The civil officials standing close-by, the civil officials standing alongside the wall and even the person within the painting, hanging on the wall on top of that, are peeking my way catching glimpses and rolling their eyes. Chewing their foolish abuses within their shut mouths, they are indulging in worthless fantasies within their seedy-looking heads. He is confident in that.
(The stares of fools. Every last of them doesn’t understand anything!) (Mathias)
While restlessly pacing around the entrance hall of the territory’s castle, Earl Mathias Helrevi gnawed on the nails of his hand with his front teeth. Was it the effect of him keeping at it since early morning? Repeatedly making a sound of gritting, he has been smoothing his teeth as well as his nails. He isn’t even in the mood to take some breakfast as his stomach feels nothing but chills.
A single soldier came rushing into the entrance hall. Even as Mathias shows a reaction at the level of springing up, he didn’t rush over on his own accord. Lowering his chin, he widens his legs and awaits the soldier.
“The cavalry came into sight! They will reach the gate any time soon!”
“Yeah! Alright! It doesn’t matter whether it’s soldiers or prisoners, accompany Her Highness, the princess, to this place safely no matter what! Akseli, there’s Akseli as well. Tell that guy to carry out his duty without negligence to the very end!” (Mathias)
Mathias wholeheartedly spins around and gave further orders: “Deploy a line of cavalry soldiers in front of the gate to take the place of the princess’ escort, place archers on top of the ramparts and close the gates, enforce martial law in the city, immediately arrest those who undertake suspicious actions among the people and soldiers.”
Before long the carriage enters the territory’s castle. Once the princess made an appearance at the spacious entrance hall, Mathias kneeled supposedly perfectly according to etiquette and in a dignified manner.
“For the body of Her Highness, the princess, to be exposed to danger and for that deplorable and foolish undertaking to be done by imprudent fellows in my domain, it is truly very, very regrettable. I’m deeply, deeply ashamed for my incompetence and lack of ability to not have sensed it before it happened. In the first place, this is…” (Mathias)
As he repeatedly piles up words while glaring at the floor’s stone paving, he was interrupted by the hesitating, serious voice of the maid officer. Mathias barely held back by clicking his tongue. There shouldn’t be any instance of disturbing the words of someone who is an Earl, with the exception of royalty. However, clicking a tongue at someone in front of royalty is also an unforgivable act.
“In regards to Her Highness, the princess, at the present…” (Mathias)
Trying to continue, Mathias noticed that the sounds of the footsteps were weird in some way. Once he looked, the princess was nodding off while standing. Holding her up with a desperate look, the maid officer is enduring to keep her upright. Clicking his tongue once again, Mathias got up.
There’s no noble, who isn’t aware of the ignorant manner of the Third Princess Paulina. Without political and economical authority, she isn’t blessed with beauty as a lady either. Having the rights of inheriting the throne in name only, she is a person, who only secludes herself within the royal villa.
However, Mathias doesn’t dislike this princess. That’s because there are absolutely no more than two types of royalty. Namely, royalty which spends money, and royalty which doesn’t. If you compare her to someone like the Second Princess, who misunderstands her task as decorating herself with jewels and also pesters people to provide her with several dresses made out of quinn, Paulina is a superior person in regards to the succession rights of the crown. An idiot is an idiot though.
“… Make sure of Her Highness’ well-being. Carry out your duty.” (Mathias)
Once told, the maid officer respectfully accepted the order and assisted the princess in leaving. Mathias unintentionally breathes a sigh. It won’t do, if I don’t express my apology once again later on. Having a social position, there’s no choice but for him to cope with who’s responsible by himself due to that reason.
“Your Excellency, first off, congratulations.” (Akseli)
There’s always a person, who says such thing in this situation. Lieutenant Akseli Anel of the feudal army. As man, who has obtained accomplishments in military missions and secret missions within the territory, he is the commanding officer of the territory’s capital’s cavalry unit. At the same time as he is a man, who is one way or another useful for Mathias, he is also a man who seems lacking sincerity in some ways.
