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The opened mouth wasn’t closed.
‘On our side, we have a small scale group of 60 people. So, 300 on 1000? No, no.’
“We’re not going to ask strongly about this.” (Prince Consort)
“I don’t understand this very well.” (Yuri)
“They are going to leave tomorrow, whether you go along with them or not.” (Prince Consort)
“The 300 soldiers are the young people of common soldiers and Knights. You don’t have to understand the reason.” (Prince Consort)
‘Let the young people with a future escape before being attacked. That’s probably it. It might be due to hypocrisy, but it’s not bad. As a matter of fact, they are the least experienced soldiers, and some of them cannot be used.’
‘300 people are probably chicks like us who are almost 20 years old or younger. Maybe, these 300 people were chosen not from the best young people, but those are the youngest. Even at the school of Knights in Kilghina, the bond of those who graduate from 20 years old should be alive, but now that Reform is surrounded, there is no graduation.’
‘Since they are still students, it’s not possible to bring them in a war immediately. I’m not sure about provisional graduation or other measures, but they should have been trained to some extent. They would be those who are Knight apprentices until a few months ago.’
“And none of these 300 soldiers are the heirs of the General households.” (Prince Consort)
‘If they were in such a high position, the Generals would probably let them escape or they are made to fight.’
“There are 1000 people who are in a similar position. The age group is a bit higher, but here too… I mean old people who can’t walk on their own are supposed to remain.” (Prince Consort)
‘So, would it be from children to thirties or forties? If the age group goes up and adults are included, will they listen to the army of young people? They probably won’t trust us under this situation.’
‘The ratio of the number of soldiers to people is 3:10. No, considering that half of the commoners are women, it should be around 3:5. Given that the Knights are trained and accustomed to handling weapons, 3:5 is an overwhelming advantage. There seems to be no danger of riots. No, it may be the danger of losing in a riot?’
“Supplies… no, what about horses and provision?” (Yuri)
“I can prepare enough for that. The castle has enough stockpiles to withstand siege for a year. There’s no problem if we give some.” (Prince Consort)
‘Well, as the number of people decreases, so does the need for food.’
“No matter how much you have, it doesn’t make sense if we don’t have the means to carry it. If we put it on our back, the speed of walking is reduced from a turtle-like speed to a slug-like speed.” (Yuri)
“I will prepare as many horses and carriages as possible.” (Prince Consort)
‘That reminds me, they don’t need horses or carriages since they aren’t used in a siege battle. Well, horses can be used as foot, but if you use them for that purpose, you have to give up something else.’
“I see… well then, why do you think that these 300 soldiers are lacking?” (Yuri)
‘I just heard that there are some problems, but none of them are serious. Isn’t it normal to succeed even if they are left alone and even if they don’t concern us?’
“First is, there is no commanding officer. The reason is, they are people who are taken from disjointed units. If you didn’t come, we would have had to pull an experienced commanding officer out of a suitable unit, but of course that unit would need to be reorganized in the absence of a commanding officer. Or the unit will be disassembled and the members will disperse to other units. I don’t want to do that if possible.” (Prince Consort)
‘Well, I think it would have to end in that way. However, it is a matter of time when it comes to giving up one unit. If they don’t do it, I would actually do it. I don’t think it’s a big burden.’
“The problem is that they have no experience with these escort missions. After all, they were just gathered yesterday. If it’s you, you would understand what this means.” (Prince Consort)
‘The observation unit is made up of a selection personnel from aspiring honor students, but even so, they trained jointly for a week or so before departure. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to act in line with each other.’
‘If the soldiers don’t remember the commanding officer’s face, the command to fight at the risk of life cannot work well, and the commanding officer cannot grasp how far the soldiers can withstand the operation. So, these 300 people are disjointed people unless they go for that training.’
“Once you come here, they will do their duty. In other words, even if the age group is the same, there are thirty experienced people. I think that guidance is better than sending out one veteran soldier. Of course, we can’t afford to send thirty veteran soldiers.” (Prince Consort)
‘I see. Well, I don’t know what to say.’
‘Yes, I don’t get it. If you think about it carefully, they are like a gathering of kids. You probably expect them to build a relationship like a senior or junior in an athletic club, but I’m not sure if that will hold true.’
Although I have to say that I don’t have to worry about them. It doesn’t matter to these people. Even if they say 300 soldiers to 1000 commoners, they are leaving this place.’
