“Good grief, the princesses are hopeless. Each of them is doing something unreasonable.”
His breathing, which he grandly spit out, is tinged with the conceit of an upper noble and the faint scent of liquor. Without even feeling a single speck of slovenliness from his appearance of surrendering himself deeply into the legless chair, he shows the majesty of someone who bears a large responsibility. Daniel simply licked his sake cup without replying at all. He doesn’t forgive the rash statement of the man in front of him.
He is the head of the Marquis household standing at the summit of the nobles of the Asuria Kingdom. Respecting the social rules and traditions as the leader of the Four Marquis’ and Six Earls, he is a man who honours the tradition of serving the royal family with his military arts. Having provided a large number of commissioned officers to the Royal Army from his family, he has nurtured a feudal army in his own territory, which is spreading in the capital’s west, being called the strongest in the kingdom. You can even call him an individual who possesses the highest war potential in the kingdom, if you add the chivalric order under his jurisdiction.
However, on the other hand, he is also known as one to care about domestic affairs. Ascertaining the realization of the cease-fire agreement with the Eberia Empire and relinquishing his rank as Marshall of the Royal Army, he assisted in the restoration of the entire kingdom in addition to his own territory. Being seriously relied on by the king, he is a man who strived to be more diligent towards the king as leader of the nation than anyone else. That man is complaining while holding a sake cup.
“Eleonora-sama is far too close to the church. Margareta-sama is far too devoted to luxury. Moreover, even Paulina-sama is far too eccentric. It has reached the point that there’s no calm person to quell the unrest.” (Klaus)
“Eccentric… it is?” (Daniel)
“You must have heard as well. About the matter with the Royal Guard. Its establishment is a privilege of royalty, but the timing is extremely bad. The current internal affairs are at a point where we must rally under one banner. The tension in the Plain of Wandering Calamity is rising as well. Why something like a Royal Guard…? Those are forces which will stimulate a civil war!” (Klaus)
His way of stating this in a provocative manner is similar to the threatening growls of a beast. For a man who brags about his fiefdom being the wall of the kingdom, this more-than-a-half-year after the king has fallen sick was probably a nightmare for him, Daniel guesses.
The first Princess, who was designated to carry the political power instead of the king, has pressed forward unyielding policies related to the distance between the state and the church. In front of her high-handedness, the Four Marquis’s and Six Earls are in a state of being close to dividing into two factions. The fact that Marquis Yurihalshira intentionally belongs to the First Princess faction is actually nothing but him being afraid of the kingdom breaking apart. He is desperate to restrain the political chaos as it is something that will weight heavily on him.
What developed into something similar of ridiculing him is the case of the attempted assassination on the Third Princess. The obvious criminal is the commander of the territorial capital’s infantry unit of the Helrevi feudal army, however it’s apparent that there are others who designed the plan. The Eberia Empire or someone from within the kingdom… likely Marquis Yurihalshira is fearing the latter, Daniel assesses.
Sadly, while being the strongest at military affairs as the biggest noble household, the Marquis Yurihalshira household is similar to a large bear toying with small animals in regards to the conflicts at the royal court. Their personal connections and influences are too lopsided towards military authorities. Even Marquis Yurihalshira, who is probably ranking equally with the king in regards to matters of the front-line, is lacking the ability to deal with the state of affairs to the point of him currently entering the capital awkwardly.
He is a man who once even served as the highest general of the royal army being the kingdom’s protector. If one talks about comrades in arms of the king, it’s definitely Klaus Yurihalshira. It’s a fact that the offensive efforts of the brave and Salomon could only be enacted due to his defensive assistance to begin with. That man is criticizing the princesses while holding his sake cup in one hand. Daniel is nothing more than a guest here.
(It’s an irony, too. The man who shines the most brightly on the battlefield gripes about his unfamiliar job which is the furthest away from it. Moreover, his opponent is…) (Daniel)
Daniel stifles the wry smile that formed on his lips. As one of the many consulting the legitimate heir of the Yurihalshira household, he has a position of being granted a room in their capital’s residence. However, to the bitter end, his lord is Marko. Absorbing the information about the capital even at this very moment, he will convey all of the things he learned to Marko. Sending many scrolls to Helrevi Earldom as head of the Hakkinen guard corps, all of those are no more than fakes and the only person aware of that, Lauri, receives them.
