Saturday, September 16, 2017

Altina the Sword Princess Volume 12 Chapter 2

Banquet
Translator: Skythewood
Editor: Darkdhaos, CEObrainz

After the coronation ceremony ended, the celebratory banquet began.


A grand feast and extravagant decor filled the main hall of the Imperial palace Le Branne.


Red cloth were draped on the walls, lined with golden and silver threads. Marble statues held vases that came from the east, with massive flowers that had never been seen before.


Paintings and sculpture could be seen everywhere, which awed all those in attendance. Many of these art pieces were more than a century old, which coincide with the time when Belgaria’s art and culture was thriving.


The orchestra played a gorgeous tune.


The nobles were dressed adequately for this banquet, making this feel like an exhibition of dresses and gems.


Regis was led here by Altina.


【… This… is amazing.】


【Yes, it’s a party on the level of the Founding Day festival——】


【Are you fine with these clothes?】


Altina was wearing a military uniform right now. It wasn’t her usual light armour, but dress uniform for formal functions which includes a small sword by her waist.


【Because I don’t think of myself as a Princess, but a lieutenant general of the imperial army right now.】




Since Latreille had inherited the throne, Altina lost her succession rights. Unless there are any exceptional situation, this would be the traditional custom of Belgaria.


She was depressed earlier, but she has gotten over it. Her path to the throne has been sealed, but she had not given up on her dreams.


Compared to being a princess without any succession rights, she probably feel that her position as a lieutenant general was more valuable.


Regis thought—— Even if Altina is a commoner, she will still do her very best to achieve her dream.


However, there isn’t any doubt that the situation has grown even more difficult. And it has come to this because Regis himself was too timid and taking things too easily, at least that was how he thought.


—— I won’t hesitate any more.


If he don’t act decisively, he would lose the chance that Altina has. Regis was painfully aware of this fact.


Altina’s eyes were suddenly drawn to an exhibit, and she ran over.


【Regis, look!】


【I thought it’s rare to see you being interested in an art piece… So that’s how it is.】


Displayed over there was a long sword with red and gold as its base colours.


The sheath had been removed, and placed in the center.


The blade was glittering as if it was made from gold. However, gold was a soft metal, and wouldn’t be used to forge blades.


【Is this is an imperial sword…? Legend says that the founding emperor 《L’Empereur Flamme》 received Tristei from the fairies, and forged seven swords from them. From its golden blade, this should be the 《Rage Volcan Six》 correct?】


【This is the first time I have seen this.】


【That’s true, it has not been taken out from the treasury for a long time.】


【It looks weak.】


【No no no… It might look more fanciful and less practical than the other imperial swords, there are still records of it being used in the war.】


【What’s so special about this sword?】


【I think it needs to be used together with a shield. Such sword techniques can’t be found in the Belgaria empire now.】


【Eh——】


Altina crossed her arms.


【Hmm… The mood is getting grandiose, I feel really vexed.】


【Haha… Isn’t that good?】


【It’s not good. Did Latreille’s interest change after becoming emperor? I thought he is someone who hated splurging on extravagant parties.】


Regis surveyed the hall again.


【Indeed, this party is as extravagant as the times when emperor Vicente who is known as an art connoisseur is reigning.】


There were many paintings that depicts the scenes from that period after all.
Emperor Vicente really loves art, and made major contributions for cultural development. However, it couldn’t be denied that his splurging ways shook the very foundations of the country.


Altina frowned.


【Even though Latreille is always on campaign and fighting wars, he knows a lot about art. He was close to his elder cousin, I think she was a painter...】


【Huh? Cousin?】


【The daughter of his mother’s brother.】


【She’s not a royal then. But she would still be a grand noble. Who is that?】


【Her name? Well… I forget. Bea… Bea? Hmm… Well, that painter cousin often talks to Latreille about art.】


【Is that true? If the emperor’s cousin is a painter, she will be famous if she has a bit of skill. But I never heard of her.】


【Ahh… Because she passed away a long time ago...】


【I see…】


In this era, not just royals and aristocrats, people from other social hierarchy will have many siblings. If their relatives were added in, that would be a substantial number.


Female painters were rare, but she passed away before leaving behind any famous works, so there weren’t any books about her. Regis might have seen her name as someone who was close to the royals, but even he couldn’t recite those dull passages.