‘It is unlikely that they will be seen again, and it doesn’t seem to be such a serious concern that the safety level will somewhat increase or decrease. Perhaps, it is because of his duty as a ruler, he feels the need to make such efforts. That’s why he may have made such a request, but in the worst case scenario, even if these 1300 people wipe out as soon as they leave the castle, the situation won’t be exposed to the Reform castle soldiers.’
‘Perhaps, her daughter’s safety is a hundred times more important than the others, and that’s why he brought the topic first.’
‘Honestly, I think it’s not so bad for me to abandon the castle itself and withdraw to Shaalta with all the troops. Reform is a fortified city, and it has a relatively fine wall. So, I think we are looking at the future where they can endure until winter and make a one-shot reversal. Well, I just arrived here, so I don’t understand the situation.’
“…Is there any compensation?” (Yuri)
When I said that, Carol looked at me with slightly surprised eyes.
‘As a matter of course, she thought that this is unpaid work, and she didn’t think that the concept of compensation would come out. However, I had something to ask. I don’t mind doing it for free if it’s the princess alone, but I’m concerned because this is hard work.’
‘Even if you ride a Galloping Bird, the speed of the entire unit is limited by the speed of the carriages pulled by the horse. It will not be so fast, but if we bring 1000 people on foot, it will become a great stumbling block.’
‘Although we may not get caught up, if I accept the job for free, there will be a backlash from within the squad. In short, I don’t have much feelings for Kilghina’s innocent citizens, and the members of the observation unit are probably having the same feelings.’
“Is it necessary?” (Carol)
“The members of the observation unit are probably feeling a strong sense of desire. What’s more, you can’t expect a favorable response when taking on something hassle. If there’s a price, it will be an easy-to-understand motivation.” (Yuri)
‘I haven’t been in contact with the members of the unit since I returned, so i don’t know how it really is, but I think they probably have that feeling. From the beginning, I want to go home.’
‘However, this is a final request from the royal family. They are actually the last survivors of Reform, and that’s why this kind of role has come around. To ignore the final request will considerably tarnish our image.’
‘This image can be manipulated to some extent, and I also have many enemies in Shaalta. Those who oppose the plan of this unit will want to use it to smear the achievements of my unit.’
The prince consort turned to the queen. He would have thought that he needed to consult, but she had probably decided in advance.
“I originally intended to give this to Telor, but if that’s the case, I’ll give it to you.” (Jacoba)
The queen looked at the woman who seemed to be the Queen’s Sword in the room.
“Bring the sovereignty seal.” (Jacoba)
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With a brief reply, the Queen’s Sword-like woman quickly left the room. It wasn’t the door behind me, but the door behind the queen.
‘Sovereignty seal? Kilghina’s sovereignty seal, is it? Is that the seal of the queen? It would be a problem if such a thing is entrusted. Or rather, if they still need to use it. If they give it, they will not be able to make documents such as a high rank notice of personnel change.’
“Wait a minute.” (Jacoba)
The woman came back soon. She held a large wooden box in her hand.
The box was silently placed in front of Carol.
‘Shouldn’t it be placed in front of me? Is it an object that only a royalty is allowed to have? This object is probably an object of commitment by the Queen’s Swords. After all, these people are scary when they get angry.’
When I looked at it from the side, it was quite a gorgeous box. It was a wooden box with an arabesque-like carving on the whole, and the whole part was covered with gold leaves.
The gold leaves didn’t seem to have been attached recently. The dazzling gold color was soothing, but the gold leaf on the edge part of the carving had peeled off. Nevertheless, the overall dignity hadn’t been lost.
“You may open it.” (Jacoba)
Then, she gave permission to Carol, who was waiting for her authorization.
“Excuse me, I’ll open it.” (Carol)
Carol put her hand on the lid and opened the box. Inside, a green lump was placed on a cushion, next to which was a flat gold seal made of gold.
‘The color is emerald green… is it a jadestone?
‘It has a transparent, deep green color. It is a color that gives the feeling of vitality, like gathering fresh green buds that breathed in early spring, compresses tightly and makes it into stone. Next to it, it’s a gold seal that is probably made of pure gold. It looks hazy, so there is an overwhelming difference in intensity.’
