The Way of the Soldiers
We were currently in the dormitory attached to the military training center situated in the heart of the Naa Empire.
We were using a conference room in preparation of a meeting that we requested with Otto’s older sister.
Normally, it wasn’t the kind of place that outsiders like us could enter; however, Claire-sama and I managed to get permission for it by pulling some strings through a certain someone.
Since this building was only used to house the non-commissioned soldiers, it was a simple and well-built building devoid of any gaudiness and luxuries.
Even the conference room was exactly as described. You could really tell that the dorms were only used as a place where the soldiers go to eat and sleep.
“Adelina Reiner, present!”
Perhaps that was a rule that the training center set in place.
Otto’s older sister―― Adelina-san loudly announced her name and presence to us as she entered the room.
Adelina-san was a tall woman with a short and manly haircut, and her body was so well-built that I couldn’t think anything other than, ‘Yep, this is definitely Otto’s older sister.’
She was dressed in a standard brown military uniform that was provided to all trainees, which had an emphasis on functionality more than anything.
Adelina-san seemed to notice me and Claire-sama first, because when our eyes met, she immediately glared at us.
“Bauer’s mutts!? Why are you here?!”
The reason behind her abusive language towards us was most likely due to the situation with Philine.
Well, even so, it was still quite a harsh thing to say to us.
“What an awful way to greet us. If only everybody knew of the quality of the Empire’s soldiers…”
Well, Claire-sama wasn’t the type of person who would sit around and just take things from other people, but despite what it seemed like, keeping our objective in mind, she was actually holding back quite a bit.
“There’s no reason for you to raise your voice.”
Adelina-san’s face looked like she had just seen a ghost as her eyes met with the owner of the calm voice that just spoke.
“Adelina Reiner, I apologize for calling you out on such short notice.”
Other than Claire-sama and myself, there was a certain elderly man in the room with us as well.
The ‘certain someone’ that I was referring to earlier was him.
“Joseph-sama, why are you hanging around people that belong to an enemy nation?!”
Adelina-san took a good look at me and Claire-sama before criticizing Joseph-san.
“We’re currently in the middle of a truce. Bauer is not an enemy nation.”
“Those are just formalities. Moreover, it’s their fault that Philine-sama was……”
“That’s why we’re here today. We want to discuss something that is related to Philine-sama. First things first, have a seat.”
The elderly man usually gave off the impression that he was constantly being manipulated by Dorothea, but in the end, he was still the personal attendant to the ruler of an entire Empire.
He spoke to Adelina-san in a dignified manner.
Adelina-san still looked dissatisfied, but for the time being, she listened to his words and went to take a seat.
“Our conversation is going to be centered around this. It’s regarding the outrage that you’ve been planning in secret. We’ve come to put a stop to it.”
The elderly man spoke about it in a roundabout way, but Adelina-san caught on immediately.
Blood rushed to her face.
“…… I don’t know what you are talking about.”
But the reason why she still denied it was most likely because she wasn’t the only person involved in the plot.
If she were to confess to it here, the others that were planning the coup d’état with her would be affected as well.
Adelina-san had no choice but to feign ignorance.
“In that case, let me be more blunt about it. Stop all of your preparations for the coup d’état that you are planning to start on the day of the summit.”
This time, the elderly man didn’t dance around the issue and clearly referred to it as a coup d’état.
Adelina-san’s face turned pale.
The coup d’état that they had planned had been found out by the Empress’ personal attendant.
That was basically the same thing as having their scheme exposed to the nation.
“You can still make it in time. Her Majesty Dorothea is unforgiving towards those that face her directly, but she is tolerant of those that repent. Stop with your foolish plans.”
“Foolish plans…… you say…”
Adelina-san’s eyes narrowed.
