Chapter 111.1

Chapter 111.1

Erna read the letter from Aether once more from the beginning. In fact, it was more of a notification than a letter. Words filled the entire sheet of paper, but in the end, only one point was made:

The Kingdom of Aether has ordered Kalion Aether’s return to take responsibility for the instability of the Duchy of Hessenguard. In return, Ruben Aether has been appointed to take the Grand Duke’s position. May Duchess Erna Hessenguard understand Aether’s will and continue the strong friendship between the two countries.

“They certainly are good at spouting nonsense,” muttered Erna. The corners of her lips quivered as she silently read the letter again. Her fingers gripped the edges of the paper.

At that sight, Orpé quickly grabbed Erna’s arm.

“Madam! You can’t tear it!”

“Should I burn it?”

“Not even that!”

Normally, she would have meant it as a joke, but every word Erna uttered was filled with anger. It was natural, of course. The manner the letter was delivered and the unannounced invasion of the Aether army were enough to drive Erna to the edge. The content of the letter only added fuel to the fire.

They must have planned everything before Ruben had left Aether, she thought.

Erna glared at the letter. No matter how much she addressed herself as the Grand Duke in her letters, Aether was treating her as a mere female who would eventually give birth to a successor.

Aware that conceiving an heir was a sensitive topic for Erna, Orpé could only wish that Erna would not be any more furious than she currently was.

Erna, who had been holding the letter with her trembling hands for a long time, threw it on the desk as if she didn’t want to see it any more. Then she slumped into a chair.

Orpé decided to bring her some tea and left the room.

In the silent room, Erna swept her face with her hands. She knew why had Aether sent such a letter so boldly. All this time, didn’t she act as though she was in love with Ruben Aether?

Ruben had said he had been exiled, but he was still a man of Aether. Her ploy would have seemed that Erna was trying to join hands with Aether’s forces to deal with Haband, who had sent Adelaide to pressure her.

“But how dare you send me a letter like this…”

Erna realized that her facade had been believable. It seemed as if Ruben had a heart for her enough to bear this insult.

Erna began to contemplate how to use Ruben against Aether’s army from now on.

However, unlike usual, her brain couldn’t function properly. When Erna closed her eyes in frustration, a familiar face immediately crossed her mind. She found her fingers fumbling on the necklace on her chest.

“…I haven’t heard from you.”

A despondent murmur left Erna’s lips. It has already been two weeks since she hasn’t heard from Kalion.

When she first didn’t receive a message from him, Erna had assumed that it was because he was coming right away. When days became a week, she wondered if he was dealing with a sudden appearance of monsters.

However, by the second week, she began to feel anxious. Kalion must be facing a serious problem.

They lost contact with the knights in the Wynfield Valley on a shortcut to the capital. It was reported that after Kalion’s party entered the valley, which was quite long and rock-strewn, a large number of monsters suddenly poured out.

Strangely, the demons that appeared did not emerge from the valley. It was as if they were trapped in it. If so, it meant that someone had deliberately unleashed the monsters.

“This won’t be easy,” Erna muttered.

Starting with Ruben, the protection magic of the Great Castle, and this one. Their opponent must have an accomplished wizard on their side.

Erna looked out of the window. She could see the knights of Aether stationed on hills beyond the capital.

Aether’s soldiers, who had entered Hessenguard, were advancing to the vicinity of the capital. However, they wouldn’t be able to enter the capital. Erna had extended the magic that protected the Grand Castle all throughout the capital. Had Erna arrived late, the army of Aether would have been able to enter the capital and create chaos.

Returning to the Great Castle, Erna immediately modified her defensive spell and expanded its scope to the entire capital. Thanks to this, the army of Aether could only stare at the capital right in front of them.

However, the spell was a ruse.

Though it is a defensive magic that Erna improvised in haste after losing contact with Kalion, it couldn’t be as strong as she thought it would be after expanding its range. If the 5,000 knights sent by Aether continue to inflict damage, the barrier won’t last very long.

However, there was no time to reformulate the spell from the beginning. So Erna deliberately made the barrier emit a brighter light to deceive the knights.

Fortunately, that method worked well. Aether’s army, who tried to march on the Great Wall without hesitation, stopped advancing, believing that the huge wall of light that enveloped the capital was a very powerful protective magic.

This allowed Erna to buy time to move Ruben, who had been imprisoned, to another location. Fortunately, Ruben remained unconscious under the influence of poison and magic.

Erna massaged her throbbing temples.

Hessenguard is a country once conquered. If another country’s army were to step foot into the capital and into the Grand Castle, the people’s trust would be shattered.

Nor did Erna, even more than the people, want it to happen.

They shall not destroy the peace of Hessenguard, which she and Kalion had created and protected with their own hands.

“I’ve stalled them for now…”

After blocking the advance of Aether’s knights, Erna had discreetly sent a letter with as much fake sincerity she could muster.

[There are people in the capital who are anxious about the presence of Aether’s knights. I have stopped them from inciting violence unnecessarily. So please, don’t be angry. I’ll send you the food and supplies you need during your stay, so please stay there.]

In her heart, Erna would love to poison all the food, but she couldn’t. There’s a limit to magic. Besides, her opponent was the best among the elite. To confront them, Hessenguard’s prime knights must return.

I need to find Kalion.

He and his knights must be located, but the remaining knights and wizards in the Great Castle cannot move any further.

“What should I do?”

Erna bowed her head. At the fact that she had to overcome all these situations alone, she felt a suffocation she had never felt before.

There was no one to help.



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