Narissa From the West Coast
Editor: Skythewood, Darkdhaos, Rockgollem, Teddy Miao
The Fourth Imperial Army set off towards the west coast. Coupled with the harsh weather and long journey, the soldiers were fatigued. Thus they arrived later than expected even though they threw away some equipment during the forced march.
May 29th, dusk. Seventh day after departure.
As they threw away the tent for camping, their headquarters were shabby. Table and chairs were arranged together and large canvases were used to partition a wall. Heavily armoured infantries were also stationed outside as guards.
Regis, who was summoned by Altina entered the private partitioned area after the guards saluted him.
“Pardon my intrusion.”
“Good job, Regis!”
In Belgaria, people with a higher status like royalty were not supposed to sit on the floor, which was why chairs were brought to the frontline.
Three chairs were prepared, two of them were vacant. Altina sat on the chair further in, while Claire stood behind the canvas partition.
Regis sat on a chair at the side.
“That reminds me… This should be your first time on a march without a tent… … Did you get any good sleep?”
“I’m fine since I used to sleep on the floor as a child. Though, how are the soldiers?”
“Hmm… … Even though it’s a forced march, the soldiers weren’t really discontent as they saw you sleeping with just a blanket.”
“So it’s because we used food to shut their mouth.”
“Ahh, we prepared more than usual as it was essential. Even under harsh conditions, one would not complain if they are full. ‘Men are iron while food is steel. A filled soldier is stronger than anything!’ That’s what’s written in ‘My Military Guidebook’ by the Hero Roman
Altina nodded in agreement. After all, she often said that she could not muster any strength with an empty stomach.
“So that’s it. The other units would be able to do the same if they prepared more rations too.”
“Uh… … That would be difficult as that would increase the numbers in the supply division. That alone would result in even more demand for provisions.”
“But we did it, didn’t we? But how?”
“That’s because the food was kept in cities along the path we are taking. If our supplies are replenished during our expedition, then there isn’t a need to transport them.”
“I see… … Hmm? But isn’t this expedition decided suddenly? Did you hire people to transport them?”
“It isn’t possible with just a few days. If we did that, the regular soldiers would be envious. Moreover, we would be taken advantage of by the merchants… … I bought provisions ahead of time, selling a small part of it from time to time, or send it to the fortress before it spoils.”
“Did the other divisions do this?”
“I never heard of it, but probably not. Normally, expedition within the empire is not… … We purchased them cheaply and sold it for a high price. If we didn’t do it, the unit’s expenditure would increase. That’s especially true for the price of seasoning as it fluctuates greatly.”
“Ehh~... … Although I don’t really understand, it sounds incredible… … For you to do such a thing.”
Altina’s eyes were sparkling.
“Well, the one who concluded the deal isn’t me. It’s difficult for people from Fort Volks located at the border to trade frequently with the Empire’s central. This was all done by Lady Eleanor.”
Eleanor Ailred Winn de Tiraso Laverde was the granddaughter of a duke. Despite her young age, she was the head of her house. In the southern part of Belgaria, she owned large pieces of real estate and farmland. In short, she was a local industry tycoon. Ever since Regis helped her out once, she had been returning the favour to Regis frequently for reasons unknown.
Altina’s voice was getting softer, but Regis did not realise it.
“Small scale trading is the most important to grasp the country’s economy. While there isn’t much profit, one can use it to prepare in time of need and connections can be established. I believe this would be useful in the future.”
“What’s your relation with Eleanor?”
It was a very cold voice.
Regis then remembered something.
That reminds me, Altina was in a bad mood for a period of time after Eleanor kissed me on my face as a prank.
Clarisse who was standing some distance away sighed.
“Really, Sir Regis.”
“Erm… … Could it be that you are still bothered by that incident? Even though it was a prank?”
At that moment where the atmosphere was that of a cheating husband being caught——
“I’m coming in.”
A deep voice could be heard.
It was Jerome who came in.
While he was carrying a sword with him, he was not wearing any armour.
Altina maintained her sitting posture and put her hands on her waist.
“You sure came late.”
Jerome just sat on the chair without explaining anything.
While Clarisse prepared warm red tea.
Regis sipped some red tea and complimented it.
“This is delicious, Clarisse. It’s already amazing that you managed to boil the water without using any stove, and the taste remains the same as usual.”
“It’s my honour that this suits your taste.”
Clarisse lowered her head deeply as she spoke. She would keep quiet if she was around people she did not acknowledge.
If there were only Altina and Regis, she would not only smile, but also crack a joke or tease Regis. However, Jerome was present, which was why she seemed to have turn into someone whose emotions could not be seen.
Altina lifted the teacup and smiled at Clarisse.
“Thanks for all this time, Clarisse.”
“Not at all… …”
She returned to the other side of the canvas and stood still as if she was a decoration.
Jerome opened the map on the table and seemed to be searching for something. He was not interested in tea as he drank the wine he brought.
“Oi, Regis, will it be fine to go to le Troyeti fort tomorrow?”
Le Troyeti was a fortress where the Second Imperial Army which was defeated at Chaineboule and nearby troops convened. If they passed down the order, they would be able to muster a large force of over ten thousand. Furthermore, it only required half a day journey to Chaineboule which the High Britannia Army occupied.
Regis who was holding the tea with one hand nodded.
“Yes. Considering our future course, it would be best to obtain help . However, it would be best to link up with the navy as soon as possible.”
“So you can’t wait to go to the sea.”
“Even so, we would eventually require the help of those stationed in Le Troyeti fort. It would be difficult for them to coordinate our movements if we send them an urgent order only after reaching the place right?”
“You shall decide what we should be doing. The princess there couldn’t make the call anyway.”
“Well, that’s true… … Hmm.”
Regis thought for awhile.
“I think it would be more efficient if we split up. I will link up with the navy to prepare for the upcoming battle.”
“Eh?! What about me?!”
Altina stood up from the chair.
“You will be going to the Second Imperial Army. I will leave protecting the princess to you, Sir Jerome.”
“Hmph, so it’s like this.”
Other than guarding her, Jerome’s large build would make it easier to convince the Second Imperial army to follow the command of Altina who was just a young girl.
Though they would likely to obey her due to her being a royal, military rank and Latreille’s order.
Altina who was still standing widen her eyes.
“It would be dangerous for Regis to go alone!”
“We are racing against time here. It’s likely that the battle already began near the capital. While I believe that General Latreille’s defence would not be overcome that easily, the casualties would increase as the time drags on. It would be pointless to attack their supply ships if we have too many losses.”
“Even if that’s the case… …”
“What would we do if they engaged the enemy at sea if I’m late in linking up with them? Without them, it would be difficult to carry out this mission… … Furthermore, should the enemy managed to transport the supplies, it would only increase the chance of the capital falling.”
“I understand… … but is it really fine for you to be alone?”
“If I bring along your signed orders, I think they will believe me.”
“I’m not talking about this! You do know that we are quite close the enemy? Even the harbour the fleet is stationed in is close to Chaineboule!”
