TWB (Novel) Chapter 127

C127

As soon as he returned to the Arno estate, Zachary didn't have much time to talk with Bianca because he had to leave early the next morning, and the rest of the time was dedicated to his marital relations.

Therefore, Zachary didn't know the meaning of the existence of a Saint and why the church supported the Saint wholeheartedly.

Since he didn't know what choice the Church would make in the face of a Saint, Zachary decided not to judge or expect too much. War remained a place filled with uncertainties. As such, all the things he would consider in war had to be certainties.

Zachary, who was preoccupied with his thoughts inside the quarters, let out a deep sigh. Despite the complicated circumstances around him, what he had to do was determined.

To win and return to the territory with victory. And to embrace Bianca and kiss every corner of her body...

Solely in honor of that day, Zachary convinced himself severely. He confessed his heart after a thousand difficulties, so he couldn't like the current situation where she was thrust onto the battlefield as soon as he did so.

The candle illuminating the interior of the quarters flickered, casting its shadow on the tent. Along with it, a shadow fell over his face.

At that moment, the fabric covering the entrance to the quarters was opened. The person who entered rudely without asking permission from Zachary was Robert.

He would have expected it to be Sauveur, but not Robert, who used to be polite.

Robert, who entered the quarters, shouted with a clear look of excitement.

—Count. Reinforcements from Sevran have arrived!

—Reinforcements...?

Zachary, who didn't expect reinforcements to arrive, jumped from his seat. Who the hell would come in this situation? Rather, it made more sense for Jacob to have planted spies. Ordering a dagger to be plunged into Zachary's back at a crucial moment...

Zachary panicked and questioned Robert, who couldn't speak easily.

—Who the hell is it?

—It's...

—I came here because reinforcements were requested.

Before Robert could answer, the tent opened again. Zachary's eyes widened at the unfamiliar but familiar voice.

There stood an unexpected opponent that Zachary had never had in mind. The other party, as always, spoke with a bright and relaxed smile.

—Even if you're a tiger, you want to borrow the hand of a rabbit when you're cornered. I came here to see if I could be of any help. I don't know if it will help the hero's prestige, but...

—Count of Davoville.

The curved eyes were quite political. Not a single word that praised Zachary was spoken in vain.

Indeed, Zachary and Davoville weren't very close. As members of the same faction of the First Prince, they knew of each other's existence, but that was all.

To be honest, the Count of Davoville that Zachary knew was a man driven by profits rather than loyalty. Since the First Prince died, he thought that Davoville would desperately remain neutral even if he didn't fall into the faction of the Second Prince.

But he came to support Zachary. This meant that he had absolutely no intention of taking sides with the Second Prince's faction.

Of course, the Count of Davoville could have fallen under Jacob's instigation, but that probably wasn't the case. The Count of Davoville was a difficult opponent, and you never knew what he was thinking, but he wasn't light enough to go out on his own to strike the back of his opponent's head.

Although Count Davoville was a resident son-in-law, he was a man of known dignity and honor.

Perhaps he saw some possibility on Prince Albert's side.

Zachary set aside his complicated thoughts for a moment and welcomed Count Davoville, who had traveled all the way for him.

"I'm so glad you've come."

"I feel honored to receive the hospitality of the hero."

Count Davoville, Marceau, also smiled. The gentle snake-like smile remained on his face as usual.

As Zachary had guessed, Marceau did not come here to act as Jacob's spy. Nor was it out of loyalty to the late Prince Gautier.

Marceau came to support Zachary due to their intertwined and beneficial relationships. Among them, the fact that Bianca was the only friend of his beloved wife, Catherine, continued to influence him.

Of course, if that had been the case, he would have fulfilled his duty and cause by sending appropriate reinforcements instead of leading the army directly.

The reason Marceau dared to join Zachary's reinforcements in person was because he recently learned the identity of the Saint who shook the capital.

How surprised he was when he first discovered that Bianca's identity was that of a Saint!

It was not easy to connect her with a Saint, even if he put aside his thoughts about the woman named Bianca.

If Marceau, who discovered her identity, reacted like that, it was natural that no one would have thought Bianca was a Saint.

The existence of a Saint unknown even to the king. It was no coincidence that Marceau discovered Bianca was a Saint.

That being said, it was not through a background check on the Saint, let alone a background check on Bianca. No background check was done in the first place.

However, Marceau had some connections on the church side in a fairly high position.

Marceau was the illegitimate son of a cardinal.

Being an illegitimate child was a perfect fact to be criticized, especially if the father was a cardinal. So people around him remained silent about his birth, and Marceau, not content with it, spoke about the matter.

Still, the background of the cardinal was quite wealthy. The cardinal, who considered Marceau as his successor, made Marceau learn all the aristocratic skills. A dignified attitude, not lacking in culture, a good education... as a child, Marceau was nothing less than a nobleman's son.

Frankly, if Marceau were not intelligent and agile, perhaps there would not have been such support. He heard that the cardinal actually had other children besides Marceau, but it was questionable if they had the same support as him.

