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Dos and Do Nots of Hamming Up Royalty (Valkyria Chronicles SI)

Prologue 01: Parts 1-2


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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AN: For those unfamiliar with Valkyria Chronicles(VC), the simplest explanation is Anime WW2. There are a few more details but honestly not alot. Worldbuilding is not a strong suit of the series so most of that sort of thing will be from my own work.

Welcome to a Prince Maximillian Self Insert, yes you are the faux respectable antagonist character of the evil empire (German Empire). Complete with racism and jackboots fighting against a plucky small time power (Not Low Countries) and the "Good" democratic federation (England and the US). Add in magitech ancient precursors and you got the series.

This image was drawn by the original illustrator of the character I believe. If not it still works well enough.

AN2: This is being crossposted along the various other sites. Not quite sure on the age content rules so this will not be anything beyond rated M though most will be pg-13. There should not be any of the NSFW content here so if you want to see that sort of thing along with some other misc content go find the NSFW version on you know what site(If you do not know pm me, do not ask in thread). If I accidently left anything in that does not conform to the guidelines do let me know so I can remove it. Do note that there is no editor or beta for this fic. Otherwise please enjoy, I am posting this stuff to get more feedback on how I am doing with my writing. Enjoy. Comment, critique, like, etc.
AN3: I will be putting up the first four parts in two posts just to get a bit more content out immediately. Otherwise everything else will be posted once a week until the backlog is empty.

AN4: I will say again mature rating will be for the far future, there will be war scenes in the fic.

Disclaimer: All rights belong to their respective owners I claim nothing beyond my own characters.

Part 01

Blond free flowing curls frame eyes of blue that depending on the light can turn ice blue or a deep blue-green. Said eyes are inset on a face that is of a very pale causcasian cast. Something almost unhealthy pale. Though thinking on it the term would probably be Europan. I shivered and saw the reflection on the large elaborate gold leaf mirror also shiver. God, Buddha, whatever I am now an anime prince. Like how japan envisions european medieval royalty that is the face staring right back at me dressed in elaborate clothes. Comfortable enough to walk in and made of some of the finest material I have ever seen. It only makes the image more of one that I find strange. It has been years but my body and face are still things I am getting used to. It had been strange. Also I feel a strange sense of deja vu at times when looking in the mirror. After some time I had the thought that I had seen this face before. Anime being anime it was probably just some copy paste, blonde hair and blue eyes on a bishounen prince. Yeah this is just a saberface thing, its everywhere. Ignore the videogame references. Even if I am in or replacing whichever character this is since I don’t know any details no need to worry over something I can’t do anything about.

I am rather sure I died, somehow. Unlike anime and other bits of otaku culture, I do not know whether it be the eponymous Truck-kun or something else. Well I can assume its not Truck-kun since my last memory was going to sleep in the second floor bedroom of my house. Some nights when I have had near mental breakdowns while in bed I rather morbidly had thought exercises on how I died. Personal front runner is carbon monoxide poisoning in my sleep, I had just moved into a new house and maybe my stubbornly pessimistic mind thinks I fucked something up or the last owner did.

I feel a slight hand on my arm and look to see who did it. I know who did it but tell that to my body. There standing before me is a maid. Unlike most anime the maid is dressed in actual full length working clothes with the only accessories being a set of tiny ball earrings. This maid to my eyes is young relatively, maybe around eighteen in either direction by a year or two.

She gives a slight smile as she speaks. “Young Master your mother is calling for you, the festivities are to commence shortly”. I give her a nod, though it is still a first reaction I have to stop to instead say ‘Thank you’. Royalty has standards of dignity, as foreign as that concept was in my . . . first life.

As I start to walk to the small sitting room I know mother is in that I have thoughts. Maybe its a coping mechanism but I tend to overthink things. I did it before and I am doing it now, not that I can really stop it. Even my recent lessons on Imperial Decorum and Etiquette, all deserving of the caps in my mind, it has been hard. This time I feel a poke on my cheek and I feel myself flushing as I look at the maid by my side. Her slight smile still there even as I see her eyes almost twinkle in fun. I want to say something, I really do. But I can see the door to mother’s sitting room just before me. Big sister maids, as cultural as they are troublesome. I feel justified in muttering “Sylvia is annoying as always” under my breath as her back is to me. She can hear it, her slight halt in step means she can hear it. My slight rush of joy at that though is brushed away when actually enter the room.

There sitting on a chair that screams old money is my mother. Dirty blond hair around a set of light blue eyes and a kind face. Kindness that seems to radiate from her in every action she takes. I feel myself giving a smile, small but genuine as I see her. There is a part of me that says its fake, another that feels guilt. But I push those parts away. Maybe I just want for this to really be mine but I go hug her even as I feel a bit teary. She only laughs and hugs me back. It is warm. But still a moment later she pushes me away slightly and I see her smiling face.

“Young Maximilian, you really should learn to be decorous. You are a scion of royal blood. One day you too will have to act as such” Her words were ones meant to scold me but her hands moving through my hair to straighten it out said otherwise. It felt, nice. This sort of physical intimacy between family was not something I knew until this life. It, it was not a bad thing. I gave a childish sniff in reply as she rose from her seat and gently pushed me along.

“Remember dear we are here not for ourselves but for everyone else, our dear citizens who have sacrificed much for the alliance and their sovereign the Emperor. Don’t make a fuss, just talk with the other children. Make a few friends even, show them around the garden. I am sure it will be fun, and remember you are a Royal”

I gave her a smile and said “Of course Mother. I know” A bit more than any other brat of 12 years I can safely say. Of course all of these implications are only for myself, everyone else would never know. Now for the dreaded battle, small children. Young children, whatever. Time to hob nob amongst . . . My first view of those within tell me officers. Military officers judging by all the dress uniforms, okay I know this stuff is probably mostly ceremonial but why do they include so many bits of armour. It better be fake as that is definitely not doing anything against bullets.

I give a small polite smile to everyone as Mother begins acting as hostess to the gathering of maybe a few dozen officers, their families, and entourages. So many capes, lengths of gold braid, and other bits. So much anime. So much anime, too weeaboo for me. Calm down, calm down, this is not fake. Its your life, accept the weirdness. No this is not weirdness, it is your life. Accept it. Keep the smile up, shake hands with people with calloused hands. Is it bad to dislike those without? Does that mean they are military fops? Just move on brain, just keep moving.

I walk over to the nearest group of children, to my eyes they are a varied bunch. Some are preteens dressed in various get ups of noble fashion, a few are older and wearing uniforms of military cadets, others are obvious hanger ons of various ages. As I walk over to them I see that from their body language no one quite knows each other. Well here is one spot to make my impact, if it fails I get to play the child card even if it would kill me inside.

“We are gladdened that our citizens are able to enjoy the hospitality of the Imperial Household. Come have you enjoyed the drinks and fine hour...” Shit I bit my tongue.

“...hourduevers no?” Smile, take a drink and keep going.

A sip of the very watered down wine and I see a servant has arrived and begun presenting the dishes. Good cover up the issue.

“It has come to our attention that today should be a day of joy, quiet joy and remembrance. Come there is a veranda outside and I am sure it would be a suiting atmosphere for events. Let us have introductions amongst all”

A voice rings out and I see someone come into view. Oh a familiar face. “Begging your attention your Royal Highness. But is this invitation open so that others may beseech your attention?” Coming out of a bow is a . . friend. I suppose I should call him that. Son of a family friend at least.

“We need no such introduction between ourselves Lord Gregor but yes that would be acceptable” A few others gathered and soon enough I had two dozen children of assorted ages around the stone ringed extension. A few servants trailed with refreshments. Great I now have my own court gathering. I did not think this far ahead. Now how much ham to go with this?

Part 02

“Here I think this will be good for you” Passing a piece of chocolate to a sniffling child is not what I thought a member of a royal family would have to do, at least in public. Then again what do I know about public relations.

“I want my fatheerrrr baaccckk!!” And the waterworks are back. How does one solve this? Google is useless, nonexistent uselessness.

“Shhhh, shhhhh, take deep breaths. Things will be okay” Back pats, and fresh handkerchiefs are my friends. The servants not doing anything beside handing me said stuff, not so much. Your Royal Sovereign requires aid!!

“Here drink this, it will feel better” Now fingers crossed that is the actual grape juice and not the wine. Who am I kidding I don’t think anyone will bother getting angry over either.

“I want my Mamama!!” And the chain reaction continues. Head pats and bribes for everyone.

“Here why don’t you hold this, maybe tell Mr Horsey why you feel sad?” Well there goes my stockpile of toys, not like I cared about them beyond appearances. Aside from Sergeant Fluffers, he stays to guard the fort. Let no man deny they have a stuffed animal hidden somewhere they fondly remember.

“A sad day even if it is supposed to be a joyful one” That comment from Eckhard Gregor was one appropriate for the situation even if said by a fourteen year old. We were not quite friends but I did know him the best out of all those here. I had a vaguely paranoid thought that his words might not be something a child could say but pushed it aside, the vague sense of deja vu from his father did not help. I had met the man and he was very obviously a staunch nobleman, a competent one if I could trust the gossip.

I made small talk with him and a few others, thankfully no one was acting too boisterous so I did not have to deal with banging my head against one of the pillars. I think the inane talk we had helped to calm down the grieving children. At least they did not cause any problems.

With the immediate crisis over I found myself floundering again. That is until some of my family's servants brought over board games. I did not know how to play most of them but I managed to make do with having the more experienced brats shepard a few others. It helped them move on at least, even had the idea to have a few of the chocolate treats and a flower or two from the garden be the prize for the winner. I could feel the anime when I just had to hang a flower bud from one girl’s hair. I think I scratched her head more than anything trying to get it to stick but I guess being ye olde blond munchkin of a prince worked just fine to smooth it over. My practicinsg of suave manuvers on prettens aside I found a much more pressing engagement.

A game of chess. One I was losing soundly overall. Not badly I suppose if one counted flukes. Eckhard had learned chess at his father’s knee apparently and it showed. As a rather complete novice I only managed to eke out a victory or two with either utterly insane strategies I did for the heck of it or in one other case a complete oversight by Eckhard’s part. Not moving enough pawns meant I got a rook and one trapped king. At the time I could just see the gobsmacked expression on his face that he could not remove easily.

I could not help myself when I said “Well this royal personage feels that hubris is for the weak”

He rather quickly decided he wanted to wipe the smirk on my face off.

As I was watching my latest defeat in progress though I heard a voice call out. It was mother, she had come over with apologetic parents or in many cases family servants. A sight I could only sadly smile at. Sadly our game could not continue as everyone started to move. There was supposed to be a follow up dinner party and looks like plans were being adjusted. Some had decided to leave or had to leave already. So there I was seated beside mother at the table as a very fancy multicourse meal was served. I saw Eckhard seated at a completely different end of the table and looking more at ease then I was. I had vague memories of the Imperial Palace’s meals and knew that this was outright ascetic in comparison, but it still uneased me. Seated around and introduced to the members again I found I was right in that most of those here were military and connected to the military. Also that everybody here was relatively midranking. No generals but everyone here was a commissioned officer of some sort.

I can’t help but wonder if this is a pity party, as in these guys did not contribute enough or had the connections to go to the big celebration at the Imperial Palace but needed some show of support from on high. Unlike most children I generally knew what was going on. The end of the Great Europan War. A time when an armistice had been called. Many had died with the few newspapers and stories I heard painting it a bloody conflict. I did not want to think on how many of the generations who fought were wiped out, and for it to end in an armistice? That was a recipe for attempt number two, victory or death edition. Maybe I should have been paying greater attention to the conversations but I just did not connect well. Stories of glorious battle, boasts of martial might, showing off of war scars, all the fun stuff. Just like family dinners with the extended family, being the youngest is not fun. Very boring in fact. Then the cringe worthy events began.

“Hah my daughter looks more manly then the young prince. Has quite the interest in swords too. Maybe we could pair them together. I am sure the Prince could use playmates his age” Oh the alcohol was aflowing as one man of magnificent mustache thundered out loud.

Mother simply nodded along and replied calmly. “Hmm perhaps in the future we can discuss this more in detail Colonel Koehne, but what about you Captain Seitz? I heard you have a son about to go to the naval academy in Leiben?”

Said officer preened at being chosen and boasted. “Yes, my eldest. I am proud of the lad, to be able to attend the same institute as our dear Admiral Gregor. I predict a good future for my son. A credit to the nation your father is young Eckhard and a worthy figure to follow. Just as I can predict that your own child will ascend to his proper place Dame”

Mother seemed to give a slightly strained smile for a split second before giving him a fluttering reply. Barbed words and polite smiles, that was what I saw being exchanged. I did not like it. But what could I do? Mother must have noticed my gaze as she only gave me an encouraging smile I could not but smile back to.

But like an actor entering from the stage I saw a disturbance at the entrance to the dining hall. A footman quickly entered and announced an Admiral Gregor. I saw Eckhard shoot up and sure enough anyone seated here could see the family resemblance. His father was . . . a man I had divided opinions on.

“Ah my son, good you are where I told you to be. A good evening to you Dame Koeppen but I have more important business then being at this quaint gathering. Still thanks are in order I suppose for watching over my son, I have a message for you that should be read later. May you have a good rest of the evening“ Like a storm the man entered, went about his business, and left. I did not like him. Unlike many of the others he could openly show his disdain. Still I could not blame his son for any of his fathers inclinations much as I disliked him. He gave an apologetic wave I returned as he was dragged out. I swear his father actually sniffed at that.

After a few courses I started zoning out from the mix of the food and the talk. Not enough to sleep but enough to not really be paying attention. I remember being led out by a maid and tucked into bed after groggily going through the boring stuff. But as I lay in bed I found myself unable to sleep. I wonder if anyone has ever had this happen to them, I had but it was still disconcerting. Tossing and turning to other positions did nothing. Why could I not get to sleep? Was it the things I did not want to think on? My real bad feelings about the future? Going through that thought again I can at least be honest and say yes that is the case. I am scared. Scared of the future. Objectively this sucked to have an existential crisis in bed, but my mind refused to be calm.
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Prologue 01: Parts 3-4


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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AN: Like, Comment, Critique, Enjoy, Etc

Part 03

It had been a month since the feast and the Empire seemed to be slowly beginning to heal. To go back to whatever counted as peace. I did not know much of this was actually true as I can’t remember that far back. My earliest memories are that of a life at war, something especially seen as I start poking at the light breakfast I have. There are a few different things, not many but apparently even nobles or was it just the house I lived in that had to face some ration measures. I had not noticed thinking that the period simply did not have these things but it indeed did have them. My palate aside though I was still finding it hard to eat with enthusiasm. It was what was to come next that I was nervous about.
It was a deep nervousness, the one where you wait to encounter something you are have no real experience in. A drop into the unknown with only minimal preparation. A nervousness stemming from having to soon face my father, His Most Glorious Emperor, The King of Kings, and all those other titles. Technically I have met the man before. Realistically that was years ago and I remember squat. Also because I hate the place, that harsh palace. Gaudy, tacky, obsessed with gold like a certain Man on the Throne, and also an utter snake pit to break all snake pit records. It sucks. Just to add to the grimderp most of those there are racists and elitists. And like most Imperial Palace it does not have a bishounen emperor with blood purges and heroines pining after them. No this place had plenty of armed guards and security cordons still in place. What must have been a battalion of troops if not more in the massive walled and semi-fortified estate.

A sight to behold as the much more modest convoy of ours arrived. A few vehicles escorted by actual horse cavalry. Lancers as in the polearm along with slung SMGs and fancy dress armor rode by the side of the motorcade. That took me for a spin as I watched the living animals through the window of the glass. I never did see many horses in my past life, once or twice from a distance with mounted police. But not like this. The escort and the rest were stopped at the outer wall, I saw them be led off to a separate area as we went on. Though we were not searched it still made me anxious to see the fancy car we used drive between the barrels of tanks on guard duty. Getting out and walking the remainder of the distance did not help with active patrols marching around dressed for war. Still as I walked beside Mother I could hear her whisper words to me.

“Keep up a smile. Keep your calm. You may feel fear but never let it show. No matter what they say you are a royal. You are of the same blood as them, all descendant from the Emperor. Do not forget that my child, do not forget” I nodded along to her words as I walked through windowed halls and antique sets of armour. Fast enough to not be late to the audience, not too fast so that my clothes stayed un-rumpled. It should have been too late to worry, I was already here in the inner guts of the palace but. Yeah tell that to my stomach as I am about to enter the throne room.

Soon enough we are announced by footman at the door. The thud of the heavy metal inset wood just that bit of dramatic entrance as like a movie panorama the great red carpet and column filled room is revealed. All the greats of the East Europan Imperial Alliance, i.e the extended family. Through here the great political battles would be fought, and I wanted to immediately retreat. I had to admit to myself I was not ready for this. It was my sincere and reasoned conclusion that I did not ever want to be a politician, much less a feudal one. But I had marching orders and so I walked beside mother, step by step to where we were stopped for the second round of introductions.

