DK – Chapter 23: For the sake of the girl that has become a star III

TLN: Hey guys, Reigokai here!

Sorry for the delay. Couldn’t find a good stopping point and ended up translating a whole bunch of chapters, haha.

Hope you guys enjoy it!

“Now then, everyone is gathered.” 

It is early in the afternoon.

The members of the Banjar Mercenaries and the generals of the Ludo Kingdom’s army were gathered in the presence of her Majesty. 

That’s right, we will be beginning a war council.

This could also be considered a time for us to present our plan to the Ludo Kingdom army. The lead in our side will obviously be our tactician Gandalla. His conversation skills are high and bring out a feeling of more intelligence than I would be able to show.

There are many humans that have a misconception of giants being ‘musclebrained’, but it looks like the Ludeans aren’t that way. Umu, just looking at the face of the general, I can understand plenty well the reason why…

There’s giants in this council, elves and dwarfs as well. I see, so this diversity is the reason for the discord between the Ludo Kingdom and the Faris Empire, huh.

Faris works in a human supremacy doctrine… Or more like, every other person -in other words, demi-humans- are targets of oppression and persecution. That’s why countries that give high positions to demi-humans like the Ludo Kingdom have way too different ways of thinking in political terms.

Denial and reception, hatred and love; the differences in those philosophies are so opposite to each other that you can’t just simply fill them up.

The national power and military power of the Ludo Kingdom is way too low, but…it looks like their morale alone might be high. Because for the demi-humans, there’s no next time. If this country falls, they will all have no choice but to become slaves for the empire. 

No, everyone here in important posts will most definitely be slaughtered together with their families.

The Emperor Yuandart hates demi-humans. In his ideal world, there isn’t a single demi-human. He is being possessed by a crazy dream of eradicating them from the world.

Defeat is directly connected to death for these people here. In other words, these people will be putting their very lives on the line in this. That point alone will be our forte.

“…The current state of things, to put it bluntly, is the worst.” (Gandalla)

Gandalla puts this out. Yeah, it is really the worst. Enemies are many and allies are few. We are starving over here. We are at a disadvantage in terms of physical strength as well. The scales are not tipping in our favour at all.

“Even if we were to get the best warriors of the neighboring allied forces, the most we would be getting is a total of 12,000 in manpower. In comparison, the army the Empire is dispatching to Ludo is 56,000. There’s not even the need to think too much between those numbers. We are in an outstanding disadvantage of numbers.” (Gandalla)

“…Mercenary, we are already plenty aware of this.” 

The dwarf general says this while playing with his majestic beard. His scarred face distorted in displeasure. He probably doesn’t like that an outsider is taking the reins.

The old veteran speaks.

“And thus, we are prepared to die. We will bring all our demi-human troops and we will all die in battle!” 

“Fumu, I see. Rather than dying in the oppression of the postwar, it would be better to die in war, you say?” (Gandalla)

“That’s right. If we are going to be dying either way, let it be the people who have had their doors for the future closed. There’s the possibility that the humans of Ludo will be accepted as citizens of the Faris Empire.” 

…How realistic. That’s quite the resolve. He seems to be way too cornered and doesn’t show a single bit of leeway, but it is a thought that one can at least sympathize with. Even so, ‘the future is closed’? …I wonder about that.

“…General Gyarigan, we of the Banjar Mercenaries have a plan.” (Gandalla)

“Plan? …What manner of plan are you speaking of? I know that you people brought a large amount of food and medicine, but having ability as a smuggler doesn’t say anything about your skills in war.” (Gyarigan)

“Yeah, of course. But in the first place, it isn’t an unwinnable war.” (Gandalla)

“…What? You said the current situation was the worst, right?” (Gyarigan)

“Yeah, the current situation. General, do you know the ‘natural shape’ of the military force the Empire army forms when bringing down small countries?” (Gandalla)

“…Not in detail. But I have heard that it is mostly young soldiers that look to obtain citizenship in the empire… Their morale is decently high, and there are many young healthy men who move with a calculative mindset.” (Gyarigan)

“I have been working as a battle slave. The oldest would be at the union, after that would be the empire, and I was made to participate in either army against my will. I can understand what kind of organization their military forces will have.” (Gandalla)

General Gyaris and the others seemed to have gotten interested in what Gandalla said. Of course they would. Wishing to learn about the enemy even if only for a bit more is a natural desire of warriors.

