“I look forward to it since I never left outside the village.” (Philine)
“As we are right now in the middle of a civil war, we won’t go to overly wonderful places though.” (Wendelin)
“That’s okay. Philine will follow master.” (Philine)
“Hey, Wend…” (Erwin)
“Master, do your best.”
“Currently I’m slightly upset at you.” (Erwin)
Early morning of the next day after we performed the nursing round, we mount our horses once again and return to the field encampment.
Our numbers have increased after adding the girl called Philine, who was pushed on me last night by the village chief, to our group.
On the way back she was in high spirits while riding a horse together with Elise.
As it seems that she never left that village even once after getting born, everything she’s see around us appears to be novel to her.
Happily chatting with Elise, she enjoys the scenery on the way while looking delighted.
“What about your parents, Philine?”
“I was told by the village chief that my mother died soon after my birth and my father is somewhere far away.” (Philine)
“Is that so? It was difficult to be all by yourself, wasn’t it, Philine?”
The kind elder sister Elise was used to handling children because she looked after the orphans in the church.
While talking with each other, she extracts information about Philine’s circumstances skilfully.
And Erw, who had Philine pushed onto him by me, is in the middle of his deliberation how he should actually explain things to Haruka.
In my eyes the two are still at the state of engagement. Until now I never saw them making out much because the situation is as it is.
At most they have been training their katana techniques together, I think?
Though it’s probably physically impossible anyway since Takeomi-san is bound to come disturbing them without a doubt if they act too lovey-dovey.
That guy is restraining the two by often repeating 『Right now is a time of war』, but his real motive is very likely that he doesn’t want to see his younger sister and Erw getting along well since he’s a severe siscon.
“There won’t be any problems if you treat her as normal maid apprentice. Am I wrong?” (Wendelin)
“I can’t refute as it’s definitely a sound argument…” (Erwin)
Making a move on Philine en route or changing her into his concubine; that’s Erw’s own responsibility.
I don’t have any time to get involved with that.
“Wend, if you get carried away, you will pay for it sooner or later, you know?” (Erwin)
“I will bear it in mind as admonition by a loyal retainer.” (Wendelin)
We return to the field encampment without any particular issues.
When I went to Therese to report that we finished the nursing rounds safely, she blurted out something unthinkable just as she saw Philine.
“What!? A new concubine?” (Therese)
“Surely not. Elise took her in.” (Wendelin)
“All’s well as I don’t particularly mind. No matter how many wives thou have, my feelings won’t change, Wendelin.” (Therese)
“Please give up on that already.” (Wendelin)
“That’s impossible.” (Therese)
“Impossible, you say…?” (Wendelin)
Therese presses and I dodge.
These days even the retainers of the Duke Philip household have reached a state of looking at us indifferently while hiding their criticism.
As expected, they got used to it, didn’t they?
“I’m a woman that won’t lose heart.” (Therese)
“Make sure to use that will-power of yours for ending the civil war and ruling the empire.” (Wendelin)
“Wendelin, saying what the gentlemen over there are already insisting on is a killjoy. I want thou to entertain me more.” (Therese)
“There’s nothing about that in the job description of a temporary staff officer.” (Wendelin)
It’s not like Therese has the hobby of enjoying getting verbally abused by me. At most it seems to be at the level of her having me amuse her by acting in a role similar to a clown that entertains a king, since I possess a honorary peerage for convenience.
Of course I turn that down since I don’t have such resourcefulness.
Only people owning outrageous talent can become the clown of a king after all.
Otherwise they would immediately provoke the king’s wrath and end up getting executed.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s fine if they use cynicism and abusive language.
“She’s a fairly cute girl. What’s thy age?” (Therese)
“Yes, Duchess Philip-sama. I’m nine years old.” (Philine)
“You are big…” (Therese)
Elise learned various things about her on the way, but Philine appears to actually still be nine years old.
Accordingly, contrary to her appearance, her speech and conduct has childish aspects.
“In addition, the colour of thy hair is characteristic, too…” (Therese)
Philine had silver hair which we had not once seen in the empire yet.
“My deceased mother said that my father had silver hair.” (Philine)
“Really? People with silver hair are rare in the empire though.” (Therese)
Due to Therese’s statement, the place got engulfed in silence all of a sudden.
If there are no silver-haired people in the empire, all that’s left is for them to be very likely from the kingdom.
“Even if they are from the kingdom, they won’t be plain commoners, right? There’s no friendship between the two countries except for the trading decided by the Friendship Visit Group…”
As Luise says, that means her father is either a merchant, a noble or a member of the Friendship Visit Group entourage, but even in the kingdom there aren’t that many silver-haired people.
Among nobles they are few, too. As far the most renown household among them is concerned, there was no one except that person.
“It’s Margrave Breithilde-sama, isn’t it?”
“Luise, are there any possible candidates?”
“If it’s limited to big-shots at the level of being chosen for the Friendship Visit Group, it’s only Margrave Breithilde-sama.” (Luise)
“Dear, the hue of this girl’s hair colour is exactly like that of Margrave Breithilde-sama…” (Elise)
Certainly, Philine’s silver hair looks almost identical to that of Margrave Breithilde.
Without looking at Elise, even I couldn’t think of someone’s hair colour that resembled her’s except that of Margrave Breithilde.
“Philine, there’s something we have to talk about…”
“Please ask me anything master.” (Philine)
“(I’m her master as well, huh…?)” (Wendelin)
Since we won’t get anywhere even if we talk here, we decide to continue the chat after moving to our residence while also calling Burkhart-san.
“What is it? This small girl is?” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san, who slipped out of the training of the magicians which he’s carrying out in cooperation with Katharina, showed a puzzled expression after seeing Philine.
He’s probably thinking that it’s inappropriate for a young girl to stay at a savage field encampment.
Katharina and Doushi, who returned together, had curious looks.
“Wendelin-san, is she your new wife?” (Katharina)
“No, and, should you be the one saying that, Katharina…?” (Wendelin)
“Hahaha! Earl Baumeister, you are as jealous as you are young!” (Armstrong)
“Doushi, your misunderstanding is deep.” (Wendelin)
Even though it would have been fine even if Katharina and Doushi didn’t come back, I thought.
“So, who’s this little girl?” (Burkhart)
“That old man is scary.” (Philine)
As Philine was apparently scared by Burkhart-san who brought his face close to her, she ends up hiding behind Elise.
“I believe I’m not as scary Doushi though…” (Burkhart)
“Doushi-sama isn’t scary. This old man is.”
“Burkhart-dono, it’s wrong to scare a still young girl.”
“How novel, to be liked by a child…” (Armstrong)
Burkhart-san revealed an unhappy expression as he was completely feared by Philine.
As a matter of fact he might be the most displeased about being treated as an old man though.
In reverse Doushi was happy because he wasn’t feared by a child for a change.
“As the talk will be long, please have these.” (Elise)
“Wooow. This looks delicious.”
Philine stared at the cake prepared by Elise with shining eyes.
It was something we bought in a famous store in the royal capital. Magic is especially useful for such things.
Philine ate the fruitcake that had a great amount of whipped, fresh cream while enjoying it plentifully.
I show a copy of an old diary that Philine had with her to everyone.
At first we thought that the village chief presented Philine to us in order to lower the amount of mouths to feed.
However, once Elise heard the circumstances from Philine herself on the way back, somehow it actually looks that there is another reason why she was pushed onto us.
『Then give us an explanation, you shitty village chief!』 is the feeling that wells up within me, but he might have feared that we would refuse given that our social standing is overwhelmingly higher than his own.
The most he could do until we return was to let us know that her circumstances are written in a book belonging to Philine.
“Damn it! That fucking village chief.”
“Well, don’t say that. Even if the village chief of a poor village visits the guest house, where the Friendship Visit Group stays at, while bringing this girl along, it would be normal for him to get turned away at the front door right away.” (Therese)
Even if he said 『I’d like to get an audience since I have an illegitimate child of an upper-ranking noble of the kingdom with me』 or similar, it would probably be normal for him to get treated as swindler.
Therese came along even though I didn’t even ask her to, but she does a proper follow-up for a change.
I understand that as well, but…
“This time I have a unique chance, that old man thought, I guess.”
“So, he should have told us the circumstances!”
“There was also the possibility of us declining because of the troubles involved as we are also participating in the civil war, if he says it unskilfully. Or such he might have thought.”
“He didn’t consider it dangerous to send such a small girl to the outside world which is a battlefield?”
