Chapter 20: Harbin’s Effort
Harbin, Medica, Cera and Kazakiel arrived at one of the reserve camps where the trained reserves of Prashyufa were stationed. Prasyufa had a very large one as well as they were considered to be the garrison for the Citadel when things go south. The reserves that were stationed here were in the thousands.
However, the whole area wasn’t just filled with reserves; it was also filled with promoters and recruiters from the other armies. Their army could be identified by the band that they are wearing on their shoulders. They brought out podiums and did flashy shows trying to attract as much attention as they could to their respective army. The reserve soldiers walked around in interest as they gathered around these promoters. The other armies were desperate to fill up their numbers. The reserves were just as desperate in getting into an army as well, to chase after glory and prestige.
“The Sixth Army requires grand Warriors that are willing to serve the country! Our pay is one of the best in the country,” one of the promoters shouted.
“We require mages! Any person who can cast magic is welcome! Succours and Saboteurs are especially welcome!” One person from the Thirteenth Army yelled out.
Various other promoters and recruiters from the other armies were also aggressively finding new soldiers to put in their ranks.
‘This is starting to look like a marketing campaign than a recruiting campaign.’ Harbin thought to herself.
“Yeah, I knew it. We were too late.” Kazakiel said as he sees the sight in front of him.
“What do you mean Captain Kazakiel?” Cera asked the Cunning.
“I mean what I mean. We are too late to come here. The other armies have most likely recruited the good ones already.” Kazakiel replied.
He’s been to Prashyufa’s reserve camp before so he could notice the massive lack of soldiers roaming around. They were probably already recruited into the other armies. “I don’t think we can find many good soldiers out here anyways. We should just go back. We are better off with our numbers than finding scraps for recru—”
“Um. The Seventh Army is recruiting!”
Kazakiel’s words were cut off with a loud scream from Harbin who had started to climb a random box that she took and shouted at the people around her. Cera, Medica and Kazakiel could only give her a wry look.
“Well, General Klauna didn’t say anything about getting the best recruits,” Medica said as she let out a chuckle.
“We have um… We have… Guys, what do I say about the army?” Harbin asked the three.
“Just shout the army’s speciality, and what the army needs,” Kazakiel told her, his palm on his face.
“Oh alright! The Seventh Army is recruiting! We have…” Harbin stopped yelling as she tried to think about the things she wanted to shout.
“Think first before shouting…” Kazakiel muttered and he continued to hang his head in shame.
“We have a drunkard for a general! But I assure you that she’s a great person! She’s beautiful and strong as well!” Harbin just blurted whatever she could.
No one stopped by obviously. The others were already preoccupied with the other armies. There was also the fact that her yell wasn’t loud enough, it was constantly being drowned by the other promoters who had much louder voices. It was times like this that Harbin wished she had Klauna’s strong charismatic voice that could be heard across the battlefield.
Even so, she kept shouting hoping for someone to come by. The others just stood by her side correcting her words and giving her things to say to the bypassers. They were also there to give her emotional support. Cera had actually wanted to help, she was the Vice General of the army, it should be her duty to recruit soldiers into the army. She was stopped, however, by Medica who insisted that Harbin do this alone. It was a good way to boost her confidence if nothing else.
And so after a long while of shouting, Harbin finally caught the attention of a few soldiers walking around from stand to stand. They were interested in the part where she said about a beautiful general. It was unfortunate that the moment they realised Harbin was an Analyst, they immediately scoffed and left the area to search for another army.
Harbin could be seen visibly heartbroken at the sight. Cera felt a little bit of anger when she saw this, she had the right in her mind to teach the rude fools. Again, she was stopped by Medica before Cera could make a scene. Despite the disappointing results, Harbin didn’t give up and kept yelling out, hoping to find soldiers who would join the Seventh Army.
Time and time again, people would come, interested in the Seventh Army and leave as soon as they see Harbin in an officer’s uniform. Harbin didn’t let rejection get to her though. She just kept shouting. It was Cera who could be seen getting angrier and angrier at the reserves soldiers. Her patience reached a peak when a rock was thrown at Harbin. It was a small pebble so it probably won’t hurt her. But the action alone was enough to send Cera into a fit of rage.
It was a sign of sheer disrespect. Disrespect to her dear friend.
Cera wanted to chase down the person who threw the rock when she was promptly stopped by Medica who pulled her far away from the scene, towards a secluded place where no one could hear them.
“Let me go, Medica. I need to chase that insolent fool!” Cera said to Medica.
“Don’t be foolish Cera. You’ll just make a scene. It will just make our life harder.” Medica said as she held an iron grip on Cera.
“How can you be so calm? She’s your friend as well! Aren’t you angry at this Medica?!”
“Of course I am! But please understand. This is just how things are…” She said in a sorrowful tone.
“This is just not fair! She didn’t do anything wrong. They just hate her. They refuse to listen to her just because she’s a… She’s a…”
“A lowly Analyst? Makes you think back of the times you called them that yourself right? It’s much worse outside the army Vice General Cera,” Kazakiel said as he arrived at their location, his eyes looking towards the lone Analyst trying her best.
