Chapter 82 – High Earl Mizuho


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We, who escaped the coup d’etat which took place in Bardiche, did nothing except having the carriage travel towards the north.
We encountered a pursuit party of Duke Nürnberg’s troops once when we were travelling the northern main road and a second time after we turned into the branch road through Earl Mizuho Country, but all of them were flashily torn to pieces by Katharina’s spell 『Wind Cutter』.
Don’t they have sufficient coordination with their allies thanks to the communication blockade?
The rebel army didn’t let overly able magicians participate in the pursuit.
They chased us while releasing Fire Balls and such, however having all of it blocked by Katharina’s 『Magic Barrier』, they got counter-attacked and killed by her.

『High-ranking magicians won’t appear in a pursuit.』 (Katharina)

『I guess they are busy with seizing the centre.』 (Wendelin)

Katharina talks to me while retrieving the magic bags and equipment of the magicians she defeated.
She seems to act completely like a bandit, but this is also how battlefields works, Burkhart-san said.

『No matter how celebrated and powerful the opponent, they become simple headless corpses once they die. Their bodies rot and turn into fodder for beasts. The weak are killed and have everything stolen from them.』 (Burkhart)

『Burkhart-san, do you have battlefield-experience?』 (Wendelin)

『It’s because me and Burkhart-dono were active as adventurers for many years. At places where the eyes of the authorities don’t reach, such things happen as well if sly old adventurers do their work, and you have no other choice but to understand that, Earl Baumeister.』 (Armstrong)

It’s no wonder that Doushi and Burkhart-san kill people without any hesitation.
It’s only natural since they have experienced it already. Even we turned into quite skilful murderers over this whole day.

◆◇◆◇◆

“Therese-dono, what kind of country is the 『Earl Mizuho Country』?”

“For us it’s a country with quite a different cultural shape.” (Therese)

Except for the times when we have the horses rest, we spent all our time moving, but once we travel for the whole day we will arrive in Earl Mizuho Country, and will apparently be able to take a breather.
I try asking Therese, who sits opposite of me inside the carriage, about Earl Mizuho Country.

“In the old times, still before the founding of Holy Empire Urquhart, it existed as an old country of an ethnic group.” (Therese)

There are many people with black hair and black eyes. It seems to be an independent country possessing an unique culture.

“Since they are even older than the Lan tribe which is the major ethnic group of Philip Dukedom, their existence is known to the empire.” (Therese)

The Great Basin Akitsu*, which is adjacent to Philip Dukedom, is their living sphere. Their population is about 1.2 million people. (T/N: Leaving it as Japanese pronunciation like anything else related to Mizuho Country)
Given that it’s a basin the summers are hot and the winters are cold, but due to the abundance of water and the intensity in the changes between hot and cold temperatures, delicious rice is cultivated in paddy fields as staple food. It seems to be famous even as special product.
We can harvest large quantities of rice in the southern Baumeister Earldom and below as well, but if we talk about taste, it appears that the Earl Mizuho Country’s domestically grown rice has an overwhelmingly superior evaluation.
Which reminds me, there were many of Japan’s famous rice-producing areas in Hokuriku (T/N: part of Honshu, lies west of Tokyo) and the Tohoku region (T/N: northernmost six prefectures of Honshu) with their intense variations of cold and hot temperatures.
In addition it seems they are the best by far in crafted goods, made with skilful handwork, and magic tool production technologies.
Leading quite the wealthy life among the subjects of Holy Empire Urquhart, they entertain visitors, who come to their territory, courteously.
There are also many places which earn their income by expanding to other territories with large companies and carpenter associations. They became what is called on earth overseas merchants.

“(They resemble Japanese people…)” (Wendelin)

“Clothes, books, food, buildings, all of it is unique. They have been built in Bardiche as well.” (Therese)

Apparently it’s the architectural structures with tiled roofs and temple-styled buildings, I saw at the time when we arrived in Bardiche, which are referred to as Mizuho Style.
From my point of view, I couldn’t see it as anything but common Japanese style though.

“Usually most of them are docile, but once it comes to battle, they turn absolutely atrocious.” (Therese)

The knights, which are called samurai, defend their own territory with a struggle to the death by wielding their single-edged swords which are called katana.
Or rather, no matter what I hear, it’s the ancient Japan itself.

“They are a group who stayed on the side of the Lan tribe. The empire dispatched soldiers to suppress them many times over.” (Therese)

All the subjugations ended in failure. They also suffered enormous losses, but the empire’s side suffered horrible losses each of those times, too.

“The empire in those days expanded its territory in all four cardinal directions. However, since the losses of the Mizuho expeditionary forces were each time disastrous, its advances in the other directions stopped every time as well.” (Therese)

And yet they regularly dispatched troops until the Philip household gained total control of the Lan tribe’s soil, but before long, at the time where the number of allied soldiers, who disembarked on the journey to the other world due to the people of Mizuho, reached into the dozens of 10.000 soldiers, the emperor at that time gave in and recognised their autonomy in the end.

“It’s because they don’t demand any other territory besides the Great Basin Akitsu. Being appointed to a special peerage called High Earl, their territory was named as Earl Country and they were treated differently from other earldoms. With the conditions that they yield diplomatic authority to Holy Empire Urquhart and a yearly paid tribute, Mizuho Country’s continuance was approved.” (Therese)

Even that diplomatic authority is in short something like telling them to not negotiate with Helmut Kingdom on their own accord.

“The empire feared an alliance being formed between the people of Mizuho and Helmut Kingdom.” (Therese)

Earl Mizuho Country was established like this, but once they attained peace, the people of Mizuho became docile.
They accept tourists as well. Their popularity for high-class items such as high-quality fabric, alcohol, commodity, handicraft and magic tools, is high.

“It’s also the people of Mizuho who fished in my Philip Dukedom first.” (Therese)

Even though they are living in a basin with no sea, they love sea fish for some reason. Half of those fishing in the Philip Dukedom seem to be people of Mizuho.

“There are many people working away from home. They are well-informed about the knowledge about edible fish, the methods of processing and the means of preservation and transportation. The haul limits*, the establishment of fish reefs, aquacultures and such, all that knowledge is from them. Also, they dry strange seaweed and create tough rods similar to wood out of a fish called skipjack tuna or such. They are an eccentric lot who are usually gentle.” (Therese) (T/N: Quite sarcastic is that the modern Japan is the worst fishing country abiding to no international haul limit rules, but authors can dream, can’t they?)

“(It cameee~~~! A typically Japanese culture appeared~~~!)” (Wendelin)

To me, whose mind went haywire due to the murdering in the imperial capital, it’s a reward after a long time.
I encountered a state possessing a Japanese-styled culture in this western-styled fantasy world.
Sightseeing, food and culture, I have to genuinely enjoy these during our stay there.

“It’s because Philip Dukedom and Mizuho Earldom are adjoining with each other. I won’t mind even if we stay for a night. No, should we stay for several days?” (Therese)

“To request reinforcements?” (Wendelin)

“That’s how it is.” (Therese)

Because the survival and actions of the other prince-elector lords and nobles is unknown, Therese has to first start with the task of gathering the northern neighbouring feudal lords.

“Therese-sama, won’t that Earl Mizuho Country assist in Duke Nürnberg’s coup d’etat? What I heard from your story, their treatment is mostly that of an independent state…” (Elise)

I understand Elise’s worry.
From Earl Mizuho Country’s point of view, it will be fine if their current treatment is guaranteed, even with Duke Nürnberg as emperor.

“On the contrary, it’s not like that.” (Therese)

Duke Nürnberg tried to even kill Therese.
In order to centralize the authority of the emperor, he plans to remove the prince-elector lords.

