“The time for the decisive battle is truly imminent.” (Therese)
Therese looked down at the rebel army led by Duke Nürnberg visible below from atop the field encampment and the further raised and expanded wall.
Just when we accepted the remnants of the escaped Helmut royal army, and finished their rearrangement as well as equipment supply, we were able to confirm the gradual ammassing of the rebel army.
“Around how many people do they have?” (Wendelin)
“Let’s see. I guess it’s around 150.000.” (Philip)
Philip, who led the royal army’s group, answered my question.
Being a excellent tactical commander despite blundering at the inheritance dispute, he accurately saw through the military prowess of the rebel army.
“That’s a lot, isn’t it…?” (Wendelin)
“I think the group at the front are sacrificial pawns.” (Philip)
“Just call them as being in charge of losses. It’s something that often happened in past wars as well. Don’t mind it.”
“In charge of losses, you say…”
Due to Philip’s remark, Erw and Ina’s group, besides me, apparently can’t hide their discomfort.
“Duke Nürnberg wants to keep the losses of his soldiers low. At the same time, he wants to lawfully get rid of or exhaust the group that will become a hindrance to his rule of the empire in battle.”
“Certainly, the equipment and skill of the group at the frontline is second rate. I guess it’s Viscount Foot. If thou consider it that he will get removed sooner or later since his relationship with Duke Nürnberg is really bad, he will be crushed after using him as vanguard, no? It’s a tough world.” (Therese)
While saying that, Therese brings the telescope, which hung around her neck, in front of me.
My and Therese’s faces stuck together and her nice scent tickled my nose, but I tried to not pay any attention to that and observed the vanguard of the enemy army.
“The files of the troops are a mess, aren’t they? Is there a group of elitish soldiers as well?”
“It’s likely the nobles with dodgy loyalty and the folks who were deemed unnecessary by Duke Nürnberg, right? That personage probably wants to advance everything in a logical manner.”
Mobilizing me and other magicians as well as a great number of soldiers, a large-scaled field encampment was completed in the Great Sorbid Wastelands.
For the sake of defending against the rebel army that’s marching north, a large and long wall, which even rivals large scaled castle walls using clay and rock, was finished.
Palings against horses have been erected all over in front of the wall and countless holes have been dug out as well.
No matter how much the liberation army struggles, it won’t be able to gather more soldiers than the rebel army.
Accordingly, Therese opted for a strategy of chipping away the enemy army’s forces with a defence battle in the Great Sorbid Wastelands.
It’s already approximately five months since the rebellion started.
The Great Sorbid Wastelands has developed into a big military base of the liberation army.
Therese was busily working at commanding the change into a military base, controlling the nobles and governments in the rear in preparation for a protracted war and maintaining the liberation army’s organization and its supply structure.
Since I was assigned to the post of staff officer, I have been helping out with the processing of the documents together with Ina and Elise for some reason.
Katharina helped in the construction of the field encampment and acted as assistant of Burkhart-san who was teaching the other magicians.
Luise and Wilma were assistants for the combat training.
Erw has been taking lessons in the commanding of an army under Philip.
Also, he trained his katana techniques together with Haruka.
Which reminds me, I wonder what has Doushi been normally doing?
For some reason he worked hard at the reclamation and construction of the field encampment, and went hunting in nearby places.
Takeomi-san has been devoting himself to his guard role by staying at my side.
Occasionally, when he had time to spare, he looked at Erw and Haruka with looks and expressions full of anger, but neither of them minded at all.
They created a world for just the two of them.
『Haruka is a child that often accompanied me and onii-sama as a child…』 (Takeomi)
『Even that child will become an adult sooner or later, right?』 (Burkhart)
『I won’t approve that—!!』 (Takeomi)
There were also situations where Takeomi ended up running away while crying after being teased by Burkhart-san during his reminiscent talk.
It’s probably Burkhart-san telling him to finally grow up, but I don’t think that you can cure a siscon that easily.
『My guard… It’s fine since I’m currently handling documents, but…』 (Wendelin)
Even after Takeomi-san ran away, I processed documents calmly.
There’s Ina next to me, too. I think that it’s the end of the liberation army if an assassin is capable of appearing in Therese’s office.
