The boy adjusted his clothes as he stood at the door of the captains cabin, which was fed with fine blue bitumen and shone as smoothly as turquoise. Even as his heart trembled, deep regrets arose. Had he expected this to happen, he would have changed into his best clothes this morning when he was getting dressed, but unfortunately, the boy lacked the ability to predict the future.

What if he thinks Im dirty? 

Even if he were dressed neatly, he would have been purely excited by the joy of meeting the hero. The boy looked down with a crestfallen expression at his yellow-stained collar and worn-out cuffs.

He would gladly like to go back to the main ship and change into new clothes right now, but as long as the captain has a letter stating that it is aSubstitute Payment, it was impossible to fulfill that wish. Reluctantly, the boy gathered up his courage and knocked on the captains door with a trembling hand. A gentle answer came back to the sound of a carefully audible knock.

“Come in.”

Woah. Woah. His voice was so marvelous. The boy opened the door to the captains room with his face reddened due to the accelerating blood flow. The door opened smoothly without any noise as if it had been well-maintained. 

The first thing reflected in the boys excited eyes was the back of the man as he stood behind him. The 6 Paeta tall man with gray hair cut short enough to show the reddish nape, was carefully examining the chart placed on the mahogany table. Although he was not as muscular as ordinary sailors, his manly body, which narrowed from wide shoulders to an inverted triangle, showcased the unique discipline of a trained soldier.

“Look at this, Jacques. This is the famous Alwitz nautical chart of the famous Federation of Five Nations. It is a miracle created by triangulation and theodolite. Damn it. Looking at this, our nautical charts look like a childs play on the sand. All the men of the Imperial Academy who put out such things should be hanged.”

The man spoke in a very blunt manner, considering the suggestion of a mass hanging. The boy opened his mouth in a trembling voice, bewildered by the attitude of the man who seemed to have mistaken the other person.

“Loyal to the Protector of the Empire! Your Excellency The Admiral, I have brought you a letter from the Ministry of the Navy.”

Damn it. The chant faltered. As soon as the boy spoke out, he violently cursed his own stupidity. To speak like a whining sissy, let alone to the honorable and loyal officer, Lord Amieux, would now be a lifelong shame! What in the world would the admiral think of me?

“Huh?”

Frustrated by his poor state, the boy saw the man who had turned his back turned away. Only then did the man realize that the person behind his back was not his first mate, then turned around, and faced the boy. The boy unconsciously raised his eyes despite knowing that they shouldnt make eye contact. The boys eyes that looked up to the man were captivated.

As expected, the man looked strong. As is usual with the men of the sea, his sunburned face was a reddish copper. The nose, which was once broken in the course of experiencing numerous naval battles, was slightly crooked. The lips were neat and the chin was perfect. And the eyes – legendary not only to the empire but also to the Federation of Five Nations, and even to the infamous pirates of Hertha – were perfectly similar to that of a hawk, just as rumored. 

Gray eyes gleamed from deep inside the eyelids. His eyes were slightly curved at the tip, and there was an oblique scar, like a crescent moon, on the left temple at the corner of the eye, giving a glimpse into his cruel past.

The impressive appearance gave an indication as to how the nicknameHawk Eye was coined. Admiral Eugène de Chastan, Captain of the Silver Ferry as well as the Admiral of the 4th Fleet. The boy, facing the revered hero, took a deep breath. He had a legend standing in front of him.

He didnt have an idea about the inland people, but there was no one in the Navy that could be on the same level as Admiral Chastan. He was the one who defeated the famous privateer, Captain Nelken, conquered the pirate-infested Baleum Sea to secure a trade route to the northern country of Kayedip, and even defeated the naval forces of the Federation of Five Nations, which are said to be invincible at sea.

A saying followed Admiral Chastan, a hero of the Imperial Navy; “When pirates hear his name, theyre frightened, and when the navy of the Federation of Five Nations hear it, they make a sign”. He was right here, in front of the boy. 

“A letter from the Ministry of Navy?”

He, that is, Admiral Chastan faced the boy and spoke to him. The boy almost nodded, but when he belatedly realized what kind of status the person in front of him had, he suddenly came to his senses.

You cant act like an idiot. Pierre!

The boy thought hard to himself. Do you think youll ever get another chance to speak to him in person in your lifetime? 

“Yes. Your Excellency The Admiral!”

Ktf ybs mjgfoeiis abbx bea atf ifaafg tf tjv xfqa lc tlr jgwr jcv qgfrfcafv la ab atf Cvwlgji. Ktf Cvwlgji ibbxfv vbkc ja atf ybsr ifaafg. Pa kjr j ifaafg rfca ys atf Zlclrags bo Rjns, yea atf rfji kjr cba atf boolmlji rfji bo atf Zlclrags bo Rjns, yea atf qfgrbcji mgfra bo atf Zjgdelr Oj Djliif tlwrfio.

