“I guess one’s birth doesn’t decide everything. Don’t you agree, Commander?”
The class badge pinned on my military uniform was that of a lieutenant general.
After only a few years, I was promoted to this position in the military even though I was just lazily playing a game of domestic affairs.
While soldiers frantically running around on the battlefield might’ve only gained one rank, I had jumped up four.
This was the power of noble birth.
I was currently sitting across a table from the commander while we played a game of mahjong.
“Oh, I completely agree, Count. Ah, I got the back Dora.”
However, not even my birth could protect me from the commander’s direct hit, who had set a trap with one of his discarded tiles.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!”
The commander was too strong at this game and I was on a losing streak.
Wallace and Cedric were stark naked, having lost all their money for this month and were currently begging me in tears for more.
Tia and Marie were glaring at the commander.
“Even though this fossil and I teamed up together, how come Lord Liam still lost?!”
“You bastard! This only could’ve happened because you cheated!”
…no, I lost fair and square.
I passed my scoring sticks to the commander.
“How come I keep losing? Commander, is there some kind of trick to it?”
“I was just lucky. All because of chance, I got to be assigned as the commander of such a large fleet, as well as make a bit of extra cash through these games, but if I were to name another important aspect besides luck… I’d say it’s all about reading the ‘flow’ of things.”
“Yes, all things have a certain ‘flow’ to them that can be read, which in turn makes future actions and choices easier to decide, but putting that aside, do you want to play another game?”
I was currently on a losing streak, but I didn’t really care how much money I lost.
Tia and Marie also seemed up for it.
“I’ll definitely strip you down naked this time.”
“Lord Liam, let’s make some secret signals between us.”
But even then, the commander still easily won against us– as I thought, he wasn’t just your average person.
For some reason, he gave off the same feeling as Master Yasushi.
Master… is he doing well right now?
Since his whereabouts were still unknown to me, I was worried about him.
◇ ◇ ◇
The commander was in deep thought,
(Even though I was obviously cheating, why do these guys keep playing against me?!)
Despite the fact that Liam was openly starting to cheat himself, the commander was still overwhelmingly winning.
In the first place, the commander was the one who prepared the table for the mahjong game.
Right now he was just trying to con some extra cash off of a rich nobleman, but he was slowly losing his calm with how well it was going.
Just like Liam’s sword master Yasushi– he was just another scammer.
(I thought this was going to be a simple job!)
Originally, the commander was a noble.
He only got to his current position because of various circumstances regarding his house, the Empire, and many other things.
His grades in the military academy weren’t that great either, but he was able to advance to this point due to the power of his family.
(I mean, aren’t these guys weird?! What the hell are they?! They’re just doing whatever they feel like, and they’re still being promoted– do they even know how many bribes I had to give to get where I am now?!)
He once went to the front lines, but that was only to have the ‘truth’ of saying he had fought there, he immediately pulled out and was reassigned to the planet Liam was currently developing right after.
His orders were just to wait there for a while, but then Liam suddenly decided to start working on domestic affairs just because he was free.
(I don’t understand. Why would you start developing a territory that wouldn’t benefit you at all? As I thought, I’m completely incompatible with this guy.)
While feeling how mismatched their personalities were, the commander started the next game.
That’s when Eulisia, who was watching the game from the sides, checked for messages on her terminal.
“General Liam, there’s a request for reinforcements from a nearby lord.”
“Really? How many do they need?”
“They’re asking for a thousand ships.”
“Send whoever seems to be free, then gather whatever scraps remain of the enemy.”
“Understood, I’ll make the dispatch order immediately.”
After affirming the reinforcement request, Liam turned back to the game.
“Now then, which tile should I throw away?”
(There was no need for him to answer the requests of those minor lords either.)
Liam’s fleet actually had a lot of free time, so helping out others was just another way for them to keep busy.
Occasionally, they even sent reinforcements to the border.
This was because Liam wanted to sell favours to the commanders stationed there.
