Chapter 4 Episode 16
Evening, 3rd Day, 1st Month, the Year 2814.
Bonfires were lit surrounding the training ground, many nobles and royal members came to a place that usually they never visited.
“I guess it cannot be helped, rarely such spectacle like this happens during wartime after all. Besides, they are not the only ones. Even I also want to see the result of this match…”
Elena who sat beside Ryouma reproved him while looking at him with a gentle smile on her face.
They had spent time separately after the civil war ended, but even when they never met, their relationship did not got disturbed.
An easy going grandmother and her grandchild.
From the point of view of bystanders, they looked like that.
“Geez, Elena-san you said those words as if it was another person’s problem…”
“Of course… Since the purpose of this match is to confirm the ability of the soldiers you lead, meaning I have nothing to do with it, no?”
Ryouma smiled bitterly toward Elena and directed his gaze to another direction.
The thing that was about to happen after this, was a friendly battle between the Zalda Kingdom Royal Order and Mikoshiba Ryouma.
Usually, in this kind of friendly battle, a limitation such as not using a sharp weapon would be put in place, but after a strong suggestion from the opponent to make this battle feel closer to an actual combat, such limitation had been removed.
In the end, they will use real swords and spears.
The dull light reflected by the blade made the atmosphere felt like the fight they were about to unfold was not a friendly battle.
“Well, since this is you that we’re talking about, I’m confident of your winning prospect, but, don’t let your guard down, understand? After all, your opponents are the soldiers the Zalda Kingdom is proud of… They might kill your soldiers you know?”
The smile disappeared from Elena’s face when she said those words.
The expression on her face was tense.
It was as if she was about to enter the battlefield.
“Elena-san worries too much. Do you think I would lose?”
In respond to his question, Elena shook her head while sighing.
“Don’t joke around like that you know? Of course, I know you… You were able to defeat Kyle who was one of the best knights of the Rozeria Kingdom. But, we don’t know if those children would be able to do the same… It is not too late, some of the soldiers you have seem to be skilled mercenaries. You should replace those children with them… If the other side refuses to let you withdraw, I will do something about it.”
Toward Elena’s concern and suggestion, Ryouma kept silent while showing a gentle smile.
Of course, since Elena was just a general from a reinforcement country, she could not dictate the situation.
No matter how much of a personal connection she had with the Zalda Kingdom’s king, she had no power to make the Zalda Kingdom’s nobles and military officers back down.
If she did a bad maneuver, the Rozeria Kingdom might end up being driven into a further crisis.
But even if she could not do anything much, she still wanted to confirm everything with Ryouma.
Elena’s eyes then directed to a group of people standing behind the two of them.
The soldiers standing there were young.
Some of them have a figure that could perfectly be called as young children rather than a young person.
Not only boys, there were also girls.
Of course, when she looked at the weapon the children carried, they looked no less than the mercenaries, but it was different when fighting was involved
Elena had already seen many dead bodies of young children on the battlefields.
Those young children were commoners that end up being conscripted by the army.
Some of them were young knights who succeeded their family knight household at a young age. –
But regardless of whom, the blessing of the death god would descend equally toward anyone in a battlefield.
A social position had no meaning in there.
And such reality was a hard truth in this world.
That was why Elena did not wish to see the dead body of a child other than in a battlefield.
(In the end, it was just for my own self-satisfaction… But still…)
That thought crossed Elena’s mind.
Such thoughts were not related to the death of her daughter due to the power struggle in the past.
“Now then, In the presence of the Royalty, I present the match battle between, Rozeria Kingdom Baron Mikoshiba Ryouma-dono, and the Zalda Kingdom Royal Order commander, Oosan Gurido-dono. Both of you please step forward.” <TLN: The name “オーサン・グリード”, it was so funny I laughed pretty hard… It can be translated as “Greedy Old Man”. Such stupid joke by the author>
When that voice reverberated within the training ground, the surrounding noise disappeared.
“Oh, I’ve been called… Now then, I guess I have to go…”
Ryouma lifted his lips and headed toward the referee.
The match was a group battle of five versus five.
This was also due to the strong suggestion made by Earl Schwarzheim who wanted to see the collective capability of the soldiers rather than their individual ability.
That Earl Schwarzheim seemed to hate Ryouma for some reason.
