“When was the first time I stood on the battlefield, I wonder? It was an era when war with the Zalda Kingdom and the Mist Kingdom continuously happened each year… That was more than two decades ago…”
Earl Salzberg began talking while thinking of the distant past. Thomas Salzberg first stood on the battlefield while he was still in his teens. He had the physical prowess and military talent inherited from his father. And the characteristic of absorbing prana was from his mother. Earl Salzberg was born with the privileges of being a genius and the optimal environment, he was a warrior with appropriate competence as the ruling class in this world.
“In my first campaign, I managed to kill 25 Zalda’s Knights, conscripted many citizens and invited them to enjoy in the bloodbath.”
He spoke with both confidence and pride.
In terms of common sense, in Ryouma’s previous world, it was not necessary for the legitimate aristocratic successors to go out on the front line, and it was easy for them to avoid dangerous acts just because they held such a position, but in this world the story was different. The higher your position was, the more strength you’re asked to have. In this world, there was an existence that was far beyond the category of warfare, called monsters, with martial arts and magic arts being intertwined. People born with an ability equal to a thousand man. There was also such warrior that were deemed as legends. And the problem with those words were meant in the literal meaning.
Numbers was certainly important in wars of this world, but outstanding individuals, they could overturn such logic. Because of that, both commanders and rulers needed a higher power to stand above their subordinates. in order for them to survive. Because of this kind of world, the aristocrats of this world were very proficient in battle. Conversely, only if there were some special circumstances, that those who supposedly could not inherit the house title got the inheritance instead, or they had some special ability that no one had. And the young Earl Salzberg had all of it. Also, he had a profound ideal…
“When I was young, I wanted to become a good lord, admired by the people. What I thought was only about the people’s well being and to protect the country from invaders.”
Toward those words, Ryouma nodded silently. According to the information that the Iga clan collected, Earl Salzberg, before he inherited the house was very different. A man who did not hesitate to put himself in the middle of a battlefield, faithfully protected Rozeria Kingdom’s northern border.
The young Earl always thought about the people first. Such evaluation would be very unexpected, looking at the current Earl. However, it was the truth that his younger days were like that. Everything changed, more than a decade ago.
It was around a year after Elena Steiner had lost her family because of Hodram Ahleberg’s plotting.
“That night the moon was covered with thick cloud…”
Ryouma turned his eyes to the window calmly while nodding after hearing Earl Salzberg mutter.
“That was the day, you lost your fiancee was it?”
“That is right. That was the day I lost the woman I loved very much, in the blink of an eye…”
The scene at that time passed through Earl Salzberg mind. It was neither a good memory nor was it memorable.
It was a memory full of humiliation and ridicule.
(Well, having that kind of fate, I guess no wonder for a human being to turn distorted… Though truthfully I thought it was such a pity…)
Ryouma shrugged his shoulders. Earl Salzberg had done one mistake which otherwise would’ve made him a hero. And that was inviting the jealousy and envy of many people.
From the early age, Earl Salzberg had a fiancée. That person was Asteria, the second daughter of viscount the Muhlbach household. The Muhlbach family was a prestigious family having close ties with Duke Gerhardt and a rich commercial territory close to the capital city Pireaus.
The relationship between Earl Salzberg and Asteria Muhlbach was very intimate since a young age.
For the servants of the Earl, it was a memorable time when they saw Earl Salzberg and Lady Asteria playing in the garden, they would also often go back and forth between each others residences.
However, although one could have an intimate relationship during a young age, it did not necessarily mean it would continue into the future.
In many cases, a relationship could change as time went on.
Because Viscount Muhlbach territory was in the suburbs of the Kingdom’s capital city, they had many entertainment areas to hold tea parties for the aristocrats, such as the theater.
A place where otherworldly gorgeous and sophisticated gentlemen gather.
Now, how about Earl Salzberg?
His territory itself was larger compared to Viscount Muhlbach.
