BBYW Vol. 1 Interlude 4

Interlude 4  –  The Father’s Fist and the Mother’s Sword

We three then headed to Fort Bryden, anticipating the Maxwell armies.

As I had foreseen, the empire’s forces were already heading this way; the soldiers in the fort had already been informed.

“Okay then, since we managed to arrive here early, might as well check out the frontline defenses before the old man gets here!”

According to the officer in charge of the fort, the Maxwell army would arrive in about two weeks. Until then, we trained with the soldiers stationed in the fort and observed its defensive structures.

Then — 10 days later.

Margrave Maxwell had arrived a couple days in advance.

“You blasted foooollll!!!”

“Gwoh!?”

As soon as the old man, Margrave Dietrich Maxwell, entered the fort, his fist collided with my head.

After becoming margrave he did not go to the frontlines as often as before, but my father was an extremely skilled swordsman who succeeded in winning the royal martial tournament in the capital 10 times in a row. The fist of the man called the “Sword Demon” was so heavy I thought my head was going to split open.

“You little rascals…you’ve really done it…”

“Agh…”

“My deepest apologies!”

Ladd and Salm were also subjected to the same two hour-long hellish lecture I received.

The old man had come earlier to the fort specifically to lecture us: the main army would arrive later. Was he so eager to scold me, really?

“A test of courage at a time like this…? I don’t know whether I should be impressed or worried…”

After two hours of endless lecturing, the old man’s anger finally abated.

I pursed my lips and objected.

“They say kids have to learn on their own, right? We just gave ourselves a trial.”

“…that’s not something a kid can say. Who did you get that from, honestly…”

The old man scratched his head hopelessly and sighed.

“Ladd, Salm, you two can go. Not you, Dyn.”

“Yessir! With your permission!”

“Yes, my lord! With your permission!”

“Hey! Why only me — you two, wait!!”

My two comrades did not hesitate to abandon me as soon as they were allowed to leave the room.

I glared fiercely at the door as it closed behind them and the old man laughed wryly.

“Rest easy, I didn’t keep you here for another lecture. There’s something I have to give you.”

“What? Pocket money?”

“If you want that, you have to behave. I have something for you from Grace…”

“Grace”. As soon as I heard that name, I began to make my escape. The house steward was standing in front of the door, so I ran towards the window and put a leg through it.

“Stop this instant!! You’re not going anywhere!!”

The old man grabbed my collar and wrested me back to the center of the room. Incidentally, we were on the second floor.

“It’s your fault for saying that name! You’re going to give me bad luck just before my first battle!”

“You little…! That is no way to talk about your mother!!”

Yes, Grace was my mother’s name.

I didn’t know what people normally thought of their mothers, but for me the mere mention of her name was enough to make me tremble in terror.

For me it was simply insane of the old man to say that name just before my first battle, a very important event in my life.

“I can tell that you’re thinking some really nasty things right now…Grace is a kind and loving mother, isn’t she?”

“You got maggots in your brain, old man? Want me to call the head doctor?”

The old man sighed at my reaction, but only received insults in return.

As always, he was far too easy on her. How could he see illusions like that in that crazy woman?

“Honestly! Grace went out of her way to send a present for your first battle, you know! You better fix your attitude towards your mother!”

“Whaat!? She sent a present for me!?”

My bad luck wasn’t over yet.

I thought to run away again, but stopped once I saw the “present” in the old man’s hands.

“That’s…a sword, right?”

“Yeah, Grace sent this for you.”

“…there aren’t any poisoned needles on the hilt, right? It won’t explode if I take it out of the scabbard, will it?”

“…what do you think your mother is?”

A crazy woman screwed up in the head…is what I wanted to say, but I just kept quiet and took the sword instead.

I took the sword out of the scabbard to see it under the light, revealing a steel blade.

The hilt and scabbard looked a bit worn out, but the blade itself was very well built: it looked extremely sharp.

“It’s not new…the design looks pretty old too, is this an antique or something?”

“Could it be a magic tool?”

“A magic tool?”

The sword looked pretty old indeed, so it wouldn’t be strange if it really was a relic from the ancient ages.

However— 

“…well, supposing it’s a magic tool, how do you use it?”

The problem was that I didn’t know how to use it. What was the point of giving it to me without a single explanation?

“Don’t be so rash, Grace included a letter. It surely explains how to use it.”

“Yeah, right…”

The old man gave me the envelope and I opened it. I opened the letter and read it, but the contents were pretty simple.

“Grace prepared a present for your first battle, isn’t she a kind mother after all? I know that you’re in your rebellious period, but you should show her proper respect and…”

“Here, old man.”

“Hm?”

“The letter. You read it too.”

I gave the old man the letter and he read through it curiously.

The letter read exactly as follows.

To my son,

Kill all enemies. Rape their women. Take their riches. Don’t let even one go back alive.

Grace D.O. Maxwell

“…….”

“What was that you said? Proper respect?”

“…Grace has a playful side to her, after all. She’s just too embarrassed to be honest sometimes, hahaha…”

“What part of that is playful!? That is your wife!! Accept the reality!!”

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