Translator: Mythos IX
Editor: Darkdhaos, Skythewood, AMetroid
Prologue 1 The Thunder Closing In
Belgaria, Empire year 851
On an early morning of the end of April.
It was still chilly in the northern region.
It had been snowing since last night which melted when dawn came.
Because of that, the fortress walls were completely wet.
In one corner of the fortress was the room of the Strategist, Regis Auric.
A small ray of light woke the owner of the room up.
He fell asleep reading on the bed last night.
He had unconsciously put his book aside.
“Hnnn… … Eh… … Is it morning already?”
He got out the bed after parting with his thin blanket, hugging his shoulders as it was too cold.
Regis went across the pile of documents and headed towards his desk.
On top of the documents was an oil lamp.
His hand searched in the darkness for the tinderbox.
A few days ago, during his birthday on April 23, Regis received an scarlet box, which was kept in a drawer.
He then took out a flint and spill.
Following that, he opened the tinderbox and pressed down the dented metal plate.
Sparks were created as the fire striker hit the flint.
Spread before the dent, small flames appeared as the charcoal was lighted up.
Regis used the spill to transfer the swaying flames. To prevent the fire from being extinguished, he moved it towards the lamp carefully.
Regis quickly put the oil lamp’s glass cover back after the room was illuminated.
As the Volk Fortress made used of the tunnel, only the bare minimum of light could enter, which was insufficient for paperwork.
Even if it was during the day, lamp was still used.
Moreover, for days that were colder, there was a need to use the heater… ...
Even firewood was valuable commodity.
It was cold enough to even see his own breath, but not enough to freeze his hand. Regis extinguished the burning spill by pressing it on a metal tray.
The lighted charcoal was put out as the tinderbox was closed. The flint was also kept back into the drawer.
Regis took off his nightwear and reached for his military uniform which was hanging on the wall.
Regis was already used to the Beilschmidt Border Regiment uniform.
Although it was troublesome that there were a lot of buttons, it was effective against cold.
The bars on his shoulders were the same as before.
When Regis was in the capital, he was informed by the commander-in-chief, Latreille, that he would be promoted to 3rd grade admin officer.
As he has yet to receive the order, he was still a 5th grade admin officer——
Was the promotion cancelled?
A follow-up of this topic, when faced with the pursuit by the First Army, Knights of the White Wolves, Regis used the fire strategy on them and reduced their number more than half.
If I’m Latreille, I will also find it hard to grant the promotion.
Although it was a pity that he could not get promoted, but… his achievement was exaggerated. In fact, Regis felt that it was a miracle that he was not fired.
It was because he had low-esteem, the reasons being that his swordsmanship was inferior to even a child, unable to use a bow and could not even ride a horse.
As a soldier, he was more useless than an old man carrying luggage.
After changing, Regis seemed to notice something on the table.
On the table was a new document——
It was a report about the internal strife in the regiment.
The unit that Regis currently served in was officially called the Beilschmidt Border Regiment
The commander was Altina—— The 4th princess, Marie Quatre Argentina de Belgaria
Was now known as Marie Quatre Army.
Although Altina’s swordsmanship was recognized, she was still a 14 year old girl.
Even if she would be 15 in May, she was still a child now.
Jerome Jean de Beilschmidt was fully responsible for the combat unit.
He was hailed as a hero and a knight, the type that would charge in front in the battlefield.
However, the two of them did not care about the details.
Some say that great men would not trifle over the small details or they might just be crude and careless...
A large part of the imperial regular army was trained since youth, but that did not matter.
However, the Marie Quatre Army had recruited many new people.
Ranging from the soldiers in the fort before the siege, to mercenaries from afar.
There were also leaders joining with their own men.
Because of that, the regular soldiers and the new soldiers would often argue.
No matter when, difference in culture would lead to clashes.
Soldiers were not horses, when the population increase, disputes would also increase.
To resolve their dissatisfaction, there was a need to solve each cases with care.
However, Regis did not have that time to do so due to the severe lack of admin officers.
All by himself, he settled the organisation of the units and the division of supplies, as well as the preliminary arrangement of the expected strategies.
Hence, Regis found an assistant.
The name of the person who wrote the report was found on one of the documents..
“So it’s Lilim.”
“Yes, I’m here.”
The voice came from the pile of documents.
Regis retreated a few steps back as he was caught off-guard by the voice.
Suddenly, a black-haired, brown-skinned maid appeared.
Although young, Lilim was already the head maid under prince Auguste.
Originally, she had nothing to do in the Beilschmidt border regiment, but because of her valuable mediation sense, Regis entrusted her to solve the disputes inside the forces.
Lilim stood among the pile of documents after patting the dust off her clothes.
“My apology, this morning when I’m delivering the document, you were still resting.”
“A,ah… … In that case, isn’t it fine if you just put it on the table?”
“Yes, that was what I intended to do, but…”
“I got drowsy after seeing you sleeping.”
It seems like a reason, at the same time, doesn’t seems like a reason.
However, there’s no doubt that she has been helping out recently.
Be it reviewing documents, sorting the problems and even mediation was done properly.
“... … Is that so? Thanks.”
“Finishing work is the best joy one can attain!”
Lilim said it with a smile.
Suddenly, the door opened.
“Sir Regis, have you woke up?”
The one who entered the room was the young knight, Eric Michael de Blanchard.
Although he was just 16 year old, but in Belgaria, 15 was considered an adult, hence he was already an outstanding knight.
Beautiful golden hair and refreshing emerald eyes, together with a voice that sounds as clear as a girl.
When his father died, in order to protect his family, he had to inherited his family name as he has no siblings.
Compared to those, there were far more important things.
“Good morning, Reg——”
Eric who just entered was stunned, just like a statue.
