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TL: Previously, the army was called Ghost army. Because they are an army specialized in stealth, they were called Ghost. But because they are living, the name will be changed to Dark Army. I have other names like Black Army but I think dark is good.
Shadow Squad is what I use because on the raws the author uses SS to represent it. I don’t know what it means so I wanted to be creative and call it Shadow Squad.
Cron, who is in charge of overall command here, tried to report several time.
But whenever he did, Raymond was showing great concentration on practicing swordsmanship, so he didn’t dare to interfere.
“It’s Felton, the imperial knight. I was sent by the Emperor.”
“Yes, You Highness the Fifth.”
To Raymond’s question, Felton answered, bowing politely.
Since the Fifth Prince, related to the Third Empress, went missing within the Black Mountains, the Emperor thought he should send at least elite Imperial knights, even if diplomatic problems prevented him from moving large armies.
However, this was much earlier than Raymond expected. He thought it would take at least another week, but given the fact that the Imperial knights moved so fast, there was a high chance that there would be a change at the Imperial Order or the North.
“What’s going on?”
“I was about to speak from where Lord Cron was. Only….”
Felton raised his head. Staying under the bright sun for so long, his face was darker. His guess were right.
“Now that I’m here, I have no choice but to tell it in advance. Your guess is correct. There’s a change in the North.”
“The Marquis Crayer disappeared while patrolling the Black Mountains.”
Marquis Crayer have guarded the Black Mountains for generations. For them, the Black Mountains patrol was a duty to protect the Empire and an honor to take pride of.
With the recent disappearance of the Fifth Prince in the Black Mountains and frequent small-scale skirmishes, Marquis Crayer once again led local troops on a large-scale patrol, and went missing in the process.
‘Has the Dark Army already begun their operations?’
Raymond bit his lip slightly.
“Perhaps, a joint venture between the Dark Army of the Fresyria Kingdom and the assassins of the Kingdom of Edgar happened and the purpose would be to intense the border provocation.”
In the Alliance of the Three Kingdoms, the most powerful of the three kingdoms was the Fresyrian Kingdom. They were dispatch to test the strength of the Pilias Empire.
What they did was to bring their troops into the Black Mountains first.
That’s why they tried to kidnap, kill, and send the mutilated body of Marquis Crayer, the prestigious Lord of the knight’s family in the North, as provocation.
The Black Mountains are still lands with unusual creatures, so even if they deliberately damage his bodies, they can excuse it as the work of the habitants of the black mountains. It’s was obvious who actually did it, but there’s no evidence left behind.
‘But I didn’t expect them to start so soon…….’
The Fifth Prince’s flag flew and defeated mountain mercenaries from the Fresyrian Kingdom, leaving the Dark army moving ahead of schedule.
Naturally, the goal was to kidnap the “Marquis Crayer” as planned because they could not find Raymond, who was stucked in the temporary base.
“First of all, let’s meet Lord Cron.”
“Yes, Your Majesty the Fifth.”
Felton nodded and agreed with Raymond.
“I think that’s it for today’s sword training.”
Raymond, who threw off his leather armor, put on his cloak and the coat Alex brought. The clothes worn underneath were still full of dirt, but they were hidden by the cloak and could not be seen in detail.
Felton became curious when he saw the Fifth Prince throwing the training wooden sword on the stand.
The Fifth Prince, known as the intermediate wizard, was training swordsmanship? In this serious situation, he couldn’t resist his curiosity and almost asked a question.
Raymond stepped first. Felton walked behind him. It was not long before the two reached the commander barracks guarded by the soldiers.
“Oh, Your Highness the Fifth!”
The officer in charge of security was surprised by Raymond’s sudden appearance and set up a military salute. Raymond greeted with a slight nod.
“Wasn’t it training time?”
“I have a visitor, is Lord Cron inside?”
It was not long before the door opened. A slightly tired look, Cron walked out. He was not surprised by the appearance of the new Imperial knight, thanks to a brief communication in advance.
