Chapter 4 Episode 25
Across the table, two people stared at each other silently.
Ten seconds, twenty seconds… the passing time felt like an eternity.
Only the sound of the clock with stunning carvings could be heard.
Pushing back the fear that began to crawl up, Grisson repeated Ryouma’s words inside his mind.
ErnestGora Queen, Grindiena Erneshal was currently in the Menviz city, away from her royal capital Drizen.
It was a reality that the young man in front of Grisson knew of such a truth.
That was why the words of the young man in front of him supposedly can only be regarded as something stupid.
Grisson would want nothing more but laugh at it, yet somehow his mouth felt dry.
(It can’t be, does this man noticed her majesty’s expectations?)
Grisson had heard rumors and reports about the young man in front of him from spies and merchants, they had described him as an able man.
Despite being a commoner, he had influenced the fate of one country…
(No, that is impossible… Being able to speculate her majesty’s expectations means he is equal to her… That is a bit too much…)
“Are you stupid? Her Majesty currently is in the royal capital Drizen…”
Listening to Grisson words Mikoshiba Ryouma lifted his lips and laughed hard.
Just looking at his expression, Ryouma was confident that he had won the bet.
“At the royal capital, Drizen is it ? I don’t think so…”
Grisson’s expression becomes distorted after Ryouma gazed at him with stabbing gaze.
“What on earth is the basis of that confidence of yours…”
Until recently, Grisson was the one who led the conversations.
However, the atmosphere of the place changed completely.
Right now, the young man in front of him was the one who took all the initiatives.
Although Grisson didn’t have any intentions of underestimating the young man from the beginning, this development was beyond Grisson’s imagination.
Grisson unintentionally turned his gaze toward the mirror placed on the wall…
“I do have some basis… But, if I have to explain it, then we can save more time if we do it together with Grindiena-sama.”
Grisson was at loss for words.
Neither affirmation nor denial was able to come out from Grisson.
“This is troubling… As General Grisson already knew, we do not have much time, see?”
Ryouma said those words as if he was really in trouble.
Although it was actually the truth that Ryouma had only a little time.
He had none to waste with someone that had no authority…
Ryouma then turned his gaze towards the mirror hanging on the wall.
Grisson face turned pale realizing what was the meaning of his act.
(This man… How?)
“However, since it would be rude to meet her majesty suddenly like this… For now, shall I go back just like General Grisson had suggested, I wonder? Gurido-dono, let’s leave for now.”
Saying that Ryouma stands up and urges Gurido to leave with him.
Before he heads toward the door, Ryouma bows his head toward the mirror hanging on the wall.
Only Grisson and another human being knew the meaning of that action.
Gurido readied himself following Ryouma while feeling bewildered by the situation.
“Well then, please excuse us. As I will stay at the inn in Menviz, my subordinates will inform you of the address, please do notify us as soon as possible when your side is ready for a meeting. It was a bit rude for General Grisson but, please do deliver my message to Grindiena-sama.”
Lowering his head toward him for the last time, Ryouma then turns the doorknob.
However, before Ryouma opened the door, a woman’s voice could be heard from behind him.
“Shall we end our farce of probing each other’s intentions, right here and now? ”
When Ryouma turned his head back, there was a woman standing, where none should have existed inside the room before.
Along with her, bookshelves that should not exist also appeared.
Probably, she had been watching Ryouma through a magic mirror. And judging that there was room for negotiations, she decided to come out from the hidden place. <TLN: The kind of mirror that is used for interrogation room> (ED : one-way mirror)
“I’ve received reports regarding you… A young hero of the Rozeria Kingdom, a summoned individual from another world, performed by the Ortomea Empire. Am I right, Baron Mikoshiba… ?”
Her voice sounded clear just like the ring of a bell.
And also contained pressure that makes people bow down to her.
The woman standing beside Grisson gave an overwhelming presence.
However, Ryouma kept his calm expression and gently lowered his head.
