Chapter 17 – Let’s Gather Volunteer Soldiers!
“Takeru-dono, in the end… in the end it looks like the extermination of the miasmatic mana hole has been decided, right?”
Finally, returning back from that gloomy and sad city, I went to greet the Earl, Donovan. However, what awaited me was this question.
I don’t know what kind of fast horse your messenger used to come back here from the royal capital, but, the tension-filled scenes are over, my dear Earl.
Also, I don’t need you to strike a pose, like firmly clenching your fists while shouting ‘Yosh!’, you see.
“Well, for the time being, I think we should focus on sealing away that hole, but…”
To be honest, I have gradually become anxious on my way here from the royal capital.
It’s true we’ve got both guns and cannons in our possession, however, what should we do if some giant dragon was to appear?
As I thought, not being able to forecast the future, is a scary thing.
“Nothing less expected from the lordly Sir Takeru, who would put his heroic deeds before all else, and not get worked up at all!”
Making a great face, what’s this Earl spouting off?
Such a description doesn’t suit me, and even if you praise me that much, nothing will come of it.
Rather, it would be better if you gave me some coffee.
I won’t be going to battle soon, so let’s hold a business talk.
“As soon as I heard about Takeru-dono taking part in the extermination, I too resolved myself!”
What…..? Could it be, he’s declaring his willingness to fight alongside me?
Treating a person of doubtful origin like me, who was utterly badmouthed at the capital, with coffee while holing himself up inside this castle and dressing his maids in red aprons, could it be that the Earl, who had been doing nothing but fooling around…., finally took matters into his own hands?
“I shall issue an official notice to the entire territory of Est!”
This Earl has become serious. His actions might even bring down lightning and kill a dragon.
“Sir Takeru, my proud knight of the Almark family and the General of the subjugation troops of Est, you shall gather military volunteerssss!”
What’s, that? Even though I thought the Earl had finally decided to lead the army by himself, he’s putting me in charge instead?!
Just what kind of resolution did you make?
“Takeru-dono, could it be I said something wrong?”
“Ah no, it looks like Earl-sama is placed in a difficult situation.”
Not being carried away by the Earl’s talk, I made a wry smile, which is why there were question marks appearing above his head.
Being told to gather volunteer soldiers, on top of that, using my name to do so, and fighting, it seems this is the Earl’s greatest ‘resolution’.
Well, I guess he’s that kind of person.
Isn’t it fine to be peaceful in nature? In comparison with those rotten folks from the royal capital, the Earl who’s trying to gather war potential is hundred times better.
“Of course, I’ll cover the cost of recruitment. I shall give you 100, no, 500 golden coins!”
“Ohhhh, I truly appreciate that.”
I forced myself to buy that mithril cap, so again, it felt like I was running out of money.
Unlike that stingy Prime Minister, I was glad to have the Earl pay me in advance.
The generous Earl made a kind-hearted smile upon seeing me become happy.
“In addition to soldiers, you’ll also need goods, such as uniforms and provision, so leave those to me!”
“Earl-sama, Your Highness, I’m truly thankful!”
I honestly felt sorry for mocking him a little bit inside my heart before.
However, in this world, only those with money and goods are the most revered ones.
“Not just that, I’ll also take care of backing up your troops, so Takeru-dono, without any reserve, please knock down those evil hordes of monsters near the hole. Cut them into pieces, seize them, smash them, continue to hit and kick them, beat them up thoroughly with lots of noise and—“
For some reason, the Earl was heated up in his own excitement, so I decided to leave him alone.
I’m not someone from this world. Therefore, I might not understand, but, it looks like subjugating a miasmatic mana hole is a job that makes one’s heart race.
The territory of Est is mostly a countryside, so there are probably no big events.
“…..Haha, if there’s anything I can do, feel free to as–“
“Then, Earl-sama, I’d like to have some coffee.”
The hole won’t go anywhere, so before I make a bloodbath there and bring it down, let’s have a breather for a moment, my dear Earl.
That’s because I’ll hear you repeating yourself on how to beat up those monsters if I continue to listen.
Once I deemed my business with the Earl had concluded, I returned back to the trading company in Est, gathered all its members, and held an explanatory meeting.
Lyle-sensei, Louise, and all 26 slave girls were present. For some reason, there were also 12 Ona villagers from the self-defense unit, whom I hadn’t invited.
Wait a moment.