Through an informal route, an informal letter. Intrigued by the unusual situation, Admiral Chastan received the letter from the boy.

“Good work, Seaman. You may leave now.” 

“Yes, Your Excellency!”

You cant make the same mistake twice. The boy saluted with all his might with a modest gesture and left the captains cabin. The conversation was only about two or three words, but for the boy, it was an enchanting experience.

In the Navy, Admiral Chastan was a legendary hero and the boy talked to him alone and even if it was only from a distance, it was still something to boast about for months. Was there any other seaman who could boast like this? The boys small heart swelled. If he were to tell his friends and senior soldiers about this experience, everyone would be jealous of him.

And among them, the person who will suffer would be the marksman, who seemingly took care of him in every case just because he came in two months earlier, and then disembarked by himself while changing his assigned duty today. If he hadnt forced himself to change his duty, he would have been the one who would take on this errand. 

The boy smiled brightly at the sight that made him happy just by imagining it. Thats why people need to be considerate.

[Return to the capital as soon as possible.

Theres a transport waiting at the mouth of the Neutel River.

– Admiral of The Fleet, Martell Louis de La Baille.] 

Eugène frowned after reading the brief letter. The signature was obviously that of the familiar , the Marquis of La Baille, but the content was not. He knew that the man was not a chatty person, but the short-written summons, in which one could not understand the context from any part of the letter, was too simplistic, even considering the nature of such a combination.

How strange. 

Eugène was lost in thought. Even after thinking about it, he couldnt understand the situation. Its hard to be in peacetime, let alone wartime. Just two days ago, there was a warning to be vigilant and prepare for enemy provocations. Not only that, but it was none other than you who gave me a special command and entrusted me with the patrol work outside Rosong Port.

Although his enemies were faltering because of his victory in La Tyllen, the Federation of Five Nations was basically swarming like blood-smelling sharks, and could not be missed at this point when the empire was preoccupied with post-war dealings. 

They also knew that the empire, weakened by the long war against the great country of the east, Shaak, could not face them head-on. Even if they bit their backs, the empire would not be able to respond. If there was a shoal of sharks behind your back, it was because there was a tiger in front of you. It was also the ferocious tiger that had already bitten the heart of the empire once.

“Your Excellency The Admiral, did you call me?”

While he was troubled by the unknown letter, Jacques came in. Jacques Beausson, the first mate, had worked under Eugène for a long time and was a superior expert in handling ships. Eugène raised his head and looked at his right-hand man, Jacques.

“Are there any disruptions with supply distribution?” 

“No, Your Excellency. Maybe its because the supply pipe has changed, its faster than ever. The supply is expected to be completed by the end of tonight. The only problem is the repair of the ship, and even if the master craftsmen work on it day and night, it would still take about a week.”

“A week?”

“Yes. The mast I was worried about could be done in two or three days, but it seems that there is a problem with the direction of the naval ram. It seems that the bow needs to be rearranged, but it would take ten days to do that, and even if you shorten the period, it still needs a week.”

Jacques was unexpectedly caught up because it was originally a port of call for simple repairs and supplies, and he did not seem to like the enemy in an unexpected situation.  This was because Jacques did not know how important their patrol mission was at present, which is assuming a quasi-war. 

But unexpectedly, Eugène did not reveal an unpleasant light. He rose from his seat, put on his coat over the red uniform, and spoke calmly.

“Right on time.”

“Pardon?”

“Even if that wasnt the case, Ill still have to step out of the ship for a while. The Fleet Admiral is summoning me. I have been ordered to return to the capital.” 

Jacques looked quite startled at the sudden report.

“You mean the Marquis La Baille? Is there a problem?”

“Well, I dont know.”

Are you really that indifferent, or are you pretending to be indifferent? Jacques shook his head as he looked at Eugène, who had an indecipherable expression on his face. Why is the Fleet Admiral calling the Admiral? Jacques thought of various reasons, but just like Eugène, he could not understand what was going on. 

“Then when will you be back?”

“I dont know either. Its not going to be too long, especially under these circumstances.”

“Ill have the orderly pack the bags.”

“No, Ive already ordered for that to be done. Take good care of your subordinates while Im away. For the time being, the patrol mission will be assigned to Vice Admiral Mathieu, so all you need to do is focus on the repairs. If there is an urgent call, please contact me via the Marquis La Baille. Ill be staying there while Im in the capital.” 

“I understand.”

Jacques answered confidently. After a moments thought, Eugène began to roll up the Alwitz nautical chart and wrapped it in oil paper. He could not leave the nautical chart, which could be said to be the greatest loot from the Battle of La Tyllen, in his cabin. To the people of the land, it would be just an unknown code fluttering about that could not be understood even if it was a nautical chart, but to a sailor who risked his life on the sea route, it was an irreplaceable and precious treasure.