I could feel an almost present aura from the man seated on the throne. This was a man whose grandfather with his web of blood relations created a single nation-state. A nation-state even now tightly bound to him still by blood, culture, and law. He was not even that old too, approaching his late forties I believe. You hear descriptions about a sovereign and their gaze in trashy medieval fiction stories about warrior kings. Whether my father had ever fought I do not know, he certainly commanded during this past war. Something that no matter how others both in real life and fiction talk about the weight of the crown and the cost of war, is it true confidence in one self that he can sit so calmly? A desire to be seen as in control, or a sort of megalomania that can ignore the deaths of millions? I am not sure I want to know that answer. What he was looking for as he looked down upon mother and myself I do not know. But whatever it was he seemed happy as I saw him shift. A hand laid out in some dramatic fashion as he rose.

He spoke in a loud voice that echoed through the acoustics of the hall. “Bold, but dutiful. Those are words I have lived by for a long time. Perhaps I can see it continue on here. You are of my blood, that is not in doubt. But will you do your duty as a member of this household, we shall see. I name as a Prince of the Blood of House Reginrave Maximilian Gaius. No longer will he be of house Danilova. All attend to witness Prince Maximilian Gaius Von Reginrave!!”

I heard the loud click of boot heels, the clap of fists to chests and the sound of clapping hands. But the only thought going through my head as pathetic as it was ‘So this is happening’. That just kept bouncing around my head as I watched mother accept some fancy gold flaked scroll in a case with a lot of velvet ribbons and medals attached. It took me a second to realize that he was beckoning to me and I made my way like some newborn giraffe to stand before the throne. There facing him I took a deep breath and with a dry throat spoke to him.

“What is your command my emperor?” He looked at me, some sort of considering look on his face I think. He reached out with a hand and grabbed my shoulder. A heavy hand as I could not help but turn back to him.

He said “I can certainly see my blood runs strong, though you may bear no crown now or ever you too will know the burden of command. Of the right to rule. It is within you, waiting. Do not let that spark be smothered by cowardliness nor indecision. If you want no other example then look to your mother, a stronger woman you will be hard set to find” He let go and leaned back straight in his seat. “You are dismissed. The court will now be in session. Chamberlain, the list of petitioners?”

I walked away almost numbly, that was certainly an anime worthy scene. But real life, can’t forget that part. But as I turn away I notice someone rather obviously glaring at me, someone that looks like they could be related. Walking past I see that my probable brother along with a bunch of groupies are obviously not happy. They can’t possibly be that stupid right? Everyone can see them. I feel a hand and look to see mother shaking her head and tilting her head towards the door. As mother helped lead me away I had a most jackass of a thought. ‘I am going to need to learn how to speak like father aren’t I?’. Not talking fancy in general, that I already have lessons for. Are there books of proverbs I will need to memorize? Ugh this is really too outdated. Also genre savvy enough to realize big problem number one has reared its head. Now if I was being a bit more realistic there are a lot more troublesome characters who managed to keep their cool or were not present. Oh, this is my life now. Curse you political scenes from shows, ignorance truly is bliss.

Part 04

“And that is all for today young master. You have done well with today’s lesson but remember to read over the fourth chapter of Barkley’s book. You will need to learn more about the dates and the men associated with them” That is the voice of one of my tutors. In this case the history one. Unlike most cases of learning to list old white males this is useful, for speech writing. I still hate it.

Feelings aside I still tried to be polite. “Of course Teacher Mehdeiuv. We will be studious as always”

The man left and I watched ye olde big sister maid, actual name Selena tidy up my stuff. She was nice, only a few years older and not as concerned about the prosperity and dignity of nobility. She was a salve to my soul in my earlier years if I wanted to be poetic about it. Constantly flitting through my thoughts, and my dreams. Curse you puberty, second time experiencing it is not fun.

As she gathered up some of the heavier books she talked. “Young Master are you excited about the upcoming trip? Oh my it all seems to be such a big mess, everyone is scrambling to pack with the schedule change"

I replied. “It seems fun. To see all the soldiers and all of the big tanks in a parade. Do you think they would let me drive one?” I was actually excited, never went to a tank fair or any other event where you could see one in action. Hey I have to keep some sort of optimistic up, the existential questions are still horrifying.

“I am sure young master that you will get the chance. I hear that the solstice festival there will be especially big in honor of the visit. I am sure that you can enjoy yourself there young master. All the wonderful food and games” Ahh her voice is calming as we walk back to my room for me to change. A part of me that is driven by my body feels happy that she likes to cop a feel, especially down below. The older part is horrified considering the age and positions, sexual coercion of a minor and all that. The rest is simply done with that situation.

“Now young master just stretch out your arms. Good. Now the legs. Here young master, just put your hand there. Yesss. Now we just have to push this through into the waiting hole” I worry for my . . . virtue? But them hands. With a scarily beautiful smile she shuts the door, the day she tries to go further is the day my morals take a drop down that slippery slope.

Now after she leaves I am given the chance to have some privacy. My little sliver of time to be able to relax, relax and forget the feeling of handsy hands. I look at the slowly setting sun from my window and try to eyeball how much time is left. Sure there are gas lamps and other things to use but really after dinner the household is done for the night. Gotta take advantage of what time I have. Especially with everything that is required reading. Learning how to prevent and deal with corruption was not a nice lesson for one used to a more peaceful society. Let us just say that capital punishment is still very much a thing. That took awhile for me to acclimate to. No, bad thoughts. Bad thoughts. I need to do something else.

A few hours with my totally secret guilty treasure I find myself called out for the evening meal. Imports seem to be recovering well as I find a variety of tropical fruits available. EW1 messed that supply chain up rather badly from what my lessons include. Oh wait mother is talking.
“Now my son, it is good that you enjoy the meal but I must insist on knowing the progress of your lessons. The trip will not be conducive to learning” She chides me with a stern tone before giving her small smile.

“If you perform well I am sure that there will be a few exciting events you can participate in” Someone did not keep their mouth shut. Okay that came out a bit too lewd for the conversation.

I give my own smile when I reply. “According to my history and geography tutors I am well on the way to completing my studies. My etiquette teacher is satisfied with my progress and my fencing instructor is slowly going through the basics. However he implored that I inform you about his evaluation on just what the trip will do to my training”

She eats a cut of meat and humms as she considers a response. Wiping her lips she looks at me. “I am afraid you must inform him that this trip is sanctioned by his Imperial Majesty and to deny this trip is to cast doubt on the Emperor’s judgement. Remember to tell him that my son”
I can only nod to that before I grimace as a servant moves at her hand. Most males are taught to dislike vegetables and go for meat instead. That is true both back then and especially now as an autocrat. I personally liked a bit of a leafy green to balance out my meals, but the purple root thing is a bit too much even for me. Still its a national vegetable so I have to make do.

I can see mother smiling in amusement as I grudgingly eat through the dish, I honestly shudder at the thought of eating this raw like the 80% of the population that has to. Finally suffering through the course I wait as the servants carry everything away. Mother meanwhile has put on a pair of reading glasses and is going through a few papers. I try to figure out what each paper is and I end up with a newspaper in my face. I raise an eyebrow at the servant who handed it to me but they are already back to delivering more papers to mother.

Letting that go I flip through the different pages to see anything of interest. I try to ignore what passes for a comic section, it is both terribly racist and terribly boring. Huh, father announced some sort of reconstruction program. I suppose the demobilization of the army requires that, alot of public works and the promise of increased industrialization to give everyone a better standard of living. How the hell the state is still solvent in one form or another I do not know. We did gain some land from the conflict which is still being trumpeted but how much of it has not been scorched earth I don’t know.

I was so absorbed in reading that I flinched hearing Mother's voice again. “So absorbed in your studies now my son. I feel conflicted, you are being studious but is this too much?”

I replied feeling confused. “Is it really a bad thing mother?”

“You are always so quiet, even when we go to all those parties you never mention to mother what you do. Maybe I should have let you out of the house more often, oh dear perhaps I should look at all those betrothal letters more seriously. Maybe what you need is a good woman to temper your ways” Fuck this is extended family get togethers all over again. Wait, marriage. Oh.

“Mother, what do you mean by betrothal letters?” Oh boy was I nervous at that idea.

She spoke with a laugh in her voice. “Oh don’t worry, they are for after the trip. When we arrive at the new estate. Then we can get to exploring options” That does not reassure me at all. Not at all.

“Relax my child, mother has this handled”. Well to quote a certain lazy ninja ‘how troublesome’. I just smile blandly and mother goes back to work with a huff. As much as I dislike the whole arranged marriage business I should not let it get to me. This is a moment when mother is here rather then out working at one duty or another. That family time is to be savored.
World Map


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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IRL Equivalent | Shorthand | Formal Name

Major Powers

NATO |The Federation | The Atlantic Federation

- Main Components

  • United Kingdom of Edinburgh(UK)
  • Francoan Republic(France)
  • United States of Vinland(USA)
Warsaw Pact |The Empire | East Europan Imperial Alliance

South America |The Freehold | The Freehold of the Bloody Dawn

East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere | The Union/The Dual Monarchy | The Union of Celestial Wisdom and Heavenly Mandate

- Main Components

  • Jomonkai Kingdom(Japan)
  • Empire of the Eternal Throne(China)
India + Surroundings | The Confederation | Tianzhu Theocratic Confederation

- Main Components

  • Tianzhu(India)
Oceania | The Hegemony | T’sha Hegemony

Africa | The Pact | Pact of Common Brothers

- Main Components

  • Principality of Kesh(Parts of Northern Africa)
Independent Powers

Kalaallit Nunaat(Iceland, Greenland, etc)

Hispangola(Anatolia, Arabian Peninsula, etc)

The base original blank map was someone's fanmade one, no idea who the original creator of that was. The various additions are my own work.

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Das BOOT (literally)
Staff Member
Aug 18, 2019
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In the Desert
This is looking like an interesting start.

Once you hit 25 posts you'll be able to get access to NSFW Creative Writing, please read the rules, however, for content restrictions (we are much more restricted than QQ)


Agent of Catgirl Genocide
Aug 24, 2019
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Hmm. So you were reborn as Maximilian, eh? Yeah, you're going to be going places, I think. Looking forward to that map in the future.


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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Hmm. So you were reborn as Maximilian, eh? Yeah, you're going to be going places, I think. Looking forward to that map in the future.
Yep I get to be the villian in anime. The map is up by the way, IMGUR finished wetting the bed so I could upload it.
Prologue 01: Part 5


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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“I am afraid my lady that your accommodations have been changed. Apparently a higher priority occupant has supplanted your rooms. However alternative arrangements are being made. I request your patience in this matter” The sound of a gravelly male voice woke me up from my nap.

“I understand that this has occurred out of your purview but I must ask the identity of who has commandeered the rooms, they have after all been arranged months in advance” Mothers calm voice echoed as I shook the sleep from my head.

“It is the second Empress, her Imperial Majesty Theodora. Her party was traveling and overtook your accommodations for her party. I apologize for the delay” I remember now, that's the servant from the Imperial Household Ministry. We are still on the train but we are not moving.

“I would beseech you to apologize for circumstances within your control. Regardless you stated that alternatives are being sought?” I try to get up to see Mother but I feel myself being held back. Selena shakes her head and I frown at her. She only gives me a strained smile. I look around, we are at a train station.

“Of course my lady. Fresh porters are being sought out and while I cannot promise they will be up to your standards the new accommodations will certainly not be commoner’s abodes. For the sake of the Imperial Prince of course” I don’t know what is going on but I already do not like the words that man is speaking. Even if he is apparently helping.

“But of course, nothing less for the scion of the King of Kings. You are dismissed to return to your task Servant” I hear the shuffling of feet and entering from the other coach car is mother.

I can make a guess about what is going on but best to ask. “Mother, is something the matter?”

She shakes her head and gives me a smile that is supposed to be reassuring. “No my son, just some business to clear up now that we have arrived. We just have to wait patiently as the servants complete their tasks” I nod at that and decide to just start people watching out the window. We are under a large glass enclosure that protects the departure point for people. Right now I am watching what I assume is the economy class passengers being shuffled off quickly. Closer to our own car I can see a few of the servants start unpacking the luggage. They have a lot to go through though if the entire car is full.

I spend what I think must have been half an hour just looking outside before I get bored of it. Unfortunately there is not much entertainment to be had with a lack of phones and whatnot, not to mention there is not even alot of widespread radio to be had. That and the lack of good suspension even for the high class car makes reading an exercise in becoming cross eyed quickly.
I think mother noticed that when she decides to wave over Selena to whisper into her ear. I wonder what that is but go back to blankly daydreaming out the window. Not like I can get answers.

Said answers do come to those who wait when I see Selena come back with two soldiers. They seem a bit scruffy and would be normal Imperial soldiers by their uniform if not for the black gilded badges that show they are Imperial Guards.
As I looked over them I had to turn to mother when she started speaking. “My son, I can see that you require something more stimulating. Perhaps a short walk around town at the market square before we depart for our lodgings? How does that sound”
Frankly that sounded alot better then what we had going right now. Way better. “Of course mother I wo-, we would be overjoyed to do so” She smiles at my mess up but continues.

“These are Guardsmen Fabian and Lars, they will keep you safe as you walk. Make sure never to get away from them or Selena my child. Oh, and take this. I am trusting you with this, make sure to come back by an hour at the latest”

I reply taking the clockwork watch in hand. “Of course mother. But are you sure you do not need them yourself?”

She chuckles. “No my son, I have my own guards. These ones will be yours. Now go along, I am sure that there will be sights to see in town” Well better go along the flow. I get dressed in better clothes to go walking and then off I am. As I pass through the station I see a bunch of dark haired folks in poorer clothes get ushered in by a few of the station staff.

Heading out into the town I see the sight of what I have come to see as imperial architecture. Alot of ye olde european stuff but actually smoothly unique in its own way. Then again this is the better part of town so I guess standards have to be had.
I could see alot of things here but it quickly got tedious. Touristy stuff is not great when you don’t have a tour guide to go ooh and aah at one bit of trivia or another. Especially as there are no great landmarks to be had right now. Still it is a chance to stretch my legs so I walk through as much of the market as I can. Considering it is more of a flea market and farmers market then the supermarkets and convenience stores I am used to, it is interesting. Except for the smell, that sucks.

Checking the watch I can see that it is getting a bit late. Considering how long it took to walk through the market itself I decide to just skirt the outsides. Walking along we are passing near the poorer parts of town, not quite in it but on the way to be sure. As we pass through the streets though I see something happening up the way.

My memory tells me I am seeing what looks like a mob scene. My mind is just baffled. I see what looks like you stereotypical thugs with planks and other makeshift things dressed in work shirts and worker’s hats. In front of them I see a crowd of people that are obviously part of the same ethnicity judging by the clothes. Darscen clothes. I usually don’t see them too often outside of propagandistic history books. Still this is an issue.

My modern day instincts says to go around, also it tells me to call the police. My training however says I am a fucking prince, they must be the ones to go around. That and the obvious crime in action makes me decide on what to do.
I turn to one of the guards. “Are they blocking my- this one’s way?”

He seems to blink behind his helmet and nods. “Yes your imperial highness. Those ruffians do seem to be blocking your passage”
His friend however seems to be more on the ball and speaks up. “Would you wish for one of us to disperse them your highness?” I nod and the man walks up to the group with his weapon still holstered.

He yells. “What is the meaning of this, is there some purpose for blocking the roads? Well speak up?!”

The two crowds seem confused at being addressed. But I see one of the thugs put away his knife and walk a bit up from the crowd to speak.

“Excuse me sir but we are just a few concerned citizens wondering what a bunch of darkies is doing here. Not exactly something any goodmen want to see around their homes. We were just concerned and wanted to ask them, nothing to trouble you with. We will be on our way shortly after we make sure they have not been thieving around these parts” Wow, that was way too mafia mob like. Just way too much. And right on queue someone amongst the Darscens speaks up.

“We were heading back to our homes as quickly as we could. We have lived in this town for years and we don’t recognize these folks. We were not causing trouble sir honest. We were called up for some quick labour at the train station and were heading back after being paid and-”

The spokesperson, thug, spokesthug interrupted. “See sir, they must be holding onto illegal coin. Probably robbed it from a noble’s place. How about we do our upstanding duty and remove it from their dirty hands, I am sure such a worthy personage as you can see how much you could benefit from this peacekeeping”

I am honestly stunned. What sort of survival instinct does that man have, it must be shit. Darwin award winning in fact. I look baffled at the other guard with me. “Are they trying to steal the money mother gave them? Is that not the payment this one’s mother gave them, this one thinks they are the workers unloading the luggage from the train” The guard looks between me and them, thinks for a moment and then stiffens.

He unlimbers his smg and actually charges it. “Best to close your ears your highness, this will be loud. You too maid”
I do what the man says and stuff my fingers in my ears. The crack of the gunshot is loud as the bullet zings into the sky above and everyone seems to halt except for the guard who begins yelling.