“That man’s national policy is that of a powerful empire which was unified into one entity. Something like Earl Mizuho Country, which hasn’t yielded to the empire even after thousands of years, is likely a hindrance. As a matter of fact, there were troubles with the treatment of the people of Mizuho who are staying in Nürnberg Dukedom.” (Therese)

Based on the drastic deficit in trade balance, Mizuho’s funds of companies and workshops, which have expanded into Nürnberg Dukedom, have been burdened with large amounts of monetary tariffs due to the reason of them oppressing the management of the domestic merchants. The confrontation between both parties seems to intensify.

“If it’s him, he would likely aim for a complete conquest of Earl Mizuho Country. Moreover, he will be able to obtain their technology and such.” (Therese)

“Then his way of thinking seems to be naive…”

He should realize that if the empire attacks with 1 million troops, a complete conquest of Earl Mizuho Country probably isn’t impossible.
However, afterwards a large amount of male providers, who possess technology and productivity, will have been killed in action. The empire would need to take care of the ruined, former Earl Mizuho Country’s territory.
Given that their resistance will be extreme, there’s no meaning in an unreasonable conquest either.
That’s probably the reason why the empire is approving of Earl Mizuho Country’s continuance.

“From Duke Nürnberg’s point of view, he is believing that it will be fine if there’s a restoration of the destruction afterwards. If he integrates Earl Mizuho Country into the empire and makes the people of Mizuho submit by using a large budget and taking a few decades, it will turn into a plus for the new empire when regarded at long term.” (Therese)

“A rigid ultranationalist.”

“He is troublesome because he has solid supporters outside and inside his territory which can be considered as his private domain or own country.” (Therese)

You can even say that the coup d’etat was performed so skilfully because there were a number of supporters in the imperial army as well.
In addition, magic tools and spells for communication and movement have been sealed away.
The empire’s government and the nobles shouldn’t have escaped the chaos until now.
The possibility is also high that they have surrendered to the coup d’etat forces without any time to consider it.

“This is bothersome…”

“I don’t think that he has brooded over it to such an extent before though. He might have felt a sense of impending danger after receiving a report about that after all.” (Therese)

“That?” (Wendelin)

“Here. It’s what thee assisted to get operational, Wendelin” (Therese)

It’s the huge magic airship which is a legacy of the historic ruins and was successfully restarted by using the magic gem of the ancient undead dragon I subjugated by chance. Recently it was christened as 『Lingaia』 and the huge ship with its over-all-length of 400 meters was safely placed in commission. Currently it should be in the middle of performing training in order to investigate outside the continent.

“It’s because thee were able to establish a lead even in the number of common 100-meter-class large magic airships.” (Therese)

The ratio of the air forces’ war potential has expanded up to 2.2 to 1. This made Duke Nürnberg apparently feel quite a sense of danger.

“In other words, it’s my fault?” (Wendelin)

“At very least Duke Nürnberg believes that to be so.” (Therese)

I see, that’s why he stared at me with such a sharp gaze.
Since his usual look is sharp too, he might have simply looked at me though.

“In short you are telling me to kill Duke Nürnberg for the sake of having a peaceful future?” (Wendelin)

“I think that I want thee to participate in the war as mercenary if possible. There’s no other way but to kill Duke Nürnberg. He is dangerous.” (Therese)

Based on his fluctuating radical beliefs, he even turned towards the use of force.
Large damage will be done to the empire due to his actions. Naturally dissatisfaction will gush out from the surroundings, if they can’t get compensation by crushing the Duke Nürnberg household.
Something like an easy-going nation, that lets the ringleader of a rebellion live, doesn’t exist in any world.

“Before that there’s also the possibility that my group will be killed once and for all by Duke Nürnberg who succeeded in the coup d’etat.” (Therese)

“That’s ill omened…”

“There are also uncertain parts in a war.” (Therese)

There was the worrying aspect of the southern, western and eastern nobles’ course of action, but as the communication blockade was tormenting us even here, we couldn’t obtain any information at all.

“You can’t count on them. I guess the lot, which went to Bardiche for the enthronement of the new emperor, has been captured or killed by the coup d’etat forces.”

Therese wants to gather the northern lords before Duke Nürnberg dispatches a punitive force towards the north.
It’s crucial that she carries that out in a hurry first, I guess.
Fortunately there were many among the majority of the northern lords who departed from the imperial capital on the same day or the next day after the new emperor got crowned.
It seems that countryside nobles don’t have spare time to the degree I have been expecting.

“However, it’s something annoying, that communication blockade.” (Therese)

The hand-held magic communication device, we are possessing, stays silent even now although we are considerably far away from the imperial capital.
The part of restricting the magic types which are possible to be jammed widened the effective range quite a bit.
At this rate, it should have become impossible to operate magic airships and communication devices in the northern parts of Helmut Kingdom as well.

“I worry about Baumeister Earldom.” (Ina)

It’s as Ina said.
If it’s a situation where magic airships can’t be moved, it will cause large difficulties to the development.

“There’s no other choice but to believe that Roderich will handle it somehow.” (Wendelin)

I didn’t think that being unable to communicate will be this irritating.
I regarded it as reckless coup d’etat, but Duke Nürnberg might actually have a chance of success.

“Really, he doesn’t do anything decent, that bastard with his evil eyes.”

Moreover, that guy’s an ikemen.
I hear that his popularity among women is high thanks to that, but I end up believing that he’s a fellow that’s not worth to be trusted as human with only that much.
By no means does that imply that I feel frustrated because of losing to him with my face.

“I feel calm and enjoy being at your side, dear.” (Elise)

“It’s as Elise says. I think I would choke if Duke Nürnberg was my husband.” (Ina)

“If Ina-chan can’t handle it, someone like me will die by suffocation.” (Luise)

Elise, Ina and Luise start mentioning that they aren’t very good with Duke Nürnberg with his scary atmosphere although he is an ikemen.

It seems I would be warned about the amount of my meals by him. I would hate to be looked down on by his stabbing eyes.” (Wilma)

“That’s right, isn’t it? I can see a type of feeling like follow me without complaining since I’m right.” (Katharina)

Is it fine to say that he has an inborn despotic character?
Unexpectedly Wilma’s and Katharina’s opinions might peck at Duke Nürnberg’s true identity.

“I’m absolutely fine with Wend-sama’s type of husband.” (Wilma)

“Me too.” (Katharina)

“Everyone, thank you!” (Wendelin)

Overcome by emotions, I hug the five of them one after the other.
Even I have parts which can win against Duke Nürnberg.

“I don’t understand. From Duke Nürnberg’s point of view, Wend is probably a target of jealousy…”

“I pass on such complicated, internal story.”

I drove Erw, who stated his opinion in a whisper, towards Doushi with silence.

“Erwin-lad, a man is all about muscles and ability!” (Armstrong)

Doushi forcibly took a pose emphasizing his muscles inside the confined carriage.
It’s a pushy logic, but for some reason I feel its persuasiveness if Doushi is the one saying it.

“No, it’s the charm of an adult which only grown men can possess.” (Burkhart)

Next Burkhart-san, who recovered his mana already, participated in the talk, too.

“Honestly, either is fine. Don’t you think so, Therese-sama?”

“Thou husband seems to also have many, various problems, but let’s take a rest in Earl Mizuho Country for now.”

While having such a chat inside, the carriage arrived at the border territory of Earl Mizuho Country.
The Earl Mizuho Country consists of the Great Basin Akitsu and a mountain range enclosing it.
Since the mountain range doesn’t have that much of elevation, a highway to make the passage of carriages possible has been laid out, but an inspection place had been created at the entrance of the mountain road.
Guards are standing at the entrance of a building which is similar to a simple fortress.
They are resembling Japanese people with their black hair and black eyes, but the size of their bodies has no great difference to the average height of the people of this world.
Once I looked properly, their garments had an appearance similar to the samurai of Edo period and three katanas were affixed to their waists.
On the left they have two long swords which can be regarded as Japanese swords, and on the right there’s one sword similar to a short wakizashi.