If the information was accurate, the Empire’s fleet was located in a fishing village which was quite near Chainboule. While it was not supposed to be used as a port for the military, they could not help it due to the need for food and fresh water supplies. While it would take half a day if they walked along the coast, it would only take two hours using steam ships.
Hmph, Jerome snorted and pointed at the map.
“What then, princess? Refute the strategist’s idea?”
“T-That… … I know that Regis isn’t wrong… … but aren’t you worried, Jerome?”
“People have to die one day. Whether they die like a dog in the wilderness or die trying to protect the country… … For me, I live by the sword, die by the sword. For the strategist, maybe it isn’t that bad dying in a battle plan he devised himself?”
Jerome’s words caused Altina to lower her head.
After thinking for awhile, she spoke as if confirming something.
“That… is possible. It seems that way… … Even I have my own goals… … If it’s for that, I’d rather die than live without any purpose.”
She said so with a serious expression.
For a sword user, her words carried such weight.
Regis found it hard to speak.
“Well… … I don’t want to die.”
This caused the other two fell into silence.
I won’t be able to read books if I die—— He swallowed back those words.
“Er… … High Britannia’s ‘Queen’s Navy’ goal was to transport supplies. So it’s unlikely they would attack a fishing village that holds no strategic purpose.”
“If Regis feels that it’s alright… …”
Altina sat back on the chair while still having a worried look.
Jerome continued looking at the map.
“Have you decided the unit composition yet?”
“I just need a hundred knights for escort, and also carriages to transport provisions. I will just sit on the carriage.”
Altina tilted her head.
“That white carriage?”
“I think it’s better for Clarisse to use it, since she has to follow you.”
“Is that so… …”
Altina sneaked a look at Clarisse.
However, right now she would not say anything at all and will stand as still as a doll.
Jerome stood up from the chair.
“Alright, one hundred men is it? I will go pick a hundred men who won’t bring me shame even if they go out to sea.”
“Please choose calm and reasonable people… …?”
“Ha! My subordinates are all gentlemen! If you can get them to listen!”
“At least choose those who would not draw their sword without orders.”
Jerome went out with an evil grin.
Altina shrugged her shoulders.
“He’s a little too hasty. The meeting isn’t over yet.”
“Is there something else?
“Not at all… … Will it really be fine, Regis?”
“I don’t want to die yet, so I will avoid doing dangerous things. Have some faith in me.”
Altina stared at him while biting her lips. She looked just like a child who got separated from her parents.
Even though she turned fifteen, an adult, a few days ago, she still showed her childish side from time to time.
“I will go and find you immediately after I greet the commander of Le Troyeti fort.”
“Ahh, even though I said that we are splitting up, it would probably only take a day.”
“Uuh… … At least ride a horse so that you can escape when you’re in danger. I have taught you before.”
“You’re worrying too much.”
Contrary to her distrust, her worrying this much shows how much she cares about me. Regis’ heart felt warm thinking that way.
“Even if you say so, you can’t even use a sword nor ride a horse. It’s definitely dangerous to split up right in front of the enemy… … Hey, Clarisse, aren’t you worried too?”
“That’s right… … I’m worried about it too.”
“It’s fine, the enemy won’t come.” Regis said so and left the headquarters while smiling.
“Whenever Regis took actions alone… …”
“...He always got involved with girls.”
Clarisse simply stated.
Ahh, that’s right!—— Altina had a scary expression with her eyes widened.
How weird. Even though it felt warm in my heart just now, my back feels so chilly. Regis thought.
The next day, May 30th—
After splitting from the Beilschmidt Border Regiment, Regis’ group visited a fishing village named Ugovi which smelled like seaweed everywhere.
I see, so this is the smell of the sea. Even though I read it before, this is my first time seeing the sea myself.
The colour blue stretched beyond the horizon.
The wind was damp.
One hundred knights were led by Abidal Evra, a Second Grade Combat Officer. However, Regis was the captain of this detachment even though Abidal was older and had a higher rank. Even so, no one voiced out any dissents as they all had accepted Regis as their strategist.
The men chosen by Jerome excelled in horsemanship, which was why they reached their destination two hours earlier.
The time now was almost noon.
This was a small fishing village that had thirty to forty families.
However, the smoke coming from their chimney exceeded their numbers. That was probably due to them preparing lunch for the soldiers.
Several fishing vessels were docked at the bow-shaped beach.
While the military ships were further out on the ocean.
Vessels of various sizes numbered about thirty.
Regis breathed a sigh of relief.
——That’s great, looks like I made it in time.
Surrounding the fishing village were fences that was as tall as a man. Rather than for military purposes, it was more to protect against wild animals.
Noticing the cavalry unit, which was Regis’ unit, approaching, a lot of sailors gathered inside the fence.
It was a good thing that Regis dispatched a messenger to alert them, which was why they did not need to waste too much effort to enter the village.
Regis was brought to the largest house in the village while being surrounded by the knights.
It was likely that this house which was turned into the temporary navy headquarter belonged to the village chief. There were sailors guarding it at the entrance and corridor. Even so, the house was not that large, so only Abidal Evra accompanied Regis in while the others stood outside.
Men belonging to the navy saluted by clamping their armpits and placing their right fist on their left chest.
However, their sight was not on Regis, but to Abidal Evra beside him.
It was because Abidal Evra’s appearance gave people the impression of an excellent knight. Wide shoulders, thick chest, bearded and equipped with top quality armour.
On the other hand, Regis was not wearing any armour or sword, neither did he look like someone of valour.
As it would be troublesome to explain, Abidal Evra returned their salute and whispered to Regis afterwards.
“Sir strategist, please equip your armour and sword, at least for occasions like this?”
“Well… … Even if I do so, I won’t look like the captain.”
“Then how about wearing medals? After all, you definitely earned a commendation for capturing Fort Volks and rescuing the Seventh Imperial Army.”
“The credits belong to the princess, and the soldiers did the actual fighting… … If I was to put on medals, people would think that I am ambitious. That isn’t a laughing matter.”
“At least stick your chest out while walking.”
Regis frantically tried to straighten his posture as he walked.
Even so, it was more like the living room of the village chief.
Sailors whose uniforms differed from the land based knights stood in front of the sofa.
There were a total of six men.
Standing in the middle, a bearded man who looked around the age of fifty saluted without much strength behind it.
“I’m the fleet admiral of the western fleet, vice-admiral of Belgaria, Christophe Denis de Bertram…Welcome, young strategist of the land forces.”
“Glad to meet you, I’m Regis Auric, Third Grade Admin Officer of the Fourth Imperial Army.”
Abidal Evra beside him seemed to have something to add on.
Probably it was because Regis was given a peerage, which was why his name should be Regis d’Auric.
However, it was too late to point that out.
So he pretended not to notice it.
On the other side, every one of them were young officers, except for Bertram. Furthermore, one of them who had the aura of an admiral saluted and introduced himself.
