TN : I’ve decided to change Rezenlotte -> Riesenlotte
13. The Melancholy of Queen Riesenlotte
The march, was decided to be resumed.
And the troops were getting ready in formation.
At the front was I, Faust von Polidoro, and my people.
In the middle, the Second Princess and her guards.
And at the end, 40 dead soldiers led by the governor.
Zabine is a demon.
A real demon.
With just a few tens of minutes of speech, the surviving citizens of the village, who have been robbed of their small happiness, are now walking to their deaths.
The target of the march was Caroline’s group, which had absorbed the bandits.
“What is it, Helga?”
I responded to the words of Helga, the squire commander, who was by my side.
What is it?
You want to complain about continuing this?
It’s too late, the second princess has given the GO sign already.
Well, she said that she would do her best to get that ruler to give a large sum of war expen―― I mean, apology money.
Right, that ruler must be fleeced of everything.
If not, think I will agree to do this?
“…How about taking that knight named, Zabine, as your bride?”
“You’re joking, right Helga? …Please say it’s just a joke.”
I muttered so in a voice full of bitterness.
“No. I kind of understand what Faust-sama wants to say, but personally, I think she’s not completely out of the list.”
Kind of? If you understand, then don’t be stupid.
And, are you seriously pushing Zabine to me, that demon?
You must be kidding, I bet the citizens probably won’t agree.
Don’t say that you too have been poisoned by Zabine’s fever.
Look, she’s a demon.
As a knight living off the taxpayers’ money, she’s said things she should never have said without hesitation.
She has completely denied Noblesse Oblige.
Even when I said, “You are like a demon. You want them, who’ve been living their life peacefully here, to go to the deadly land?”
That chimpanzee didn’t even notice the sarcasm. The hidden meaning in that line. Even saying to her face, “You’re still of blue blood.”, I’m not sure she’ll understand.
Aaah, I’m getting a headache.
I had no choice but start explaining to Helga.
“The aristocrats like me, and the court nobles, even if we’re in a slightly different position than the military officers of the kingdom, one thing remains the same, we receive taxes from the people. In my case, from the people of my territory, and in their case, from the people of the Kingdom. We all live and eat off that money.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“In exchange, we have a duty. A duty to protect the people in the territory, a duty to protect the people in the Kingdom. Understand?”
“Yes, I understand.”
If you know that much, then――
“Sending people, to their death. Is that what a soldier does? That’s like denying the role of a soldier, no? What? You’re fine with contradicting your own existence? Listen, even if you’re not a blue blood, that’s not something a soldier should say. Throw away that blue blood, then, you’re no longer a noble, you’re no longer a knight.”
“But, if it’s necessary, we will do the same. If our husband or our son was taken, we, the people of the fief, would fight. Even if the force is limited to only our territory. Isn’t that what we should do in such a situation? I don’t think Zabine-sama said anything wrong.”
Helga replied without hesitation.
And I, was taken aback by her words.
I see, these people――the people of Polidoro Territory, receive protection from Queen Riesenlotte in exchange for military service.
That’s the contract.
But, even before putting that in mind, they already have the thought of “protecting themselves”. Is that it?
…Residents of frontier territories who have military service to do and are living close to the border with Willendorf, and residents of the territories under the direct control of the kingdom, like this small village, who have no military service to do.
In short, a cultural difference.
That’s why she can’t understand Zabine’s demonic act.
Huff, I don’t feel like explaining the brutality of what Zabine did anymore.
Even if I explain this further, she’ll probably say, “Isn’t that because the people of the kingdom are warm-hearted? After all, Zabine-sama did nothing wrong.”, something like that.
Or rather, not only she, but all the citizens of Polidoro Territory will say the same words.
Aah, I’m tired.
Let’s just be honest about how I feel.
“I don’t like Zabine-dono. I appreciate her ability as an orator, but I don’t like her. Also, Her Highness Valliere, the second princess who still doesn’t understand what Zabine-dono has done, is 14 years old. She’s still young, I don’t want her to be influenced much by Zabine-dono’s fever… In short, I’m worried about the future. Is that enough?”
