That night, Earl Salzberg was sitting inside his study room, while outside, the noise had grown louder.. He now wore the armor that he had not worn for many years, besides his chair, his beloved sword leaned Numerous bottles of alcohol scattered around the room.
If he was an ordinary man, he would have been drunk and then fallen asleep by now. However, Earl Salzberg mind was still clear, his eyes were like a beast staring at the ceiling..
(It has been a long time since I felt this burning heart…)
The same feeling he felt every day until the day he robbed the household from his own father. It was an instinct akin to that of a sixth sense. An intuition which human beings would have after going through life and death situations many times.
(At that time, I hated this kind of feeling, but…)
Earl Salzberg’s father was a man of virtue and loyalty. He was also intelligent and had personality liked by other people. As a lord, and as a warrior, Earl Salzberg could not deny that his father’s competence was above the standard. However, for Earl Salzberg, his father was not someone he would respect. That day, the admiration he held toward his father for many years was shattered.
(Fumu… Finally, you come…)
Earl Salzberg felt that his guest had finally come. He didn’t feel the anger he had since the war broke. Only a sense of preparedness, and acceptance of his destiny.
“Come in. The door is not locked.”
After the door being opened, Earl Salzberg immediately opened his mouth.
“Hoo… I thought you would be hesitating for a bit but… I wonder if that is because you’re being bold or not thinking?”
Looking at the man who appeared in front of him, Earl Salzberg smiled. Certainly, just like Earl Salzberg said, this place was supposedly the enemy stronghold. It would be natural for him to use surprise attack instead. From that point of view, it was indeed foolish of him to enter from the front door normally.
“Well, I guess you’re not someone that foolish. Since I believe that you’re not a boring man that would perform such cheap trick.”
Hitting the mark, Ryouma scratched his head looking embarrassed.
“Well, I guess after being told that much, I have nothing to say in return…”
Earl Salzberg laughed after hearing Ryouma’s reply.
“Long time no see. Baron Mikoshiba. The last time we meet, was it during the time you were about to head towards the Zalda Kingdom as a reinforcement? What happened to those two sisters who always followed you around? I don’t see them…”
“That is right. At that time, I’ve received a great favor from you. Those two are currently doing some errands I’ve ordered them to do…”
Responding Earl Salzberg question Ryouma lowered his head and answering with a smile. Although he had paid a huge amount of money toward the Earl as intermediate, Ryouma who had no connection at all was without a doubt greatly benefited from his relationship with the Earl. In a sense, Earl Salzberg was a benefactor of Ryouma. While looking happy at Ryouma’s attitude, Earl Salzberg opened his mouth.
“I see, you seem to have some trouble of your own too huh?”
“Indeed. I’m currently struggling with all of my might.”
“Good, Good. As expected of a young people. One needs to do their best.”
Saying that Earl Salzberg directed his eyes at Ryouma.
“By the way, let me change the topic a little bit, tonights riot, was it instigated by you?”
“That is right, after considering the security around the city…”
The content of the words that came out of both men were dangerous.
However, they keep talking as if they were drinking buddies.
“Fumu, it seems your aims have succeeded. Most of the guards are currently trying to suppress the riot. Although it is splendid, don’t you think it was a bit cowardly? After the first battle, I heard from Signiz and Roberto, your army seems to be quite a marvelous one. I heard there were many young boys and girls among them… But to be honest, I never thought they could fight on equal terms against my forces.”
“I did this because the death rate would increase if I naively wage a war from the front.”
Hearing Ryouma’s response, Earl Salzberg showed a bitter smile. Certainly, there was no reason for the soldiers to die if there was a way. A soldier was akin to a pawn in a chess, they were many, but one should not wastefully spend them. Much less, when talking about people, not a chess piece, an aspect one could not just brush over.
Ryouma words were right as a commander. However, Earl Salzberg knew the real intention behind these words.
