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Chapter 08: Bread Given as a Present is Probably Delicious
Yuze Kingdom Capital City, Blanca. After incurring defeat at the Alucia Engagement and the fall of Antigua Branch Castle, the generals of the First Army were conducting a debate with raised voices about their policies hereafter.
“While he was given twice their numbers in soldiers, he was done in by the insurgents I heard. What a disappointment of General Yalder!”
“The survivors of the Third Army, including guards, number 40,000. They are currently conducting recruitment from the area around Belta, but they are not making any progress. Also, as they are uneasy about provisions, a request that we send in goods and arrows has come in.”
“We will not send anything. Send them directions telling them to requisition from nearby farm villages. The goods here are for the First Army defending the Royal Capital. We’ve sent the Third Army more provisions than they needed when we dispatched the troops!”
The exasperated Lieutenant General Barbora hit the desk. He was one of the generals affiliated with the First Army. He had firmly insisted that the subjugation of the rebel army ought to be handed over to the First Army from the very beginning. Barbora, hearing news of the Third Army’s defeat, fired off harsh criticisms about Yalder repeatedly, as if he was in his own element. He had fallen behind in the race for promotions, so he was waiting for a chance, if there was an opening, to kick Yalder down a notch.
“At worst, we would have to consider abandoning the Central Border Zone. In the southeast direction is the Second Army, and in the northwest direction is the Fourth and Fifth Armies. We have no reserve to take back Antigua.”
The Second Army was in charge of the defense of the Kingdom’s southeast territory. Pressuring the Empire in the northwest were two Army Corps, the Fourth and Fifth Army.
A firm line of strongholds was built at the particularly dangerous northwest region to impede the main road.
The reason why serious consideration was put into the defense of the northwest was simple. Without that area, one could follow the main road straight to the Royal Capital.
“That’s absolutely preposterous. The rebel army would be elated if we just up and left. The Central Border Zone with its fertile land is a vital position for the Kingdom. We should resolutely defend it to the last!”
“Still, isn’t it true that we have no surplus of military might anywhere!? Just where do you plan on producing soldiers!?”
“We lack money, soldiers, and provisions. We just cain’t do it! We have to report to the throne to further increase military budget!”
The senior generals with no idea of the current state of financial affairs expressed their own ideas as they pleased. They were looked coldly at by the civil officials who knew of the actual state of affairs, but they didn’t notice.
“This, that, everything is General Yalder’s fault for losing! We ought to call him back and court marshal him!”
Barbora strongly advocated while sending spit flying.
“I agree with Lieutenant General Barbora! It pains me, but this is to amend the disturbance in military regulations. Your Excellency Sharov, your decision!?”
They asked, turning to the opinion of the veteran army general who had been listening to everyone’s opinion with both eyes closed. He was an old soldier with white hair and conspicuous wrinkles, but he still retained his tempered body. This man with a stern countenance was undoubtedly the commander of the First Army, Sharov Bazarov.
In the previous Great War, the one who had overcome the resistance of the Empire+Union after their failed campaign and turned the situation around until the ceasefire deal was signed was Sharov’s great-grandfather.
Henceforth, the Bazarov House continued to produce numerous soldiers, and there were many who were promoted to high positions.
Sharov as well freely displayed his wit and was promoted to Field Marshal, the highest rank in the Kingdom’s Army. Currently, he was the Royal Capital’s final line of defense and carried out his duty overlooking the outskirts of the Capital City.
“……Right now, if we were to dismiss Yalder, Belta would fall. We ought to refrain from careless behavior.”
“However, is it not the case that Antigua has already fallen? I do not think General Yalder could defend it anyway!”
“There is report that the enemy utilized a new weapon at the earlier engagement. There’s a high possibility of the same outcome no matter who we were to have sent. We had been making light of the Rebel Army.”
“You mean, the aforementioned Sorcery Landmine?”
The landmine that had been collected by Schera was sent to the Royal Capital on the spot and turned over to research groups. It was currently disarmed, possibly to find a means of replicating it through trial and error. Its structure was simple, and disarming it wasn’t that difficult, reports said. The danger was just the amassed stockpile of magical power. As long as it didn’t explode, it was nothing more than a normal iron barrel.
