Chapter 19: Harbin's (Recruitment) Efforts
“I’ll leave the recruitment of new manpower up to you. Get the others to help you as needed. Be fast about it,” Klauna said as she started to walk away.
Harbin stood there and gave her a confident salute. “Roger. What about you Lord Klauna?”
“I need to secure the funds for more equipments. Tell Yuupiecca to meet me later. I will need his expertise,” Klauna said to everyone.
“I’ll tell Yuupie right away!” Poi answered as she sped off.
Klauna then gave one last nod to Harbin before leaving off into the distance, into the great citadel of Prashyufa. The banner of the Seventh Army raised high with the spear Indominatus. Harbin never let go of her confident and reassuring smile. A guarantee that she will definitely get the job done as best she could.
It was only when Klauna’s visage disappeared from her sight that the confident reassuring smile turned into a pale, sickly complexion. She started to hold her stomach with ragged breath.
She then faced the others. One could see tears almost escaping from her eyes. “Wh-wha-what am I supposed to do now?! I have no idea about recruiting people!” She whimpered.
“Calm down Harbin… you don’t have to act like that. We are here, you know.” Cera replied. A large sweatdrop fell off her head.
“There, there…” Medica came to calm Harbin down, holding her tight in a small hug.
“Wh-why did Lord Klauna give me such a weird task! Recruit people? Wouldn’t it be better if Captain Kazakiel was the one who does it?” Harbin said as she pushed Medica away in embarrassment. Medica replied with a sad squeal.
“That’s…” Cera could not find the words to say to Harbin. She doesn’t know what’s going on in Klauna’s mind after all.
It was then that Balestra who was standing at a corner came to the scene. “What’s going on here? You girls are attracting quite the attention.”
“Senior Balestra!” Harbin called out, giving him a small bow. “Nothing is happening… It’s just that...Do you know anything about how to recruit people into the army?”
“Recruiting? Heh, the only recruiting I’ve ever done was getting a bunch of Analysts to learn the ways of the rogue. I got me an attention deficit hyperactive disciple thanks to that. I don’t know much about recruiting other than that one incident.” He replied with a solemn look on his face. His eyes rolled back as he recalls the first day she met Poi.
“I see... “ Harbin gave his condolences to the elder rogue and turned to Cera. “Cera, you know about recruiting right? You are the Vice General of this army!”
“...The only method I know is the one that Lord Lionel always did. He would go around to every city that the army travels to and find orphans or people who had nowhere left to go. Most of the time, they were trained within this very army. It’s been a long time since our last recruit, almost a few years now.” Cera recounts her memories.
“That’s not really true Cera. There have been special cases like how I joined.” Medica said as she held Harbin tightly, her head above Harbin’s.
Harbin had apparently given up on pushing the dedicated Medica from some skinship and was listening closely to Cera’s explanation.
Cera thumps her fist onto her other hand. “Oh right. Yeah, there were special cases where some battalions would be transferred from Command or through some special means. Captain Lina and her battalion was one such case. I believe she split off from her Familia and gathered as many followers as she could before signing a transfer paper to the Seventh Army.”
“She was seeking a way to branch out and earn her own merit in her Familia. I joined the Seventh Army together with her,” Medica replied, hiding her inner sorrow from the others. “Lord Lina…” She muttered softly.
“I believe Captain Kazakiel was of a similar case as well. He transferred into the Seventh Army from another army.”
“Captain Kazakiel! Of course!” Harbin yelled out as if she gained an epiphany and ran out, probably to seek the Cunning Captain.
“My my… She’s rather into the task isn’t she?” Medica said as she rested her head on her hand.
“We should… follow her. Balestra, can I ask that you finish the job of setting up camp?” Cera asked.
“Leave it to me. Take care of her for me,” Balestra replied.
“I will,” Cera waved Balestra goodbye before running to catch up with Harbin.
Medica also waved goodbye to the elder rogue before chasing after them.
The three searched high and low through the carriages of the Seventh Army to find Kazakiel. It seemed to be a harder task than they thought. Kazakiel was nowhere to be seen— though they did encounter a few other officers and soldiers of the army. As Harbin was already asking them about Kazakiel’s whereabouts, she thought she might ask them about recruiting as well.
