When Schera led her troops back to Belta, they were met with cheers of joy from the castlesoldiers.These were the cavalry unit members tasked with house-sitting, and they were eagerly awaiting the return of their superior officer.
"Thank you for the reception. I've returned. I pushed myself too hard, and I feel like I'm about to faint."
Schera jauntily crossed the bridge and entered the castle while holding the stalk in her mouth. After everyone had entered the castle, the drawbridge was once again raised for defense.
"Welcome back Major Schera! How were today's affairs?"
"We were hindered by a certain Lion. Their guard had become quite strict it seems, as one would expect."
She recalled the unit carrying the Flag of the Lion that had gotten in her way. That young man who had fired sharp arrows at her. As she prioritized deflecting arrows that would inflict fatal wounds, she was unable to deal with one arrow. Luckily, she was uninjured, and it was just her armor that broke. When she had thrown a small sickle that she carried on her as payback, it was just barely avoided. He had true strength, good intuition, and he also wasn't drawn into the ambush.
It appeared the Flag of the Lions was not for mere show. They were truly a troublesome enemy. She bit the stalk that had lost its taste in two, crushed it, and then swallowed.
"That is because Major Schera rampaged too much. Come, a meal has been prepared for you!"
Responded the soldier who raised his hand, directing her to the barracks.
"Thanks. Aah, before that: I have to get brand new armor. The shoulder part here is broken. You go first please."
"Major, I definitely think you ought to get that treated, how about it?"
The anxious cavalryman was worried about Schera. He was the soldier who had presented her the sweet plant at the raid earlier. When Schera remembered that, she grabbed a small pouch from her waist.
"I'm fine. There are no injuries to my body. That aside, thanks for the food earlier. Use this and eat something you like."
She took out a shiny gold coin. Forget a meal, one could eat as much as they liked for a week. At such excessive remuneration, the cavalryman was disturbed.
"U, under no circumstances. This is too much for me to take."
"If you have a complaint, then go together with other soldiers. Unused money is meaningless."
"Fine. If you so vehemently refuse, I'll throw it away."
"W, wait please!"
When she gestured to throw it, the cavalryman hastily held out both hands. She threw it, and the cavalryman grasped the gold coin.
"Thank you very much, Major Schera!"
"Nothing of it."
Giving the saluting soldier a backward glance, Schera hurried forward still atop her horse. She was so hungry that she was certain she would faint. No matter how much she ate and ate, her stomach would become empty again before long. Despite that, she did not gain weight. Just where did all the nutrition she ate go?
Schera didn't know. When this did start happening? Maybe after that time when she ate that grim reaper thing? This was probably her just-desserts for giving in to her greed that one time. However, Schera thought this was more preferable to those times when she felt like she would die of starvation. She may not be able to savor the feeling of a full stomach, but she could abate the feeling of hunger.
Schera, presently, was very satisfied. She had become renown before she knew it, her stomach was a little more full, and she could have a meal together with her comrades. With just those, Schera was content. Other matters were unimportant.
She handed over her horse, and in the middle of heading towards the barracks, Schera was stopped by a voice calling to her.
"What's the matter?"
"Sir, I have heard that Major Schera is looking for new armor. By all means, please use this! It is quite a gem."
One cavalryman who was on house-watching duty presented a brand new armor to Schera. It was armor dyed jet-black. On the shoulders were carved white birds.
"What extremely nice appearance. The quality also looks very good. Where'd this come from?"
When asked, the soldier pushed out his chest and responded while hitting the armor with his hand, *kon kon*.
"Sir- I earnestly requested a civilian blacksmith employed by the military to make this. He was very hesitant at first, but when I told him you would be using it, his attitude took a complete about face. I think this armor is appropriate for the Major who is a match for thousands!"
"......Thanks. I'll treat you to a meal sometime. Anyway, can I immediately try it on? I hope the size is good."
"H, here. you mean?"
"What, is there a problem I wonder?"
"N, no. I will assist you!"
The damaged armor was thrown away, and Schera was actively putting on the new armor. 'What's going on, what's going on?' Curious onlookers around the area started to gathering, seeing as their fabled, honored Major was innocently changing in her underwear.