“Three katanas, huh…? The 『Battou* Unit』 has been added to the defence.” (Therese) (T/N: Battou = drawing a sword (and striking in the same motion), imagine Kenshin the Battousai, probably an unit specializing on sword drawing techniques)

“『Battou Unit』?” (Wendelin)

“In the empire they are called a unit mass producing war dead with ridicule put into the name.” (Therese)

Common soldiers don’t wear anything but two short and long katanas, but since the elite Battou Unit has been granted 『Magic Katana』’s which are magic tools, they wear three katanas.

“A 『Magic Katana』 is a sophisticated magic tool.” (Therese)

It appears that they cut and kill their enemies by cladding the katana with their preferred attribute of mana through an all-purpose magic tool.

“I happened to see it at a joint military exercise of our feudal armies. A samurai, who clad his magic katana with fire-attributed mana, cut through a steel armour target with a diagonal slash from his shoulder.” (Therese)

“What’s that? How scary.”

“I heard a story that a military force consisting of 10.000 soldiers melted and vanished after being attacked by a Battou Unit of a thousand in the past.” (Therese)

It seems that was the end of the empire’s invasion armies achieved at the past Earl Mizuho Country subjugations.
Of 20.000 soldiers, 15.000 were casualties and the rest escaped.
Although it seems that the 『Battou Unit』 lost half of its numbers as well, the loss ratio is weird no matter how you count it.
I wondered whether it was exaggerated, but there appears to be no mistake as it has been recorded in the military annals of the imperial army which suffered the loss.

“They have no interest in territory outside the Great Basin Akitsu, but it’s not like they are lenient towards invaders.”

“Even though it will be fine if you mass produce those magic katanas.”

“That’s impossible.” (Therese)

Since even the empire isn’t stupid, there exists an unit equipped with magic swords which had the same trick added to their swords.
However, it seems that they can’t take a single blow from a magic katana.
I hear that there’s apparently a difference completely separating them in performance of the equipment.

“You can avoid a magic katana’s blow or, in case of Wendelin, he will deploy a firm 『Magic Barrier』, I guess? There are no options besides those.” (Therese)

“How about plundered items?” (Luise)

“They become unusable before one month passes.” (Therese)

Therese answered Luise’s question while showing a bitter smile.

“On top of its structure being complicated, it looks like it’s necessary to regularly give it a special maintenance.” (Therese)

By switching a lever to fire, earth, water and wind, it’s possible to freely clad it in an attribute’s mana. In addition there’s also a lever to adjust to the magic capacity included.
If mana is loaded into the embedded magic crystal, you can use it for a while, but it ends up returning to a regular katana losing its usefulness all of a sudden before even one month passes.

“It appears to have even a maintenance of the katana’s blade itself. The empire’s magic tool craftsmen have attempted to analyse and reproduce it as well, however they haven’t reached any significant results either.” (Therese)

The technology around the katanas has been strictly concealed. It also serves as proof that the magic tool production technology of the people of Mizuho is outstanding.

“It seems that Duke Nürnberg isn’t pleased with that aspect either though.” (Therese)

Since they are treacherous friends nesting within the empire, he feels obliged to get rid of Earl Mizuho Country.
As he seems to harbour such notion, Therese believes that it’s possible to build an united front with them.

“Didn’t that High Earl Mizuho-sama go to Bardiche?”

“It’s because Earl Mizuho Country is essentially a different country. It has been decided that he will have an audience bringing congratulatory gifts after the emperor has been enthroned for a while and the situation has calmed down.” (Therese)

At that occasion the current Earl Mizuho Country’s position would be re-acknowledged by the new emperor.
This also seems to be a task of a new emperor to be carried out at the beginning.

“Accordingly, that gent hasn’t been dragged in like the other nobles.” (Therese)

The coup d’etat has broken out three days after the enthronement of the new emperor.
The nobles, who returned to their territories ahead of time, escaped the disaster, but of the prince-elector lords who were able to flee it’s probably only her, Therese said.

“Anyway, I have to raise an army. Either I die or Duke Nürnberg does. There won’t be any other conclusion besides that.” (Therese)

The carriage, we had boarded, successfully and safely entered the fortress which is at the national border of Earl Mizuho Country.

◆◇◆◇◆

“It’s a success.”

“There were some blunders though.”

Right at the same time, a single youth sat on the emperor’s throne located in the Imperial Palace of Bardiche.
His name is Max Erhart Armin von Nürnberg. Changing from being a prince-elector of this Holy Empire Urquhart, he is now the mastermind of the coup d’etat.

“This has also happened thanks to you.”

The coup d’etat was carried out by Duke Nürnberg household’s feudal army, but naturally if it was only them, they would have no prospect of winning.
Accordingly he secretly called out for the participation of the commissioned officers, who have the same views as him, within the imperial army and they cooperated by gaining control of the military bases.
They also carried out the arrest and murder of nobles.

“There’s no necessity to kill small fries. Place them under house arrest.” (Nürnberg)

“I will attend to it right away.”

At any rate, their territory can’t do anything during the absence of their family head.
Since communication has been blocked, their functions have partially fallen after parting with their family heads which are their brains.

“On the other hand, all of the prince-elector lords died.”

However, this fact has been hidden.
Duke Nürnberg desires a Holy Empire Urquhart with a centralized authoritarian rule by the emperor.
Prince-elector lords are unnecessary for that, but seeing that he can’t suppress them immediately, it’s easier to seal their movements by taking the family heads as hostages.

“For the first stage, the maximum priority lies on the suppression of the surrounding territories of Bardiche.”

Almost all southern nobles are obeying the Duke Nürnberg household.
They are believing that they will be able to receive favourable treatment for their territories and positions if Duke Nürnberg, who is their patron to begin with, becomes the new emperor.
Greedy people are easy to use.

“There are already those among the captured nobles who are yielding to our side. Order that lot to return to their territories and to prepare their soldiers.”

Once the first stage of gaining total control of the southern and central areas finished, there’s an opponent which has to be defeated first.
Duke Nürnberg’s look shifted towards the northern part of the map he is looking at.

“Therese, were you able to run away successfully?” (Nürnberg)

She was the sole prince-elector lord who ended up getting away. It was the person called Duchess Philip.

“That woman, she will gather the northern lords and come to attack us in reverse.”

“Earl Mizuho Country, too?”

“That country is well aware of my thinking. They know fully that I will dispatch soldiers, once they form an alliance.” (Nürnberg)

“They are a formidable enemy.”

“If I crush them altogether, it will be convenient for the distant future.” (Nürnberg)

From Duke Nürnberg’s point of view, the emperors until now were too lenient.
Just because they lost many times after sending soldiers half-assedly, they have been approving of that country’s independence.
Thanks to that, the natural-born subjects are poor and suffering in the empire due to Mizuho’s economical and technological strength.
Defeating the people of Mizuho and retaliating against them who have stolen their assets and technologies, will give birth to a true, unified empire.
No, it will be reborn.

“However, I’m uneasy about a subjugation with our current military forces… Should we proceed with the suppression of the west and east and use their military forces as well?”

“Of course we will try that, but I won’t suppress them with armed might.” (Nürnberg)

I will tell those, whose family heads have been taken hostage, that their family heads will be released if they help with the defeat of Duchess Philip and the Earl Mizuho Country by dispatching soldiers.
With this it will be plenty with just the nobles who send soldiers.

“If we suppress them unskillfully, there will be victims among the feudal army of the Duke Nürnberg household and the imperial army whom we can trust the most. We will defeat them with our best elites and large numbers.”

The person who might come to challenge them at the present time, is only Duchess Philip.
Speaking in reverse, if they defeat her, the rest will work itself out later.

“Even if we hire a large quantity of soldiers to suppress them forcibly, there’s also the possibility of them betraying us if Therese is doing well. Our army is a gathering of elites. They should definitely be able to defeat her.”

“However, there’s one thing I’m worried about…”

“Earl Baumeister, eh…?”

