The Third’s Past
It transpired in a café of the Capital.
Trying to somehow pass by my day off, I tagged along with Clara when she went out.
Following on her quest to buy a book, we circled around the book stores of the Imperial Capital to find one she had yet to read before, and it became noon before we knew it.
As per usual, she had been too concentrated on the task at hand to remember anything pertaining to food, so I gave a bitter smile as I treated her to lunch.
After the meal, I sipped some tea as I checked over the volume Clara had purchased.
The title 【The Miracle of Remlrandt】 was written on the cover, and it covered the details of the war that engraved the Third’s name and the Walt House’s name into the history of the country.
While reading it, I…
Within the world of the book, 【Sleigh Walt】 was supposedly a Baronet.
(TL: Baronet is the class between knight and baron.)
The book depicted him as giving counsel to the king.
Its time period was one where Bahnseim destroyed a country known as Remlrandt, and greatly expanded its landmass.
The country often waged wars on neighboring nations, but it lacked what could be called a decisive blow.
And so small victories continued piling up, and the country’s land expanded in quite a plain fashion.
However, Remlrandt was also a large superpower, and the first to press the Bahnseim Kingdom so hard.
The reason the Third grew so famous was because he made himself a sacrifice to attain victory in a battle that had to be won at all costs, but…
『My liege! We must divide up the army here. If the enemy directs their power on a single point, our numbers are too scarce! Our stronghold is much too fragile!』
『I know that, Sleigh. But if we do not put up a fight here, the future holds nothing for the Kingdom of Bahnseim. Against this encroaching enemy force, if we don’t gain a large victory here, they will merely continue to wear us down. Our only option is to throw the dice here!』
『My liege… I understand. I, Sleigh Walt, shall accompany you to the end.』
And so, even when outnumbered, they divided the army only to have the enemy breach their encampment and endanger the stronghold.
The Third again.
『My liege, please take flight!』
『As if I could do that! With my sword in hand, I will cut them down here!』
『What could you be insinuating!? You are a man essential to Bahnseim, now and evermore. Just leave everything to me. I will surely buy the time for your retreat.』
Saying that, the Third commanded all the troops present to assault, the Bahnseim Kingdom received the time it needed, and after regrouping and reorganizing, they succeeded in encircling and defeating the Remlrandt army.
After taking down the enemy commander, the King.
『This victory… it would never have come to be without dear Sleigh. That man is the true hero of Bahnseim!』
And so on and so forth…
Reading the contents through me, the Third spoke in a low voice.
『… The hell’s this? Absolutely disgusting. Just who was it, the bastard that put out this useless mess of a fabrication as if it were the truth? Do they take me for a fool?』
He seemed considerably irritated.
Finishing the book, I turned to Clara.
“What’s wrong? From the eyes of a Walt, is that book the truth?”
On her the question, the Third spoke.
『Lyle, tell Clara-chan that this is just too cruel. And wait, if this is supposed to be the official story, then no hits to the face would be enough to make me forgive that incompetent whelp.』
The Fifth spoke?
『Was something wrong? The dialogue aside, it’s true you bought time for the retreat, and contributed greatly to victory, correct?』
The Third screamed out.
『It’s all wrong! I’ll never forgive the sunnavabitch! I mean first of all, the one to take down the commander was me, you know.』
The Fourth spoke.
『Eh? First I’m hearing of it…』
『That damn incompetent!!』
(It’s rare for the Third to be in such ill spirits.)
I gave Clara my honest impressions.
“… The contents are, well, simply too far from reality.”
“They’re off? Then I’d be glad to hear the truth handed down through the Walt House. A majority of publications tell the same story.”
On her words, the Third let out an enthusiastic shout.
『Give it to her straight, Lyle! Now is the time for the truth to come out!』
(No, I only know the book’s story too, you know!)
I tapped the Jewel and let it roll to show my refusal.
He seemed quite unsatisfied.
“I’m not that knowledgeable about it. I’ll try remembering what I was told, so could you give me some time?”
I said that with a bitter smile, and Clara nodded.
“I’m sure there’s information only known to their heirs, and some contents may be off. I’ll be waiting.”
She truly seemed happy as she took the book I left on the table in hand.
Reaching for another from her pile of novels, it appears she planned to read them all in the café.
I called to the waiter.
“Excuse me, two refills for tea, please.”
I felt bad not ordering anything, so I requested some drinks.
(Well, this isn’t a bad feeling. More worthwhile than yesterday’s gambling, at least.)
Thinking that, I borrowed another book from her, and began reading.
The one who dragged me into the Jewel when I was trying to sleep, was the Third Generation who still seemed irritated over the day’s events.
“No, I don’t think you have to go this far.”
『Don’t want to! I absolutely don’t want to be thought of as having died for that guy’s sake! I’m going to show you reality first hand, so make sure you put it to memory!』
His irritation eroded away his usual calm demeanor.
The Fourth was also participating in the discussion, and he looked a little tired.
『Well, perhaps it’s best to get it off your chest. Not that I really want to see it.』
It seems the Fourth harbored some mixed feelings.