‘The jade isn’t lacking. It only has very few transparent parts. Everything in Shaalta has a muddy color, like a mixture of dripping milk. There is such a beautiful jade in the warehouse of my parents’ house, but the size of the stone is completely different because the round polished stone is attached to the handle of a hairpin. There are no two stones in the world that are so big and beautiful. Except for these two. I heard that the original was one.’
“The Queen’s sovereignty seal…” (Carol)
Carol muttered and picked the seal. The seal, which was originally 10 cm square, had roughly cracked when the surface lying down on the cushion was exposed.
Originally it was a square, but it was split in two and became a rectangle with a ratio of 2:1. Since the handle is broken, it is extremely difficult to use it as a seal.
Perhaps, the gold seal next to it was made for everyday use. Here, an easy-to-hold handle was firmly made in the middle of the rectangle.
‘If my understanding is correct, this seal was used by the empress of the Shantilla Great Empire. It was broken by an accident at the time of the great division by war, and it was artificially broken according. The seal was divided in a country established by Yurun and Noah, who were the most influenced sisters. Since then, the two seals have never been combined.’
‘In Yurun Kingdom and Noah Kingdom, the incomplete seal that was split in half, continued to be used as the sovereignty seal until the end of the country. Both had disappeared after the country had fallen, and I have never heard of their whereabouts.’
‘It’s a bit of a romantic story that’s famous as a historical trivia. This is something that is truly emotional. It can be said that it is a treasure for all Shanti, rather than just to those who had the Shantilla Great Empire as their ancestors.’
“I heard Shaalta has one half of this. If this city falls, you can do whatever you like.” (Jacoba)
‘If it doesn’t fall, would she ask for a return? That probably won’t happen. Speaking of which, does her family possess the other half? I didn’t know. It’s possible that I’m just a shallow student, but it’s probably a secret matter, out of the public knowledge.’
“Are you sure? Telor-sama is…?” (Carol)
Carol said anxiously. She might have a concern of ‘the original owner and successor should be Telor, right?’.
“That girl doesn’t have the courage to raise her own soldiers and regain the country. Having something like this would only make her unhappy.” (Jacoba)
‘That’s right. Unless she can raise her soldiers to regain her country, using the seal and wielding the royal power is dangerous. If she tells our queen that she wants to establish a country, she might be assassinated by the Queen’s Sword. It is best to let go the sovereignty seal, get remuneration in exchange, and live happily without ambition.’
“Is that so? Well then, I’ll accept it.” (Carol)
Carol closed the lid.
The queen nodded.
“Is this it?” (Yuri)
Then, I asked.
“What do you mean by that?” (Jacoba)
The queen looked at me while smiling slightly.
‘I would like to say that this isn’t enough. Considering the importance of the sovereignty seal, it would be normal to think so.’
“It’s a wonderful treasure, but… I think it’s not enough for this time.” (Yuri)
‘Rather, it seems that she originally intended to give it to the Shaalta royal family through Telor. She probably thought that it’s just right to take this role with this compensation.’
“Even if we receive that, it will be stored in the treasury of the Sibyaku castle after we bring it back. From the soldier’s point of view, it’s an event above clouds, and it’s hard to feel thankful.” (Yuri)
“Hmm… then, what is good for you?” (Jacoba)
It seemed that she felt unpleasant. It was displayed on her face and voice.
‘Well, I do recognize the importance and the cultural value of this sovereignty seal. Rather, I think it’s understandable.’
“Instead of receiving the sovereignty seal, I would like to receive a medal with a reward.” (Yuri)
“A medal? I’m not prepared for anything like that.” (Jacoba)
‘The medal has various shapes, but they aren’t just documents, but a physical one. Something like a badge or medal can be hung from the neck or fastened to the chest. Of course, since it has a shape, it is important to decide the design and manufacture it.’
‘I think I would like to put in a short skit saying that it will not be ready by tomorrow.’
“Please write a document showing the effect of the medal, and then, give a generous amount of money that you don’t need. After we return, we will decide the design appropriately and manufacture it. It will be awarded by Her Highness Telor.” (Yuri)
“…I don’t mind if it’s that.” (Jacoba)
‘From the queen’s point of view, it’s just a small matter if compared to the sovereignty seal. Does it feel like being told to make a shelf since it would be too much if asked to give a mansion?’
‘However, that is enough. With the power and wealth of the queen, it shouldn’t be difficult to pay for what she says to a small unit of sixty people.’