“I’m happy to be given the opportunity to meet you. Your majesty, Grindiena Erneshal-sama.”
Looking at his response, ErnestGora’s young Queen, Grindiena Erneshal smiled elegantly with a glowing crown on top of her head.
“Well then, shall we begin our talk?”
Grindiena sat down elegantly with Ryouma sitting down across the table.
Certainly, she was not someone that can be categorized as an absurd beauty.
Although she was dressed in a luxurious pure white dress with lace and jewels, if one was to compare her beauty with Lupis and Sardina, she looked inferior several times against them.
However, her elegant wavy blonde hair and her strong-willed gaze could turn people’s eyes towards her.
Her age was around mid-twenties or early thirties.
That was the appearance of the woman known as the northern female fox.
“Now then, where shall I begin the talks ?”
Hearing Ryouma’s question without being nervous, Grindiena opened her eyes wide and laughed merrily.
“Aha, let’s see… Since Grisson seems to care about it, how about starting from how did you find out that I was here? You’re fine with this right, Grisson?”
Grindiena turned her gaze at Grisson who was standing by her side.
Ryouma slowly opened his mouth after seeing Grisson nodding his head in response to Grindiena’s question.
“To be honest, I didn’t know that Grindiena-sama was here… However, considering various conditions, I thought that I might be able to get some cooperation if I negotiated with General Grisson stationed in Menviz.”
“From your words, you seem to understand my aim, is that right?”
Grindiena gaze turn sharp.
“Although I don’t think I can grasp your majesty’s intentions completely… But I can guess what your majesty’s aim is…”
Ryouma nodded quietly while spreading the map of the western continent that he had brought on the desk.
“Not bad… Despite me having scattered hints here and there, the stupid Zalda guys spent and wasted almost a year figuring out nothing… To be honest, I’m worried if the Zalda Kingdom get destroyed by Ortomea Empire, you see…”
While she talks about the fate of a country, Grindiena uses light tone as if she didn’t care about anything.
(As expected, she knew that this war could break the balance of power… As one would expect from the one nicknamed northern female fox huh?)
Looking at Grindiena’s attitude, Ryouma realizes that his prediction was correct.
“Well then, shall I hear your explanation in detail then?”
Grindiena’s eyes shine like a child who got a new toy.
“Sure, well then… First of all, despite having the army mobilized so quickly, I’ve noticed that the ErnestGora’s army had stopped from invading right after the occupation of Menviz city. Which indicates that ErnestGora is ready for a negotiation.”
ErnestGora could not stand silently while the Ortomea Empire invaded the Zalda Kingdom.
However, ErnestGora was also not stupid enough to fight side by side with the Zalda Kingdom if they only get a small profit from it…
Because the Zalda Kingdom’s territory itself was a mountainous area, the land was unsuitable for food production.
And it was the same as total destruction if the Zalda Kingdom lost its iron production since they didn’t have any other industries.
Although the aristocrats of the Zalda Kingdom held some feeling of patriotism, fundamentally they were independent and were not obedient to the King’s order.
In fact, the Zalda Kingdom’s royal family position was only as the leader of the aristocrats.
Having Julianus the First being portrayed as someone mediocre was something natural.
After all, he was just a mediator and a representative for the kingdom, not the ruler of the Zalda Kingdom. <TL;ED: Usually with this kind of monarchy, power is under the control of the Royal court, itself spread between the king, the ministers (often nobles) and the nobles attending the court>
“In the past year, the Zalda Kingdom had sent messengers, but the discussions didn’t progress…”
“Right, what do you think of that?”
Grindiena tried to probe Ryouma while caressing the teacup filled with black tea.
No matter how many lands they took, there was no meaning in it if there were no profits coming from it.
“Of course, in my eyes, Grindiena-sama judgment is natural. On the contrary, if your majesty move the army with just that kind of small profits, I will feel suspicious that something must be hidden behind the curtain.”
Listening to Ryouma’s answer, Grindiena nodded in satisfaction.
