28 A Moment Like This
(From the point of view of Lars Frigg)
"So, do you have anyone you particularly wish to be a part of your battalion?" The king said with a chuckle while looking at his now determined son before him.
"Uhm..." Vonerich said while furrowing his brows before taking a piece of soggy-looking paper tucked in the waist of his harem pants. He then unfolded it to reveal a list of names that have been partially tainted because of his sweat. "These are the people that I trust more than anything else in my life! Of course, you and my brother are here, too, father, so you guys are already disqualified, but I would love all of the people here to be a part of my battalion!" Vonerich said with a naive grin while chuckling playfully.
I then looked at the list, and, indeed, it contains a few names of some people that I already know. The first one written on it is the name of the king, of course, followed by Prince Venne, which is... haa... understandable. Oh, but I came next! I... aww... Well, that's a tad bit sweet of him to think that I am at least the highest among his friends in his trust metric. Hmm... Though, I am not sure if the list is mainly written based on some kind of ranking in mind, but oh well!
The names that follow are also a few of Vonerich's close friends... of course, there's Song Eight too, oh, and I also saw Song Six... and oh, there's that guy that I saw in his room earlier, and...
Isn't this just a comprehensive list of the people he fucked? If I and his father and brother weren't written there, I would probably conclude that this is definitely just his booty call list!
"Well, why don't we add these people to your battalion then!" King Devyn then snapped his fingers, and one soldier stepped in from the crowd and approached the king. The armored soldier then knelt before his ruler wordlessly, waiting for further instructions.
"My son, this is one of our most promising soldiers under the care of General Trias." Ahh... General Trias is an old retired soldier who's now spending the rest of his life teaching young men about the art of the battlefield. I heard that General Trias is picky when it comes to accepting students and is absolutely brutal when it comes to the way he teaches the young people under his wings. If rumors are to be believed, then this soldier has got to have seen the worst and the best education this boy could ever find in Varba. "He will be accompanying you, so he can advise you on deciding upon the best course of action to do in your first battle! What say you, my son?"
"I am very happy that you would give me this opportunity, father!" Vonerich said as he bowed before his father, the king, with a satisfied smile on his face.
I looked at the soldier who's kneeling on the ground beside the king's feet, and I... Why did the king appoint such a young man to be my prince's aid when I am already here beside him? I am perfectly qualified to teach Vonerich about warfare, and if the plans are to be followed, then there's absolutely nothing we should be worried about in this battle. At best, we would be facing a few hundred soldiers that we can quickly kill from afar. If worse comes to worst, I have all the knowledge and ability to protect and educate my prince during the battlefield.
We do not need this young man trailing with us. We don't even know him.
Haa... But the king's orders are absolute. I just hope this man wouldn't butt in too much just so he can have a few extra hours on Vonerich's bed.
"Very good, my son!" The king then took the soggy paper on his son's hands and winced slightly upon our first contact with it before clearing his throat with a sigh. "Madame Song, I want you to remember all of the people in this list and promptly add them to my son's battalion before you depart this afternoon!"
"Th-this afternoon, my king? Must we really head there so swiftly?" Vonerich said with a pale and nervous expression.
"It seems that the prince is faltering." Prince Carnegie said, which made a few people in the crowd chuckle and giggle.
"No, uncle, I'm only uncertain because I have left all of my equipment at home, and I'm afraid I have to return swiftly before the afternoon. Now, shush, will you, I'm talking to my father here." Vonerich then showed a smile as he moved his gaze to look at his father. "May I go now and prepare before noon, my king?"
"Absolutely, my son!" The king then clapped his hands twice as he uttered, "Now, raise your head, soldier and follow the prince back to his quarters!"
Oh, yeah. That guy is still kneeling there. He then raised his body and followed Vonerich as he left the council room. When he did so, I saw a few people scowling at him, probably disgusted with the way he spoke to Prince Carnegie in quite an audacious way earlier. Well, it is not a lie that they both do not like each other. I then looked at the young man who's following us and saw that he's trying his hardest to contain himself from smiling as his face flushed with excitement. Oh, god... it's one of those people, huh?