In the navy, the order was given by the fleet admiral, which would be passed down to the sailors via the captains of the ships. This was different from inland battle where soldiers relied on their individual strength as the crucial point in sea battle was determined by the capability of the admiral and the captains.
Regis sat on the sofa after being offered.
Behind him was Abidal Evra standing by as his guard.
Bertram and the rest also sat down. That reminds me, why didn’t they mistake Abidal as me? Regis thought.
“That… pardon me, but did we meet before?”
“Ah, I happened to chance upon you conversing with Her Highness Argentina on the Founding Anniversary while I was taking a break.”
“I see. My apologies for not greeting you at that time.”
“No… … Rather, I remain neutral with regards to the inheritance struggle. Regardless of who the next emperor is, my fleet would only sail for the Empire.”
“Her Highness would be looking forward to it.”
However, his expression turned gloomy.
“Even though I swore that, we are in a crisis right now… … High Britannia’s warships are too strong.”
“I understand… …”
Bertram was a vice-admiral, a duke and was already approaching fifty. His rank, status and even age far exceeded Regis. However, Regis never expected Bertram to show such weakness to him.
He did not expect the enemy fleet to be this strong.
Bertram smiled weakly and spoke.
“Looks like the land forces had a good laugh at us...”
“There is no such thing… …”
“Let’s begin with the numbers on both sides as of now.”
“High Britannia’s steam battleship, princess class, with forty-seven guns can travel about 15 knots. On the other hand, our large sail warship, the Athena class with eighty guns, can just barely reach that speed when traveling at full sail.”
“We are lucky that they are just focused on guarding the supply ships. If they were to engage proactively in sea battle, we won’t be able to escape.”
“That is so. The enemy are equipped with Elswick guns, their range are about 45Ar (3216m).”
“So it’s a type 41.”
“In fact, our Athena class warships are using the super-large cannon that could only shoot up to 38Ar (2715m). Furthermore, the enemy is several times faster than us in loading and firing their guns.”
“As expected of you, my good sir, to investigate this so thoroughly.”
“This was all written in the books.”
“There are still three princess class docked at the harbour. While we have nine Athena class ships… … In addition, there will be a Poseidon class equipped with hundred and twenty guns coming in as scheduled tomorrow.”
“Did you call it from the southern sea?”
“I summoned it to the north in case High Brittania attacks. It’s a very slow ship though.”
“Can the vastly inferior Poseidon class win against the enemy princess class?”
“It would probably be difficult. Firstly, the enemy is outside our range while we are in theirs, so they will grind away at us. The Poseidon class warships have thick armour, but it has two weakness.”
“Is it the sail and the guns?”
“Yes. There are holes in the sail, hence making it harder for it to move. Even turning the ship would be difficult. Furthermore, the guns are arranged close to one another on both sides. If the enemy’s shell hit the cannon window, the worst scenario would be our ammunition catching fire.”
“Hm… … If the speed is faster than the enemy, we can still retreat even if we lose out in terms of firepower...”
“It’s possible with Ouranos class that’s equipped with eighteen guns. While we have twenty of them, their firepower are not up to task. It would be over if they took one or two hit at close distance. Unlike the durable Athena class, the small Ouranos class can be set ablaze easily. A single shot is enough to disable them.”
“It will be bad if they can’t escape… …”
Bertram had a grim expression.
“We attempted to attack the enemy’s supply ships.”
“You’re referring to the Trouin’s sea battle?”
“We found their supply route and the wind is in our favour, It should have been an easy victory… … However, the enemy’s attacks were too fierce and we lost four Athena class instead.”
“And the result?”
“Even though we hit them a few times, none of the princess class were sunk. Though one supply ship sunk and another could no longer sail… … In the end, it took all of our effort just to retreat, so I’m not too sure about the situation later on.”
“So it’s a complete defeat… …”
“So this is what had happened. We have gathered all the ships that can attack in the west coast here. Those ships that can’t are likely under maintenance.”
“We can’t always be at a disadvantage...”
Repairing a warship could take up to a year and one could not simply prepare a substitute ship for it.
“High Britannia should have more princess class and supply ships in reserve. We need to use the ships here to engage them.”
Bertram looked over with sharp eyes.
and spoke with a serious tone.
“This is our current situation.”
“I’m grateful for your explanation.”
“It’s obvious that our firepower is inferior to them. However, we can’t lose any more ships here. Even so, we can still do something. Is that what you’re thinking?”
This caused a commotion between the officers.
Bertram’s eyes became sharper.
“Even if you have many achievements inland… … It’s different on the sea.”
“I understand that… … Even though I’m not that confident… … the Empire will lose this war if we fail to obtain victory here.
The officers looked at one another.
They had yet to understand the current situation inland.
Regis told them plainly.
“High Britannia Army defeated the Second and Seventh Imperial Army. The First Imperial Army is having a hard time defending the capital.”
“Does Marshal Latreille think that we can win…?”
“It would be great if he could win… … However, it would be difficult since the difference in our equipment is too great.”
“For it to be like this… …”
“If the enemy receive their supplies, it would turn into a stalemate… … If that happens, the neighbouring countries would turn against us. At that time, the capital will be surrounded by tens of thousands of enemies.”
The naval officers who heard this all turned pale.
Bertram entered into deep thought.
Regis stood up from the sofa.
“Marshal Latreille has an order for you in his capacity as the commander in chief. The unit here has to obey the Fourth Imperial Army’s commander, Princess Argentina. As the princess’ strategist, I should have some authority as well… … As this battle concern our lives… I believe it would be difficult to obtain your trust since we just met. So I will excuse myself first and give everyone some time to discuss the current situation.”
“What if we don’t accept you?”
“To tell the truth… what we still need to do remain unchanged. I have no intention of giving an order to my superior. At most I will explain a strategy that would be acceptable to you… … Though it might be a little troublesome if my words fail to reach you.”
“Hu… … Even though you say you’re not confident, but looks like you do not doubt your strategy at all.”
“No… I really do not have much confident. It’s just that I happened to read a similar situation in a book before.”
Bertram and the rest showed an amazed expression.
Regret turned towards them to excuse himself.
“I wish to have a look at Chainboule’s harbour. I will be back before dinner.”
“What? Do you need of a ship?”
“There’s no need for it, since I have yet to receive your permission, I won’t be using the naval ships. Since I’m just scouting out the enemy, a small ship is enough. I will just negotiate and borrow a fishing boat from the villagers.”
“... You are a strange man…”
“I’m often told that.”
After giving a wry smile, Regis left the room.
Passing through the gaps between the neatly lined houses, Regis finally reached the dock.
The sea breeze and the waves gave the place a varied feel about it The rest went to take a break and Regis only brought along Abidal Evra and five other knights along with him. Rather than a dock, it was more like fishing boats left at the beach and tied down with ropes that could withstand the wear and tear of the waves.
There was no one here as the fishermen only went out to sea in the morning.
Abidal Evra tilted his head.
“Why did they bother to pull their boat on to the beach?”
“... They probably tied it down at that place so the boat won’t be stranded in the morning.”
