Arc 4 The Beloved, Chapter 71 Sun at night
Arc 4 The Beloved, Chapter 71 Sun at night
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More than 20,000 prisoners of war surrendered.
It would take about two days to process it.
“It's been a while, General Verreich.”
“Yeah, it's been a while, Krische.
It doesn't seem like you've changed.”
Surrounded by 1,000 elite soldiers, a man in a winged helmet was giving orders in the center of the main camp.
He was Nozan Verreich.
The handsome copper colored haired man dismounted when Krische appeared and took off his helmet with a cheerful smile.
He then softly held out his right hand.
In terms of military rank, Nozan was above her, and even as a noble, it was an unnecessary courtesy for Nozan, who was given the title of Margrave, but Krische was the adopted daughter of the departed Bogan.
As Bogan's subordinate, Nozan treated Krische as a superior.
Krische without being bothered by it, shook hands and asked.
“What are you going to do with the prisoners?”
The first thing she said was not a greeting, but a practical question.
Nozan smiles wryly at the words of the girl and answered.
“I would like to absorb as much as possible.
These are the soldiers that His Highness scattered a large amount of money and gathered.
If you can guarantee the reward, half of them will come to us.
Although it will take some time and cause a lot of confusion, the increase in the number of troops in this situation is a big one even when with taking that into account.”
“What are the prospects?”
“…Let me see, it will take about two days to process …and another three days to finish the reorganization, at the earliest.
Even if we just finish it crudely, we'll still need two days.”
Krische puckered her lips.
“Haha, no, but if you think about the future, it's not bad.
It's thanks to Krische-sama.
Even though it's a surprise attack, to think Krische-sama finished this battlefield in that short amount of time.”
“As Krische said to Corps Commander Varkus….it was becausethe situation was in order.”
After all the arrangements had been made, it would be more difficult to fail.
For Krische, it was a little itchy to be praised like that.
Nonetheless, Nozan was sincere in his words.
Even after Krische and her men appeared, the number of soldiers was still equal.
They did not have the upper hand.
Even though they had taken the rear and decided to pincer attack, such an overwhelming victory is not something that is seen very often.
While making a breakthrough focused only on the main camp with only a select few, they easily cut off the heads of the enemy generals.
That was only possible because of her absolute trust in her own swordsmanship.
She did not even consider that she herself would not be able to break through, nor did she consider that it would take her much time.
At the fundamental part, It was her strength and self-confidence that makes such an overwhelming victory possible.
Even if it was Nozan and the others who had cut from behind, while their victory would have been an unshakable outcome, it would have taken a little more time.
The difference between them is that they prepare for failure while Krische did not even think about her own failure.
There was a clear difference between the two.
Despite the head-on collision, the damage to both sides was infinitesimally small.
Not wanting his forces to be reduced, Nozan honestly expressed his gratitude.
“However, the fact that Krische-sama has come is more reassuring than anything else.
In my heart, I want to head to the royal capital as soon as possible, but…”
From now, even at the longest, it will be a month, if we do that.”
Rushing to the royal capital like this.
Not a bad idea.
The concern was that they will be completely cut off from the north.
The problem of logistics will be a big one.
Aside from forcibly requisitioning in each city that is, however, this is within the Kingdom.
A lot of problems would arise later.
However, it was not a bad idea—-at least it was worth it to worry over it.
If we absorb prisoners of war, our military strength will be close to 40,000—-if things go well, it will even exceed that.
It was a realistic number for a decisive battle on the battlefield.
If the enemy chose to siege, it would be profitable.
In that case, the soldiers could simply be ordered to surround the area.
In the heavily shielded royal capital, there was only one prey to aim for.
—-If so, she thought, it would be enough if only one person, Krische, snuck in.
“But really, considering the actual situation, it's really not a bad choice.”
Nozan shook his head when he saw Krische squinted her eyes.
“Yes, it's not a bad choice considering all the problems.
But…there is one concern.
It's General Hilkintos.”
“…Is it the west?”
That was the name of the general who guarded the western part of the Kingdom.
“My spy brought it here.
Last month—-when General Hilkinthos heard about the defeat at Dragon's Maw, he raised his hips to wag his tail at His Royal Highness.
Such an opportunistic dog.”
Without hiding his hostility, Nozan said unpleasantly.
“He seems to be of a disposition to value money and interest rather noble's pride.
I've long though that he's a man who tries to ride a winning horse…but us refusing of the truce must have given him a good reason.
He will probably move.”
“Just the other day, I had sent a messenger to tell Selene-sama about it, but it seems that Krische-sama and the messenger passed by each other.”
If they went directly to the royal capital like this, their back will be threatened.