What was unfortunate was that she had not a shred of sex appeal. She had no curves to speak of. Her countenance was also bad. After quickly putting on the armor, the soldier in the spur of the moment even attached a bright red cape. Schera tucked her hair behind her ears, and then brandished her large scythe, carrying out various attack forms. She was testing out if the armor would get in the way or not.
The babbling soldiers reflexively gulped. Their superior officer slowly held the scythe over her head, and then cut the air, and the corners of her mouth curved. They, at that appearance, were lost for words in fear and awe.
"......No problem it seems. I'll pay the the blacksmith compensation afterwards. I'm going to eat now, so if something comes up, come after I'm finished."
A meal was more important than armor it seemed, and Schera left at a brisk pace. The soldiers around her that were watching, all of them, stood at attention and saluted.
"S-sir-! Understood, Major Schera! It looks great on you, really!"
Schera had a dubious expression, but she silently left. The group members left behind exchanged glances and let out a deep sigh.
—-'I'm really glad I'm not her enemy,' they thought.
Barracks Dining Room.
Schera was silently devouring bread, steak, corn soup, and vegetables.
The fragrant smells stimulated her appetite. She thoroughly chewed and slowly ate while relishing the taste. She was able to eat tasty food today as well. When she was eating, a smile would naturally leak out.
—-But then, boorish words were thrown at her.
"Excuse us for disturbing you during your meal! We are—-"
These two people who were standing still in front of Schera's desk since a while ago, with limbs going numb, addressed Schera.
Of course they were aware that interrupting a meal was discourteous. But, significant time had already passed, and this illustrious superior officer had not even given them so much as a glance. Deciding that she wouldn't mind if it was just something like a greeting, they dared to speak up.
Immediately, a loud, thunk noise was made, and Schera with narrowed eyes and no longer smiling was radiating bloodlust. The knife that was in her hand stuck out, deeply embedded, from the table.
The thing Schera hated the most, was to be interrupted while eating and slowly enjoying the taste.
In times like this, she would chew in supreme bliss to her heart's content all the portions she excited in the middle of battle was unable to eat. To have this interrupted was akin to dashing water suddenly over her.
Just like the previous time when the military police interrogating her was about to be murdered, Schera's aggression swelled many times higher than normal. This could not be described in any other way except as a flaw, but she herself had absolutely no intention of amending this it seemed.
"—-Silence. Can't you see I'm eating? If you don't want to be knocked out, then mute yourselves over there. If you insist on doing something else, I won't stop you, so do as you please."
"......P. please excuse me."
Schera once again started happily chewing. Only sounds of silverware moving remained at the dining table. Completely tense, the two of them had their hearts in their mouths. They did not want to tread on the tail of a starving tiger again.
—-Her meal would be finished... one hour after this.
"......Pardon the wait. So, what business do you have I wonder?"
Schera wiped her mouth with a napkin, gave thanks for the food, and turned her focus towards the soldiers. The two people standing rigid over there straightened themselves, saluted, and named themselves again.
"We were appointed this day to be adjutants for Major Schera. I am Second Lieutenant Katarina!"
"Similarly, I am Second Lieutenant Vander!"
"Ahh, you're the guys Staff Officer Sidamo mentioned. I heard you've come to take over command in my stead. Let us cordially work together from hereon."
Schera stood up and calmly saluted. Her stature was shorter than theirs', but it appeared like the motivations they carried were different. In actuality, the two adjutants were somewhat overawed.
"N-not at all. The commander is you, Major Schera. We on the other hand will aid you to the bitter end."
Katarina flusteredly corrected, but Schera shook her head sideways.
"I have not received any formal officer training. All I can do is swing my scythe to live. I have hope in you two. I leave the cavalrymen in your hands."
"We will devote everything we have!"
"Very well. Then, I will return to my room so. If anything comes up, I won't mind if you come. Except for when I'm eating, anytime is fine."
After dazedly seeing off Schera, who left while humming, they both spontaneous looked at each other, and agreed that they had a problematic superior officer.
