This is Yukkuri demasu!
Changing Red Dragon Castle Town to Crimson Dragon.
In a sense Larvyde-san naming sense is better than me… :P
8, Sacrifice the Plum Tree to Preserve the Peach Tree
~ Crimson Dragon Castle Town ・ Morning - Second Day ~
It was the next dawn after the battle where wyverns flew past each other and the tumultuous barrage of fire from the concealed battleship. I, Liecia and Castor’s daughter Carla, were eating our breakfast at the government office room in Crimson Dragon Castle. Carla was in an ill mood, but Aisha, who held a great sword behind her, had warned, 「If you do any suspicious movements, I will certainly cut you down」, so she was behaving herself. By the way, Aisha was still in her 「Stalker Bodyguard」 behavior. Since we had successfully captured Crimson Dragon Castle, perhaps she can assume the newly established title of Royal Guard for the long term. Well, these were talks for the post-war period though.
After capturing Castor Valgas, we seized the control of the Air Force, and so we waited until the entire Air Force gathered at Crimson Dragon Castle Town. Currently, we were summoning those who hadn’t arrived and organizing those who had, so Hakuya and Tolman were very busy. Castor and parts of Castor’s top Air Force echelon had been deported to the Capital. So they wouldn’t become a hindrance, they were controlled with a 『Slave Collar』 (It’s an item that decapitates the wearer if they do something ‘unwise’ even for a bit; an item that exists in a world with many races and magic), this was done so that there wouldn’t be anyone trying to rescue them along the way.
By the way, I left behind Castor’s daughter, Carla close to my side. This was because she served as a hostage that could seen by the Air Force directly, so I can nip the buds of insurrections before they bloom. Not only she wore a 『Slave Collar』 but Aisha also kept watch over her, so she couldn’t make any heedless moves. Perhaps there reasons are why her unruly behaviors she showed yesterday had gone away, and today, Carla was silent as if she was pretending to be mute. As if to be the substitute for Carla, it was Liecia who was talkative. The contents of her words were,
「I think Carla can be seen as a wonderful devoted person. Since she is persistent in her faithfulness, no matter how much she hated it, she would do anything that was requested of her. In my opinion, she is a good girl.」(Liecia)
Liecia was trying to promote Carla. She had been talking about Carla’s charm as a women constantly until now. Inside the government office room, that had belonged to the enemy until yesterday, while we were eating the bento I brought from Parnam (it was prepared, so we wouldn’t be poisoned since the place belonged to the enemy until yesterday), my fiancée, the First Queen Consort, somehow or another, was recommending the enemy supreme commander’s daughter, who had been forced to wear a slave collar, to me as a Royal Consort. This was a rather chaotic scene.
By the way, the difference between Queen Consort and Royal Consort in this country was that only the children of the Queen Consort could inherit the crown, and not the children from the Royal Consort. Also, it was possible to have several Queen Consorts and Royal Consorts (they would be titled as the First Queen Consort, the First Royal Consort, the Second Queen Consort, and so on), but to become a Queen Consort, the woman needs to hold a social position above the title of Noble Knight. On the other hand, a woman may become a Royal Consort no matter what her social position is. If the King didn’t care about how he appeared in front of others, even a slave could become a Royal Consort.
「I-in addition, Carla is amazing if she takes her clothes off. It might be hard to see with armor on the top, but she has bigger breasts and buttocks and a tighter waist th-……than me. Since a dragonnewt has a long lifespan, she would always look young.」(Liecia)
「W-what are you talking about, Liecia!?」(Carla)
As expected, when her body proportions were being mentioned, Carla couldn’t help but to break out from her silent stand. However, Liecia rebuked Carla hard.
「Quiet, Carla! Hey, Souma, Carla is really an amorous woman……」(Liecia)
「If this suits you, then you can try to have one go with her,…」(Liecia)
While strengthening my tone a bit, Liecia’s speech stopped. Seeing her frightened expression…… Made my chest feel painful. While letting out a sigh, I scratched my head briskly.
