– Ina POV –
“I hear that Wend exterminated yet another dragon.” (Ina)
“Seriously …” (Luise)
I, Ina Susanne Hildbrun, together with my dearest friend Luise got acquainted with one hell of an expert magician, Wendelin von Benno Baumeister.
The first meeting between us was when he rescued us from attacking wolves.
Just the same like the other day, when we were attacked by a disaster level threat called 『Ancient Undead Dragon』 while travelling on-board the magical airship in order to reach the royal capital. He eliminated it almost all by himself.
And then, after selling the huge magical core and its bones to the kingdom, he was awarded the rank of Associate Baron for his achievement of exterminating the dragon.
The eighth son of the Baumeister household, who was until then secretly called 『The poor knight household across the mountain range』 and 『Peasant knight』 half in jeer and contempt by all of the Breithilde margraviate’s family, obtained the peerage of Associate Baron.
Even though it was known that he was talented in magic, it must have been a bolt out of the blue for them.
“However, that guy, Wend, shouldn’t go too far ahead too quickly.” (Erwin)
Although it was obvious that he had the ability, it still caused Erwin to be worried.
No matter how skilled he was in swords play, upon coming to the royal capital Erwin found lots of knights within the knight order who surpassed him in skill.
The same applies for me; there are plenty of people more superior in spear handling than I am.
In that regard Luise is special, she only sticks to Wend causing me to be worried from time to time as well, I think.
Basically Luise likes Wend as a woman.
Alongside his talent in magic, he has assets too.
His height is average, and regarding his face he always says 『I am completely losing to Erich-nii-san』, too. However his looks are more balanced than well-featured, I would say.
Or more precisely, amongst the households of the Breithilde margraviate Erich-san is a rarely seen handsome man.
Only comparing himself to Erich-san, Wend can certainly be called reckless.
“Incidentally, the troubles have increased, too.” (Luise)
Luise said, as it had become very clear these last days why Rüdiger-sama had given the OK for them to become Wends vassal even if only formally.
『My name is Hektor von Pringsheim. I am the third son of the Pringsheim knight peerage household. There is no one who can win in a sword fight against me!』 (Hektor) (T/N: very formal way of speech)
『I have incapacitated three enemy knights during the territorial border skirmish between the Ranke household and the Altman household!』 (Knight A)
『I am called Baron Elsheimer. I attended the party in Sir Baumeisters residence honoring his outstanding efforts of subjugating the ancient dragon last time. Although it is by coincidence, I have a sister turning 12 this year …』 (Elsheimer)
『In order to take care of Wendelins household and daily necessities, a maid is indispensable, no? Therefore, our Igormeier company has prepared excellent girls in order to introduce them to you. I am confident that our girls can make allowances for granting them this kind of favoritism, too …』 (Merchant A)
From the beginning of the next day after Wend had received his conferring of decorations until the end of this day, it didn’t stop at all.
『My certain death skill (T/N: Hissatsu), Giant Swing Spearmanship』 (Chuuninbyou A)
In front of the gate to the Brandt’s mansion today, is he appealing? Or is it a gag?
I don’t quite understand what this display of technique of the ronin¹ is about.
Although I understand that it is surely no good if you don’t stand out, but that doesn’t mean it is fine to do whatever you like, as you can see.
Somehow I have gotten the feeling that the methods in front of the Brandt’s mansion have become more forceful.
The applicants to become vassals of Wend, who became Associate Baron, the nobles recommending their daughters or sisters as wife and those pressing to become mistresses under the pretense of being maids.
There are many company heads, who aspire to become attached to the noble household alongside its fortunes by all means.
Usually they prefer nobles who own their own territory, however, Wend possesses an outrageous amount of money.
If they become the purveyor of the Associate Baron Baumeister household, they will be entrusted to handle Wend’s capital.
As Artur-san has said, the class of businessmen with political ties regard him as an excellent object to the degree of drooling.
Such being the case, in order to avoid this currently present mob, Erwin became the junior leading commander and Luise and I took on the two roles of being guards and maids.
Furthermore, I can certainly say that it is very satisfying if the surroundings conclude on their own that we are his mistresses.
By the way, isn’t it necessary to wear maid clothes?
