Chapter 41: The Black Iron Fortress (Part 2)
After I was able to get some rest and had lunch, Ergnade asked me if I wanted to go see the training grounds now. That’s when I remembered his comment earlier this morning. Come to think of it, it seems that Earl Einsbark had given me permission to observe their training.
Currently, the Kaldia domain soldiers are also receiving training from the soldiers at Fort Jugfena. It’s so that I, Gunther, Earl Einsbark, and the soldiers can all work together better with each other, and we’re all getting as much training as possible before the Densel soldiers draw closer.
In the southernmost part of Fort Jugfena, there was a building that was almost like a giant box which was the training grounds for the knights and soldiers. Since I’ve been receiving my training in the open grounds, I haven’t been there before.
“……Even though I didn’t even request it, the fact that Earl Einsbark has given me permission to see the training grounds, is it because he wants me to see how my soldiers are doing?”
“Of course, that would be correct.”
When I tentatively asked Ergnade to see if I could receive confirmation, he nodded without any hesitation. Gunther had a bemused expression on his face as he usually didn’t see much of the roundabout way of conversation between nobles.
“Then, I suppose I’ll have to go take a look.”
I felt like it would only be disadvantageous if I said I wouldn’t go, while Ergnade smiled ambiguously at my reply. It was as if he was smiling at a child making progress, or maybe it’s just a smile he directs at all children. I gently shook my head and ignored his smile, let’s end this topic here.
The black iron fortress’s training ground was much more overwhelmingly rugged than I expected. I wonder if that’s why Ergnade went to the trouble of showing it to me from the ground up. Since I haven’t really gotten close to here before, this is the first time that I’m seeing the imposing profoundness of this box-like structure up close. This place is much taller than the four towers located in the corners of the fort, and I couldn’t help but raise my head and look at the ceiling, which caused me to almost trip and fall.
“Uh oh. Please be careful.”
Ergnade had placed his hand on my back, supporting me, otherwise I would have hit my head against the stone floor.
“……I’ve shown you something unsightly.”
Because I’d forgotten that I still had a child’s body, I made a fool of myself just now. Embarrassment was easy to see from the expression on my face, and as if in response, Ergnade just grinned. I wonder if he’s having fun at my expense…… as I thought about it, I got more and more embarrassed. Gunther didn’t say anything and just looked at me with a half smile as well.
Although the training ground was lit up by lights inside, it was still dimmer than outside. It was built similar to an arena, and down in the center, soldiers were repeatedly practicing deploying in formations.
My domain’s soldiers were wearing something metal on their hands, shins, and heads. It seems that it’s equipment from twenty years ago that the fort had on hand that’s been passed on to them as a gift to my troops, since nobody is using it now.
In order to improve the quality of my domain’s troops, metal equipment will be required. It might be fine for them to use donated old equipment for the time being, but in order to maintain a cavalry squad in the future, the Kaldia domain is going to have to learn metal processing as well as deal with the increased maintenance costs.
I’m going to have to attract a skilled blacksmith to my domain as early as possible. However, right now making sure that public order remains stable after accepting so many refugees as new citizens is a more pressing matter.
“Viscountess Kaldia, what kinds of difficult things are you thinking about?”
I heard Ergnade’s voice, snapping me back to my senses, as he had already finished descending the stairs and was in the center of the training ground. Gunther was also staring at me in amazement.
“You seemed to be looking so seriously at the soldiers, almost like you were glaring…… Do you think the training is insufficient?”
“N, no. That wasn’t it.”
While inspecting their equipment, I had gotten sidetracked thinking about my own domain. I hurriedly shook my head and denied to him that I would think the training insufficient, while Ergnade merely tilted his head and remained silent.
“It, it’s…… because their movements have gotten so much better. I was wondering what type of training they’d gone through in order to polish their skills so much in so short a time.”
“Didn’t you come here to learn that? Let’s go, come on.”
Ergnade waved at me with a soft, wry smile. At the way he seemed, it triggered a vague memory in my brain. Although I wondered what it was, no matter how I parsed my memories, I couldn’t remember what it was.
As Ergnade held his hand out for me as I descended the stairs, ahh, I’ve seen something similar to this scene in my previous life, is what I realized. My previous life’s memories seem so far away now, I felt a fleeting sense of loneliness.
Before I realized it, my observation turned into training me on how to command, which continued until dinner time. Just like this morning, I was exhausted from everything, to the point where I felt like my head was spinning around when I finally was able to have dinner.
“Oi oi, you alright there, my lord?”
Gunther sitting next to me had a worried face as he shook me. I just sat there in a daze for a moment, until I finally noticed him and replied “I’m alright,” and nodded slowly. It felt too tiring to talk very much.
“……It doesn’t seem like you’re alright.”
Although he seemed relieved that I finally responded, he still didn’t seem to believe me probably due to the look on my face, and he pinched my cheeks. Stop it, I slapped his hand away, and he dropped his hand away from me.
“I’m tired, can’t you leave me alone……”
“Well, that’s obvious to see. Can you still walk to your bed? You look like you’re about to fall asleep on your feet.”
“If she can’t move, then I’ll carry her there. No need to worry, Gunther-dono.”
Ergnade who was eating on my other side elegantly wiped his mouth with a napkin as he interjected himself into our conversation. I was starting to nod off at that point, and stopped paying attention to what Gunther and Ergnade were talking about anymore. While dazedly looking at their worried faces as they kept talking, I thought back to the memory that Ergnade triggered in me back at the training ground.
“……Ah, mom and dad.”
It reminded me of my parents from my previous life, and I accidentally said it out loud.
Gunther and Ergnade’s surprised faces was the last thing I saw as I lost my consciousness. I’m at my limit.
Falling asleep for the first time in this world in this manner, I could hear panicky voices around me, it felt like I was hearing both wonder and satisfaction.