“Why is that so?”
On a side note, most of the Beilschmidt Border Regiment did not have any knowledge regarding the sea.
“Erm, that’s because there is something called tides in the sea——”
The reason behind the tides is due to the combined effects of gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and Sun.”
“That’s right, this was explained in Scholar Pierre-Simon ‘Celestial Mechanics’. That book noted down the movement of the celestial bodies.”
Abidal Evra could not understand Regis’ words at all and his eyes darted around.
Suddenly, he pointed at a certain direction.
“Ah, Sir strategist, there’s someone on that boat!”
Regis didn’t finish explaining yet… Cutting short his words, Regis headed towards the boat.
There was a youth with brick-coloured hair tidying his fishing net on a boat. He looked around seventeen or eighteen.
While he looked slender, it was clear that he had muscles.
In Belgaria, one was considered an adult upon reaching fifteen, so he was a professional fisherman.
Regis raised one of his hands.
“Hey there, good evening, can I take some of your time?”
The fisherman instantly had a vigilant posture. Regis scratched his head upon seeing that.
“Er, it seems I surprised you.”
“Y-You’re a soldier…?”
“Is this your boat?”
“I own a share of it… Is anything wrong?”
From the looks of it, this was shared between him and his partners.
It was not rare at all as fishing required many people to do so. Furthermore, they had to pay the maintenance cost after buying a boat. The boat might be shared by family members too.
Regis also understood another thing.
——It seems that the military isn’t welcomed here.
It seems that the villagers feared the soldiers based on this youth’s attitude.
Well, it’s even rarer to see the locals mingling with the soldiers who were staying here temporarily—— Regis sighed in his heart.
Soldiers always use words like ‘we’re protecting you!’ or ‘it’s an emergency!’, act overbearing and loved to order others around.
The largest house in the village was likely turned into a headquarters by force.
To the villagers’ eyes, this was no different than bandits, so the military were unwanted guests.
That might be so, but Regis couldn’t take a high handed approach. Though he deemed it necessary to investigate the situation before linking up with Altina.
“Actually, I wanted to have a look at Chainboule’s harbour. Can you introduce me someone who knows that area well to guide us?”
Regis wanted to borrow the boat from the youth initially. However, it would be tough based on his attitude, which was why Regis asked the youth to introduce someone to him.
Despite his unwilling look, he did not decline.
That was because of Regis’ negotiating ability—— Not. It was likely due to Abidal Evra and the guards’ presence that he did not decline.
“I-If that’s the case…It would be better to ask the village chief… … He knows these things better than me.”
“Where can I find the village chief then?”
“He’s in the house the soldiers call headquarters.”
The village chief was likely in a room different from the Commander’s room.
Then he should head back.
Just when Regis was about to leave.
Tap tap tap tap! Loud footsteps approaching him could be heard.
Looking towards the source, someone was running towards him on the stone embankment.
Wearing a cloth dress and her black hair swaying under the setting sun.
“Wait——! What are you doing with my boat?!”
It was a sharp voice
The one who was running towards him was a girl.
She looked around fifteen, the same age as Altina.
With black hair and eyes, she gave a strong impression on others.
After jumping down from the embankment, she ran straight here through the sand.
She stopped right in front of Regis, leaving behind a dust cloud of sand.
“That’s my boat okay?!”
“Ahh, so it’s yours and his ship. It’s alright, I didn’t do anything other than having a talk with him.”
Haa~ The girl sighed in relief.
“That scared me… … I thought you were going to take it away.”
“Haha… … We won’t take away fishing boats no matter how dire the situation the Empire is in.”
“Hmph, I’m sorry for having a shabby boat! I’ll say this first, but boats can’t be just judged by its appearance!”
The girl’s expression was just like cat’s eyes, changing every once in awhile. Her lips pursed up while her tone seemed to be a little agitated.
Regis got a little exhausted.
“No, that’s not it. The fishing boats are the source of income for the fishermen and their families, isn’t it? I won’t do something that’s so overbearing.”
“Didn’t a few families had their boats taken away?!”
“That’s a loan… … I think. Though I’m not too sure about the details.
The youth on the boat could not bear it anymore and spoke to the girl.
“Narissa, don’t get involved with the soldiers. We were just talking, so just stay aside first.”
“What are you saying, Fippo? I rushed here because I don’t feel at ease with you handling it. So? What were you talking about?”
“It’s none of your business.”
While his tone was coarse, Fippo’s voice was getting softer as his presence was overwhelmed by her.
Regis repeated his words once more.
“That’s because I wanted to have a look at Chainboule’s harbour, so I asked him to help me introduce a guide.”
“So you need a boat?”
“That’s right, I wanted to know the situation at the occupied harbour. Though information regarding the sea here is fine too. I would like to have the finest details if possible. Though I prefer an experienced boatman… …”
“Go and find the village chief then.” Fippo muttered.
The girl named Narissa shook her head.
“You can’t! Just recently, the village chief said that his waist hurts, so he can’t go out to sea! Rather, it’s fine as long as they know how to operate the boat?!”
“Yes… Well… I believe that the High Britannia Army would not mobilise just because of a fishing boat. As time is precious, someone who can operate the boat will be good enough. Though I would be grateful if the speed is fast.”
“I know someone who’s skilled in it.”
Fippo who was keeping the fishing net stood up after hearing Narissa’s words.
“Hey, Narissa! Stop fooling around! I already told you to stop getting involved with the military!”
“Keep quiet, Fippo!”
“Ku… … I… don’t care anymore!”
“Could it be that the fastest boat refers to yours?”
“That’s right! The fastest boat in this village is ours! We won’t even lose out to Zeilow’s boats!
“It’s the guy staying in the large house over there. He kept buying new boats just because he’s rich. However, his seamanship isn’t that outstanding which is why his boats are slow.”
It seemed that there were various things that happened in this fishing village.
Regis looked at their boat once more.
After comparing it to the boats in this area, it seemed what she said was true.
Narissa puffed her chest out and said:
“Even though Fippo isn’t good at reading the wind, he’s good at the nets and the sail. And if I’m to helm the boat, we won’t lose to anyone under any sort of wind condition!”
“Hmm… … Do you know the sea here well?”
“Definitely! I know it better than the fishes!”
After saying so, she puffed her chest out once more.
Even though it was hidden under the thin cloth dress, her chest had been shaking along with her movement since the start.
I thought she was the same age as Altina… … but it looks like the part here seems more matured than her.
Fippo sighed once more.
“In the end, it will just be free labour, Narissa.”
“Ah?! That’s right, they are soldiers! Ahh, please forget what I just said!”
There were no rules stating that soldiers asking help from civilians have to pay them remuneration. Even though the remuneration was not much, but most would not pay them at all.
“There will be remuneration. Not just borrowing the boat, I also want to obtain some information regarding the sea here, which would take up a considerable time of yours. If you’re willing to help, I will pay you eight Sols a day.”
“Eight silver coins?!”
Narissa widened her eyes.