“Moreover, they were defeated, but they have not allowed the enemy to approach Belta so far. Yalder may be frivolous, but he is a brave general. His name has even circulated throughout the Central Border Zone. Because it’s him, the neighboring feudal lords are still allegiant to him despite his loss. ……If we shift stations now and disrupt the chain of command, that opening will be attacked. The Rebel Army is waiting for an opportunity to devour us.”
“—-It would be best, I believe, for myself will see off soldiers from the Royal Capital First Army and crush the enemy together with the Third Army.”
“……These may be the words of Your Excellency Field Marshal, but the matter of General Yalder has been reported to the King through Lord Prime Minister. His dismissal is only a matter of time I believe.”
“Is that true!?”
Barbora asked the civil official in a wild voice.
“Sir-, there is no mistake.”
Hearing the reply, Barbora chuckled. With this, one eyesore of a human would disappear. A dismissal was halfhearted. He would court-martial him, and he even wanted to drive Yalder into a corner and strip him of his rank. If fact, he wouldn’t even mind if Yalder died. Rivals had to be completely crushed.
“Your Excellency. With this, it has been decided. A dismissal is too lenient. We ought to refer to military regulations and have him take proper responsibility!”
“Your Excellency Sharov!”
“Your Excellency! Your decision!”
“I will go to His Majesty, and confirm firsthand. Until then, I will reserve judgement on this case!”
Sharov strongly asserted, and the mouths of the commissioned officers that had hounded and hollered at him fell silent. After a deep sigh, Sharov left the conference room behind.
Blanca Royal Castle, Throne Room.
Passing through the middle of the lined up imperial guards, Sharov sought an audience with the King.
Sitting on the throne was the King of the Yuze Kingdom, Kristoff Yuze Unimat. He used to have a bright future ahead of him, and he had been a young man overflowing with wisdom. However, because he had been embroiled in the succession struggle that suddenly erupted, Kristoff had changed. In the middle of squirming court trickery, he had sacrificed many humans and acquired the throne.
But, he gradually stopped concerning himself with politics, and it was like he was secluding himself in the inner palace. After his beloved son passed away due to sickness, it became apparent that he was.
He idolized religion, and it was around that time that he started pouring a large amount of wealth into donations and establishing churches.
He kept the civil officials that admonished him at a distance, and sometimes confined them, and the only ones left near him were crafty courtiers that whispered sweet nothings into his ear. This scrawny man, who was unobtrusive beside the King, could be called the first on the list of courtiers probably.
He was Prime Minister of the Kingdom, Farzam. The reason how he, at a young age of 35, acquired the highest position of civil officials was simple. This man had served near the King from a very young age, and he used that to his greatest advantage. He whispered favorable words and purged all who did not follow his ideas. He revoked their peerages, or banished them, and there was no shortage of people that he had murdered.
In the first place, it was this man who had conspired against the father of the one spearheading the Liberation Army, Princess Altura. Sharov believed that it was this man, Farzam, that was the main culprit behind the domestic conflict.
“—-Your Majesty. Myself, Sharov, have come for an audience to enquire about a matter firsthand.”
Sharov kneeled and consulted the King. Prime Minister Farzan took a step forward and asked about his business.
“If it isn’t His Excellency, Field Marshal Sharov. What kind of business do you have?”
“Myself would like to talk to His Majesty directly. Excuse me, but I would like the Lord Prime Minister to deter himself.”
“How harsh. His Excellency, the Field Marshal, has recently onerously sealed off his heart it seems. Please take care of your yourself.”
Said Farzam, making a smile and reverently lowering his head. Sharov scowled at him through narrowed eyes and returned his gaze to the King.
“—-Your Majesty. Is it true that Yalder will be dismissed?”
“……That is correct. Yalder can’t win. Though, I did send that guy an encouraging letter a while ago to preserve morale. There’s no meaning in even sending reinforcements if Belta falls.”
By all rights, he wanted to immediately dismiss Yalder, but there was a lack of talented personnel to succeed him after. All the Major General ranks of the Third Army had died in battle. They were currently in a predicament where only staff officers were left. Until a successor could be dispatched, the role could be entrusted to no one but Yalder.
“Is there any chance you would reconsider?”
“……None. This matter has been decided.”
Replied the King in a languid tone to Sharov. His face was pale, and there were shadows under his eyes. It was difficult to call the King healthy, and it seemed he was habitually neglecting his health.
“Well then, please appoint myself, Sharov, to the Third Army. The blame for losing Alucia falls on myself, Sharov, as well. I, together with Yalder, will destroy the Rebel Army without fail, I will show you.”
