T/N: Yulfa – A character introduced in chapter 3 of Volume 9. She’s a young nun whom the MC and party met in a church in Philip Dukedom. Apparently, she was dispatched to the empire by Cardinal Hohenheim upon the king’s order. She’s also an acquaintance of Elise. She’s a bit taller than Luise, has dark brown hair cut into a shortcut. Her special skill is “High Speed” magic (a type of Holy Magic allowing one to boost one’s muscle strength to the limit) allowing her to easily run 1,000 km in one day, and it’s actually also the only magic she can use. There’s an illustration of her in the Gallery on the blog.
“It was unexpected that he would use this move.” (Armstrong)
“Now then, with this we are completely stuck here, aren’t we?”
“Yeeeeah, we missed the chance to run away.”
Not just me, Doushi and Burkhart-san appeared to be bewildered as well.
The mortal combat against the main force of the rebel army led by Duke Nürnberg came to an end with a draw.
We succeeded in allowing master, who was summoned by Talrand, to go to heaven once more, but the liberation army lost Earl Lärmer, an excellent commander, and the left wing led by him suffered massive losses as well.
We caused considerable damage to the rebel army, but it was far away from being fatal.
Taking advantage of the chaos triggered by Earl Lärmer’s death, Duke Nürnberg skillfully withdrew his soldiers.
The liberation army finished its army reorganisation and continued to advance carefully, but before long we learned of an unforeseen event.
According to a report, Duke Nürnberg abandoned the imperial capital.
When Therese hurriedly entered the capital, the emperor, who had been put under house arrest by Duke Nürnberg, arrogantly awaited her there.
『The crime of arbitrarily assembling the northern lords and advancing on this capital is heavy, but I won’t question it given the circumstances.』 (Emperor)
『Duchess Philip, do you have some issue with me, the emperor?』 (Emperor)
『No, I was very glad to see that thee are safe and sound Thy Majesty…』 (Therese)
According to Alfons, being told that by His Majesty the Emperor, who stayed in the imperial palace, was a disaster with Therese completely losing her temper afterwards.
Well, that makes sense.
It’s not like she desired the throne for herself, but even though she resolved herself and dealt with the civil war against Duke Nürnberg, Duke Nürnberg had allowed for the emperor to be reinstated as if it was a final, desperate tactic.
Why did Duke Nürnberg do something like that?
The reason is simple.
By splitting the anti-Nürnberg faction apart, it gives him the chance to crush each of the parties individually.
『The other prince electors were all killed. Yet only the imperial family was kept alive. The members of the prince elector households probably suspected there was some kind of backdoor deal by the members of the imperial family. The emperor, who was clumsily caught in the coup d’etat, was released out of pity by Duke Nürnberg. The emperor lost most of his authority.』 (Alfons)
That means it was more useful for Duke Nürnberg to oppose Therese by allowing the emperor to be reinstated instead of killing him.
『Therese couldn’t make a decision either… to drag down the emperor from his throne or not. I advised her to do so, but she rejected it.』 (Alfons)
The emperor being reinstated in this situation isn’t anything good either.
He should abdicate allowing him to take responsibility for the coup d’etat with an extra legal measure… No, I guess it’s impossible for the emperor, who lost face due to Duke Nürnberg, to step down by himself.
In other words, it was necessary for Therese to forcibly get rid of the emperor and to consolidate the anti-Nürnberg faction into one group.
『Therese… is it because she’s a woman? Either way, we will return to our territory for the moment. His Majesty the Emperor plans to gather a large army and subjugate Duke Nürnberg after the harvest.』 (Alfons)
『After the harvest? That late?』 (Wendelin)
『That’s only natural. After all, there’s nothing left in the capital.』 (Alfons)
While the liberation and the rebel army fought, another part of Duke Nürnberg’s army apparently finished taking away the empire’s assets and a huge amount of goods, including food to the Nürnberg Dukedom on Duke Nürnberg’s order.
In short, the current empire is as poor as a church mouse.
『So, even if he gathers a big army, the supplies won’t last?』 (Wendelin)
『The national treasury is empty and there’s no gold either. Do you actually think he would get any loans from merchants? Besides, we won’t participate in the subjugation of Duke Nürnberg. No, I guess it’s more correct to say that we aren’t allowed to.』 (Alfons)
If Therese once again raised achievements during the subjugation of Duke Nürnberg, the emperor would be forced to take Therese into consideration after the war. There’s also the matter of his own position being extremely weak. The emperor wants to defeat Duke Nürnberg while standing alone at the head of the army.