Are those people behind them, the whole village?! Honestly, I don’t recall inviting you here!
‘What’s going on, what’s going on?’ – With this kickoff party attitude and the fuss caused till the outside of the shop by them, citizens of Est started to gather in the plaza while asking these questions.
To make it worse, our salesgirls carried items outside for sale as the number of customers started to grow.
Ah, could it be that Colette is selling baked Crêpes? I wonder if she wants to open a food cart. I guess, it would be nice if her sale succeeded.
…..H-Hey, this isn’t the right time for that.
Even though I planned to hold an explanatory meeting with the staff members, why did it turn into such a commotion?
Isn’t it because I lost the control of the situation?
That’s right, I guess it can’t be helped for the folks from Ona to join our meeting, since their village is going to become the starting point for our plan of forming an army and exterminating the hole.
“Lord-sama, we too, plan to risk our lives and fight alongside you!”
Apparently, being the son of Ona’s tribal chief, the man, who assumed the presence of a leader of the self-defense group, was an easily elated person with his loud voice being his only outstanding feature (Was his name Mars, or so?). The man who was apparently the son of Ona’s tribal chief shouted some grandiose words at me and crouched down.
It’s nice you’re eager to help me, but, even if you squat like that while wearing a leather armor and holding a lance, you look no different from a boorish onii-chan.
The rest of the villagers followed Mars’s example and crouched down in an unrefined manner. Are you lots some kind of Yankees that would hang out together in front of one’s shop? Don’t force yourself if you don’t know the right etiquette of soldiers.
Honestly, I’ve gone through the trouble of giving you the arquebuses, so at least bring them with you during times like these.
I guess, I’ll need to teach them the modern military style greeting.
“Well, I’ll be placing my hope in you, so do your best, okay?”
My spoken words were enough to make Mars and the rest of his companions crawl on the ground and kowtow.
Despite them assuming the presence of soldiers, I guess they will quickly revert back to being villagers.
I’ve long since given up on telling the villagers I was a Governor, rather than a Lord.
They probably wouldn’t understand the difference anyway.
The self-defense unit from Ona was in charge of protecting their village, so it would be troublesome if I had them over-enthusiastic.
I’d rather have them be moderate in giving their best.
“We, the slave girl musketeers of Takeru-sama’s personal guard, will too, risk our lives to protect Master-sama.”
At Sharon’s order, all 26 slave girls gathered together and formed a neat line up while bowing in the Silesian-style (i.e. kneeling down on one knee, putting up their arquebuses, and kissing their barrels.)
‘Just who had taught you such etiquette?’ – I glanced around with this question and saw Louise and Lyle-sensei smiling.
“Is that so? Thank you. However, referring to yourselves as my personal guard’s musketeers is an exaggeration, you see.”
“But, isn’t it Master-sama who told us we’re musketeers?”
“Ahh, that’s right. I guess, I said something like this before.”
Looks like I boasted myself by saying they’re musketeers upon seeing them carry guns.
I better not inspire Sharon with weird ideas.
“Also, Louise-sama told us we’re the closest to Master-sama in terms of protecting, therefore, we are Master-sama’s personal guard of slave girl musketeers.”
“Is there any need to add that ‘slave girls’ at the beginning?”
“””We are Master-sama’s personal guard of slave girl musketeers! Thank you very much!”””
All the members gathered their voice and said this at once, as if trying to imply ‘Don’t complain!’.
Slave girls, slave girls, for some reason it sounds like magical girls to me if you say it repeatedly.
I do wish to create my personal guard of magical girl musketeers, but I guess it won’t happen, right Sensei?
Well, I guess it can’t be helped for me but to feel the need of troubling Sensei with this stupid idea.
“More importantly, do your best so as not to commit any mistakes when selling goods.”
“Please leave it to us, as we’ll create shifts with no gaps.”
I see, they know what shifts are. Speaking of which, was there a concept of shifts in this period?
Good job on doing your part as a work leader, Sharon.
“Well, I don’t want to get you too much involved in battles, so I’d rather have you stay in this shop.”
“We’ll be changing our shifts with other members, so we can definitely protect Master-sama at all times!”
You’re fully motivated, aren’t you, Sharon?
It’s good to see that, however, I’d like you to listen to me till the end.
“…And so, the explanatory meeting was held for that purpose. Does anyone still have any objections for why we shouldn’t advance toward the miasmatic mana hole?”