To this point, Regis’ face began to redden.
“Ah, that… … It’s not what you think.”
“Just what is going on! Sir Regis, why are you taking off your pants in front of a child!”
“It’s a misunderstanding, Eric, please calm down.”
“Her Highness and Ms Clarisse aside, how could you do this to a child!”
Lilim tilted her head
Morning, Volk Fortress, officer’s dining room——
Altina was hugging her stomach, laughing loudly
Regis’ shoulders drooped.
“... … It’s not funny at all… … … I almost died there, socially that is.”
“I,I’m very sorry!”
Eric had a guilty face.
In the canteen were Regis, Altina, Eric and Clarisse sitting together.
Lilim went to Auguste—— Felicia’s room to serve breakfast to Felicia.
Incidentally, on Felicia’s request, her bodyguard, Eddie Fabio de Balzac, was living in the same room as her.
Although the parties involved denied it, it was clear that they were in a relationship, which was not a problem anyway.
To the soldiers, both the prince and the duke were males, hence there should not be any problem...
Altina could not stop laughing after hearing the unwarranted misunderstanding.
“Ahahaa… My stomach, hurts… … Ahaha… ha. However, it’s good that you don’t have those kind of interests.”
In that case, tell me about what you look for in girls.”
“... … R,rather than this kind of question, we should be considering the issues that have piled up. Even if it’s breakfast now, we cannot waste time.”
Altina clicked her tongue, Regis disregarded it and continued talking
“...In that case… you should had heard it… Last night, the news about the death of High Britannia queen have reached us.”
Altina straighten her posture.
“... The urgent message came on 25th, the death occurred on 15th.”
In other words, on the first day of the founding anniversary, the neighbouring queen had died.
This was an age where messages need some time to travel when something important happened.
When they discovered enemies, they would use smokes signals or sound to convey the message.
Other than that, news was usually written down and delivered on horses.
If the situation permits, they could change horses at relay stations in order to speed up the delivery, but it would be tough for the frontline.
The distance between the town Tuonvell and Volk fortress was about 23Li(100km). There was no relay station along the way as they have to go past the forest in which the barbarians reside.
Altina and the barbarian king, Diethart had a secret agreement, hence it was safe for Belgaria’s soldiers… … Just that the alliance with the barbarian has yet to be publicised.
The messengers would advanced cautiously in the forest, hence it would take a long time to deliver.
Even so, delivery of report have it own pros. For example, there was little need to worry about spies.
Even if there were spies, people that leave their regiment or base would be very conspicuous.
In the army, there would definitely be one or two spies—— With this in mind, they cannot even let down their guard even during training. It was the same for spies that escaped or those who continued to mix in the army. In addition, there were other more difficult reasons.
If in the future, there were inventions that did not requires manpower, the situation would be different.
Regis continued on the topic.
“High Britannia is a country that is ruled by a queen, the parliament runs the country. According to their tradition, once a week past after the death of their queen, mourning will end and the next queen will be crowned.”
“It’s similar to Belgaria’s nobles, just that they hold more power. For example, no matter what the queen ordered, if 24 out of 30 members objected, that order will not be carry out.”
“Hey~ aren’t they powerful!”
“... Yes, it’s something like a safety device to prevent tyrants. Under normal circumstances, the final decision lies on the queen on which policies to use.”
“Ahhh, I see. I still feel that it’s an interesting system.”
“The new queen is usually elected by the previous queen, recognised by the parliament… … Just that the death of the queen isn’t sudden, but died on her sickbed… …The new queen has probably been chosen.”
“In that case, what is the important part of that?”
“If there the successor is chosen, I believe their current stance will not change. On the other hand, if it was an assassination…”
“Ah, I see.”
Altina nodded, even if she was not well-verse in politics, she was not a fool.
“Latreille who is in the capital should also be thinking about this. In particular, High Britannia did not increase their military. Well, looks like the second army was already sent… … At least, we did not receive any commands.”
“I see… Regis, what is your view on this?”
“... Isn’t it a little inappropriate? Their ruler just died not too long and if they sent their army out, it will result in unnecessary dissatisfaction. Unless we are looking for a fight, right now we should avoid a war with High Britannia.”
“It seems that the kingdom developed some amazing technology recently.”
“... … Ahh, the steam-engine technology. Railways and steam-powered ships shorten the time for the delivery of goods by a lot. When it is faster, human, goods and news will also take lesser time to travel… … If in the future there is a technology that enables long distance communication, there’s no doubt the live of the people will change dramatically.”
“Long distance communication?”
“Can’t even imagine it, right?”
“With a super loud voice?”
“... … That, I think it’s a little different from that?”
“However, if they have some amazing technology, they should be attacking us, no?”
“Well… Are there any countries that wish to wage war with Belgaria?”
“That doesn't matter, people from the army want to try their power if they have it, and people with authority uses their influence as they want.”
Regis did not have a strong feeling on this, as it was not rare for a country that was more superior to wage a war.
Suddenly, Regis remembered something that bothered him once.
“... Altina… The you right now has more military strength than before. If it increase even more, will you fight Latreille?”
Altina thought for awhile, her expression was serious unlike the usual.
“... … If the people support this war.”
“That’s just like you.”
She has grown, Regis thought. Her past failures resulted in her to consider more.
If Regis wanted to make things difficult for her, questions like ‘what if half of population support it?’ could be asked.
For now, it was fine if Regis was the only one thinking about it, the ruler did not need to be omnipotent.
“Then, we won’t be doing anything other than just looking at them?”
“... Yes… … War funds aren’t unlimited.”
The war preparation, such as increasing the food reserves and increasing the number of active soldiers, would requires a large sum.
If the war funds were to be used up, what would they do if there was a war next year? Were that to happen, they would be in a difficult position.
