Chapter 15 – A development worse than the manga?
Editor: Yoong & Puissansa
First Published on Ainushi
As I looked at Kei-san’s smile in surprise, Ani-san called me from the side and I turned my head.
Ani-san had a pained look on his face, which overcame me with surprise yet again.
「If anything happens, I will protect this country. I will do everything I can to protect it.
That’s why, no matter what happens, I can’t help Az in that situation, – even though you are important to me.」
Nn? How did it come to that? What’s he saying with such a painful look on his face? I’m happy to hear that I’m important to him, but….
「Isn’t that natural? You are probably disappointed….since I’m someone who would turn his back on the country. Despite what I said earlier, I do think that the task of making people responsible for their own power is important. So you shouldn’t be concerned about me. I’m happy to hear that I’m important to you though. Thank you!
I’m sure that Ani-san will protect this country well, even if such a task does not exist.」
「Of course! This country, the King and the citizens are more important to me than anything else in the world! 」
He declared with a serious look. This is true “patriotism”, isn’t it? It’d be good if all nobles are like him. Although nothing will change even if I think this way, I still think so anyway. His patriotism is truly precious.
He devotes himself to the country because of the oath, and his patriotism comes along with it. Nn? Is patriotism a part of the oath…is it included in the oath?
「It’s because people like Ani-san exist that the people of this country can live peacefully.
If entering the academy requires an “oath”, then wouldn’t there be another oath for the people going to work in the palace as well? Since it’s the palace, wouldn’t the oath be stricter as well? Patriotism, or rather, obedience will be required? 」
That seemed to be the case, as the 2 of them nodded. So that’s how it is. Something like a pledge of allegiance? Just what is included in it? I want to know, but at the same time, I don’t think I want to find out. Well, it’s quite common. With the premise of using their strength for the sake of the country, they can’t hurt the King, the royalty and others. They can’t use power for their own benefits as well. It’s to prevent rebellions.
The patriotism that comes from the oath – being forced to protect the country – is different from true patriotism that comes from the heart. There’s no meaning to it if only the form of patriotism is there. Nn? Somehow I’m concerned about this? Why? Well, it doesn’t matter!
「Although it might be a relief to have an oath, just that alone is useless. Particularly, the contents of the oath, patriotism or obedience or such…」
「The oath alone is useless?」
Ani-san asked while seeming to not understand.
「Or should I say….U~n. “I’ll protect the country!” – If this is something they themselves wish for then it’s fine, but I think most people enter the academy and work for the royal palace not because they want to protect the country but for their own sake.」
The 2 of them were utterly speechless. What the heck!? Eh- don’t tell me everyone who swore the oath sincerely wished to contribute to the country? That’s impossible, right!? Right here! Right now! There’s someone who just said he doesn’t want to swear the oath. No, in my case, I don’t even wish to contribute to the country! Eh~ are the 2 of them really alright? Well, anyway. Let’s continue with the conversation.
「Since we are all humans, it’s not like I don’t understand how they think. Will they really protect the country if something happens? They have no choice but to do so because of the oath. However, since they are forced to do it against their will, the extent of their service will be different from someone who truly wishes to protect their country. When something big happens, the difference will become more obvious.」
The 2 of them stared at me in surprise….I feel a little uneasy~ about these two.
I somewhat understand the discomfort I felt just now.
「I want the people who swore the oath to truly treasure the country – the King and those involved must think in this manner while they rule the country. If the citizens see them giving it their all, their loyalty will likely deepen. If they don’t know anything, wouldn’t their patriotism be weak? How else would they be patriotic? Out of admiration of the brass? If that is the case, when they find out that the brass of the country is different from what they imagine, won’t it be dreadful?
The current oath forces patriotism, and perhaps even obedience, onto the oath-takers, right? It might just be an empty ideal from my naïve self, but I think patriotism and the oath should be separated. Patriotism is an individual’s feelings after all. So, I think it should be for the individual to decide. I think the oath is necessary to prevent rebellions though, so it should just focus on that aspect.」
The 2 of them were just staring at me. Did I say something that strange? It’s probably not something nobles usually say. The commoner’s way of thinking? No, commoners don’t think about such things? It’s my own unique thinking then. In the end, I’m just weird.
「Well, if I put myself in the King’s shoes, I might find it strange to have people who don’t revere me work for me, but I still don’t see the value in having an oath with their patriotism in form but not in substance.
I would rather give it my all and show them that I am worthy of it, rather than rely on the oath. I would then gain more supporters and people I know I can trust. Isn’t this much better? If it were me, I would like to protect such a King. With more loyal subjects, the King will be safe, even when a rebellion occurs. They will also work harder for the sake of the country and the King who had placed his trust in them.
“Why is he saying something so childish” – might be what you guys are thinking now though.」
What I just said might just be an empty pipe dream, but I can’t help but think that way.
