TL: This will be the last chapter I’ll be posting for the day. The remaining chapters will come later this month when they are ready. This is due to the fact that I need to translate ahead and see if there are issues to be fixed.
TL notes 2: The author time skips with random specialized names for months. Technically it should currently be in November/December, but author shoots everyone’s feet by going time-skip repeatedly without going into detail about the translated month.
I tend to classify them by our understanding of Jan to Dec, but here’s a list of the original months that I think are there after searching the CN forum. Didn’t translate most of them because I can’t remember if I ever translated these names or author had any additional names for the months, and I don’t want to have any conflicts.
So, here’s the thing. 9.95% of the voters went with “I want the original raws in all its glory” a while back. You get some of it, I guess. In terms of coherence and less mind-funkery, I hope you understand my decision to choose Jan-Dec instead of translating month names that I can’t remember which frigging month it’s going to be.
9月霜降之月 Month of Descending Frost
12 -月沉眠之月, Month of Sleeping Moon (This is probably November/December, and for this chapter I used December)
3 -春晓之月, Month of Breaking Spring (This chapter states three months after 月沉眠之月)
Also, in case anyone is wondering, there were two significant wars that happened, November War and the Second Holy War (My guess is that the First Holy War = War of the Holy Saints which happened way back even before the Aouine kingdom got set up). Since the clue for the November War is that the Second Holy War lasted for years and it happened after the November War, it should be decades ago.
The frequently used 老兵 from the November War has a dual meaning of old/veteran soldiers, but I’m now inclined to think it as these soldiers participating this war when they were young and survived it to be called as 老兵. It would be strange to see many old soldiers going to war after all. Marden, Kodan, Brendel’s grandfather.
Chapter 110 – Trentheim and the young lord (10)
============= Gryphine’s POV =============
The seventh day of December—
It was just after the first snowfall.
The harsh winter had sealed off the access from Arreck’s mountains to Ampere Seale’s countryside paths. Each faction wasted two months of talks in the Port of Freedom without any success. The cold winter ultimately caused the northern waters and the restless factions to be frozen. The fierce rumors of the civil wars happening disappeared one by one.
But to the people who could see through everything, they understood that it was a false peace. The blades of steel underneath this ethereal frozen world, were thirsting for blood and waiting patiently to erupt.
Gryphine knew clearly that once winter ended, it would not be water from the melted snow seeping into the spring’s ground, but blood.
A hidden force was on the verge of breaking out under the snow-covered ground elsewhere.
Countless riders made their way through the forest.
Lord Palas led his knights through Macsen’s hills for the first time to make battle, but he did not know that spies had delivered the reports of Lord Macsen’s defeat in Firburh to the various Counts and Dukes, and they were watching Trentheim closely.
Every noble thought that the princess was taking a huge risk to usurp Firburh during such a sensitive time, where even a spark would cause the civil war to break out. In truth, there was nothing that Gryphine could do other than accept Brendel’s ‘kind’ intentions.
They felt intrigued by the situation and wondered what Count Randner’s next action would be, though no one really cared or paid attention to the leader of Firburh’s rebels.
Gryphine could not help but shake the parchment in her hand with her fingers. The report stated that Lord Palas’s army was moving towards Firburh.
“Ser Oberbeck, who do you think would win this battle?” She asked the Wolf Lord with a faint smile.
Oberbeck bowed slightly: “Logic tells me that Count Randner will be victorious in this war, but my intuition tells me otherwise.”
“What’s going to happen if Brendel wins?”
“Count Randner will not dare to move easily if his army is defeated.”
“What happens if he loses?”
“Duke Arreck would want to make Count Randner keep his neutral position, which suits the latter just fine—”
“In other words, it will end up as an advantage for us no matter what?”
“Only if Your Highness recognize that Count Randner will never join hands with us!”
“Unfortunately, Makarov and my teacher Fleetwood are unable to see this point.” The girl with silver hair used one hand to support her pale chin and sighed.