Fippo was so surprised that his mouth could not close.
That was the salary of a regular soldier for a week. It was much more than what they could earn through fishing.
Even so, in order to win against High Britannia, her knowledge was necessary. Comparing the two things, spending some money was worth the while.
“I’ll do it! I’ll definitely do it! I will still do it even if I’m alone in this!”
“I’ll do it too if there’s remuneration.”
“That’s a great help. I’m Regis Auric. Nice to meet you.”
“It’s fine to call me Narissa. Nice to meet you, Gis!”
Regis tilted his head.
Fippo shrugged his shoulders.
“Narissa always shorten people’s name in her own accord. I’m Philips Ran Aquanord.”
“Erm… … Aren’t you husband and wife?”
“Buahaha! You’re wrong, I’m only fourteen! Fippo and I are childhood friends, as our two families are so close that we even fish together. Our relation is only to that extent.”
Our relation are only to that extent—— Hearing this, Fippo sighed.
Well, there will always be obstacles in life.
“I see, so you two are childhood friends.”
“Though I really want to have my own boat, my father is too stubborn. He kept saying something like ‘it’s fine as long as Fippo is helping out to fish’.”
“That’s because you’re a girl. Normally, you should be staying at home doing chores?”
“But I’m good in helming the boat!”
“Ugh… … I-I will get the hang of it in no time!”
Fippo turned and continued gathering his nets.
Under the setting sun, Fippo’s muscles stood out even more, and were in no way inferior to the knights despite his slender built.
This was the proof that he did not slack off his work.
Fippo spoke while tidying up the net.
“Hey, Narissa, stop standing there idly. It’s better to go Chainboule’s harbour as light as we can, so help me unload all these items from the boat.”
“I get it! Gis, we’ll be able to set off soon, so when do you want to go?”
“As soon as possible please.”
Narissa blinked her eyes.
“Oui! Come aboard now! Ah, it would be faster when there’re less people though?”
“It’s fine with just me.”
Abidal Evra who was standing silently frantically spoke.
“You can’t! At least allow me to accompany you!”
“Let’s do that then.”
Narissa and Fippo unloaded their nets, stove and fishing equipment.
Abidal Evra was astonished by how they simply threw the items onto the beach.
“Aren’t you afraid that someone will steal them?”
“Ha…? Buahahaha! Which idiot would do that? If they use stolen equipment to fish, they would invoke the wrath of the Sea God and have their ship wreck!”
Abidal Evra and Regis looked at each other without understanding anything.
Beilschmidt Border Regiment believed in the northern faith, so she was likely to be talking about the local god.
Even though Belgaria only recognize one national religion and prohibited idol-worshipping, there were many areas that still have their own customs.
Narissa unfastened the ropes while Fippo pushed the ship.
As Abidal Evra was helping Fippo pushing the boat into the sea, the other knights also joined in.
Regis thought of helping, but he realised he would only cause more trouble instead.
Narissa shouted when the boat was floating in the sea.
“What… Wait… …”
Jumping from the sandy beach to the boat floating on the water was harder than riding a horse. Narissa stretched her hand out to the hesitant Regis.
“You’re going to be left behind, Gis!”
Regis managed to grab onto her hand.
Fippo and Abidal Evra also helped along with the other knights, and Regis finally boarded the boat.
It was more accurate to say he was thrown onto the boat though.
The boat soon drifted into the sea.
Regis was moved by the scene.
“We’re floating… … and the waves too… … Incredible!”
“Hmm? Is this your first time coming to the sea?”
“Yeah, though I read about it countless times before.”
“You can’t just rely on reading. There are many things in this world that you won’t understand unless you experienced it yourself!”
“Haha… … You’re right.”
Regis and Abidal Evra was sitting at the area where the net and fishes used to be.
Even though it was a small boat, it felt rather large due to the simple design. A mast was erected at the front of the boat and the squarish sails were unfurled.
The sails were moving in accord to the wind.
It was the same with Narissa’s dress, swaying around.
Narissa pressed down her dress.
“Ughh~~ I forgot to change my clothes. I never thought that I would be sailing after noon… … What an embarrassment… …”
“Focus on helming, Narissa. No one would look at it.”
“I’ll hit you, Fippo?!”
Regis looked away subconsciously.
It was not the time to look at the dress of someone younger than him, instead, he should focus on the situation in the sea.
“Er… … Is there any shallow area that is near Chainboule’s bay?”
“If it’s to the degree of the fishing net reaching the bottom, there’s quite a few?”
“I wish to have a look at it, do you know are those areas?”
Regis took out a sea chart from his bag.
The sea chart was a little old, but the sea terrain shouldn’t change much.
Chainboule’s harbour was deep within a cove.
“I wish to know more about the area here.”
Narissa left the helming of the boat to Fippo and came over.
“Erm… … Is this the harbour?”
“That’s right. Chainboule is over here while Ugovi is here… …”
Regis pointed at the chart.
Even though she said that she knew this area better than the fishes, it felt more like she knew more about the fishes instead.
It was necessary to do a thorough investigation using measuring equipment to measure the depth and the flow of the sea.
In addition, finding a suitable area for the battlefield would be rewarding.
At a distance away from Chainboule’s harbour, various things were investigated that the sun had already set beyond the horizon when they returned.
Looking at the east, the earth was dyed red by the setting sun.
After making sure the boat was secured, Narissa began to complain.
“Haa~ I’m so hungry… My hands hurts… … my muscles are sore too… …”
“What are you grumbling about… … This is a job you accepted.”
“You’re not tired, Fippo? I’ll leave the keeping of those things to you. I’ll be going back for dinner.”
“Stop joking around, you!”
“That’s because the village chief is organising a feast today. Nothing would be left for us if we don’t go soon.”
“Move faster if you really want to eat.”
The two loaded the equipment that was left on the beach onto the boat while bickering.
That’s what it means by the more you bicker, the better your relationship...
What a close pair of childhood friends.
Regis was still a little seasick and looked sluggish. It would be worse if he had eaten more during breakfast.
On the other hand, Abidal Evra was listening to the reports of the knights that were left behind.
Narissa came over and spoke.
“Yah… That’s right.”
Regis nodded while suppressing his seasickness.
He took eight sol from his bag and handed it over to her.
Normally, Regis would need to claim it from the budget, but they were in a middle of a war and Regis knew the Fourth Imperial Army’s finance very well, so it was fine.
After counting the money, Narissa carefully kept it into her cloth bag.
“Ah… … I should be saying that, you’re a great help.”
“Do you want to go to the feast together? Do you still have anything to ask that I do not know? You could ask the people there as there should be some who would know.”
“May I know the reason for the feast?”
“The village chief would bring out alcohols and food to host a feast once a month, calling it a return of gratitude of sorts .”
“Ahh, a mutual aid fund is it? What a responsible village chief.”
“That’s right! It’s fine if Gis join us for the feast!”
Some money would be collected from the villagers and that fund would be used to help them when they fell sick or got into an accident.
