Wizard! Chapter 530
A knocking sound woke Hanna. What time was it? She fumbled about trying to read her clock before realizing she couldn’t read it because it was still dark… which meant she hadn’t been asleep long. The knocking persisted, gradually growing louder. “Coming! Just give me a minute!” It didn’t take long to throw on her clothes from the floor next to the bed. It wasn’t the best option but she couldn’t just go out in bedclothes. “Yes? Whoizzit?” Hanna asked as she opened the door.
Outside the door were two soldiers in uniform. “Lieutenant Hanna Steffen? You need to come with us.”
Hanna blinked. Her job was technically part of the military, but nobody in that section acted like it. Real military people showing up before the sun even came up and addressing her in that way… was probably bad, right?
“You’ll want shoes.”
Hanna looked down at her feet. “Um… right.” Going with them might be bad- but not going with them would probably be worse. Besides, she couldn’t think of anything she’d done wrong. Well, except not really do paperwork. Could she be court-martialed for bad paperwork? Was that what was happening? Should she run? No, that was stupid. Even if she had a reason to run- which she didn’t- she couldn’t. She barely even kept up with physical fitness… whereas the soldiers outside definitely were in shape.
Then she found herself outside in a car. A car. A real horseless carriage powered by an engine instead of… well, a horse. Sure, they’d been around for a long time, but with the state of the roads in Cruonia there weren’t that many. The military had some, but they also had regular carriages. It meant something to be picked up in a car.
Hanna was relieved to see they weren’t driving toward the military jail… but if she were being arrested she would have been shackled already. In the early morning light she couldn’t really keep track of where they were going. Then the car passed through a checkpoint and onto an open road. That was odd. They hadn’t reached the edge of the city yet.
Even with adrenaline from the surprise of soldiers showing up at her door, Hanna was just barely starting to be awake. When she looked in front of the car it was pretty obvious where her destination was. The only thing in sight was the Demon King’s castle. Well… the Demon King was dead, and the new Eternal King was apparently a pretty alright guy as far as scary and powerful gevai kings went. Hanna couldn’t say anything for sure. She’d heard him give a speech once, and that was it. Why was she going to the castle?
It was only two minutes before she was out of the car and being led through the corridors. She had never been to the castle before, so she had no idea where she was going. Soon enough she found herself being led into a room with a person behind a desk. “Head Commander Jordan, Lieutenant Hanna Steffen, as requested.”
Commander Jordan? Wasn’t that the person in charge of military logistics? Wait… Head Commander? Wouldn’t that be the one in charge of the entire military who barely showed themself? Hanna barely had time to process that she needed to salute either way. “Uh, umm… Lieutenant Hanna Stefen, reporting for duty.”
“At ease.” Hanna barely managed to stand less stiffly at that. “You were the one who reported the ship detector activated thirteen times in the span of an hour?”
“Uh, yes, sir! I know it’s unusual, but I swear it actually happened! I thought the machine might be broken-”
Jordan held up a hand, “Your report mentioned it was exactly every five minutes?”
Hanna nodded nervously. “Yeah. Well, maybe not the first few? After that I kept track of the seconds though. See, the detector has a limiter that prevents it from activating more than once every five minutes in case-”
“I am aware of the details of how it works. Thank you for the confirmation. You may return to your home now.”
William frowned, “You’re sure it’s a fleet coming to attack us?”
“Sure enough to mobilize any nearby naval ships and order the ports to prepare for an attack.”
“What about evacuating the cities?”
“I’m not sure. We’ve sent a fast ship to scout it out. If we actually need to evacuate civilians we should start now…”
“But if it’s not necessary, it’s a major disruption.” William shrugged, “I trust your judgement. Do what you think is best.”
“I don’t like going off of instinct… but my instincts tell me it needs to be done.” Jordan frowned, “I wish we could have a more thorough detection system but it wasn’t easy getting anything there secretly. Still, we should have a dozen days until they arrive at the earliest.”
William nodded, “Should I go?”
“No. At least… not immediately. Against the estimated number of ships your impact will be less significant. If there aren’t many or it is a false alarm you won’t be needed. If it is as I suspect, you shouldn’t be in the first battles. Cruonia needs to be able to stand on its own, without just relying on you.”
William sighed, “More people will die that way… but it is better to not act like a common soldier.”
Jordan nodded, “There’s also the fact that the Demon King was always personally involved in wars. In people’s’ minds you are a strong figure… but not so strong as to be too terrifying to the common person. Besides, there are also other factors to consider.”
“Like guns? They’re not that bad.”
“I’ll take your word for it… but our officers will still be ordered to keep their heads down.”
“What about Tiburcio?”
“Oh. Well… I’ll also order him to keep his head down, and he’ll ignore it.”
William sighed, “I don’t suppose we’ll be able to keep him out of the fighting?”
“Even if I say nothing, within the day he’ll know fighting is on the way. I doubt there’s a way to physically restrain him… especially not with him on the way to recovery.”
“I really don’t like the idea of him going into battle without being fully recovered, but on the other hand…” William shrugged, “He’s in the best shape he’s been since the final Demon King war.”
“He also managed to get someone to make new armor for himself and Orange…” Jordan shrugged, “I have no idea where he got the money, but I suppose his estate has been profitable enough over the years… and I honestly can’t see him spending the money on much else.”
“Well…” William scratched his chin, “Since we can’t stop him, you have to properly give him orders. We can’t let him go off on his own.”
“My thoughts exactly. I have just the right idea.”