Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Altina the Sword Princess Volume 13 Prologue

Negotiations with Eleanor
Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Darkdhaos, CEOBrainz
Imperial year 851 August 23rd—

In the plains near the city of Wal Allen, 30 Li south of the capital Versailles.

The plains were bathed in the light of the setting sun.

A laced parasol flew into the sky.

The little girl who was just holding the parasol made a face on the verge of tears.


Eleanor patted her head.

【Don’t worry about it, Renoir. Are you hurt?】


The little girl nodded.

Regis already investigated the background of the Tiraso Laverde house, so he knew that was the name of their third daughter.

— So this girl isn’t a servant, but her younger sister.

Did she brought her sister to take care of her… Or was it easier to teach her all sorts of things by keeping her close.

The Tiraso Laverde Marquis house was a wealthy merchant in the south.

Regis said:

【Let us help you retrieve your parasol.】

【Sorry about that, Regis.】

【Not at all… Let’s head into the tents. Looks like this negotiation will take some time.】

She followed with a nod.

The little girl Renoir followed too.

Regis asked a soldier on standby to get the parasol.

There was a table and six chairs in the temporary tent.

Regis pulled the chairs and ushered Eleanor and her sisters to their seats.

This much courtesy was expected of the men from the Belgaria empire.

Even though they had a patricichal society, everyone was educated strictly from young to show chivalry towards women.

The only ones in the tent were Regis, Eleanor and Renoir.

【… Alright then, what is the current situation?】

【It all started after the end of the High Brittania war. When the previous emperor passed away.】

Eleanor spoke with the tone of a man. This must be due to the fact that business, politics and military affairs in the Belgaria empire doesn’t involve women at all, so she had to match men at least in tone.

【After he passed… Hmm…】

Regis recalled that period of time.

It was in June.

Less than 3 months had passed, but it felt like 3 years because so many things happened in between.

【Emperor Latreille… He was still the Field Marshal back then. He issued an order through the Ministry of Military Affairs. In short, he want us to give him money.】

【… Taxes huh? Did he give anything as compensation?】

【None, this tax is levied in the name of the war with High Brittania. Compared to the west and central, the south were relatively unscathed, so they want us to provide assistance in the form of funds.】

【… I see.】

That’s not unreasonable— Regis thought.

Not just war, if some other place suffer floods, droughts or plagues, it was common for other places to provide support.

Only big countries with vast lands could do that.

Eleanor sighed.

【I think providing relief for places affected by the war was the right thing to do. We should do what we can to do. However, that’s only if we ourselves aren’t affected too.】

【That’s a given.】

【Shortly after the order of the war tax came, we received the obituary of the Sixth consort Johaprecia’s passing.】


Johaprecia and the emperor were both assassinated by Latreille.

According to the Royal Chamberlain Beclard, the sixth consort was the one who started this. Regis speculated.

【The consort hailed from the Estaburg Kingdom to the east, so the relationship between our countries plummeted.】

【… The Belgaria empire had been at war with the Estaburg Kingdom for a long time, and we only had a peace treaty after the emperor’s marriage with consort Johaprecia. A battle even broke out at the borders some days ago.】

Regis received the report from the Seventh Army and Black Knights at the Eastern Front.

They won the battle of Fort Hauport, and the commander there sent a thank you letter.

But even so, Regis felt guilty about it.

The commander of Fort Hauport was the granddaughter of the late commander of the Seventh Army, Lieutenant General Barguesonne.

He died in the battle of Lafressange against the High Brittania army some time ago.

Back then, Regis was watching from behind as the strategist of the Beilschmidt Border Regiment.

— I did nothing to save him.

Regis was filled with self reproachment.

If he negotiated a better strategy before the battle, things would have been different. Regis still thought that way.

Such tragedy had been repeating itself from a long time ago.

His proposed strategy being rejected led to Marquis Thénezay death on the battlefield, everything started from there.

Could he have avoided sacrifices?