At first, Ryouma’s opponent would be from the Royal Guard, but because Grahart did not inform anything to Julianus beforehand regarding Ryouma, the Earl strongly suggested that Ryouma should fight against people from the Royal Order instead. <TLN: Royal Guards are knights directly under the Ruler’s command, while Royal Orders are Knight orders under the command of regional commander-in-chief/nobles>
“It is fine… Ah, since this is a rare chance, how about betting with the others? Elena-san would be able to make some profit you know? Actually I also already made some bets… Oops, that should be confidential.”
While he whispered such words to Elena, Ryouma signaled the soldiers behind them to proceed to the middle of the training ground.
Apparently, Ryouma had engaged in an under-the-table gambling with the other nobles.
Although the Zalda Kingdom was in a crisis, some with a screw loose always existed.
But well, humans cannot sustain themselves without moderate rest as well, thus such entertainment was not fully wrong. –
(My words alone won’t sway your decision huh? But still…)
Looking at Ryouma’s smile, she was able to convince herself that he would win.
However, for the person called Mikoshiba Ryouma to bet on himself, it was not because he was naive.
(I guess he has some plan huh…)
Mikoshiba Ryouma boasted a sharp mind.
And Elena was fully aware of how sharp his mind was.
Because even Elena herself was able to obtain the long-awaited revenge thanks to his help…
Now, Elena ended up with two contradictory feelings.
One was that she wanted to see the soldiers Mikoshiba Ryouma had raised.
The other one was the feeling of a mother who didn’t want to see young children getting hurt.
Those two emotions were Elena’s true feelings.
(But no matter what, I decide to believe in you… Ryouma-kun.)
Elena stared at Ryouma’s back with a gaze full of expectation and sadness…
“Now then, are both sides ready?”
The one who asked such question toward Ryouma and Gurido was an old nobleman with gray hair that had been appointed as the referee.
The referee was a nobleman who also had his own history as a warrior.
But rather than the referee, he felt like a moderator just to make sure that the contest was honest.
Since once this match started, it would be impossible for an old man like him to stop a bunch of knights with full equipment fighting against each other.
Well, even if it was just a form, this seemed to be the wishes of the nobles who wanted to dilute the gruesome massacres even if it was just a little bit.
Cold gazes rained down toward Ryouma.
A frustrated face could be seen on Gurido’s face.
‘Why doproud royal knights like us have to fight against children like this?!’ Such a thought floated inside his mind.
Within the training ground, no one cared about who was the winner or the loser.
Since it was a fight where fully equipped knights were up against young boys and girls.
Although the children seemed to be wearing sturdy leather armors, their physique was too different.
Considering that, even in modern fighting sports they would also adopt classification by weight.
And despite that famous saying of ‘willows are weak, yet they bind other woods’, but in reality, the strongest usually crushed the weak.
Of course, it did not meant that Gurido knew such words, but it was similar no matter where.
That the winner was mostly always those who possess a stronger body built.
Inside Gurido’s mind, it was impossible for the children to win even if they tried their best. –
However, he did not have any intention of voicing his opinion.
Since Zalda Kingdom’s king, Julianus the First would be watching the match.
No matter how frustrated he felt, he could not show his unwilling attitude in front of his king.
“Yes, we can do it anytime.”
Looking at Ryouma’s calm smile, Gurido’s eyebrows twitched.
“Very well then. Both sides… No matter what the result, none shall bear a grudge, is that clear?”
The referee urged Ryouma and Gurido to move forward.
Apparently, he wanted both of them to shake hands.
“Please take care of us…”
Ryouma extended his hand toward Gurido.
However, Gurido just snorted at Ryouma and left the place as it was.
“O-Oi. Gurido-dono, what are you trying to do here?”
Looking at Gurido’s attitude, the old man referee raised his voice.
Whatever the reason was, his attitude was too disrespectful.
“Pardon me, but I have no intention of making a friend with someone that I’m going to fight… Let’s do that later.”
Gurido answered with those words while walking away toward his men.
“This is troubling. I seem to end up being hated, again…”
Ryouma said those words while scratching his right cheek.
However, from how he spoke, Ryouma didn’t seem to care even though he was being ignored.
“That guy… He’s already being rude even before the match begins. Mikoshiba-dono, please do forgive his behavior.”
“Well, I can understand Gurido-san’s feelings. Besides, it must be troublesome to be appointed as our opponent so suddenly like this. Please don’t think about it too much.”
Ryouma smiled gently at the old man after saying those words.
Inside his heart, he didn’t even care about Gurido’s attitude.
After all, for Mikoshiba Ryouma, he was just a prey.
“Now then, let the match begin… Please show your ability as much as possible.”
Ryouma muttered such words with a small voice..