TWB (Novel) Chapter 129

C129

When Jacob heard the news, he was so excited that he couldn't even breathe.

Simultaneous attacks against Aragon, unprecedented support... The intervention of the Paladins was so significant that they set up a triple obstacle to stop Zachary!

However, if the only news that reached him was the involvement of the Paladins in the war and Zachary's subsequent victory, he would have merely gritted his teeth because he was disgustingly lucky, and he wouldn't have trembled with the sense of betrayal he felt as if he had been struck in the back of the head with a hammer.

Bianca was the saint who tried to find out who she was in every possible direction to prevent the Paladins from intervening. He felt horrified by the disappointment.

Jacob closed his eyes and thought of Bianca. Her white face, full of features, was surprisingly cold when he looked at her, and at first glance, there was even hostility.

Bianca had a fierce charm that was quite different from the typical beauty of Sevran. Jacob fell in love with her at first sight.

However, there were moments when he suddenly had to think objectively.

What was so special about her that captured his heart? Was it just her appearance? Was that why he was so moved by the desire to have her?

Jacob didn't consider himself such a sordid and callous human being. He thought there must be some other reason that he wasn't aware of...

And now he knows why. Somehow, she was so coveted. His instinct was to notice her uniqueness from the beginning.

He must have also been chosen by God to be king. That's why he was so attracted to her. The idea of that made him even more annoyed with Zachary.

"If it weren't for him...! He's just lucky. Perhaps, knowing that Bianca was a saint, he forced her to send the Paladins. A hero who borrows power from his wife, does he even have any pride?"

But Jacob didn't have time to blame Zachary.

Defeat after defeat. When the Paladins also intervened, Aragon, which had barely cheered up with Gautier's death, tried to slip away again.

They also expressed regret, saying that they were not against the Church. Aragon was also a religious kingdom. They showed extreme reluctance to oppose Count Arno and the Paladins who protect the Saint. No matter how greedy they were for Sevran, can they go against the will of God?

"Anyway, those indecisive bastards...!"

If Aragon turns around like this, they will have neither this nor that. How can Jacob not understand his father's intentions to hand over the throne to the young Albert? It would be good if he could become Albert's regent, but if someone else takes his place....

Now that Bianca turned out to be the Saint, perhaps the king will appoint Zachary as regent for Albert, even to attract the power of the Church. That's why he can't allow that to happen. Jacob had to somehow convince Aragon to continue the attack.

And there was only one way to convince Aragon... It was an unavoidable choice, but Jacob quite liked the method.

On the way, Jacob secretly summoned the nobles who followed him. Since they were all sensitive, they moved quickly at Jacob's call. In such a gathering of nobles, Jacob made a shocking proposal.

"The Count Arno's fiefdom...? Do you want to attack it?"

"Not against Count Arno, his territory".

Jacob calmly responded with a clear voice to the astonished noble. In the face of his natural demeanor, the nobles looked at each other in disbelief.

They had also heard rumors that Bianca was a Saint. Would they gain anything by attacking such a Saint? Moreover, the Arno territory... Zachary's presence and prestige were overshadowed by the estate.

"Anyway, there aren't many soldiers in the Arno territory. All the soldiers there were gathered and taken by Count Arno. It won't be that difficult."

Jacob, who knew their thoughts as if he were reading the palm of his hand, reassured them with a soft and mocking voice. One of them, who only understood after realizing that Zachary was not there, cautiously asked Jacob.

"...Why do you want to attack Arno's territory, Your Highness?"

"Everyone knows very well that his wife is known as a Saint."

They all nodded anxiously. Knowing that Countess Arno was a Saint, attacking Arno's territory... They hoped he didn't intend to harm her. If that happened, it would truly be a full-scale war with the Church. It was clear that Jacob would be subjugated by the Order of Paladins before winning the throne.

No matter how free-spirited Jacob was, they hoped he wouldn't make such a reckless decision. Did the phrase "attack the territory" have a different figurative meaning?

But the next words Jacob uttered were terrible.

"We'll take her."

The aristocrats then experienced being rendered speechless when extremely surprised.

There was a moment of silence.

The nobles, who realized too late what Jacob's words meant, trembled in terror and raised their voices.

"But... Going against the Saint is going against God, isn't it? If God gets angry..."

"To threaten the Saint is a bit..."

"Who said we will treat her harshly? We'll just quietly bring her back. Can't God understand that much? It's just a security measure so that Count Arno won't point his sword at us."

Jacob hesitated and spoke harshly to the nobles who took a step back. Of course, his claim that he wouldn't treat Bianca harshly was an outright lie. Jacob's intention was to make Bianca his wife.

At first, he may be strongly rejected. It's clear that the Paladins will also rise, saying they have insulted the Saint.