I intended to ask for opinions from each of them, after I made a proper explanation.
Even if all the members are slave girls, it’s not like I want to be dishonest towards them.
“Whatever Master-sama assigns me to, I will neither object nor complain!”
“It feels reversely scary when you say it that way.”
If you’re mistaking something, please make a proper complaint.
After all, I’m still a high schooler.
Despite there being lots of children in this company, it’s harsh for me to take care of this many by myself.
And I’m the type of a person who’s honestly bad at fulfilling my role as a leader.
“Obviously, everyone here will discuss matters together with Master-sama. We swear to our heart we will fight together, cry, shout, and protect Master-sama. If there’s anything we’re against, it would not allow us to put our lives on the line.”
“You don’t need to go that far….. and also, if possible, please restrain from shouting.”
Now that I think, it’s been a long time since Sharon was this lively.
And her bad habit of saying things one after another still hasn’t been fixed.
I guess it can’t be helped, right? Since she’s still a child inside, despite her looking as smart as an adult.
*Haaa*, but she’s the face of this shop. What should I do to make it right?
“Sensei, later, I’d like you to help me settle this someh—“
“Oh my, just when I thought Takeru-dono was going to make a speech, you’re giving up?”
It’s rare for Sensei to say provocative things like this.
“Could it be, you find this crowd unmanageable and want me to take care of it?”
“Even though these people have gathered here, isn’t this a chance to make a fervent speech and recruit volunteer soldiers?”
Ehhhh? So who’s supposed to make that speech…?
Could it be, me….?
Big Sis Louise averted her eyes, as soon I took glance at her.
Ehhh? But I’m not someone who’s good with speechessss.
Oi Louise! You’re making a serious face, but, we’ve been hanging out together for quite long, so I can tell you’re holding back from laughing.
I think she’s aware of that, but Louise, who used to be part of the cavalry, is a big shot.
Even though she would be much more suitable as a leader or commanding officer than me….
Hmm, still, shouldn’t I too, grow up and take matters into my own hands?
Both Louise and Sensei are telling me to do it, so….
Fighting isn’t just about battlefields.
That’s because you’re bound to do the recruitment using your name upon becoming a knight.
This is something only I could do.
Bringing the musketeers and the self-defense group with me, I resolved myself and shouted toward the crowd at the plaza once I made my way to the main road.
“Everyone! I, Chevalier Sawatari Takeru, the knight of the Almark family, shall speak!”
I stood in the center of the crowd and looked around me. As I did so, the commotion settled down before one could notice.
That’s because, I was currently wearing this radiantly shining mithril cap.
Perhaps, only a small number of people look important, but, they say that clothes make the man.
Good grief, had I known I was going to do this, I’d have worn a red mantle like General Gail.
Still, being the center focus amidst this silent crowd, I felt somewhat pressured.
Back in my world, I was chosen as a candidate for the student council against my will by my classroom teacher, and had nothing much to say. Till now, that memory still prickles me.
However, Lyle-sensei, please watch me, as I will do it!
I unsheathed my iron sword and hung it out toward the blue sky, on which Sensei kept his eyes.
*Shakin* – The sound of the unsheathed sword reverberated silently throughout the crowd.
I knew it. Doing it like this feels much coooooooler!
“From now on, the volunteer army of the Est shall commence its subjugation towards the north and aim to destroy the monsters that are spawning from the miasmatic mana hole!
Be it slaves, beggars, farmers, citizens, traders, adventurers, soldiers…. your social position, age, sex, and experience, I won’t inquire into theseeeee!
I don’t care who you are. You’re free to bring whatever you want, and as long as you are brave and determined, you can join me! With your body and soul, hasten to join my side!
For the sake of rescuing this country, and for the sake of protecting the innocents, I’d like you to lend me that power of yours!”
Uwaa, this is embarrassing.
Everyone was looking at me with dumbfounded expressions and widely opened eyes.
Ah no, Sharon, as well as you lot from Ona village, don’t just salute, help me!
I guess, there’s a strange tension rising in the air.
I’m at fault for overdoing this, so I need to smile or deceive them, do any follow u—-
A large shout of joy, which could blow one away, was raised up at me, who remained stiff while holding aloft my sword.
It was an eruption of voices that echoed throughout my stomach.
The ones shouting were everyone present. The stream of cheers and applause which could split one’s head, and the self-defense group howling words that didn’t make sense while pushing up their lances, spread all over the plaza.
