Chapter 89 – The Meeting with the Ruler (Last part)
Franko’s expression changed in the blink of an eye.
Judging from his widely opened eyes and mouth, one could tell he was trembling all over from astonishment.
As soon as his face was thought to flush quickly, it then continued to turn pale.
Was it because of his anger?
Franko’s sharp look felt as though it could pierce right through a person.
Even Eiji had the feeling that something characteristic of nervousness was arising from his body.
His feet were getting cold and his stomach was tightening up with butterflies.
Eiji’s consciousness was fading away while losing its sense of reality.
And yet, his heart was beating hard and loudly.
Had it been his old self, Eiji would have probably been covered with chill and sweat while having his head filled with a countless number of fainthearted thoughts.
But instead, he was now experiencing some sort of oddness together with the previous feeling, which felt quite comfortable.
Also, it was somehow different from what he had felt during his previous, tense scenes.
Was it perhaps due to Eiji resolving himself?
Even if this conversation goes south, be it what it may. – Is what he probably thought.
– Pardon me, but, I couldn’t hear you clearly. Please say it once more.
– ‘I refuse’, is what I said.
At Eiji’s repeated answer, Franko bursted in anger as a result.
– Don’t be a fool! We are talking here about admitting you into a ruler’s clan. Do you honestly mean that by saying so?! Or perhaps, you are trying to make us look stupid?
– No, that’s not in my intention. I think it’s a great honor to be able to receive such an offer, but…… Nazioni-sama, I have a suggestion coming from me. By all means, would you please grant me that permission?
– Fine by me. You may speak as long it’s just about our talk.
The contrast between Nazioni’s and Franko’s pleased and flustered expressions was intriguing.
Nazioni admonished Franko as if trying to calm him down, whereas, the latter concealed his expression for a moment while holding his head in his hand.
And then, removing the same hand, Franko assumed his cold and expressionless attitude.
Perhaps, how he was able to switch his emotions this fast was the proof of him being a first-class person.
Franko bowed down gently.
– My deepest apologies. I have managed to calm myself.
– I don’t mind. Even though you’re usually cunning, you’re supposed to lose your composure at unexpected events from time to time, right? Don’t brood over that, Franko.
– Look at this man’s eyes. Back when I was still on the battlefield, I had seen many like him with such determination in their eyes. Franko, you have probably also witnessed the same, right?
– No, being a part of the transportation troop, I used to be quite occupied with supplying army provision. After all, it was done on Nazioni-sama’s command.
– Was that so?
– Yes. Had I fought on the frontline, I’d have most likely passed away at once.
Eiji thought it was better not to interfere with their talk.
However, it appeared that Franko’s manner of work as an official hadn’t changed since long time ago.
There was already little food under normal circumstances.
And having to provide them during the war must have been an immense trouble for him.
– Whenever a person like him appears, you ought to be prepared and give him more attention. That’s because you’re not dealing with some child that throwing a tantrum but a person who’s making a suggestion despite knowing what consequences his words may carry. It’s a different matter whether you consent or not, but, you need to hear out that person.
– Understood. If you insist that much…. Eiji, you may speak.
– Oops, wait a moment.
Eiji somehow managed to set up a negotiation between both sides.
While Eiji was concerned about how he should convince Nazioni, the latter stopped him.
Just what’s his deal? – Once he looked at Nazioni with such question, the ruler lifted up his index finger in an enjoyable way.
– Indeed, I said I’d listen to you, but, that only applies if you bear the same risk. You and Franko shall debate with each other. Provided one of your arguments fails, it will mean the end to your suggestion.
– Certainly, that’s interesting. Fufun, Eiji, did you understand?
Debating with Franko?
Until now, Eiji’s negotiations with Franko haven’t gone well.
Indeed, it was better for him not to show any gap and pay attention to Franko’s every word.
Taking a deep breath, Eiji began to express his own thoughts.
– As I’ve mentioned before, I highly respect Nazioni-sama’s offer of making me into one of his own. Therefore, if you already insist on doing so, I’d like to ask whether or not you could admit me directly as your son-in-law.
– It bears absolutely no meaning whatsoever. Nobody would be interested in a man with no background, even if we were to adopt him.
– Is that so? I believe rumors about the ruler valuing others’ skills and improvement of people’s life would spread. Again, if it’s the problem, there’s a range of villagers whom you can make use of without minding their background.
– We don’t call people for that reason. The true value of marrying a ruler’s daughter-in-law lies in publicity.
– Indeed, there’s some truth in what you say. That’s why, I was thinking about holding a wedding reception for me and a particular woman.
– Honestly, I don’t get you. Then, it means you’re not content with Katharina. So who’s going to be that partner of yours?
At Franko, who was marveled, Eiji nodded repeatedly upon consenting.
