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The great hall of the royal castle was crowded with many people. The invitees sat in the chairs prepared for each of them, and behind them, there were many people standing and watching.
Speaking of which, I was sitting in the front row of those chairs, about halfway in the best row. There were also Rook and Suzuya next to me.
The ceremony had already begun. In front of Her Majesty the Queen, three men were kneeling and bowing their heads in fine dress.
“My brave generals, Oron of the Boff Household, Kien of the Rube Household and Borafula of the Noza Household. Let me praise you for risking your life and wielding your spears to save our companions.” (Queen)
When Queen Simone said so, the three men bent the elbows of their arms on the ground and lowered their heads even lower. Only one person, Borafula Noza, had a high head posture, but this didn’t mean disrespect and dissatisfaction to the Queen. I thought that his knee was probably bad and he couldn’t bend. I didn’t know that he was suffering from a knee problem, but his current position seemed to be painful.
“Your success will bring hope to our people. I hope that you will continue to be the spear that exterminates the evil approaching our country from now on.” (Queen)
Her Majesty the Queen slowly stood up from her chair and put the tip of the royal spear on the shoulder of the second man from the right. This was a kind of regalia with a straight tip attached to the tip of a thin, long rod with a fine decoration.
Its shape was unique, and jagged valleys were attached to the part of the blade. It seemed to express that the blade was crushed, but it was made of thin thickness to the extent that it didn’t bend easily so that it was easy for women to hold it, and it looked like a saw drawn by a child.
“Kien Rube. In regards to your military service, I will confer the Grand Medal of Shaalta. Raise your face.” (Queen)
Kien stood up alone and walked about three steps closer to the Queen.
It must be a predetermined movement.
The great hall was quiet.
The Queen and Kien looked at each other for a moment. I couldn’t see Kien’s face from my spot, but for a moment, the Queen’s eyes seemed to be narrowed for a moment as if she was looking for something.
Both of them seemed to have nothing but cold thoughts about this ceremony. I couldn’t feel anything moving or emotional.
‘Is there any meaning in this ceremony? Speaking of whether there is value, neither these two nor I would recognize the value. However, it’s necessary. It’s to make a distinction between a series of upheavals and to show that a series of expeditions, that had been launched and raised an army in the name of the royal family, had ended.’
‘Of course, there should be sporadic skirmishes for the Rube Household, and as soon as this ceremony is over, they will return to their territories and start preparing for war. However, this expedition, which the Queen ordered by using her authority, is over. Whether it’s a war or sports day, it’s unsavory if she doesn’t do a closing ceremony when she has done the opening ceremony.’
When the Queen put the medal on Kien’s chest, Kien took a step back and knelt down.
“Let’s be honored to the last generation of my household, and an honor that will remain in me.” (Kien)
The Grand Medal of Shaalta was the second highest medal from the top for a Knight. However, the highest medal of the Shaalta hadn’t been given yet.
This was because this country inherited the medal system of the Shantilla Great Kingdom. On top of the Grand Medal, there was the Glittering Stars Medal, which had only been given twice in history. During the first and third war against Isus allied forces, there was a clash of large armies of 100000 people. It was a great war on that scale, but it wasn’t a large scale if I looked over world history. It was a medal given to the supreme commander who led it to a historic victory, so I supposed it was splendid.
Even so, the Grand Medal of Shaalta, which was one ranked lower than the Glittering Stars Medal, had only been given twice in the past. It was given to the Hou and Noza Households.
In the case of the Hou Household, it was given such a medal when they played a central role in defeating the Crusades in the past expedition and they also received a letter of gratitude from the Dafide Kingdom. Speaking of the Noza Household, it was given when there was a rebellion in the General households in the past. When the civil war happened where Sibyaku was exposed to war, the household suppressed it and liberated the royal castle.
It was just that the Hou Household had a total of three Grand Medals. One was given from the Timna Kingdom in the past, and the other was recently given from Kilghina Kingdom after the death of my uncle Goux. So, we had three of them.
Since it was such a great thing, it was natural for Kien to say ‘it’s an honor to the last generation’, and if he didn’t say that much, he could be regarded as a rude person.
Actually, it even felt too exaggerated for their service. All the recipients who received the medals up to this point had won the war and raised splendid military merits, but… how about these generals who went as reinforcement, and they got the medal even though they returned after being defeated?