Minimized casualty?

Or the most basic thing, avoided pointless battle?

Regis regretted every battle he was involved in.

Eleanor asked:

【And so, what does the battle with the Estaburg Kingdom in the east have to do with the south— Sir Regis have you figured that out yet?】

【… Hmm, it’s probably because Estaburg are linked by marriage to the Hispania empire to the south.】

【You actually knew, as expected of Sir Regis.】

【Well, this is a scene that will definitely be seen in any stage drama. After all, it would be a hassle to use the royals and nobles of Belgaria as reference, so there are many script writers who would rather use settings from other countries.】

【Now that you mentioned it… I saw a show based on such a story before.】

【That must be nice…】

Even though Regis had seen the scripts for shows before, he had not seen a performance as a member of the audience.

A ticket cost a week’s salary for a Fifth Grade Admin Officer after all, and wasn’t a price poor peasants could afford.

Money wasn’t an issue anymore, but he couldn’t make time to watch shows leisurely now.

Eleanor continued:

【That Hispania Empire openly voiced their suspicion that consort Johaprecia was actually murdered.】

【… Oh.】

【Hispania didn’t invade directly, but Etruria which received support from them did.】

【I know about that.】

Because the impact of the High Brittania army seizing Grebauvar city was too stunning, this news didn’t make any waves at all. The Etruria Theocracy’s army had already marched towards the southern strongholds back then.

— Back then, I thought they would be repelled easily.

However, the sturdy fort at the frontlines was lost, and even Regis was shocked by this.

【I don’t really understand military matters… But in the Sixth army, the knight despatched from central is more capable than the commander. But that man had been transferred back to the First Army, which might be related to their failure.】

【I see…】

【He is baron Zemoruto.】


Regis slapped his knee.

That was the new knight commander of the First Army’s White Wolves Knights.

It was true that he was extremely talented in both negotiations and on the battlefield. He would be a huge help as an ally.

【Sir Regis, do you know him?】

【… I met him on the battlefield before. He is a man I don’t want to make an enemy of. By the way, you mentioned that he was recalled back from the south?】

【Yes… After he left, the Sixth Army lost in battle, and the great city of Sembione fell. That is an important trading city for us.】

The topic was linked together.

The South was ordered to support the war zones, but they themselves were now affected by war too.

【… Explain the situation to the Ministry of Military Affairs… Ah, the Ministry had been dissolved, and the First Army is taking control. Have you explained the situation to them yet?】

【Of course. But they think that with the vast lands our family holds in the south, just the area around Sembione being affected by the war won’t be too much of a problem.】

【Is that true? Please tell me frankly.】

【If this goes on, our profits might go down by ten percent.】

【… What an awkward number.】

【It’s fine if that was all. However, I can foresee them upping the ante if we agree to this tax. Unless the enemy is repelled, I can’t agree to this.】


Regis folded his arms in deep thought.
There was a high possibility of that being true.

Latreille wanted to expand the frontlines, and would even go as far as imposing taxes to achieve that goal.

Eleanor sighed.

【They can’t even defend their territory and yet they are demanding money, they’re like bandits. As the house leading the southern aristocrats, we can’t accept the taxes imposed on us under such conditions— but even if we held out, our private army is still limited in number. In the worst case scenario, we might be branded traitors. Their first target might not be the invading Etruria, but us.】

【… It is prudent to exercise caution.】

Renoir who had been listening quietly suddenly looked outside the tent.


There seemed to be a commotion outside.

Regis stood up.

If it was just the soldier returning with the parasol, this was too much of a reaction.

【… What happened?】


With imposing footsteps, the curtains of the tent were pulled up.
A young girl with red hair entered.
She glared with her sharp red eyes.

Her limbs with snow white skin comparable to porcelain would look like an art piece if they were still. But they were waving about crudely now, and a flawless fingertip— was pointing at Regis’ nose.

