Chapter 2 Episode 17
(Wavering People 6)
Day 137 after being summoned to another world.
Ten years ago, Elena Steiner was a general of Rozeria Kingdom.
From an unknown farmer to a knight, and eventually to a general.
Her ability and achievement pushed her to the highest position in the military.
People in the Rozeria Kingdom idolize her.
However, within the crowd stood a man who envies her.
Whenever there’s light, there will always be a shadow.
And that person’s name is Hodram Ahrenberg.
He’s someone blessed with good physique.
He also possesses the military skills necessary to become a top knight.
And he’s also from a prestigious family which has always produce great knights from generation to generation.
He was undoubtedly a perfect knight one could ever wish for.
Not to mention he also has high discipline.
For the sake of surpassing everyone, he never settles for being the second best.
He keeps aiming for higher positions even when he’s already in the position of a captain, a position that many regarded as the finest role a knight could ever dream of.
The top position in the Rozeria Kingdom army is the general.
There are six chivalric orders in the Rozeria Kingdom. The first two are the royal guards who serve directly under the King to ensure his safety within the palace and the Royal defence that acts as the King’s private army. The other four orders, under the command of the General, work to protect and maintain the peace within the kingdom.
Although one needs to be appointed by the king to get the position, usually the predecessor General will recommend and nominate a successor to the king.
However, at the time when the previous General was about to retire, he asked for anyone who wishes to apply for the position to nominate themselves.
As a result, the one who was chosen as the successor was Elena.
Her ability and fame for being 「Rozeria’s white goddess of war」 was the final deciding factor.
It even can be said that it was natural for her predecessor to nominate Elena.
However, Hodram did not give up.
His pride would not allow someone who was a former farmer to take the job.
Hodram then proceeded to make several moves behind the scene in an attempt to take Elena down.
From fabricating corruption to the point of considering an assassination.
However, she was able to prevail through all of that.
Her friends within the chivalric order also helped her.
Ultimately, his frustration exploded to the point that Hodram’s fangs reached her family.
That day, when she finally returned home after two months away suppressing a group of rebellious nobles.
However, no one came out to welcome her even after she opened the door.
Despite being a former farmer, she’s a general.
Her house is a medium size mansion, and there’s also servants.
She also couldn’t see the figure of her ten years old daughter who would usually jumps out to welcome her when she comes home.
Feeling that something is not right, she rushed over to the living room where her family often gather.
When she opened the door…
“I found my husband’s head…”
At the time she opened the door, what reflected on Elena’s eyes was her dead husband’s head.
His expression was as if he had been tortured before his death.
At that time, Elena’s brain halted immediately, unable to accept reality.
It was not until several days later she woke up in a bed of her colleague’s house and came to her sense.
Being a general is not an easy task.
Even after she returned from the expedition, she could only relax at home for a brief moment.
And the next day, a mountain of works such as preparing report awaits her in the office.
Thus it was fortunate that her colleague visited her house since she did not show up on the next day.
When he found her, she was still sitting in the living room, holding her husband’s head in her arms.
Her friend then took Elena to his house and returned to Elena’s mansion.
“There was a letter. The letter said that her daughter is alive… and if she wants her back, the condition is for her to retire…”
She must have been holding an unbelievable rage within her.
After all, even Ryouma could feel the rage from her tone of voice alone.
“You see I… I made an effort to progress from a mere peasant to becoming a General… Being a knight is never an easy task. After all, it is a job that is usually done by a man…”
It was considered more of a typical problem rather than sex discrimination.
After all, in term of muscular strength, women are visibly lagging behind men.
As a matter of fact, Elena has seen it first hand of how competitive it is to be among a group of men.
However, she was still able to show her full ability by maximizing her femininity.
And that is the power of cooperation rather than a skill of an individual.
When a knight fight, he puts his pride on a one-on-one fight.
They would show disgust when they surround one person with multiple people.
Speaking of a Knight’s pride, while it is not necessary a bad thing, the efficiency is poor.
That’s why Elena proposed a cooperation between Knights.
The Knights who were initially against her proposal began to understand thanks to her personality and its practicality in actual combat.
And the outcome of her effort is…
“Do you understand, how it feels to throw away all of that?”
Ryouma shook his head.
Although he’s able to imagine it…,
Only people who have been been through the same situation as hers can truly understand it.
“However, for my daughter, even if it costs me my rank… if she can return home safely, then…”
Her daughter was born when she was 40 years old.
Elena who got married after the age of 30 had given up hope on having her own child.
Since the medical technology in this world is lagging behind present-day Japan, it was hard to give birth at later age.
That’s why Elena was very happy when she found out that she was pregnant.
Because she was finally able to understand the happiness of being a woman.
“Therefore, despite my friends’ objections, I retired from the order… I know it was a weak judgment; however, I don’t see any choice other than that…”
“She did not come back to you huh…”
Elena nodded her head towards Ryouma’s words.
