Episode 153

The End Of The War (2)
1 week ago
Click or tap inside the chapter body to show/hide the bottom settings

After days of marching, we finally returned to Villa Hora Castle, and our mercenary brothers erupted in cheers.

“Damn, we made it back alive! Beat the hell out of Baron Mauer’s 2,000-strong army!”

“Not even a glimpse of that damned Count Grunvald’s flag!”

“Let’s really rest now. Don’t care about anything else, just want to feel up the girls that the camp merchants bring around and relax…”

I nodded in agreement with that statement.

“There won’t be any battles for a while now. Honestly, after annihilating more than 2,000 of the enemy and making the rest of the 4,000 retreat, we shouldn’t be pushed any harder.”

Otto beside me shook his head in disbelief.

“If we do, we’re really going to start a big protest. Can’t take it anymore.”

“If they ask us to fight again upon our return, I’ll chop off Count Casano’s head and surrender to the Rheinfalz.”

Of course, since we have a contract with the Medici Republic, betraying them would mean the end of my mercenary life, but…

I think I might consider a way to get on Count Casano’s good side without getting caught about five times.

“Captain Martin of the White Unit, you’re really fiery.”

At that, I shrugged and smirked.

“A man’s got to be fiery, right? Fight fiercely in war, and be even more passionate at night.”

“Captain, you’ve been too fiery since your rookie days, that was the problem. Personally, I wish you were a bit colder.”

“How can I be when the world won’t leave me alone? Ah, but I could cut down on buying you guys drinks frequently.”

The others, including Otto, looked serious at that remark.

“Ah, that would be a bit. Honestly, we live for the taste of drinking and sex.”

“If you cut that down, we might even move to another unit.”

“With the Martin White Unit having a higher chance of dying compared to others, you can’t take away such small pleasures.”

Our mercenary unit has established many distinguished achievements compared to others.

Thanks to that, even the lowest ranks in the Whitebeard Mercenary Group have seen a decent amount of money.

“The price for that is a relatively high casualty rate, never knowing when you might die.”

It’s true that the White Unit I belong to has the highest casualty rate among our mercenary units.

“Just kidding, you think I’d cut down on buying drinks knowing you guys are crazy about it?”

“You’re truly fiery. I’ll follow you for life.”

“You’re not loyal to me, but to the alcohol, Otto?”

“Have you realized it now? I do worship Deus, but among the things He created, alcohol and women are the greatest. Of course, I’m loyal.”

As we chatted and walked, the walls of Villa Hora Castle came into view.

Without any battles, only a minimal guard should be on the walls…

“Senior Karin, am I seeing things wrong? Why are there so many soldiers on the walls?”

“That’s what I’m wondering. But the flag on the castle is indeed that of Count Casano, and the soldiers do seem to be standing quite laxly. It wouldn’t be an enemy’s tactic.”

Certainly, whether it’s Count Grunvald or anyone else from the Rheinfalz Empire’s nobility, if they had taken the castle, they wouldn’t be welcoming our mercenary unit with such a slack attitude.

‘Why are they doing that?’

As I pondered, the castle gates opened wide.

From the opened gates, mercenaries came out solemnly, creating a path for us to pass through with their gleaming spears and swords.

Musicians with trumpets and drums, flag bearers from various mercenary groups lined up in a row.

Dalton chuckled and murmured upon seeing this.

“Count Casano, this guy knows style. To hold even a simple victory parade for a mere mercenary unit like us.”

A victory parade, in most cases, is conducted after a large-scale war between nations, marching the victorious regular army to the capital or a nearby major city.

Then, by mobilizing countless citizens in the major city to throw flowers and confetti, celebrating the victorious army, mercenaries like us wouldn’t usually have the honor to participate in such a glorious event unless it was a very special case…

‘To think we’d be having even a simple victory parade.’

The others around also realized the situation and couldn’t hide their excitement, starting to jump around ecstatically.

Otto, standing next to me, exclaimed in admiration, looking at the troops lined up in front of the castle.

“To live and receive such treatment, glad I survived.”

Lucia’s eyes widened, and she swayed her tail, clearly pleased.

“If we keep following the captain of the White Unit, perhaps we’ll get to see a real victory parade one day?”

As she marveled, the military band began to play their instruments loudly.

“Count Casano has granted the Whitebeard Mercenary Group, who defeated Baron Mauer’s 2,000 soldiers and repelled Count Grunvald’s 4,000 troops, permission for a ceremonial march! Everyone, follow the path into the castle.”

Upon hearing this, Dalton bellowed in a resonant voice.

