The Lazy Prince Abandons His Homeland 〜 a Life of Decadence Begins with Captivity - Chapter 5
Chapter 5 – The Incompetent Prince and the General Imperial Prince – Part 1
“… What a drag.”
Klaus Julius Froysel, the second prince of the Froysel Empire and the commander-in-chief of the invasion force of the Land Kingdom, was bored out of his mind.
Of course, an army at war was always hectic, and when it came to managing more than 10,000 people, the amount of work involved was enormous.
Klaus, being the commander-in-chief, also had a workload commensurate with his position, and if anything, his workload was lagging.
In fact, Lambert, a tall, thin young man who served as Klaus’ close aide, frowned at Klaus’ mutterings.
“Your Highness, Klaus. For all your talk of triviality, I believe your administrative work seems to be falling behind, correct?”
“…. I didn’t mean it in that way, Lambert. No, it’s true that the paperwork is boring, and I’d like to throw it away if you’d do it for me. What I mean is that this war itself is boring..”
“I do not have the authority to handle His Highness’s papers, so such a fantasy is not feasible. And what is there to complain about this war? We have suffered almost no damage, and if we continue as it is, our country will gain new territory. Is that not a good thing entirely?”
“I suppose it is…”
Klaus was not offended by Lambert’s condescending tone, and simply let his words slide.
Lambert and Klaus had known each other since childhood, and this level of exchange was a common occurrence in informal settings.
“Somehow, there’s too much of a lack of a challenge. We just advance the troops at a steady pace. That’s probably all we need to do to win this battle. We can also win with almost no damage. … But what even is this? A progressive military operation, right? If the supply lines are cut off, we will be isolated within the enemy country, and yet there is no sense of tension at all. Can we really call this a ‘war’?”
“… Well, I understand what Your Highness is saying. As for that, I can only say that it is because this is the Land Kingdom.”
Lambert, too, responded with a wry smile to Klaus, whose expression was filled with confusion.
These were harsh words to describe the enemy country.
“To put it bluntly, the Land Kingdom is a much weaker country than we had anticipated. Even the excuse for starting this war is outrageous. I could not believe that they would fall for such a provocation as the one we gave them, even the people at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were confused by it.”
As far as Lambert had heard, the Imperial Foreign Ministry officials’ plan was a crude one, a subterfuge that really amounted to little more than a greeting.
In any case, they brought along a former high-ranking official of Gilse to assist them, who expressed sarcasm toward the Land Kingdom and the Margraviate of Rize in a non-disrespectful diplomatic manner and ultimately manipulated the topic to end the meeting by saying something in the manner of, “The Duchy of Gilse will develop much more than the Land Kingdom in the future.”
The result was the unexpected use of force by the Margraviate of the Rize family. It was a rare incident that stunned not only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also many Imperial officials.
“Furthermore, the subsequent response was also extremely poor. Not only did they hesitate to make a decision and allow the invasion, but they clashed with our forces with bad tactics due to poor tactical command. It’s unbelievable that they split their forces in two, despite their inferior numbers and equipment, although I cannot say that I am shocked.”
In addition, the Land Kingdom had at that time a maximum estimated force of 8,000 soldiers.
Their equipment consisted of metal helmets and breastplates, and their weapons were mostly swords and bows, with only a few firearms, which was reasonable for a small country.
“I mean, it’s not a wrong tactic to attack the opponent with an ambush…”
“Your Highness Klaus, even though they are ill-prepared, how can you defend the opponent?”
“I’m not defending them. I’m just talking about tactics.”
Lambert glared at him with half-open eyes, but Klaus tried to fool him by shrugging his shoulders.
“…. Well anyway. The reality is that the upper echelons of the Land Kingdom are extremely incompetent. According to the information that has been circulating the Intelligence Department, they are a group of non-developmentalists with no potential. Although they are not abusing their rule, they have done nothing but continue the same tax rate and such for generations. They had skirmishes with the former Duchy of Gilse basically every year, but the clash with each other continued to the extent that it became a regular event, and they seem to have been able to muddle through the clashes half-heartedly. Other than that, there have been no war-like wars since the days of the preceding king. The result is the spectacle that Your Highness sees here.”
“The peace has melted their brains. I feel puzzled by this absence of war.”
“The reason is simply that a group of incompetent fools lacked a sense of crisis.”
Hearing the conclusion drawn by Lambert, Klaus let out a small sigh.
“If so, wouldn’t it have been unnecessary to mobilize such a large number of troops? If the enemy’s troops are not well-equipped or even very aware of the war, even a small army could have won the war without any problems, right? After all, that Margrave was the most battle-hardened man in the country.” The top brass is already thinking about governing after the victory. If we were to shift to occupation and rule, I would rather say that the number of troops is too small.”
Lambert only replied with a sigh.
As Klaus said, if all there was to do was to defeat the Land Kingdom, there would be no problem with even half of their military strength. However, it was a different story if the work of governing the country followed the victory.
There was no end to the number of things that needed to be done, such as securing a base where the entire invading army could rest without problems, maintaining security, and reconstruction work.
There were also the various additional clerical tasks to think about, such as handing over administrative matters to the civilian officials who would be dispatched there, so the headcount of 10,000 men was not at all excessive.
“… Your Highness. From now on, Your Highness is going to be involved in national politics in earnest. Please stop worrying about the military and focus a little more on politics.”
“Hahaha. You can leave the politics to my brother. I don’t have that talent. If I clumsily step into the field of politics, there will be people who will make a big fuss of it.”
