The Biography of Albrecht – Chapter 45
Albrecht left the command post, and was followed by Randolph.
“Randolph! Gather the knights!”
Soon after Randolph gathered the knights, the sound of a bell rang through the garrison. The soldiers took their gears and left the garrison to form ranks. They looked quite experienced now after the first battle.
Albrecht mounted Schwarz in full armor. He led the knights to take up their position in the rear of the right flank.
King Leopold’s army could be seen in the distance. In the middle, something shiny could be seen. It was Manfred von Vanhenheim, the knight with the plate armor. It seemed that he was placed in the center so he could react as soon as possible whether Albrecht moved to the right or the left side.
Both armies held all kinds of flags with various patterns, each one representing their family or territory. Behind Albrecht, Randolph was holding a flag representing Hoenkaltern. Each of the knights behind him also carried the flags representing their families.
Deployment and arrangement of formation ended faster than they did in the first battle. The sun had yet to set.
Civilians came out of the garrison, hoping to see their fathers, husbands, and sons fight. They all looked at the battlefield, their hands close to their trembling hearts. If their side was defeated, all hell would break loose.
The spring breeze that could make the heart of a girl flutter unfittingly passed through the battlefield full of weapons.
Albrecht didn’t take his eyes off Manfred. Manfred was also staring at him. Both sides knew that their victory depended on the performance of the two. Albrecht removed his helmet and handed it to Randolph, thinking that he had nothing to lose.
“Give me a spear.”
Randolph took his helmet and handed over a spear without a word.
Albrecht steered Schwarz towards the middle of the two armies, his golden blonde hair fluttering in the sun. Both armies turned their attention to him.
Once he was near the enemy, he alighted from his horse and drove his spear into the ground. Then he drew his axe from his waist and took a deep breath. He shouted to the other side, opening his arms wide, as if he was embracing the sky.
“Manfred-! Come out-! Come at me-!”
It wasn’t the kind of shout that a human could easily make. It was something like a clap of thunder from the sky. The soldiers close to Albrecht felt their legs give out. They had to grit their teeth.
Manfred silently stared at Albrecht with his visor open, his plate armor gleaming in the sun. Albrecht shouted again.
“Are you scared-?! Chicken-!”
Manfred didn’t react, but the knights and the soldiers did. He was asking for a duel in the middle of war. Though duels couldn’t be avoided in war, it was demoralizing to have their own hero stay motionless after being asked boldly to duel.
Albrecht shouted once more, pointing to Manfred.
“Michael! Ludwig! I killed them all! They’re both nothing to me! That ‘renowned warrior’ title of your family should be removed!”
It was a blatant insult. King Leopold’s soldiers wanted to take a step forward to fight the monster in front of them. On the other hand, the little king’s soldiers felt reassured, their hearts beating fast as they watched their hero.
Manfred took off his helmet without a word and handed it to his adjutant. In a one-on-one duel, it was better to take off the helmet to keep their eyes and ears from being obstructed.
His adjutant spoke in surprise, “My lord! You don’t have to answer to him! We’re going to win anyway!”
Manfred, who was in his thirties and had a scar that ran diagonally across his face, looked at his adjutant with a distinctive, indifferent expression. “Whether we like it or not, we’ll have to fight this knight someday. No harm in killing him now to end the war.”
The adjutant took the helmet with quivering eyes. Right, if it was his lord, he would definitely win. In terms of strength, Michael was indeed in the top within the Vanhenheim family. However, with the family’s expertise and in armored combat, surely even this monstrous man wouldn’t stand a chance.
Manfred dismounted from his horse, ran his fingers through his reddish-brown hair, and stepped out from their army formation.
Albrecht stared at Manfred as he walked. Manfred’s plate armor was engraved with beautiful designs and looked like a work of art.
He had no shield, only a long sword. The sword seemed unusual, its blade long and thin.
The two knights faced each other in the middle of the battlefield. No one dared to utter a single word. Only the sound of the wind sweeping through the grass and birds chirping in the distance could be heard.
“Your family should be stripped of that title. Michael was worthy of respect but Ludwig, he’s just disappointing,” Albrecht said. Manfred replied in the same cool manner.
“Well, there’s nothing we could do about them. There’s no one else to blame but themselves.”
“Is that like your family’s catchphrase or something?”
Manfred didn’t answer. Instead, he lowered his stance and held his long sword with both hands.
Albrecht strode forward, swinging his axe with one hand. Manfred managed to dodge the attack while swinging his sword diagonally. Albrecht avoided it easily but Manfred suddenly burrowed deeper into his arms, managing to hit him with a half-swording technique.
Albrecht was startled and quickly moved his big frame to take a sidestep. Now he was pushed back. However, Manfred chased after him, coming closer. Albrecht held his axe with both hands and swung it quickly and powerfully, disregarding whether it would hit the enemy or not.
In that instant, Manfred swiftly retreated. The axe cut through thin air.
Damn, he’s pretty good. I guess those soldiers’ trust in this man was not for nought.
Even though Manfred had avoided Albrecht’s axe and backed away, he had still felt the power in it. Albrecht’s actions were fast—way faster than he had expected—and neat.
Manfred thought of his family members, particularly Michael, and how they had fought against him. He had always risked his life in every duel he faced, but he hadn’t felt like this for a while now: his heart was beating fast.
Everyone on both sides watched the duel of the two knights with bated breath. Nobles, knights, soldiers and civilians kept their eyes on the show, their hearts pounding fast.
This time, Manfred was the first to approach, his sword swinging from the top to bottom like lightning. Albrecht dodged sideways as he swung his axe with one hand. They simultaneously avoided each other’s attacks.
