Chapter 6: Miscalculation
Editors: Darkdhaos, Ruzenor, Seir K
Passing through a vineyard, they entered the forest.
This road that was covered sparsely by trees ran through several hills, leading all the way to west Langobalt.
Stones and dried branches were scattered on the ground, twisted roots formed cracks on the tough surface of the ground.
For normal knights, the legs of the horses would be pricked and they would fall easily. That’s how the road was.
However, as expected of the Belgaria Imperial First Army elite escort knights. They could move like the wind even on road conditions as terrible as this.
In the beginning, Regis was still worried.
— Is it fine for me to grab the Field Marshall Latreille, who is going to be the Emperor?
— I’m going to fall! I’m going to fall!
He felt it was terrifying when he rode on Altina’s horse… But that was nothing compared to this.
They maintained top speed.
And they were shaking intensely.
He couldn’t spare the effort to think. If he didn’t grab on tightly, he would fall.
If he fell onto the stone covered ground at this speed…
There were also many knights following behind. Will he fall to death, or get trampled to death?
There were several times when Regis felt that he couldn’t go on.
His hands were tired, and he was losing his grip.
— Ughh… Is this… the end?
When he was with Altina, he would sit in front of her most of the time. He could grab the head of the horse and hold on to its mane.
Although the horse might feel pain if he grabbed their mane.
As he was sitting behind, he could only hug onto Latreille tightly.
— So big.
Was it because of his armor? It made Latreille’s body feel larger and stronger than usual.
— So this is… the man who will become Emperor?
And this was an opponent he had to face.
Even though they were fighting on the same side now, once the Grebauvar campaign ends, Regis would revert back to his identity as Altina’s strategist.
Since their political ideals were in conflict, they would have to stand on opposite sides.
Klang! His body was airborne.
His body was floating up, and almost fell off the back of the horse.
He held on for dear life.
Even though he wasn’t running, his heart was pounding wildly. He kept panting as his body shivered.
Latreille kept his eyes to the front and said:
“Don’t fall now, Sir Regis.”
“There are several roads to the west of the fortress. From the intelligence we have on hand, there are routes to Langobalt, West Langobalt, and to the sea through the mountains.”
Seemed like Latreille had memorized the map of the surrounding area.
As expected of him. Regis wish Altina could learn that too.
“So why did you think it’s this route? The direction of escape is…”
The Queen of High Britannia definitely escaped through here — Regis thought
“I-It must be this road leading to West Langobalt.”
“Only this road is wide enough for a carriage to pass through.”
“It’s true that the other routes are passable with horses, but not carriages. But what is going on here? They are using carriages?”
“The queen needs to ride in a carriage? It’s difficult to understand. Even if the Queen can’t ride a horse, they could still bring her along anyway.”
“T-That’s right… But Queen Margaret must ride in a carriage.”
“Why are you so sure!?”
“During the battle with the Seventh Army, the Black Knights assaulted them from the rear. The headquarters where the Queen of High Britannia had been positioned was in grave danger. Despite such a situation... She still sat in a prominent black carriage.”
“Maybe it will be different this time.”
“Her staff officers will suggest that she should escape on a horse!”
“... If she was a Queen that could accept such suggestions, she wouldn’t have followed the army on this campaign, or occupied Grebauvar city.”
“Maybe her personality changes frequently, and she will willingly get onto a horse.”
‘That, is impossible.”
“How can you be so certain!?”
“... Even if she wants to ride a horse out of stubbornness, the people around her won’t think so.”
“... They will think she is so afraid of the Imperial Army that she abandoned her carriages during her escape… That’s why.”
“Her pride huh. But that doesn’t change the fact that she is fleeing?’
“If there is another goal, it can be called a different approach. For example, they had to attack Fort Bonaire even though the Imperial capital was right before them… It was the same for their retreat.”
Latreille turned silent.
Regis was conjecturing the personality of the High Britannia Queen from past events.
She was someone who would never escape by herself on a carriage alone.
And if her staff officers could persuade the Queen, she wouldn’t have occupied Grebauvar city, but returned straight to High Britannia.
“If it is for her principles, it might be possible for her to stay in the fortress right? Even though the command authority is held by the King of Langobalt.”
“... If that is so, then our action this time will just be wasted.”
“Fu, you made me go so fast, only to return empty handed?
“The odds of capturing the Queen of High Britannia is equally high though?’
An earth shaking sound came from behind them.
Latreille merely glanced back for a moment.
“Hmm!? What happened!?”
“... That should be the activation of the final device.”
“Unleashing the flood? What kind of effect would it actually have? Is it really powerful enough to decide the battle?”
Regis only read about it from a book and was enacting this tactic for the very first time.
If the things recorded in the books were different from the real thing, maybe the amount of water held back by the dam won’t be enough to defeat the enemy completely.
And at that point, even though they have the high ground, the exhausted knights corps would probably have a hard fight before them.
That was why they built a wall downstream too.
If the water flooded the first level of the fort, it would be impossible for the enemy to hold on for long. So in the end, they could definitely take back Grebauvar.
A sharp whistle came from the front.
That was something used by the First Army.
That was the whistle of the scouts who moved ahead.
Latreille spurred on his horse to go faster.
There was a right turn in front. The body of the horse tilted completely to the right, so far they even touched the branches to the side.
Pip, the leaves hit Regis in the face.
He wanted to twist his body to the left out of fear, but he would probably lose his balance and fall if he did that, it was very dangerous.
When he rode with Altina, she mentioned ‘Don’t move if you don’t want to die’.
Regis grit his teeth and steadied his body.
His field of vision widened.
In front of the narrow strait of road—
He could see the figure of soldiers who had their rifle at the ready.
It was the High Britannia riflemen!
Regis exhaled from shock and froze.
Latreille drew his sword.
He sped up instead.
The knight escorts roared and charged after him.
At the same time, gunshots rang out.
His breathing was ragged.
Oswald Coulthard swung his blade.
The Imperial Knights were wearing armor. The sword went through the gap under the armpit and pierced his heart.
The Belgarian Knight twisted, and fell off his horse.
Oswald pulled his reins and drew near the black carriage.
“Queen Margaret, please come this way!”
The High Britannian Queen was sitting in a light carriage for two. It wasn’t a box type, but closer to a couch being covered on the sides and front, and wheels mounted onto it. It was small enough for a human to pull it, but a horse was drawing it. This was called a cabriolé, a two wheeled carriage drawn by one horse.
