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Chapter 17 – Hostility
Around the time that Palmer achieved his great victory over David’s army, the war between Wagner and Alfred became increasingly vicious. Although there were no cannons involved, Alfred had adopted the ‘landmines and scorched earth’ tactic, bleeding Wagner’s army as they advanced.
To Wagner, the land he invaded would become his territory in the future, so he couldn’t afford to have it burned to ashes, But to Alfred, the territory was better off burned down than given to Wagner, so he gave such instructions. The war naturally came to a deadlock.
Both of them sent their small number of elite units at each other, cutting down their respective weaker troops and gradually exhausting both armies. But it was exactly because both of them were capable people that they couldn’t settle their conflict in a short period of time. Still, Wagner managed to find a gap in Alfred’s robust defense and damaged him.
The war between the Klaus family’s eldest and second son, which many assumed would last over a long time, had its scales tilt sharply when the chief of a small mercenary group was killed in action. With that mercenary group deciding to leave the battlefield, the situation further declined and Alfred’s newly hired mercenary group brought discord to his army instead.
The soldiers barricaded in the fortress also reacted to Wagner, and with part of the fortress besieged by Wagner’s army, Alfred decided to retreat. Even as he was struck while retreating, he managed to endure and brought his army to the hinterlands of his county.
There would have been no chance for Alfred to win against Wagner in this war. One of Alfred’s counties was taken over, while Wagner had 4 counties in his possession. Wagner also inherited a highly skilled standing army since he was the eldest son of the family, and since the other one of Alfred’s counties lacked defensive fortresses, it would have been easily conquered.
But at that moment, an accident occurred in another nation. The name of the nation was the Borghardt Kingdom, located west of the Carling Empire, and further west of the Aubrey Kingdom — which bordered that nation on the southwest, and had no direct relationship with Wagner and or the Carling Empire. However, this was the homeland of the princess who became the wife of the second son, Alfred.
Normally, it would be impossible for the princess who married Alfred to inherit the nation. She was the 4th princess, and with the current society favoring men in inheritance, she had extremely low priority to such rights. However, a plague with a high fatality rate spread through the Borghardt Kingdom, claiming the lives of many who lived in the palace of the Borghardt Kingdom.
The first to die was the eldest son of the king, who was the prime candidate for the throne, followed by the death of the king. The right to the throne was then inherited by the second son, who soon had the right inherited by the 4th son, then the eldest daughter, then finally, to the 4th daughter, Natalie Klaus Borghardt.
…Since the wife who married him was now the queen, Alfred immediately became the queen’s consort, allowing him to no longer care about the land that was ravaged by war. The other good news for him was the fact that, although many of the infected died, the raging plague was rapidly disappearing.
Soon, Wagner was informed that Alfred had become the queen’s consort, forcing Wagner into a situation where he had no choice but to acknowledge Alfred’s independence. The impatient Wagner agreed to return the occupied territory, putting Wagner on the defensive side instead.
However, since the court of the Borghardt Kingdom was wiped out due to the plague, Alfred signed a ceasefire treaty with Wagner to take time to rebuild the Borghardt Kingdom. Because of this, Wagner was now able to send his army to subjugate Palmer.
Just before it could happen, however, an alliance between Palmer and the Schult ducal family was officially announced.
Due to Palmer’s great success in his previous war, Palmer’s engagement with Burglinde Schult was confirmed, promoting Palmer into the Empire’s vassal instead of Wagner’s. It was said that Palmer’s knowledge in war was very peculiar. These were the main factors for the Schult ducal family to ally with Palmer, rendering Wagner unable to easily make his move.
The next one to take action was Duke Poiter — whose territory was located south of the center region of the empire, and north of Deal duchy, where Palmer’s county was part of. There was a large ore vein there, and the coal mine has flourished in Enure county for over 1,000 years.
This Enure county was owned by the most prominent count of the Poitier duchy. Count Jeremias led a large army to invade Deal county with an army of about 3,000 men, which came from his three counties. In comparison, the army of the eldest son of David Reuter, Agnes Reuter, only had about 700 people.
With the Reuter family weakened, many other factions besides Palmer’s tried to grab control of the Reuter family’s territory. In the midst of all this, Palmer, who was happy to have formed an alliance with the Schult ducal family, led his army to the county ruled by David Reuter’s second son, Artaud Reuter.
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