“Right… Although I can understand why those morons presented us with those kind of terms… It was naive of them to think that we will move just with that little of a profit.”
“As expected, I was right, huh?”
“Of course, think about it, it felt like I was being pushed to take care of those independent nobles.”
Grindiena sighed as if feeling amazed.
The territory the Zalda Kingdom was about to give to ErnestGora was the northern part of the Zalda Kingdom. It was one-fifth of the whole country.
However, it was natural for Grindiena to feel disappointed with such an offer.
Certainly, the terms were quite extraordinary.
It can be said that the terms were presented as if the Zalda Kingdom vomited some blood.
After all, they gave away part of their territory without a fight.
However, that act was actually a selfish act performed by the Zaldan side.
They lacked Grindiena’s viewpoint as the receiving side.
Just because one knows what one’s side wants, it doesn’t mean that it equates to what the other side also wants.
In the first place, the Zalda Kingdom territory was unsuitable for agriculture. Having mines aside, other than that the vast land given to her has no particular value.
Not only that, half of the territory being given to her had lords governing it.
That was the biggest problem, not all the territory being given was the belonging of the Zalda royal family.
And it was also unlikely for those nobles to follow Grindiena’s rule quietly.
Grindiena could not afford to leave lords with questionable loyalty to govern the border of her nation.
If she left such lords to govern,they would be susceptible to foreign intervention and they might rise up in conflict.
However, she could not easily change their ruling territory either.
Because it would be more efficient to have the nobles who are familiar with the territory and had governed the land, generation after generation, to take care of the land.
That was also why those nobles will not let go of their land if Grindiena didn’t prepare another rich land as a replacement.
And if she forcefully changes the lord, they will end up rebelling against her.
From Grindiena’s perspective, she felt like being forced to take care of something troublesome.
“With that being the case, it would have been better for your majesty to take the parts your majesty want, after the Ortomea Empire destroyed the entire structure of the Zalda Kingdom’s government. Like that, your majesty would be free from the troublesome nobles all at once. That was what your majesty, Grindiena-sama had aimed for…”
Hearing Ryouma’s words, Gurido heaves a big sigh.
Although Ryouma had explained it to him beforehand, such words were still hurting for the one who had been serving the Zalda Kingdom.
It was as if being told that the existence of the Zalda Kingdom was lacking in all sense.
“I was right to take that decision, don’t you think? After all, I’m the Queen of ErnestGora. I need something reasonable to mobilize the army, where the soldiers might die…”
Looking at Grindiena who shrugged her shoulders, Gurido unexpectedly felt some fear different from what he usually felt during a battle.
Although her face was laughing, her eyes emitted a sharp light that only people who were aware of the responsibility as a ruler could have.
“Next, in case there’s a full confrontation against the Ortomea Empire. Although their national strength is somewhat better than ErnestGora, it can be said that overall we are near equal, which makes it hard to see which side is going to win. Much less waging a war in the unfamiliar territory of the Zalda Kingdom. If possible, your majesty wishes to not wage war in your majesty’s own territory.”
Before anyone realizes, Ryouma calm gaze had turned into a sharp gaze.
“That was the reason why Grindiena-sama didn’t move the army further after occupying the Menviz city. And came all the way from the royal capital Drizen to this city personally. That was in order to understand the situation and the surroundings perfectly, and also to see if there would be a person worthy enough to fight hand in hand.”
Grindiena laughed happily after she heard Ryouma’s explanation, soon after, she directed a sharp gaze at Ryouma in turn.
Her expression was befitting someone being called the northern female fox.
“Of course. Since I have no reason to associate myself with fools… Very well then, since you understand that much, how about we go down to the main business immediately… What kind of negotiation terms have you brought today?”
The tense atmosphere immediately filled the room, it was as if two people holding swords faced each other.
No, it would have been more precise to say that their words will be the swords.
Words that carry the fates of one’s own country.
“Of course, I’ve brought with me something that I’m sure will satisfy your majesty…”
Saying that Ryouma handed over letters to Grindiena.