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Chapter 18.5 – The Story of a Certain Veteran Slave Soldier
For a long time, Palmer Klaus, the lord of Fentz county, was known as an “eccentric person.” His first eccentric act was to give orphans money and send them to play in other territories. As long as those orphans told Palmer about their experiences there, he would give them more money. In Fentz county, where there were many war orphans, this act was often seen as him throwing money away. Considering how much money was being spent, it couldn’t be helped.
…Eventually, Palmer began to ask those orphans to spread information. Some orphans ran away with the money, but most of them obediently followed Palmer’s requests and gathered additional information to get additional money. These former and current orphans, some of whom have now joined the ranks of adults, became experts in manipulating information before they knew it.
When Palmer became the count, the first thing he did was manufacture gunpowder. Its power was tested many times on slaves with self-regeneration properties. How big was the radius of the explosion? How much damage did it cause? Then as slaves with explosion resistance appeared, the experiments became even more radical, perfecting the tactic used in the battle against Count David.
The number of slave soldiers increased steadily and now exceeded 700 people. The reason Palmer was able to increase the number of slaves to such an extent was because Palmer himself encouraged war within his territory. Before, most disputes had been resolved with discussions, but ever since Palmer became involved in the territory’s governance, wars raged within Fentz county.
As a result, the number of orphans and slaves increased. Palmer was probably the one who benefited the most from it. All the disputes in the territory were resolved by violence using slave soldiers, giving favor to the victor while the loser became Palmer’s pawn. A veteran slave soldier, having noticed everything Palmer did that seemed to envision a system where slaves would be bought from slave traders and the orphans would be given money to serve as informants, was scared at how terrifying his master was.
And once the war began, he became convinced that this feeling of his was correct. David Reuter invaded the territory while leading 3,000 men, yet Palmer managed to drive them away relatively unharmed and cemented his reputation as count. This war instilled a sense of awe in Palmer’s veteran slaves and barons.
After this war, 23 people were freed from slavery. But even if they were released from slavery, they still had to live as military captains of Palmer’s slave units for the rest of their lives… Despite this, considering there was no hope for slaves to be released from slavery to begin with, it served as motivation for new slaves to improve.
But this specific veteran slave also envied the 23 men who were freed from slavery in this war. Even though their lives continued to be bound here, it was still better than staying as slaves. They were people who were either quick to upskill self-regeneration characteristics to a high level, handled the cannons, or charged toward enemies with explosives on them. These 23 people were excluded in the next war and were assigned to a fort near Klaus duchy as part of the defensive forces instead.
As for war this time… three days had passed since Palmer Klaus went to invade the county owned by Artaud Reuter. The veteran slave soldiers came to the front of the fortress where Artaud’s army was waiting and looked up at the roofed battering ram he was transporting. A wet cloth was spread on the roof with sand scattered on top of it, and each time the battering ram was swung, some sand fell to his shoulder from the corner of the roof.
The veteran slave soldier, entrusted with the command of a 10-man squad, took the lead and motivated the squad. Responding to his encouragement, the remaining 9 members busily carried logs and rolled the battering ram’s wheel. Before long, the battering ram arrived at the side of the castle wall, and with the tip of a log covered with metal, there was no way for the enemy to prevent damage.
The ten slave soldiers worked together and pushed the log against the castle wall. With the combined strength of 10 soldiers, the log slammed into the castle wall with its entire mass. The castle walls dented slightly with the heavy, resounding impact.
Seeing the castle wall dent with just a single hit, it was only a matter of time before the wall broke. They could hear the sound of gunpowder exploding on the other end of the castle walls. As planned, the diversionary units must have used gunpowder to make flashy noises. The veteran slave soldier felt that there was no point in diversion once the battering ram was found out, but he still carried out his mission regardless and slammed the log several times.
Perhaps the wall of Triore castle was thin since a dozen strikes from the battering ram was enough to puncture a hole into it, allowing the slave corps to rush into the castle walls. With this, victory was assured. The enemy army gathered to repair the hole in the castle wall, but since the elite soldiers seemed to have been wiped out by the previous war, they were weak enough that even the newer slaves were able to defeat them.
The diversionary unit from the other side also destroyed the ramparts and rushed in. It was unexpected for both sides to appear from opposite directions. Because of this, some of the enemies ended up attacking each other. But even with this, Palmer’s victory was still certain.
Once this war was over, some of the slaves would be freed. Hierarchy-wise, the veteran slave soldier felt that he would be selected soon.
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