The Duke’s Eldest Son Escaped to the Military (37)
12 Young Outpost Leader (3)
Sergeants of the modern era military would be extremely afraid of their superiors to the point that they would hold their breaths in front of them just so they could get out and come back to the society intact. However, this place was different. Unlike modern day sergeants, who needed to be careful and be scared even of falling leaves, the people here treat the position of the sergeant as the threshold that they needed to climb to become an executive.
Perhaps this could be attributed to the crazy requirements that they needed to endure. After all, they were required to serve 20 years in the Northern Military so something unexpected, like soldiers becoming executives, would happen upon their discharge. In this case, as long as the soldier had the ability, they would be able to become executives. They would even be able to climb that position faster than the soldiers that ate a lot of jjambap.
As a result, all kinds of conflicts erupted all over the place. In this situation, it would be strange if there wasn’t any conflict at all. And just like that, conflicts between soldiers who had eaten jjambap for 5~6 years and soldiers who became executives in just a few years arose. The problem was that the conflicts did not end even if one became an executive. Conflicts between elite executives that rose to their position quickly and executives that ate a lot of jjambap before climbing on this position also ran rampant.
This was already a big problem in and of itself. However, the corrupt government, perhaps not happy with such small conflicts, decided to pour oil to the fire to make all of the conflicts burn brighter. The fire burned all of the areas that it could burn.
Conflicts arose from all over the Empire. There were conflicts between those of noble birth and those of common birth. There were conflicts between poor families and prestigious and wealthy families. There were even conflicts between natives and immigrants.
All of these things put together made it difficult for them to touch a place immediately and hastily. So, rather than taking time to solve this complicated problem, they just tried to suture the wound whenever a problem occurred in their ranks.
And it seemed like the Northeast was not free from this issue that spread out in the entire Empire. Even if this place was under the direct jurisdiction of the Command, it seemed like they were still in a situation where the soldiers could freely cozy up to the executives and move up in ranks.
At first glance, it seemed to be an uncontrollable problem. But for Iron, this was the opposite. Iron knew that this problem that was running rampant in the outpost could be solved with his skills alone.
As a member of Ghost, his skills were sufficient enough to be called the elite among the elites. He also gained the trust of the Commander so his connections were more than enough. And although he was hiding it, his lineage was also good. Compared to the sergeant in question, Iron was superior in all of the aspects that the sergeant was confident in.
However, the problem was that Sergeant Sean and the corporals were unaware of this.
They had only heard the rumors that the academy’s new graduates were extremely amazing. When a child came to this outpost, they thought ‘Oh! One of them came here!’ but that was all. However, because of the nature of Ghost, Iron, the top of the graduates, and his credentials in the academy was somewhat hidden as soon as he stepped foot in this place.
Perhaps this was also the reason why Sean and the other soldiers had begun to gain back their momentum after seeing that Iron laid low for a few days. It seemed like they believed that his momentum was only because he came here for the first time.
“I don’t think he’s that big of a deal?”
Charles, someone who was slated to become a sergeant, answered Sean’s question.
“That’s right but… you still have to be careful. Just like the rumors said, the graduates this time are extremely dangerous.”
Even at the words of Corporal Charles, Sergeant Sean still smacked his lips believing that Iron was nothing because of his young age.
“Don’t you think it’s worth trying? As long as he’s not in the top 30, you know?”
“That’s right! Sergeant Sean’s power might be a bit behind him but his experience is overwhelming!”
“Haha~ Since he’s still young, Sergeant Sean will definitely win against him in terms of experience!”
The other corporals immediately took Sean’s side as if they wanted to butter him up and curry favor with him. The corporals even called for the privates as they began to slander the outpost leader just to elevate Sergeant Sean’s mood.
“He’s young but he has no manners.”
“He doesn’t know anything because he hasn’t stayed long in the army yet.”
“Once Sergeant Sean becomes the vice outpost leader, he’ll be able to eat him up quickly.”