(Well, as long as the person himself doesn’t move, I’ll be able to keep relaxing as well.)
“Count, it’s Ron.”
Although the commander won against Liam this time as well, it was only by the smallest amount for that game.
◇ ◇ ◇
While Liam was leisurely spending his time like that.
The Berkley family was preparing for war.
They had amassed a fleet consisting of over three hundred thousand ships.
On paper, it was being led by one of Cashmiro’s sons with Dolph acting as his adjutant and advisor.
But in truth, the armada was actually being controlled by Dolph.
This massive fleet lined up in space was more than just the Berkley family.
Elixirs were sold, and rare metals were gathered.
Many pirates were lost during its development, but instead tens of thousands of ships from the military were there to take their place.
It was actually a smaller number than what they planned.
But in both quality and numbers– they were a true fleet.
“Dolph, can this armada defeat the Banfield house?”
He was an executive– to the words of the man who was Cashmiro’s eldest son, Dolph replied,
“If we can’t beat Liam with even this much, then no one can.”
“I see… okay then, let’s sortie!”
The armada consisting of over three hundred thousand ships started sailing towards the Banfield house’s territory.
◇ ◇ ◇
At that time, there was also movement in the Banfield house.
Brian was working as usual, when Serena hurriedly approached him.
Seeing her sprinting through the halls, Brian almost doubted it was her for a second there when–
“Brian, the Berkley family is on the move! I think this is it! This will be their serious attack to wipe us out!”
“W-what?! But Lord Liam hasn’t even returned yet!”
For fights between nobles, it was an unspoken rule not to attack while the territory’s lord was absent.
In any case, this was a sneak attack.
This was proof on how serious the Berkley family was taking this operation.
“I still haven’t contacted Lord Liam about this, but for now we should tell our forces the news.”
In preparation for this day, the Banfield house had also increased their military power.
But Serena couldn’t help but feel anxious.
“Still… a fleet over three hundred thousand strong? I’ve underestimated the Berkley family.”
Even though Liam had invested on increasing his military power, the Banfield house’s forces didn’t even reach ninety thousand ships.
And of them, only seventy thousand could be used for battle.
On numbers alone, the opponent’s strength exceeded theirs by over four-fold.
“Will Lord Liam be able to make it in time?”
Seeing how the Berkley family acted, Serena couldn’t help but feel frustrated.
And happily watching this all happen was the guide, who went by unnoticed by his surroundings.
“…yes, that’s right. Don’t panic. Continue to believe that you’ll be saved as long as Liam comes, for death shall be all that is waiting for you.”
While imagining the destruction of the Banfield house, the guide burst into laughter.
“Hurry up, Liam! No, it’d be better for you to arrive after everything is already gone. Show me your face twisted into despair!”
◇ ◇ ◇
The spaceport built at my assigned destination.
Thomas had come to visit me.
“I’ve heard you’ve been moving quite energetically, Lord Liam.”
–is he implying he wasn’t a fan of the spaceport I built on a whim?
True, it might have a lot of problems since I only made it because I was free, but it should still have the basic functions necessary of a regular one.
“I was just trying to kill time. More importantly, what brought you out here today?”
“Yes, I’ve actually been transporting supplies for your fleet, so I was hoping to get your permission to conduct business here.”
It looks like he wants to do some trading with the crew.
“That’s fine, do whatever you want.”
Since this was still imperial territory, it’d be dangerous for me to overstep my authority and start taxing Thomas’ profits here.
If I was going to pick a fight, I wanted to make sure I chose my opponents correctly.
This was knowledge required for an evil lord.
“Thank you. Now then I’ll–”
While Thomas was still talking, a siren suddenly resounded throughout the spaceport.
Almost immediately after I said that I received a call from Eulisia.
“A transport fleet has appeared. I don’t think they’re hostile, but we’re staying wary because they suddenly warped in out of nowhere.”
“Now what idiots would do that?”