『Earl-sama, you are doing such a job before I even realized, don’t you?』 (Burkhart)
『It’s because I can handle it somehow, I guess? How about it, do you want to help as well, Burkhart-san?』 (Wendelin)
『I’m busy with coaching the magicians.』 (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san taught magic to young magicians even though they were from the empire.
Since it’s only for a short period, their mana won’t grow that much, but there was no one more superior in magic accuracy and mana efficiency than Burkhart-san.
In reality, such a task probably belonged to Bladdson-san, but he had been murdered hideously.
That’s why Burkhart-san took over this job resulting in the number of his pupils once again growing on the distant imperial soil.
『Earl-sama, by now you are already Therese-sama’s retainer, aren’t you?』 (Burkhart)
『Though I still wonder whether that’s fine.』 (Wendelin)
I got incorporated into the liberation army despite being a foreign noble, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue since I received the peerage of imperial, honorary Earl.
Also, this was the biggest surprise (?).
『Honorary Earl Baumeister has deeds of arms. If you want to relieve him of that position, you just have to raise deeds of arms in the next battle.』 (Therese)
With Therese saying this, she apparently eliminated the meddling by the other nobles.
However, I’d like her to stop agitating them too much.
It’s related to the improvement of the morale, but if things don’t go well, it’s very likely that it will become a primary factor for losing if they get deceived by Duke Nürnberg’s schemes.
『It’s an era where war didn’t exist for a long time, but for a noble there’s nothing as valuable as deeds of arms.』 (Therese)
It’s as Therese says. Thanks to that I increased my power on the surface.
However, I wonder whether it’s really fine to hold two peerages without getting in contact with His Majesty?
There’s no precedent and the bureaucratic nobles will likely kick up a fuss.
『Even if you worry about it, it can’t be helped. For now we have no other choice but to win.』 (Armstrong)
Even so, I was grateful that Doushi is nearby.
It’s because if he’s able to explain things to His Majesty later, he will likely describe the circumstances correctly.
Of course we can also expect a lot from him even as war potential.
『True, we now have no other option but to just do that.』
『It’s a time for war. You have to shake off unnecessary dwelling and simply focus on striking down the enemy in front of you.』 (Armstrong)
Doushi stared at the rebel army with a sharp glint in his eyes. It was as if he’s daunting the entire enemy army.
Conversations like these took place as well, but currently I’m watching the battle formation of the approaching rebel army next to Therese.
While having our faces close to each other due to the single binoculars,
“Is it almost the entire force?”
“As expected, it’s close to the limit at this point in time, I think.”
I feel like Elise mood has unmistakably taken a nosedive, but currently it falls under war preparation.
Thinking that I will cater to her mood later, I averted my look from the rebel army.
It’s definitely not because Elise was scary.
“They took their time with the cleaning up of the royal army that had invaded and laying the groundwork around the imperial capital. We completed this field encampment during that time. Taking this place will likely cost them dearly. Since he likely wants to avoid losses among his own soldiers, it’s a given that the guys at the frontline will be wasted after using them.” (Therese)
Therese is confident after seeing the group at the front she could confirm as nobles from their faces.
That means, just as Philip said, the group at the front is a disposable unit.
That’s why there will be no problems with their equipment being bad and their training being insufficient.
“It’s probably feasible for it to be an annihilation and repulse of the enemy, but…”
“Yes, that’s right. It will exhaust our army, too.” (Therese)
Losses will come up and fatigue will also accumulate.
We will likely waste a large amount of arrows, too.
At the moment we got exhausted Duke Nürnberg would be able to attack us with his favourite elites causing the risk of the field encampment falling.
“It’s a cruel plan, but it’s very effective, isn’t it?” (Wendelin)
“There’s no way to prevent it either.” (Therese)
Regarding the unneeded nobles and soldiers as nothing but consumable goods can be called as logical thinking at a frightening level.
However, since he and his staff won’t be among those victims, he might not feel overly much mental anguish over it.
“Get ready for interception!”
At the same time of conveying Therese’s order to our entire army, the rebel army… didn’t start moving.
That’s because three knights approached our side while hoisting a white flag, despite their army being in a formation ready for battle.
“Where is Duchess Philip-sama!?”
“I’m here!” (Therese)
The knights hoisting the white flag were military envoys.
They called out to Therese and she answered them.