Still, if they defeated Gildanstein that that will be the end—-but, as expected the situation is not good.
“We can't leave that alone.
we have to do something about it first.”
It's quite dangerous.”
Krische thought for a moment and said.
If he moves, the aim will probably be here.
It's a long way to go north through the detour.
It might be better to divide our force between Dragon's Maw and General Hilkintos.”
“In that case, which one who will move is the problem.”
Eluga wrinkled his brow said.
It's a bit annoying.”
Eluga smiled wryly at Krische, who traced her cherry-colored lips with her fingertips and said troubledly.
He then looked at Krische and Nozan, who were still troubled, and indicated that their surroundings had not yet calmed down from the excitement of the battle.
“It's a difficult problem, but both of you can think about it while dealing with the prisoners.
You two are a little too hasty.
It's true that we don't have much time, but either way, you won't be able to move for a few days.”
Nozan nodded and sighed.
“How about our discussing future movements with the corps commanders tomorrow night? The details can be decided there.”
“Certainly, first look at your foothold, huh.
My ears sure hurt hearing that.
I thought that becoming a general would mean the end of being scolded by Corps Commander Faren, but seems that;s not the case, huh.”
“Well, as one gets older, one becomes more of a worrier, you know.”
“Its sure sting to be treated as a youngster forever.
I should be careful.”
Nozan laughed and brushed back his copper hair.
He took a deep breath and said with a soft smile.
“Let's do just that.
It's important to let your subordinates rest.
Your two soldiers must be more tired than our soldiers.
I've brought a lot of alcohol.
I will pass it on to you later, so please let them drink it tonight.”
…It would also be good to share some with the prisoners.”
Giving is important after all.”
Krische looked at the two with admiration.
Rewarding the soldier (in this case probably not meant formal reward but like giving wine, etc)—— Krische's mind didn't turn well on those kinds of area.
In truth, she should have properly paid attention to those areas as well.
Remembering that Selene was having a hard time with it, she immediately thought about throwing the whole thing in someone else's hands.
Such concern was clearly outside Krische's forte.
“Thank you very much.
Then, Krische will go back.
Since it seems out the prisoners of war will be a huge task.”
“I think I'll go back, too.
It's difficult to deal with fugitives with this amount of people.
I will leave the escapee to you, is that fine?”
“Yes, that would be fine.
If you can crush the big rebellion, then you can ignore the rest.
Forcibly adding people who wanted to flee here, that in itself is scary too.”
They did not tie up the prisoners of war.
There was too many people.
It would be difficult to prepare that much ropes, at best they could only took away their weapons.
The battalion commander class and above were individually thrown into simple prisons, but even they were not roughly treated, Nozan and the others would interrogate and recruit them later.
Since it was also necessary to have someone to command the prisoners of war, centurions and other commanders were given command of the movement of the soldiers.
The treatment of battalion commanders and centurion commanders was clearly different.
The treatment of a battalion commander and a centurion was clearly different.
This was because there was a big difference in their awareness of whether they belonged to the commander's side or to the soldier's side.
Unless something special happened, responsibility in a war is generally taken by the battalion commander or higher, and this custom was followed here as well.
There were some skirmishes, but they weren't much of a problem.
Both enemies and allies are citizens of the same kingdom, and it's not like they've been engaged in the quagmire of killing for a long time.
They had pointed their swords at each other until just now, but they didn't have that much animosity toward each other.
With the exception of units that have suffered more damage, the problem can be somewhat resolved by releasing them from the responsibility of organizing prisoners of war as soon as possible, letting them rest, and putting them to work setting up encampments.
The majority of soldiers on both sides became soldiers in search for work——not so many soldiers fight for noble purposes such as honor or political beliefs.
As long as someone has a good cause and is willing to pay for it, they really don't care what flag they fight under.
Overall, the processing of prisoners of war went smoothly.
The most troublesome was probably the few weak nobles who were there and the second and third sons of nobles who cannot inherit their families.
It was necessary to think a little about how to treat them, as, if they are treated roughly, it will become a problem later.
Military rank and noble pedigree.
Mixing those two was always troublesome for the military.
After giving instructions for these various processes and completing the various tasks, Krische sat down on the bed in the tent that had been made for her and took a deep breath.
For Krische, the aftermath of today's battle was more troublesome than the battle itself.
Nothing goes smoothly in a military organization where the thoughts of many different people are mixed together.
If 10 was conveyed, it will become 7, then 3, and sometimes 13, so no matter how elaborate Krische's calculations are, there will be a limit.
A reality far from ideal.
For Krische, who like to be efficient, it quickly became tiresome.
