26th, New Enemies

I have an urgent message for you.”

“Let’s hear it.”

 A handsome man sneaks into Klein’s room without a sound.

 His name is Marius.

 He’s the only “intelligent-looking” man in the ongoing rush of candidates.

 True to his reputation for resourcefulness, he has been assigned by Klein to do the brain work.
At present, the bulk of his work is in intelligence.
In other words, he manages spies.

 Lacking the know-how, Klein entrusted Marius with everything from setting up to running the organization to gathering information from around the territory.

“So, what happened?”

“The minor nobility is on the move.
There is a possibility of war soon in the near future.”

“…I see.”

 He was cooperating with the Sleuth Chamber of Commerce led by Trek and was gathering information on the movements of the nobles and rumors in various places through secret surveillance.

 He found out that the price of wheat and other foodstuffs in the neighboring territories had risen sharply.

“It’s not to help the poor, is it?”

“They’re rounding up the poor, but it looks like… conscription.
They are collecting them on a large scale in every territory.”

 Before a war, they buy extra rations ―food to feed the soldiers.
So any large price movement in an otherwise normal period would have been considered unsettling.

 And with the conscript in the process, Marius is confident in his report.

“All right.
Keep an eye on it and continue the investigation.”
“Yes, sir.”

 After a brief statement about his business, Marius quickly leaves Klein’s bedroom.

 He is not an intelligence agent himself, and it is not something that he should have reported in a normal way.
He leaves the room with agile movements, hoping no one will discover him.

“Like always, I don’t want Marie to get the wrong idea.”

 In the middle of the night, a well-faced, intelligent-looking man sneaks into the lord’s bedroom.

 Even if he is only making a secret report, there is an element of misunderstanding.

 For fear of being suspected of such a relationship, Klein had strictly ordered that no one would find out.

 However, the fact that he could talk one-on-one with his lord without the help of others is proof of his competence.

 If Marius tried to assassinate him, it would be easy for him to kill Klein, who had no protection.

 Marius is working with a level of loyalty that is one step closer to that of Randolph, saying, “I never thought that a newcomer like me could be trusted so much.”

 Klein sighed as he scrutinized the report, unaware of such by-products.

“Well, what are we going to do? I didn’t expect this.”

 How can we afford to start an army in this recession?

 Klein would like to say so, but there are many possible war purposes.

 First, to cut back on food expenses.

 Since there is a shortage of food everywhere these days, they could use the war to crush the poor and reduce food consumption.

 Then, they can restore stability in next year’s harvest.

 Secondly, they may try to divert their grievances.

 By creating a foreign enemy and uniting their territory, the civilian could blame their dissatisfaction with the policies and their life on other territories.

 Drafting people based on the order of their poverty would also help prevent rebellion and insurrections.

“I don’t hear anything about the small lords having an agricultural policy, so I guess they will solve that… including other various problems.”

 Finally, there is looting.

 Rewards to the common soldier come in the form of permission to pillage.
From a different point of view, it seems that they are trying to pay the salaries of soldiers and citizens from other people’s wallets.

 And when you put all these things together.

 There is a surprisingly suitable opponent to start a war.

“… the target is us, no matter how you look at it.”

 What is Asgard territory like from the outside?

 They have no shortage of food.

 They have a mountain of wealth.

 Right next to the minor nobility.

 ―The most important thing is that they are not very scary.
They are a medium-sized force.

 The move to create a foreign enemy to unite them is not a movement of the minor nobility against each other.

 There is a way for the minor nobility to choose the Asgard family as an enemy to unite against.

“That’s right.
There is no better place to choose as a virtual enemy than here.”

 It would be great if they could win by using the poor to invade, who would starve to death if left to their own devices.

 They have silver mines, so they can pay a lot in reparations.
They have a lot of wealth but not so many troops.

“It’s a low-risk, high-return kind of thing… But what reason are they going to use to start the fight?”

 High-ranking nobles, such as counts and marquises, might be able to avoid punishment from the royal court by using their contacts, favors, and bribes.

 However, the weak forces between the commoners and the aristocrats do not have such power.

 Klein was puzzled because they could not even afford bribes since they were trying to start a war because of food shortages and the economic crisis.

“I’m curious, but it depends on how they respond…Let’s hurry up with the armaments.”

 The move was not made in the fall when the harvest was over but in early spring.

 In other words, they are leaving the fields unattended and going into battle, so they are probably going to manage this year’s food supply by looting.

 The enemy could be said to be bandits on a large scale, but at any rate, they must be repelled.

 Klein thought so and received the notice of the war one month later.