When we left the room, I quickly broke the silence and went beside the soldier and asked, "So what's your name, soldier?"
"Ah!" He said as he flinched, not even knowing what seemed to be happening as he looked at me with his hands on his nape, "My name is Phu Quoc, Sir Frigg!"
"Phu C--" I exclaimed, trying my hardest not to laugh at the name that I had just heard. "Oh, wow, your parents must have hated you somehow!" I said with a playful chuckle as I continued to walk beside Vonerich. At the moment, the prince is speaking with Song Eight, who's nodding with a broad and gentle smile on her face, seemingly still thankful for what the prince had done in the council room earlier.
"H-how did you know, sir?" The young soldier said as he looked at me with a downcast expression.
Gods, have I landed myself on a landmine because of that question? "Err... Ah, by the way, how old are you exactly?" I asked, wanting to take the tension in the air away after what had just happened.
"Ah! I'm 19, Sir Frigg." The young soldier said--I refuse to say his name--with a face filled with a refreshing smile.
Goodness, nineteen-years-old!? I'm 11 years older than him, and Vonerich is 10 years older than him! Did the king seriously just make this man the prince's aid, or is it just another way for this kid to gain some experience? This is crazy!
It seemed that Vonerich must have heard our conversation as he said with a defeated smile, "Why don't you wait on the docks for us, old man? Us young folks have some weapons to take in my city, old man!"
Haa... Well, I do feel like my bones tend to crack more easily these past few years...
"Alright, alright, you children go get your toys, and I will ready our ship. I'm sure our men would already be on the docks so that I will brief them of the plan for you!" I said with a shrug as I went and took a sharp turn towards a different direction away from them while waving my hands.
Well, the rest is whatever... Vonerich went ahead and placed both her hands around Song Eight and Phu... haa... the young soldier. I then went ahead and did exactly what I had said. I went to the docks and saw that there are already countless ships there that I am too uninterested in counting. The piers we're in right now is the port used explicitly for wartime purposes, while the one far away from here is used for merchants that are giving the empire its needed supplies. Usually, one would see hundreds of approaching ships that are heading towards Varba from Duibhne. Still, today, aside from the battleships heading to war, no other vessels can be seen approaching from the far off horizon. I sighed as I headed towards the five gigantic metal ships that are supposed to house the 2,000 men that Vonerich will soon lead to war.
I spoke to the highest-ranking soldiers among them, and at best, they're all probably 16 to 21 years old men, looking for excitement in their lives with eyes filled with sparkling brilliance. Great. Not only are we supposed to take care of newbie soldiers, but we're also supposed to be their babysitters. I knew there's something fishy when the king willingly gave the prince the command for these folks. Would we even be able to see any battle in our position outside of Valencia? I think Madame Song's elite soldiers would be enough to sweep the entirety of Izrecael until there's no soldier left to grieve. Hence, the ones we're supposed to deal with are the fleeing weaklings or the ones who are crafty enough to find an easy escape route. After all, Madame Song will not chase anyone who would flee to Valencia. Gah... This is such a drag.
I then headed towards the ship that's supposed to house Prince Vonerich, and well... it looks beautiful. It's made out of entirely metal materials, it uses magic as fuel instead of coal, and it looks... it looks rich. It got gold engravings on the side, and the paint they used on the sail looks like it was made from the finest materials they could ever find. I scoured the humongous ship and spoke to the people who we will be working with, such as the actual elite soldiers on board, the captain, the crewmates, and the engineers. I found out that the ship contains luxurious beds, rooms, food, and supplies for all the men in the ship, which is unlike the dirt-filled case in the other vessels wherein five to ten soldiers have to sleep in one small room together. It looks like this ship was appropriately funded, and that's not really a good thing to know since it shows that the royal family is lavishly putting whatever unneeded stupidity all over the ship just because a prince is in it. There's even a room here with a pool! Wha... Why? It is a massive contrast to the cramped wooden ships that housed the younger soldiers, and this one definitely doesn't have a repugnant stench hanging everywhere. I wish I could say the same thing about the other boats. I pity the other soldiers; I might have to speak with Vonerich about this later. This shouldn't be okay.
