Chapter 85: Albatross
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All banter ceased as King Rokujo Hyogo took his place at the end of the table his family all took seats along the left side of the table while the retainers and other nobles he didn’t recognize took their seats on the right.

“Welcome your highness.” the nobles bowed.

“It warms my heart to see my family after months of separation, and I must thank you loyal compatriots for all the work you’ve done on your end.”

“The honour is ours, your highness.”

A man gestured his voice smooth as silk he was dressed in the common attire for a noble he had a thick but neatly groomed beard, slicked brown hair and amber eyes narrow and sharp.

“How have things been in Lancaster, Regulus?”

So this was Regulus Astrea one of the heads of the four great houses of Lancaster who betrayed his country to ensure his families future, not that he blamed him a child could see that the war was over before it started.

“Peaceful and bloodless thankfully.”

“Your people have you to thank for that.”

“ I simply looked at the board and made the most sensible move.”

“Indeed, and what of your forces?”

“Fifteen thousand infantry are marching to Edelgard as we speak.”

“Well tell them to stand by the outskirts and await further instruction.”

“ Now then, Ichika report.”

“Yes, your highness."

A woman dressed in violet armour stood up her skin was tanned and her hair was like gold, she spoke slow and with a sense of authority. So this was General Ichika Akasaka, known as the Heavenly Lance, she was the one in charge of the general Hyogo Military and was undefeated in battle.

“Our main forces are split and have hidden themselves enemy territory, last I heard they’re currently residing in two cities southwest and northwest of Edelgard, The Ocean City of Ordelia and The Trade City of Goneril respectively.”

“How many have entered the Empire?”

“forty thousand your highness.”

“Forty Thousand from our core army, Ten Thousand from the Shiro Division, Nine and a half thousand from the Kuro Divison, Eight Thousand from the Murasaki Division, Six Thousand from Momo Division and Four Thousand from the Midori Division. Bringing our country military to seventy-seven thousand five hundred.” The King said.

“Don’t forget the eleven thousand sisters provided by the church,” Seijuro added.

“And two thousand from Albatross,” Shigure said.

“As in the Albatross the famous mercenary core?” Mei asked

“I’m looking forward to seeing them in action,” Yukina said

“But aren’t they originally from the empire, General?”

“Correct you are Princess Mei, but there kind revere Rias above all else.”

Even Mirai had heard about Albatross they were one of the big three mercenary rivals with the Virgo and Tartarus. Powerful warriors selling their bloodstained blades to the highest bidder known for completing any mission and casting morality aside for cold hard Rias.

“It’s likely our enemy will have acquired a corp of their own,” Ichika said.

“ The imperial family practically shit money so I’d wager as much.” A gruff voice interjected.

“Uncle Tetsuya!” Mei waved enthusiastically.

Prince Tetsuya the younger brother of the king he was the spitting image of his elder brother though lacked the muscle mass of his sibling, he was flanked by three other two young adults one a boy and the other a girl baring the signature crimson hair of the royal family.

The third was a balding middle-aged man puffing away on a cigar dressed in grey slacks and shirtless with a leather jacket draped over his shoulders he looked the furthest thing from noble one could imagine.

“It’s good to see you, little brother.”

“ You too sorry for our tardiness.”

“Sorry we had to miss the last war council,” The young boy said.

“It’s a pleasure to see you all again.” The girl curtsied

“Mari!” Mei crashed into the girl hugging her tight.

“Hello, Mei it’s been what a whole year since we met.”

“Well, this is great seeing all you big wigs up close might make me shit my pants.”

“I’ll cut to the chase and then you fancy folk can pretend I’m not here and everything will be sweet as honey.”

“Watch your tongue or I’ll have your head here and now!” Ichika barked.

“The Heavenly Lance, You’re about what I expected.” The man snubbed smoked.

“Stand down general, You have the floor, so why don’t you introduce yourself.”

“Yay! Lucky me. Names Rhett Just Rhett ain’t got a fancy surname like you.”

This man’s brazen lack of decorum was either the most awe-inspiring or foolish display Mirai had ever seen, the way this Rhett controlled the room you’d have him pegged for being the king, not some commoner.

“You’re from Albatross I presume,” Seijuro said

“Founder and Captain at your service.”

“You should learn some respect.” Shigure chastised.

“Look kid let me make something as clear as an azure sky, I couldn’t give a squirt of piss for anything you’re fighting for, I also don’t give a shit that you’re royalty and have a silver spoon wedged up your ass. I’m here to do a job not suck your golden cock.”

“How dare you speak to my brother that way, you bastard.” Mei slammed her fist on the table.

“Stand down Mei the man may speak freely.” The King interrupted.

It was out of character for the Princess to lose her cool like that sure she was prone to getting a little maniacal but that was genuine anger, Rhett would have been meaty chunks if not for the timely intervention of the king.

“Pardon my rudeness I just don’t like to bullshit, My men will be waiting in the agreed-upon location, word is the empire’s backing Virgo so we can finally settle our score. At any rate, I’m gone so enjoy your meeting, your highness.”

Rhett waved and exited the tent leaving everything speechless the size of that man’s balls were enormous, the rest of the meeting played out as one might expect and before long night had fallen over the camp.

Mirai decided to take an evening stroll with Milena to clear his head this night might be one of the last moments of peace he’d see in his life, despite the overwhelming odds death was always in the cards.

“Feeling a little anxious master?”

“That obvious huh?”

“Stop stalling.”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about”

“Go settle things with the Princess.”

"I don't recall asking for a devil chastisement." 

"Just do it already god."  Milena yawned

"While you two  have your romantic rendezvous beneath a starlight sky I'll be napping."

" Goodnight, Milly."