“…it’s the Clave and Newlands companies. A merchant named Patrice seems to want to meet with you in a hurry, Lieutenant General.”
I wonder what this is about?
What were my merchants thinking, suddenly warping a large number of transport ships here out of the blue?
But when I turned towards Thomas, his face was pale.
“Don’t tell me-! Lord Liam, could it be that the Berkley family has made their move?!”
…so it’s the Berkley family again.
I hate them.
◇ ◇ ◇
By the time I returned to my flagship, the bridge was in a frenzy.
“How many ships do we have that have finished their maintenance and resupply?!”
“We have about ten thousand vessels available!”
“Gather as many as possible!”
Tia was issuing out commands left and right.
While the commander was silently watching over the situation with his arms folded.
“You sure are calm, Commander.”
“…there’s no point in panicking. It’s precisely because it’s a time like this that we need to keep our heads about us. This is all to raise our probability of victory, even by the smallest amount.”
“I guess that makes sense.”
I called out to Tia– who seemed to want to sortie before even we had gathered everyone.
“Tia, we’re not going to leave until the fleet is ready. The Clave and Newlands companies have even brought us a mountain of supplies, so start distributing those first.”
“Lord Liam?! B-but–!”
“Send a call back to the territory, tell them that all assault maneuvers are to be banned, and that they’re to buy for as much time as possible until we get there.”
Just like how the sharp and capable commander said.
It’s times like this when you need to stay calm the most.
Bursting into the bridge, Marie immediately went on to give me a report.
“Lord Liam! The Berkley fleet is over three hundred thousand units strong, and there’s confirmation that an imperial fleet seems to be waiting for us within warpable space!”
“The imperial army is there?”
Apparently there’s an imperial fleet on standby there to prevent us from warping back home.
…what should I do about this?
◇ ◇ ◇
Waiting for Liam there was a group of corrupt soldiers.
Provided by both the Berkley family and the weapon factories, they were in control of thirty thousand ships.
Some among them were of older models, but their sheer numbers were still a considerable threat.
There were aristocratic generals on the flagship bridge.
Their military uniforms were remodeled to be flashy, and there were several medals hanging off of their chests.
“I imagine they’re off towards this area in a hurry now.”
“Goes to show that if the Berkley family was serious, then that little boy is nothing.”
“Let’s show him how the imperial army really fights.”
The generals burst into laughter.
However, at that moment the operator suddenly erupted out yelling.
“Commander! Enemy forces inbound!”
“So they’re here? Let’s do it then! Connect us with the kid!”
However, when the call went through, the face that came out wasn’t Liam’s.
It was an eye-patched soldier– a man with the atmosphere of a veteran general had appeared on the screen’s monitor.
The general started to yell out in a panic, but it was the other man who spoke first.
“–your actions are currently in violation of military laws. Even if you are of the nobility, we have all the rights to detain you as you are.”
“If you surrender now you can still be pardoned, but if you don’t, then we’ll be your opponents today.”
They were a gathering of the regular fleets that were normally deployed at the border.
Scraped together, their numbers reached that of forty thousand ships.
“Are you betraying us?! We’re part of the imperial army just like you!”
“No. You’re the ones who betrayed the Empire first.”
“You mean to say you’re taking the side of that brat?!”
“–it would be troublesome if the Berkley family won this war. The military can no longer afford to cater to those of noble status, and also… I owe the Count a few favours for the kindness he’s shown.”
Because the aristocrats were given preferential treatment, there were many common soldiers that weren’t properly being paid at all.
The Empire’s national power was still somehow being maintained despite this, but there were many people in the military who were dissatisfied with this situation.
One of the noble generals shouted,
But their opponent was expecting this.
“I knew this would happen.”
On this day, the noble’s armada attacked a regular fleet separate from Liam’s forces and was annihilated.
Brian(´；ω；｀) “It’s painful. Seeing our head and deputy knights fall to cheats and trickery just so that Lord Liam can win a board game is… painful.”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com