The King received his cousin, General Johan.
The redemption of General Johan was really full of twists and turns. First, the noble inheritance tax was collected, and then the Rose Crisis interrupted the collection of money. Then when the civil strife was settled, and the nobles handed over their money, the Five Port Alliance’s resistance broke out. During the resistance movement, the Bressi Expeditionary Army also tried to take advantage.
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From September to the end of winter, the general who was closely related to the King was finally able to return to the capital Metzl.
The return of General Johan was very low-key.
After careful consideration, the King chose a time when the Duke of Buckingham would not be in the Rose Palace to let General Johan come see him.
General Johan was eight years older than the King. When he first became a knight, he was thrown on the battlefield by the Duke of Buckingham. He did not become a general by relying on his honorable status. He became a general by relying on his military exploits. General Johan’s silvery blonde hair, which was the symbol of the Rose family, appeared a little unruly in its tied back hairstyle, which made him look like a young lion.
“Thank you for your kindness, Your Majesty.”
Now this young lion was quite depressed. He knelt down in front of the King and spoke with a low voice.
“My breach of responsibility brought disaster to Legrand, please punish me.”
He leaned down and pressed his forehead to the ground.
“You indeed failed to carry out your duty.”
The King’s voice came from above, accompanied by the sound of careless turning of the pages of a book.
General Johan did not defend himself at all, and the guilt almost overwhelmed the young general.
“Twenty thousand pounds.” The King chuckled lowly. “The loss caused by your failure is as high as twenty thousand pounds. Is the price high enough?”
“I have failed your trust.”
General Johan answered in pain.
With a “slam”, the book in the King’s hand was closed heavily by him, and the gentle and soft voice suddenly became cold and sharp.
“Do you think 20,000 pounds is high enough? No, it’s far more than that.”
“I ask you to deprive me of all titles, but please allow me to continue to serve you. Your Majesty.”
General Johan answered in a low voice.
“Do you think this is enough?”
The King’s voice was filled with anger.
He put down the book, stood up, and walked to General Johan’s side.
“You almost made an old man lose the continuity of his life, his beloved son, you almost made a king lose his powerful general, you almost made Legrand lose its indestructible barrier, and you almost made a person who originally did not have all that many people who can be trusted to lose his respected brother.”
General Johan suddenly raised his head and looked at the King in a daze.
The King squatted down in front of him, with his hands on his knees, his icy blue eyes filled with anger: “Now, you tell me, do you think that your mistake is enough for 20,000 pounds?”
General Johan looked at him blankly.
The King stretched out his hand.
He immediately held the King’s hand tightly. The poor general probably blamed Legrand’s unrest during this period on his defeat, and his guilt almost overwhelmed him. He held the King’s hand tightly, unable to say anything for a while.
If the soldiers under General Johan saw him like this, they would likely be too surprised to speak.
The King sighed in his heart.
He already learned about General Johan’s behavior during this period of time from other defeated and captured prisoners of war who were released together. After being captured, the Bressi Expeditionary Army had to spend a lot of effort on how to prevent General Johan from committing suicide.
Before Johan even arrived at the palace, the King had been thinking about how to handle today’s meeting for a long time.
“You made me have no choice but to choose a gentleman who wanted to kill me before as my general. This is your fault.”
The King said softly.
He stretched out his hand, and gave his cousin a light hug, just like the Duke of Buckingham had embraced him.
“You must repay me with a stronger army. This is what you should do.”
“I will, I will, Your Majesty.”
General Johan repeated hurriedly, his sky blue eyes were wet, as if washed by rain.
The King felt momentarily awkward. He released him and returned to his seat: “Now, please tell me about the Battle of Bouvin. Even if you have doubts about yourself, please don’t doubt the teachings of your uncle these many years. I don’t believe your failure is so simple.”
The King pointed to another chair next to him and motioned to General Johan to take a seat.
Mentioning the Battle of Bouvin, General Johan’s eyes became clouded over. Obviously during this time, he had also been thinking about that battle again and again.
“Someone betrayed us.” He said in a low voice, “But this is not the most important point…..I wonder how they foresaw my actions.”
This doubt seemed to have troubled General Johan for a long time.
The timing of the arrival of the Bressi Expeditionary Army was too good. It was after Legrand had just experienced rebellion in two places. The Duke of Buckingham originally wanted to lead the troops himself, but due to the domestic situation, he had to stay behind.
After General Johan arrived on the battle line, he deployed tight defensive measures.