“Lars they just tried to bribe your ass. Get them on their knees” The other guard nods his head quickly and brings out his own gun.

“On your knees you layabouts. On your fucking knees you degenerates” As the group looks around confused Lars takes up his weapon and stock bashes the thug who was talking earlier. “On your fucking knees I said, you are all under arrest for attempting to bribe an Imperial Lifeguard. You Darscen scum, one of you stay behind to talk. The rest get out of my sight” The two crowds shuffle a bit before beginning to do what the man said. The one who got clocked earlier gets kicked this time back to his friends.

At this point I am watching stunned. First at the casual violence, second at the actual scene that just took place out of a shit movie. I was expecting him to go right police breaking them up, not this. I look back to the guard near me and I see that even through his armour he is struggling about something with himself. Eventually though he turns to Selena.

“Excuse me maid but could you fetch the constables, the town watch, or whatever is here. Also send a message back to his highness’s mother that we will be delayed but that everything is fine” Selena nods and begins walking off. I have a thought about whether or not she knows where to go but turn back to the group of surrendered thugs instead.

Lars the guard is still casually kicking the thug who spoke. I would say he is a sadist but I can hear the other guard, Fabian muttering under his breath.

“Curse them, curse them, this is a mess. A right mess. The sergeant is not going to be happy. Bribery, fucking bribery. Second rule is not to accept bribes. Off with our heads they said. This is not good” Okay, filling in the blanks gives me a story that is not sunshine and rainbows. Now how to put on the big boy pants like this.

“You there, citizen. What is your story with this mess” The Darscen man looks confused for a moment but he just repeats what was said earlier with a few more details. He even holds out a cheque for a bank. I recognize mothers signature on it, I am not sure about how much is on there but I think it is a good amount for what must have been less than an hour’s work.

“Very well goodman we have heard you story be on your way. The Empire will take care of this situation” My best imperial voice seems to work as the man nods quickly.

“Of course your benevolent grace, a thousand blessings on you and the Empire” I can see the guard swerve his head at the wrong terminology but just shrug through his armour.

“What a shitshow” I mutter under my breath. Finally beyond watching somewhat helplessly at the still ongoing casual violence the police arrive. Or the constables, whatever the term for them is. A bunch of uniformed men with those wood clubs with straps arrive. One of them with a badge walks up to us and bows. “Excuse me your high personages, but what seems to be the matter here. The maid here asked me and my boys to arrive and I heard something about a gunshot”

“Well, goodsir....” “Sergeant Withers, my goodman” “Well Sergeant, these thugs here are under trouble for first impeding the way of his Imperial Highness, Prince Maximillian. Secondly they attempted to bribe an imperial guardsmen for unsavoury purposes”

The police sergeant’s eyes seem to bulge at the second reason as he turns to one of his men and begins whispering. The other man runs off and the sergeant gestures to the thugs. “Well men, arrest them. Put them up for treason, or whatever high crime this is. Excuse me my prince but I must ask you if this story is true”

I begin explaining to the sergeant what I saw and heard as his men take out some bulky handcuffs to start restraining the thugs. He nods at my explanation and begins asking questions somewhat stiffly. I think he is trying to be polite but I answer the best I can. When he is done he thanks me and goes back to directing his men. I take out my watch and see that we are well over time. I hope Selena got that message through or there might be some big problems.

As the thugs are being arranged in a line to move I hear a few whistles being blown. Coming in are more uniformed guards and a horse drawn wagon with barred doors. A man drops from the carriage driver’s seat and walks up to us. Beside him is Selena looking a bit winded but otherwise fine.

“Sergeant is the situation in hand?” “Of course Inspector. I was just waiting for the collection. I hope that we can have this situation handled shortly. Hrrmmm Hrrrmmm, I am sure that his majesty the Prince will not need to be bothered with this situation that has taken up his precious time” The inspector nods at that and takes a bow to me.

“Your Imperial Highness, I can take over this situation. I must ask with all due respect if there is anything you would wish to speak of that you have not mentioned to the sergeant here?” Okay I have had a moment to think up what needs to be said and how, especially as I had a big reminder of the racism in the empire.

“No Mr. Inspector. We do not think there is anything else that needs be said. Other then that we would prefer that no more trouble arise from this, the bothering of working members of the Empire. Especially those conducting services for His Most Glorious Imperial Majesty and those of his household regardless of class. We would wish for this matter to be resolved swiftly and with minimal disturbance of affairs beyond the needed bringing to justice of these criminals” As he said this I can see out of the corner of my mind the thugs being casually hit and battered into the paddy wagon.

He bows again. “Of course your imperial grace. I will stake my honor and the honor of the service on resolution of this task. Begging your highness’s tolerance but this situation is well in hand. If it is best considered for your withdrawal to other more important tasks then the handling of these gutter filth” I nod at his words and look around to the others. The two guards are back to my side as is Selena.

“Very well Goodman, very will. We will be departing then. May your day be productive and bring honor and glory to the Empire” With those last fancy words said it is time to go. That was way too much excitement and casual brutality for me. Oh this is going to be a mess to sort out.

The entire walk I was nervous, palms slick from sweat and not really able to stay still. And there we go back at the station where there is a small hive of activity that is distinctly not that of normal activity. There is mother waiting beside the Imperial manservant and also a few other guards, this time in full black armour with gold accents. Mother swiftly walks up to me and puts her hand on my shoulders. She tilts my head up to check for anything out of place before huffing. I am guided back to the carriage, this time to the high class lounge. There everyone gets seated before mother speaks.

“My child, I am asking for an understanding of the situation. I heard something about thugs from a constable” Mother looks a little worried, not obviously but from the way her eyes are crinkled. I begin narrating the situation that happened. Everyone is watching attentively as I talk about the thugs, the attempted robbery, and everything else. As the story winds down however I decide now is the time to ask a question I have been worried about. I look at the guardsmen wearing more braid then the others.
“Mr. Guardsmen, why did they try to bribe this one’s guards? Is not that a capital offence? How could common rabble think to do so?” The man seems to be wondering about this before bowing his head, arm to his chest to me.

“Begging your imperial highness for his forbearance and forgiveness, that is a question I do not know the answer to. However it shall be swiftly resolved if you but give permission” I take a quick look to mother who simply passes the buck. Well, time to do something on my own accord.

“That would be most worthy of a task Guardsmen. Can you do so swiftly?” He salutes and directs a few of his fellows to stay.
“Of course my prince, I will simply require the presence of your two old guards with me. I will be leaving the rest of my men here while I depart for the telegraph office. There are a few responses that must be sent” I nod at him.

“Alright you heard his imperial highness. Troopers stay here, you two Cadets. Get a move on, I require your stories. Do not be slow” The man leaves and I turn back to mother who is only sighing.

“Well my child, this has been but one more element of the saga of the day. Do not worry my child, I see nothing wrong with your conduct or actions. Come we must be departing. Our lodgings are finally ready” I had no confidence going in that this trip will go well at all, well my expectations have already been answered. I hope.


Agent of Catgirl Genocide
Aug 24, 2019
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Well, I suppose that having some ruffians dealt with is one way spend a stroll.
Prologue 01: Part 6


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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AN1: Here's this week's part.

Well, I suppose that having some ruffians dealt with is one way spend a stroll.
Yep, always a classic time. Going on a Walk and meeting the locals, maybe not eating the locals like a certain Red One.

Well fuck. Just fuck. Fuck this place, fuck this time, fuck this world. Well maybe not, but tell that to my stomach. Whatever gods, robs, asbs, whatever exist out there, just shit. Dam my innards still churn again at the memory. That moment more than others made me realize just what sort of world this was. Innocence. There is the kind that you lose after childhood, the kind when you notice that the world is often a cruel one. This was another kind of lost innocence, one that not many adults lose. I think its the one that soldiers lose. If civilization gets rid of this sort of thing then I see no reason to get in its way, as much as I think that just killing a few bad apples would be better.

Fuck, here I am supposed to be reading some sappy shit of a novel when I can’t help but remember. My hands feel sweaty as I I think back to mother when she first had me participate after that dinner. She was not happy I think to have to be there, but that does not change the past. A bunch of war criminals from our own side. Abuse of authority by garrison commanders, sadists, all sorts of people most would call the scum of the earth. I remember that first execution I witnessed. The bodies being hanged, the snap and thud of the bodies as the platform dropped. The sight made me look towards her for kindness as we watched on. Masculinity? What's that? But as much as she put a comforting hand on my shoulder I realized something important. She is a person of strength just like the Emperor, my father said. She presented herself as there at the same time as making a point of having me watch the show. A big show of bread and circuses just like the roman definition, bloodshed included. Historical as it might be, as cultural as it may be ingrained I can still say this. This is some fucked up shit.

I can call this out as a fucked up thing to show a young child. Hell even I was not dealing with it well at the time with my greater years of experience. Why was I remembering such things well fucked up trauma tends to be a rather major sticking point in your mind. Also fuck studying, hated it in the past. Knew it was good for me but procrastination for the win!! God being royalty sucks, I knew the politics could get me killed but then there is still this shit that pops up. Okay, happy thoughts don’t work. Sorta. Shit. I can fucking still taste the air that was there as they kept things up, burnt human flesh. Goddam. I walk into the tiny water closet they call a bathroom. Still it has a bit of heated water as I stoke the flames of the ragnite heater. Better then coal I guess. First a splash of cold water, then maybe a nice long soak would help. I watch the water get prepped as I try to keep my hands from shaking. Honestly this makes me want to get a bottle of wine, the fucking cliche way of washing the memories away. Wouldn’t of worked back then but hey, my body is not allergic this time around.

Finally the water is ready, I fill up the wooden tub and turn off the flames. Ahhh thats better. Blood and guts. Things are only going to get worse. I don’t know much about Valkyria Chronicles. I sorta tried to run away from that little issue of video game life. But here, well mortality certainly is making me reconsider things. I know jack, but I can be sure of one thing. More war, more blood spilled. At the same time having to live it . . . there is no way it won’t come. One man cannot stop the tide of history, much as the history books say single people make and break the course of time that is only after the fact. I am just one shitty brat right now, one going to be thrown into this. Hell I have to admit to myself, I am the antagonist character. Motivations though, resources, means. None of that shit. Just a sense of style I will not allow myself to be caught dead in. I lay back as much as I can and sling my arm over my head. I just want this shit to not be my life. Damm....

Wait what. What is. Dam the water is cold. Must have fallen asleep. Well now. Okay out of water first to not get a cold then still ongoing crisis of the mind. Thankfully clothing styles have been relaxed if still present. Selena and the others are busy thanks to most of the staff departing to remain on schedule. Ironically it is the main party that can afford to stay behind. The . . . events earlier aside there have been a mix of petty occasions that mother has been going to. Frankly I can tell its some sort of harassment. But trying to but my head into it would do nothing, which means all I get is frustration. Like an empty drawer with a random marble I clattered around for a bit before finally deciding to bite the bullet and head downstairs. Better to deal with the awkwardness of status and position then to stew in cabin fever.

Honestly if I was your typical noble brat being able to dress yourself without a servant is an honest accomplishment. Thankfully for my shit formal clothing skills we had what passes for a generic noble scion’s clothes. Maybe I can read better elsewhere, at worst I can just start doodling in my scrapbook. Two years of high school art ahoy. Walking into the longue I can see that there are a few others here, none of my age however. Also the welcoming musk of cigar smoke. Right, at least the radio is on. Plonking myself near the window I try to just let time pass. Breath in slowly, breath out. Decompress. In and out. Repeat. Right centered my feng shui, semantics aside let's see what I can actually do. A part of me is morbid in wanting to try exposure therapy, the other decides to play safe by just trying to sketch what I remember of the rail station. At least I can still do this much. I can safely say that it is recognizable.

“Hmmph Hmmph, excuse me young man but I can’t help but notice your presence here” A slightly raspy voice spoke out.

Wait what. Turning my head I look to see a man with hat in hand. A little further look sees mister plain clothes royal guard looking balefully at the scene. I give him a flick of my head to back off and he grudgingly goes back to pretending to read his newspaper. Smooth, an hour long time to read one page. Oh right back to the man in front.

“Uh, uh. I was looking for advice on some matter and I felt that one with a bit of a touch of youth would be good for this matter. You are an academy student or about to be on no?” Taking a closer look I can see that his clothes though technically of good make are a bit worn and old. He has a briefcase on him and with my peripheral vision I can see everyone is giving me the stink eye. Why. . . Ahh yes, racism. Welcome back my old friend. Mister guard is now confused on who to glare at now.

“Would you be open for a conversation about this matter. I can assure you it will be most interesting, and I do have something to make it at least worth a spot of your time” Lets see, expensive chocolate bar and a conversation. Social ostracization. Well fuck em, Ima prince and what have you lots done for me lately. Nothing. I can skip town soon enough anyway. Right, better dial it down.

“Well I suppose I am free for this opportunity. Now what sort of business matter do you have to attend to?”

The darscen man puts the chocolate down on the little end table and opens up his briefcase to take out a sheath of paper. A bunch of design plans for . . . frankly alot of stuff. Some of actual machines, others concept briefs of different products. Either this man has collected a bunch of people together or he is one busy monkey. Well not my problem.

“Now I am checking for a good business market and first is to appeal to a target audience no? Now how about this invention the . . .” Before he gets into his sales pitch I raise up a hand. As he blinks in confusion I start to speak.

“Before you go into the fine details I have to ask. Do you have a good name. I don’t mean a name for whatever you wish to peddle. I mean whether you have anyone capable of selling these products for you in a good and swift manner. No matter how welcome your products may be, if they are seen as . . . tainted then it may be difficult to find customers. Whatever you sell in your current state must be exceptionally good to be able to make a profit, even then there are ways to cause. Let us call them issues”

He sits almost flapping his mouth before he clamps up and thinks. I can see the cogs going. The sheer level of hope and growing disillusionment. Yeah bursting bubbles. Not great. On the one hand I want to know the life this guy has lived to be like this, the other I sorta feel pity for the guy but not exactly much I can do about it.

“Right, right. How about a brief list of what you have. Maybe I can give you a few pointers. At a stretch give me a few years and once I make it on my own I might be able to do something myself” Thank you whatever he seems to be rallying himself.

He breathes in and with a wince filled upturn of his lips begins talking about various things.

“Myself and a few colleagues are working on a variety of products we hope to make a viable financial franchise of some sort. We have a variety of products that vary from household goods, entertainment goods, personal welfare goods, and other innovations on existing goods”

Well the man was not lying, alot of this stuff I can see from a glance would be very useful. Huh, that appears to be an electric washing machine. Interesting.

“Alright, now that I have taken a basic overlook do you wish to hear what I have to say?” He looks even more nervous and abashed then he was before. Still I get the go ahead.

“Now I believe that before we go into the fine details lets look at other aspects of your market strategy. Some of these products while innovative are expensive. I mean expensive. Do you plan to exclusively sell to the nobility and other wealthy markets or to the general public. While selling to the nobility will initially grant you a good sum it will quickly run out. Unless you are capable of expanding both production and transport ability to larger populations then it will be limited. The nobility are also more likely to cause problems legally if they discover that they do not like the inventors of machinists who make these goods. The general public has less ability to but are still quite dangerous to a new product such as these”

The salesman has actually sat himself down and is taking notes. Like a student in a classroom he is nodding along before noticing the silence to speak. “Ahh yes, that would indeed be an important matter to pay attention to. Would. Would you say. That we need a . . . good storefront to handle matters like this?”

“No not just a storefront in whatever town you are making these in. You need to be able to reach out to a wide audience” Wait, there are no such things as department stores. Right, what did they have before those? Oh.

“Perhaps some sort of male order catalog, have it advertised in newspapers, town squares, and if you can prominent stores. If you ever manage to expand you will be able to print out your own paper solely based on your products. Perhaps you can make that a business on its own, gathering a variety of goods and sending them off. That though will require either a very good relationship with some transport companies or for you to expand to that as well. IT will not be easy, especially early on with limited sales” Okay, I am running out of shit to talk out of my ass with.

He scribbles some more of my inane ramblings down and asks. “So are you saying that we should find a patron or several to both finance and prepare other aspects of this?”

Ahaha. “Yes, a patron would seem to be good to have. Whether they are a good or bad one will have to be up to you and yours. Remember, not everyone is a liberal in regards to their clientele. You will find this difficult and something that will never really manage to ever be an easy course. I assume there is a reason you are not simply patenting and licensing these goods?”

Yep thats a critical hit as the man only nods slowly and painfully. Yeah, I can guess that the aristocratic bureaucracy is not going to be kind. “There, are reasons.”

I nod with sympathy to his words. Now then, how to end this conversation. “I think it best for you to bring this up to your comrades and consider your future course of action. Have both a goal and a plan, but remember that both of those are different things. Be flexible and enduring. Now have a good day and may your business succeed” Yoink. Now out of sight of all those lot.

Okay back safely in my room lets see what I got for like ten minutes of talk. Huh, it's not a pure bar of chocolate. Then again that is probably outrageously expensive. And that was rude.