One of the officers said to Harbin, a male Cunning.
“Recruiting huh? Now when I think about it. Lord Lionel has always been the one to do it huh… I never paid any attention to it. Good luck on that job kiddo.”
“General Klauna wishes to recruit people into the Seventh Army? So we’ve been reduced that much huh… we used to be the largest army in the whole kingdom. I wondered what happened to us? I hope the new recruits won’t be as bad as that fool who disobeyed orders.” A male Saboteur said to Harbin, probably referring to Captain Laigon who died during the siege of Fort Kron.
“If you wish for recruits I know a few from the Familia who are still loyal to Lord Lina. They are in a city far west of Prashyufa though. And with Lord Lina’s condition… I’m sorry Medica, Harbin, it’s just wishful thinking on my part. I wish you good luck with your endeavours. Please send General Klauna my regards as well,” A very handsome and polite male Succour said to Harbin. She could almost feel her heart being swayed by his majestic smile. Almost.
“Have we been struck so low that we need to find new blood so desperately? In Prashyufa of all places? This place is infamous for having second rate recruits. Most of them are always entitled and lack discipline. If you do go through with this, then send them to me. I’ll knock those maggots into proper Seventh Army material.” a Warrior soldier who also acts as an instructor said his piece to Harbin.
“If you are going to recruit, please recruit more sexy wom—…. It was a joke guys, don’t look at me like that. I was trying to lighten the mood, things have been a bit mucky in the army as of late…” The Analyst said before backing away.
Harbin just gave him a deadpan stare. Cera was glaring at him as if looking at thrash while Medica was smiling, the bad kind of smile. Somehow along the way, the advice-seeking trip turned into a session where the soldiers of the Seventh Army gave their opinions and wishes about the recruit.
Her search for Kazakiel finally bore fruit when she finally found him at the encampment. The army had already finished unpacking and have deployed tents within Prashyufa. That was how long she spent talking with the other members of the army. Kazakiel was standing near a container talking with two officers that Harbin didn’t know the names of. They are only known to her as Blackmask and the Watchtower Warrior.
She was about to greet them when she suddenly realised that she was pretty much the only Analyst in the area. She had gotten too preoccupied with her task that she forgot about her status. She was about to talk to the highest-ranking officers in the army after all.
“Um… he-hello everyone.” She nervously greeted the three officers.
“Hmm? Oh hello, Ms Harbin.” The Watchtower greeted with a smile. Blackmask and Kazakiel acknowledged her presence and gave her a nod.
“Is there anything that you need us for?” Kazakiel asked Harbin.
“Ye-yeah… there is… it’s about the…” Harbin’s voice slowly grew softer until she was basically muttering to herself. Her heart raced and sweat was coming out of her palms.
Dangerous thoughts came into her mind. What if they get angry? “Haah?! A lowly Analyst like you wants to recruit people?” What if such an event happened?
“Huh? Speak louder, I can’t hear you.” Kazakiel said.
“Yeah… um it’s about ...recr……” Harbin could be seen backing away slowly into her shell.
Cera let out a sigh at the sight of the Analyst. During the short time that she had gotten close to Harbin, Cera found out that Harbin had an unnecessary fear of the other crests— especially one who was supposedly more ‘powerful’ than her. She doesn’t show this when she’s focused on her task, but the moment she’s aware of things she starts to freeze up like this.
She knew Harbin was braver than this. She’s seen her rushed towards the frontline like a Warrior and the fact that she was talking to the other crest just a while ago showed that she was, in fact, capable of holding a conversation with them.
As a matter of fact, Cera couldn’t understand what Harbin was so afraid of. She deals with a woman who was much scarier than most people on a daily basis, even going as far as scolding her.
“General Klauna had ordered Harbin to recruit new soldiers into the army. But… we are rather inexperienced in that area. We thought of asking advice from the others. Isn’t that right Harbin?” Cera nudged Harbin in the shoulders.
“Oh? Um.. yeah!” Harbin responded.