And then, he uttered the name of a person whom nobody there would have expected.
Please, turn out alright.
– The one whom I wish to be my partner during the ceremony is the granddaughter of Siena’s tribal chief, Tanya.
– …..Tanya? You mean that person?! Stop joking around. Aren’t you both already a husband and wife?!
Excellent. Franko has swallowed the bait. – Eiji thought.
Even making him take an interest should be more than enough.
With Eiji explaining the benefits of doing so one by one, there’s most likely no way for them to decline.
– That’s right. Certainly, Tanya and I have already exchanged our rings and vows with each other. However, despite us being a couple, we haven’t held a ceremony as such yet.
– Didn’t you say you already exchanged vows with each other? Normally, it would be impossible to hold a ceremony under such circumstances.
– From the formal point of view, nobody knows about us being married, so there’s a point in doing so.
– What do you mean?
– That is to say, a marriage between a man whose background is obscure and a woman who’s the granddaughter of a tribal chief. It would be different in case of dwellers or tribal chiefs’ families from other villages, as they wouldn’t let an unknown man marry into their family. However, it’s another story when it comes to me becoming Nazioni-sama’s son-in-law.
With Nazioni backing an unknown and suspicious man, even a granddaughter of a tribal chief will comply with him.
With this, it was possible for Eiji to be brazen and hold a ceremony.
Not receiving any blessings from one’s surroundings despite being married was a painful experience.
Eiji was concerned about Tanya, even though she didn’t express dissatisfaction.
Being able to hold a gorgeous ceremony for one’s wife was also one of man’s traits in being reliable.
Franko made a single nod as if agreeing, but then, tilted his head.
– Still, aren’t the other villages already aware of you two being a couple? I cannot think of this reception bringing any impact.
– I’ve already told you that our marriage will gain public recognition. And that too will be thanks to the generosity of Nazioni-sama, who cherish others skills and is willing to admit them into his clan. If I were to say, the impression of him will change as well. How about that?
Franko pondered for a while at Eiji’s statement.
Perhaps, he was considering whether or not Eiji’s suggestion was reasonable.
Aside from him, what was Nazioni’s opinion on this?
Just how will he react to Eiji’s proposal?
Judging from Nazioni’s grinning look, one could hardly tell what he was thinking about.
Either way, Eiji had to be more careful about Franko’s remarks.
It was a battle in which he couldn’t afford to lose.
– I believe what I’ve been saying til now makes sense. Franko, do you have any objection?
– I do. Eiji, isn’t Tanya right now in her pregnancy? Even if we hold a reception for you, her pregnant look will bring a bad reputation. People will consider that as sleeping together before one’s marriage.
– Despite me telling you about the proposal today, it’s not like we’ll be holding the ceremony tomorrow. After all, making preparations and gathering people takes time. Meanwhile, Tanya will deliver our child.
– The birth delivery is something close to a gamble. What do you intend to do if both mother and child die accidentally after we arrange the reception?
– I cannot reply to that kind of inconsiderate question, but, even that would be too much of a miserable outcome….. Regardless of that, shouldn’t it be fine if we just inform others about an unforeseen event?
At Franko’s rude words, Eiji raised his voice.
Nevertheless, it was purely coming his true intention.
Franko shouldn’t have said such ominous words.
– Kuku, Franko, what’s the matter? Aren’t you having a hard time there?
– I see. Indeed, it seems like you’ve given it a lot of thought. Then, Eiji, what do you intend to do with Katharina? I’ve already talked with her, but how do you plan to take up the responsibility for Katharina?
Eiji was taken by surprise for a moment.
He was self-confident about being able to answer any question regarding Siena village and Tanya.
In order to knead a counterplan, he even went through the trouble of consulting with Tanya and Bona.
Nonetheless, he didn’t consider Katharina in his plan.
Eiji felt sorry about her, but, in the end, she was just a stranger to him.
Katharina was a cute disciple, however, he couldn’t think of her of someone close to Tanya who was part of his family.
And it was all the more reason in this type of negotiation.
One could describe him as being cold-hearted, but, that’s all there was to it. For Eiji, she was just another human being.
Eiji had no time to ponder about it that much.
Seeing how he became at a loss for words, Franko put a smile from satisfaction.
That was indeed a bad situation.
Eiji couldn’t tell what kind of judgment they would pass down were he to hesitate for any longer.
…..That’s right. In the first place, it wasn’t me who started this problem.
Shouldn’t Franko be the one to hold the responsibility?
– I would say this is an uncommon case. To begin with, this wouldn’t have happened had you talked to us first, but instead, you barked up the wrong tree by seeking the responsibility from us. Franko, it’s you who should be taking up the responsibility.
– You’re saying I’m the one who’s responsible?
– Yes. To begin with, it’s hard for me to comprehend why you tried to force such an important thing as a marriage on me despite saying it was my reward.