As with any country, a country that had become heavily defeated tends to confer medals and honors. This is because it’s an easy way to raise the fighting spirit, which doesn’t cost anything other than the price of the medal itself. The reason why Kien’s face wasn’t covered in joy was because he thought that he was given a medal unnecessarily with the help of that tendency.
And he wasn’t the only one who thought it was unnecessary. Perhaps, most of the people in this great hall understood it.
“It’s only your military service that saves this country from danger. I look forward to your further success.” (Queen)
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After the ceremony was over, Rook and I were called to a meeting.
It seemed that the meeting wasn’t held with a large number of people. It was conducted in a room, which could be a guest room, with a reasonable size. It could be called a small meeting in the western world.
There were no large tables and chairs in the room, and there was no other furniture except a fireplace. There were many paintings on the walls that are housed in gorgeous frames. There was a veranda in the room where a party could be held in the royal castle, but it might be there was no need to consider eavesdroppers, there was only a window here.
The bright light of a sunny summer day shone through the windows which were opened at the moment.
‘The summer in Shaalta is great. A walk along the green promenade will make you feel very good. It would be one of the worst days to spend a day like this to have a tense meeting in a room where important people couldn’t be rude to each other and there is nothing to gain from it.’
‘Since it’s a meeting of the inner circle, there is no escort, and there are a total of six people, including Her Majesty the Queen, myself, and four nobles. Of course, there are a lot of people like warriors outside, but the room is spacious. However, I wonder why I’m called to attend this meeting.’
‘I’m thinking of the answer, but I don’t get it. As a matter of fact, my unit had already returned the day before yesterday. Liao participated in the previous ceremony, and of course, Carol attended too. If so, it’s because I’m the successor of the Hou Household. It’s kind of weird. If that’s the reason, Liao and Carol should attend this meeting as well. The two should be preparing for another ceremony ahead of this time, but that doesn’t mean they can’t attend.’
“So, I would like permission to cross the border with respect to the deeper parts of the mountains.” (Kien)
“I allow you. I will deliver the official documents later.” (Queen)
Her Majesty the Queen easily consented.
Although the Rube Household’s territory covers the entire border next to Kilghina, there’s no such thing as a border river on the Atlantic side, behind the mountain range in the middle of the peninsula. Therefore, it was a matter that he wanted to bring his army to the Kilghina side.
Currently, the Kilghina’s defense had weakened, so it was no longer a matter that they could disregard.
“I would like to make the land belong to the Rube Household. Would it be alright if I do that, Your Majesty?” (Kien)
It seemed that he wanted to expand his territory as well as moving forward.
This proposal was natural. From Kien’s point of view, he would like to increase the territory by advancing his army immediately.
‘As for the Hot Bridge, the river became a natural defense line, so it was problematic to move forward unnecessarily. In this battle, the bridge was destroyed by the gunboat, so the frontline became chaotic. They lost the battle there, and when they tried to withdraw, the bridge had been destroyed. When it came to that situation, they would have no choice but to set up a formation with their backs against the river.
However, there is no such thing as putting one’s back against the mountain.’
‘Indeed, the end point of the fjord, which is particularly deep, should be the beginning of the border. Well, it’s narrow, but it’s not a strategic position. The other side from the border is currently a blank area for the army, so there’s no reason to wait for the enemy to come and secure it. If he says that he wants to annex the former Kilghina territory, he sounds full of ambition, but he can also say that he wants to make the frontline move forward while the area is still a blank area.’
Her Majesty the Queen seemed to think for a while.
“It’s a natural request. I don’t mind. You may write it in a letter, but you will not be given unlimited responsibility.” (Queen)
She was generous when saying she didn’t mind.
‘Well, it’s absurd to think about the time when the influence of the Rube Household has become too strong in this period. If he becomes strong, he can get as much strength as he wants.’
I was able to imagine the unlimited liability.