“Please limit the requirement of the medal to those who are engaged in the operation to deliver the last citizen safely. They won’t receive a medal if they leave the unit, so they will change their mind.” (Yuri)
“It’s not a problem.” (Jacoba)
‘Alright. I got her consent.’
“The rest, needless to say, please arrange the documents to transfer the command of 300 soldiers. Under the above conditions, they will protect and work for Her Highness Telor and 1000 citizens.” (Yuri)
“I see.” (Jacoba)
That was all the queen said.
“As for the money, we don’t have it. Everything is given and entrusted to Shaalta.” (Prince Consort)
‘Ooh. For a moment, complex emotions swirled all over the chest, and I thought there was a black ink-like liquid dripping down my mind. I see. So, her assets have been transferred?’
‘Well, it’s fine. That is more convenient.’
“I will entrust it to Carol-dono. After our death, we want you to use it as a reward, to save the refugees, and leave the rest to my daughter.” (Jacoba)
‘I don’t know how much it is. I really have a bad feeling about this. But it’s also true that Carol’s position would be jeopardized if Telor has the luxury of Kilghina’s heritage, even if the refugees were poor. Well, I am sure that she’ll be called a greedy woman who got dirty money.’
‘Carol may be a nuisance to Telor, but the choice to leave her disposition to Shaalta royal family may not be bad.’
‘These parents probably don’t believe in Telor’s ability. I think they are throwing it all because they find her difficult to make tactical political decisions. If it were Aunt Satsuki in a similar position, she wouldn’t do it for Shamu.’
“…Are you fine with this?” (Jacoba)
The Queen asked me.
“Of course. It’s convenient.” (Yuri)
“I see.” (Jacoba)
The queen let out a breath when she said that. She dropped her shoulders as if weakened, leaving her taut spine on her back.
Perhaps, her anxiety had disappeared and the burden on the shoulders had come off.
“Alright, you may go now. You should rest.” (Jacoba)
The words she said sounded exhausted.
“Yes. Well then, please excuse us.” (Yuri)
‘Although I said that, I can only sit down. I’m sitting because it’s a wheelchair that I can’t operate.’
The queen was looking at me for a moment. She looked suspicious, but she soon seemed to notice.
“Aah, yes. Please send them to their room.” (Jacoba)
When she let out a slightly loud voice, two people who seemed to be the Queen’s Sword came and went to our back.
When the two grabbed the handle of our wheelchairs…
The queen issued the order to cancel for some reason.
“Finally, I had something to ask.” (Jacoba)
“What are you going to do this time?” (Jacoba)
‘What am I going to do? Are you telling me to work? Is that not it?’
“That is a pretty vague question. Do you mean what would I do after the mission is over?” (Yuri)
“Yes. What would you do after graduating from the academy?” (Jacoba)
‘I wonder about what I would do with my life work. I have no idea how to answer. Is it correct to say that I want to kill Kuran as much as possible and build a pile of corpses? No, it’s not a job interview, and it’s not necessary to find the answer that the other person wants.’
“I want to build a house near a lake with a view of the mountains and live leisurely with people who are important to me. I will hire people to help with housework. While growing flowers, fishing and reading books, I want to spend a peaceful time slowly… without any inconvenience.” (Yuri)
I honestly stated my desire. Since there were so many things, I just wanted to take a rest rather than to be honored or went for war.
‘In reality, what would it be like if that happened? I may unexpectedly get bored and go out soon.’
‘When it comes to that, would my answer be wrong? No, I want to live that way in old age, so it’s not a lie. However, somewhere in my heart, I feel a bit guilty.’
“Well, it’s a dream that won’t come true.” (Yuri)
I added that.
The queen had a difficult face for a moment. She opened her mouth, stopped it, and stayed quiet as if she was choosing her words.
‘I supposed she doesn’t want to hear that.’
After that, the expression resolved as if it had melted.
It wasn’t a sigh, but an exhale to remove the air in her lungs. At the same time, tears fell from the queen’s eyes and I couldn’t understand the logical connection.
“I see. You may go now.” (Jacoba)
Despite the tears shed, the words weren’t teary and strangely unshaken.
“Your Majesty, please leave the rest to us. Although it may not be enough, I accept your kindness.” (Carol)
When Carol expressed her gratitude, the queen didn’t return the words, and nodded. When the wheelchair was moved and turned to the other side, I could no longer see her expression.
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