“It’s time to march in style using the formations Martin taught us! Gather in four columns!”

The previously disorderly troops snapped into a neatly organized four-column formation at his command.

Naturally, Captain Dalton, our mercenary leader, took the lead.

“Stand tall and walk proudly! Forward march!”

With Dalton’s step forward, the mercenaries straightened their shoulders and began to walk towards the castle gate majestically.

The trumpets and drums played loudly in unison.

Despite the abrupt honor of a ceremonial march, thanks to countless drills, no one faltered in their steps.

“… Just walk as we’ve been trained… Just like the training…”

Everyone seemed tense, determined to present a disciplined and impressive appearance.

I was somewhat nervous too; looking around like a country bumpkin here might make me seem foolish.

“I need to be careful.”

As Captain Dalton was about to enter the space created by the soldiers saluting to the left and right, a knight of Count Casano called out.

“Make way!”

At his command, the soldiers, who had been crossing their spears in an ‘X’, lifted them to open a path.

Though their movements were a bit awkward compared to our well-drilled mercenary unit, the important thing was that we were conducting a “ceremonial march.”

“Someday, I should become a noble with a title and hold a real victory parade.”

With that resolve, I stepped towards the castle gate.

Surprisingly, the mercenaries around us, who could have complained about preparing such an event for us, actually appreciated it and even offered their good wishes.

“Thanks to you guys, we didn’t have to fight that damned Count Grunvald.”

“Almost died in a siege, thanks for saving us from a worse defensive battle.”

“Damn, let’s not meet as enemies! Bastards!”

Listening to them, their content made sense.

Yes, compared to enduring an uncertain and dreadful defensive siege, preparing for this ceremonial march was much better.

And so, we finished our march to the lord’s mansion in the castle center in about 10 minutes…

There, Count Casano and his knights were waiting with bright smiles.

The count ran up to us cheerfully, patting Captain Dalton and my shoulders, saying,

“Thanks to you, we avoided a dangerous defensive battle and safely made it through. Looks like my territory will expand considerably. Never thought you’d annihilate over 2,000 enemies with just 600 men and capture nearly 700 prisoners.”

Dalton stood at attention and responded with a booming voice.

“It was possible because Count Casano believed in us!”

…Yes, at times like this, boosting the count’s ego in front of everyone is ‘a good way to squeeze out more money.’

“Is that so? Well, then I’ll be generous too. Normally, capturing an ‘ennobled enemy’ means half the ransom goes to the employer, the Medici Republic. But our White Unit’s Captain Martin has gone broke trying to buy Hilde, hasn’t he?”

Being on Dalton’s payroll, I’m essentially penniless.

So much so that Lucia occasionally comes to ask if I’m really okay…

Quietly, I nodded at that statement.

“Since the achievement is significant, I’ll make sure our republic doesn’t take the usual fee for Baron Mauer’s ransom. His ransom is about 5,000 gold coins, so it’s like awarding 2,500 gold coins to the Whitebeard Mercenary Group.”

Dalton and I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear.

“Ah, I’m not a miser. This is in addition to the rewards for the battles at Villa Hora and the Aiden River.”

“Thank you, Count.”

Then Count Casano looked at me and subtly made an offer.

“I highly value your abilities. Would you consider joining my forces? I’d grant you a high knight’s title and ten villages as your fief.”

Considering that a high knight usually receives ‘one village,’ it was a tremendous offer…

‘My worth is not just that.’

“I still wish to broaden my horizons.”

“Shame. But the war is practically over, so I can’t keep you.”

“If you say the war is over, does that mean…?”

“Not officially, but the Rheinfalz Empire and our Medici Republic have entered peace negotiations. It should conclude favorably for us within a week to a fortnight.”

The count looked at me with a very pleased smile.

“My forces were only 2,000, but thanks to you, I’ve performed as well as a count with 10,000 troops. If lucky, I might even gain another barony.”

“It’s an honor to hear you say that.”

“Rest now. There will be a banquet for the next three days.”

With that, our mercenary group dispersed to rest…

And I went to find Hilde.

‘Now that she’s almost mine, the key is how much I can make her cling to me.’

📢 New! Donation Section - Support early translations!

👀 Seeking Korean Translators - Get paid per chapter!

Your support helps keep our chapters free. Consider subscribing, purchasing, or joining our Discord for updates and discussions!

Enjoying the series? Leave a rating or review on Novel Updates.

⚠️ Do not post a spoiler without a spoiler tag ⚠️

<spoiler>INSERT YOUR TEXT</spoiler>