“My prince. I must humbly ask that you take more caution in the future about such incidents” Right you lot again. Acting lessons, acting lessons.

“I sincerely doubt that man knew who we were. Neither would it have been becoming to be so rude to an honest petitioner regardless. A certain level of decorum must be maintained at all times to all parties regardless of circumstance” Believe the bullshit, believe the bullshit you racist ass.

“My humble apologies for interceding my prince, but your safety is our responsibility. Please. My prince, be wary”

Fine I will be more careful. Lets see, sealed container. Huh, some sort of plastic. I pass it over and he cracks the thing open. The guard breaks a piece off of the segmented bar and crumbles it. Chocolate covered wafers hmm, not bad. After glaring at the thing for what must have been an entire minute he grudgingly passes the thing back. My first taste of non-artisan chocolate. Not that bad.


Agent of Catgirl Genocide
Aug 24, 2019
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Well, here's hoping that guy and his associates succeed.
Prologue 01: Parts 7


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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AN: Enjoy folks.

Well, train travel. No, not time travel even if I consider the shenanigans that got me here. Not something I am going to ever be rid of am I with these questions. Also trains. Even if planes existed I hated them, and frankly biplanes sound like a death trap to me. God, how fucking out of my mind am I to doing this? Still at least this time we have the real good accommodations. Better suspension really makes a difference, especially when sleeping. You would not believe the amount of bumps that come even when strapped down in a sleeper car bed. The bathroom is leagues better than in any bus I have had to use. Chemical toilets, the horror. Then again the entertainment has not stopped sucking, man do I miss the internet. At least I can actually read books without my eyes dying from shaking. All the benefits. . . at least being miserable let the time pass quickly.

It has been a few hours since we left that little town, fucking a week behind schedule from what I know. That can’t have been good for the budget, then again nobility and the emperor’s bank account. But I heard we are going to need to cut a few visits from the schedule to make up time. That sorta sucks but once again a supreme lack of self-determination. Comforting in not needing to worry about working towards retirement and all that fun jazz, bad in that it chafes. At least the travel aspect is similar even if the pool of people to speak to is limited. I am vaguely interested in introducing some sort of tabletop game like DnD but really that sort of system crunching was never something I could come up with. Maybe that Fate Core system thing which was supposed to be alot simpler, well I don’t know any details about it.

Might as well take a walk, unlike how regular trains are it is relatively safe to walk between carriages since they stuck alot of extra bits so that carts can get through easily for food and other stuff. Also easier for constantly following guards to rather bluntly tale me. Well, my legs could certainly use the exercise whatever.

Thanks to the delay the entire household staff could meet back up rather then just the little vanguard party we had with us. Also thanks to needing to cross provincial borders, travel restrictions have not been completely lifted from wartime. Things are tense and I don’t know anything about the situation, it is just so abstract. I wonder about it but really all I end up doing is shrugging and moving on. One step at a time, not the worst way to think of things I guess. Going through one last car I brace for the whirling wind and get through the double set of doors. We were passing through on a wide river bank, water on one side and a cliff face on the other. Huh, I was not looking for mother but here she is.

I amble through the car intending to get to the next one but I see mother clear her throat at me. She pats the seat next to her and I set down obediently if confused. I don’t like the next words she has to speak.

“My child I think we will need to speak about your future. I know you are a clever child so we can have a talk” Well that is one of the more dreaded sets of words one can have.

“Am I being trained for something mother? Am I going to join the military? Maybe ruling my own fief?” Being put out to stud, but that is not leaving my head.

“Hmm, yes those are the most likely paths. You are a talented child, one of the smartest and most clever I know. You will go far in the future, such is your potential and talent. But I think the problem is with others. I think I can safely say that you know not everyone will be your friend. That even if they smile and speak nicely, that they are not actually your friend” She looks sad, sad but determined. I feel a bit of scorn at this presumption of innocence but really do I need to be so rude? She is trying to show her care. I am sorry mother but your son is already not proud at the sort of person they are.

She continues on, less talking to me as she is just speaking. “You have a bit of time to decide. But there is pressure. Oh my child I wish you could live a life of ease and contemplation, but. We are not living in a time of real peace. War was there at your birth, and maybe even for your own children” I try to pat her arm but she brushes it off lightly, ever with her smile.

“Right now we have a few different calls for your service. You are a prince, you are not destined for a quiet life. First is your uncle from my side of the family. I remember telling you about him before, he offers a position amongst the consortium my family has. Perhaps back in the day it prevented the family’s rise above our baronial rank but now it serves as a respectable industrial firm for our Empire. You remember your history, the industrial revolution?” I nod at her words, I vaguely remember the man but really I could be imagining it. Still she moves on.

“He offers you a place as his aide, to learn about that important aspect of any modern nation” She frowns and seems to gather herself, not a good sign at all.

“Then there is your father. He is like so many others enamoured with the military life. The war has tempered his drive but rather then douse the flame he is preparing to temper the blade of the empire. He offers you a place amongst the military academies. A time to grow and be prepared for the next war, amongst our proud soldiery” Dam, I am tempted. I am not a soldier, I don’t think I have the temperament so the job amongst my uncle sounds really good. But at the same time, that narrative oomph and genre savviness that my life seems to be so far says to go into the army.

I speak up trying to buy some time. “What sort of person is my uncle . . . and father. I don’t think I have ever met my uncle and father . . . I don’t really know him” She nods sadly and takes out a little book, a bit beat up. One of those things that scream scrapbook.

Sure enough inside are a bunch of black and white or sepia photos. She flips to an image of an early middle aged man with a rather impressive walrus mustache. It is ringing a bell or two but not exactly someone I could remember again unless pointed out to me. I think I can see the family resemblance through the nose but I can’t say for sure.

“While I call him your uncle the family line is a bit more distant but he has always been there for me when I was younger. Even when my own parents . . . That is a story for another time” Huh, I never did know my grandparents. Not something I really realized.

“Now your uncle technically only has a knighthood rank but really he fancies himself an adventuring gentleman businessman then real nobility. Frankly most of the consortium work is handled by others but he tends to be on the forefront of trying to get new opportunities. He used to be in the Southern Nostrum but he recently moved to the Far Eastern Marches with tensions ebbing and flowing. Now he has managed to settle down in Magadan province and is offering, it is a distant place but vibrant in its growth as a port to the exotic”

“Your father is . . . a complex figure. I think even the few times you have had audiences with him has been enough to see a little of that. He is the Emperor, and the Emperor is him. There is little divide. He was . . . different in his younger days. Before the death of his first son, the previous crown prince. I ask that you be prepared for him to be difficult, even if he does not mean to be so. The demands of the throne are harsh” She sighs, seeming to sink back a moment to think and remember.

“I was a simple court lady back then, there to act as a courtier and keep a pulse on the affairs of state” She laughs lightly and gives a melancholic smile.

“Your uncle had hoped I could help keep him informed and keep from getting up to more hazardous adventures. Well not that the court is really safer but less outright violence from our youth, but this was before the outbreak of the war. Oh did he come to regret it immensely when I met your father and grew close. He was the grieving and vengeful father and husband with a distant and conniving second wife, I was the adventurous and exotic newcomer thinking I could conquer even this dreaded place but so out of her depth. One who was devastated when the one she knew as a dear friend had lost her life alongside her son” She gives yet another of her smiles, this one I think harder yet confident. She flips through a few pages and shows images of her at a ball, a hunt, a few other times and places.

“Neither of us intended anything, yet there we went through the earliest and worst years of the war” She blinks, seeming lost. I awkwardly wonder about what to do when I notice something. We are slowing down. I look at the watch I still have and note the time. Rest stop for the train.

“Oh, is it that time?” I nod and she closes the book. She taps a finger on the book and then hands it to me.

“How about you look over that for a bit, I have to go back to work on some correspondence. Just do not forget about your future. But you have a bit of time to wait” I nod and start heading back. I swinging my arms with the book in my grasp as I pass between cars. This time my bodyguard is the one that gets to open the doors.

I wonder if I can get some sort of snack. Something brewed hot as well with the train stopped for now. As I was turning the door handle I heard a clatter of something to the side. I look at the left side where I can the cliff wall. The guard is rather warily aiming his gun up. Odd, did that rock just fall for now real reason. BBOOOOOOMMM. An impact of a body. Air. Flight. Pain over the right side of my face. Water.


Jan 14, 2021
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Just found this story and it seems pretty great. Not sure how much I need to know of the original content but I'm getting that there are many big nations being a thing. Looking forward to what happens next and what path he'll pick. Something bad happened and he's hurt badly. We'll see what the damage is.
The First Interbellum: Part 01-2


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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AN1: Here you go, this is some background happenings between story arcs.

Just found this story and it seems pretty great. Not sure how much I need to know of the original content but I'm getting that there are many big nations being a thing. Looking forward to what happens next and what path he'll pick. Something bad happened and he's hurt badly. We'll see what the damage is.
Yep, what you saw there was if one cares about the spoilers this
The original prince lost his only friends and family in that train explosion because of an assassination attempt by the other imperial claimants to trim the field. Our tragic backstory villain does not care about his nation or its racist values, he just wants power to be able to get revenge and clean out the country of corruption. Of course what our actual MC does is for the future

Part 01

“So stupidity and not malice led to the maiming of my son and the death of his entire household?” Those are the words being thundered out by the man on the throne. It was not an echoing sound, the voice was too deep for that to work well. But the pressure was greater than that of any impending thunderstorm such was the weight of that voice.

All of that focused on a near groveling figure standing on the audience space before the King of Kings. “My, my Emperor. This is a tragic series of incidents. But. But. I promise there will be retribution. Retribution. I vow before you that those who dared strike upon our soil, to kill citizens and that perpetuated such a deeply heinous act will be dealt with. I will put all. All effort into this” To the deeply aggrieved man’s eyes the tubby figure seemed to be a carticure of everything that was wrong with the Empire.

“Well if this is so then why did you not put the effort into such things before hand. How did such threats wander amongst our lands. On the soil of the Empire. Enough to destroy bridges, to kill loyal soldiers who served their Fatherland proudly. Enough to murder members of this Imperial Household. Soldiers of the wretched Federation, for weeks. MONTHS since the armistice was called. Assassins, murders, all there because you were weak. You have failed your duty, to the people, to your peers, to ME” More petty apologies and recriminations against others. None of it came close to stopping the roaring fire that was the Sun of the Realm.

Such words indeed seemed to only stoke the barely contained rage of the one there on the throne. “Out. Leave. This one dismisses you. Unworthy son of the Realm. You are banished from this city for the rest of your days. Be prepared, your failure has granted you Imperial Sanction. You are confined to your estate until the charges against you have been either verified or dropped. Do not make matters worse” The tearful figure was taken out, his arms and legs grappled so that like a log he was carried out by burly guards. Those words from on high breaking any real hope of a political career, especially as the wrath of the Throne would cascade downward to all facets of the man from his family to his land. Land in real doubt that would stay his. So too was his very life in doubt.

The emperor done with that waste of space looked at the gathered worthies and in his heart despaired. So many lost. The loyal and proud sons and daughters of the Empire lost in the wretched war. Their places taken by young blood, by unworthy hands. By the rats that had survived where the worthy had not. There are even ones so deeply deluded as to presume the title of crown prince when it had yet to be given. Pushed there by grasping hands of a would be empress. Not even the spare and yet attempting such. Them and their little faction of ner do wells and corrupted nobility. They may champion the supremacy of the Empire, especially over the allied countries but that was a foolish bit of vainglory. One now poised to rend them into civil war if the right breakpoints are lost. So much did he have to solve, so much worse will things be should he have an unworthy sit upon the throne. That thought soured his mood.

“This court is out of session. Prepare your forces, alert the Command. There will be blood for such an act. All depart as this one deliberates on this most sorrowful of news” The sycophants and other figures gave their departing pledges and phrases. All ultimately useless. Not when he had nearly lost yet another son, even then he had lost so many others of esteem.

With a thunderous gait he departed for his own chambers, his cloak wrapped tightly around his arm as he near outpaced the Imperial Life Guards assigned for that shift. Soon the man who is emperor arrived at his semi-private chambers. Waiting there was the man known as Berthold Gregor. His loyal left hand. A report was held in the man in his arms. His cane as always tucked under in one armpit. The emperor sat down heavily in his study’s main seat. Hands tightly grasping each other in his lap.

He glared balefully, not at the man but simply expressing his distaste at the situation. “Well, the latest news?” With crisp words Gregor relayed the latest results of the investigations, the latest political reverberations, and the last status of the convalescent prince.

“And the latest plans. When can the reckoning against the tainted blood commence? Vile blood must be extracted like a leech to a soured wound” He may not be able to simply kill anyone out of hand nor allow a trial to drag on. But he could do other things.

“The monastery is prepared. The Abbess is understanding of the circumstances and also thankful for the expanded facilities we offered to build” An enabler rather then a plotter in this case, regardless it gave an excuse to sideline her. Once there had been affection, then there was only the throne for the both of them. A flash of a smile and the warmth behind it is squished back to the haunted corners of his mind.

Gregor continued, guessing at the moody thoughts but choosing to not engage. “The latest list of those responsible and those unworthy is being compiled still” Good, but not good enough. There would be a purge, the chaff swept aside for his own work.

One day those two lists would merge but that was out of his hands and that of Gregors for now, the investigators would be through or else. The emperor gripped the rests of his chair tightly, the wood creaking before he let them go. Once before he had lost those closest to him and he had drowned the entire continent and beyond in blood for it. Now he had lost again. But he would not let her memory go in vain. Not like before. He knew what he would do. Knew what he had to prepare for.

“What matters do we have to attend to with the rest of my child’s recovery?” The wounds were light, light for the only survivor of almost a hundred strong party on that train.

“Minor my lord, the child is expected to awaken in the next few days. All care has been taken under trusted hands. On another note there is the matter of the . . . adventurer” His dear’s self proclaimed older brother. Proclaimed only after he had taken her hand in the eyes of the court of law and the nation. Regardless he was a known quantity, acting only as needed and allowed to. A small boon perhaps then.

“Inform him of the status of my child, and a simple version of affairs. If he presses for contact allow it. But do inform him that regardless of matters he is of my blood, I will determine the future of my child. He may act but know that it is at my pleasure” Gregor nodded and continued on through a few other minutiae. There would be peace, for now.

Part 02

Berthold Gregor gripped his cane firmly as he stepped off the train, letting his weight rock him for a moment before he regained his balance. His leg was an old pain by this point, even the best ragnite enriched medicine from Gallia would have only done so much for him even if he had access to it. Still old war wounds aside he had business to attend to. He had served his Emperor as well as he could in the past and he could not foresee a life outside of his service. If that service took him to some scraggly provincial town to personally receive the reports of the Bureau of Inspector-Generals then so be it. His escort of Imperial Guardsmen made it abundantly clear to even the uninformed and ignorant that he was not to be trifled with.

“Jakab, do remind me again the schedule of departures and arrivals” His current aide scrambled to the Stationmaster’s office as Gregor turned his experienced eyes on the arriving troops putting the young whelp aside.

The town was constantly seeing an influx and egress of soldiers with its place as a local transport hub making it key in responding to the instability they were seeing. The townsfolk had long gotten used to their movements, only the most immediate family watched them come in or leave.

Gendarmeries patrolled, eyes keen on any suspicious individuals. The condition of the Prince Maximillian had not yet been revealed as he still lay in convalescence. His attackers, not yet captured even if the Empire was confident that the border was still inviolate. It would be only a matter of time until the fools were run down. The political scene was still in turmoil as the first stage of the purge was ongoing. The prince’s attack had only galvanized existing plans and expanded the list. Across not only the nobility but also the military and other branches a house cleaning was ongoing. One too many princes had been killed by the Federation, there would not be another as his most glorious Imperial Glory had made clear with his will.

A shriek echoed out as the train gave its warning whistle. Soon the wheels began to turn and final farewells were spoken by tearful families. They would do their duty to hunt down the treacherous marauders. Rogue deserters they were called, a thinly veiled excuse he called it. A feeble attempt at proxy war by the Federation. Disturbing though in how it was proving difficult to pin down the wretches. A skilled force it must be, but also a potential sign of . . . inside aid. Disturbing too in wider affairs as the effects of the canceled demobilization made themselves known on the carefully planned and now defunct reconstruction plan. Already the propagandists and censors who had been about to be laid off were staffing their many offices again to whip up the masses.

His cane struck down a newspaper that blew against his leg, a quick glance showing that the vilification of the Atlantic Federation had come again. Headlines blared out their drivel.

"Francoan Pigs!! Murders One and All!!! Never Give Up the Fight!!"

"Protect Your Home, Guard the People!! Enlist Today, Your Fatherland Needs You!!! "

"USV Interference!! Merchants of Death!! Each Bullet Meant for Your Son, Each Bayonet for Your Wives and Children"

"Buy Imperial Bonds, Each Crown for Prosperity and Safety"

Pathetic, as if there was a single original thought in most of the heads of the pamphleteers. Still he supposed it would have been an insult to have the artists of the Imperial Palace work on such crude things for the masses. But those concerns were for Imperial High Command, his was a more focused task. Hearing the clatter of boots he saw Jakab return with papers in hand.

