Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
When they spoke of that topic, Gilbert’s eyes exuded seriousness.
“You cannot imagine how Northlanders, especially the noblemen who are above the title of count, understand ‘military affairs’, and how they make arrangements for it.”
When he said this, Thales’ face also turned solemn.
“They split military lessons into two parts—outdoor and indoor lessons.”
Thales’ eyes were fixed in the air.
“The outdoor military classes for nobles includes personal martial arts training, military leadership lessons, and others.
“The ratio of those lessons is extremely great compared to the other lessons, and we practically have them every day.”
Thales counted with his fingers.
“I have to endure being hit, learn how to ride, launch assaults, hunt, patrol military camps, skirmish exercises… Of course, the Constellation Prince will not have any part in the last few components.”
Gilbert narrowed his eyes.
“Endure being hit?”
Thales sighed. He removed that dead face out of his mind.
“Do not bother yourself with these details.”
The duke snapped out of his daze.
“I was a little shocked the first time I sat through an indoor military class for nobles…”
Thales looked at the Foreign Affairs Minister and said sternly, “It’s grammar, mathematics, geometry, astronomy…”
Gilbert stopped writing.
“That is right. You did not hear it wrong.” Thales furrowed his eyebrows.
“They learn how to read and write, calculate, read the weather, calculate distance… the Eckstedtians compressed all of this into indoor military classes.”
Gilbert remained silent for a moment. He began writing soon after that.
“I have heard that the Northlanders have the habit of learning reading and writing during military lessons. But even the Arunde Family at the borders of Constellation… This is the first time I have heard of narration from someone who had been so closely involved… Interesting.”
Thales had the corners of his lips curl up. He shrugged.
“As for the reason, according to a certain dead face, if one does not know how to read and write military orders, does not know how to correctly count heads, does not know about topography, and does not understand weather and astronomy, then why should he even bother to go to war?” Thales sarcastically put up two fingers.
Thales indignantly leaned backward.
Who could have imagined that Nicholas, who seemed like an idiot, would know how long it would take before the sun rose, and when they should launch an ambush just by looking up and reading the stars? That he would be capable of figuring out the slope of the earth and make preparations required for the cavalry to charge by merely a quick and rough look at the land? That he would be capable of understanding the direction of the wind and how they would affect the trajectory of the arrows the moment after he set up a flag?
‘”Everyone in the team knows that it’s all because Iceberg forced him to completely remember everything. But he doesn’t understand the meaning behind it at all.”‘ This was from a veteran White Blade Guard in Heroic Spirit Palace, who spoke about past events with newcomers, “So while we patrolled in the wild, you just have to ask the leader which way is east. You must not go into detail as to ask him which one is Bright Star or why does Bright Star point to the east. Yvsia once decided to not show him any respect and asked him. On that day, they fought right in front of Prince Soria…
“‘What? What happened afterward? Afterward, Iceberg came up with a good idea and dissolved the conflict between the two of them. He made them shake hands fifty thousand times.
“‘That day, all White Blade Guards did not do anything. They just stood at the corner in a group in front of the palace’s entrance and watched both of them shake hands again and again with no expression whatsoever on their faces. They took turns counting to the point they almost puked… His Majesty knew. He moved the dining table outside and watched them shake hands while he ate…
‘”The reassuring part was that they got along fine after that, and it was much more harmonious. They would only point at each other’s noses and say something fierce at most. They never fought each other again…
‘”Look. This is the brotherhood sworn under swords. Oh my god, that was god damn touching…
‘”Yes. Time flies. The time for touching stories has come to an end. Let’s talk about official business. Who were the brats who had the guts to fight at their sentry posts?’”
And Nicholas did not even have a solid foundation, he was not even born in an aristocratic family.
“As for geometry and astronomy, even though most of the time they talk about the same things in ancient texts and are mixed with a lot of old-fashioned real-life examples that applied the calculations, as well as ancient legends, and they only talk about the natural geography at Northland. You know, ‘Northland is occupied with fewer people and have colder weather. The desert is hot and plants are sparse. Bad people are all over Constellation. The sea is filled with giant monsters’, that sort of thing…”
Thales’ voice became grave.
“But as long as it relates to practicality and has been used on the battlefield by experienced people, this knowledge that seems easy to understand would become incomparably practical.”
Thales had a solemn expression.
