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Chapter 22 – Encounter
The knights of this world could be considered high-ranking captains who clearly stood out in the midst of an aristocrat’s standing army. With magic, it wasn’t rare for a person to be able to harness the power of a thousand men. Hans and Cornelia, I heard, had slain dozens when they were hired by Alfred, which was honestly amazing.
These people were strong. There was the late leader Persimo, in addition to the twin in the mercenary group who killed fifty people in a single war, and the small, elite mercenary group that played an active role. But Wagner had managed to destroy half the mercenary group all alone. The fact that that saint lord could overturn the tide of battle on his own truly showed that he was worth the title. I beg of you, please just stay in your own territory.
The only difference between the mercenary group and the knight brigade was whether or not they were led by a knight and if they were members of the standing army. The knights were usually granted the title of ‘baron’ alongside a village or two as their personal territory and base of operation. Hans led the former mercenary group, which had been absorbed into the standing army, and now led as a knight. He was also useful as a handyman during non-war times.
I recruited the former Persimo mercenary group as a whole, but since I had the Triore county and the Fentz county, I had to increase the number of my standing army by 300 men. For the standing army, counting the original 200, there were 500 people in total. A good number. Combined with 700 slave soldiers, 1,200 was clearly an excessive force. But the other lords were stronger, so it couldn’t be helped.
In the end, out of the three counties that David possessed, the Deal county inherited by the eldest son was taken by Count Jeremias, the Triore county inherited by the second son was taken by me, and the Ernst county inherited by the third son was taken by my biggest rival in the Deal duchy, Joachim Hars. In no time at all, the Reuter family disappeared from history. If someone showed an opening, they would be devoured immediately. Such was the common sense of this world.
As expected, it was still difficult for me to deal with Count Jeremias, who controlled four counties and had an inexhaustible supply of money because he not only owned a mine but also had permission to mint coins. The next person I could have picked a fight with would have been Joachim, who owned three counties. But if I had a choice to pick a fight with Wagner, who owned the neighboring Klaus County…? Of course it was impossible. He was someone who could command a thousand men on his own. Picking a fight with a duke who could dismantle a kingdom was nothing short of reckless. I should pray that he wouldn’t attack me, instead.
Just as I thought about it, Linde-san finally arrived. It was the day before my birthday, so my schedule aligned perfectly. I would be 13 years old soon. My memories of Japan began to blur, but I was a lonely person who didn’t have anything noteworthy in my previous life, so it was alright. As long as I still had the knowledge of my previous life, there was no problem.
It had been a while since I met Linde-san, and having seen her I felt like she grew compared to the last time. She was just 11 years old, so I began to worry that she might grow bigger than me later. No matter how I looked at it, she could pass off as a 14 or 15-year-old. I also thought this the last time, but really, she sure had big breasts despite her age.
Well, possessing good physical characteristics like sturdiness and toughness could make one’s body grow early. It was natural for Linde-san, who possessed the highest class of physical characteristics, monstrous strength, to grow quickly. But wouldn’t that make Cornelia, who also possessed good physical characteristics like sturdiness, strange to have a child-like body…?
“Um, Palmer-sama? Who is that woman?”
“She’s my concubine-cum-knight, Cornelia. She is the younger sister of Hans, the former vice chief of the Persimo mercenary group.”
“Persimo mercenary group? The most cowardly mercenary group in the empire? The very same?”
“…So that rumor reached the Schult duchy. That’s right. I’m the younger sister of Hans, the former vice chief of the Persimo mercenary group, the most cowardly mercenary group in the empire.”
The moment I said that Cornelia was my concubine, Linde-san frowned a little, but when she heard Cornelia was related to the Persimo mercenary group, Linde-san’s expression was akin to a child that found a new toy. I just realized that they were known as the most cowardly in the empire because they left the frontline during the contract period. It might only last for a short while, but I couldn’t help but pity them.
Linde-san and Cornelia approached each other, exchanged greetings, and shook hands. But no matter how I saw it, Cornelia was grasping Linde-san’s hand as hard as she could. Oi—aren’t you 16? Just as I thought that she should hold back against an 11-year-old, Linde-san lifted Cornelia and threw her away.
Cornelia, who was lifted with the characteristic of “monstrous strength” and thrown at full power, slammed against the wall several meters in front of them at a considerable speed, gasping with rasps of pain that was uncommon from a girl. Hoeh, so this is shuraba1.
“My mother lived a difficult life because she was known as the concubine of an aristocrat. I was thinking of at least treating this one kindly, but since you had no intention of getting along, I will act accordingly as well, alright? Eh, huh?”
“You should learn to hold back, okay? If Cornelia wasn’t ‘sturdy,’ she might’ve died.”
“…Is Palmer-sama siding with that woman?”
“That woman is still mine. I wouldn’t allow physical or mental pain inflicted on her if it wasn’t something I gave her.”
“Your remarks are strange.”
When I held Linde-san’s wrist and told her to stop, she said she found it strange. Cornelia was teary-eyed but still stood up relatively unharmed. She didn’t fight on the battlefield for nothing, after all. Although sturdiness wasn’t as amazing as monstrous strength, I was still jealous of it.
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