“And yet he thought that Wend will be able to let her meet Margrave Breithilde-sama?”
“I suppose he gave me a strangely high assessment.”
“You know, that’s because you never lost in a war, Wend. Such rumours naturally spread to commoners as well.”
I started to feel a strange persuasiveness from Erw’s reasoning.
“Wend, I wonder, don’t you have to read that diary?” (Ina)
“So I have to read it, huh? For the sake of making sure.” (Wendelin)
I think there’s almost no mistake about Philine being Margrave Breithilde’s illegitimate child, but since I was urged on by Ina as well, I decide that I have to read the diary once to check.
The one copy is something that belonged to Philine’s deceased mother.
It appears that she got assigned as one of the people in charge of taking care of Margrave Breithilde at the time of the previous Friendship Visit Group. That’s when she had a love affair with him.
Omitting the small details of the diary about that part, she returned to that village right after Margrave Breithilde returned to the kingdom. At that time she was already pregnant.
She gave birth to Philine as unmarried mother, but her physical condition declined when Philine was still very young and her mother ended up dying just like that.
At the end of the diary was written that she’s worried about her very young daughter that will be left behind.
“It seems she was in charge of Margrave Breithilde when taking care of the nobles of the Friendship Visit Group.”
I explain the contents of the diary in a simple manner to everyone.
“Holy cow! Not only a traveller’s journal, but even making an illegitimate child…”
“You didn’t notice, Burkhart-san?”
“I guess that’s because I was all the time together with just Doushi and Therese-sama last time. Let alone that master hasn’t said anything to me, he even said 『Isn’t it an honour to be the guard of Duchess Philip-dono?』.” (Burkhart)
“I think he said that because you would have been a nuisance for his tryst.”
“That must be it…” (Burkhart)
Upon Luise pointing that out, Burkhart-san dropped his shoulders crestfallen.
“So, do you have any evidence?”
Philine was made to carry one bag as luggage by the village chief.
Inside were the love letters from Margrave Breithilde addressed to Philine’s mother, a letter of verification stating that it’s his child if a child is born despite it having been an affair for around one week and a knife that was decorated with a wonderful ornament that had the Margrave Breithilde household’s family crest on it.
Or rather, if he goes that far, I think that it would have been the best for him to take her along.
Maybe he was scared of his legal wife?
“There’s nothing I want to say in particular, but he’s the worst.” (Katharina)
The fairly blunt act of Margrave Breithilde was criticized by Katharina who is in a position that she doesn’t have to hold back on nobles too much since she’s a famous magician herself.
It seems that Elise and the others agree with her, too.
In that moment the reputation of Margrave Breithilde, who looks like an agreeable liberal arts youth, took a heavy hit.
“Love letters, Margrave Breithilde is a liberal arts person even at such times, isn’t he…?”
When I tried checking the contents despite feeling guilty about it, after taking just a look, there are embarrassing lines such as 『The sun-like beautiful you』 and 『How should I convey this throbbing excitement in my chest to you?』 written in there.
Seeing the contents, Doushi and Erw burst into laughter while rolling on the ground due to the overly embarrassing passages.
The person himself was probably serious, but seen by an outsider, it’s a public execution as it’s a kind of comedy.
The difference between the scornful laughter of the female camp and the foolish laughter of the male camp was surreal.
“Wend, you don’t write many letters, do you?” (Ina)
“That’s because I’m bad at it. Though I have more opportunities to do so than Luise.” (Wendelin)
“Since it’s difficult for me as well, I hate letters and such.” (Luise)
I’m a man who even found sending mails in my previous life annoying.
I don’t have a hobby of expressly writing unnecessary letters either.
“So, this is?”
Next, another copy of a diary appeared, but the things written in there were even more embarrassing.
“『Sent to my beloved by Amadeus Freitag von Breithilde. Poems of Love』. It’s completely off…?”
An embarrassing poem that seems to be something composed by Margrave Breithilde himself was recorded on that page of the diary.
It appears that traveller’s journals and similar are his strong point, but he has absolutely no talent in writing love letters and poems.
To me it looks as nothing else but Margrave Breithilde’s dark past.
If I had written something like that and it got leaked out into society, I would certainly consider suicide.
The quality of the poem was embarrassing to that extent.
“Margrave Breithilde-sama is unexpectedly irresponsible, too.”
“It’s not a conduct that I can praise overly much.”
As it looks like even Elise, who doesn’t bad-mouth others much, and Ina, who usually avoids criticizing someone in a high position since she’s a common sense person, have joined in, the reputation of Margrave Breithilde as father and man has hit rock bottom at this point in time.
Believing that it would be futile even if he covered for Margrave Breithilde here, Burkhart-san stayed silent without saying anything.
I guess the sole salvation might be Philine receiving the female camp’s sympathy?
“I wonder if a normal woman would be happy to receive such a poem?”
“Umm… I have heard that love is blind. To the bitter end it’s just something I read in a book though…” (Ina)
After looking at the Margrave Breithilde’s peculiar embarrassing linguistic expressions that were written in the letters and poems, Ina states her impression in a whisper.
I think that even Elise thinks that she wouldn’t be happy even if she received this poem.
Ina gave quite the ambiguous reply.
“Margrave Breithilde-sama has zero talent as poet.”
“He might have prospect as a comedian though.” (Luise)
It should definitely be a hit if it’s publicly shown at a noble salon, but that’s not because of him having a talent to make others laugh but simply because that poem will be ridiculed.
Getting apparently ridiculed, his life span as comedian will likely be short.
But even before that, I’m sure that the person himself will be unwilling to be treated as comedian.
“So, you are saying that this girl is Margrave Breithilde’s illegitimate child?”
“I think all the evidence has been put together. Philine.”
“Yes, master.” (Philine)
Me and Erw seem to be currently Philine’s masters.
Once I called out to her, she answered alongside a pure smile.
A bit of fresh cream was stuck around her mouth, but since she was a beautiful girl that has inherited the blood of Margrave Breithilde, that made her all the more cute.
“Philine, you have cream on you.” (Elise)
“Thank you very much, Elise-sama.” (Philine)
Getting the cream wiped away by Elise, Philine looks happy.
Elise’s special characteristic that is idolized by Wilma got triggered by Philine, too.
“Well, what was the hair colour of your deceased mother?”
“It was light brown.” (Philine)
“I see. Thanks for telling us. If you want another serving of cake, do tell Elise.” (Wendelin)
Philine herself apparently doesn’t care at all about her own father as she seems to be entranced with the cake she’s eating for the first time in her life.
It’s definitely not like she’s cold-hearted, rather she probably doesn’t feel anything about it even if her father, whom she hadn’t seen even once since being born, is mentioned.
“So, what will we do?”
“That’s, of course, hand her over to Burkhart-san.”
Not expecting to be nominated at all, Burkhart-san ends up staring in wonder.
“I mean, look, she’s your master’s daughter.”
“Well that’s certainly true, but doesn’t it look like she hates me…” (Burkhart)
With Philine being a slightly unusual girl, she likes Doushi more than Burkhart-san who’s popular with women and children.
Therefore it was dismissed by him as he wouldn’t be able to take care of her himself.
“Rather, as she’s a girl, have the young ladies over there take care of her.”
Burkhart-san apparently wishes to leave the care of Philine to Elise and the others.
“Doushi is… I guess impossible…”
Being liked by someone and being able to look after that very person are two different pairs of shoes.
Besides, given that it will turn into a problem if Philine becomes like Doushi, it might be best to prevent that from happening.
I would hate it to be blamed by Margrave Breithilde later.
“Philine, the cake is delicious, no?” (Armstrong)
“Yes, Doushi-sama.” (Philine)
“That’s great.” (Armstrong)
“She’s an unusual girl, isn’t she…?”
After all she owns the notable characteristic of being afraid of Burkhart-san, who’s well-received by children and women, and instead not only isn’t she scared of the unpopular Doushi, but she actually even likes him.
Even though her appearance is on the cute side, she seems to unexpectedly like strange things.
“It’s your turn after all, Burkhart-san? Look, it’s a good training for the time when you get a daughter.”
“I will consider that after my wife gets pregnant. Say, haven’t you entrusted her to Erw-boy, Earl-sama?” (Burkhart)
If she she were a simple commoner, it would have been fine with that, but now that we have confirmed her the daughter of Margrave Breithilde, it becomes necessary to handle her appropriately.
Meaning, we got once again burdened with difficulties.
“That’s right. I agree with my lord.”
Even though he has no official position, the times when Erw calls me lord are mostly when there is some worthless reason for it.
