Chapter 91 – One’s Policy
Just, what on earth is this person talking about?
Is he serious? Is he saying that earnestly?
If that’s true, things will turn into a big deal.
It was unheard of for a country ruler to surrender his position for the sake of a person who wasn’t even blood-related.
After all, Eiji wasn’t some sort of authority figure, like the three sovereigns and five emperors from China.
However, even those came from a legend that was half true and half false.
Being left open-mouthed and at a loss for words, Eiji kept silent for a while.
It was as though he couldn’t read Nazioni’s mind.
– How about that?
– Even if I’m asked like that…. it’s troublesome, you know. Still, I can’t agree on that.
– Oh dear, don’t say so. If there’s something I can do, you can do it as well.
– No, it’s not about whether I can do it or not. It’s just that I want to strive as a blacksmith.
– Well, I used to be like that too….. Eiji, do you think I wanted to become a ruler from the very beginning?
At Nazioni’s question, Eiji wanted to nod, but then, ceased that idea.
Nazioni had both a gallant personality and an appearance of a ruler.
If one was to ask this, no matter who they questioned, they all would most likely respond in the same way.
With Nazioni being a natural leader, there was no doubt his birth alone would determine him becoming a ruler.
……Eiji thought this was so, but, was he wrong?
On the other hand, it was difficult to imagine Nazioni being made use of by somebody else.
It felt as though he could even snap at his superior, were the latter to pass down an untactful order, right…..?
It was much easier to imagine such a scenery, rather than Nazioni being employed.
Still, Nazioni denied as if being able to read between Eiji’s lines.
– To begin with, I used to be part of this city’s garrison. A long time ago, this place would flourish in trade between peddlers since it was a point that intersected west and east. Unlike other villages, this location would have a high demand for guards because there was no end to conflicts.
– Was that the case?
– Yeah. With this place being in the center of the war, we were really out of luck. Back then, there was no guy who would take matters into his own hands as a leader and unify this island. Because I was endorsed by others as the best candidate, I couldn’t help but pick up the position as a ruler.
Were one to be subdued and terrified by Nazioni, nobody would try to oppose him.
Not to mention, Eiji could well understand how other villagers would rely on Nazioni, were a war to occur.
Even his size alone gave off a presence that made it easy to depend on him.
When they were surrounded by wolves, Philip was one of those who appeared to be very reliable.
Again, it seems to be a matter of charisma on the battlefield.
– That being the case, I started to rule, but it’s not like I want to continue this job. I won’t allow anyone to make me look important, but, neither do I want to give anyone instructions. If there’s someone superior…. for example, if you, Eiji, are serious about developing this island on my behalf, I shall yield my position even today, without a moment of hesitation.
– Are you honestly saying that? No, I apologize, but…
– I couldn’t be more honest.
Nazioni nodded down deeply.
His mouth reeked of alcohol, but, it didn’t look like he would get drunk from 1 or 2 glasses of wine.
In other words, he was making his remark with a sober face.
Eiji couldn’t quite imagine himself being in Nazioni’s shoes.
That’s because he was a happy man as long he could strive as a blacksmith.
Standing above others and leading a mass of people, it was too much of a burden.
– However, those doing their job half-heartedly are no good. Certainly, I understand I may not be a perfect ruler, but still, I’m the one who has built everything here from scratch. I wouldn’t be able to stand all those endless brushes with enemies, were I to return back to those times…..My son may be doing his best, but, he’s still can’t be relied on.
– If memory serves me right, don’t you have three sons?
– Yeah, and today you’ve become my fourth. I shall introduce you to them on some other occasion. Age wise, they’re your younger brothers-in-law, so you should probably meet each other. Then, what’s your decision? Will you retire and help me with management?
Nazioni asked with a stern face, however, Eiji shook his head from side to side without a moment of hesitation.
– As expected, it won’t happen?
– I’m sorry.
– You don’t have to apologize.
Haaa – Together with a single, deep sigh, Nazioni lightly dropped his shoulders.
However, in the next moment, he looked up with a refreshed face.
– Got it. Then it’s fine for you not to retire. If you have any valuable knowledge, please share it with us, just like you do with your village.
– Understood. As long it’s that much, I shall lend you my power.
– It may be a petty thing for you, but your knowledge is really precious for our side. I think I’ve already told you that.
It may be just like he said.
Eiji possessed nothing but skills and a knowledge inaccessible to this period.
Despite his knowledge being partial, its yielded result would be immeasurable.
– Oh, and let me tell you one more thing. Don’t try to do anything silly like causing a revolt. That’s because we can easily suppress it without much effort.
– I won’t do such things.
– Fun, I wonder about that. Judging from your response before, it sounded suspicious.
Perhaps, Nazioni’s words were on spot.
Among each human population, there’s most likely half as many men capable of instigating a war.
The difference between both Nazioni and Eiji’s sides was plain to see.
Were it to be a solo battle, there was probably no greater military force than that of Nazioni on the island.
Not to mention, Nazioni’s soldiers had bronze-made equipment and were trained.
Were both sides to clash with each other, Eiji could imagine it being a one-sided massacre.
As one would expect, the difference in equipment greatly affected one’s war potential.
The story would be different, were Eiji to gather iron-made weaponry, but…
However, it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. As expected, Eiji would rather avoid any fight if he could get away without any injury.
It was all the more reason for him not to do so, now that they both concluded their contract as a child and father, even if it was just temporary.
– Speaking of which, what kind of policy are you carrying inside your village right now?