Ahh, I’m glad I produced this kind of performance.
I sighed with relief at my smooth performance, and cried tears, even though I wasn’t sad.
(Lyle-sensei, it should be fine with this, right…..?)
I sheathed back my sword, held back my tears and looked up at the sky.
Sensei, who should also be watching the sky, lightly supported my back with his hands, as I staggered at these shouts of joy.
“Takeru-dono, you’ve done well.”
“Please praise me more.”
Isn’t this the first time I was honestly praised by Sensei?
I’m incredibly happy, but still…
While we are at it, this day marked the Sawatari Takeru Trading Company’s food cart’s first big sale of Crêpes.
At last, the entrance of the shop became quiet.
Words of admiration could be heard directed at my back, as I had become melancholic from the atmosphere that resembled that of a festival.
“You’ve done a good job, Takeru.”
Fluttering her sunrise-like, burning crimson hair, Louise entered inside.
Has she still not forgotten the event just now? – She made a clearly curious face while hitting my shoulder.
Was I really that funny?
Louise was the only one who held her stomach while laughing upon hearing my speech.
I too felt embarrassed, as I was aware such a performance didn’t suit me.
Rather, I’ll hate if people takes it seriously.
In order to save this country and its people, be it a good sounding reason or a big lie, both will do.
With Louise laughing me off, it felt as though I could be at ease from that speech.
However, there were also things at which I couldn’t feel at ease.
I was still confused if I should discuss with Louise the matter of her past, which I had heard from General Gail.
“As I expected, this fate cannot be avoided.”
Louise talked to me in a monologue tone.
“It’s about the miasmatic mana hole. You’ve probably heard about it, about me once leading a subjugation army against the hole and suffering defeat.”
Ahh, is that so? Could it be that Louise already knows about things I know?
If I were to say, I was glad she saved me from any unnecessary consideration.
“I’m sorry, for hearing about it without your permission.”
“Don’t apologize. To begin with, Lyle-sensei, who was present in the capital at that time, also knows about me serving once in the cavalry.”
Ah, is that so? So Lyle-sensei kept it secret from everyone?
To be able to express oneself without words or gestures, not even I could do that.
As you would expect, Sensei’s an amazing person.
“Hey, Takeru, even now I’m against it, against the idea of challenging the hole.”
Louise, looked at me from the corner of her eyes in a serious manner.
Her beautiful madder red eyes, which were smiling before, were suddenly filled with a hue of seriousness, making me unable to avert my look.
“I’ve been constantly running away, from my own defeat and from my deceased friends. Even after meeting you, I’ve been doing the same, constantly running away from my past.”
“The time when I saved you from the monsters, as well as when I decided to raise those children into soldiers, perhaps I wanted to at least atone for my actions, but in the end, I guess it was just a fruitless attempt to run away from my past.”
“Louise, if by any chance, you’re still against…”
This was an expedition that had piled up and could become successful, but, I thought about ceasing it if there was anyone fully against it.
No matter how much the Prime Minister tried to instigate me, there was no way I could become honestly naive and charge at this dangerous hole.
I also thought if it wasn’t safe just to continue to ward off the monsters from the kingdom’s territory.
“Don’t say that, Takeru. Challenge it.”
“Wasn’t it a prominent speech? My feelings might be temporary, but, I could feel your speech echoing inside me.”
“Really? Even though you were laughing at me?”
“That’s right, you were amusing, because such a speech usually doesn’t suit you.”
‘However, for you to be chased after by the dogs in tears,’ – Being about to burst in laugh, Louise said this and trembled with her shoulders.
Oi, this isn’t the right time to bring up that old story again and laugh. You’re mean.
“Still, had I had a flexible way of thinking like Takeru, regardless of one’s social status and position back when I formed the subjugation army, perhaps, I could’ve avoided that defeat.”
“Is that so?”
Even if I were to become as strong as Louise, I don’t think I’d be able to win against the opponents she had defeated.
“Yes, that’s why, I will help you with all I’ve got. You’re, my new possibility, Takeru.”
Saying so, she placed her hand on my shoulder which was gentle, unlike before.
Somehow, it felt like I could give my best, but, I was still ready to run away if things became dangerous.
But well, I guess I could become a bit serious and do my best if it’s for someone like Louise.
I also have the mithril cap, so I probably won’t die that easily.