But what if Bianca becomes Jacob's defender?

Fortunately, there is no heir between Bianca and Zachary. So, if Jacob kidnaps Bianca and impregnates her with his child, she will have no choice but to stand by Jacob, not Zachary. Even if Bianca hates Jacob, she won't hate her own child...

In addition, Zachary will also be horrified by Bianca for carrying another man's child, so Bianca's only option is to be in Jacob's arms.

After that, she could become his wife as long as he gets rid of Zachary... It wouldn't be bad for Bianca either. Isn't it obvious that being a queen is a much better position than being a countess?

If he obtains Bianca like that, it will be Jacob, not Zachary, who receives the protection of the Saint. The Paladins will also be on his side...

If he takes Bianca as his wife, he would be breaking the promise he made with Aragón. At first, he thought he would make Bianca his mistress, but... between a Saint and the princess of Aragón, it was clearly obvious that having Bianca as his wife was much better.

If his opponent is a Saint, Aragón will also understand breaking the contract. If he does, he can postpone the marriage in that way.

If they don't understand, it doesn't matter. There would be no need to continue the alliance with Aragón if the Paladins were on their side.

Aragón only needs to maintain the alliance until Bianca's heart changes. Jacob hid his nefarious intentions and put on a determined and solemn expression on his face.

"If Count Arno returns now, he will retaliate against you and me for not supporting him during the war. He will certainly hold a grudge against us."

Jacob said firmly. When the vassals, who were contemplating Zachary's retaliation, began to conflict, Jacob opened a breach among them.

"Perhaps Count Arno could be plotting to expel our Lahoz lineage and establish the Arno dynasty? Then we would be finished."

"The Arno dynasty? That makes no sense!"

"Blanchefort, the Saint's family, is a prestigious family, but Count Arno is the second son of a Knight. Doesn't his family even have a name?"

Unbeknownst to them, when they insulted his family, Viscount Huegh's face turned red. But none of them thought that Zachary's half-brother would be present.

Except Jacob.

Jacob looked at Viscount Huegh with intrigued eyes.

When the hall began to rumble, Jacob gently raised his hand. Then, in an instant, the nobles closed their mouths and fell silent. Jacob, who had captured the attention of the nobles, spoke solemnly.

"Count Arno is not a saint. The Saint is only his wife. It is not justified. Come to think of it, couldn't she be being used by her husband? Although she is an adult, she is still a child. If her husband told her to do it with a strong will, she would have no choice but to follow. We are giving her a little more freedom to choose, we are not deceiving God."

-----

Jacob now knew clearly that whether he won Bianca or not, it had to do with whether he ascended the throne or not.

She was his crown. He definitely needed to catch up. Come to think of it, that's how it should have been in the first place. From the moment she caught his attention, she was destined to be his wife...

In the face of Jacob's words, as fluid as water, the nobles nodded in incomprehension, as if they were possessed. Jacob, who looked around with a merciful smile, signaled that the time for decision had come.

"Those who agree with me will stay, and those who disagree may leave."

Most of them remained still, but a devout viscount who was not deceived by Jacob's words jumped from his seat indignantly.

"Still, I cannot bring myself to aim the tip of a sword at a Saint. I wish you the best of luck, but this is where I draw the line."

"I can't help it, Viscount of Oslo..."

Jacob shook his head sadly.

"Then you may leave. I won't dismiss you."

Jacob gladly let him go. The nobles looked at each other with a very refreshing attitude.

What? So there's no need to take the risk, right?

Some people who disagreed with Jacob's statement moved stealthily, trying to follow in the footsteps of Viscount Oslo.

But not long after Viscount Oslo left the room, a man's scream was heard.

"Aaargh!"

A desperate cry echoed in the secret meeting room. Startled and alarmed, they turned their heads towards the outside of the door. They couldn't see anything because the door was tightly shut, but they could imagine perfectly well what was happening outside the door.

Jacob was still smiling. His bright smile, inherited from the blood of Sevran, was as sweet as honey. Jacob asked with shining eyes, like a snake lurking in a flower garden.

"Anyone who wants to leave, please let me know. I will understand gladly."

Who could stand up? They were all stiff in their seats, unable to move.

Jacob calmly said, feigning innocence, even though he knew.

"I am deeply moved that your loyalty is like this. Then, I believe everyone here will follow my will."

Everything went as Jacob wished.

But he couldn't fully trust the nobles. Because he wasn't sure if any of them had a plan similar to Jacob's. Jacob was going to leave alone to make sure Bianca was in his hands.

It's not that he wasn't anxious to leave the capital. But the capital was empty. A father who couldn't move due to Gautier's death, a snobbish princess, a defenseless queen... There was nothing to worry about.

Whatever happens, it doesn't matter as long as I get Bianca.