“My lord, your request is fulfilled” Taking away the sheaf he noted the changes compared to what he had received before before tucking it away in the briefcase Jakab held. Without another word the group made their way out of the station and through the streets. The folks there quickly recognized the passage of one of their betters and made way. The journey was simple. Nothing stood out as they arrived at their destination.

The token guard quickly got out of the way as he passed through the quaint offices of the administration building, a hasty wartime construction that had not yet been replaced. The bureaucrats within visibly backing off at the sight of his uniformed self. Soon he found himself in more sturdy environs of the gendarmerie facilities. His aide rapped on the office the inspectors had taken over and he entered to go through the usual greeting platitudes. Berthold grumbled to himself as he adjusted his reading glasses, the report was dry and annoyingly uninformative. Nothing he did not know already, troubling if viewed in a more suspicious fashion like this entire case had been. His instincts were not happy.

“Inspector Gordian, is there any additional information beyond these reports? I find them . . . sparse. Provocatively so” The nervously sweating man shook his head and gave all his assurances on the matter. A disgraceful conduct he would note for later.

Perhaps the inspector did have a spine for he seemed to rally at last. “My lord, our efforts have begun only recently. Humbly I must request for time and resources. There is only so much we can do. We can uncover the truth but it won’t be quick” You stare into his eyes and see that there is a bit of strength yes, but not enough for one in such a post. The lack of response seems to spur him to continue.

“But, but perhaps you could uncover something yourself? Surely your own magnanimous self can provoke the uncouth wretches to reveal something of use?” Disturbing, to not realize how much of a condemnation it was for him to admit to such. Perhaps he should have a telegraph sent, someone must investigate the investigators after all.

“Perhaps I shall Inspector. Perhaps I shall. A good day to you then” A good two hour delay ought to be enough. If this pig was guilty then he would have run off to hide whatever misdeeds were conducted if he felt particularly paranoid. If not then it was still prudent to investigate such rank incompetence.

Nowhere did Gregor think that the trigger would be pulled but half an hour after departing the telegraph office. He sat at the inn room he had requisitioned for himself and company, once again searching through the current batch of accumulated papers. A matter that quickly became superfluous as something clattered and broke against the outside of the building. As Gregor looked up at the disturbance his body reacted before his mind recognized the next set of sound. Gunshots. All imperial officers are required to run through basic training which includes a course on infantry combat. As much of an intellectual as Gregor put effort into being he knew how to react when shots were being fired rather close for comfort, something that took the Federation officers a while to realize much to the disappointment of the Empire’s sharpshooters when they did.

“Suffer in Hel's eternal grasp you imperialist dogs. For The REVOLUTION!!!” Cursing at whoever was obviously attempting to kill them he scrambled to act.

Cane in hand and pistol holster opened he stood up to realize the scent of smoke wafting through the air. He honestly had to consider the window or the stairs down. The door slammed open as he came out into the hall with pistol raised. For now no targets presented themselves. A quick click had the holster attached to his pistol, his maimed leg was not conducive to firing but a full auto burst would still put most foes off balance. Limping halfway down the stairs he saw bodies upon the floor, civilian and enemy judging by the weapons. His small contingent of guards was busy holding by the windows. Heading up towards him were two men. One of the guards, wounded badly and his aide helping bring the man up. The wounded man was bustled into an empty room and as Jakab walked out he grabbed the young man.

“Well, status report”

Shaking some of of the shock off he began speaking. “Sir, rebels. Civilians with cloth masks and bandanas. They were thankfully spotted by David when he stepped out for a smoke. He is the one lying upstairs now” Gregor cut off his aide who realized that the man did not want superfluous information.

As the chattering crack of automatic fire passed his aide continued. “ That gave us just enough time to lock the doors and grab our weapons. Sir some of what they are using seems to be our own weapons. Others are federation issue. We can’t be sure if they have” The crack bang of a grenade answered the aide’s cut off worry. The two quickly stumbled the rest of the way up the stairs as chunks of the door blew inward. Jakab went to one knee and started putting rounds from his pistol at the open door. A cut off scream showed he got one before having to duck back to reload. The brief moment let another man stumble through, long rifle with bayonet starting to rise before a trio of bullets took him in the chest. The crack of the pistol soon drowned out as the slowly stumbling attacker was blasted off his feat for sure this time.

The guardsmen had rallied again and with their heavier Derk carbines began unloading again. The new weapons serving well as they poured lead downrange. The sound of something clattering in had everyone inside scrambling for cover again. This time however when it went off the rushing enemy was cut down by prepared guardsmen. The sound of something beating at the rear door of the building however sent the guardsmen scrambling for the stairs. Recognizing that the three men could not possibly hold two doorways. They tracked through the mangled bodies on the ground floor as they took up defensive positions upstairs.

It was difficult, minutes seemed like hours as the embattled defenders held their ground. What forced them to change their position however was not the enemy forcing their way through but the slowly descending fire. The roof had been set on fire some time ago, but now the fire had finally starting to collapse the roof. Something that started to greatly worry the group as they realized it was either the bullets of the scum waiting outside, or being crushed by flaming debris.

As Gregor calmly considered their sparse options he noticed one of the stormtroopers carefully crawling out acrossing the gore covered and shattered floor. What was taken from the hand of a dead bandit . . . a large bundle of grenades all attached together.

“Sir! The upstairs walls are made out of wood and set above the neighboring buildings. We could blast our way out and drop to escape” Gregor considered this development but then noticed his aide going even paler then he had been before.

“Sir what about our wounded man? And the civilians? The building is going to collapse soon. We can’t just leave them!” They would have to make a hard choice soon Gregor realized. But looking into the determined eyes of the man he had to consider what his own choices were and what this one would decide.

“If you wish to risk yourself to do so then I will not stop you. Is there any volunteer to help him, one man cannot carry the wounded alone”

“Sir I volunteer. I would only slow you down anyway” One of the guardsmen, a bullet had torn through his side, not enough to stop him from fighting but the rough bandage was already starting to be soaked. He would not last long without aid.

Realizing this Gregor made his decision. “As soon as the charge is set we will depart towards the train station. You will bring the wounded out another way, not the gendarmes though nor can we be sure of the checkpoints into the city. Head for the Yggdrist church, disarm yourselves if you have to when you seek sanctuary” If the church was involved then they would have bigger problems then just the rebels.

“Yes my lord. May the fates smile upon us” With that final word the pin was pulled and the group ducked. This time they had a chance to shut their ears to the blast and so managed to hit the ground running.

By some miracle there did not seem to be anyone immediately on them. The scramble to the roof was hard for Gregor but he made do. Without a word the group split up, the wounded proceeding a little bit slower to slide down the roof as Gregor group also descended. Using his cane like a hook he swung down, roughly jarring himself feet first against the building but otherwise smoothly landing. With all the activity his leg was on fire but that did not stop him from continuing to make best speed away.

Now as he left he heard shouting, indistinct but angry for sure. He spared a small thought for those who were on the run but he had more important matters. Unless matters had changed there would be a troop train arriving soon. Hopefully these would be still loyal forces.
The First Interbellum: Part 03-4


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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Some would consider the town of Leipbruck to be a wartorn town as smoldering fires still burned. For those veteran troops it was a still fairly intact one. Most building still had windows and the streets were still paved without shell craters dotting the landscape. The occasional gunshots however showed that matters were not calm. At the train station which housed the temporary headquarters of the 33rd Provisional Freikorp hastily thrown together to deal with the insurrection Berthold Gregor plotted. His escape from the early attacks had let him commandeer the transferring troops already there along with ordering the nearest detachments to proceed there posthaste. His troops were not well equipped, mostly with their service rifles and little in the way of additional equipment. The only saving grace was the even worse situation of their opponents and of course the ever present tank units of the Empire. The initial enemy plans to cut the rail lines and establish a fortified location had been crushed but the city still held dissidents. Both from rebels and revolutionaries already there to ‘rogue’ Federation forces.

But away at the border between the two great Europan superpowers the DMZ established for the armistice still held. Agitation was rampant throughout the military commands of both sides. War plans for immediate breaches of the DMZ and invasion of the enemy heartlands were being drafted, revised, and drafted again by military commanders. The only reason no conflict had begun already was the fact that the rogue forces operating were so few. Some were undoubtedly actually rogue forces from the still belligerent Francoan Republic, a course of events that did not please the Kingdom of Edinburgh and the United States of Vinland even as elements from those two nations continued to smuggle weapons to different parties. Francoan blood which had flowed endlessly when the war first began to its end, the republic now facing problems as the loss of an entire generation makes itself known.

With the loss of convenient bodies from the land based power to throw at problems the other powers of the Atlantic Federation made their own plans. The ongoing second thrust of the Federation’s Deflective Containment plan beyond aiding rebel and disavowed forces was the support of various non-aligned nations on the borders of the Empire. Many of whom were beginning to receive a great deal of military aid from Federation nations. Even as embers were being stoked for the next fire the trenches things remained quiet for now.

Elsewhere however things were picking up steam. Beyond the Federation and the Empire were other power blocs. The Freehold of the Bloody Dawn, The Union of Celestial Wisdom and Heavenly Mandate, The Tianzhu Theocratic Confederation, T’sha Hegemony, and The Pact of Common Brothers. These powers had participated to one extent or another in the Great War and even now are steadily ramping up their presence on the world stage. The battle between the Empire and the Federation rather then serve as an example of pointless bloodshed was a measuring stick. All one had to do was be better. By land or by sea they fought. Each having their own innovations or lessons stored away from watching the first two powers to fight. Lesser powers are already feeling the brunt of these attentions. Yet it was not solely the purview of the major powers to act.

Gallia Oh Gallia, Land where once dwelt the Valkyrur. Said to be the one of the last bastions of the once mighty Valkyrur people it now lay under siege. A tense standoff between border garrisons made many within Gallia nervous. The sleepy Principality now facing the thought of being returned to the fold by the Empire most forcefully. Their role in supplying both sides of the war between the great powers had upset some within the Empire. Though much of this trade was in medical supplies thanks to their natural high grade ragnite deposits, some of their bountiful minerals were also sent in the form of strategic level military resources. That fact would have already soured relations but for the much more pressing issue of their apparent duplicity in ‘aiding’ rebels. The Empire had already started a war over the death of one royal with the much larger and more powerful Federation. Little Gallia did not stand much of a better chance. Not as veteran formations fresh from the frontline were immediately sent to reinforce the cordon Gallia was under. An embargo by land, river, and sea. The Federation could offer only scant aid as the Empire threatened a return of hostilities. Though its economies lay in tatters with the constant military preparations it had the bulk to continue, the far looser gathering of nations in the Federation could not compare in the short term.

Diplomats did their role in threatening, entreating, and liasoning. But the sheer disparity was not something forgotten for the Empire used it like the waiting executioner’s blade. Eventually a compromise was reached at the behest of the ruling family for peace was wanted above all else. Perhaps it was felt that matters could be held off from conflict as Gallia though humiliated on the international stage had agreed to allowing units of Imperial Gendarmes to cooperate in policing Gallian checkpoints, rail stations, and ports connecting to the Empire. For months things seemed to be held in a hesitant calm. At the very least the ever present smuggling problem had died down heavily after the last few chases involving Imperial armoured cars and river gunboats. Months passed since the declaration of the new year 1920 when it happened. Policing forces at the Ghirlandaio were engaged. Seemingly from within the fortress itself.

Those at the gates were shot in surprise by their previously reluctant but cooperative counterparts. Some patrolling the custom’s storehouses were clubbed and stabbed to death. At the barracks the sleeping early shift were hosed down by a volley of rifles and thrown grenades. Those at the Telegraph Office were killed by assassin’s knives. Of the scattered two platoons worth of border security from the Empire none survived. Their bodies were even hoisted for the world to see from the parapets. Gallia’s blood splattered flags were proudly waved as those of the Empire were burned in plain sight.

The Imperial responses did not start with diplomatic protests. It began with heavy siege artillery. More enthusiastic than accurate it was still a foregone conclusion. Ghirlandaio Fortress had stood since the middle ages, it had been modernized a few times but was ultimately a custom station more then a fortress that its name stated it was. Still it was good that the hastily sent assault force only really had to take over a pile of rubble for otherwise casualties would be harsh. It was from this point that the Empire sent a demand for further blood else they would take this as an admission of guilt. Further demands only grew worse as the invading troops uncovered evidence in the surviving facilities that pointed to not only duplicity in transporting equipment to the ‘rogue’ Federation forces but also serious interference in the Imperial Genderamie’s duties. Imperial lives back at the homeland had been lost thanks to this. From the common soldiers to their officers they were galvanized. Freedom of the press while limited quickly gained word of what had happened and created a rousing tale without running foul of an ink brush.

To be the Emperor of the Empire was to be a man at the end of his patience and good will. His rage only leashed by his immense self control and sense of self. He was determined to be a better man in his own way as he had taken measures to instil forbearance at the diplomatic games being played. He even hoped that this would aid the long term trade prospects once matters calmed down. A thought that was swiftly kicked into shreds when a messenger arrived just as his ever loyal servant Gregor was finishing his personal report on the unpleasantness he was embroiled in. The already vetted paper was handed to the Imperial Lord of all and swiftly shredded piece by piece with tearing fingers.

Anger leaked from clenched teeth. “I promised blood, well we have a willing victim. A scarce hundred years and change since Gallia snubbed the Empire. Now they will see the folly of such an act”

Gregor did not need to know context. There was really only one possible flashpoint that fit the Emperor’s words. Gallia would face the boot of Imperial Might soon enough. For a brief moment he wondered whether there was a manipulation, then he realized that it would matter not. The Empire had been insulted, the Empire had bled. There were few recourses to this that did not end in war. So be it. He is a loyal man. He would see the King of King’s will be done, for the Empire.

Part 04

Walking along the pathway Gregor found himself having mixed feelings at how the elusive Baron of the East certainly lived up to his reputation. Using his distance from the Imperial Core and personal business acumen to build up a power base disproportionate to his title, he was not particularly close to the gravitas any noble of the Empire should. Especially one so often in contact with other powers. There had been worries from a few in the peerages that his antagonistic position in regards to his most Glorious Imperial Majesty meant that this was grounds for an eventual coup or other treasonous action. The Emperor had never taken such gossip seriously, a rare case of taking things personally so to say from what little he had been graciously confided with. Gregor felt that he could safely say that the two hated each other yet cherished that personal vendetta as well. Much as it galled his sensibilities, it certainly seemed as if the two would not brook their conflict being carried out by anything less then by personal action.

A strange state of affairs and one that continued to spawn even more confusion. For example the sheaf of papers he was set to deliver. It was no legally binding document, yet both sides would adhere to it from a sense of shared hatred. They knew each other too well, prejudice and innate pride more binding then word of law and force of arms. Gregor hoped this gambit would work. He hoped that his liege had not misread the Baron for so long. Nigh on forty years was a long time for a grudge over a single woman.

As he approached the outer gates of the Baron’s estate he saw the guards come to attention. One, a normal son of the Empire if one obviously from the rural regions. The other though, relations with the Jomonkai were warmer but to see one of them in uniform and under arms was still. . . displeasing. Huffing as he showed his writ of authority to the guards he glared the two down before he was let in. Though he could not criticize the guard’s thoroughness and conduct he still felt distaste at the details. With an effort Gregor slowly stuffed those thoughts and feelings out of his mind, he would need his full attention for the coming meetings. First to come would be the small greeting party in the foyer of the mansion. The Baron’s majordomo and a small group of the household were waiting for him. He gave a small nod of acknowledgement to the man he had met a few times before. Punctual, efficient, and quiet as any good servant was. He followed the man to the meeting with the master of the house.

The tone of the meeting was set Gregor found in the room they came to be in. A room almost offensively exotic and not-imperial. Strange curved blades with recognizably ragnite etchings hung on the wall alongside several suits of armor, the patterns likely from Jomonkai and the Middle Kingdom. The paneling of the walls were also from woods distinctly not from the Europan mainland alongside various wall ornaments. Thankfully the seating was at least proper. Rare was it that he had to deal with these foreign customs, he had not desire to have to do so already in what should be Imperial territory. Yet as always it was not something he could act on, not in a way that would not jeopardize the duty the Emperor had entrusted to him with. The Baron was simply petty like that as always. Gregor reasoned to himself though that it would be the Baron’s domain he would be within for the next few years.