There were three lines of defense, and the Moon River Fortress was on the last one. General Johan himself was facing the first front of the Bressi Expeditionary Force and he did not blindly defend. Before the Bressi Expeditionary Army had a firm foothold, he sent two teams, one going north along the Doma River and attacking the Bressi Expeditionary Army stationed in Cassien. They attacked the port where the Bressi Expeditionary Army landed, trying to cut off their supply lines.
The front-line army of Cassien won a lot of victories, which prevented the Bressi Expeditionary Army from directly launching an offensive for a while. The attack on the port was not successful, but it also played a harassing effect.
Early in the battle everything was very smooth. The Bressi Expeditionary Army was dragged into the quagmire of long-term siege on the castle. General Johan believed that as they had to cross the sea to fight, it was more difficult to withstand the huge expenses and consumption than it was on his side. The King’s victory in the later negotiations also confirmed this point.
However, in the battle of defending the city, betrayal appeared.
The guards of an important castle put down the suspension bridge, and the commander of the Bressi Expedition Army drove in and took General Johan by surprise.
In such critical situations, he made the quickest response and retreated with the core army.
The incident in the first castle made General Johan realize that there were traitors in his army, and there might also be problems in the following castles. After a short judgment, General Johan made a decision——”Offense instead of defense.”
He retreated with the army. Halfway through the march, he suddenly led the army to turn around and make a surprise attack on the rear wing of the Bressi Expeditionary Army. This decision was made in the moment by himself under the circumstances at the time, and there was absolutely no possibility of leaks.
——But he encountered an ambush and was only able to escape after a difficult fight.
General Johan knew his opponent, and the leader of the Bressi Expeditionary Army was a general who focused on stability. After he seized the castle, it was impossible for him to divide his forces to intercept his halfway.
After that, in several other key operations, the enemy made precautions in advance.
How did they do that?
General Johan almost questioned his commanding ability.
“I understand what’s going on.”
After listening to General Johan’s statement, the King’s eyes darkened.
“Please do not feel guilty, this is not your fault.”
General Johan looked at him in puzzlement.
The King did not directly explain his meaning. He seemed to be thinking about something before he spoke: “Now, I have an order for you.”
“Please give your instructions.”
“Go and see my uncle, this is an order.”
The King smiled slightly.
After General Johan left, the line of the King’s lips suddenly became straight and extremely cold.
He had a guess.
Making speculation on the enemy’s actions on the battlefield was indeed something that generals did, but the King believed in the ability of General Johan, and he also sensed something particular from those “coincidences.”
If the course of action was not leaked, but the enemy still became aware of it early on, then this kind of “prejudgment” could only be linked to one thing——foresight.
The King thought of the man he saw during the negotiations at the Moon River Fortress, the young astrologer standing next to the General of Bressi.
Allowing a young astrologer to be involved in a war, and the status of the astrologer also appeared to be very high. Why? Because this astrologer, who was easily overlooked, was likely to play an important role in the battle——such as the divination of the enemy’s actions.
The power that did not belong to human beings secretly interfered with the direction of the war.
If this was the case, then there was another hidden shadow behind the Battle of Bouvin——the Holy Court.
Almost all astrologers today were under the control of the Holy Court.
The King leaned back in his chair and began to ponder.
He once asked the Devil whether these non-human forces would directly participate in human wars, and he received a negative answer. The Devil once mentioned “the damn knife over the head” which meant that there was a certain restriction.
Then how should the astrologer at the Battle of Bouvin be explained?
Although the Devil was always full of lies, the information obtained by the King through the former commander of the Knights Templar during this period confirmed that there was indeed a “law” restricting them.
If astrologers were truly able to participate in the war unscrupulously, then other non-human forces would also join——and judging from the history of Legrand and the history of other countries, this was undoubtedly impossible.
Then there was only one explanation:
Through some means, the Holy Court bypassed the “law” and indirectly intervened in the war.
The King must know, what kind of price was required of such a method? This was related to the following war, whether the King would face an enemy who could always predict his actions indefinitely.
He summoned Mr. Astrologer from the Lunatic Academy of Sciences.
After listening to the King’s question, Mr. Astrologer showed a look of astonishment: “Which astrologers are willing to lose their lives like this?”
The King got his answer.
The divination of astrologers was often vague and unclear. If one wanted to achieve such accurate divination, one must be assisted with some special items, and needed to gather the power of many powerful astrologers to make the divination clear. All the abilities of these astrologers would then be transferred to one specific astrologer.
The cost of this ability was so huge that it was unimaginable.