“According to the information we got from a scout of the Empire army, I analyzed the current configuration of their military force. The army that will be invading the Ludo Kingdom in around two weeks will be a mixed army of the once Barmoa Union army’s third division, Vaireid, and seventh division, Zaitsurin, of the Faris Empire’s eastern army led by Major General Renault.” (Gandalla)

“…What’s your basis for that?” 

The woman elf general speaks. Go, Gandalla, explain to her!!

“The foundation of this very formation being of the seventh division, Zaitsurin, is solely because the highest of command is Wadoll Renault. There’s no need to explain that part, right?” (Gandalla)

“Yeah, but what about Vaireid? …The Union army has been disbanded and absorbed into the Empire army, wasn’t it?” 

“That’s how it is generally known. However, the old Union hasn’t been completely crushed by Faris. Yuandart may be controlling the old Union army due to his position, but…in reality, it is slightly different, General Yuris.” (Gandalla)

“Fumu, go on.” (Yuris)

“The territory of the old Union is huge and their population is large, and thus, the chances for a rebellion to trigger will be equally high. There’s many old Union nobles who are aiming for the falling of the Faris household. Because of that, Yuandart doesn’t trust the Union army, therefore, they have pushed aside the military officers of the Union into the middle of the Empire’s army. That policy has continued for a truly long while. As a result, the internal affairs of the army are always divided in two factions.” (Gandalla)

“…In other words, the Empire army is divided in the Union side and the Faris side?” (Yuris)

“Yeah, and that crack deepens by the day. It is true that the Faris side is strong, but the Union has not lost their leadership. This is a chronic disease that comes naturally from increasing your territory too much. It has increased to a point that they can’t control it. They have already reached the point of overexpansion. To the point that they can’t stop the reinstatement of the old potency.” (Gandalla)

“…I see. But Mercenary Giant-san, you haven’t answered my question yet. What is your basis for thinking that it is Vaireid?” (Yuris)

“It is simple. The increase of the price in vinegar in the 2 recent months.” (Gandalla)

“…Vinegar? The one used in cooking?” (Yuris)

“Yeah, it is a Vaireid tradition, you see. Even within the Eastern Union, this army that is composed of people originating from the Pranabe Republic, are bound by duty to provide a set amount of vinegar that is a staple seasoning in the food of the soldiers.” (Gandalla)

“There’s a duty like that?” (Yuris)

“Yeah. It is an unwritten law that must be followed. This is something that wouldn’t occur with the central Empire army. The Vaireid follow a set military meal like livestock. The supply of vinegar running dry and the increase in price that follows it is proof that the Vaireid has merged with the seventh division.” (Gandalla)

“…I see. An insight that can only come from having been inside their ranks.” (Yuris)

“That’s right. The Union side has a strong opposition to being influenced by the culture of Faris. Eating the Faris meals will never happen. That stickiness to their ‘homeland taste’ is in part their show of rebellion towards Faris, and the unity of the Union side, so to say. It is an action solely driven by politics. As long as the faction doesn’t completely fall, the patterns in their actions won’t disappear either.” (Gandalla)

“…Even so, why do they want to act together with people that are so antagonistic with them?” (Gyarigan)

The Dwarf General asks Gandalla this while pulling his beard. Gandalla amusingly prefaces this before speaking.

“It is, in essence, a thinning out of the old Union side.” (Gandalla)

“…Hoh, thinning out as in? That’s quite the dangerous word there.” (Gyarigan)

“Yuandart has told them to show their loyalty to the Faris royalty, and so the Vaireid division is send to draw heavy blood. The ones who will be fighting at the frontlines against the Ludo Kingdom’s army will be the Vaireid, the old Union side. Their commander, General Renault, and the seventh division will suffer the least of casualties by placing themselves at the back of the Vaireid, and preparing for any sort of betrayal.” (Gandalla)

“I see. So they are having their ‘comrades’ die on the battlefield, huh.” (Gyarigan)

“Yeah, the Empire is not a monolith. This excessive size of an army against a small country also serves to intimidate the Ludo Kingdom and pushes you to surrender. The hidden motive is to thin out the factions inside the Empire. The political opponents of Yuandart, that is.” (Gandalla)

“And in reality, the exhaustion the Vaireid division suffers due to advancing from the east must still be there. Just the traversal alone is long and precipitous. They have even done so much as to change the price of the food. Their economical state must be heavy as well.” (Yuris)

The Elf General was nodding on her own. 

