“Oh, Your Majesty. I wish to express my gratitude for reserving your precious time for someone like me.” (?)
It was five days after a mere 12-year old boy subjugated an undead, ancient dragon causing a huge uproar in the royal capital.
The place was the audience hall of the royal castle, where King Helmut the 37th granted his nation’s Head Magician, Klimt Christoph von Armstrong (T/N: >>Kurumito Kurisutofu fon Amusutorongu <<), an audience.
Armstrong-doushi1 had the appearance of a younger 30-year old on a first look, but in reality the true age of his youthful physique was actually nearing 40 years.
He was a genius who has worked as the kingdom’s Royal Head Magician for about ten years. Furthermore he possessed a rather large build. (T/N: Yep, FMA … now he just needs to take off his clothes to show his muscles…)
He is 210 centimeters in height and weighs over 130 kilogram; in other words, you could call him a bear of a man.
Because he was a magician he wore a robe, although the inner part of the robe was filled with steel-like muscles. (T/N: Lol)
Furthermore, the wand he held in his hand was also amazing.
It was nearly as long as his own height, difficult to be held by a magician. Usually a wand is made out of wood but this one was completely made out of mithril. At the tip there was a deep red magic crystal attached with a size of the degree of a watermelon. (ED: Isn’t it more of a mace than wand now?!)
Based on his appearance, rather than a magician he could certainly be labelled as a martial artist, warrior, or something along those lines. Even if you assumed him to be a magician after all, he would be categorized as the type specialized in combat.
He had trained his body to the limits to use the vast amount of mana he possessed. With his ultra high speed flight magic, which allowed him to freely maneuver in all directions, his enemies were pulverized.
Moreover, Armstrong-doushi’s magic attribute of the emission system was nothing to sneer at in regards to its power.
Its shape wasn’t spherical, but appeared in the shapes of a snake and he was capable of controlling up to 8 such bodies, freely and all at once, which were made out of fire and ice.
There was no need to talk about its obvious power.
Since this world has not had a war in quite a while, this combat-type Royal Head Magician was appointed to his position because of his peculiar, offensive magic in these times of pursuing a balance and peace.
At the military exercise which was performed once a year, he was endowed with a strategic class fighting strength which had earned him the title 『Match for a Thousand2』.
『If a war was about to start, an unskilled invasion with an army corps, with a troubling composition, could be easily massacred by Armstrong himself without concern for their numbers』.
Those were the honest opinions of the Holy Empire Urguhart’s army top brass.
“To meet you, We don’t mind spending some of Our time.” (Helmut)
“I am extremely honored.” (Armstrong)
An audience for the Royal Head Magician might seem weird as the king of a whole country certainly was busy with various issues. Thus no matter how much he was a Royal Head Magician, it wasn’t a simple feat to have a long conversation with His Majesty. His previous words served as proof of that.
Nevertheless, Helmut the 37th put in great efforts to meet Armstrong-doushi as soon as possible.
Only that could serve as proof of his trust in Armstrong.
“Fumu. Sorry for troubling you with the scouting mission in the Palkenia Grasslands.” (Helmut)
“Not at all, the scouting mission was quite easy. This reconnaissance has already been done directly by seven generations of Royal Head Magicians after all. Though there is no new information to report either.” (Armstrong)
“So, that’s how it is. Just as before, as long as the 『Grade Grande (T/N: >> guredo gurando <<)』 isn’t defeated the development of the grasslands remains impossible.” (Helmut)
“I’m afraid that is so…” (Armstrong)
The royal capital of the Helmut Kingdom, Stadtburg, exceeded a population of 1 million people. As a matter of fact, there was a problem that was assigned for generations of kings as homework.
That was to solve the problem of the food situation as there were too many mouths to feed.
Of course, being completely self-supporting was close to impossible and and the kingdom’s side didn’t intend to go that far either.
However, the grain supply from the grain-producing regions like the border territory of the margraviate of Holmer was separated by over 1000 kilometers from Stadtburg which obviously could be called a problem.
Although there was the problem of distance, too, if you considered the issue of security guarantee, they wanted a large-scale grain producing region under their direct control.
Several small to mid-sized areas already existed, but as far as large-scaled areas were concerned, the geographical conditions were severe.
Even on the condition of annexing such a place, if possible, the reality was that there was no such place in the range of 100 kilometers from Stadtburg except one, the Palkenia Grasslands.
This Palkenia Grasslands was a huge flat grass-covered region with just the proper amount of precipitation as well. The water necessary for agriculture could be provided by the the rivers flowing close by and you could expect the development to be comparatively easy!
Well then, why didn’t anyone develop this area so far?
