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After falling about three meters, I pulled back on the reins and moved into a glide.
White Dusk was an eagle that Rook selected and tamed completely as a hobby, which was less profitable than when he was at the ranch. It was well-trained.
It moved into a glide and quickly flew over the army surrounding the royal castle.
White Dusk flapped its wings several times but didn’t rise half as high as normal.
‘As expected, it’s still heavy. The glide ratio is clearly different from the usual, and the angle is deeper.’
Sibyaku at night was usually so dark. Only the royal castle was lit up, and since there was no lamp, the city was only slightly visible through the lights leaking from the windows.
However, today was a different day, and it was unusually bright along the road. It was the flames from the torches that the soldiers carried. It seemed that they wanted to impose some kind of martial law to prevent chaos in the capital, and they were dispersing their soldiers throughout the city.
I started gliding and reached the secondary residence in less than five minutes.
For some reason, the secondary residence wasn’t overrun, and people seemed to be staring at each other near the gate.
‘What? However, it won’t be good for the Second Army to see what descended. The equilibrium might be broken if a two-seater Eagle King was seen landing majestically in the garden.’
I adjusted my direction slightly and aimed for the backyard.
White Dusk entered the landing position, but even with a long flap of its wings, its fall speed didn’t slow as much as I wanted.
I couldn’t just jump off with Carol in my arms, so I landed with quite a bit of momentum. Instead of a little bird perching on a branch, the eagle’s chest sank so deep that it touched the ground.
‘I hope it’s not hurt.’
I was concerned about White Dusk. It would be too much to lose this eagle.
“Are you alright, Carol?” (Yuri)
Carol was trembling finely, as if the cold was too much for her. As I removed the restraining belt, the flying soldiers surrounded me.
“I-is that you, Yuri-sama!?” (??)
A familiar soldier captain shouted.
“Yes. This is Her Highness Carol. Help me get her down.” (Yuri)
“She is sick. She can’t stand up on her own.” (Yuri)
“Please excuse me, I need to lend you my shoulder.” (??)
I untied Carol from the rope that bound her and slowly handed her body to the captain. After that, I got off myself.
“Go now. Put her in a carriage. Her body temperature is dropping, so put a cotton comforter with her.” (Yuri)
“Yes, sir.” (??)
“Aah, make sure the soldiers out front don’t see Her Highness.” (Yuri)
‘But why hasn’t the secondary residence been attacked? Are they trying to avoid a head-on collision with the Hou Household? Certainly, assuming that Rook and I died all at once, it would take time to appoint a new head of household and reorganize the chain of command.’
‘Are they confident that they would be able to woo the Hou Household in the meantime? Saying something like ‘We regret that the whole family was wiped out because of a tragic accident that was no one’s fault, and I’m sorry for your loss’.
‘If that was the intention, it would certainly be a bad idea to attack the secondary residence directly. If they attack the secondary residence, they wouldn’t be able to kill everyone in a closed room like the royal castle, so the war is triggered by a surprise attack. There may seem to be a small difference between ‘waiting for all-out war’ and ‘entering all-out war’, but they are qualitatively quite different.’
‘Besides, it’s a conspiracy play that is so secretive that neither the Queen’s Swords nor Myaro knew about it. The Second Army, too, probably knows nothing except for a few leaders, and most of them have been ordered to mobilize the entire army out of the blue a little over an hour ago.’
‘If that’s the case, then, all but a few General households may not have any grasp of the nature of the operation, and therefore, the nature of the Hou Household secondary residence in the operation, and they may feel strong resistance to the act of attacking allies.’
I went around to the ground while thinking about that.
It was Shamu and Lily-senpai who appeared.
“Ooh, thank God you’re safe!” (Shamu)
Shamu hugged me vigorously.
“That is my line! You know how worried I was about him…!” (Lily)
“Haha, well I thought you were safe, but what are you wearing?” (Shamu)
‘Come to think of it, I was dressed in a shirt and a pair of pants that looked like trunks.’
“Did you run away from the dormitory?” (Yuri)
“Myaro came to my dorm room and took me away.” (Shamu)
‘Myaro… I have never been so grateful for Myaro’s work as I was at this moment. You did a really good job.’
