“What’s the meaning of this!? Why is there no city!?”
“It-it was here just yesterday, sir!”
“If that’s the case, then why is there nothing here right now!? Don’t tell me it just vanished overnight!”
Lord Albert’s shouts reverberated through the wasteland.
After arriving in the wasteland, the 20,000 Albert troops saw nothing but the vast wasteland and the nearby monster infested areas.
The rumored city was nowhere to be found.
“Or have we been following false information from the very start?”
“That can’t be the case. Multiple investigators have already confirmed the city’s existence, not to mention the many citizens who have entered the city themselves.”
“…maybe…everyone only…saw an…illusion…?”
“Hohoho, an illusion of that scale is impossible.”
“Then, what other explanation is there? What, did the city move itself elsewhere?”
While 3 of the 4 generals were perplexed like that, the scouting unit sent to run around the wasteland returned.
“We’ve discovered a mysterious road that leads to the center of the wasteland!”
The marquis rode on his horse to the said location and found the said road.
The road was a beautiful stone pavement that ran straight through the wasteland, almost as though slicing it.
By following the road, the marquis found something.
“Is that…a stone monument?”
At the place where the road ended was a giant rock.
In that rock, some characters were written.
“‘The village has temporarily moved to the royal capital. ––Village Chief Luke.’ What the hell is this!? Is he mocking me!?”
The marquis did not care for the words written in the monument and instead ordered the scouts to expand their search radius. In the end though, the scouts found nothing else.
Because of that, they decided to fall back for the moment to Riesen, the largest and closest city in the North.
The day after returning from the wasteland, the marquis received an urgent report from the royal capital.
“The capital has been invaded by…an unknown army…and the palace was taken immediately…”
“What!? And what of Neon!?”
“P-probably taken prisoner…”
“Useless fool! But that unknown army…there shouldn’t be any army capable of defeating Neon’s troops in such a short amount of time.”
“A-about that…according to the report…the unknown army came from the mysterious city that appeared out of nowhere beside the capital.”
“To the royal capital! We’re going to the capital right this moment!”
It was decided later that the Albert army would head to the royal capital.
It was, naturally, to take it back.
However, on their way there, they have been ambushed multiple times.
“They got our supplies again!”
“The soldiers also haven’t been able to get a good rest because of the repeated attacks…!”
Enemy soldiers have been appearing out of nowhere in their campsite in the middle of the night.
It would seem the enemies’ primary goal was to make their supplies and weapons unusable. After denying them of what could be said to be the lifeline of every army, the enemies would disappear as mysteriously as they appeared.
No matter how vigilant they become, they still couldn’t catch their enemies, much less prevent their attacks. On the other hand, the loud alarm bells going all through the night have prevented the soldiers from getting enough rest and thus sped up their exhaustion.
This has caused more and more soldiers to desert.
However, since their food supplies had dwindled so much due to the attacks, soldiers leaving strangely worked in favor for the Albert army.
“A roundtrip to and from the wasteland has made the soldiers reach peak exhaustion. Our food supply is quite low as well. I think we should rest and stock up here for the meantime…”
“Nonsense! If we take too long, the other nobles’ armies will join in the fight as well. That’ll make it harder to take back the capital. It doesn’t matter how many men desert, we will continue marching!”
Like that, Marquis Albert dismissed his subordinate’s suggestion.
If it was made known that the Albert army was struggling at the moment, the nobles who had decided to stand back and watch might instead make their own moves against the Albert army.
And so, before that happens, they must recapture the capital as soon as possible. After force marching all the way to the capital, about only half of their soldiers remained.