“What’s there to be happy about? I received the report by a fast messenger, but weren’t all 100 low-ranking soldiers of the infantry unit traitors?” (Mathias)
“Ha. Half were killed and the other half have been arrested. As they have been thrown into prison, do you wish to interrogate them Sir?” (Akseli)
“Unnecessary. We have seized those idiots over here as well. They won’t provide us with any new information we haven’t already obtained in the previous interrogations.” (Mathias)
Thinking of the man, who screamed in the jail, Mathias remembered his headache. Why did he go mad…? The official rank of the man, who planned the assassination on the Third Princess, is the commanding officer of the territory’s capital’s infantry unit.
“Leaving that aside, how was the journey? Did mounted bandits appear? There are also rumours that imperial soldiers are trespassing into our domain. Are we able to guarantee the safety of the territory’s capital’s environs?” (Mathias)
“The returned 100 cavalry riders were dispatched on a patrolling mission right away. The 900 cavalry riders, who were dispatched as a welcome, well, all of them are distributed in front of the gate, I’m told.” (Akseli)
“Yea, it’s impossible to trust the infantry soldiers. It’s a situation that shouldn’t happen. This is…!” (Mathias)
This time Mathias definitely clicked his tongue without minding what others might think. The standing army of the territory’s capital is 3000 soldiers strong. It is organized into three easy-to-understand divisions; cavalry, infantry and archers. The war supremacy advocates consider that as a typical organization of combat divisions compared to their side, but for Mathias, it’s a wonderful army organization, which is able to reduce operating expenses without producing military factions. Hands and feet, which are difficult to move, are unnecessary.
It’s an outrageous story since 100 soldiers of the infantry unit of those 3000 man tried to assassinate the princess. With the infantry unit’s commanding officer having ordered that, in the event that it had became an incident, himself, a colonel of the feudal army… being the chief, who unifies the three divisions, Mathias currently serves in that function alongside his position as feudal lord… he apparently firmly believed that he will be able to have a successful career because of that.
It’s foolish. That’s why I can’t trust someone like soldiers, Mathias renewed his belief. The day, something like an assassination of the princess happened within the territory, the concerned soldiers would be convicted of a capital crime altogether. Mathias himself feels that it wouldn’t end with just that either. My life aside, I’m certain that it would put my territory, my position and my peerage in jeopardy.
Moreover, the royal court’s situation has turned into an extremely disadvantageous state for Mathias. Mathias considered the long-standing military authorities a burden because of his attitude of hating the waste of resources in war, but with the influence of the warmongers, even among the nobles only increasing, he can only sigh as the First Princess Eleonora is spearheading them. His true opinion is that he wants the king to recover his health right away. In the first place, it has been the king’s intention for Mathias to govern the north-eastern area, which is essential for the supply. I’m someone fulfilling the responsibility of my position silently without excess or deficiency, but… I can’t deny that there are flaws.
It’s the mounted bandits. A stagnation in the transport schedule of military goods, which can’t be ignored, was created because of the accumulated attacks during the transport. That means that the replenishment of the war potential at the front was delayed. Even though the mounted bandits were currently keeping a low profile, the military authorities and the warmongers are observing Mathias with distrust.
Within such a situation, an improper rumour in relation to Mathias is flying about in the recent royal capital. His opinion about war hasn’t any kind of shameful aspect, as it’s his very own conviction, however it was terribly vexing to be told that he aimed for the stagnation in the transport schedule. There’s also the matter of having vague fears about the excitement of the warmongering nobles. If I allowed something like the assassination of a princess within the territory at this present time… Mathias can’t imagine anything but an troublesome future.
It was definitely a happy occasion, if you look at it with such meaning. As result of the man, in front of him fighting hard, the worst case was avoided. However, Mathias is only frowning. It was also the man in front of him, who raised the danger of assassination by taking the princess to a distant place outside a castle.