『Hah, that means we are leaving the capital no sooner than liberating it.』
I wonder whether that’s not a case of a split forming, but it’s impossible for Therese and the emperor to form a common united front.
Be that as it may, for him to have abandoned the capital after having thought ahead so far…
Duke Nürnberg really isn’t an ordinary man.
『It looks like you will be summoned by the emperor as well, Wendelin.』 (Alfons)
『I wonder whether he will give me my reward?』 (Wendelin)
『It’s better if you don’t put too much hope into that.』 (Alfons)
Alfons’ prediction was right. After the audience with the emperor, Urquhart the 17th, we spent our time idling around in the city of Sakart.
“Earl Baumeister, what’s that?”
“A very appreciated reward!” (Wendelin)
“Isn’t that a simple piece of clothing?” (Philip)
“What are you saying! Philip-dono! Look at this, this is a beloved piece of clothing of Urquhart the 11th, an ancestor of the Holy Empire Urquhart Restoration!” (Wendelin)
“In other words, you didn’t get a tangible reward.” (Christoph)
“Christoph-dono, does it make you happy to talk about the reality?”
Once I went to the imperial palace after being summoned by the emperor, I was given an old article of clothing, which was used by a past emperor, as a reward, and that was all.
It resembles the acts of daimyo in the Edo period, who took a loan from merchants, handing out honourable items (i.e. articles used by those daimyo) because of their inability to return the money.
The emperor, who’s trying to pay the soldiers with loans as the national treasury is empty, didn’t have the leeway to hand me my reward.
“It’s just an old piece of clothing.”
“Maybe it has some special effect… No, I guess not… Burkhart-san, what do you think?” (Wendelin)
“I also couldn’t find such a magical feature hidden within. Doushi, you think so too, right?” (Burkhart)
“It’s only a piece of clothing!” (Armstrong)
“Elise, what about it actually having a fairly high value as a work of a famous past designer?” (Wendelin)
“No, dear. Its make is good, but I’m afraid to say, it’s just an old piece of clothing.” (Elise)
So the reward for me having done my very best so far is a single piece of clothing? If I hadn’t mined in the abandoned mines, we would be deep in the red by now.
“I guess we have to cut our losses at this point. We already rescued all citizens of the kingdom.”
All members of Earl Schultz’ Friendship Visit Group were safe except for several magicians who were killed.
It was probably good that they didn’t resist. They had been put under house arrest and so were able to safely join up with us.
There were also some different soldiers of the royal army who were now safely present (this group, led by Marquis Läger, was originally crushed by Duke Nürnberg near the beginning of the rebellion and were unable to escape together with Philip and Christoph).
These captured troops were put into a POW camp and then released after the capital’s liberation.
Duke Nürnberg probably didn’t want to go out of his way to take along prisoners who would only consume his food.
For this reason, more than 5,000 people of the kingdom were now gathered in the city of Sakart.
“I suppose calling it house arrest is the diplomatic way…”
From now on the emperor will be busy with his preparations to defeat Duke Nürnberg. So I suppose he won’t allow any foreigners to stay at his side. Come to think of it, a part of the Mizuho army was also stationed in this city.
Though the bulk of their army and the nobles who had supported Therese had returned to their respective territories
『For him to be able to set up countermeasures against the magic guns and the magic katana. There’s no other option but to get our war preparation in even better order until autumn.』
Earl Mizuho Country believes Duke Nürnberg to be an irreconcilable enemy.
There’s also the matter of their state-of-the-art weapons not showing much of an effect in the previous battle. So the majority of their military forces returned home with the goal to strengthen their war preparations.
“Therefore it’s probably no problem for us to go back as well.”
“That’s what you think, but we do have more than 5,000 people with us, you know…”
Since we can’t use magic airships, our travel methods are limited. That’s because that jamming device still continues to operate.
“And in addition, there is a message from His Majesty!”
Just as we were talking about our future plans, a “Speedy Priestess Girl” plunged in.
“It’s been a while, Yulfa-san.” (Elise)
“Elise-sama, you seem to be doing fine as well. Yulfa the Gale makes her entrance once again!” (Yulfa)
“I have a bad premonition…” (Wendelin)
“Earl Baumeister-sama, that can’t be. Even though we met after so long.” (Yulfa)
The message she brought will be bad because I’m almost 100% certain that it’s an order to stay here.
