LTBE - Chapter 450.1: Alicia’s Counterattack (1)
In a tent under the moonlight, Alicia Ascart had suddenly appeared in front of the frowning Carter and made a proposal, but the marquess rejected her request after a moment of thought.
“No, there’s no need for that. You just have to focus on your responsibilities and continue gathering intelligence,” Carter spoke with a determined attitude.
Alicia wasn’t surprised by her foster father’s vehement rejection as she could somewhat guess what was on his mind.
She could sense that Carter did view her as his own daughter, but there was another layer of identity that she would never be able to shake off—the daughter of a close comrade who had died protecting Carter. As long as this layer of identity remained, Carter would never be able to send her to the battlefield.
Carter would rather dispatch his own son to the battlefield than her due to the guilt he felt, but this was not something Alicia could accept. She knew that Roel was already in the Elric Fiefdom, and it didn’t take a genius to know what would happen next.
Roel had already advanced to Origin Level 3, and he was accompanied by the elites of the heretic army. Given the current circumstances, it would be impossible for him not to head to the battlefield. If she couldn’t convince Carter here, she would have to remain a spectator throughout the entire battle, forced to watch Roel fight against the enemies.
Discipline was important in the military, so Alicia wouldn’t be able to leave her position without Carter’s orders.
“Lord Father… are you intending to dispatch Lord Brother to stop the Sezes?”
Carter’s silent response to Alicia’s question affirmed her guess.
I have to find a way to convince father, but what can I do…
Alicia clenched her fists tightly. She chose not to refute Carter’s words right away.
“Lord Father, there are many demonic beasts by the borders between the Theocracy and the Austine Empire. I can control them to some extent with my ability. If I cooperate well with the heretics and our personal army, we should be able to stall the enemy for quite some time. With that, our situation should improve once Lord Brother arrives on the battlefield.”
“That might be the case, but you’re still underaged. I can’t allow a child to march on the battlefield. You don’t have to worry about this. I’ll make other arrangements.”
“I might be underaged, but there are many precedents of our ancestors marching onto the battlefield at my age. It’s the same for Lord Brother too. He was only ten years old when he first took over as the proxy fief lord. There shouldn’t be a difference for…”
“That won’t do. You aren’t the same as them.”
Faced with Alicia’s continuous pressure, Carter ended up uttering some inappropriate words out of anxiousness. When he realized that he had misspoken, he hurriedly tried to salvage the situation, only to find a horrified look on Alicia’s face.
The latter looked at him with reddened eyes.
“Lord Father, you still think of me as an outsider even after all these years?” she muttered hoarsely.
“That’s not what I mean, Alicia. It’s just that this mission is too dangerous…”
“If Lord Brother can handle the danger, why can’t I? Lord Father, if you think of me as a member of the Ascart House, please entrust this mission to me. I wish to lend a helping hand to the family in this time of crisis,” Alicia said with a lowered head.
Carter was put at a loss.
Those words reminded him so much of his old subordinate that it made it hard for him to accept, but he was afraid that his insistent rejection would hurt Alicia and fracture the familial bond between them.
He felt a dull pain in his heart when he looked at Alicia’s reddened eyes. Touching his heart, he knew that he would have most likely accepted her request if she was his blood daughter. Even though he was rejecting her request to protect her, he realized that this might have been a form of discrimination too.
Uncertainty could be seen on his face for a long while before he finally let out a long sigh and gave a reluctant nod.
“Alright, Alicia. I’ll leave it to you. You don’t have to worry about the commanding; I’ll send someone there to handle it. You just have to hold on till Roel arrives.”
“Understood. Thank you, Lord Father.”
“Mm. It’s getting late. Go get some rest. You’ll have to set out early tomorrow morning.”
“Yes, Lord Father.”
Alicia directed a formal bow toward Carter before slowly fading into the shadows. When she appeared beneath the moon once more, her tears had already been replaced with a relieved smile.
Her bet paid off.
With this, she was no longer just a spectator. She would be able to stand alongside Roel in the upcoming battle.
“I still have three days,” murmured Alicia.
She gazed at the reports she had on Roel in her hands before looking up in the sky in reminiscence.
Mobilization of troops tended to be swift and abrupt, and this held true for both the Sezes and the Ascarts.
The following morning, shortly after Carter announced his decision, the Ascarts’ private army and heretic army began marching toward the border.
This mobilization caught everyone’s attention even though they were only several thousand soldiers strong, for everyone understood that this was the army that could very well change the trajectory of history.
Meanwhile, Duke Brookley had decided to personally visit the Sezes’ base camp to survey the situation.
Hoping to tie down the military force of a powerful country with minimal losses would have been nothing but a pipe dream in Roel’s previous life, but it was possible on the Sia Continent due to the vast disparity in strength among transcendents.
A high-level transcendent could single-handedly obliterate a platoon of soldiers by themselves on the battlefield.
Duke Broookley was an Origin Level 2 transcendent himself, and the soldiers he had mobilized for this mission were the elites of the Seze Fiefdom. Even though they numbered less than ten thousand, their military prowess could easily match a reserve army five times larger than them. The allied army would have to split their forces into two in order to push back the Sezes’ elites.
The Sezes would have accomplished their mission as long as they could divert away tens of thousands of soldiers. As long as they achieved that, the Theocracy would be greatly weakened, be it through the intervention of the Austine Empire or the failed siege on Edgar City.
However, barely a day after the mobilization of their troops, Duke Brookley received a report that shocked him.
The Theocracy’s allied army did dispatch soldiers to deal with them, but their number didn’t reach tens of thousands. On the contrary, it was even fewer than theirs.
This was contrary to what Duke Brookley had envisioned, and that was why he felt deeply confused by it. He had investigated the enemy forces beforehand, and he had known that the Ascarts’ personal army had suffered heavy losses in the earlier phase of the war.
Considering that the Ascart Marquess had to remain in the command center to direct the war, they shouldn’t have sufficient elites remaining to hold them back.
Is he planning to use them as pawns?
Duke Brookley considered that for a moment, but he quickly refuted that thought. It was hard to imagine that a noble would go to the extent of using their personal army as cannon fodder. But if that wasn’t the case, what could the Ascart Marquess be trying to do?
We have not bothered trying to conceal the strength of our troops, so it’s unlikely that the Theocracy’s intelligence network has made a major misjudgment about our forces. Does that mean that they have some kind of formidable general or expert that we’re unaware of?
Far too many unanswered doubts left Duke Brookley feeling uncertain. The only thing that had gone according to his prediction thus far was that the army dispatched to deal with them had come from the Ascart Fiefdom.
He thought that the only thing left to do was wait for the eventual clash to see what the Ascarts were up to, but before then, another unexpected incident occurred.
He received a report from their scouts, informing him that the Ascarts’ army had traversed across the plains over the past day and was swiftly approaching them, but for some reason, they had avoided confronting the Sezes’ troops. Instead, they suddenly took a sharp turn and dove into a forest by the borders.
It was a move that baffled not just the soldiers but even Duke Brookley, who was well-versed in warfare.