Chapter 10: Marching Training
Did you know that the foundations of basic military training are equivalent to marching training? During my three months of living in the barracks, I had trained in this for hours and hours every day. The amount was so unbelievable that I want to throw up blood at the very thought of how much it was every day……
“Oi brat, your eyes are dead.”
The relentless verbal abuse from Gunther marching next to me barely managed to reach me. I had gotten lost in thought during training for a moment, at his sound I quickly corrected my posture and improved my awareness.
There’s still two full moons until my birthday celebration, I’m now working hard at training for leading the domain’s army. Since I had to pay attention to both my horse and Rashiok, if I let my attention slip for even a little bit I would fall off from my horse. Today I’m not riding a small gelding for practice, but a large stallion. I had to concentrate with all my might to keep the stallion in ranks with the marching soldiers.
“It’ll be better if you loosen the tension in your shoulder slightly. If the horse thinks you’re scared, it’ll look down on you.”
Earl Terejia who was supervising the march rode up to me and offered a suggestion. Even though his horse was so quiet, mine was completely restless and shaking his head about. Since it would still be the same even if I swapped horses with the earl, it’s simply a matter of my lacking riding skills. It’s only natural, since I think it’s ridiculous to expect a six year old to be able to control a warhorse in active service, but……
To lead, I have to often give my horse directions to turn left, right, or stop, further increasing the difficulty level. Soldiers were escorting me to the front, left, and right, and behind me were forty soldiers in rank and file. It was also hard to match their timing. I wish this was only a marching band.
……I wonder why I suddenly remembered such a thing. I have no idea how memory recollection works.
We arrived at our target location, and then began heading back towards the Mansion of Golden Hills in order to restock up on our water supply. Because we had already made three round trips, both people and horses were at their limits, when the earl dismissed us it seemed like everyone half collapsed, it was like we were all crawling back to the barracks. But even so we’re going to have to get ready for this all over again tomorrow, what actual soldiers do is really quite amazing.
I was greeted by Kamil who had left during our second round trip to run errands, and right when I entered the mansion, I heard the earl calling for me, saying “when you’re done cleaning yourself up and changing, come to the drawing room.”
To be called to the drawing room at this time…… There’s probably around an eighty percent chance that it’s a guest that’s come early for my birthday celebration. The other twenty percent is that the earl is having me greet his guest.
I hurriedly wiped down my body, changed my clothes, and fixed my hairstyle as directed, then headed for the drawing room. Since my room had already been well prepared with a washbasin of hot water and a towel and clean clothes in advance, it was nice that I only had to move mechanically like a robot.
“I’ve made you wait.”
“Ahh, perfect timing. The introductions were just finishing up.”
Kamil had been waiting for me in front of the drawing room, and after he checked my appearance, he knocked on the door to the drawing room. Eliza-sama has arrived, please enter, the door opened right after that short exchange.
I was immediately ambushed by a strange sensation.
Sitting across from Earl Terejia on a couch for visitors, was an elderly man who looked just like the earl. His clothes, facial expression, and hairstyle were different, but there was no mistaking how similar their features were. In surprise at how alike they looked, I couldn’t help looking him up and down.
“Marquis, this here is Viscountess Eliza-dono. Lady Eliza, this here is Senior Marquis Rittergau. He is my older brother.”
The earl smoothly introduced his guest this way. Even though they were relatives and looked alike, I still felt like something was off. I felt like something dangerous I couldn’t see was in the air, perhaps it’s like this between noble relatives.
“I believe this is our first meeting, Viscountess Eliza. My name is Radian Terejia Rittergau.”
“It’s an honor to meet you, Marquis Rittergau. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Eliza Kaldia.”
Compared to the earl who always had a stern look to his face, Marquis Rittergau had a nice smile that made him seem like a good-natured grandfather. – I immediately noticed that his smile seemed to contain something terribly cold. His eyes weren’t smiling in the slightest. As if observing me, he looked over me from top to bottom with his sharp gaze, then he seemed to lose interest in me and looked over at the earl again.
But anyways, so Marquis Rittergau had been Earl Terejia’s older brother. I wonder why I haven’t heard they were related before, as I pulled on my right cheek and thought things over.
Senior Marquis Rittergau. A prestigious noble who was the prime minister of the Arxia Kingdom, as well as the head of the Terejia family. An aristocrat who had been bestowed a name from the king.
……So his younger brother had been the earl. It seems that my guardian has someone quite powerful behind him. Since the Terejia family is a large family with eleven branch families, I had thought that someone who would be sent here to the countryside would have been from one of the minor branch families.
Even though he’s the younger brother of the family head, the earl didn’t set up his own family branch, nor does he have lands of his own despite being so talented, it feels like there’s something to be concerned about if that’s the case. However, I’m not going to simply stick my neck out and pry into the situation. What I should do is leave it alone, since my powers are limited. I don’t even have anything to do with the Terejia family issues to begin with.
Yep, as I nodded to myself and decided upon that in my mind, I listened obediently to the Terejia brothers’ conversation. Everything they talked about was something interesting and not boring at all, but the fact that they talked about nothing important whatsoever is what’s fearsome about these elderly nobles. There was always a beautiful response to the previous person that wouldn’t offend, and there was no place for me in the conversation at all. However, it was very educational for my conversational skills.
As the earl’s older brother, Marquis Rittergau’s age was considerably shocking in the Arxia Kingdom, and his presence and demeanor were quite powerful. I feel like the upper echelons of Arxian society are making the elderly work too hard. It seems that he’s visiting from the royal capital for two days, and that he’ll be returning tomorrow.
Although I know that the prime minister probably doesn’t have much free time, wouldn’t it be better for his body to work a little less and relax a bit, I wonder. Although with the type of person he is, he would probably find that kind of thinking an unnecessary bother.
– That night. Marquis Rittergau, much like his brother had done before, approached me while I was standing by the window. The starry night sky appeared distorted through the thick panes of colorless stained glass.
“Aren’t you cold, Viscountess Kaldia?”
Calling me “Viscountess Kaldia” while I didn’t know his intentions, just that alone was to enough to make goosebumps run down my flesh and for me to fully tense up.
“It’s no problem for me at all. Since I’m still a child, my body temperature is higher. If I get cold, I can just ask my maid to start a fire for me.”
“I would be thankful for that. My old bones are weak against the cold.”
Even though he said that, Marquis Rittergau showed no signs of intending to leave. I wonder if he has something he wants to discuss with me. Even though I’m only a mere child, does the super big shot Marquis Rittergau have something to say to me?
I can’t conceal how tense I am. It’s better to let it show, rather than trying to pretend at being natural. Since I’m only a six year old child, he’ll probably think something like “she’s nervous about manners around the important adult.” The marquis wasn’t looking at me though, but rather at the distorted sky outside the window.
“……What do you happen to think that the nobility is?”
He asked me a question after remaining silent for a while. Nobility. In my previous life, it had no longer been important. My fate now though, is that my life is both supported by it and threatened because of it.
So what is nobility, I wonder. What to do, how to do it, and what it is. I want to know about such things too.
“…………I don’t know.”
Although I tried thinking about it for well over ten seconds, I couldn’t think of anything to say that sounded like it fit. After all, my current position is as if it’s floating in space. Like a ghost in society, no matter what I said, there was no weight or power to my words.
“So you’re saying that you recognize your own ignorance? ……How wise of you to know that you do not know. There’s so many countless people that do not realize the ignorance of their own knowledge.”
I also don’t know the answer to that question myself, is what I heard him muttering under his breath.