Saturday, September 30, 2017

Altina the Sword Princess Volume 12 Side Story part 1

The Black Knight and the Abandoned Fort
Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Darkdhaos
Jerome Jean de Beilschmidt had black hair and eyes, rode on a dark horse with dark armour and had never lost a battle before.

He obtained the title of 《Black Knight》 because of his appearance and capabilities, his name was enough to strike fear into both friend and foe.
Imperial year 851 July 1st——

A detachment from the fourth army and the seventh army formed a mixed unit, and was despatched to the eastern front.
They numbered 13,000 in total.

The number was a bit low for the main forces holding up the eastern front, but it was a huge number for one army.
Specifically speaking, Coignieres (Brigadier General) commands 8,000 men of the Seventh Army.

Benjamin (Lieutenant General) leads 4,500 remnants of the Second Army.

Jerome (Major General) had 500 black knights cavalry under him.

They advanced along the main road within the forest.
The sun was setting in the west.

At the head of the long marching line were——

Jerome on his black horse and a newly appointed knight captain besides him.

【… Life is sure full of twists and turns.】

The knight mumbling to himself was Holger Orjes.

Jerome sneered:

【Hmmp… you want to complain about something?】

【No no, I’m just thinking aloud. To think that I will one day ride alongside the heroic black knight of Belgaria and have my own subordinates.】

【I see.】

【Half a year ago, I was just a mercenary in Varden Grand Duchy, and got assigned to Fort Volks.】

Before the Beilschmidt Border Regiment seized Fort Volks, Regis captured Holger in order to obtain intelligence.

After they seized the fort——

Holger was amongst those who wishing to switch allegiance to the Belgarian Empire. He did so partly out of fear that he would be hung as a mercenary if he didn’t submit...

【I will use anything that is of use, even trash.】

They didn’t question his origins at all.

【Haha… This is because some of the old guards have left the unit. I know that we are short handed right now.】

The knight Kruger died, and Abidal Evra had been assigned to be the Princess’ escort. They also lost some other capable men.

【Even if we can make up the numbers, they are still trash.】

Jerome spat these words out.

Holger shrugged.

【When I got surrounded by the barbarians near Fort Volks, I have resigned myself to being skinned alive…】

【You fell into Regis’ trap right?】

【I was tricked… I regret it a lot in the past, but I don’t feel that way now.】


【After all, I saw for myself the battle between the Imperial First Army and High Britannia. Thank god I’m blessed with good luck. Who would have guess they would be burned alive in a swamp doused with oil, getting blown up by a ship of explosives, or getting charged by cavalry while blinded by thick fog.】

There were countless enemy soldiers who lost their lives to Regis’ schemes.

【I’m very unhappy about that. Thrusting your lance through a powerful foe is a real battle. Using schemes like Regis would be just like a con artist.】

【Haha… No matter what, I had a hard life. I’m a knight from a fallen nation after all.】

Holger was born to a knight house, but he lost his home nation to a civil war in the Germanian Federation, and ended up as a mercenary.

He received training on leading troops in the past, so he had the ability to command men.

And his turbulent experience as a mercenary made him more experienced than a regular from the imperial army, which also made him more cool headed and calm during emergencies.

Jerome couldn’t bring himself to compliment others…

But he knew the importance of talented men. Holger’s hard life could be considered a blessing to his unit too.

He pointed ahead.

【Lord Jerome, there’s a city ahead.】


【That is the fortress city Marschted. The headquarters of the eastern front.】

It was a beautiful city fort surrounded by wheat fields.

As the fort was built with white boulders found in this land, the city walls and the buildings were all white.

Because it was a stronghold for a territory constantly engulfed in war, it was very large. It wasn’t as big as Fort Volks, but was still on the scale of 40,000 troops and 100,000 citizens.

【The cavalry can bring out their full might on this open plain.】

【The Seventh Army is proficient in assaulting in tight formation, so this terrain will be advantageous for them.】

Even the wheat fields were just another battlefield for Jerome and the others.