“Their reading and writing lessons emphasize efficiency and directness, while their mathematics emphasizes convenience and swiftness.
“As for geometry and astronomy, they will use it in things such as calculating the charging distance, measuring slope gradients and zone of fire, army statistics, estimation of battle losses, observing shadows and deciding their direction, watching the stars to locate their path, forecasting the weather, and observing topographic features…”
When the duke spoke of that, he cast a glance at Gilbert with complicated feelings.
“And there are even foreign language and music classes in military class.”
Gilbert lifted his head.
“Foreign language? Music?”
“Do you know how to say ‘little child’ in the language of the orcs? The Northlanders know. It’s solnoir and solnar. One of them is the language of Desert Orcs, and the other is in the language of Glacier Orcs. Because it is useful when they communicate with the ‘mixed breeds’.”
Gilbert was shocked once again.
“As for music, you know, there are many types of drums and bone flutes in Northland,” Thales said quietly.
“There are crude and bleak music, hot-blooded music, music to encourage their people to charge and fight to their deaths, music to call for retreat, music to celebrate victory, and music for funerals. There are too many to enumerate.
“This is the meaning behind the existence of Northland music.”
The guest room went silent for a moment once again.
“Northland respects soldiers and martial arts. That is something the whole world knows.” This time, it was Gilbert’s turn to sigh.
“But from the looks of it now, there is definitely a reason behind why they often win in the battlefield and are ever victorious.
“Let’s not talk about others for the moment. At the very least, one well-educated Eckstedtian nobleman will be qualified to become a battlefield commander, regardless of whether it is his mind or the quality of his abilities.
“They are not illiterate, much less stupid.”
While Gilbert lamented, his eyes showed the greatest wariness. “They are destined to be our formidable opponents.”
The topic was a little grave.
Thales could only nod with complicated feelings in his chest.
“So, are the history, tradition ceremonies, jurisprudence of Northland, the knowledge of Northland noble leadership, and also their most special military classes the things you learned from Northland?” Gilbert snapped out of his lamentation.
“I cannot say that I learned it. I only know about it.” Thales forcefully smiled. “After all, they did not really treat me like a prince and put their heart and effort into teaching me. At least no one did before the Old Crow came.”
Gilbert nodded slightly. A hint of compassion appeared in his eyes as he looked at Thales.
“Then, we could take a look at what you need for the next two months and also the long days that are yet to come…” The Foreign Affairs Minister went through a lot of pages. He took out a piece of paper fully packed with words again.
“Normally, the education of Constellation noblemen allows them to inherit the inheritance of the Empire. They are derived from the Seven Arts of the Empire. They have a style of their own, and they are very different from Northland’s.”
Gilbert cast a glance at Thales.
“But I will consider what you have learned in Northland, Your Highness. We will make slight adjustments to your lessons.”
The duke could only reveal a smile.
Gilbert also smiled and explained, “Normally, the knowledge that a qualified Constellation noble is required to know is divided into three types.”
Thales nodded in his heart. ‘Hmm, it’s still alright. It’s not much.’
“First are the basics. It is divided into grammar, history, etiquette, ancient and foreign languages. Which means that there are four subjects…”
Thales frowned slightly.
‘There are already four subjects in the first type?
‘That’s quite a lot, but grammar, history, etiquette…’
“It is quite similar to Northland’s…” Thales muttered.
Then, Gilbert grinned and continued, “And since grammar is the first subject, it is further divided into three subjects.”
Thales was stunned in an instant.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait…” The young duke quickly interrupted his teacher. “Are you serious?”
‘Three different types, and the first type already consists of four subjects, and the first subject already has three other subjects…
‘So, if three times four times three…
‘Wait a minute.
‘Isn’t this the benevolent and kind university counselor who appears in my dreams and always keeps a smile on his face while he says, “Don’t worry, I’ll only talk about two main points today. Yes… First, there will be one minor point under the main point, and we will talk about the first part of this minor point?”‘
Thales pulled a long face.
Was he attending a class or a systematics class?!
However, Gilbert remained as calm as ever.
“Manners, Your Highness. Please allow me to finish.”
Thales was tactfully rebuked. His expression turned stiff.
Gilbert remained smiling so much that his eyes were not visible. He continued saying, “So, there’re three subjects under grammar class: syntax, logic, and rhetoric.”
While Thales was still frustrated, his ears twitched.