In his absence, the emperor would be cursed. Just like that, the dormitory had turned into a place where they cursed and swore on the outpost leader. The only person who remained quiet in such a situation was Corporal Charles.
Perhaps it was because Corporal Charles was a soldier with a good head and quick wittedness so he remained quiet. But even if he stayed quiet and did not flatter him, Sergeant Sean did not touch him.
“Don’t you think that the outpost leader is also a baby?”
Sean looked pleased when Charles agreed with the words of the other corporals. It seemed like they were all pleased despite him answering them blandly.
Charles couldn’t help but sigh as he stared at Sean and his group. He couldn’t help but remember the young outpost leader.
The child, Iron, that they saw on that day definitely had something that could overwhelm them.
But he’s so calm right now?
There was a strange sense of confusion from his contradictory actions.
‘I feel like he’s clearly hiding something but…’
Charles was the only one who thought of this. He tried to gauge the time when the young outpost leader would move. He thought that if he was really hiding something, then he would be aiming for the time when they had crossed the line.
Charles was currently 17 years old, he was promoted quickly so he was expecting that he would become a non-commissioned officer by the time he turned 20. He had a good head on his shoulders and he was extremely quick witted so he was able to get into the special search unit and become a part of the elite course despite having no connections.
With the experience that he gained from his previous unit, he could easily infer the true position of the outpost leader.
‘He does not have any dispute with the vice outpost leader and he has a lot of room to grow. Looking at him, he looks like he’s young despite being one of the graduates. If he was dispatched here in the special search unit, then he’s highly likely from the elites. In that case…’
After thinking this far, cold sweat rained down on Charles’ back.
‘I have to cling to a good rope well.’
This thought immediately filled his head.
There wasn’t just one or two people who grasped on the wrong rope and twisted their military life. Once he did something wrong, he would be experiencing a hellish military life for years. He believed that it was best if he could live comfortably without knowing that hell in his military life before being discharged safely.
Thinking this far, Charles thought that he should just lie low as he read the room. However, after 15 days, he couldn’t help but tilt his head in confusion. He thought that he was probably just thinking too much.
He had already thought of changing lines. However, it seemed like Sean had vaguely noticed his plans so he had been targeting him recently.
‘Will I fail to switch lines and stay with Sean? Ha… He’s not even an executive yet but he’s already acting like this. I’m so tired of wagging my tail at that bastard of a sergeant.’
Charles agonized as he pondered what he should do. He couldn’t decide on which line he should take.
Most of the work in the outpost had been left to the vice outpost leader while the outpost leader stayed in his room and focused on his personal training. However, regardless of the outpost leader’s absence, Charles decided to trust his instincts wholly.
He had already chosen the wrong line before and had been bullied and picked at when he became an executive in his previous unit. But this time, no matter the outcome, Corporal Charles would lie his loyalty closer to the young outpost leader. At the very least, he was sure that the outpost leader and the vice outpost leader here in the Northeast would be different.
Corporal Charles did not know this yet but this line of thought had become his life saving grace.
Charles quickly stood up upon hearing the call of the vice outpost leader.
The sergeants, corporals and the soldiers that were lying around immediately turned to look at the vice outpost leader who mostly left them alone. But despite their gazes, the vice outpost leader just spoke coldly with an emotionless look on his face.
“The outpost leader is calling for you.”
All of the soldiers turned to look at Charles after hearing the vice outpost leader’s words. However, Charles himself was unaware of the reason why he was called. So all he could do was follow Jack, the vice outpost leader, to the place where the outpost leader was.
“Loyalty! Corporal Charles…”
“Never mind. Sit down.”
Charles, who was saluting Iron, immediately dropped on the floor. Then, Iron slapped the work journal on the floor in front of Charles.
“If you look at that, it says that Sergeant Sean is on duty. But he’s not even there?”
Charles looked up at Iron in cold sweat.
“I’ve been watching all of you all this time. But the sergeant never came on duty. Well, I can understand to some extent why he can leave you out and exclude you from the group since he’s the soldier who ate the most jjambap. But you know… in this work journal that you are using to report to your superiors you wrote that he went out the most.”