However, when he heard about Marquis Crayer after exchanging greetings, he staggered that he needed support by Raymond.
“I suggest for His Highness the Fifth and Young Lord Crayer to step down from the border.”
“Well, then this stronghold…….!”
Although Marquis Crayer had been kidnapped, Cron could not help but think about this stronghold’s defense. Fortunately, however, Felton had an alternative proposal
“The special forces that I have led will defend stronghold temporary, so Lord Cron and His Highness the Fifth can step down with ease.”
Eventually, Raymond was forced to step down from the border with Cron that day.
* * *
“Lord, you have to hang in there a little longer!”
The voice of the subordinate knight awakened Marquis Crayer’s consciousness, which was slowly fading.
He raised his head with a shriek of breath. He was frantically looking around while being helped by the knight.
After roaming around he couldn’t see the enemies in the mountain range.
“Well, the enemies…….”
“The Marquis’ valiant knights and his army drove them away!”
“That’s a relief…”
Marquis Crayer replied in a weak voice. Twenty knights of Marquis Crayer were actually killed to help him escape from the siege.
Right now, the knight thought it would be better not to inform the Marquis about what actually happened.
He was currently half-dead by the onslaught of the enemy.
“Hold on a second! There’s a stronghold just two more days away!”
The knight tried hard to find hope, but it wasn’t easy. There were only few people standing by to endure the Black Mountain range full of evil things.
Now, only 15 soldiers, seven knights, and one intermediate wizard. They’ve been running away for a week to avoid their pursuers, and now they’re all so exhausted.
The knight’s desire to meet with the Imperial Army was going stronger.
A black spear popped out from the intermediate wizard’s chest. It was a signal. Knights rushed to Marquis Crayer’s side and soldiers raised their weapons.
“For the Pilias!”
“Protect the Marquis Crayer!”
This small shout were to boost the fallen fighting spirit but soon their eyes were colored with despair.
Every time a black shadow appeared, one of them, went through the formation and the soldiers spilled blood then they fell down. It took only five seconds for 15 people to lose their lives.
In an instant, wizards and soldiers were wiped out, and all that was left is the marquis and a handful of knights standing near by him.
The enemy is obviously just one.
But that one is the worst opponent. Not many assassins have the ability to kill 15 soldiers instantly in five seconds.
“Ha, the Shadow Knights…….”
Someone put the identity of the chaser in his mouth. The land of the Night, the most brutal and home of the assassins, Kingdom of Edgar.
Shadow Knights came over the black mountain range.
* * *
Returning to the border did not mean giving up. He did not want to disobey Imperial’s orders to any extent. He took a step back for a while, and later take two steps forward.
The order only said to step away from the black mountain range first, and there was no indication of continuing to wait at the border. Raymond was after that.
Marquis Crayer was a prestigious Lord in the north, a loyal shield that has protected the Pilias from the Three Kingdoms alliance and the Black Mountains for many years.
It would be too much to conduct a massive search operation due to the current situation of the Empire, but it would not be difficult to send two to three more search teams.
The question is, who would be in charge of it?
That’s what Raymond is after.
“Sir, we received some information from the border forces command.”
Raymond was training swordsmanship alone in the field. Suddenly, he turned his head in a direction where he could he heard the words, and there stood Gesteine.
“Right, I need to attend the commander’s meeting.”
He expected it, but it was faster than he thought. As for Marquis Crayer’s kidnapping, it was written in the setting book, but because the details from the novel was brief, Raymond only knew the rough flow and did not know the exact happenings.
First of all, he will need to attend a commander’s meeting to understand the situation and move.
Since he knows the way of ghost troops, it seemed easy to rescue Marquis Crayer, who, unlike Cron, did not appear in front of the main character, even set the place where he faces his end.
“Let’s go now.”
Raymond finished his transformation and stepped into command with a small number of people from the Shadow Squad.
Inside the barracks, senior commanders from border forces were already seated. Among them was Cron with a pale complexion.