Fortress City Marschtedt——

When the unit reached the city, the sun was already setting.

A war conference was held before dinner.

They attendees were seated according to their ranks.

Benjamin was seated in the innermost part of the tent, and to his right was his deputy Jestin.

Further down was the de facto commander of the Seventh Army, Coignieres.

Jerome was seated to the left. He pulled his chair as far from the table as he could. Holger stood beside him as his deputy.

Coignieres chaired the war conference.

【Let’s confirm our army’s situation.】

In the past, he was once sent to the Beilschmidt regiment to deliver a message, and was a small man who mocks others.
But after that nightmarish defeat, he now has the responsibility as the acting commander of the Seventh Army on his shoulders. After experiencing the war with the fate of the empire on the line, he had grown quite a lot.

He felt completely different.
Coignieres’ demeanour was a little similar with Regis. Probably because he respected Regis as the saviour of the nation. Be it his preparation of the information ahead of time or his other actions, all this reminded others of Regis.

【The Seventh Army left 5,000 men behind to hold the fort. 2,000 of them are in this city… The remaining 3,000 are assigned to defend other strongholds. Our combined army of 13,000 are now here to reinforce them. When the Seventh Army set off for the campaign, we have 21,000 men, even though we suffer heavy losses… I’m confident that we have enough soldiers to defend the eastern front. The Seventh Army’s 8,000 infantry, Lord Benjamin’s former Second Army of 4,500——】

Jerome cut in:

【You lost men again, retard.】

Benjamin wiped the sweat from his brow with a handkerchief.

【W-We got ambushed on unfamiliar terrain...】

During the march, his infantry was attacked by enemies of unknown allegiance, and suffered casualties.

About a thousand men died.

Aside from those who were killed, there were many injured too. Their wounds could heal, but Benjamin still lost 20% of his combat ready forces.

Jerome sneered with disdain:

【Hmm… Regis already warned you plenty about ambushes. With that much advance notice, can this really be called an ambush?】

Unfortunately, the strategist’s warning was in vain. Even though the intel was spoonfed to him, Benjamin didn’t know how to prepare his troops.

Coignieres mediate between them.

【Well… We will just need to be more careful in our commands from now on.】


It was infuriating, but the truth was they couldn’t find someone capable enough to lead these 4,500 men.

If it was just a couple hundred infantry, Jerome’s subordinate would suffice.

But if the numbers exceed a thousand, oral commands couldn’t be heard anymore.

It would no longer be a group, but an organization.
Regis who could adjust his command style as the number of troops increased was an exception. Normally, such a post couldn’t be given to someone without the specialized training.

Even though he was incompetent, Benjamin was still a noble and had been educated in the ways of a commander.

Jerome said slowly as if he was trying to carve these words inside Benjamin’s head:

【Benjamin, you only got your rank because of your peerage. Stop being narcissistic about being a Lieutenant General right now. Be aware of your incompetence and follow the orders of others.】

【What!? But...】

【Right now, you’re the highest ranking officer, but you’re also the most incompetent here. We are all standing in the same battlefield, and you are the only one with troop losses.】


【In terms of familiarity in fighting in this territory, Coignieres is the most experienced. As for command ability, I’m the best.】

【I did lose some men, but according to military regulations...】

【Regulations that loses a war are bullshit. If you keep yapping on even though you are not fit for your rank, I will cut off your annoying hair!】

【You say I’m not fit!? Such insolence for your superior!】

Jerome swung his left hand.

He threw out a dagger, but no one could see his movements clearly. When they realized it, the dagger was stuck deep into the wall with a loud thud.

It brushed over Benjamin’s head just now.

His hair fell.


It was quite a bit of hair, which made Benjamin scream.

Jerome glared at him with loup gris-like eyes.

【Listen carefully. If your hair is gone, next will be your head. Don’t you dare forget that.】

【Ughhh… This is mutiny!】

【Hmmp… If that’s what you want, I will make your wish come true.】

【E-Even though you have the Black Knights Corp, my army is 10 times your number!】

Jerome smiled devilishly.