The 2 of them had a strange look on their faces. Well, for them to be this worn-out from what I said makes sense. I don’t know how high up the echelons they are as nobles, but either way, they are likely to be one of those people that the oath-takers swear their oath to. I could sort of tell from their clothes, their conduct and the way they speak. I also heard that Kei-san was the head of something. He’s definitely someone that only nobles get to speak to. Thinking about it, he’s probably a key figure of this country. Isn’t it kind of bad to reduce them to such a state!?
Aah!? That reminds me, isn’t the King going to die soon!? He dies when Asnord turns 14, doesn’t he!? It completely slipped my mind. I’m going to turn 14 in about half a year. What if a rebellion occurs when the King dies? Why didn’t the manga go into detail about the death of the King…
Wait, I remember I skimmed through it. I should have read it carefully!!
Eeh- for the 2 of them to be in such a state, don’t tell me, are they somehow related to the King? No, no, it can’t be… It wasn’t in the manga. Aah~ if there was a spin-off about me, I wish I read it. No, I know it doesn’t exist, and even if there is one now, it would be too scary to read.
While the strange expression on their faces eased up a little, I felt my hand getting squeezed tightly. That’s right. My hand was still being held…I forgot about it.
「Can I ask you something?」
He gripped my hand firmly and asked.
I nodded in response. My hands hurt.
「If – just if – the capital is involved in a war, and the King or either one of us asked you for help, what would you do?」
What? This abrupt question…. and it’s something so grave as well. Nn~ I feel bad, but my own life is obviously important so….
「I’m sorry, but depending on the situation, I think I might escape if I’m in danger of dying, since I value my own life.
But until then, I’d do my best to help out wherever I can, right up to the last moment.」
The 2 of them had a vacant look. Did I say something wrong? No, everyone would say that they value their lives and that they would run, wouldn’t they? After all, no one wants to die. It can’t be helped if they lie to get their way, though.
This time around, Kei-san placed his hands on my shoulders and addressed me.
「Az is really honest, huh.
…No. That’s not what I was trying to ask. What would you do if I asked you to choose between us and the King?」
「Eh? Of course if I were to choose, I would pick your side. Kei-san is more important to me than someone I know nothing about!」
I promptly replied with what I really thought, but wait! Don’t tell me the 2 of them are going to start a rebellion!?
Did the King do something to them? That’s why they were in such a bad state? Hiiiiiii.
Isn’t this way worse than in the shoujo manga? How early did the Prince start acting against the King!? Im-pos-si-ble!! The level- no, the rank!? Has increased now.
No, I must be overthinking. He must be asking me which side I will help if a war breaks out… Eh? What happened to what I said to Ani-san about running away? What the heck?
「Er-erm, well, it’s best to not have a war. Un. Peace is the best.
I believe Kei-san is a good person. How should I say this, Kei-san can be trusted. If the King is bad, and I can accept it, I will choose you guys!! If not… I don’t understand.」
Aah- What am I saying? My mind is in a mess. This is different from my initial answer… Why did he even ask such a question?
「Even if your decision would result in the King dying and the country getting destroyed?」
Haaaaa!? Does this mean it’s a bingo!? I’m going to cry. Am I still safe since he hasn’t formally invited me to join? I’m safe, right!? I don’t want to be an accomplice.
No? If those guys in black were part of a corps related to the King, then isn’t it already too late!? Not only did I help, I even used magic!? Aah…it’s over, I’m dead….No, no, calm down. Isn’t Kei-san fundamentally a good person who can be trusted? Is he – as someone who cried for Ani-san, cried about his son and his workplace being difficult – a guy who would do this? I don’t think the time we spent enjoying tea together was a lie either. This country doesn’t seem bad enough that a rebellion needs to be raised against the King….although I am disgusted by a portion of the nobility!!
「Er…you see, Az, the question might have been weird, but don’t think so hard about it.
I more or less understand your first response, that you won’t be swayed by authority. I just wanted to know what you would do and how you’d think.」
I’m stunned. Eh- what’s this? What does this mean?
「You’re not going to start a rebellion against the King?」
I tried asking, just to be sure. It’s scary after all. Confirming it is important.
「What? Is that what you were thinking? …Well, maybe it can’t be helped, given how I phrased it. You think really deeply, huh. Your maturity is really beyond a 13 year old’s. Relax; I don’t have such an intention. It’s pointless to rebel.」
Even if you say that I’m mature, I’m actually 39* years old on the inside, despite my 13 year old appearance*. Is it unpleasant for a 39 year old man to say that!? Don’t tell me, it’s not just that my physical body didn’t grow, but my mental age has stagnated too!? No, no, no, such a tragic thing isn’t true… I think. Un. I trust myself! And besides, I’m currently a child. I’m currently 13 years old!!
(TL note: he said it in a childlike manner. 39 years old is the combined age of his previous life and current.)
「Well then. Az, what do you think? How will you plan it? How will you seize this country?」
Kei-san silently increased pressure. I recalled my previous life’s kaa-san somehow…. No, no, it’s pointless to run from reality! But, he asked for what I think… What should I do…
Kei-san and Ani-san were both looking at me with such serious looks. It doesn’t seem like I can escape. My hands are still being held too….Uun.