“… How do you assess this situation, Lieutenant Anel?” (Mathias)
“How, you ask?” (Akseli)
“It’s about the development from here on! Granted that Paulina-sama was safe, we can’t hide the fact that there was an attack. Eleonora-sama is right close-by, just across the river. How… how should we move? What should I do…!?” (Mathias)
Currently Mathias has been temporarily enclosed by a situation he never experienced. Moreover, it’s the troublesome kind, where you can’t measure everything with numbers. Such a situation is what he hates the most. He likes to prepare diligently and to deal with things indifferently. Everything should progress in tranquility. He believed coping with unplanned matters is something to be avoided.
“Even if the misfortune was reduced, it’s still misfortune. How about cheating them by changing it into a rather auspicious event?” (Akseli)
Hearing words with an unexpectedly cheerful impression, Mathias ended up staring at the face of his subordinate. This man has always understood things with his somewhat intelligent mind. Although his attitude is a problem, he is an excellent man. If that wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t leave the cavalry, who is the elite of the Helrevi feudal army, to him.
“… Go ahead.” (Mathias)
Mathias respects intellect over the body. To some extent this man… at least among the territory’s military officers is getting close to having my highest and biggest trust and it’s not because of his battle ability or military exploits. Exposing the fraud within the territory, he has accomplishments of straightening out twisted matters with rationality. He had a wish he clung to.
“In order to repel the assassins, I made use of the villagers. It’s only natural for the fief’s population to cooperate with us, but even amongst them, the son of the village’s headman protected Her Majesty, the princess, with his brilliant actions. If we publicly award this dedication as an example for the people, we will demonstrate that we are filled that much with loyalty towards the kingdom, that it will even reach the remote areas within the territory.” (Akseli)
This appears to be a high gain, low cost plan, Mathias predicts. Is it a recoil to the disappeared damages by the mounted bandits in the recent Earldom Helrevi? It has been said that people, like villagers and merchants, have a strong local commitment. Mathias has been satisfied with the increase in tax yields, just as planned , however there were also some, who fear that to cause the ruling government to slack. Even so, it was a big point to obtain a moving tale for the sake of improving our reputation. All the more in this kind of situation.
“Hmm, isn’t that a good plan?” (Mathias)
Mathias believes that a bit of vitality returned into his body.
“For the territory’s rule this will probably be sufficient, but well, the problem lies with the feudal army.” (Akseli)
“Good grief, what a mess”, Mathias wanted to strangle the head, which is shaking sideways. This man is like that. He slips in unnecessary childishness whenever possible. It would probably be helpful, if I could drag out only his brain’s knowledge without him having to use his mouth as intermediary, Mathias thinks.
“Since the assassins originate from the feudal army, there’s no way that the army would be able to loudly boast about having attacked them as distinguished war service. After all, it has been friendly fire. It won’t do, if we don’t show the army’s pride by approaching it from a different point of view here. Accordingly, I have an excellent plan.” (Akseli)
Don’t close one eye, don’t raise a finger, go ahead with your talk quickly… Mathias endures all these things with an effort.
“As Your Excellency commands, I will establish the “Royal Guard Unit” of Her Highness, the princess.” (Akseli)
Mathias is hit by the strong impact of those words and his body trembled by the conviction of having discovered a means of escape. The man, who should have decisively broken fingers and crushed eyes, suddenly appears to be a fairly charming person. It was certainly an ingenious idea.
Royal Guard Unit.
It’s an independent unit that doesn’t belong to the feudal army or the royal army. Its large difference to a “chivalric order”, which possesses similar traits, is primarily its servitude. In contrast to chivalric orders, which are private troops of influential nobles, the royal guard unit is a private army of royalty. And, it’s possible to procure financial aid from the national treasury due to that difference. It’s the special privilege of royalty.