Regis looked at the art exhibit on display.
【…… Maybe the art exhibits are connected to the banquet in some way?】


【Who knows? Maybe succeeding the throne made him that happy.】


【His face during the ceremony didn’t look that happy. He look as if he was giving a speech before a major war.】


The speech given by the new emperor Latreille gave Regis a feeling that he was declaring war against the neighbouring nations.


That was why Regis couldn’t dismiss the doubt he felt towards this extravagant banquet that felt like a waste. There should be a deeper reason behind this.


A middle aged gentleman bowed to them and spoke:


【Pardon me.】


They thought he was a noble that came to greet Altina, but that wasn’t so.


【I’m an art merchant from the capital…】


【Art merchant?】


【Yes. If you are interested, please allow me to give a brief explanation of the paintings over here.】


【Eh— he even prepared such services.】


【It might be uncommon in such parties, but it’s the norm during art exhibition.】


【Is that so, Regis?】


Regis tilted his head in response to Altina’s question:


【I have never been to an art exhibition, so I’m not sure about that.】


【Is that so. You’re a young soldier, so maybe you are not interested in such things. This painting is safe kept in the treasury within the palace because it is commissioned by Emperor Vicente to the painting saint Philip, and took three years to complete...】


He was probably explaining this to Altina, so Regis didn’t interrupt him.


He never went to an art exhibition in the past not because of a lack in interest, but because his status as a commoner and meagre wage meant he couldn’t afford the entrance fee nor was he qualified to attend one.


There were many stories that used art pieces as the subject, and it gave him the urge to see these work for himself sometimes…


After hearing the art merchant’s explanation, Altina sighed:


【Eh— So it’s such an amazing work. I thought it was no different from the paintings hanging in the palace.】


There actually isn’t much difference —— Regis threw these words in his heart into the trashcan.


After all, the palace Le Brane had often been praised as an art gallery, and Altina had already gotten used to the top notch art pieces of the world.


The art merchant lowered his voice:


【… This is a secret… There’s rumours that the new emperor Latreille will put up all the art pieces displayed during the banquet for sale.】


【Ah, is that so?】


Altina answered disinterestedly.


Regis realized the implication:


【I see, so that’s what this is. This banquet is held for the sake of raising funds for the military.】


That explains the extravagant decor. A stingy party wouldn’t be able to spur the interest of the nobles.


The art merchant nodded with a smile.


【Each and every piece is a national treasure, and whoever obtains one would become the talk of the social world. It would be hard to imagine its value dropping in the future, and buying it would put you in the new emperor’s good books.】


【Hmmp… I won’t feel happy even if I get into Latreille’s good books!】


【I-Is that so… H-Haha…】


When he heard Altina saying something that would be guilty of lèse–majesté if one wasn’t a royal, the face of the art merchant turned pale.


And of course, the art merchant already know who the banquet attendees were. And he only came to chat because he knew that she was a Princess.


Normal nobles wouldn’t buy paintings on the level of national treasures, so he needed to speak to the right people.


However, he didn’t seem to understand Altina’s personality yet.


She wasn’t the type to grovel after losing a political struggle.


【Regis, it’s just selling a few paintings, is it really meaningful?】


【That’s true…】


Regis asked the art merchant for the price quietly.


【… It costs that much?】


【I am very sorry. A famous painting like this should actually cost twice that amount… But as a service to my dear customer, we can talk about this further.】


Since the conversation had come to this, there was no way a deal will be made. However, his merchant spirit made him eager to continue the business negotiation.


Anyway, the price wasn’t too far from what Regis imagined.


He felt sorry about misleading the art merchant, so Regis left the gallery with Altina after a bow.


Regis went back to the topic.


【Ara, it’s a big amount! If half of the exhibits here are sold, it will almost make up for the Empire’s losses during the war with High Britannia.】


【Eh!? It’s that much!?】


【It’s national treasure level works after all, of course it is valuable enough to have an effect on the national budget.】


Money obviously couldn’t bring back dead soldiers or buy proper troops immediately. He meant the salary of hiring and training new recruits.