Erw showed an expression of “got ya” on his face.
“In my position as retainer treating the esteemed daughter of Margrave Breithilde-sama, who is the leader of the kingdom’s south, as maid apprentice is impolite. There’s no other option but to leave this to you, my lord.” (Erwin)
It’s a sound argument, but I guess Erw cannot resist feeling happy about being able to use this as excuse to pay me back for having pushed Philine on him once.
Due to Philine’s unexpected appearance, I took a trashing as payback.
“Erw, try to spell out your real intention.”
“No matter how you think about it, no one but you can look after her, Wend. Serves you right.” (Erwin)
“I can’t refute that…”
Erw deliberately offered his opinion while respectfully bowing his head, but a bright smile is plastered on his face.
It was obvious that you couldn’t interpret that as anything but him being happy that he pushed a seed of trouble upon me.
“Just a bit, I feel like killing you, due to that bright smile of yours.”
“With it being a real problem, there’s no other choice but have you take care of her, Wend.”
“Even if that’s so…”
This kind of banter with Erw is no problem since it’s indispensable for the sake of preserving my ego as Wendelin and not as Earl Baumeister.
Given that even Erw can discern between a private and an official occasion, it won’t turn into an issue either.
Rather than that, the matter was that she would definitely be forced onto me as wife if I go to return her to Margrave Breithilde after having taken care of her.
“Once Philine turns 15, Wend, you will be 22 years old. I don’t think that feels out of place at all.”
“Moreover, as she’s an illegitimate child, her rank in the succession line will be low as well. So there won’t be any kind of problem with that either.” (Ina)
I couldn’t do anything but sigh due to Erw’s and Ina’s opinions.
I have no doubt that Margrave Breithilde will say that as well.
“Master, am I a nuisance?” (Philine)
Just when the discussion got heated, Philine, who finished eating the cake before anyone realized, asks with her eyes tearing up.
It looks like she ended up wondering whether she’s unwanted from the flow of the conversation.
“There’s no way for that to be true. Since it will take some time to let you meet your father, Philine, I plan to have you learn various things during that time.”
“I will be able to meet father?” (Philine)
“He’s in a foreign country. Because it’s not possible to let you meet with him due to the circumstances, I want you to work as maid for a bit. Elise.” (Wendelin)
“Please use your free time to give her a basic education.” (Wendelin)
I placed my hands on Elise’s shoulders and asked her to see to give Philine an education.
“The least amount of etiquette as noble daughter and such, I guess?”
“Since you are probably busy as well, Elise, I don’t mind even if it’s one for a maid apprentice though.”
Since her father is Margrave Breithilde, it should be necessary for her to have a minimum of manners before letting her meet him.
We will work out an attire that makes her look real somehow or other later on. Right now the end of the civil war is the highest priority.
“If it’s about that, I will help out as well.”
It appears that the talk about teaching Philine good manners as noble pulled Katharina’s heartstrings.
She volunteered to participate in Philine’s education.
Wilma, who has been silent all the time, is simply eating the cake she received from Elise while looking as if she’s enjoying it.
She’s probably believing that she won’t be able to to teach noble manners by herself.
“Eh? Katharina, you will?”
“Although my family got ruined once, I learned the things necessary for a noble without giving up. It’s something I’m making use of even now. It will be fine to leave Philine-san to me with a peace of mind.” (Katharina)
“Wendelin-san, do you have any complaints about my conduct as noble?” (Katharina)
“Katharina, your conduct as noble is slightly unnatural.”
She’s sticking too much to formality. Given that it looks as if she’s using all her strength as she’s always slouching, she ends up appearing as if she has no leeway due to somehow being at her absolute limit.
Also, I think it’s also a problem that she occasionally spins her wheels with all her heart.
“Wendelin-san, you are too obedient. By nature that’s how nobles are.” (Katharina)
I don’t quite understand since I became a noble all of a sudden, but if all nobles were like Katharina, I feel like that would be a problem in itself.
“Beside, it will be problematic if Philine obtains a loner characteristic similar to me and you, Katharina.” (Wendelin)
“I’m telling you, I’m no loner!” (Katharina)
“A loner says that they are no loner.”
“Master, loner, what’s that?” (Philine)
“Someone like Katharina.”
“Geez, I’m no loner!” (Katharina)
Philine is puzzled due to Katharina’s and my dialogue.
Luise had remained silent until now, but she looked as if being downhearted.
“What’s wrong, Luise?” (Wilma)
“That girl, Philine, even though she’s seven years younger than me, she’s close to ten centimetres higher than me…” (Luise)
Upon being asked for the reason by Wilma, Luise laments over the slow speed of her growth.
Certainly, if you were to compare Luise and Philine, the majority of people would probably say that Philine is the older one.
“But, being small makes it easy to get caressed by Wend-sama.” (Wilma)
“I’m an adult woman, thus I’m not happy even if I get caressed.” (Luise)
“Really? Katharina is delighted when occasionally getting caressed.”
“That doesn’t suit her.”
“That’s none of your business!” (Katharina)
Leaking the conversation between the two to Katharina, she retorts with a loud voice at Luise’s statement.
In the end it’s decided to place Philine at my side as a maid apprentice on the surface and to have Elise and the others take turns in educating her.
Of course it’s a secret to the surroundings. I have Therese keep it confidential, too.
Given that Therese is a high-ranking noble as well, not allowing her to reveal that kind of information was willingly accepted and guaranteed by her as it’s a required etiquette for a noble though her country’s different.
“In exchange thou will owe me one favour. I wonder how I should have thou pay me back?” (Therese)
Even though only slightly, I ended up cursing Margrave Breithilde who isn’t here.
“Therese-sama, I brought the tea.”
One week after accepting Philine, Duke Nürnberg should have gathered up his forces and come to attack according to Therese, but for some reason there’s no sign of that happening.
Philine, who wore maid clothes that were adjusted by Elise, lived in our house while learning the minimum amount of manners as a noble daughter and maid.
Since she had also been a freeloader in that village to begin with, she was apparently able to handle the bare minimum of housework.
She is handling the work quicker than I expected.
That Philine pours tea to Therese who had visited our home for some reason. Therese thanks her for that.
I don’t know why she came here, but I’m sure it’s not for anything decent.
Her speech and conduct being bad for my stomach was, by now, a set fact.
“This is classified information, you know… but it looks like an expeditionary force of Helmut Kingdom or something like that was annihilated.” (Therese)
At first I didn’t comprehend what Therese was talking about.
“Thanks to that device, the operation of magic airships and communication seems to have been jammed in the north of Helmut Kingdom as well. The whereabouts of the Friendship Visit Group are unknown as well. 『The royal palace of Helmut Kingdom couldn’t hold back the advocates of a troop dispatch?』 is mine and that of the other nobles’ reasoning.” (Therese)
To the nobles, who desire achievements and territory, and the military authorities, who aim for an increase in the military budget, the disappearance of the Friendship Visit Group until now might be a big advantage.
Information doesn’t flow in almost at all as the espionage network is not working with communication being impossible. So it’s also possible that they were unable to restrain a call for a limited troop dispatch by the nobles who felt anxious.
However, this opinion is just a conjecture.
Without any communication, it was a problem that no news reached this place.
Even Therese is somehow gathering information by constructing an information network through carrier pigeons and the traditional fast messengers, but the degradation of speed and accuracy of those was considerable after all.
There’s also the mutual killing of spies. At this time it also happened that absolutely no information came in.
“It’s not definite information. But they probably aimed to occupy the north of the Gigantic Crevice once the opportunity showed itself after waiting and seeing.” (Therese)
She heard that an estimated number of 5.000 to 10.000 soldiers of Helmut Kingdom’s royal army infiltrated the empire’s territory with a human wave tactic through a impromptu rope-way and occupied a part of the empire’s territory. Duke Nürnberg, carrying out a night attack, destroyed the royal army like a gale with a cavalry unit he led himself.
“Just how weak is the royal army…”
Even though they are our allies, their weakness is pathetic.
“Duke Nürnberg is a great commander if he actively takes part in a normal battle.” (Therese)
Apparently he even left behind the slow-footed infantry and performed a night raid with a swift attack against the royal army which was exhausted from having just crossed the Gigantic Crevice.
Even if there’s uneasiness as to combat strength with just the cavalry, he didn’t want to let the advantage of opportunity get away.
You might also say that this serves as proof for Duke Nürnberg being a great commander.
“So, what about the royal army?”