【Hey! Why didn’t you call me, Regis?!】

【Your Highness!? What is this about…?!】

He would usually address her as Altina, but he would use honour speech like ‘Your Highness’ in the presence of outsiders.

Pfft, She puffed her cheeks.

【The two of you are meeting alone!】

【No no, her sister is here too.】

Altina finally noticed Renoir, and her expression changed.

A smile appeared on her face.

She was unexpectedly fond of kids.

However, Renoir looked scared by her imposing entrance earlier.

Eleanor shrugged.

【Pardon me, she had not been educated on how to act in the presence of outsiders. Unlike Fanrine and me, she is more timid, which is a pain.】

【She doesn’t resemble the two of you at all.】

【We have different mothers after all. Our personality differs too, probably because of our bloodline.】

【Ohh, that’s true.】

Altina and her siblings had different mothers too, so she accepted this explanation quickly.

Well well, Eleanor brushed her dark hair.

【I’m not here to headhunt Sir Regis today. Well, I will welcome it if he wants to switch careers.】

【Absolutely not!】

Altina slapped the table with a bang.

【But Sir Regis should be the one to decide right? Have you improved his benefits compared to before, Madam Généralissime?】


Before the topic heads down a weird direction, Regis interjected:

【I still have my aspirations and responsibilities, so I won’t change job hop. My apologies, Princess… I thought you are tired from the long expedition, that’s why I neglected to inform you, and took on this negotiation alone.】

【Ah, yes, well… Just do what you usually do…】

Altina was at a loss for words.

One of the reason that she was unusually on guard, was because Eleanor left her lipstick mark on Regis’ face during the Founding Day Festival in April.

But Regis had already forgotten about that.

After all, he had experienced life and death situations several times since then, and those intense memories had buried these trivial memories.

Eleanor nodded.

【Let’s stop with the jokes… I’m requesting for assistance from the Madam Généralissime, and will make adequate payment… Anyway, please take a seat.】


Altina sat down beside Regis.

She took a deep breath, showed a serious face— then said something unexpectedly formal.

【First off, I want to thank everyone in the 《Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance.》 for their support, you have my most sincere gratitude.】

Regis opened his eyes wide.

【… Just like a real Princess.】


【Ahh… you… No, I was surprised when Your Highness said something so Princess-like.】

【This isn’t the first time I said something so formal.】

【That’s true…】

【I also understand the flow of the funds. Since the Founding Day Festival, we have gone through several battles, and the Beilschmidt Border Regiment became the Fourth Army, and is now the Office of the Généralissime… During all these time, our supplies and salary had never stopped because of the support from the southern aristocrats.】

Eleanor nodded.

【It is wonderful that you understand us.】

When the army grew in scale, the Ministry of Military Affairs should increase the level of supply as well. But the number of soldiers under Altina increased too fast, and the Ministry couldn’t keep up.

And they hired plenty of local staff and mercenaries too, and they couldn’t ask the country to foot the bill for these.

The Fourth Army only managed to fight for so long because of the funding support from the Southern aristocrats.

Altina lowered her head.

【But even so… I lost to Latreille.】

【Please raise your head, Princess… It is true that Latreille had taken the throne, but we are still alive. It isn’t over yet.】

【Yes, that’s right.】

【We the 《Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance.》 have no intention of blaming you. Compared to the past when we didn’t have any military backing and had to give in to their one sided demands, the situation now is much better. It’s all thanks to the Fourth Army’s performance.】


【Yes… Since we are supporting Your Highness, you wouldn’t just turn a blind eye if we meet anything unreasonable right?】

【Of course.】

【Because of our relationship with a powerful group, our business had been going smoothly all this time. We are very grateful for to you all. Given the outstanding results produced by the Fourth Army, it is like hitting the jackpot for us investors.】

【Ehh…? Inn-vast?】

Altina had been learning about the importance of money recently, she had yet to venture into the topics of investment yet and looked lost.

It couldn’t be helped, it would be a surprise if she knew.