“Your Majesty. Field Marshal Sharov is the most famous general in all of the Kingdom. There is no one but him who can be left to defend the Royal Capital. Moreover, the matter of General Yalder does not condemn the Field Marshal.”
Farzam interjected, and he advocated that only Yalder be dismissed. Sharov had to be a “Decoration” at the Royal Capital. After all, his fame could still be put to use.
“……Sharov. You are fine as you are. As for the suppression of the Rebel Army, the Fourth Army will be pulled from the northwest area and sent to Berta. The Third Army will be incorporated into the Fourth Army.”
“Then there will be insufficient protection of the northwest. I do not believe that the Empire will overlook this opportunity. It is distressing to leave only the Fifth Army defending, I believe.”
“If we quickly exterminate the Rebel Army, there will be no problems. Also, there has hitherto been no large scale military movements from the Empire. Is this not proof that they do not have no surplus either? Even if they were to move, let us say, our prided line of forts, an iron wall, will defend against them.”
Replied the Prime Minister in place of the King. In the midst of hard-pressed finances, a large amount of capital was thrown into this line of forts. ‘If we don’t use them now, when do we?’ thought the Prime Minister Farzam.
“Prime Minister Farzam. The Northwest area is an area with extremely high tension. If we move our war potential, the Empire will absolutely move. We have to contest that area. Our solid line of forts is our last line of deterrence.”
“Do you mean to say that we invested all our precious tax on a display of deterrence? Do you think we can just raise war funds from wherever?”
“They were made to not allow an offensive from the Empire. If we war with the Empire, we would spend even more money. And even more blood would be spilled probably.”
“In the first place, if we do not sent reinforcements to Belta, that would be leaving the Rebel Army to its own devices. I would like to hear just how you plan on defeating the insurgents. The Third Army is already unmanageable. I do not think such a plan is that of a Field Marshal’s.
Farzam said, grandly gesturing and attacking Sharov.
“In that case, I would like approval to move troops from the Royal Capital. The First Army would be a flying squadron. Half would be sent to the Central Border Zone. If pincered by the Third Army and reinforcements from the Royal Capital, even if the enemy does not wish to, they must divide their forces.”
At Sharov’s words, Farzam opened his eyes widely.
“To split the forces guarding the Royal Capital Blanca, I do not think you are sane. What do you plan to do if there are people plotting a revolt on homeland soil now lacking of soldiers!? —-Your Majesty. The First Army must absolutely not mobilize.”
“There is nothing else we can use to exterminate the Rebel Army besides the First Army while simultaneously checking the Empire. 30,000 regular soldiers and all the reservists will be enough defense for the Royal Capital.”
—-A gigantic castle wall was built around the municipal of the Royal Capital Blanca, enclosing it. Around its circumference stretched a moat, and that was further wrapped around by high ramparts. To attack that would probably require considerable military forces and siege weapons. Even with those, it was certain that there would be many casualties. Many watchtowers were built around the outskirts and precise vigilance was taken.
On high group visible from the Royal Castle to the East towered Sāyeh Fortress, built during the Great War before. From this stronghold build on a natural strategic position, the the defenseless back of the Royal Capital that just invited attack could be clearly seen.
In emergencies, it would cooperate with the Royal Castle and would exhibit the greatest defense capability, or so it was surmised. If this fort were to be ignored, then a pincer attack would come from the enemy’s rear. If the enemy decided to attack the fortress with their main force, a lot of time and soldiers would be wasted. It was surely appropriate to be the Kingdom’s final fortress.
In addition, in the southern mountains was a small castle under construction, though it wasn’t as grand as Sāyeh Fortress. The Royal Castle, Sāyeh, and then this small castle would triangulate and completely protect the Royal Capital possibly.
—-Though, an enormous amount of war funds were thrown into them obviously.
“Please pardon me, but as the Prime Minister, I cannot follow your words, Field Marshal. To decrease the defense of the Royal Capital where His Majesty resides is the worst, the most inane plan!”
“……Sharov. The First Army will standby as they are. The Fourth Army will head to Belta. Upon arrival, we will replace Yalder and summon him back. ……This matter, has already been concluded. You too, expend all your energy and just harden the defense of the Royal Capital.”
“……This conversation is over. I do be slightly tired. I will return to my room. My friend, Farzam, I leave the rest to you.”
