LTBE - Chapter 410: Fathers Like Daughters Better (1)
Carter’s return was a huge thing to both Roel and the Ascart House.
The Saint Mesit Theocracy’s military had grown increasingly active ever since the deviants reappeared at the eastern border a few years back. There had been an increase in military missions, and there had been several mass recruitments in the Holy Capital thus far.
All of these spelled an increased burden on the logistical branch of the army, which translated into a massive increase in workload for its chief, Carter Ascart.
It was easy to overlook the importance of the logistical branch, thinking that they were just inconsequential backline personnel, but they played a vital role in determining the outcome of a war. An army could guard a fortress for months despite being outnumbered, but the moment their supply chain was cut off, they would fall within days.
Fighting a war swiftly depleted a person’s vitality, and in the Sia Continent, there was an additional resource known as ‘mana’ too. Without ample replenishments, an army would be significantly weakened after a day of fighting. Even worse, the soldiers might lose morale.
Morale was something invisible and intangible, but most famed commanders were known for their ability in rousing their soldiers’ fighting will. There were many ways to build up morale, be it instilling a sense of pride through winning multiple battles or nurturing a sense of loyalty through years of camaraderie. Even offering incentives could motivate soldiers to a certain extent.
However, when it came to maintaining morale, military rations were necessary.
How high could an army’s morale get when everyone was starving?
Disciplined armies could get away with just a slip in fighting will and tenacity, but in worse cases, it could lead to desertion or even a mutiny.
Of the wars from both worlds that Roel was aware of, there was not a single army that had been able to maintain their morale without ample replenishments. Even in Rosa’s war for independence, the starved soldiers were only barely able to stand their ground due to an ancestor of the Sorofyas slicing off his arm to feed them.
As the patriarch of a military house, Carter also understood the vital importance of the logistical function, which was why he took his job seriously. He often tagged along with convoys to personally oversee the transportation of goods. His workload was even higher than some of the frontline commanders.
That was why Carter was often away over the last few years.
A joyous atmosphere infected the Ascarts’ manor when the servants learned about Carter’s imminent return. The prolonged departure of their masters had turned the manor cold and empty, and that had left them rather uncomfortable. Even the chefs had been out of work for almost six months now.
Just like any family member of a military personnel, the notion of being reunited with his father filled Roel’s heart with delight despite his unease over Nora’s affairs.
Under Anna’s command, the Ascarts’ manor quickly got into a cleaning and maintenance spree. All of the furniture, handrails, and objects that tended to be easily blemished were scrutinized and repaired. Antiques were carried out of the storage room and placed along the corridors. A brilliant red carpet was unrolled all the way till the streets.
Roel started planning celebration events for Ascart City too. Many of the administrative officials were Carter’s old subordinates, so they were supportive of the celebration events.
While Carter didn’t have Roel’s skills in fiefdom management, he had also contributed to the people in his own way. He had helped build up the Ascart Fiefdom as a military powerhouse and worked hard to maintain a high level of security and stability, thus allowing the people to live in peace. Knowing this, the people held great respect toward Carter.
On top of that, Carter wasn’t returning alone; he had brought back over a thousand soldiers from the Ascart Fiefdom with him so that they could catch up with their loved ones. His consideration had won him widespread appreciation, especially from the family members of those soldiers.
Three days after Roel’s return, Carter finally arrived at Ascart City with the Ascart Fiefdom’s Third Knight Order. Evening was usually marked with the gradual quieting down of the city, but today, the streets were enlivened with triumphant melodies, singing, and dancing. The civilians waited along the streets with smiles, waiting for the return of their heroes.
As the Third Knight Order entered the city gates, the crowd let out excited cheers. Wives shouted their husbands’ names while the children waved at their fathers. The crowd only continued to grow denser into the city, till the city square, where Roel and Alicia were waiting.
Roel was dressed in a sharp suit, and he stood upright with a gentle smile as he waited for the arrival of his father. On the other hand, Alicia wore a black gown that contrasted beautifully with her fair skin.
Conventions dictated that siblings ought to stand beside each other, but Alicia insisted on taking her place a step behind Roel, a place usually reserved for his wife. Roel tried to dissuade her from it, but she was awfully obstinate about it.
This was not the first time something like that happened, and Roel thought that the reason behind it was because Alicia felt that she had a lower standing in the Ascart House being an adopted child. Worried that this mentality might lead to self-esteem issues, he even tried to counsel her when they were younger, but she refused to change her mind no matter what he said, and he eventually got used to it.
It went without saying that Alicia had other thoughts in mind, but she had chosen to withhold them from Roel, at least for the time being.
Typical of such military parades, the Third Knight Order proceeded across the streets at a moderate pace so as to flaunt its airs. Roel had known that the event would take quite some time, so he stood gracefully and patiently waited.
It was already half an hour before the Knight Order finally arrived at the city square.
The soldiers at the forefront of the procession quickly got into two formations along both sides of the city square before Carter finally stood out of the carriage and showed himself.
Several years had already passed, but there was hardly any change in Carter’s appearance. However, his disposition was even sharper than before, possibly due to his involvement in the war, granting him a natural intimidating aura.
However, the man who alighted from the carriage wasn’t the Saint Mesit Theocracy’s chief logistics officer but a father who had just returned home to his two children. His intimidating air immediately disappeared, and his expression softened into a fatherly smile.
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