"......Quite outside the norm for heroes I guess. I... know another person a lot like her."
"My view towards heroes is different, so no need to go into detail."
"Even if you begged, I wouldn't."
"Well that's a relief. Still, she's a lot different from what I imagined. I thought she would be more, how do I put it..."
Vander crossed his arms, turned his back to the chair, and sat down. It seemed he was worn out from standing so long.
"......However, I think the rumors are true. I really thought I was going to get killed."
"From a conversation I heard earlier, apparently she half killed a military police officer. It seems that's somehow true too... It was probably punishment for interrupting the Major's dignified meal."
"However, as an ally, there's no one more reliable."
Katarina pushed up her glasses and immersed herself in thinking about this very interesting state of affairs. To be able to bear witness to a hero from up close was her dream.
Vander shook his head, and feeling shocked, muttered, 'I can't keep up.'
The Fourth Army commander General David who had finally arrived immediately assembled the commissioned officers.
Separated into many units, the reinforcing soldiers number 40,000. Together with the residuals of the Third Army, they were 80,000 in total.
The soldiers dispersed to and were stationed at each fortress in a radius around Belta.
General David was impatient for merit, deciding to eliminate the Rebel Army by any means necessary. David was a contender to be the next Field Marshal, but he was losing to the brave and celebrated Yalder, and this would be his greatest chance to turn things around. If he obtained the achievement of destroying the Rebel Army, it would not be an exaggeration to say the cat was in the bag.
En route to Belta, he had dropped by the Royal Capital, where Field Marshal Sharov had strictly ordered him to "absolutely do not let them cross Alucia River."
But like he would preoccupy himself with that. The one entrusted with command of strategy was him, David. He was born of high class nobility with ties to the family lineage that established the royal family. His connection to the current King was also deep.
For someone of such high pride like him, it was exceedingly aggravating to be ordered around by a normal class upstart like the Bazarov family.
"Gentlemen, I am David, the commander of the Fourth Army. Now that I am here, there's no longer need for worry. We will immediately execute the rebels, and I promise you that victory and stability will be bought about here in the Central Border Zone."
"I am honored to meet you for the first time, Your Excellency David. I am Sidamo, the Chief Staff Officer of the Third Army. I have compiled all the reports about the Rebel Army and notices about the reorganization plan for your perusal."
David took a glance at the documents Sidamo handed over, and with a simple, "unnecessary," he threw them away.
"I don't need compiled information from a defeated Staff Officer. You guys have sullied the history of the glorious Kingdom. How dare you unabashedly live on. Do you not know the meaning of shame?"
Sidamo lowered his head at David's abuse. The civil officials on standby nearby also looked down on him in disdain. They had been gathered as persons of good lineage, and they could aptly be thought of as David's clique.
"What Chief Staff Officer. It would be better if you were a miserable food manager. The Staff Officers of our Fourth Army can think of strategy. You go think about tomorrow's food menu."
"Really, that you could even show that face of at this assembly. You have no pride it seems."
"After all, he came from a fallen nobility. All he has ever known is shame."
At one Staff Officer's denunciation, the other commissioned officers unanimously voiced their agreement. For someone of humble birth to obtain achievement was irritating and unbearable. Yalder may have been frivolous, but he did not discriminate based only on pedigree. Sidamo's shoulders shook in humiliation.
Sounds that broke the mood spread through the room. It was crunching, like something was being broken. The one making the noise was Schera. Tentatively a field officer, Schera while unwilling was participating in this war council. Because of the sudden convening of the war council, Schera had missed out on eating breakfast and was immensely vexed.
The room fell silent, wondering what that was, but as Schera had quickly chewed and swallowed, no one was any the wiser.
A giant man next to her gave her a fleeting glimpse, but she was playing dumb: she absolutely didn't know what happened.
"......Well whatever. The clean up of the Third Army, Staff Officer Sidamo, you will do it. If you work well, maybe you won't be completely useless."
"Sir- I will devote everything."
"—-Hmph. By the way, where's the respected hero that's become common talk recently. Hasn't he played a very active role in the cowardly Third Army? Dunno if that's true or false though."
