065 Burn, Volden 1 p.1


Translator: yAmi

The man sat at his desk in silent contemplation.

He looked to be in his mid-thirties. His dark brown hair was calm and subdued, and his gray eyes showed a firm will. His slim but toned physique displayed the vast amount of training he had undergone. He was such a strong man. Just the way he sat at his desk, pondering, gave him an air of dignity that would make any onlookers straighten their backs.

If people from other countries were to evaluate him as they saw him, they would all say the same thing.

He was a knight.

His body was well-trained, but there was a certain harmony in his seating posture. He was neither an adventurer, a mercenary, nor even a mere labourer. Rather than having the elegance of a celestial being, he carried a scent of a more down-to-earth honesty. As such, one might assume he was one of the lowest nobles directly commanding the commoner soldiers.

But that was not the case.

He was a soldier by occupation. He had more than ten thousand troops at his disposal, but there was not a drop of blue blood in his veins. He was born as a commoner, and has lived as such to this date. Such was the man he was.

It's not difficult to understand why people misunderstand. It has not been too long since the profession of a soldier and his current rank has been formalised in this world. It has probably been around for about a century at best.

In the continent of Ithuselah, professional military personnel who were involved in military affairs during peacetime were usually nobles. Possessing military power meant the same as having political power. If the military was left in the hands of commoners, the foundation from which royalty derived their rule would be shaken. For this reason, when recruiting talented commoners into the military, they would be given the title of knight. This meant that they were now a noble, albeit in a lower rank. However, on the other hand, it was a way to obtain those with military prowess or have talent as commanders, and to separate them from the society and commoners.

What happens if a dispute between the nobles and the commoners was started?

From the noble's point of view, knights were friends that were now part of the aristocracy. Naturally, they would take steps to prevent the knights from running to the side of the commoners, by bringing up their friendship and the favours they did for them.

On the other hand, what would it look like from the commoner's point of view? How would they view the knights who were fed by the taxes they paid, no longer belonging in the same social circle as them while being friendly with the nobles. It was natural to assume that the knights would side with the nobles. For commoners at the bottom of the stratum, these figures who should be reliable in their eyes, the feeling would be much more complicated. It's no wonder that commoners would hesitate to recognise knights as allies when they were involved in a conflict with nobles.

In short, the knight system was designed in this way to keep the commoners from having military authority. This way, there would be no way for a commoner to become a professional soldier commanding a large army. At least that's how it was in the Kingdom of Arquell.

However, the situation was a little different for the Federation of St. Gallen. In their country, which was established in the process of exploring the eastern frontiers of the continent, the conflict between humans and monsters was more important than the conflict between nobles and commoners. The strength possessed by monsters in this land far exceeded other countries. Of course, there were adventurers who killed monsters for a living, but they were officially under the jurisdiction of guilds. They were not free to move about at the behest of a country or a lord. In addition, adventurers with overwhelming individual combat skills were not easy for the nobility to control. Such adventurers could hardly be depended upon for military strength.

Hence, the need for a military force. A military force made up for quality with quantity, trained soldiers to follow rules, and operated in the interests of the country. St. Gallen did not want to rely on adventurers, and decided to counter monsters by expanding its military power.

The first step was to establish a magic academy where any person, regardless of their background, could learn magic and be trained to become a powerful military asset, a mage. As for warriors, the government tried to improve their quality by introducing various policies to promote combat, such as holding regular martial arts tournaments.

In this way, powerful mages and soldiers were trained, and St. Gallen came to be known throughout the continent as the land of the elite soldiers. However, there was still an issue.

—Who would command them?

No matter how strong the soldiers were or how capable the mages were, they could not fight through an actual battle without proper commanding. To use the metaphor of sheep led by wolves and wolves led by sheep, there was an overwhelming lack of people to lead the soldiers. The St. Gallerians might have had the right number of soldiers, but they did not have the right number of brains. The St. Gallenians belatedly realised the need for a commander, and junior officers who would lead the front line alongside the soldiers.

At first, they came up with very simple solutions. What? Why don't we just increase the number of knights? Let us calculate how many we would need...... The officer in charge of the administrative matters hummed to himself as he accepted the document that the military reverently presented to him. And when he saw the numbers on the form, he was astonished. They needed too many.

Knights were at the bottom of the heap, and even if they were first generation nobles, they were still noblemen. They had to be treated with courtesy. They need to be given privileges and favours that commoners did not have. Such as, land, albeit small, or if they were not given land, they had to be given support from taxes. It was also customary to anoint knights in a ceremony too.

However, if they had to recruit and appoint the number of knights required by the army as they have always done before, it would be an expense that could bring the entire country down. No, even if the financial resources were manageable, there was another problem. The population balance between the commoners and the nobles would be out of balance, and the whole society would be in turmoil.

Neither could they try to lower their prestige. As mentioned before, knights were considered nobles. If they were treated roughly, the real aristocrats, such as barons and viscounts, would surely start to feel uneasy, perhaps thinking their prestige would be next on the chopping board. Also, the incumbent knights would probably rebel against the idea of losing their prestige.

In the royal court of St. Gallen's royal capital, Gallerin, the nobles held their heads in their hands. What could they do now? They knew what the military needed. The military needed as many officers as possible who could effectively lead the troops they had painstakingly raised with the full support of the entire country. However, if they nonchalantly chose to raise the numbers of knights, the country would go bankrupt. Hm? Increase the number of knights and go bankrupt?

A revelation dawned on them. They were in trouble because they're trying to have knights lead the commoners. Then they simply need to let the commoners lead themselves. In order to keep rebellions in check, instead of knighting them, they simply needed to increase their pay, which was unavoidable. It was less expensive than knighting them in any case......

Thus, for the first time among the nations in the continent, the Federation of St. Gallen was the first to allow commoners to command other commoners, thus introducing generals of commoner origin. The appointment as a knight still existed as a reward for those with great military merit among the officers, so the traditional system continued to exist in a small way.

Of course, conventional wisdom that nobles acted as the key players in the army was yet to be rewritten. Even so, it became common for commoner generals who have made a name for themselves among the officers to lead the army in some way. Even if a rebellion were to occur, as long as the commoner generals do possess the bloodline and status to legitimise their cause, they have little chance to take over the land and establish their authority. Although the birth of commoner generals was not welcomed with open arms by all, it was tacitly accepted by the upper echelons of the Federation.

This little sidetrack has gotten too long.
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