I Will Surrender My Position as the Empress - Chapter 19.1
The capital had issued an emergency order. The situation was dire, especially considering the tower was collapsing perilously close to the imperial palace. Chaos erupted in the palace like a hive of disturbed bees. An evacuation order was swiftly issued for the imperial family, officials, and high-ranking personnel conducting business within its walls. Employees began to flee in droves. Amidst the commotion, Lionel Baldr, the Minister of Defense and leader of the knights, rushed towards the descending tower. The elite knights from the Imperial Guard’s 1st and 2nd armies assembled by platoon under Lionel’s command. They were the best of the best, having famously thwarted 2nd class tower monsters for a month without magician support. Lionel gauged the tower’s diameter and concluded it was likely in the 4th or 5th grade.
“It’s fortunate it’s coming down in the garden,” Lionel commented, acknowledging the rose garden’s destruction. “It would have been harder to stop if it had fallen on the building.”
Suddenly, a deafening crash and thunderous roar shook the ground, causing trees to bend and the sky to turn blood-red. Even the knights couldn’t conceal their fear. Lionel quickly took charge, shouting, “Don’t look up! Fear feeds on your imagination, and the more you fear, the more you dull your sword!”
The knights heeded his words and averted their gaze from the sky. Lionel surveyed the area and issued orders without hesitation. “2nd Platoon of the 1st Army, move forward! Reinforce the 3rd, 4th, and 2nd platoons!”
Lionel was the most exceptional knight in Ehmont, with a gift for deploying troops with exceptional situational judgment. Even in situations where witches needed to be stopped without the aid of magicians, Lionel’s leadership ensured minimal damage to his knights. They trusted him unconditionally, and followed his orders to the letter. Under his command, the knights formed a donut-shaped chessboard at the crossroads, maintaining their attack range while blocking the running demons. Lionel stepped forward a few paces and addressed his troops.
“Our goal is to hold off the monsters until the tower is destroyed! Formation, take your positions!”
The black disaster was drawing closer with each passing moment. Lionel scanned his surroundings and whispered, “Are the wizards coming?”
“Not yet, Your Excellency. We’ve received no word,” came the reply.
Despite the tower’s rapid descent, the wizards had yet to appear. Lionel had seen this scenario play out before – they only emerged after enough knights had fallen. But he refused to let his troops spill meaningless blood, especially not in the imperial palace.
“Go to the wizards’ official residence immediately and summon them!” he ordered.
Upon Lionel’s orders, the vice-captain swiftly turned and vanished. However, both he and Lionel knew that the summoning order might not necessarily yield a prompt response from the wizards. The bitter reality that they had no choice but to wait for the mage was frustrating. The knights’ swords alone were insufficient to destroy the distant disaster.
Individuals capable of freely using magic to combat the tower’s magic were referred to as “wizards.” In Ehmont, the country’s wizards were managed by the Imperial Magic Corps, which was a military force under the direct jurisdiction of the emperor rather than the Ministry of National Defense. Wizards were mainly divided into two types: offensive wizards, known as “strikers,” and defensive wizards, known as “keepers.” The Imperial Wizard Commander was Duke August Ulrich Despone, and the vice-captain was Count Lennox Poitiers, who was a first-class striker and the top magician in Ehmont, despite being a commoner. His rank as an inheritable count was well-deserved. Count Lennox Poitiers looked at Henri Jackal, the vice-captain of the Royal Guard, who had rushed over with a grim expression.
“So?” Lennox asked casually as he buttoned up his robe, despite the vice-captain’s fierce glare.
“You want me to come now?”
Henri Jackal spoke through clenched teeth, “It’s an order from the Minister of Defense.
“Assemble the wizards immediately in the rose garden where the tower is descending.”
Lennox chuckled and adjusted his crooked robes. “Are you in trouble now? We’re under the direct jurisdiction of His Majesty. We don’t have to listen to the Minister of Defense’s orders, you know.”
Henri Jackal gritted his teeth, and Lennox continued, “Oh, my mistake. You’re in a hurry. Fine, you go ahead.”
Despite his words, Lennox’s movements remained leisurely as he adjusted his robes and checked himself out in the mirror. Henri Jackal clenched his fists tightly in frustration.
“Sir Jackal, did your salary not come through this month? If any of your subordinates are struggling financially, let me know. I can spare one of my gold-leaf buttons for them,” Lennox joked.
“Enough talk; be ready,” Henri Jackal warned, to which Lennox just laughed and moved closer to him.
“Henri Jackal, you can’t go out like that. Do you need my help right now? The longer I delay, the more damage the knights will suffer, don’t you agree?” Lennox asked.
“The tower has descended upon the imperial palace, do you think the wizards will be okay? The Imperial Palace Magicians will not be able to avoid responsibility either!” Henri replied.
Lennox smiled and pulled out a gold-plated button from his pocket, dropping it at his feet. The button made a loud noise as it rolled around a corner.
“I don’t care,” he said.
Henri was left speechless.
“Even if the wizards are criticized later, I won’t be. If the world were to turn into hell, it wouldn’t matter to me as long as I’m not in that hell. So, Henri Jackal, don’t insult me, because it won’t end well for you,” Lennox warned as he tapped Henri’s shoulder and walked away slowly.
Henri closed his eyes in frustration. Despite the humiliation, he knew that if the magicians did not come, the knights would be left to fight the tower alone, and the consequences would be catastrophic. The tower was rapidly approaching the ground, and the knights would have to fight to their last breath to stop it. It was better to swallow his pride and endure the humiliation than to watch his comrades die in vain.
“Henri Jackal!” cried Lennox Poitiers, turning his body halfway as the vice-captain approached him with a hardened face. “Why? Should I speak when called?” he teased, but Henri could no longer resist his displeasure. With a deep breath, he politely bowed his head, and Lennox’s light blue eyes flashed in excitement.
“I seek the cooperation of the wizards,” Henri said, and Lennox couldn’t contain his joy.
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