Queen Margaret Steelart curled her knees and sat on the couch.
She flicked her hair a little unhappily.
“Ara ara, Oswald, can you help me? My hair is a mess. Where did I leave my comb?”
“... My deepest apologies. Can the elegant Queen Margaret please bear with this?”
“You are always like this. Always. You are going to become Mr Fish again okay?’
“... I am very sorry… The knights that attacked us are probably scouts… I think their main forces are pursuing us.”
“Fufu… How troubling? Is this the end of the road?”
“It is just as the wise Queen Margaret says. Please ride on the horse over here!”
She crossed her arms, pushing up her bountiful breasts. As her clothes were rather thin, the round shapes could be seen clearly.
“... I understand.”
Oswald backed down, he probably expected such an answer.
Normally, even if the two of them shared a ride, there was no telling that they could escape. That was how fast the Belgarian riders were.
Oswald wasn’t wearing armor, Margaret probably weighed less than the full plate armour worn by the Imperial horsemen.
However, the horses were different.
Even the best horse in Grebauvar couldn’t match the horses of his adversary.
Or rather, as expected of the Imperial First Army.
Gun reports rang out behind him.
This was the ambush team he deployed along the route firing.
— They got here so fast.
This was a mean of stalling for time. If this could stop the enemy, make them wary and advance slowly, maybe he could escape…
What little expectation Oswald had was shattered so simply.
The sound of the hooves drew near.
“... I know war doesn’t always go as we wish… But this is it. Everyone, please hold them back.”
They were being hunted, and it seemed he had braced himself for the fact that they couldn’t escape.
He couldn’t surrender.
If the horse that was running at full speed gets hit, it won’t end so easily with just a heavy injury. He couldn’t let Margaret take any risk.
And since he couldn’t escape, it would be better to issue an easy to accomplish task to the escorting guards.
Oswald issued one order after another quickly.
“The twenty soldiers behind get down from your horses and go into the forest! If anyone comes near Her Majesty, shoot him! But don’t shoot the enemy commander!”
The soldiers at the rear rank obeyed the order, dismounted and hid in the forest with their rifles.
“The soldiers further back are to form road blocks, three to a team! If you see any pursuing enemies, aim for the horse head!”
The heavy armored knights stood to the side. She was First Lieutenant Glenda Graham.
“Sir Oswald! I will buy us some time!”
“My deepest thanks, Glenda. But please don’t push yourself.”
“Yes Sir! But how did the Imperial forces notice us?”
When Oswald realized the scheme of the Belgarians, he estimated the time when the citizens would escape, and use that chance to withdraw.
This should be the time when the enemy’s attention on the fortress was the weakest.
As they had travelled quite some distance before the enemy caught up, the chances of them noticing right at the start was low.
They only noticed after the fact.
And there were several routes to the west of the fortress.
Why did they notice that we picked this route? Or did they send soldiers down the other paths too?
— If the pursuers are few in number, we can fend them off…
The Imperial knights appeared behind them.
They were in a single file, so Oswald couldn’t tell their exact numbers. But from the sound of the hooves, there were quite a number, not just a dozen or two.
— Which meant the opponent saw through the fact that Oswald would choose this route.
It was going to be a melee battle.
The Imperial riders thrust out their lances.
The guards started to engage.
The one shooting from on top of the horse was Glenda who was wearing heavy armour with several rifles on her back and on the horse.
“How can I let you bastards reach Sir Oswald!”
The bullet pierced the breastplate of the Imperial soldier.
He fell with a scream.
However, Imperial soldiers emerged from behind him one after another.
She shot the loaded rifle, dropping it after she fired and picked up another loaded rifle to shoot.
The bullets flew out.
But the enemy didn’t stop.
The Belgarian horsemen weren’t stopping. They came closer and thrust their lances.
Glenda ditched her rifle and held a pike.
She dodged her opponent’s attack and thrust at the same time. Aiming for the side of the rider’s abdomen.
“Gah… Glory to the Empire… Ah.”
With a slurred sound, he grabbed onto his enemy’s pike — Glenda’s pike. And from behind this man, another rider appeared.
— I can’t pull the pike back!
Glenda let go and drew the sword on her waist.
She knocked away the Imperial soldier’s lance — and stabbed his throat — Or that was how it should be.
She hit the lance with enough force to break the sword, but her opponent’s lance kept thrusting at her.
The personal combat ability of the Imperial First Army was higher than Glenda expected.
“What!? … Guu!?”
The side of her abdomen was hot.
As if her organs were burning.
— But I can still fight!
She slashed at her opponent’s neck.
But her opponent was going far away from her.
She finally noticed, it wasn't the enemy pulling away, she was the one who fell.
Her vision tumbled.
Glenda gripped her sword and fell to the ground. Head first.
A dull crunch came from her neck. She wouldn’t move ever again.
The Belgarian horsemen stepped over the fallen bodies and charged at the carriage where the High Britannia Queen was.
Latreille’s horse was in the middle of the formation.
Regis gave out instructions:
“There should be an ambush in the forest! Stop them from firing!”
Some of the riders dismounted and entered the forest.
Gun shots were fired.
Followed by death throes.
The soldiers ambushing in the forest were subdued quickly.
They just needed to capture the High Britannia Queen and the mission would be accomplished.
Even so, twenty Imperial soldiers still fell.
Latreille spurred his horse forth.
Onto the road in the forest.
The sun was about to set, and the surroundings were dark.
All the High Britannia troops hiding in the forest had been dealt with by the Belgarians.
With the advance and retreat path blocked, the High Britannians were completely surrounded.
In the middle of the encirclement was a black two wheeled carriage that appeared very high class. As the path ahead was blocked, it had stopped.
And before that carriage were the corpses of several Imperial soldiers.
One man was standing in front to protect the Queen.
He even lost his horse.
His sword was full of chinks.
But that man was still standing.
He was the de facto commander of the High Britannian forces, Oswald Coulthard.
A faint smile was on his face.
Latreille rode forth from the midst of his knights.
He looked down from his horse.
“Fu… You actually defeated so many of my elite soldiers… Looks like High Britannia has excellent knights too.”
“... And you are the Field Marshall of the Belgarian Empire, Prince Allen Deux Latreille de Belgaria, correct?”
“I am humbled by your presence. I am Colonel Oswald Coulthard of the High Britannian army.”
Regis was still seated behind Latreille.