Despite the opponent being a rebel army, that was etiquette.
“Thee came to ask for our surrender?” (Therese)
“If possible, we hope for that and we have a statement of His Majesty.”
“Humph! A fake emperor that stole the country with a rebellion? Duke Nürnberg-dono, a disappointing man who’s more intolerant than expected.” (Therese)
The knights didn’t ask or say anything towards Therese’s reply that dripped with sarcasm.
“In that case, the rest will follow after we bring it to an end with a battle.”
“I guess that person works swiftly. If possible I’d like to avoid losses though.”
“His Majesty thinks the same. In that case, matters change…”
The military envoys return to their own army’s position after proposing something unexpected to Therese.
“Dining together, what is he planning?” (Therese)
The condition presented to Therese by the military envoy was to hold a dinner between the leaders before the battle.
I wonder just what the hell will be achieved by doing something like that?
Is this a flag that often occurs in such kind of stories where we are supposed to think 『The enemy has their own circumstances as well, so they aren’t really hateable either, right?』 after actually trying to talk and listening to the explanation of the enemy boss?
Or more precisely, something like that is unnecessary this late in the game.
In my eyes I believe that I’d like someone like Duke Nürnberg to perish on his own accord if he gets defeated.
“If you consider it normally, it’s a case where you have to be careful of deliberate murder, right?” (Armstrong)
Everyone including me revealed an expression full of surprise due to Doushi having a decent opinion for a change.
“Well, even I can come up with something to that extent!” (Armstrong)
“But you know, it will be fine with our side preparing the venue and the meal, right?”
Since Burkhart-san was next to Therese as well, he has heard the conditions regarding the dinner of military envoys.
For both sides it was up to three people including the respective leaders.
The location was right at the half point that can be watched by both armies.
Moreover, we were told that it’s fine for our side to prepare the dishes.
Even though there’s also the possibility of us putting poison into it, they still don’t mind.
“Does he want to show his fortitude to the rebel army’s soldiers?”
“However, it’s surely effective.”
In this time’s rebellion play, there was also the means of us killing him with magic in the worst case.
However, that method was actually prohibited by Therese.
“Nobles are beings with high pride. No matter how much they might be rebellious elements, the rumours would get worse if you get rid of him with such method. It not unlikely for that to influence the reign after this.” (Therese)
“Even though Duke Nürnberg didn’t lose to Duchess Philip in ability, his life was put to an end after getting killed in the middle of realizing his will. Duchess Philip is expected to be the legitimate winner, but under her government the empire keeps deteriorating. Therefore, this me, who succeeded the will of the hero Duke Nürnberg, will take over! or something like that?”
That means it will be easy to use the existence of Duke Nürnberg, who was murdered premeditatedly, for the next guy to cause a rebellion.
“If he’s turned into a tool of worship, it will become a nuisance in the distant future. Regarding it on short-term, there will be many victims, but the way of thoroughly and completely crushing them will nip the buds of the next rebellion and that might eventually result in less losses in long term.” (Therese)
There was the possibility that survivors, who can’t agree with the settlement, and other nobles would use him as a banner for a rebellion.
There’s also the worry that the group that supported Duke Nürnberg would join up with other dissidenting elements to hinder the rule of Therese.
“It’s necessary to establish the fact that Duke Nürnberg died after getting defeated in battle, no matter through which eyes it’s seen. At this late hour there’s no leeway to talk it over, but I guess we will be doubted as being intolerant, if we don’t accept. Unexpectedly, I think he might have hoped that our side would turn him down.” (Therese)
She’s saying that he might have had the intention to advertise Therese’s cowardly behaviour to both sides.
“I have decided to accept it. Now then, it will become an outdoor lunch or dinner, but…” (Therese)
Therese sends a messenger to High Earl Mizuho who has set up his army in the centre just like her.
“If we use the local cuisine of the Philip Dukedom or the Nürnberg Dukedom, it will become unfair. As such I have decided to have them prepare Mizuho cooking.” (Therese)
A few minutes later High Earl Mizuho showed up and accepted Therese’s request.
“Therese-dono, I will take you up on it if you request it, but will Duke Nürnberg eat something like the Mizuho cooking?” (Mizuho)
High Earl Mizuho ordered his retainers at once and they began to put up the tent for the dinner at the halfway point between the two armies.