He despised such a cardinal, but as he was in a situation where he needed the cardinal's support, he covered his face with pretenses. As an illegitimate child, he knew that it was best for him to follow the path laid out by the cardinal.

However, he grew up hearing that he was a child whose inner self could not be understood or that he was like a venomous snake due to his critical and pessimistic attitude.

One day, while preparing to become a priest, he met Catherine, the young Countess Davoville, who came to the church for Mass.

In front of Catherine, he received a revelation as if the sun shone and illuminated the future of his life. The whole process by which he was born and trained as a priest seemed to be only for the purpose of meeting her.

Was this truly God's arrangement? For the first time that day, Marceau felt his heart overflowing with loyalty.

However, Catherine was the daughter of a Count, and Marceau was the illegitimate son of the cardinal. As usual, he was an opponent with nothing to offer. If Catherine didn't want a resident son-in-law...

Fortunately, Count Daboville was considering adopting a pedigreed son-in-law who was intelligent and had a decent status, but he was having trouble finding one. Although Marceau was an illegitimate child, his father's status replaced his lineage.

Still, it wasn't a marriage that caught Count Davoville's attention. This sweet marriage wouldn't have been possible if Catherine didn't blush and timidly confess to Count Davoville that she liked Marceau.

The cardinal's side tried to solidify their influence in the Church by establishing him as his successor, so they didn't like his marriage. However, Count Davoville came from a fairly prestigious family in Sevran, and being a resident son-in-law wasn't a lost business for the cardinal.

And now, he saw the virtue in it.

Archbishop Francis's recent momentum wasn't a joke. It was only a matter of time before he became a cardinal, as he revealed that a Saint had appeared in Sevran and even consecrated the Saint, and in a way, there were voices saying that he could even become Pope.

The cardinal couldn't just watch that happen.

He wanted to have even a little control over the Saint, and to do that, he immediately contacted his son, Marceau. The identity of the Saint was Bianca, and the essence was that he should do whatever he could to help her and create a bridge.

If Bianca owes a debt to Marceau or approaches her husband, she can prevent Francis from becoming Pope, even if he becomes a cardinal.

The Cardinal trusted and entrusted Marceau, but Marceau, who didn't like it very much, could only laugh.

But it was important to maintain a connection with the Saint. Not as the illegitimate son of the Cardinal, but as the Count of Davoville.

The Count's family was in debt. It was an opportunity to escape from the cardinal, and above all, it was his beautiful wife's family. Marceau had the duty and responsibility to make the Davoville family prosperous.

That was the reason why Marceau joined the war to help Zachary.

Zachary and Marceau held hands tightly. It was an alliance between two men who would give their heads if it came to their wives.

------

Aragon was an excellent cavalry force, and there was no one around who could match them. They were natural predators.

But then Zachary appeared.

Zachary's Knights were the only cavalry capable of opposing and surpassing Aragon. After Zachary went to war, Aragon's momentum slowed down, and Zachary was able to record a winning streak in the war against Aragon.

But this time, it was difficult to utilize his strength, the cavalry. The strength of the cavalry lay in excellent mobility and attack power, but in comparison to that, it lacked defense. As long as he didn't know how long the war would last, one or two soldiers were precious.

In that case, joining with a small number of infantry was equivalent to giving them the infantry as food.

It wasn't easy to come up with a plan due to the insufficient amount of military personnel. So, while thinking about what to do, the reinforcements from Count Davoville arrived, and it was like a light rain during a drought.

The troops led by Count Davoville numbered a thousand soldiers. Zachary's army consisted of three thousand soldiers. The current military strength of Aragon was over five thousand. And Aragon would continue to receive support from its homeland, so the support was not enough to turn the tide.

That's why Zachary was desperate and grateful for the thousand soldiers from Count Davoville.

It was difficult to face five thousand with three thousand, but it was worth it to face five thousand with four thousand. Besides, they also had a geographical advantage.

There were several small shallow ridges on the battlefield. Among them, the place where Zachary positioned himself was the largest ridge with a mountain behind it.

Zachary left behind the mountains and stationed his troops downhill. With two thousand infantry and five hundred cavalry, the archers were divided into three groups of five hundred each, and the longbows, infantry, and cavalry were deployed alternately.

The Aragonese army also faced them and reorganized their forces. The two armies clashed fiercely.

Everything was ready. Mounted on a black horse covered with scale armor, Zachary wore a black cape with a black wolf engraved on a silver shield, the family's shield, the black wolf.

Zachary closed his mouth and looked around. His black eyes, gazing at the battlefield that would change destiny after a while, fluttered with the heat of war.

How much time had passed?

Soon the sun rose.

The moment the world filled with light was the prelude to a war in which the light of life would be extinguished.

It was Aragon's cavalry that advanced first. Their horses arrogantly charged toward the archers.

But in front of the archers, there was a trap with a pit and a barrier of logs. When Aragon paused for a moment, Zachary shouted.

