The sound of a door being knocked resounded inside the room.
Then a beautiful voice that sounds like a bell reaches one’s ears.
“I’ve brought the guest.”
Perhaps, understand what kind of conversation they were about to have. –
Though faint, the voice had an unusual stiffness to it.
The reason why Ryouma manages to notice that was because they had gone through joys and pains together since Ryouma just being summoned to this world.
Sara quickly moved toward the door and turn her eyes toward Ryouma.
Her pupil glitter like a gem.
However, Ryouma also notice that within her gaze, there was a glint of anxiety within…
(Sara as well, she seems to be a bit nervous… Well, I can’t blame her for it…)
Depending on the outcome of the talks, Ryouma path would change significantly…
Of course, he had done everything he could so that it would turn to his favor.
However, even with that, this was still a huge gamble.
That was why even Ryouma also could felt a sense of nervousness within him…
However, he could no longer pull back now, and making the guest wait any further would only bring negative outcome…
When she confirmed Ryouma small nods, Sara immediately opened the door.
Then Ryouma proceed to invite the elderly man to enter the room…
“We’ve been waiting for you. Please come in…”
Led by those words, Viscount Julio Gerhardt stepped his foot inside the room.
However, one could see he remained vigilance…
Ryouma could also see that from Gerhardt gaze.
(He don’t have to be that vigilant… But well, I guess it is safer to remain cautious…)
Ryouma smiled at Viscount Gerhardt behavior…
He then slowly held out his right hand.
“Finally, I could meet you directly. I’m very delighted to welcome you to this house…”
His attitude was indeed friendly…
If a third party saw them and didn’t know the history behind the two, they might misunderstand them as a close friend.
But considering the difference in status between the two, it was indeed his greeting was kind of a cheap.
However, their current behavior also didn’t show that once upon a time, they were both stand at the opposite side as enemies…
Even if it was only a superficial.
And the one who understands that the most was must be the two people themselves…
Viscount Gerhardt then lightly took Ryouma’s extended hand.
Of course, they didn’t do anything childish such as gripping each other hands as if they were about to crush each other.
There was no need to make such a move.
(Even Viscount Gerhardt understand that much. I heard he was an arrogant and insufferable man, but I guess that was not all there was to him… Well, if he was only like that he won’t become the leader of aristocrats faction, I think…)
The human mind was something one cannot see.
That was why good intention could only be demonstrated through action, and malice was something one would try to hide.
At least, Ryouma need to keep his friendly attitude and manners unless the difference in status was clear.
Even if it was only pretense, no one could see the truth, to begin with…
(Maintaining a friendly attitude while still being vigilant. No matter what the viscount intention was, it seems he is willing to negotiate with me. However, the problem lies ahead…)
(Earl Salzberg had thrown the work to rule to his wife Yuria, and drown himself in his own pleasure…)
Inside Ryouma’s mind was the image of a single warrior who ended up being twisted by the absurdity of the aristocracy.
He loved this country dearly, and his love was being betrayed, and his heart ended up filled with disdain and hatred.
Then, giving up on such a mad world, he spends the day while drowned in pleasure, wishing death somewhere inside his heart.
In his view, the people ended up as livestock or slaves.
Or more precisely, he saw them as a tool to generate wealth.
Of course, even in this world, people like Salzberg was rare.
Since even though he ended up like that, Earl Salzberg still manages to hold his household dignity and become the military power and leader of the northern ten households.
Though he might be able to do that because of the existence of Yuria Salzberg who excelled in politics and Epiroz which located near the center of the northern region.
Under normal circumstance, Earl Salzberg household should’ve been destroyed by people’s revolt or the King’s intervention.
Most nobles might have seen people as a tool to gather wealth, but not many manage to did it like Earl Salzberg.
And the man named Julio Gerhardt was the typical ambitious and arrogant noble who had many allies in the Rozaria Kingdom.
By the time Ryouma allied himself with Princess Lupis during the civil war, their relationship had automatically ended up as enemies, but in reality, even for Ryouma he was not a man that Ryouma himself wanted to get along with…
In fact, based on his previous information, not only Ryouma didn’t want to get along with him, Ryouma was the type who wanted a man such as Gerhardt to die.
However, a report gathered by the Iga-clan changed everything.
Of course, there was no specific evidence.
Since what he had was only information gathered by the clan and assumption based on that information.
