TWB (Novel) Chapter 133

C133

The day was long. Darkness descended, and the war temporarily fell into a pause. The soldiers took this opportunity to sleep. However, as much as they couldn't let go of the tension while sleeping, the accumulated fatigue in their bodies couldn't be completely relieved.

As soon as Gaspard took off his helmet, Bianca had Vincent check on Gaspard. Vincent, who had some medical knowledge, carefully examined Gaspard's condition.

"The scar on the forehead is not as severe as I thought, but the shoulder... You won't be able to use your right arm for a while. The bone is dislocated."

Vincent clicked his tongue, tightly binding Gaspard's arm with bandages. Tightening the injured area with a bandage would be painful, but Gaspard responded firmly, without flinching.

"There's no problem in leading."

"But we don't know when the war will end. There's still a long way to go before the Count returns... Meanwhile, it's very dangerous to resist with just one arm."

"But I can't leave the front line, can I? Currently, there's no one in Arno to replace me. Don't worry. The war is still far from becoming hand-to-hand combat."

Despite Vincent's concerns, Gaspard seemed determined. Vincent's wrinkled cheeks twitched. Considering Gaspard's injury, he had to stop him, but as Gaspard said, there was no one to replace him. It was very sad that he had to see him go to war instead of resting.

Vincent was not the only one feeling guilty. Bianca's complexion darkened as she watched Gaspard receive treatment. Bianca stared at the bandages that bound Gaspard's arm because of her. Bianca's hand gripped her skirt.

"I've been wandering around aimlessly, that's why..."

"No, Madam."

Vincent hastily denied it. Since the beginning of the war, Vincent had been surprised by Bianca time and time again. To be honest, Vincent would have been very grateful if Bianca had sought refuge in a safe place and hadn't insisted on living a normal life.

But Bianca continued to work. The eyes of the people in the territory widened as they watched her wander through the battlefield.

Seeing her suffer, even as a Saint, a state in which she shouldn't even have to dirty her hands with a drop of water, lifted the morale of the people de Arno and inspired the war atmosphere.

Moreover, they escaped a crisis several times due to her sharp judgment. He had no idea that the young wife would fare so well in the war. She was a perfect example as the representative of the lord.

Gaspard thought the same. Gaspard's eyes were fixed on Bianca.

"Madam, you have been braver than anyone. It is the duty of your vassals to take care of you."

Gaspard looked at his bandaged right arm. The tips of his fingers were numb, and he had no strength. But considering what he had been protecting with these hands, he had no regrets at all.

Gaspard looked at Bianca and said.

"And thank you for saving Yvonne."

He saw it. He thought she wouldn't have noticed it because of the chaotic atmosphere. Bianca opened her mouth to say that it was only natural and that Yvonne was precious to her too.

But she didn't say anything. Something got stuck in her throat. Bianca's neck shook violently. At that moment, Bianca didn't know the true nature of her overwhelming emotions. She simply remained silent and gave strength to her eyes as she felt a slight burning sensation in them.

It was the feeling of accomplishment for having done something with her own hands for the first time and the pride of being recognized as the true Countess de Arno.

She had never felt it in the past, and how much she had desired it.

-----------

When bad things happen, good things follow. After Gaspard's injury, she was terrified for a while, and then unexpected reinforcements arrived. It was Bianca's brother, Johaseng Blanchefort.

Upon realizing who the reinforcements were, Bianca quickly told them to lower the drawbridge alongside them and let them into the castle.

"Bianca!"

"Brother!"

The siblings embraced for a long time. The young and handsome knight, indignant that his sister's territory had been invaded, rode his horse hastily. With flushed white cheeks, he looked at Bianca and asked with concern.

"Are you alright? Are you injured? Why do you look like this?"

"The territory has been invaded. As the lord's wife, I cannot stay idle."

Johaseng felt proud of such Bianca, but at the same time, he was also saddened. It was heartbreaking to see the girl, who had always worn only precious things and had never set foot in a dusty place, greet him with tattered sleeves and a stained skirt hem.

"Brother, how is Crown Prince Albert? Is he safe?"

"Don't worry, Father is with him."

"But Father..."

He was too old to rely on Gustave as an escort. Besides, wasn't he an official? It has been decades since he held a sword.

Bianca anxiously looked at the army brought by Johaseng. It wasn't a very large number, and there were only two knights, Johaseng, his servant, and another knight. Perhaps the remaining soldiers and knights were protecting Crown Prince Albert, but she couldn't help but feel anxious.

"Don't worry. My father and I know how important Prince Albert is."

"Even if something goes wrong with the Crown Prince..."

"Even if things go wrong, my family won't regret this choice, Bianca. We can't lose you anymore!"

Johaseng exclaimed with determination. They have made foolish decisions many times before.

After marrying Bianca into the Arno family, they deliberately distanced themselves from Bianca. It was because it was obvious that they would only hear news of her crying. Count Arno was a trustworthy man, so they felt more comfortable believing that he would take good care of Bianca.

