The Baroque Empire which lost the forts on the Variand Mountain formed a defensive line at the northern side of the mountains.
Maybe they were remodeled or the already present manor was extended to create a fort, traps were dug and gunpowder was buried in an expectation of an invasion to block the enemies Gigants.
However, despite such investments, the Southern side of Baroque was having one hell of a fine day at that time.
It was because they didn’t have any constant battles when compared to the Western Front, where the battle with Libiya Kingdom was happening constantly, or the Eastern and Northern sides with border disputes of the Volga Republic or Holy Empire.
As long as the Symphonia Kingdom was quiet and Emperor Rudolf was occupied with Libiya Kingdom, the Southern army was likely to have a calm time.
“Kya, what a nice position!”
“Yeah, I wish I could keep doing this.”
Two knights who were fishing near the creek talked to each other.
Not long ago, they belonged to the Western Front and managed to move to the south side with a lot of help from their fathers and his nobles acquaintances.
If they wanted to grow their merit, it was better for them to stand on the fronts, but they have already been in the battle for quite some time and seen moments of life and death which made them turn their backs against the war.
“I wish His Majesty could do things in moderation. After the war and the mess which happened in the capital, the livelihood of the entire nation has been in a mess, yet he keeps saying that he wants to reclaim the fallen territory…”
“He lost his family and was betrayed by his most trusted men, it must have been a bitter situation for him. He probably has no emotions to feel.”
“That is understandable, but, maybe it was because of Prince Reichard. He was considered to be the real successor of the Emperor.”
“Yeah, you are speaking loudly. What will happen if someone else listens to it?”
“Huh, who would listen in such a place…”
The knight who answered looked up at his friend.
“Don’t tell me, you aren’t going to tattle on me, are you?”
“Look here, do I look that unfaithful? Why don’t you start caring about the fishing rod in your hand?”
At the words of his friend, the knight turned towards fishing. The fish was biting on the bait.
He hurriedly pulled the fishing rod.
“Woah! Look at its power, it is no joke? Maybe this will be huge!”
“Yeah, don’t make any mistake. First, pull with power…”
When the knight was about to try, he saw his friend suddenly hit by an arrow that came straight for him and fell back.
“Huk! Wh, who is there?!”
When his friend died in an instant, the knight who was startled hurriedly left the fishing rod and tried to pick up his sword which was right next to him.
But before he could pull on the sword, an arrow went straight for his neck.
“All done. Next will be the guards and the patrollers will have to be taken.”
“Yes, Miss Scarlet!”
A special unit in black clothes swiftly approached the Baroque garrison and removed the targets.
When the signaling flare popped to signify that their completion of the mission, the Gigants and the soldiers disguised in the forests began to appear.
They were the troops of the Symphonia Kingdom moving in with swords and spears.
“Attack! If there is anyone who resists, cut them down!!”
With the order of Baron Hobart, the leader of the Spear troops, the Gigants troops, and the other soldiers of Symphonia Kingdom went to assault the Imperial garrison.
It was the moment when the Symphonia Kingdom, which had stayed silent till then began to dig its claws into the Baroque Empire.
The attack of the Symphonia Kingdom on the Baroque Empire took place even before the enemy was aware of it.
The reason for such success was because of the expeditionary forces of Symphonia who thoroughly camouflaged their movements and bypassed their invasion routes which the Baroque Empire might have anticipated.
In addition, the Baroque Empire was overwhelmed by the information which the Intelligence office was sending them, the Baroque Intelligence was sending them false information or gave them information one step later.
“H, huge trouble, Your Majesty!”
Emperor Rudolf, who was in a serious discussion with his officials in the throne room, frowned when he saw a wizard walk into the throne room.
“Why are you acting like this?”
At the question of Rudolf, the wizards knelt down and opened the magic message which was sent from the South.
“The southern rebels are said to advance to the border. The army is currently defending, but it is said that defense of the border is being broken and the garrison has faced a sudden attack.”
“How can such things…?!”
Voices of surprise began to sound all over the room.
Emperor Rudolf and his other men have paid very little attention to the Symphonia Kingdom in the south.
Luke and his men who claimed their own independent nation were no match for them, however, they haven’t provoked the Baroque at all.
Moreover, it was just a month ago when a man who claimed to be the descendant of Rakan had tore down the Royal palace and almost killed their king.
And when such things happen in a newly formed kingdom, it was natural for the king to be busy with stabilizing the nation and gather public sentiment, but to invade all of a sudden!
Count Voltas was shocked.
“They aren’t confusing it with Libiya Kingdom or the Volga Republic?”
The Libiya Kingdom was currently waging small and large battles across the borders.
And as soon as Rudolf got the information that they hadn’t been hit with Vers, he ordered for an assault.
The Volga Republic was battling at the northern border.
“According to the magic communication, the Symphonia Kingdom… ah, no, they were clearly stated to be the rebels of the south.”
“Tch, we have been completely caught off guard.”
Rudolf could only shake his head with sharp words.
It was a time when Rudolf was hoping to go for a massive invasion on Libiya Kingdom.
His main purpose was to get rid of Shaikan, well, Reichard, and all the other enemies, however, he also intended to clear the problems in Nemesis.