Duke Nürnberg has only one opinion about Earl Baumeister.
He is an existence that will cause damage to Holy Empire Urquhart in the future.
Actually, even now, he is known as the main culprit for the economic disparity and air forces’ military strength difference between Holy Empire Urquhart and Helmut Kingdom.
It would be fine if he worked for himself after betraying Helmut Kingdom. I ordered the soldiers to kill him if that doesn’t work out, but that developed into a failure at the site.

“Did those four brothers really persuade Earl Baumeister?”

“That I don’t know.”

The real problem is that the unit, which was in charge of the guest house, was completely annihilated.
All of the soldiers and knights had their heads broken, they bodies cut to pieces, their heads blown off and holes in their abdomen. It has been reported that the actual site turned into a gruesome spectacle.

“Moreover, those four brothers were killed at the standby location of the stagecoaches.”

The four brothers, without fighting with them near the mansion, have been killed at the standby location of the stagecoaches and Earl Baumeister’s group can be considered to have escaped alongside Therese.
Together with the soldiers who were with them, there are mostly no corpses remaining. Burned and carbonized scraps of a robe were the sole remaining proof.

“Weren’t they hopeful young magicians?”

Duke Nürnberg who isn’t a magician, lacks the ability to differentiate their strength.
Hearing the reports, I have no choice but to differentiate by their spells which were presented at the skill exhibition gathering of the magicians.
The rest is is from their achievements, I guess?
If I remember correctly, Earl Baumeister has the accomplishment of having killed dragons.
However as that’s a matter of chance, even the four brothers should be able to do that if I order them to eliminate a dragon.
Duke Nürnberg had such belief.

“Armstrong’s strength is known from the past. Ringstadt is a famous magician. There were also the dragon-slaying Earl Baumeister and 『Storm』. However, is the difference between those four and the four brothers that much?”

“As expected, I can’t believe that all of them are safe, but…”

This elderly man, who is one of the leaders of the imperial army, isn’t a magician either, but he has heard the combat ability forecast of famous magicians in Helmut Kingdom from someone who is well-informed in that.
Certainly, they are excelling, but there are several famous magicians even in the empire who won’t lose to them. They shouldn’t have lost that one-sidedly.

“Surely it’s just as you say.”

Besides, since they have many magicians, there’s no way for a group with less than 10 at most to have strength to such an extent.
It’s fine if you can stop the peerlessness of a magician with another magician. Once that happens, the rest will be settled by the quality of the common military forces.

“There’s quite a number of civilians as magicians that possess above-advanced level mana. If we gather the intermediate and elementary levelled magicians, it will be possible to overwhelm them with numbers.”

“Defeating Helmut Kingdom’s 『Ultimate Weapon』 and 『Dragon Slayer』 with the violence of numbers, huh?”

From the standpoint of Duke Nürnberg who is a pure soldier, that plan was in the category of satisfactorily good sense.
No matter how strong they might be, it’s unlikely that they can win against organized soldiers.
The wariness towards Earl Baumeister’s party fades from within Duke Nürnberg’s mind.
The currently biggest threat is the Duke Philip household’s feudal army led by Therese.

“The feudal army of the Duke Philip household is strong, but we are better than them. Half of the imperial army is following us as well. There are also the military forces of the southern lords and the nobles who have announced their allegiance to our side.”

Having seized the capital city has become our forte after all.
The majority of the western and eastern lords hesitated, but a part of them actively declared their support to us.

“There’s no meaning in an emperor who was only chosen traditionally. An emperor is an existence that leads his subjects with unwavering will and authority.”

He is a strong person and that’s why the coup d’etat succeeded.
Right after this, I will name myself the new emperor 『Holy Urquhart the First』 and strive towards the goal of controlling this continent within my reign.

“Currently the suppression of the empire’s centre and a listing of the nobles we won over takes priority. Once that’s finished, the subjugation of Duchess Philip and Earl Mizuho Country follows at last.”

Once that happens, it’s fine to wait for the fruits to fall from the tree afterwards.
After all, there are no other prince-elector lords in this world anymore besides himself and Duchess Philip.

“We can’t take Therese lightly even though she’s a woman. She’s completely different from the other dimwitted prince-elector lords. We will prepare the soldiers while bracing ourselves.”

“As you command.”

Even while saying that, the shape of the already unified Holy Empire Urquhart floats in Duke Nürnberg’s mind.

“By the way, it’s the aforementioned device, but…”

“Is there something wrong with the aforementioned device?”

Duke Nürnberg got pissed off in his mind for being disturbed during his long-awaited time of enjoyable imaginations, but he is an important collaborator.
He asked the imperial army’s leader while showing a smile.

“That can continue to run for a while.”

“However, it will be too much of an impediment towards the economic activities of merchants and such…”

“I guess so.”

However, from Duke Nürnberg’s point of view, the merits are big.
Stealing the means of communication between nobles, it’s possible to make them lose their way and isolate them. Operating the device gives us the upper hand.
Since our side has previously reinforced the means of communication and reconnaissance by spies and fast horses, that state is advantageous.
Even as for the economic activity, it is effective to grasp the major dealers by their necks.
Besides, they should have noticed it right away.
Transportation expenses for cargo and such will rise, but that will make it possible to get the upper hand in the price competition of large-scaled merchants.
That greedy bunch will probably obey while complaining publicly.

“However, there will be complaints from the merchants of the central area.”

“The empire is heading towards the unification of the continent. For that cause the cooperation of merchants with large amounts of capital is necessary. Small and medium merchants will be crushed and other challengers will appear right away. It will be fine if we treat only those, who stand out, favourably.”

“Haa…”

And, that device.
It changed his fate. The biggest cause for continuing to use the 『Magic Obstruction Device』 that used technology from the era of the Ancient Magic Civilization and which was excavated from a huge underground ruin located in Nünberg Dukedom, is for the sake of lowering the power of magicians on the battlefield.

“Do you know why a dragon is powerful?”

“Is it because it releases a powerful breath?”

“There’s that as well, but it’s because it flies in the sky. Since humans can’t fly, they are weak to attacks from above.”

That was also the primary factor why the number of magic airships was counted as military force.
Also, Duke Nürnberg is a soldier.
He thoroughly took into account the threat of an enemy that moves in three dimensions rather than two dimensions.

“They fire spells while flying in the air. They move to their preferred position in an instant. They communicate with distant companions in an instant. If we can prevent this, it will become possible to deal with them, no matter what powerful spells a magician can release. Even in our camp there are magicians who can deploy a strong 『Magic Barrier』.”

For that reason he took the time to get the 『Magic Obstruction Device』 operational. He spread its effective range until the limits of the magic types it jams.

“About this time there might be an uproar in the northern part of Helmut Kingdom, too. Seeing that the magic airships don’t move in the north, it’s possible to simply eliminate the chance for the kingdom’s intervention. It might take some time, but my reforms will certainly become reality.”

Duke Nürnberg had absolute confidence in his own plan.

 

◆◇◆◇◆

“So, how’s the situation?”

“In the area close to the northern national border, magic communication devices as well as magic airships can’t be used.”

“That’s quite the strange phenomenon.”

Moreover, at the same time, Helmut the 37th inclined his head in the royal castle in the capital Stadtburg due to the reports having arrived from the north.
Since the evening of the day before yesterday, it has suddenly become impossible to use communication magic and magic tools. The magic airships ceased to move as well.
The large ships, which are managed by the kingdom, were safe since they weren’t floating at that time, but the small ships, which have been used by nobles and such, have crashed.
According to the damage reports gathered at present, seven ships have crashed, a lot of its cargo has been lost and 89 people have lost their lives.
Those heavy objects suddenly lost control at a height of several tens to several hundreds of meters and came down just like that.
It is impossible for normal humans to be able to survive that.
What was additionally painful was the reported death of two magicians.
They tried to flee from the falling ships with the spell 『Flight』, but as that didn’t invoke, they crashed and died.

“The jamming of communication and movement magic ends at a specific range.”

“The cause is Holy Empire Urquhart, I guess?” (Helmut)

“It’s just as you say, Your Majesty.”