That was why Ryouma decided to make this kind of secret talks.
Ryouma then let go of his hand and invite Viscount Gerhardt to sit on the sofa placed in the center of the room.
After which Ryouma bowed his head toward Viscount Gerhardt.
“I am very sorry for calling you this late night…”
Certainly, Ryouma’s apology was correct and relevant.
Since Ryouma was ranked below him, unless they both had a close relationship, it would be rude to call one superior late at night.
Though people might call it late at night, it was actually not really that late.
It was only around twenty minutes pass the time.
If based on the modern world, it would not be called late night, but since in this world people would go to bed after the sunset, this was a good time to call it late night.
Even in term of dealing visitor, this may not be a good time.
However, in response to Ryouma’s apology, Viscount Gerhardt shook his head.
“Please raise your head. Baron Mikoshiba. Given the unfortunate misunderstanding that occurred between us, it was indeed an unexpected pleasure that we could have this kind of opportunity. No need to worry about our boring trifle. Let us talk about the happy future rather than talk about the unhappy past.”
After saying that, Viscount Gerhardt smiled and nodded his head.
Following his words, Ryouma raised his head and faced him.
Both man eyes gazed each other across the ebony table.
(Such serious eyes… Not only he didn’t put pressure using the difference in status… He is also willing to talk with me, huh…)
It was something viewed from the distance that Viscount Gerhardt was someone who overconfidence and the leader of a faction.
(I guess he was not born immediately as the leader of a faction huh?)
If the Viscount were indeed a foolish man, then he would gladly accept Ryouma’s apology as if it was a natural thing.
And if he was the Julio Gerhardt he heard from Lupis and Meltina, he supposed to be someone who was like that.
(I judged him with too much-biased eyes…)
Queen Lupis and Meltina had already been at odds with the nobles in order to regain the power of the throne.
Of course, that makes their evaluation of Gerhardt would be inadequate.
To appreciate the beauty and merits of the enemy, it was necessary to have a wide range of magnanimity and broadmindedness…
And unfortunately, it was impossible for those girls who were filled with young people idealistic mind.
It was a rare mistake for Ryouma, who placed emphasis on information, that he got dragged by such evaluation of the girls.
(Well, it was not so easy to have a face to face conversation with the former enemy…)
Needless to say, even after the civil war, there was no direct acquaintance between Ryouma and Viscount Gerhardt.
And Ryouma who was scheduled to leave the Rozeria Kingdom after the civil war was confined himself inside the room in the sense that to make sure he didn’t get involved with any trouble. After Queen Lupis broke her promise, he went to Wortenia peninsula immediately after.
Before the expedition to the Zalda Kingdom, he had returned to the court once, but at that time, Viscount Gerhardt was holed up in his new territory.
It didn’t mean that Ryouma didn’t know Viscount Gerhardt’s face since at least they had passed each other at the palace once or twice.
But Ryouma only views him from afar, while Viscount Gerhardt surrounded himself with his faction.
That was the only connection between the two so far.
Of course, that was because the basis of Ryouma evaluation toward Viscount Gerhardt was based on information from Lupis and Meltina.
However, when they meet face to face like this, Ryouma evaluation toward him changed considerably.
It might be a fact that Gerhardt was an arrogant person, but at least he had the wisdom to hold it inside of him.
Which means he had self-control of his own emotions.
(Calling him arrogant might be too rude, in kinder words, he is more like an aloof person…)
In the end, people only show what they wanted people to see…
“Then I will accept your kind words…”
In response to Ryouma’s words, Viscount Gerhardt profoundly nods his head.
Then, Ryouma slowly opened his mouth again…
“I will ask you straight to the point. What are your view on the current status quo and the future of this country?”
It was a very dangerous situation.
It was not direct, but depending on how one listens to it, it may be interpreted as profane or treason.
If Meltina heard Ryouma said that, she would’ve definitely sentenced him to death.
It was a word that needs a proper time and place to be said.
Or at least, it was not words where one could say it anywhere they wanted.
And answering such a dangerous question also involves the same danger.
However, Viscount Gerhardt replied calmly as if he didn’t mind the danger.
“Soon, this country will collapse…”
He said it as if it was already set in stone.
Viscount Gerhardt words were filled with deep conviction.
Before he continues, his hand was reaching toward the glass placed on the table with a clear resolute…