“Young Master. Let’s get you dressed first.” (??)
Said the head maid who appeared swiftly. She looked at me as if it was her duty to get me dressed first no matter what.
I also wanted to change my clothes because it wouldn’t be a good idea to wear this outfit.
“Shamu, let me go.” (Yuri)
Shamu, who had her face pressed against my stomach, pulled away. The head maid took me inside the secondary residence.
“Armor please. Not too heavy, just… leather armor.” (Yuri)
“It’s ready for you.” (??)
In the room closest to the entrance, there was already an assortment of several different outfits. She must have prepared them in advance so that I could change quickly in case of an emergency regardless of who returned.
The head maid quickly began to help me get dressed.
I made her take off my shirt and put on slightly thicker clothes. Then, she put chainmail through my neck. She started tying the left side of the string, and I tied the right side myself.
“By the way… don’t call me Young Master anymore. Father… has passed away.” (Yuri)
When I said that, the head maid’s hand stopped for a moment. It took about two seconds. Her hand started to move immediately.
“…I accept your order. Patriarch-sama.” (??) (TLN: Gotoushu-sama/The head of the family)
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After putting on my leather armor, I put my dagger in my pocket and went outside with my spear.
I checked the main gate. The distance was great, and the shouting was loud.
There were about twenty non-combatants in the yard. The clerks who worked at Hou and Associates and the maids who were scared of war…
Cuffe was there too. There was also Beaure, who was going to be his wife. If the company was attacked, the procedure was to flee to the secondary residence, so that must have worked.
They were supposed to have a wedding next month, but I supposed they would have to cancel it. There was a bonfire near Cuffe, and it seemed to be burning something in a little dug hole. Perhaps, it was some sort of confidential document brought from the company.
In anticipation of a raid, not a single thing related to the secret technology of the new continent was left in the royal capital. I was relieved at that point.
“Everyone, gather together!” (Yuri)
I gave the order, and the soldiers gathered around. In total, there were about 200 people.
Usually, there were about a hundred, so there were many at the moment.
‘Aah, that’s because Rook and Suzuya arrived yesterday. The soldiers who had been dispatched hadn’t returned yet, and they were in the capital. This is convenient.’
I found Soim among the soldiers. Or rather, he seemed to be conducting temporarily. We couldn’t leave the main gate empty, so he gave them orders to leave a minimum number of people behind, and when they were down, they came toward us.
I changed my standing position so that I was behind a pillar in the entrance hall, out of sight of the main gate, and began to speak.
“First, let me tell you the situation in a nutshell. Why are we surrounded like this? I’m sure you have heard that my father, mother, and I were invited to the royal castle today to meet because of the marriage. We were poisoned during the meeting and fortunately, I was the only one who was safe. However, Father and Mother were poisoned.” (Yuri)
‘For the sake of the soldiers’ morale, it would be better to say this, even if it is a lie.
“You may wonder if we shouldn’t go and help. Or should we run away?” (Yuri)
The soldiers looked at each other in confusion.
“But the enemy isn’t the royal family. That’s because Her Majesty Queen Simone and Her Majesty Carol have both been poisoned. In other words, the conspiracy that’s going on right now, today, is a huge plot to bury the Queen, the next queen, me, the would-be King, and the couple of the Hou Household from this kingdom overnight. You are right in the middle of it. It was Her Highness Carya who carried out this horrible and despicable conspiracy. But some of you may have heard of her. She is really a foolish woman and not capable of such a conspiracy. It’s the Witches in the royal capital who are planning, instigating her, sending the Second Army to do this.” (Yuri)
I stated the identity of the enemy clearly again and looked around slowly at the soldiers. The confusion of not knowing what was going on was over and the motivation in their eyes was beginning to grow.