「Liecia, I understand how you feel. But have you properly thought about the risk for me as the King if I do that?」(Souma)
There is no Queen Consort who would welcome and talk positively about a Royal Consort. Even so, even if she was the candidate for First Queen Consort, Liecia was recommending me to marry Carla as a Royal Consort. It was because Liecia wholeheartedly wants to save Carla. As a rebel army, every member of the Air Force the officers to the lowly soldiers, was under suspicion of treason. Of course, it was also not possible to punish everyone, as they will be incorporated under the Royal Army command’s.「Air Force Marshall Castor, including parts of his top echelon would be implicated」, so Castor will carry their share of the responsibility.
Thus, Castor’s daughter, Carla, who supported the rebellion through her own volition, after the war finishes, she certainly will be put on trial, together with Castor. As it is, she couldn’t evade the capital punishment. That’s why Liecia was trying to force Carla to become a concubine for o me. The king has strong authority in this country. Although at the public stance, the Law was supreme and independent, but it wasn’t impossible for the King to use the power of the state to declare a criminal to be “unable to be judged by the law”.
If Carla pleased me, then I might exert my influence so she would be exempted from trial. However, that is… even if it’s possible, it’s better not to try it.
「If the King didn’t observe the Law, then the Citizens who were protected by the Law, wouldn’t respect the King. If we acted illogically, then we would be punished. You know about this, right Liecia?」(Souma)
「But that,…… Even so……」(Liecia)
Of course, Liecia had already known about this. Even so, she couldn’t give up for the sake of her friend. Really…… A “King” is really an unpleasant job.
「Liecia, begging for my life is unnecessary.」(Carla)
Carla said bluntly to Liecia who was still trying to say something.
「I am just a humble soldier. I won’t hold my life dearly after being defeated in the war. If I was allowed to live and became a plaything for the enemy, then I will bite off my tongue.」(Carla)
Carla resolutely threw away Liecia’s mediation effort. Ah…… I feel I somehow know why the both of them are good friends. Carla’s earnest absolutely unyielding obstinacy after she decided something is similar with Liecia’s. That’s why, I can’t help but to sigh.
「I wish you can use that resolution on something that won’t make Liecia sad, you know?」(Souma)
「Don’t tell someone else what to do! In the first place, you bastard……ugh…」(Carla)
Carla moaned in pain in the middle of her speech. It seems that the 『Slave Collar』 constricted her neck. I see, that item also won’t permit abusive language towards the master. Quite harsh, I think. After 10 seconds, finally Carla was released from the pain and then she glared at me. No, just now, it was she who did the stupid thing, right?
At that time, Hakuya and Tolman entered the office. Tolman stood before me, saluted me in a military manner briskly, and then gave a report.
「Your Highness Souma. The Air Force’s mobilization has been completed.」(Tolman)
「Alright. Then…… Shall we go?」(Souma)
I stood up and gave out orders.
「Hakuya, I left the cleaning up of this place to you. Then, using the Broadcast Orb located here, contact Excel who confronted Amidonia at Altomura. Tell her that it will be sufficient if she can buy time until today’s evening.」(Souma)
「As you wish.」(Hakuya)
「Tolman will lead the Air Force Wings to do continuous aerial bombing of Randell at the Carmine Duchy. However, the aerial bombing targets are only anti-air ballista located at the walls and Randell Central Castle. No matter what happens, don’t drop a single gunpowder barrel on the citizens’ houses. If there are any citizens who become casualties, then there will be punishment after the war is finished. Do you understand?!」(Souma)
「Yes, Your Majesty. I acknowledge the orders!」(Tolman)
「Liecia and Aisha will accompany me to meet with Ludwin’s unit.」(Souma)
「Roger, Your Majesty.」(Aisha)
Alright. After everyone received their order, I turned my eyes towards Carla.
「Carla, you will also go with us.」(Souma)
「Humph, just throw me into jail and be done with it.」(Carla)
「No-no, since you have come this far, why don’t you join us to personally see who is manipulating us.」(Souma)
「? …… What do you mean? Nobody manipulated us……」(Carla)
「No, we are being manipulated.」(Souma)
I shrugged my shoulders at Carla who was puzzled.