That’s right, it is just as she says. Just by having an army as big as the Vaireid division come to a place as far as this would have definitely affected the financial affairs of the lords in the old Union. They are not making them spill only blood, but coin as well. He is one cunning emperor.

“…Indeed, they are not united at all, rather, they hate each other! …And so, let’s have this mixed army break up that long relationship of theirs. That’s the plan we, the Banjar Mercenaries, propose!!” (Solje)

I stand up from my seat and am poured the attention of the generals. I did try to find the timing, but it might have been a bit silly on my part.

The Dwarf General immediately glares at me as if he were looking at Sharon. He is doubting me, huh. Well, can’t blame him.

“Oi, redhead youngster, explain this ‘break up’ you speak of. Even if they have political enmity towards each other, both sides are of the Empire army. With us as their common enemy, I don’t think they will causing an internal dispute.” (Gyarigan)

“Didn’t I say we are making them break up? We are going to make a ‘wound’ that will push them to have no choice but to.” (Solje)

“…As in?” 

The Giant General asks me. A big brown old man that looks pretty similar to Gandalla.

“The Vaireid division is accompanied by what was once one of the three eastern swordsmen and is currently the leader of an assassin unit.” (Solje)

“The highly infamous assassins of Faris, huh.” 

“Well, these ones are assassins of the old Union, though. Well, they use a characteristic swordsmanship. I will cut down that idiot Renault while reproducing that swordsmanship.” (Solje)

Everyone of the Ludo army grow noisy. 

The Elf General questions me.

“In other words, you will disguise it in a way that will make it look like the Union faction assassinated General Renault?” (Yuris)

“Yeah. The one who took my left eye was one of the three swordsmen. They are a bunch I am deeply connected with in a variety of ways. I can imitate his technique perfectly. I just have to kill Renault with it.” (Solje)

“General Renault was said to be peerless in the whole continent in his young days, you know?” (Yuris)

“No problem. Anything resembling a human has no chance of winning against me. In the first place, it is unfortunate, but he is already old. It won’t even be a fight. And so, about the most complicated thing that is the method of infiltration, we have a secret technique we used for smuggling as well.” (Solje)

 “…What method?” (Yuris)

“I have ‘wings’.” (Solje)

“Wings?” (Yuris)

“See over there, outside that window, Giant Old Man.” (Solje)

“What are you telling me there is?” 

The giant bends down and looks outside the window. However, to think he would obediently follow what I said. He must be a curious old man. That’s just how Giants are though.

“Look well. At the top of the eastern mountain. At the sky there.” (Solje)

“…Hm? The sky? …W-What is that?!” 

“What’s the matter?! What was there?!” (Gyarigan)

“…General Rojin, switch with me please. My eyes are better—Wait, what is that?!” (Yuris)

“As I said, what is it?! I am small, so move! Give me some damn space!!” (Gyarigan)

Everyone from the Ludo army were shocked at the black wings they saw outside the window.

Of course they would. The people that see a dragon for the first time will all show a similar reaction.

…I take off my eyepatch and activate the magic eye of Ares.

With this mana, distance loses meaning between Zephyr and I.

“…Zephyr, fire breath.” (Solje)

(Understood, Doje!!) (Zephyr)

“Uoooo!! The dragon is burning the sky with its fire!” (Gyarigan)

“Could it be that it obeyed the words of this man?” (Yuris)

“…Fumu, could he possibly be…the Garunian…” (Rojin)

“That’s right, I am the former dragon knight of the Demon Lord army, Solje Strauss.” (Solje)

“Dragon knight…! The ones that are said to be able to communicate with dragons…!” (Yuris)

The Elf General gulps. She directed her gaze at me as if she were looking at something scary. Well, happens often.