“Is it by chance fine to return to the kingdom?”
“That’s unlikely. 『The empire’s situation still hasn’t settled down. You shall stay and work in order for it to head in a direction advantageous for the kingdom while striving to gather intelligence.』 That’s all of the message from His Majesty. Bye then!” (Yulfa)
Before I could stop her, Yulfa ran away at a frightening speed.
“She’s sure quick, isn’t she?”
“It’s because she’s a messenger of the church.”
“That place employs good personnel, doesn’t it?”
“Even if he tells us to gather intelligence, there are too many restrictions for us.”
After all, we have been detained in Sakart.
I guess it’s because it will be troublesome if rumours spread that I have been put under house arrest. It seems I’m allowed to go as far as shopping in the imperial capital, but while I’m under such groundless suspicion it will be dangerous to be in contact with Therese.
“Bah, under these circumstances gathering information or whatever is impossible.”
“They are probably especially cautious of people heading north from Sakart. They suspect that you and Duchess Philip are conspiring together, Earl Baumeister.”
I’m being watched by the emperor who’s ought to be my ally.
“Luckily there are monster domains near the city of Sakart, so I think we can at least earn the costs of our own food.”
“Umm… Earl Baumeister, it’s extremely difficult for me to tell you, but…” (Christoph)
“What is it, Christoph-dono?” (Wendelin)
“I discussed it with Earl Schultz as well, but we don’t have any money. Since Earl Schultz and his followers are nobles, they do intend to return the money they borrowed from you, but even that will only happen after we return to the kingdom. There are the soldiers to worry about as well.” (Christoph)
I must support more than 5,000 companions until the harvest in autumn.
With there being no chance of getting our reward at the moment, I only hope that the civil war will come to an end as soon as possible.
＊ ＊ ＊
We decided to immediately go hunting in a small-scale monster domain near Sakart in order to support our companions while at the same time having some combat training.
Philip and the commissioned officers of the royal army took command and taught Erw how to manoeuvre troops.
It’s in-service training and education with Erw’s future in mind.
“I see. Using military forces to exterminate monsters, such a method exists as well.” (Erwin)
“If monsters attack in a group, you’ll have to start with amassing troops to make it possible to deal with. You split them into several smaller units, then have them invade and attack from different locations while leaving the hunted monsters to a team of collection specialists. But even if it’s only small groups, the monster activity will intensify if they stay in the monster domain for too long, so you have to make sure that they don’t stay longer than a set time. It’s also important to avoid losses by controlling the troops fatigue through the periodic replacement of the platoons.” (Philip)
“Having a great number of smaller units moving in concert is difficult.” (Erwin)
“You will get used to it. The command of a platoon will be taken by the platoon leader, several platoon leaders will be led by a company commander, several company commanders will be led by a battalion leader… well, that’s the rough idea… leave the command on-site to your subordinates. It’s fine for us to only give broad orders.” (Philip)
“I see…” (Erwin)
“It’s no use being so impatient. It’s alright to get slowly accustomed to it.” Philip told Erw.
“The reorganisation and improvement of the kingdom’s forces is going well. The sole worry is that Wend… ah sorry, master is only making losses.” (Erwin)
“I think they feel guilty about it, but if you put it in aristocratic terms, everyone owes big favours to Earl Baumeister. These kind of invisible obligations are very important for nobles. Aside from us, who have already failed, I think that Earl Schultz and his group are regretting it.” (Philip)
“Because they created a debt towards master?” (Erwin)
“Yes. Well then, withdraw the forces slowly. There’s still the dismantling of the hunted monsters left.” (Philip)
“… I’m booored.” (Wendelin)
“It won’t serve as training if you fight, Earl Baumeister. It’s plenty enough for the supreme commander to just stand there.”
Just in case I participated as well, but as it wouldn’t be much of a training session if I fight, so I had only spare time, unable to do anything.
Though it looks like Erw and Philip spent their time meaningfully…
Duke Nürnberg has retreated to his territory and the emperor is completely devoting himself to the preparations for the subjugation of Duke Nürnberg.
Naturally, the situation shifted into a cease-fire.
The problem was what would happen after the autumn harvest was finished, but as I was thinking about such things, a messenger from the capital visited me.
