This is Yukkuri demasu!
As always, Yukkuri is overwhelmed by his RL work… But now he is free‼!
I am sorry for the belatedness on my part.
Now that my work routine had cleared up (I transferred to a new Hospital you see) I can resume my usual translation schedule… Hopefully…
DISCLAIMER: There is no guarantee that my translation is 100% correct. Please correct me if I was wrong.
Chapter 3: The Negotiation C
Perhaps because my firm rejection was something unexpected, for a moment Julius was at a loss for words. However, he immediately spoke out with naked anger plastered on his face
「Bastard, are you insane?! Do you think you can escape unscathed to defy the Humanity Declaration!」(Julius)
「That is not something that someone like you can say. You invaded Efrieden’s territory, and then, when you got invaded in exchange, you started yelling “no border changes with military power”. Because of that, your reasoning doesn’t make any sense.」(Souma)
「That is…… Everything was just the previous Duke Gaius’ arbitrary act-……」(Julius)
「You also know that those words are just excuses, right?」(Souma)
When I threw the question back at him, Julius’ words were tightly clogged up.
「……Whatever you say, it doesn’t change the fact that you are occupying our citizens. I, as this country ruler, ought to liberate my people.」(Julius)
So he objected. But, liberating from an occupation, yeah……
「Is that something that Van’s Citizens desire?」(Souma)
「Julius-dono, when you were travelling to this place, didn’t you see how Van’s streets and buildings looks like?」(Souma)
Julius stared in amazement at my question, but he immediately replied while glowering at me.
「Van is a city where I was born. I am more familiar with it than someone like you.」(Julius)
「Is that so…... Then, what “color” does that Van have right now in your sight?」(Souma)
「Color? If it’s buildings with distasteful color on their walls or roofs, then I saw several of them, what of it……」(Julius)
「…… Well I wouldn’t find fault in someone’s sense of art, but Julius-dono, if they are under an occupation, would the citizens who were struggling under tyrannical rule paint their walls and roofs so colorfully like that?」(Souma)
Without any antagonism, I explained in a very kind and detailed manner for Julius.
「If the despot imposes his power on the citizens, then the citizens wouldn’t do something that would attract the eyes of the despot, right? Since the citizens wouldn’t know what kind of calamity would fall upon them if they did any flashy acts that caught up the despot’s eyes. Therefore, the citizens under a tyrannical rule wouldn’t speak of their discontent, wouldn’t let their attitudes show their emotions, and would stow away their true opinions into the deepest corners of their hearts. Because of this, something like colorfully painting their walls and roofs would be something that they absolutely wouldn’t do. Right?」(Souma)
At this point, I momentarily stopped my words, as I stared directly at Julius’ eyes and continued my explanation.
「However, what color did that Van have when you were governing this city?」(Souma)
「! That is……」(Julius)
Julius hesitated to say. Well, of course. When I first entered Van, the color that I sensed was “Grey Townscape.” The buildings that stood in the labyrinth-like unmaintained districts were only houses with ash grey walls and brown earth roofs without any fragment of individuality. The uniformity of the color tone, even without any standardization, might be the fault of the lack of freedom given to the citizens of this city.
「The Van that I govern right now and the Van that you had ruled before, as expected, which one that seems to be an “occupied” city?」(Souma)
「Bastard, are you accusing us of being tyrannical despots!」(Julius)
「It’s a fact, right? Most of your national budget is poured into military expenses, right? …… Ah, also for the furnishing of this castle, right? Even though the tax that the people paid should essentially be used for the Citizen’s welfare, it wasn’t. Not for maintaining the city, not for maintaining the roads, not for promoting industry, but all those heavy taxation fees went to the military. Isn’t that stupid?」(Souma)
「Shut your mouth up!」(Julius)
「Cease it, Julius-dono!」(Jeanne)
Jeanne stopped Julius who seemed to want to approach me. To be stopped no more than a half-step, he gritted his teeth with frustration. Although they weren’t permitted to carry any weapons into the audience, if Jeanne hadn’t stopped him, perhaps he would cast a magic spell at me. If that happens, then we could have attacked Julius under the justification of self-defense, but…… It is not the time for that.
「Aisha, you should also release your hand from the hilt.」(Souma)
I reminded Aisha, who stood diagonally behind me while emitting a strong bloodthirst. She replied in the dejected tone of a child that has just been scolded. Don’t worry Aisha, I didn’t pay any mind to it. Even if the opponent Julius was acting all high and mighty, I felt safe since Aisha is protecting me. Then, Jeanne sighed while offering her honest opinion.