【I don’t even need the Knights Corp. You want to issue an order to ‘kill the Black Knight’ over a personal grudge? Give it a try and let’s see who the soldiers will point their pikes at.】

Soldiers weren’t chess pieces, and wouldn’t obey orders unquestionably.

Furthermore, they probably hold a grudge against the commander that kept on failing.

There were no moral or literal benefits for them.

Before Benjamin could respond, Holger raised a hand.

【Pardon me… The Fourth Army detachment received the orders to “support the Seven Nation Army”. In that case, doesn’t it mean we should be rostered under the command of the Seventh Army?】


Benjamin made a pondering face.

He finally realized that he might die if he cross blades with the Black Knight over a heated argument.

Having an excuse for him to back down was a godsend.

【I-Indeed, what that Sir Knight said is right. The intent of the Princess is the most important. If Lord Coignieres have any plans, I will lend him my ears.】

【My humble gratitude.】

Coignieres bowed deeply.

Jerome sighed irritably.

—— What a clown.

With only staff officers present, what’s the point in being so stubborn over appearance?

As a typical grand noble, Benjamin would defend his dignity instinctively even if it doesn’t make any sense.

Coignieres was nowhere near being a renowned strategist, but he was no fool.

At the very least, he knew authority wouldn’t win him a battle, and understood how to watch out for sneak attacks.

If Benjamin follows his command, the situation would be much better than before.

Coignieres laid out a map on the table.

It was a map of the eastern front.

Wooden chess pieces were placed on top.

【Gentlemen, as you already know… Events that happened in the imperial capital caused tension in the eastern borders to rise. The nations at our borders used to attack whenever a chance presented itself, and we fought them several times in recent years. There was a short period of peace when the Emperor married the Princess of Estaburg though.】

Johaprecia Octovia — The sixth royal consort died suddenly with many suspicious points.

And naturally, The kingdom of Estaburg was the most hostile out of all the neighbouring countries. The enemy that ambushed Benjamin’s unit was probably mercenaries hired by them.

Jerome stared at the map.

【How’s this city’s defences?】

【The fortress city Marschtedt are garrisoned by 2,000 men from the Seventh Army. The walls are sturdy, with numerous trebuchet and a few cannons. There are enough supplies to last 30,000 troops and 50,000 citizens for half a year. There are plenty of water from wells and reservoirs, loads of weapons and oil, as well as music instruments and books.】

Then the garrison force would be the 2,000 defenders and the 13,000 reinforcement then.


Jerome didn’t like passive strategies and garrisoning forts, but he wouldn’t turn it down if the time calls for it. He was commenting on the adequate preparations.

They shift their focus to the enemy nation.

Coignieres pointed and said:

【There are many smaller states to the east, but the Estaburg Kingdom clashes with the Belgarian Empire the most frequently.】

Compared to the neighbouring nations, that kingdom was larger and more powerful. If not for the threat of the Empire, it would have already conquered the surrounding lands.

A dense forest laid between the Estaburg Kingdom and the Empire, which the Imperial soldiers were not proficient in fighting in.

The enemy would have the upperhand in a forest battle, while Belgaria had the advantage in plains warfare.

That was why the frontlines reached an impasse here.

Marschtedt was surrounded by wheatfields. They had the advantage of terrain in a field battle, the city didn’t have any weak points, a well secured place.

A chess piece was put some distance away.

【What is this?】

After hearing Jerome’s question, Coignieres replied hesitantly:

【… That’s Fort Hauport. It was built to expand our territory.】

In that sense, it wasn’t too bad a position.

It was less than a day’s march from the forest where the Estaburg Kingdom had the advantage of terrain. There was nothing to dislike about this strong chess move.