He leaned to the side of Latreille and looked at Oswald.
— So this is Colonel Oswald Coulthard.
He was thinner than Regis imagined. He was about Regis’ height. Maybe it was his gentle smile, Regis couldn’t tell that he was that strong.
There was no doubt that he was an extraordinary swordsman.
“Oswald Coulthard… I heard this name many times during this war. So you are the right hand man of Queen Margaret, and the de facto commander of the High Britannia forces?”
“... Preposterous. The perfect Queen Margaret doesn’t need any right hand man, and Her Majesty is not a soldier. And it is impossible for a mediocre person like myself to command an army.”
“Fu… Then who devised the numerous vicious schemes?”
“You are calling them vicious? On the battlefield, those with powerful sword and spears using strength and techniques to slaughter those weaker than them are undoubtedly just… But for the weak to devise plans to defeat one’s foe is wrong, inhumane and unscrupulous… Is that what your Highness wants to say?”
Even though Oswald paused often during his speech, he kept on going.
“I am not refuting the use of tactics. But forcing your subordinates to blow themselves up and using citizens as shields are too vicious.”
“In that case, issuing the orders to charge where people will definitely die, imposing heavy taxes where many will starve to death, what about them? Are they vicious?”
No matter what, both sides would result in casualty.
But Latreille answered unhesitantly.
“Wrong — Those who die in a charge were not good enough. It was neither the training nor the talent, but they’re just not lucky enough. It’s the same for the citizens. The world isn’t so gentle that you can die happily on your deathbed if you work seriously. Farmers, merchants and soldiers are all the same… Doing all they can and squeezing all their wits to live on, but they couldn’t survive without luck. That was what living means — But issuing suicide missions to soldiers and holding captured citizens as shields, what else can you call it other that vicious?”
“I see… As expected of the brilliant Prince Allen de Latreille. I am convinced.”
“I answered your question though? So you should answer mine. Were you the one who devised all those unscrupulous tactics?”
“It was all planned by me.”
“... Is that so. Your morales might be vague, but your brilliance does shine. It will be a pity to kill you here. Why not work for me?”
The soldiers around him were in an uproar.
It was rare to see someone recruiting the de facto commander of an enemy nation.
Oswald smiled faintly.
“... I am fortunate enough to serve Queen Margaret the glorious. It brings me the greatest joy, and I have never thought about letting this go.”
When they heard that name, Latreille and the other soldiers all cast their gaze behind Oswald.
The person sitting on the two wheeled carriage was Queen Margaret.
Such carriages should have attendants, but they have either abandoned the carriage and ran, or got killed in battle. In any case, Margaret was seated there alone.
After meeting the eyes of Latreille, Margaret tilted her head.
“Oh… You are like a young lion, Prince Latreille.”
“I am standing before you as the Field Marshall of the Belgarian Army, Queen of High Britannia.”
“Fufufu, what a frightening look. Are you going to kill me? I am about to be killed… How scary.”
“I would have ordered for the arrows to be loose if I wanted to kill you. I will imprison you. That way, the High Britannia Kingdom would be more inclined to negotiate.”
“Ara ara, a great nation like Belgaria would do something like holding hostages? How small minded. I am disappointed.”
“Making a fool disappointed can be considered a compliment.”
“... A fool? Perchance, are you referring to me?’
“Compared to the surrounding countries, High Britannia possessed such overwhelming technological advantage. Despite holding such a good hand of cards, you ended up like this. You will go down on the list of foolish monarchs.”
“Fufufu… Ara, that’s right.”
“Surrender if you cherish your life. If you wish for an honorable death, I advise you to surrender instead. If I have to cross swords with you, I guarantee you will have a horrible ending that befits your foolish ways.”
“... Pfft… Pfft ha… Ahahahahaha!”
Margaret laughed shrilly.
Why was she laughing?
Even Latreille was baffled.
“... What happened? Is she…? Has she gone mad?”
The knights took a step back as if they just saw a monster.
“No, she is just névrose du narcissistic.”
Latreille turned his head.
With the powerful Oswald before him, turning his head is really dangerous — Regis thought.
“Can I come down?”
With the help of the Knight escorts, Regis got down from Latreille’s horse.
He was just ten paces away from Oswald.
It was a bit far to hold a conversation, but when he thought about the fallen knights at his feet, Regis didn’t want to go closer.
“... Queen Margaret yearned to be a ‘special existence’. And is deeply convinced that she is ‘special’. I think that even in such a situation, you are still hoping sincerely to be ‘special’.”
He twisted his butt as he said that. Because of the intense ride for an hour, his butt felt a stinging pain.
Margaret smiled wryly and said:
“Fufufu… You said something interesting. Who are you?”
“... Nice to meet you. I am Fifth Grade Admin Officer Regis Auric—”
“He is the strategist Regis d’Auric.”
Latreille corrected him.
Regis scratched his head fearfully.
“Well… That’s my position. I am seconded temporarily to the First Army as the Fourth Army’s strategist.”
Oswald looked surprised.
Regis’ appearance must look surprising to him.
He was a famous strategist in the Empire after all, so Oswald was probably expecting a more imposing figure.
“I see… So it’s you… No wonder our escape route was seen through.”
“... Yes. By analyzing the personality of the High Britannia Queen, this would be the result.”
As the possibility that they escaped by other routes weren’t zero, several soldiers were dispatched down those paths too.
It appears they would be making an empty trip.
Margaret said very happily:
“Ara? Since this is the first time we met, what do you know about me?”
“... As your authority over High Britannia is strong enough to declare war on other states, I can deduce the character of the ruler from the country’s policies. On top of that, I could tell from the movement of the unit in this war too.”
“Oh, and so?”
“... The actions of Queen Margaret… thinks of herself as special, believes deeply that she is extraordinary, all these are based on her narcissism. The tendency of such a person is to speak in overconfident tones, and always seeking praises from others. For example, she would keep someone who always compliments her by her side.”
Margaret looked Oswald’s way.
“As she is always seeking praise from others, she is not concerned with the feelings of others. She will easily think of extremist ideals and set unrealistic goals. — Using the forces of an island nation to attack the Empire that is the strongest of the continent.”
“Fufufu… How fascinating. Are you saying I have an illness?”
“Yes. In other words, Queen Margaret’s personality is a ‘common’ thing in the discussion of scholars. You just happen to be royalty.”
“... What did you say?”
The smile vanished from Margaret’s face for the first time.
