Atelier Tanaka Volume 1 &2 Chapter 29 Part 3
“You were superb in command. I can only hope that I can reach that level someday.”
“No, really, the only reason things went so well is that everyone was so willing to cooperate.”
It’s not good for him to be speaking so openly about his inexperience. Especially with Klein here. If word were to spread about Allen’s inexperience many soldiers would begin to doubt him.
I looked around at our surroundings to see if there might be anything I’d like to ask Allen.
But, my eyes quickly met with the Dark Elf’s.
And she immediately averted her gaze.
I’m not going to say anything to you to incur your wrath.
“By the way, when did you get here, Allen?”
“I only just arrived yesterday evening.”
Given the information I got in the past, an elite knight like Allen wouldn’t be sent to the front lines. Perhaps he decided to come here on his own. Maybe he came for Ester-chan.
“I’m, well, how should I put it? I’m a really foolish man.”
“That was sudden. What’s wrong?”
The ikemen was showing his usual cheerful smile, but there was a dark shadow hanging over his face.
Even with this depressing look on his face he still looks cool. Can this guy ever look uncool? I bet he could just point to his crotch and any surrounding women would come to service him in no time.
I’d also like to experience that.
“I worked so hard for her and she never even noticed. She’s more important to me than anyone else in this world but I’m nothing more than a friend to her.”
“So that’s why you wanted to go to Tricklis.”
It seems like I was right.
He’s here for Ester-chan.
There’s no other reason he’d come to such a dangerous place. Due to Allen’s rank, there’s a high possibility that he could die before he even gets to meet her.
“Yes, it’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I came to see you the day you left. I spoke with Sophisan and she told me where both you and Ester were.”
“That just goes to show how great of a man you are. I’m only here because I was conscripted by the Guild. You came here on your own. You’re brave.”
“Even so, don’t you feel like we’ve abandoned the students at the school? The Knights of the Order are stationed there to protect the students. Yet, almost every knight has been pulled away from the school.”
“I’m not the one that makes those decisions so I really can’t answer.”
But this guy was alone with Sophichan in my dorm room, right? Was that his plan? Sneak into the dormitory once Ester-chan and I had left and do all sorts of things to the unsuspecting Sophichan.
Actually, knowing Sophichan, she’d probably willingly invite him inside.
Recently, I felt like we were starting to get along well.
“How was Sophisan doing?”
“Oh, she was fine. She seemed worried about you.”
I’m surprised to hear that.
Maybe I’m finally starting to develop social skills now that I’ve reached my late thirties. Now that I’m of an age that nobody would want to marry me, I have nothing to lose. And a man with nothing to lose is powerful.
“That’s good to hear.”
“Yeah. That’s why you should try to return home soon and let her know you’re safe.”
“I think so too. And that’s why we should win this conflict as soon as possible.”
“Yeah, I agree.”
I kind of want to get a drink with this guy.
In fact, the night spent out with Neumann, I was so obsessed with eating good food that I didn’t even drink anything.
I’ll have to be sure to grab a drink when I return home.
It’s good for two men to bond over a drink every now and then.
“E-Excuse me! Allen Senpai!”
“Hm? What is it, Klein?”
For a few seconds, the shota kept glancing at the ground then back up at Allen and me.
“It-It might be rude of me to ask, but.”
“Please, say what’s on your mind.”
“Well, u-umm. What kind of relationship do you have with Tanaksan?”
“Ah, I never introduced you. Sorry, sorry.”
The shota asked this with moist eyes.
In response to his question, Allen responded with a casual tone.
And placed his hand on my shoulder.
“This is Tanaksan. The man I adore more than anyone else.”
EhAllen Senpaiy-you adore him?”
“Yes. Oh, can you call me Saito from now on?”
“Yes, thank you.”
Allen showed one of his trademark ikemen smiles.
Is he still going by Saito?
And why do I feel such a strange sense of guilt right now?
“Anyway, we’ve been talking out here for far too long now. There’s a nearby tent that’s been prepared for my company. For strategic purposes, we’ll be called the ‘First Company.’ Let’s move there so we can continue these talks. You can also receive any equipment you need there.”
“Alright, I’ll offer whatever help I can.”
“Thank you very much, Tanaksan. I’m sure you’ll be a great help. I was honestly worried about being in command. Not only are there a large number of soldiers here, most of them have never even seen real combat.”
“I-I’ll help too!”
“Thank you, Klein. Then, shall we get going?”
Following Allen’s instructions, we headed to the nearby tent to give everyone their assignments.
When dusk had arrived, we had finally finished assigning everyone to their companies.
We had also finished giving equipment out to everyone that needed it. Now all of the soldiers, including us, were waiting in the camp. From what I’ve heard, the enemy is currently amassing more soldiers and fighting power on their side of the border. All the while, they’re still keeping an eye on us, making sure we’re not planning any attacks.
So, I have time to waste here with Allen.
I decided I should use this time to ask him some questions I’ve had.
“Allen-san, there’s something I wanted to ask.”
“What is it?”
Immediately after leaving the tent, I stopped him to ask him this.
“There are some things I’d like to know about the social classes of this country.”
It was something I was never able to talk to the Dark Elf about.
By the way, after Allen and I entered the tent, the Dark Elf seemed to have disappeared somewhere. Maybe she was just disgusted with the sheer number of people that were crammed insider there. Even when she was fighting with the Henry, Gonzalez, and the other adventurers, she seemed annoyed just being around them.