Furthermore, transferring even such things as magic tools for cooking, the cooks that are employed by the Mizuho household, start their work.
It seems they are preparing something similar to traditional Japanese cuisine that’s brought in courses, but it looks like High Earl Mizuho’s worry is about whether Duke Nürnberg, who is famous for hating the Mizuho people, will eat the Mizuho cuisine.
“If he doesn’t eat it despite proposing a dinner meeting by himself for the sake of showing off his bravery, it will be fine to publicly announce that he actually couldn’t eat anything due to succumbing to his own nervousness. Besides, as a matter of fact, that man is not very good with the dishes of his home town.” (Therese)
“That’s the first time I hear about it!”
High Earl Mizuho showed an expression of surprise due to the personal information about Duke Nürnberg he learns of for the first time.
Certainly, usually he makes one imagine that he likes his home town and that he puts the highest priority on it.
“What kind of dishes are eaten in the Nürnberg Dukedom?”
“Ones with deep flavour.” (Therese)
“The flavour is?”
“The seasoning is extreme. If you use plenty of seasoning, be it sweet or spicy, it produces the idea of a life in luxury, right? Until fish dishes spread, we were also ridiculed for being all about potatoes, bacon, sausages and sauerkraut.” (Therese)
“A feudal lord that hates his own local cuisine…”
The prince-electors and their successors spend long time staying in the imperial capital.
His hate towards the cooking of his home might have grown all the more thanks to that.
“It seems he himself likes dishes with bland taste. He’s encouraging bland taste by saying 『Dishes with too strong flavouring are bad for one’s health』 at home, but this is the only thing producing a bad reputation for him among the population of his fief.” (Therese)
『Something like thin flavouring is for the poor』 and 『It’s better to use plenty of seasoning』 mainly seems to be firmly rooted in the opinions of the elderly.
“Since Duke Nürnberg is like that, his compatibility with Mizuho dishes will probably be good.”
A few hours after that, the setting up of the tent and the cooking preparations had safely come to an end.
“The highest grade of Mizuho cooking by the employed cooks, huh? How regrettable.”
I think I’d like to eat it, but both sides can only bring two attendants.
It’s unlikely that me, a foreign noble, gets chosen.
“Not being chosen is the correct answer because I think that I won’t enjoy the taste.” (Luise)
It’s as Luise says.
Even if I had a meal with that Duke Nürnberg, I don’t think that I would be able to enjoy the taste of the dishes satisfactorily.
“It’s fine if you go to eat at a delicious restaurant once this war ends.”
“That’s true, I guess. I will eat my fill then.”
“There are many restaurants I want to visit in Earl Mizuho Country.”
Wilma, whose appearance of holding the prototype sniper rifle has become completely familiar, seems to look forward to a Mizuho restaurant tour.
A booklet called Earl Mizuho Country’s National Restaurant Guide was tightly grasped in her hand.
I wonder just when did she obtain that?
“So, who will she choose as her attendants?”
“Let’s see… will you go Katharina?” (Wendelin)
“Before that, there’s no way for me to be chosen.” (Katharina)
Since it was a sudden proposal by the other side, Therese still hasn’t announced her attendants.
However, there was no expectation for me, who is a foreign noble, to be chosen.
Katharina, who is my wife, will likely not become a candidate either.
“Well, there’s also the move of knocking Duke Nürnberg out of his wits with your splendid manners, Katharina.” (Wendelin)
“Wendelin-san, that’s definitely not praise, is it? Such a position is not something you aim for through popularity, but…” (Katharina)
Katharina apparently remembered about me previously telling her that her etiquette is too exaggerated.
“As candidates, young Duke Baden and someone with the rank of Earl are appropriate, no?” (Ina)
I guess Ina’s prediction can likely be described as mostly valid?
However, it seems that Elise’s opinion was different.
“Dear, get ready to go out.” (Elise)
“Yes. I believe that you will definitely be chosen.” (Elise)
“I wouldn’t mind at least taking a look if Duke Nürnberg was a beautiful woman, but I have no interest in a guy, okay?” (Erwin)
“You are an old man in such matters, aren’t you?” (Wendelin)
I end up being astonished by Erw, but since I have only once seen that Duke Nürnberg is a discerning, keen, handsome man, he’s nothing more but an enemy for me.