Just what is happening? – At Nazioni’s sudden burst of laughter, everyone who had gathered trembled with their body while looking at him questionably.
Nazioni was tapping his laps and coughing violently with teary eyes.
Having difficulty in expressing himself, he spoke toward Franko.
– Isn’t it rare for you to suffer a complete defeat like this? Franko, your ability to manage is, without a doubt, second to none when it comes to drawing a plan of development or taxation. But, just like I’ve been telling you all this time, you have no eye for people.
– You mean so…..? No, I guess Nazioni-sama is right. Certainly, it’s a weakness of mine.
– It’s fine as long you are aware of that. Those who are incompetent in their labor are the worst ones.
A hue of shyness resurfaced on Franko’s face.
Not paying attention to Franko, Nazioni turned his attention toward Eiji.
– Eiji, as your reward, I’ll grant you this.
– Yes, what could it be?
– You may accept or decline whichever proposal you want coming from tribal chiefs. I permit you to use my name for that.
– M, My happiness and gratitude know no bounds…..!
Without being aware, Eiji’s back trembled from joy.
Just how much did he wish for those words to be said?
With that, Eiji’s plan was achieved, as this time it was his victory!
Still, it was quite apologetic for him to be content with that much.
Having something thrown at him in a casual manner by Nazioni, Eiji caught it hurriedly.
– Use this.
– This is?
– The key to my vault. You can choose and take out 3 items at your own discretion. For you to make so much fuss over a single girl, named Tanya, she must be one precious wife. I won’t mind even if you take some ornaments.
– My happiness and gratitude know no bounds.
Eiji bowed down while feeling deepest gratitude.
– Do you have any other suggestion?
– No, I don’t have any.
– Excellent, then, what’s left is to solve the problem with Katharina. Do you happen to know anyone whom she could marry?
– I apologize, but…. I don’t possess such knowledge.
Was there nobody unmarried among the villagers in Siena? – Eiji tried to think of something, but with him being deeply connected with the executives in the village, he only knew those who were already married.
His very first disciple, Pietro was too young. In the first place, he already had a fiancée.
Not to mention, during these 2 years, he was still shy about improving his relationship.
While Eiji was sinking in his own thoughts, an unexpected voice was raised.
– Since you’ve already talked with Katharina, I’ll be the one to look after her.
– D, Don’t get me wrong. I don’t care what happens to me. It’s just that I feel obliged to take up the responsibility as a part of a ruler’s family.
– Ku, Kuhaha….! For that inexperienced and stupid son of mine to feel responsible, could it be….. Hey!
– Have you fallen in love?
Feeling ashamed, Dante’s face dyed itself red.
But, is that so? Could it be that Dante…. Now that I think about it, there were indeed lots of times when he would make frivolous talks.
– If Dante is unmarried, it’s still possible for Katharina to become a member. What’s more, I see no problem in the aspect of reputation. The remaining thing would be whether she agrees or not.
– Umu, isn’t the whole thing settled then? Afterwards, make preparations for those two to talk with each other. I too have to have a personal talk with Dante as father and son.
– Excellent, then, that’s all from me. I hope your wifey will be able to deliver a healthy and sound child.
– Thank you very much. Again, as soon as the birth delivery is done, I shall greet Nazioni-sama once again.
– By that time, we will most likely have the reception arranged.
I guess he isn’t the type of man who would lose to his personality. I may have misunderstood him a bit. With this, perhaps there’s a chance for us to avoid a rebellion.
– Ah, speaking of which, Eiji.
– Yes? What is it?
– I wanted to ask you one thing, but….
By the time Eiji was about to leave the room while feeling relieved and exhausted, the voice of Nazioni reached him from behind.
Eiji stopped and turned around.
What appeared there was a demon wearing a fully satisfied smile.
– What would you’ve done had your suggestion failed?
– Well, I wonder about that. I didn’t think about it since I believed you would grant me the permission to speak no matter what.
– Nevertheless, it’s no longer actually matters, right?
– It does. Most likely, I don’t have to worry any more about that.
Glaring at each other, the two of them replied with great calmness while putting smiles on their faces.
There was no way for Eiji to let Nazioni know his true intention.
Had the latter learned about Eiji’s plan of rebellion, not only would their talk have failed, but also, Eiji and the rest would most likely be punished.
Eiji felt a great nervousness beneath his expression.
– Well, I guess that’s fine. From now, you’re my son-in-law, so let’s get along with each other. Starting from today, you will probably be entrusted with lots of jobs, however, not just as a blacksmith but also as a member of my clan. Therefore, work hard.
– Understood. I shall become your strength with my humble skills.
Good grief, he won’t make a sophisticated ruler for too long. And even his reputation won’t become reliable. – He thought
Eiji left as soon as he bowed down.