Striding to the table Gregor simply placed the attache case before the seated noble, no need for extended greeting rituals which would likely be conducted with mockery. The documents despite expectations were taken up not by the man himself but his long time mistress, disrespectful but not unexpected. Was it a matter of trust or yet another petty disposal of proper protocol Gregor seethed to himself, but duty calmed him. Duty, above all, was ever his watch word. No need to antagonize relations too far at such an early stage. The mistress primly opened up the case and quickly shuffled through the papers within. She then had the audacity to take a fountain pen and begin writing on the papers. Gregor swallowed a protest, he did not personally know the exact details of this deal being made. Broad strokes yes to ensure that the bare minimum would be kept but not each tenet. The Baron read over the marked up papers slowly before placing them before Gregor. The man laid his cane to rest on the table and looked through what changes were made. To scorn the Emperor’s terms like this, yet they did not breach any of the Emperor’s desired terms. Minor shifts that gave more freedom of initiative if he read the context correctly but nothing comprehensively shifting. It would have to do.

Placing the papers within a scroll case Gregor took out his signet ring and some sealing wax. A slight rotation of the ring saw the tiny ragnite heater within activate. The documents sealed against tampering before it made its return trip. Stowing away the case Gregor looked up to observe the Baron. The man was of an age the same as Gregor yet looked a decade younger, stouter then the average Noble though that was in muscle more than fat. A few scars here and there, Gregor’s experience telling him that these came from close calls with grenades and bullets. An exciting life, and in his eyes he saw a spark of something similar to his Imperial Glory. A will to see what he desires come to be, the Baron was more laid back but that was not to be indolent. Their intelligence told him that the Baron had buried his fair share of bodies whether by his orders or by his hands. A military force and economic might disproportionate to what he should have, but with this. . .

“The quiet declaration of my nephew as my heir, with the attendant rights to my assets and titles after my death when the boy is at twenty-five and my belief of satisfaction. The allowance of a personal representative to reside alongside him during his recovery at the Imperial Capital, the provisioning of a residence in my nephew’s name at Haishenwai with right for my choice of staffing, and a place at Black Ebon military academy when he turns fifteen with a tutor and a retinue partly of the Emperor’s choice” Those were most of the more direct clauses to apply to the child, there were a great deal more complex economic wrangling and other legalese. But it appears that the Baron was focused on the division of custodianship.

The man then looked Gregor in the eyes, searchingly with hands gripped tight together. “We have a war ongoing with Gallia do we not. Is not your little officer’s club working on that? A new field to showcase yourself on after the stalemate of the war against the Federation with all our new toys. As well as those obligations is your place as his personal guardian for the next two years. You are the emperor’s loyal wolfhound, and yet you are going to babysitting an injured child for the next couple of years no?” An obviously trapped sentence, is he so foolish as to think that this would create a division between Gregor and his liege? No, the Baron may not participate in court politics but he was no fool. He was probing for information.

“My duty is to serve according to the Emperor’s Will, if that is to help raise the child of his blood to be a worthy scion of the Imperial Line then it is a most worthy cause. For the Good of the Empire the boy must be taught the privileges and responsibilities that come to any acknowledged by the Emperor” The Baron simply nodded.

“Through military means of course. The preparation for the next war no?” Gregor wondered what this particular angle was from. Of course there would be another conflict and likely several others. The Federation alone would never brook another hegemon directly on its borders, neither would the Empire forget the sins committed against it by them. It was certainly no secret. His own efforts to complete the integration of the various Imperial armies into one centralized high command under his liege’s order continued even without himself.

“He is of royal blood, it is to be expected that the child will contribute one way or another. If he is to be a Royal then he should know the plight of a soldier and the weight of an officer’s burden if he is to be raised to be a proper scion” The Baron nodded but by the way he cupped his mouth with his hands, he was not thinking about any sort of agreement.

Both a worry and an annoyance. For generations did the Emperor desire one nation, one people, one head. This grand plan would weather the obstacles it faced, if that included making provisions to replace one incompetent wannabe crown prince then so be it.

Gregor noted that his mistress took the moment of silence and placed some teacups on the table before filling them. He obligated this custom and drank the warm cup, the black liquid draining away to reveal that the imported porcelain cup was a decorated one. The image of a woman as if from a photograph, the style similar to that of the mistress. Yet another quirk of the man’s household habits.

With a clink the cup was returned to its saucer and Gregor spoke. “If it would be timely do you have a candidate for the tutor you desire to reside in teaching the young lord? The young lord is a child soon to reach his coming of age, a proper education will be quite necessary for his future”

A chill went up Gregor’s spine not even a moment after he finished speaking. That bad feeling was answered when the Baron gave a smile, it was not a smile that inspired confidence in the one who bore it.

“Oh I know, a growing child who has already gone through much hardship and will continue to do so. The changes soon to come into his life. I know not anyone more qualified then my dear here to help bring forth my desire for the lad’s future” The woman he had been deliberately ignoring smiled in what was supposed to be a demure manner. He did not believe that was genuine, this would be unpleasant.

Taking up a fan the woman waved it around like she was a proper lady and remarked, “I have had the pleasure of residing in this country for the last decade. It would be my pleasure to use my talents to impart what I have learned of the customs of these and other lands for the future Royal Apparent. I would put the ‘utmost’ effort into ensuring that the Prince is versed in a wide breadth of topics to comprehensive levels. There will be no space for dissatisfaction”. Gregor could only grind his teeth at this development, for a brief moment he hoped his liege would reject this. He knew better, the Emperor had a sense of humor at the worst moments possible.


Agent of Catgirl Genocide
Aug 24, 2019
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Well, Gallia has been taking stupid pills, I see. And interesting move on the baron's part to appoint his mistress as the SI's tutor.
Chapter 01: Part I- Hey you awake


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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Well, Gallia has been taking stupid pills, I see. And interesting move on the baron's part to appoint his mistress as the SI's tutor.
Gallia is not in great shape you see. Not with a nationwide epidemic, traitorous regent in charge of the country thanks to a child ruler, and of course being sandwiched between the rock and the hard place. It is very much a member of the School of Hard Knocks and currently not doing well. The mistress tutor thing was to start the introduction to the fact that this fic originated on QQ. It won't have too much of a presence here unless I port those parts to the NSFW forum on this site once I unlock it.


The Year is 1921. The world has yet to know true peace for more than a decade. The seemingly aborted end of the Great Europan War instead led to a widening of conflict rather than being just confined to Europa. The rise of the industrialized world had during the turn of the century led to an increasing connectivity, where the fine silk crafts of a Jomonkai weaver can be seen adorning an Atlantic Federation politician or the herbal remedies of the Middle Kingdom on the counter of an Imperial noble. Now in the aftermath of the war are the darker aspects of such inter-connectivity being made apparent. The rest of the world has not stayed stagnant.

The Europan colonists that formed the United States of Vinland are eternally locked in a vicious conflict spanning almost five centuries with the continent to the south, the inhabitants of that land having kept long memories of just how the USV came to be. Imperial and Federation guns and warships are being supplied wholesale in levels unseen before to either side of the Vinland-Freehold conflict. Closer to home the turn of the century saw the rise of the Dual Monarchy on the eastern borders of the Empire. The purge of the pro-Kingdom of Edinburgh faction in favor of the pro-Empire faction ending a thousand years of rivalry via marriage between the mainland Eternal Empire and the archipelago Jomonkai Kingdom. The Edinburgh strategy of divide and conquer finally failing in spectacular fashion. Yet this new power bloc is not at all viewed positively by many in the Imperial Alliance.

But even with all of these changing events the Old Enemy is still there, playing their part of the Great Game. The Empire, injured and angry as it has not been since the Great Troubles revolts of the 1800s waits, licking its wounds and continuing to prepare for the war to come. The martial appetite of its lords still to be slaked in this new Armoured Era. Its hunger only dimly held back by the smaller conflicts often instigated or at least said to be done so by the perfidious Atlantic Federation. The wounds from these thousand cuts naught but bug bites to the Great Twin Headed Eagle, persistent, annoying, but not yet carrying disease

While the Empire has technically stood down its military from the war against the Federation, that has only been in a matter of degrees. From total war footing to an economy based on war. From the revival of old feudal service requirements to a more selective process. The conscripts sent home to find work again in the cities and rural hinterlands, their officers to tend to their estates once more. Consolidation in terms of men, money, industry, and weapons. Especially as the eastern garrisons are drawn down and the material shifted to the west. The next conflict will be fought with an even more ferocious pace as armies clash across vast tracts of land.

What has been unchanged though is the need for officers. The lessons of the war against the Federation were being spread further and further. The use of tanks and infantry to break enemy lines, the need for multiple layers of reconnaissance, the implementation of raiding tactics, and the deployment of stormtroopers and sharpshooters. All of it slowly being disseminated and driving an ever ferocious need for new leaders of troops. Behold, the burgeoning rise of a new era of war dear reader. Oh consumer of these words as writ, watch as our agent makes his mark.


Slamming your head makes for a very good reason to wake up. Fuck does it hurt though. Trying to nap while traveling has always been weird for me, I never quite fall asleep and so just get really weird lucid dreams. Twilight Zone stuff. But being a good social drone I see that the entire train car is getting ready to depart so no time to wool gather. Everyone is scrambling to grab up their coats and travel bags. I see a great variety of people shuffle off the train onto the station. Some dressed like workers hurrying off or being shuffled off lightly by station staff. Others more obviously well to do are taking their time or resting at some of the ‘public’ benches. Me well I needed to take a piss. Thankfully they had public signs available. I still half expect these things to be latrines, then again they must have put the big budgets into these sort of public stations with all the copper and brass gilding. What was that art style with that sort of stuff? Meh. I do not trust most how much effort they truly put into sanitation, I still don’t know how widespread stuff like antiseptic cleaning supplies were even if copper had antimicrobial functions I think. Maybe, no quoting me on that.

Okay maybe I am just nervous thinking about random trivia. It was orientation day for school. A school where I expect to get shot at and have to learn to shoot people. Not like I have not already suffered drill school from hell already. I didn't really have other options though. Getting to spend actual time with father and then my ‘its complicated' uncle while nice was also a bit of a shitshow of railroading and fighting from each of them. Both not really understanding the concept of my having my own personal initiative. That might just be because of the times though. I just wanted to live a good life, as much of a thing as can be done with my fucked up existence.

Getting to my fancy new academy is a simple affair, they have chartered trucks for this. Generic transport trucks for all those not taking private transport. Oh well I survived modern intercity budget buses. I can survive this open topped thing. Everyone makes that shuffle into friend groups or just sit with a space between each other that is always a fun experience to navigate. Still the space quickly dwindles as people are obliged to shuffle into contact to squash more people in. The staff they have acting as the loadmaster not exactly holding back on yelling to get his point across. Still he eventually is satisfied at sardining everyone in and walks back to ride shotgun. At least there is a bit of space under the benches for luggage though not much. I have a moment of optimism that things will be ok on the ride out. Or maybe not. That’s a rainstorm.

Feeling the need for personal initiative that my tutors and oh so wonderful parental figures have drilled into me I scramble from my seat for the rolled up tarp on the roof frame. Someone else has realized what I was doing and reached for the other side too. I briefly brush hands with the blonde haired girl and share a glance into her blue eyes but I did not bother with any more teenage hormone details as I scrambled against the coming downpour. Slight pitter patters of rain starting to fall on the truck with people complaining and cursing at me to hurry up. The scrambling feet of everyone however makes me trip and I fall down sideways onto the side wall of the truck. Someone pushes their hands under my shoulder and helps prop me up as I scramble for the flap while muttering thanks.

The flap secured it gets a bit dark in the truck back. Eventually though someone in the driver’s cab grabs a lamp and we get a bit of light in the back. Light that tells me I have to shuffle since my seat got taken. Grumbling nonsense to myself I content myself with the new spot. As I grab my travel bag to set behind my legs I see that one of my new neighbors has gotten an actual flashlight out. Smoothing the collar of my slightly wet coat down I hear a voice speak up next to me.

“Well that was a bit of a mess, still I usually have boys falling for me but usually not literally. Then again you did help keep me out of the rain so I guess I can let that slide” I look to the teasing voice and see a bit more of my seat neighbor, the one with the flashlight I realize. A girl with black hair and grey eyes is giving me a smile and I have to scramble a second for a response to the unexpected conversation.

“Ah ahaha, how lucky I am then to have been in a position to do so. I am glad I could help and make your acquaintance. My name is Maxwell, Maxwell Matheo Steiner. May I be granted the benevolence of your name my lady?” Old habits die hard as I slip in that bit of fancy speech. Still working on loosening myself out so to speak.

Thankfully she only laughs and reaches out to shake my hand, the flashlight jiggling before she realizes to switch hands.

“My name is Alissa Amstutz, pleased to meet you” Her grasp is not light or heavy and I can feel a lightly callused hand. She lets go and speaks up again. “So considering you are here you are a freshman too. What branch are you planning to go to? I wanted to head off to the NCO Armored Track myself”

I nod and give her my response, I can admit to still being bitter. “Oh I am off to the Command track myself, likely infantry though I would have loved to be in the new knighthood myself” I feel myself be a bit down, I never did manage to go to a tank fair did I? Old regrets I suppose.

“Hhmmmm, at least you get a change to have an actual knighthood. I don’t think that is in the cards for me so to say” Ahh class distinctions, yeah I must have revealed a bit with what I said. Have to have at least some connections to get into officer courses so assuredly. Ugly but the truth. I notice though that it would be awkward to end the discussion like that.

“Oh, have you managed to get a look at any of the syllabus for the courses yet? There seems to be a decent wiggle room for overlapping courses even if you are not fully into a track. Electives seem to be something that is flexible for people to take. At least that was the sense I got” She seems to relax slightly as I go digging through my messenger bag and show her the papers I have on the courses.

“Oh I haven’t gotten a good look at it all. Just the most basic of what I would be having to take. Mind I take a closer look at the list? Oh and anything particularly interesting?” I nod and hand over some of the papers.

“Ahh it seems someone is a bit studious already. Still could I ask a favor and get a look at some of that paperwork for myself. The more advanced Armor courses if you have a brief of them especially” I look across to the voice who spoke up and notice a blonde haired woman. From the vague remembrance I realize that she was the one who tied down the roof flaps as well.“Hmmph hmmmph, Yes I have that too. Just give me a second to get them. But whats your name might I ask my lady?” I took one eye and hand to go shuffling through the bunch of paperwork I managed to get copied out for me. One of the few benefits of royal largesse I suppose. Easy access to printing out things.

“Fabienne Makart good sir, I am a second year student myself though as a transfer. I had to take a brief break from last year for some personal business so decided to make a new start of it. Haven’t managed to get a great look at all the changes they started to implement this year” She thanks me as I hand over the papers, she smiles at her neighbour who scoffs lightly but shines his light for her to look over the papers. Not exactly great conditions to start reading but if she wants to I guess.

The sound of rain upon the canvas roof has gotten louder and louder, everyone either quieting down or getting even louder to be able to be heard. Fabienne shifts her grasp and yells across, “I want to get through this first but if you wanted any good advice about the academy later then feel free to ask. Things should not have changed about most of the grounds at least”

“Thanks for the offer, I will take you up on it for sure” She goes back to the papers but my attention is taken when I feel someone tap my arm. I turn to see Alissa and she is looking over with a question. “So can I guess that you went through this in detail already? I have a few questions I could use someone else’s thoughts on right now”

“Sure, what do you have questions about?” I spent way too much time building schedules to be healthy.

“I was wondering about how many electives to take compared to having time for other things. I could take the maximum of 4 but that would be crazy. But then I am left with 2 or 3 electives. Your ideas on this?”

I spend the rest of the ride talking with one of the two over the ride. The big catch from that talk being the best places to relax in town and what the different qualities of dorms are.

I even get introduced to a few others that the two know and get to know a bit about the campus and the courses. Eventually the storm petered out so by the time the truck arrived at the academy we only had to deal with overcast skies. Much as it was an interesting time to speak with everyone on the truck I needed air. I hated car rides with bad air flow. Getting out the back of the truck I power over to the sidewalk to get some air. Feeling better I rebalance all my things and look at the Academy. It is certainly big, in the distance I can even hear gunfire from what looks like a range. Heavy stone architecture makes this place seem like some sort of modern castle with all the towers and crenelations alongside alot of windows. Really got that generic medieval fantasy academy look, what is this going to be some sort of otome game? Oh who am I kidding? My attempts at just zoning out in my own mind though are thankfully interrupted by the barks of obvious authority figures.

Soon enough all the incoming students are gathered by stern faced instructors to the auditoriumesqe room they have for us incoming students while the luggage gets shipped off elsewhere. Really hope I can get my stuff back safely and intact. Well I can say that it is no student council president or student representative giving a speech. Instead we have the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs giving a brief starter speech before everyone gets a generic brief on how the academy will work. Nothing outside of the documents I already had a look through. To be honest most of these sorts of orientations are forgettable. The different speeches themselves are not bad per say, certainly not the torture of my high school grad one but not awe inspiring for me. I can’t really tell too much of the crowd’s mood, its not bad at least. A bunch of vaguely nationalistic stuff, pride in the student body, the academy, etc. I barely remember what was already said as the current speech winds down, whoever said that too much learning can ruin a person should apply that to this situation. The wonders of politicians.