In the end he’s only causing troubles for others. If possible, I wish that Elise’s prediction doesn’t come true.
“Earl Baumeister-sama, Her Excellency Duchess Philip is calling for you.”
“Elise’s prediction was right on the mark, wasn’t it…?”
However, contrary to my hope, Elise’s prediction proved to be right.
Being ordered to attend by Therese, I got stuck with going to see the face of Duke Nürnberg whom I don’t want to see at all.
The option of refusing not existing is likely a remaining habit of my time as salaryman where it was wrong to not entertain the other party, no matter how much I might have hated it.
—————————————– End of Part 1 ——————————————-
“It’s been a while, Duke Nürnberg.” (Therese)
“It pleases me above all to see you healthy, Duchess Philip.” (Nürnberg)
“Although I was about to get killed by someone, it seems I had the luck to escape that pitiful fate, right? As such I have the pleasure to still be present in this world.” (Therese)
“That’s great. With you gone, the world might be lacking various appeals after all.” (Nürnberg)
“To say that without shame.” (Therese)
“No, not at all. This is my real opinion.” (Nürnberg)
Duke Nürnberg and Therese exchanged their greetings at the halfway point between the two armies.
Both of them exchanged words filled with sarcasm, but both sides don’t get angry and continue speaking while smiling.
I observed this give-and-take between these two, who were born to be high-ranking nobles, with the look of a petty bourgeois.
Despite thinking that it’s a scene that might very well take place in a historical drama.
“Won’t you participate in this as well, young Duke Baden-dono?”
“No, I’m fine…” (Baden)
With the recent defeat, young Duke Baden obediently returned to being a person who silently does his work as number 2 of the liberation army.
It might turn into amusing joke material if he perpetrated something again, but from our point of view, who have actually suffered damage, it would be intolerable.
I pray that he will continue with his current meekness.
Even he himself dislikes voluntarily dealing with Duke Nürnberg.
He only did a light greeting following the rules of politeness.
“Shall we have our meal then?”
Given that the meeting needed preparation as well, it had become time for dinner.
A table and chairs have been placed inside the tent and flower arrangements and hanging scrolls have been put up as decorations, too.
It not being tatami-matted might be out of consideration for Duke Nürnberg.
Chopsticks, spoons and forks have been placed at every seat. Once all of us sit down on our seats, the Mizuho people in charge of waiting upon us carry in the first dish.
“How about we introduce each other’s attendants for starters?” (Therese)
“That’s true, I suppose. It’s just as you say, Therese. Oops, excuse me…” (Nürnberg)
“Max, it might be best for us to use this way of calling, right?” (Therese)
“Let’s go with that then? My attendants are my Junior Commander Zauken and my staff officer and magician Talrand.” (Nürnberg)
Zauken looks to be around 50 years old. He’s a man with a well-trained body and a characteristic scar running across his right cheek.
Talrand was around 30 years old and had no special characteristics.
He has a medium build and his face has no parts that would leave an impression.
He’s a normal man you can find in any city.
Although he has no special characteristics, conversely the non-existence makes me feel an excessive, bottomless fear.
Since Burkhart-san isn’t here, I investigate his mana, but going by my estimation, he has slightly more than the previous Katharina.
I think that I’m quite capable of dealing with him, but his ability is clearly superior to that of those four brothers.
What scares me above all is that there were parts in this man I couldn’t read no matter how much I observe him.
“It seems that Talrand is interested in Earl Baumeister. Thus I brought him along.” (Nürnberg)
Talrand bowed to me while staying expressionless.
The bow doesn’t make one feel any impoliteness at all, but it’s not something that gives a good impression to the other party either.
“(I wonder what it is? This unpleasant feeling… I see! This man is empty!)” (Wendelin)
Despite being a male magician that possesses quite the mana pool, he doesn’t leave any impression with me for some reason.
I only sense eeriness from him.
Well I wonder what Therese feels in regards to Talrand?
Currently I can’t ask her, but I was really curious about it.
“I’m hungry. How about we start eating?” (Therese)
Upon Therese’s signal, the young male soldiers in Mizuho uniform take over the the role of servers and the dishes are carried in.
As expected, the dishes seem to be similar to traditional Japanese cuisine.