“Certainly, Your Majesty. Please enjoy your rest.”
“—-Field Marshal Sharov. Your audience is henceforth concluded. Hurry and return to your military duties. I too have government affairs, so please excuse me.”
Farzam overbearingly looked down on Sharov, took along the Imperial Guards, and withdrew from the throne room.
For a short while, Sharov continued to kneel in silence.
Half a year after losing the Alucia Engagement–Belta Castle, Sidamo’s Office.
Wearing glasses, Sidamo was earnestly dealing with official documents when an unreserved knock disturbed him. Sidamo raised his head from the documents, took off his glasses, and responded,
“—-Who is it?”
“This is Major Schera Zade.* I have been told you have business for me.”
Schera called herself in a manner she was not yet used to. It had only been recently since she had a surname.
Unlike before, Schera’s physique was properly covered in armor. She entered the room and saluted. As one would expend, she was not holding her large scythe.
“I don’t mind if you are at ease. ……However, I cannot say the same for eating. Restrain yourself in front of a superior officer. How many times do I have to say it before you get it?”
He scowled at Schera who had promptly taken out some beans after ending her salute.
“I beg your pardon.”
“Make your words have some more truth to them. Make a befitting expression when you apologize. You have been promoted to Major; learn how to associate with other people.”
Schera quickly chewed her beans and swallowed.
“You were away for patrol duty, so I don’t know if you know this, but instructions for a large scale reshuffling has reached us.”
“How, will that proceed?”
“……General Yalder has had a “sudden” drop in health, and is recuperating in the Royal Capital. It has been decided that we the Third Army will merge with the Fourth Army from the North. In short, we will have a change in leadership at the same time reinforcements arrive.”
General Yalder had been extremely boisterous and lively up until yesterday. Yalder, who had received a directive from the Royal Capital, found it hard to bear with his anger and disgrace and raged loudly. The Lord’s room of the castle was in terrible disarray, and it was as if the enemy had raided it. He had finally realized that the letter of encouragement sent from the Kingdom after the defeat was just simple consolation. For his Third Army that he had nurtured to be completely swallowed up, for him as a commander, was like having his own child stolen.
‘At least he could feel relief for not having been demoted,’ Schera thought. To be honest, she didn’t really care, so whatever.
That General Yalder adored Schera like she was his own grandchild, and even had her succeed the family name of Major General Jira who was killed in battle. Yalder, who had thought it would be a shame for Jira’s lineage with no successor to come to an end, had the bright idea of having the brave, young warrior be the successor.
Sidamo was at his wits’ end at having more extraneous work again. In the first place, Jira Zade just didn’t have a successor; there were still healthy relatives. He had ran into difficulties as expected, but after continuing to tenaciously negotiate, he had gotten their consent. Once he had played his final card, the gold that Yalder had prepared, the Zade relatives, understanding the situation, had made a complete about-face in attitude. The territory of the Zade family had already been forfeited, and their family name was now nothing more than an honorary position. Money-in-hand before honor in this era.
(I know that all too well. But, there are things that must not be cast aside.)
While ridiculing himself for being manipulated by his family name, Sidamo had finished his succession chore. Schera had no means of knowing it was that troublesome of a matter. To have a surname that she didn’t even care about pushed onto her, the person in question had made an extremely annoyed expression. When he remembered all his hardships negotiating, Sidamo wanted to slap her, but if she seriously retaliated, he would be the one to die probably, so Sidamo beared with it.
“……I will continue to fulfill my duty as a staff officer. I’ve lost my rank as Chief Staff Officer though. You too. Continue to devote yourself for the Kingdom.”
“And, I don’t doubt that you are a great soldier, but I have some doubts left about your command of soldiers. Accordingly, I have decided that I will assign two adjutants to assist you in commanding.”
“Correct. They themselves aspire to join your unit. There were positions for Platoon Leader open, but they rejected that.They are excellent people who have learned military strategy from the Kingdom’s military academy. I have no doubt that they surpass you in leadership, tactics, and ingenuity.”
Sidamo did not forget to add some satire towards Schera at the same time he professed the excellence of the adjutants. I want her to have some sense of responsibility, thought Sidamo.
“Yes, indeed. I think so too.”
Even though she was indirectly called an idiot, Schera did not mind at all. Sidamo furrowed his brow, looking at her face that basically said, ‘I don’t mind; I’m happy as long as I can eat.’