“Although research in this field is just beginning, it will take some years before such a branch of study is recognized.”
And if it is not acknowledged as academia, it won’t be widespread as a discipline among the nobles.
“Someone like me… is actually… common!?”
“Correct. However, even though this is an illness, it doesn’t require treatment… It’s just that your action, speech and values will have a certain tendency— just to that extent. The serious cases will have trouble in everyday life. It’s written in the books, for example, the symptoms include a huge gap in understanding the situation, or inability to hold a conversation with others.”
Margaret averted her eyes.
“I’m thirsty. I want to have some tea.”
The topic changed suddenly.
“I am tired of such long talks. This should be enough right? The conclusion has been reached.”
“...No, the conclusion isn’t out yet. Diverting your attention elsewhere in a middle of a conversation isn’t proof of a brilliant mind and quick wittedness. This is simply the lack of ability to think. As your thinking is too shallow, you won’t be able to discover new ideas, and will reduce the stimulation to your brain.”
“If you desire more knowledge, you can deduce more things from one example, and raise more questions that are worthy of contemplation. If you are tired of it after such a short time, it just proves that you are lacking in your studies.”
“Tch! You are… treating me like a fool again…”
Her voice was quivering.
Margaret who was lying elegantly on the couch all this while had a scowl of anger on her face.
She gritted her teeth.
Regis didn't back down.
“... Ostracizing those who don’t acknowledge your value… Refusing to put in the hard work and always craving for simple compliments. Bestowing an unrealistic ideal to the citizens, flaming their delusion and starting a reckless war… And the result is the death of many lives.”
“Is that so? It’s a war that would be recorded in the history books after all. It’s only natural that people will die.”
“... Recorded in history? Well, maybe a line or so.”
Margaret looked shocked.
‘... Have you studied history properly? Not recent history, but the books chronicling the founding of your nation until present times. Although High Britannia will restart the count whenever a new monarch is coronated, but we still know that it has been 300 years since the current government system has been formed. Do you know how many wars were waged during that period? Exactly 100 years ago, there was a war. You remember who the opposing nation was?”
“H-How can I remember all of that?”
“It was the Belgarian Empire.”
“The Belgarian Empire back then expanded its front lines, and even started a war against High Britannia beyond the ocean. In the end, they retreated with the worsening of the eastern front lines. Even though the territory didn’t increase or decrease, and the sovereignty didn’t change… It was still an important event for the people back then… However, the history books barely made any mention of this incident, and would just write a couple of lines when it is mentioned occasionally. Ah, I haven’t read too many history books on High Britannia, so I don’t know how your nation treated this incident… Looks like Your Majesty didn’t know either?”
“A-Are you saying that this war will be treated like that in the end too?”
“If you had learned history properly, you wouldn’t even need to ask this.”
“But… How could it be… Because… I started the war!”
“For the long flow of history, this is just a common scene. Even approaching it from the military perspective, the High Britannia Kingdom still lost, so the argument that ‘this war was the key to the era of knights changing to the era of rifles’ will not be convincing. After all, the Empire won— Many leaders would think that way. In order to change archaic values, a major event with no room for debate will be needed.”
Margaret turned silent.
“... You are really harsh.”
“You already know all this, right? Because you knew, that’s why you could manipulate Her Majesty. Is this all for your desire to make it big?”
“Not at all. I just want to serve Her Majesty.”
“... Why are you doing this? Fulfilling her misguided wish would just worsen her immature thinking, you should understand that.”
“Even the parts of her that are broken are lovely in my eyes.”
His smile remained unchanged.
Regis felt a chill on his back. When he thought of the fact that this man is the commander of a national army, his back felt even colder.
“For that to actually…”
Regis could only sigh.
Latreille stepped forward.
“I understand the reasons now. I admire your competency in military strategies… But I can’t recruit a deviant like you who leads your nation to ruin. If you will not back down, I will not show mercy.”
He dismounted and drew his treasure sword.
The knight escorts around him were in an uproar.
“Field Marshall, leave this to us!”
“This guy is too dangerous!”
“Please let us handle this!”
Latreille went closer to Oswald.
“In the war with High Britannia, many soldiers died because of my immaturity in tactics. I can’t let good men die anymore.”
Latreille faced off against Oswald.
“That’s what you want, right?”
“Although you know that, you are still indulging me with a duel… As expected, the personalities of Belgarian royals are all very interesting.”
Even though Latreille was calm and acted maturely, he was Altina’s older brother after all, he thought.
He won’t back down from a challenge.
Oswald saw through that, that’s why he killed all those knight escorts.
— There is still the question of how many knights he needed to kill before Latreille steps forth, but Oswald achieved this goal, so his skills are extraordinary.
Latreille wiggled the tip of his blade.
“What’s the matter? Your wish came true… What are you waiting for?”
“Nothing, I am just very grateful. Grateful to you for granting me victory!”
Latreille was the one who charged in first.
The distance of ten paces was covered instantly.
It was similar to the night duel during the Founding Day Festival he had with Altina back in April.
The slash was just for an instant.
Oswald twisted his body. It glanced through his shoulders, but it merely cut his clothes.
He made use of the speed of Latreille to close the distance and stabbed at Latreille’s left shoulder.
“Your movements are rather dull, is your armor too heavy?”
“Cut out the nonsense!”
Even though Latreille dodged when he was about to be hit, blood still dripped from the gaps of his armor.
His arm was injured.
His left arm slumped weakly.
He probably couldn’t exert strength with it.
The armours of the knights around them clattered as they picked up their swords and lances.
However, this was a one on one duel, it was despicable to help from the side.
Oswald launched a consecutive attack
Most of the attacks slid off the armor, but the others that stabbed into the gaps of the armor wounded Latreille’s arm and flank.
The escorts became rowdy.
“Can the Field Marshall take him!?”
Latreille glared at his opponent.
“No killing intent at all. Are you trying to take me prisoner!?”
“Fufu… in order to save the glorious Queen Margaret, I need a hostage of equal standing.”
“Hmmp, how is that equal! You dare compare me to the Queen of a small nation like High Britannia!?”
“In that case, I will ask for a higher ransom when I release you.”
Oswald increased the speed of his attacks.
Even though Latreille also swung his sword, he couldn’t hit from this distance and missed.
He had the disadvantage of his left arm being immobile, so Latreille was being attacked one sidedly. The situation was dire.
