Minasan oideyasu. This is Yukkuri demasu!
DISCLAIMER: There is no guarantee that my translation is 100% correct. Please correct me if I was wrong.
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Interlude 7 – A Northern Encounter
Situated in the north from the Friedonia Kingdom was an assembly of medium to small nations, the 『Eastern Nations Alliance』. In the past, the various medium to small nation that crowded this land sometimes allied with each other, yet sometimes they battled each other. This happened again and again. A land without any unity nor order. However, some ten years ago the Demon Lord Territory appeared, and when this threat approached their borders, they united and formed the 『East Nations Alliance』.
Though each nation inside the alliance governed themselves as their like, each nation is obliged to provide military force according to their national power. The standard was for the small nations to provide 10% of their soldiers and for the medium nations 30%. The military force that they sent was organized into a cross-border transnational 『Eastern Nations Allied Forces (shortened as Allied Force)』. If a threat from another country or Demon Lord Territory approached a signatory member nation of the Alliance, that Allied Army will be dispatched to that nation.
At the northwest corner adjacent to both the Eastern Nations Alliance and the Demon Lord Territory is the small sized country of the Dragon Knight, the 『Nothun Dragon Knights Kingdom.』
It is a small monarchy with a total population of around 20,000. Although it is a small insignificant country, its border touched both the Nothun Dragon Knights Kingdom and the Demon Lord Territory, so surely the citizen would be frightened of the flame of war that is unknown when it will spark…… or so what people normally think. But the actual situation was slightly different. Certainly, there was an anxiety regarding the Demon Lord Territory, but the fact that the nation is adjacent to the Dragon Knights made them feel relieved.
Although the Lastania Kingdom is a member of the Eastern Nations Alliance, it had long been in an alliance with the Dragon Knights Kingdom. By signing a contract with the Dragons of the Star Dragon Mountains, the Nothun Dragon Knights Kingdom endowed with powerful Dragon Knights which had capabilities to even contend with GranChaos Empire in a defensive battle. However, they didn’t utilize this power to enlarge their realm. This was also because of the contract with the Star Dragon Mountains.
The dragon becomes the knight's companion, and as his beloved dragon, they descended together on the battlefield.
The knight receives the dragon as his companion and cooperates to perpetuate their descendants.
However, if the knight uses the dragon power for his selfish reason, this contract will be annulled.
This was a contract between the Dragon Knights Kingdom and Star Dragon Mountain. To put in a simpler term, it was a contract where in exchange for the dragon lending their power to the knight, the knight took the dragon as his wife and have children with them. It is a contract that can only be done because the dragons from the Star Dragon Mountains could assume humanoid form. And if they use the dragon’s power for selfish gain and attempt to invade other countries, this contract will be annulled and the Dragon Knights Kingdom will lose the Star Dragon Mountains’ protection. For this reason, the Dragon Knights Kingdom was a country with nonaggressive defense policy. Even on the Demon Lord Territory Invasion Force spearheaded by the Empire, this country stood as a bystander.
The basis for Lastania Kingdom’s peace of mind was because that kind of country lies near its border. In a nutshell, even if the Demon Lord Territory’s threat is imminent, since Lastania territory is so small, the Dragon Knights could also protect it as well. Perhaps this was the reason why the King and most of the citizens of Lastania Kingdom had a nonchalant attitude. Since they were better than the ambitious people governing the neighboring nations, the Dragon Knights Kingdom appreciate Lastania’s national attitude. Even in the Eastern Nations Alliances, Lastania also functioned as the diplomatic window with the Dragon Knights Kingdom.
Now in the Royal Castle of Lastania Kingdom, a youngster was prostrating himself in front of the King Lastania. The man who kneeled in that throne room had a darkish skin and was about thirty-years old. There was a paint on his face and dressed in clothing similar to that of a native American.
「I hear that you…… want to join our army?」(King Lastania)
King Lastania who had a kindhearted looking face called out from his throne. The man replied while still lowering his head.