『All of you, you have such level of resolution to act together with Sir Baumeister, but …』 (Rüdiger)
Even though he used a polite tone, Rüdiger-sama’s words were severe.
Until now a part of me believed that it was fine to stick with Wend, naturally taking into account the demerits.
That’s because he said so.
『I haven’t learned about such things as taking command of an army and such.』 (Erwin)
Apparently Erwin has resolved himself to live as Wend’s vassal.
There was no particular state of discomposure either.
『I am Wend’s concubine? Mistress?』 (Luise)
In regards to Luise it apparently was fine as long as she could be close to Wend.
Given that she is the daughter of a retainer, the origin of the sweet dream she is embracing can be called nothing but odd as she won’t be able to become his wife.
『Ina-dono, how about you?』 (Rüdiger)
『I …』 (Ina)
Since the time we met him, Wend has offered us comfort and generosity.
Certainly that can be called sweet and I have depended on that sweetness of him.
But different from Luise, I am not able to display a spoiled behavior towards Wend and converse with him smoothly.
I am sure Wend thinks of me as dull and strong-minded woman.
『Presently I think it is fine to hold both roles, as party members of Sir Baumeister and as his vassals.』 (Erich)
Wend’s onii-san, Erich-san, has joined us and addressed me like that.
『However, I think that would be immoral as well.』 (Ina)
Due to Wend’s talent, he wasn’t chastised by his family, but Erich’s situation was different. Him and his family were avoiding to get involved with each other for now more than 6 years.
『At such an age it is quite unusual for someone to get used to being alone. Just like not actively getting involved with others. Truthfully, I didn’t expect him to bring all of you along to my wedding.』 (Erich)
I am sure Erich-san was likewise troubled over the matter of 『Merely turning an adult, will I be fine taking care of myself in the capital?』.
His parents and brothers went as far as regarding Wend as dangerous.
And yet, he calmly accepted and showed understanding towards his younger brother, who surpassed him by far, albeit still being a child.
『All of you, alongside Wend, are still children. It will only be for a short time arranged as an formality for outward appearances. It is fine to proceed in the same manner as before.』 (Erich)
I feel like I have been saved by these comforting words.
But, several days after that, the same person brought a very troublesome work to just these children.
“Associate Baron Baumeister household’s feudal troops?”
“I didn’t want to agree either, but it will cause various difficulties without any kind of organisation.” (Erich)
The next day after Wend had been taken away to the army garrison in the capital’s outskirts due to receiving an order from the kingdom.
In the morning while getting up, Erich came over and began to talk.
The contents were about us organizing and becoming the center of the feudal troops.
“Although regrettable, it won’t be settled without some kind of organisation.” (Erich)
With these words Erich-san opened the curtains of the living room. A lot of people had gathered outside the Brandt’s house where we have been freeloading.
“Are they all applying to serve as vassals?”
“No, there are hardly any of those.” (Erich)
In the last few days, our existence has become rather well known, I fear.
Putting aside the few exceptions, the number of those applying as vassals or those trying to become mistresses has dropped significantly.
Instead it seems like those applying to be hired as combatants has now increased.
“Hired combatants?” (Ina) (T/N: I avoided the term mercenary for a reason, read on to understand why)
Because I heard this word for the first time, I ended up unintentionally tilting my head to the side in confusion.
“In what kind of matter was Wend summoned in the first place?”
It appears that a message came from Erich-san’s patrons Finance Minister Rückner and Viscount Mongérard.
The highest standing person in the kingdom, for the purpose of liberating the monster domain adjacent to the royal capital, has ordered Wend to subjugate the ruling old dragon there.
Apparently the other members were the kingdom’s head magician and Burkhart-sama, who was just like Wend dragged into it.
Unexpectedly, that person doesn’t seem to have any luck either, I guess.
“Those three will attack the dragon. Afterwards the strategy apparently is to exterminate the remaining monsters lead by the army and volunteering adventurers.” (Erich)
The army that was supposed to participate in this battle were the elites selected from the troops stationed in the royal capital.
The remainder was arranged by the adventurer’s guild recruiting only those who are confident enough in themselves to participate.
“Don’t you think that something is missing?”