* * *

“The massacre of 50 of our guards is unforgivable.
By righteousness, I declare war against the treacherous Viscounts! “

 Such was the letter’s content, and the messenger who brought the notice appealed for legitimacy.

 Klein, however, looks dismayed.

“…Is that it? The bandits who tried to run amok in the territory a few months ago.”

“Bandits? Let’s not play dumb.
Aren’t you the ones who plundered our lands and murdered the brave men who tried to protect our people? “

 This is a completely false accusation.

 Klein had the bandits who invaded his territory killed, but there was no invasion.

 He has only just learned that the bandits were soldiers of another family.

 ―It’s not that they are a veteran, no, rather that there is no way to send a veteran soldier on such a mission.
 Klein asks, expecting that it is probably the poor who were drafted into the army.

“…do you have the strength to send out fifty guards?”

“Of course, we have enough for a noble family like yours.”

 Even the largest of the minor nobles would have at most two hundred guards.

 Depending on the size of the territory, the number may not reach 50.

 With this in mind, Klein asked again.

“I see… Then why did you send out fifty men?”

 There were more than a hundred guardsmen from the Asgard household.

 And the nearest village of the minor nobility from Asgard’s domain has about 300 inhabitants, and a fence and a moat surround the village.

 In the worst-case scenario, the villagers alone can manage with the difference in numbers and the defensive facilities.

“We have made all possible preparations to resist an invasion from the House of Asgard! “

 If the messenger is to be believed, “we have sent most of our veterans to the frontier villages,” a number that could not have been sent out without a full-scale war.

 And since the minor nobles are always skirmishing with each other, they would surely be caught in the rear if they were to deploy their main force so easily.

 The situation was quite unnatural.

 When Klein asked the obvious question, the messenger continued to talk in a high-handed manner.
If the usual assertion was not enough, Klein asked for an objective fact.

“You say invasion, but against which area? Our territory has not changed at all in the last 200 years.”
“I don’t know what your intentions are.
Most likely, you are satisfied with the plunder.”

 Brynhildr and Norbert, and Hans, who was listening to the conversation on the side, looked dismayed at this.

 The Asgard family could have made more money by simply running the territory if they had free time to plunder.

 It was obvious to everyone.

 But it did not matter if the argument was unreasonable or not.

 The emissary is confidently and pompously flaunting his arrogance.

“…invasion, but we never let our troops cross the border.
First of all, our village was burned to the ground by these guards.”

“That is not true.
It is all a plot hatched by the House of Asgard, and we will raise our forces against them.”

 They don’t seem to care about the reason anymore, as they believe they can win the war if they form a coalition.

 They think that if they destroy us, it doesn’t matter if it’s a false accusation or not.

“Haa… that’s a messed up claim.
Especially the fact that they don’t demand reparations or anything, but want to take it all away in a war.”

 Klein, who has judged his opponent’s intentions, says bluntly, but the messenger shows no sign of being perturbed and raises his voice.

“Such a lowly idea comes to you because you have always thought so.
Our house has founded its army on righteousness; it is because we are righteous that so many houses have come to our side! “

 He said that eight families now wanted to take advantage of the situation.

 In other words, all of the minor nobility.

 Each house was said to send out 500 to 1,000 men, so the total force would be 6,000.

 In a battle, the defender basically has the advantage.

 The Asgard family is well-equipped and has many warriors because they make a lot of money.

 Their numbers are equal to those of the Asgard family, but where does this confidence come from?

 Is there some secret plan?

 Klein is wary of this, but there is no use thinking about it now.

 Even if there was a secret plan, he would not be afraid because he could start over and destroy their plan.

 Thinking this way, he readily agrees to the offer.

“Yes, I agree.
If you have the spirit of Shobu, there is no point in talking anymore.
Shall we settle this on the battlefield?
“Huh?! …Don’t forget those words!”
(TN : spirit of shobu, Samurai-like temperament, and nature)

 The messenger’s surprised look at the end suggests he was trying to blackmail Klein into paying him compensation.

 The messenger looked bitter at Klein, who took the offer easily.

“Come on, men.
Let’s fight!”

 It’s good that we’ve built up our forces for the future.

 Klein looked at the faces of the military officers around him.

“Ohhh, let’s do it! “
“Your arms are really impressive!”
“It’s time to show off your prowess! ! !”

 The battle is sudden, but no one seems to flinch.

 The newcomers to the Asgard family are eager to make their mark.

 An unmotivated army that attacks with an unreasonable agenda.

 They raised their spirits as if they were determined to crush such an army.

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