The seat of the king.
Then the chair one level under that seat.
Alberu was sitting there while looking down at his subordinates at the bottom of the stairs.
“Your highness! We have received an emergency request from the Mage Brigade in the Northwest region!”
Alberu Crossman had his eyes closed as he listened to his subordinates’ reports.
“We must send more reinforcements to them immediately! They said that the people who seem to be the White Star’s subordinates look ready to attack Marquis Taylor Stan’s territory!”
“They are saying that the Mage Brigade and the Knights Brigade we have sent to the Northwest region are not enough to defend against the enemies!”
Reports about how the number of White Star’s subordinates who infiltrated the Roan Kingdom’s Northwest region was much higher than expected and that they were strong continued to fill the room.
“We must send more forces to protect the Stan territory!”
But there were also people who opposed that suggestion.
“No! The forces protecting the capital would decrease if we send any more troops to the Northwest region!”
“We are in a war right now! We cannot reduce the number of troops at the capital!”
One of the Generals frowned as he raised his voice.
“Then are we just going to throw away the Stan territory?!”
“You know that is not what I meant! But we must leave the troops here because the capital cannot be breached! Wouldn’t it be better to send troops from the other regions to the Northwest region?”
“Are you joking? We can’t do that! The troops in the nearby territories are not enough to defend against the White Star’s forces!”
You could not stop a heavy storm with a straw house.
Sending the troops from the other territories would likely end up in the soldiers dying without injuring the White Star’s forces at all.
“But we still cannot take any more troops away from the capital.”
The other vassal shook his head with a stiff expression.
“The capital. The capital and the palace are the centers of everything in the Roan Kingdom. The command system itself will fall apart if this place is destroyed.”
The vassal slowly peeked toward Alberu before looking back.
‘…It would be terrible if the White Star came to the capital instead of the Stan territory and something happened to his highness.’
They had to prevent that at all costs.
The reason the Roan Kingdom could maintain its growth right now was because of Alberu Crossman’s sturdy presence at the center.
On the other hand, they could not let the Stan territory fall either.
‘…This is the first real battle against the White Star. The war will become more difficult if we show us losing the first battle!’
The morale would fall as well.
They could not just sit back and let that happen.
“Doesn’t the White Star think that the item he is looking for is in the Northwest region? Then we should protect that place because he is guaranteed to go there!”
The person arguing against him pounded his chest in frustration.
“And what will you do if those bastards use the opening in the capital to attack the palace?! Are you going to take responsibility if something happens to his highness?!”
The vassal who said that shut his mouth with an expression that seemed to say that he said something that he should not have said.
He had been too blunt about it.
Everybody stopped talking for a moment and silence filled the room.
They were all wary of Alberu’s reaction.
The vassal who made the mistake soon started to speak again.
“Your highness. We cannot let the capital fall.”
To be more specific, they could not let the king and Alberu who were in the palace fall into the enemies’ hands.
Another vassal asked in response.
“…Then what should we do?”
Nobody could answer that question.
They needed to protect the Stan territory as well, as they were a part of the Roan Kingdom.
It would be best if they could rely on them to win with their own strength as the Henituse territory had done, but something like that was impossible as the Henituse territory was special.
But they could not reduce the number of troops at the capital as well.
This was because the Roan Kingdom knew about the White Star’s strength more than anybody else.
‘Young master Cale and his subordinates aren’t here either!’
The strongest of their forces were outside the Roan Kingdom right now.
The administrators could not help but furrow their brows.
It was at that moment.
“There are two things you guys are debating right now.”
Alberu had ended his silence and started to speak.
“The first is that the Stan territory cannot be defeated and fall into the White Star’s hands. That is why you think we should send more troops there.”
The vassals all looked toward Alberu with nervousness even as video communication devices were ringing around them.
“The other thing is… If we send the troops over… You’re worried that they would aim for that moment to infiltrate the capital and take over the palace.”
Alberu would soon pick between the two options they had.
The vassals were nervous because they didn’t know how Alberu would decide.
“In the end, it comes down to whether the White Star is aiming for the Roan Kingdom’s Northwest region. Is he aiming for the thing he wants or is he aiming for his majesty and me?”
One of the vassals who was listening cautiously started to speak.
