Things Going Well
"Father-in-law?" Kevin couldn't figure out what that meant. "Do you mean that child?"
He had never met Leguna and didn't know him well, but he had heard some things about him. He was most famous, or rather, infamous for getting the most beautiful girl on the whole continent, the principal of Second Magic Academy and glacial empress, Annelotte Ladis.
And Annelotte was Marolyt's daughter. In other words…
He scratched his bald head and turned to look at the galestorm swordsaint puzzledly.
Does my Lord fear a mere child? he wondered.
He wasn't a braindead devotee who thought the object of his faith was invincible. He believed Pyro only acted for the greater good and always brought about good results. That was why he was willing to give everything to him.
However, how in the world could a deity fear a brat in his twenties? He couldn't figure it out no matter how much he thought about it.
He sat there with Marolyt, still unable to find an answer, and shook his head.
"I should head back. From now on, I think I'll get the barbarians to feed you."
"Hmph!" Marolyt spat, "Didn't you never do the empire's bidding? Why are you serving Larwin now?"
"I only serve life. Somebody has to watch over those barbarians after their move south, otherwise, life will be lost in Hocke. That's why I've come."
"Have you ever considered how the Hockians you save today will take up arms to kill the Stokians and barbarians one day? Are lives of northerners somehow worth more?"
"I've never thought that far ahead. I only save lives that are ahead of me. As for other stuff, I cross those bridges when I come to them."
"What idiotic logic…" He continued to ignore him.
"Strive to live on, friend," Kevin advised, "For Annie's sake."
Leguna spent three months looking for Marolyt, but the bureau wasn't able to locate him in the end. Nobody could've imagined that he would be imprisoned by Kevin, the sacred wandering lance, all the way in the barbarian settlements in the north at that.
He guessed that he most likely fell into Stokian or dark elven hands. So, he focused his search efforts in the Dusk Zone and Stok.
Instead, the search efforts caused a number of the bureau's informants in Stok to be exposed, causing them to have erratic reports from Stok in the meantime. As for the Dusk Zone, Brani insisted that she hadn't seen Marolyt since their private meeting that one time.
Not giving up, he decided to expand his search, only to be stopped by Annelotte.
"Don't need to keep looking. Father's just caught up with something. I doubt anything will happen to him. I can also feel he's alive. If you keep doing this, you'll only be accused by the others in the empire for using your power for personal gain," she said.
He argued with her a little over it, but relented since she insisted. While he didn't give up on his search entirely, he was much more restricted than before.
Just like this, a few months passed. Hocke toned down on their attacks during the harsh weather of winter, but the expectations of the war was becoming clearer with each day.
While the power of the magic cannons decreased after Annelotte's modifications, they became more practical and portable. They were far more usable than the gargantuan structures constructed by Stok.
After one year of production time, the modified magic cannons were deployed in smaller scales on the battlefield. They were effective in fights on plains as well as sieges, but the only issue was the high death rate of the cannoneers. After a few months of test use, Larwin was shocked to find that there were more cannons than there were men willing to use them.
Having no other choice, he tripled the salary of the cannoneers, much to Andro's dissatisfaction. It seemed like he wanted to make his son a cannoneer to save the slightest bit more on their spending. Kanjiras was so terrified he wouldn't dare to return home.
After a year of settling down, the barbarians started fulfilling their promise to join the army. Ten thousand strong barbarian warriors began to travel southwards. When they approached the frontlines, Larwin had them split up into hundred-men units and assigned them to the respective Hockian forces. He knew how dangerous it was to keep such a huge force unified, so he distributed them and put other humans in charge of them so they wouldn't try anything funny.
On the other hand, the planar transfer formation Annelotte and the other researchers in the academy were working on was completed. After some tests, they could send far more materials across the planes despite being slightly under their initial estimations. The first batch of weapons had been delivered from Darklight.
The cultural differences made the dark elven armor and weapons a little odd to humans. Larwin didn't send the equipment straight to the battlefield and instead had them moved to the rear for his own units to train with them first. The new barbarian units also had to be trained before they could be deployed on the battlefield.
Who held the advantage in the war was becoming increasingly clearer, so he wasn't in that much of a rush. The attacks on the south decreased in frequency with the coming of winter. Unlike the southerners, the northerners were really careful during winter. Attacking during such cold weather was usually a really risky endeavor.
So, apart from elite units like Goldeagle, most Hockian units just stood their ground on where they were posted and awaited the coming spring before making any moves.
Goldeagle had also changed considerably from back then. Ever since Alissanda was promoted to general, he no longer held direct command of the brigade. Instead, Jast was made the new leader. While he wasn't as talented as Alissanda, he was quite reliable and fulfilled his orders without question.
Alissanda, knowing how useful Goldeagle was as a unit, got the first batch of dark elven equipment for Goldeagle. Those five hundred odd mid-order knights were powerful enough already, and now, they were armed with powerful enchanted weapons. Their combat prowess easily quadrupled.
That was why Goldeagle was still a mainstay despite losing Alissanda as their leader. The Stokians now considered the small few-hundred-men brigade to be the incarnation of the god of death on the battlefield.
Alissanda himself, on the other hand, managed to 'gain complete control over the military with my help', as Leguna would put it.
He wasn't trying to brag. During the past half a year, he did Alissanda many favors apart from being busy looking for Marolyt. In that short a span of time, he personally conducted three assassinations, two of which were requested by the second prince himself. He even took Annelotte along once for safety concerns.
Even Alissanda would have to admit that he wouldn't have been able to conquer two Stokian strongholds without the strategic assassinations.
Nowadays, he gained far more clout among the three imperial of legions thanks to his achievements. The other two generals understood who Larwin was trying to give control of the military to, so they didn't dare compete with him over it. They took the initiative to give away part of their authority to him following his magnificent achievements and gave him the upper hand in the military.
Given how well things were going, Larwin's mood improved considerably. The fat emperor took tens of thousands of gold coins out of the imperial family's own treasury and decided to hold a grand banquet. The annual celebrations of the two magic academies would also be held on the same day.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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Ryogawa and Prince