Chapter 92

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Artizea lowered her eyes down with an embarrassing face.

“I was going to wait for a reply.”

But Cedric’s words couldn’t be said to be wrong.

What Cedric was talking about wasn’t just a letter. It was because he meant whether she was going to leave without thinking about Cedric himself and saying goodbye.

She was going to do that. She was going to leave without seeing his face again as much as possible.

She thought she needed to keep her distance.

If she went to the capital, she may not meet Cedric for a while.

Then, she will be able to strengthen her mind a little bit. She will be able to get rid of the anxiety and greed a little from her heart.

The cold will come back. Artizea thought it would.

She thought she shouldn’t have come to Evron Grand Duchy. It is not a matter of whether the variables she has created have caused conflict or that the loyalty of the Grand Duchy has been cracked. Artizea herself is shaking.

She wants to settle down now. She lost confidence to sacrifice even a little humanity left. She was trying to not be a hypocrite.

There is a conflict whether or not it is necessary to kill for efficiency.

That doesn’t mean that the blood from her hands was washed away. There are a few left to be killed anyway.

Minimization of sacrifice is only a reduction. The sacrifice does not disappear at all.

If the efficiency gets worse, the damage eventually increases. Artizea was able to calculate it. Her red hands couldn’t be whitened just because she took a drop of blood off from the start.

She knew it, but she was worried that she would be caught by him right now. And he would hate it, so her hands and feet were heavy.

It’s stupid.

Isn’t she happy to sleep next to Cedric? She came to do something he couldn’t do.

She did so even thinking about the future. She should also think about after Cedric wears the emperor’s crown.

Artizea wanted to put away those who would interfere when he began to rule as much as possible. Before she leaves.

But now, she wasn’t sure she would be able to leave when the time comes.

When she had just returned to the past, Artizea had a perfect picture of the future that she had envisioned in her mind. The right emperor and the good empress, who love each other, work together to change the world for the better.

It must have been the most complete imperial figure the whole Empire wanted. But now she was in pain and couldn’t even think about it.

When she can’t think of the future, she can’t design schemes.

So she had to leave.

Artizea felt like her mind was completely in a mess. That was the only useful part of her.

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“Tia.”

Cedric reached out his hand and touched her cheek and chin lightly. Artizea was lost in her thoughts, and she raised her head in amazement.

A light kiss came down to reach her.

She couldn’t even think about it.

The moment his lips fell, Cedric swept her lower mouth with his thumb as she exhaled a long sigh.

“Can’t you just think about me now?”

Artizea again turned her gaze away embarrassingly. She was in trouble because she could only think of him.

“What’s the situation at Thold Gate?”

“Are you talking to me right now?”

Artizea laughed awkwardly. She then pulled the teapot and refilled her empty cup.

“That was where you’re supposed to be.”

“Even if I say I wanted to talk and look at your face before you leave, you’d argue that’s where I belong, right?”

“Somehow, you seem to be a little bit harsh on me today.”

“It’s your fault.”

Cedric lowered his head lightly. Artizea turned her head away before being kissed by him.

“I think it’s Lord Cedric’s turn to talk.”

“It’s your side that’s being harsh.”

Cedric decided to give up by kissing her on the cheek instead.

“You’re at war, can you leave like this?”

“It’s not in a state of skirmish. After the first fight, Karam retreated outside of engaging range.”

“It doesn’t look like they’re going to retreat?”

“There seems to be a different purpose.”

Cedric calmed his mind after a sip of tea. And he said,

“Karam made siege weapons.”

Artizea looked at him in amazement as she tried to put another sandwich in her mouth.

“Did Karam have that level of technology?”

“No. The siege weapon they made this time was practically useless. The battering ram was broken in one shot, and the catapult was inaccurate, and it smashed after flying the rock three times.”

Cedric said.

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“But the design itself was a complete and functional catapult. The craftsmanship of the blacksmith who produced it was terribly poor.”

“You said it was the first time that a small troop crossed the Thold Mountains and attacked. Considering that it took time to cross the mountain range, they didn’t just recklessly cross. Instead, they went over it and hid for a while, and then launched an attack concentrating on the Thold Gate……. Two unprecedented things have happened.”

“That’s right.”

“Have you ever thought about the possibility of having an insider? Since there is an exchange, someone among humans may have given information about tactics or weapons to Karam. In order to keep Lord Cedric in check or to harm Evron Grand Duchy, it is possible that someone has given the information to Karam. It’s something you could do.”

Artizea asked to confirm. Cedric denied.

“I think that’s unlikely. Because no one can speak the language. It is impossible for humans to enter the land of Karam and gain enough trust from the ruling class to incite a war if it is based on a simple trade or personal relationship “

“What if it’s a bribe? It’s like giving money in exchange for threatening the Thold Gate with the right force.”