「It doesn’t mean that I know all the details. Even so, why don’t I show that I am playing my part until the end? I wonder who wrote the synopsis of this battle.」(Souma)
◇ ◇ ◇
~Randell, Carmine Duchy ・Noon - Second Day~
The walls of the city in the middle of the Carmine Duchy, Randell, were washed in a relaxed mood. Although the Kingdom’s Army and the Royal Army were battling even until now, the battle was completely happening at the fortress that the Royal Army constructed before Randell’s very eyes, so there was not even a single arrow that flew towards the walls that enclosed Randell.
「So boring……」(Soldier A)
A soldier who was ordered to defend the wall complained. Finding fault with that complaint, his fellow soldier frowned.
「Hey, hey, we are currently in the middle of battle with the Royal Army you know?」(Soldier B)
「Even if you say so…… The battle was only around that fort, right? Then, is there any meaning of guarding this place?」(Soldier A)
Then his other friends started laughing 「Hahahaha」.
「Isn’t this good, having it so boring like this? Did you really want to fight against the Royal Army at the front lines?」(Soldier B)
「I-I’m never saying that I wanted to.」(Soldier A)
「The people at the front might have wanted to have our duty instead. At the moment we rose up against the Royal Army, we were labeled as rebels and a rebel army. Furthermore, I heard that the breakaway Glaive Magna-dono also joined the Royal Army. How sad to battle with someone who had eaten out from the same pot.」(Soldier B)
「You’re so right there. There also talks about Amidonia moving. What are the King and Duke Carmine are thinking?」(Soldier C)
Now there was another soldier who complained.
「If you think like that, then guarding the walls is the best of the best, right?」(Soldier B)
「……Maybe that’s true.」(Soldier A)
Just as the last soldier said his agreement.
「Hey, look at the eastern sky! Something is coming!」(Soldier D)
Someone yelled, so everyone began to look at the eastern sky. If they strained their eyes, they could see shadows like a swarm of mosquitoes in the clear sky. The numbers were too large for a flock of birds as the number was no less than a thousand. When that flock drew closer, it could be recognized that it was the Wyvern Knights of the Air Force. A feeling of relief circulated among the Army’s soldiers.
「……Thank heavens. Duke Castor Valgas is an ally.」(Soldier A)
「The reinforcements from the Air Force arrived!」(Soldier B)
「With this, that battle will soon conclude. That fortress would be easily bombarded by the Air Force.」(Soldier C)
Everyone nodded with an expression that showed they agreed.
Yes, certainly the end of that battle was near. However, that ending was something that was unexpected by the soldiers. The Air Force, that “passed past” the fortress, that was constructed by Royal Army in front of Randell and where they had secluded themselves, began to drop barrels packed with gunpowder on the anti-air ballista installed at Randell’s walls.
◇ ◇ ◇
Tolman, who led the Wyvern Knights corps, hovered above the sky of Randell, stared at the explosions that resounded below him, the flame flying around, and the black smoke pillared that up to the sky. Over half of the bombardment target, the anti-air ballista installed atop the walls, had disappeared without a trace.
The gunpowder barrel, used by the Air Force, was a weapon with a structure similar to pottery balls that were used by pirates in the Sengoku period to sink enemy ships (to make it easier to imagine, a fireworks ball). The explosion time was adjusted by the length of a long wick that had been soaked in oil, and after being ignited, it would be dropped and explode after the prescribed time passed. It wasn’t something like an incendiary bomb that exploded upon touching the ground, but if the Air Force had calculated the altitude when dropping it, then it was possible to achieve a similar effect. (Furthermore, even if it fails, the gunpowder that spread out when it crashed on the ground could be burned if sparks hit it, and the range of damage would be extensive).
(Just how many Army soldiers died in the aerial bombing just now……) (Tolman)
Tolman bit his lips at the present state where he had no choice but to blow away the people that had been allies until yesterday.
「Don’t ask for forgiveness. This is also for the Lord and Princess’s sake.」(Tolman)
Tolman then gave out an order to the Wyvern Knights Corps to rouse their mood.