What was the result? He tried to approach Bianca later, but she simply turned her back on them. When he thinks of the moment when he almost lost Bianca by chance, his heart still races.

He can't undo something like that. Moreover, this time, isn't it really a moment where her life is in danger?

His face, looking at Bianca with a closed mouth, was exactly the same as when Bianca was stubborn.

He reconciled with his family, but the core that had remained deep in his heart was instantly released. Bianca's eyes, feeling touched by the pale green eyes that were looking at her, were red.

Her tear glands seem to have weakened these days. That's why she wouldn't have anything to refute Zachary. Bianca asked, holding back the tears that were welling up.

"I ordered no contact with Blanchefort, how did you know?"

"Princess Odelli informed me."

!!

Bianca's eyes widened at the unexpected name. It was just at the moment when she was still awaiting Princess Odelli's response. Johaseng smiled faintly and explained the situation to his younger sister.

"Princess Odelli, who received the letter you sent, immediately called my father and me. Because she judged it would be difficult for you."

Bianca's letter described the current situation of Jacob invading Arno territory and that there was some kind of relationship between Jacob and Aragon.

Bianca didn't want reinforcements. Because the capital was not in a situation where she could hastily move an army. That's why Blanchefort was asked to escort Prince Albert separately.

What Bianca asked Odelli to do was to find evidence to prove Jacob's relationship with Aragon and persuade the king to expel Jacob from the royal court.

More precisely, it was closer to obtaining the right to kill him.

Nobles cannot kill royalty. That's why she told Zachary to assassinate him during the war. They have no justification to kill Jacob unless they kill him in secret, even if he invaded Arno territory.

The war will end with the victory of the Arno army and the capture of Jacob. Since he is a member of the royalty, and the king rules over the royal family, if Jacob puts up a suitable excuse there...

The king, who had already lost a son recently, was anxious, volatile, and emotional. She couldn't be sure that he wouldn't show mercy in a situation where he also had to kill his remaining son.

However, if there was evidence of Jacob's affiliation with Aragon, the story would be different. No king could defend Jacob when it is revealed that Jacob had been responsible for Aragon's strangely obsessive invasion in recent years.

Of course, there were also variables. If her father and other aristocrats moved, it was right to misinterpret that they had framed Jacob for the benefit of Prince Albert. It was something that could be nullified by treason if done improperly.

That's why Odelli had to intervene. She was a member of the royal family and was the daughter the king loved most. He would believe her words and expel Jacob from the royal family. That alone was enough.

-----

However, as a princess, there were limits to her movements. She could move the royal servants, but only within that scope.

That's why she borrowed the hands of the Blanchefort family, and in the process, they discovered that the Arno estate had been invaded. Johaseng added, trying to reassure Bianca.

"The princess told me not to worry too much because she will find evidence of the relationship between Jacob and Aragon even if she has to storm the royal palace in Lahoz."

"We need it before the war ends."

She felt relieved that Princess Odelli had accepted her proposal, but she was still nervous.

It was because Jacob had to be expelled from the royal family before the war ended, so that the Arno family could punish him for the crime of invading their property. If the time is delayed even a little, the judgment of this war will be carried out by the king.

Then Jacob would have to be transported to the capital, and in the process, they had to consider the possibility of him making a cowardly move. Not only that, but if Jacob escapes after the royal family's verdict... It would be a matter of leaving behind the root of the problem. Just thinking about it was exhausting.

The types of thoughts Bianca had when reporting Jacob's betrayal, Odelli must have been picking up on them as if reading the palm of her hand. Because she is a wise woman. If Jacob ascends to the throne, Odelli will be sent to a monastery, so she will also feel relieved to dismiss the possibility of Jacob becoming king.

If Odelli is determined to trace Jacob's tracks, she will find something. Whether it's evidence of his alliance with Aragon or evidence of Gautier's murder.

Bianca now had no choice but to trust Odelli.

--------

Viscount Huegh left the headquarters, deliberately leaving the lace on the table. He intended to bother them by leaving the lace behind.

The delicate lace placed on the rough table was truly peculiar.

What Viscount Huegh had in mind when bringing the lace was clear to the eyes of those who remained in the headquarters. Robert, Sauveur, Count Davoville, and even the commander of the Holy Knights, Henry, agreed that this was clearly a trap.

"It's very suspicious. Why would the lady's handkerchief that should be safely in Arno territory be here?"

"I suppose he wanted to create the situation that the lady was kidnapped."

Sauveur shrugged. Henry added that it seemed absurd.

"It's clear that he intends to seduce us in that way, arousing anxieties about the Holy Lady's safety. But it's so obvious. Who would be fooled here?"

"It's quite strange to play such an obvious trick. I can't believe he thought this lace alone would make us fall for it... Why don't we ignore Viscount Huegh's words, Count Arno?"

Amidst strong assertions around him, Zachary approached the lace. The delicate and unique patterns woven by Bianca were felt on Zachary's rough fingertips.