Walking out I try comparing things and come up blank. Certainly don’t remember most of my own college tour even if there was all the effort to show the flashy bits of campus. I feel really cynical when I think about how everything will one day look normal and unremarkable to me on this campus. Though that might be a kind of optimism of its own. The main castle building aside there are quite a few different ancillary buildings, dorms, warehouses, a big tank proving ground, etc. Speaking of tanks I can see a hodgepodge of vehicles as we walk on by, the grounds themselves are below us, most of the campus being on higher ground then the various testing and field practice areas. Thankfully as the tour group continues unlike my past college experience there have not been any ice breakers. God the cringe of them. But no that is not a good thing because instead we get balls. Bonafide Cadet Balls. Well at least I don’t have to worry about what clothes I need to wear constantly. The balls here are just like those in the rest of the Empire’ academies. Just a wonderful display of standardization. Damm I am going crazy, I actually started to think in emojis. I haven’t even seen an emoji in almost two decades running now.

“Everyone proceed in an orderly fashion, there will be a quick outdoor lunch before the tour continues”. Oh that's good. Especially as I only just noticed my stomach starting to send me complaints. There are those big open walled military tents set down with long tables for the students to sit at after getting their meals, said lunch being served from portable stoves.

I take the wait time in line by trying to see whats being served and how. Both good and bad for me is that there is only one option from the looks of it. Some sort of stew, a chunk of bread, sausage, sauerkraut thingy, and cheese.

“Hmm fancy seeing you again” Turning to my right I can see the blond haired Alissa in the adjacent line.

“Ahh my good lady it has been good for you since we last talked?” I had seen her while on the tour but I preferred to look around at my own pace rather then chit chat.

“Not bad I guess. I visited here once during a IYNG trip alongside Capital Academy, certainly less wintery here as well as much more spread out. It was the IYNG who actually got me in here by winning one of their contests” The paramilitary youth program huh.

“Must have been a challenge, congratulations on winning such a thing. What was the IYNG like? I never had the chance to join myself since I was home tutored. Always was curious about it”

“It was interesting. Not really sure how to describe it really. I think it might be like what, what the academy will be like. The major cities had different chapters according to boroughs which often helped each other out”

She took a breath and I could faintly see her eyes cloud slightly with worry. “Still competed for things like funding and the best spaces to have events for stuff”. A bit more self awareness and maturity then I expected from someone not in their twenties. Then again how many people had that sort of personality.

I frown slightly thinking about what the academy brochure mentioned. Having to pay for additional classes and stuff in general with a special academy only currency converted from real currency or otherwise earned. Yeah that's a recipe for pay to win. Micro transactions, now with even worse real life consequences. Sucks to be people without an allowance capable of buying a village. Literally considering its the income from a few different villages, feudalism ahoy.

Shaking myself away from that bit of depression I speak up again. “Still must have been exciting, what sort of events did they have?”

She seemed to brighten up thankfully. “Oh a bunch of things, hiking trips, camping, museum tours, team games, sports, range practice, that sort of thing. What did you do then with your home schooling?”

I hide a wince as I consider that question. Training . . . “Well, most of the time my father was busy and away from home but he had decided on having me sent to tutors. Though in the years before I had, I guess it was an apprenticeship with a cavalry officer my father was friends with. A lot of learning before academy really I guess. The military is my life I suppose”

“Hmmm” On that tepid note the line finally moved enough for us to get food.

“Want to sit with me and my friends? We have a table already staked out”

I guess I did not have anything better to do. “Sure. I would love to meet your friends”. Well this is off to a better start then my actual college time. Joy.
Chapter 01: Part II- Welcome to the Neighborhood


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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Standing there watching was his father. Watching, evaluating, judging. Ever present with a word of wisdom, with an admonishment and sometimes scant praise. His eyes seemingly devoid of light, a dark pit that waits. The dark and near lightless orbs from on high devours all before its gaze. The throne room he dominated everyday of his life was black and white. The audience bent down on their knees in supplication just faceless masses. There the Emperor sat, Tarnished gold armoured guards flanking his blood red throne of stone. Decrees written on paper spoken by men with speaker heads. Tanks strode forth with cannons for heads and track legs like a beetle across mud and blood mixed sludge. He was mired in that muck. Stuck between two advancing forces unable and unwilling to stop. Their demonic ringing of bells and trumpets. . .

I find myself springing up without realizing, hands searching for clothes and quickly getting dressed in anticipation for a sheathed saber to the back. Finding that there was nothing being blocked by the. . . textbook in my hands. Ok I really need to wake up. Alright facts. This room is not my room at my father’s eastern estate. The furniture is completely different as are the walls and ceiling. There is no smell of sea and ship smoke, nor a Cossack wannabe baron preparing to drag me through hell week writ for a year. I have to take a moment to shudder for another reason. ‘Writ’ damm has this world gotten to me.

Well I am dressed as I can be for now, plain and unembroidered uniforms with the only add ons being the school crest. The Empire’s Far Eastern Imperial Military Academy, Ebon Point Academy to be more local is far from having the prestigious and storied histories of the war academies in the core Europan territories of the Empire but neither is it a no name place. Training cadets both for the officer corp and elite formations, mostly for the fronts away from the West and thus subject to the influence of the more friendly if still competitive power blocs there, it is a cosmopolitan and experimental place restrained only by missing the sheer glut of resources that old money offers. Well that was part of the sales pitch I got for the place. Well as much of a sales pitch as I could get for a product I could not opt out of.

The academy held the place of the new blood of military academies, and with a series of recent donations the doubly despised title of nouveau riche. Its doctrine was certainly cutting edge, its equipment not so much even with the new glut of resources ‘cough cough’ generously donated by certain parties. Being the most major military academy near non-hostile powers here one can find cadets of non-europan stock, exchange students from other lands, and right now even disguised princes. Staring into the mirror I could see my face glower at the reflection. Red of hair, visibly scarred, with a patrician if seemingly smolderingly angry face at almost all times. Well that's what I tell myself I have, it probably comes off more as surly but I have to sooth my ego at least somewhat.

Walking out of my little cubicle dorm room I find myself one of the early crowd. A few people are already here and loitering in the lounge area. I head to the door but someone interrupts me.

“Hey! You going out for something or just heading out to explore?” The voice coming from a kid with brown hair and eyes.

Hmm, wonder what they are doing. “Just felt like being early. Why? Is something going on?”

“No, not really. Just felt like asking if everyone in our batch could make it over as a group. You know show some solidarity together. Not like some of the bluebloods” Well someone has opinions.

I take a moment to think it over. I do want to be early to get food but this is an offer that probably won’t come again. Seeing him start to frown in impatience I decide. “Sure, I might as well wait. Not like anything interesting is going to happen today”. Cough cough, knock on wood.

Cringing at that taunt to Murphy I plow on through. “Since we are going to be waiting here how about introductions? My name is Maxwell. What is yours?”

“I’m Bartholomew, but call me Bart” “Im Cecile” “Alesander or Sanders here. Hey is Max fine for you?”. Where Bart had brown eyes and hair, Cecile had a sort of dirty blond hair with blue eyes while Sanders had black hair and brown eyes.

“Yes it is. So any of you find anything interesting on campus already?” The next part I make sure to give a particular grin, gotta build up some good relations with your classmates after all. “Places not to be, places definitely to be?”

The mix of groans and cheeky grins pretty much answers that. About what I expect of a bunch of college types though worse as they are younger as is the age of drinking.

At least none of them seem to have found any brothels yet. Oh god I am going to have to deal with alcohol poisoning without there being a campus ambulance service. Well that terrible thought aside let's not be pessimistic brain, I know you have a serious problem with that but really let's try to be positive today.

Bart was saying something. “-eh the nurse will solve that problem. I mean the school has got to be able to handle those problems right? I don’t want my dick to rot off!!”

Oh dear god that is what they are talking about. I thought that was too soon to happen. Its not even the first fucking day. I’ve barely unpacked everything. “Where did you go that you have to worry that badly?!”

Cecile grumbled out. “Hah, redheads right. You cheap out on getting that sweet flower? Or did you want to go down and dirty hmmm?”

Snarling Bart lightly slapped Cecile’s shoulder. “Oh up yours. At least I got to stick my dick someplace tight, I bet you could only get someone like loose lips Jessy!”

Laughing Sanders pointed his finger. “Pot! Have you seen Mr Kettle? He wants to make a booty call with your sister!!”

“Shut it with my sister you jackass” Bart said.

Sanders barked out. “Hahh! He got you there”

Now is this normal ribbing or is someone going to get swinging. Meh not taking the risk. “Now fellas, its only been a day. How about you make a wager when you have had the walk of the town a bit better no?” Only as the words left my mouth did I realize what would be happening. Shit.

“Oh, you hear that fellas? We got a wager then? You talked a big game too red, how about a gentleman’s wager. Lets say that whoever loses has to pay the big share of the others’ drinks of the rest of the semester”. Bart just said something terrifying.

Delay. Delay. “Now now, what exactly are you guys trying to wager on? Whoever gets the be..”

“Most girls in a month!!”. Crap. Of course the others start cheering at this.

“Now fellas, this is the sort of thing that never ends...”

I felt a hand reach around my shoulders and I tilted. Bart near yelled into my ear, “Oh live a little red. Come on boys what ya say?!”

“Hah, let's do it. Loser has to pay for drinks”. Now, is it worth it to put my foot down now. What are the chances the rest of the year mates are like this. . . Yeah. Dammed fraternities. Even across dimensions they are causing incidents. Ehh I have the cash for it.

“Now, now guys. I have a better idea. Anyone can find some alley walker for a quickie. How about it has to be from someone else’s mouth. We can’t possibly carry trophies around with us right?” Oh, I feel dirty saying this.

“Oh oh oh. You hear that? That. That sounds like a challenge”.

“Who's making all this racket?!” yelled out from a door that just opened.

Feeling snarky I yelled back. “Come join the party! We have space for more to join. We got a bet going if you want to join in”. Sausage party is a go go as everyone on the floor trickles out. Either the dorms are not formally gender divided or we got lucky with the group of all men. One that quickly drives into chaos as everyone gets to chatting and introducing themselves. Certainly not like the times of cell phones with everyone minding their own business.

It is this noisy group that manages to snowball into a small mob that descends onto the dorm community dining hall and takes over a few tables. I took my time getting food and arrived to find my previous seat gone. Thankfully the original three duo felt enough to let me back in.

Sanders waved me over before gesturing to everyone else there. “Took ya long enough. Now me and the boys were just talking about having a trip around town. Get some drinks, see the sights, drink some more, get anything last minute we need. That sort of stuff. You in?” I thought for a moment before nodding. Might as well get the chance to see the town.

“Sure, any details on how to get there and back?” I asked.

“Nope” was the only response.

I resisted banging my head onto the table. Mostly because it would hit the food.

“So no idea on shuttle services, ferries, anything?”

“Nope, that shit is for others to handle” I see the man give me a look over. If it could I would be having the proverbial sweat drop, I have a really bad feeling about just what is going to come out of his mouth...

“Is something the matt. . .”

“Hahah. You are on the officer’s track right”

Huh he guessed that right. “. . .yes?”

“So that means you are going to get some of the advanced classes right?”

Also true, even more since i came in with credits. “That is correct”

“So you get to arrange everything as a bit of early training. Or did you want to go with the blueblood group over there?” I look to see where he is pointing. Ahhh. Yes. That is the thing.

Dear god if that is not a group of walking stereotypes. Its almost as if they are play acting, I don’t even need to hear their words. How did I not notice them.

I stuttered out a few words, just stunned. “Are they actually . . .”

Bart and Cecile both manage to give a synchronized “Yes” “Indeed”

“So you can see them acting like . . .”

Sanders finishes my words. “A bunch of mummers at some two throne street play”

I take a pained breath in. “Ffiiinnne. I’ll do it. But I’m taking a cut of things. Call it labor costs”

“Great then you get to be the designated factor. Help us get all the snazzy stuff yeah?”. Huh I did not mention my social class. Then again I have been shit at hiding it here. Living in the middle class does not let you pretend to be a peasant sadly much less being raised for royalty.

“As long as you lot pitch in for transport. And pay for your own drinks”

“Hear that fellas. Redboy here’s promised us a ride into town”.

“Right we good for after supper?”

Hearing a chorus of yeses and other shit I sit mechanically eating. Well time to put up I guess.

A few hours later I dimly recalled that moment as the world rocked up and down according to the waves. Boats. That was the best option I had for getting anywhere quickly. Experimental boats to boot. Gods this is a recipe for disaster yet here we are.

“Hahahha, hows the spray landlubber? Can you not taste that wonderful harbor water?!” I don’t know the term for second in command of a boat like this. XO seems to be a bit too grandstanding but there she is. The person I helped bribe cum persuade to do this. One Lucia-Mila W. Yegorova, a blue eyed and blonde haired naval track student with family working on the academy’s boats and dockyard. It was her family’s little engineering project that was going to be our boat ride. Sadly you could tell the thing was still a work in progress.

“Do not remind me. The diesel smell is enough for me. Why are you not using ragnite anyway? Isn’t that cleaner” Ragnite, the special clean firing super material. Fuel, building material, etc. Also used to make super lasers or something, one can dismiss fairy tales but they cannot dismiss scorched earth, craters, broken bits of weapons, etc. Who decided to add fantasy sci fi to my gritty dieselpunk?

“Also a source of explosions and heat buddy. Also costs too much. Despite what you think about shit like cars and trucks a good ragnite engine costs. Else you get stuff like that Vinlander Ford’s cars. Cheap things that break down thanks to bad ragnite. Hah! Better to use diesel at the starting point then switch to ragnite when you have a good source and need for it”

I rather dubiously responded to that rant. “So you are going to be here for pick up right? I don’t think being late to whatever events they have for us is going to go over well”

“Yeah, yeah. My parents work here and I know there won’t be much tomorrow, just strong recommendations to find out where everything else. Shaves off some of the bumbling on the actual first day of school. Just make sure I get my share of the pay”. The power of bribery. A wonderful thing. Especially when I suggested how to make this all official like. Turns out ferries did not exist for the academy already so this is a potential opportunity for me to try out business ventures.

I managed to mostly conceal my own nerves on the matter. “Relax, we already put together the deal correct? Just have to head to the bank with the stub once everything is verified. Don’t even need to bug me personally to get it” I made sure to pat the little leather portfolio folder in my coat pocket. A multi step plan to make money and further the homeland’s power, if it does not crash and burn at the beginning. The power of start ups indeed to sucker in even its creators. Maybe that’s why I am putting so much into this seemingly inane thing.

She snorts “You really went for that business deal stick. You spent two hours arguing it out with my father and aunt. Like really. Did you need to drag that sort of thing into it?”

“Now now, we are all doing things to get ahead in life. Even if the knuckle heads don’t go ahead with it I am sure there are going to be plenty of others who would want to have a quick ferry into town. Then there is what you wanted this boat for in the first place. Either way it works”

“Not even the first fucking day and you managed to get me credits for my degree. Like who even thinks of things like that?” Someone who has been through the american college system.

“I simply feel the desire to take advantage of what can be freely gained if ventured for. One does not always have the ability to coast on life after all” Bitter thoughts of the past past aside I never really did have anything that can be considered a vacation since. . . then.

“Busy busy. And I thought I had it rough going into the academy. Don’t you have ways of relaxing” She lilted those last few words.

“Why do I get ideas about your idea of ‘fun’ there. I consider myself to have perfectly passable ways to pass time. Such as making my presence known upon the world” Dam that is cringeworthy.

She adopted a coy look while her eyes said the opposite, that honestly hurts. “Good sir, are you trying to proposition me? So soon?! Why have you been ensnared and enchanted by my beauty? Or are you some brute with an empty brain and deep pockets!!”

Okay, might as well play along for now. Just need the right mix of pompous and deadpan. “Dear lady I must protest!! Are you trying to call me a cad? Surely you should only do so after the first date? Or have you been swept off your feet by my gravitas? Money is not everything in life for a man!”

Deep blue eyes look into mine own as I raise an eyebrow. “Are you trying to fish for something more?”

“Hmmm I don’t know. Gravitas . . . Someone brought out the poetry stuff” She put one of her hands on her cheek and gave an affected look. “How sad I don’t exactly have the right bait for a catch do I?”

Before I could finish writing a check with my mouth I stopped to think. Keep going or be a coward? Business partner’s daughter. Good and bad. Also the driver is giving us suspicious looks. then. “Now my lady I sincerely doubt that this is a good space to be so free with your affections. Perhaps let us know each other before anything happens? No need to be so wild with our words”

She gave a harumph noise before turning to look at the sun and then her compass. “Should only be ten minutes before we get to port. Hey uncle you gonna radio in?!”

She nodded after hearing a bunch of grumbles and curses. “Now I think we are quite sure the boat will run even when loaded down” She cocks a thumb at the various knickknacks they loaded as test loads.

“Yes, it should be all fine. . . Your going to make me unload them again aren’t you?” A cackle was my answer. Good thing I brought a bunch of cheap overclothes.