「The anti-air ballista has been silenced! Hereafter, we will bombard the Randell Central Castle! Never, ever drop the barrels on the residential districts! The pride of our Air Force is at stake, so don’t cause any unnecessary casualties!」(Tolman)
The Air Force men raised their voices at the encouragement that contained Tolman’s grief. And thus, the Wyvern Knights’ formations began moving to bombard Georg Carmine’s Castle that was located in the middle of Randall.
◇ ◇ ◇
~ The same day ・ Souma’s side ~
It was during the time when the Wyvern Knights were doing their bombing run.
The Royal Army’s flying dragon gondola, that Liecia, Aisha and I, plus Carla the prisoner of war, had boarded, arrived at the fortress where Ludwin’s unit was confined. Actually, landing at the fortress that was under siege was dangerous, however, when the Air Force began to bomb Randell, the enemy retreated in surprise. Because of this, we could safely enter the fortress.
Ludwin, Hulbert and Kaede-chan met with us. I am relieved that although the three of them looked a bit tired, no one was hurt. Since they had held the fortress for one and half days, unexpected things might have occurred. Then, I bumped my fist with Hulbert.
「As promised, I have brought along the Air Force.」(Souma)
「As promised, I have staved out the Army’s attack.」(Hulbert)
We boasted our achievements to each other.
「It’s only one and half a day right? I would be troubled if you can’t even do that much?」(Souma)
「Stupid. The enemy even brought out cannons, you know? If the dark elves didn’t come as reinforcements, then there would have been considerable damage done.」(Hulbert)
「Is that so…… Then I will reward them heavily after this war ends. Anyway, it’s good that everyone is safe.」(Souma)
「The King too, since you are weak, don’t push yourself.」(Hulbert)
Hulbert and I performed a bold laugh together. The female camp was looking with amazed expressions at us.
「What are they doing? Both of them, really…」(Liecia)
「Maybe it’s what they call camaraderie between men?」(Aisha)
「Hal was just burned by competitive spirit with His Majesty. He only want to boasts up to him.」(Kaede)
The female group just said whatever they liked, but only Carla didn’t have any expression. Then with this atmosphere, Ludwin kneeled down in front of me and reported.
「Your Majesty, I have carried out the duty to protect the fortress.」(Ludwin)
「You have done well. Everyone’s dedication will certainly be rewarded when the war is over.」(Souma)
He reported with formal words, so I also replied with formal words. Then Hulbert and the others were grinning at the sight of me who had suddenly put air of dignity, but ignore, ignore. Anyway, time is precious.
「Ludwin, gather the soldiers and quickly make preparations to march.」(Souma)
「Yes, Your Majesty! Then, are we to assault Randell?」(Ludwin)
「No…… The battle in this place is already finished.」(Souma)
「? What, that me-……」(Ludwin)
The next moment, a Royal Army soldier came running. The suddenness made Aisha and Ludwin drew their sword, but the soldier fell down prostrating and then raised his face.
「Randell Castle has flown the white flag! O-Our Army has become victorious!」(Soldier)
◇ ◇ ◇
A little while before that, Georg Carmine’s Castle 『Randell Castle』, was in a great uproar as they suddenly received the Air Force’s surprise attack. Did Duke Castor Valgas betray them? Did the King and Duke Valgas have a behind the scenes deal? Is this the scheme from that Femme Fatale Duchess Excel Walter? They had conjured various guesses, but nobody had guessed correctly that Souma’s clever scheme had defeated the Air Force on the first day.
The people who were especially panicked inside Randell were the worn-out private armies who had been exhausted from attacking the fortress yesterday, and the dishonest nobles who took refuge in Randell, who had been removed from the frontlines until today. No sooner had they noticed that Randell’s Castle was trembling from the Air Force’s bombing, regardless of the current situation, did they stampede towards the office of Georg Carmine.