“Come to think of it …” (Luise)
For more than 200 years there hasn’t been a war, and now the kingdom was going to war. Usually the organised feudal troops of nominated nobles were to participate alongside the kingdom’s army.
“Yes, the nobles possessing territory close to the royal capital didn’t receive a mobilization order. I hope that you understand the reason?” (Erich)
“Eeto … Is it because of receiving a reward on the occasion of distinguished military service?”
“That’s correct.” (Erich)
For the sake of obtaining a gigantic grain-producing region, the kingdom is carrying out the military operation this time.
If many nobles take part in this battle, some may end up, by slim chance, to achieve distinguished military services.
Of course one has to consider the possibility of giving territory as a reward, too.
“There are nobles within the kingdom’s army as well, although with exception to the heads of household. They are no more than representatives of the head of the household.” (Erich)
In regards to their rewards for distinguished military service it can be simply settled with a medal and money.
Originally apart from nobles, for the kingdom’s army soldiers the chance of departing to the front just being a pretext is high. Their rewards include things like money or promotion within the military’s ranks.
As for the adventurers, it was pointless to talk about it as they were only paid for what they subjugated in the first place.
“Still, would they want land that is detached from their original territory?” (Erwin)
“For the second son or the younger brother. It is fine if other relatives end up inheriting it.” (Erich)
To Erwin’s answer Erich-san gave such a reply.
Indeed, if you think of it as a way to relax the developing fight over succession between relatives, it isn’t a bad way of thinking.
“Are? But, Wend is participating within the noble’s rules, isn’t that right?”
By law it was prohibited for minors to enter a monster’s domain.
This time, a minor, Wend, was mobilized. It is problematic that they used a hole within the law where the head of a noble household has to follow the kingdom’s decree of participation in battle no matter how old they might be.
“Yes, the difference is the participation within the noble’s rules.” (Erich)
Going by the conclusion that a noble is mobilized, there is naturally no problem with him leading his own soldiers.
“Since his opponent is a dragon, he will act separately I guess, but …”
While the head of the household fights the dragon at the front line, his feudal troops will fight the monsters in the rear.
Apparently this is the intended division of roles.
“The royal palace’s head magician-sama is a baron, but he is His Majesty’s personal best friend and the most trusted vassal to begin with. Naturally he will be able to fully understand His Majesty’s intentions.” (Erich)
Without reading the mood, though he may be a baron, he may boldly organised the noble’s forces and dispatch them.
Saying this much, it doesn’t seem to be the case this time.
At least, I hear that Finance Minister Rückner, who is Erich-san’s patron, couldn’t confirm such a movement.
“Because of his function as Royal Head Magician, huh? It likely isn’t that easy to organize the soldiers within the army just like that.”
This is identical to Burkhart-sama answering to a deployment request by the margrave of Breithilde.
It’s true that his residence in the capital has to be maintained, however the number of permanently staying retainers is limited to a few, mostly guards and servants to preserve the residence.
With just those, one can’t expect a formation of feudal troops either.
The kingdom’s side too, even if Breithilde decided to dispatch his troops, he would only end up being embarrassed. That’s why he only rented Burkhart-sama to the kingdom.
“If you allow for the feudal troops of Breithilde-sama to participate, the other margraviates will become fussy.” (Erich)
『Us too!』 will be naturally requested in conclusion.
“That means, only Wend remains in the end, huh?” (Ina)
It looks to me that His Majesty hasn’t said a word to Wend to come alone either.
Thus it can also be interpreted that only Wend is free to lead his military forces into this operation.
Just after becoming an Associate Baron, he is suddenly ordered to depart to the front. As his household’s appearance and such hasn’t been arranged yet, they are making light off him, huh?
Or rather, is this intentional?
Therefore, returning back to the beginning regarding the hired combatants, young nobles and ronins want to be placed into the ranks of the Associate Baron Baumeister’s household troops in order to give weight to their personal careers with this activity and to receive written letters of recommendation.
This system is called hired combatants.
Although calling it a system might not be appropriate either.
Even on the kingdom’s side, given that the feudal troops of the mobilized nobles are too little, they won’t be dependable in battle. Thus it was right to say that this hiring was partly tolerated.
