I called him Sir.
I’m nobility, so I could just call him Lihilt. However, I no longer went by the Luminous household name, so I was a commoner. The common sense of this world dictates that commoners must address nobility respectfully.
Lihilt shook his head with an embarrassed look.
“You can just speak casually to me! You’re older than me, and you saved my life! I may have some pompous family name like Strahm, but I’m actually just some destitute baron!”
Lihilt gave a friendly-looking smile.
…I guess Firvus’ prediction hit the mark.
“Have you guys already finished up your business?”
“Yeah, I guess we have. All that’s left is to sleep.”
“Then how about it? Would you mind coming along with me?”
“To the Supreme Commander of this army!”
The Supreme Commander of this army?
I guess that’d be the guy the soldiers were praising all around the encampment earlier.
“Can we really meet with such an important person?”
“Yeah. When I went to do my report earlier, I heard that the captain of the detached squad which came back safely was being called over—”
Then, Lihilt gave a bashful laugh.
“It seems like he wants to praise me in person. Doing my best paid worthwhile!”
I tilted my head to the side.
“So then why do you want us to come?”
“You all saved my life, after all! I can’t just hog the honor all to myself! I believe it’s fate that we met here. Please let me introduce you!”
Lihilt really is a good guy.
I wasn’t all too up to his proposal, but I felt bad about ignoring his thoughtfulness for no good reason.
“Got it. I’ll come. What about you, Laura?”
“Hmm… I wonder…”
She was most likely worried about what Firvus said earlier.
According to him, the Supreme Commander was “impressive—but he’s cold-hearted.”
“Aren’t you tired? You can decline if you want.”
“Sorry. I’ll pass on your offer.”
After bowing her head with a bob, Laura went ahead and left first.
As a result, only Lihilt and I remained as we began walking.
While we were making our way there, I asked Lihilt about something that was on my mind.
“Lihilt, about the battle we just fought in.”
“Isn’t the detached squad a difficult job?”
“I suppose… I hear that the first detached squad was annihilated… I understand—that we’re sacrificial pawns.”
“Don’t you hate that?”
“I mean, I don’t wanna die either. But it’s for the sake of improving my household’s name! I don’t have a choice but to do my best. There are people who’ve done the same and risen to power as well. I want to be like them! Just watch me—I’ll be a duke in the end! Ahahahahaha!”
Lihilt laughed heartily.
He laughed as if he was encouraging the part of him trembling beneath the shadow of death—as if he was numbing his mind with an impossibly large dream.
I felt something painful in my chest.
What Lihilt said matched perfectly with the scenario Firvus spoke of.
I couldn’t discern whether the strategy being used was good as a battle plan.
However, I couldn’t stomach that a person with a pure, good-natured heart like Lihilt was being exploited.
I couldn’t be on friendly terms with someone who mistreats other people.
“Don’t kick the bucket on me. I don’t want you to die.”
“Please leave it to me. Despite how I may look, I have the devil’s luck on my side!”
After he spoke, Lihilt showed me his clenched fist.
“Lord Alencia, the captain of the fourth detached squad, Baron Lihilt Strahm, has arrived.”
“Got it. Let him in.”
“…Erm, it was agreed that only the captain would come, but it seems like he brought someone else along. Should I let him through?”
“I don’t care.”
Without so much as lifting his face, Alencia spoke while processing piles upon piles of documents.
A commander such as Alencia had a vast amount of work that needed to be done.
He aimed not for victory, but overwhelming victory.
He ordinarily wouldn’t have even a second to spare on the lives he deemed expendable, whose existences would extinguish with the breeze.
Despite that, Alencia did decide to spare time for them.
If I sing their praises by saying, “You’ve done well.” then those pieces of garbage will be so elated that they’ll spill tears of joy. Then, they should struggle to the death in battle tomorrow as well.
This was cost-effective—
That was what he concluded.
In actuality, the detached squad was indispensable to the core strategy. The damage to the main army would increase if he didn’t have the detached squad do their very best. Having said that, there weren’t many people willing to do their job.
In that case, Alencia had no choice but to make the current members exert themselves until they croaked.
They wouldn’t even get to hear me speak under normal circumstances. That’d be a story to boast about throughout the generations of their boring households. Die for me brilliantly.
An unsightly smile rose to Alencia’s face.
He instantly rearranged that face of his back to his usual charming smile the moment he heard a knock on the door.
The door opened with a clank.
“Lihilt Strahm of the fourth detached squad, coming in!”
He was a young man who was around his twenties. His face was rigid with tension.
His nervousness tickled Alencia’s heart. He was making this person feel that Alencia was above him, with no choice of his own.
Then, he would cling onto every word Alencia would say, which would boost his morale even higher.
…Now then… Let’s hurry up and get this over with…
That was what Alencia thought, but—
The moment he saw the sight that followed, all of his thought processes came to a grinding halt.
A single person came into sight from behind Lihilt.
His face and his eyes faced forward.
The man’s eyes and Alencia’s eyes collided together head-on.
The very next instant, Alencia felt like time came to a complete stop.
The eyes of the man looking at Alencia likewise wavered with confusion and shock.
He knew the man’s name.
His name was Albert Luminous.
The moronic firstborn who was banished from his household over ten years ago—The elder brother of Alencia, who he despised the most in the world.
The man who Alencia thought he would never meet again now stood in front of his very eyes.
Hey, first chapter of today finished. I’ll take a short break and post the next later today, see you guys then.