However, it wouldn’t be so easy to off load such expensive art pieces…


Altina sighed:


【If I didn’t just get the treasure sword, but a few paintings too back then—】


【Hahaha… Even if Altina tries to sell these paintings, I don’t think the grand nobles will buy them. Didn’t the art merchant already mentioned? It’s only meaningful to buy it off the hands of the new emperor.】


【Which means, they’re only buying because it’s a form of flattery?】


【The aristocrats are skilled in doing this.】


【Then just make them give money directly. Now that I think about it, those paintings are so pitiful.】


Regis didn’t think it was pitiful.


He said with an awkward smile:


【If he took their funds without offering something of equal value, that would be expropriation.】


【Isn’t that what nobles do to commoners?】


【That might be so… But if the emperor imposed a policy of collecting high levies, the nobles would lose face. It wouldn’t go as far as to incite civil war, but the imperial defence forces is composed of the noble’s private army right now. For the new emperor Latreille who wish to enact hegemonism, he definitely doesn’t want to lose the support of the nobles.】


The Belgaria Emperor was the man with absolute authority.


But the nobles were the one who owns most of the troops and lord over most of the citizens.


Although the nobles wants to be in the Emperor’s good grace, the Emperor couldn’t overlook the feelings of the nobles either.


And this unhealthy state of affairs had been ongoing for centuries.






The band played the same music as the ceremony, and the new emperor Latreille appeared.


The nobles formed into rows in order to bow to him.


It was the same as the founding day festival.


Latreille said at the podium.


【I already said during my coronation that I plan to expand the Belgaria Empire’s territory. To devour the neighbouring countries and build a super nation without any enemies.】


The nobles gave a round of applause.


Regis watched on from a corner of the hall.


Altina sighed.


【Don’t they understand? Latreille wants to start many wars, but do the aristocrats have the will to follow through?】


【… It can’t be helped. Even if someone opposes the new emperor’s policy here, that person will just get ostracized amongst the nobles.】


【Didn’t we almost lose the war with High Britannia!?】


She was speaking very loudly, and a few nobles cast a sideway glance her way.


The face of the nobles seem to be saying “Which house’s retarded daughter is she?”, but when they realized it was the commander of the Fourth Army, they turned their head back in a panic.


They only won the previous war because of the outstanding performance of the Fourth Army, and that fact was well known.


Regis gestured her to keep her volume down.


【… But we still won in the end.】


【It’s all thanks to you. Isn’t that right?】


【No, you overestimate my importance. Even if I wasn’t there, someone else will lead the Empire to victory. The Belgaria Empire is that powerful.】


As always, Regis evaluate himself very poorly.


If I can minimize the casualties some more —— That was how he thinks.


Altina pouted:


【I don’t think the Belgaria Empire is strong. High Britannia only has 30,000 soldiers, but we lost so many men.】


【… The aristocrats feel the same way. That’s why they think of Latreille’s speech as a way to express his attitude, and is more like a goal he wants to strive for. It will be strange for him to make a timid speak right after his coronation.】


【But it’s that Latreille we are talking about? He is a man who will start a war if he say so.】


【… It’s hard for people to understand values which differs from themselves.】


He wouldn’t hesitate in sacrificing himself for the sake of his dream—— From this perspective, Latreille and Argentina was similar. Most of the nobles were satisfied with their current situation, so this was beyond their imagination.


The nobles were still clapping.


Latreille who was on the podium nodded.


【I am happy that everyone agrees with me. However… We have lost many men in the last war. There are some who feel uneasy that I’m in power now. It might be a little inelegant to say this in the presence of the ladies… But let me show everyone my secret plan.】


He signalled with his gaze, and Germain came up to the podium.


In his arms were a rod-like object covered in white cloth.


He carefully took off the white cloth.


The nobles waiting in anticipation started chattering.


It was a rifle.


It was the rifle made in the Belgarian Empire which Regis saw some days ago. Even though that was just a prototype.


【The High Britannia had the upper hand in their war against us because the previous emperor doesn’t concern himself with military affairs, leading to a large gulf in weapons. However, the empire has as many skilled crafters as there are stars, and the mass production of the new rifles are within our grasp!】


Woooahhhh, the noble men cheered once more.


Ladies couldn’t discuss politics or military matters after all.


Altina also said loudly:


【He has a rifle!】


【I know, but the emperor is in the middle of his speech...】


【But…!!】


【I know what is on your mind. But we are not here to pick a fight.】


Regis soothed Altina to calm her.


