I don’t know the details of the exact procedures that went on in the Upper House of Lords for the approval, but it seems they agreed to dispatch Eric to Fort Jugfena without incident. Since time was short, the notice for Eric came immediately.
For some reason I was also included in the request to go to the frontlines, and so I requested a break from noble school. Even if the enemy slave soldiers are defeated or captured, what should be done with them if they’re captured, should they be executed, it’s highly likely that it’ll cause Arxia’s soldiers’ morale to greatly decrease as Arxia doesn’t have slavery. ……While I don’t want our main forces consisting of the royal army to lose morale, I don’t know how they’ll handle things, but I want to personally manage any slave soldiers that my Kaldia army captures, in the future.
Maybe I’ll decide that I have the know-how to handle foreigners since I’ve absorbed the Shiru tribe into my domain already, or maybe I’ll decide to “dispose” of the slave soldiers and execute them immediately. Or, it could even be both.
After I submitted a leave of absence notice to the Upper House of Lords, I was informed that I would be given a special examination to test my academic knowledge upon my return. In some ways, this resembles my previous world surprisingly closely.
And so, I set out from the royal capital and headed for Fort Jugfena, together with Eric and Marquis Rolentsor, returning to the battlefield for the first time in half a year.
It took two days to arrive at Fort Jugfena by horse-drawn carriage. I suppose it should be only natural that we’d rest at Kaldia which was on the way, right?
For someone just recently promoted to an earl, to be visited by a member from the archduke’s family along with a marquis, this would normally never happen. Therefore, there’s only enough employees of at my Mansion of Golden Hills to maintain the place, there’s not enough people there to deal with these high-ranking guests.
Bellway who was the current leader of the servants at the mansion, hurriedly hired some more people from the surrounding villages, and barely managed in time to make the arrangements to hospitably accommodate them.
“……This is unbefitting of my ranking, it’s such a small place.”
As always, the first words that Eric said were quite rude as he got off the horse-drawn carriage, but his tone didn’t sound like it was mocking anything, it sounded more reflexive.
“Its owner probably didn’t think that she would receive a noble title promotion, by the next time she returned.”
“Ah, right. Then again, no descendant of Kaldia would want to believe that any ancestor of theirs would gain accolades through winning with cowardly tactics, now would they?”
“Indeed, I have no idea what kind of children I will have, or if I will even ever have children. If I think that my children could be like the previous domain lord of Kaldia, I think that I’d never have children in that case.”
Of course, Eric’s not just referring to my father, he’s obviously talking about me as well. Just thinking about if my children would be able to kill people without flinching or batting an eye, it’s quite daunting to consider.
Even though I made such a remark, Eric still sharply shrugged his shoulders and glared at me. It seems that my statement was unintentionally grating on his nerves.
……Ahh. I see. It’s not strange for my self-deprecating comments to have touched Eric’s nerves. Since I learned from Ratoka that Eric killed his own mother, and is so distant from his stepmother.
For our departure on the following day, my soldiers of the Kaldia army were also making their preparations, as they were coming along as well. From here on I’m no longer going to go by horse-drawn carriage, I shall be leading them while riding Rashiok. In the past three years, with the successful integration of the Shiru warriors into my army, as well as an increasing number of villagers that have signed up for military service, my army’s undergone some expansion and I now lead them while riding Rashiok.
It’s been a few months since I went off to noble school, but Rashiok seemed to be doing quite well. His snake-like tail kept wagging, and he was light on his feet as he rushed to me. He had an affectionate expression as I stroked his neck, and his ears were twitching as a sign of pleasure.
“I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to see you lately. I would have liked to take you to the royal capital as well, but that would have been a little……”
Even though he couldn’t communicate with me in my language, he desperately growled in return like he was trying to chat with me. Somehow it felt like I could understand what he meant, as I closed my eyes and continued stroking his neck.
“My lord, you’re quite happy today for some reason, aren’t you?”
Just like the previous time we went to Fort Jugfena together, Paulo was leading my horse for me, as he chimed in with his peaceful tone of voice. Somehow, this all feels quite nostalgic. Paulo’s gone through puberty since then and is much taller than last time, but it seems that his personality remained the same.
“Ahh, ……at any rate there’s so many bothersome things in the royal capital. Although I can’t exactly relax and take it easy back in Kaldia, I wanted to come back here as soon as possible after finishing noble school. Rashiok is here as well.”
“It’s not just Rashiok, we’re here as well. Because whenever my lord isn’t here, we wouldn’t have the occasional fancy food, so we wanted you to come back soon. Ahh, I wish I was born two years later. Then I would have been young enough to attend to you in the royal capital together with Athrun, it’s such a pity……”
“What, you miss me just because of food? I’d like to distribute more abundant varieties of food throughout Kaldia, though. I hope this war gets settled soon so I can spend more time on Kaldia.”
“Please keep up the good work. But, remember not to push yourself too hard.”
Paulo hummed through his nose while making all these oh so casual comments, and he chuckled. In a horse-drawn carriage a little bit apart from us, I could sense the painful gazes of Eric and Marquis Rolentsor on us.