Ashes: Howdy, for those interested in donating to help fund another release of this story, please subscribe to our Patreon. As I stated before, I do not MTL the story, I just hire people to do it for me. I’ve moved to a strictly editorial position because its time consuming while also writing the originals on my site. Tbh, I much prefer keeping it that way. Ya’know, because I like writing a lot. Anywho~ Here are some links:
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◊ Lunar Calendar, year 995 ◊
The era of peace that had lasted for nearly 40 years had come to an end, and the Duvedirica Continent was yet again ravaged by war. Started by a great country to the north, when Emperor Ramazan XIII of the Urthbelt Empire declared he would unify the entire continent. Afterward, the Empire attacked the Farnesse Kingdom, sending their large army to attack the nation on their eastern border.
Initially, the war had only been between those two great powers, The Urthbelt Empire and the Farnesse Kingdom; but the fire of war soon spread to its neighboring countries. Then, eventually, the entire continent…
◊ Lunar Calendar, year 997 ◊
Whilst the countries around the continent became desperate because of the ongoing war, the battle between the two great nations reached a turning point. On the central front, the Empire fulfilled their wishes, that was to land a heavy blow to the Kingdom. The impregnable Kiel Fortress had been captured by the empire. From there, the Empire used the fortress as a bridge to conquer, and annex, the smaller countries; by all means.
The Sutherland City State, on the southern end of the continent, had declared absolute neutrality in the war. They were, however, in league with the Empire. They had deliberately halted the food exports to the Kingdom under the guise of a bad harvest. This lead to numerous of the Kingdom’s citizens to starve to death, in several of their regions. This eventually lead to further civil unrest within.
The Kingdom, which had relied heavily on the exports from the City State because of its low food production rate, crumbled from their hidden treachery. In addition, the knowledge that the soldiers took most of the food further birthed unrest, and became a major factor in the riots by the Commoners. The Kingdom fell into a vicious cycle; using their soldiers to stop a riot – only then to be the spark of another.
With the enemies within, and out, of their borders, the Kingdom quickly began to crumble.
◊ Lunar Calendar, year 998 ◊
The Kingdom’s forces were forced to retreat from one town to another. They had no power to fight back but had only managed to maintain enough to keep their defense. As for the Empire, their battle line began to form a circle around the remaining Kingdom’s held territory. It was then that Kingdom Alfonso Sem Garmund of the Farnesse Kingdom made a difficult decision.
It was to dispatch the elites of the First Army, which defended the last fortress that protected their Capital, to recapture Kiel Fortress…
◊ ◊ ◊
On the Est Mountain across from the capital Fiss, located south of the Kingdom, was Galia Fortress. The newly established line of defense of the Kingdom. It was the most important base since it was connected to the capital by a short road. Further to the southwest, and southeast of Kiel Fortress, was Fort Kaspar. A Fort that no longer belonged to the Kingdom.
The villages and towns around the fort were now under the Empire’s rule, and soldiers were stationed along its main road. Vigilant for spies. Due to Galia’s nearby presence, the Empire had to be wary of any enemy movements. During this, at an outpost, Captain Samuel – in charge of monitoring Canary street – saw a girl headed towards the Kingdom’s capital.
She appeared to be either fifteen or sixteen, with a beautiful and delicate doll-like face. Judging from the short red tunic, she must’ve come from a nearby village. With each smooth-foot motion, a thread of silver long hair swayed gently along.
“Ho, well well…”
He thought as he clicked his tongue when he saw what hung from her waist. A finely made scabbard, unfit to be owned by a mere village girl, dangled from her waist. It was decorated with silver and gold threads. No matter how he looked, it must have been something that belonged to a wealthy noble, probably custom made by one of those brave heroes they told in the history books. Even if the scabbard was sold alone, it would net a lot of money. It was definitely not something fit for a regular village girl.
“If the scabbard is that good, then the sword inside must be amazing.”
He imagined the sword in his mind, and Samuel couldn’t help but smirk. For a moment, he suspected that she may have been a bandit instead of a village girl, but the thought that crossed his mind was immediately thrown away. It was a well-known fact that this area was controlled by the Empire. With Imperial soldiers regularly patrolling the area, there was no way a lone bandit would carelessly appear in broad daylight.
Samuel tapped the shoulder of the young soldier beside him, Cliff; then pointed to the passing girl.
“Rejoice, Cliff. Here is your first mission, do check up on that girl.”
Cliff responded as he saluted, then proceeded to control the girl in an intimidating manner.
“You! The woman over there, halt!”
Disregarding Cliff, the girl never stopped. It was clear that she should have heard him, but her expression was more of that of puzzlement.
“Cliff, try to address the woman ore politely.”
“That’s right. You shouldn’t address people roughly, otherwise, they might get scared and run away.”
The other soldiers came when they saw Cliff ignored.
Being scared of that my arse!
Cliff approached the girl angrily and grabbed her by the shoulder from behind.
“Can’t you hear me? I said halt!”
“Ee? You were talking to me?”
The girl pointed to herself with wide-eyes. She didn’t seem to be pretending. Apparently, she truly just was unaware, but Cliff thought differently as he stepped closer to the girl.
“Are you a fool? Other than you, is there any other woman around here?”
“Ee. You can tell the difference between a man and a woman? I can as well”
The girl then pointed to a female officer among the surveillance team. The person in question was surprised, a look on her face that said “What, me?”. People woul’ve thought she was only messing around, and Cliff’s face turned red with anger.
“Bitch, how dare you make fun of Imperial Soldiers! Do you have a death wish? This area is under the Empire’s Control! No Kingdom’s weakling soldiers here to help you!”
“Ah, so you are Imperial Soldier-san. Each of you are wearing such similar-looking armor, it’s hard to differentiate. I wish I had a book that tells me more about armors.”
The girl spoke with a serious expression. She showed no sign that she was scared of Cliff, her inky black eyes never fluctuated, and her speech flowed smoothly.
“Kukuku. How interesting. A woman with a strong heart.”
Samuel signaled Cliff to stop when the latter was about to draw his sword, but Cliff couldn’t just let go so easily, unaware of these bad feelings that flowed threw his body.
“Please don’t stop me, Captain! She’s clearly insulting us. Please give me permission to execute her right here!”
“Come on now, cut that out. My men must never kill any civilians, especially women. That’s the rule I’m most proud of. Remember that.”
“Though, I’m committed countless crimes against women though.”
Samuel was reminded of the girls from the village he was in charge of. They were boring girls.
“Pardon us for trying to stop you all of a sudden. Well, we were just wondering why you are going to the city while carrying such a fine sword. Anyways, wild beasts may attack out of nowhere… It can be very dangerous if you’re traveling alone. Shall I escort you?”
The nearby soldiers vulgarly laughed when they heard his pretty speech. One of the soldiers even pretended to be a wild beast and rose his hands shaped like claws as he mimicked a beast’s roar. It invited more laughter. They did not notice that the girl remained unfazed.
“Oh, is that so? But I don’t need any escorts though. I’m on my way to the Kingdom to apply to become a soldier. So please stop bothering me, will you?”
They couldn’t process what she said for a short while. Cliff was stunned, and the others were amazed. They began to think that they were dealing with an absolute idiot.
“This is tiring.”
The girl muttered as she resumed her journey toward the Kindom.
Cliff finally drew his sword out of anger. At the same time, his hand that held it went flying high into the air. Sometime during the year 998 of the Lunar calendar –
The sky was blue over Canary street.