.”

“By we… perhaps?”

Everyone’s eyes glimmered with anticipation.

Someone entered the barracks while leaning forward.

“Pendragon and the Ancona Orcs will take care of those earth-forbidden bastards.”

“Hm!”

Two people walked in while receiving everyone’s gazes. It wasn’t just Karuta’s appearance that came as a surprise. There was an unknown knight with a reliable physique who walked in with Karuta. His eyes were fierce and determined.

“Nice to meet you. I am Mark Killian, the head knight of the Pendragon family.”

“Hm.”

Killian gave a dignified salute, and Viscount Moraine nodded in response. Viscount Moraine had only heard stories about the man, and the knight certainly possessed a unique atmosphere around him. However, no matter how strong a knight he was, the situation did not change.

“Are you saying you will take care of the demonic army and enter the Great Forest with the remainder of the Pendragon Duchy’s forces?”

“Yes.”

“That is suicide. As the commander-in-chief of the coalition, I cannot allow the troops to be wasted in vain.”

Viscount Moraine remained stubborn. His position was inevitable, as there were only a few hundred members in the Pendragon Duchy’s forces, including the Ancona Orcs. Nearly ten griffons had been killed in the last battle as well.

“With all due respect!”

Killian spoke with a loud voice.

Viscount Moraine and the knights of the 7th regiment frowned, but Killian continued with a steadfast attitude.

“Does the commander believe I would have come here by myself?”

“Hm?”

Probably not.

However, at best, he would have brought a few hundred soldiers from the Pendragon Duchy. With such a small force, however, they would not be able to handle the demonic army, which numbered in the thousands, let alone the monsters in the Great Forest.

“I know that the soldiers of the Pendragon Duchy are brave. But war is largely dependent on numbers. With your forces alone…”

“We have 100 heavy cavalry and 200 infantrymen.”

“Hm?”

Viscount Moraine showed a slight surprise. Heavy cavalry of a duchy was equivalent to a knight order. With 100 well-trained cavalrymen and some infantrymen, they could certainly compete with about 1,000 soldiers of the demonic army.

Above all, the heavy cavalry would be able to exert great power from their current location to the entrance of the Great Forest, so they might overwhelm the expectations.

“But…”

“We have 50 more orcs.”

Karuta immediately stepped up, and Viscount Moraine’s eyes widened slightly once more. Orc warriors were known to hold their own against a hundred humans, and Viscount Moraine had directly witnessed their powers. If fifty of such warriors were added, then the demonic army might…

“From the mainland, we have brought 20 of our best griffon riders and a hundred griffons.”

“Heuk!”

Viscount Moraine finally displayed shock, and everyone let out an involuntary gasp. With all of the troops forementioned, they could even rival the forces of a great territory.

“We will exterminate the demonic army and enter the Great Forest.”

“Pendragon scarecrow is a friend of the Ancona Orcs. Ancona Orcs do not abandon their friends.”

Viscount Moraine’s eyes quivered at the words of Killian and Karuta. Isla continued.

“We will destroy the demonic army. After that, we will slow the advances of the monsters while tracking the lord’s whereabouts. Finally…”

Isla paused for a moment, then landed the decisive blow.

“I will personally head to Valvas and convince the cavaliers to join us.”

“Valvas Cavaliers!”

Someone exclaimed. Although they had announced their will to join the coalition, there had been no movements from the Valvas Cavaliers yet. Due to their long period of internal struggle, the Valvas Cavliers had no leader.

They instead formed into groups called ‘clans’, each composed of a few cavaliers to as many as a few dozens. They formed their own respective force and maintained variable relationships of cooperation and hostility with each other. Trust did not come easily.

“Do you think that will be possible? Of course, you would know the situation over there better than anyone else, but I know that there has only been one occurrence in Valvas’ history when all the Cavaliers had been gathered together.”

“That is correct. The cavalier of cavaliers, Mara Valencia, the Knight King, was the only one to have ever done so.”

“Hm…!”

Mara Valencia.

As soon as the name was mentioned, the nobles and the landlords of the South trembled. They were born and raised in the South, so they were well aware of the history of the Valvas Cavaliers.

More than a hundred years ago, Mara Valencia had united Valvas. He was a genius who excelled in handling all weapons, including spears, swords, axes, and longbows. At the same time, he was a great griffon rider who subdued the griffons with his own power.

He was also knowledgeable and well-versed in politics. He brought together more than ten cavalier forces to establish a kingdom for the first and last time in Valvas’ history.

But perhaps the heavens were jealous of his feats.

His legendary reign came to an end when he died at the young age of 34 due to an endemic disease. The unification of the cavaliers had caused a certain ‘force’ to become anxious of the great force, and after the death of Mara Valencia, the certain ‘force’ became involved and caused the Valvas Cavaliers to scatter once more.

No one stated it explicitly, but the certain ‘force’ was recognized to have been the Arangis Duchy.

“Sir Isla.”

Viscount Moraine sank into thought for a while, then faced Isla. Although he had not known Isla for a long time, Moraine knew what kind of a man Elkin Isla was.

He was a knight who spared his words but kept them unconditionally.

For such a man to confidently declare the unification of Valvas…

“I know the Valvas Cavaliers value pedigree and orthodoxy. But for you to persuade them… Can I take your origin as being extraordinary?”

Everyone recoiled and looked towards Isla. Even Kilian became wide-eyed as he looked towards his rival and trusted colleague. Isla remained silent while receiving dozens of gazes, then eventually opened his mouth.

“This is something that even the lord is unaware of. He never cared about the backgrounds and the pasts of his knights.”

Isla continued in a blunt voice.

“My full name is Elkin Medien Valencia Isla. For personal reasons, I took my mother’s surname, but Mara Valencia, the Knight King, is my great-grandfather.”

“Heuk!”

“T, the blood of the Knight King!?!”

Bursts of exclamations came from all over the place.

“Kuhul?”

“What? You were royalty?”

Killian and Karuta were just as surprised. Killian, in particular, peered up and down at Isla with a strange expression. His eyes contained more than astonishment.

“I did not mean to lie to you, Sir Killian. Just as you…”

“I don’t care if you are royalty or not. You, sir, and I are knights of the Pendragon Duchy, and we serve the same lord. Isn’t that right?”

Killian smirked and held out his fist. Just like the lord he served, Killian only regarded Isla as a strong, trustworthy friend who could be relied on in a battlefield, a fellow knight of the Pendragon family.

“…..”

For the first time, Isla’s eyes quivered slightly. Then he raised his hand and held it against Killian’s fist.

“That is correct. Until the day we perish, we are the knights of Duke Pendragon.”

After confirming each other’s determination, the two people turned their heads at the same time. Viscount Moraine’s lips curled into a smile when he saw the two young, determined knights. Surely even the emperor himself could not stop the resolute knights in front of him.

“As commander-in-chief, I acknowledge the separation of the Pendragon Duchy’s forces. Destroy the demonic army and save His Excellency Pendragon.”

Isla and Killian saluted. Karuta observed the situation with folded arms, then stepped out with a wide grin.

“Now, shall we go get the scarecrow? He’s bound to be enjoying the monsters all by himself.”

“He might have already beaten all the monsters already.”

“I cannot wait to fight alongside the lord.”

Everyone licked their lips as they watched the three figures stride away. The three men had no doubts regarding the survival of Duke Pendragon.

But perhaps it was only natural.

Alan Pendragon was their lord and their master. He always grasped the victory when everyone else gave up.

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