"If it's not an invented situation, and it's really a kidnapping..."

Zachary murmured softly. Zachary, who had calmly held his center of gravity no matter what the opponent came up with until now, showed signs of anxiety this time. Confused, Robert hurriedly added,

"Is it possible? Think about it, Count. If there were any problem with the lady, Gaspard or Vincent would have sent a letter, they would have sent it immediately."

"However, it can't be completely ignored. If this is really the handkerchief she dropped..."

Zachary also knew this was a trap. But he couldn't overlook this lace handkerchief.

No matter how far Zachary was from luxury, he could sense the difference between what Bianca had woven and what she hadn't. From the beginning, the splendor itself was different. He was convinced that this must have been Bianca's own weaving.

That is, even if Bianca hadn't dropped the handkerchief, it was as if Viscount Huegh could get close enough to her to steal her belongings. In such a situation, would she be safe?

Although he left Gaspard on the estate just in case, there were still many things that troubled him.

It made Zachary anxious and impulsive. Zachary also knew that was Viscount Huegh's intention in showing the handkerchief, but he couldn't easily control his mind.

Zachary's anxiety infected those in the headquarters. Everyone remained silent.

Zachary was right. Unfortunately, they don't have evidence that this is false.

His eyes trembled, not knowing if Bianca was safe in the castle. What if she says everything is fine, but something happens to Bianca?

The value at stake on the scale was too great to take lightly.

Henry, the commander of the Paladins, also appeared impatient. As he participated in the battle under the orders of the Holy Maiden to save Zachary, he had to actively oppose this incident that could endanger Zachary. However, as the well-being of the Holy Maiden was at stake, he couldn't decide what to do.

Instead of ignoring Huegh's words, they suggested another solution.

"What about torturing Viscount Huegh? We can make him talk."

"He might give us false information, though. Why don't we check the surroundings by selecting a few soldiers instead of going personally, Count?"

Several opinions arose, but Zachary slowly shook his head in response to each suggestion.

"If I don't see it with my own eyes anyway, I will still be anxious."

"However... there will be traps."

"I know."

Zachary replied firmly. It was a voice that had already made a decision.

Unlike Bianca's uncertain safety, the certainty was that there was a trap where he claimed to have picked up that handkerchief. If it weren't for that, there would be no reason for Huegh to come close by staging such a play.

However, there are moments in life when you have to walk on your own even though you know it's a trap.

And for Zachary, that's what this moment was about.

-------

Eventually, they decided to take a look at what Viscount Huegh had said. With Viscount Huegh leading the way, Zachary headed directly to the Calya forest.

As they groped their way through the dense forest, Viscount Huegh clicked his tongue at Jacob's intuition. Everything happened as Jacob said. If Zachary acts like this...

Viscount Huegh fell into the dream of becoming a count.

"Are you sure you know where it went?"

Sauveur shivered as he saw Viscount Huegh, who seemed to be thinking about something else. Viscount Huegh's face turned red in response to his tone filled with blatant sarcasm. A plebeian knight dared to...

"Of course, I remember! Who do you think I am?"

"No, I was just worried because it seemed like you were going down a path you had never seen before. Why are you so angry?"

Sauveur asked sarcastically with a sly smile. Viscount Huegh struggled to suppress the curse that was about to come out. It would be over if Zachary noticed anything strange. Viscount Huegh awkwardly smiled and responded with a friendly smile.

"Don't worry. It's just a little further."

It wasn't a lie. Viscount Huegh looked around. If they continued, they would find a narrow and rugged forest path. It was the place where the soldiers were positioned in advance.

Due to its topographical characteristics, the Arno army couldn't maintain its formation and would have to form a long line. When the Arno troops entered the forest to a certain extent, he planned to attack them with the ambushed soldiers.

And if Aragon invaded from behind, the rearguard would scatter, leaving only Zachary and a few isolated soldiers.

And Viscount Huegh's goal was to assassinate Zachary, taking advantage of the chaos. No matter how much of a war hero he was, this time he wouldn't be able to escape.

But seriously... will this plan really work? Viscount Huegh, unable to shake off his anxiety, looked at Zachary who was following him.

His face, silently leading the horse, was calm as if he knew everything about his intentions.

"Perhaps... perhaps they found me out?

A cold sweat ran down Viscount Huegh's back. Just the thought of it made his skin crawl. Viscount Huegh took a deep breath.

"No. It can't be. It's just my imagination. That child's face has always been like this. The reason he looks so casual right now is probably because he knows nothing."

Zachary has been like that since childhood. Even if Viscount Huegh intimidated him, he never screamed and only looked at him with those cold black eyes. As if he wasn't even worth dealing with... Standing in front of those eyes, Viscount Huegh used to feel an unpleasant sensation of becoming infinitely smaller.

"He's a repugnant bastard who thinks he's the best."

The heart of Viscount Huegh burned again as he recalled the events of his childhood. Yes. Now is the time to put an end to his misery. Viscount Huegh's lips curled up maliciously.

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