In the end, she cut down the various opinions and, after instructing only the necessary parts to some extent, left the rest to the autonomy of each battalion, saying, 'You can do whatever you want' and even left the problem of recognition of the soldier's service to someone else.
Outside the tent, the soldiers were making a lot of noise as they drank in their victory.
It was very annoying, but that didn't mean she can tell them to shut up.
Krische's lips twitched, and she quietly wagged her finger, letting the magic flow.
A thin layer of magic covered the inside of the tent after the formula was engraved.
The sound faded like a distant clamor.
The soundproofing magic was intentionally made to be delicate so that if someone stepped inside, it would be broken.
The promise made to Bery was that it should not be used openly.
Krisce had devised various magic since then.
Some of them she showed to Bery, just the two of them, for fun.
A magic that manipulates and transfers the soup in a pot while making it looks like a snake.
Magic that let the heat go all the way to the inside of the meat.
Magic that extracts only the best parts of tea leaves.
Most of it was related to cooking, but there were a few practical ones as well.
This was one of them.
It was originally designed to block the air between the contents of the pot and the air outside so that the food would not get cold, but when put to more practical use, it could significantly block out sound.
Krische smiled in the silent tent and pulled out a basket.
From there she took out a package, spreads it out on a simple desk, and looked at it.
Inside was a Lacra pie that looked like it was about to melt——but somehow inorganic.
It was the one that she and Bery had made the day before the departure.
She and Bery secretly tasted a third of the pie and she brought the rest.
On the battlefield, you can't eat delicious food that you make in a proper kitchen.
It was a big problem, but Krische had ways to deal with it.
The lacra pie, which looked like a model, instantly radiated heat as soon as Krische waved her fingertips and the sweet smell tickled her nose.
With a kitchen knife, she cut away the remaining half and waved her finger over the rest again, weaving the formula for a few moments.
The pale white magic that overflowed from Krische's fingertips distorted, filling the tent with geometric lines then converging, and the lacra pie hardened like a model again.
Then she felt dizzy and tired.
A smile remained on Krische's mouth even as she felt her magic power drained.
She wrapped up the lacra pie neatly in a bag again and puts it away in a basket.
Krische dribbled honey over the moderately hot pie and brought it to her mouth.
The moist and crispy pie crust was carefully layered, and the heated lacra fruit was sweet enough to make your tongue melt.
Since honey was added to it, it was the ultimate sweetness for the cliché.
Relaxing her cheeks, Krische chewed it, tasting it thoroughly with her little mouth.
She ate it slowly as if she was nibbling at it.
But the more she ate, the more her smile faded, and her eyes became downcast.
Sweet, delicious, and crispy.
This must be a truly exquisite pie that everyone would rave about.
'Is it delicious, Krische-sama?'
'Yes, very! It might be the most delicious thing ever…'
'Fufu, after all, it tastes better if you use a lot of butter when you eat a little bit.
If you eat a lot, you will get heartburn.'
'Ehehe, Krische will eat a little bit at a time, so Krische is fine.'
She really thought so when they tasted it together, and she hugged Bery in high spirits.
It was a taste and memory that filled her up.
However, that was not the case here.
After eating, she looked around the empty tent.
And then rolled onto the bed.
The air was somewhat chilly, and she stared blankly overhead.
A dim tent, and the light outside shone through.
The sweetness remained in her mouth, she got up and washed it down with water.
Even though she was slightly hungry, she went back to bed without even thinking about eating anything.
she lay down with the blankets tucked in and pressed her face against them in a daze.
—-Oh, it was so delicious because Krische ate it with berries.
She suddenly realized.
Just like the air that filled the room, her chest felt empty.
It had only been a week.
She already wanted to go back.
But even if she went back, there was nothing she could do.
Bery was heading north with Kreschenta, and Selene was waiting for Krische and the others.
She can't go home until it's all over.
The feeling of tearing flesh on the battlefield.
Screams and resentment.
It was done well.
That's for sure.
She was good at being hated and feared.
She had no hesitation and didn't care if people saw her that way.
If you kill someone with a kitchen knife, it might be refreshing.
But cooking is much more fun and happier, isn't it?'
But every time she did so, she once again thought that this is not a happy place.
A knife is a knife, the one who wields it is Krische.
Cutting people or cutting food, It's a small difference, but it felt so different.
She had gotten a lot better with the sword and had gotten a lot better at killing these days.
The gaps in the armor, the muscle fibers.
Avoid the bones and tore the thick blood vessels with the cutting edge.
The opponent got in the way of Krische's goal.
So, when she killed them, she felt refreshed.
But that's all.
It's fun if it goes well according to the plan.
However, it's not like it was limited to just this.
Now that she had learned so many fun things, it was nothing more than a distraction from the bitterness.
