CHAPTER 178 – CONDOLENCES
In wartime, Arxia’s army basically has only one overall strategy.
First, defend against the opponent’s attacks. Second, wait for the enemy army to retreat, be defeated, or annihilated, then counterattack. Third, quickly achieve preset goals, such as occupying strategically important locations. It’s quite a simple pattern, maintained by Arxia’s huge standing army.
Well then, the enemy’s scouts have invaded our border, so Ergnade and Marquis Rolentsor already took some troops to the frontlines. However, the few soldiers that they took with them fall into pattern one, they’re squads that are meant for defending this fortress. Fort Jugfena’s main forces are still currently stationed here.
Before Marquis Rolentsor finishes giving orders on the frontlines and returns, Eric is supposed to give a speech to the troops stationed here on behalf of the Upper House of Lords, and – he has several other tasks he needs to accomplish.
“Just what is it, you say I have work to do.”
When I informed Eric who leisurely came to my room like he had all the time in the world that he had work to do, he made an expression that indicated he felt it was bothersome. Since he’s asking what he has to do though, instead of outright refusing, it seems at least he hasn’t forgotten what he came here to do.
“Consolations. There’s a makeshift hospital that’s been set up at this fortress to accommodate injured soldiers. For the royal army themselves, I’ve heard that it’s Marquis Rolentsor who’s personally consoling the troops on the frontlines, and he outranks even the archduke on military matters.”
“Mmm…… Hey, why do you know? You have nothing to do with the royal army, right?”
“No, because I’ve established a personal knight order, I have the position of an informal military officer in the royal army.”
The owner of a knight order isn’t included as one of the members. However, the owner will be registered in name only as a military officer in the royal army. This system is in place to remind us that personal knight orders belong to the country first and foremost, before belonging to any individual. It’s only a nominal job title, and doesn’t even come with a salary like a normal military rank would.
……Although it’s supposed to be in name only, because of it I’m now basically being treated as Eric’s babysitter, and from time to time I’m also treated as a military officer similar to Ergnade and the others. While I’m also rewarded for my achievements, there’s something I still don’t understand. I had no intention of becoming a full-fledged military officer, so why was it that somehow people were treating me as one, without me realizing it?
Well, I also know that Ergnade is rewarded handsomely for his achievements in combat, so I can somewhat understand. And for the Kaldia domain that’s certainly no economic powerhouse, reward money is always welcome.
According to Arxian military law, informal military officers are basically treated like outsourced jobs. And since there’s no concept of outsourcing fees here, reward money isn’t paid by the military budget, but treated as a private expense instead.
“This is an order from Earl Einsbark, that Baron Dovadain should finish meeting with and consoling the soldiers here before General Commander Rolentsor returns.”
“……Ah, got it. I’ll go.”
Was he getting too bored these past few days, he listened to me easier than I expected.
The makeshift hospital where Eric was to do his consolations, was just a simple extension of the medical office in the fort. Even so, it was also a place where many seriously injured soldiers had returned to from the frontlines, as Fort Jugfena was currently in the rear of the frontlines.
Eric entered the nursing area with an unwilling, frowning expression, but the moment he stepped into the room, he caught his breath.
Soldiers were all over the room – no, perhaps I should say former soldiers. Many of them were missing an arm or a leg, or badly burned, it was clear to see that they were in excruciating pain.
“Eric-sama, there’s no need to hesitate, please go and console each of them individually and ask how they are doing. None of the patients in this room will be able to fight on the battlefield anymore, and now they’re just waiting to be picked up by their own domains and families.”
The doctor informed Eric about the soldiers here, but Eric seemed frightened, as he backed away from the patients’ beds.
The doctor and I shook our heads slightly at Eric’s reaction. While I had expected he would be shocked, it seems that the soldiers in this room were still too much for him.
There are no lightly injured soldiers in this hospital. In the first place, the lightly injured wouldn’t need to return from the frontlines. The only ones here were those that were seriously injured, to the point where they wouldn’t be able to move or fight. Although I explained the situation here to Eric beforehand, because Eric lives a daily life with no bloodshed whatsoever, he has no way of comprehending the sight before him, even though he has knowledge about it.
If it had been the crown prince or Grays here however, I doubt either of them would have been as shaken as Eric. They should have received an education to expect such things.
Now then, how will Eric go about consoling these soldiers? My job was just to bring him here, and in the end, I’m not connected to the royal army soldiers like he is, so I can’t replace him to console these soldiers on his behalf. Besides, that would completely destroy Eric’s image.
……How annoying. Why is it that I have to do something like educate a boy that’s my age? Well, it was my idea in the first place to give him a taste of the real world out there to help him mature, so I guess it can’t be helped.