“Hold on a moment. Syntax, logic, rhetoric… sounds a little familiar.”
The prince did not make a sarcastic quip about the total number of subjects which basically totaled to a “three times four times three”. Instead, it triggered another memory.
Gilbert returned him a questioning look.
Thales scratched his chin as he pondered and said, “Although it is merely a few months, the Old Crow rescheduled our-I mean-rescheduled my curriculum and integrated it with Northland’s current state.”
Gilbert hinted him to continue.
Thales said tentatively, “Grammar is the subject that is taken with the least seriousness by Northlanders, but Old Crow went against it. He deliberately removed it from the indoor military class. He also emphasized that there are three things that must be learned in grammar class.”
Gilbert suddenly smiled.
“Let me guess. Was he referring to syntax, logic, and rhetoric?”
“That’s right. But he did not go into great detail, because the Northlanders do not like it. Normally, Old Crow would give us a poem or a short passage and have us study its syntax, then clearly tell him what the author’s thoughts are, and summarize its logical structure. Then, we were to refine its rhetoric and rewrite it.”
Gilbert seemed to be reminded of something. He nodded with nostalgia and said, “Dragon Kiss Academy has a long history, and Dragon-Kissed Land is seldom affected by the flames of war. For centuries, it has become a gathering place of talents for the Western Peninsular.
“Their cultures are deeply affected by the Empire. They also retain many of the Empire’s civilization. They are even greater than us to a certain degree.”
He nodded in praise and satisfaction. “I have to thank Mister Hicks, he saved us a lot of trouble.
“Perhaps you did not notice, Your Highness. But six years ago, what I taught you here was the compositions of the grammar class, regardless of whether it was understanding the grammatical structure of the Ancient Empire’s national language, their ancient poems, or the logic and rhetoric of sonnets.”
Thales came to a sudden realization.
“Since you put it that way, I will try to make some adjustments in the grammar lesson accordingly. Mister Hicks has handled the situation very suitably.”
Gilbert picked up his spectacles once again, lowered his head, and put a mark on the first row of the schedule on the paper.
“We will take six afternoons each week for the three subjects of your grammar lesson, then.”
Thales’ expression changed.
‘Hold on. Six days?’
The prince’s face turned bitter.
“Since time is of an essence, can we not just include it in history and etiquette lessons? You must understand that grammar is something that cannot be mastered in a short period…”
But Gilbert insisted on it. “No, Your Highness, the importance of grammar lessons far exceeds what you can imagine.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister continued working hard on writing on the sheet that had his curriculum timetable.
“Listening and speaking are not difficult, but what is difficult is that other than listening and speaking, not everyone can think, understand, and express their thoughts.”
Gilbert looked up. “The worst thing about it is that everyone thinks that they already know how to do these things.”
The Cunning Fox narrowed his eyes.
“Hence, Mister Hicks has mentioned something before, ‘Most of the conflicts in this world happen because some people failed in their grammar lesson.’
“That is the reason why we must also need to learn to read and write other than learning how to listen and speak. This is not as easy as learning how to read the alphabet.”
Thales was struck dumb.
Gilbert lowered his head to sort out Thales’ timetable.
“You are born a noble, Your Highness. However, if you cannot even fully understand the words spoken by others, cannot tell the logic behind texts, and do not even know the rhetoric contained behind the reasoning in the texts, then if I rashly allow you to study history and learn etiquette before I push you to the world, I will be incredibly irresponsible.” Gilbert snorted gently.
Gilbert seemed to be getting more energetic as he spoke.
“If you do not know grammar, understand logic, and rhetoric, or perhaps worse, you know all three of the above but you do not know how to use them and have never received any benefits from them, you will have very limited choices when you just rely on your wisdom to make choices regarding history, etiquette, different people, events, and things. You will either choose to act on blind impulses, ignorant objection, inferior imitations, or self-righteous disdain.
“And they can all be categorized as a type of misconception. It will only turn you into an arrogant fool.”
Thales quirked an eyebrow.
‘I was merely trying to raise a question… Why did it feel like… I just received a lecture?
‘Furthermore… Gilbert currently really feels like… the Old Crow himself.’
Thales could not help but think.
Gilbert continued speaking.
“On the contrary, if you master grammar, then regardless of history, etiquette, the code of conduct, or the ways of the world, you will find yourself that you will only need half the effort to learn them. You will master them the moment you are taught. It will be different from most people, who can only rely on their instincts and luck, and they live in this world ignorant of everything. They only live in their own world.”