Manfred switched back to half-swording, creeping closer once more near Albrecht’s arms. Albrecht grabbed the sword with his leather-gloved hands, as if he had expected it. His strength was enough to keep the sword from moving. Then he moved his head forward and tried to headbutt Manfred.
However, Manfred twisted his sword up and tried to hit Albrecht in the head with his sword’s crossguard as he made a stab with half-swording. Albrecht quickly turned his head away and swung his axe once again. Manfred quickly stepped away as well.
The area around Albrecht’s eyebrow was slit and bleeding. He didn’t feel good. His opponent continued to use annoying, unusual techniques—unlike Michael, who recklessly risked his life. In this duel to kill each other, it didn’t matter whether one used a strange technique or raw fighting skills. This fight just put him in a bad mood. Albrecht’s blue eyes gradually turned into that of a beast.
The little king’s army felt discouraged when they saw Albrecht being pushed back. On the other hand, King Leopold’s army was excited at the prospect of winning.
Manfred approached once again and moved his sword with lightning speed. No longer caring about his shoulder, Albrecht swung his axe with both hands, looking like a ray of light.
Manfred was stunned. Whether he used half-swording again or backed away, it was now too late. By the time his sword touched Albrecht’s shoulder, cutting the chain armor, gambeson and the flesh inside, Albrecht’s axe had already hit him.
The soldiers watching the duel eagerly roared.
As the two moved, making it seem like they were exchanging weapons with one another, the soldiers yelled without realizing.
What happened? Who won?
Albrecht’s Thunder Axe had cut through the plate armor and completely embedded itself into Manfred’s torso. Manfred staggered and forced himself to move into position; however, there was no way that his body would obey.
Then, Albrecht pulled out the axe that was stuck in Manfred’s body.
He swung his axe and cut Manfred’s arm which was holding his sword off with the armor.
Manfred fell to his knees.
King Leopold’s army was dumbfounded by the current situation, clueless as to what had happened. They couldn’t believe what just happened. Hadn’t they been winning?
Manfred stared at Albrecht, his expression still indifferent.
“Got any last words to say?”
Albrecht looked down at him, holding his axe with both hands. Manfred turned his gaze away and looked at the sky.
“There’s no one else to blame…”
Albrecht raised his axe and chopped Manfred’s head off.
King Leopold’s army stared at the scene, stunned.
Albrecht withdrew the spear he had driven into the ground and thrust it into Manfred’s disembodied head. Then he steered his horse towards the enemy’s left flank, and yelled while he held the spear with the pierced head.
“Now who dares to fight me!”
King Leopold’s army fell silent. They all stared at Albrecht, dazed, eyes full of fear. He rushed to their center, still shouting.
“Come, he who dares to defeat me!”
He continued to move around them, shouting, advancing towards the enemy’s right flank.
Then he threw the spear with the head onto the ground.
He ran as he pleased, as if the battlefield was his hometurf. He returned to the ally army, and started running towards their left flank. He could see all the familiar faces that he had eaten together with.
“Hans! Lucas! Raise your shields higher! Prepare to advance!”
As he galloped towards the center, he kept calling out the names of all the people he knew.
“Adrian! Sven! Fight bravely! I’ll be right with you!”
He hollered, looking at Sigmund in the distance. “Sound the trumpets to advance! All troops, attack!”
Sigmund stared at Albrecht with an inexplicable expression—perhaps of fear, shock, or awe.
To his enemies, Albrecht was like a demon who hailed from hell; to his allies, he was like a general who had fallen from the sky.
As he reached their right flank, he saw the Wittenheim soldiers.
“Pay with your blood! Survive and claim your rights!”
Their leader, Gunther, called Albrecht’s title instead of answering him.
The Wittenheim soldiers joined in and soon, all the soldiers around them, and the knights followed.
“Knight King! Knight King!”
The trumpet to advance was sounded and heard. They all marched forward together with the Knight King.
King Leopold’s army’s war morale had completely faded. As the two armies faced each other, Albrecht called Randolph.
“Randolph! Get the knights!”
Randolph immediately led the knights behind Albrecht. The knights had become like a pack of wolves following a tiger. They stared at the back of their leader as they ran, their hearts pounding, madness appearing in their eyes.
Albrecht led them to charge from the right side. However, before they could even arrive at their destination, the enemies had already tossed their weapons away and fled. Veteran soldiers and infantry captains were no exception.
Sigmund also gave the command to attack. The soldiers broke free from their ranks, running forward and screaming with all their might.
Some brave enemy soldiers stayed within their ranks, but their formation had already been destroyed.
Albrecht gave the order to disassemble their wedge formation and let the knights chase the enemy at their own discretion. The one-sided massacre began.
King Leopold couldn’t believe what happened. They had the advantage, they had more numbers than their enemy. How did things end up like this? Now they can’t even fight back and will lose? Does this even make sense?
He urged the adjutants around him to do something quickly, but what else could they do?
However, some distance away from them, he saw the monster they all called ‘Knight King’ rushing towards him. Scared out of his wits, he turned around and ran away.
Several brave knights blocked Albrecht’s advance but died, their helmets and heads split open.
As expected of a king’s horse, King Leopold’s horse was fast. Not even Albrecht could catch up with it. At that moment, Randolph overtook him, his horse galloping at the speed of light.
“Randolph! Kill the king!”
Randolph caught up with the king and thrust his spear directly in the king’s back. The king fell off his horse and onto the ground. When Albrecht approached, the king seemed to have already lost his mind due to the shock of falling off his horse and having a spear pierce through his back.
The little king had won. Or, Sigmund? Albrecht silently looked down at the body of King Leopold.
Part 5: A War For Whose Sake
[T/N: Hello to those of you who enjoyed this series. I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. I’m sorry to say that this will be the last chapter here for TBOA and it will be dropped. Thank you for reading~]