Down the wall, they saw someone walking. Even though many people were looking down the wall, there was no fear in his steps, and the flag in his hands was fluttering in the wind.
A white deer was standing alone—At the symbol of the Barco family, Lawrence soldiers gulped with nervous faces.
Finally, he stopped walking.
The man looked around the top of the wall with a relaxed expression, and when he saw Viscount Lawrence, he stopped his gaze.
“As Viscount Barco’s representative, I will give you three options from now on. First: open the gates and surrender. Viscount Barco is merciful to those who ask for forgiveness, and surrendering is the only way to save your lives. However, you might not choose the first one. If that is the case, there is no reason for us to face each other as of now.”
The messenger looked arrogant. At best, he looked like he was speaking and communicating his intentions, as if he was Viscount Barco.
“The second is to go to war with us. In front of the people of the Central Government, let us head into it and decide the fight fairly. Any method of fighting is good—Be it hand-to-hand combat or a Warrior Battle, we will follow the way you want.”
Hand-to-hand combat or Warrior Battle—Nobles mainly used this method to cover their mistakes. The people of this world considered it shameful to wage a siege just because of a dispute among nobles. He thought they were hiding behind the wall as they weren’t confident in dealing with the other family. Naturally, most of the nobles would choose one of two ways.
Also, that was why the people of the Central Government were present. They would be neutral to the method they would choose to fight it out.
Viscount Lawrence took a step ahead.
“We do not think your declaration for war is justified. The document that mentions our ancestors’ debt is forged, and we have no cause for war with you nor any desire to open the gates and sacrifice the lives of Lawrence’s people. So go back now and tell Viscount Barcos. Lawrence will—”
He stopped talking. Actually, the choice was already decided. On the day Barco predicted, from the moment Lawrence shut its gates, the two families would choose the third option.
Still, there was one reason for sending the messenger—It was to pressure Lawrence, and the messenger informed the soldiers of Lawrence.
“You have chosen to abandon the pride of being a noble family and fight a deadly fight within the fortress walls. From now on, the Barco family will accept your will and make you pay the price by bloodshed during this siege.”
That was the end of it.
The messenger stepped back. Even when they saw the flag fluttering in the wind, Lawrence couldn’t fire an arrow.
And finally, the war had begun.
The first battle ended sooner than expected. The Barco family, who thought they could punish Lawrence right away, gave the order of retreat within 30 minutes of the start.
Viscount Barco threw the helmet he was wearing to the ground.
Just now, the aspect of the battle was different than expected. The army of the Barco family was three times greater than Lawrence, and intending to destroy the walls at once, he led his men.
Lawrence’s walls weren’t very high. It was known that Dmitry’s stronghold fortress was difficult to capture even with ten times the current force, but that wasn’t the case for Lawrence. He thought he could get it done within an hour. But what happened?—Lawrence’s counterattack was more fierce than he expected.
“Viscount. Apparently, Lawrence was fully prepared for it. A moat was dug deep to block the approach of the troops, and they prepared boiling oil and fire, as well. Also, judging from the non-existent hesitation in firing the arrows from the wall, it appears they managed to secure enough supplies,” said the lieutenant.
He felt annoyed. One week—That time wasn’t enough for the opponent to prepare. He was going to take down Lawrence and make them surrender, but they chose to fight in this desperate situation.
‘According to our known information, Lawrence should have surrendered with the thought to protect a little of their hand. We completely blocked the possibility of an alliance, and we showed superiority in our troops. However, Lawrence was prepared with the intention to lock the gates. They couldn’t have dared to risk their lives for it.’
Barco’s plan—They weren’t hoping for war from the start.
The Golden Bank and the judge were also brought. Thus, they thought about letting the opponent surrender. However, now, the plan was going haywire. It was just 30 minutes, but the response from Lawrence was too systematic, and considering the action of setting fire to the fields they owned, it seemed like they were prepping for a long battle. It was the moment that their heads ached at the current situation. As Flora predicted, the Barco family borrowed huge sums of money from the Golden Bank, and ending the war as quickly as possible was the only way the Barco family could stay alive.
“Viscount, what should we do?”
The lieutenant looked into his eyes. Dozens of soldiers were lost in this small fight. They were going to check the power of Lawrence, but due to the fierce counterattack, their losses were more than expected.
‘Viscount Lawrence isn’t that strong-willed. Just like he sold his Golden Jade Leaf to the Dmitry family under Barco’s pressure, he is someone who turns into a coward in crisis. Nevertheless, choosing to fight means that changes have taken place within. They wouldn’t have made a choice if they didn’t have an advantage, and they are clearly showing the advantage they have with the war dragging on.’
He thought quickly. This war—All of it was Viscount Barco’s plan. He moved his son Anthony Barco and quarreled with Lawrence with forged documents that led to this war. And now, finally, they were in the endgame. This was the end of the plan, so Barco couldn’t give the lead to Lawrence.