“An inspection? They are sure on guard against you, Earl-sama.” (Burkhart)
“An inspection or whatever else, I feel like telling them to do as they please.” (Wendelin)
Even if they investigate us, they won’t find anything incriminating, but the emperor likely fears me joining with Therese to oppose him.
But, please don’t worry. Currently, Therese and I have completely stopped contacting each other.
We aren’t even exchanging letters. After all, it would only serve to make the emperor suspicious.
Therese has probably also been told by her retainers to stop getting in touch with me.
Without doing anything in particular, I spend my days calmly.
Though the money just keeps decreasing.
While those quiet days carried on, the inspection team was finalized and sent enroute to us from the capital.
“An inspection group? What kind of people will come?” (Elise)
“Who knows?” (Wendelin)
Elise asked me while pouring tea in my cup during our mid-afternoon snack, but now that she asks, I wonder who will come?
Though I feel like it doesn’t really matter.
Today it’s a cake hand-made by Elise? The moderate sweetness is really delicious.
“You should worry about who’s coming.”
“Even if I worried, there’s nothing I can do about it, right? Those who come will come.” (Wendelin)
“That’s true, but…”
“Erw-san, even if that inspection group schemes to do something strange, it will be fine as we are here.” (Haruka)
“You are right there, Haruka-san.” (Erwin)
He’s properly doing his duty as my guard, but Erw looks very joyful whenever Haruka is nearby. He reveals a slovenly smile as he has her pour him some tea.
“Stay on guard! But since half of the reason for the inspection group is for harassment, I believe the danger to be manageable.” (Takeomi)
Takeomi-san, who is even now serving as my guard, instantly vented his anger at Erw like a fierce fighting demon and then stated his own opinion.
“Since Haruka and I will be there as your guards, you can meet them with complete peace of mind.” (Takeomi)
“You know, I will be there as well.” (Erwin)
Due to Erw’s casual words, Takeomi-san vented his anger once more at Erw, but it seems that Erw is already used to it by now. He doesn’t seem to mind.
“It’s because Haruka and I will be there.” (Takeomi)
He said it twice because it’s important, that’s the impression I get.
“Umm… Takeomi-san, what about me?” (Erwin)
“I guess we need a meat shield in case something bad happens.” (Takeomi)
And then, several days later, the rumoured inspection group arrived.
Information about the leader of the inspection group came in slowly as well, and to our surprise, it seems that to be the third son of the emperor.
“Don’t get fed up meeting him just because he’s the emperor’s third son.”
I really wonder what kind of person he is?
“What type of person is he?” (Elise)
“He has commoner-like parts because of his commoner mother. Since he often spends his time playing around in the capital, he’s called 『Disgrace of the Imperial Family』, and also 『Commoner Prince』.” (Penz)
In addition, he has been leading a group of commoner children, and noble children of third or lower rank. They are apparently treated as a gang of hoodlums by the emperor and the high-ranking nobles. Sakart’s governor Penz, who is going to greet him together with us, informed us about the emperor’s third son. Since he’s a man, he gladly answered the question of the young and beautiful Elise.
As we were waiting for the inspection group in front of the mansion where we are staying, Erw, Haruka and Takeomi-san became tense. And then, at almost the same time, Doushi, Katharina, Burkhart-san and I became tense as well.
“That’s an interesting idea, isn’t it? If it’s the empire’s prince-sama, he has his guards scatter bloodthirst?”
“Looks like it. Haruka, don’t be careless, okay?” (Takeomi)
Does the emperor’s third son belong to the armed struggle faction unlike his father?
It’s unpleasant as he seems to test our side.
Moreover, us magicians felt another provocation.
“So there are magicians who can properly measure up to Katharina-jou. Right, Doushi?” (Burkhart)
“If one is the emperor’s third son, he will have excellent magicians as guards!” (Armstrong)
Right, we began to be cautious after noticing the existence of a magician, who emitted their mana into the surroundings in a provocative manner.
“This isn’t a pissing contest, so can you stop with these kinds of tests?” (Wendelin)
I didn’t have any intention to butter up to someone like the emperor’s third son. Even if we were to have a dispute here, I don’t really feel anything, besides maybe that this will give me a reason allowing me to return to the kingdom.
“As expected of the kingdom’s cream of the crop. You aren’t lacking in excellent personnel either, huh…? Mark, Emera, you can stop.”
