Chapter 129 – Regiment Commander Ajen (Part 1)
The deport harbor’s army was split into two regiments and one leader amongst them was someone named Decker, who was the one the inn owner was talking about.
“If we didn’t have him, there wouldn’t be a single person left alive in this harbor.”
He put out the order for people to evacuate, and when the chaos subdues, he commands the troops and leads the way in recovery and restoration.
The owner complimented the regiment commander for a long time before leaving.
“What do you think?”
“I think we need to gather more information.”
Said Cha Ji-hye.
“The power between the two regiments, the last pirate attack and their frequency of attack, we have to investigate them. We cannot grasp who this regiment commander Decker is just based on rumors.”
“I think so too.”
We couldn’t just rely on rumors.
In the last pirate invasion they did say there was an evacuation order, but despite that, the civilian casualties wasn’t small.
The pirates would always come in from the sea, so if they had scouted more, wouldn’t they have known earlier and been able to put out an evacuation order?
I went out to the street with Cha Ji-hye and gathered more information.
I discovered a woman, together with a boy that looked to be about five years old. They looked like mother and son.
The woman was deep in worry. The boy, sucking his finger, devoid of energy, was just a pile on the floor.
‘Should I give them something to eat?’
Feeling pity, I went to get some large breads from a nearby bakery.
After the panic of the attack, the bread didn’t’ look that good, but it couldn’t be helped.
“I have something to ask you.”
I said to the woman.
She looked younger than me, but it felt awkward to talk informally when I’d just met her.
But I was a noble here, so I needed to behave like one.
Surprised, the woman bowed as deep as she could.
First, I handed her the bag of bread.
“Oh, thank you!”
The surprised woman took the bag of bread. The boy, with sparkling eyes, stared at the bread.
“When else were you attacked by pirates?”
“Three years ago in the summer was when the pirates attacked.”
“Summer, three years ago?”
“Yes, I remember because that’s when my boy had just started walking.”
3 years, she said.
‘I suppose if attacks like this happened every year that it would be impossible for people to live here.’
Those pirate bastards must have brains too. It looks like they changed their targets every year and switched around where they attacked. Since, if people don’t live there, plundering would be impossible.
“Tell me exactly what happened then.”
“Yes, that day……”
The woman tried her best to tell me about the attack three years ago.
There was one thing different from this last attack.
“Regiment commander Ajen took out the fleet but suffered a crushing defeat so he was unable to stop the pirates.”
“Regiment commander Ajen?”
“Yes, if he hadn’t lost all his men he could’ve stopped the pirates…… the tactic was brash and he wasn’t able to save anyone with it.”
After this, I continued to investigate around and everyone complimented regiment commander Decker while regiment commander Ajen was only reproached for his incompetence.
“Tsk, it was strange. That Ajen, he was very strong and tough. He was a brave sailor. Who knew he’d lose to the pirates so effortlessly.”
That was what an old fisherman said.
I used Sylph to scan the harbor. There were only 13 ships left now. I heard they worked hard to restore these.
‘It’s impossible to fight the pirates with just these?’
I’m not general Yi Sun-shin*……
(TLN: One of the greatest navel commanders in history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Sun-sin)
We returned to the inn and organized our information.
“From a military standpoint, the overwhelming naval defeat of regiment commander Ajen three years ago was a turning point. After that, the pirates had a wide net of activity and began to act freely.”
Said Cha Ji-hye.
“Having lost the means to protect its waters, no matter when the Deport harbor is attacked from pirates, it is just seen now as normal.”
“We have to find out more about regiment commander Ajen. To see if he was in cahoots with the pirates and lost on purpose or if he actually was trying to eradicate them.”
“One thing for sure is that regiment commander Ajen was the only one to really try to go up against the pirates. On the other hand, this regiment commander Decker that has the respect of the people hasn’t gone into battle even once after he arrived.”
“Now that you mention it, he was deployed here 3 years ago?”
Didn’t seem like it was coincidence.
More so than regiment commander Ajen, this guy is more suspicious.
“What use is it just us talking it over amongst ourselves. Have Sylph watch him.”
If we find regiment commander Ajen and have Sylph watch him for 24 hours, I’m sure something will come up.
“Tsk tsk, that man is like that again.”
“He’s done nothing well to deserve such leisure.”
“He didn’t show himself at all when the pirates came?”
A small pub near the inn.
A middle-aged man was lying at the table and snoring, being snickered at by others.
In his completely disheveled military uniform.
His hair completely tangled from a lack of brushing.
An empty bottle of alcohol rolling on the table.
A pitiful sight to see, this middle-aged man was regiment commander Ajen.
Having lost the navy in the pirate defeat 3 years ago, he was the culprit of today’s tragedy, hated more than the pirates themselves.
This pub was no exception.
The men gathered at the pub with mean stares directed at Ajen, all joining together to slander him.
The slander directed at Ajen gave way to denouncing of the pirates and it all ended with the conclusion that it was the fault of Ajen.
The night grew deeper and as it came time for the pub to close, the owner, with an unsure face, looked at the passed out Ajen.
“Whew, like this again.”
Making a face like this was a familiar occurrence, he picked up Ajen and went out the pub.
He dumped Ajen in front of the door and the owner locked up his pub.