「Duke Carmine!? Why are you this easy going at this time!」(Noble)
「The Air Force has betrayed us! Quickly do some countermeasures!」(Noble)
「Your command please! What should we do!?」(Noble)
The nobles shouted out what can be described as practically abusive language at Georg and made the wolf-faced beastman Beowulf, who came to report about the bombing just now, crumple his eyebrows in anger. He wanted to draw the sword from his waist to cut the disrespectful people, but…
Hearing his name being called by Georg, Beowulf corrected his sitting posture. Georg then asked with a calm tone.
「Give me that situation report about the damage from the aerial bombing just now?」(Georg)
「Yes. For the bombing at the castle, the roof and parts of the tower has been mostly blown off, luckily the number of casualties are minimal…… However, the anti-air ballistas installed at the walls have been completely lost during the surprise attack. I was told that the casualties amongst the soldiers that were guarding the walls was not few.」(Beowulf)
Georg’s countenance didn’t change after receiving Beowulf’s report, while the nobles who heard it became white as a sheet. The loss of anti-air ballista means that they have lost any means of opposing the Wyvern Knights. So currently, the Army didn’t have any means to stop Wyvern Knights’ bombing. In other words, even if they took refuge in the castle, they would be one-sidedly killed in the bombing.
Georg brushed his beard that joined with the mane.
「In other words, the people inside the castle, like us, have become hostages.」(Georg)
「Yes. That is true.」(Beowulf)
Hearing Beowulf’s response, Georg began to spoke while raising the corner of his mouth.
「Then in this war, we have lost.」(Georg)
Georg lightly made a remark about accepting the defeat, so for a few moments, the dishonest nobles didn’t know what to say. Lost. When they realized what this meant, their face were dyed in red and blue, while pressing unto Georg.
「What are you saying, Duke Carmine! We still haven’t lost yet!」(Noble)
「That’s right! The army was mostly uninjured! We can recover as much as we like!」(Noble)
「If there is no other way to counter the Air Force, then we can withdraw to another city! Then we will plan our retaliation and assault the King and the Royal Army!」(Noble)
「…… So you say, to desert Randell?」(Georg)
Georg was astonished by the nobles who advocated to resist until the bitter end.
「What kind of Lord casts away the Citizens? If the Lord runs away and abandons the Citizens, he wouldn’t be welcomed by the Citizens of the other cities.」(Georg)
「What are you talking about!? The Citizens will abide by the winner! Even if we incur their displeasure for a while, we can make them yield as we like!」(Noble)
「That’s right! Even if it’s only a lip service, we can survive! First we survive, then we can think about this later!」(Noble)
Hearing the nobles who were thinking about nothing except for their own safety, Georg let out a sigh.
「……In the end, you critters are really cute. Now that I think about it, you are people of that kind of sort, after all. Really…… Even though we only haven’t had any battles with foreign enemies for just awhile, it had brought forth this many rotten roots. As expected, so that the young bud can sprout, the rotten tree must be eradicated.」(Georg)
「Duke Carmine? What are you talking……」(Noble)
Disregarding the nobles that became confused by the sudden change of his ambiance, Georg looked at Beowulf.
「Beowulf, do as we planned.」(Georg)
「! ……As your wish…」(Beowulf)
Beowulf raised his right hand and suddenly soldiers with drawn swords stormed into the room and surrounded the nobles. With twenty, no, thirty swords pointed at their faces, the nobles, who didn’t dare to make any movements, finally understood what Georg had planned. The soldiers stripped them off their weapons and made them wore 『Slave Collar』s.
「This is, what this means Duke Carmine!」(Noble)
「It can’t be! Duke Carmine! You planned to offer our neck to King Souma and beg for your life!?」(Noble)
「You bastard! You are filth, Georg Carmine!」(Noble)
Even at this kind of situation, the nobles were still speaking these words that made Georg let out a sigh of disappointment once more.
「It’s disappointing that I have to join forces with you…… Take them away.」(Georg)
The soldiers took the restrained nobles out from the room. As there were those who were still resisting, the 『Slave Collar』s that they were forced to wear had the master set to Beowulf, so the collars wuldn not constrict their necks and rob them from their consciousness. Even when they couldn’t be seen anymore, their abusive curses at Georg could still be heard from the corridor. After they couldn’t be heard anymore, finally Georg felt that a great burden had been released from his shoulder.