“… Well, that is certainly true.”
Having received a sound response to his bitter words, Lambert stopped pursuing the matter further.
Klaus was the second prince, and due to his position, he was the leader in political strife, regardless of his own will.
He had a good relationship with Lionel Grand Froysel, the current crown prince and his own brother, and he officially declared that he would rather sit on the general’s seat than on the throne, but unfortunately, those around him did not allow him to do so.
The reason was that the two princes showed outstanding talent in their respective fields. Crown Prince Lionel’s talents lay in the political field. The second prince, Klaus, possessed exceptional natural ability in the military field.
Crown Prince Lionel had a solid political vision, analytical ability, and decisiveness. In particular, his sense of political balance was extraordinary, and even dignitaries who were known as “foxes” in the field of negotiation and under-the-table deals, were so amazed that they called him “The Heavenly Pillar”.
Although a different type from the current emperor Friedrich, who led the empire with his natural intuition and overwhelming charisma, Lionel also possessed qualities befitting an emperor. Because of his talents, he enjoyed the support of the civil servants.
Klaus, on the other hand, had an overwhelming talent in one aspect: military prowess. As an individual, he had an excellent sense of sword and bow, and above all, an extraordinary aptitude for “strengthening” magic.
His sword blows cut through large rocks, his arrows penetrate walls, and his fists shatter the earth. Despite all that, his “strengthened” body was strong enough to withstand most magic attacks, not to mention bullets.
Apart from the “God of Flame”, his individual combat power was the best in the empire, and he was one of the tacticians who could dominate the war situation by himself. Possessing such strong military prowess, while also excelling in the ability to lead an army, made him too much for one to handle.
Klaus, who had the natural charisma to lead others, read the flow of the battlefield instinctively with his natural “military” instincts, and crushed the enemy’s intentions with his command ability that transcended logical thinking.
He was so unreasonable on the battlefield that he was known and feared in neighboring countries under the name of “Roaring Dragon”. Because of his strength, he enjoyed overwhelming support from military officers.
“Politics” and “military”. The throne was entrusted to the two princes because they possessed the essential talents for managing a nation.
Those who favored Lionel were sure that if Klaus were to become the strongest weapon in Lionel’s reign, there would surely be peace.
Those who favored Klaus believed that Lionel and themselves should run the country under the banner of a strong, warlike emperor. They’d created factions based on their own ideologies.
…. It was extremely annoying to the two men in question, especially to Klaus.
“What’s especially galling is that half of the people who are making a racket aren’t even doing it in their own self-interest…. What sort of a joke is this, with the interest-seekers being the better of the lot? They’re likely to go off the rails if I leave them alone, so as annoying as it is, I have to keep an eye on them no matter what.”
“Isn’t it good that there are so many patriots out there?”
“The country is becoming unstable as a result….”
Naturally, as long as there was a political dispute over the next emperor, national politics would be affected.
Since the two princes had a good relationship and many of their supporters steered the great ship that was the empire in a rational manner, there had been no turmoil that could split the country, but from what Klaus saw, there was a lot of idle intrigue and gamesmanship going on in various places of concern.
Could those who influenced national politics through such idle actions really be called patriots? Klaus wondered.
In fact, the “patriot” remark made by Lambert had been a sarcastic one, as he himself deemed that those who supported Klaus for their own interest were much better than those who did not.
“Well, it is the duty of those in high positions to manage such people well.”
“Yeah, that’s why I think that that kind of work is my brother’s area of expertise.”
“There is no denying that a general is a high position as well. Therefore, as soon as we have marched to our next destination, you will start working on the paperwork.”
As Lambert happily brought the matter to a close, Klaus uttered a small grunt.
Well, as the head of the military, there was no escaping the paperwork, and the only thing that prevented one from becoming swamped was to work fast rather than slow.
“What a hassle! War is such a hassle! If the opponent were strong, the tension would continue, but this one is such an easy victory! It’s fine that the losses are low, but I feel like we’re doing so much unnecessary and ineffective work for nothing!”
“What a thing to say…. What if something really unexpected happens?”
“In that case──”
Klaus was about to reply to Lambert’s question when they were interrupted.
“Report, sir! The scouting party ahead of us has confirmed the target fort. A little more than fifty soldiers are now lining up in front of the fort, holding up a negotiation flag!”
A messenger had rushed in the room and imparted the unexpected situation to them.
“…. Your Highness.”
“No, it’s not my fault! Will you stop looking at me as if I were the cause of this!”
Klaus couldn’t help but yell out as Lambert glared at him with half-open eyes. In fact, Klaus was not at fault, the timing had only been impeccable.
“Usually, petitioning for negotiation means surrendering, right? In that case, this is not unexpected.”
Klaus imagined that the negotiation would go something along the lines of, “We will surrender quietly, so you must guarantee our safety.” The difference in strength was so overwhelming that it was to be expected that the enemy forces would offer to negotiate.
“No, it’s actually… That is to say…”
The messenger reacted in a half-hearted manner. This sort of a vague answer was not acceptable from a messenger and Klaus shouted angrily at him.
“You idiot! How can a messenger react like this!? If you have something to say, spit it out!”
“Y-yes! I beg your pardon! The one who offered to negotiate was the fourth prince of the Land Kingdom, Lute Land. The matters to be discussed are “negotiations for a ceasefire”!”
This was something that Klaus, who was endowed with the natural talents for warfare, could not have anticipated at all, and it was proof that the situation was indeed unexpected.
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