“Fufufu… I see, I see. I felt your rash approach earlier was strange… so that’s why.”
Latreille seemed to turn stiff.
“Your eyes are losing their light.”
Latreille pursed his lips tightly.
The guards were in a commotion.
But Regis wasn't surprised. He had considered this possibility after much thought.
When he saw Latreille moving as if his eyes were fine, Regis thought he had recovered. But when he fought an opponent on the same level as him, the effect would show.
— As expected, Prince Latreille has trouble with his eyes.
Oswald was laughing so hard that his shoulders were trembling.
“Fufu… in this dim light, you can’t see my sword anymore right?’
“Ha, hahahaha… I thought so! I thought so! This is proof that Queen Margaret who is loved by the gods is a special existence! In such a desperate situation, such a miraculous stroke of luck arrived! This proves that only someone as great as Her Majesty is chosen by the gods!”
“... So long winded”
“Thank you for your compliment! Wonderful… Just wonderful! Ohh, I am so moved that my whole body is shaking. A miracle! This is a miracle! The shining Queen Margaret is a peerless existence! The only one in this world!!”
Latreille braced his sword and thrust forth.
“Fool! I just have slight difficulty in seeing things, my victory remains unshakable!”
“There is no way you can win if you can’t see.”
Oswald’s sword pressed close to Latreille’s chest—
The direction of the thrust changed suddenly.
With a speed that Regis’ eyes couldn’t keep up with.
Fortunately, Latreille should be able to see that. But he didn’t dodge.
His right thigh was pierced.
“... It’s over.”
“That’s why I say you are a fool!”
The left arm that was slumped all this while grabbed Oswald’s right hand suddenly.
“What!? I definitely pierced it earlier!”
“How can such a thin sword harm my body!!”
Latreille slashed his sword down.
With his wrist held, Oswald couldn’t pull away. The attack would definitely hit.
Oswald lifted his left arm to block.
The sword cut into his left arm, and then—
The Sword of the Emperor Arme Victoire Volonte cut from Oswald’s left shoulder all the way to his chest.
“Ahhh!? Ahhh!? Arggghhhhhhhh——!!”
Blood gushed from his wounds.
He wouldn’t be able to lift a sword with that hand anymore.
And his sword was left stabbed into Latreille’s leg. Latreille’s agile movement almost made others forget about his wounds. At the very least, his left arm and right leg are severely injured.
There was no doubt his injuries were serious, but Latreille remained standing nonchalantly.
He thrust his bloodied sword into the air.
“We are victorious!”
Wahhh, the escorts crowded around Latreille.
“I-Instead of that, these wounds!”
“Bring the Field Marshall back to base, hurry!”
“He can’t ride a horse with these wounds, get a doctor!”
“What are you saying!? It took two hours for us to get here!?”
They argued ceaselessly.
The unit lacked direction because Latreille was heavily injured, and the guard commander was killed by Oswald.
“... Use that carriage then.”
The guards looked in the direction Regis was pointing.
Right before them was Margaret’s carriage.
The murderous guards approached with their swords in hand.
“Oh, that’s right! Let’s use this carriage!”
“What about that woman?”
“Kill… No, our orders are to… Hmm?”
Ah! They gasped in surprise.
When he heard their panicked yell, Regis ran over.
Blood was dripping from the black couch on the carriage.
Margaret’s lips raised slightly.
On the left of her slender waist— at her flank was the hilt of a knife. It was a fruit knife.
“Fu, fufufu… I… Won’t become a prisoner. Because I am not afraid to die. I won’t bow down to you.”
“Aha… Haha… Surprised?”
Her face was paler than paper.
Rage filled Regis’ belly. He noticed that it had been a while since he got angry.
“T… To think that you are this retarded. You have the obligation to take responsibility for this war. Even if you want to die, you will need permission from Belgaria. To think that you are about to turn your death into something meaningless so hastily!”
“... I don’t care about all that… I will live if I want, and die whenever I want.”
“Regrettably, I will definitely make you live!”
The knight escorts were helpless. In the end, all they know is how to kill.
“W-What should we do? Sir Strategist…?”
“Lay the unit banner on the ground and move the Queen there! Take off her clothes and expose the wound. Looks like the knife is stabbed into the side of her abdomen. And bring all the water here!”
The knights carried Margaret out from the carriage.
She glared at him.
“T-This hurts… Such pain… I, will… definitely die…”
“If you are still so energetic, you will definitely be saved. I have seen countless dead people. But with the proper treatment, you will definitely be saved.”
“Fufu… Adequate treatment? Ahaha… How will you do that? There are no doctors here.”
Regis rolled up the sleeves of his uniform.
“... I read some medical books in the military library once.”
Chapter 7: Regis Assassination plot
“Vive l’Empire! Vive le Général d'armée!”
The soldiers cheered.
When Regis returned to base, the sky there was golden.
Bonfires blazed brightly everywhere. It was so bright that it felt as if the stars in the sky had decreased in numbers.
Latreille sat in a chair in the deepest part of the headquarters after he received treatment.
“You are back, Sir Regis.”
“Field Marshall! Shouldn’t you be lying down!?”
“I already handed a lot of things to you. And lying down when the troops are singing songs of our victory is too unsightly.”
“Not at all… But your wounds are serious…”
“The wounds are sealed. It is painful, but that means there is no rot, that’s what the doctor told me.”
Germaine who was standing besides him sighed.
“He said that the pain would definitely make a normal man scream in pain too… Really now… You already surrounded him with so many troops, yet you still fought a one on one duel…”
Regis could emphasize with Germaine’s sigh. He felt the same way before when he acted as Altina’s Strategist.
Latreille crossed his arms.
“Don’t worry. There won’t be any long lasting ailments for my injury this time, I will make a full recovery. But it will take two months.”
Germaine sighed again.
“At the very least, for this period of time, please don’t push yourself”
Regis recalled making a similar promise with Altina, and smiled wryly.
Latreille changed the topic.
“— Well then, Sir Regis. I didn’t see the situation personally… But I asked Germaine for the details.”
“I heard the device worked as planned. That is great.”
“The staff officers are convinced. Well, after seeing your command, there wouldn’t be anyone who would question your abilities.”
“... I am very thankful.”
Regis scratched his head embarrassingly.
“And you saved the Queen of High Britannia who attempted suicide.”
Her wound was wide and she lost a lot of blood. It was to the point that if her stomach was pressed, her organs would be squeezed out. Not just that, if her organs were forced back, it might lose blood circulation from the pressure or rupture.
