037 The burning capital? (3) p.2

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The Captain of the Third Order was encouraged by the king’s response. When a superior asks a question, an opportunity arises to explain in more detail. In other words, he could say what was on his mind.

The captain spoke quickly, not giving the king a chance to reconsider.

“I am eternally grateful for the chance to speak. My King, although it is true this man is a fool for interrupting your words, it is now apparent that he bears a message for you of the utmost importance. In my lowly opinion, the best course of action is to hear what he has to say, and pass judgement at a later point. If the message is truly worthless, then your ineffable order will be carried out with the greatest prejudice.”

Essentially, at least listen to the man before killing him. Being only a knight, he had to be as convincing as possible to sway the King himself.

Finally, appearing even more infuriated, the king assented.

“…Fine! Do what you want.”

Sulking like a child, the King turned away in a huff.

With an audible sigh of relief, the Captain turned to the messenger.

“As the King has ordered, speak.”


The officer kept his message as brief as he could.

“The rebels that refer to themselves as activists have broken through to the east bank of the River Amon, the noble’s quarter! The soldiers stationed there request reinforcement from the Royal Guard!”



The nobles and knights alike cried out in surprise.

Many of the noble-born knights had families residing in the mansions of the noble quarter. Although initially unconcerned by reports of commoners being attacked, the news of the approaching threat seemed suddenly much more real.

“My King!”

The Captain of the First Order appeared anxious.

“Please give us the order to advance! We cannot have these bandit scum run wild!”

The rest of the First Order nodded in agreement. As stated earlier, the First Order mainly comprised noble sons, many of whom were born in eastern Broussonne.

“It would be an unending disgrace if noble blood were to be spilled by these louts! Additionally, our shame would be all the greater for allowing it to happen in the capital, the seat of the Kingdom’s strength!”

Commoners killing nobles in their homes would be an ill omen of things to come for Charles the Eighth.

An extreme opinion made all the harsher by the Captain’s disrespectful tone towards the King. Shaken by his words, the King had gone pale, though the time for appearances had long passed.

“T-Then, all the knights shall go to the noble quarter! Y-Yes, I order it done!”

Swept up in the heat of the moment, the King spoke without thinking.

“My apologies once again! That is unwise, my King!”

The Captain of the Third Order spoke up, and Charles the Eighth reddened in anger again.

“W-Why!? This time, you are disobeying—”

“Your fury is most justified, but as your loyal retainer I cannot possibly condone such an action!”

“What is the meaning of this, Captain?”

The Captain of the First Order asked with a cold voice.

“Why would you object to the protection of the noble quarter?”

“All I am saying is that there is no need to deploy the full strength of the Royal Guards in a single location. Our priority should be the commoner’s streets, where there were reported rebels actively committing arson. If we were to neglect that, would it not be a dereliction of our duty?”

The Captain of the Third Order responded with equal chill. Deep down, he was furious. The Captain of the First Order had shown no interest in defending the city until he heard that the noble’s homes were threatened, when his attitude changed completely. He could not help but resent such a mindset.

“The nobility are the pillars upon which our Kingdom stands. Are you saying we should leave the most important people in our nation to die like dogs?”

Who cares about peasants? The lives of nobles were far more valuable. That kind of logic only served to reinforce pre-existing biases.

“Captain, I wholly agree. We cannot allow the embarrassment of allowing a noble to die. However, if we allow the fires to spread unchecked, the city will burn to the ground!”


The Captain of the First Order could not argue that point. Even if it was a city of commoners, it was still the capital. How could they possibly keep face if they allowed it to burn to ash?

The Captains of other orders joined in the ongoing argument.

“I agree. There is still an existing garrison in the area. A minimal detachment should be sufficient.”

“Well, we cannot afford to gamble on this. The nobility are the shields of royalty, after all. That said, I believe a single order would suffice.”

“In that case, it seems natural to send the First Order, as many of them are noble scions. They could protect their homes without worry, no?”

“Y-You all?!”

The Captain of the First Order was completely blindsided. In charge of palace security, the First Order had grown used to serving those of high rank. Their duty entailed neither skill with the blade nor strength of the heart. All that was required was a high enough rank to not embarrass the residents of the palace, and perhaps a pretty face.