That was, simply put, because this area was a monster domain.
“Because it is a plain, the Grade Grande can be seen quite often. It was leisurely preying on a crowd of horn sheep and attacked them.” (Armstrong)
“That annoying old experienced mole.” (Helmut)
The Grade Grande was a huge monster with the Dragon attribute which decided to make the Palkenia Grasslands it’s own turf.
Its age is assumed to be older than 5000 years and its over-all length is about 30 meters.
Although it doesn’t reach the power or length of the undead, ancient dragon from before, it was a monster (bakemono) categorized as Calamity Class by humanity.
“In the case of the Palkenia Grasslands, if only that Grade Grande could be defeated, it would be possible to have the adventurer forces to exterminate the other monsters (mamono) in one go…” (Helmut)
The majority of the monster domains were forests, mountains, plateaus, deserts and rocky areas. All the places where it would be difficult to completely exterminate the monsters living there. Most of the areas weren’t worth the time and labor to expressly clear of monsters.
However, in the case of the Palkenia Grasslands, if the Grade Grande was defeated, they could immediately start to develop the area for agriculture.
Also, if the monsters domain in the grassland area, which was about 100 kilometers away from the royal capital, disappeared, then the access to the outer regions would improve as the need for a large detour around it would also disappear.
Considering the point of view for the distribution of goods along the roads, the economic effect would become immeasurable.
“That’s why I thought, for generations of Majesties…” (Armstrong)
“Maa, there will be heaps of corpses around…” (Helmut)
Gathering a great number of adventurers, it was possible to aim for the head of Grade Grande.
The military authorities would demand to be allowed to dispatch the troops as physical training and wanting to reap some achievements as well. The king could only imagine thousands of military troops being annihilated at that time…
The kingdom came into existence by capturing relatively easy monster domains and liberating them successfully at first.
Even if they didn’t succeed in one, there were more than double the amount of domains on the continent in comparison. However the access to uninhibited savage lands wasn’t available either.
But since then, the practice of liberating a monster domain has hardly succeeded in the last millennium.
The locations that were fairly easy to liberate now were those that were already prepared by the ancient people.
What remained were either areas with difficult and rough geographies, or areas where the monsters are organize by greater monsters whom reigned at the top of the food chain as kings and are difficult to defeat.
“Very well, all that remains is the king of the domain with the dragon attribute.” (Helmut)
“The domain is not fully explored yet, and if we’re unlucky then there might be Earth Turtles and Birds of Paradise that have became kings as well.” (Armstrong)
“Haste might not be the best course of action either… Previously, there was a grand army sent to its death by someone who wanted to obtain the ultra-rare ingredients for an unusually effective medicine, all to cure their ailing son.” (Helmut)
“The margrave of Breithilde, no?” (Armstrong)
“His predecessor, in fact. I doubt the current Margrave Breithilde would pull off anything so reckless. His predecessor; the current generation’s head won’t imitate such reckless behavior. It looks like he has been somehow managing to recover from his predecessor’s blunder.” (Helmut)
The annihilation of the previous margrave of Breithilde’s army in the Demon Forest was received with a shock in the royal palace.
If it was the arbitrary action of someone on the level of a baron, the royal palace wouldn’t pay any heed to it.
But, as the the margrave of Breithilde had the leading position in the assembly on nobles in the southern part of the kingdom, such a matter had caused huge waves.
If the margraviate of Breithilde somehow drifted into a state of chaos, it would have a huge impact on the kingdom’s southern parts.
“Your best friend has already died.” (Helmut)
“Yes… Alfred wasn’t a man who was supposed to die on such an absurd expedition. Not only was he my best friend, he also was my strongest rival.” (Armstrong)
The two were magicians born in the royal capital with the same capacity in magic. One was an orphan who didn’t even know his parents, while Klimt was the second son of the Kingdom’s most distinguished noble family, the Armstrong earl household.
By all rights, these two should have concluded their lives while not meeting the gaze of the other in their whole life. Yet, as a result of both having talent in magic, they both enrolled in the capital’s adventurer prep school and ended up having their desks right next to each other, driving both to further master magic and martial arts.
“His mana was slightly above mine, and the same can be said about his level of physical ability enhancement magic. My method of using magic of the emission system to gain power originally was from Alfred’s discovery. Furthermore, Alfred skilfully mastered the usage of multi-colored magic. As I am an awkward person, I thought it would be impossible for me to become the Royal Head Magician.” (Armstrong)
As he had become that Royal Head Magician himself, Alfred, who didn’t have any nice memories of his childhood as orphan in the capital, soon ended up being employed by the margrave of Breithilde after retiring from his work as adventurer.