“The hired combatants want to receive distinguished military services, honor and rewards.” (T/N: Mercenaries work for money)
In the present situation, they will be able to earn rewards for hunting many monsters while having the opportunity to receive a letter of recommendation depending on the evaluation given for the degree of distinguished military services they performed.
If they play a very active role, there is also the chance to be scouted by a noble household as hired combatant. Additionally, a letter of introduction together with the letter of recommendation would become effective documents at the time when they apply for other military services.
Conversely, the advantage for the Baumeister household is that it won’t at least lose face due to the number of military forces fielded.
Due to the mobilization the providing of food is in the care of the head of the Baumeister household, however the responsibility of preparing such things like armors naturally lies with the hired combatants themselves. Death in action and battle injuries will be settled with a one-time payment of money.
In regards to the aspect of filling up the ranks of the military forces cheaply, there is no such convenient system in place.
“Still, to tell me to organize the troops is …” (Erwin)
Although we are more or less capable, having three 12-years old boy and girls act as main administrators of the troops organisation is impossible, especially since there are many veterans among those applying as hired combatants.
Being troubled by this, the rescuing lifeline was thrown by Erich-san.
“Therefore it seems to be my turn. Un, just like my patrons said.” (Erich)
Although Wend is a dragon-slaying hero, for the Associate Baron household it is the first sortie.
Embarrassing Wend at this time, how could I do that as noble of the same kingdom?
Originally calling it a ceremony for the erection of a household, disregarding Breithilde-sama, it will be a great scheme to demand gratitude from Finance Minister Rückner and Viscount Mongérard.
“As the nominated Brigadier General I entrust this task to you, Erwin-kun, as junior leading commander.” (Erich)
I hear that these Baumeister troops won’t be able to link up with Wend, who is commander-in-chief, during the upcoming battle.
Therefore Erwin will be set as commander and Luise and I will act as staff officers.
The plan is for Erich-san to deal with the contract negotiations of the hired combatants, manage the necessary funds and materials, and submit the necessary documents to the royal palace and governmental offices.
As far as I understand, a lot of businesslike work has to be done.
“Working as nominal staff officer and second-in-command of the Baumeister troops, should I? Since my physical strength is completely no good, I will do my best to specialize on logistical support.” (Erich)
By now it’s too late, as it seems the necessary funds have already been provided by Wend after inquiry.
I guess I should say as one would expect of Erich-san, huh?
“However, aren’t you the head of the Brandt household, Erich-san?”
Because they are fellow nobles of the same rank, I have a feeling that it will be a problem if one enters underneath the other (T/N: Erich working under Wend, both heads of a noble household)
“It’s fine since I am still only the successor as father-in-law still holds the title.” (Erich)
If that’s the case, there is no problem. Though it was expected and planned to be done after the wedding, the inheritance of the noble rank has been delayed.
It seems to be primarily upon the request of Finance Minister Rückner.
These days it is fine to inherit the noble rank either while the current head is still alive or postmortem.
However, those clad in a noble rank in the central government mostly pass on their title while still alive, whereas those nobles holding territory mostly pass on their title after their death.
Although nobody understands why there is such a difference, it is more correct to say that is nothing more than a custom.
Given that there are many who wear an official position, the reason or perhaps I should say opinion is that those holding such official position pass it on before losing the ability to properly manage it due to advanced age.
In addition, after the successor inherits it, the predecessor, who handed it over, still receives the benefits of the peerage status.
That doesn’t mean that they still receive their annual pension. It’s about their treatment in official places. For example Rüdiger-san will be treated the same as if he were holding a knight’s peerage.
If you think of it as some kind of honorable peerage, it might be a bit easier to understand.
Having the successor say 『I won’t treat the retired old man roughly!』, this might also be the real intention of the senior statesmen glimpsing through.
“Well then, there are no problems.” (Ina)
“『Uwa, how troublesome! Erich-nii-san treats himself to a reward!』 was said. Un, because there are expenses immediately following after the wedding, I am thankful.” (Erich)
Naturally it doesn’t only concern Erich-san.
For that reason Finance Minister Rückner and Viscount Mongérard have appeared as well.
They introduced the children of the nobles affiliated with the financial affairs faction.