The commanders were usually forced into a decision.
“In addition, High Britannia is opposite of the west coast, while this fortress is situated in northeast region. Moreover, the armies are not in standby, hence war preparation is necessary, otherwise, it’s not possible.”
“... Ahh, so it’s impossible.”
Precisely, because of that they should focus on the border instead—— This thought was possible, but the current situation made it impossible to strengthen their equipment.
Touching on this topic made Altina remember other things.
“Speaking of High Britannia, I wonder if Bastian is fine. He is energetic in nature, I hope nothing happens to him.”
“The 3rd prince Bastian? He seems to be studying in High Britannia right now.”
“He escaped because he doesn’t want to be involved in the political struggle. It’s so like him, I wonder if he’s free-spirited or just weird.”
“... I investigated him a little… but… is that really true?”
“Could it be a lie?”
“I’m not sure… … But there are numerous rumours about prince Bastian. Leaving the second prince Latreille who controls the military, his reputation is even lower than the bedridden first prince Auguste.”
“Ahh, yes. He brought a lot of troubles to others.”
“No matter what, the support for the candidates with the rights to the throne is indisputable. “
“In that case, you can also see it as avoiding troubles instead. Every time after getting into trouble, his mother or some relatives would need to go and apologize.”
If the prince caused problems in the neighbouring country, that would be disastrous… There was no helping it if that happens.
Regis remembered a certain story.
“... I heard that he fought with a mercenary group in a certain tavern at the capital, but the reason why he was in the tavern was unknown, so is the reason for the fight.”
The information Regis got from the tavern’s staff was unclear, however the part about prince Bastian lacking in self-respect was clear.
Altina nodded her head.
“He was ordered to be prudent by Father himself last year.”
“... … Ordered by the emperor?"
“Bastian said ‘I went and took a look because it seems interesting, then I realised a waiter was harassed by a drunkard, so I went to help.”
“... … Help, is it?”
“Yes, he also said something like ‘I only realise that my right hand hurt after punching out. I am justice’.”
“... … He justified going to the tavern just because it’s interesting, how annoying.”
“Now that you said it, you’re right.”
“He can’t claim he is right just because of his status and identity. Looks like his point of view is limited.”
“Yup, yup. No matter how angry he was, to actually start a fight in the tavern. Looks like Bastian did not consider anything at all.”
“... … A few days ago, you raised your sword against the 2nd prince.”
“Considering that the sister’s personality is like this, I’m not surprised that her brother is like this too.”
“Uuu… … Ah, I’m not as violent as Bastian… Probably.”
Altina seemed to be resisting this.
Eric raised his hand.
“I’m sorry… … Regarding commander Latreille, is there nothing to discuss about him?”
“A few days ago, we fought the first army. About that, won’t we be accused of treason?”
It was understandable as to why the soldiers were worried about this.
Though it was unfounded for Regis.
“... … To convict us in the military court, they have to prove that the Knights of the White Wolves are acting righteously first. The clash between the two orders… Who do you think is the one in the wrong?”
“It’s them. The reason why they invited prince Auguste back to the capital is to reveal his true identity and render the recommendation void.”
Altina was listening seriously.
“... … So, what authority does Latreille have to order prince Auguste who gave up his inheritance rights and who is not even a soldier?”
Altina and Eric nodded their head in agreement.
In the first place, the action of the Knights of the White Wolves were stepping out of their line.
Latreille was from royalty, so it was hard to read him, maybe he was thinking as a general when he gave the order to the 1st army.
“... … Well, we have yet to think up a countermeasure if Altina receive an order to return to the capital.”
“What should I do if that happens?”
“If that happens, it’s likely that he ordered it as a general. In that case, it is necessary to bring along your unit and return to Volk Fortress for preparation.”
“What if I was told to go just like this or alone?”
“... … If he is that desperate to do that, you can relax in a certain sense… … Although there’s hierarchy in the military, if he did something to you who went empty handed, it will be like him announcing to the nation that he will assassinate his sister.”
“I see. How despicable.”
“... … The order to attack Volk Fortress is the same, if you were to die in battle, it will be a bad deal. The commander that send his soldiers to death while afraid to die… … It’s the same as announcing he will assassinate his sister. This kind of fallen prince… … How many nobles do you think will support him?”
“If I’m his opponent, I should collude with the nobles first?”
“Yes, the nobles only support Latreille because they think he will become the next emperor. Do you think the emperor will choose him if he did such a disgraceful act?”
“Ah, that’s right! Father respect the founding emperor ,L’Empereur Flamme. It’s not strange if he revokes Latreille’s inheritance rights.”
In the end, this political struggle was to let the emperor choose her as the next ruler.
Ignoring criticism and not knowing shame, using his own authority and power to harm his own sister, only someone who was inhuman would do that. Even Latreille understood this.
If Latreille had red hair and eyes, he probably would already be the emperor now. Thinking about it, I pity him if he thought this way.
Drinking the red tea that Clarisse brewed, the breakfast cum meeting ended for Regis and others.
On this day, Regis had no room to choose. With the intel he have, there was no other option.
Cries of agony and moans could be heard
Wounded soldiers were slowly moved out.
Regis ran down when notified.
Inside the main gate which was undergoing repair was a battlefield.
Soldiers covered in blood were lying on the beds.
Evrard issued an order.
“Warm water! Quick, bring some warm water here!!”
The knights ran around with a vase of water without caring about their appearance.
Jerome, who was wearing armour, kneel down beside a young soldier and began treating him. Shaking his head, he slowly stood up with an angry look.
“Bring a body bag here!”
“Ah, but the prayers have yet…”
The soldier who was ordered gave a troubled voice.
Jerome sent him flying with a kick at him.
