Chapter 204: The Captain and the Adjutant
「…I knew this would happen! 」
The adjutant Neymar yelled at the soldier and messenger who rushed into Richard’s tent. Her voice was harsh and cold. She was no longer willing to hide the fiery emotions boiling in her chest. She yelled aloud while showing her sharp canines at the corner of her mouth.
The soldier who brought the messenger stood up with a frightened expression. He felt as if he was being blamed.
…The volunteer soldiers of the Great Holy Church army are looting the surrounding villages, claiming to be for the sake of the cause.
In short, that was the only report of the army that came that day. However, it was Neymar’s most feared but most foreseeable event. Neymar shook the tongue in her mouth.
“Of course, it’s obvious. Volunteers don’t have a great will or a sense of religious duty. They are just random people who took spears to get rid of their daily pains. They are people who behave without reasonable thoughts because of their repressed anger.”
“Even though they call themselves volunteers, they are no better than beasts. If these beasts are hungry, then they will swing their spears to threaten the people and plunder them. However, this captain named Richard…”
Neymar’s eyes showed emotions that could be seen as anger or contempt. Her eyes had an unmistakable suspicious color. Richard caught her gaze and told the messenger a few words before dismissing him.
Then, while looking straight at Neymar, he spoke. The quivering voice peculiar to an old man echoed strangely in the tent.
「Adjutant Neymar, I think everyone is ready. We must go now. It’s okay to leave the useless stuff behind. Just take the essential with you.」
Richard put his hands on the bottle made of pottery and dipped his tongue in the ale.
Neymar’s lips almost spilled a fiery breath again, in an attitude that seemed to oppose Richard in every way. But on this precise moment, Neymar’s eyelashes suddenly bounced.
“Everyone is ready…What does that mean?”
Neymar’s momentum was momentarily cut off by the captain’s mysterious words. Since Neymar’s expression clearly showed skepticism, Richard slowly spoke to his adjutant by providing a detailed description.
「Don’t try to crush it with one unit. All you have to do is to use every single unit evenly and teach them what the battlefield is like. They probably don’t have much practical experience, but this will do.」
Neymar felt a cold wind crawling through her spine the moment she heard those words. A bell rang outside the tent to announce that the battle preparations had been completed.
“Strange. It’s too soon.”
“Even though they are in position, they should be taking a break except for the troops prepared for defense. Besides, it is necessary to prepare the units and their roles to fulfill, and in order to do that, we need trained people to lead each unit. This task takes considerable amount of time. And the news of the volunteers looting the villages arrived right at this time.”
“So why are the troops ready so quickly?” An unpleasant premonition emerged in Neymar’s chest.
Neymar opened her eyes wide and forcibly opened her throat to utter the following words.
「Captain Richard. Do you understand that the volunteers are looting the villages, and now, you’re saying the men are ready?」
Neymar wasn’t sure what to ask. Only those words leaked from her lips.
Richard put the bottle made of pottery on the table and answered her question promptly.
「Of course, they’re ready. What else should they do? It will be a good training for them.」
Upon hearing the captain’s words, Neymar’s brain got paralyzed. All she saw was a pure white veil in the horizon. Her eyelids began to quiver as if they were having cramps.
“This captain already knew about the volunteers attacking the surrounding villages. But he tolerates it and even uses it to train the recruits.”
“How could he do such foolish thing?”
Neymar’s thoughts swayed wildly in her head and she couldn’t put proper words together. Still, she managed to make her voice heard since her sense of duty spoke louder.
「…We will lose the trust of the people. 」
Neymar spoke in a quivering voice, the exact opposite of her previous confident and strong voice. Richard also responded to her words without hesitation.
「Don’t worry. There are rumors that the surrounding villages are infested with Heraldic troops claiming to be our recruits. Actually, the enemy’s appearance and our appearance are similar. The people will think our recruits are the actual enemy.」
The old man’s mouth professed that statement with such an ease as if he had taken it for granted. Rather, he even asked Neymar if there was something wrong with it.
Richard added, in a wrinkled old man’s voice, that taking them to the battlefield would only get them in the way.
Neymar bit her lips hard. Her canines were about to bite into her flesh and spill blood.
“I know that. There is no way that the results of the battle will improve just by bringing the existence of volunteers who are like rampaging beasts.” Neymar agreed with her captain to that extent.
“However, there are ways of doing things. But hurting people is not one of them.”