He took a breath, and asked Beowulf.
「What about the private armies and the Zem mercenaries?」(Georg)
「Yes. They should have been restrained by our troops by now.」(Beowulf)
Hearing Beowulf’s reply, Georg nodded in satisfaction. Then he casted off the grim expression he had until now and made a gentle smile.
「I have succeeded. With this, I will regret nothing.」(Georg)
In contrast with Georg who was cheerful, Beowulf had an anguished expression. He might been depressed by what he had to do after this. Georg also seemed to understand how Beowulf felt, so he gave his order as gently as possible.
「Then, Beowulf. I entrust my part to you.」(Georg)
He showed a bit of hesitation, but Beowulf placed the 『Slave Collar』 on Georg. Despite wearing the collar that forced absolute obedience to the master under the threat of death, Georg had such a peaceful expression, that it was as if he was wearing a luxurious bowtie fixed on by his wife to go to a wedding reception. After the 『Slave Collar』 was finished being placed on his neck, Georg gave his last order as the Army’s Supreme Commander.
「Send a messenger to capitulate to the Royal Army and put yourself under His Majesty’s command. Excluding the private army of the dishonest nobles, the men only abide to my command. I will bear all their punishment. Afterwards…… I entrust the rest to Glaive. Execute it!」(Georg)
「……Yes! At once.」(Beowulf)
After saluting, Beowulf exited from the room. Georg saw him off, and then took out something from the bottom drawer of his desk. Inside was a wine that was bottled in the same year that Liecia was born. It was something given by Albert, when Liecia was born, to Georg with a wish, 『Please protect my daughter always』. After Princess Liecia graduated from the Military Academy and was placed at a position close to him, several times he mentioned that 『I intend to drink myself to death with this wine on the Princess’ wedding day』.
(Wedding…… Huh? I only regret that I can’t see the princess becoming a bride, but when I think that I can send a wedding congratulatory gift greater than anyone else, it doesn’t feel that bad. This wine…… I will ask someone to send it to the Young King. The former enemy that has snatched away the princess, maybe I detest him just a little bit.)
While having a self-deriding laugh, he imagined himself standing in line at the wedding day between Souma and Liecia.
(Will that King enter this castle? …… I want to meet him personally and talk with him for once.)
Georg might have wished this, but then someone delivered a message that, 「The King won’t enter Randell, he already led the Royal Army towards the ‘west’」. Furthermore there was an additional order, 「As soon as the Army is finished being reorganized under Glaive and Beowulf, immediately follow the Royal Army」. Hearing this report, in Georg’s mind a speech appeared:
『Then I will step over that old tree.』
He remembered Souma’s face when he said this during that time.
「Gahaha! I see, I see, so that’s how it is! So the King is aiming at the king of large fish!」(Georg)
At the moment when Georg comprehended everything, he laughed in a loud voice.
「That’s right! I am only a stepping stone! Splendid, Young King! It’s the new generation’s turn! My time is already over! Now, King, Princess! Step over this old tree and go forward hand in hand! Let the youths open their buds and bring glory to Elfrieden!」
He had reached the end of his time, but Georg felt truly blessed from the bottom of his heart.
In case you are wondering what gift Georg had send to Souma and Liecia, Georg gave Souma a stable foundation where the rotten root had been mostly cut off and young buds can sprout. Souma do some improv though.
Next chapter: THE TRUE SHAPE OF SOUMA’S PLAN.
 That is a Knight who held Nobility Rank, just like Chevalier or Ritter rank. Not just some random soldier calling himself a Knight…
 Souma is using sarcastic-rhetoric tone here. He had already know, but he pretend to not know about it.
 The inside is like this:
 Like a bro should do. *You fujoshi might squeal here* (E/N: Not enough bromance yet for that imo.) The Fujoshi that I know could made slash-fic even between character that only meet only once in the story… Maybe I need to stop using her as a barometer for other fujoshi. Oh in case you wondering, she functioning normally in her job life. Maybe only few people know her true nature…