Besides Allen’s company, there were over a dozen other companies of equal size. These tents aren’t exactly spacious and the way they’re lined up side-by-side is similar to a settlement. The adventurers that have gathered here are also pretty rough looking, and I’m sure their blood is pumping in anticipation of the battle.
For such a big-breasted beauty to be in a place like this, especially considering she has a slave collar around her neck.
Just thinking about it makes me want to find an empty tent and release all my pent-up desires.
So that might be why she’s trying to stay away from any large crowds.
“It might be difficult for a foreigner like yourself to understand. The class system of the Penny Empire is really like nowhere else. It’s based a lot on one’s history or, more accurately, the history of their family. It’s rather hard to explain.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. For example, my rank, which is captain of the Order, is in the middle.”
“Klein was talking about how impressive you are for reaching your rank at such a young age.”
“No, I was just lucky. Despite my title, I’m really nothing more than a squad leader. There are many other regional knights that are the same age as me that fulfil the same duties I do. I just happen to be stationed in the capital and, therefore, my position is given more respect. If I were to join the order of knights assigned to Ester’s family, I’d become the squad leader there. Some might view this as a demotion, but in reality, I’d be in the same role I’m in now.”
“Umm, I’m sorry to keep interrupting, but when you talk about regional knights.”
“A regional order of knights are knights that are just assigned to less powerful lords. Although they’re basically private soldiers, they must receive permission from the capital before they’re allowed to create their own order. While the Order I belong to serves to protect the royal family above all else. The primary duty of these regional orders is to protect their respective lords.”
I see. It’s somewhat similar to different branches of a company.
“Are these two types of orders different?”
“Yes. The titles used are similar, but each order gives these titles their own ranking. And even those with the same title may be of a differing rank depending on which order you’re talking about.”
It seems a little complicated.
“It actually becomes quite troublesome for the Penny Empire. These ranks are given based on the knight’s background, history, their family’s history, and the relationships they have with the higher-ups behind-the-scenes. It’s a recurring issue for there to be two knights with identical titles, but one of them comes from a much more prestigious family and, therefore, feels like he is deserving of a higher rank.”
This really can’t be compared to a modern-day company.
It seems like the difference in rank can vary far too much. How exactly do they determine who is the higher rank? Are there any orders that rank higher than all others? I’d guess that would have to be the Royal Knights that Allen belongs to.
“And this isn’t just limited to the Order. The military, the imperial knights, and, in some cases, even monasteries use this ranking system. The ranking of your title may rise and fall depending on how much power the organization to which you belong holds.”
“It’s still confusing.”
A second lieutenant in the Self Defense Force is equivalent to an assistant inspector in the police force. I would sometimes see stories about this on the news. It seems that in this world ranks have become much more complicated because of the integration of jobs that are tantamount to those of the private sector in Japan.
At the same time, the feudal system that this country still uses further complicates things. I need to learn more about this system and consider it whenever I meet someone new.
Just thinking about it annoys me.
“So, more recently, there have been people saying that there needs to be a new system implemented to correct the differences in rank. That way, if someone were to leave the military and join a monastery, they’d still hold the power that they’ve rightfully earned.”
I think I remember Henry saying something similar to that.
“Learning a complicated system like this is probably hard for a foreigner, isn’t it?”
“That seems to be the case.”
Allen showed me a bitter smile.
It seems like this one system of this world has enough content to fill the entirety of a book. I’ll have to ask Edita Sensei to explain it to me. Maybe she can even put it into a book for me. I’m sure it would be a masterpiece.
I could even spend a few days reading through it with Sophichan in my dorm.
I need to stop thinking about Sophichan.
“There’s really only one class that doesn’t follow this system.”
“Yeah. The nobility.”
The nobles. Those ranked highest in any feudal class system.
“Whether someone belongs to the nobility or not will play a large factor in determining whether or not they rank above or below you.”
“That makes sense.”
“Of course, there are many different ranks among the nobility as well. But, given who we are, if you encounter a member of the nobility, it’s best to treat them with the respect their title warrants.”
“That actually makes things a little easier. I’ll at least know how to behave around them.”
The only issue I see is how I should interact with people ranked below the nobility.
It’s rather unfortunate that I’ll need to remember all of these rules when interacting with someone.
It’s similar to trying to memorize the countless numbers on a quarterly report.
“I’m getting confused just listening to you explain it. I’m actually amazed that you were ever able to memorize that system. I think it will be impossible for me to ever know it as well as you do.”
“Well, my parents made sure that I learned stuff like this at a young age.”
“So it was like that.”
I bet he had good parents.
Or at least that’s how I feel.
Otherwise, an ikemen like him would never need to know anything about the real world.
More importantly, apart from the noble mage and Ester-chan, and to a certain extent Allen, I haven’t really interacted with many nobles. I’ll need to be sure to remember that I can’t behave the same way around other nobles that I do around them.
“When it comes to nobility, I don’t believe there is much difference in rank no matter what country you’re in.”
“I see. It’s a strange way of governing a country.”
“Well, they are the rules we live by and I wouldn’t attempt to go against them. Someone like Ester can be a bit more defiant due to her family name. The FitzClarence family has a lot of powerful connections but not many enemies.”
I can see a hint of a shadow on his face.
It’s possible he’s had a negative experience with the nobility in the past.
Or is he just thinking back to the attack on Ester-chan?
I’m not sure.
I could easily ask him, but I don’t want to meddle too much in his life. Especially considering how much that could backfire on me. I really don’t want to picture this womanizer together with that lolibitch. And what if I cause him to realize how everything bad that’s happened to him recently has been caused by me? I don’t want my blood to be spilt by this guy’s sword.