“This soldier! Is now dead! This is a fortress and is underground. This is not an open area with good ventilation. If you do not want an epidemic to spread, bring that body bag here now, go!
At the same time he shouted his reply, the soldier began running to get a body bag.
Regis did not have any strength left in his knees, using his shoulders to lean on the stone wall.
“... … Ha, ha,ha.”
“Hang in there! Don’t give up!”
It was a feminine voice. It seemed like Altina was encouraging a wounded soldier
That soldier’s shoulder was injured and bleeding badly, the female doctor was applying bandage on him.
The white cloth was stained with red.
Clean the wound and bandage it—— The medical technology of this age could only do this much. After this depends on the patient’s recovery ability.
A young knight came to Regis. It seemed that he was the commander of the unit that was injured.
“Sir Strategist, there’s something to report! The soldiers training in the northern forest were attacked!”
“... … Attacked?”
About half of the injured were young men. It seemed they brought the bare minimum equipment.
They were the recent recruits.
“Although there was suppose to be a patrol team, it seems that they were killed before they could report.”
Not only did they lose contact with the soldiers that were suppose to report enemy sightings, even the new recruits who were undergoing training were attacked.
Hence, such a large damage was dealt.
Regis who was feeling repulsive finally used his brain.
“From... from which country did the enemy belong to?”
“The flag was not seen. However, based on the direction they came from and their weapons, I believe they are from Germania federation's Grand Duchy of Varden..”
It was the previous owner of this fortress.
Although small, the Germania federation have quality ores and are financially fit.. They hire outstanding mercenary groups and collect quality weapons.
Regis used a strategy to capture Volk fortress, but the federation’s military power was not weaken by that.
Jerome was agitated.
“Those bastards from Varden! Not only did they not learn their lesson, they are also intending to take back this fortress! Do you think I will just sit here and wait for death!? Hey, bring me my spear and prepare a horse! I’m going to set off and verify whether there are enough heads for me to hack!”
He was of the type that express his feelings out, however, it was so unusual of him to expose so much anger.
The soldiers were feeling the same.
“Wait!? How can I wait! Oi, Regis, you sure you want to stop me now!?”
“... … An urgent message just came from the capital.”
Regis finally spoke the words he wanted to say.
“What message, at such a time.”
“... … On the morning of April 23, Chaineboule’s harbour was attacked and hasfallen. The Second Army is currently engaging with the enemy that have landed.”
Today was 30th April, 7 days had passed since then.
Considering the network of the military in the capital, they should know this quite early… … I’m afraid that the war is already over.
He was not a god, so he had no way to cross the empire and know the situation of the battlefield.
“The west harbour? I didn’t expect that country to attack us.”
“... … It’s like this. The enemy ship is a steamship… … The banner belongs to High Britannia.”
“What about Latreille? What did that fellow say?”
“The military ordered, ‘prepare half of the unit strength and send them to the west’.” The soldiers who heard this began to waver.
Just when the Grand Duchy of Varden attacked, an enemy whose strength was unknown came from the west.
After that, a request for reinforcement by the commander-in-chief came.
If half of the force was sent to the west, only the other half would engage with the Grand Duchy of Varden.
With the terrible situation at the front gate spreading in, it was understandable for them to be uneasy..
Jerome was worried for his men.
He was able to arouse his spirit by saying out what he thought, but able to make calm judgement when needed.
Altina who was beside an injured soldier stood up.
“Regis, what is your opinion on the reinforcement to the west and the enemy who is attacking this fort?”
Have no idea.
Although he was a strategist, he was not particularly smart, nor do he has a strong intuition.
Jerome looked over to his direction.
The soldiers too, moved their sight towards him.
Regis did not have much confidence. His heart almost stopped and his legs went weak as he had to voice out his view under such situation.
However, he was current Altina’s strategist.
Escaping was not an option.
Regis was searching the books he read before in his head.
Reading countless pages, he recalled stories as numerous as the stars.
“I… … only know this much… … Princess.”
Regis only called her ‘Altina’ in front of people he was close with. If not, he would call her ‘princess’ as he was afraid that it might affect the troop morale from any misunderstandings.
“That’s fine. What should we do?”
“... … Preparation is insufficient, intel is lacking and we are pressed against time… … Even so, we should repel the Grand Duchy of Varden’s army first.”
“Is it really okay not to send reinforcement to the west?”
“... … If we send reinforcement under such situation, the soldiers won’t be able to fight without any worries. It will only allow the enemy to approach the fort.”
“It’s indeed worrying. If the fort falls, the streets which their families live will be dangerous.”
“Yes. However, it is also a fact that they are not repelled. Perhaps Varden have prepared for a drawn-out war… … I suggest that we end this tonight.”
It was understandable for Altina to be surprised.
If the battle was on a plains, then it was all about speed. However, in siege battle, it was normal for it to drag on for days.
No matter who wins.
Jerome grinned, it was a smile full of ferocity.
“Kukuku… … Are we moving out of the fort?”
It was the only choice.
Regis replied with a nod.
The soldiers looked at each other.
To actually move out of an advantageous fortress!
Altina clenched her fist.
“Behind Volk fortress is the border city, Tuonvell, which is full of people. Towards the west, there are also citizen that should be protected… … Now is the time that we fulfill our oath of our flag.”
Marie Quatre army’s flag was a green shield that represents the people.
To protect the empire’s citizen—— Altina raised her sword.
Prologue 2 Heinrich Trois Bastian de Belgaria
The Belgaria empire’s territory extended to the northwest part of the continent.
Towards the west coast and across the sea, there exists an island nation.
The kingdom of High Britannia.
The environment was harsh as the northern area was covered in snow, only potatoes and carrots could be cultivated. Leaving animal husbandry aside, even plains were rare.
