A man staring from the inn’s second floor located near Epiroz city’s gate, reported to Jinouichi who sat down silently inside the room.
“Yet another army has entered Epiroz’ city gate. Their flag design is a golden eagle that spread its wing with a red background.”
“Fumu, Eagle is it ? That means they are from Baron Garbera’s household. The numbers ?”
Jinouichi asked the man while holding a silver smoke pipe on his mouth, handed down by his ancestors, the people that were summoned to this world.
“Around 100 Cavalrymen.”
In response to Jinouichi question, the man answered without hesitations.
Although he had sufficient experience when it comes to assassinations and sabotages, it was as battlefield intelligence that he was known as the best.
His main task was to get into the enemy territory as a spy, then inform back the number of the enemy’s soldiers.
Due to his training, he was able to guess the numbers of an army just at a glance.
“Only knights ?”
“Yes, they are only knights.”
“I see, they have dispatched soldiers as much as possible without conscripting the citizen, huh ?”
Jinouichi smiled like a Buddha while removing the ashes that clogged his smoke pipe.
“Maybe because they are worried that rebellions might happen if they do that ?”
“I guess so… As expected, they are not stupid enough to recruit the commoners when the situation is like this.”
Jinouichi nodded his head slowly.
(With this, seven northern noble houses have entered Epiroz city. With numbers of soldiers exceeding 2,000 men.)
Other than Earl Salzberg and the seven other houses, only two houses remained.
In this world, nobility more or less had their own private army.
Even if the country was ruled by an absolute monarch, for the nobility, along with their autonomy, the private military was indispensable for them.
Outside the walls surrounding towns and cities, or outside the village, it was an area that was not dominated by people.
Occasionally attacks from monsters happen, or the criminals that were being kicked out from a city aiming at some isolated villages.
Even with security, that didn’t mean the towns or villages were completely safe.
That was because although it was not frequent, there were also the possibilities that some kind of a dragon or monster with similar power comes to attack.
However, though it was not perfect, such security still had a major impact on the economy of towns and villages.
People gathered because they feel safe, and goods increased where people assembled. Security brings energy to the people and promotes economic activity.
Although it was not to the point of wanting to live in a place where locking doors were unnecessary, people would choose the feudal lord who was capable of maintaining public order.
And merchants were particularly strong in that feeling. Since it was hard to do business in a city where public safety was bad. That was why they always look for the safer city.
Unlike farmers who were tied to the land they cultivate, merchants could pretty much move anywhere. That was why it would be the right judgment for them to always look for a safe place to do business.
In order to deal with such unforeseen threats and protect commercial activity within one’s territory, it was one of the feudal lord’s duty to hire knights and maintain public order.
However, even though military power was necessary for them, it was impossible for them to recklessly hire knights.
Since, if a noble family held military power equals to that of the King’s, the King might see them as an existential threat that aimed at the throne.
That was why nobles who raised their military strength would always be monitored by the Royal family. In some cases, there would be a situation where a noble family was eradicated because of a suspicion of rebellion.
Which bring us to the conclusion that, military power was indeed necessary, but if one had too much power, it will crush one’s family instead.
Which contradict why they needed military power in the first place.
That was why, it was common sense in this world that the aristocrats would keep military power to a minimum as possible, and cover the gaps by recruiting the commoners or pay some mercenaries.
As an example, a noble in the Rozeria Kingdom with a Baron rank holds an average of 50 to 100 knights, and the number of the recruits from commoners usually up to 500 men.
Viscount power would be around 150 to 200 knights, with the ability to recruit up to 1,000 commoners. While the Earl could have around 300 knights, with the ability to recruit their citizen up to 3,000 men.
Of course, that was only if we talk about average value. Naturally, the numbers of soldiers within one territory would always fluctuate and never stay the same.
(It is good that they only dispatched their knights, and also a proof of the feeling of insecurity the nobles held. Up until now, everything is according to the plan… As expected, Genou would definitely be impressed by this.)
Given there was a social barrier between the nobles and the commoners, the reasons why the nobility took care of the commoners were limited.
Had there been no disturbances, the nobles would definitely recruit the commoners without hesitation.
With Earl Salzberg’s economic power, and the mobilization of the citizen of the northern nobility, their power could easily exceed 10,000 men.
Although that number was still far from the normal numbers, Jinouchi who had done intelligence activity in their territory was quite confident with that estimate.
To the extent that he might be willing to bet his own head.