“That’s a very human point of view.”

Cedric smiled faintly.

“Karams don’t value gold and silver. The most valuable things here are food and winter supplies. It’s difficult to cross the mountain range without being noticed carrying enough resources to move Karam’s ruling class.”

It was what Artizea thought. If that amount of resources has moved from the mainland to the north, it will inevitably get caught in the information network.

If the resource was scarce in the north, it would have been more noticeable.

“Then, do you think some Karam personally learned human tactics and persuaded others to do it?”

“In fact, it’s hard to think of any possibility other than that.”

Artizea took a breath.

If so, he must be the ‘returned person’.

Evron was first defeated when Artizea plotted to oust Grand Duke Roygar.

Eventually, Cedric won a miraculous victory by killing the king of Karam. However, the consequence remained.

The fortress at Thold Gate, which had once collapsed, was not as solid as before. It was pierced once again after Lawrence became emperor.

Lawrence was different from Emperor Gregor.

Emperor Gregor wanted to use Evron Grand Duchy more thoroughly. To do that, Evron was kept alive.

He spared the young Cedric to succeed the Grand Duchy and restored the predecessor Grand Duke and his wife’s honor by reinstating them. He did not stop supplying supplies.

However, Lawrence did not become a cool-headed politician.

Originally, he hated Cedric. Not only was he temperamentally unfit, but he also unilaterally hated Lysia, obsessed with inferiority and jealousy after marrying her.

After Lysia’s death, the supplies to Evron Grand Duchy were completely cut off.

Even the business trade was banned. Unlike Emperor Gregor, he wasn’t trying to control Evron by using food as a strategic leverage, but because of hatred he intended to kill Evron.

No matter how much Artizea warned, it was useless.

Still, Cedric struggled for years. However, as a result, Evron perished.

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Cedric lost his base and wandered with the Knights. Since Lysia was also dead, he would have no more reason to come to the capital.

The border was substantially re-established at the Elia Wall, the southern border of Evron. The empire became in need of enormous troops and armament.

This is because Evron’s know-how, which has been blocking Karam for over hundreds of years, has been lost, as well as the military key point of the Thold Gate.

Protecting that border helped make the empire impoverished. Later, as the system completely collapsed, the border itself became obsolete.

Karam had occupied the north.

At the time, she didn’t think much about the result.

The north is a useless land. What Artizea was worried about at the time was the political unrest arising from Cedric becoming the centerpiece of the anti-emperor faction.

In the end, it was only a matter of power struggling within the empire.

However, if you look away and think about Karam’s part, it becomes a completely different problem.

At the time, there was no such thing as an action to evict Evron Grand Duchy’s locals behind the Elia Wall.

No matter how low the population density, the number of inhabitants was not small in terms of the entire territory.

The fact that Karam occupied the land did not mean that it massacred the locals or created a colonial system to isolate them.

If so, there would have been exchanges between those who survived and Karam.

Exchanges took place even in the situation when it was blocked by the Thold Mountains. Therefore, if they live in the same land, the amount of exchange will increase and the quality will increase rapidly.

In a situation where exchanges are scarce, what kind of Karam suddenly realized that he had to learn humans’ technology and studied tactics? In that way, rather than thinking that something that had never before happened suddenly, it is more reasonable to think that the Karam who had learned when in contact with a new civilization has returned.

It was the emergence of a variable that Artizea was most concerned about.

“It was the same with retreating immediately after the first skirmish. Normally, Karam, once the battle begins, they become heated and couldn’t see ahead. Since retreating is very dishonorable among them, there is hardly any strategic retreat. Rather, the commander said he had never seen such a quick retreat.”

“The fort commander is in his 50s, right?”

“Yes. Since he has been in the front line since his late teens, he has been fighting Karam for more than 30 years.”

“Then, I can’t say that it was a shallow experience.”

“Yes, it can be said that a Karam commander with that level of control has emerged.”

Cedric said.

“I can guess who it is. I saw it on the wall.”

Artizea was lost in thought.

Cedric continued.

“When I first heard that you were going to the capital, I thought you’d take the time. If a small squadron of Karam had attacked beyond Thold, and there was even a siege weapon, even if it wasn’t actually a situation here, it would be taken as a big problem in the capital.”

The capital will be tense by maintaining the deadlock. The funny thing is, the Evron becomes a target that cannot be touched even more.

A war is a war, even if it does not engage in active engagement and is just a sit-in. Supplies will run out quickly, and troops will be damaged.

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Cedric was willing to take it and expand the range that Artizea could operate.

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