With the imperial capital Bardiche as centre, it’s very likely that areas in a radius of 2.000 kilometers are receiving the same jamming.
The majority of the effect was on the empire’s side, but that effect has also reached a part of the kingdom’s northern territories.

“Definitely carry out a follow-up on the areas which have suffered damage.”

“Certainly!”

There is no direct damage except the magic airships which ended up sorrowfully crashing, but it’s painful that the transportation and distribution of goods by magic airships and the communication was shut down.
If that’s left alone as is, there is a possibility that it would trigger a stagnation of business in the areas in range of the effect.

“It’s necessary to increase the carriage trips. Also, there’s the increase of messengers by horses and letters, huh…?”

Since there’s no way we are able to increase it abruptly, there’s no other way but to assign the remaining carriages to the north while increasing the transport by magic airships in the other areas.
However, if we do that, this will also affect the communication and transport towards the south, which boasts of a high operating ratio, at the present state.

“In my opinion there will be a lot of indirect damage.”

“Is it a scheme of Holy Empire Urquhart?”

“The possibility for that is high, but it’s strange.”

True friends don’t exist between states, but even Holy Empire Urquhart shouldn’t desire war with Helmut Kingdom currently.
For this reason the government officials in charge of trade expansion negotiations and their families were sent to this time’s Friendship Visit Group.

“To begin with, most of those responsible for trade have already returned to our country.”

Given that the emperor has died and the election deciding the new emperor has started, they were made to return to their country after leaving behind a part of a dozen personnel in charge of gathering intelligence and to attend the enthronement ceremony of the new emperor.

“Communication with the group, that stayed behind, ceased as well.”

“That’s because communication is impossible.”

Even communication to an area which isn’t affected from an area which is being jammed, and the reverse of that, has become impossible.

“Communication with the embassy has stopped as well.”

Magicians, who can use 『Transmission』, and a stationary large-scaled magic communication device were placed there, but they can’t get in touch with those either.

“Is it even impossible to get a contact to the liaison on-site?”

“It seems this is no good, too.”

Either side’s foreigners have been prohibited to go outside of the capital, but illegal spies and spying networks by natives, which were organized by the spies, naturally exist.
That means even contact to them has become impossible.

“I wonder whether you are able to contact Doushi and Earl Baumeister, Your Majesty, but…”

“This might work.”

Helmut the 37th, takes out the small hand-held magic communication device, he bought from Earl Baumeister, from his pocket.
It was highly efficient and handy, but it doesn’t make contact after all.
Not only are they unable to contact the other side, but the communication itself is obviously hindered.

“Will they be alright?”

Communication with Earl Baumeister, who is the cornerstone of the south’s economic development, and the Royal Head Magician has stopped.
If something has happened to them, the kingdom’s south will fall in a state of chaos.

“They are probably safe. Rather than that, it’s necessary to raise the alert level of the royal army to a level of a quasi-war.”

Helmut the 37th didn’t worry about the safety of the two at all.
No matter what, he couldn’t imagine the existence of anyone capable of killing them.

“Quasi-war level?”

It’s an arrangement to be prepared at any time even if it turns into war.
For this level to be invoked was actually the first time in 200 years.

“By looking at the circumstances, this jamming of communication is something artificial.”

Even for a sophisticated magician it’s difficult. There’s also the matter of continuing it over time.
Since we can’t expect that there’s no legacy of the era of the Ancient Magic Civilization in the empire’s underground either, there was the possibility that someone dug up such item and used it.

“For what reason?”

“That will be seen. I don’t think it’s only for a rebellion though.”

It’s right after the enthronement of the new emperor.
Someone disapproved of that and raised an army.
Considering the difference in military forces to the imperial army, if it’s for the sake of mutually stopping communication, foreign nobles will be blocked from gathering intelligence and their movements will be sealed.
There should be no mistake that they are planning to occupy the empire’s centre during that time.

“I see. Now’s a chance.”

“You, what are you talking about?”

“Since the empire’s centre is paralysed, it’s possible to win against it without even striking them with any decent moves.”

Helmut the 37th faced the noble in front of him with an expression as if he was disgusted.
That noble planned an all-out-war with the empire.

“Why do we have to place our hands on a smouldering rock*?” (T/N: Author used here “a chestnut in the fire”)

Even while being astonished, he predicted that such guys will increase if the news of the empire spread after this.
From 1.000 years ago to the time of the ceasefire 200 years ago it could be said that Helmut Kingdom was inferior to Holy Empire Urquhart.
The empire, which was early in its unification and founding, occupied the current kingdom’s northern territories in the Gigant Crevice’s south and ruled over them.
The empire had been driven away to the north of the Gigant Crevice at the time of the ceasefire, but perceiving the era of its southern occupation as something disgraceful, it was possible that nobles, who start advocating the occupation of the Gigant Crevice’s northern area, would increase now.
I can understand them emotionally, however as a matter of fact the occupation of the Gigant Crevice’s south by the past empire stole the national power of the empire itself.
Thanks to the Gigant Crevice itself it’s mostly impossible to keep up supply by anything but magic airships.
Since the young people of major nobles and those, who obtained achievements, had already been appointed as nobles in the occupied areas, there was no way that they would abandon those. And if they did that, it was also possible that the emperor would be denounced in the congress.
In the end, you can even say that they pointlessly wasted personnel, goods and budget with the maintenance of the occupied territories until they retreated after losing the war.
If the kingdom occupied the empire’s south by crossing the Gigant Crevice, it will probably assign young people of major nobles and people, who obtained achievements in the war, as nobles in the newly captured territories, too
And if they get into a pinch, the royal army would be dispatched as reinforcement each time that happens.

“Have you said this after considering the budget for that? You will be likely overjoyed if we push the second sons and those below into being countryside feudal lords, but have you not taken the possibility of the kingdom’s financial affairs declining into account?”

“However, if it’s the current military strength of the air force…”

“Magic airships, eh? Haven’t you been told just now that those can’t be used?”

In the first place, there’s the problem how to dispatch soldiers in the current situation.
The magic airships, which are effective in crossing the Gigant Crevice, can’t be used.
There’s also the move of forcibly advancing by building a bridge, but that will cause difficulties once we try to retreat if the war progress becomes disadvantageous.
Given that communication has been blocked as well, the probability of being unable to sufficiently command the army is high as well.

“What will you do about the supply?”

“Procure it locally…”

“Do you really believe that to be possible?”

Pillaging the region we have to rule after the occupation; the military forces, which were dispatched on-site, would likely be meaninglessly worn down by local resistance movements and the military forces of the empire.

“It’s an empty theory, isn’t it?”

Helmut the 37th sighed in his mind due to the uselessness of this noble.
After all he is falling far behind the nobles who are serving as ministers.
Even so, somehow using even such idiot is the task of a king.

“The quasi-war preparation system is also no guarantee that the other side won’t come trying something.”

Since communication has been obstructed, we don’t know the situation of the other side.
The possibility that enemy forces will invade at the same time as abruptly stopping the communication blockade isn’t zero either.

“And, attacking now is politically unwise, too.”

“Really?”

While thinking that he can’t use him after all, Helmut the 37th begins to explain it to the noble in front of him.

“If this was done by a rebellion, there’s a possibility that it will benefit the rebels if we advance our soldiers while taking advantage of the opportunity.”

The current war situation is unknown, but it’s difficult to imagine that the rebels have seized all of the empire at the current point in time.
The chaos inside the empire might continue for a while, but what will happen if Helmut Kingdom, which is a foreign country, sends its soldiers at that point?

“Saying 『We have to oppose the foreign invaders』, it might result in helping with their gathering into one entity.”

On the basis of the great cause to recover the area which was stolen by Helmut Kingdom, it’s possible that the number of nobles, who sympathize with the rebels, might increase.

“Once that happens, it’s very likely that it will result in an age of war once again.”

The rebels should try to unify the country into one by making use of the foreign enemy.
This kind of story is something that happened often since the old days.

