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Tl Note: Correction for the title of the previous chapter, it’s not ‘map’ but ‘painting’ or drawing.
Volume 3: Chapter 209 – The Fall of Pena (1/2)
Negotiations between the Red King and Pena were conducted in a town called Kaluan, which was situated a day’s distance from the capital. They discussed various things such as Queen Raksha’s marriage, cooperation in battle, whether Brandika would be interfering in their politics or not… etc. This meeting was meant to establish the framework of their cooperation.
On the way back from the meeting…
Brandika and the elder council made a bold display of their relationship as they want back on the main road. Brandika and one of the elders of Pena were having a pleasant discussion. They had 10 soldiers for their escort. These men were provided by Pena and were the leasts number of guards they could afford to give.
Suddenly, a group of men appeared before Brandika.
The men yelled angrily and pulled out daggers and swords. In the blink of an eye, the area turned into a noisy exchange of yells. Surprised, the guards were taken down before they could react and several of the assailants were taken down by Brandika’s fist.
The clan leader of the clan coalition, Brandika, was indeed strong. Seeing him take down his assailants aloofly with only his fists greatly encouraged the guards and they soon forced the assailants to retreat.
“T-Thankfully you’re safe,” the elder said with a smile of adulation.
Brandika glanced at him and grabbed the jewel by his chest. It’s the tool often used by adventurers to inform their friends of their location when they’re in an emergency, but the number of people that could understand its purpose were few. Brandika looked coldly at the elder he was happily talking to awhile ago, then he ordered the adventurers that came to help escort them. Brandika didn’t say another word until they got to the outer part of town.
Brandika ignored the panicking elder, then he went to the outer part of town where the camp of the Red King was and gave orders as he would in battle.
“A-Archduke, please wait!”
The elder seemed to know what was about to happen, so he clung to Brandika’s legs to try and stop him.
“Go back and tell your council. You wanted a fight? Well, you have it,” Brandika said.
The elder visibly paled and the Red King’s army orderly stood in a line. The battle flag fluttering by the desert wind. Its sharpened would soon pierce itself into Pena.
“You should carry this thing away and prepare for battle,” Brandika said to the remnants of Pena’s guards. By ‘thing’ he was referring to the elder.
The elder fell when he heard that, and the remaining guards took him back to Kaluan.
Seeing that, Brandika called Saldin.
“Send a messenger. We will attack afterwards.”
“Sending a messenger is Grave’s job… Ohh, so that’s what you meant.”
Saldin suddenly realized what Brandika was getting at, and he picked out a messenger and sent him to Kaluan.
The person he chose was brimming with pride and conceit. A person clearly unfit to be messenger.
Negotiations weren’t necessary from the start. For all Brandika cared, Kaluan could either attack or bow in servitude, but it was still preferable for the Red King for Kaluan to attack. There was a day’s distance until Pena’s capital from Kaluan.
The Red King wanted to use Kaluan as a foothold to take Pena down before they even had time to attempt negotiations. Fortunately, the Blue Knights, who were most likely to get in their way, were out in the north with Allen to watch for attacks from the goblins.
“Raise the flags!”
Saldin knew the messenger wouldn’t be coming back, so he gave the order to advance.
“Cut open a path for the king! Rouse your spirits, you bastards!”
With rumbling-like battle cry, the red King advanced toward Pena. In just two days, the capital fell and Queen Raksha fell in their hands.
When the knight commander of the Blue Knights, Allen, got word that the capital had fallen, he was so shocked that he dropped his sword.
“A-And Queen Raksha?” Allen asked as he grabbed the messenger by his collar.
The messenger could only flinch as he reported that her status was unknown.
“For what.. For what reason have I been fighting!? Aizas… Princess…”
Seeing the commander so down that his eyes couldn’t even settle on a single point, his soldiers couldn’t find it in them to talk to him.
“…Commander, we need to fight the deciding battle with the Red King!”
As such, one of the staff officers took it upon himself to talk to Allen.
“The deciding battle?”
“Yes. If we include the mixed army, we have 6,000 soldiers here. If we bring all of these to the capital, then—”
“I bring word from the capital!”
While they were getting excited, an old man claiming to be a messenger came riding on a horse.
“Knight Commander Allen, are you here!?” The messenger asked.
“So, you were safe,” Allen said.
The messenger was an elder whom Allen was acquainted with. The elder nodded to him, then assumed a dignified pose.
“I’ve come to bring you the queen’s message. Return the army and go back to Pena. These are the words of the queen herself.”
“Is she safe!?”
When the messenger nodded, Allen closed his eyes a little.
Returning to Pena would mean accepting the Red King, and even if Queen Rashka was safe, she would probably still fall to the clutches of the Red King. And the Blue Knights might be used to the point of trying to crush them. It wouldn’t be strange if Allen refused this order right now.
“I understand. If those are the queen’s orders, then I shall comply.”
“…You’ve chosen well.”
At the queen’s behest, Allen brought his army back to the capital. Hearing of the movements of Pena’s capital and the Red King along the way, Allen couldn’t help but groan at how good Brandika was. He conquered Kaluan in one day and immediately sent his army to the capital.
That speed was truly like a flash. The capital didn’t even have time to defend itself before falling. But because they took one day to take down Kaluan, they still ended up giving the minimum needed time for Pena’s capital to evacuate some people. The queen fell into their hands, but most of the elders were able to return to their respective regions were their own factions had much influence. The people the Red King was able to take prisoner was just the queen and a few other people.
Presently, Brandika was with Queen Raksha at the capital and was subjugating the fleeing armies of the elders.
“Although our attempts at diplomacy may not have gone well… Don’t you think the Red King might have planed this?” The elder said.
Allen nodded. “He dispersed the elders against him to their respective lands and are now hunting them. At a glance, it seems like he messed up, but he didn’t take much – if any at all – losses to his overwhelming army, and is now attempting to encroach even into the foundation of the elders.”
The source of Pena’s wealth was trade. It is possible that the Red King realized that if they were to allow the elders, who carried Pena’s foundation with them, to form trade routes and spread their roots, they might not be able to absorb as much of Pena as they otherwise could.
If it were Carlion, he would probably gather the elders into one place and then lop off their heads.
That way is much more effective, but Brandika didn’t consider just the efficiency of the army, but also the future. He created a reason for war, sent a messenger, and then and only then did he take down Kaluan. He did send a messenger.
Seeing how Brandika even avoided rubbing the feelings of the people the wrong way, Allen couldn’t help but groan.
Allen thought of the goblins to the north. They managed to inflict much damage to the giant goblin in the last battle, but they still ended up letting him go.
Seeing the state of Pena now, the goblins probably won’t miss this opportunity to attack.
As Allen voiced out his concern, the elder thought of something and said, “Ahh, you might not know of this, but Germion Kingdom has already started to advance west. Their objective is none other than to subjugate the goblins with Brandika, or so the man himself said enthusiastically.”
As Allen became thoughtful, he couldn’t help but ponder the path to Pena’s revival.