A boy of around the same age as me with a rough appearance showed up in front of us. Behind him were people that seemed to be his subordinates. Among them are a young swordsman, whose capability can indeed be sensed – albeit he looks meek with his black hair at first glance, and a young female magician, who has her light green hair cut short and looks to be around 20 years old. These two should be the offenders who provoked us.
“Mark, Emera, you’ve put him on guard.”
“Your Highness. Earl Baumeister-sama is famous as a magician who’s on equal terms with Armstrong-doushi, the kingdom’s ultimate weapon. There’s no way he wouldn’t perceive this level of provocation.” (Emera)
The female magician answered the boy with an expression as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
“A magician knows about magicians, eh? No wonder that he killed those four idiotic brothers.”
If one is the emperor’s third son, they will have access to a reasonable amount of information, huh? Though to be precise, it wasn’t only me who killed them.
“Those morons were highly appraised for having a large amount of mana. They were really full of themselves and even began to meddle with my Emera, so thank you for having killed them.”
“It’s not like I killed all of them though.” (Wendelin)
“You are an honest one, aren’t you Earl Baumeister?”
The stupid quadruplet changed sides to the rebel army. Even if I admit to us having killed them, I don’t think it’s possible for the emperor to blame us for that crime.
“(Hey, Wend.)” (Erwin)
“(What’s up?)” (Wendelin)
“(I don’t think that I can win against that guy?)” (Erwin)
“(I wonder? It certainly looks like he’s amazingly strong, but…)”
Erw whispered into my ear that he can’t win against that young swordsman called Mark.
“(If it’s us three, there’s no way that we will lose.)”
“(In short, you just have to accomplish your duty as master’s guard.)”
Is that swordsman’s skill in swordsmanship possibly even higher than that of Takeomi-san and Haruka?
If that’s the case, they have employed an amazing guard there. Is it for the sake of preventing an assassination because he’s a prince-sama?
“I don’t think there’s any swordsman in the empire who can win against Mark. Since he’s protecting me, I have lent him my cherished sword.”
Certainly, the swordsman called Mark has an orichalcum-made sword equipped. I guess that’s only natural for a prince, despite his mother being a commoner.
“Well, given that the shitty old man’s calibre isn’t high enough to entrust me with an orichalcum sword, I had to obtain it through my own means.”
The emperor’s third son spits that out as if having read my thoughts. Although he just looks like a spoilt young master, he seems to be quite sharp.
Even so, calling his own father, the emperor, 『shitty old man』, won’t that become a problem? (ED: Even if it makes everyone feel better?)
“Earl Baumeister… Hmmm, that’s way too stiff for me. Since you’re around my age, I’m gonna call you Wendelin. Wendelin, just call me Peter. I don’t like being addressed with Your Highness.” (Peter)
And then the emperor’s third son, Peter, becomes friendly with me. Is there something behind that?
Does he maybe intend to betray me after drawing out a rebellious spirit towards the emperor from me?
“Huh? Even if you ask me why, I really just want to be on friendly terms with you though, Wendelin…” (Peter)
“Isn’t that difficult, if you consider your position, Your Highness?” (Emera)
The female magician Emera quietly whispered into the emperor’s third son’s ear.
“It’s not like I’m nearly as important as Wendelin thinks though… Because my mother was a commoner, I’m treated like a disease by the shitty old man and my elder brothers. Aha! I get it now! They think I came to keep an eye on Wendelin’s group, right?” (Peter)
The emperor’s third son displayed a sudden expression of comprehension.
“I’m not going to do something useless like monitoring you guys. My shitty old man doesn’t have enough help so he asked me to go on an inspection, but I don’t have any spare time to deal with anything other than my own stuff. But, when I was ordered to Go to Sakart, I guess I felt How lucky. Plus, you know…” (Peter)
What did the emperor’s third son come here for if it’s not for watching us?
“I mean, it’s not like it’s necessary for me to fuss about people looking to be crushed by Duke Nürnberg, right?” (Peter)
We received a big shock due to the emperor’s third son’s remark. Even Doushi couldn’t say anything and stayed silent.
“Huh? Isn’t it obvious? Don’t you think the same, Wendelin?” (Peter)
I expected that the emperor will lose, but it was truly unexpected for his own blood-related child to say that.