Oberbeck did not answer. In his eyes, Makarov and Fleetwood probably understood this point, but they had their own considerations; a strange youth with an unknown background was less trustworthy than Count Randner. Makarov also wanted Gryphine to be less involved with that youth.
These words could not be said openly, otherwise, doubt would grow in the Royal Faction’s people, but Oberbeck believed that the princess would see this point sooner or later.
“What do you think?” Gryphinee’s thin eyebrows lifted slightly as she peered at her retainer: “Why is he doing something so risky? Is it really because he holds goodwill towards the royal family?”
“That would be unlikely. My guess is that he’s an ambitious adventurer.”
Because of her birth, Gryphine did not trust a relationship if both parties did not profit from a beneficial relationship with each other. She pondered on Oberbeck’s answer: “Ambition, you say……”
Her eyes went back to the numbers in the parchment. There was one thing that was clear, Count Randner had a massive army marching towards Firburh.
================= Lord Palas’s POV ================
Lord Palas used a wrinkled hand that was full of calluses to lift up his mask. He expelled a breath of condensed vapor as he looked at the faraway mountains shrouded in mist.
The camps in the valley had been attacked yet again—
It was the sixth raid from the start of the week.
The elderly man’s eyebrows nearly met each other. His wrinkled face resembled a tree’s bark as he frowned deeply. The figures of the knights behind him continued to walk out in turn, and their expressions were just as grave as their commander.
They thought that the Macsen’s mountains would not compare against Mountain Graham’s treacherous environment where they constantly fought in terms of danger.
— Surely, the rebels would not be as good as the Highlanders in their ambushes, and this war would allow them to be more relaxed.
Such was their thoughts.
But before they encountered the rebels, they met even tougher foes.
“These damned Subterrane Dwellers!” One of the knights cursed.
The creatures’ targets were many. They did not just attack their army, but also their food supply and non-combat workers. The mysterious attacks they received already made Lord Palas’s men anxious before Count Randner’s army could join up with them. The attacks had extended to the Highlanders’ camps as well, and it was the second time too.
The damage was not big, but Lord Palas was worried that his army’s destination was going to be delayed.
The Subterrane Dwellers’ speed in the forest was extraordinarily quick. They attacked from the flanks and disappeared into the northern forest after causing a considerable amount of casualties.
The layout of these forests was unfamiliar and complex, and the cavalry could not be deployed easily as sharp rocks seemed to be scattered in advance. There was also the snow which covered the ground and made it look like it was the same everywhere.
It was impossible to pursue them.
“How many did we lose this time?”
“Not many, approximately a dozen or so, but there are many who are injured.”
“And how many dead for this week?”
“Nearly a hundred soldiers from their attacks, but there’s a battle that happened and there were significant casualties.”
“Why was there a battle?” Lord Palas turned around to his adjutant and asked.
A real battle against Firburh was still far away. Food supplies or other materials like ammunition and sleeping tents supplied by transport workers were slower than expected. Even the Highlanders’ speed was slow, and there was only about a tenth of the expected Highlanders who joined up with them.
But what surprised him was the battle that happened. He had never given the order to attack.
“It’s because of a private group of Highlanders who wanted to get revenge. They were ambushed after entering Macsen, and there was only a handful that returned.”
“Those bloody fools. Just how many did we lose exactly?”
“…… Over three hundred.” The adjutant finally said.
“In merely two weeks—” Lord Palas shook his head, though the loss of these men was still acceptable to him.
These creatures were a nuisance to him and were difficult to remove if they did not take the initiative to attack them.
But it was clear that the rebels were making their last struggle after all.
Lord Palas had been gathering information for the past two months. The scouts managed to discover a few private soldiers who worked for Graudin during the night of the rebellion, and they brought back information of the mercenaries in Firburh. The private soldiers also provided some information about the Subterrane Dwellers that appeared a few months ago.
Lord Palas believed they had a role in ambushing Lord Macsen.
[Given that it has been months after Graudin’s defeat, the number of mercenaries might have increased. Perhaps more than a thousand mercenaries, and a few hundred Subterrane Dwellers. If I make progress steadily, it’s a guaranteed victory.]
