Chapter 4: Captain’s Meeting
The General called in an emergency meeting to discuss what had happened. Lionel ordered for status reports and the reason why all those humans to charge in on their location like that. The captains gave their report as instructed. Including Klauna who eventually told them about how she mobilized her battalion to bombard the enemy and how she led a strike force into the woods.
This angered the Ak’hims. The sudden bombardment of the enemies and their sudden retaliation towards the camp was all because of Klauna’s orders— Klauna who did not bother to even consult the others.
"You fool! What would have happened if we didn't win today!" One of the captains yelled out.
“You could have told us. We could have at least prepared ourselves better." A young Ak’him wearing an officer's uniform said out. He was another captain of the Seventh Army, a Cunning who goes by the name of Kazakiel.
“Here I was enjoying my day and suddenly these large explosions go off. Who even gave you the order to execute them? Gosh… are all Analyst this dumb?” Another captain said. This time a female Succour wearing a skimpy officer's uniform.
“You are lucky that we won the fight! We were barely ready for that sudden counter-attack that the enemy did on us.” A Saboteur joined in on the yelling, another captain of the Seventh Army.
The yelling didn’t stop there. They were accompanied by more dissatisfied complaints from more captains and their aides. Each one targeting the only Analyst in the room, Klauna. They were throwing out slurs and insults to not only her but her entire crest. Klauna thought to herself that she made the right choice not to bring Harbin or Yuupiecca into the meeting.
Those two would be furious as hell if they were here.
There were a few demons that weren’t throwing out complaints, of course. Some of these people included General Lionel and the Vice General Stardivacera. Lionel being quiet makes sense. He was one of the few Ak’hims that don’t look down on Analyst. Stardivacera only kept quiet out of respect for the general. The others kept quiet for reasons unknown, but probably out of gratitude as she did save some of the men under these demons during the previous battle in the woods.
Klauna, on the other hand, was only sitting down not paying heed to the insults being hurled at her. In her hands was a bottle of liquor which she drank right in front of them. Her face showed that she doesn’t give a damn. This, of course, made the other Ak’hims even angrier and they started to throw more slurs and even insulted her intelligence. Anything to get a reaction from her.
However, Klauna merely ignored them and continued drinking. To her, deaths in war were inevitable. If the bombardment never happened, they would have been stuck in that stalemate until the day the enemy gains reinforcement and drove them off. If she had not acted, then the Seventh Army would have lost their general. People yelling at her was a price that she would take to win this pointless battle sooner.
"Have you no shame? You are just a lowly Analyst who got to the rank of Captain because of the general's pity!" One of the captains yelled out.
It was then that Lionel slammed the table. The loud bang echoed in the small room.
“Enough!” His voice was strong and everyone fell silent at once. “If you all have the time to complain then get out there and do something! Everybody here is dismissed. Get your men alert and ready for the next battle. We will hold another meeting tomorrow.”
“But Lord General…” A demon spoke out.
Lionel looked at the man and he shrank in fear. “Didn’t you hear me? Everyone is dismissed.”
“...Understood.” he nodded and started to leave the meeting room.
Everyone else soon followed. Getting up from their position and leaving the room. Not without giving a mean glare towards Klauna, who simply continued drinking. Soon everyone had left except for Lionel, Stardivacera and Klauna.
“Cera, could you leave us two alone for a while. There is something I wish to speak to Captain Klauna in private," Lionel said.
Cera gave a respectful bow. “Understood, Lord Lionel,” she said before leaving the room as well.
Seeing that Cera was gone and that the two were finally alone, Lionel let out a big sigh and sat down in his chair in a rough manner. “You have caused me a lot of problems today, Klauna. Though I am grateful for what you have done for me in the forest.”
Klauna didn’t respond and looked towards the wall. Silence fell upon the room. The only thing you could hear was the sound of liquid moving around in a bottle— the same bottle that Klauna was holding.
Lionel had met with Klauna quite a while back. It was about a decade ago, during his recruitment efforts in the city of Divinatus. Back then, Klauna was nothing more than what the other demons say she was. A street rat who lived her days pointlessly without any aim. A lowly Analyst.
What a surprise it was to Lionel when he figured out that Klauna was more than she looks. He saw her hidden strength and a talent for leading people. Lionel immediately recruited her and forced the position of a captain of the Seventh Army onto her, much to her disinterest. His decision led to dissatisfied complaints from his followers of course.
“Do you even know why I made you captain? Let me tell you that it wasn’t an easy thing for me to do," Lionel asked.
Klauna took a sip from the bottle before responding: “... Don’t know. I couldn’t care less anyway.”