Fighting with foreign nations to turn the internal dissatisfaction into public sentiment was a widely used political plan ever since the ancient time.
And an order was already issued to the border troops, and a considerable number of troops were already on the move to the west.
At such time, he was getting hit in the back!
Rudolf asked the wizard.
“How huge are the rebels of the south?”
“It was said that the troops were from 30,000 to 50,000 and around 200 to 300 Gigants.”
The number wasn’t too huge yet, it wasn’t small enough to ignore.
Especially since the Gigant power was superior when compared to the Southern Army.
“Your majesty, I feel that we should immediately deploy the reinforcements.”
“That feels right. We need to deploy the Central Army right now.”
There were voices along with Count Voltas who said that support had to be sent.
Unlike elsewhere, the Central Army had been running out of men as they have been in a fight with the Libiya Kingdom for the past months.
Surely, there were recruits or conscripts of noble families to fill in the gap, but the quality of knights such as training and skills were very inferior to the existing southern army.
“Weren’t the Central Army being pushed to the western to subdue the rebels there? Do we have any troops to send to the South? Should we hire the mercenary forces?”
“Unfortunately, we don’t have any more mercenary units in our Empire to hire.”
At the answer from Voltas, Rudolf frowned with displeasure.
Sending the Central army to the South would give an opportunity to Reichard and if he ignored the request, the Southern Army would collapse.
And if the Southern Army collapsed without a fight, the southern part of the Baroque would fall into the hands of the Symphonia Kingdom.
And if that happened, the Central region of the Empire along with Nemesis would turn into risky zones.
“What the hell is the Information Ministry doing when all these were happening?! How could they not know that an enemy was approaching us from the South!”
Marquis Lucas, the minister of justice, stood up against the Imperial Intelligence agency.
If they were in a normal situation, the intelligence department would have informed then right away. And to do that, the intelligence agency had to pay a budget every year.
However, the Ministry of Information didn’t play any role in recent times.
And the information from the agency didn’t match with the reality even by a little, and the operations of assassinating the enemies had failed a lot of times.
And such things kept happening even after the head of the intelligence service had been changed a while back.
“Majesty, I have sinned, Your Majesty! Please punish me!”
The Intelligence chief, Count McMillan fell on the floor and begged.
Rudolf wanted to kill the incompetent man right away.
However, the head of intelligence was a young man, so he pulled back the hand from the sword.
‘Yeah, killing isn’t that hard. This kid hasn’t been in the position for long…’
Rudolf, who had such thoughts, decided to endure the man’s incompetence.
“Stand up, McMillan. If such things happen again, I will surely consider you to be guilty.”
“Thank you, thank you, Your Majesty!”
Count McMillan kept thanking a couple of times and got up.
“Go ahead and gather information about this situation as soon as possible.”
At the words of Rudolf, Count McMillan rushed out of the throne room.
Rudolf, who sent the man out, discussed with the other officials about sending the central army to the south.
‘The question is, who should be placed as the commander of the support forces…’
When Rudolf was contemplating on who had to be appointed, Marquis Vanden stepped up and spoke.
“Your Majesty, please send me.”
“Yes, I will surely come back after taking down those savage rebels.”
Vanden had betrayed Butler and stuck to Rudolf ever since.
His betrayal to Butler had helped in the subduing of the Western nobles, however, there wasn’t much to do in the war against the Libiya Kingdom.
As a result, Rudolf’s trust in his ability was gradually decreasing, and he had already betrayed once so the people suspected that Vanden would one day betray their Emperor.
‘I need to make some merit and show them my skills!’
The rebels were coming from the south, and they were a group of rebels from the Symphonia Kingdom.
‘Huhhu! Luke is famous for being a Rune Knight, I’ll reach tremendous heights by taking down him and his men!’
Under such thoughts, Vanden volunteered.
Rudolf thought for a moment and nodded.
“Fine. I will appoint you as the Commander of the support forces. And I will send 10 knights of mine with you.”
“Y, you mean the SS class knights?”
Count Voltas and the other men in the room were shocked.
The SS knights were the last group of men formed for the sake of defending the Emperor.
All of them were Sword Masters, and their riding level of the Gigant’s were close to Hero class.
The officials were surprised to hear that 10 of them would be sent along with the reinforcements.
“The SS knights and their Gigants will be enough to subdue the rebels.”
In his heart, Rudolf wanted to save the strongest men only for him, and send some nobles of newly formed soldiers as reinforcements.
However, due to the Vers and the attacks from Libiya, the spirits of the nobles in the capital weren’t that great.
And if they were asked to perform such tasks, Rudolf would face a troublesome situation in the future.
“Marquis Vanden and the SS knights will be sent. So be sure to subdue the rebels and calm the south.”
“I will make sure to do that, Your majesty.”
At the word of the Emperor, Vanden was feeling nervous.
The Emperor didn’t give him the option of coming back with a loss.
It was impossible to assess a victory even if he was being sent in with powerful SS knights.
He wanted to volunteer.
However, soon his thoughts of loss were erased. He had 10 Sword Masters who were really powerful.
‘Moreover, I too am a Sword Master. If I can’t defeat an enemy of such measly power, then I’ll just have to bite my tongue and die.’
Vanden, who was making up his mind to win and regain the Emperor’s trust in him, left for the South with SS knights.