【Fort Hauport is defended by 600 soldiers. The commander is from House Barguesonne——】

【Only 600? That’s too few.】

【Yes. But aside from Marschtedt, there are other bases in the eastern front. With the return of the Seventh Army and Fourth Army detachment, we have 18,000 men in total… After assigning the minimum number of forces to the other bases...】

Fort Hauport seemed lucky to even have 600 soldiers.

【Then pull them back. It is retarded to hold on to an offensive chess piece when it is time to defend.】

【Behind Fort Hauport —— is a city of the Empire. The soldiers in the fort are supposed to protect its resident.】

【Tch… Then hurry up and evacuate the citizens.】

【Regrettably, even this Marschtedt city can’t take in all of them. If we forcefully evacuate them, they will have to set up tents outside the walls… and that place will be relegated into a battlefield when the enemy comes.】

There wasn’t any point in evacuating them to another warzone.

They would either be massacred or taken hostage to be used as negotiation chips. Their belongings will be seized by the enemy and their food will be fed to their army.

All this will be beneficial to the enemy.

【What about the other forts?】

【They are all further away then here. It will be hard for the elderly, women and children. It’s another matter if Fort Hauport will absolutely fall… But it had never fell before.】

【It’s defences are that strong?】

【It’s normal since it is usually garrisoned by 5,000 soldiers.】

The burden of the losses from the war with High Britannia was pressed fully onto that fort.

No, instead of letting their entire forces fall into a disadvantage, it would be better to abandon Fort Hauport.

Coignieres’ decision was appropriate.

The only problem was that aside from the fort, there was also a town.

Jerome clicked his tongue.

【Why was a town built in such a place?】

【Erm… Merchants set up shops here to serve the soldiers in the fort, and erected buildings. After that, their families move in with them. The children born there grew up and started clearing the surrounding lands to farm…】

【Isn’t that founding a new city?】

【Part of the reason is the frequent battles and stagnant frontlines here. I was actually born in that town too. As it is situated behind Fort Hauport, it’s called Hauport city.】

Jerome was a little surprised.

His opinion of Coignieres changed.

Abandoning the town made sense from the strategic level, but it was rather cold of him to concede his hometown.

【How many soldiers can Fort Hauport hold?】

【At most 10,000.】

【As expected of a city fort.】

In the past, Jerome was based in a small fort called Sierck. These two were probably about the same size.

A skirmish would be fine, but if the enemy outnumber the defenders more than three times, the fort would be lost.

It was useless to blame Coignieres who just became the commander some days ago…
It was necessary to build a city before expanding a fort, but building a city with just a small fort was prohibited.

Jerome himself banned shops from being set up near Fort Siercks.

That would make the lives of the soldiers less convenient, but in case anything happened, they still had the option of abandoning Fort Sierck and pulling back to the border city of Tunovell.

【You can’t build a roofless house just because it is a sunny day.】

When he heard what Jerome said, Coignieres nodded.

【Works to expand Marschtedt city is still ongoing. We can take in all the residents of Hauport if it goes smoothly… But it will only be done in spring next year.】

That would take almost a year.

If the enemy will wait that long, there won’t be any need to send the Fourth Army detachment here.

【If the citizens don’t want to leave their city, then let them be. But we can’t waste those 600 soldiers, put them to use elsewhere.】

【… I don’t know if they will obey even if I ordered them.】

【What’s going on? Are the 600 men here someone’s private army?】

【Because the garrison in Fort Hauport hailed from Hauport City. And they are recruits and old timers that didn’t join the expedition… If Estaburg Kingdom attacks, they are ready to defend their city to the death.】

【You’re leaving them be since they won’t be much help anyways?】

Coignieres clenched his fists.

【…If I… have not taken up my current role, I will want to fight in Fort Hauport too. But for the sake of defending the Empire, I had to take up command here.】

After confirming the battle situation, they need to adjust and clarify the command structure.

Since their orders were for the Black Knights and the former Second Army to be rostered under the command of Coignieres from the Seventh Army, it has more or less been settled.

After the war conference——

The map was kept and food was served.

Dishes were served one after another, this was how the aristocrats of Belgaria dined.