– If it’s recently, I wonder if it wouldn’t be the newly established infirmary for childbirth. It’s for the sake of increasing the number of children.
– What’s the meaning of that?
– Look, isn’t it that children and their mothers will fall into illness immediately after a birth? In order to solve that problem, the fastest and most efficient way is to choose a separate place for childbirth.
– Heh?! I see.
– And what’s your current policy in this city?
At the time Nazioni nodded optimistically, Eiji asked back.
If he can hear more on Nazioni’s policy, it will be possible for Eiji to figure out what his intention is and his further plans.
Eiji was even more curious about Nazioni’s reply, since there were lots of things he had yet to grasp, such as why there were many residents discontent with Nazioni’s reign.
– What we are carrying out are riparian works, as a countermeasure against possible floods, and saving food provisions for emergency cases, like famine. These are best things we can do right now, especially the latter. Because of that, we’ve been told that the taxes are too high, but, I believe people will understand the necessity of doing so once something bad occurs.
– If that’s the case, why not encourage people to use hardy plants?
– What’s that?
– One of the methods of lowering the risk of food shortage, even during a famine, is to grow plants other than wheat. Even if it’s just a little, shouldn’t it be better to encourage others with the use of potatoes, pumpkins, wild oats, barley, and for the livestock – turnips and clover?
– I shall adopt your idea as well. I guess, I’ll have to discuss with Franko more on that matter. Is there anything else you can tell me?
– Anything else…
The talk with Nazioni was surprisingly lively.
For the sake of developing this island, Nazioni seemed to be quite flexible and positive in incorporating others’ ideas. Actually, Eiji didn’t know how many of his ideas would be adopted, but, he could tell that Nazioni himself was quite open-minded and forward-looking towards his ideas, which was probably a good sign.
Finally, as they had been talking constantly between each other, somebody knocked at the door.
Franko announced it was the time to conclude, and their talk broke up like that.
The same night. Being fully awake, Eiji looked up at the ceiling.
Nazioni didn’t appear to be the person Eiji imagined him to be.
Franko also wasn’t a particularly strict person.
Then, could one consider what they do rightful?
The fact that many people suffered due to Nazioni’s policy wouldn’t change.
Eiji had trouble with reaching the right conclusion.
The next day, it’d been decided a formal discussion would take place.
Invitations for the ceremony would be distributed throughout the island, and an information about the ruler taking the initiative would be spread.
The route leading to Siena would be blocked by snow during the winter. Therefore, it had been decided that preparations for the wedding and the wedding itself would be carried out after the thaw. Assuming Tanya would have her delivery by the end of the year, they still had enough time til their wedding.
And the problem of food shortage would also most likely reduce once they get through the winter.
Because people from the west would rarely socialize with the people from the east, it was quite convenient for Eiji to make a new contact and deepen relationship between both sides, as well as establish a new trade.
Their wedding would also become a great opportunity to promote things that are only available in Siena, such as iron-made products and alcohol.
As soon as he took care of other villagers and proceeded with the preparations for his return, Eiji left Nazioni’s place in a hurry.
Since Tanya was in the end stage of her pregnancy, Eiji didn’t want to prolong his trip and cause any further problems.
However, there were many villagers who were still occupied with storing offerings inside Nazioni’s warehouse.
For that reason, it was decided Fernando would tag along with him on his return trip.
– Eiji-kun, are you done preparing?
– I’m done. How about Fernando-san?
– Yeah, I’m ready to depart at any time.
– Then, shall we go? I know I might be rushing you, but….
– One that fights and runs away may live to fight another day, or so they say.
Eiji looked around at the city of Nazioni.
Being able to observe the city, it had become much of a reference for him besides just the fact it was more advanced than Siena.
No matter how small a village was, each of them had their own good sides.
Walking through the streets leading to the exit, toward Siena, Eiji suddenly stopped after discovering a familiar face.
– What’s the matter?
– Can I have you wait a little?
– I don’t mind, but, is that person your acquaintance? That’s fast, considering you’ve just arrived here.
– Yes, you could say so.
The person who entered his view was Katharina’s father, Stephan.
His house was pretty much separated from here.
It must have been quite troublesome for Stephan to walk his all this distance by himself.
However, in exchange, they could hold a conversation without attracting public attention.
– It’s been decided your daughter and I won’t marry each other. In return, I think Dante, the son of Nazioni, will be the one to marry her.
– Is that so……?
– Yes, but don’t get me wrong. In the end, the marriage won’t be of convenience but one that was decided by Dante himself.
– You mean it?
– Yes. Regardless of our jobs and positions, we were able to hold a very pleasant conversation.
– I feel at ease now….Thank you very much.
– No, I haven’t done anything in particular. If there’s someone to thank, it should be Dante.
Judging from Stephan’s gloomy expression, one could imagine him thinking about something unpleasant; nevertheless, it was wrong.
To begin with, Dante was genuinely in love with Katharina.
Despite him being young, Dante also had some flaws, but, didn’t he handle Eiji’s problem pretty well?
Even if he was to be bereaved of his right as a successor, Dante probably wouldn’t involve himself in some sort of coup d’état, so Eiji thought he was the right choice.
The remaining problem would be Katharina’s feelings about this.
Making decisions on his own…. Eiji probably feared returning back to the village.
– Please, continue to look after my daughter.
– Leave that to me. We shall meet once again during your daughter’s wedding.
– Yes, undoubtedly.
Bowing down deeply, Stephan saw off Eiji and Fernando.
Not looking over his shoulders, Eiji continued to advance toward Siena.