“It looks like quite a few nobles were defeated. Though the information as to whom exactly is lacking.” (Therese)
There might have been some commanders of the royal army and northern nobles who sent out their soldiers.
At any rate, the royal army was destroyed to the point that nothing is heard of them anymore.
It’s bad that they would have to cross the rope-way even if they tried to return to the kingdom. There’s no safety zone as long as they don’t cross the Gigantic Crevice even if they escape.
“They have capitulated after giving up, are getting finished off through a hunt for the remnants of the defeated army or are killed off by hunting down the fleeing soldiers.” (Therese)
“Guess so… So that’s delaying them closing in on us?”
“Will there be another troop dispatch by Helmut Kingdom? Does the kingdom adopt a wait-and-see stance after shrinking away since their troops got annihilated? The rebel army will likely close in on us after making sure of it.” (Therese)
Also, if they leave the defeated soldiers alone, the public order will deteriorate.
Since it’s possible that the desperate, defeated soldiers will attack villages and cities in their desire for food, Duke Nürnberg has the duty to mop them up.
“You are saying they are moving to get the support of the populace as it’s a coup d’etat administration?”
“After all it’s completely unknown how many escaped and died, they might have encountered many unexpected difficulties.” (Therese)
“I wonder how many soldiers will be forced to come along with the rebel army?” (Wendelin)
“Even though they are thy allies, thou are saying something terrifying there.” (Therese)
For me the royal army counts as an ally.
However, in this situation I don’t have the leeway to help defeated soldiers who are 1500 kilometres away in the south.
Crossing the rope-way of the Gigantic Crevice and making a half-assed number of troops invade in this chaotic situation is reckless in itself.
Moreover they ended up throwing the situation for our side into disorder unnecessarily. If things don’t go well, this might actually become the main reason for the defeat of the liberation army.
If he pulverized a royal army of several thousands with one blow, Duke Nürnberg will likely start to talk very highly of his own deeds of arms.
There’s the possibility that the number of nobles and people following him due to that will increase.
Considering that, I didn’t feel an ounce of will to save the royal army whose commander I don’t know.
After all they are an existence pulling our legs.
“Maybe the kingdom let Duke Nürnberg obliterate the war advocate faction that has become uncontainable?”
As information about the state of the empire’s civil war almost didn’t flow in at all, the nobles advocating a reckless dispatch of troops grew in number within the kingdom.
Accordingly it might have developed into something like the kingdom saying 『Then, form an advance party consisting of only those like-minded』.
The kingdom might have thought that it would be a reason for great celebration if they succeeded despite the low probability, and likewise, even if they failed, they would get cleaned up by the imperial army.
There are scary people in the kingdom’s government.
“From the Gigantic Crevice to here it’s 1500 kilometres in a straight line. There’s little hope that there’s a commander who grasps the current power distribution of the rebel army and the liberation army as well as the deployment of the armies and using that, systematically gathers the remnants of the defeated army and escapes up to this place.”
“If there was such excellent commander, they wouldn’t have gotten annihilated to begin with, I think.”
“Being told that…”
“The royal army was scattered by a single strike with a adequate night attack by Duke Nürnberg, just like the seeds of balsam. However, it seems it’s actually less than half the military forces that got killed in that night raid. Accordingly the rebel army seems to hunt down the dispersed remnants of the royal army.” (Therese)
The information from Therese ended at this point.
Duke Nürnberg won’t make a move until he destroys the hiding and fleeing royal army in the empire’s south.
With those circumstances, we decide to seclude ourselves in the field encampment in the Great Sorbid Wastelands.
Even if we once again attacked fortresses and cities because of their lacking stationed troops, the military forces that would have occupied those place would get beaten just like in a whack-a-mole game, thus we will obediently stay in the encampment this time.
Since our forces grew, we advance the construction of the encampment, the mud wall and the trenches against horses while at the same time carrying out things like training and army corps organization.
Given that the number of soldiers increased, we completed something like a district where merchants that had their sight on those soldiers gathered and in addition it was also necessary to run a red-light district which is an unavoidable part at the front.
Of course that responsibility has been completely placed on Therese.
“In my eyes a red-light district isn’t really necessary. But, if we leave it alone, spies will enter. Also, our combat strength will fall if diseases spread. Good grief, why does the virgin me have to…” (Therese)
Around half a month after the destruction of the royal army, Therese sighed in her office while signing budget documents for prophylactic medicine against venereal diseases that will be sold cheaply to prostitutes.
“I don’t need something like a red-light district either though.” (Wendelin)
“Wendelin, thou have five wives after all.” (Therese)
While looking at a business license of a brothel that had been newly established, I looked for errors in the documents.
At the beginning I was slightly bewildered, but when I actually tried to do paperwork such as this, my memories from my previous life are useful as well.
“Since there might be idiots trying to attack my wives, brothels are a necessary evil, I suppose?”
“That’s a splendid way of thinking for a devoted husband. If thou like, I don’t mind at all if thou add me into that as well.” (Therese)
“Hahaha, that’s a funny joke, you know.” (Wendelin)
“Thou have dodged that one smoothly. However, it’s only headache-inducing problems.” (Therese)
Assembling the military forces and finishing their formation, we are training them now. The expansion of the field encampment goes favourably as well.
But, it’s a long encampment of several ten thousand troops without fighting.
Even if you consider just their food consumption, Therese and those in charge of accounting in the liberation army are likely at their wits’ end.
“The rewards due to distinguished war services are put on hold. We are even asking the nobles, who have some leeway, to provide food and money. I’m envious of Duke Nürnberg who is controlling the central area.” (Therese)
She’s going to have to repay the nobles, of whom she’s receiving support, by adding some extras.
In noble society, words such as volunteer or donations don’t exist.
No one considers the donations to the poor and the church as genuine donations as they obtain benefits in the form of reputation due to those contributions.
I will say it one more time; in noble society words such as volunteer or donations don’t exist.
“The rebel army is likely managing with the national treasury of the central government, aren’t they?”
It can be seen well on a glance, but that’s carrying on by sacrificing the precious assets of the empire.
If it’s a foreign campaign, there’s the chance of obtaining profits through the pillaged money and goods or territory, but since it’s a civil war, the empire is just eating up its own money, food and goods.
Once the civil war ends, it’s quite likely that there will only be emptiness awaiting Therese’s group in the treasuries located in the empire’s imperial palace.
“It’s a great help that thou are here, Wendelin.” (Therese)
“Even the other nobles can’t ask for anything too greedy in front of thou, Wendelin.” (Therese)
I have obtained the best deeds of arms within the liberation army, constructed the field encampment, have gone on nursing patrols to cast healing magic in the occupied area in the surroundings and am furthermore assisting Therese as a staff officer. I have also provided quite the amount of food and money.
Since even someone like me hasn’t received any special rewards except being conferred the title of honorary Earl, it seems to be a situation where it’s difficult for the other nobles to speak up.
“If you don’t provide proper rewards afterwards, it will trigger a second civil war.”
“That’s something harsh to say. Of course I will provide satisfactory rewards.” (Therese)
It’s probably fully possible if it’s the national power of the empire, but the empire will likely stagger for a bit due to the heavy burden on its financial affairs.
It won’t work out unless she creates a new power distribution in the empire with the nobles who participated in the liberation army. For that reason the liberation army has to shave off the territories and peerages of the nobles, who participated in the rebel army, as much as possible.
But, if she goes too far with that, it will lead to a second civil war.
With the difficulty of balancing that out, I was certain that I would immediately escape and seek asylum if it was me.
That’s because I think I would become like Xiàng Yǔ who was ruined due to failing in his sharing of the rewards, going by Earth’s terminology.
“Really, if there was another optimal person, I would have handed it over to them a long time ago.”
“You have my condolences.”
“Why are thou treating it as if it’s somebody else’s problem? It also concerns the reward for thou, Wendelin.”
I still haven’t received even a single copper coin, but with the annuity as honorary Earl and the individual request achievements as mercenary, I can look forward to receiving a decent amount of money.
Also, I’m greatly profiting due to the collection of metal resources from the abandoned mines around the Great Sorbid Wastelands.
I use a large amount of money, but since it also serves as training to increase my mana amount, it’s convenient. Since I can extract metal resources from new underground veins that other magicians don’t reach, I didn’t suffer any losses at least.
Therese is believing them to be abandoned mines where one can’t mine anything, but since it’s a mountain of treasures for me, it matched the interest of both sides.