Helga seemed to understand somewhat.
I guess she’ll be fine.
I’m sure she’ll be fine.
…The people of my territory, aren’t affected by that heartless agitator, right?
Even while I was worrying about such a thing, I had to start the march.
I gave a signal.
All began to march.
For now, let’s focus on this.
Suddenly, Helga spoke again.
“But, but, Faust-sama.”
“What is it, Helga? Anything else you want to say?”
I muttered again with a bitter expression.
“Leaving the clinging people of the small village alone would have led to a riot. Plus, we were on our way to abandon them and go home.”
I mean, they are the kind of people who don’t mind becoming dead soldiers for real.
“Besides, if we didn’t recruit them as militia, they wouldn’t be able to overcome the reality that they couldn’t rescue the kidnapped men and boys. Considering it, isn’t this result better for both us and them? I think, it wasn’t that bad of an idea.”
“Do you think that chimpanzee understood that when she spoke?”
Helga and I turned around and looked carefully at Zabine’s face.
She was having an obscene talk with one of the guards again.
“I don’t think so.”
“That’s right. I think so too. So, that must be the case.”
In the first place, she definitely didn’t think about conscripting the militia at first.
She just didn’t like the people who clung to the second princess, so she just cursed them.
Then, she realized what could be done when speaking that speech-like insult.
“Huh? By any chance, if I continue to incite them, I won’t be able to recruit them as a militia?”
That must be it.
…Now that I fully understand her character, I can understand her train of thought as if it’s running on my palm.
A demonic chimpanzee.
Wait, chimpanzees are originally possessed by savage nature, right?
……Perhaps the reason she was abandoned by her parents and thrown into the Second Princess Guard wasn’t only because of her stupidity.
But, she has too much of a demonic nature.
Well, a person who does such dirty work might be necessary for a ruler.
By any chance ――for the Second Princess, and for the villagers who have their husbands and sons, kidnapped, this result may be the optimal solution, but what’s the logic behind the calculation? Nothing.
A literal blank,
Zabine got the current result without thinking about anything.
To be clear, she’s a dangerous person.
Considering how dangerous her speech ability is, she’s a person who should be isolated somewhere.
Wouldn’t it be better to lock her up in a cage at the zoo, as an eccentric monkey that could speak, with a “Zabine” name tag hanging around the neck?
I can’t afford to think about such things.
Let’s keep it simple.
The target is Caroline. Catch up with her before she reaches the Willendorf border. And, stop her.
My current mission is simply that.
It’s good to keep things simple.
Right. No need to think too much.
“All right, let’s sing. The march to catch Caroline is long. You, you, all of you, sing with all you’ve got!“
I could hear the voice of Zabine, the captain of the Second Princess Guard.
And fear sprung up in the bottom of my heart.
For by doing that, consciously or not, Zabine kept the morale up.
And as the march went on, I gradually became afraid of this woman for real.
So, I decided to keep my mouth shut.
While praying. that she wouldn’t hum an obscene song.
“Are you still not ready yet?!!”
“Your Majesty, Queen Riesenlotte, also understands. I must prepare to move 200 soldiers. What is there to worry? I’ll be there tomorrow.”
Even if they were designated as such, they couldn’t start marching on one call.
Weapons, provisions, wagons, expected enemy routes ―― such must be prepared.
Also, the marching route of the soldier to the point of expected contact.
Especially the last one, was important.
Even one mistake on the route, could end up right at the Willendorf border.
And just like that, the beginning of the second Willendorf campaign would begin.
The soldiers had to march under such circumstances.
Even Queen Riesenlotte understood that.
She should’ve understood it, too.
And yet, she’s like that.
Astarte heaved a deep sigh.
“What about the anticipation of the enemy’s march route?”
“I’ve consulted that with the first princess.”
Astarte, had already taken advantage of her position as counselor to the first princess.
Astarte had consulted the matter with Anastasia, who prided herself on her clear mind and strategic vision.