Charles bowed at the end of Iron’s words.
“This isn’t right, is it? I understand you being left out but stealing someone else’s bowl?”
Iron looked at Charles.
“I don’t understand why he can calmly do this despite the vice outpost leader and the other corporals having the strength to rebel against a single sergeant. Even if he went overboard, this is something that’s beyond that.”
Iron looked at Charles with an expression that showed that he couldn’t understand what they were doing.
“I’ll just ask you bluntly. Who’s behind the bastard?”
Charles was conflicted when he heard Iron’s question.
“The vice outpost leader does not know, right? Probably because he hasn’t been here for a long time? But you know.”
Charles hesitated. He couldn’t answer Iron’s question immediately.
“If you can’t answer me right away, then that means that his backing holds quite a considerable amount of power…”
Iron smiled when Charles’ affirmed his guesses with his silence.
“Good. But know this. You think Sean is something here, right? Even if you climb a bit higher up, you will see a lot of people like that. A backing? I don’t know how far his backing can go but they’re nothing.”
Charles bowed his head and finally opened his mouth after hearing Iron’s words.
“Sergeant Sean currently has Sergeant First Class Maldini as his backer…”
Iron stopped Charles when he heard the name Maldini.
“Is the Sergeant First Class Maldini we are talking about related to the Center’s former Marquess Maldini?”
“As far as I know, he’s from the indirect line.”
Iron did not expect that someone would use the Marquess’ last name so he asked just to be sure. But he was dumbfounded when the answer came back to him.
“Can he do that?”
“He’s from the indirect family line so he can’t use the family name as his last name but I heard that he used it as his alias so he was not violating any military law.”
Regardless of their relation, it did not make sense for him to use the Marquess’ last name in his name.
‘It seems like Marquess Maldini accepted it. Is he an agent planted here in the Northeast? Surprisingly those prideful Center Noble bastards approved of something like this?’
A thought flashed in his head, but it seemed like Iron still couldn’t understand their reasonings.
“Hoo… Fine. Still, this is not enough for him to go crazy, you know? Is there anyone else? Is it related to a commissioned officer?”
“…That’s right. Sergeant First Class Maldini and Captain Paulo seem to be close with each other.”
“You’re not telling me that Captain Paulo is a noble son under the direct line of Marquess Maldini, are you?”
Corporal Charles just bent his head down silently when he heard Iron’s question.
“Ha! It’s going to be a lot more fun than I thought. Even if the captain was from the direct line of the Marquess’ household he still can’t afford to act frivolously in the Northeast. There must be someone behind him, right?”
“It’s Major General Milanio, the chief of staff of the Northern Command.”
Iron looked at Charles in surprise when the rank suddenly jumped from captain to major general. Not long after, he looked at the man in curiosity. He was wondering how he knew this much information.
“Chief of staff… How do you know this?”
“I’m from a merchant’s family.”
“In the North?”
“In the East.”
Iron’s lips widened into a smile when he heard Charles’ words. He realized that the soldier in front of him was also not an ordinary guy. According to the Northeast’s customs, it was impolite to ask of a person’s past. So, Iron just stayed silent and did not ask him any further.
Aside from the arduous and difficult environment, unexpectedly there were also a lot of political elements that had been digging through the cracks of the Northeast.
“Interesting. They’re going around like this. If he’s the chief of staff of the Northern Command then, he must be close with some influential people in the Northeast, right?”
“I heard that the Major General is close to the person in charge of distributing the supplies in the rear.”
“Yeah… Now, it makes sense why that sergeant dares to act frivolously here. It’s complicated so we can’t touch him carelessly, right?”
Iron mumbled to himself as he organized his thoughts.
[Sergeant First Class] – a non-commissioned officer in the army. Ranks above a staff sergeant and ranks below a master sergeant.
[Captain] – a rank above the 1st lieutenant and below major
[Chief of Staff] – ranking officer of the army that serves as the principal adviser to the commander.
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