And then one fisherman grandpa appeared. He was old and thin but had strong arms and legs, the stereotypical old fisherman.
The old fisherman picked up Ajen who was dumped in front of the pub door.
With a suspicious gaze, the owner who had been locking up looked at them.
“Mister Vincent? Have you come back now?”
“You’re picking up after this fellow again tonight.”
“Be careful how you speak. Calling the regiment commander this fellow.”
Having been told off, the pub owner mumbled to himself.
“It’s because you, mister Vincent, always pick him up after that this fellow, I mean, regiment commander, can let go and just drink till he passes out.”
“Enough. Go on home and rest.”
“Ha, it’s just that I don’t get it. We’re in this position because of him, why do you show him such goodwill.”
The old fisherman Vincent spent his whole life on a boat.
So much time on boats and he never did a single cowardly or distasteful thing, he had the respect of everyone.
The pub owner respected him as well, so he didn’t like that Vincent always took care of regiment commander Ajen and felt it wasn’t right.
Regardless, Vincent picked up regiment commander Ajen and left. And……
A single slender cat made of wind with brightly shining eyes was watching behind them.
Like that, Vincent put Ajen on his back and walked for a long while.
They arrived at an old shanty.
“Welcome home, ajusshi.”
“Good work. It’s been a long day.”
Men gather around and welcomed him.
Each and every one of them had big builds and firm muscles. All were fishermen.
It was varied with young men up to middle aged.
Inside the cramped shanty, two candles barely lit the space.
Vincent sat Ajen on a chair and hit him on the shoulders to wake him up.
“Sir regiment commander. Come, wake up now.”
Regiment commander Ajen rustled.
After a long time of trying to rouse him, regiment commander barely opened his eyes.
“Ugh, is it already this time?”
“You should moderate how much you drink.”
“It’s not really ‘moderate’ able when it comes to drink.”
All the fisherman laughed out loud.
Regiment commander got his head on straight and sat up.
“Let’s begin. How many have gathered?”
“15 small boaters, but it’s been hard to convince the ships owners so at best we have 5.”
“13 warships, 5 big ships, 15 small fishing boats…… its way short of what we need……”
The regiment commander was extremely distressed.
“Is it possible to build more warships?”
At Vincent’s question, regiment Commander Ajen shook his head.
“I’ve been completely ignored by the consul. I lost the right to speak three years ago after my defeat. Now it’s difficult just to keep my regiment commander position.”
“That bastard Adsel……!”
“How could you be treated this way, regiment Commander Ajen!”
Regiment Commander Ajen shrugged his shoulders.
“Can’t be helped. A defeated general cannot speak.”
“And whose fault was that defeat!”
“All thanks to consul Adsel and regiment Commander Decker! Those two bastards that are in bed with the pirates……!”
“Shh, be quiet. Do you want to be mistaken for a group that is plotting treason?”
When regiment Commander Ajen gave the warning, only then did the enraged fishermen shut their mouths.
“Would it be okay if I participated in this conversation?”
The voice of a young man came out from somewhere.
It startled everyone and they all looked around. They couldn’t tell where the voice was coming from.
“Who is it!”
Shouted regiment Commander Ajen.
But this person that they couldn’t locate replied.
“I am in the same boat with you all.”
“…… I don’t know how you found out about this place, but in the least isn’t it common courtesy to reveal yourself while you talk?”
“Of course. I will be there shortly. Please wait 5 minutes.”
Everyone thought this was strange.
If he’s close enough to speak to them, why did he say to wait for 5 minutes?
By using Sylph to listen to their conversation, I was now sure of my conclusion.
The only righteous person was regiment Commander Ajen.
He was the only commander in the Deport harbor who wants to fight the pirates.
I headed to the place they were meeting at together with Cha Ji-hye.
Heading towards the docks, we arrived at a small shanty. I knocked on the door.
Knock, knock, knock.
Despite trying to control my strength, or perhaps it was because of the synthetic muscle suit, or maybe the door was weak to begin with, but it shook.
Kiik (creak), the door opened.
A robust young fisherman, with a cautious gaze, stared at us.
He opened the door and guided us inside but remained on alert and was ready to attack at any moment.
Regardless, we walked in.
Regiment commander Ajen looked us up and down and then said to me.
“I am regiment commander Ajen. Will you introduce yourself as well?”
“I am Baronet Kim of the Count of Wolfenbrooke. You may call me Kim.”
“Yes, we both serve him.”
“I see. Not long ago, the Count of Wolfenbrooke took care of and dispersed the pirates!”
“Ohh, that Odin?”
“So they are on our side?”
Amongst the chattering atmosphere, one fisherman said.
“That’s right! They were the ones who stayed with the Count of Wolfenbrooke at the inn. I’ve seen them before.”
Only then did regiment Commander Ajen’s hard expression loosen.
“Then I can believe that you have goodwill towards us at least. But it is true I find it hard to admit that a foreign country with which we have no relation wants to help us.”
“There are two reasons. First, the pirates who suffered may retaliate in a rage and we received orders to remain here and protect the town.”
“Very Arend hero-like!”
The fishermen rejoiced.
But regiment commander Ajen asked a prudent question at the end.
“And what is the other reason?”