What was more important was the “punishment” that would follow.
Regarding what was the “punishment” the astrologers had to face, Mr. Astrologer’s words were vague due to the existence of certain restrictions, but they still clearly informed the King——once this was done, all participating astrologers would definitely die.
After Mr. Astrologer left, the King raised his hand and rubbed his forehead.
He had a headache, which had been getting worse these days.
He frowned, thinking of the “sacred objects” that the Ross family wanted to use as a bargaining chip with the Holy Court——the Holy Court was collecting holy objects, whether those holy objects were special items needed for this kind of divination, and if so…..
The King’s expression became serious.
The Holy Court, maybe wanted to——
Start a war.
The pirate ship flying the Royal Rose flag sailed along the coast.
Although there was now money, ships could not be built so quickly. Therefore, the King’s fleet was now composed of 40% of the original royal fleet and 40% of pirate ships. The remaining 20% were the remnant ships of the Five Port Alliance that had been confiscated as well as the purchase of some armed merchant ships.
At the beginning, people along the coast and various ports were a little worried, for fear that the pirate ships flying the royal flag would return to their old businesses and blatantly rob people.
However, they soon discovered that the pirates did not abandon their old business, it was just that they were no longer the targets of the robbery.
——But instead the targets were Bressi’s merchant ships and some merchant ships of Florenia.
Legrand had a feud with the former, while the latter…..well, don’t forget that today’s merchant ships were also often engaged in some less than glorious piracy activities. So long as the pirates didn’t attack Legrand’s ships, it didn’t matter who they robbed.
And because of the hostility towards the Bressians, people were quite happy to see those Bressi ships suffer. The figures of Walway pirates thus became active in various ports.
——Who would like to live on the sea if one could drink and have fun?
Because of their openness and generosity, as well as their knowledge of maritime legends, the Walway pirates actually won the support of some young people. The older parents now had to worry about how to stop their own stinky boys from running away with the carefree pirates…..
For this, the King won a…..um…..not so commendable title:
However, it seemed that the “tyrant” used to describe the King before seemed to also not be a good word?
The drunk man with a black hat and a scar on his face raised his beer with one hand and pulled a guy with a bitter face with his other hand. He smiled disdainfully and slapped the table.
“He didn’t even set foot on a pirate ship, what pirate monarch…..Bah, he didn’t even get on a pirate ship, back then…..that bastard, William…..”
The voice of Hawkins, captain of the Walway pirates and admiral of the Royal Fleet, became lower and lower.
With a grunt, he climbed onto the table and lay on it, his arms hanging over the other side of the table.
The Walway sailor who was pulled by him took out his wallet with a pained expression on his face.
——After knowing that the captain became admiral, the pirates gathered on the ship and cheered all night, celebrating that they finally got rid of this crazy and unreliable captain. Even the ghost ships seemed very energetic at the time.
However, after waking up from a hangover the next day.
As soon as they woke up, they were met with a bright smiling face:
“Hey! You actually held such a big party to welcome me. I’m really——so——touched——!”
No! ! No one welcomes you back!
The past was too unbearable to recall.
The pitiful pirate paid the money and dragged Captain Hawkins, who was holding a bottle, along with difficulty. In order to prevent the embarrassment, he pulled off his headscarf and carefully covered his face tightly.
General Sheehan, with an aura of righteousness, pressed the hilt of his sword at his waist so hard the blue veins on the back of his hand jumped out.
Standing at the door, he silently looked at Captain Hawkins, who was dragged by the masked pirate, and felt that his tolerance level was rising in a straight line.
This was his colleague on this mission?
This was the person who would be responsible for the blockade with him?
General Sheehan felt the heavy, depressing, and tragic atmosphere that had been shrouding him on the way before, now instantly shatter into a bunch of cackling crows, cackling and flying away above his head.
General Sheehan took a deep breath and walked in.
He was just about to speak.
Captain Hawkins, who was being pulled by the leg by the sailor, turned over and opened his mouth, letting out an alcohol scented burp directly on General Sheehan’s face, interrupting any self-introduction he was about to make.
Seriously, could he draw his sword and cut this guy?
An ominous premonition came over him——
The task this time seemed like it would unfold in an abnormal way.
When the Rose Banner of the Legrand royal family was flying out on the sea, at the Holy Court.
In the magnificent castle of the Holy Court.
The night was deep, and a group of people shrouded in black robes walked in the shadow of the holy light. Their dark robes were uniformly embroidered with blood red and white cross patterns, and a sword was also embroidered on each of their sleeves.