Since Madame Song will be heading to Duibhne first, her ships were docked on another port, so I couldn't bid her farewell first before we left.
After a while, I saw Vonerich in his battle outfit.
Oh, gods... His battle outfit.
Unlike Song Eight, who decided to wear a comfortable-looking black robe imbued with some sort of magical aura, the prince is... He's wearing a red fabric that only covers his nipples hanging on his shoulders while it's adorned with countless rhinestones and god-knows-how-many magical enhancements. Thus, everyone can see his belly button and his chiseled abdominal muscles. It seems that Vonerich was too lazy to wear something else because he still has the same black harem pants that he's wearing earlier, along with the same jazz shoes. Unlike the young soldier beside him who's wearing something much more modest and an armor that can actually protect him, the prince decided to wear a red cape made out of some kind of polyester material. From what I could gather, he can pull the cape up with his outstretched hands and turn into them into makeshift wings. If that is not showy enough, the prince even has this metallic headdress on his head that seemed to look like the shape of a dragon designed so ornately that I could still see just how intricate its design was even from afar. The headdress is imbued with a substantial amount of aura that spills out of the prince's head, so he leaves a trail of violet mana on his head as he walks.
When the Vonerich saw me leaning my body on the golden ship that's placed here precisely for his use, I saw the prince uttering a few words to the two people around him before he leaped twice while looking at me. He then used his signature wind magic that can blow entire towns away if he so desires just so he can fly into the sky and use his makeshift red wings to maneuver his movements. As the prince hovers into the air, streaks of violet, red, and blue mana spew out of his headdress, wings, and torso, creating a beautiful array of colors playfully entangling upon the wind. He then flew like a playful butterfly above the ship, circling around the mast in a downward spiral before he graciously landed beside me.
With a cheeky smile, he placed his arms around my neck and whispered, "What do you think? Can I pass as a Crespa now?"
"No, you look too stupid," I said without even moving a muscle on my face as I stand perfectly still before Vonerich.
"Psh. Killjoy prick." He said with a scoff as he stepped away from me.
At this point, Song Eight and the young soldier Phu already entered the ship and are now approaching us into the deck.
"Beautiful as always, Your Highness Vonerich." Song Eight jokingly muttered as I whiffed a bit of her citrus scent.
"Why, thank you, my lovely doll! At least you can see perfection," He said with a grateful smile before scowling and rolling his eyes towards my direction. "UNLIKE SOMEONE ELSE I KNOW!" He said with a scornful but playful tone as he chuckled before placing his hand on my shoulder.
"Whatever," I said, still unmoving on my spot while looking at the countless ships that had already moved out from a distance. "All of your booty calls have been answered by the way. I personally greeted them earlier. They're in this ship if you want to fuck them later." I said playfully, not wanting to make the same mistake I did earlier.
"Ah! I'm not into it today, my friend." So he WOULD fuck them if the situation is a bit different? I guess... I don't have to apologize for this one then? "Look around you; people are moving around and are now headed towards a war that we will definitely win!" He said as he waved his outstretched hand into the air. "People will kill for this moment to happen, Frigg, and it's just given to us like that! We have to take it seriously and make all of our moves as calculated as possible.
I then eyed the prince from top to bottom, back to back with the same expressionless face. "Serious, huh? Sure, Vonerich."
"YOU'RE SO MEAN!" The prince's shout resounded in the air as our ship slowly moved out of the docks. Meanwhile, I just laughed at him as I placed my hand on his shoulder before pulling him towards a map I laid up on the side.
"I-is it really okay for Sir Frigg to speak that way to the prince?" I heard the young soldier ask silently to Song Eight with his hand hiding the side of his lips away from us.
"Of course, soldier. They're friends. That's what friends do." She then moved her head to point at us. "Now, why don't we go and do our job and help the prince with the planning then, shall we?" Song Eight loudly replied with a cheeky tone.