The main dish was venison.

Jerome looked at Holger, the new deputy commander of the Black Knights, seated beside him.

His fighting skills and horsemanship was average, but his command ability was top notch.

【… What do you think?】

【Hmm, tender and delicious. The sauce with its tangerine fragrance is high quality stuff. As expected of Belgaria’s chef.】

【Who is asking you about the venison?】

Just kidding —— Holger laughed.

Even seasoned veterans wouldn’t dare joke with Jerome. Holger was a weird man.

He said quietly:

【No matter what the Black Knights do, Marschtedt city won’t fall. But the Seventh Army are just a defeated bunch… Brigadier Coignieres will not want to let go of 500 highly skilled cavalry.】

Jerome stabbed into the venison with his knife.

The map had been kept away, but that was where Marschtedt city was positioned.
【Where do you think the enemy will strike from?】

【Their first attack will be somewhere else.】

【That’s true. What if their target is this city?】

Holger reached out with his fork.

If the map was still there, the fork’s tip would be pointing to the east.

【They might attack directly. If it is too hard, they will opt for a night raid. If it still doesn't work, they will pillage the surrounding villages… That’s about all they can do.】

When that happens, they can maximize the full potential of the cavalry by attacking the enemy’s rear.

Jerome cut the venison with his knife.

【How do we fight them?】

【Defending the fort is too dull. After sighting the enemy, send out the cavalry, charge in and cut off their commander’s head —— That’s the method Lord Jerome prefers right?】

【Not bad, you know this very well. This is how the Black Knights roll.】

【Well, I strongly suggest holding the fort if the enemy have rifles.】

That was good enough.

【I will leave it to you then.】

【…Sounds like you’re going off. Are you taking half the Black Knights?】

【Just me alone will be enough.】

Holger was shocked.

【You want me to be the acting Knight Commander?】

【Not willing to? Well, your wage will stay the same.】

【But I can look forward to bonus if I score any war merits. Ara… Life is sure unpredictable.】

Jerome handed command of the Black Knights over to Holger.

They would just be standing by inside the solid walls of Marschtedt city for the time being anyways.

He stood up.


【Y-Yes, what’s the matter!? Want some salt!?】

【I’m not talking about the venison! Holger Orjes over here will be covering my duties. Just talk to him if you have any orders for the cavalry.】


【Even if I’m not here, we won’t lose in the open plains as long as the Black Knights are here. I already told you… You will have overall command here.】


【If anyone have any complains about that, just lop off their heads —— I already gave the order to my subordinates.】

Benjamin let loose a muffled scream.

If Jerome gave the word, the Black Knights wouldn’t hesitate if they had to kill a noble. Their loyalty borders on being fanatical.

Holger saluted.

【I’m Third Grade Combat Officer Holger Orjes. Pleasure to meet you, Lord Coignieres.】

【I-I understand… But where are you going, Lord Jerome? Are you going back to Fort Volks?】

Thump! Jerome stabbed the venison.

【There. The place where the enemy will strike first.】

The map had been kept, but that was where Fort Hauport was.

The next day——

Jerome rode to Fort Hauport. He set off in the morning and reached in the evening.

What a pain...

The city was really just besides the fort.

【… So this is Hauport.】

From the number of buildings here, there are about 20,000 residents in this city.

But half of the citizens had been evacuated when the number of garrison troops had been reduced. There were only about 10,000 sick and frail citizens left.

The figures of children and the elderly who would have a hard time traveling long distances were prominent.

After going past the main street where the shops were, Jerome saw a stone wall that wasn’t very tall. There was a watch tower here.
It reminded him of Fort Sierck.

When he was assigned from the capital to the borders, the feelings of rage he felt when he saw that small fort was rising again within him.

Jerome gritted his teeth.

He handed a letter to the guard at the gate and declared who he was.
This caused an uproar.

The fort commander came immediately.
Jerome heard that there were only recruits and the elderly here, but the commander surprised him.
Fort Hauport’s commander was a woman.