“… Do you you believe that the kingdom is still in danger of a civil war, Your Excellency?” (Daniel)
“Of course. Even the risk of becoming like that ruined country exists. Even now there’s no reason to think that it won’t happen.” (Klaus)
“In that case, we must absolutely keep away the Royal Guard Unit from the capital…” (Daniel)
“Yeah, that’s only to be expected. That unit is essentially an army for the sake of fighting against the kingdom’s nobles.” (Klaus)
The one who imprisoned the Royal Guard Unit in a remote fortress is Marquis Yurihalshira. To be more accurate, advising 「Something like a member of royalty infringing upon the privileges of royalty is similar to a lion eating its own children」 to the First Princess who ordered the breakup of the unit, he changed her order into having them stationed in a deserted fortress.
That idea caused the First Princess stomach pains. By giving the Third Princess a military base, her face has been saved somehow. One might consider this as compromise, but at the end they disputed once again due to the First Princess proposing a restriction on the number of soldiers. This point passing is owed to the influence of the church…? Alongside the strengthening of his cautiousness, Daniel also sympathized with the opinion of Marquis Yurihalshira who approved the notion in the end.
“Besides, if they are placed at a visible location, Eleonora-sama won’t be able to suggest something unreasonable again.” (Klaus)
“The acceptance of the Holy Chivalric Order, is it?” (Daniel)
“Right. There is no way for me to deem such a thing acceptable.” (Klaus)
The Holy Chivalric Order is an independent combat unit of the church stationed at the Holy Island. It is formed of Holy Knights and their valets. They are a force feared for not choosing their methods if it’s for the sake of their objectives. The killing of specific fishes in a pond which was declared as sacred ground, the matter of obeying to the Brave of Holiness and even burning a village, that was accused of heresy as well as murdering all of its inhabitants, from the elder to babies, they will do all of that without any hesitation.
At the time before the brave died, the Holy Chivalric Order dashed across the battlefields as a trustworthy ally in the kingdom. However, to the bitter end, that was only in accordance to the decree of the church. Even the refusals or acceptances of the kingdom’s requests were decided by following what was convenient for the church. Depending on the situation they won’t hesitate to turn their spears at the kingdom, if the empire’s side suits them better.
The First Princess has aspired to invite that Holy Chivalric Order for quite a while. That’s an idea even the warmongering nobles, who support her, shy away from. The current situation of the front-line being in the Plain of Wandering Calamity is largely different from the wretched situation in the past. Certainly, they might be powerful, however is it really alright for the kingdom to be dominated by the church’ decision any more than this…? There’s no way for that to be acceptable, is likely Marquis Yurihalshira’s opinion.
“It’s an awe-inspiring situation, but… despite being royalty, they are women and children. I can’t allow them to grab the trigger for such stupid reasons such as obstinacy and vanity. It’s also quite disturbing, really.” (Klaus)
Is that view of women, the display of some contempt, due to a slip of tongue? There are almost no differences in the rights of men and women in the Asuria Kingdom. For example, the First Princess will become a queen after inheriting the crown at some point in time. When she does so, her husband will only hold the position of prince consort. It’s not like the ruler has always to be a man like it is for the the Emperor of the Eberia Empire.
However, in regards to military affairs, both countries are reversed. While female officers and Knights do exist in the Eberia Empire, there isn’t anything like women wearing a sword at their sides, unless it’s at the level of a maid officer, in Asuria Kingdom. And, Marquis Yurihalshira is essentially a soldier. Him building up such view of women is likely caused by those reasons, Daniel suspects.
“By the way, Baron Hakkinen, how do you view Earl Helrevi?” (Klaus)
“Ha… with all due respect, as for my evaluation of him, isn’t he an honest person who is deeply loyal to the kingdom?” (Daniel)
“Hmm, that’s true. I think so too. The Earl has aspects of valuing principles and regulations more than time and circumstances. From time to time that will create adversaries as well. It resulted in building up various opponents this time, but…” (Klaus)
Is the pain mixed in his voice because he recognised the same awkwardness he possesses?
Earl Mathias Helrevi has been ordered into house arrest for the meantime due to his culpability of the attempted assassination of the Third Princess occurring in his territory. Because he was a man who endeavoured in his government affairs by secluding himself in the territory’s castle to begin with, it’s basically an acquittal. However, nominally it’s correct that his honour has been damaged. Marquis Yurihalshira was distressed over that.