“And our country will have its national power stolen by maintaining the occupied territories which were just seized.”

Naturally the southern development can be expected to stagnate as well.

“Well then, I wonder whether our fellow countrymen in Bardiche are safe or not…”

The concept that the empire will unlikely make a move on foreign nobles who are staying as envoys will become meaningless if the considerations up until now are true.
That’s because…

“The situation of there being victims will reinforce the argument for an expedition by our country.”

There are also victims due to the crashes of the magic airships.
It’s also possible that I won’t be able to suppress a dispatch of troops, if the number of militairs and nobles, who insist on revenge against the empire, increases.

“If they are aiming for that, it will be troublesome even if there are rebels.”

By seeming to obviously act lawlessly, they are actually trying to control our movements.

“Currently we have no other choice but to carry out makeshift solutions in order to gather as much intelligence as possible.”

If we do too little, it might also increase the number of nobles advocating for an expedition, but it’s probably a salvation that the main faction of the army doesn’t wish for a dispatch of troops, isn’t it?
Minister Edgar, together with Earl Armstrong is busy in helping with the exploitation of the concessions of Herthania Valley and the south.
He couldn’t believe that they will approve to a war, where it’s ambiguous whether they can win or not, that easily.
There’s the possibility that they might turn into expedition advocates after being told to do so by their relatives and vassals, but these kind of people are busy with the preservation of the concession leftovers as well.
Humans are creatures who won’t go to war that simply if they are content.

“(It’s Earl Baumeister’s influence, huh…?)”

All of it was a hindsight-based opinion, but Helmut the 37th, who is a calm ruler, considers it like that.
Earl Baumeister is a man I can use after all.

“(He is together with Klimt. Earl Baumeister shouldn’t die that easily either.)”

Rather, I feel sympathy with the mastermind, who caused a rebellion, while these two are in the empire.
That mastermind might possess some special feelings towards Earl Baumeister, but there’s no way that man will lend help to a rebellion which adopted immature, idealistic thoughts.
If possible, he will make sure to not get involved in it. He is sure to counter-attack fiercely, if it looks like he will be harmed.
That’s obvious if you look at the last days of the Margrave Browig household which has been reported to have fallen down to 3/4th of its former economic strength.

“(Even so, the Margrave Browig household are nobles of his country, therefore that man has been considerate with them. No mercy dwells in him in regards to people and nobles of another country.)”

Those, who would try to corner him, will probably suffer severe retaliation in proportion to the degree of their cornering.

“(Well then, how will Holy Empire Urquhart’s future turn out…?)”

Will the rebellion, which I expect to be mostly true, succeed or will it fail?
Holy Empire Urquhart’s national power will decline either way.
In that case it will be fine if my Helmut Kingdom cultivates its national strength by advancing the southern development.
As long as Earl Baumeister exists, it’s possible. If we increase the difference in the national power between both countries, it might even become possible to annex Holy Empire Urquhart in due time.
Helmut Kingdom isn’t a particularly pacifistic state that completely denies wars.
If it’s realistically possible, I won’t show any hesitation to have a war to unify the Langaia continent.

“(Anyway, currently it’s about how to gather precise information.)”

After Helmut the 37th thought for a while, he began to do as much as he can with his hands in his obligation as statesman.

◆◇◆◇◆

Dango! I want to eat dango!” (Wendelin)

“Earl-sama, are you a child?” (Burkhart)

“Wend, it’s probably fine if you eat it later.” (Ina)

“Is it as you say, Ina…? I will later eat both, mugwort-flavoured dango and skewered rice dango in sweet soy glaze. I…” (Wendelin)

◆◇◆◇◆

Arriving safely in Earl Mizuho Country, we proved our social status in the fortress located along the national border and have been allowed to enter the country just like that.
A samurai, who was equipped with a magic katana, was urgently dispatched by the fortress after they inferred the unusual events in Bardiche.

『I’m called Teruaki Muraki.』 (Teruaki)

They young man, who was called a samurai, with his youthful appearance greeted us in a really polite manner.

『Did you notice the unusual events in the imperial capital after all?』

『Eh? How?』

『By using this.』 (Teruaki)

There was one bird resting on a perch at the place the samurai called Muraki showed us.
It can be regarded as tiny hawk, but also as large swallow.
Going only by its appearance, it’s a bird that appears to fly quickly.

『It’s because the people of Mizuho live in the empire. You must not take their intelligence network lightly. It looks like communication spells and magic tools are no good, but if it’s the Mizuho Swallow, even abnormal events in Bardiche will reach us in two ~ three days.』 (Teruaki)

It seems that Mizuho Swallow is the name of the fast-looking bird.
Selective breeding is popular in Earl Mizuho Country. It appears those birds are used instead of a carrier pigeons.

『We are guaranteeing several means of communication for times like these.』 (Teruaki)

The races, propagation and selective breeding of Mizuho Swallows has spread as hobby between the people of Mizuho and thus maintaining ((such means of communication)) seems to be easy too.

『They are faster than carriages, after all.』

『That’s how it is. As for Duchess Philip-sama, do you wish for a meeting with our lord as expected?』 (Teruaki)

『Correct, if possible, right away.』 (Therese)

『My lord wishes for that as well. I* shall attend as well.』 (Teruaki)

It was the first time for a person besides Roderich to appear who uses the first person 『sessha*』, but as Muraki-san is a samurai, it doesn’t cause any sense of discomfort. (T/N: First person I/me used by samurai)
Mounting a horse, he leads the progress on the mountain road towards Earl Mizuho Country and our carriage follows him.
As we ascended the mountain road for a while, we arrived at the summit after around 30 minutes.
Once we did that, a mountain pass tea house, which can often be seen in historical plays and such, was built there. People of Mizuho, who wore Japanese-styled clothes, drank tea while eating dango at the shop front.
Naturally I, who is originally a Japanese, wanted to stop by.
I wanted to drink tea while eating dango.
However, everybody has considered it as obvious to head to the lord’s mansion without dropping in on the way.
You could even say that it was only natural for me, who has a different opinion in this, to make a fuss.

“Echo, go buy dango in a dash.” (Wendelin)

I carry out the plan to make Echo, who is inside the carriage, do the errand.
Since he is a disagreeable guy who badly nitpicked about the attacks against people, I don’t have any kind of feelings of guilt for making him run errands.

“I decline as I’m Therese-sama’s retainer.” (Ebbo)

“…” (Wendelin)

It’s a sound argument, but even so he’s an unpleasant guy.
If he had ran off while saying 『Roger ~ssu!』, I would have felt inclined to regard him as slightly cute.

“Even before that, if we don’t exchange money, we won’t be able to shop.”

“There’s an independent currency!?”

This was also evidence that Earl Mizuho Country is still an independent state.
It’s as Echo says, but I felt slightly irritated by him after all.

“However, in case of Early Mizuho Country subordinating to the empire, a currency reform will come. It’s not that troublesome.” (Therese)

Therese adds one more brief comment.
Between Helmut Kingdom and Holy Empire Urquhart there isn’t overly much difference in the currency.
Though the design of they money was different with cent as the same unit, things like the coin weight and its gold ratio had been decided in a treaty.

“One cent becomes 『one mon』, hundred cents become 『one shu』 and 10.000 cents become 『one ryo』 in Earl Mizuho Country.”

It looks like the form of the currency is different, too.
However the coin weight and the gold ratio are not altered. It seems there’s no difference in the currency conversion ratio.

“In that case, can we buy dango?”

“It’s different if it’s a large store, but if it’s at the level of a tea house, they won’t accept anything but Mizuho coins.”

“No way~~~!” (Wendelin)

“Thee are acting selfishly at a strange place. I like that kind of gent though as they have a lovable nature. Feel relieved because thee will be able to exchange money without any commission at the money changer. Thee can even exchange the money of Helmut Kingdom.” (Therese)

It can’t be helped if I don’t have the local currency.
I decide to stay quiet until the carriage arrives at the lord’s mansion.
Once we descend the mountain road, human habitation becomes visible, but no matter how I look at it, it’s a farm village of old Japan.
Since it’s currently winter, the interim crop barley has been planted in the paddy fields.
Though the buildings didn’t have thatch roofs made out of wood and stones, their structure was completely different from the imperial region outside because of the Japanese style.
Entering the town after the the farm village, we can finally see the lord’s mansion after advancing further with the carriage.