And, currently not a single royal guard unit exists within the Asuria Kingdom. The reason is that there’s a safety zone around the royal capital, but the biggest reason is the friendly relationship between royalty and nobles, who organize themselves into factions. There’s no necessity to establish a royal guard unit since the chivalric order can be moved as the private troops of royalty. Rather, it will end up as proof of mutual distrust.
However, only the Third Princess Paulina’s situation is different.
She has been completely isolated among the nobles, and is an existence unrelated to something like factions. Without even having court ladies, the best she could do was to welcome the daughter of a rural Knight as a maid officer. Such a person was exposed to danger for her life. A single Earl grieves over that as it’s a situation that damages the dignity of the kingdom. Right, this is something unrelated to the rules of the feudal army and such. Passion and power return to Mathias’ body.
“I… I see! It’s important that it’s not a chivalric order but a royal guard unit!” (Mathias)
“That’s right. Since it’s not like Your Excellency can establish and organize it, if it’s a royal guard unit, it won’t result in the formation of a faction centered around Her Majesty, the princess, either. Being a noble undertaking one can call deeply loyal towards the kingdom, it’s evidence that you have taken the attempted assassination of the princess more serious than anyone else. Besides…” (Akseli)
At the end he once again closes one eye and raises the index finger. How pretentious. However, Mathias tolerated it.
“Since a royal guard unit ought to be a burden on the national treasury, the financing part will be fully supplemented by Your Excellency.” (Akseli)
“I understand at least this much”, Mathias laughed in good humour. That’s why he didn’t realize. The sensation of his own choice being engraved into the history of the continent. At just this moment, when it’s written in bold letters as it’s a decisively important incident, he laughed without noticing anything. He saw the path to escape from his predicament. He absolutely didn’t care about something like the path, which is seen by the commanding officer of the cavalry chuckling next to him.
And, a single army is founded in Asuria Kingdom.
It’s an army for the sake of the Third Princess. It’s the sole royal guard unit in the kingdom.
The white cloth, which is Paulina’s treasure. The refined noddles dish, which she is good at. Those two symbols were used to create the white, long-trailing flag… also known as “White Current Flag.” The ones flying that banner is an armed group of 1500 soldiers.
The leader is Akseli Anel, former Lieutenant of the feudal army. Being the person, who settled the case of the Third Princess assassination attempt, he is a soldier, who served as the commanding officer of the cavalry unit of the Helrevi feudal army. Having even the deep trust of the feudal lord, Earl Helrevi, he might have commanded the entire feudal army as Colonel one day, however, feeling more regretful than anyone that such incident happened, he put his own life on the line to establish the royal guard unit… that’s how it has been announced.
The men, who gathered because of his call, can truly be called loyal patriots in regards to the Earldom Helrevi. 500 elite riders, who applied from the feudal army’s cavalry unit, 500 enthusiastic soldiers, who shed bloody tears due to the foolish undertaking of their colleagues from the feudal army’s infantry unit and 500 volunteers from that Hakkinen guard corps, which cooperates in sustaining the public order within the territory, gathered. Among those are the renowned leaders of the guard corps called Jarkko, a former sergeant, and Oiva. A congratulatory address was delivered from Baron Hakkinen as well.
And, the name of a single boy was written down at the end of the register of names.
Then name of the son of Kikomaru’s village headman, Marko. A 13 years old boy with blue eyes and black hair, it is said that he played an active role when Paulina was in danger. Earl Helrevi has publicly acknowledged his loyalty and courage and tried to accept him as adopted child of a branch family, but the boy firmly refused that. He stated that he did it as something natural, himself being of the fief’s population and a citizen of this kingdom. In addition to his unselfish manner, his name alongside the impressive tale is being recounted within the kingdom. He will definitely become an example for the kingdom’s people.
Right… it’s not only Earl Mathias Helrevi. Everyone failed to notice something. No one realized it. No one understood at all what has begun here.
The time when the White Current Flag will flutter on the battlefield is the autumn of this year.