He was the eldest son of a valiant knight family in his 20s, he was still young to inherit a huge family.
He was already burdened, considering the number of cases that would occur if the worst came.
“The Fifth Prince has arrived.”
On behalf of Gesteine, a member from the SS spoke in a calm voice, and the people gathered in the command room tried to get up from their seats.
“You don’t have to get up. Let’s move on with the discussion.”
As the situation was urgently moving, it was right to omit unnecessary procedures as much as possible.
Raymond sat down and spoke, and the commanders answered in a powerful voice.
“I’ll report the current situation.”
An officer of the staff attached a military map of the black mountain range to the wall and fixed it with a dagger. And he put red pins and blue pins here and there.
“Red pins are the fighting area, blue pins are our temporary base.”
The number of comrades pins was smaller in numbers than expected. It was also written in the author’s book of settings, but in the Black Mountains, the Pilias were inferior to the Three Kingdom Alliance.
“Right after the Marquis Crayer disappeared, three more search teams were sent up to the Black Mountains, but nothing was found.”
Raymond couldn’t overcome his frustration and shook his head slightly.
If a Dark Army unit, one of the special forces of the Fresyrian kingdom, has stepped up, it was impossible to find their traces with soldiers as a search party.
At least they need the support from the Central Intelligence Squad, who are always busy preventing the Heifel Empire and the Three Kingdoms Alliance from making any big move. But right now they cannot afford to send any support.
“Why don’t we inform the Duke of Montaine and ask for assistance?”
Someone said. This was a stupid thing to say.
Duke of Montaine, River Belfian. He is the shield from the great threat of the Heipel Empire and the Black Forest.
He was also at odds with Marquis Crayer, who was in charge of the Black Mountains.
Will he send reinforcements to help Marquis Crayer at a time of tension with the Heifel Empire?
The answer was obviously no. Raymond turned his head in the direction where the voice was from to determine who said those novel words.
There sat a young commander in a neat uniform. Probably the second son or the youngest member of a noble family. It would not have been long since he was assigned to the border.
The others, like Raymond, were showing discomfort.
“There will be no reinforcements from them. This is a problem that needs to be solved here, with the northeastern border forces alone.”
To sort things out, Raymond said in a calm voice.
The young commander who mentioned the Duke, and others nodded agreed with him.
“Does the Fifth Prince have a plan?”
The young commander struggled to manage his facial expression and asked a question. It may sound sarcastic.
Casillas, the Imperial commander who was sitting next to Raymond, tried to raise his body, but Raymond raised his hand slightly to restrain him.
“What if there’s a plan?”
Raymond, the Fifth Prince, answered without hesitation. The young commander was embarrassed by the unexpected development and the attention of others was focused on him.
He was once famous for being a scoundrel, but now he is the Fifth Prince who rescued the Emperor from the banquet hall and led his soldiers out of the “Forgotten Path.”
They had weak expectations for the next word that would soon follow.
“The Fifth Prince’s plan is……? Can it be trusted?”
“Was the rumor true?’
‘What solution will he bring up…….?’
They didn’t say it out loud, but Raymond could easily guess what was in their eyes.
There are eyes mixed with conflicting reactions and various emotions, and in the center was the Fifth Prince, Raymond, who was once a scoundrel.
“You know I’ve escaped from the Forgotten Path, right?”
At Raymond’s words, those who attended the commander’s meeting nodded and confirmed.
“Of course, Your Highness the Fifth.”
“Yes, I’ve got the report.”
Some people did not believe that the Forgotten Path existed, but they had no choice but to drop the doubt because the reports of the knights and soldiers were consistent and the statements were also the same.
“I saw a body in Dark Army’s uniform there.”
The shocking declaration rattled the crowd. They knew about the “Dark Army” but they are more preoccupied on why did the Fifth Prince not mention “Shadow Knights.”
Thank you for those who donated towards our co-translator. She has now returned to her home and recovering from the trauma.