“In that case, let me ask you something in return. Did you think that Philine-sama’s actions were silly too? Even though she―― the Empress’ own daughter, fought so hard for the sake of the nation’s future that she ended up getting exiled? And on top of that, Philine-sama is no longer……”
Adelina-san couldn’t bring herself to finish her own sentence.
Tears had welled up in the corners of her eyes as she clenched her fists in frustration.
She must’ve really looked up to Philine.
“Normally, I wouldn’t tell this to a soldier, but Philine-sama was deported out of consideration for her safety. Her Majesty is just concerned for Philine-sama in her own way――”
“But Philine-sama is dead now!”
Adelina-san shouted over the elderly man’s words.
She couldn’t even hide her own tears any longer.
She unleashed a barrage of words at the elderly man, unable to seal away her overflowing passion.
“If only she hadn’t died there! She should’ve been together with us, working to build the future of the Empire from the ground up! And yet…… and yet……!”
The Philine that we knew of was a normal, shy girl who was a bit of a pushover and had a few quirks of her own, but it seemed that our impressions were different.
To be honest, I didn’t think that Philine was so adored.
Perhaps this was thanks to her role as a protagonist.
The elderly man let Adelina-san say whatever she wanted to say and fell silent for a moment before he opened his mouth.
“You are a soldier, aren’t you? Soldiers are not supposed to think about the future of the nation. The orders that come from above are absolute―― haven’t you been taught that?”
“I know that! But is the country really okay staying the way it is?! Is this country really a nation that’s still worth risking our lives for?!”
“Know your place, Adelina Reiner.”
The elderly man’s tone was intimidating.
It wasn’t just Adelina-san, but even Claire-sama and I involuntarily straightened our postures.
“Why do you think you soldiers are given your weapons? It’s to serve your country’s orders. Don’t get it wrong.”
The elderly man spoke coldly.
I thought it was somehow reminiscent of Dor-sama when he was in his political mode.
“Your power does not belong to you, it belongs to the nation. The money that gets poured into training you belongs to the nation as well. The power that you wield cannot be used for anything other than serving the country.”
The words the elderly man were saying were things that already get drilled into the soldiers’ minds.
He was simply trying to remind Adelina-san of it.
“And besides…… there seems to be a misunderstanding here, but Philine-sama is still alive, you know?”
Adelina-san looked like she couldn’t believe what she had just heard.
Those words must’ve been unexpected.
“As you know, the Empire has a lot of enemies. In order to prevent Philine-sama from being assassinated, I purposely spread the rumor that she was already dead.”
“B-But her hair……!”
“The hair and blood are real, but that’s about it. It was all just an act in order to make it seem more convincing.”
Adelina-san was still dyed with skepticism as she listened to the elderly man speak about it so casually.
“I understand what you’re trying to say. However, is there any proof that Philine-sama is still alive?”
“We’re trying to trick everybody into thinking that she’s dead, so why would we have any proof of her still being alive?”
Seeing Adelina-san hesitate, the elderly man pressed his hands against his temples.
“Adelina….. Why are you so fast to jump to conclusions? Think about it more carefully. It hasn’t been that long since she was exiled. How could she get assassinated so fast, and how did we receive news of that so quickly? And besides, if a princess from the Empire were to actually get murdered, there’s no way Her Majesty Dorothea wouldn’t do anything in retaliation. Anyone that has a brain can immediately tell that it was just a ruse.”
The elderly man glanced over at us.
Well, I thought that would be the case.
“In that case….. Philine-sama is……”
“Yeah, she’s making an effort to study hard right now.”
Adelina-san covered her face and started crying.
“I’m glad…… I’m so glad…..” she said, relieved.
Philine really was adored by them.
“Do you understand now? So don’t do something as silly as starting a coup d’état. Don’t do anything bad――”
Adelina-san interrupted the elderly man while wiping her tears away with a handkerchief.
“Now that I know Philine-sama is still alive, my heart feels even more strengthened. We will carry out the coup d’état as planned and welcome the princess as our new monarch.”