Latreille’s empire-made rifles were better than the neighbouring nations, and he promised to loan them to the nobles for a cheap price.


Most of the nobles were happy about the war that haven’t started, but they felt they had already won.


But there were some whose expression were gloomy.


【It’s actually a loan…】


Be it sword, spears or armour, weapons were all forged by craftsmen they hired or bought from merchants. This had been the norm until today. However, the system of the country manufacturing weapons and loaning it out to the noble army felt wrong.


My guess is right—— Regis thought.


Latreille’s endgame was to abolish the noble army and nationalize the armed forces.
But if he abolish them out of the blue, the nobles would not obey the order. A private army was mandatory for them to maintain their special privilege.


Nationalizing the manufacture of rifles and ammunition was the starting point to nationalizing the army.
He knew that, but he couldn’t tell that to the nobles. Regis himself also think that abolishing the noble army was a necessary path for peaceful diplomacy with other countries.


At this point, everyone thought Latreille’s speech had ended——


【Recently… because of the advent of technology, some fools are able to publish their views to society, and spread baseless rumours.】


If he felt that the source wasn’t reliable, he could just ignore them. But Regis didn’t expect him to say that.


Because Latreille didn’t give a specific name, he realized that the subject of his scorn was the Weekly Quarry.


And the rumours —— He dismissed them as being baseless.


For an instant, Regis felt Latreille’s gaze pierced through him.


【Eh!?】


Was he mistaken? Latreille was already emperor, so why would Latreille pay attention to someone like himself, that shouldn’t be…


When Regis was thinking that, Altina tilted her head.


【Why is he glaring this way?】


【Ah, he really is looking this way?】


【He is doing that so obviously. Is he unhappy about Regis still being alive?】


He wasn’t mistaken after all.


Regis covered his mouth with his hand, and whispered to Altina besides him.


【… Do you know that the Weekly Quarry published news about the testimony of Chief Chamberlain Beclard one day before his coronation?】


【I don’t know what magazine that is, but that sounds pretty interesting.】


【I did that.】


【… Huh?】


【I forged Lord Germain’s signature, brought Maquis Beclard out from his mansion, and printed his testimony onto the newspaper.】


【What!?】


【It wasn’t enough to stop him from taking the throne, but this will set the pieces for our counter attack.】


Altina stared right at Regis.


【Y-You already planned this far, but you didn’t realized that you are being glared at, that’s amazing in another sense!?】


【Ughh… No… Well… Someone like me isn’t much different from a pebble by the roadside right? Or maybe even less than that.】


【What does Regis think about that suspicious case?】


【After interviewing Marquis Beclard directly, I am no longer suspicious, but certain.】


【That means!】


【… But there’s no evidence. And right now, the empire craves for a young and competent emperor to bring them peace and stability. Such shaky evidence won’t be enough to stop him from taking the throne. Doing something like bringing Marquis Beclard before the emperor and the nobles to testify will not work.】


【It won’t?】


【Because Marquis Beclard once said he “Acknowledged Prince Latreille as the next emperor”. Which means, he lied before. If the other party retaliate by saying that the testimony of regicide is fake news, it will be hard to rebuke.】


【Ah… Is that so…】


【The Marquis’ testimony won’t become the holy lance that takes down the dragon.】


【So the most it can do is make him feel discomfort?】


【That only applies to Latreille who had become emperor. Because he felt this is the end of this matter, that’s why he denied the rumours here and let me off.】


【No matter what that guy is scheming, I won’t let him lay a finger on Regis.】


Altina said firmly.


For the mistress and her vassal, the responsibilities seemed to be backwards—— Although that was how Regis thought, he couldn’t become Altina’s shield anyway, so this couldn’t be helped.


He scratched the back of his head.


【If you fall, it will be hard to achieve our dream. Please keep that in mind.】


【Of course!】






Everyone thought that Latreille’s speech was ending… but he was just getting started.


He called out a name.


【Marie Quatre Argentina de Belgaria. Come to me.】


This was the loudest chatter the nobles had been today.


She was Latreille’s political adversary all this while after all.


However, the Princess was a hero now.


How would he treat her?


The sudden face off pushed the excitement of the aristocrats to the climax.