“Even in the imperial palace, the rumour is going around that my shitty old man split up Duchess Philip and you, Earl Baumeister, because he’s afraid of having his throne stolen if you two join forces. To top it off he’s told you that you aren’t allowed to participate in the Duke Nürnberg subjugation. I wonder what he’s planning by lowering his own chances to win? I mean, even I was told to stay away since my poor achievements are overshadowed by my elder brothers, but I think I’m lucky that I don’t have to fight a losing battle against Duke Nürnberg in my first campaign. There’s no way that the shitty old man, who’s never even led any military forces, and my ass-kissing elder brothers will be able to win anyway.” (Peter)
This guy seems to be quite unhappy with his father and his elder brothers. No, has he given up on them after getting fed up?
“I might report to the emperor that you are planning to cause unrest, Your Highness.” (Wendelin)
“Hahaha, that’s a good one. Even though you hate my shitty old man as well, Wendelin.” (Peter)
I guess this level of threatening won’t disturb him.
“Your Highness… no, Peter, what are you scheming?” (Wendelin)
“I suppose I’m aiming for the next emperor’s position with a BAAAAANG here?” (Peter)
Due to the unforeseen reply, everyone except for Peter surveyed the vicinity.
If someone close to the emperor had heard that, it would have been a serious issue.
“It’s alright. Penz keeps such people away after all. Isn’t that so?” (Peter)
Penz, who had introduced us, answered Peter’s question curtly.
I thought that he was a man who is just good at begging me to do public works whenever I had free time, but he was connected to Peter?
“Wendelin, that’s a misunderstanding. Penz’ family is inhering the post of Sakart’s governor for many generations now. And because he does love this city, he’s unhappy with the shitty old man.” (Peter)
“Is that why you formed a connection to Peter?” I asked Penz.
“The current Emperor is penniless and only treats those who obey him favourably, by appointing them to important offices. He keeps at a distance those who give him advice he doesn’t want to hear. There’s no future for him.” (Penz)
I guess that means there’s discontent smouldering amongst the areas under the direct control of the empire because the emperor is busily advancing the subjugation of Duke Nürnberg.
Even though they wish for a budget to begin reconstruction, since their condition isn’t really good due to the civil war, the emperor spends all the money on military preparations.
It will be alright if he succeeds, but bystanders like Penz doubt that the emperor will win.
“That’s why Peter?”
“Her Excellency Duchess Philip gave away the victory by herself.” (Penz)
“I know, right? It would have been fine if Duchess Philip had dragged the old shitty man off the throne right after entering the capital.” (Peter)
“That probably wouldn’t have ended well for you either, Peter.”
“You’re wrong. It would’ve been dangerous to suddenly destroy the imperial family, but a likely scenario would have me, the third son succeed the household after trimming down its scale. In that case, even if I tried to oppose Duchess Philip, someone at my level wouldn’t be able to serve as a figurehead, right? The high-ranking nobles are particular about blood, so they wouldn’t be able to use me who’s a half-commoner. Thus, I would have led the life of an insignificant noble with Mark and the others while making out with Emera, or some nonsense like that.” (Peter)
I guess Peter always thinks about a plan that allows him to survive, no matter the situation.
It’s quite likely that Therese would have given her approval if she had received such a request from Peter.
“Your Highness, it’s impossible for me and Your Highness to make out.” (Emera)
“Ahaha, you’re still quite shy, aren’t you Emera?” (Peter)
“I’m not shy.” (Emera)
Being told that frigidly by Emera, it looks like even Peter is unable to have his way with her.
“For me even that is also fine though… If I know have a chance, it makes me want to struggle. Once the shitty old man has been defeated by Duke Nürnberg, the capital will be without a ruler for a short while. Even if Duchess Philip, who is staying in her territory due to the paranoia of the shitty old man, rushes over, she won’t be in time. It’s set in stone that the capital will be occupied by Duke Nürnberg first. If that happens…” (Peter)
Therese might lose. Or the civil war might be prolonged.
“Accordingly I will grasp the capital, which will be in a daze due to the old shitty man dying, in one go. Sakart is the perfect location for that.” (Peter)
If he schemes something like that in the capital, he might be discovered.
On the other hand, I suppose it’s a disadvantage to be as far away from the capital as Therese currently is.