To stop the wound in her stomach would require extensive medical knowledge.
“... I just happened… to have read a book and knew about it.”
Fu, Latreille smiled.
“She will become a diplomatic bargaining chip.”
“... The High Britannia Kingdom might not completely accept the ransom amount. In that case, they might give up their Queen’s life.”
“If it comes to that, we can spread the news that ‘The High Britannia Kingdom values money over the life of their monarch’, then kill their queen.”
It was pitiful no matter who loses their life… Regis didn’t think that way.
“... Since we have to act, we have to receive a fitting remuneration.”
“Of course. Reward merit and punish violations… I will give you your reward.”
“You commanded the First Army in my stead and defeated the enemy splendidly. At the same time, your strategy saved a large number of citizens and city guards who were captured. On top of that, you rendered the fortress helpless and made them raise the white flag… Also, you acutely noticed the High Britannia Queen’s attempt to escape, and played a key role in rescuing her life. If I don’t reward someone with such merits duly, the people would question my magnanimity.”
“... I see.”
Regis was seconded as a member of the Imperial Fourth Army.
If he didn’t receive a reward that will satisfy other people, it will give rise to rumors of Regis ‘contributing without getting anything in return’.
— To be honest, Regis just wanted to return to Fort Volks as soon as possible.
As Latreille instructed, Germaine unfolded a parchment on the table.
“First, I will bestow the rank of First Grade Admin Officer to Sir Regis. Send a messenger to Inform the Military Affairs Ministry immediately. And all official documents and exams will be waived, this letter will be the official letter of appointment.”
“Uwahh… But I just took the exam for Third Grade Admin Officer…!?”
“I am considering if I should promote you to Major General.”
“Regis d’Auric accepts the assignment of First Grade Admin Officer!”
He said without thinking further.
Because it was rare to see a commoner rise to the rank of First Grade Admin Officer. Becoming a General was unheard of.
Such things would only happen occasionally, in original works or stories that were hard to understand.
Even though he was given such a position, just imagining it was enough for his knees to tremble.
“Alright, then next. I have two documents here—”
He laid out these two parchments onto the table.
“— One of it is to accept Regis’ proposal, and designate the fortress behind here as the new front line.”
“That is great.”
“This is the papers to appoint Sir Regis as the commander of this fort. I haven’t gotten the Aristocracy Ministry’s confirmation yet… But you will be bestowed the title of Baron instead of Chevalier, and the surrounding lands would be granted to you.”
He gasped in surprise before he could even think.
“As expected, you are not satisfied? It is a far off place after all.”
“No no, just the title of Chevalier feels like a dream to me! I just got the ‘de’ in my name! A Baron!? Isn’t that a full fledged noble!?”
“From your battle achievements, it will be a loss for the Empire if we don’t treat you as a noble.”
“But… I don’t have any family…”
As her sister had been married off, she didn’t belong to his household.
“If it is Sir Regis, you will definitely find a spouse in the social world quickly… Then I will say something else. I am confident that this proposal would be more enticing than a fortress at the borders and a minor aristocratic title.”
“... W-What is it?”
“I would like to invite Sir Regis to become the strategist of the First Army officially. I can guarantee you the position of Chief Strategist.”
“I’m sorry, but I have to turn you down.”
Ding— the surrounding turned quiet.
He gave an answer Latreille didn’t expect without any hesitation.
“M-My apologies. I was expecting this… That you will recruit me after the plan succeeds. However, me and Al… and the Princess already made a promise.”
“Have you thought it though? I don’t think I have to ask this much… But I don’t understand. What I am saying means that… I will become Emperor.”
“I have some problems with my eyes, but I can still use them for now, and Germaine will assist me. After subjugating the surrounding nations, I want to make the Belgarian Empire a nation that will remain prosperous for a thousand years.”
“I have the confidence in laying down the foundations of a new governance system.”
“... That is possible.”
“From the perspective of Sir Regis, am I an idealist who set an unrealistic goal, just like the High Britannia Queen?”
“... Not at all… No matter what, this and that are different. I think Prince Latreille’s plan is plausible. Or rather, I feel that this world is heading in that direction.”
Latreille tilted his head.
‘If that is the case, why are you rejecting me and choosing Altina? Are you afraid of the people in the Fourth Army criticizing you?”
Regis shook his head.
“Because the one who can realize my dream is Her Highness.”
Latreille narrowed his eyes.
“Is that… the fairy tale like dream of making war disappear?”
“How foolish. That is an impossible dream. If a deviant is born in the neighboring Kingdom, becomes the monarch and attacks, what will you do?”
“... When that time comes, we can only fight.”
“Sir Regis, you understand that is just a dream?”
“No… When a situation like the Empire being attacked happens… I wish the neighboring nations won’t attack as well to rob a burning house, but unite and help each other instead. That is the goal of the princess, and an ideal I want to bet my life on achieving.”
“Helping each other when we fall into danger?”
“... That’s so, considering the current situation. It will definitely take a long time. It probably won’t be realized within my lifetime. However, it might become a cornerstone.”
“You think other people will inherit such a fantasy like dream?”
Latreille sounded very stern.
But Regis just smiled.
“... Even if there isn’t anyone, it will be left on the books.”
Silence fell once again.
They could hear the victory songs outside. It were songs praising the Empire and Latreille.
From time to time, they could hear Regis’ name being shouted. Seemed like the soldiers understood the meaning behind the work they did.
Latreille had a troubled expression on his face.
Even though he could smile despite the pain that normal people wouldn’t be able to bear, he was still sweating after knowing Regis has made up his mind.
“Is there no room… for reconsideration?”
“I am very sorry.”
“... If you want to realize Argentina’s ideal, that would mean taking my position. Because her ideal and my goal of subjugating the surrounding nations are incompatible.”
“That is the truth… To be honest, compared to building cordial relations with the neighboring countries, fighting a political battle with Prince Latreille would be much harder.”
“I will become Emperor. Once I take the throne, Argentina will lose her succession rights.”
“Isn’t that dream over. Why are you so adamant about it?”
“... Yes… I am sorry. The discussion after this seemed unrelated to the liberation of Grebauvar.”
Regis only accepted his promotions papers, then bowed deeply.
“... I have learned many things in this campaign. I am very grateful for the help you gave me during the promotion exams.”
Latreille closed his eyes.
Then sighed deeply.
