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Volume 4: Chapter 272 – The Three-Country Alliance (2/3)
The soldiers that have been driven into the proud fortress of the Three-Country Alliance, the
Despite that they continued to fight because of the man called Aldur.
He had a long, slender, and well-proportioned physique, but he was by no means a handsome man. He had brown hair and a pair of stiff and slackless eyebrows that radiated his strong will.
It was thanks to this man that the three-country alliance was able to exist this long despite being so helpless, yet it was also this same man who was currently in a predicament.
He paced about aimlessly in the fortress, his eyes darting here and there, but only a few called out to him. That was not because they feared this commander of theirs, but because they knew that he was deep in thought.
Of course, despite wanting to be considerate, they still had to salute to him when they happened into him for manner’s sake, but they would naturally move out of his sight.
Aldur was grateful that they were so considerate, but it was precisely that that made him wryly smile.
“There are times when I want to drink with someone too, you know.”
Aldur muttered as though he was talking about someone else.
He made his way for one of the rooms allocated to the commanders of the army.
He didn’t bother waiting for a reply when he opened the door. On the bed was a man embracing his great sword while seated.
“You have business with me, Commander?”
The way he looked insisted that he was a veteran warrior. One of the holy knights, symbols of the late Germion Kingdom. A man who was once extolled as a hero. But now his eyes were dark and gloomy.
“Sometimes, I need a drink too.”
And that sharp tongue he once had was now dull. Gulland quietly nodded.
Aldur sat himself on one of the chairs in the room, and took the liberty to open a bottle and start drinking. With just two men in the room, there was no one here to admonish him.
He drank the grape wine straight from the bottle, then handed the same bottle to Gulland as he wiped his mouth.
“I’ll take you up on that.”
Gulland didn’t hesitate to receive the bottle, and then just Aldur did, he drank straight from it, then wiped his mouth.
After drinking like that for a while, Aldur said that out of the blue.
Aldur’s drunken eyes could still vividly recall the sight of those goblins wreaking havoc in the battlefield, while Gulland nodded without the slightest change in his expression.
Aldur wryly smiled when he saw that.
“As expected of a hero, you’re different from me. Perhaps you’re the kind of guy who burns brighter the stronger the enemy?”
Drunk, Aldur said those words sarcastically, but Gulland just quietly listened, then he emptied the grape wine and sighed with a breath that stank of liquor.
“I… Couldn’t protect anyone. Not my beloved wife, not the country I swore fealty to, not my subordinates who idolized me, not even the friends that offered me their friendship.”
Every word that left his mouth weighed a great burden. Aldur’s eyes opened wide.
“But it’s precisely because I’m still alive that I can’t die so easily.”
The voice that resounded in that room was calm, but there was an obsession in his voice that seemed ablaze.
“Even if they’re strong enough to rule over the lands, I have to fight until I die.”
He was still alive, but with that declaration, he might as well have been dead.
The goblins were strong. Beating them was probably impossible even if they gathered all of the remaining forces within the country. They had excellent commanders and powerful soldiers supporting them. But beyond that, the logistical power behind them was just too thorough for their nation not to swallow everything else.
Yet despite that… Despite knowing that he would die, this man before him declared that he would fight.
“A man stuck in the past, huh.”
Aldur grumbled, and for the first time, Gulland bitterly smiled.
“You’re not wrong.”
“You know… Once this war was over, I was planning to go back to being a hunter and living a carefree life.”
“I would lay down traps and hunt
The two men continued this childish conversation for a while, but when the liquor was gone, Aldur’s head dropped as though the strings holding him up had been cut.
“…My country sent a messenger,” Aldur said.
“…They’re surrendering,” Gulland said.
“…It’s not your fault.”
Gulland closed his eyes while seated atop the bed as he looked up, while Aldur stifled his quivering voice and closed his eyes.
“Take the soldiers and head east. We’ll last for three more days,” Aldur said.
“The soldiers here gathered because of you. It’ll be hard for me to lead them,” Gulland said.
“That doesn’t sound like something a hero would say. I’ll persuade them,” Aldur said. “The Sacred Kingdom of Altigand seems to have realized a wyvern order. Once the three-country alliance has collapsed, the only power with the strength left to resist the goblins would be them.”
“…I understand. Commander.”
“I’m not your commander anymore. I’m just Aldur.”
“…I see. In that case, I should warn you as your friend then, Aldur. Run.”
But Aldur could only smile tearfully as he shook his head.
This man fought because he didn’t want to die, yet despite being bound hand and foot, he persistently held on to his pride and shook his head.
“You’re going to die.”
His country was most likely going to offer his head to prove their allegiance to the goblins. If his country was going to surrender now after coming this far, then they more than likely promised the goblins something to sweeten the deal.
Even Gulland could imagine that much, so naturally, the clever Aldur would realize it too.
“If I run those under me will have to take my place.”
A slight frown appeared on Gulland.
“So much for being the Vicious Three Tongues,” Gulland said.
“…Sorry about that. I’ll have to leave everything to you,” Aldur said.
“Tch… I know.”
Complying with the request of his friend, the very next day, Gulland left the fortress with the soldiers, then he contacted the Wyvern Knights and rendezvoused with the Sacred Kingdom of Altigand.
As for Aldur the Undying, just as Gulland had predicted, he was assassinated by the country that surrendered to the goblins.
Word of Aldur’s death reached Gulland when he arrived at the Sacred Kingdom. That day Gulland glared at the west and stood there unmoving until the sun set.
In the coldest period of the fourth year of the King’s Calendar, Aldur Malinek, hero of the three-country alliance, died. With his death, the smoldering resistance of the three-country alliance also came to an end.
With the bulwark breached, Alrodena’s attacks grew even fiercer.
And though Shumea had already returned to the west, there was no stopping the eastern expedition of Felduk, Zeilduk, and the mixed army. Already, the only country left with the power to resist was Altigand.