Due to their iron ores, the nation progressed as they traded with other countries across the sea.
They value their traditions, but they also actively assimilated foreign cultures and technologies, becoming the first among her neighbouring countries to use steam-engine technology and rifles.
Applewood was a city located in the east of High Britannia. Surrounded by forests stood an academy that was built upon an old castle.
It was known as Saint Edward Independent Academy, which was the nation's oldest academy. The students were mostly nobles’ children who were aged 12 to 16 year old.
Belgaria’s third prince, Heinrich Trois Bastian de Belgaria, was studying here since the beginning of the year.
He concealed his identity, as he did not want to receive any special treatment.
So he used a fake name, Bastian de Madeleine.
Incidentally, it was common among nobles to be named after princes to borrow their prestige.
In Belgaria, “Bastian” was a common name among nobles who were aged 15 and below.
It had been 16 days since the news of Marie Quatre Army clashing with Grand Duchy of Varden arrived, which coincided with the Belgaria’s founding anniversary.
In Saint Edward Academy.
The clock tower resounded.
The figure of the clerical-like teacher slowly disappeared from the classroom.
The students began packing their items. Most of them were going for their after-school club activities.
Bastian was preparing to go back to his dormitory as he had no club activities.
Suddenly, a few High Britannia nobles intruded in.
Leading 2 people was freckled nose Dick Ayrton .
“Oi, Bastian, it seems like your country is invading others again!”
“Huh…? Which country are you referring to?”
“Stop acting like a fool, I’m obviously referring to Belgaria!”
It’s not just my country of origin, it is actually ruled by my father —— He could not say something like that.
His identity as the prince was hidden here.
Being an exchange student from Belgaria was unexpectedly troublesome.
The brats were noisily discussing news of Belgaria from gossips they heard.
They were not interested in politics, but just want to criticise it.
Bastian packed his things as he felt that it would be a waste of time arguing with them.
He grazed by Dick’s shoulder.
“I’m not done yet, Galian!”
They often called people from Belgaria that way. There was an official name called Belgariane and that way of addressing Bastian was demeaning. But there was no way he could correct everyone who use that term..
“What… Can’t you see that I’m busy?”
“Ah? Did you not hear my words, Galian invader!”
“It’s not me who is invading anyway.”
“Ah, but isn’t that your country!?”
If you put it that way, I will like to see you guys carry all the wrongdoings of High Britannia.
It was not rare for people to claim they were in the right with twisted logic.
They will even resort to violence to stress their righteousness if you refute them.
“I’m not interested in politics anyway.”
“Ha! It seems that Galians are a bunch of lazy people. Not only are you not interested in music and dance, it seems that Galians are not interested in politics too, how lamentable.”
“Well, it’s a fact.”
He escaped to this academy precisely to avoid the inheritance struggle in Belgaria.
Bastian did not wish to get deeply involved in politics.
It was not that he was totally not interested in music and dance either.
The two followers backed up their leader.
“It can’t be helped Dick, a cultured son of a politician like you thinks differently from those barbaric Galians.”
“Exactly! Those Galians are still using spears even though it’s the age of rifles and cannons.”
“Ha! How obsolete, I wish they could be more cultured.”
Ahahaha, Dick and his followers began laughing.
No matter in which country, those snickering would always sound the same.
Bastian clenched his fist.
A silver ring was on his right hand’s middle finger.
It was his agreement with his grandfather——
If a fight was to happen, immediately return to Belgaria.
As the Belgaria’s emperor was old, the inheritance struggle was getting more fierce as the day in which the emperor abdicating draws near.
The current emperor Liam Fernandi de Belgaria was old.
The most favoured successor should be the 2nd prince Latreille—— Bastian thought.
The evenly matched First prince Auguste also stood a chance, but he was currently recuperating from his illness in a villa.
Even when Bastian went to visit Auguste before leaving for studies in High Britannia, Auguste could only lie on the bed and say some words.
No matter how one looks, it seems he will die earlier than the emperor.
Not just Bastian, no one ever thought things would happen that way. In the recent founding anniversary, because of a certain strategist, Latreille’s reputation hit rock bottom while Auguste forfeited his inheritance rights. His younger sister Argentina being a candidate and involved in the inheritance struggle...
Even so, Bastian was not involved in the fight between factions.
Things like authority was not needed.
Shouldering millions of lives was not a joke.
Hence, he escaped.
Understanding Bastian’s wish, his maternal grandfather supported him going overseas to study
In truth, the chances of him being the next emperor was low, but he was still a candidate to be the next emperor.
However, his grandfather said.
“What! To actually want to go overseas!? How splendid! Ah, no, what a pity! Well, compared to you doing foolish thing in the empire, it’s better for you to go to the neighbouring small country… … … I see, even though you have the caliber of an emperor, if you are so insistent on it, even if I’m overcomed with grief, I can only accept it!”
Although there were some problems, but he was able to go overseas to study.
Precisely because of that, he has to keep his promise.
“... … Don’t fight… … Don’t expose my identity… … Don’t get involved in other countries’ politics and religion.”
“Hey! What are you muttering, Bastian!”
“Nothing, just a little chant.”
“Ahh? Hey, what’s that?”
Dick took a book from the packed bag.
A black cover with golden edges. The title and author name was not written.
Bastian almost revealed his true self, using his left hand to suppress his right hand in a hurry.
“... … Please… return it.”
What a failure.
Dick looked like he found something interesting.
“Ha! This guy sure is strange! Perhaps what was written inside are Galians’ secrets? Seems like there is a need to check this.”
“Wait, that, that’s just a normal diary.”
“Oh? Then, let’s check whether this is really a diary or not!”
What a tasteless guy.
Bastian gritted his teeth.