"Archers, aim! Fire!"

The archers raised their longbows in unison, pulled their strings, and released their arrows. The arrows shot up into the sky and pierced the Aragonese army simultaneously.

Aragon also had archers. The commander of the Aragonese army hurriedly kicked the rear of an archer.

"Fire! Now!"

The Aragonese archers nocked their arrows. However, the bows of the Aragonese army had a relatively shorter range than those of Sevran, and they were positioned below the ridge. Needless to say, shooting a bow from below upwards is more difficult. Aragon's arrows did not produce very significant results.

"Infantry! The infantry's flank is empty! Go that way!"

Unlike the archers who were protected behind their traps, the infantry was relatively clearly visible. The place where the infantry was located shamelessly lured the Aragonese troops like an exposed treasure chest.

Confused, Aragon's cavalry charged towards the infantry under the commander's orders. But even as they approached the infantry, they were exposed to the archers' attack.

Even if the cavalry reached the infantry's front, things wouldn't be easy. Initially, the infantry had excellent defense. The cavalry couldn't easily defeat the infantry as long as they clashed head-on instead of attacking from the side or rear of the infantry.

The infantry held their ground, and the arrows rained down on Aragon's cavalry. It was nothing more than a meaningless war of attrition.

The Aragonese army attempted to charge a dozen times under the rain of arrows, but they did not disrupt the Arno army's line at all. The war was undoubtedly a great victory for the Arno army.

"That damn wolf...! Retreat! Retreat!"

The commander gritted his teeth and looked at Zachary, giving the order to retreat. Today's battle had come to an end. It would be better to reorganize the troops, bring reinforcements, and face them again.

The exhausted Aragonese army began to retreat upon the commander's orders.

Seeing the Aragonese army dispersing, Zachary exclaimed hastily.

"Don't let them retreat! This time they must be completely annihilated!"

If they lose this opportunity, they will also come up with a plan. To capitalize on the victory, they had to root them out completely.

However, as the strength of Aragon was their cavalry, their retreat speed was fast. The army of Arno, lacking mobility compared to the Aragonese army, could not catch up to them.

Zachary impatiently tightened the reins of his horse. If only the cavalry were sent, they could catch up, but if he made a wrong move, the cavalry could become isolated. Besides, what if it's a trap?

A decision had to be made quickly. Zachary's mind spun over and over, reassessing the risks and potential gains.

At that moment, the retreat speed of the Aragonese forces began to slow down. The rear of Aragon was in turmoil. Zachary squinted his eyes to see what was happening.

The distance that had been far away was getting closer and closer. Only then did the army of Arno realize what was happening behind the Aragonese army.

"Those are...!"

Everyone opened their eyes. One or two white-clad soldiers appeared on the opposite ridge. As the soldiers kept appearing, it was enough to surround all the retreating Aragonese forces.

All the new soldiers wore pure white tunics. The pure white tunic without a pattern was a symbol of a noble god, and only the Paladins could wear it. Everyone who recognized them shouted together.

"The Paladins!"

Everyone had heard the rumors that a saint had appeared in Sevran. It was obvious which side the Paladins would be on. The faces of the forces of Arno were covered in hope, and those of Aragon were covered in despair.

Still, it was questionable why the Paladins had appeared here. Sauveur and Robert stood there, gaping, as if they couldn't believe the situation.

Marceau, who knew that Bianca was a Saint, was also surprised. He thought the Paladins would come, but he didn't expect them to arrive so soon. That meant Bianca's swift judgment quickly sought the Order of Paladins from the Church. Clearly, it didn't seem like she had become a Saint in vain.

If she hadn't come in a hurry, Marceau's support would have been overshadowed by the support of the Paladins, and its significance would have faded. Marceau, who was able to show his support, breathed a small sigh of relief inside.

Marceau was not the only one to notice how rushed Bianca had been for Zachary. Zachary laughed bitterly. He didn't want to do anything to worry her, but he ended up receiving help like this.

"Thank you, Bianca...!"

He couldn't let the opportunity of 10 million gold she gave him go to waste. Zachary drew his sword from his waist and shouted.

"The will of God is with us! Sevran! Advance for the victory of God!"

With Zachary's order, the army of Arno shouted and ran towards Aragon. As the army of Arno moved, there was also movement from the Paladins' side. Their horses descended from the ridge at once. The Paladins pushed Aragon like a white tidal wave.

Meanwhile, all Aragon could do was fall into disarray. In the end, Aragon fell to the ground one by one, and the only ones left standing on the battlefield were the Army of Arno and the Paladins.

Compared to the multitude of problems they faced before the war, the battle of that day ended quickly. For Zachary, it was not in vain. It was because he could feel how desperate Bianca was for him.

In the face of the overwhelming victory and the reassuring reinforcements, all the troops of Arno shouted. Zachary watched the army of Arno revel in their victory and whispered quietly with a smile on his lips.

—Today's victory is for you, Bianca.
-
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