He would not allow himself to commit the mistake that Lord Macsen made. Although, given his cautious nature, he probably would not have made this mistake if he was leading the first assault against Firburh.
His hand gripped his sword’s golden hilt.
Rumors of Carglise being captured by the rebels came back a few days ago, and Lord Palas was worried about his student.
The original plan of attacking Macsen’s fortress still needed approximately fifteen days of travel time. Even if there was a thousand casualties or even a third of his army injured, it would not matter to him.
However, what worried him was not the number of casualties, but the morale of the army. Sometimes a battle was decided by something else. Having the Highlanders devolve into a state of confusion would mean that they would be completely out of his control.
It was definitely the enemy leader’s scheme to pressure him into an early battle.
And there were definitely traps waiting for him if he did so. The ambushed Highlanders were a good example. He understood that he could not be impulsive here, but the various leaders of the Highlanders were constantly badgering him about getting the Subterrane Dwellers gave him a headache.
These leaders were not exactly wrong either. The Subterrane Dwellers went deep into their camps and burned part of their food supply. Lord Palas even wondered if Schafflund had a security problem. The route that the Subterrane Dwellers took could only come from that region.
But the scouts who met up with Perkins reported everything was fine. Even the second batch of scouts that he sent out came back with the message that Schafflund did not discover any oddities.
[This damned Perkins…… It’s as if the town is a giant sieve that allows anyone to go through.]
But he did not know that the scouts also used this town’s poor security to access the routes to Firburh.
“Let’s go back.” In the end, Lord Palas pushed down his aching desire to chop the Subterrane Dwellers to pieces.
“My lord, what we are going to do with the Subterrane Dwellers if we go back?”
“Get the Highlanders to tighten their defensive lines, change the food supply routes and plan a different camping spot for our warehouses. The enemies are lurking in the dark while we are out in the open. The only option is to raise our guard.”
“But surely this is a waste of time? Why don’t we lead our current army and kill the creatures?”
“If you really think this way, then our enemies will be delighted.” Lord Palas’s voice turned cold: “Madara’s undead, the Highlanders, Count Randner’s reinforcements, our weapons, and even our food are all not here yet! If we lose this region, what do you think Count Randner will do to you and your family?”
“But my lord, we currently have a total of five thousand men. Even if the rebels came out to fight alongside with the Subterrane Dwellers, they would not be our match.” His adjutant bowed respectfully.
“The stupid Lord Macsen had the same idea. Have you given a thought to how he ended up?”
“Still, Count Randner expects us to show results as soon as possible. The fact that we have lost men even before we fought and we did nothing about it would not be pleasing news to him.”
“…… No. It’s best that we delay fighting until March and beyond. It wouldn’t matter as much if we gain a complete victory.” Palas shook his head adamantly.
Even though it was a slap to his face as well, it would not be a wise move to go after this minor harassment. He was a cautious person, and the enemy leader seemed to have noticed this point as well and thus harassed him with the Subterrane Dwellers to no end in sight.
Though the Subterrane Dwellers were brazenly attacking his men, he was confident that he would not be lured out to attack in anger.
[The enemy leader is leading an army that’s like a trapped beast. As long as I continued to tie up his options, there will not be a chance for him to win this. And this humiliation can be returned to him.]
“Three months? Marsha above, how much food would we need? My lord, Count Randner might punish us for that!” His adjutant exclaimed.
“My lord, we will be flogged to death for wasting his food!” Another knight also chimed in, and a few others agreed.
“It’s the opposite,” Lord Palas looked at his old subordinates, “the battlefield is not limited to Trentheim. In any case, Count Randner would not interfere with us before this war ends. There are things that cannot be gotten with just money. As long as we score a perfect victory at the end, Count Randner will be able to sleep soundly at night and forgive us.”
Even though Lord Palas was a pure soldier, his experience in life enabled him to see the undercurrents of Aouine’s politics.
“…… Understood, my lord.” The knights around him answered.