Because his territory was placed on a remote area, close to a foreign enemy and the harsh wortenia peninsula, he was pushed into a world of a warrior while being a nobleman.
However, looking at the power balance within the Rozeria Kingdom, Earl Salzberg was only an independent force on the frontier. His influence was extremely restricted only around Rozeria’s Northern areas , and his ranking in court was akin to that of decoration. Even though he was famous, little interest was directed towards him. If only was Earl Salzberg well versed in not just military tactics, but in politics, the situation would be completely different, but unfortunately he was born purely as a warrior.
Certainly as a warrior serving the Rozeria Kingdom, the path of his succession was never questioned .
However, what about being an aristocrat? People hate different things and even though he was a nobleman with military fame, Earl Salzberg never showed himself in court, and for Rozeria aristocrats such behavior was different compared to other nobles.
Nevertheless, everything was kept in line based on a delicate balance.
However, Thomas Salzberg’s presence destroyed that balance.
And finally that incident occurred.
“For those people, the honor I had as a warrior seemed to irritate them.”
In the war against the Mist Kingdom, Thomas Salzberg slaughtered the enemy general and brought victory to the Rozeria army.
Elena who became the reinforcement reported such news to the King. For her as a general who managed Rozeria Kingdom’s military affairs, what she did was something natural,however the situation proceeded to the worst possible direction.
Thomas Salzberg was being invited to a dance party hosted by the king. While there, he saw something. He was being left alone while his fiancée danced with two young nobles. Of course, soon Thomas decided to intervene,
“That was the aim of those guys…”
Extreme anger appeared on Earl Salzberg face while he continued to talk.
The young Thomas didn’t understand the meaning of Asteria dancing with another man behind his back. And that such action was actually being allowed by viscount Muhlbach. At the time, he accidentally noticed, that the nobles had ulterior motives, and Thomas who was ignored by his fiancé was thoroughly defeated. He was ridiculed as a pathetic hero who was being ignored by his own fiancée. The party that supposedly celebrated him as a hero was being crushed by his own fiancee.
There was nothing more miserable than that for him.
Behind people’s scornful gaze, Thomas Salzberg left the castle. While holding deep the hatred inside his heart.
“Is that all of it?”
Certainly, Ryouma thought of that as a pity. However, he believed that was not the only thing that changed Earl Salzberg. Not to mention that they were nobles, they both should have understood that the kingdom was the priority. After hearing Earl Salzberg story, Ryouma asked further while sighing. –
“Well, that was just the beginning, I did tell you that, didn’t I?”
A ferocious smile appeared on Earl Salzberg face. An unexpected relationship catastrophe. And ridicule from the surroundings. In other words, The Earl must’ve noticed. There was no value in serving this nation and the people up to the point of throwing away one own pleasure. However, those incidents alone were not the reason why Earl Salzberg broke. .
There was something else, a decisive event.
“I see… Well, I would be happy if you told me the story much faster but…”
However, Earl Salzberg shook his head slowly and pulled his sword from its sheath that was hanging by his side.
“No, the time is short. Let us talk with our swords instead.”
His voice, icy cold seemed like the contents of the story were something he didn’t want to talk about too much. The sword he pulled out reflected the candle light. His sword stance eloquently told Ryouma that he refused to talk any further.
“Is that so? Well, fine then…”
To be honest, Ryouma wanted to keep talking with Earl Salzberg. After northern Rozeria unification, Ryouma will once again visit the royal capital, Pireaus. The biggest enemy of Ryouma was Lupis Rozerianus, and also the aristocrats who supported her. <TLN: How ironic, a few years ago, his enemies were those who opposed Lupis>
Since he needed to know the enemy’s mind, Earl Salzberg story could be used as valuable information. However, Ryouma also understood that bringing up such a story would only hurt the Earl.
“Grant me this opportunity to keep you company.”
As he said that, Ryouma took out his sword from its sheath and performed eight directions stance. <TLN: Hassho no kamae>