Translated by EunEun
Edited by Slowday
The warehouse was burning wildly to the point you could see the fire from far away.
Flames completely blocked the entrance.
Unable to bring out the unscathed food, people stamped their feet anxiously.
“Water! Bring more water!”
“Damn it! How much water we need to pour out to get rid of that damned fire!”
“No…! The precious food supply we’re going to send to our soldiers…!”
The life-saving soldiers left to protect the territory.
In the North, the valuable grains were scattered in vain, engulfed in black smoke.
Such a sight brought out the misery on people’s faces.
Some of them even burst into tears.
The Duke’s Castle turned upside down.
The previous calm image was like a lie.
Witnessing the chaos, Beatty bowed her head with unusual solemnity.
‘So, it’s around this time.
The fire is the harbinger of ‘the first retreat’ incident.’
She came to prevent the incident, but the event was a whole story she didn’t exactly know.
The first retreat.
It referred to the sudden withdrawal of the Duke’s army—which for as long as people could remember, only gained a victory against the Holy Empire—when the end of the five-year-long Great War was just around the corner.
‘He could’ve ended the great war.
His decision to withdraw only made people curse him.’
At that time, she remembered that the newspaper criticized the peerless Golden Lion Duke.
They ridiculed him, saying that he was a cat, not a lion.
‘It was found out later that there was a reason why it couldn’t be helped, but…’
The newspaper, which had unanimously condemned the Duke, changed their statements and sold the surging tragedy due to the war afterward.
The catastrophe that shattered the undefeated army was no other than starvation.
The groups of starving soldiers weren’t able to fight.
The retreat of the Duke’s soldiers, who had been winning consecutive battles, was caused by the ridiculous supply incident.
‘It wasn’t elaborated since it could damage the kingdom’s fighting spirit, so I didn’t know anything specific about it.
Though, it was most likely because the fire burned the entire army’s food supply.’
Judging by the extent of the warehouse completely burned down, certainly with such a disaster, the only possible outcome she could think of would be a retreat.
‘To make it worse, there was a continental disaster the following year….’
The real disaster would arrive soon.
There were no other words that would fit in better than ‘rubbing salt into the wound’.
‘Because of the damage that time, it was said that the size of the Duke’s army had diminished altogether….’
In addition to the losing battle, the damage was so severe that it reduced the population of the territory.
Even after that, the size of loyal knights and soldiers Aslan possessed had never been restored to its original number.
The one who terrorized the enemy forces, Aslan, out of all times, was destroyed right at this moment.
For that reason, the war that had been expected to end with a grand victory from the very first battle against the Holy Empire, was prolonged.
‘If only that disaster hadn’t broken out, the history of both nations would have changed.’
A Great War that lasted for more than a decade.
Beatty clenched her tiny fist with a determined look.
Amid the chaos, while she was busy avoiding people so as not to become a disturbance, she accidentally came across ‘that plant’.
Looking down at the plant she held in her tiny palm, Beatty made up her mind.
‘This time, I’ll change it so there won’t be any ‘first retreat’…!’
In front of the completely burnt-down supply warehouse.
The people of the Duke’s castle who tried to control the flame with all their might sat down.
A blank look was painted on their faces.
Some people cried over their relatives that went to the battlefield.
In the middle of confusion, the knights ran to the lion with a striking appearance.
It was Carlitos who shapeshifted into his lion form.
He ran right away as soon as he discovered a suspicious man around the site.
That suspicious man was covered in blood, bitten by the lion that had just arrived.
“Is this the bastard”
In front of the crowd, Carlitos casually flung away the body.
Questioning the appearance of the unmoved person, the knights leaned down.
“This damned bastard! He’s already dead even before he spewed up the information!”
The knights vented their anger as they lost their chance to punish the main culprit that made the army’s valuable supply plummeted.
“Ack! Young Master.
“Please put it on!”
The knights hurriedly took off their capes to cover the boy’s naked body who just transformed into a human.
Carlitos casually put on the garment around his lower body and let out a statement.
“He killed himself.”
His sharp eyes stared at the torso of the dead man.
It was covered with the blood he vomited from consuming poison.
“He got caught too easily.”
“About that, it must be because the Young Master is exceptionally fast.”
The rapid speed of a lion was faster than a horse.
The knight remembered the time when they were in a hurry while chasing the enemy, the Young Master chased the enemy down himself and trampled on them as a lion instead of riding horses.
Such a response was natural.
Fixing his gaze on the unidentified corpse, Carlitos suddenly reached out his hand.
“Oh Young Master, leave this kind of dirty mess to us—”
The boy revealed the inside of the corpse’s clothes embroidered part that was ripped off.