“Given that it’s a considerable amount of money, I have to come up with another reward as well though.” (Therese)
“A payment in kind, you mean?”
“It’s good that thou catch up fast. I did write up an official document as test. Thou might as well sign it if thou desire so.” (Therese)
“Let’s see… oi!” (Wendelin)
The contents of that document were about Therese offering herself to me.
Moreover, it’s written in a thorough, official writing style in order to show its public validity.
Once I sign it, Therese will be formally assigned to me.
“Oi, next empress!”
“Isn’t it still possible that Urquhart the 17th will govern himself if he’s alive?” (Therese)
“Haven’t we decided that to be impossible?” (Wendelin)
Even if he’s still alive, no one will follow an emperor who was driven out of political power by a coup d’etat directly following his enthronement.
Above all, what would be troubling is him deciding the reorganization of the nobles and the payment of the rewards as it suits him while ignoring the war services of the liberation army.
If he slighted the nobles, who participated in the liberation army, for the nobles, who stayed neutral, got captured or sided with the rebel army in the capital city, it would develop into a second civil war without a doubt.
“It’s a joke. It’s fine for thou to come to mine own room at any time if thou wish to mate with me to the best of your ability.” (Therese)
“Therese-sama, it’s always the same with you.”
“How about finally giving up on that?”
“Being persistent naturally lies in mine own character.” (Therese)
Elise and Ina, who quietly processed the documents while listening to Therese’s and mine conversation, calmly cut her off just like always.
This had become a natural scene in the last month, but it doesn’t seem like Therese has any intention to give up at all.
“Being able to receive Elise’s and Ina’s assistance is a great help in decreasing the workload.” (Therese)
And in this one month Therese had stopped adding -san to my wives.
The act of her passing around the documents she ought to handle herself is a proof of trust in Elise and the others.
Even the stubborn Therese understands that we won’t side with Duke Nürnberg’s camp no matter how the dice may roll, and thus sets aside and allocates such work to us.
“Well then, today’s documents are up to here… “”Excuse me!”
At the same time as I have reduced the large amount of documents to zero, a young retainer of the Duke Philip household plunges into the room all of a sudden.
It seems that he has urgent business.
“Has Duke Nürnberg come attacking?”
“No, there’s a shabby, beggar-like group outside…”
Only consisting of men, they are dirty as they apparently haven’t had any baths, but there are also people riding a horse. Everyone is armed and their eyes are glaring.
Once the guards wondered whether it’s an enemy attack with their numbers also amounting to more than 1000 people, they were told 『We are Helmut Kingdom’s royal army!』 and thus the guard came to ask for instructions how to handle them.
“Are they allies?”
Travelling 1500 kilometres within a month is not impossible for the humans of this world who have a slightly sturdier body than the humans on Earth.
But, maintaining a group of more than 1000 people until this place while crossing enemy territory, which also includes mountains and monster domains, was on the side of abnormality.
“A disguise, I guess?”
“Maybe there are acquaintances among them? Won’t it be fine to show up there?”
“That might be true as well…”
Taking along Elise, who knows much more about the kingdom’s nobles than me, I climb atop the mud wall close to the front gate of the field encampment.
Since they had thrown away their shields and armour that had their crests on them in order to not be recognised as royal army, and their beards and hair freely growing downwards, they were a gathering of a great number of men wearing dirty clothes.
Going by their looks, they appear to be mountain bandits. I can really understand the guards being nervous.
Probably they can’t deny the possibility of them being actually the rebel army while looking like the remnants of the royal army.
“Do you have a commander!?”
Once I yell loudly, the group divides and two men come forth.
“Huh? I feel like I have seen them somewhere…”
I have a hunch that I have met them in the past, but for some reason I can’t remember.
I don’t recognize them all them ore since their hair and beards are freely growing out as well.
“Elise, do you know them?” (Wendelin)
“Umm… it looks like I have healed many of them before…” (Elise)
Elise, who healed in the royal capital’s church since her childhood, has, generally speaking, a large, diverse circle of acquaintances.
There are also many people who are thankful for getting healed by her. That was also related to her nickname of 『Saint』.
“Elise-sama! I’m Alexis who received the grace of getting healed by you in the past!”
“Saint-sama! I received your healing five years ago.”
Dozens of men express their gratitudes with loud voices once they discover Elise.
We still can’t give up on the possibility of it being a disguise, but many among them remembered Elise.
And, the two men, who came in front previously, call out to me.
“Earl Baumeister, certainly I won’t let you tell me that you forgot about me!”
“We will be in a bind if you forgot about us after thoroughly defeating us in the dispute.”
“Ah, yeah! The former Browig brothers!” (Wendelin)
The two commanders were the elder brother Philip and the younger brother Christoph who opposed me in the dispute with the former Margrave Browig household and who have now become former members of the Browig household.
The dirty, bandit-like group that surged into the field encampment were indeed the survivors of the royal army that broke through the middle of enemy territory.
After confirming for several hours whether they are spies of the rebel army for caution’s sake, they are eating as if greedily devouring the food that was put out while forgetting their manners after they got accommodated, had their hair cut, their beards shaved and entered a bath.
The other soldiers were also in the middle of eating at another place.
“You don’t say, for the former Browig brothers to…”
“Earl Baumeister, putting aside our past connection, please stop using that name.”
“Our current family name is Fröhlich.”
The brothers, who fell from being candidates for the next family head of a Margrave household to being retainer and family head of a nominal appointed Knight household in the capital, weren’t invited much to exchanges between fellow nobles and should work as government officials and military personnel due to the connections of Minister Edgar.
“I see. You say you sent out troops in an attempt to get a territory by taking advantage of the civil war in the empire.”
“Earl Baumeister, it looks like you are misunderstanding something.”
“Right now we don’t have the leeway allowing us to dispatch that many troops.”
With Philip and Christoph pointing it out, I realize the fact that they shouldn’t be able the send out military forces with the assets of these two.
“Why are you together with the soldiers then?”
“They are from the Marquis Läger household.”
“Marquis Läger household?”
“It’s a distinguished military family of appointed nobles, dear.” (Elise)
Elise quietly tells me who can’t recall the names of nobles well as usual.
“Earl Baumeister, it’s great for Saint-dono to be your wife.”
Philip turned an astonished expression towards me who doesn’t remember the faces and names of nobles well.
“I agree with that as well.”
“Let’s get back on topic.”
This Marquis Läger household appears to be famous for being anti-Empire diehards.
I’m told that seven family heads had been killed in wars of the past.
That means their minds are filled with resentment towards the empire, but since more than two hundred years have already passed since the last person killed in a war with the empire, the actual state of their resentment is doubtful.
“Currently, rather than calling it revenge, I think it’s an antithesis towards Earl Armstrong’s household and Minister Edgar who belong to the ceasefire perseverance faction.”
I knew this as well, but in reality, different from their appearances, these two households were in the moderate faction that wants to maintain the ceasefire.
They aren’t negligent towards preparing for war that might happen at any time, but I believe that they don’t want to go to war if possible.
“As for the true opinion of the army’s top brass, I guess they are really reluctant about a war.”
As Philip says, there’s actually a trend of disliking war among the big-wigs of the army.
They can secure their current positions for a set number of years if there’s no war. On the other hand, if they lose once it turns into a war, they will end up driven out from their positions after being forced to take responsibility.
“The ones desiring a war are a part of the ambitious troops, or the Marquis Läger household that’s currently disconnected from the main faction, I guess.”
“Additionally, the one who drove the Margrave Läger household into a corner is you, Earl Baumeister.”
Christoph joins in on the talk and starts saying that I’m the cause for the Marquis Läger household running wild.
“Why me though?”
“Lately there has been a tendency towards disarmament. For the kingdom’s government it was an obvious choice, but it’s only reasonable that the army’s upper echelons don’t find that amusing.”
His Majesty was carrying out a gradual disarmament.
But, if the share of posts decreases, the military nobles will naturally express their dissatisfaction.
“The future of that dissatisfaction changing radically into anti-Empire expedition doctrine also exists as possibility.”
The one preventing that is me, is what Christoph is saying.
“You don’t understand? It’s the Pangenia (T/N: probably spelling error: Palkenia) Grasslands and the Herthania Valley.”
Since the number of places that need guards to keep up the public order increased, the budgets and posts of the military has substantially increased.
Given that their budget grew even without going to war with the empire, almost all military nobles returned to their former ceasefire faction.
“That’s nothing the Marquis Läger household should be happy about.”
Accordingly they apparently gathered the war advocates to a certain extent and proposed a troop dispatch plan to His Majesty.