“Your Excellency The Admiral, I…” 

Jacques watching the scene, suddenly opened his mouth. Eugène raised his head at his call. 

“Whats wrong?”

“With all due respect, why dont you spend some meaningful time with your wife while youre on your way to the capital?”

“What?”

Eugène stopped the hand that rolled the chart and looked at Jacques. The giant man was only 1 Eron short of 7 Paeta and did not give in to Eugènes absurd gaze as he continued to speak with resolute. 

“It is a great honor to serve you, a hero, but if there is more glory than that, it is not to merely treat you as an admiral, but to truly serve you as the admiral. So please try, Your Excellency. It is the hope of the entirety of the 4th Fleet.”

Eugène smiled vainly. Now he understood what he was talking about. So, what Jacques was trying to say, was to have a child quickly so that he could be promoted from vice admiral to admiral.

Although Eugène was known externally as an admiral and was actually performing his duties as an admiral, on paper, he was not yet an admiral but a vice admiral. It had already been three years since his predecessor, Admiral Etoile, was killed and he became the admiral of the 4th Fleet through a temporary succession.

In the meantime, he had made such remarkable achievements that no one could match up to and earned a reputation that there was no one who didnt know his name at sea, but even with such achievements, he could not become an admiral. It was not because of his incompetence, but because of his lack of qualifications. 

According to theLex Ardica, the most supreme set of written laws on the continent, unmarried nobles were not allowed to go to war, and childless nobles were not allowed to ascend to the rank of commander. In Eugènes case, it was the latter,  as he could not yet be formally appointed as an admiral, the position of a fleet commander, because he had no children.

“How could such a thing work out as I wish? You overestimate me.”

You must first look up at the sky to see a star. It was not as easy as it sounds for a man who had been wandering the sea for years like Eugène to see a child from his wife who lives on the land. Besides, his younger wife was a typical aristocratic woman. Unlike the gentlemen from the salon* that she was accustomed to seeing, she was afraid of him, who was tanned and full of scars, so it was not easy to even have a friendly conversation between the couple.

*From the 16-19th centuries, a salon used to be a gathering of people held by an inspiring host to amuse one another and increase their knowledge through conversation. 

“You can do it if you like. Doesnt your ”naval firing boast such precision that even the enemies recognize it?”

“… A woman is not something you can control like a ship, Jacques. Rather, theyre more like the unpredictable sea. Now that I have listened to your advice, I can see why youre still single.”

After hearing Eugènes criticism, Jacques flinched. It seemed like the words pierced right through him.

If my wife had heard this conversation, she would have passed out already. 

Eugène smiled bitterly and pressed his hat on deeply. The wife was a young and lovely woman, but Eugène nevertheless felt uncomfortable with her. Like his wife who feared him because he was too big and rough, Eugène was afraid of her because she was too small and weak.

She was like a little bird or a doll. It felt like she would break if touched incorrectly, and she was so fragile that she would break if touched hastily. To a man who had spent half his life with seamen after boarding a ship at 16, she felt like an overly delicate glass artifact.

“Dont talk nonsense and just stick to your mission. Ill take a report when I come back, so make sure to fill out the paperwork. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Your Excellency.” 

Jacques politely saluted and opened the door. Eugène gave Jacques a pat on the shoulder as a courtesy, left the cabin, and stepped out onto the deck. As soon as he got on the deck, a sour smell pierced his nostrils. It was a smell specific to the port, mixed with the stench of garbage in the salty sea breeze.

It was not only the nose that was in pain. His ears were distressed as well. The bustling pier, where warships and merchant ships lined up without boundaries, was as noisy as the bottom of hell, and the noise was so loud that even Eugène, despite being accustomed to the battlefield where shells exploded and the scream echoed from all directions, could not easily adapt.

Some people called the port a place that was something like a mother who welcomed her returning son. As the saying goes that while the port is a mother, she was not a benevolent mother who welcomed her returned prodigal son into her arms, but a mother who would curse, scratch, and slap his back with a broom. Eugène believed that and did not doubt it in the slightest.

T/N: The names and terms are mostly French, as hinted by the diacritic over Eugènes name so its not pronounced as “Yoo-Jean”, but rather “Yoo-gen”. Next is that Ill be using interchangeable nouns a lot, so please dont mind. Words like noble, nobleman, aristocrat, nobility, etc will be used interchangeably since they mean the same thing anyway, its mainly to avoid repetition which contributes to poor readability. Think of it as me exploring my freedom as a fan translator haha Anyways, this is a slowburn so if you really want the romance then I suggest you read this novel once Volume 2 starts. Thank you!

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