Though, Astarte felt that she was in the wrong, since she was supposed to be the counselor of the first princess, but ended up consulting the matter with the first princess.
Anyway, both decided that the point marked on the map was the one where Caroline, the second daughter of a town ruler, would escape.
But this point was far away.
Reinforcements would probably not arrive in time.
But, there’s a possibility ―― that we can make it in time.
The possibility of them trying to stop Caroline at the suggestion of Faust.
The possibility that Caroline will be greedy and reach out to other territories, delaying the march.
Also, the possibility of other troubles like broken carriages.
And many more simple march delays.
There’s a possibility that we will be on time.
And, as long as there is a possibility, given my position, I can’t help but send reinforcements.
Astarte heaved another sigh.
“What is it, why are you sighing? My daughter, Valliere, must be at a loss now.”
“Well, she’s just a spare. A decorative spare. But, isn’t Your Majesty suddenly being too affectionate?”
Astarte said what she was thinking, like someone talking to their relatives.
She was, after all, a free-spirited person.
She had nothing to fear.
The only thing that scared her was the moment when she rubbed Faust’s ass, the Lord of the Polidoro territory――the faces of the people of that territory turned into demons.
She was really scared when that happened.
She thought she was going to hell.
“Even if she’s just a decorative spare! It’s not like I want Valliere to die!!”
“Your Majesty says the same thing as Anastasia.”
Is she actually loved? or not?
I’m not sure.
But, I hate her.
A mediocre like her.
As a commoner, being mediocre is fine, but as someone of blue blood, such mediocrity isn’t allowed.
Astarte thought so.
“Right now, she might be still in the small village under Your Majesty’s direct control, which has been ravaged by Caroline’s attack. But, now way she’s thinking of pursuing Caroline.”
“I’m worried because of that possibility. I said something to her before the march! That if she failed her first campaign, I would dismiss Faust as her counselor.”
I guess, there’s a reason to be worried.
But, that’s not enough.
“Your Majesty, Valliere is mediocre. She is mediocre.”
Faust is a knight, but also a Lord.
He loathes losing his people.
Unlike the Willendorf campaign, which was a hopeless situation, even if there’s a chance of winning, if he knew the battle would cause a great deal of damage to his people, he wouldn’t just go.
And Valliere is a mediocre person.
She follows the advice of her counselor, Faust.
If there is an exception……
“Those chimpanzees… Excuse me, I mean, the Second Princess Guard. If only they don’t act unreasonably and force Valliere to choose such an option, everything will be fine.”
“Don’t say such a scary thing!”
Queen Riesenlotte muttered so as she hugged herself.
And then she muttered again in annoyance.
“I didn’t think those people were ―― stupid enough like a troop of chimpanzees. Even though they were abandoned from their homes, even though they’re just second and third daughters, they’re still people of blue blood. I thought of them so when I put them under Valliere.”
“But, those blue-blooded second and third daughters are lewd girls, who would casually engage in dirty talk inside the royal castle and peek at the attendants changing clothes, right?”
Astarte replied with a straight face.
She hated mediocrity.
Therefore, she didn’t like the chimpanzees either.
There’s no other way than to kill incompetent hard workers who can’t control themselves.
No, wait, even such people can be used as soldiers on the battlefield.
Well, they’re still inexperienced, it’s their first battle after all, so I can’t judge them properly.
Come to think of it, it’s also Valliere’s first battle.
I wonder what will happen to Valliere after she has her first battle, will her mediocrity change?
Nah, can’t expect much.
Well, it might not be a bad idea to take this opportunity to reassess once again.
Even if she fails, she could have changed a little with this opportunity, couldn’t she?
“Anyway! Hurry up! Leaving Valliere aside, Caroline, who dared to attack the territory under my direct control and kidnap the people of the territory, must be punished and killed. The face of the royal family is at stake.”
“In short, defecting to those barbarians, Willendorf, is not allowed. Understood.”
Astarte gave such an answer.
While her eyes were fixed on the expected point of contact marked on the map, the point on the edge of the Willendorf border.
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