“I was forced to keep this matter to myself. I can’t afford to put my daughter’s life at risk by displeasing those criminals any further. However, one month passed, two months… My daughter never came back even after one year… Meanwhile, Hodram got the position of general. ”
Since the victim chose not to publicise the crime, it was natural for this matter to end up not spreading to the general populace.
However, Ryouma felt that something is not right.
“What’s going on? I thought the general position is handed down by recommendation of the predecessor?”
“Normally, that is so… but because I left without appointing a successor, and in the case of the predecessor died in action… then in those cases, it will be decided by a vote among the captains of each chivalric orders.”
It seems like Elena was unable to do anything since she was worried about her daughter.
Under such circumstance, for Elena to recommend a successor has become impossible.
“Five years passed since I come home, waiting for my daughter… In my mind, I had given up… Even if I wanted to hunt down the criminal; I was unable to find out anything. There was not a single clue of my daughter’s whereabout… and living has become painful ever since. ”
That is natural.
After all, for parents, a child is their treasure.
It is not an exaggeration to say that a child is their life.
“Do you remember? Five years ago, a slave trader got sentenced to death due to secret maneuvers?”
Elena directed her question towards Meltina.
Slave trading in itself is not illegal.
However, usually they only deal with prisoner of war or the family of criminals.
It is unforgivable no matter where, for example, to capture a fellow townsman and make them slaves deliberately.
Despite this being a feudal lord system, they, of course, won’t recommend slave hunting.
If they were to do so, people would escape from their territory.
However, no matter what ages, there will always be foolish people.
Thinking they could get away with doing it in a small scale, they commit the crime.
And the slave trader who got beheaded five years ago was such merchant.
“You see, he was someone who would buy any kind of man as long he can make profits. No matter where they came from, even taking as far as the townsman of the royal capital. ”
That slave trader was beheaded after attempting to deprive a noble’s relative.
Who was also related to the royal family.
The slave trader’s confidence seems to have come from how easy it is to bribe the officials in the kingdom. However, if you were to anger the ones with higher authority than those who back you up, your life will be over.
“And the one who was tasked to arrest that person is the chivalric order. In fact, because that person commanded a very large private army… The chivalric order needed the help of The Garrison guard to arrest him. ”
“So, did you find out where your daughter is?”
“Indeed… there were a lot of rumors after the order tortured him. ”
Elena’s answer to Ryouma was quiet. However, the content was pretty gruesome.
“And then, during the torture, he admitted that he was the one who assassinated my family…”
It seems like he was the intermediate that gathered the assassins, but for Elena everything is the same.
“I was able to meet the man directly, because after all, the one in charge of the torture is a former subordinate of mine. ”
To put it simply, she took the risk.
After all, even if she’s a retired general, it has been five years since her retirement.
She was just an ordinary person back then, yet she took the risk to meet him.
“So… that’s where you found out, right? That Hodram was the mastermind behind everything…”
It was a short answer, but that answer tells him everything.
“Why did you waited this long?”
“It’s simple… This story is not something that I can easily speak about… Had I spoken about it carelessly, I might get crushed, or he will send an assassin to aim for my life as well. … Since I was retired, Hodram has significantly become more powerful. It is not possible to dislodge him out of his position with just a mere slave trader testimony…”
Silence loomed over the room.
No one expected it to be this complicated.
Ryouma is not sure what to say since Mikhail and Meltina may end up knowing too much about it as well.
“So that’s how it is…”
Ryouma’s mouth also feels heavy.
He had anticipated that to some degree; however, he did not expect that her grudge would run this deep.
(This is bad… If it’s this bad then, should I just let Meltina handle the Knights afterward?)
“It’s fine. I won’t do anything that you’re worried about… what I want is just Hodram and his family. Only that… ”
Elena was able to understand Ryouma’s anxiety from his complexion.
Therefore she spoke honestly about her wish.
(I see… She’s able to understand my concern… Her ability and judgement are certainly not bad… I guess we can only prepare for the worse huh?…)
There’s no change within Ryouma’s mind that he wants Elena for the position.
After all, her ability has already been demonstrated.
It’s just a matter of whether to protect Hodram’s family from her revenge or not.
According to the law, such revenge is a crime.
And she should also understand that.
That’s why she had waited this long.
Waited for an opportunity to come.
Elena had presented her conditions.
The problem now is whether Ryouma would accept it or not.
(I guess I have no choice huh?… Well, although it is regrettable, I have no choice other than to gives up Hodram’s family here. )
Ryouma disregard his sense of justice.
No matter how much he looks for it, there’s no other choice.
Anyway, it is the family of his enemy to begin with.
Furthermore, this also can be said as something along the line ‘you reap what you sow.’
Thus he does not feel sorry for the family involved.
(Well, I’m fine with it… But what about the princess?…)
Even if Ryouma pretended that he did not feel affected, the problem is the princess.
One month had already passed since their first meeting.
