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Chapter 16 – Army Expansion
Information about the last battle was spread around by the part of David’s army who fled back then, and news about my abnormality spread to the extent that false rumors couldn’t suppress it anymore. Well, humans carrying gunpowder like a living bomb wasn’t ethical even in the Middle Ages. I did that for maximum efficiency, but I thought I could fake it with my plan.
But well, I haven’t used the cluster bombs, mines, and poisoned weapons yet, so I’m still barely in the clear. After all, those who performed the kamikaze attacks didn’t die from suicide bombing… so it also served as an accidental experiment. Seeing them get caught in a great explosion and become a walking fireball yet not die, I think they could really call themselves the immortal corps after all.
Since information was slow to spread in the Middle Ages, I thought I could suppress actual information by spreading fake news, but it seems I was too naïve. Because of that, Joachim Hars, the person who owned two counties and was closest to being the duke of Deal, was frightened and wouldn’t declare war on me even though he already had his justification. It would take some time to earn justification on my side if he didn’t invade, so I hoped he would quickly invade me.
Thanks to this war, it would take too much of my time to whip all the slaves that just arrived, so I entrusted the training to former slaves who were liberated from their slave status and became military employees after the war. It was also to show the newcomer slaves that if they played an active part in battle, they would really be freed from slavery. This could be considered the slaves’ only hope after all.
That said, in order to be released, they need to at least suicide bomb or endure the recoil of a cannon. While training to acquire that endurance, it was necessary to distinguish whether or not they had self-regeneration characteristics by having them hurt themselves to an extent.
Only those who had talent would be whipped personally by me. Out of the 300 slaves purchased this time, 53 seemed to have the talent. These people would join the ranks of senior slaves and become the target of whipping. After a few months, they would join the ranks of inhuman people. It was an easy way to fill up the immortal corps.
As for the rest of the slaves, they would join the other senior slaves and the standing army to be trained with spears, bows, crossbows, and catapults. Catapults were more durable than the fragile cannons, and their power wasn’t significantly inferior either, so they were still in active use. Or rather, there were many catapults installed on the castle walls as a countermeasure to the threats created when we invaded others.
Well, I won the war against David and had his corpse in hand, so there was no way I wouldn’t exploit this. First of all, I sent a letter to Artaud Reuter — David’s second son whose territory ended up next to mine — requesting money in exchange for David’s corpse. He sent the requested amount of money, so I sent him another letter saying, “I need more money after all.”
It took a while for the other side to reply, but the money arrived safely. Finally, I demanded a large sum of money this time. Naturally enough, Artaud snapped and cut down my messenger. Okay, I got my justification. Regardless of the reason or content, killing a messenger belonging to a fellow vassal of the empire was problematic.
Aah, but our diplomat died. It sure made me sad. He was a problematic man who couldn’t read and his family had a lot of influence so I was troubled by how to handle him. It made me so very sad that our diplomat died. Since it couldn’t be helped, I guess I would have Wright, who obediently followed my instructions in the last war, to become a baron and my diplomat instead.1
If Artaud had just simply kicked the messenger out of his territory, such a problem wouldn’t have occurred. Ah, not mourning the death of a close relative was against the doctrine of the Knut religion, so it was possible to lower his reputation further. If the truth came out, our side would be blamed, but since the church wouldn’t investigate too seriously, the one who makes the report wins.
…The other side attacked us and killed our messenger and he didn’t buy his father’s corpse. I reported to that effect to hasten the justification over the counties ruled by Artaud. The church could confirm whether it was a lie or not, but I didn’t tell a single lie, so it should be okay, yep.
Since the other side just succeeded his territory, I didn’t think they could stop the church forces I goaded over him. All that was left was to keep donating as I waited for my justification. While whipping, I also proceeded with the production of cannons and gunpowder in addition to designing a battering ram. I had more money to spend freely ever since I became a feudal lord, so I could focus more on domestic affairs.
What about domestic affairs, you ask? If I took money from the other territories, the economy would naturally turn around. It was completely a Giant’s economy, but it was the most efficient.2
In the first place, I had experienced firsthand how difficult it was to control information, so the development of convenient tools for domestic affairs would take place after my territory grew to some extent. It was a sad fact that whatever was developed might get stolen by spies if I did it before I was strong enough.
For the time being, thanks to the inflated amount of reparation money sent by the second son of David, Artaud-kun, I think I could produce some battering rams before the next war. As for the cannons… I will try again after my territory has improved its technology a little more. They were powerful weapons, but not cost-effective. Because the certainty of suicide attacks was amazing, I think it would be some time before cannons would play an active part.
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