“Usually it would have ended with a rejection, but there’s the suspension of communication and magic airship flight in the north and the whereabouts of the Friendship Visit Group are unknown.”
No matter how much they inquired the empire about it, no satisfactory answer came.
If one considers the dignity of a state, it was a truth that they couldn’t send out soldiers for the sake of checking the situation.
“With the Marquis Läger household taking the supreme command, an advance unit of 8.000 soldiers crossed the Gigantic Crevice.”
It would have been great if they had tread carefully while quietly sending out reconnaissance units and adopting a wait-and-see stance, but the incompetent Marquis Läger split the army into units that occupied the cities and such they discovered through the reconnaissance and a unit to guard the rope-way.
“It seems that they plundered joyfully with Marquis Läger himself standing at the head of the forces.”
“So you brothers worked hard at pillaging, huh?”
“You are quite blunt, Earl Baumeister.” (Christoph)
Christoph’s eyes slanted upwards.
Considering the past connection between me and these brothers, it’s unlikely that they will be delighted to reunite with me in the far distant territory of the empire.
No matter how low he fell, Philip is still an appointed Knight. And I don’t think that Christoph wants to abase himself in front of me either.
“We joined the campaign on the order of Minister Edgar. I guess it was for the sake of babysitting the stupid Marquis Läger.”
Which reminds, there’s something I heard from Minister Edgar before.
He said that Philip is excellent as soldier.
The conditions are harsh, but if he does it skilfully and his achievements are big, it’s also possible for him to rise in peerage.
Even his little brother Christoph joined the campaign as military bureaucrat to obtain achievements.
“With the circumstances being like this, we were suddenly considered a burden by Marquis Läger.”
“I dare say that Marquis Läger is quite incompetent. Once he saw our personal history, he probably felt very relieved for us to be below him.”
Telling them 『You incompetent brothers who lost your family and territory protect the troop headquarters』, he ordered them to standby at the headquarters in the rear while leading 500 soldiers of the royal army.
There was no other way but to call it irony that they were able to defend against Duke Nürnberg’s night raid exactly because they were in the rear.
“So, what about Marquis Läger?”
“He was apparently killed by Duke Nürnberg himself. The soldiers that ran away said so.”
The mounted Duke Nürnberg apparently let the Marquis’ head fly into the sky with a flash of his own sword.
With the death of the supreme commander, the expeditionary force plunged into chaos.
Moreover the other three groups of nobles that split their forces to work hard at plundering became a target for thorough elimination.
“We escaped north while picking up the survivors of the defeated army.”
The southern ropeway was something crude that was built as temporary solution. It ended up getting destroyed by Duke Nürnberg right away.
Since it’s easy to estimate their escape route, the officers and men, who escaped to the ropeway, should have either been killed or taken prisoner, Philip explained.
“Why did you escape north?”
“That’s because we were aware of the current state of the civil war in the empire. We wondered whether we would be able to somehow join up with the powers opposing the rebelling forces that are controlling the central government.”
“What about the move of setting up a ropeway somewhere along the Gigantic Crevice once again and use that to escape?”
“Who will affix the rope?”
The rope of the ropeway that was affixed when they invaded into imperial territory in the beginning was apparently affixed by a valuable spy who cooperated with them.
But, the remnants of the defeated army on the empire’s side have no means to affix a rope on the kingdom’s side.
Even if they tried to ask someone on the other side by making a racket, there’s no one there. And, if they were noisy, the remnants would only notify the local residents of their existence.
“Huh? So crossing the 1500 kilometers to the north was an unexpectedly good call?”
“I guess it worked out because communication through magic and magic tools was obstructed.”
Philip, alongside Christoph, made the troops go north partly on instinct.
Picking up the remnants of the royal army along the way, they occasionally crushed small-scaled search parties and search parties led by local nobles.
Since the magicians belonging to the royal army carried food with them in their magic bags, they advanced on unpopular mountain roads as much as possible while stingily rationing out their food.
Discarding their armours and shields along the way since they bore the crest of the kingdom, they kidnapped local residents they found and had them act as guides when they lost their way.
It was a pity for the residents, but apparently they released them once their guidance ended after passing them a gold coin more or less.
“We were saved from troubles thanks to the jamming of communication magic, you know? Without that, we would have been captured or annihilated on the way.”
Looking at the slow movements of the rebel army, the rebels themselves apparently suffer from the jamming, too.
“Well then, I wonder what we should do about you?”
“Oi, what’s that about, Earl Baumeister?”
It was a reunion on the distant, isolated imperial soil, but the other side was someone who has a past history with me. From the standpoint of the soldiers and nobles of the liberation army, there’s no reason to welcome someone like the remnants of an enemy army, which invaded their own country under the cover of the civil war’s turmoil, warmly.
To begin with, they are no allies. Although they are not directly attacking the liberation army, they likely harbour the sentiment to execute them on the spot since they are aggressors no matter how you look at them.
“Even though our war is with the rebel army, you guys are invaders.”
If we provided a timely help to them, there’s the possibility that the nobles and soldiers would even resent us for doing so.
Currently we are having them eat a meal after putting them into baths, but there were many among the nobles and soldiers of the liberation army that are looking at them with cold eyes.
“But aren’t you and the other people of the kingdom as well, Earl Baumeister?”
Even so, although we were treated as mercenaries, we achieved distinguished war merits while belonging to the liberation army.
Having received a honorary peerage as well, we are getting accepted on the surface at least.
“You guys’ treatment is troublesome.”
“You don’t mean to say that you intend to abandon us?”
“It’s troublesome because I can’t do that…”
If I did that, it would then turn into an issue when I returned to the kingdom.
Even though they are people I don’t like, I have to shelter them somehow.
“Can I have you follow me once you finish your meal?”
“To a meeting with Her Excellency Duchess Philipp?”
“Correct. Therese-sama’s judgement will decide your treatment.”
After I caught Doushi, who was hanging around nearby, we headed to Therese while taking the brothers along.
If you ask why Doushi was there; that’s because this person, even though he may appear to be like this, is a highly celebrated person in the kingdom.
He’s treated as mercenary currently since his high social standing would be inopportune, but it’s odd that there’s no feeling of him being out of place even when he normally joins in on the construction of the encampment or participates in the training together with the soldiers of the liberation army.
『As for magicians, they have pretty much an image of being intellectuals, but Doushi is an extreme opposite of that, I guess. In spite of his ability being top-notch on the continent.』
This was Burkhart-san’s impression of Doushi.
“Oh! Isn’t that Earl Baumeister and the former Browig brothers who have fallen after getting tattered and defeated?” (Armstrong)
The minute Doushi spots the brothers, he unleashes a comment towards them I wouldn’t directly hurl at them.
“Doushi, you don’t go easy on them, do you?”
“I think there’s no point even if I beautify my words. It’s the truth after all.”
Looking at it objectively, Doushi has a deep loyalty towards His Majesty.
For his words towards the brothers to be this bitter can probably be accredited to the fact of them sabotaging the kingdom.
“Is it alright for us to not head to Duchess Philip-sama?”
Apparently they couldn’t say anything, even if they tried to talk back, since it’s the truth. Christoph uged us on to quickly go to Therese’s location while having cramps on his face.
“I suppose that’s true as well. Let’s hurry up then.”
Once the four of us visit Therese, she greets the two with a smile while already being aware of the circumstances.
“It looks like thee suffered various difficulties. However, to escape northwards was a bold idea, wasn’t it?”
“Since magic airships don’t work in the northern part of the kingdom either, a simple ropeway is indispensable for crossing the Gigantic Crevice.”
However, you can’t set that up easily owed to the width of the Gigantic Crevice.
The one that was used for the overlooked smuggling was cut by the rebel army. Even the one that was set up with troubles by Philip and the others cooperating with a spy staying in the empire has been cut a while ago.
“At the time of escaping we were around 2.000. It would have been impossible to fix the ropeway while escaping the enemy army’s search and then return with everyone by crossing the ropeway after that.”
They apparently considered capitulation and honourable death as well, but they wanted to struggle to the bitter end if they had to die anyway.
“There was only little information about the empire’s civil war we could procure on the kingdom’s side, but we heard that there’s a power opposing the rebel army in the north.”
They might be able to fight after getting accepted once they link up with that power. If that’s no good, they would all together choose a honourable death then. It seems that they kept going north with a do-or-die spirit.
“Philip-dono is… mine and Philip-dono’s name are the same. Even if there’s a difference between thy family name and mine first name. However, thee seem to be an excellent commander.”