Cera’s eyes widened in shock. She then stopped struggling as she bit her lip in frustration. “I… I didn’t know…”
Cera thought about her friend. It hasn’t been long since they were acquainted with each other, but they definitely shared a bond. There was much in Harbin that Cera respected. But it wasn’t always like this. There was a time long ago where she would see an Analyst; see Harbin and think of her as less than herself. To think she used to be just a shortsighted as the fools walking out there.
She took another look at Harbin. She was just standing there holding out the Grimoire in her hands as she yelled for attention. It was subtle but Cera could see Harbin’s legs shaking as well. Recruiting was definitely harder than Cera first thought. It was many times harder for Harbin— all because she was born of a different crest.
“...Is there… nothing we can do for her?” Cera turned around to look at Medica. She was still angry, but it was a cold type of anger.
Medica only shook her head. “Harbin needs to grow as well. The job was entrusted to her, she should be the one to finish it. The best we can do is stay by her side and support her.”
Cera looked downward in shame. “It’s just not right.”
“Nothing much is right Cera. We just do what we have to do.” Kazakiel said as he turned around to get back to Harbin.
“...Do what we have to do…” Cera said to herself.
A small gasp was heard when Kazakiel stopped all of a sudden. Medica and Cera wondered what the matter was when they turned around to look at Harbin. A surprised look could be seen on their faces as well.
Harbin was currently surrounded by a bunch of people. They crowded around her and was staring intently into the Grimoire that she was currently clutching tight within her hands, her face a look of panic.
“See guys? I told you I saw the real deal!”
“Damn, you were right! It’s the real Grimoire of the Analysts!”
“Move over, I can’t see it!”
“Ah, don’t push me!”
It was a group of Analysts who couldn’t contain their excitement. They were making a huge commotion which attracted other Analysts into the area, creating a sort of feedback loop.
Understandable. The legendary relic of the Analysts was right in front of their eyes together with the wielder. A person wearing an officer's uniform. It was something the crests should be proud of. They don’t have much of those after all.
“Hey hey! Which army are you from?” One of the Analysts asked.
“Hey Aki, can’t you see you are making her nervous.” A lone female Saboteur scolded the Analyst. She was the only non-Analyst in the crowd.
“...the Seventh Army… we are currently recruiting…” Harbin tried to reply. But the confidence that she had earlier was slowly replaced with anxiety.
“The Seventh Army? That Seventh army? The one led by one of the mightiest Warrior in the land? Lord Lionel?!” The lone out of place Saboteur shouted.
“...No. Lord Lionel had fallen to the enemies. He is… no longer leading the Seventh Army.” Cera’s voice was heard as she came closer to check up on Harbin. Behind her were Kazakiel and Medica.
The atmosphere immediately turned south as the Analysts stared at the newly arrived officers with hostility and contempt— especially towards Cera and Medica. Even the lone Saboteur showed a dissatisfied look towards them.
It was so intense that even Cera had to take a step back. Cera then remembered the event earlier, at how much hatred there was for the Analysts. It was only right that the Analysts hated the other crest back. The hatred must have gone both ways.
‘So this is how Harbin felt…’ Cera thought to herself.
Aki, one of the Analysts saw the band on their arms and noticed that it was the same as the one on Harbin. “Hey… who is she? She just came into the conversation out of nowhere.” Aki asked Harbin.
“Huh? Oh, She’s my friend, the Vice General of the Seventh Army. Stardivacera!” Harbin said with a smile towards the Analysts.
The atmosphere suddenly turned for the better when she mentioned the word friend.
“What? So that’s how it is?” Aki let out a small laugh. “Then they aren’t bad guys. Anyone who can be friends with Analysts can’t be bad guys!”
“Muuuu. You are way too optimistic Aki. I’m Pringgar by the way! Nice to meet y’all!” The female Saboteur pointed to herself. “This is my dumb brother Sladar!” Pringgar pointed at another Analyst. Sladar, the person she pointed at let out a dissatisfied frown.
“Umm yeah, nice to meet you all too,” Cera greeted them. A little bit perplexed at their sudden change in attitude.
“Hey… you mentioned that Lord Lionel is no longer the leader of the army. Who’s the one leading it now? Is it the beautiful woman that grimoire wielder mentioned?” Aki asked, a grin on his face. It was soon wiped away, by Pringgar, the female Saboteur.
“Ah… It’s an Analyst that goes by the name Klaunalioriratica. She—” Cera’s reply was cut short when she saw the Analysts’ reaction.
“Oh damn?! A Grimoire Wielder and an Analyst for a General?!”
The whole area soon went into an uproar. Cera had no idea what kind of bomb she just set off.
* * * * *
“...That’s all I have to say. I’m not going to mince words. Some of you may die. The time might come even sooner than you realise. If you wish to leave, you can leave now. Else I expect all of you to follow orders,” Klauna said to the four hundred new recruits in front of her.
“That’s way too short, Lord Klauna…” Harbin who stood next to Klauna said.
“Maybe you can add more words to General Klauna… Lord Lionel always has a lot of things to say,” Cera said.
“Short and simple is sometimes the best approach. Also, I am not Lionel,” Klauna said as she walked away from the area, the banner of the Seventh Army waved by for the Analysts to see.
Unbeknownst to the officers that were arguing right in front of them, the recruits were whispering to each other.
“Holy crap, the Warrior actually called her a general!”
“The Grimoire wielder called her a lord as well.”
“Look at how she walks with that distant look of hers. So cool…”
“Could the spear in her hands be...?”