“It’s an Imperial insignia.”
“It really is! Then, he’s an Empire bastard…”
The boy went silent for a while, then he opened his mouth after organizing his thoughts, while staring down at the Imperial insignia he took off.
“He seemed to make it obvious that he’s the culprit, sticking his head out of a place not too far from the warehouse.”
“Wasn’t he just trying to keep an eye on his crime When Young Master caught him out, he was alarmed and tried to run away.”
“I’m pretty sure the running away was a pretense.”
“It was like he was asking to be chased down.”
As if dissatisfied, Carlitos narrowed his eyes at the corpse and shook his head.
It was strange.
Why was the suspected arsonist loitering around the site visibly then ran away
The corpse somehow possessed the Imperial insignia, but it wasn’t evident enough to completely identify him.
‘This is suspicious….’
The boy instinctively spotted such a noticeable thing, but there was no way to solve it with the clues that were altered many times.
‘My head hurts.’
This kind of brain-racking wasn’t in his capacity.
Other people approached him, whose forehead was wrinkled up.
“Young Lord, what should we do Tomorrow is supposed to be the day we transport the supply.”
“What to do We must look for a merchant as soon as possible…”
“With that size, is there any merchant that could provide it right away In the meantime, our soldiers are starving!”
People who gathered around the Young Master spewed out their worries.
In the middle of worries and countermeasure debates that were rising.
Everyone calm down.”
The strangely calm Count Zealot raised his hand and comforted the excited people.
“It’s not the time to worry about the resort.
There’s no need for us to get too worked up.”
As the acting proxy for the Duke during the years he was away for the subjugation, the Count skillfully quieted down the commotion.
Looking at the calmed down surroundings with satisfied eyes, the Count turned to Carlitos and spoke.
Bowing his head deeply in front of the young boy, the Count said while putting on an ashamed look.
“Firstly, I plead guilty.”
As an acting proxy for work matters, I should have taken precautions to prevent such an accident from happening…”
The Count spoke in a guilty voice and came out as self-effacing.
Unlike the typical northerners’ rough appearance, those people had a pure heart and easily softened.
“Hmm, why is it only the acting proxy’s fault”
Who expects this to happen”
The Count glanced at each person who helped him with satisfaction.
“I am grateful to those who have looked after me, but I am definitely responsible for this.”
The Count bowed his head deeper, apparently expressing the anguish for his responsibility.
“Even though we assessed that we had thoroughly supervised the management of the warehouse’s fire prevention alert, we still couldn’t prevent this from happening.
It was an accurate and neat apology.
One of the boy’s eyebrows went up.
It was a sign of something he didn’t like.
The Count was bowing his head with the utmost respect.
But, Carlitos’s eyes were cold as he looked down at the Count’s head.
The Count’s apology and responsible attitude for the accident was seemingly perfect.
But, what was it
Maybe it was due to the Count’s smell that gave off a somewhat relaxed manner when he pleaded guilty
It was annoying; like a piece of stone that rolled around inside his shoes and poked his feet.
Although it had been some time since the Count first bowed his head, the young boy who had the right to forgive him didn’t say “Raise your head.”
“O-of course, you must be very angry, but don’t blame yourself too much and—”
He was nervous.
Amid the flustered people who spoke noisily.
A small sound was heard under the people’s knees.
It was a clear voice that was buried in the commotion.
Only by raising one hand noticeably, Beatty could be discovered.
“Huh What’s with the child here….”
“Ah! It’s the Young Miss who just came back”
“You say it’s the Young Lady”
The boy opened his eyes roundly.
“Calling me like that—! … Ahem, ahem.”
Annoyed at the boy’s call for a moment, Beatty regained her mind and opened her mouth.
“Uh, you’re having difficulty because there’s no food supply, right”
“Are you empathizing about it with us Oh my, you’re so sweet.”
The faces of those who had been seriously hardened were briefly greeted with a warm breeze.
“It’s already reassuring to hear that a sweet Young Miss is comforting me like this.”
The delighted people complimented her, but Beatty shook her head, saying it wasn’t like that.
She wasn’t talking about giving help or consolation that wasn’t helpful for this moment.
“I have a solution!”
“I can’t believe she’s even thinking about a way to help us! Even more, she’s this young!”
“How could her heart be this beautiful as well!”
Those people completely overlooked Beatty’s words and prepared to go back to their babying attitude.
Beatty was embarrassed for a moment, but soon she shouted, confidently pushing her arm forward that before was hiding behind her back.
“This is it!”
The eyes of those who recognized the object in the child’s hand opened wide with astonishment.