Although Marquis Yurihalshira drew the conclusion that the inauguration of the Royal Guard Unit was eccentric, he likely had large sympathy towards the sentiments of Earl Helrevi who assisted in that, too. It’s Marquis Yurihalshira’s justice to protect the royal family with troops.
That’s why Daniel nods and opened his mouth to talk,
“Thoughtless people can be found everywhere. The same can also be said for gossipy people. Things like rumours will vanish before long.” (Daniel)
There are some who also declared with certainty that Earl Helrevi is a man who gets cornered by rumours. However, there was some truth to those words as well. That’s because it’s as Daniel has expected. The nobles are living in a sweet dream. Don’t they want to be surrounded by countless, ephemeral-like dreams rather than clinging to a single dream? Something like the strength to continue by resolutely limiting it to a single dream; they don’t have it in them to do that.
“Uh huh… that’s right. I wish that you are correct, too.” (Klaus)
The nodding of Marquis Yurihalshira seems somewhat sad. His worries have probably piled up after all, Daniel assesses. He isn’t a person who shows that on the surface, but people are simple animals who always need a certain level or reassurance. That’s why they dream. If they could continue to dream of better times to come, people will be able to last more resiliently… After thinking that, Daniel feels a tinge of compassion towards Marquis Yurihalshira.
The dream of Marquis Yurihalshira will end very soon… the remaining years of the king aren’t many anymore.
Marquis Yurihalshira, who has visited the king in the inner part of the royal palace, has seen the king’s complexion growing worse each time he went there. He is at his wit’s end due to the end which is gradually, steadily and irreversibly approaching. In the not so far future he will have to part with the sole dream he was determined to uphold, with the dream he continued to protect throughout the war. The person, who is gazing at the setting sun and chewing his lips, is definitely Marquis Yurihalshira.
“The outbreak of war with the empire has entered the countdown phase, but…” (Daniel)
His shoulders reacted with a twitch to Daniel’s statement.
“Your Excellency, will you dispatch your chivalric order to the front-line?” (Daniel)
For Marquis Yurihalshira himself, who resigned from his post in the royal army, there’s no other method but to dispatch the chivalric order under his jurisdiction if he wants to influence the outbreak of war in the Plain of Wandering Calamity. His feudal army has been stationed as a shield to protect the royal capital.
“… Lukas, huh?” (Klaus)
“Yes. Rather than at a large-scale battle, isn’t now a good time for him to practice if he is to experience his first campaign?” (Daniel)
Lukas is a 13 years old boy who is the legitimate child of the Marquis household as the son of Marquis Yurihalshira. He is the person whom Daniel serves as one of many consultants. Oddly being at the same age as Marko, this was also something of great interest to Daniel. He distinctly comprehends the “specialness” of his lord.
Lukas is a docile, excellent child. He is wise as well. Someday he will likely possess a splendid personality as head of the Yurihalshira household, he is able to predict. If that wasn’t the case, he wouldn’t have entered as one of Marko’s chosen options. However… it’s only that. He is nothing more but a common 13 years old who is acting befitting of his age.
That’s why he gave that advice.
In the present Plain of Wandering Calamity small units of both armies are just barely executing tactics. They often encounter each other, but they stay away from each other without fighting. Such events are repeating over and over. Above not wanting to bear the responsibility of being the bringer of war, they will loose the moral cause if it’s their side who makes the first move… no, they would grant an easy-to-understand moral cause to their opponent.
Also, assuming that war broke out, it’s not like it will turn into a large-scale engagement right away. First there will probably be frequent small scale battles to gauge the war potential of either side. As it will be nothing more than skirmishes, live experiences can be found there. Daniel has suggested to send Lukas to the front for those.
“It’s something I wanted to consider, but… hmm… I feel that it’s unexpected for this matter to come from you, Sir. If I had to say, then I thought that you were a person more involved with domestic affairs.” (Klaus)
That impression is something Daniel imprinted intentionally. There are many militaristic people around Marquis Yurihalshira and he himself holds a position of suppressing the rampaging of the warmongering nobles. It will be instead better to highlight my knowledge in regards to the lifestyle of the citizens and my experiences regarding the distribution of goods rather than my military prowess in the subjugation of the mounted bandits for the sake of winning favours with him… He made such judgement.
As result of that bearing fruit, Daniel is currently here. He has been appointed to a responsible post by Marquis Yurihalshira exceeding the restriction called consultant of the legitimate child. However, the setting here is for him to take one step forward.
