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Chapter 35 – Crusade
Since I met the requirements to become Duke Deal, I went to the emperor to ask for the duke pedigree with the intention of paying for it, but instead of paying, he asked me to join his army for the next war. Was it that? Was it because I wasn’t an adult yet? I guess it would be better for me to wait to buy the title until I’m an adult.
Just as I was wondering where the next war would occur, the Carling Empire declared war on the Borghardt Kingdom. The justification was the unlawful rule of the Borghardt Kingdom over part of the Klaus duchy. If this war was won, I think Wagner would be the one to reap all the benefits.
Wagner was already Duke Klaus, so it couldn’t be helped. I think the relative of some aristocrat in the emperor’s faction had become a count, so the leadership would be transferred as it was. Ah, why must I help my eldest brother take back his territory from my second brother?
Rather, I guess it was just His Majesty Paulus excommunicating Alfred from the Carling Empire and declaring a crusade, so Wagner just reaped the benefits. Since it was a crusade, it overruled Wagner’s truce period with Alfred. Looking at the situation, I guessed Alfred would lose this war.
Well, since it was a war like that, I had no choice but to participate. It was a winning battle anyway, and there was nothing wrong with gaining the goodwill of the church’s forces. Above all, I got the chance to loot Borghardt Kingdom in the process. Since it would become Wagner’s territory anyway, I would use the chance to loot Alfred’s county in the Klaus duchy.
But even if the Borghardt Kingdom lost this war, all they lost was territory detached from the main region, so it wasn’t a big deal for them. For the time being, I brought along my slave soldiers, which had increased to 1,000 people by the use of wedding gift money, to show my willingness to participate in the war… I never thought I’d get to fight alongside Wagner. He glared at me and I glared back, so the atmosphere between us was the worst.
Perhaps the Borghardt Kingdom also thought they could lose this war if the army they deployed had a mere 4,000 men. On the other hand, His Majesty Paulus brought 4,000 elite standing army and 4,000 conscripts. Several other aristocrats also brought their respective armies from 1,500 to 4,000 people each, which made the army total to 20,000 men. Seeing that my 1,000 slave soldiers was actually the smallest contribution showed how absurd the emperor’s army was.
As expected, Alfred thought fighting an army of this scale upfront was pure folly, so he chose to engage in guerrilla warfare instead. On the other hand, His Majesty Paulus permitted the looting of the Borghardt Kingdom’s territory. However, he didn’t give permission to loot the county in Klaus duchy. Damn it.
“Kill the men and capture the women. Any slave that can capture a beauty will be freed from slavery.”
I said the street thug-like remark and commanded my slaves to plunder. Men were hard to turn into money even if they were caught after all. In the first place, they would resist and lose a limb or two, so they were barely worth anything. Capturing a single beauty would be worth much more money. In the right circumstances, one beauty could be worth dozens more than a group of men.
When I told them I would free them from slavery, my slave soldiers showed tremendous motivation and proceeded to march deep into enemy territory. While they contributed greatly to the positive result of the battle since they managed to repel the ambush from Alfred’s army, they proceeded to carry out looting all the while.
“L-let go of my little sister!”
“Fu~hn. Catch them both.”
In a certain village, I got a pair of energetic young sisters. There was a young girl who appeared to be five years old holding a blood-stained sword, trying to protect her little sister. She actually managed to land a hit on my slave soldier, so I guess she had talent in swordsmanship.
And so, I used my whip and confiscated her sword. This elder sister screamed loudly as her sword got taken away from her. Since it was so noisy, she got her mouth gagged and her wrists tied behind her back as she was thrown into the wagon. All the women were shipped out.
“…Are you going to sell all the women you caught?”
“No, half of them will be experimental subjects. Female slaves are expensive after all. I want to harvest some given this opportunity.”
“Harvest, you say…”
Since this was still a war, I had brought Cornelia with me as an escort. It was more of a countermeasure at night. Since we were facing Alfred’s army, I needed to be wary of night attacks, so she was suitable for the job since she had night vision characteristics. With a sword in hand, she was actually strong in battle. She had the weird status of a former vice chief of a mercenary group, but I guess she didn’t get that post for nothing.
In the end, I captured more than 100 women, including girls and little girls, so I made a big profit in this campaign. All the members of my army were slaves, so the operational cost was low, and since I participated as a vassal’s army under the emperor’s army, they provided the supplies, so it was a war with many benefits for me. That said, the powerful Wagner’s territory increased in size. With 3 duchies under his control, wouldn’t that make him the greatest duke in the Carling Empire?
On the other hand, while his territory got ransacked, it was a detached territory, so it didn’t affect him much. Rather, he managed to keep most of his army despite being defeated, so I needed to pay attention to how he made his next move.
Well then, I would sell the beauties among the female slaves and I would keep those that remained. Obviously, I would keep the little girl who tried to defend her younger sister with her sword skills. She told me not to lay hands on her little sister so I tried to sell her, but she then begged me not to do it, so I also kept the little sister. Regarding the two of them, they were twins but the elder sister grew faster. They didn’t have the same physical characteristics, so I guess a twin could be that different. How interesting.
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