“Your cavalry unit has become the most famous and elite here at Belta. So that you do not defile that reputation, make good use of the adjutants. Accept their counsel freely and serve the Kingdom more and more.”
Schera’s attention had started wandering because Sidamo had continued to layer statement upon statement on her. It took everything she had just to squeeze out the word, ‘Understood.’
“Never again as a single horseman chase the enemy around. Same with prattling ‘Power Reconnaissance,’ and then leading the cavalry unit into enemy controlled territory. If you idiotically fight and get killed, everyone’s morale will be affected. That is what it means to be ‘Elite.’ I will not allow you to go off dying on your own. Do you understand?”
—-Of course she didn’t understand.
If, right in front of her eyes, the enemy’s food was being sluggishly transported, of course she would immediately attack it. She got her hands on provisions, and her stomach was full. It was a completely good thing. Though, after this happened several times, the enemy had attached rigorous guard to their food supply train. It had given her merit, so there was no problem.
—-Was Schera’s understanding.
“……Do you really understand? Have you been listening to me with that head of yours? If you wholly understand, then acknowledge it.”
Sidamo trained his eyes that told of unquestionable doubt at Schera. His assessment of Schera was, ‘She has quite an arm, but her head is inversely just as bad.’ General Yalder, soon be former General Yalder, thought so too.
A staff officer needed much grit to deal with those guys skillfully. Sidamo, who could not handle them, had his Chief Staff Officer rank taken from him. Hereafter, the Fourth Army would have hegemony, and it would be accurate to say that his road to success from hereon had been cut. Sidamo’s heart was gloomy, but he had not given up yet. Until his family was restored, he would never give up.
“I, Major Schera, Completely Understand!”
“I will put the adjutants under your supervision later on. I have already talked to them about the future beforehand, so there should be no problems. ……This concludes our business. You may retire.”
Mentally fatigued, Sidamo quickly returned to his work. A different kind of fatigue set in than when Yalder was his conversation partner. If he talked with Death any further, he would probably be brought to his now deceased older brother. Or otherwise, maybe he would go mad like his older sister.
“Sir-, I, Major Schera, will return to my duties!”
Schera, who had stood at attention partaking in the long conversation, seemed giddy compared to before.
But, perhaps relieved that she no longer had to put up with formalities, she let out a large sigh after leaving the room. And, “Ahh- I’m tired,” she said in a stupidly loud voice while at it.
—-That moment, some blunt-sounding thing was thrown at the office door.
As the door was durable, there was not a single crack.
Unfortunately perhaps, stress had accumulated in the former Chief Staff Officer, and he had thrown a flower vase. He was surely hungry, no doubt about it. Schera sympathized with him.
“……As I thought, the head doesn’t work well and dulls when hungry it seems.”
Schera took out a piece of bread from the bag she was carrying, left it in front of the office door, and took her leave. It was like feeding an animal, or leaving an offering for the deceased.
It goes without saying that upon discovering the bread, Sidamo’s irritation surged up even stronger.
—- The Kingdom’s Third Army in Belta Castle and the Royal Capital Liberation Army in Antigua Branch Castle had fallen into a mutual stalemate. Schera’s cavalry, once again 3000, were deployed, and making the best of their mobility, their main duty became patrol and subjugating nearby foes.
Which was the case, but she sometimes took independent action, conducted a Power Reconnaissance, and raided the Liberation Army’s supply trains. By all rights, this was a breach of military regulations, but as she made great military gains every time, her transgressions were invalidated. The Liberation Army was tormented by this guerrilla warfare that was more distressing than predicted, and inevitably, the guards of the supply trains were reinforced.
It was around this time that the name of Schera was starting to be known by the Liberation Army.
*Schera’s name is a reference to Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights
as cool as her name being a reference to scheherazade is, they have next to nothing in common apart from their gender o.O
one is cunning and smart, while the other blunt and pretty much a musclehead
still, i love this story
Thank you🌠 I love this story, reminds me of Altina the sword princess in terms of military tactics but Schera is way cooler than the male lead in Altina.
Well there’s a certain line I remember reading where Scheherezade stated: “Stories are like bread, people come and listen and eat in order to live. By listening to stories they absorb their lessons and apply it to their everyday lives.” It could also match as they were both destined to die very young but prolonged their Lives by any using their own strengths.
So I guess that’s what the reference is going for.