“Your highness, as you already know, it is okay to lose a territory. However, an entire organization can crumble if the leader disappears. Furthermore, if you somehow end up as the White Star’s hostage, it is highly likely that the entire Roan Kingdom would be dragged around. We must avoid that at all costs.”
He sternly added on.
“That is why we need to order the Stan territory to hold on for as long as possible and fortify the defenses around the capital in preparation for when they fall.”
Alberu looked at him stoically before responding.
“You. Do we only lose territory if the Stan territory falls?”
The vassal was at a loss for words.
Alberu looked at him and calmly continued to speak.
“The residents of the territory would lose their homes and their lives first.”
He could not let that happen.
A smile appeared on his face.
“I know you all are thinking deeply about it, but it is simple if you think about it thoroughly. There is an easy solution.”
One of the vassals who realized Alberu’s thoughts urgently started to speak.
“Your highness! I believe I know what you are thinking, but… That-!”
He could not continue speaking.
Alberu raised his hand to cut him off.
Alberu then continued speaking.
“Since we don’t know what the White Star wants, we just need to gather the two things he wants in the same spot.”
“Your highness, you cannot do that!”
“Why can’t I do it?”
The vassals all shut up at Alberu’s sinking gaze.
Alberu slowly looked around at each of the vassals around him.
‘The White Star will aim for either the Northwest region or me.’
That was how it seemed.
If the White Star just wanted the power from the Northwest region, he would not cause such a ruckus.
He could have stealthily infiltrated and taken the power without anyone knowing.
Instead, he was revealing his subordinates and threatening the Stan territory.
What else could that mean?
‘…He’s lacking information.’
He was certain that the White Star did not know the exact location of that power.
In that case, he could do one of two things.
He could take over every area that the power could potentially be in and thoroughly search.
Or, he could capture the person who might know the location of that power and extract the information out of them.
The only person in the Roan Kingdom other than Cale who might know that information would be Alberu, who receives Cale’s reports.
Alberu decided to follow the White Star’s thoughts.
“Do I look weak to all of you?”
It was because the White Star did not know much about Alberu.
“You are making a grave mistake if you do.”
He gave the order to his vassals.
“The troops, and I.”
Alberu stood up from his seat.
“We are all going.”
He motioned to the servant in front of the door.
The door opened and the servants who were waiting outside walked into the throne room with the item Alberu ordered them to bring.
The vassals could not stop gasping as they saw what they were bringing in.
Alberu stepped down from the throne and walked past the vassals to the servants.
To be more specific, he stood in front of the item the servants brought.
He touched the item.
It was a suit of armor with the Roan crest.
The armor had the crest of a radiant sun rising between two cliffs.
He touched the armor and ordered his vassals.
“We are heading out soon. Quickly prepare.”
The vassals clenched their eyes or resolved themselves in other ways as they bowed.
They had realized it the moment the armor entered this throne room.
The crown prince had come here fully intending on heading to the battlefield.
He had decided everything before the meeting had even begun.
They kept their heads down and responded to Alberu’s order.
“As you command!”
He would head to his first battle soon.
* * *
His feet continued to sink.
“…This is driving me crazy!”
Bud ended up shouting as he quickly took a few steps forward.
“Huff, huff. I’m o-”
Bud then forced Pan on his back.
“Huff, I’m okay. Leader.”
Pan was small, but he was quite heavy such that Bud’s feet started to sink even more.
His nose was itchy.
Elf Sorros walked up and started to speak as Bud subconsciously twitched his nose.
“Are they getting close?”
He had an urgent expression on his face.
Sorros was full of sweat as he asked if the enemies were approaching. Saint Jack was on his back.
“I apologize. I should use more of my healing powers.”
Bud immediately shook his head.
“No, sir. We were only able to make it this far without losing anybody because you’ve been using your powers for us. Furthermore, you need to use your powers elsewhere, Saint-nim.”
Saint Jack put on a tranquil smile and apologized.
However, he could not help peeking back every so often.
Bud bit down on his lips after seeing that.
He heard a voice from the front at that moment.
“There are clouds heading over!”
Bud looked forward.
He and the other people in better condition were all carrying the injured and the tired.
There were two people who were standing at the front of this group.
The old man from the Molan household looked up at the sky and started to shout.
“There might be a snowstorm!”
Bud looked up at the sky as well.
Dark clouds were moving in.