“I… have seized many things… But the person I am after thought nothing about them.”
“Nothing, it’s just my own problem…”
“Prince Latreille, I will be taking my leave.”
“...... Yes, farewell. Sir Regis, you are the best strategist.”
His expression was very peaceful.
And the eyes of Germaine who stood besides him were as cold as ice.
Regis walked towards his own tent.
He could hear the sound of the soldiers celebrating. It might continue until morning.
In front of the tent—
A black haired lady was standing there, illuminated by the bonfire.
“Ah, Ms Fanrine.”
She ran over.
— Hmm? Did something happen?
He was just thinking that when she ran before him — but she didn’t stop.
Fuwa, he felt a warm sensation.
He was embraced tightly.
“I’m so glad that you are safe!”
“E-Erm… I… the blood…”
“Are you hurt!?”
“No, I’m fine. This is the High Britannia Queen’s blood. It got on my sleeve, so it’s a bit…”
“Hya! You actually killed the enemy commander!?”
“No no, or rather, it was to save her… Ah, speaking of which do you have something for me even though it is so late?”
Fanrine widened her eyes.
And she showed a lonely expression.
“... I have been waiting here all this time, praying for Sir Regis’ safe return.”
“... Because, I heard you chased after the escaping enemy general with just a handful of troops with you.”
“Ah, well, yeah.”
It wasn’t wrong, but not exactly right either.
In the first place, the one who led the troops in pursuit was Latreille. Regis was just one of the soldiers with him.
And the King of Langobalt would be more fitting for the title of enemy commander. He surrendered after the water attack, and didn’t even need a standoff.
As he was thinking about various things—
Fanrine hugged him tighter.
“I… am a little… afraid. Thinking what I should do if I lose Sir Regis.”
“I was just issuing orders in the headquarters. Even though we killed a lot of people and lost a lot of men, I wasn’t in immediate danger.”
“No matter where you are, this is a war zone. There are no places that are absolutely safe.”
“Ahh, yes… you are right.”
‘And so, for you to return safely… And to hear your voice once again… I am very glad… Ah.”
Fanrine let go of him.
Her entire face turned red.
“I, I am really shameless! M-My deep apologies, Sir Regis!”
“... Not at all.”
“You returned so tired after so much hardship, but I… It must fill you with displeasure.”
“No, not at all. Things like feeling unpleasant… Or rather, it made my mood very pleasant.”
— Just what am I saying?
Fanrine turned even more embarrassed, even her ears were red.
The soldiers standing sentry some distance away looked this way as they were a bit too loud.
The two of them were basking under their curious gaze.
Fanrine was a daughter of a Duke House. And she was unmarried. No, there would be a different kind of problem if she was married.
No matter what, it would be troubling for her if weird rumors spread.
“Well, let’s not stand around here and chat idly. I am fine… Erm… Thank you for your concern.”
“... Yes… Yes. It’s fine if it is pleasant for you.”
Regis’ cheeks were heating up too.
They entered the tent as if they were running away.
“Is Sir Regis going to turn in already? W-Well… would you like to eat something… I prepared some brioche… But, it is too late now right?”
I see, so she is waiting for that reason too.
If Regis asked, a soldier would bring him some food, but he didn’t want to chew on meat jerky right now, as he was about to sleep.
But brioche would be another matter.
It was a luxurious item for commoners after all. And having to eat it on the battlefield was just like a dream.
“Please do! Ah… But… It might be a little dangerous.”
“... A small matter happened… with Prince Latreille.”
Fanrine narrowed her eyes slightly.
“Is that so. If you are not going to sleep right away, maybe it will be better if you tell me about what will happen in the future.”
Fanrine’s tone was very calm, as if she was asking Regis if he would like some tea to go with his brioche.
Regis was hesitant about dragging her into this— But on second thought, if something happened to him, it was unlikely for Fanrine to be safe too.
“... It will be nice to discuss this with you.”
“That’s great. It’s a bit cold, but we have tea here.”
“Wonderful. My stomach is empty right now, but I don’t feel like eating meat. I am really glad that I could eat these.”
“Ufufu, that’s wonderful.”
Fanrine was all smiles.
Inside the tent—
Regis sat on the chair that came with his work desk. Fanrine sat on the edge of the bed that was a little soft.
He briefly told her how the battle went for the day, and the content of his conversation with Latreille.
She listened carefully as she nodded.
Regis started eating his brioche.
“And so, it might become dangerous — Wah, this is delicious!”
“I am glad that it is to your liking.”
“This is the most delicious butter roll I have ever had! Is this really made in the war zone? Amazing!”
“This is made from butter and eggs that were sent over here just this morning. The ingredients aren’t too different from the ones used in local bakeries.”
“I see. That might be so, it is still amazing made from temporary stoves.”
“Hufufu… If Sir Regis likes it, I will make them for you every morning.”
“That will make me really happy.”
“Haha… me too…”
Fanrine lowered her blushing face.
Regis returned to the topic as he ate the butter roll:
“... Well then… I should rephrase it as ‘we need to think about how to handle this before returning to the capital’. But from the expression of Prince Latreille, there is no telling that I can make it through this night safely.”
“But there are a lot of people here. And Sir Regis is the one who achieved the most merits.”
“... Shouldn’t that be Lord Batteren of the White Hare Knights?’
“Judging from what Sir Regis said, even though that lord achieved a lot of merits, but he still didn’t subjugate the enemy commander. The tactic that forced the King of Langobalt to surrender and the prevented escape of the High Britannia Queen are all thanks to Sir Regis’ contribution.”
“Hmm… The flooding only succeeded thanks to the pioneers, and Queen Margaret was captured because the Field Marshall won his duel… However, even though I am not the biggest contributor, my merits couldn't be ignored.”
“I am seconded from the Fourth Army after all. If anything happens, Prince Latreille’s reputation would fall drastically.”
“I think so too.”
“And so, I don’t think he will go that far for someone like me— That’s how I thought until just now.”
“Sir Regis, that would be too careless.”
Fanrine stated firmly.
Not only did she have cooking skills that could rival professionals, she was also familiar with topics on politics and military. She was much more competent than those bureaucrats.
She didn’t get her post as a General Affairs Officer in the Military Affairs Ministry out of the willfulness of her aristocratic status alone.
“... Even I… have learned a lot of things, yes. Thinking from Prince Latreille’s perspective, he has to eliminate me even if he is denounced as a coward, which is plausible… Although being so conceited made me a little embarrassed. I shouldn’t have said it after all. Don’t you think so?”