With that much time, he was able to grasp her personality thoroughly.
(She’s someone who pursues ideal too much… Will she accept Elena’s revenge toward Hodram’s family? That’s impossible… so what should I do? If I refuse here, she will definitely side with the noble faction…)
Her main goal is to revenge.
Of course, there’s the case regarding loyalty to the royal family, but does that even matter now?
If someone from noble faction were to come to her earlier than Ryouma, and were willing to grant her wish, she would without a doubt join the nobles faction.
(I guess, I have no choice other than taking her on huh…)
He will accept Elena’s condition without telling the princess.
“Fine by me… I accept your demand. ”
A surprised voice leaked out from Meltina’s and Mikhail’s mouths.
In fact, this is also part of the negotiation.
Had he ask time to discuss it with the princess, Elena’s heat will cool down during that time.
There’s no other choice than to decide all of this here and now.
“Are you sure? Don’t you need to discuss this matter with her highness first?”
Elena was able to see through what’s inside Ryouma’s head.
“Rest assured… Please entrust this matter to me. Although this might sounds arrogant… I will do something about it. Please don’t worry… ”
Listening to Ryouma’s words, Elena gazes directly at Ryouma’s eyes.
As if saying ‘I won’t forgive you if you lie.’
After she stared at him for a short while.
Elena’s expression relaxed.
“Very well, I will believe in you, Mikoshiba-dono. ”
As a proof of trust, Elena paid respect to Ryouma who is much younger than her.
“Thank you very much. Elena-sama.”
“So? What should I do? Should I break the knight faction?”
For a moment Ryouma was lost in thought upon hearing Elena’s question.
“How many people within the Knight faction are feeling dissatisfied towards General Hodram?”
“Let see… Almost two-third of them have dissatisfaction toward him…”
A surprised voice leaked from Ryouma’s mouth.
Hodram cannot be the head of a faction if the majority hates him.
“That’s impossible isn’t it?”
Elena answers Ryouma’s question with a smile.
“Certainly, normally something like that is impossible… But as you can see, he was able to do so. And he does that by using the so-called mutual surveillance. ”
“Mutual surveillance is it?”
“Will it be easier to understand if I say, he is willing to offer promotion in exchange for secret information?”
There are several countries on Earth where such system is being adopted.
Most of the communist before the soviet union collapsed had adopted such system… while North Korea is still utilising this system to maintain their administration up until now.
To put it simply, it is a system that encourages betrayal.
If a subordinate reports a secret information to their boss regarding someone that their boss does not like.
In exchange, they will get promoted for the information.
Such system is very prone to creating human distrust.
Of course that is natural.
Every human being has someone they feel dissatisfied about.
And if someone heard another person’s secret information, they might kill that someone just to hide it.
As a result of that, neither colleagues nor friends can open their heart to each other.
“I see… Certainly that might be easy to break… ”
The weak point of this system is that it could collapse if just one person has the courage to stand up.
The problem is such courageous man is hard to come by.
It might sound weird to call such system strong despite being weak, but that was the truth.
Everyone has dissatisfaction, but they cannot talk to others.
In other words, they have to be ready to put their life on the line just to speak out.
That’s why this system is strong.
However, when a person with courage comes and stand up, what will happen?
Of course, the person must pick the people to talk about his or her dissatisfaction, but that won’t change the likelihood that they share the same discontent.
After talking about their mutual dissatisfaction, it will slowly overflow outside the barrier.
When that happen, nobody will be able to stop them anymore.
The dissatisfaction that has been kept down all the time will burst out in rage.
And then, they will pull the trigger on the man in front of them.
Not to mention the one who initiates the fire is Rozeria’s hero herself.
The flame will be massive.
Although he doesn’t know how far Meltina and Mikhail understand all of this, Ryouma was able to see the clear outcome from it.
“Very well. I will entrust that side to you. However… Please be sure to report the situation to me thoroughly. ”
“You don’t have to worry. Trust me for that part. Even though I look like this, I’m still a former general after all. ”
“May I ask one other thing?”
“Oh my? Is there something wrong?”
Ryouma asked Elena when she tried to leave the room.
Even though he knew it is insensitive to ask this question, he couldn’t leave it alone without asking.
Elena did not answer Ryouma’s words for a while.
Clearly it is a story that she does not want to talk about.
Here Ryouma regretted his thoughtlessness.
“Ah, Forgive me I forgot…, ‘my daughter you see, after being kidnapped…, she had gone mad after getting herself thoroughly violated…, since someone like that…, have no value anymore…, they killed her…'”
“… I’m sorry. ”
Although he had expected it, hearing it directly from the victim’s parent feels very heavy.
He was about to say she did not have to answer but…
(I guess I’m stupid… I ended up hearing something I should not have…)
“It’s fine… I do not mind… However… This is why I can’t stop… Never!”
Looking at her back who was going out of the room, was the figure of a person who stands above everyone else, and also a figure of a mother in pure anger.