“The Kilghina Kingdom hasn’t completely disappeared. There’s Telor-dono. She isn’t a Queen because she isn’t crowned, but the Kilghinan will recognize her authority. If you don’t want to get yourself into a troublesome matter, you should also get permission from her.” (Queen)
“…That’s true. I wonder if it can be arranged from the royal side.” (Kien)
“If we forcibly make her agree, the problems will become bigger later on. I don’t mind arranging it, but I don’t know what the consequences will be if we don’t force her.” (Queen)
‘Well, it’s almost certain that Kilghina will perish, and there’s a matter of Telor as well. So, it’s going to be like counting chickens before they have hatched. But these people don’t know who Telor is, so it’s unavoidable to guess. I don’t know her well either.’
“I don’t know her well because I met her only once. Rather, she would be more familiar with Yuri-dono, who brought her to our country.” (Kien)
The story changed.
‘What? The flow of conversation is as natural as possible, so am I called here because of this? Is there a script?’
“Yuri-dono. Her Majesty Telor… No, will it be fine if I address her as Telor-sama? May I know what kind of person she is?” (Kien)
Kien asked while looking at me.
He was sitting on the farthest side of the slightly long table, and farthest from me. Since I was the lowest in status (as I didn’t have a title), I was sitting at the last seat against the Queen who was at the upper seat.
For the time being, when I looked at the Queen, she didn’t send a signal, but raised her mouth a little and made an expression of smiling.
‘Does that mean it’s fine if I speak honestly?’
“As far as I can see, Telor-sama… isn’t interested in politics. If you compare it to someone like Her Highness Carol, her temperament is totally different.” (Yuri)
Kien stroked his bear with interesting eyes.
“To put it simply, she is a girl. She is someone you can find everywhere, a timid girl.” (Yuri)
“Is that so?” (Kien)
“Well, the problem that Kien-dono thinks will not happen. Rather, it may be more difficult to make her understand the content when it comes to signing an agreement without deceiving her.” (Yuri)
“Are you saying that she is such a fool?” (Kien)
Kien frowned and made a rather difficult face. It seemed that I didn’t convey it well.
‘I’m not saying that she is a fool, but I’m thinking that there is a possibility that she will be used by someone to do harm. I don’t know what to worry about though.’
“No, rather than saying she is a fool… she isn’t interested in politics, and she lives in a very simple world. Well, to put it simply, she is just a normal girl.” (Yuri)
“Hmm… I see.” (Kien)
“If Reform falls, it may be better to make an agreement of her waiving Kilghina’s full authority.” (Queen)
The Queen said.
‘As for Reform, the report whether it has fallen or not hasn’t arrived. The current situation is that the information is cut off.’
“I think it will be fine. When I took her from the royal castle of Reform, His Majesty the Prince Consort also wanted it that way. She doesn’t have a military disposition, so the Lord’s duty will be a burden to her.” (Yuri)
“Well then, it doesn’t seem to be a problem.” (Kien)
Kien said and looked at Queen Simone.
‘He probably wants to say that he wants to return and acknowledge him to move his army.’
“I see. I will explain it to her later and I’ll get the authorization later. No problem will occur. I will issue the authorization letter today. Kien-dono should take it and move the army.” (Queen)
“As you will.” (Kien)
Kien stood up from his chair once, gave a big bow, and sat down again.
‘Well, for the time being, it will be in the form of receiving an edict. It wouldn’t be strange.’
When I looked at other people, Rook was just sitting with a serious look, while the other two had a boring face.
‘It doesn’t mean that the discussion is boring. It’s just not enough to dispute or complain, but their appearance displays the feeling of being bored and not convinced.’
‘I think that’s because the Rube Household took the best part, including the medal.’
‘Borafula Noza looks more like a civilian than a warrior when I look closely. He’s probably about seventy years old. That’s about the end of the prime age based on the Shanti standard. However, he doesn’t have good flesh and doesn’t look like he can swing weapons. Rather than being born that way, I wonder if he isn’t exercising in some way and that may affect the disability of his foot.’
‘Oron Boff, in contrast, looks a little too fat. Fat can be advantageous in battle. If you keep moving a lot of muscles with full force, it may be necessary as reserve fuel. However, if I dismiss that fact, he has too much meat. That’s mild obesity.’
“Then, this is the end of this problem. So, let’s move on to the next agenda.” (Queen)
The Queen said.
‘I wonder how many agendas there are. It shouldn’t take until midnight.’
“This is a request from all General households except the Hou Household. Yuri-dono, it’s about you.” (Queen)
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