He lowered his voice gradually.
Fanrine clenched her small fists.
“Please be strong, Sir Regis. You are the pillar of the Fourth Princess Camp.”
“P-Putting it that way…”
“From the Second Prince’s point of view, only Sir Regis’ wisdom can affect the advantage he is holding.”
“Well… Although I had done all I can to destabilize his position…”
“Or rather, the thinking that the Second Prince will let you go so easily after witnessing you using these tactics is too naive. I think that is sweeter than butter cakes.”
<TL: 甘い has the double entre of being sweet and naive.>
Regis chewed on his sweet brioche.
“... That is true, his reputation would just become worse. It is meaningful if it could stop his political enemy in their track.”
“Correct. Instead of being on guard… We should take action!”
“... Yes, you may be right.”
Regis stood up.
“Speaking of which, he is too hasty… Prince Latreille… he’s seeking results in such a short period of time because he feels uneasy about his eyes?’
He remembered what Latreille said when the new rifle was shown to Regis.
“I plan to use this, and subjugate the surrounding nations within two years.”
“That might be so. No matter how ferocious the enemy may be, there is no reason for us to give in meekly.”
“... I agree.”
“Sir Regis, please make adequate preparations to protect yourself.”
“... I understand… But it is a bit troubling.”
“What’s the matter?”
“It would be best to prepare things like tactics far ahead of time. If I only think about it when there is danger, I won’t be able to come up with a plan just like that.”
To be honest, he didn’t have any idea on how to break open the situation.
Fanrine slumped her shoulders disappointedly.
“Y-You have really never thought that you yourself would be targeted?”
“What should we do?”
Regis scratched his head.
It was probably because of fatigue, his thoughts seemed to be covered with a layer of fog.
If he was reading, his eyes would glance at the top of the words— That sort of feeling. He couldn’t come up with a specific plan immediately.
Fanrine stood up.
And showed an even more serious face.
Regis tilted his head.
“What is the matter?”
“... The laughter of the soldiers is gone.”
“... That’s true… Have they gone to bed?”
That was a joke of course.
Even Regis wasn’t that optimistic.
He could hear the footsteps of several people drawing near. The clinking sound of their armour could also be heard.
“Oh no… Ms Fanrine, please hide under the bed.”
“Even if this is an order from Sir Regis, please allow me to refuse. I have already decided to live and die alongside the person who made a promise with me to be together in the future.”
“The promise to make breakfast for Sir Regis every day.”
The drapes hanging at the entrance of the tent were torn open.
Regrettably, the structure of the tent wasn’t as sturdy as a normal house.
It was not strong enough to stop attacks.
Regis raised his hands.
“... I hope there will be grounds for negotiation.”
If it was just him alone, he wouldn’t give in to any threats, even if he got cut down.
But Fanrine was here too.
No matter what, he had to make sure she leaves safely.
However, contrary to his expectations — the ones who tore off the drapes and entered weren’t Imperial soldiers.
“They are here!”
It was in Germanian.
But he couldn’t tell which nation they were from by looking at their armour.
“Hey? Is this the guy?”
‘Yeah… Found him, good work. Please wait here for a moment, stay alert of your surroundings.”
“Got it. But just three minutes.”
“I won’t make you wait too long.”
Six mercenaries entered the tent. All of them had the aura of veterans who braved countless battlefields.
And after that, two women stood behind them.
Regis blurted out unconsciously.
Even though their attire was different, they were definitely Jess and Franca.
Fanrine’s expression turned stern.
“W-What are you doing!?”
In place of a reply, Franca aimed her mini crossbow at her.
“Sis, can I kill this woman?”
Regis stood up hurriedly in front of Fanrine as if he was shielding her.
“W-Wait! I-I remember now… You are Franziska of the Mercenary band, ‘Renard Pendu’ right!?”
“Bingo~. You only noticed now?”
“... I didn’t notice at all. Why did you disguise yourself as my maid?”
“Don’t talk about it! I will pull the trigger if you piss me off!”
“That would be really troubling.”
The one who answered Regis was the woman standing beside Franziska. She was Jess — which was obviously an alias.
“Good evening, Master Auric… I will introduce myself again. I am Jessica Schweinzeberg, Gilbert’s younger sister.”
“... I see, that’s how it is… You are the ones who raised the smoke signal, and recalled your companions of ‘Renard Pendu’ back from the High Britannia army.”
“As expected of you, you understood immediately.”
“... Am I your target?”
“That’s right. You realized too late. It is already too late…”
Franziska aimed her crossbow.
“Being cut by a blade really hurts okay? And Sis, can I kill this woman? She glared and lectured me that time.”
Fanrine’s shoulders were trembling.
Regis’ sleepiness had been blown away. His heart was racing right now, and he was breaking out in sweat.
He quickly browsed through the bookshelves in his mind.
However, stories with such situations… Ah…
The candle light flickered.
The shadows cast by the orange light were wavering.
A man leaned back fully on his chair.
“... As I thought… I have to kill him.”
The one who was whispering like a beast was Latreille.
“It is regrettable, but Sir Regis is too dangerous.”
“... I need more strength… In order for the Belgarian Empire to last forever… To achieve this, I really wanted to obtain his wisdom.”
“You can’t. Even if you need fire, you can’t welcome a forest fire. That uncontrollable powerful force isn’t really a shortcut to reach your goal.”
“... Perhaps you are right.”
“It’s the same for the battle this time — We liberated the captured Grebauvar citizens, caught the Langobalt King and High Britannia’s Queen, and chased the enemy out of Imperial territory. These areThis is great results, but in the end, the base at the frontline got flooded and it would be hard for it to function as it had in the past.”
“The Imperial front lines had to be retreated to the mountain top. This matches the policy of the Fourth Princess perfectly.”
“... We wanted to use him, but got used by him in the end… He even planned to this extent.”
“Even without his magic-like command, if we have enough new rifles and cannons, we can make Belgaria great again, and return it to its former glory… No, we will have a military strength that is much more overwhelming than before.”
“Yes, our army can win even without him.”
“Or rather, we should eliminate elements of uncertainty.”
“... You are right.”
Latreille picked up the two papyrus left on the table.
He crushed them.
Then tore them to shreds.
And issued an order just like a beast extending its claws.
“Kill… Regis d’Auric.”
End of Volume 10