He stretched his right fist out.
The silver ring on his middle finger flashed for a moment.
I promised grandfather. Calm down and do a calm judgement.
“... … If I bury these guys, the fight will not be exposed!?”
Should I do it? Should I?
Dick smirked and opened the book.
“Stop it, fools.”
A cold female voice interjected without others feeling it as rude.
A small hand from the side rescued the black book that was slowly opened by the mischievous boys.
One could even see their teeth from Dick and his 2 followers’ surprised look.
“What do you want, Archibald!”
“That’s my line, idiots. Snatching others properties is something only someone who is lacking in morals, intellectual and humanity will do that, which is worst than an animal. Don’t you feel ashamed of yourself?”
This girl was Bastian’s classmate. She was 16 year old, same age as Bastian.
Golden hair that reached the knees, sharp brows and eyes.
She was lovely when she smiled. However, whenever her harsh side came out, she was ridiculed as “ignited cannon”.
Well mannered, perfect and is a beauty… … The only flaw was her chest size.
Even if the uniform design would change over time, Elisa’s chest would remained flat.
The ribbon fluttered.
“And? Are you still unclear of how to show your worth in this world?”
“Argh… … Do you have to bring it that far!?”
“I do. Are you still not clear? It’s foolish trying to save you guys. For you are not aware of yourself being stupid.”
“Hey! Archibald! My father is a politician! Moreover, my house is granted the title of a Marquis!”
“Your father is indeed an outstanding politician, though he is incompetent as an educator. He spent 16 years teaching you, yet was unable to teach you common sense. How regrettable.”
“W,what did you say!?”
“If you do not wish such things to be said, then don’t bring shame to your family by controlling your shameful acts.”
“Uu!! How dare you!”
Dick swung his fist.
Bastian who was shocked by Elisa’s verbal assault causes him to clench his fist on reflex.
The ring on the middle finger of his right hand creaked.
Elisa was not afraid at all.
“What? You want the mark of being expelled from the school in your uneventful life? You are a fool till the end. If you really want to hit me, I am fine with my face being a little crooked, while you will stay at home hugging your knees and saying ‘the world doesn’t revolve around me’.”
“... … She actually dared him to hit her.”
If Dick really attempts to hit her, I will let him swim in the air.
One of Dick’s follower tugged his sleeve.
“Hey, Dick. We should leave now. Who cares about the Galian and the cannon girl, fishing is more interesting than them.”
“Ahh… … Then… … It can’t be helped, I will end it here today.”
The followers praised Dick like ‘how generous of you’ and ‘you will become someone great’ while walking out of the classroom.
On the way back to the dormitory from school.
Some of the old brick walls here were damaged in the war last time. A civil war happened here hundreds of years ago.
There were a few students on the way back.
Bastian and the girl walked together.
“You saved me there, Elise.”
“It’s nothing, Bastian.”
Her right hand was currently holding the book that she took back from Dick.
“This potential masterpiece was about to be buried into darkness by those fools.”
“So it’s not a diary.”
“That’s not a diary, that book, is a story I’m writing!”
She opened the book.
Strings of words written by Bastian entered her eyes.
“The text is really sloppy.”
“Guh!? It’s fine! when it’s published, it will be reviewed.”
The printers of this age prepare large number of movable pieces for each letters. The letters are pieced together to form a printing board, black ink is applied before it is pressed onto paper.
To use an example, it is a customizable ink stamp. This was known as movable type printing.
“I’m looking forward to whether the technician will be able to decipher your code. Also, the spelling for ‘stupid’ is wrong here. It’s not ‘stuped’, but ‘stupid’. It does look stupid, is that intentional?”
“I,it’s on purpose!”
“Is there any reasons to begin with gloomy words like ‘darkness’ and ‘death’ ?”
“Well, a masterpiece has to begin with an impact. This kind of feeling, there’s no way a novice will understand.”
“To make it more like literature, it’s better to avoid repeating words on 2 consecutive lines.”
Bastian was totally unaware of such rule. He then stared at his own work.
“No matter what, it can be called a work as long as it is completed, be it a masterpiece or random scribbles.”
I have to start it from the top—— Bastian thought as he said.
“O,oh… … I understand, I will finish writing it. Hey, when it is done, will you read it?”
“Flattery is not my forte.”
“It’s fine, it’s better for you to critique it honestly.”
“I see, in other words, you’re a masochist?”
Silently, Elise widen the distance.
Bastian waved his hand exaggeratedly to deny it.
“That’s not it! T,that… … Although it’s harsh when my work is criticised… … but because I want to be someone who can write a masterpiece, listening to your criticism is to improve myself.”
“What a weird guy.”
“Haha… You’re the same too.”
Elise was weird too.
Being an exchange student from Belgaria, Bastian found it hard to get along with his classmate. However, only this girl accepted him kindly.
“Hu, I understand. Although it might be a pain, I will read it since I’m partially responsible for making you do so.”
“Hn, it’s a promise!”
“Yes, even if my eyes rot.”
“It’s not that bad! You might be moved to tears! After all, I’m someone who is going to write an masterpiece.”
“Your dream seems so grand.”
“Huhuhu… I want to write the best work in history! Then, all the library in the world will have my work. Everyone will be reading my work fanatically.”
“Only the holy bible and the kind will have that kind of fanatics.”
“Then, my first goal is to exceed the holy bible.”
“The first… ... “
This time, Elise stared at Bastian’s face——
Is there something on my face? Bastian who thought this wiped his face.
“Oh my god, Bastian!”
“What, you finally realised how great my work is?”
“What are you saying? Ah, a bull is heading this way!... …”
In a moment a bull, which escaped from a ranch, invaded the school.
A dark red bull was charging in the small street that was surrounded by walls.