Speaking of which, the commander seemed to be related to Lieutenant General Barguesonne —— Coignieres did say that.

Jerome nursed his temple for a moment.


Small fort, female commander…

Just thinking about the duel that was a stain to his name made his head hurt.

She was about twenty, her brown hair just long enough to touch her shoulders. She performed a perfect salute.

【I’m the commander of Fort Hauport garrison regiment, subordinate to the Imperial Seventh Army —— Second Grade Combat Officer Marion Alphonse de Barguesonne.】

【You are a relative of the Lieutenant General?】

【… My grandfather was an outstanding commander.】

His granddaughter huh.


【… Is not introducing oneself a custom of the Imperial Fourth Army?】

Her tone was respectful, but Marion’s sharp gaze was just like that conceited Princess. How infuriating.

【I’m Major General Jerome Jean de Beilschmidt. Answer me seriously—— do you people want to live?】

【Ehh? W-Well… Everyone has decided to do all they can!】

—— Everyone decided? Is this something a commander should say!?

Jerome mocked in his heart.

No matter what, it was as Coignieres said —— the soldiers here had no plans to give up on this ‘last bastion of defence’ that guards their hometown.

【Tch… forget it. Show me the fort.】

【What right do you have to…!! Ah, no, you are here as reinforcements from the Fourth Army after all. I will cooperate if it is this much.】

Even though Jerome outranks her, Marion wasn’t his subordinate.

She had no reason to obey Jerome’s orders, but she convinced herself in this way.

She was a strong willed and stick to the rules.

What a troublesome person —— Jerome thought.

After touring the gates, walls, position of the watch towers, they inspected the stables, food stock and weapon stores.
They were well equipped.

He watched the soldiers gathered in the courtyard.

They were uneasy and couldn’t settle down.

After all, these were men who didn’t answer to the call to go on an expedition even though the Empire was in danger. He couldn’t count on them too much…
He could tell how capable they were from their faces and body.

Jerome sighed.

【A bunch of weaklings. There’s nothing more to say.】

Marion glared at him.

【Isn’t that a rude thing to say that about my unit!?】

【There is a city behind this fort… The soldiers don’t have the will to fight and there are no plans to evacuate. If the enemy comes. The citizens can only seek refuge in this fort. This means that if this fort falls, not only will the soldiers die, all the citizens will be killed too.】

【I-I know that! That’s why we chose to continue garrisoning this fort!】

【And naturally, I won’t let that happen.】


【I hate failure! I won’t let Fort Hauport fall. Even if it is one small puny fort, I won’t permit the Estaburg Kingdom from taking it!】

【W-Will there be reinforcements!?】

The faces of Marion and the troops brightened immediately.

Jerome spat and said:

【Retards! The Empire doesn’t have the manpower to spare. Don’t you know how the war has been going?】

【I-I’ve seen the reports… Then, what should we do?】

【Hmmp… you bunch of trash. You lot are soldiers. Of course you will fight and win! That’s what it means to ‘defend’. No matter how noble your spirit, it’s meaningless if you lose.】

【Please stop being unreasonable! How can we win without reinforcements… Ah, no… Of course we want to win… Estaburg might be small when compared to Belgaria, they are still a military powerhouse. They have close to 30,000 men —— someone who came from elsewhere like you won’t understand!】

【Then you lots just need to git gud.】

【But those who stayed behind are just recruits and old timers!?】

Jerome showed her the written orders. It was signed by Coignieres.

Marion was dumbstruck.

【H-Hand over command authority… to you!? That’s too reckless! To a guy that just got here!? I won’t accept this! I will protest to Coignieres! If my grandfather is still alive, he will never allow such an order——】

Jerome swung out his fist.

The sound akin to stone splitting echoed out.

A mark was left on Marion’s face, and she collapsed onto the floor quietly.

Ara ara, Jerome shrugged.
【Anyone else who wants to defy orders? From now on, I will be the commander of this regiment. Anyone who don’t want to comply step forward. I will beat you until you comply.】

This sent the soldiers into further confusion.