I mean, the one who prepared the house for its elevation to Baron status, and assisted in various ways was the Third’s hated King.
Lead by the Third, the two of us entered his room.
As a Baronet House, the Walt mansion was much wider than during the Second’s time.
The furniture and ornaments looked extravagant, but I doubt the Third cared much for them, as they were few in number.
The Fourth spoke.
A little pissed, the Third…
『You said you aided the House in getting us promoted or something, but look here. Fundamentally, the Baronet Class has better prospects. You get quite a bit of freedom, and after becoming a Baron, you have to do things like look after the surrounding territories, and… it’s all nothing but a pain, I tell you!』
It doesn’t look like the Third was happy that the Walt House attained Baron Status.
Walking around the mansion, I saw the employees working in good humor.
“In the First’s time, and wait, the Second’s as well… the servants, or how should I put this, well, they all really give off this ‘family’ feeling.”
The Third spoke.
『It’s because we took in widows, and kids without parents from the village, and put them to work here. I hate the stiff and formal stuff, and as long as you tell them to look diligent whenever the guests come, isn’t it all fine?』
The Fourth spoke.
『In my time, those that hadn’t received proper education were… come to think about it, I did have to scold them quite a bit.』
Leaving the mansion, a street came into sight.
There was an open marketplace, and the streets were brimming with energy.
The efforts of the First and Second were finally starting to bear fruit here.
And walking down those crowded streets, the scene began shifting to a battlefield.
The Third was issuing orders atop a horse.
『From here on, we will be stalling the enemy! There’s no need to win. Lock them down, and wait to welcome in our reinforcements!』
He shouted out orders with a clear lack of motivation, and the way his equipment hung on his body truly suited him, is how I would put it.
The villagers the Second had trained moved just as he ordered.
The knights gathered around him looked to be quite a competent assortment.
While looking upon them, the Third moved on and spoke to me.
『After that damn incompetent took power, he just went about picking fight after fight with the neighboring lands. It’s a lie that we were the ones being attacked. It’s because Bahnseim was relatively vast, and if anyone was ever to try laying hands on it, it would likely be settled with a brief skirmish with local lords.』
The scene changed to a meeting in a large tent.
The with his characteristically red-hair cut short, the king sat on his large chair giving off quite a brazen bearing.
The Third locked his glare on the young man, and spoke.
『… This incompetent, you see, after his enthronement, he said something downright idiotic about wanting to leave his name to history. For a petty reason like that, the wars kept raging on. Whatever he needed to pay, he would compensate with plunder, and distribute the stolen land… That’s the kind of man he was.』
The King spoke.
『We must achieve a large victory here, and burn the country that called me a fool, Remlrandt, to the ground! We’ve already pinned down numerous small wins, but I’m sure this time will be a large battle.』
It was a war where both sides’ armies numbered in the tens of thousands.
The Third stood in the council, by the side of the Baron who had control of the land at the time.
『We’ll split the army into five. They’ll think our main base will be too short-staffed, and when they break into it, we shall surround them from all sides. Shave down their power here, and the country of Remlrandt has no future! Take whatever you want as compensation!』
Hearing that, the gathered noblemen displayed quite a wide range of expressions.
Some shouting out in great joy.
Some clearly reluctant.
The Third Generation explained.
『If they take soldiers from their land and lead them to battle, those soldiers will die. That’s their populace they’re talking about. Having too many is also a problem, but with all the fighting, we were all quite short of men. I’d already seen off dozens of soldiers to their deaths.』
With only a hundred soldiers to his name, the Third was serving as something of a retainer at the moment.
It seems his ruling Baron did rely on him, as he sought his opinion.
『Sleigh, think we can win this?』
『… He’s celebrating too soon. If they concentrate on a point, and manage to actually take our stronghold, it really will be the end for us. And with all the wars going on, the soldiers haven’t had the time for actual drilling. There are plenty a lord whose men aren’t even equipped to satisfaction.』
After hearing out the Third’s premonitions of failure, the Baron spoke.
『My liege. It’s dangerous if we leave the stronghold too unguarded. If something is ever to happen to you, then Bahnseim is…』
And the King laughed aloud.
『Hahaha, to savages of that level? You really believe we’ll lose, Baron?』
The surrounding eyes gathered on the man, and powerlessly, he…
『No, nothing of the sort…』
And after the battle started, the fortress was thrown into a panic.
A bloodstained messenger arrived at the gate…
『E-even while surrounded, the enemy forces continue on in a straight path to this stronghold…』
『T-that can’t be!!』
Standing from his luxurious seat, the king sought confirmation with the messenger time and again.
『They proceed on whilst surrounded!? Why!? By my plan, they should have lost their will to fight by now…』
His surroundings were in chaos, and he knew he had to retreat.
But the argument came that the enemy would only chase them further.
The scariest thing in a war was a fighting retreating.
Shots fired at a fleeing army.
With their backs shown, soldiers and knights would simply be struck down without resistance.