“How about it? Prepare ‘it’ right now.”
‘It’—Viscount Barco smiled bitterly. There was something the Lawrence family had overlooked. Viscount Barco only wanted to win with the least number of people out there, but it wasn’t as if he wasn’t concerned about the possibility of defeat at all.
The Golden Bank—They had lent more money than he expected. And that money was enough to create a huge variable.
Above the wall, the soldiers of Lawrence moved busily. The victory in the first short battle brought smiles to their faces, but they all knew they couldn’t relax right now.
“We never know when his men will attack us again. Stay alert and move quickly!”
One win—That gave them confidence. It proved Barco wasn’t an unbeatable opponent for them.
Viscount Lawrence said, “Flora, you were right. Just preparing for this in a standard manner was enough for us to prevent the attack from Barco. How did you manage to come up with this idea? You only learned the skills of nobles in the academy. I don’t think they taught you things such as warfare.”
A change in Flora was surprising. Flora’s opinions were actively presented in the process of setting fire to the fields and preparing for war.
Flora looked at the soldiers. Her attire was the same as theirs. Normally, a noblewoman would dress in an elegant dress, but now, she was wearing armor on the top. She even practiced archery over the past few days to help in the battle. Of course, her skills hadn’t increased much with just a few days of preparation, but her attitude had brought a rise in the soldiers’ morale.
The Flower of Lawrence—Flora was the symbol of Lawrence. Because she didn’t give up till the end, Lawrence’s soldiers who saw her didn’t lose hope either.
Flora said, “As father said, the academy didn’t teach me how to fight. They said there was no need to learn such things because I would never go to the battlefield while living as a noblewoman. However, seeing the Barco family’s behavior, I knew I had to be strong-willed. Rather than waiting for the problems to get resolved on their own, I had to know what the problem was and develop the ability or way to solve it. Thus, I studied on my own—That is the direction I want to live in the future, as well.”
“Don’t worry. This is what I want to do.”
Flora’s words made his heart ache. Had there been someone strong in the family, or if the family was strong, she wouldn’t have to experience this. However, that allowed Flora to grow up in a short time, as well. Nevertheless, it was daunting—The fact that his daughter was fine with this. His daughter had grown up pleasingly, and he didn’t even know it yet.
“As long as the problem with Barco gets resolved, this father will make sure to never bring any quarrels into your future. I am sorry for forcing you to marry Dmitry. At that time, I thought that was the only way our collapsing family could survive. However, now, I believe that you can make the right choices in any situation.”
They ended it—The conversation was postponed. To be precise, they couldn’t help but talk about this another time.
The soldiers were shocked. Over the wall, at Barco’s camp, they could feel a movement. ‘It’ was huge. The overall shape was like a catapult. However, those who saw it knew this wasn’t a simple catapult.
“Barco prepared a Flare!”
Flare—the name of a siege weapon. The catapult known as Flare was designed to throw something at the wall, a magic weapon that caused explosions. It was a magical weapon that could be bought with an enormous amount of money. The cost was truly high, but everyone knew of its effectiveness. This was an unexpected development. No matter how much money Barco borrowed, they didn’t expect them to have enough connections to rent or bring a flare.
“Everyone! To your places!”
“Prepare for attack.”
At the complicated situation, Flora’s expression turned pale. She had studied war tactics for a few days, so she knew about the power of the Flare.
’When the Flare starts to attack, the walls will collapse instantly. A powerful flame will come to destroy the wall and burn the soldiers, as well. There are only two ways to stop it—Either fight with another magical weapon of that force or open the gate, go out and smash the Flare.’
The former was impossible—Lawrence didn’t have enough money for it. Magic weapons such as those could only be bought with vast sums of money. Then, the second one? It was a suicide to go out now.
Just then, the Flare spewed fire and fired a massive fireball.
With just one hit, the top of the wall fell instantly. Fortunately, the entire wall hadn’t collapsed, but the soldiers who were hit at close range were screaming due to their terrible wounds. Moreover, this wasn’t the worst—If the fireball had hit them properly, a dozen soldiers would have burned down without even being able to react to it.
The opponent’s power was beyond what they knew—It was something they hadn’t planned for. The books said running away at such times was the best option, but retreat wasn’t possible now.
‘We cannot give up like this.’
She clenched her teeth and grabbed her bow.
At least, I should do something.
Just when she was about to make a move, a maid hurriedly approached her and shouted, “Miss! Miss! We just received a call from Roman Dmitry!”
“What? That Roman from Dmitry?”
Roman—An unexpected name popped up. Also, the reason was unknown. However, that wasn’t important right now, so Flora turned her head and headed toward the wall to fight.
“Roman Dmitry asked me to tell you this—Lawrence’s crisis—if you want him to help, contact him.”
Hearing those words, Flora couldn’t help but stop walking toward the wall.
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