A dust of cloud could be seen.
Although the owner was chasing behind, he could not catch up with it.
The students yelled while escaping towards the wall.
“We should hurry up and run too, Bastian!”
“No, the owner should be troubled too. Moreover, you can’t climb the wall. You should back off a little.”
“What are you saying!? You will be rammed to death by the bull!”
“It will be fine if it’s just this.”
“A,are you an idiot!?”
“Well, in any case, leave it to me.”
The large bull was getting closer.
Leaving trails of dust behind.
“... … Ahh, looking up front, it seems bigger than expected..”
“You’re really an idiot!”
“What are you saying? I’m someone who is going to write an masterpiece!”
Bastian used his body to take the bull’s attack.
The sharp bull’s horn was heading towards Bastian’s chest——
Bastian grabbed hold of the two horn at the same time.
Normally, when faced with such overwhelming strength, humans were just like a piece of paper.
Bastian’s legs were embedded into the ground.
The bull’s hooves also stopped.
It should be clear who was the victor when comparing the strength between two human’s leg and 4 iron hooves.
Bastian suddenly shouted.
“Be obedient and be raised! Go!! And eat! Your grass!!”
He poured strength into his two hands which was grabbing the horns.
A sound could be heard from that.
The bull also cried vaguely.
Bastian pressed down the horns.
The front hooves slid.
The ground shook.
“... … … This can’t be real.”
Elise went pale from seeing this.
The chin of the bull was pressed onto the ground, just like a cat or a dog lying down—— The bull which was several times the size of a human was exhausted.
“Ha, it’s been a long time since I experience this kind of things. Now my palms hurts.”
“Wait… … Bastian, are you hurt?”
“Ahh, because I’m going to write a masterpiece, my fingers are fine, so don’t worry.”
“... … How shocking… … Even if I seen it with my eyes… … I’m still unable to believe it.”
“Are you saying about my work? Ah, I’m sorry about that.”
“You must be an idiot.”
The bull’s owner came and thanks him.
“Ah, I’m really sorry! Are you fine!?”
“That’s great! It will be bad if the nobles’ children were hurt. Ah, for it to be agitated after getting stung by a bee. It's fortunate that it stopped at the critical moment.”
“It’s indeed normal if one thinks that way.”
Elise sighed again.
The students in that vicinity have the look of ‘it’s fortunate that the bull stopped’.
Bastian was silent and did not say anything.
The owner pulled on the reins of the bull and led it away.
Just as he was looking at their figure leaving——
The commotion drew a large crowd. Bastian’s black book has many foot print on it.
“Uuh… … My future masterpiece… …”
“What? I will say it first, but I’m still practicing the autograph.”
“... Ah… … It’s nothing.”
“Like I said, what is it?”
“You’re an idiot, a big idiot, an idiot beyond hope.”
“Do you have to say it 3 times!? I’m so unlucky today, being targeted in the class, my book was flatten by the bull, and was even called an idiot 3 times… …”
“Perhaps that’s really true… … Fufu.”
The girl’s cheek redden as she looked at the boy beside her.
The next morning.
Elise Archibald disappeared from the school.
Without bidding farewell to anyone.
Prologue 3 The black princess and the white knight
“Execution is better.”
High Britannia royal castle, Queen’s Tower was a beautiful castle with numerous towers.
Princess Margaret Steelart was preparing in one of the towers.
She was sitting on a luxurious red sofa, wearing a silk dress.
She was only 18 this year. In High Britannia, 17 was considered an adult, hence she was an excellent lady.
A semi-nude maid was combing the princess’ black hair that reached to the waist.
Another maid was rubbing the princess’ slender white legs with colourless lotion.
The maids who were attending her were only covered with a piece of cloth while the princess’ hair and skin were glistening.
The room contains a bed with white tiger skin laid over it, white pillars and small circular windows. The flag of High Britannia, together with red and black cloth were hanging on the ceiling, with the light from the gas lamps on the walls flickering.
On the sofa about 3 steps away from the princess was a man wearing military uniform, and a book in his hand.
“Just execution. How merciful.”
The man narrowed his slender eyes.
He was not only tall, but also has long limbs. Coupled with the white knight outfit, it looked refreshing.
His hair was gray with bits of blue while his iris were pale blue.
His name was Oswald Coulthard.
He was Margaret’s aide. However, Margaret was a princess, not a soldier in the army in High Britannia.
By law, he was only just a guard for the royalty.
However, with Margaret’s support, Oswald became a colonel when he was just 20 year old.
He was the third son of a merchant family, so this was a rare occurrence.
Margaret glared with her amber eyes.
“Ahh, is there anything you are unsatisfied with?”
“Unsatisfied…? How can that be? I apologise for showing such rudeness in front of the wise princess.”
“Then, why are you not carrying out the order. How preposterous.”
“Is this order the punishment for the serf who stole bread?
“Yes, I said execution for him.”
“In that case, I will carry out your order. However, I can’t allow such a vile corpse to dirty the princess’ gem-like eyes... But if he were to never appear in front of you, then your ears would not be defiled by his name.”
“Ara ara, So you are saying… ahhh… … to let him off?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Ahh… … This will result in criticism like 'Execution for stealing a bread, is that princess a demon?' I wonder how they will insult me, I’m looking forward to it.”
Margaret had a brilliant smile.
If you only listen to her laughter, she was just like any other girl.
Oswald did not even move a brow.
“I live only for you, princess. The favour I got will never be repaid fully even with this life. For a mere bread thief and the noises of citizens, how can I let the noble princess be troubled over such things.”
“I did not carry out the order is because of the princess’ beautiful legs. As to not let other men see your beautiful legs, I did not call them in.”
“Ara, you are so possessive.”