If there was excess money, it would be returned to everyone or used for public projects. For this village, it comes in the form of a feast.
However, Regis could not attend the feast as he did not take part in the mutual aid.
It’s enough to just ask around—— Thinking that way, Regis followed Narissa.
Together with Abidal Evra, they set off towards the village.
Compared to the village chief's house, the older buildings were slightly smaller The reason it was chosen was probably it was located at a corner of the village.
There’s a feast—— From that, Regis thought that there would be many food and alcohols prepared as the villagers gathered to have fun.
However, things were different from what Regis thought. There were not much food and the villagers were sitting beside each other on the floor with a serious expression.
The house was big enough to accommodate about forty people.
However, there were no chairs or tables.
Narissa opened her eyes wide.
“Ahh?! Where’s the food?!
“Ahh, sorry, today is a little… …”
The middle aged man that was speaking kindly to Narissa had his expression changed upon seeing Regis.
The villagers inside the house stood up noisily.
There were some who also picked up fish spears and others kind of tools.
Regis tilted his head.
However, Abidal Evra was not as foolish as Regis as he drew his sword out and stood in front of Regis.
“Sir strategist, quickly leave this area! Please meet up with the other knights!”
The other knight guards also drew their swords.
The remaining villagers also took out their spears and hatchet and took an offensive posture.
Regis was still standing there in a daze.
“Ahh, wait a second.”
“Can’t Sir strategist sense the danger upon seeing this scene?!”
“That is why… Could both parties calm down and talk it out? Calm and reasonably.”
Regis pressed down Abidal Evra’s sword and walked forward.
Towards the villagers, who was frankly speaking, emitting murderous intent.
There were about thirty people.
While their age varies, all of them were male.
Narissa was pale under such dangerous atmosphere while Fippo stood in front of her to protect her.
Regis sat on down of the wooden floor.
“As you can see, I’m not equipped with any weapon.”
Although the nobles would only sit on chairs, Regis was a commoner which was why he was used to this.
“I’m Regis Auric, Third Grade Admin Officer of the Fourth Imperial Army.”
“I’m the village chief, Jean Leo.”
He was younger than Regis expected. He looked about forty.
Regis thought he was older because of his position as village chief and that he hurt his waist.
He had reddish-black skin and had sharp eyes.
His was tall and full of muscles.
Regis spoke calmly.
“While I’m a soldier, my views are different from those in the navy. Looks like some problems had occurred… … Is it possible that you tell me about it?”
The villagers looked at each other.
If it was past Regis who encountered these aggressive men, he would have been frightened to the point that he could not speak or even leak a little. However, he was used to this after experiencing various things.
If Regis gave them time to discuss, it would be troublesome later on. While he could guess what they wanted to do, it was necessary to be clear what they were discontented about.
Without waiting for the village chief to speak, Regis continued his words.
“That reminds me… It’s been almost a month that the navy have come to this village. I believe that they had brought much trouble to you. Did you receive any compensation?”
The village chief bit the bait.
“For borrowing items, providing food or helping out with manual work. The compensation would be paid according to their equivalent value.”
“We did not receive anything at all.”
“If that’s the case, let me communicate with them in your stead. It’s alright, you will be paid properly.”
The villagers whispered among themselves.
The killing intent from earlier had lightened quite a bit.
This time, Regis waited for them to speak.
Finally, the village chief sat properly and said:
“Sir soldier, would you really give us the money?”
The atmosphere was finally fit for speaking calmly.
Regis sighed a breath of relief in his heart.
If it was not about money—— For example, the soldiers mistreating the villagers, they would not even accept the compensation. Thankfully it did not deteriorate that far yet.
“The western region of this area is under the jurisdiction of the Fourth Imperial Army. The commander is Lieutenant General Marie Quatre Argentina du Belgaria. Have you heard of her? She’s the fourth princess of Belgaria.”
“Yes, I have heard of that name before.”
“As she was acknowledged for her achievement, Field Marshall Latreille appointed her. As Her Highness is a smart and fair person, she would thoroughly think through things if you explain things clearly to her.”
Regis mixed a little lie within there.
The one who will be considering the situation would be Regis himself.
The admin work is going to increase again—— Regis sighed in his heart.
The next day afternoon——
Regis took Narissa’s boat once more to enter the sea and finally concluded his observation.
Upon returning, he realised that the village looked as if surrounded by a large army.
The flag was green with a white shield.
“Looks like Her Highness has arrived.”
Abidal Evra nodded happily.
As expected, seeing their comrades in an unfamiliar place made them more relaxed.
Upon reaching the shore, Fippo took a rope from the boat and jumped down. He ran to the embankment to tie the boat down to a piling.
Regis alighted from the boat with his measuring equipment.
He wanted to alight on his own, but he was still having a little seasick, thus was feeling weak.
Told you so! Narissa said while helping out Regis.
“Are you alright, Gis?”
Her hand that was slender and soft under the setting sun was as strong as huge tree branch.
Finally, Regis got onshore.
Leaving aside whether the sand would enter her shoes, she did not sway at all while supporting Regis which showed how reliable she was.
Regis wanted to pick up the luggage that he threw onto the ground, but Narissa had already picked it up for him.
“I will hold that for you, aren’t you still a little seasick?”
“Haha… … It’s better than yesterday… … but you’re a great help.”
“What are you planning to do after this?”
“Looks like Her Highness had arrived. She should be discussing with the vice-admiral right now… … Most likely, we have to engage the enemy soon… …”
Narissa who was always energetic spoke softly which was a rare occurrence.
“Hm? What is it?”
“I’m sorry about yesterday. For them to show such a scary appearance to you… …”
I should be the one to apologise. As the country continued to collect taxes, how can we let the citizens carry such a big burden just because the country is being invaded? This is a fault that we should frown on.”
“It’s great that everyone accepted you because of your words.”
“It isn’t something amazing.”
“Someone from the military came over this morning. It seems like they came to discuss about the compensation. Everyone was looking so impatient recently, but now, everyone’s expression had become much better!”
“In the first place, the vice-admiral intended to pay. It’s just that he was too busy that he forgotten about it.”
“Even so, it was thanks to you!”
Narissa leaned closer to Regis.
Regis back away a little.
“Not at all… …”
Actually, the navy did not intend to pay.
Regis appealed to vice-admiral Bertram last night.
“I believe that you know this… That Her Highness Marie Quatre Argentina du Belgaria is a philanthropist that cares deeply for her citizens. What she hates the most are the country and the nobles squeezing dry the citizens. If she realised that you did not remunerate the villagers while she’s in charge of the western region, won’t your position as an admiral worsen? Being generous to the villagers now is also for the future. Furthermore, this remuneration is a small price to please a royalty… … If you pay the villagers to settle the problem, you can still even get some reimbursement back.”
While Bertram was an old-styled soldier, he was not a stubborn fool.
Rather, he was grateful to Regis who considered his position and quickly sent someone to pay the villagers
To Regis, it was more important to gain the admiral’s trust than gaining the villagers’ gratitude.