In short, the First Order was a glorified social club for young gentlemen. They were put work primarily in parades and as honor guards. It was ludicrous to compare the First Order to the other orders, who were true elites hardened in battle or handpicked for meritorious service. Their only authority lay in their names as nobility.

Thus, the Captain of the First Order’s reluctance to fight without backup. Of all those in the palace, he was most aware of the First Order’s complete incompetence. If at all possible, he wanted every Royal Guard available deployed to the noble quarter. If not, then at least another order for support.

None of the other Captains were interested, unfortunately. None were of noble stock and were to the man true commoners. In comparison to their burning homes, the plight of the nobles held little value in their eyes.

(These cocky bastards…)

The Captain of the First Order cursed under his breath.

Once, the Royal Guards numbered no more than a hundred. At the present, even a single order would number that many or more. The reason for this dramatic expansion was the machinations of Marquis Lavallee to strengthen the Kingdom after it’s defeat fifty years ago. With the backing of the Centralist faction, the Royal Guards had evolved from a small security force to the premier guardians of the capital. In order to swiftly boost numbers, commoners and lesser nobles alike had been allowed to join their ranks. The Old Order of powerful noble sons remained only in the form of the First Order.

Because of this, he failed to see eye to eye with the other Captains. He saw them as dirty peasants trampling on the honor of true nobility. Except for the First Order, none of them could be considered true royal guards.

This was obvious to the other knights. Naturally, they took exception. Who cared if they were the “First” Order? When it came down to it, they were a bunch of dandies and fools. These dandies and fools grouped together to form political connections and flirt with the ladies of the court. The First Order, calling the other knights unqualified? A joke, and weak at that.

The air thickened with tension, and the assembled knights glared at each other.

“Please, calm down. Everybody, gather your dignity.”

Unable to bear the unnerving silence, one of the palace nobles spoke up. At his words, the knights of the First Order relaxed slightly, while the others looked affronted. This was a high-ranking noble, one likely to side with the First Order.

“Everyone here has made valid points, but at this rate we will never reach a decision. Let us keep our honor, and respect existing hierarchy.”

Respect existing hierarchy? A not-so-subtle order to obey the First Order, who were supposedly superior due to their noble blood. Amongst the Royal Guards, general doctrine stated that the lower the number of the order in question, the greater its power and influence. After all, it was unthinkable to have pure nobility ordered around by mere commoners.

As the situation shifted in his favor, the Captain of the First Order smiled widely.

“It is as my lord says. How can we as Royal Guards forget our honor? In troubled times like these, we should aim to inspire lesser soldiers.”


The Captain of the Third Order tightly clenched his fists. He had been slighted and would have liked nothing better than to strike the Captain of the First Order, but they were among exalted company. If he dared to act out in their presence, he would endanger the lives and livelihoods of his friends, family, and subordinates. It was impossible.


His subordinates glanced at his drooping figure. Their expressions all conveyed that they were at their limits as well. They had to move as quickly as possible to save the capital, even if they had to use brute force.

Looking at the assembled Third Order, he saw their solemn resolve to cross blades on the spot if necessary.

(We cannot afford to let that happen…)

He knew that every Captain below the Third Order would follow. However, he could not let them do it. It wasn’t an issue of morality or legality. If the Royal Guards caused an outburst, the Decentralist faction would use their actions to disparage the king. It would be best if such an incident was relegated to mere political infighting, but in the worst case it would be viewed as a rebellion against the king’s authority.

Since such actions could potentially throw the kingdom into civil war, they had to be extremely cautious. Still, he had no desire to let the First Order do as they wished.

“…My King.”

Charles the Eighth, who had been minding his own business for some time, looked up with a start.


His pitiful appearance provoked nothing but frustration.

“We, the Royal Guards, are ultimately the spears and shields of the royal family. With all possible respect, I would like to request your permission to liberate the capital.”



A cry of surprise rose collectively from the Captain of the First Order and the noble who spoke up for him. The First Order internally controlled the guards, but the king alone had the authority to issue commands.

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