Watch My Back For Me

Translator: Xiangers

Editor: Jennicide

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!

Chapter 5: Dawn of Hope

Twelve years ago, the Kingdom of Fanoren was at war with their neighboring kingdom, Zwölf, which sat along the borders of the Brungwurth territory.

Due to a great cold wave continuing from the previous year, the whole Agrean continent was left freezing, causing many people in all of its countries to starve.

Within Fanoren, both the royalty and nobility worked and took concerted actions to save their country from this period of great cold. By evacuating the poorer and weaker citizens of the northern region who couldn’t fend for themselves into warmer parts of the country, leaving only the few who were able to care and provide for themselves within their territories, Fanoren was able to avoid a large number of casualties. Even more fortunately, with the fertile nature of their land, there was enough food in reserve to feed the entire population for half a year’s worth of time.

Even in the Brungwurth fiefdom that was located at the northeastern part of Fanoren, Lord Agustus allowed the king to temporarily evacuate subjects that were deemed vulnerable. This included the elderly, young children and their mothers, who were all sent to the territory of his good friend, Marquis Lagaria.

Fanoren managed to provide food and aid even while its own country was struggling, but that was merely a drop in the bucket when the entire continent was suffering through an unprecedented crisis.

On the other hand, Zwölf, which was located in the far-northern part of the continent, suffered more deaths from freezing and starvation than anywhere else. Nearly a quarter of that country was boreal forest that had abundant mineral resources. But because of that, their livestock and agricultural production had always been weak, and stockpiles of anything other than naturally occurring mineral deposits were permanently scarce.

Zwölf’s entire country was miserable. All of its people were left freezing and dying of starvation. Despairing the poverty of its own land, Zwölf turned its attention to the fertile region of the neighboring kingdom, Fanoren.

Later that following year, Zwölf invaded Fanoren.

With signs of unrest in the neighbouring country being detected early on through intelligence work, Fanoren secretly shared this information with the lord of the Brungwurth county, Agustus, who resided next to Zwölf’s border. The lord then, quietly and stealthily reinforced his army in preparation for “that time”.

Furthermore, at the citadel of Zwölink along the double retaining wall that was built to protect the border between Zwölf and Brungwurth, an elite force was discreetly deployed by the royal capital knights army to keep tabs on Zwölf’s movements, secretly and without being detected. 

As expected, the invasion from Zwölf took place. 

Fanoren was well prepared, or so they thought. There was a miscalculation. The expected attack from Zwölf towards Fanoren from the northeastern side, where the Brungwurth territory lay, didn’t happen.

Instead, Zwölf attacked Fanoren using a vertical formation from the northwest, crossing the western mountain range, a move they failed to account for at the place which had always acted as a natural buffer zone.

Due to that, Fanoren’s national army, which had been marching towards northeast of Brungwurth, changed its course and repositioned their forces for defense.1

On the northwestern front, Zwölf’s troops that were widely dispersed caused skirmishes one after another all over the place. Just when Fanoren was about to take advantage of their position and begin to gradually push Zwölf back toward the buffer zone, a misfortune befell them.

Half of Fanoren’s forces, which were deployed deep in the mountains of the buffer zone, were targeted by the Zwölfs.

Soon enough, a message from Zwölink came to Augustus:

We were ambushed! Zwölf has seized the citadel! All our knights were badly injured. The inner wall was breached; it’s only a matter of time before the entirety of Zwölink is set aflame. Be prepared! There is a high probability of the Zwölfs invading the Brungwurth fiefdom.

It took about half a day’s ride by horse from Zwölink to Brungwurth. Even though a huge river needed to be crossed to get to the royal capital that lay beyond Brungwurth, the trip was nothing more than an average ride to the plain fields. In light of the possibility that the Brungwurth would fall and an inevitably large-scale battle would take place within the country, it would be nothing but trouble for Fanoren.

At the time, the forty-year-old count, Agustus, gathered his family together and informed them Brungwurth would soon become a battlefield and that they needed to be prepared. That night, he left his eldest son Oriano, who was only twelve years old, and his second son Yohan, both crying and resisting, to the hands of his trusted aides to escort them out of the castle and to the royal capital. But Lady Maia, who was in her last days of pregnancy, and Gauff, who was merely a six-year-old child, were unable to move as freely and had to remain within the castle.

The earliest the national army’s reinforcements would take to arrive was seven days, as they were coming from various locations outside of Brungwurth. However, if the chances of Zwölink’s inner retaining wall being breached suddenly arose, Zwölf’s army would reach Brungwurth Castle the very next day.

Lord Augustus, in order to keep the enemy’s invasion within the boundary of his own territory, stationed his private army around the castle grounds to hold off the enemy and stall for time until reinforcements from the capital arrived.

As all of Brungwurth shuddered at the looming battle set to befall them, another message from Zwölink arrived:

We have successfully held the inner wall. We stopped the Zwölf army and flames from invading any farther. The citadel at the outer wall was reclaimed from the Zwölfs. The invasion of Brungwurth has halted. The unit that protected the outer wall was led by his Royal Highness, Prince Gravis. We will continue to defend Zwölink and wait for reinforcements from the national army to arrive. We, the people of Fanoren, now have a chance to win.2

That night, when the entire castle was filled with joy from news of the success at Zwölink, Lady Maia gave birth to her fourth child. Both Augustus and Maia shed tears at the arrival of their beautiful baby boy with such stunning violet eyes. 

The vulnerable little being became their very hope for the future of Fanoren and its people.

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