“At the time of battle, a chivalric order won’t be excluded. But, it will be different if it’s sounding out.” (Daniel)
“There’s some truth to that. Those mixed into a chivalric order who experience their first battle are the most unreliable ones as a force to settle a battle. Seeing that each battle is also an individual encounter, won’t it also largely influence how they will fight?” (Klaus)
All of a sudden Marquis Yurihalshira talks full of vigour. He realizes that he is unconsciously stroking the upper left arm. Having received a severe wound in the midst of the war, a scar remains as he continued to fight without retreating despite his injury, Daniel heard. It’s probably throbbing.
“I see… he is 13 years old, too, isn’t he? It’s a bit early, but it might be a good opportunity for him to experience his first campaign.” (Klaus)
Daniel suddenly remembers the summer 3 years ago because of the words “13 years.” The agitation and tension when I fought the mounted bandits in the hilly area at night… and in the end he also thinks about the situation of the person who was the boss of the mounted bandits. At that time Marko was 10 years old.
“Okay, let’s go with that. I will dispatch the chivalric order. However, there is something I want to request from you, Sir, who started this. Since this will definitely concern Lukas’ life, you won’t be able to stay unrelated anymore either.” (Klaus)
“Ha… even if this incompetent me can only serve as shield, I shall protect Lukas-sama’s body with my life.” (Daniel)
Although Daniel only gave the obvious answer, the response was loud laughter.
“Your Excellency…?” (Daniel)
“Don’t say stupid things, Baron Hakkinen. This isn’t the made-up story of your father and elder brother, Sir. No matter who it is, if they stand on the battlefield, the battlefield will be an ordeal for them. You die at the time of death. Lukas, you, and everyone else is the same. One must not enter the battlefield if one wants to protect. You defend in order to not enter it. After entering it, try to be someone who fights together with your allies. If you don’t do that, you will only die, Sir.” (Klaus)
A force, he didn’t have until now, was released by Marquis Yurihalshira and pressed upon Daniel. Already not being the man who leaked sighs and complaints, currently there’s no one other than the general, who will command all the armies, in this place.
(This is the person called commander-in-chief of the kingdom’s defense, huh…!?) (Daniel)
It was the first time for Daniel to be basked in this pressure. It was his wish to see the true worth of Marquis Yurihalshira. However, he isn’t overwhelmed by it. That doesn’t mean that he is able to oppose him with calibre as commander. He is able to bear it because he is superior in just one aspect. It’s because of the strength of that one aspect. It’s because of his future anticipations due to that one aspect.
It’s a dream. A large dream with the name Marko.
The dream, Daniel settled with, will certainly rise into the sky soon. As if dawn would lose to sunset!
“I’m humbled to have received your teaching. It’s a experience of opening my ignorant eyes. I shall offer you my gratitude.” (Daniel)
Daniel performs a courteous bow. His smile leaked out naturally. Marquis Yurihalshira smiles again as well. Daniel addressed it to Marko in his mind. This man is strong. There’s no mistake that he will become the biggest hurdle if he becomes our enemy.
“… So, what’s your command to me?” (Daniel)
“You have a disposition of jumping to a hasty conclusion, Sir. It was a request, not an order, but… seeing your current look, I changed my mind a bit. I want you to depart to the front together with Lukas after all, Sir. It would be best to make my request after you return.” (Klaus)
Due to Marquis Yurihalshira showing a somewhat unreadable smile, Daniel didn’t have left anything but to perform a bow once more. As expected, it’s difficult to despise this man. This time’s plan had a risk similar to going across a naked blade… Thinking like that, Daniel gulps down his saliva quietly.
In the future it would result in Daniel cocking his head in puzzlement.
The marriage proposals, which fluttered in frequently until then, soon completely stopped arriving. Even the invitations to gorgeous balls decreased. In contrast, the dining together with military personnel, which has connections to the Yurihalshira household, increased. He thought back whether that was only to be expected during the days of preparing for the departure towards the front.
He forgot. Marquis Yurihalshira has 2 children. One is Lukas, the heir. The other one is his elder sister, Amalia. In the Asuria kingdom it’s the custom to view the eldest child, without differentiating between men and women, as the heir, but going by Marquis Yurihalshira’s will, the eldest child, Amalia, was removed from being the heir for the sake of marrying into another house.
A certain encircling net was slowly completed around Daniel.