“I’m going to ask something rude, but Peter, do you have the power to do that?” (Wendelin)
“Since I still have some time until the shitty old man sends out his soldiers, I will plan with this place as my base. You will help me as well, right Wendelin?” (Peter)
“Why do you think so?” (Wendelin)
Normally you wouldn’t request something like that from a foreign noble.
“After all, you feel disappointed with Duchess Philip after she made such careless mistake, no? Even though you wanted to receive your reward and return to your own territory, Wendelin. Do you think that the king, who’s making you stay here, wants something like an imperial territory that’s a lot of trouble to govern? You want to focus on the development of the Savage Lands, don’t you?” (Peter)
Even while he says that he has no power, Peter is skilled at gathering information and predicting the thinking of others.
“The empire is exhausted due to the civil war and thus it won’t have the leeway to look elsewhere for a while, you know? I guess an investigation of the northern area would be the limit?”
If I became emperor, I would put stress on reconciling with the Helmut Kingdom and devote myself to the domestic affairs for a while.
All right. If it goes on like this, we won’t be able to return to the kingdom anyway.
I will bet on Peter’s possibilities and pray that the civil war will end as soon as possible.
Of course, in preparation for the time when Peter fails, I will keep the possibility called Therese in stock.
“Though, even if it’s a very unlikely event, the emperor still might win.” (Wendelin)
“No, no. No matter how big an army, it’s meaningless the moment it’s commanded by an amateur. It would still be fine if the other side’s commander was an amateur as well, but we are talking about that Duke Nürnberg here. No way. My shitty old man can’t ride a horse after all. Plus it’s not like he has extraordinary command abilities or charisma either. The shitty old man’s death is a done deal.” (Peter)
Is he droll or cruel? I’m a bit troubled here how to assess the man known as Peter.
“I think we’ll associate with each other for a long time to come, Wendelin, so best regards.” (Peter)
He doesn’t seem to be a bad guy as a human. He has ability, but just hasn’t been blessed by his environment.
I decided to try betting on Peter, the third candidate, in order to return to the kingdom as fast as possible.
“Wendelin, let’s go together.” (Peter)
“Are you a child!?” (Wendelin)
“What does it matter. We’re going to the same place anyway. Let’s go while having a friendly chat as close buddies.” (Peter)
Peter had been sent by the emperor to monitor us, but he was a treacherous son for the imperial family. He has predicted the death of his father and elder brothers, and is aiming for the position of next emperor by being the one to fill the vacuum of political power when they die.
Today I was scheduled to go to the encampment of the section of the Mizuho army that was stationed in Sakart.
To put it simply, it will be a backdoor negotiation, but Peter turned up at my mansion as if he was a grade schooler inviting a friend to go out with him. A few days after they had confiscated an inn in the city of Sakart, we have been hunting together and are also sharing our meals. Publicly it looks as if he’s watching us, but since Peter himself is in reality the one who’s the most disobedient towards the emperor, I can only laugh about it all.
“(Say, is that Highness really alright?)” Erw asked me with a quiet whisper.
However, Erw seems to distrust Peter.
“(His Highness is certainly skilled at talking, but I suppose he’s a bit shady.)”
“(That’s certainly true.)”
“(Can you live with that?)”
“(While we are at it, I guess he’s shameless, too.)” (Wendelin)
“(Wend, you are going that far with your words?)” (Erwin)
“(That’s why he’s fine.)” (Wendelin)
Therese and Peter, both possess qualities suitable for an emperor. Then why do I believe Peter to be the more suitable as emperor from among those two?
The reason is because Peter is shameless and headstrong.
“(For that reason?)” (Erwin)
“(These attributes are important.)” (Wendelin)
If I tried to name Therese’s weak points, it would be her noble birth and her uprightness. Even though she decided that she will have to become the next empress, she would abide by the law and wouldn’t get rid of the emperor as long as he’s alive. Although she should have steeled herself to remove him, and thus bear the stigma of regicide, she couldn’t do so.
Certainly, Therese had her own share of troubles in order to obtain an autocratic authority in the Duke Philip household, but in the end, her basis is that of a pure ojousama. The fact that she doesn’t come to visit me currently also supports that conclusion.
If she really desired me, she should have come to meet me even if she had to travel incognito.
She once said that she’s bad at giving up, but that was all talk since the one who actually gave up quickly was Therese.
On the other hand, Peter is bad at giving up.