On top of the table there was a menu with skillfully written characters on paper resembling Japanese paper.
Appetizer: Tofu, Abalone, Sweet Coltsfoot, Bean-curd lees.
Supper: Sea bream in tofu skin, cooked ink, hen-of-the-woods.
Different Flavours: Black tuna, squid, flounder, prawn, blood clam.
Medium-sized snacks: Common clam, mizuna, dipped garden eel, bamboo shoot with pepper stir-fry, stewed sardine, kelp with herring roe.
Flame-broiled: Mackerel pickled in sweet miso, Fuki flower buds.
Boiled dishes: Small turnip, fish liver and eggs in tea cloth, cabbage, taro cormel.
Pickled dishes: Halfbeak, red turnip, wood jellyfish.
Main dish: Matsutake rice.
Finishing supper: Red miso soup.
Pickled vegetables: bok choy, chopped vegetables pickled in salt with red shiso leaves.
Dessert: Soft sweet bean jelly, pear, powdered green tea.
(T/N: Don’t ask me to explain all of these… pwease…)
“(It’s a traditional Japanese course at a magnificent level…)”
It properly resembles the menu of the high-class traditional Japanese cuisine I was taken along to only once during my time as trading company member.
The sense of the season in the ingredients was all over the place, but that’s probably because they can be kept in a fresh state once you put them into a magic bag.
That point is more advantageous than Japan. The dishes that came out in order were delicious as well.
“Your way of using the chopsticks is skillful, isn’t it, Earl Baumeister?”
“Is that so?” (Wendelin)
Even though I planned to focus on the food and stay silent, I’m immediately addressed by Duke Nürnberg.
Since I, who’s not a Mizuho person, handles the chopsticks skillfully, he might consider that as strange.
“I was a Mizuho person in my previous life, I’m pretty sure.” (Wendelin)
In reality I was a Japanese whose customs and culture resembled theirs quite a bit, but there’s definitely no way that I will tell him that.
Though, even if I told him, it’s very unlikely for him to believe me.
“I see. Such retort exists as well, huh?” (Nürnberg)
“I think I just learned it quickly by chance.” (Wendelin)
“Does that mean that alongside magic, you are also strong at learning the Mizuho culture, Earl Baumeister?” (Nürnberg)
“I don’t have any redeeming qualities besides those.” (Wendelin)
For some reason Duke Nürnberg frequently addresses me.
Once I wonder whether he and Therese will start the negotiations of the terms for surrendering, he talks with Therese occasionally, otherwise he concentrates on the food.
Young Duke Baden focuses on the dinner as well. Zauken of the other party didn’t know what to do with the dishes that were presented to him.
Given that the flavour capitalizes on the ingredients, it probably feels bland to a native person of Nürnberg Dukedom.
Talrand put the food into his mouth silently just like a machine.
“(This is a tactic, right?)”
“Even if we told each other to surrender at this point in time, it’s futile. That’s why there’s unexpectedly nothing to talk about once we actually meet, right? The Mizuho cooking feels very delicious to me. I’d like you to pardon Zauken as there’s a difference in taste between the north and the south.” (Nürnberg)
Duke Nürnberg seemed more straightforward than I expected.
After all he’s at least capable of following up on his subordinate who seems to dislike the Mizuho dishes.
“However, the accumulation of such differences gives birth to friction between the various areas and territories. I have risen into action for the sake of reforming that.” (Nürnberg)
“Wouldn’t it have been fine if you had left it to nature and time?” (Therese)
“I’m impatient. It would be best to unify this continent into one.” (Nürnberg)
Duke Nürnberg boldly state that he’s going to unify this continent by himself.
His eloquent manner of speaking is very befitting of him.
There are likely many people who are supporting him after getting charmed by this.
Even without saying anything, someone with a superior appearance has an advantage.
“It’s a magnificent dream, isn’t it?” (Wendelin)
“If you become my retainer, it might unexpectedly work out quite easily.” (Nürnberg)
I had expected it but, due to me getting headhunted by Duke Nürnberg, I see Therese’s face warping for an instant.
“Hey, Max, that proposal is a grave breach of manners!” (Therese)
“I’m sorry, Therese, okay? I guess I leaked my wishes on the spur of a moment.” (Nürnberg)
When Therese rebuked Duke Nürnberg’s statement, he obediently apologised.