“It’s an amazing castle.”

Elise is surprised, but rather than about the lord’s mansion, it was about the star-shaped stronghold which had a huge castle tower and was surrounded by a threefold moat.
An object that seemed to match the five-sided fortification at Osaka Castle, becomes visible.

“No matter how often I see it, the Mizuho Castle is huge.” (Therese)

“Is it impregnable?”

“There are no castles and mansion that won’t fall, but if it’s about taking it, there will be many victims.” (Therese)

Even if one attacks with a military force several times that of the defending side, very great losses will occur while taking this castle.

“Substantial victims might have appeared in the past.”

“No, there’s no one who was able to attack this Mizuho Castle.” (Teruaki)

“Eh?”

“Given that it’s a country that will be ruined if it’s invaded, the Mizuho army always intercepted the enemy at the territory’s border.” (Teruaki)

They intercepted large armies with few after crossing the mountains.
There were many casualties as well, but since the empire’s armies suffered crushing defeats, the majority of them ran away. It seems they worked hard at pillaging the surrounding areas while chasing after them.
It was apparently for the sake of compensating the losses because there were many victims.

“The empire’s armies would have plundered us too if they won. The empire which attacked first and then lost, was at fault. With the empire’s army close to surrendering once we fought, they suffered pillaging while being chased. There would probably be no complaints if it was only the goods of the imperial army, but for the nobles, who were in vicinity of Earl Mizuho Country, it was something they couldn’t endure.”

Since Earl Mizuho Country is a gentle partner who usually even trades with them, something like pillaging wouldn’t have been done by them if the central’s imperial army didn’t attack.
It seems there was thunderous criticism each time a campaign happened.

“It appears there was even one time a situation where they invaded at the same time from various places by forcibly making the surrounding lords mobilize.”

In the end Earl Mizuho Country’s army suffered the heavy loss of losing half of its mobilized war potential, but the imperial army apparently lost more than eight times in soldiers.

“There were also places in the adjoining territories which had their feudal armies annihilated. Duke Philip household sent soldiers as well and the feudal lord at that time recorded in his diary that two thirds didn’t come back.” (Therese)

“Isn’t that a crushing defeat?” (Erwin)

“No matter how thee gloss it over, it was a crushing defeat as thee say, Erwin.” (Therese)

It appears it was an old disaster for Duke Philip household’s feudal army which was solely responsible for the the northern place of attack.

“That’s why they don’t expand their territory. They won’t come out from the Great Basin Akitsu. Such being the reason, Earl Mizuho Country followed the path of becoming a protectorate.” (Therese)

Once Therese’s explanation ends, the carriage arrives at the entrance to the outer garden of Mizuho Castle.
Thanks to Muraki-san who is guiding us, we cross the three-layered moat unchecked and arrive at the inner citadel located at the castle tower.
When we get off the carriage, an elderly man wearing a samurai attire appears.
He appears to be a senior retainer who’s more important than Muraki-san.

“I’m called Ienori Kira Mizuho. I shall guide you to lord-sama.” (Ienori)

As should be expected of Therese, huh?
It looks like we can meet the feudal lord due to her being well-known.

“Mizuho? Are you that gentleman’s relative?”

“From a branch family though.” (Ienori)

The people of Earl Mizuho Country all have surnames, even the commoners.
And people who have a Mizuho attached after the Kira like Ienori-san, are from a branch family or those who were awarded an honourous surname by the Mizuho household since they had remarkable achievements.

“(Honestly, it’s like the Edo or the Warring States period…)” (Wendelin)

It resembles such stories like being given the surname of Matsudaira* or Toyotomi* for achieving meritorious deeds quite well. (T/N: Matsudaira was a small powerful clan in the Muromachi period (1333-1537), Toyotomi is a name bestowed by the Japanese emperor to Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was the second of the three unifiers of Japan as general and politician)

“Let me lead you to lord-sama’s place.” (Ienori)

We enter the castle under Ienori-san’s guidance, but the interior was tatami-matted with a strict prohibition to wear shoes after all.
After seeing tatami for the first time in a long while, it has a nostalgic aura.

“Cloth boots?”

Given that everyone was barefoot after taking off their shoes and boots, Ienori-san lent us tabi, but it seems everyone feels uncomfortable wearing tabi for the first time.

“However, it can’t prevent getting mouldy.” (Burkhart)

“Burkhart-san, is your prevention against yeast infection on your feet alright?” (Wendelin)

“Earl-sama, I don’t have any yeast infection on my feet.” (Burkhart)

Burkhart-san particularly stressed the matter of him not having a yeast infection on his feet.

“You can say it’s an occupational disease of adventurers and soldiers. The inside of the boots moulders due to moving and marching for long periods. Let’s try buying this before returning home.” (Armstrong)

Doushi didn’t deny the fact of him having athlete’s feet.

“Was the floor spread knit with grass? It’s unusual.” (Katharina)

Katharina gazed at the tatami looking very interested while walking on top of it.

“There’s a door which opens if shifted to the side.” (Luise)

“Curtains which put paper in wooden frames? Really strange.” (ina)

“What a peculiar vase.” (Wilma)

Showing astounded expressions, Luise looks at a fusuma*, Ina at a shoji* and Wilma gazes at a decorated flower arrangement. (T/N: fusuma is a Japanese sliding door and shoji is a paper sliding door)
They seem to be very deeply interested in things they haven’t ever seen until now such as transoms, tokonoma’s* and the hanging scrolls and earthenware displayed there. (T/N: tokonoma is an alcove where art or such is displayed)

“We are probably the first who entered Earl Mizuho Country as people of Helmut Kingdom.”

It’s as Doushi says. The people of Helmut Kingdom had been prohibited to leave Bardiche.
There might also be people who have violated this among them, but they shouldn’t have been able to enter Earl Mizuho Country that easily since it’s treated as yet another country.

“It wasn’t even noted down in the traveler’s journal records written by my master.” (Burkhart)

There is little to no description about Earl Mizuho Country by Margrave Breithilde.
He only wrote about his impressions of the Mizuho-styled buildings he noticed in Bardiche.

“This way, please.” (Ienori)

The audience room is located at the top floor of the castle tower. Once we enter inside guided by Ienori-san, High Earl Mizuho sat in a tatami-matted chief seat completely like it could be seen in historical plays.
His age is around fifty years, I guess.
His stance is that of being in proper seiza. He is a man that gives the feeling that he’s really capable.
Expensive-looking vases and hanging scrolls, which looked like landscape pictures drawn with octopus ink, were displayed in a tokonoma behind him.
There’s even a page who looks after the lord’s katana. It’s completely like a historical drama.
His appearance is exactly that of a Japanese daimyo.
What’s different in the showy visible impression is probably the point that no one has fastened their hair in a topknot.

“It’s been a while, Duchess Philip-dono.” (Mizuho)

“Around one year, I suppose? We met at the time when I was summoned to Bardiche, I guess?” (Therese)

“It feels like that’s about right. It was a misfortune that the coup d’etat happened at the time of your duty in the imperial capital. There’s no such obligation in our Earl Country though.” (Mizuho)

The three lowest among the seven Dukes have the duty to be stationed in Bardiche to support the emperor. It seems the coup d’etat and the late emperor’s demise ended up occuring at the time when Therese was on duty.
But then again, since there was His Majesty’s funeral service, all of the prince-elector lords were stationed in the imperial capital.

“That’s very enviable. Someone like me has escaped barely alive and exposed this kind of disgraceful conduct.” (Therese)

“I suppose it’s a success with just you being able to run away. Oops, I’d like you to introduce the guests next to you.” (Mizuho)

“They are my benefactors.” (Therese)

Being introduced to High Earl Mizuho by Therese, High Earl Mizuho introduces himself next as well.