“I’m not ashamed of this as your legs are far more precious than any treasures in this world.”
“Fufu… Looks like you are still good in smooth talking.”
“Those are heartfelt words.”
The maid who was rubbing oil on the princess’ legs moved on to the knees.
Margaret grabbed the hem of the silk dress.
And lifted it up.
Moreover, she opened her legs.
One could almost see what was inside the dress.
“I will leave the matter to you, I’m tired of it. Instead of that serf, tell me something interesting.”
Oswald was indifferent towards the princess’ action.
At this moment, someone shouting ‘reporting’ could be heard from the cream-coloured door.
Oswald would not change his serious tone to whoever it might be.
The one who entered was someone who wore the High Britannia military uniform pointed her right fingers to her temple in a salute.
On the left of this officer was a long sword, while on the right was a pistol. Two daggers were hanging on the thighs, while a rifle was carried on the shoulder. Her chest pocket was filled with ammunition.
The appearance was more fitting in a battlefield even though they were in the palace now.
Short black hair, sharp eyes and lips that were very straight
The officer was Oswald’s adjutant, Glenda, a lieutenant who was just 18 year old.
“A rat was spotted!”
It was not referring to the pest, but referring to spies Oswald sent.
The message was not in a written form, but conveyed orally.
In other words, there was that kind of report.
After saluting Margaret, Oswald went to hear Glenda’s report.
The lieutenant tiptoed and whispered into Oswald’s ears.
When the report was done, Glenda saluted and left without saying anything.
Margaret sighed and said.
“What a boring child. At least apply some lipstick. After all, she was fortunate enough to be born as a noblewoman.”
High Britannia was ruled by queen. Even the military has many females, though those that were sent to the front line were few.
Glenda was not a man, but a duke’s daughter.
After confirming that the lieutenant had left, Oswald did not reply to the princess’ conversation regarding make-up and reported what he heard.
“The Queen made her move.”
The spies hidden in the castle were to observe the actions of queen Charlotte Steelart.
It was always women who hold the crown—— As there were no pressuring issues, there was no war.
The life-expectancy was higher than average and the country was relatively more stable and prosperous compared to other male-dominated countries.
However, the current queen was already 50 year old and was sick and weak recently. It was about time for the next candidate to be named.
Moreover, the king died during an epidemic when he was still young, so there was no heir.
If things were smooth, the daughter of the queen’s younger brother, Margaret Steelart, would inherit the throne. The princess was having her legs being plastered with oil in the sofa.
Oswald’s status would also be elevated.
However, there was a concern.
Margaret’s father was in the war faction, proposing to invade others using their more advanced technologies.
The notion of war was spreading in the parliament, military and the public. Now, those supporting the war were the majority.
On the other hand, the minority faction felt that the most important things were economy and peace.
Queen Charlotte belonged to this faction and strongly opposed any wars.
Opposing the warring faction was a tough thing to do, hence it was likely that the queen would select someone who could stand firm and inherit her beliefs.
Precisely of that, Oswald dispatched spies.
Margaret who raised the hem of the dress on purpose asked as she was interested.
“What about aunt?”
The maid moved on to rub the oil on the inner thighs.
Ah… … … Margaret sighed.
Her face let out a seductive smile.
Oswald did not waver and was looking straight into the princess’ amber eyes.
“The queen summoned the 6 knights of the imperial guard.”
He received an uninterested reply, but Oswald felt that the princess was not calm at all.
“The 6 knights were called into the queen’s room, together with Chamberlain. I dare to say that they've been informed of the successor's name.”
“Ah, that’s bad. Who did my aunt named?”
“If it was Your Highness, a messenger should have arrived.”
Even though they received the news, the queen Charlotte was also staying in the castle, Queen’s Tower, just that she was in another tower.
Even if one toured around the castle, it should not be more than half an hour.
“Yeah, how weird. It’s really weird. Why, why is there nobody here even though I’m named as the successor?”
Margaret said that deliberately.
It was obvious that she was not selected as the successor.
Even after understanding the importance of the situation, she still cracked a joke. Things like a gloom prospect was just an entertainment to her.
Because she was a big shot or just abnormal? Whichever the case, it was certain that was beyond the common response.
Oswald continued the topic.
“I suspect that the six knights were heading east, towards Applewood.
“I see, I see. If it’s Applewood, then it must be Liz.”
The one she called Liz was her cousin, Elizabeth Victoria. She was the daughter of the queen’s younger sister and was 16 year old.
She was like a younger sister to Margaret.
Elizabeth ranked low in the order of succession , she was very young, her temper and personality were very similar to Charlotte.
She was a pacifist who was firm, courageous and has a strong sense of justice.
“Princess Elizabeth intends to study until July. The queen has to wait until she graduated before naming her the successor. However, she has to decide now due to her frail body and national affairs.”
“Ara, for my aunt to be sick, I’m so worried.”
“You sure are caring, princess. If the queen hear this, she will certainly be overjoyed.
“That’s for sure.”
“Hmm… And? Do I have to congratulate Liz when she get crowned?”
“Ahh, what a pity, pink roses suit that child more.”
“I see, but don’t you think that it’s too bright for a wreath?”
“Is that so? Then I’ll choose another flower.”
“Noble princess, I implore you to wait for a little longer.”
“Ahh… … Don’t let me feel bored, Oswald.”
It was expected that Margaret was not selected by queen Charlotte from the start.
The instruction has already been issued.
Setting off right now and deploying Margaret’s supporters in Applewood.
The 6 knights should not be able to safely return, Elizabeth too.
Oswald then changed the topic to the streets performance.
While conversing, he was hatching plots.
Margaret inheriting the throne was only a part of his plan.
Inside his head was the world map, focusing Belgaria and other huge countries.