“Earl Baumeister is a man who is indispensable to me, you know?” (Therese)
“Not retainer, but man, huh? But I guess it won’t turn out well.” (Nürnberg)
“Earl Baumeister is a slightly shy person. He should come under my wing before long.” (Therese)
“If you say so, Therese. You have always been bad at giving up.” (Nürnberg)
“Max, you too, right?” (Therese)
Since he’s a man who aims for the hegemony of the empire to the extent of even causing a rebellion, he seems to be bad at giving up just as Therese has said.
“Earl Baumeister, what do you think of me?” (Nürnberg)
“If it’s about your military ability, I hear that you are set as authority of the imperial army.” (Wendelin)
I can’t come up with anything but this.
And there was also something like 『Thanks to you, there have already been a large amount of victims, but what do you think about that?』, but I locked this away in my chest.
“Even though you are young, your way of thinking is that of a cautious person, isn’t it?” (Nürnberg)
“Really? Though I believe that the majority of the people of this world want to spend their lives normally. Although one might say that they have aspirations, it’s at most at the level of succeeding in their respective social standing or being successful at business, right?”
“I want to aim for the hegemony of the empire and afterwards, the unification of the continent. If I don’t declare at least this much, it looks like it will be difficult even if I seize the empire’s hegemony, don’t you think? I will succeed in my social position as authority of the imperial army. You are a genius and as such you can think like that.” (Nürnberg)
“Genius? Me?” (Wendelin)
Duke Nürnberg stated that I’m a genius.
There are parts where I can agree such as magic, but since I think that I’m normal in other matters, it doesn’t actually feel like me being a genius at all.
“You are a genius in magic. That’s why you can’t understand my sentiments. Listen, what’s the essential component to change the status quo? It’s being bad at giving up.” (Nürnberg)
“Giving up?” (Wendelin)
“A genius can live in society without any hardships. Therefore they don’t desire something like a reformation of society. I’m bad at giving up. That’s why I desire the empire’s hegemony to the extent of causing a rebellion.” (Nürnberg)
He continued to strive for victory in the emperor selection, but he missed it by one more step.
He says that’s the reason why he occupied the imperial capital and went as far as causing a rebellion.
Duke Nürnberg talks about his own ideas.
“I don’t think that I have to actually apologise to the victims so far. I face this battle with my back to the wall. If I win, I will obtain the empire’s hegemony. If I lose, I will die unsightly as stupid rebel and will be criticised as fool after my death.” (Nürnberg)
“I’d like thee to consider my situation a bit more.” (Therese)
“If I lose, you will become empress, huh? I guess the empire’s reign will be difficult.” (Nürnberg)
“Is His Majesty still alive?” (Therese)
“I have kept him alive, but that man is mediocre. I’m sure he will just turn into a puppet even if you reinstate him after the rebellion. Therese, you won’t have any other choice but to deal with him somehow.” (Nürnberg)
Therese’s and Duke Nürnberg’s gazes clash.
Both of these two are thinking that they are suitable as next ruler if you choose only by ability.
“The person of us that wins will become the next emperor. Isn’t that a wonderfully simple situation?” (Nürnberg)
“Humph! Thee are convinced of thy victory, Max. Otherwise thee wouldn’t have held such a meeting.” (Therese)
“Indeed, I’m confident. Therese, there are several excellent magicians in your ranks, right? But, our Talrand isn’t a useless person either.” (Nürnberg)
As expected of someone that was brought along to this dinner meeting. Talrand seems to be a magician of whom Duke Nürnberg expects a lot after all.
He hasn’t uttered a single word. He’s politely and quietly stuffing his mouth with the dishes.
There’s no 『Delicious』 or 『Disgusting』 either.
Since he’s simply eating the food in silence, I even forgot about his existence for a while.
“(Actually, on the contrary, that’s weird…)”
I can’t feel anything but a sense of discomfort due to his non-existent presence.
It deviates from the level of simply not standing out. I wonder whether a state like that isn’t caused by some kind of magic talent.
However, there was no evidence of him using magic.
“Talrand is a slightly special magician, you know? Earl Baumeister, I’m confident in a future where you will lose to Talrand. You won’t die if you surrender to me and I will promise you an appropriate treatment.” (Nürnberg)
Around ten minutes after that, Duke Nürnberg went back after enjoying the dinner until the final powdered green tea.