And of course, Altina wasn’t someone who would run away. She grabbed Regis’ arm and walked up front.
【Let’s go!】


【Wah, wah...】


The nobles parted, as if a sea of gems had been splitted.


They stood right before the podium.


With her hands on her hips, Altina looked straight at Latreille.


【What did you call me out here for?】


【You need to give your well wishes first, Argentina. Our late father also chided you from being too impatient.】


It was interesting ask his political enemy for well wishes—— The nobles looked at them with intrigue.


She just needed to obey, or she would be punished.


Altina had always been basked in such gazes that treated her as a laughingstock.


Hmmp! She shrugged.


【Don’t talk nonsense! Well wishes? There’s no way I will say that. Latreille, your goal isn’t to be the emperor, but something even greater right!? I am not so kind as to congratulate someone who has only travelled halfway towards their goal!】


The atmosphere turned tense.
Regis’ stomach was aching.


After a short silence —— Latreille laughed:


【Ahahaha! Yes, that’s how it should be! As expected of my sister, a good competitor for the throne to the very end. Well said, Argentina. My goal lies far away… I will think of it as words of encouragement.】


【Is that so… Let me make this clear, things aren’t over yet. I haven’t given up! I will pursue my dreams in my own way.】


【A nation without war huh.】


【Yes, a world without war.】


【That’s just a pipedream.】


【It is an empty dream. But if we don’t achieve this goal, humanity will be destroyed.】


Aristocrats wouldn’t agree with pacifism, and most of the people present simply smiled wryly. They probably think that this was just a young girl’s aspiration.


However, quite a number of intellectuals amongst the nobles showed a serious expression.


The idea that humanity will regress if war continues didn’t originate from Regis, but something that had been debated thoroughly in many books. Unfortunately, those with such thinking belonged to a minority…
Latreille did not refute Altina’s statement, and returned to the main topic.


【I won’t ask you about your ideals. Will you do your best for the sake of the Empire? Even though you have been tasked with the defence of the north and east, you seem to have the forces to spare. Should I hand the other frontlines that are weaker over to you?】


【I don’t have forces to spare…!!】


Regis tugged Altina’s arm to stop her rebuke.


The Fourth Army was garrisoned in Fort Volks to defend against attacks by the neighbouring Varden Grand Duchy.


However, 4,500 of the soldiers were brought here without any orders from the Ministry of Military Affairs.


Which was bigger than a regiment.


Even though Altina marched her army here because she couldn’t accept the news of Regis’ death… This could be interpreted as an armed revolt.


If the other party treat this as a revolt, then it wouldn’t be a surprise if they chose to suppress them with force.


Regis used the excuse of “The Princess is here to congratulate the coronation of the new emperor, and needed adequate forces to escort her” to avoid this suspicion.


There were still quite a number of High Britannia soldiers left behind in the imperial territory, so this was a very good reason.


But on the other hand —— it meant that the Fourth Army have that much forces to spare after the ceremony ends.


It would be contradictory to refute that.


Or did the Fourth Army neglected their duty to garrison Fort Volks in order to come here? Or did they lie about not having the manpower to spare?


Latreille said:


【I want the Fourth Army to support the Southern frontline. Even though the Sixth and Eighth Armies are already stationed there, the war is going well.】


【Hmmp… We are going to the south this time?】


Altina looked towards Regis besides her. He nodded in reply.


—— They had to accept. Although this was a far expedition to the south, Regis had request that he hope the other party could accede to.


After hearing Regis’ opinion, Altina puffed out her chest.


【You’re always pushing troublesome matters to us… Alright then! I will help you one more time.】


She was saying the right things, but it would be troubling if the conversation ended here.


However, Regis never thought the other party would give a specific orders in such a place, so he couldn’t tell Altina anything.


More accurately speaking —— Although he had expected numerous possibilities, it was impossible for him to tell Altina how to respond to each and every scenario.


Regis said to Altina quietly:


【Erm… Well…】


【Hmm?】


【Rank… You understand?】


Regis felt a powerful smack to his back.


【Say it out loud! Loud!】


【Eehhh!?】


【If not for Regis, I would have already lost many times. If I didn’t win in the last war, I wonder what would happen to the Empire… I’m sure everyone here knows that. So say anything that comes to your mind, don’t need to hesitate. No one will call you out.】


Regis groaned.