I hear that it is a group of kouhais from Erich-san’s workplace, who have been temporarily suspended from work in order to help with the logistical support.
“Temporary suspension? Will it be alright?”
“There is absolutely no problem. Rather they are grateful for the opportunity to receive a distinguished military service.” (Erich)
Since they submitted for permission to temporarily being suspended from office, Finance Minister Rückner and Viscount Mongérard won’t be able to complain.
As they won’t receive any wages while on temporary suspension, Erich-san included a battlefield salary in the plans for the budget he had received from Wend in order to increase their income.
As for the assessment by the office, no matter how much they are are governmental officials in the financial affairs department, they are still nobles who had better obtain some battlefield experience.
Since something like a temporary suspension won’t occur repeatedly for many months, they don’t need to expect that it will influence their career negatively either.
“There are quite a lot of applicants. Refusing your senpai’s will be quite difficult.”
As he is the number 2 in the feudal forces in reality, it will be awkward for him to have his senpais from his work to enter the forces as his subordinates.
For that reason, I heard that Erich-san made sure that all the supporters are his kouhais.
The personnel sent by Finance Minister Rückner and Viscount Mongérard were given detailed instructions from the outset, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
“All that remains is the margrave of Breithilde, but …”
The choice of not sending even one person here can’t be possible in the first place. From his residence in the capital he will send up to 3 civil officials from the retainers being in charge of logistical support, 15 veteran guards from the guard captain of the residence, and 20 hired combatants he has employed himself.
By the way, the full amount of expenses will be the responsibility of Breithilde-sama.
The motive for this is that although he wasn’t able employ Wend as magician, he certainly still yearns for him to become his vassal. As such he is covering the cost in order to fully restrain Finance Minister Rückner and Viscount Mongérard, who were obviously aiming for this gap in his defenses.
“Breithilde-sama shows some fighting spirit and sends us some aid.”
After listening to Erich-san’s talk about the composition of the Baumeister household feudal troops, Luise and I discussed it. Before long she pointed out to make use of the detached residence of Breithilde-sama.
Making good use of all of her physical ability, Luise immediately rushed back. Since it can be said with certainty that the greatest help is one’s family, it might be the best way to secure Wend as vassal.
“Which reminds me, what about Erwin?” (Ina)
“He will interview the hired combatants.” (Erich)
Even though it is called an interview, if the hired combatants aren’t powerful, they won’t be of any use.
And then after contesting with Erwin, the remaining two commanders began to conduct normal interviews.
By the way, the two commanders were two onii-san’s who were requested to help out by Erich-san.
“Anyway, since this is such a mishmash bunch, some kind of command is necessary.”
Due to that reason, 10 soldiers of the capital guards, who were commanded by Erich-san’s and Wend’s onii-san’s, came along.
They were the third son Paul-san and the fourth son Helmut-san.
The problem of temporarily suspending from guard duty as well was avoided by the connection with Minister of Military and Naval Affairs Edgar, thus there was no need to worry about complaints either.
Asking for the opinion of their direct superior officer, they were told 『Work hard!』. I hear that 20 soldiers with noble background were attached as unit to them.
They, Paul-san and Helmut-san, assisted with the interviews as well.
“Luckily the funds provided by Wend are plenty. I only wonder if it’ll (T/N: the feudal troops organisation) shape up in time.” (Erich)
“How much was entrusted by Wend?”
“100 platinum coins.” (Erich)
“But in what way does Wend wants us to organize the troops?”
It was planned that the Baumeister troops would be supplied with no less than 500 troops for rear support.
Even though it is called the feudal troops, in reality only by receiving help from other households did the Associate Baron Baumeister feudal troops actually get any substance to work with.
If the numbers of troops are too excessive, there will be nobles making a fuss such as 『Just because he is a new Associate Baron …』. The budget entrusted by Wend is simply too much.
“If we properly write down the expenses, it will be fine to just return the remaining budget later. Besides, the hired combatants will be able to focus on hunting monsters without having to worry.” (Erich)
In case they prove themselves to be active, not being stingy with the reward serves as appeal of a good noble too.
Because this time it is a monster subjugation, the reward is adjusted proportionally by contract to the number of monsters they defeat.