The moment Neymar was about to spill an angry word, Richard spoke while touching his nose.
「Listen, Neymar. This is a profitable way. If you are going to conduct a war campaign, it’s good to build a good relationship with the surrounding villages since we’ll need their support, but of course there are exceptions.」
Listening to Richard’s words, Neymar opened her eyes wider and wider and raised her face. Neymar just didn’t know what kind of expression she had on her face right now.
「We’re just trying to separate the good volunteers from the bad ones right from the beginning. It will also help us avoid unwanted antipathy.」
Per Richard’s reasoning, they would get the favor from the villagers because of those rumors and train the newbie recruits by disposing the weak volunteers. Richard thought it was a good idea, while pouring ale into his throat. Besides, the damage would be much lower than losing the campaign without proper training.
Neymar wanted to spill out something from her mouth. She wanted to throw her blazing and unstable emotions swirling in her chest at the captain standing in front of her.
However, she couldn’t find the proper words. Tears were about to appear in her eyes because of her uneasiness. Neymar didn’t like what Richard said. She wanted to avoid that man at all costs, and she didn’t want to follow his orders anymore. Neymar had no knowledge or experience to do the campaign on her own, but she was sick of that man.
Neymar did her best to shake her lips in order to say the following words.
「Captain Richard. 」
What?, Richard replied crudely. He didn’t even look at Neymar. Then, Neymar squeezed her throat.
「I despise you. But…I will obey your orders. 」
That’s all Neymar could say.
She couldn’t follow Richard from the bottom of her heart. She despised him way too much. However, she didn’t have the power to correct or oppose him. All she had to do was obey.
“How awkward. How helpless. I can’t even put into words what I think is right.” Neymar turned her back on her captain and left the tent. All she felt was the urge to strangle herself. There was a glowing liquid in her eyes, and a number of emotions distorted her expression.
Richard took a deep breath after concluding the matter with the volunteer soldiers. Now, all he had to do was think about the letters he had to send.
A letter to the autonomous city of Philos and a letter to his former student who now belonged to the army of the Heraldic Order.
Richard is truly a cunning man…
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!
Thanks for the chapter!
Idealist versus realist… Neymar is quite naive. The whole order she’s trying to defend is based on an unscrupulous class system but she still thinks they would care about ordinary villagers… Thanks for the chapter.
If nobles didn’t care about peasant the system would collapse long ago. Who do you think funding institutions infrastructure and all charities that help the poors? Nobility. Of course they might not do it out of merely goodwill but they do knew enough that they’re need peasant to survived. Also Neymar’s concerns is actually sound. It was Richard decision that made no sense here from military standpoint. It always better to wage war with local on your side as they could offer various intels and support for the side they’re sympathy with. Richard’s risk not losing only goodwill of the local if they know what really happen. He’s also allow his men insubordination to go unpunished and even worse encourage it that’s not a good recipe to maintain unit discipline speaking from my experience as a petty officer. Also his rabble aren’t going to getting better by pillage the countryside and killed defenseless villagers. They would need a proper drill to build up thier discipline and esprit de corps of the unit. Otherwise his peasant rabble going to be butcher by enemies en mass as their being broken by more determine enemies like the heraldic order men. At this point only Neymar and her entourage are reliable enough on the battlefield that were under his command and all of them hate his gut. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Richard accidentally killed amidst of chaotic melee while his peasants rabble are routing because Richard never even bother to trained them properly. But then again the power of plot might probably turn them into good soldier despite dubious method Richard’s employ
Careful, if you force your subordinate to suppress her beliefs and humanity too much, you might end up making her, who was originally near irreconcilable with the enemy, into someone who will take the hand of the devil extended to her.
Richard’s problem as a commander is that he’s too overtly evil. That’s probably rooted in his own internal struggle. We don’t know his story yet, but he probably originally fought against the world but faltered in the end. He contributes to the evil in a cavalier way because he’s decided it’s the true nature of the world and inevitable except for the details, but there’s a difference between someone who’s given up and someone who has convinced themselves their way is right: he still recognizes evil as evil as he performs it. He’s bad for morale, because he shoves the cruelty of the war in their faces, not allowing his subordinates the comfort of convenient narratives that justify their behaviour. Not sure if he realizes that someone like him won’t survive a high profile position, though? His lord can easily wash his hands of him by making him a scapegoat to shoulder all the resentment when his role is over.