There were many nobles who saw Regis for the first time, and was surprised since he didn’t fit the impression of a soldier who accomplished so much on the battlefield.


Latreille extended his hand out on the podium.


【I have high expectations of Sir Regis. Do speak your mind. Or do you not wish to use your intellect to serve the Empire that I am ruling?】


【T-That’s not it…】


Regis took a deep breath.






If it was in the past, he probably wouldn’t even be able to breath if he was basked in the gaze of so many nobles.


During the Founding Day Festival in April, Regis omitted the step of ‘stepping up to the podium himself’ from his plan.


And entrusted this step to the First Prince Auguste and the others.


But he couldn’t run forever.


【… I’m born and bred in the capital, love the empire deeply, and wish sincerely that more people can live a happy life. Furthermore, I have my own aspirations too.】


【Yes, I have never doubted your loyalty.】


After seeing Latreille nod, Regis stated his worries out loud.


【… The Sixth and Eighth Army is already at the southern warfront. They’re about 40,000 strong, and have cavalries and artilleries, so their forces should be more than sufficient. The empire’s enemy to the south is the Hispania Empire and Etruria Theocracy—— They are by no means weak, but shouldn’t have the strength to invade Belgaria. If they needed reinforcements under such circumstances, then the issue is probably something that doesn’t concern their combat capabilities.】


【Fufu. Are you saying that it’s meaningless to send reinforcements? What do you think the issue is, Sir Regis? Should we investigate?】


Regis shook his head.


【There is no time to investigate. The Italicia Army has already crossed the river.】


【Fufu… I just issued the order to send troops to the southern theatre, and you already investigated so far. As expected of you.】


【N-Not really… I’m the Princess’ strategist after all.】


【You already foresaw that I would send the Fourth Army there?】


【… Well, considering all the possibilities and studying them a little is my job. It’s just a coincidence.】


Regis hunched his back and lowered his head. These actions that were unlike a soldier made some noble ladies laughed audibly.


However, many of the men had experience commanding an army, and sighed in awe after hearing what Regis said.


“With Fort Volks that holds the northern frontline as the base, the Fourth Army has already despatched forces to the eastern frontlines. Even so, they might receive orders to move to the south.” Someone who can consider this possibility and did the researched it in advance couldn’t be found amongst their staff officers.


Even someone who was fiercely loyal would normally just wait for orders. Even those who were proactive would be pushed to their limits just trying to predict what their superiors thought.


Compared to the impression of a general who already understood the situation, the incredible thinking of this scrawny youth was even more surprising.


Regis said:


【The Italicia Army has already crossed the Crimea river. From the reports sent to the capital, the enemy numbers about 20,000, and we need to consider possible reinforcements after they cross the river… Even if we send reinforcement now, we don’t know how the situation in San Piero, which serve as our southern base is. There isn’t time to find out. However, the enemy numbers isn’t the reason why the war is going so badly, we can already tell that from the reports.】


【……】


Latreille and the nobles listened quietly.


If it was in the past, they would have said: “You’re making so many excuses because you don’t want to go to the south right!?”


But Regis’ reputation had soared after his achievements on numerous battlefields, and his words carried more weight now.
The weight of a speech would change depending on who was the one saying it. Regis hated that, but many nobles believe in authoritarianism, and so do the military.


【The commanders of the Sixth and Eighth Army are both Lieutenant Generals. Their war merits and forces are similar so there isn’t too much issues. But if their command hierarchy were combined, there would be confusion amongst the ranks and leads to coordination problems.】


【Hmm… The south was garrisoned by the Sixth Army in the past. But due to the threat of the enemy getting stronger, the Eighth Army was transferred there last year. Back then, it has been established that the Sixth Army that is more familiar with the place will take command. The command structure have already been decided right?】


【If the commander of the Eighth Army is as outstanding as Your Majesty, then there wouldn’t be any problems.】


【Fu… is that flattery?】


【No, what I wish to tell you is that even a Lieutenant General might not act in a way you might expect.】


【Ooh?】


Latreille leaned forward.


Germain who was holding the rifle showed an expression of detest, but couldn’t interject.