When David viewed the faces of the commissioned officers, he stopped at one point, on a small-statured girl wearing conspicuous black armor, on the seat of that imbalanced person.
"Is it you? The officer given the alias of Death God by the enemy?"
"Sir-, I do not know about Death God, but I am Major Schera."
When Schera gave a salute, snarky laughs could be heard from the surroundings. After stroking his own beard, David gave a deep sigh.
"......It seems Yalder has also surprisingly gone senile. To even be able to bow his head to one showing such an unsightly, shameful sight. Moreover, to exercise his own political influence and allow someone of such humble birth to succeed the name of nobility. Rank of Major she says? The army isn't a children's playground."
"Jesus. He also bent over and got done in by the Rebel Army. What kind of leadership is this?"
"—-Affirmative. As it is, his Steel Division thing was also after all a decoration wouldn't you say? To be demolished by one blow, they were nothing more than plain papier mache. Mere show."
"To forcibly make this lass out to be a hero was probably to raise morale maybe. Kukuh-, is not this actually a tear-jerking endeavour?
In an amazed manner, they collectively ridiculed Schera. Sniggers and scorns were included, and if it was a veteran with pride, he probably would have been indignant. However, the one actually the target of ridicule did not mind at all.
"......In the next battle, if you don't accrue appropriate merit, I will strip you of your rank. It gives me the chills to think a layman little girl like you would stand shoulder to shoulder with us high-prided nobility. I want to instantly drop you to Private by all rights."
"—-Sir-, I, Major Schera, understand."
With a unpleasant 'Hmph' from his nose, David continued in addition.
"This will probably be the last time you will be able to speak with me. Jeez, what a truly absurd story. That fool Yalder."
"Your Excellency David. it is about time—-"
David's adjutant warned. David's schedule was completely packed. After the war council, he had a business meeting with the influential men of Belta. Furthermore, a welcome ceremony was held for him. To make his own power known, and to solidify Belta's strongholds, industrious work was necessary. There was absolutely no time to worry about stray dogs.
"Ahh, that's enough. Just the commanders of the Third Army, you all leave. We will decide what happens next. At the most, you guys should just sharpen our swords."
Waving them away, David urged them to leave with hate from the very depths of his heart shown on his face.
A commissioned officer oh so helpfully opened the door to the council room and beckoned with his head. Hurry up and leave, he was implying. The members of the Third Army, helplessly trickled out. People who had lost their chief were after all just treated like this. No one said a single word of complaint, and with heavy footsteps, they reflected on their own misfortune.
—-Though, only Schera was full of smiles, and with light footsteps, she cut in front of the leader and left.
Finally that shitty talk was over, and she could finally get her long-awaited, delectable meal. It was inconceivable that she would complain.
Barracks Dining Hall.
Schera in good humor was having breakfast. Next to her was Adjutant Katarina. She was silently eating. Together with her superior officer, and slowly. Vander had headed out to check on the training of the cavalry unit.
After the meal was finally over, Schera let out a huge exhale. Thanks to the stupidly long talk, her mood wasn't quite good.
"Have you finished with your meal sir?"
"Yeah. It was really good. I can still eat more, but that's enough for today."
Just how much do you want to eat? Katarina furrowed her brows. Her glasses then slid a bit, and she hurriedly fixed it with a finger.
"......How was the war council? It seems you left midway through though."
"Ahh, the bearded idiot told us to. If we don't play an active role next time, he said something like I'll drop to a Private."
"Ma-Major! If someone else heard you, you could be put in jail for defamation of a superior officer! He's the highest commander here at Belta."
She covered her mouth with her hand, and gestured to lower their volumes. But the voice of that very person was the loudest.
"If I get put in, then it's fine if I just break out. Right?"
"Please put in effort to avoid that in the first place!"
"I guess. You're correct. Well do you best then, Second Lieutenant Katarina."
Schera smiled and patted her shoulder, and then stood up and left with a, 'farewell.' Left behind her was an adjutant who let out an even deeper exhale than her superior officer.