Of course, he couldn't feel relieved just by having Bianca. Jacob hated to lose. As much as he wanted everything to go perfectly, he mistrusted it.

At that moment, another good idea came to his mind. Jacob's face darkened with sinister light.

----

As soon as Bianca learned that the territory had been invaded, she sat in front of the desk. She quickly placed parchment on the slanted wooden board and took out ink and a pen.

As she speculated, if Jacob invaded the territory now...

Bianca wrote a letter. As she hurriedly moved her hand, the tip of the pen scraped against the parchment, and ink splattered here and there. Drops of ink stained even her white fingers black. But she couldn't afford to worry about those things.

Bianca completed the letter in an instant, signed it at the end, and attached the lace. As soon as the well-sealed letter was ready, Yvonne approached with the messenger.

"This letter is for Princess Odelli."

It was the messenger who had delivered the letter to the Archbishop last time. At that time, he had accepted it skeptically, but now knowing that she was a saint, he accepted without hesitation the request to deliver a letter to the princess.

Realizing that the news Bianca was sending wasn't so good, he swiftly left.

Only Bianca and Yvonne remained in the room.

Yvonne shifted her feet and looked at Bianca anxiously. She couldn't really understand why they were contacting Odelli before Zachary.

Bianca, unable to even press her lips together, closed her eyes tightly and leaned back on her chair's backrest.

Bianca couldn't even read the number of troops, so if it were a letter for Zachary, Gaspard, or Vincent, they could convey the current situation in a more useful and objective way. That wasn't something she could do.

Bianca wrote a letter to Odelli about Jacob's invasion. Bianca could bet all her new season dresses that neither Odelli nor anyone in the imperial palace knew what Jacob was doing at that moment. Although, compared to usual, she hadn't bought many dresses.

Perhaps it wasn't Jacob who was at the forefront of the march towards Arno Castle on the distant plains. But he would have a lot to do with this incident. In the end, it was clear that he was behind those who invaded Arno.

So, in the capital without Jacob, there was something that Odelli had to do. Knowing Odelli, she would be wiser than anyone else...

Bianca chuckled. She had told Zachary that if he encountered Jacob in the war, he had to kill him, but it seemed she would be the first to face Jacob.

A war. She still couldn't believe it. It was so unfamiliar. Even in her dreams, she had a life far from war.

"What can I do on the battlefield... Is there such a thing? Maybe... Wouldn't it be more useful to just stay in this room?"

For a moment, negative thoughts crossed Bianca's mind. The sudden and unbearable reality left her defenseless. She was tired of thinking now.

But she couldn't stay like this. The place she was in was no longer the secure castle of Arno... It was as dangerous as standing still on a sinking ship.

Will she fall to the ground and regret it only after the castle is captured?

She didn't want to do that.

There would be absolutely nothing she couldn't do. Because God didn't make her a saint just to save Zachary and kill her.

Not only that. She was Zachary's wife. She was the wife of the lord who ruled the estate, and now that Zachary was gone, she had to take his place.

Bianca's eyes opened wide. Focus returned to her pale, pale green eyes. Bianca exerted force to hold onto the armrests of the chair and jumped out of her seat.

"For now, I'll have to see it with my own eyes."

"Madam!"

Yvonne startled and tried to stop her, but it was already too late. Bianca quickly stood up and left the room. Her movements were so fast that she couldn't even remember her usual slow steps. All Yvonne could do was drape a coat over Bianca's shoulders.

Bianca held the coat over her shoulders and ran up the stairs to the battlement. She was breathless and staggering, but her steps didn't slow down.

As Bianca climbed the wall, the cold winter wind mixed with snow struck her face. The snow that touched her white skin didn't even melt. Even in the cold, as if her skin had frozen, her mind was still confused. Bianca approached the thick wall and looked outside.

"Madam, be careful!"

Yvonne, whose face had turned pale, shouted at her precarious appearance. But Bianca couldn't hear it.

The white snow enveloped everything.

Sound and sight... Only the pure white world welcomed Bianca. Bianca squinted her eyes and tried to look beyond.

Far from her view, near the horizon, there was something like a fog. Looking more closely, Bianca could see that it was an army repeatedly raising and lowering their spears.

As Bianca stared at the scene, Gaspard, who was preparing for the defense on the battlement, saw her and hurriedly approached.

He was usually Bianca's escort, but after Zachary left the castle, he took charge of the castle's defense. At that moment, to be honest, he couldn't understand it.

The reason was that there hadn't been a single occasion in the ten years since Zachary received ownership of Arno, where Arno Castle had been invaded.

Therefore, he didn't expect this to happen at this moment.

Gaspard, who belatedly realized why Zachary was so anxious, let out a deep groan.

-
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