The Third let out a deep sigh, and stood in front of the King.
『W-what is it… you!』
『I’m Baronet Sleigh Walt… more importantly, just give out your orders already. Isn’t this all happening because of your slip up in the first place?』
What insolence to his majesty!
Nobles voicing such opinions were not the minority.
But condemning eyes did begin to fall on his royal highness.
『You all… just who do you think you’re…』
As the King tried squeezing out such a voice, the Third smacked him.
(Ah, he used a Skill there.)
Having been smacked by a fist boosted by the First’s Skill, the King’s eyes turned teary. He leaned on his precious chair, and rubbed his face.
At the same time, the Third…
『As if I care. Did anyone here swear loyalty to a man like you? What I swore myself to was nothing but the seat you lowered yourself into. I swore loyalty to a king with power, but I’ve no memory of devoting myself to you. And there are plenty who would be happy to take your place.』
The nobles drew their swords.
The king let out a high scream, and those loyal to him drew their blades as well. But they were the minority.
The Third dismissed them with his hand.
『The Walt House will take up the rear. Well, we’re only a few tens here, but we’ll surely buy the time. Baron, I’ll leave the rest to you.』
There, the Baron nodded.
And the Third spoke while looking down over the King.
『The reason I’m following you here is because of how important the authority you inherited is. If you fall to Remlrandt, then Bahnseim shall be overrun… listen here, I’m not going to risk my life for your sake. I’ll only risk it for my land. So have you finally gotten a grasp of it, my dear incompetent king?』
Saying that, the third exited the tent.
The scene lost its color, and I spoke.
“… I’m surprised the Walt House wasn’t destroyed there.”
The Fourth held the same opinion.
『Exactly. What’s more, he actually treated the house well after that one?』
The Third spoke in an uninterested tone.
『Well it’s because I threatened him. And if something were to happen to my land after that, I’m sure the provincial nobles would have rioted… after having his self-confidence crushed here, he became a king quite easy to use by both the feudal and imperial nobles. And after defeating Remlrandt here, we had to go on the offence ourselves. Swapping out kings would be a pain, I’ll bet. Perhaps his greatest luck was that he didn’t suddenly die an ‘unnatural death’?』
Before they could recover their national strength, we would take them over. That dangerous decision was what the Bahnseim Kingdom had made.
The Third spoke.
『There’s no justice to it. It’s just how many people do you think fell to that man’s self-satisfaction? Ah, I’ll just add this on, but…』
Giggling a little, the Third explained.
『I used my Skill to put a little suggestion in his head. Whenever he thought about laying hands on the Walt House, he would start seeing nightmares!』
This guy’s bad news.
That’s what I thought, but it seems everyone around him was the same, so I have no idea what to say.
The Third made a serious face.
『We were already at our limits. The only ones left with any motivation were the imperial nobles, and those that wanted to gain some new land and become nobles. What’s more, they stated it was us provincial nobles’ obligation to go out, and killed us off like that.』
The Third gave a dark smile as he went on about the high probability of the King’s death by unnatural causes.
Thinking over that, perhaps it was precisely the Third’s punch that let that man survive the whole ordeal.
The scene changed, and this time the Walt House’s forces were projected around.
With his usual demeanor, the Third…
『Just thrust at whatever enemy comes close. So anyone here want to die?』
I was sure no one would volunteer at such words, but a single soldier in the prime of his life stepped forward.
I had seen that face somewhere before.
“Isn’t that one of the villagers that mouthed off to the Second?”
The man spoke to the Third.
『… I’ve caused much trouble to your predecessor. I doubt this will repay much, but let me accompany the young master.』
The Third spoke.
『So you’re never going to fix that way of addressing me. Well, so be it… if we lose here, Bahnseim will enter a defensive battle, slowly being shaved away. Since we’ve done our fair share of rampaging, I’m sure they won’t think twice about plundering us, and just what will become of the women and children.』
There, another stepped up.
It was a young knight.
The Third punched the knight off his feet with a smile.
『Well too bad for you! No young’uns allowed. Anyone younger than me has some work to do from now. Freshly weds also rejected. I guess I’ll throw in the conditions of, ‘forever alone, or a child who can stand already’… ‘cuz you’re totally going to die if you participate, you know.』
A few soldiers came to the front.
They were all from their late twenties to early forties.
Their numbers were close to forty.
『Yep, looks good. And we’re off. I’ll leave the rest to you.』
Mounting his horse with light bearing, he took the weapons of the young soldiers, and distributed them to the others. After getting their equipment in order, he urged his steed onward.
The images turned gray, and their time stopped.
The Fourth spoke.
『… That was quite horrendous.』
The Third spoke.
『It really was. That’s why I hate that incompetent halfwit. It’s not like we wanted to die there, you know. We all wanted to return alive. But… if we lost there, then we’d be the oppressors. From the enemies’ eyes, nothing but terrible folks. We did our worst to them, and then complained we didn’t want to lose.』
The Third gazed up at the ash colored sky, and spoke.
『War really is the worst.』