Even so, that choice led the young talent leave behind the land for eternity.
“I looked forward to having a serious magic duel with Alfred someday…” (Armstrong)
“Regarding the circumstances of Alfred, I also feel sorry for his master, Burkhart, who took care of him.” (Helmut)
Armstrong-doushi could still clearly recall the matter of Burkhart becoming Alfred’s master.
Although his mana fell short in comparison to those two, he was a person who had ought to be respected for compensating with his intelligence, experience, and training.
It was just slightly ironic that he occasionally stained this respect with his excessive drinking.
“But now that Burkhart seems to be taking care of Alfred’s disciple. They are currently in the royal capital.” (Helmut)
“About what you’ve just mentioned, please tell me more!” (Armstrong)
He ended up using a loud voice, but there was a good reason for it.
The one rival he had recognized as such had a disciple; Alfred even went as far as becoming a talking corpse to convey his techniques to him.
Moreover that disciple, on the way to the royal capital in order to attend his older brother’s wedding, had defeated an undead, ancient dragon almost completely by himself. The chances of the appearance of such a beast and his actions were close to a miracle.
“At the time Your Majesty summoned the boy, I was still at the Palkenia Grasslands.” (Armstrong)
‘What a bad timing.’ Armstrong-doushi ended up thinking.
Therefore he had considered to participate in the older brother’s marriage party, but his family ended up stopping him.
As that disciple had obtained such a level of achievement he was granted the title of associate baron, it seems that there were many who greedily wanted to use the opportunity of the wedding to form a connection with him.
‘You shouldn’t ruin the elder brother’s long-awaited marriage announcement party with such boorish conduct,’ was the warning given by the marquis Finance Minister Rückner in the end.
“I want to meet that boy.” (Armstrong)
“I can very well understand that feeling. But it should be fine to wait for a few more days.” (Helmut)
“A few more days? Oh! So you have approved my strategy.” (Armstrong)
“No matter how strong you may be, that Grade Grande is not anything you should fight by yourself. We are not overly eager to lose you to such a gamble.” (Helmut)
It didn’t matter how elite the army facing that dragon was, it would still be an act of recklessness.
The vast range of its breath attack alone would end up causing high, pointless losses in the long run.
In the worst case, all of them could end up being annihilated.
In order to defeat the dragon, they decided to use magicians who were capable of using ancient flight magic to attack since it proved to be effective.
Flight magic was required as the attacks with regular weapons from the ground wouldn’t be able to critically injure it due to its sheer size. No matter how sharp and nimble a soldier could move, it was impossible to avoid the swings of the gigantic tail that could crush them instantly.
In the end, it would be a battle for a few powerful and elite magicians.
Rather than using thousands of unskilled military troops, the chance to win would increased manifold by having extremely powerful magicians fight it in small numbers by themselves.
However, having Armstrong-doushi fighting by himself was quite disadvantageous as well.
“I am extremely honored.” (Armstrong)
“And that’s where you are allowed to laugh at the plan of an amateur in magic. Then, how about having Associate Baron Baumeister and Burkhart Ringstadt join you?” (Helmut)
Armstrong-doushi emitted a smile from the bottom of his heart, that hadn’t been seen up until now, towards the strategic idea of King Helmut the 37th.
“Associate Baron Baumeister and I will keep Grade Grande busy with attacks while Burkhart-dono will provide support from the rear. There are plenty of chances to win this!” (Armstrong)
“Then it is decided. We will order the subjugation of Grade Grande by Our authority.” (Helmut)
One by one, the retainers of King Helmut the 37th proceeded to run off to execute the order given by the composed ruler.
The Minister for Agricultural Affairs Brückner (T/N: >> Burukkuna <<) advanced the project of cultivating the new land and the Minister of Military and Naval Affairs Edgar (T/N: >> Edoga <<) prepared the systematic erasure of the monsters after the subjugation of Grade Grande.
Furthermore, in order to recruit the people to reclaim the new land to be cultivated and the adventurers sent by the guild to hunt the monsters in a joint operation with the army, Finance Minister Rückner was appointed to prepare the necessary budget for these expenditures.
For some reason, all those involved held an unshakable confidence in the strategy of Helmut the 37th to subjugate Grade Grande.
“It won’t be an overly great amusement.” (Armstrong)
“That seems so. With this, it will be fine to do a showy salute of guns for Associate Baron Baumeister.” (Helmut)
Like this, without Wendelin even being aware of it, an outrageous battle plan was forged. And he was nominated as participant by Helmut the 37th.
1 doushi translates as officiating monk or spiritual guide.
2 Originally it would be “someone rivalling one army corps” but that sounds boring, doesn’t it?