Chapter 44 is out!
For the Patrons, Chapter 45, Chapter 46 and Chapter 47 are all available on the Patreon page.
Anyway, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
【”…How many survivors?”】
Without showing an inkling of distress, Cabernard calmly asked Navarre about the situation.
【”80% survived. But we’ve incurred heavy losses among the mage units; there are only about 50% of them still standing…. We could increase their numbers a little if we wait for the seriously injured to recover.”】
【”I doubt the enemy will stand idly while we wait, so we’ll be focusing on defense for a while. In the meantime, request reinforcements from the empire.”】
【”…Is that really alright?”】
If they were to counterattack and win the war for good, they’d be able to erase the disgrace of losing in Crowdagen.
However, if they decided to report their failure without fighting back, then they could potentially be discharged without getting an opportunity to make up for their defeat.
Navarre thought it would be a shame if a great general like Cabernard were to receive such a treatment.
【”Everything is ‘alright’ in war. I am not fighting for my personal honor. Our goal is to bring benefits to the country at any cost, right?”】
A military men should be unconditionally loyal to his country.
This was a basic principle of the military, but finding it put in practice was next to impossible.
Navarre found a whole new sense of respect for Cabernard.
【”Still―― That battle left a bad aftertaste.”】
Cabernard had devoted most of his life to the battlefield, but even he was shocked by the unimaginable, absurd show of violence that had taken place on the frontline.
Seeing that difference in a power had brought the minds of Asgard’s soldiers to the brink.
This was not enough to make these brave men lose their will to fight, but the situation was not much better than if they had fallen to despair.
They were supposed to fight while doing everything they could to come back alive. If they did not believe they could survive at all, they were going to lose their edge.
While this was acceptable in the short term, Cabernard needed to restore their morale with a win.
【”Question is whether I’ll be able to protect them until then…”】
In order to fight that man, what was needed was not an army, but a powerful, individual force.
What Cabernard was desperately trying to figure out was how to limit his losses while waiting for the assistance of some of the powerful veterans of the empire.
(―― She’s way too close.)
After returning to the royal castle, Frigga guided Kurats to a guest room.
That was fine, but the problem was that, for some reason, Frigga was sitting right next to Kurats and almost sticking shoulders with him.
Since she was smiling and clearly in a good mood, it didn’t feel right to tell her to take some distance.
【”Mister McGregor, are you thirsty? Dinner will be ready soon, so please do look forward to it!”】
【”Y-yes, thank you…”】
The tension in the room was nothing to scoff at.
Kurats was apparently not the only one who was perplexed. There were three maids staying in the guest room, who were staring at Frigga like their eyes would pop out of their sockets any second.
(H-huh… Who’s this?)
(Is that princess Frigga? No way… it must be someone else.)
(This is weird! She’s nothing like the usually cool princess!)
【”Mister McGregor, you and I… We’re friends, right?”】
Frigga tightly held the cuff of Kurats’ robe, and turned red from embarrassment.
Looking at the upturned eyes of this extremely beautiful girl, the still inexperienced Kurats was too flustered to say anything.
For a moment, the image of Cornelia with a demonic face popped up in his mind, but he narrowly managed to shake off that illusion and speak at last.
【”Yes, of course.”】
【”Then… can we hold hands?”】
Kurats felt like he could almost hear the shocked screams going off in the maids’ minds.
【”Is that really alright? For someone like me, this is a bit…”】
【”Of course it’s alright! We are friends after all!”】
Frigga spoke proudly, as if her words were obvious, but the only one agreeing was Bernst.
『Hold her hand, it’s fine. She’s a pitiful gal so you shouldn’t turn down her requests.』
Looking at Kurats’ large hand holding her own, Frigga was delighted.
While people called her the war maiden now, they had always called her a genius ever since she was very young, but there was one thing she did not have a clue about….
―― How to interact with a friend of equal standing.
(So you mean…)
『I’m saying she’s lonely.』
【”M-mister McGregor, could you tell me about your childhood? Mine was quite uninteresting, so I’m curious…”】
When Frigga said so, the maids also began to understand, at last.
They realized how Frigga had been feeling all these years.
(Poor princess… This is heartbreaking…)
(But this doesn’t justify what’s happening!)
(Why is such a no-good guy interacting with her that way.…)
However, none of them could say anything to her.
Frigga had definitely misunderstood how friends were supposed to interact, but that was so pitiful that no one had the heart to tell her.
She had a broad a smile on her face and was for once showing an expression that fit a girl her age. Who would want to get in the way of that?
【”Since we’re going to eat together, we should do the thing where you open your mouth, say ‘aaah’, and I feed you! That will be fun! This is important to ascertain the friendship between two friends!”】
(―― I get that she’s lonely, but this princess is just overcompensating now!)
【”For our friendship, we can do it all, I have nothing to be afraid of anymore!”】
(Your highness! Your highness! Don’t say that, you’re raising a flag!)
◆ ◆ ◆
【”I am honored to meet you. My name is McGregor Mathers. I came here to help Lapland in its emergency, to the best of my ability.”】
Kurats knelt on one knee and bowed down.
This stiff and very formal posture was having the opposite of its intended effect on him; it only served to further highlight his huge body, and the muscles that looked like they belonged to a well-trained warrior.
【”I am Siegfried Lapland. I am grateful for your cooperation. By the way ――”】
Siegfried spoke with a very perplexed voice.
【”Why did you accompany my sister here?”】
【”I am sorry, brother. He is my friend so I want to stay close to him, that’s only natural, right?”】
“…But aren’t you staying a little bit too close?” Muttered Kurats.
Feeling the touch of Frigga’s soft chest on his arm, he barely managed to keep his composure.