Regis explained:

【The achievements of Your Highness had stabilized the position of your supporters— that’s what she meant.】

【Ahh, is that so? That’s wonderful.】

Eleanor smiled.

【I’m hoping that you all can keep this up in the future too.】

【I heard that the city in the South had fallen, how dire is the situation?】

We were just discussing this that— Regis said and brought the topic back on track.

【The Sixth and Eighth Army didn’t even hesitate to retreat in the face of the Etruria Theocracy army’s invasion. Sembione city thus fell into the enemy’s hands. It is difficult for the Tiraso Laverde house to give their support under such circumstances, that’s what she said.】

Altina stood up.

【And the people in the city?!】

【… We have sent out scouts, but there isn’t any detailed information yet.】

Eleanor said:

【The Sixth Army’s Viscount Dorval announced their retreat in advance, so the evacuation was completed without any issues. However, a lot of things such as crops and livestocks were abandoned.】

【Is that so.】

Altina was still tense, but she calmed herself and sat down.

Regis thought:

— Speaking of which, Lord Eddie once served in the Sixth Army. Maybe he knows about Lieutenant General Trouvére. I will ask him later.

Their intelligence was still lacking.

The Sixth Army had garrisoned the southern frontlines for a long period of time without any outstanding battle records, so there wasn’t any prominent records that draws attention.

The commander wasn’t invited during the emperor’s coronation, which shows how the military and social world regarded him.

The problem probably lies with the existence of the Sixth Army. And Latreille seemed to have noticed that.

So what was his intention in dispatching Altina’s unit there? Was it just to resolve the war in the southern front as soon as possible?

Or did he had something else in mind?

【… Looks like we have to continue gathering intel.】

Regis muttered.

A woman’s voice came from outside the tent.

【Pardon me Your Highness. The tea is ready.】

It was Clarice.

She didn’t use her usual cheerful tone, but the emotionless voice she used in front of strangers.

【Thank you for bringing it here. How about chatting over tea, Eleanor?】

【I will be honored to join Your Highness’ tea party, there’s no reason for me to reject.】

The eyes of Renoir who had been listening quietly sparkled.

【… Tea party.】

She said in a barely audible voice.

The thick reddish brown liquid shook in the tea cup.

It seemed that the tea leaves were of a more expensive variety today.

Just the smell made Eleanor lavished it with praise:

【As expected of Your Highness, this is top grade tea.】

【Is that so?】

Altina took a sip.

Regis did too.


But he couldn’t tell whether the tea was bad with his tongue.

Eleanor lift the cup to her eye level, and peer inside.

【Princess, do you know the cost of this tea?】

【Ehh? Well… It’s not cheap. But adequate tea should be served when receiving important guest.】

【Ahh, I’m not discussing something as uncouth as whether this is a waste. Or rather, high grade tea should be served exactly for occasions like this. I just want to point out— that the price of tea had risen recently. Do you know that these tea are worth their weight in silver?】

Regis spat out his tea on reflex.

Altina also frowned.

【It’s that expensive?!】

【That is only for premium grade products of course. However, the price of lower grade goods are also rising. And that’s because of the Hispania Empire.】

Hmm? Altina tilted her head.

Regis answered on her behalf.

【… It’s because of pirates. Since ages ago, the Hispania Empire would disguise their navy as pirates, and attack the merchant ships around the Belgaria empire and its neighbouring countries.】

【These acts of piracy are becoming more frequent. Part of the reason was the boom in the High Brittania economy, which raise the values of commercial cargo. Another factor is the decrease in the number of Belgaria escort vessels.】

【… We lost many of our ships after all.】

Altina smashed her fist onto the table.

【How despicable of them to rob merchant ships!】

【That’s the style of that country. Ambushing people like bandits.】

【That’s going too far!】

【To the foreigners. The locals sees them as a righteous charitable group of gentlemen. I had never met any Hispanian like that… Maybe because I’m from Belgaria.】


Altina pouted.