「King Souma…… I want you to stop inciting Julius-dono.」(Jeanne)
「I am only telling the truth. An economy is about managing the land and providing relief to its citizens…… despite that that was the ideal image of a ruler, his governance that was wasting all the heavy tax for military expenses was clearly tyrannical despotism.」(Souma)
「Whose fault was this! You bastards had robbed from us our ancestral lands!」(Julius)
「So, this again……」(Souma)
Julius repeated his constant insistence, so I sighed.
「Although Amidonia’s Royal Family had been yelling revenge against Elfrieden’s Royal Family at every opportunity, that incident happened 50 years ago, right? Not to mention you, but Gaius too, are not the people that were directly related to that event. Additionally, I am only someone who arrived in this world not too long ago. So, why are you holding a grudge against me so much?」(Souma)
「! That is,」(Julius)
「Ah, please leave out killing Gaius and capturing Van. The one who began this in the first place was your side. After all, if I don’t kill Gaius, then I would have been the one who was killed.」(Souma)
「See, you couldn’t find any words to say, right? You don’t have any reason to resent me after all.」(Souma)
Or rather…… The one who received the real grievances was the Kingdom’s side.
「Yes, Your Majesty.」(Hakuya)
When I gave a sign, Hakuya took out a rolled up paper and handed it over to Julius and Jeanne. What was written on that paper were several people’s names. After reading it, Jeanne was only tilting her head in confusion, but Julius became pale.
「This is…… What does this mean?」(Jeanne)
Jeanne inquired towards Hakuya, who then replied while making a respectful bow.
「The names written on this paper are those of the nobles inside the Elfrieden Kingdom who had been agitated by the Amidonia Dukedom. Among these were the people who were involved in the failed rebellion during the previous King’s reign. Amidonia agitated them, kindled insurrection, instigated corruption, and incited a noncooperative attitude towards the Royal Family.」(Hakuya)
Receiving the cold glance sent by Jeanne, Julius’ mouth was bound close as he hung his head down. I had Hakuya investigate about those who instigated the Three Dukes (well, in the end the rebellion failed). But wow, the shady bunches were here and there. Among the names in the list, I could see the name of the nobles who had committed corruption, but I also found the names of the nobles who didn’t participate in the battle and just chose to wait and see.
「Do you understand, Jeanne-dono? While pretending to cooperate in the Humanity Declaration, the Amidonia Dukedom was doing secret maneuvers behind your back. This is the revenge against the Kingdom that they always talked about.」(Souma)
「That revenge, too, in the end, is something that they adopted for their own conveniences.」(Hakuya)
As if to continue what Hakuya had said, I spoke out while glaring at Julius.
「The country is poor, it’s the Kingdom’s fault. The citizens are hungry, it’s the Kingdom’s fault. The citizens suffered from hard labor, it’s the Kingdom’s fault. Heavy taxation not for the citizens’ sake, but for the military, this too is the Kingdom’s fault.」(Souma)
「……What do you want to say?」(Julius)
「How convenient, since if you chant the slogan of revenge, then you can hide your misgovernment and shepherd the Citizens’ anger towards the Elfrieden Kingdom.」(Souma)
This time, too, Julius tried to draw near, but Jeanne ‘s loud voice stopped him again. Then, she sent a harsh stare at my direction.
「King Souma, I think I had myself clear that I DO NOT want you to continue inciting him.」(Jeanne)
「……sorry. But our side ,too, would like for you to understand our irritation towards Amidonia’s conducts.」(Souma)
「That is……I can sympathize.」(Jeanne)
「Thank you. Then, there is a suggestion I want to ask from you.」(Souma)
Well, from now on, this will be the real deal, and as if to indicate this, I faced the both of them.
「Will it be acceptable for you to make Julius-dono leave the room?」(Souma)
◇ ◇ ◇
「Who are you fooling with! Why do I need to leave the discussion for the return of the capital city of our nation?!」(Julius)
At my sudden proposal, Julius lashed out with an infuriated expression. I felt that the angry faces of a strikingly handsome guy was 50% more dreadful than a normal face. If it was the me from before coming to this world, then I would have been overwhelmed from dread and wouldn’t say anything. However, up until now, I have met with various scary people like Gaius and had wagered my life to some degree. Now, I wouldn’t be disturbed with only this level of intimidation.