In the end I was rather grimy so I made a stop by my townhouse. A new thing. Not a particularly vibrant household, a housekeeper visits once a week to maintain things but it otherwise is for storage. Point in question my gun collection. Just the stuff I had from training but I do plan to have it transferred over to the academy if possible. I want to say American privilege but that would probably piss off any fellow Americans if they ever showed up. That would be fucking awkward. I don’t count alt-America. They are wrong. Also racist but that is not special.

At least I can enjoy mostly modern amenities. I don’t count the cold water, having been bathed liberally in pig’s blood and mud this is nothing. Getting out of the shower I find the heavy bathrobe and start sorting through the mail I have already gotten. A few days built up since I had my mailing address changed. Most of it is spam but there are a few semi-important reports here and there on various things. Hmm a letter from my uncle. That it’s complicated family member who seems to have a rather personal grudge with my father yet the two are working together still. I could guess at the stereotypical reason for it but really no need to go digging. The man who taught me a bit of business management and is giving me the rich boy’s big allowance. We don’t really click together as individuals but I can agree with some of his views and dislike others. In this case he is reporting about that standardized container and shipping idea I pitched to him. Wood pallets, forklifts, cranes, etc. All of that stuff existed on an individual level, I just suggested to unify it. Apparently it's getting bogged down in attempts to mandate it at the higher levels but is getting adopted in a grassroots movement. Perhaps if the cost is driven down then it would be easier to implement, though it may just be the presentation.

I believe this is influence gathering, don’t expect me to know the fuck it really is. This is not a game with a hud to use. I reply back with a few scattered thoughts I had and a rough outline of a possible PR event that could be done. Maybe a small scale trade expo and other demonstrations. I can say that this is not really something I know too much about. Finally I pen down my questions on how organized any resistance is and on various ways to pre-empt it. God the day I get a big enough power base to need to do this often is the day I learn to hate life. That stuff is sent off to be sent by a trusted postal service, stretching I check the clock I have. The ye olde grandfather clock appears to be calibrated so that means time for me to head out. TIme to see if something is on fire. I don’t really have clubbing clothes, or at least clothes

Sometimes I remember that this is a different world in a different era in odd ways. The most consistent being timekeeping. Watches are only so prevalent and there seems to be a different attitude to meeting people or being in contact. Or maybe thats because I am used to some level of instant messaging, emails and texting really does speed things up. But thankfully I spotted the boat sailing in at last. The group of only lightly soggy boys and young men walked off the, good thing I spent some of the time preparing by having a talk with the port authority or we would be having a few more delays. Walking up to the group I find the trio who started this all.

“Good, everyone’s here. I hope you enjoyed the ride over because this is probably going to be the only quick route here for anything. I really don’t think the school likes us doing this so we might only get this for a bit”

“Yeah yeah red we know. Fuck if this is what academy is going to be like” On the on hand what the actual fuck are they thinking, on the other hand I guess they don’t know what war will be like. Hell I doubt they realize the amount of hardship that will be here. No need for me to be the one to pop their bubble.

“Well you guys all agreed to get plastered the very day we all got to the academy so that is a you problem. Anyway, you gonna cough up the your share of things for getting all this done? I even know a few places where you can start the pub crawl to boot. Can’t say much for the drinks other than that it will get you plastered with the soldier crowd”. In other words the places with all the few hidden bodyguards that are here to make sure I don’t get myself killed while off campus. I am not going to bother disputing the places, I am okay with the protection since it is my uncle footing the bill and manpower.

“Oh, hear that boys? Red here thinks that we are a bunch of lightweights?” Does this count as selective hearing? Should I really be complaining? At least he threw me the cash I was owed.

“Ya ya. Lets make sure everyone is good to go, I just gotta doe something a sec” Looking through the canvas covered wad of cash I see a mis mash of small denominations. Well I can make this easier. Fishing out the ye olde sacks of coinage I have I sort out the needed number before heading over to Lucia who I hand over the money to.

“Here’s what your owed. Count the rest as the deposit for the next bunch of trips” She weighs the sack before taking a peak at the insides, even biting one coin. Jokes on you those are electrum. For when someone wants to split the difference between pure valuable metals and a paper money economy.

“Che, these will do” I give her a long languid look for when she pointedly stuffs them down her shirt in a way that looks like she put them into cleavage storage.

“Am i supposed to be embarrassed?” I say while crossing my arms.

She walks right up to me and tauntingly says “Are you supposed to be looking?”.

“When you do it like that then yeah” is my drawled response.

“Vulgar pervert” She actually sniffed while saying that.

“Aren’t you going into the navy?”

“Can it you two before I start punching, double for you reddie”. Well the boat man declaring the law. We separate more and she gives me a wave while turning around. “We will be back at the time we agreed on”
“Till then”. Weird girl, fun too I can see.

Well time to go get drunk before having to pile into a small and constantly rocking boat. . . I did not think things through enough.
Chapter 01: Part III- Hit the broadside of a barn I dare you!


Wandering Muse Seeker
Jan 19, 2021
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First proper day of school and it is straight into military training. I wonder if I should be happy to have a waiver for the basic fitness courses. I just know its going to cause problems with those in my academy class to be an outlier but nothing I can really do, its the least of the exceptions I am going to have as well. At least I have to show up for evaluations. Which is why I get to smell that wonder scent of gunpowder on an empty stomach and getting towards high noon. Sadly I have been through worse and probably will in the future.

Walking up to the firing range I shoulder the rifle I have. An old Gewher 98 wannabe, thankfully unused and given a once over by myself. A beautiful weapon with no signs of having been reduced for anything like last ditch production, a prime example of Imperial aesthetics and quality. Now if only it was not as inaccurate as it was, what is it with bad guy weapons needing to miss alot? They wanted big and powerful bullets that did not do well on the accuracy department. Still I only need to use it for standard evaluations and checkups but it is always a good idea to not have malfunctions. The thing is heavier and longer then most of what I am used to regularly using even if this is the standard military rifle for the Imperial Army. Six round capacity fed by an enbloc clip and hurts like a bitch after shooting for a while. For positives I can appreciate the smoothness of the action as I plug at targets. I won’t be winning marksmanship rewards but I do pride myself on the speed I can get out of it while keeping myself precise. I can hear murmurs around me when I finish the set of drills we have.

“Good work Cadet. I think I can safely say that this is indeed not your first experience with the weapon. Now show me how you kill that mannequin. Hop to it” Attaching the bayonet to the rifle is a matter of seconds on the move. Then I perform the drill I am used to. A short but vicious rush and a tearing sensation of the mannequin finding itself disemboweled before I strike it with the butstock and it collapses leaking sand and sawdust.

“Hah, vicious that. That’s the stormtrooper style I see. Not what we teach here but good enough”. The noises from the peanut gallery only increases. Thankfully this lot should not be in any of the classes I have. Just gotta get through quals.

“Good, turn in your weapon and head to the pistol and automatics section”. I salute the man and head off. The sun is somewhat rough and I wish I did not have to wear the rather worthless beret we have. But that is what it is.

Frankly I just wanted to get things over with for the food, but that was just in my head. My eyes instead saw a rather unusual scene. The firing range itself looked normal, tables, boxes, weapons, and ammo. The people there not so much. The Drill Instructor (DI) manning the area was with a trio that did not look like they belonged. All of them were in clothes that were not Imperial, two female soldiers in stark white military dress uniforms of some sort. Those two were chaperoning a kid, a little boy who was obviously a VIP judging by the high quality clothes and the ceremonial blade at his hip. And of course a fucking tiger squirrel on his shoulders. Those things are not common at all, especially as pets. Strange diplomatic occurrence aside, I had to do something other than just stand around awkwardly.

“My apologies for any disturbance I may be causing. The Sergeant at the rifle range ordered me here to complete my weapons qualifications. May I inquire about the identities of the esteemed figures here fore I continue with my business”. My little spiel done I hear one of the guards speak up.

The words in Jormonkai accented Imperial common gave me the answer. “You stand in the presence of the 4th Imperial Prince of the Twin Thrones. Marquis of the Bay of Chosbaka and Count of Yinzhou. Beloved Son of Heaven and Earth. Child of . . .”. That large list of titles was cut off when the other guard nonchalantly thumped their rifle butt onto the boot of the other. Not great for pure white leather of some sort.

“Our lord is royalty and demands the proper courtesies befitting his post though as a guest of this land and a fellow probationary student of the academy it is allowed to be relaxed for the proper greeting etiquette”. Right, probably should just move on from the comedy sketch in front of me. Now what was that greeting style.

I fold my hands in the older style of the Eternal Empire which the now modern Dual Monarchy draws most of its traditions from. This was accompanied by a short bow. “I greet the esteemed and honorable selves and present well wishes and greetings for you upon this land”.

“Well that was a nice little show but we have work to do. Come here brat. I know you are good but we gotta have the rules followed. And then I want you helping our visiting young master out. Best he have someone a little closer in age try to help him out since these two stiffs refuse to let big old me do anything to their charge’s precious skin”. Ahhh senior ncos, and one who has served in my father’s personal lifeguard unit before retirement by loss of foot. A fact quite visible by the stainless steel plate boot he has in place of his right leg.

“Yes Sergeant. What will we be using today?”. He passed me a revolver, huh these things are old. Long obsolete by the time the war began.

“This here clunker will show that you can figure out gun safety and basic weapon handling, no need for anything fancy”.

I obligingly loaded the gun up, even if I hated it. Unlike even Wild West revolvers these things have no way to easily be loaded. Hell you needed a ramrod to eject cases one by one. The thing is bulky and I would prefer two hands but that is not the style I was taught. One finger depresses the hammer, I aim, and fire. Unlike what I know about with modern revolvers this thing is anemic. A placeholder over any real weapon to be used.

“Good good, safe your weapon. You qualify as expected. Now to the good stuff for the prince. This should be more to your style”. A Gernot M89 self loading pistol. Basically the same as the video game icon of the C96 Mauser, I don't even want to know about how this came to be.

“Sad that it is not the machine pistol variant, still might be better for that reason”. I heard a scoff from the DI at that comment from me.

“You and your obsession with automatics. But that is what we are going to get into. But first things first, instruct the prince on gun safety and handling”. I nodded and checked the weapon myself first. Pulling back the slide I see, unloaded, good.

“His royal highness, this weapon is the Gernot M89/16. How familiar with the weapon may you be your highness or weapons in general? Furthermore would this be acceptable in Imperial or Norden, or may I attempt it in either Yinzo or Hansha? I admit to only a partial understanding of those particular languages”. Best not go on a spiel without knowing if the other party already knows if rather unlikely.

One of the little royal’s guards begins to speak up, the really uptight one before her colleague again stops her. She puts on a poker face but leans down to whisper to the guard. Not that the effort is appreciated by the pet beast which starts batting at her short hair.

The prince seems to be attempting to gather himself, this would normally be the moment where he stutters like an anime child but realistically he does not.

“No, I am not aware of this particular example of gunsmithing goodman. Would it be possible to have a short history of the weapon and a more in depth explanation of the mechanics? Imperial is fine”. Huh not much of an accent, still archaic vocabulary at times.

“Of course by your desire your highness. Now the weapon was initially patented and produced in the year 1889 by the Europan calendar under the auspices of the Gernot corporation, one of the foremost weapon’s makers for the Imperial Alliance. One of the most popular Imperial weapons and a weapon oft used by officers due to its magazine capacity, range, and power. The 1916 model which this is an example of thus M89/16 utilizes standard 9mm parabellum though a variety of different caliber variants exist. This weapon utilizes clips which hold the ammunition which are then placed into the magazine which houses the ammunition for use”. I let him hold one of the ten round clips which he turned here and there before returning them to my hand.

“This model includes a feature known as a safety lever. This is meant to prevent the weapon from firing accidentally when in a holster or in your hand. Not all guns have this but you should not disregard it if a weapon has one. Otherwise I recommend for everyone’s safety that any weapon should not be pointed unless you intend to fire it and alongside this to have your finger in the trigger unless needed. Some weapons due to factors such as design, quality, or maintenance may be prone to being set off or accidental discharge as it is known. Such an event is likely to injure the wielder and any others nearby”. Gun safety, not a standardized thing when I learned it.

“I understand goodman. Could you please continue”. I nod and hold the weapon in my palm to explain my next thought.

“Now make sure to never look or hold your finger on or over the barrel or the area of moving parts such as the action and the hammer. Here let me show you how to hold this properly with one hand and the different moving parts of this weapon. Then I can show you a newer technique that is being utilized by stormtroopers and members of the Imperial Guard”. Two handed grip stances of pistols apparently are not taught. That threw me for a loop and made me try it out during my personal training. The others apparently liked what they saw and I hear it is being incorporated into many places. Is it ironic that I took lessons from aikido to make the stance? There are probably actual techniques but I never learned them.

I let the kid handle the weapon this way and that, keeping a grumble in when he almost started pointing the weapon at people or himself. I also told him to not focus completely on the weapon but to always note his surroundings. I really wanted to make a crack about not shooting his lovely guards but one of them seems too trigger happy for my safety.

“Now let me show you how to load the weapon, watch carefully as it is likely you will hurt yourself when the weapon closes the first few times”. Thankfully the DI had training rounds available so I used those. Still do not want to get shot by them but a trick of ragnite magic says you cannot ‘usually’ die from them. Less lethal weapons, joy. Would prefer blanks. I showed him the weapon loaded and how it looked on the insides before repeating it a few times. I am going to have alot of loose bullets soon.

But eventually he managed to get it down enough that I could start showing him how to shoot. I held the weapon in a one handed grip and started plinking away, no medals for accuracy but I got all the rounds downrange without issue. Weapon safed I turned to the kid and let him check out the weapon again before having him reload it. Another batch of shots and I felt he had enough of a view to put him in weapon stances.

“Now observe how I place my feet. This is important to reduce recoil. Next is how I will hold the gun, feel free to move around to see how it looks. You saw how I fired the weapon previously. Now compare the two. You can hold the weapon now to try yourself”. I handed the weapon over grip first, barrel is a bit hot but not too bad and of course empty. The kid took the weapon and settled into the stance as best he could. I asked him if I could adjust him and I heard yet more shuffling from behind me even as the kid agreed.

Well that sideshow of the peanut gallery aside I help the kid through the one handed style while explaining how to fire both with and without aiming. After seeing that he could start with the stance I got a holster and buckled it to the kid. “Learning how to get into the stance when you already have the weapon in hand is fine, but most likely it will be holstered and will need you to withdraw it. Best practice it if heavens forbid you are forced to put it into practice”. He nodded but in that way that kids have when they do not really get it. Well no need to make a fuss about it. Took a bit of tightening to get the hip holster on him but I then had him practice getting into the stance from a walk or at stop, alternating between each other to build a little muscle memory. He will need alot more practice but that is not my issue. Hopefully.

I ask the sergeant to look over him while I start reloading the stripper clips. The clips are not the best I find, sure they work but somebody did not want to shell out for the good stuff. But as I start stacking up a little pile of the things I feel someone’s shadow fall over me. Ahh, wonderful its the guard with the stick up their ass. I turn and she is just looking at me. No, she is trying to read my name tag. I turn more fully to her so that she gets a chance.

“Is there something the matter with you, a matter I can aid with?”. She gives a snort before replying.

“I must inquire as to how you are the one to be chosen for such a demonstration. Some feckless cadet over some personage of greater status?”. Well that is a loaded question, and utterly in breach of any sort of diplomatic or simply polite conventions. Sadly her counterpart is busy doing other things. Dammit do I need to deal with this drama by myself? Hah who am I kidding.

“I feel that you ask this question with ill intent. Regardless I will explain as best I know it as any dictates at higher levels are unknown to me. Though I may be a new cadet at this school this is not my first experience with weaponry. I have had an, apprenticeship is the best term with esteemed military personnel. I have learned at the feet of veterans of the Great War, some of the Imperial Alliances best such as the Emperor’s Life Guards. From there were the ranks of the academy’s instructors drawn from, such as our Instructor here and now. Beyond that personal experience which the Instructor trusts I have some understanding of the languages the Dual Monarchy uses which the rest of the cadets are unlikely to have”. Part of me wants to keep refilling clips, the other knows that would probably not be taken well.

Her eyes narrow, face near stone as she looks for something. When she speaks it is with grudging superstition. “You are not a commoner, yet you are not a noble. Neither do you have the manner of a merchant. You do not fit”. Harsh.

“Not to you, we are different no? To be philosophical though you are here, here with your charge within foreign borders. You are different from me and I am to you. But the goal is to learn something of the world I am within. For your people to be able to see another’s perspective. Anything further will be up to the individual and not the group, yourself as a person and no longer as just part of a society”. I don’t even know what I am spouting anymore. Fake it till you make it I guess.

“We will see. You know more about the affairs of the world outside then you seem”. With those loaded words she stepped back and studiously did not look at my direction. Thirty minutes judging from my pocketwatch have passed and it has not been easy. This day is not going to be great.
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