“I will destroy these people in the days to come. I will never forgive those who plotted today, killed my parents with poison and murdered the Queen. Right now, I swear to my late father and mother that I will kill them one day. But unfortunately, it is impossible to do it today with only the people we have here. That’s exactly what the Witches want. Earlier, I said that everyone but me had been poisoned, but fortunately, Her Highness Carol was the only one who survived. At the royal castle, I said goodbye to my parents, who were poisoned and vomited blood, and brought Her Highness Carol, who is the direct descendant, here. She too was poisoned, but because she drank so little, she is still alive. We need to get her to a safe place. At least to Karakumo. In order to do so, we must break through this heavy siege. I need your help. The time is of the essence. We have to act now. He who rides bird, let him ride quickly. Those who cannot fight, bring them to the carriage. Take the spears. Tie your shoelaces. Now, move it!” (Yuri)
The soldiers began to move like fish out of water as they clapped their hands together. The captains in charge of the platoons began to give instructions to each other.
Then, Soma came over.
He wore an attire that looked even lighter than mine, more like clothing than armor, reinforced in key places with long, thin steel plates, and on his head, he wore a helmet that looked like the front half of a cap and a headband.
‘The fact that he is wearing proper footwear for the Galloping Bird on his feet indicates that he is focused on actual combat. The Galloping Bird is often targeted on the feet by infantry.’
In his hand, he was holding something that looked like a dreadful looking mask.
‘I wonder if he borrowed the one that was displayed in the secondary residence…’
“As I would expect of you. Young Master. No, Patriarch-dono.” (Soim)
“Please do.” (Yuri)
“By the way, it’s fine to be simplified, but would you mind accepting my spear in a short ceremony?” (Soim)
‘What? Receiving a spear… In other words, it means something similar to a lord-retainer oath. Now? Is he asking me to do it right now?’
“I don’t think so, but… do you feel like dying here?” (Yuri)
When I said that, Soim smiled. It was a smile that was completely free of any strange pedantry and seemed genuinely happy.
“I’m overjoyed to have the opportunity to make my old bones bloom before they decay.” (Soim)
“I see… if possible, I don’t want you to die.” (Yuri)
“It’s my honor to fall on the battlefield. Please forgive me.” (Soim)
‘Soim’s resolve seems firm. Rather than a resolution, it seems to be his way of life from the beginning that doesn’t require a renewed resolve. If so, it might be an insult to Soim’s way of life to grieve and try to prevent it.’
“Soim, you have already given me a spear. It’s a spear that was taught by an important teacher who lived in this body. It would be strange if I were to receive your spear again.
That’s what I’m most proud of. Please.” (Yuri)
Soim knelt down and held out the spear he had laid out for me. I propped my spear against the wall and took it.
“Soim Hao. Do you swear to be my spear?” (Yuri)
“I swear.” (Soim)
“Then, from this moment on, you are my spear. It’s a spear of one. Always sharpen your spear and stab your enemy at my command.” (Yuri)
I returned the spear to Soim. If it was a short ceremony, this would be fine.
“Now, you can work me as hard as you like.” (Soim)
After the ceremony, Soim stood up with a refreshed face. It looked as if he was getting younger.
“This Soim, who served four generations of the Hou Household, regretted not dying when I was with Gouk-sama, but… I never thought this opportunity would come my way. I’m not sure how old I am, but my whole body is rejoicing. I will definitely live up to my name as the number one retainer of Young Master.” (Soim)
“Does it make sense for you to make a lord-retainer contract?” (Yuri)
‘Leaving aside the place of death, was there any meaning to this ceremony?’
When I said that, Soim looked rather disappointed.
“What are you talking about? Without a lord-retainer contract, it’s just a mad death of a madman in battle. If there is a contract, death on the battlefield is the honor of a Knight. Only then, can you boost your friends in the afterworld.” (Soim)
“Is that so?” (Yuri)
‘Soim lost all of his heir sons in battle during Gouk’s time. He seems to be enjoying life as normal, and I’m sure he doesn’t want to go away early to see them.’
“This Soim will surely do a battle that will be talked about for seven generations. You can rest assured.” (Soim)
“Her Highness Carol… no, protect the Queen, defend the lord, serve as lord, and scatter on the battlefield? Sure, one or two songs may be possible.” (Yuri)
Soin had once told me, when I was there for the last time, that he would only ‘fade away from now on. If he becomes rusty and unusable, he can only die in a hapless manner on the battlefield. I don’t think he can do any war accomplishment that will be talked about. For Soim, this may be the last chance to show his way of life to the world.’
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