“I see… You don’t want your war potential to decline further eh? Which mean you’re not going to stop after this war… Next would be Lupis Rozerianus’ head is it?”
In response to Earl Salzberg question Ryouma kept silent. However, the fierce smile on his face gave away everything.
“Fumu, It seems I was right… But still, I could not understand something. Why did you do this? Certainly, her majesty Lupis had broken the promises made between the two of you, but your opponent is a ruler of a country you know? Looking at your position, the results can be said to be certain. Besides, even if you manage to win one way or another. It was impossible for this country to exist without the current system. In my eyes, it was you who don’t seem to understand that…”
“So, you saying that I should live following that woman’s will?”
Toward Earl Salzberg question, Ryouma responded with a smile of ridicule. Certainly, following this world’s common sense where social status existed, Mikoshiba Ryouma actions could be considered as wrong.
Of course, Ryouma anger itself was justifiable. However, such justification only worked if both sides had an equal position. A teacher might accuse a student of a mistake, but only a few students would accuse the teacher of a mistake, and to do that the student would need considerable preparation and labor. It would be easy for a president to blame the mistake of his men, but it would be difficult for his subordinates to blame the president’s mistake. Someone who did that need to prepare for resignation. No matter which world, people were never equal.
“Certainly, I also think that somewhat frustrating. However, by obeying her, you won’t lose anything, don’t you? In fact, you gained many things after being given the aristocrats status. Both money and women, you can have as much as you wanted. Wearing luxurious costumes, enjoying delicious drinks and cuisine, and also sharing a bed with a beautiful woman. Don’t you think those worth more than rebelling?”
“Well, that’s true…” In response to the Earl’s question, Ryouma nodded quietly.
Mikoshiba Ryouma was without a doubt a healthy man. He also had the desire to spend a sweet night with a beautiful woman, and also the desire to eat delicious food. Although he had not much interest in clothes, it was also the truth that he enjoyed the clothes being specially tailored for him more than normal clothes. However…
“I understand what the Earl wishes to convey . However, for me, I have something more important than those luxuries…”
“Ho? And what is that?”
(Now then, I should not get lost here… Was it for moral justice? Was it for a righteous government? Or for love and friendship? Maybe hatred and anger? No matter which one, I think all of them are correct.)
Hearing Earl Salzberg question, many words floated inside Ryouma’s mind that disappeared afterwards. –
“Who knows? I wonder what that is…”
He shrugged his shoulders with a bitter smile on his face. That answer really represented Ryouma’s heart.
Any sublime intention would lose its meaning as soon as one used it as words. However, even though he could not express it in words, Ryouma didn’t feel any hesitation in his actions.
The light that dwelled in his eyes was an absolute confidence in his abilities. Something that Earl Salzberg lost after he killed his own father and took over the household.
“As expected of a young person. How enviable… I’ve thrown away that kind of feeling far into the past…”
Earl Salzberg shook his head while narrowing his eyes looking envious. In fact, it was true that Earl Salzberg envied Mikoshiba Ryouma. There was something that Ryouma had which the Earl didn’t have.
“I wonder, what was the cause for your change?”
The moment he heard the question, Earl Salzberg changed his expression.
“What do you mean?”
Despite maintaining a calm expression, Earl Salzberg face had evidently become stiff. As a warrior and a ruler, Earl Salzberg had outstanding skills and achievements. There was no reason for him to be drowned in self-indulgence.
“Earl Salzberg, I heard about you from Elena-san… As someone who had supported the Rozeria Kingdom, why did you change…”
That was a question that didn’t need to be answered.
For Ryouma right now, all he needed to do was to kill Earl Salzberg.
However, Ryouma wished to know the reason. As to why the well respected Earl changed into the man he is presently.
“Hou… I see, now that you mention it, Elena-dono also was there during that time…”
Following Ryouma’s gaze, Earl Salzberg told him about his past. A past he never wished to remember.