I can understand how there would be more fear than fraternity towards a devilish warrior that interacts with dragons.

But at least understand this, young lady.

“…It is okay. We are comrades this time around. The enemies of the Empire are all comrades of mine.” (Solje)

“…I-I see. I certainly did hear that the King Verius of Garuna and his brave generals were…defeated by the Union and…the betrayal of Faris.” (Yuris)

“That’s right. It is a famous story. I couldn’t even become one page of that story, and fell from honour -a mere avenger. If it is to destroy the Empire and kill Yuandart, I will cooperate with you people even with my life on the line. I would be glad if you can understand that.” (Solje)

“Hmph! …The Winged Commander’s son was still alive, huh.” (Gyarigan)

The Dwarf General said. 

He walks towards me. Looking up -since he is small- intently at my face. His gray eyes showed his age, but it also showed strong will.

“General, you know my father?” (Solje)

“My uncle did. The man who hammered the armor of the ancient dragon, Ares. When I was young, I have been to Garuna to help my uncle. At that place, in a match on the presence of his Majesty Verius, I have even crossed blades with the Winged Commander, Kane Strauss.” (Gyarigan)

The dwarf…General Gyarigan says this while smiling with his scar filled face.

“I couldn’t match him with the sword at all, but in the drinking department, I was superior!” (Gyarigan)

“…I see. Is that so. Ahahaha! Old man, I am happy I got to hear a nostalgic name.” (Solje)

“Hmph, it is a story of before you were even in the womb of your mother. You are…umu, now that I look at you closely, you certainly do resemble the Winged Commander in his younger days. His eyes were both blue though?” (Gyarigan)

“They were both blue when I was born… Well, a lot of things happened.” (Solje)

“Okay! You guys, this dragon knight will be useful!! He has the blood of Kane-dono. He is worthy of betting our lives on him!! …If it is him, even if he were to die, he would drag his prey down with him. Ain’t that right, Dragon Knight?” (Gyarigan)

“Yeah! As expected of an acquaintance of my father. You know dragon knights well!!” (Solje)

General Gyarigan and I laugh out loud and exchange a strong fist bump. It is a greeting native of Garuna warriors. It has been a while since I have done it.

Her Majesty, who was silently listening to us idiotic warriors talk, stands up without saying a word. Gandalla settles us down with an adequate tone as if he were her personal butler.

“Her Majesty speaks! Everyone, silence and listen!” (Gandalla)

Everyone from the Ludo army lowers a knee. 

“…Oi, Captain Solje.” (Riel)

“R-Right!!” (Solje)

Being told by Riel, I also hurriedly lower a knee. 

Aah, I am the type that’s not suited to serve in court. The wild life has seeped into me and I have forgotten my etiquette towards someone of a higher class.

“…We have received the agreement of the leader that is Gyarigan. Dragon Knight, Solje Strauss-dono, I would like to make an official request to your Banjar Mercenaries once more.” (Claris)

“…Yes! Please do speak your wish, Your Majesty.” (Solje)

“Assassinate the commander of the Empire army, Renault, and bring about chaos in their army!” (Claris)

“Understood, Your Majesty. With our sword and fangs, we will cut their pride and union into smithereens. We are crueler than any beast of this continent after all.” (Solje)

“…I will be counting on you.” (Claris)

“Please do look forward to the bloodstained song we will create.” (Solje)

After saying this, I stand up. 

And then, I look at Riel, Mia, Gandalla, and Sharon in order. Nice, they are true mercenaries with skill and guts. 

Kukuku, excellent, this will be the fight of the century!! 

“Mercenaries!! We are going to crunch the Empire dogs to death!!” (Solje)

…Just you wait, Renault.

And…Gazet Klauri, I will have you pay for your sin. I don’t know who you are working under now, but with that sword you snatched my family away with, I will drop the Union and the Empire into chaos and destroy you.

Wash that neck of yours and wait for me. 

Klauri, your neck is the property of the Strauss!!

——This is the war that will serve as the turning point of history.

The heroes will finally stand in the frontstage of history.

The hero that drove a dragon and burned the evil emperor. 

That legend with his comrades will finally begin.

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