Being good at killing people won't make Bery happy.
In fact, Bery disliked that kind of uses of blades.
Thinking about it, make her a little bit sick of it.
Bery was so happy when she cooked with a knife, but she always makes a sad face when Krische killed people.
Krische wanted to be the Krische that didn't make Bery sad.
She wanted to spend time with Bery with the same sense of value, feeling happy and sad about the same things, and being perfectly in tune with her happiness.
If she could do that, she felt like she can be happier all the time, not just in cooking, but in many other things.
But the 'Krische' that Krische wanted—-at least the 'Krische' that Krische was looking for was not there.
On the contrary, she felt like she was getting further and further away from the Krische that Berry wanted.
The better she got at killing people, the more those thoughts came to her.
She hugged the blanket tightly.
She needed to do it.
That kind of work was her duty.
She can't help it.
She needed to do her best even if she didn't like it.
That's why today she thought she'd eat it as a little reward.
A pie that Bery baked for Krische.
She had a long job ahead of her, so, she can look forward to it and kept working hard.
But eating it just filled her heart with a more sense of emptiness.
Krische wants to cook with Bery.”
She muttered, wishing that this kind of thing would end soon.
There was something she couldn't sort out in my head.
It chilled her body and throws her thoughts out of balance.
The fluctuation range was greater than in the past, she realized that she become distorted and unstable.
Something swirled around and around inside her.
She rubbed my face against the blanket.
In times like this, it was best to sleep, she thought.
If she could just make everything blank, then it will be more refreshing.
Relaxing her body and stopping her thoughts, Krische closed her eyes.
She calmed her breathing—-
“Usa-chan~, are you awake~?”
She immediately raised her body and pulled out the curved sword beside her.
“K-Kalua, you idiot…!!”
Mia and Kalua were there.
“Eheheheh~, even though it's a great victory, the main character is going to sleep~, that's no good, come here, come to onee-san~.”
“A-apologize Corp Commander, K-Kalua drank a little too much alcohol…”
“Is that so…”
Krische displeased, put down her curved sword and glared at Kalua.
“…Krische wants to sleep though.”
“Now, now, don't say that.
Look, Mia said, 'It's a good opportunity to deepen friendships with your subordinates, but it's cold that you're sleeping at a time like this.'”
“I didn't say that much!”
Kalua bluntly approached and held out her hand to Krische.
Looking at the hand, Krische frowned.
She didn't understand why they wants her to deepen friendship with her subordinates.
But more than that——
“Kalua, you smell like alcohol.
Let Krische tell you, if because of the hangover, tomorrow——“
“Now, now, don't be so stiff~.”
Kalua wrapped her arms around Krische's thighs and back then lifted her up.
“When everyone is having fun, it's hard to have a good time if the person who played a key role in the victory is out of the picture, isn't it? It's important to have this kind of relationship even if it's bothersome, Corps Commander.
Usa-chan is considered cold and scary, so Usa-chan has to be more proactive in showing your face.”
Kalua smiled happily and said that, Krische hesitated a bit, then silently put her hand on Kalua's neck.
It was a soft touch and warmth.
“See, I told you, Usa-chan is just shy.
It's my win.”
“E-even though you tried to blame me if she got angry…
Kalua is always like that.”
“Hmm, I don't remember, did I do that?”
She held Krische in her arms.
They leave the tent as they speak to each other.
'Oooooh' the gathered soldiers looked at Kalua as if they were looking at the hero, and Dagra breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the two were safe, and rubbed his temples.
“Fufun, I've got the princess.
Anyone seeking an audience will have to go through me.”
'shoo, shoo', she shooed away the soldiers nearby, and Kalua sat down with Krische on her lap.
“Hey, Mia, what are you doing, sake (alcohol), where is the sake?”
Corps Commander, would you like me to cut the fruit?”
Krische, without understanding anything, was invited to the banquet.
Countless tents and bonfires.
Those standing on the sentry on night watch watched the men drinking and laughing enviously.
Some of them were sleeping just as they were.
Laughter echoed here and there.
It reminded her of a scene from one day in the past.
There were no festivals in the city, but there was one in the village once a year in the spring when the snow melted.
She was not good at talking and had no interest in dancing or singing.
There was nothing to do, so she went to help out here and there, and when she did, she was pulled by the hand and put on the lap to see the festival aster things calm down a little.
A warm touch.
At that time too——she recalled how she used to sit on Grace's and Gala's laps and looked at the festival.
The dazzling light on a moonlit night, made her eyes twinkle.
The noise that made the silence of the night fades.
Remembering that, Krische turned her eyes to the sky.
In a world where the stars disappeared into the brightness, only the moon seemed to shine brightly.
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