Therese praised the ability of Philip as commander who broke through 1.500 kilometers of enemy territory while leading 1567 soldiers.
Certainly, that’s not something anyone is able to accomplish, I think.
“Considering that, it was a terrible downfall drama though.”
“Wendelin, thou are acrimonious, aren’t thou?”
“I’m the victim after all.”
“A huge territory isn’t something that can be easily controlled completely by a novice feudal lord and the next feudal lord. Philip-dono and Christoph-dono failed miserably concerning the results, but even for me that possibility was bound to exist. They have already received their punishment. This time they drew quite the short stick. Wendelin, don’t tease them too much.” (Therese)
An organization that gathers people is really complicated.
An organization that’s pulled by a superior leader, who takes the initiative, will be fine at such time, but once that leader vanishes, it sometimes happens that those organizations fall apart immediately.
On the other hand, a leader, who advances things while regulating the opinions in the surroundings, won’t be able to make important decisions and there will be times when they fail as well. Occasionally they will end up being half-assed even as they get accomplishments.
It was necessary to sometimes respect the opinions of the surroundings in order to prevent an organization’s collapse.
Even so, since there are also patterns where organizations continue without falling into chaos when replacing their leader, one can’t say which of them is correct.
In Therese’s eyes it seems to be possible to have these brothers as allies as they are victims who failed after getting dragged along by the huge organization called Margrave Browig household.
“There’s no guarantee that thy children or grandchildren won’t do the same.”
“That will be their own responsibility, thus, if they don’t have the ability, many people will be happy by them not becoming feudal lords.”
“Wendelin, thou are as bitter as ever. Well, past relations don’t matter. There’s the issue of treatment towards Philip-dono and the others. For his social standing to be a soldier of the kingdom is unlucky.” (Therese)
Even though it’s a civil war of the empire, soldiers of the kingdom will participate.
Moreover, since it will only be on the side of the liberation army, it will get harsh if 『The liberation army has betrayed the country to Helmut Kingdom!』 by the rebel army.
“I will place the complete royal army group under Wendelin’s command and they will be treated as mercenaries.” (Therese)
“I’m inexperienced in the command of armies…”
It shouldn’t be possible for the inexperienced me to suddenly command more than 1500 soldiers.
“Philip-dono exists for that sake. Leave it to him. I will be troubled if I can’t have thou stay at my side, Wendelin.” (Therese)
Once it’s the decisive battle, both side’s magicians will exchange magic spells.
As it seems that there are also cases where one side suddenly lost due to their supreme commander getting blown away in an instant, if unlucky, Therese apparently wants to place us at her side.
This is definitely not because she’s anxious about only herself. The liberation will fall apart right away once Therese dies.
“Even Duke Nürnberg should place several high-ranking nobles at his side.” (Therese)
“High-ranking magicians, eh…”
“Blatson and those four brothers were the greatest authorities at the court, but the number of intermediate-levelled magicians still runs deep. There are also unaffiliated, excellent magicians. It’s possible that he will scout them by paying a large amount of money.” (Therese)
We will have to aim for mutually killing magicians again.
It can’t be helped as it’s for the sake of victory, but she’s likely having a headache when considering the damage after the civil war since either are magicians of the empire.
Therese showed a bored expression.
“The former royal army will be placed in my central army. They will be very useful as they are highly experienced and since they number 1500 soldiers, but I think there’s no one who wants to receive their commands among the people of the empire. On the contrary, they might try to use and waste them. If they are under thy command, there will probably be only few unnecessary quarrels.” (Therese)
“Saying it like that is also called imposition though, I believe.”
“Thou will have an able commander and elite soldiers under thou. If thou are a noble, thou are to be capable of controlling them skilfully.” (Therese)
I can’t refuse anyway. In worst case it will be fine to use them as shield.
It’s an awful way of thinking, but since it’s a war, it’s wrong if one doesn’t protect their own body by themselves.
“Then, with this…”
Doushi and me take our leave from Therese while taking the brothers along.
In the end it has been decided that I will also act as commander of the royal army which will become one corps of the central army.
Even while being treated as mercenary, I’m a staff officer and an imperial honorary noble. That resulted in me also leading the royal army’s remnant soldiers who are likewise treated as mercenaries.
Entrusting the actual command to Philip, Christoph will be treated as second in command, staff officer and military official in charge of the miscellaneous matters related to the royal army.
There’s no doubt that they are hating me, but I’d like them to deal with that somehow since they are adults.
“It’s Earl Baumeister-sama!”
“Doushi-sama has come as well!”
“We can still fight.”
The royal army’s soldier cheered loudly when they saw Doushi and me.
Even though they somehow managed to survive through the hardships, they were uneasy as this is enemy territory, but it’s probably reassuring for them since famous allies are here with them.
However, the biggest problem was the bad state of the relationship of the two brothers who act as commanders together with me.
“By the way, about the matter of equipment…”
Given that the soldiers are anxious to make that public, Christoph has come to ask me, who is the top albeit only in name, politely.
“If I remember correctly, you threw those away since they were equipment of the royal army, right?”
Doushi sighed after looking at the soldiers with their shabby appearances.
Of course they didn’t let go of their weapons, but they had discarded their shields and armours that bore the crest of the kingdom. All of them wore worn-out ordinary clothes.
Since they didn’t wash their clothes or changed them in this month, their outfits are tattered.
There were some who are wearing some armour parts, but they seem to be soldiers and knights of feudal armies.
As the imperial army doesn’t know the crests of the kingdom’s nobles anyway, they are keeping them equipped.
“Is it because they became shields with their low numbers?”
Philip nods upon Doushi’s question.
They weren’t able to link up much with the escaping soldiers of the feudal armies. Their numbers are low as many of them died in action at the many occasions where they took the full brunt of the attacks since they have armours.
1500 armours and spare weapons are in dire need, Christoph explained.
Since that will cost money, he, who is in charge, is asking for my instructions.
“New items are impossible, but there are quite a few plundered items that were repaired. I will talk with the one in charge.”
“That will be a help.”
There are many items that had the crest of the empire, but seeing as they can’t introduce themselves as soldiers of the kingdom either way, it won’t be a problem.
I wondered whether he would say that he doesn’t want those items since they are possessions of those died in action, but it doesn’t seem like he feels much about that.
Maybe it’s a peculiar feeling of a Japanese.
Additionally, given that there are many who own nothing but the clothes on their back, underwear and clothes are required as well.
It was also necessary to secure tents for lodging.
The face of Christoph next to me became pale while calculating the expenses.
Somehow I understand his feelings.
But, a war is something that costs money anyway.
“It will cost this much at the very least.”
He had written down quite the high sum of money, but after confirming that there’s no error in his calculation, I put my sign on it.
“If you show that to the one in charge of supplies, it should be prepared. In order for it to not turn into a nuisance for his other tasks, accept it after checking the sizes. If you tell him the sizes of the underwear and such, he should put them out from the inventory. If you need anything else, there’s no other choice but to buy them from merchants since they are organizing a market, I guess.”
“We have some money on us, but there are many soldiers who are penniless.”
If it’s a mission within their country, close to all soldiers carry at least their wallet, but since it was an invasion into enemy territory, Philip and Christoph didn’t possess anything but a small sum of general funds.
“There were villages that sold food at agreeable prices during the escape, but it was a large sum of money for mediocre food.”
There were also the remunerations to the guides, so it doesn’t look like they have overly much money left now.
“I will provide two gold coins per person to cover the costs for the equipment and other necessities. Keep a moderate level at letting some steam off and make sure to get their appearance in order so that I won’t feel embarrassed at the time of the decisive battle.”
“The merchants will accept gold coins from the kingdom.”
As the gold content and weight is equal as in accordance with the treaty, we normally did our shopping with the kingdom’s currency as well.
I pass the the share of money for the number of people to Christoph.
To the brothers I handed lots of gold coins for different items.
“Earl Baumeister, don’t spend money again.”
“Therese is stingy after all, you know?”
The biggest weak point of the liberation army is its constant lack of money.
All the participating nobles are taking part in the war by covering their expenses and the rewards will be paid after the victory.
Since the supreme commander Therese isn’t the empress yet, it’s not like this method is wrong by any means.
However, it would be necessary to hand out rewards with a little extra after the war.
Even I have lent a considerable amount of money until now.
Probably that’s why Therese occasionally aims to pay with her body.
“I’m sorry in various ways.”
The two apologized although they likely hate me.