“I’m High Earl Mizuho, Toyomune Mizuho. You are Helmut Kingdom’s Ultimate Weapon-dono and Dragon Slayer-dono, right? Indeed, Duchess Philip’s luck seems to be great.” (Toyomune)

“Otherwise an escape would have been difficult. And, well…” (Therese)

“If it’s soldiers, I will dispatch them.” (Toyomune)

“That’s a quick answer.” (Therese)

It’s the first expedition of Earl Mizuho Country’s army which has never experienced a foreign campaign until now.
Therese, who assumed they would need time to consider it, was surprised by the swift decision of High Earl Mizuho.

“It’s because that Duke Nürnberg seems to detest our country.” (Toyomune)

Earl Mizuho Country runs counter to a single powerful empire. If he, who is also a patriot, is allowed to speak out, his view is that it’s only natural to destroy Earl Mizuho Country which badly damaged the imperial army until now.

“He is probably thinking that crushing this place is connected to the future of the empire, no matter how much sacrifices it will produce.” (Toyomune)

To begin with, Mizuho’s funds and people are receiving quite the damage by his patriotic political measures in Nürnberg Dukedom.
Even though they are already antagonized in peaceful times, it will likely be like that all the more in times of war.

“All the assets of Earl Mizuho Country, which are inside Nürnberg Dukedom, have been confiscated. Almost all of the people of Mizuho have been arrested and even women and children have apparently been sent to detention facilities.” (Toyomune)

“It’s a thorough enforcement.” (Therese)

“Here’s the latest report by the swallow mail. The same situation occurs in the empire.”

In addition, the assets and people of the Lan tribe, which is the major ethnic group of Philip Dukedom, are suffering the same damages. It seems to also apply for other minorities.

“It’s gotten out of order.” (Wendelin)

“For that man it’s justice, Earl Baumeister.” (Toyomune)

However, well, I think that the empire also did well at keeping such dangerous man as the Duke at bay.
I wonder whether it wasn’t possible to disinherit him somehow?

“That man intends to overrun our Philip Dukedom, too. Rather than crushing each by their own, it will be better for him if we join forces from the beginning.” (Therese)

“I guess so. However, does that man really understand?” (Toyomune)

“About what?”

“A single strong empire is absurd.” (Toyomune)

The people who are in the vicinity of the imperial capital Bardiche, are conveniently calling themselves Urquhart people, but considering the details, they were an assembly of a great number of ethnic groups.
As there isn’t overly much difference between them since their language and religion is identical, they simply called themselves Urquhart people on their own accord in order for the empire to show its sense of unity.

“That’s why they targeted the Mizuho people with their black hair and the Lan tribe with its different skin colour.”

Once they are destroyed completely, the confiscated gains from there will be distributed to the self-proclaimed Urquhart people.
Once that happens, they should be able to expect the loyalty of the neutral groups as well.

“(A pure ultranationalist, or rather…)” (Wendelin)

No matter how I think about it, he was a person I want to avoid forming friendly ties with.

“I shall hasten the preparation of the soldiers.” (Toyomune)

“I will have the Philip Dukedom and the northern lords mobilize, too.” (Therese)

At the same time she will call out to the eastern and western lords, she explained to High Earl Mizuho.

“Even if it’s a lost case, we can expect for a few to participate.” (Therese)

It’s not like everybody should approve of the radical Duke Nürnberg.

“Both parties are getting their armies ready to kill each other and the surviving side will take the victory, huh? That’s easy to understand. So, what will thee do, Doushi-dono and Earl Baumeister-dono?” (Therese)

Given that we are in front of High Earl Mizuho, Therese called me Earl Baumeister for a change.

“Let’s see. We have already embarked, thus treat us as mercenaries, please.” (Wendelin)

It’s also fine to make plans for returning back to Helmut Kingdom just like that, but difficulties have to be expected on the land and sea routes. There’s something annoying, too.
It’s the existence of Duke Nürnberg’s operating magic tool, which obstructs movement and communication magic, in Bardiche.
As it seems to have the power for working at quite the vast range, victims should have appeared even in Helmut Kingdom by now.
If we tried to forcibly return at this point, it would make no sense if it was in a state of being unable to use communication and movement magic until our territory.
If the magic airships don’t work in the Savage Lands, it will be a big hindrance in the development.
In that case it won’t do unless we destroy this magic tool to smithereens.
Even if Therese’s group wins against Duke Nürnberg, there’s no point if the tool remains on Holy Empire Urquhart’s side.

“(Dear, are you aiming for the destruction of that magic tool after all?)” (Elise)

“(I can’t keep secrets from you, Elise) The reward will be piecework payment of items that can be taken with us.” (Wendelin)

After a short exchange by whispering with Elise, we announce our participation as mercenaries.
I decide to not mention anything about the destruction of the aforementioned magic tool.
Since they might scheme to try keeping it if we talked about it unskillfully, I decided to destroy it by taking advantage of the military operation in the end.

“(It’s fine like that.)” (Burkhart)

“(I agree as well.)” (Armstrong)

Burkhart-san and Doushi seem to share the same opinion.
I have expected those two to realize it.
Yielding such dangerous magic tool to a hypothetical enemy is something risky. They should understand that better than anyone else.

“It’s the participation of influential war potential, isn’t it? That helps us, doesn’t it, Duchess Philip.” (Toyomune)

“However, the condition of the reward is quite vague. Isn’t there something more specific?” (Therese)

“It’s something to actually work for, right? Watching their activities, you shall grant them an appropriate reward, Therese-dono. It’s a necessary ability for the next emperor candidate.” (Toyomune)

Even we, seeing that we are proceeding towards fighting ourselves, have no intention to lose.
Naturally we will aim for victory, but how much of a reward will Therese hand out for the distinguished war service we obtained.
This will not only be circulated to the nobles of her own country but also to Helmut Kingdom, too.
If it’s too little and stingy, she will be ridiculed by the neighbouring country and the nobles of her own country will be disappointed in their new empress as well.
It was a difficult homework requiring a certain level of backbone.

“The next emperor of… I have the resolution for that.” (Therese)

The survival of the prince-elector lords, who stayed in the imperial capital at that time, and Urquhart the 17th, who was just enthroned, is unknown.
There was the possibility that they have been confined while being alive, but it will probably be wrong if we don’t operate here with the assumption that they were killed.

“You have the misfortune of becoming the first empress due to a disastrous reason, Therese-dono. As for the participation of Earl Baumeister’s group in the war, the conditions will become a bit better, won’t they? Let’s gather the soldiers at once. There’s also a reason to dispatch the soldiers. That man has turned his hands on our fellow brethren who aren’t soldiers.” (Toyomune)

He’s likely talking about the seizure of property from the Mizuho funds, which has been carried out in the south and its capital city, as well as the deportation of the people of Mizuho to detention facilities.

“Well then, we will ((head out)) at this point.” (Therese)

“I understand your feelings, but assembling an army will take time anyway. Take it easy and stay at least for one night as well, Duchess Philip. If you cross the northern mountain road, you will immediately arrive in the Philip Dukedom after all.” (Toyomune)

“That’s right, isn’t it? I will also be troubled if you were to collapse at this point, Therese-dono.” (Wendelin)

“See, even Earl Baumeister-dono says so.” (Toyomune)

“Understood. I shall have you let me rest without reservation.” (Therese)

But then again I simply told them a reason that seems authentic. My objective is only one.
I want to go sightseeing in Earl Mizuho Country.
There should be a lot of things I can’t overlook. especially on the side of foodstuff.

“As a matter of fact, there’s one reward I’d like you to promise me, but…” (Wendelin)

Since Duchess Philip and High Earl Mizuho accepted my condition right away, I decided to enjoy the Earl Mizuho Country sightseeing without any misgivings.

 


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