Regis continued:


【The commander has to make difficult decisions on the field. They have to do so before they are certain that is the correct choice—— Is the commander of the Sixth Army trustworthy? Even though he has sufficient forces, the frontlines got pushed back. Hence, it is only natural for the Eighth Army commander to be skeptical of the overall commander’s abilities.】


【If he don’t follow orders, that would be a violation of regulation.】


【That’s true, but even if he does follows, he would do so timidly to minimize losses. If it come down to this, are they fighting the enemy or fighting the orders…?】


【Are you saying that Imperial soldiers are that weak?】


【Your Majesty lacks experience in this.】


【Hah! That’s really bold of you, Sir Regis. I have fought in numerous battles, and not just send out orders from the palace!】


【…No, unfortunately… What Your Majesty lacks is ‘a battlefield where the highest ranking commander lacks competency.”】


【Hmm.】


【As long as Your Majesty maintain your status, you won’t experience such a battlefield.】


【… I… See.】


Germain cautioned:


【What Sir Regis mentioned makes sense. However, the commanders of the Sixth and Eighth Army are both experienced generals. Aren’t you being too rude here?】


【I read the the battle reports they submitted. The Empire has the advantage of terrain and the enemy forces isn’t that large… If one of the commanders is as good as His Majesty, they wouldn’t need to pull back the frontlines and request for aide.】


【Is that really the case? Maybe the enemy commander is really skilled?】


【That might be true in a relative sense… If that is more the reason so to not let the commanders from either army handle the situation.】


【Hmm…】


Latreille stopped their debate.


【I understand. Sir Regis has doubts about the generals commanding in the southern frontlines.】


【… I’m sorry to say so, but that is the case.】


At this moment, a voice could be heard from the nobles saying 【How brusque】.


The commander of the 6th army hailed from a grand noble in central after all. There must be someone who was close to him here.


They might be infuriated that the commander’s competency was being questioned, but since Regis who was highly regarded said so, they couldn’t refute strongly and could only grumble about it.


—— Well, it’s only a matter of time that I will earn the ire of the grand nobles in central.


Regis wasn’t bothered at all, but Altina glared at the direction the complaint came from and lectured:


【Isn’t it even more brusque to hide and grumble!? Come out here!】


Wahh… Regis stopped her in a hurry.


He felt happy about what she did for him, but things was becoming troublesome.


Latreille said with a wry smile:


【It’s hard to speak your mind in the presence of all the other nobles. Sir Regis, let me guess what you want to say—— You want me to appoint Argentina as the overall commander of the southern warfront, correct?】


Regis closed his eyes.


【… It is as Your Majesty says.】


Altina raised a hand.


【Whatever, it’s fine. If things get easier for Regis, we will be able to win.】


【P-Princess…】


Latreille smiled wryly:


【He might be the strategist, but you are the commander right? Sigh, never mind… I just stepped down from the post of Field Marshal, and is just thinking about the matter of reorganizing the military. A general that splits her forces into the northern, southern and eastern front is a little strange...】


This time, Regis panicked more than Germain.


【Your Majesty!? Isn’t it too early…!?】


【It’s fine… I have given it much thought.】


Latreille walked to the front of the podium.


He looked down towards Altina and said:


【A general is someone you entrust command of an army to. And the management of forces above that scale would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Military Affairs, but their performance is honestly lacking. Be it the war that just ended or the situation right now… They failed to manage the various units efficiently. Reform is necessary, but war waits for no one.】


【I understand. And so? Both you and Regis beat around the bush too much.】


【Argentina, it’s you who is too impatient. Listen—— within the Imperial army, only two ranks have the authority to command units on multiple fronts. One of them is Field Marshal, who commands in lieu of the Emperor. I will abolish this rank.】


Since Latreille could take command himself, it was natural for him to abolish the rank of Field Marshal. He didn’t need to delegate out his authority over the entire army.


【And, the other matter is——】


At the point, the nobles turned rowdy.


Regis felt his heart race.


Altina was the only one that was calmly waiting for Latreille to speak.


【What?】


【I hereby appoint you as Généralissime of the Empire. You shall command the imperial defence forces as my right hand man, and obtain more victories for the Empire.】


Woaaahhhh—!? The male nobles who had served in the military before made shock noises.


Even Regis opened his eyes wide in surprise.


—— He actually gave her that much authority!


Altina tilted her head.


【Eeh? General les is moe?】


It seems that the subject herself who was bestowed a historical rank didn’t understand the situation right away.


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