I think they weren’t capable of doing something like this at the time when they were successor candidates of the Margrave Browig household, but they can lower their heads as excellent commanders.
Maybe the position and social status is more important that I’m thinking.
“But, you brothers are on unexpectedly good terms.”
“If you get ruined this far, you will end up tired from quarrelling as well…”
“There are no retainers to instigate either, I guess.”
If it had been only those two, that unproductive quarrel between brothers might not have happened.
Compared to that, they are normally doing their jobs without quarrelling now.
“As thanks, please lend me Erwin, Earl Baumeister. That guy should become a good commander.”
Philip suggested to teach his knowledge as commander, including his practical experience, to Erw by taking charge of him.
“Erwin doesn’t have the ability to calmly lead a large army while remaining in the rear as leader. But he should be naturally able to get used to skilfully move military forces of around 10.000 soldiers while working up a sweat himself at the frontline and a bit in the rear. If it’s guards for you, Earl Baumeister, we will send some over from our side.”
Philip revealed his plan of training Erw as commander apprentice and not as my guard.
I guess he’s trying to repay his debt of gratitude to me in his own way.
“In that case, I think I shall request that of you.”
“I don’t know how much of a commander he will become, but I will teach him as much as I can.”
Thus it has been decided that Erw would be attached to Philip and be taught in practical manner in the ways of commanding an army.
“It feels a bit sudden, but it’s a good chance, right?”
Erw begins to study the commanding of an army together with Philip at his side.
Finishing the supply of new armours and weapons, the royal army that had its spirit restored and bought necessary items with the bonus they received, set up tents around our mansion and lodged in those.
Since they are a corps that treats me as its top, they settled with me in the centre.
“If their equipment is in order, they are elites, huh?”
“If you exclude the part of remaining soldiers of feudal armies, they are soldiers of the royal army who usually kept training. I think that will make it easy for Erwin-san to move them, too.”
Given that they can’t call themselves royal army as is, they are currently treated as mercenary army under my command.
Once 1500 people work as one corps, it will eternally keep generating a large amount of documents from that moment onwards. Christoph dealt with those at a staggering speed.
“Erw, I can’t leave Therese-dono’s side. Please command the royal army group by aptly cooperating with Philip-dono.”
“I guess I will manage somehow since Philip-dono will be with me.”
“Erw-san, I will help, too.”
Haruka volunteered to assist Erw.
“She’s a beautiful woman, isn’t she? Is she your fiancée, Erwin?”
“I see. Doesn’t she resemble Karla a bit?”
“Nii-san, As one would expect, that’s…”
Even though it would have been fine if he had introduced himself harmlessly here, Philip ends up prattling about something unnecessary.
Even Christoph warned his elder brother while frowning.
“Erw-san, Karla-san is?” (Haruka)
Erw clouded his words since he didn’t want to tell her that she was the woman that rejected him after he fell in love with her before due to his obstinacy as man.
However, that behaviour aroused Haruka’s suspicion in reverse.
“Erw-san, are there any other fiancées?” (Haruka)
“Of course not.”
Even in this world there’s a fixed number of jealous women, but there’s a tendency to call it disgraceful if the wives of nobles show it publicly.
Even if other fiancées exist, she’s only asking because of the issue of hierarchy and the conditions of her wedded life.
That’s how it should be at least, but our faces turn pale due to the threatening, dark aura that can be felt behind Haruka for the first time.
If he provokes her, the current Erw won’t be able to win against her katana.
And, that person also reacted due to the possibility of Erw being unfaithful.
“Erwin! You are neglecting my cute sister to have an affair!?”
At the same time as the wind stirred like a gale, Takeomi-san drew his katana and pressed its tip against Erw’s nape in an instant.
Even though he’s an expert to begin with, he apparently becomes even stronger where his sister is concerned.
“I have heard that you are a single, but concealing the existence of lovers and fiancées besides our Haruka is dishonest, isn’t it? Normally you mention that ahead of time, right!?”
“Takeomi-san! You are losing your temper a bit too much!”
Carried away by his agitation, Takeomi-san ends up moving the katana tip that was pressed against Erw’s neck. A little bit of blood trickled down from Erw’s nape.
“Nii-san, take responsibility by explaining…”
“I feel sorry for letting it slip, but what’s wrong with this man?”
Philip was surprised by Takeomi-san who suddenly drew his katana and pressed it against Erw’s nape.
He’s probably all the more surprised since he knew about Erw’s skill in swordsmanship.
“Swordsman of Earl Mizuho Country, Takeomi Fujibayashi.”
“He’s someone that will become my brother-in-law.”
“I see. Somehow it looks complicated…”
Given that, Philip explained Karla’s circumstances after that, Takeomi-san finally withdrew his katana.
“So that’s how it was, huh?”
Haruka showed a relieved expression, but all of us perceived it.
She’s an unexpectedly jealous person which means that Erw won’t be able to womanize or fool around anymore.
“My condolences.” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san consoles Erw by placing his hand on Erw’s shoulder.
“Burkhart-san, you haven’t gone to such establishment once after getting married, right? There’s the rumour that you are being dominated by your wife…”
“That’s an irresponsible rumour, okay? Even married, I’m still a free man.”
“Even married you are serving as employee of the Margrave Breithilde household. As such you aren’t that much of a free man.”
“Don’t talk about it as if it’s somebody else’s problem. Even you, Erw-boy, won’t go on in the same manner as before once you marry, you know!?”
For some reason the two started a stupid quarrel, but I think they should rather consider their surroundings a bit more while making such statements.
Once I casually looked at Haruka, the threatening, dark aura returned behind her.
“Erw-san, are you saying that you are frequently going to such establishments?”
“No. There’s no way for that to be true.”
He denied it frantically, but it looks like Haruka couldn’t believe him.
“Erw-san, we will become a married couple. To hide secrets from each other isn’t agreeable.”
“Excuse me! No I definitely don’t go there! I’m different from Burkhart-san!”
“I don’t go either!”
At the same time as saying that, Haruka forces him to spill the beans that there was something.
No one could speak up due to Erw’s overwhelming pitifulness.
Only Burkhart-san insisted on his innocence, but people apparently change once they marry.
If it was during his time as bachelor, he would have calmly told stories about how he went to play in the red-light district.
“I got completely dragged into the quarrel. Philip-dono, you are cruel, you know? Just because you were dropped and chased away by your younger sister.”
Karla cooperated on all fronts by maneuvering to ruin her elder brothers for the sake of gaining her own freedom.
Probably she’s resented by those two due to that.
“Earl Baumeister, nii-san doesn’t know, but I don’t bear a grudge towards Karla anymore.”
At first he apparently considered her as ungrateful and terrible sister, but once he fell into a position that resembled that of Karla, he grasped Karla’s suffering well.
“It’s because she was used while not receiving any favours from the Browig family. I suppose that even I used her. Using her quick wits for nothing but the chance to crush us, she’s now gratefully accepting a modest life without any complaints. That means our downfall was karma.”
It appears that he received a letter recently.
“It looks like she will live out her life as wife of an archery instructor of the Margrave Holmer household. She said that she felt regretful for setting up various schemes for that sake. Even regarding this aspect, we can’t say anything since it’s our incompetence to be blamed.”
“Christoph, even I don’t have any particular intention to say this or that against Karla anymore. But, rather than that, I think that I will face forward in the direction of receiving a reward by obtaining achievements here.”
“Though the matter of that reward led to me being mucked about by my fiancée thanks to you, Philip-dono…”
“Earl Baumeister, there’s nothing to worry.”
“A good commander is also excellent even if led by others. Even Erwin will be immediately able to become a man that is skilfully led by his wife.”
“I feel like that’s a very high-handed pet theory…”
There were strange troubles, but the royal army got their necessities of life arranged and started training from the next day.
As practice, Erw has been entrusted with a unit of 100 soldiers, which apparently puts him into distress due to the unfamiliar task.
“This time it will be fine with you getting a touch for it.”
“Correct. I believe there’s no time. It’s uncertain whether the conclusion will take place this month, but the decisive battle is close.”
While watching the unit that he’s commanding, Philip estimated that the decisive battle with Duke Nürnberg will be soon.
“He should be finishing the arrest and killing of the royal army’s survivors. Therefore, it’s not that far away anymore.”
Three days after Philip prophesied that, a huge rebel army that seemed to blanket the Great Sorbid Wastelands showed up, just as he had predicted.
For the first time after the coup d’etat, the two supreme commanders will directly clash against each other.