The exploits of the black knight had also spread to the east. Everyone knew he was incredibly powerful.

And he hit a girl. Even though Belgaria was a patriarchal society, men who hit women were thought to be like barbarians. It was a violent act unthinkable for the aristocrats.

Will they be killed if they opposed him? The troops grew stiff.

Alright then, Jerome nodded.

【First, let’s eat!】

Now that he mentioned it, they remembered. It was almost time for dinner.

Utensils were set on the table.

The bowls were filled with watery soup.

Jerome’s bowl had some shreds of meat, but the other soldiers only had cut vegetables in their soup.

【What the hell is this?】

【Our provisions are limited, so there’s no other way.】

Marion whose eye was swollen blue said melancholically.

As expected of a female commander, she was unexpectedly strong. After regaining conscious, she sat beside Jerome.

She seemed to have relinquished her command authority as ordered, but she insisted on becoming the deputy commander even though Jerome didn’t ask her.

—— She even got knocked out, is she retarded? Or is this just her tenacious nature? Never mind, forget it.

【The soldiers won’t become strong with these food. Bring out the meat.】

【There isn’t any.】

【Isn’t it the responsibility of the commander to prepare the stocks?】

【There’s no budget!】

【Then go hunt for food.】

【Please stop being unreasonable. If we go into the forest, the Estaburg Kingdom will ambush us. Their 《Green Berets》 are very strong. If they are around, the citizens of Hauport City won’t be able to hunt. We will be less susceptible to attack if a big group went… But having too many people will scare the wild games away!】

Hmmp! Marion stared at him. Her face seemed to be saying “You can’t do anything about that right!?”

Her attitude was maddening, but it was clear that she had given some thoughts to these issues. After rationing the food carefully, the best they could do was this salty soup.

Coignieres’ unit had normal meals. This means, they didn’t provide provisions to the recruits and old timers.

【If you can’t go into the forest, then get them from the city.】

【I already told you, there isn’t any meat in the city too...】

【There’s the winter supplies.】

【What!? You want to use the winter supplies!? I was wrong about you! I was a bit grateful about you coming to defend this city just now! Just how barbaric are you!?】

【If this fort falls, the food in this town will become Estaburg’s provisions anyway. Instead of being robbed of it after being killed, it’s better to use it now.】

【Are you retarded!? If we use the winter supplies, how will we make it through the winter!? We will die no matter how the war pans out!】

The enemy might come here tonight, and she was still worried about winter? Even Jerome was stunned.

But on second thought, those who were even a little bit aware of the danger had already skipped town.

Those left behind were the ones who wanted to live on just like the way they had lived in the past.
Or those who had given up…
Or stopped thinking…
Even if he issued the order, the soldiers here all hailed from Hauport. Morale would plummet if they were given direct orders to seize their hometown’s winter provisions, and couldn’t be ignored.

【Hmmp… It can’t be helped. I will prepare the winter provisions. So get the food from the city first.】

【How are you going to do that? We don’t have the funds to buy food from other territories.】

An impoverished duke—— Jerome sighed in his heart.

General Barguesonne who guards the borders might be a Duke, but didn’t impose the minimal taxation and lacked personal wealth.

Jerome heard that he would repair his old armour with a few knocks and continue to use it.

And the food that needs to be preserved was much more expensive than food procured locally.

If they could hunt in the woods, they just need two months to gather enough meat for the city to make it through winter.
But if they worked for two months, they wouldn’t be able to raise the money to purchase the same amount of food.

Even for the Belgarian Empire where the main roads were well maintained, the transportation cost was a sizeable expenditure.

Jerome delegated the troublesome stuff away.

【No problem, leave it to me. There is a strategist called the “Wizard” in the Imperial Fourth Army. Preparing the provisions for a small city is nothing to him.】

If Regis heard this, he would definitely refute it loudly.

Just how much did she trust him to think like this...

Marion leaned forth.