Lionel forcefully took the drink out of Klauna’s hands before telling her: “It’s because the Analysts look up to you, Klauna. Surprising, I know.”
Klauna gave a frown towards Lionel, angry that he took the bottle away from her.
“Those people. The Analyst. They respect you Klauna. I’ve never once seen them disobey your orders. I may be the general here, but they rather sooner listen to you than me. They may even respect you more than the Warriors or the other soldiers respect me."
“...What about it? The Analysts prefer to listen to another Analyst. I don’t see what you are trying to say here.”
“I think it’s more than that,” Lionel stood up and started to leave the room himself. “We’ve been through a lot, Klauna. I’ve heard what others say about you. I know it’s not true. If you weren’t the one leading them, they wouldn’t have been in this army in the first place. They may even be dead by now," he said as he finally left the room.
Klauna couldn’t care less about his words and passed out right there in the meeting room. Her hands and head resting on the table without a care in the world.
* * * * *
“Vice General, Cera. May I ask you an opinion?” Lionel asked Cera as they walked around the encampment.
“Yes, Lord General Lionel. Ask me anything,” Cera responded.
“What do you think of Harbinelikel,” Lionel asked.
“The wielder of the Grimoire of the Analyst?”
Cera took a short while to think of an answer. She thought about the day Harbin joined the Seventh Army and her current endeavours within the army so far.
“I can’t say that I like her, but I do not hate her. She is very talented for a person her age and she wields one of the five relics of the Ak’hims. She holds authority over the other members of the crest just from having that book. However, I do feel that her lack of experience and her blind loyalty to Captain Klauna is a massive downfall on her part.”
“I see.” Lionel could be seen rather disappointed in her answer. “The lack of experience I can understand, but her ‘blind’ loyalty?”
“Do you not think that way, Lord Lionel? She follows her every order and I do not understand why. All of them follow her orders despite her showing time and time again to be nothing more than a drunkard. A lowly Analyst. I think she-”
“Take that back."
Lionel cuts off Cera’s words, and with an angry voice said: "She’s more than what you think she is. I owe her too much of a debt to let your comment slide like that.”
“...Forgive me. I overstep my boundaries.” Cera apologized. “I didn't mean to insult her like that. I know that her actions had saved my life today as well. I just… Do not understand how she manages to garner such respect from them."
“... I do not think that Harbinelikel’s loyalty is blind,” Lionel said in a normal tone.
“Because I respect Captain Klauna. She is the only person to have ever beaten me in a no magic duel do you know that?” Lionel let out a hearty laugh.
Cera gave the general a sceptical look. “I find that hard to believe.”
Lionel is one of the finest fighters in the kingdom, few could beat him in a no magic duel. The only other person that Cera could think of was the Demon Lord and the Dragon General of the First Army. To think there was somebody else who could match with General Lionel was somewhat unthinkable, much less a person of the Analyst crest.
“You’ve never seen her fight right? When the day comes for you to see it, then you will understand what I mean. She’s much stronger than you give her credit for. It is only compounded by her craftiness.”
“I see… but that is that. Her strength has nothing to do with Harbinelikel’s loyalty.”
“Maybe not. But it is enough to earn my respect. If she could earn my respect than I believe she can earn Harbinelikel’s respect as well.”
“...” Cera didn’t give any reply to the statement.
"Respect is earned Cera. No one would follow another person without a reason. I am just saying that Harbin follows her very much for a reason."
"I see… I'll take this to heart then."
The two stopped talking and they soon arrived at the encampment’s warehouse.
"Are you sure about this, Lord Lionel? This is sure to anger the other troops." Cera said as they entered the warehouse.
"Yeah, I want everyone to be sober for the upcoming battles. Including her."
That day, Lord General Lionel gave an order to everyone in the Seventh Army that all alcohol is to be confiscated and placed in the warehouse under tight supervision. He then gave another order that if Klauna were to be seen drinking, all the liquor are to be destroyed and no one will get to taste it. Lionel mentioned that these things should only be drunk when they celebrate and not out in the open while on duty.
This was meant to be a small punishment towards Klauna, but it only served to rile up the other Ak’hims. Small treats of liquor were considered to be a delicacy among the nobles of the demon race. A special blend that contains almost ninety per cent alcohol. It was a concoction that only Dwarves and Ak’hims could drink without going fully drunk or even worst. Dead.
Now that the Seventh Army no longer has any access to these treats, they could be seen more irritated at the Analysts and their captain. Some even protest against it and tried to appeal that the liquor is distributed to everyone except the Analysts. However, the general’s order was absolute and the protest soon died down.
On an interesting note, Klauna didn’t like this blend and distilled her liquor with large amounts of water. It is how she was able to keep drinking it all the time.