In order to carry out the battle to sink High Britannia’s supply ships, gaining the navy’s cooperation was necessary and more effective than the letter of appointment.
However, Narissa did not know to such things.
So she kept expressing her gratitude to him.
“That! To tell the truth, my first impression of you is someone who’s weak and unreliable… … However, it seems you’re someone reliable!”
Fippo who just returned from loading the equipment spoke impatiently.
“Narissa, stop seducing him.”
“Ha?! I’m not! What~? Could it be that you’re jealous?”
“S-Stop joking around!!”
All of a sudden, Abidal Evra pointed at a certain direction.
“That, isn’t that Her Highness?”
Regis shifted his sight to where Abidal Evra pointed.
There was a large group of knights on the beach beyond the village’s embankment.
At the front of them was a girl with red hair and eyes.
“Ah! Alt… … Hm…”
Without noticing, I almost called her nickname. There’re villagers and soldiers around… It’s best to use polite speech.
Altina’s guards were running after her and shouting “Please wait! Your Highness! Please wait for us…!!”
Although Altina was wearing lightly equipped, only Jerome could possibly catch up with Altina who was running at full speed in the entire Fourth Imperial Army.
Just when Regis was still thinking about such thing, Altina had already reached him.
“Your Highness, I’m glad to see you that you’re full of energy.”
Regis said so while lowering his head.
However, Narissa who was at the side grabbed onto Regis’ arm.
A soft and comfortable sensation could be felt at his elbow.
“Who’s this person, Gis?’
“Ahh?! T-This person here is the commander of the Fourth Imperial Army, Lieutenant General Marie Quatre Argentina du Belgaria. She has the highest military rank in this western region and also the fourth imperial princess.”
“That’s not it. I’m asking what is she to you?”
“Me?! Erm… … She’s my employer?”
“Ahh, is that so! So this noble princess here, isn’t Gis’ lover! She’s just a noble person that employed Gis!”
The only one who got a scare hearing Narissa’s words was Regis while Altina only widened her eyes.
Following that, Altina spoke coldly.
Looks like she’s quite angry...
Never before did she have—— No, this is probably the same when Eleanor fooled around by kissing me.
Regis was sweating buckets.
“Y,your Highness? Is there anything wrong? Erm, this person here is Narissa, who’s helping me with investigating the area.”
Regis was given a cold look.
Altina turned and walked away without saying anything.
Regis brushed away Narissa’s arm in a panic and chased after Altina.
“T-That… … Your Highness? Are you feeling unwell anywhere? Or is it that I have done something wrong? As it was too sudden, there’re still many things I have yet to report… …”
“That’s right. There’s only work to talk about with me!”
“Eh? Well, it’s correct to call it work… …”
“It’s just like what Clarisse said!”
“W-What do you mean?”
“Nothing at all! You’re just my strategist! We are not l-lovers anyway! W-what you do with others and where have nothing to do with me! That’s why… she being your lover is fine… … Ughhh… … Idiot!”
“That can’t happen! Something like being my lover! Even if the sea evaporated, it’s also impossible!”
Ehh?! Narissa let out a voice in surprised.
Narissa wanted to chase after Regis but was stopped by Fippo. He spoke with a serious tone.
“You should stop now, Narissa! You could be charged of Lese Majesty by speaking casually in front of a royalty!”
“W-What does that mean?!”
“Really… … You’re an idiot when it comes to things unrelated to the sea… … You’re fine right now because Lady Marie Quatre is kind… … Normally, your speech earlier could result in you being sent to the guillotine.”
“We’re worlds apart… ...We are commoners while she’s a royalty… …”
“How can that be… …”
Narissa looked at the direction Regis was going while feeling dejected.
For a moment, Regis looked back because he was a little concerned.
While he was happy that she was close to him, Regis was someone about to enter the battlefield.
It’s best not to get involved too deeply. I’m a soldier in a war while she’s just a civilian.
Regis did not slow down in chasing after Altina.
The headquarters used by the navy was now called ‘Fourth Imperial Army’s headquarter. Though it was still the village chief’s house.
Altina sat on a sofa while to her left was vice-admiral Bertram, his assistant and the warship captains.
To her right was Jerome who had an impatient look and also the captains of other units.
Regis who was Altina’s strategist was standing by her side.
The increase in garrison unit was not just the navy, but also the knights. The room that was not that wide got even more crowded.
Everyone who was present here had already exchanged greetings.
“——Then let’s start the war council.”
Regis took a deep breath.
Altina was given the authority by Latreille, which was why the navy were supposed to obey her.
Leaving aside the fleet admiral… Regis’ idea would be carried out with much difficulty if they failed to receive the captains’ acknowledgement.
That was because of Altina’s personality. She definitely would not like it if she were to use her authority to force others to submit to her.
Regis opened the sea chart which was on the table.
“There’s something I want to confirm first… When would the Poseidon class ship be arriving?”
It was estimated that the slow Poseidon class ship equipped with hundred and twenty guns was to arrive here today from the southern sea.
Bertram had a bitter look
“Well, that’s ship won’t move without wind after all… … From communicating with them, we estimate they would reach here around dusk… …”
“Understood. Then, we would begin the operation tomorrow morning. First, the battle would occur at——”
Regis began explaining his plans.
The naval officers who was listening and nodding at the start paled after some time.
“T-That… … Are they no other options?”
“This is already the best strategy I can come up with… Perhaps I may be able to come up with a better one, but we don’t have the time to expect something like that. If we are late in sinking the enemy’s supply ships, the enemy would receive a large quantity of supplies. This would cause the capital to fall and also inflict a damage to the Empire that not even a hundred years would be enough to recover from.”
Bertram was a little taken aback.
Even if the capital falls, the nation would not immediately be destroyed.
Against an opponent that was not even twenty thousand, Belgaria’s emperor would not simply take the beating lying down.
However, if the emperor was to escape, neighbouring countries would rush here and the lords who submitted to Belgaria through force would rise to rebellion.
They dare not to imagine how vulnerable the Empire would be if that happened.
Regis shifted his sight to the sea chart.
“Then, I will continue explaining the battle plan. High Britannia’s princess class 74 guns ships uses the Triple-Expansion Steam Piston Engine to move. The most important point is the screw propeller below their hull. I believe everyone here know they can move without any wind.”
“Definitely, that is the most troublesome point.”
Bertram and those in the navy had a surprised look.
“Eh? In terms of boats, the propeller is their sails… … So that should be considered a weaknesses. However, that isn’t something we can hit it easily. Not only is the propeller small, it is also located under the water. It’s possible to hit them if we’re on land, however boats are something that will sway. It’s even more difficult when we exchanged fire.”
“As expected, it’s hard to hit the propeller… … Well, it’s true that the propeller is located at a difficult place, but it’s alright. I have a countermeasure for that.”
“Could you elaborate on it?”
The admiral and the captains who had a stern face looked puzzled after hearing his explanation. This was probably what they meant when describing something you don’t trust completely, but hope to be true..