【We will be asking Sir Regis d’Auric!?】


Seemed like rumours about Regis had spread to the eastern borders.
Jerome nodded.

【Of course, use him as you wish. That fellow is like my subordinate.】

【Sir Regis isn’t coming!?】

—— Hah! That trash is probably studying in the capital to pass his test!

Even though he thought this way, but raising Regis’ evaluation would be beneficial to Jerome in the future, so he kept up the facade.

【The strategist is in the capital right now. He’s very capable, but also very busy.】

【Ah… That’s right. He won’t come to this small fort at the borders… He’s the saviour of the nation after all.】

Her shoulders slouched.

Marion said with a sigh.

【… Even my esteemed grandfather couldn’t win against the High Britannian Army, but he won a string of victory both on land and in the sea… If it is that Sir genius strategist, he can definitely save this fort.】

The “esteemed grandfather” she mentioned was Lieutenant General Barguesonne who only issued the order to charge.

And that “Sir genius strategist” was Regis.

The difference between expectation and reality made Jerome dizzy.

【He is just a bibliomaniac.】

【He likes to read huh. I see, he must be reading deep and sophisticated strategy books. I have much to learn too.】

【He’s just reading fantasy novels for entertainment.】

【… You are lying.】

Marion looked unhappy.

Jerome shrugged.

【Regis won’t be coming to the east, but it’s great that he is in the capital. If you ask him to prepare the provisions for winter, he will give them to us generously.】

【… Is that true?】

【If Regis dare say ‘it can’t be done’, I will pluck his head off!】

【That won’t do!? Hah… Well, if there really is a way… The Fourth Army is an elite unit after all, and is probably doing much better than the Seventh Army.】

【… You said… Elite unit?】

【Yes, the commander of the Fourth Army is the Princess assisted by the young genius strategist. And the hero black knight! Well, I didn’t know you are so barbaric… I heard the Imperial First Army is called the shield protecting the capital, and the Fourth Army is the unit formed to be the sword that cut down the enemy.】


【W-What, why are you saying that so suddenly!? How rude!】

Jerome was a hero who ‘won too much’ and got chased out of the capital by jealous nobles.

The Fourth Princess was banished there after losing a political struggle, and Regis was an admin officer down on his luck, forced to shoulder the blame for a lost battle and reassigned.

Maybe the grass looked greener on the other side, so others thought that this unit was incredible.

When he heard Marion said all that, Jerome felt noxious and wanted to puke.

He waved his hand as if he was shooing a dog away.

【Enough, just go. Remember to bring out meat for dinner tomorrow.】

【Hmm… But I won’t expropriate them. I will borrow them from the citizens. Shall we issue receipts? It won’t just bear my name, but yours too!?】


Marion wasn’t the commander, and Jerome was the only one who could issue an expropriation order. Even so, she still wants to write her own name first.

What a conformist —— Jerome thought.

Marion finished her soup in one go. She then stood out filled with drive.

【Alright, I will stay up all night to prepare the documents!】

【You’re writing the requisition request yourself? What about the admin officers?】

【We have admin officers, but there are only about twenty of them. I have to work too… The Fourth Army must have many admin officers. I’m so envious. I heard the First Army have a thousand admin officers.】

【I fired them all, the only admin officer in the Fourth Army is Regis.】

【… Eh?】

【No, there’s one more subordinate of Auguste helping out. But the maids help out with everything else.】

They already requested for more staff from the Ministry of Military Affairs, but this matter had been postponed because the war with High Britannia had started.

【I-It’s impossible to complete the administrative works like this… Ah, you’re lying to me again!? I won’t be tricked by you! Don’t look down on me just because I’m from a backwater city!】

Marion pouted and walked away.

Jerome brought the soup to his mouth.

It would be great if they could prepare the provisions…

He needed to relay the situation here to Regis. So he needed to write a letter. It wasn’t until the extent of that Princess, but Jerome hated writing.

He clicked his tongue.

And felt unmotivated.

No comments:

Post a Comment