「It’s a simple story. In the first place, there is no reason to do any discussion with Amidonia.」(Souma)
「Why is that!」(Julius)
「What I placed on the negotiation table was for the Empire 『I want you to recognize Van’s possession』. Conversely, the Empire has the standpoint of not recognizing border changes due to military power, so they came to negotiate 『I want Van’s return to Amidonia.』, right? See, in the end, isn’t the negotiation just between the Kingdom and the Empire?」
Yes, this negotiation, ever since the beginning, has been a negotiation between the Kingdom and the Empire. Julius is nothing more than an extra that had been just sticking along the way. Since his enmity would prevent the negotiations from proceeding smoothly, it would be really helpful if he left the negotiations. Jeanne also seems to understand this.
「……Julius-dono. Would you please leave this matter to me?」(Jeanne)
To which Julius replied.
「If both sides keep antagonizing each other, the negotiations wouldn’t go anywhere. Even for the Empire, we don’t want to spend too much time mediating another’s country war. Since Van would surely return, I want you to entrust the negotiations to me.」(Jeanne)
「However! Then, won’t the negotiations would be one-sided!?」(Julius)
「Then, should the Empire withdraw from the negotiation, so you can conduct the negotiation by yourself?」(Jeanne)
Julius wanted to keep arguing, but Jeanne shut him up with her words.
「If I can be honest, for the current case, the fault lies on Amidonia’s side. We offered assistance since you are a member nation of the Humanity Declaration, but if you keep troubling us more than this, then the Empire would have to withdraw from this case.」(Jeanne)
Since this was something that his last ray of hope, the Empire, had said, Julius couldn’t say anything back. After showing an anguished expression, he replied with a strained voice.
「Van…… You will be able to return it, right?」(Julius)
「I swear by my sister’s name, Grand Chaos Empire’s Empress Maria Euphoria.」(Jeanne)
「……I will be glad to entrust this matter to you.」(Julius)
After Julius said this, while lowering his head and moving to leave the room, he glared towards my direction, and only then, did he exit the audience room. After watching him leave, I and Jeanne then sighed together.
「……Sorry for my idiot member nation.」(Jeanne)
「Nah, it’s me who should be the one who’s sorry that our idiot neighbor is bothering you.」(Souma)
We looked at each other and laughed. The serious atmosphere had disappeared, but it didn’t change the fact that the atmosphere was tense. No, rather, it could be said that the tension was higher than before. Though I heard about this later, Liscia, who was watching from beside me from the time that Julius was in the room to up until he left, had her heart fluttering rapidly. Well…… For both the Elfrieden Kingdom and the Grand Chaos Empire, this negotiation would decide “what would happen from now on” in just a few moments, so her nervousness was understandable.
The true negotiations finally can begin!
It’s refreshing somehow that the Empire is not the standard evil empire commonly found in the fiction.
Also if this is Chinese web-novel, Julius would have been coughing out blood and Jeanne would be confused whether she should cry or laughing. Also the Empire would be a rude and discourteous, after all the stronger Top Tier Sect like the Empire wouldn’t bat any eyelashes for a Middle Tier Sect like the Kingdom.
 Kisama 貴様. For those who didn’t know this is a very rude Japanese way to say “You”. Almost every you that Julius use for Souma is using Kisama. While Souma refer to Julius with a rather polite you, “Kiden” 貴殿.
 CULTURAL NOTES:
The original RAW words are: 経世済民 Keiseisaimin (Keisei:government-Saimin:citizen relief). This is taken from the line “經世濟俗” that Ge Hong (葛洪283-364), a scholar who served as a government official in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (東晋 317-420), used it in his book “Bao Puzi” (抱朴子, which is his pen name, too). Then during the Sui Dynasty the lines were used by several writers which mimicked by the next writers and so on. All have the meanings of a principle of an ideal good ethical (Confucian) governance.
During the Bakumatsu period, when exchange with foreign nations introduced new concepts to the Japanese, to explain the concept of ECONOMY (oikosnomos) and political economics, the Japanese used the word 経済 (keizai) that was taken from 経世済民 principle.
Eventually the word 経済 was also exported from Japanese into Chinese as 经济 and from China to all Sinosphere cultures as the word for economy.
So an economy also have an implicit about good and ethical governance.