A sword entwined with raging fire.
This announced the identities of these people, and they were the “adjudicators” of the Holy Court.
These people were the other face of the Holy Court.
The Holy Court advocated the “Truce of the Holy Lord” and also said, “Don’t think that I came to call peace on the earth; I did not come to call peace on the earth, but to call the use of swords and soldiers on the earth.”——They were the sword that was tasked with purging all heretics who violated the will of the Holy Lord.
They were the swordsmen of the Holy Court.
The adjudicators quietly walked into a dark iron building.
Another group of silent astrologers gathered here. They sat in every corner of the room, facing a huge crystal ball, their eyes closed. In the middle of the hall, there was a deep pool——it was modeled on the Holy Pond where Clovis stood when he was baptized.
Right now, the pool was full of blood.
The adjudicators scattered around the Holy Pond. They put the silver crosses into the blood and then sat down around the Holy Pond.
They were implementing the order signed and approved by the Pope and the Cardinal:
A top secret cleansing.
“Holy, holy.” The head of the adjudicators muttered in a deep voice, made a cut in his hand, and let bloody trails fall from his fingertips into the Holy Pond like snakes.
The water in the pool began to bubble.
Not far from the Holy Pond, on a platform with exquisite reliefs, the golden eagle-billed sacred oil bottle shone brilliantly under the flickering light of the fire.
All the adjudicators spoke in unison, also making a cut on their hands.
The silver crosses in the blood floated up to the surface one after another, standing upright, like a sword slashing downwards.
The Rose Palace. The night was deep.
The King had already rested.
The guards of the palace performed their duties, and the chief of the guards patrolled past the King’s rooms and found nothing unusual.
The King had his eyes closed, and it was not known how long he slept, when suddenly he found himself in the St. Wyth Cathedral.
Was he dreaming?
There were many people in St. Wyth Cathedral, wearing thick black robes, holding crosses and holy books in their hands. Each of them had their heads lowered, and dazzling light fell from the windows on the ribbed vaulting ceilings, the rays of light so white that it made people feel uncomfortable in their hearts.
The King was standing on the red carpet and at the door of St. Wyth Cathedral. He looked at these black-robed priests and felt his head hurt again.
And it began to hurt more and more.
The feeling of thousands of knives cutting him up swept over him again, stronger than ever before, from the inside out. The King involuntarily raised his hand and pressed it against his head firmly——he felt as if his soul was being torn apart.
This pain was familiar but also unfamiliar.
It was as if he had really experienced his soul being torn before.
He gritted his teeth hard to prevent himself from kneeling on the ground due to the sudden burst of pain, and his consciousness gradually faded. When he was awake again, he found himself in the middle of the St. Wyth Cathedral——on the high platform.
The high platform was somewhat similar to the altar where the Grand Duke Grice held his coronation ceremony, but it was not the same.
He was drowning in a pool of blood, and those who were covered in black robes had come to the high platform from the choir and surrounded him. They raised their hands, their sleeves etched with fire and swords, and they all wore pale masks on their faces——except for one.
That person wore a black iron mask on his face.
The person wearing the black iron mask was holding a golden eagle-billed bottle in his hands, and gurgling blood poured out of the eagle’s beak and onto the King’s head.
They were here to kill him!
——This thought appeared in a flash.
The King instinctively wanted to break free from the Holy Pond, but the blood was wrapped around him, and he involuntarily felt that his consciousness was being split apart little by little. The pain gushing from the depths of the soul, the knife-like headaches, converged with the blood pouring from mid-air at this moment.
There was a buzzing sound in his ears.
If he died in this weird dream——if it was a dream——then he would truly be dead!
They, they were here to kill him!
Familiar feelings overlapped, everyone wanted him to die…..Those people, the people who were surrounding him at this moment! They had been entwining themselves around him like shadows for more than ten years, just to make him die completely!
It was these people!
The anger was intertwined with the feeling of having his soul tear and shatter, and the King tried hard to lift his hand from the water.
——Those royal family members who survived with gritted their teeth roared past in his mind.
He didn’t want to die!
“Holy, holy! Sword of Ten Thousand Armies!”
The man holding the golden eagle-billed bottle chanted in a deep voice.
“Holy, holy! Sword of Ten Thousand Armies!”
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The other people in black robes stretched out their hands, and the fire on their sleeves burst into flames, and they each grabbed a long sword out from the fire.
The King was surrounded by blood, his pupils reflecting the long swords slashing down towards him.
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