The Watchtower Warrior replied first while scratching the back of his head. “Recruiting huh? I can’t say I know much about it. I joined the army when I was only a little boy. Lord Lionel took me in. Oh right, talking about this, how did you all join this army anyway? I was always curious about it. Maybe it can help with your thing." He said as he shifted the conversation topic.
Blackmask gave his story next. “...I joined the army when I saw the recruitment posters. The Seventh Army was crossing the area at that time so I joined alongside my friends,”
“I think you all probably know my story, I was raised from a child by him,” Cera replied.
“I joined with Lord Lina,” Medica responded.
“I submitted transferred papers to command and General Lionel approved them. We both go a long way back.” Kazakiel responded.
“Ahhh, It doesn’t look like any of our stories will help with Ms Harbin’s problem.”
“Um... yeah...” Harbin responded.
“Wait, what about you Harbin? How did you join the army? If I’m not mistaken, you joined just a few years back.” Medica asked, bringing herself closer to Harbin to help calm her down.
“Eh? Hmm… I can’t really remember that well. I know I tried applying to Command back when I was very young. But they won’t take me because I was too young. Not wanting to give up, I trained as hard as I could so that when I’m old enough, I could join the army. I was fourteen when the Seventh Army passed by my hometown. I immediately joined when I saw...” Harbin suddenly kept quiet as she recalled the day she met Klauna again after those long years. A soft smile crept up onto her face.
“Hoooh. You are quite determined to join the army huh? What motivated you?” Kazakiel asked.
“...There was someone I wanted to meet again. That’s all.” Harbin let out a smile as she recalled that special someone.
Cera also let out a smile when she sees Harbin's bright smile. “I guess… we just have to figure out this recruiting thing on our own then. Since everyone here doesn’t know about recruiting”
Kazakiel raised his voice at them before they could walk away. "Wait, I never said anything about not knowing anything. I’ve recruited some men into my battalion myself before I transferred to the Seventh Army. I know a thing or two.”
“Eh? Tell us then Captain Kazakiel,” Harbin urged Kazakiel with an energetic expression. Her fears were completely gone at this point.
Kazakiel backed away a little from her excitement. “...usually recruits will apply to command and they will be sent to training camps all over the Kingdom. Once their basic training is done, Command will distribute them across the armies based on their merits, skills, and how many open slots an army has for position. Those that cannot be redistributed will usually be sent to form new armies, or if there wasn't enough to form an army, will be sent to become special squads or left in reserves.” Kazakiel gave out a long drawn out explanation.
“Ohhhhh.” Harbin listens intently as she jolts down the information in the Grimoire that she carries with her all the time.
Kazakiel wondered if it’s alright to write such things on a precious relic like that, but pushed the thought to the back of his mind. “An army can send a letter to Command to take in these soldiers in reserve or those that are still in training if desperate. But usually what ends up happening is that the army will send recruiters to the reserve camps to handpick people for their army themselves. The recruits can then send a letter of transfer and the general can approve the papers. Some armies are a bit weird in the manner that they skip command and the reserves altogether and directly get fresh citizens off the streets and train them. Just like what General Lionel did for the Seventh Army.”
“Ohhhh! You are quite knowledgeable about these things Captain Kazakiel!” Harbin praised Kazakiel as she finishes jolting down the notes in the grimoire, letting out a satisfied smile.
Kazakiel blushed a little bit at her words. “It-it’s nothing that special.”
“Then the first thing we should go to is command! Fill up the paperwork and get some of those reserves transferred to the Seventh Army!” Harbin said out loud and started to briskly walk away.
She was stopped by Kazakiel who held her back by putting his hand on her shoulders. “Wait just a minute. Haven’t you been hearing anything I just said? Command is worthless, they are just going to send us the leftovers and god knows how long they will take. We don’t have the time to wait for them. “
“I see… then what do we do Captain Kazakiel?”
“We go to the reserves first. It’s a bit too late now, but it’s worth a try.” Kazakiel said to the group as he led the way.
Harbin and the others only let out a confused look as they wondered about what he meant by that. Nonetheless, they followed after him. Blackmask and the Watchtower Warrior decided to stay behind and finish setting up the last of the encampment, wishing them good luck on their recruitment efforts.