Silence and coldness engulfed the room. The rulers of four kingdoms were seated on a long table, but none of them opened their mouths and only fidgeted with their hands and cleared their throats anxiously. Behind the kings, the respective prime ministers exchanged glances while they held their breaths. The four kingdoms had convened to admit defeat and sign a treaty of compensation.
A year ago, the ancient magic of Hessenguard decimated the main forces of the four kingdoms that had invaded. Hesengard’s knights and wizards, under the command of Kalion Hessenguard, defeated the armies of the four remaining kingdoms so lightly after learning that Erna Hessenguard had fallen due to that magic. The invaders inevitably bowed their heads in false surrender at their battle spirit. On the border of Hessenguard, its own flag was firmly rooted.
Hessenguard may be the longest kingdom in the continue, but its army was one of the smallest. Hence the four kingdoms pretended to surrender, intending to gather their forces. Hessenguard’s army was only humans after all; after fighting endless battles, they ought to rest. Indeed, after completing the rudimentary negotiations, Kalion Hessenguard did not make an appearance, which gave credence to their assumptions.
Yesterday’s enemies became today’s allies and tomorrow’s enemies again, but in the midst of the chaos, the four kingdoms banded together to bring Hessenguard to its knees. However, the movements of the Hessenguard knights were undetectable. Or rather, Kalion Hessenguard was holed up in the Grand Castle as not a single hair of his was visible.
“Since Erna Hessenguard is down, magic will only be effective within Hessenguard. The goal this time is to recover our territories.”
Invading the mainland of Hessenguard and feasting on its fertile land was a matter for later consideration; for now, they needed to return to the land that they had been deprived of.
The kingdoms secretly contacted the Wizards Tower as well in hopes that they could foil Erna Hessenguard’s magic which protected Hessenguard. However, the tower responded that their foundation was solely for academic research and that they would no longer intervene in the kingdoms’ affairs. No amount of bribery appeased the tower. In the end, the kingdoms abandoned the tower’s support and headed for Hessenguard with only soldiers.
Though it was challenging to supply food or other material support after Hessegnuard had conquered the most fertile territory, they did not fret too much. If they recapture the city that originally belonged to them, they would be able to taste its abundance. Everyone will bow down and welcome the rightful owner.
The promised day finally arrived and the four kingdoms began their invasion of Hessengard again. The armies proceeded to the city that had once been theirs and shouted.
“Open the gates! The true master has returned to save everyone!”
In their minds, the cities shall gladly open their gates and throw flowers to greet their old masters. But no sound could be heard from the capital. The gates did not open, either. The commanders who stood in the vanguard panicked and ordered the soldiers to cry again, but the gates remained bolted and the city silent. The commander, realizing that they had no intention of opening the city to them, expressed their confusion.
“How did this happen?”
It was a region where the rich were heavily taxed, a place where the power of the kingship was weak, but there was no doubt about their loyalty as they faithfully paid taxes on the designated date. But now they were being defiant. The commander gnashed his teeth as he watched the residents swear at them with their hands on top of the wall.
If they could not receive aid, food was the immediate problem. “After conquering Hessenguard, they will all be executed for treason,” he swore under his breath. After all, there was only so much that defensive magic could do. If the wizards of all four kingdoms launch an attack at once, something is bound to collapse.
They expected the Hessenguard knights would rush to the border once they learned of their invasion, but only two people greeted the soldiers of the four kingdoms: Kalion Hessenguard, the savage beast that obliterated their armies, and a woman with golden hair by his side. If this wasn’t a battlefield, they would have demanded to capture her because she was stunningly gorgeous. A smile crept on her face as she surveyed the combined might of the four kingdoms.
Everyone was taken aback at her nonchalance before finally recognizing who she was. She was the only woman in the world who could laugh at them with Kalion Hessenguard at her side.
“Eh, Erna Hessenguard!”
“Are you going to die calling my name? How romantic,” she said. Next to her, Kalion covered his face with his palm and let out a sigh. She smiled wryly toward him, and Kalion nodded his head, returning her smile.