The weather in the snowy region could change every hour. This snowy region might soon be covered in a snowstorm.
Bud looked back forward and made eye contact with Beacrox who was standing next to the old man from the Molan household.
Beacrox started to speak.
“We are there if we round that corner. We can escape from there.”
Bud could feel Pan flinching at that statement.
Pan started to mumble.
“…But there’s only a cliff past that corner?”
Bud also flinched, but he started to move after seeing Beacrox resume walking.
They all did their best to keep walking.
They could not stop.
They could not waste their time.
Beacrox was feeling the same way.
He thought about the people following behind him.
‘I am leading these people.’
Beacrox was in charge of these people right now. That was why he had to be careful and thorough but also hurry while maintaining a balance between these two inconsistent needs.
‘It originally was a cliff!’
He knew that they would soon arrive at the cliff.
That was why he urged them on.
“Let’s speed up!”
He started to hurry.
They finally turned the corner to arrive at their first destination.
“This is a cliff! We need to stop!”
Pan shouted from the back.
Everybody stopped walking as he expected.
Bud was the last to turn the corner and Pan arrived at the cliff on Bud’s back.
Pan then started to gasped.
Beacrox calmly started to speak at that moment.
“This spot is the closest spot between this mountain and the mountain to the west.”
This cliff did not touch the cliff on the mountain on the other side, but this was the closest spot between the two mountains.
Pan subconsciously started to mumble.
“… A bridge.”
The two cliffs were connected right now.
Beacrox’s voice was firm right now.
“Please take care of us.”
He was addressing the two mages who were standing there.
“Of course. We need to do it thoroughly because it is the Tower Master-nim’s orders.”
“We’ve been waiting for you. We came after receiving Rosalyn-nim’s orders. Please take good care of us as well.”
Rosalyn who had descended the mountain looking for Cale’s group had not come alone.
She had remained in the Roan Palace most of the time she had been away from Cale and the others.
She had prepared a lot of things during that time.
They were preparations for her goal, the Magic Tower.
A portion of that was already being prepared.
As a result, there were some mages who had chosen to remain by Rosalyn’s side. They were people who wanted to join her as she headed toward her goal.
The mage pointed to the area between the two cliffs which had originally been empty.
“This is the ice bridge we have created with Rosalyn-nim.”
A bridge now filled the area that used to be empty.
“This ice bridge can bear a total of 500 people’s weight. You should all be able to cross without any issues. We have some magic circles created for any unexpected situations, so you don’t need to worry.”
Bud looked past the large and sturdy ice bridge.
Mages who came with Rosalyn were guarding the other end as well.
He heard Beacrox’s voice at that moment.
“We will start with the people carrying the injured going across while being guided by people from our Molan household.”
People promptly started to cross the bridge.
Bud watched this from the back and waited until the end.
He then raised his head after seeing something white fall on his hand.
The old man from the Molan household and a mage raised their voices at the same time.
“Let’s hurry! We don’t know when the snow will turn into a storm!”
“Let’s check that the ice bridge is still safe and then raise our speed!”
The situation became urgent.
Bud subconsciously looked behind him.
Beacrox had approached him at some point and started to speak.
“They’ll be fine.”
Bud clenched his eyes shut.
“That’s right. They will do well.”
Saint Jack whispered calmly but desperately as if he was talking to himself.
“…They will all be fine.”
Saint Jack thought about his younger sister Hannah.
She was not here.
It was not just her.
Ron, the children, Rosalyn, Choi Han.
None of them were here.
They had split away from the group earlier in order to wait for the enemies to arrive.
The snow started to get stronger.
Jack, Bud, and Beacrox looked back and desperately hoped for their friends to return soon.
* * *
“…It’s about time the enemies showed up. Shouldn’t we start moving?”
Everybody looked down as Hannah quietly asked.
They were currently hiding somewhere they could look down while waiting for the enemies.
“Damn it! Why the hell do we suddenly have a snowstorm?”
Choi Han looked at him after hearing what he said.
Cale’s eyes were sparkling, unlike his angry words.
However, Cale was not looking at Choi Han and just looked at the snow that was getting worse and the sky that was getting darker.
He quietly mumbled to himself.
“…Looks like it will sweep them properly.”
The snow that would sweep the enemies away would soon start.
It will be caused by nature.
It would also be caused by Cale.