Regis had such rumours before.

【… The steamship in Belgaria will be completed this year. Except for the steam engine, most of the structure is similar to sail ships anyway. Commerce would be tough before we amass a significant number of ships, but the situation at sea will turn stable shortly after that.】

【How long would that take?】

【Hmm… It will take about three years to gather the numbers… But if we increase the alert level, we can decrease the number of pirates attack. We can probably see results by the end of next year.】

【Hmmm… it’s a good chance to sell the tea while its price is high. It’s value will plummet after the sea trade stabilize again.】

【Now isn’t the time for business negotiations.】

【No, that’s not my point. I want to say that the sea is dangerous now. If our land trade routes gets blocked by the Etruria Theocracy, then it will be a serious problem.】

【We will take care of the land routes. That’s why we are here.】

【I will be looking forward to it. After all, there are some nobles aligned with the 《Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance.》 proposing that we deflect to the Hispania Empire.】

【… That will really be a handful.】

That would literally be treason.

However, the enemy had the support of a neighbouring nation, so this war wouldn’t be settled easily this time.

Regis asked agan:

【… Can you pass a message to everyone in the alliance? Généralissime Argentina will repel the invaders from the south as soon as possible. She won’t let you wait long.】

【I understand. Since Sir Regis says so, everyone will definitely accept it.】

【I hope you are placing your trust in the Princess, and not me…】

【Fufu… Well, it’s the same.】

With the negotiations done, Eleanor relaxed and leaned onto her chair and sighed.

Regis placed his hand on his lower lip.

【There’s one more thing. Regarding the tax levied by Emperor Latreille… If you can going to pay, can you propose paying goods in lieu of money?】

【Ohh… you mean using wheat as a substitute?】

【Use rifles. His Majesty Latreille is thinking about the mass production of rifles. And it needs to be fast and large in quantity.】

Eleanor showed an intrigued smile.

And leaned forward.

【I never thought that we the southern new nobles will be involved with military secrets— Since Sir Regis mentioned it, it must be important. Pray tell me the details.】

【The new rifles of the Belgaria Empire, the 《Fusil 851》 is a replica of High Brittania Kingdom’s 《Snider Rifle》. That isn’t a secret kept under wraps.】

These rifles came to the Belgaria Empire with the invading High Brittania army, and several thousands of them were seized by the Empire.
【Please wait a moment.】— Regis said as he took out a High Brittania made rifle from his luggage.

He placed the rifle onto the table.

【It’s more complicated than a sword… But look here. The edge of this part is distorted right? That’s because it’s made by pouring molten steel into a mould. If we dismantle this rifle and use clay to cast its shape, we can replicate it easily.】

Eleanor studied the rifle seriously.


If they actually took up the job of manufacturing, they should be able to get the blueprints of the 《Fusil 851》.

【Instead of paying taxes, how about building such a factory instead? The first batches of the rifles might be collected as taxes, but you would have the means to keep producing and selling more to the military.】

【Hmmp… This is an interesting topic, but I don’t think the aristocrats in central will let such a privilege slip away.】

【Actually, it will be hard for the aristocrats in central to interfere. After all, the iron around the capital is monopolized by the blacksmith guild in Rouen city. If they earn the ire of the guild, the first rate blacksmiths might decline to do business with them.】

Both swords and armour were forged by blacksmiths, and they were needed for continued maintenance and adjustments. If their relationship with the blacksmiths soured, it would be hard for the aristocrats to maintain their private army.

【Won’t it be better to ask the blacksmiths to forge them?】

【If the grand nobles in central want a share of the profit in rifle productions, they will do just that. But if they engaged the blacksmith to do so, the unit price of the rifles will be very expensive. The quality will be very high… But it’s not worth it.】


【Only the key components of the rifles need to be made with precision. But all first rate blacksmith have their pride as professionals, and will polish every nook and cranny of the rifle. People who don’t strive for perfection can’t open a workshop in Rouen.】

【You actually know such details.】

【My brother-in-law is a blacksmith in Rouen city after all.】

Eleanor nodded.