When he thought that there was a possibility for Therese to become empress, he planned to negotiate with Therese to be allowed to get a house and keep his comrades without opposing the removal of his father and his brothers.
Even though he approved of Therese’s ruling power at one moment in time, he approached me in the next moment as if seeing a chance once she failed.
“(He hasn’t any integrity, has he?)” (Erwin)
“(I’m telling you, that’s why he’s okay. Although he would be no good in a peaceful era, the empire is currently in a civil war. If he hasn’t at least this much spunk…)” (Wendelin)
“(Since I don’t understand such things, I will trust you on it, Wend. Surely, that Highness doesn’t appear to be one that will die that simply.)” (Erwin)
“Wendelin, Erwin, what are you talking about?” (Peter)
“That it looks like you won’t die even if you’re killed.” (Wendelin)
“Don’t embarrass me. You don’t have to praise me so much.” (Peter)
“Eh!? That was praise?” (Erwin)
“Those are no words of praise, are they? If humans die, it’s the end.”
We arrived at the Mizuho army’s encampment while having such a conversation.
“Earl Baumeister, I heard that you have an interesting offer today.” (Mizuho)
High Earl Mizuho had come incognito to the headquarters of the Mizuho army stationed in Sakart. It was a secret we even kept from Therese.
For that reason, he has travelled until here with Hanzou and the minimum amount of guards.
“The rumoured commoner prince-dono, huh?” (Mizuho)
“I’m glad to meet you, High Earl Mizuho. Let’s get along well with each other.” (Peter)
“Get along, huh…? Hmm, very well. I won’t cut my connection with Therese-dono though.” (Mizuho)
“After all she still holds a lot of power. I also have things I failed at, so I think it’s only natural to have connections with both sides.” (Peter)
I promised Peter to cooperate with him as much as possible in today’s meeting behind closed doors with High Earl Mizuho.
The emperor, of course, but even getting exposed by Therese would be terrible, however High Earl Mizuho accepted my proposal. As expected, Therese not having removed the emperor had an effect on him.
“I guess first I will deepen the exchange with the Mizuho army stationed in Sakart. I will request from the shitty old man that I also need some troops to intensify the surveillance.” (Peter)
“Will you get a permission to form a military force?”
“I think I will. My shitty old man is on guard in regards to you two, Earl Baumeister and High Earl Mizuho. On the other hand, he doesn’t doubt me. It’s because he sees me as worthless hanger-on… I guess there’s also the fact that I’m his son.” (Peter)
For the sake of not being doubted by his father and his elder brothers, Peter took actions that were inappropriate for a member of the imperial family even while gathering excellent personnel. Especially from the viewpoint of his elder brothers, they would have to get rid of him as a rival if Peter had been rumoured to be suitable as next emperor.
That means Peter’s typically casual behaviour had such an aim as well.
“Well, as for me, I’m troubled by Duke Nürnberg and the current emperor as well.” (Mizuho)
While saying so, High Earl Mizuho made an eye signal to a guard standing in the rear.
Thereupon, that guard took out a worn-out helmet from the wooden box he held.
“Have a look, Earl Baumeister. This is the reward for me having cooperated in the liberation of the capital. I hear it was the favourite helmet of a former emperor.” (Mizuho)
I remember having heard a similar story somewhere.
“Huh? Isn’t this pieced together?” (Peter)
“You have good eyes, Your Highness. As expected, I got slightly angry. I cut it into two with a katana after letting my anger get the better of me. Afterwards I had Kanesada repair it though.” (Mizuho)
Kanesada-san is also capable of repairing armour?
“It’s nice to have technology, isn’t it? But you don’t have to mind it that much? You know, I wore this helmet during my childhood and crashed into a pillar while playing. The dent here is my doing. Also, the imperial family didn’t keep it stored that securely. Saying this is a reward is pretty cruel.” (Peter)
“Hahaha! Aren’t you a bold one, Your Highness?! I like that.” (Mizuho)
It looks like High Earl Mizuho was pleased with Peter.
“The rest is getting everything prepared as far as possible until the Duke Nürnberg subjugation starts after the harvest.”
“The beginning of the end, huh?”
“Indeed, it’s better you don’t entertain the impossible dream of my shitty old man winning and sorting out the empire. You’ll just end up in the same nightmare that he will.” (Peter)
Peter succeeded in his secret talk with High Earl Mizuho and settled down in Sakart for the sake of taking action to be the next emperor.