In the first place, the northern nobles were particularly strong because their remote territory was hard to reach by the King’s authority. Furthermore, in the past, the northern nobility was usually the one who dealt with Zalda and Mist’s incursions.
Not to mention with the help of the merchant’s guild, the territory of Earl Salzberg had become the biggest commercial city in the northern part of the Rozeria Kingdom.
Of course, the noble houses from the neighboring territory also benefited from that.
From both a military and economic perspective, the northern nobles can be described as an extraordinary existence within the Rozeria kingdom.
In addition, the reason why they could bring out such huge military power was because they were mostly not worried about their surrounding nobles.
As long as nothing serious happens, no sane noble within the Rozeria Kingdom want to fight against the northern nobles.
Except for Baron Garbara of the east, and Baron Bertrand of the west, the possibility of the northern nobles getting attacked was quite low.
“Head ! That is probably Signiz Garbara…”
From the inn’s second floor window, his eyes were directed to the man advancing in the middle of the troops. Jinouichi’s eyes showed their sharpness as if he was looking at his prey.
“Garbera of the East, eh ? As expected, Earl Salzberg is going to bring out all of his best pieces… Since he had come, that means, Bertrand of the West will definitely come too…”
Among the northern nobles, the House of Garbera and Bertrand were known as Earl Salzberg’s rooks. <TLN: As in chess/shogi.>
Both houses were ordinary Baron houses, and their territory had nothing that caused one to opened one’s eyes, but one thing definitely stands out.
“Northern twins sword… First, let us test how much the rumor was true…”
Saying that, Jinouichi smirked.
That evening, a huge party was being held at Earl Salzberg’s mansion.
It was a luxurious party where he used valuable condiments and ingredients generously, and let many old wines being served.
It was a splendid party that was suited for the leaders of the northern nobles.
The only regret was that there were not many women in appearance.
There were rumors that the maids working there were all beauties. but since some said that all of them belonged to Earl Salzberg and he would get angry if someone touches the maids, no one dared to talk with them.
(Well, even if there’s a noble lady here, it’s not like I’m going to greet them either…)
While cursing the situation, Roberto Bertrand enjoyed eating the chicken dish presented there.
If he was the successor of a house then it would be natural for him to deepen his connections.
However, since Roberto was not the eldest son, he didn’t care to interact with other people.
Roberto himself didn’t have any ambitions, but the surroundings didn’t seem so.
In addition, Roberto himself had high military fame. For the eldest son who could not perform martial arts but was born from the first wife, he was a nuisance.
‘Do not let the child of concubine inherit the family’s name’. Such sentiment could not be helped, but for Roberto who became the victim, it was unbearable.
Not to mention that they also demanded him to fulfill his duties to the family in this war for their convenience.
“Like usual, he has a lot of money… Damn it, at home, I wouldn’t be able to eat like this… Oi, bring the wine…”
He gulped the wine in his glass and asked the maid to fill it again.
At that moment, someone tapped Roberto’s shoulder from behind.
“You’re the same as ever…”
“Earl Salzberg… Long time no see…”
“Umu, it seems like you’re having fun… That’s good…”
Looking at him eating the dish heartily, Earl Salzberg nodded deeply.
“Well, it is rare for me to eat something like this at home after all…”
“Well, it is good if you’re happy with it… Since I will expect a lot from you on the battlefield. Go ahead and have fun…”
The Earl’s words were as if he was looking down at him.
However, Earl Salzberg greeted Roberto personally because he recognized his ability.
Indeed, those two people, Signiz and Roberto, were the Earl’s most important pieces in this war.
“But still, do you really need to mobilize all the northern ten houses ? Of course, I heard the rumors about Baron Mikoshiba, and it seems there is also some movements within the peninsula, but still…”
Considering that the Earl had greeted him, Roberto took the opportunity to ask the question that had been plaguing his mind.
The opponent was only a Baron. Not to mention that the opponent’s territory was also the underdeveloped Wortenia peninsula.
In comparison, the northern ten nobles had huge war potential. From a common sense point of view, this war had already had its winner.
“Who knows… Honestly speaking, I also thought that this is overdoing it… But it is also a fact that I could not predict that man’s behavior. That was why I could understand the reason that my wife wants to have some safety measures… Well, we will find the answer within the next few days…”
Saying that Earl Salzberg turned his eyes to outside the windows.
As if gazing the northern land through the darkness of the night.
And a few days later. The army dressed all in black finally revealed itself at the north of Epiroz city.