After her return, Frigga spent most of her time with Kurats, except when she had to take care of official business.
No, actually, even when she was busy with official business, she tried to make contact with him as much as possible, just like now.
(Is this her perfume or her natural smell?)
Kurats suddenly found himself comparing her smell to the scents of Cornelia and Lunaria.
【”I’ve been patient for years! A little excess should be no issue!”】
Including king Siegfried, everyone from the chamberlain to the maids was at a loss for words.
Was this really the same brave and solitary Frigga that they knew?
(You’re sure she’s just making up for her loneliness right now…?)
『If you think about it properly, you’ll find that her behavior is understandable.』
Since his palms were becoming sweaty, Siegfried decided to just focus on the official matter at hand.
【”―― Frigga. You have admirably protected Crowdagen. I therefore appoint you to the position of the kingdom’s marshal, which you will occupy on my behalf. I have great expectations for the capabilities you’ve showed so far.”】
【”I vow to protect the kingdom no matter the difficulties, no matter the cost.”】
Voices of admiration spread in the court like a giant wave.
The position of the kingdom’s marshal was normally occupied by the king himself.
But since Siegfried knew that he was far from his sister’s reach when it came to war-related matters, he gave that authority to her. She was now free to make the decisions she wanted in battle, without restraints.
Of course, some nobles were going to oppose, defy or even ignore this decision.
But if they did, they would only expose themselves as opposants of the royal family, therefore allowing Siegfried to crush them all, now that he had found the resolve to do so.
【”Your majesty, on that topic, I am thinking of appointing mister Mathers as my second-in-command.”】
【”As the marshal, you have complete control over every position within the military. You may do as you wish.”】
A knight wearing a luxurious armor stepped forward, looking visibly angry.
【”Do you disagree with my decision, Wedel?”】
【”How could we follow the orders of a complete stranger whose origins we do not even know!”】
Some knights nodded silently in agreement.
Apparently, Wedel’s opinion was also shared by some of the other knights, to an extent.
Even Kurats himself felt that their reactions were more than justified.
【”It is my will to choose him. Are you opposing my will?”】
【”When my superior makes a mistake in judgement, it is my duty as a subordinate to correct it, even if it means putting myself on the line.”】
【”Can you prove that I’m making a mistake? If you can’t, that means what you’re doing right now is nothing more than a rebellion.”】
(I don’t need any proof to know that this is a big mistake.) Thought Wedel.
The aristocrats of Lapland, with the long history behind them, could not possibly allow themselves to be in a lower position than a foreigner with an unknown background.
Above all, Wedel absolutely did not like how Frigga was being all clingy with that man.
Wedel Agren. He was an influential aristocrat, who was not only the eldest son of the marquis of the Agren household, but also the baron of Bendix.
He was extremely brave, and was even a strong contender among Frigga’s pretendants, but to his regret, he was not talented enough to be her match in combat.
He had challenged Frigga many times, yet he never won a single duel against her.
Even so, he could not give up on his burning desire for her.
【”Then, please allow me to personally challenge this man to a duel and prove my words!”】
Looking at Wedel getting fired up, Frigga showed an expression of sincere amazement.
Rather than thinking he just didn’t know his place, she rather felt like he was being downright suicidal.
【”You seem to be misunderstanding something. Mister Mathers is actually far stronger than I am. You never won against me, so how could you stand a chance against him?”】
【”Does this mean that defeating him would be equivalent to winning against you?”】
【”Yes, if you win, I could even marry you if that’s what you want. But if you lose, then from thereon, you will not be allowed to protest any of my decisions again.”】
【”Please don’t forget those words!”】
After saying so, Wedel turned towards Kurats and loudly declared.
【”Mathers! I, Wedel Bendix Agren, challenge you to a duel! You’re not going to refuse like a spineless coward, are you?”】
(This guy reminds me of earl Hazel’s moron of a son. Guess I’ll crush him.)
『Indeed. This will be a good opportunity to show your power.』
Kurats had to instill fear deep in the heart of this knight. On this point, he was on the exact same wavelength as Bernst.
【”―― I, McGregor Mathers, have no intent to hide or run away.”】
Kurats’ eyes had already switched to hunter mode.
The truth was that the Lapland kingdom was close to being a federation from the perspective of the local aristocrats.
Even the kingdom’s marshal needed to show overwhelming might in order to subdue them.
Although Frigga had shown such talent as a warrior that people now called her the war maiden, that was still not enough to make the aristocrats respect her authority unconditionally.
However, there were some thresholds in this world that could not be crossed over by a single person’s power. Wedel was about to learn that the hard way.
Only the heavens knew whether that lesson would a good or bad thing for him.
Frigga looked on with cold eyes as Wedel let himself get carried away under the cheers of support of his colleagues and subordinates.
【”You better not lose against some unknown foreigner!”】
【”I will not disappoint you, father!”】
Since he was wearing his family’s ancestral armor, Wedel did not consider for a second that he could lose.
This armor was passed on from generation to generation in the Agren family. It was endowed with very powerful magic resistance, as well as a magic boost enchantment that could increase many times the wearer’s physical abilities.
Even in the Jormungand kingdom, such artifacts were only owned by the royal family.
【”What’s the matter? Hurry and get a weapon.”】
【”I’m fine with fighting barehanded. I might kill you by mistake if I arm myself.”】
【”How dare you mock me!”】
Wedel was enraged. He could not believe that the opponent he was looking down upon wanted to hold back against him.
【”If you think I’ll go easy on you just because you’re not using a weapon, you’re wrong.”】
Even if this man begged him for mercy, Wedel was absolutely going to kill him.
He would not allow a rude and insolent man like him to stay close to princess Frigga.
Eager to make Kurats pay, Wedel tightly grasped his sword.