【Hmm… which means that the blacksmiths in Rouen will craft the top quality products, and we will make money with sub-par goods?】

【No no no… the goods have to meet a certain standard. The lives of the soldiers and citizens are depending on it after all.】

【I’m just kidding, we will definitely make products of acceptable quality.】

【I will be counting on you. It will be best if it is plain without any decorations.】

【That’s not the style of Belgaria though.】

【It’s a replica of High Brittania in the first place… Besides, the fundamental technology was based on the Germanian Federation which focus on efficiency. Records states that it wasn’t accepted by the king of the original inventor, and after a limited test quantity was used to suppress a rebellion, it was leaked to other countries…】

At this point, Altina said:【You’re getting off topic again.】

Regis got back on track and continued:

【Another thing, the 《Fusil 851》 requires rubber. Top quality rubber can only be obtained in the south. For the nobles who want to take on the manufacturing of rifles, this is a great advantage.】


Maybe this was one of the reasons why Latreille sent Altina’s unit to the south. If the supply of rubber got blocked, it would affect the production of the new rifles.

Regis concluded:

【… This is the proposal I thought up as a bargaining chip. I assure you that we will take back the city as quickly as possible. I would like Ms Eleanor to negotiate with Emperor Latreille on the productions of the rifle.】

She showed a smile that had a subtle meaning behind it.

【Securing business deals from royals and nobles is my specialty, just leave it to me— but Sir Regis, you omitted the most crucial part correct?】

【… Ehh?】

【What do you stand to gain from this, Sir Regis?】

Oh, I see— Altina made such a face. It was true that Regis had not told her that yet.

Eleanor lowered her voice.

【Do you want us to sell the rifles in secret?】

【No, there will definitely be many inspectors keeping watch in the factory. Besides, like I mentioned earlier, it’s not hard to make rifles.】

If he really needed rifles, he just needed to start a factory himself. Although there wasn’t any point in doing that.

She fell into deep thought.

Her posture was as beautiful as a painting. As expected of a beauty.

【… I have some idea of what you wish to accomplish… but this isn’t really necessary right?】

【Well, just executing this plan alone is pointless after all.】

【Hmm… so you do have something else in mind.】

【That’s right… But if the Tiraso Laverde clan don’t take the rifle production contract, I will need to use the back up plan, and fulfill other conditions…】

Surprisingly, Eleanor didn’t pursue the matter.

【Fufu… it’s best to have less people know the plan. Just tell me the rest when I need to know.】

【Thank you very much for your kind understanding.】

Altina looked over with a serious expression.

【So Regis has not given up yet, and is still thinking about many things.】

【… You also haven’t given up too, right?】

【Of course!】

She puffed out her chest as she said that.

Eleanor stood up with a smile.

She bowed towards Altina.

【Please bring peace to this land.】

【I will do my best! Regis is here, so it will definitely be fine!】

It was a truly heavy burden, but saying that he didn’t have confidence won’t help the situation at all. So Regis held his peace.

He never had confidence in the first place.

However, Regis learned after experiencing many battles that having a timid attitude was pointless.

Or rather, the most important thing to do in his position was to let others trust him.

— I can’t fail again.

When they left the tent, Regis called out to Eleanor who was walking in front of him:

【Oh right… there’s one more thing.】


【Actually, there’s a guest I want you to meet.】

【Who might that be?】

【She is Elise Archibald, do you remember her?】

【Ohh… so she’s back.】

Eleanor narrowed her eyes slightly.

Moments later, she conversed shortly with Elise...

To carry out the plan as quickly as possible, Eleanor set off for the capital immediately. Her goal was to negotiate with the new Emperor, Latreille.

The Fourth Army linked up with the unit garrisoned in the south.

They reached the consensus that it was safer for Elise to stay with them as Regis’ guest for now.

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