Gilbert changed the topic, and his expression turned gentle.
“Please remember, Your Highness. This is not temporary, you can use this for a long time.”
Thales was lectured to the point that he felt a headache build in his head. He could not help but lean back.
‘Alright, everything you said is right. Everything is right.’
“So, this will be how your grammar classes will be set. Then, we will move on to the remaining three subjects left in the basic class: history, etiquette, ancient languages and foreign languages…”
Gilbert paused for a moment. He put down the hand-held spectacles.
“I believe that the Old Crow-Mister Hicks has done some corresponding adjustments as well?”
‘History, etiquette, ancient languages and foreign languages…
“You are right. He taught us history on the first lesson itself.
“But his lesson on history does not only include the fables that are part of the Northlanders’ tradition, which only tells us what happened. And I need to remember what happened, what lesson I learned, who was right and who was wrong, who made the most contributions and needs to be remembered the most, and all the associated bullcrap…”
While Thales spoke, nostalgia gradually rose in him.
“On the contrary, each section of history that Old Crow told me would lead to a main topic. Then, he would stop there and force me to think.”
He became entranced as he continued.
“The origin of laws, the foundation of beliefs, the boundaries of governance, the meaning of victory and defeat… Those are all the things I cannot see when I only look at recounts of tales, only read about songs of praises for heroes, and only flip through fixed conclusions.”
Perhaps it was out of respect for his teacher, but it was also perhaps he was feeling thirsty from speaking too much. This time, Gilbert did not say anything else anymore.
“Very good. Then we will have three history lessons per week for three nights. We will only need to make some adjustments to some of the main points of history. We could start with the two hundred and eight emperors of the Empire and the thirty-nine Constellation kings then…”
Gilbert happily filled up three boxes on the daily schedule.
‘Hold on a second.
Thales instantly pulled a long face.
Indeed, he had read many of the achievements from the Empire’s emperors, but two hundred and eight?
When he saw the smile on Gilbert’s face, Thales could only let out a helpless breath.
“I had my etiquette class with Madam Ginghes. Count Ciel Lisban will show up whenever he is free. I heard that they will often hire some nobleman or noblewoman with great prestige over…” Thales said listlessly, “At first, I would always skip these classes and go to read books to learn by myself…”
‘At the same time, hide from the various eyes and ears while I try to find loopholes in Heroic Spirit Palace’s defenses.
‘I also had to go up against the Star Killer in a battle of wits and bravery.’
“But once the Old Crow arrived, he told us that even though it is uninteresting, etiquette classes do not just comprise of teaching us etiquette. At the very least, it doesn’t just teach you how to greet others and bow.” Thales felt his spirits lift. “It included ethics, morality, aristocratic rules, and religious traditions. It is what you would say to be the true Northland way.
“From this point of view, the Northlanders’ etiquette classes are not boring. That is because it reflects the value on the things that Northlanders value. They tell you when you need to kill, when you need to spare someone, when you need to go to war and need to make peace as suzerain of Northland.
“So etiquette is not merely etiquette in his eyes. It is established by the people, and it can be understood without someone being told. It is the old and new laws of Eckstedt, the order and rules for nobles, the duties of kings, the rights and freedom of vassals, for example…” Thales’ eyes became focused. “Joint Ruling Pledge.”
It did not just reflect a cold and rigid rule book but was a warm and living agent that carried out the rules of Eckstedtians.
It was the epitome of politics.
‘It’s just like…’
Everything in front of Thales’ eyes suddenly went blurry for a moment.
“‘Garfinkel’s accountability and indexical expressions are described as self-evident factors that are built on a tacit understanding between people. They build bridges between actions and situations, allowing people and the environment to reflect each other and build a structure together… such as public etiquette that everyone must abide by…”‘
Thales shook his head vigorously and cast the world that was already too far away and the memories that were too profound deep into the recesses of his mind.
After returning from Western Desert, he had no idea why the gradually fading memories of his previous life came flooding into the forefront of his mind like a volcano that erupted after it had accumulated enough pressure.
It was just like a resurgence.
Thales pressed against his forehead. While he chased away the dizziness from before, he was filled with suspicion.
He had started becoming like this once he returned to Constellation, was it really just a coincidence?