This can’t be helped. Regis thought.
As captains, they were more used to thinking themselves than listening to commands. Furthermore, the idea that was proposed today was unorthodox.
Though the most important point was that Regis’ achievements was only in land battle, which meant nothing to the navy. Furthermore, his age and rank was lower than theirs, so it was unlikely for them to be convinced right off the bat.
However, there was no time to gain their trust.
“How about it…?”
“Ah, it isn’t impossible.”
However, Bertram and the rest could not make up their mind.
Altina stared at the admiral.
“How is it? Is Regis’ idea possible?”
“No matter what, this is unprecedented. We won’t know without trying… …”
“Is it worth a try?”
“And we just have a perfect candidate to try on. Since we aren’t god and can’t say anything for sure… … But let’s do our best for those who died in this war.”
Altina’s words were unexpectedly heavy. She probably was affected by the battle earlier on. Although she was a beautiful and dignified girl, she also had an unfathomable strength.
Bertram nodded in shame. He shut his mouth tight and stood up, putting his right fist on his left chest and saluted.
“As you will. I will spare no effort on it!”
“I’ll leave it to you, thank you.”
Following that, Bertram turned to his subordinates.
And spoke to them with a tone usually used on confidants.
“Gentlemen, I believed that everyone of you still have some hesitation as we never have done anything similar to what this strategist had proposed… … However, are we just going to await defeat to come? This isn’t the attitude the prideful Imperial Navy should have!”
“Does the admiral think this is workable…?”
A middle aged captain asked.
Bertram shook his head.
“That, I do not know… … However, do we have any other choice? We went to Trouin’s sea battle full of confident that we would win. However, I believe everyone here know the result, we couldn’t triumph against their steamships… … Aren’t you ashamed of yourself just because you’re afraid of trying that new idea and wasting your time away?!”
“Ku… … We aren’t afraid… …”
The captain muttered while wavering.
Altina gave them a final push.
“I’m willing to listen if there’s an alternative. However, Regis had already said it. We do not have the time to wait for a strategy that may or may not come. We can only use the best strategy available to us. The enemy will not be waiting for you.”
Despite feeling a little worried, the captains did not object anymore.
They were the admiral’s subordinates. Different from soldiers inland, they were more independent.
Conversely, if they were willing to help, they would be united as one.
The living room fell into silent for quite some time.
A rather plump captain sudden stood up.
“Uhuhu! Isn’t that interesting! Let’s blow away High Britannia in one go!”
Finally, the other captains also stood up and saluted.
“Just as Your Highness had said, allow us to participate in this battle.”
The captain earlier on spoke with a shameful tone for wavering for a moment.
The fleet admiral once more saluted to Altina.
“I’ll go and prepare for the battle now!”
“Thank you. I’m grateful to hear this from you. I’ll leave it to you.”
Altina had a gentle look and returned a salute.
After the admiral and his subordinates left, Abidal Evra and the guards also left the house to guard outside.
Leaving aside Regis, there were only Altina and Jerome.
Hu~ Altina leaned on the sofa.
“That’s great. We can finally proceed with the battle.”
Hmph! Jerome sneered.
“I heard that Bertram had suffered a loss before this. If we win, he can make up for his defeat. If we lose, he could blame it on us outsiders. What a thankless job, isn’t it, Regis?”
He said in a mocking tone to Regis.
“Thanks to that, we obtained their cooperation… … If we didn’t do that, I do not know when we we have a conclusion...”
“This shouldn’t be a time to pursue whose responsibility is this!”
“That’s right. Even though it isn’t as exaggerated that the Empire will perish soon… … But it can’t be helped. I do not have any achievement in the sea and asking them to believe me is impossible.”
“But, they would believe you once the first part of your plan succeed.”
“It would be great if that’s the case… …”
Jerome laughed and asked.
“What? Can it succeed?”
“It will succeed… At least for the first part.”
“That isn’t it… … I just happen to know it… … I’m not that confident. It’s just as the princess said, we had to obtain their trust even we are to suffer some losses. Though they would believe me once there’s some result.”
He placed such a large bet on the naval battle because of an even more dangerous battle that will come after. Hence this was necessary.
Jerome looked at the sea chart.
“Well, that’s right… … It would succeed for sure. After all, it’s your forte in using those unpleasant trickeries in battles.”
“No no, it isn’t unpleasant at all.”
“Hmph… … It isn’t just the enemy who’s getting fooled, isn’t it?”
“N-No, That is… … simply using all strategies available to its limits.”
Regis lowered his head.
Jerome continued to smirk.
“Well, that’s fine. I’ll leave the sea battle to you. So? I will stay behind to guard the place? Don’t tell me you’re asking me to board the ship?”
“If possible, I wanted you to rest as much as possible… … However, problems could arise if we do not properly watch how things unfold… …”
“I’m fine with it unless I’m not bored. Just riding the horse would dull my sword.”
Beside Jerome, Altina stretched her body over.
“Is Regis going to board the ship?”
“That’s right… … I’ll be accompanying the admiral since the important point is in the sea.”
“I’m going too if that’s the case!”
“I’m going even if you say no! There is nothing to do on land if the sea battle succeeds, right? If that’s the case, I’ll definitely go!”
“No, that is… …”
Looks like I won’t be able to convince her—— Regis thought. Altina would not go back on her words at such situation.
After thinking for awhile, Regis dropped his shoulders.
“Haa… … It can’t be helped.”
She’s always in her own pace. While she looked like she’s not considering anything, she actually thought things through. Furthermore, she always acts according to her beliefs.
“Does Regis think that it’s better if I’m not there?”
“That isn’t the case… … Even if the chances of getting hit are one out of a hundred volleys, leaving aside the distance, we would not get hit normally… … However, there is still one out of hundred chance that would hit us… … If it’s you, you definitely will not lose in a close combat. However, you wouldn’t be able to do anything when the cannonball comes flying… … Please don’t forget that.”
“Even I know about that!”
“Also… … You have to listen to the captain while you’re on the boat. Even though the captains are under the command of the admiral, you still have the authority to strip them of their position if you wish. However, the sailors would only listen to someone that they are used to, understand?”
“Yes! I promised!”
“Well… … In my opinion, it’s better if you stay on land. Any wrong move would result in three seventy-four guns ship surrounding us, which is two hundred twenty three guns blowing us to bits.”
“We just need to avoid doing the wrong moves!”
“That reminds me, can’t you be a captain? Did you not read it before?”
“I will get seasick… …”
“Ah, is that so?”
“How about you?”
“I sail down a lake with a small boat before?”
“I experienced it before too, but this is totally different. Well, the military ships should be more stable than fishing ships… Probably… … However, are you fine if the sailors laughed at you, a princess, getting seasick and fainted?”
“That could be more worrying than getting attacked by the cannons… …”
For the first time, Altina showed a disheartened look.
Jerome had a ‘could not be bothered’ face and went out to grab some alcohol.
“You guys can have fun getting seasick while I go get sick from a hangover.”