Although I am not sure, it must also be connected to the feeling of security that there won’t be a situation where they are told that there isn’t enough reward money after they they defeated too many monsters.
“For an Associate Baron 500 troops are quite a lot.”
Usually in case of a newly appointed Associate Baron, the reality would be more like boosting the composition of the feudal troops with something like 30 troops up.
Because this number already includes the hired combatants, it is quite understandable as employing people costs money after all.
If they possess territory, it is possible to mobilize males from the territory itself. In comparison to another peerage of the same rank it will raise their numbers.
However, no matter how liberal such mobilization is possible, excessively drafting of the working and tax-paying men from the fief’s population will cause the noble to plunge deep into debts after the war as it has happened to many in the past.
As there won’t be enough hands left to harvest the fields, the crops will wilt. But that’s only natural due to the decrease of working members through war injuries or death in action.
“If we don’t raise the amount of participants by this much, there will be a lot of dissatisfaction amongst those who can’t participate.” (Erich)
“Really, a motley bunch …” (Ina)
“There are many factions mixed into the troops. But you pointed it out rather well.” (Erich)
Just as Erich-san recognized it, there was no other way but to express it like that.
The three brothers, their acquaintances and their subordinates made up the core of the household.
Alongside Breithilde-sama, who was aiming for becoming Wend’s patron, as well as Finance Minister Rückner and Viscount Mongérard.
Even the Minister of Military and Naval Affairs Edgar helped out by approving the temporary suspension from the office for Wend’s two elder brothers.
“All of them want to form a bond with the dragon-killing hero by different means.”
This applies to the hired combatants too. Even if they aren’t hired for participating actively by the government or the feudal lord they were aiming to serve for, there are various advantages to standing out in the only mobilized feudal troops.
Therefore, they believe that obtaining a letter of commendation and showing this letter to another noble will have an effect, too.
It took a lot of labor to narrow it down to this number of people.
“What a troublesome topic.”
“I think the one worrying about it the most is Wend. Well, now that all personnel has been chosen we have to hold a meeting to decide on everyone’s roles. We also haven’t decided on the necessary food and which goods to buy. I guess I have to get in contact with Artur-san.” (Erich)
Apparently Erich-san’s practical work experience turns out to be quite useful here.
For us, who are only 12-years old children, handling the necessary matters is too much after all.
Nevertheless, officially there are no other vassals of Wend but us three.
“Occasionally it is necessary to act proudly in the assigned position. Even if saying so might sound bad.”
As expected, it is hard to act as figurehead in the end.
Although it is embarrassing to suddenly act self-important in everything, I won’t complain about it.
“Also, there is one more official duty left.” (Erich)
“What is it?”
“Even if you have to heal injuries, don’t die. Me, my two elder brothers and you three aren’t allowed to die.” (Erich)
Although it is against monsters, you can definitely say that this is a war.
Naturally, the chances of casualties is rather high.
But it seems that Erich-san, the two onii-san’s and us three are prohibited from dying.
“Although it is pitiful, hired combatants are people who are used to face death.” (Erich)
Before they are rebuked, they will put their life on the line while fighting in order to obtain the necessary evaluation.
Hearing such a thing from Erich-san, we ended up feeling how considerably blessed our own environment is.
“For now the only thing we can do is to give our best.”
“That’s true. What should I, who can only calculate money, say …” (Erich)
Several days after that the preparations of the 507 troops of the Associate Baron Baumeister feudal troops were finished in a mad rush. We merged on the way to the battleground with the expeditionary forces of the Kingdom’s army, who was likewise heading towards the Palkenia Grasslands.
“It’s a chance to return the money I borrowed from Wend by defeating a lot of monsters.”
“Erwin, your task is to look after the troop headquarters.”
“I want to hunt monsters!”
“If you head to the front in order to play an active role, you will be hated by the hired combatants. The safety of Erich-san, Paul-san and Helmut-san comes first.”
“That’s how it is.”
My job is as usual to play the rebuking role; for some reason that’s the only thing I can do. At any rate, somehow we managed to have the variously mixed-factions troops, 『The army filled with ulterior motives by all nobles』, safely depart.
¹ ronin are wandering samurais which have no master, for those of you who don’t know that term yet.