We leave the cleaning up of the tent to High Earl Mizuho and depart on the way back, but since we couldn’t use horses, we walked by foot.
Since Therese is incessantly talking at my side, young Duke Baden, who felt uncomfortable, returns to the field encampment first by running.
There are past circumstances between us, and so I didn’t help him since it’s not like we got a particularly good relationship.
“Wendelin, are thou worried about the magician called Talrand?” (Therese)
“I will set up countermeasure until tomorrow… No, wait, I don’t know the magic that man uses.” (Wendelin)
“Was it alright for it to not develop into a night warfare?” (Therese)
Duke Nürnberg stated that the start of war would be early in the morning of the next day.
It’s not because he’s a particularly fair man who wishes a fair and square battle.
Even in the empire, units that can carry out an organized night attack are extremely limited in number.
He probably judged that it would be meaningless since it will only pointlessly increase the losses even if he sends out a night attack to pass through the fences and moats against horses that have been repeatedly set up in front of the field encampment’s wall.
The unit capable of a night attack are the soldiers under the direct control of Duke Nürnberg after all.
“There’s no choice but to deal with him, ad hoc. Rather than that, there’s something important.” (Therese)
“Something important?” (Wendelin)
Not understanding what she’s talking about, I tilt my head to the side.
“I’m a sorrowful woman who will fight to the death with my acquaintance Max. It’s only natural for a man to console me at this point, right?” (Therese)
“Were you that close to each other?” (Wendelin)
“We called each other with our first names, right? There were also several times in our childhood where we played together.” (Therese)
She probably wants to tell me that they were childhood friends as they are close in age, too?
Considering all that, they didn’t show such a behaviour in the beginning.
“These last few years Max always harboured such feelings. I guess it’s only natural for us to grow estrange?” (Therese)
“Is that so?” (Wendelin)
I don’t know whether it’s the truth or not, but I gloss it over by throwing suitable responses into the conversation.
“For that reason I’m a misfortunate woman. Please comfort me.” (Therese)
No sooner than saying that, Therese links her arm with mine and puts her face on my shoulder.
In addition, she does so in front of the field encampment’s main gate.
Of course the soldiers atop the wall watched us with astonished expressions.
“I’m showing off the intimacy of the supreme commander and her staff officer before the decisive battle.” (Therese)
While that might be true, I don’t think this is the truth here.
Once I looked in the direction where I sensed blood thirst, I found Elise standing there while showing a cold expression.
“Elise is angry.” (Wendelin)
Elise rarely got angry over things, but most recently she’s often mad at Therese.
Given that she’s expressionless today, she’s probably angry to the degree of forgetting her forced smile.
Next Elise gently placed her hands on the shoulders of Wilma and Luise.
Once she does, the two of them jumped off the wall that has a height exceeding five meters by making use of their marvellous physical abilities and ran up to my location.
“Welcome back, Wend.” (Luise)
“Wend-sama, the food was delicious?” (Wilma)
They tear off Therese and place themselves at my sides.
“I’m back. Let’s search for a restaurant that makes dishes that resemble the cooking that was served by Earl Mizuho Country this time?” (Wendelin)
“Yea, let’s do that. Whoa, there were various dishes, eh?” (Luise)
“Looks high class.” (Wilma)
Luise and Wilma looked together at the Japanese paper that listed today’s menu.
“Excuse me! Don’t thee have to say anything about them suddenly tearing me off?” (Therese)
“Therese-sama, how vulgar.” (Luise)
“Not really. We only came to welcome Wend-sama.” (Wilma)
The two calmy retort Therese’s protest.
Since something like that happens often, even Therese’s retainers already stopped say something like 『What disrespect!』
It’s because they don’t wish for Therese to cling to me.
“Wend, let’s go sleep in preparation for tomorrow.” (Luise)
“As expected, I think today’s no good.”
“I know that. We will only sleep together.”
We will connect the beds of everyone and sleep normally.
Certainly that in itself was something I was looking forward to.
“I’d like to join thee as well.” (Therese)
“The solitude of the supreme commander is a rule. It will be plenty enough with you sleeping alone.”
“Wilma, your wicked tongue is getting better…”