「Yes, Your Majesty. I am commanding the warriors of the northern people. My name is Jirukoma.」(Jirukoma)
「Jirukoma-dono. Please raise your face.」(King Lastania)
When Jirukoma raised his face, King Lastania made a truly kindhearted expression. Next to him was the Queen who has a similar kindhearted expression and the sweet, petite, and beautiful princess smiling at him. King Lastania looked at Jirukoma with gentle eyes.
「We welcome you. This country is small. The number of soldiers is also small, that if there is a war the common citizen will need to take arms. I heard about how brave the warriors of the northern people ares. Even if it is only until you return to your country, I feel reassured that you lend your strength to us.」(King Lastania)
「Thank you, Your Majesty. Until the day when we will return to our hometown, we will return the favors this country gave to us by fighting for this country’s sake.」(Jirukoma)
On that day, Jirukoma gave his position as the chief of the refugee community that fled to the Friedonia Kingdom to his sister Komayin and then led the diehard faction, who had an especially strong intent to return back to their home countries, which brings them to the Lastania Kingdom. Applying themselves to become Lastania Kingdom’s soldier, to wait for the day they could recapture their old hometown. King Lastania stood up and walked to Jirukoma’s side. The King put his hand on Jirukoma’s shoulder.
「I see. There is nothing much in this country, but it will gladden me if you could think this country as your second hometown until the day your wishes come true. I will introduce the commander that will lead you and your people tomorrow. For today you will have a good rest.」(King Lastania)
Jirukoma prostrated himself. From Jirukoma’s view, King Lastania didn’t have a sense of stability as a statesman, unlike Souma, but he is a generously nice person. At least he didn’t seem like someone who would abuse Jirukoma and his people due to their refugee status and work them to the death. While feeling relieved of this fact, Jirukoma’s audience with King Lastania ended.
◇ ◇ ◇
After the audiences with the King ended, Jirukoma was walking in the corridor of the royal castle, he saw someone leaning his back on the pillar. His figure is slender, but that person most likely is a man. The man covered himself with a white hood, so Jirukoma couldn’t see his expression. And just when Jirukoma tried to pass through, the man called out to him.
「Are you the one leading the refugee soldier?」(Mysterious Man)
Jirukoma raised his brows.
「That’s right…… what do you want?」(Jirukoma)
The king seemed to be a kindhearted person, but perhaps his subordinate is different? Perhaps he was a retainer that wasn’t amused that the refugees joining the military and now he came to drive a nail at Jirukoma. Or so what he thought.
「You guys are from Elfrieden…… No, it’s Friedonia now, right? I heard that you came from the Friedonia Kingdom. Is it wrong??」(Mysterious Man)
「……Yes, we are from Friedonia.」(Jirukoma)
It seemed that this person wasn’t actually cared about Jirukoma’s group. Moreover, it looked like he was more curious about Friedonia Kingdom instead. Just who is he? Just when Jirukoma thought like this, the man in the hood laughed half-mockingly at himself.
「But you also a curious bunches. That country…… though it’s annoy me to say this, should be stable at the moment, right? Even though you had fled to the Friedonia Kingdom, why do you deliberately become a soldier of this small frontline country? I can’t understand this.」(Mysterious Man)
「…… Doesn’t this something that a citizen of this nation wouldn’t say?」(Jirukoma)
「I am just a guest general. I am not a citizen of this country, so I just honestly spoke what inside my mind.」(Mysterious Man)
While giving his answer, Jirukoma thought that he had encountered a rather troublesome person.
「…… Certainly, King Souma had shown a way to become a Friedonian citizen in exchange of for temporarily giving up on returning to our hometown. But some of the refugees couldn’t accept that plan. They are people who wished to return to the homeland and journey north no matter what. Leaving this kind of people in the Kingdom could become a hindrance for the other refugees who tried to obtain a peaceful life as the Kingdom Citizen. Therefore, I led them and returned back to the north.」(Jirukoma)
「I understand your reason and hardship in purposely threw away a chance of peaceful life…… But, why did you choose this country? This is a small country. The pay couldn’t be said as good, you know? Furthermore, though King Lastania is a kindhearted person, he has no ambition. A mediocre person reminiscent of the previous Elfrieden King. Even if you wait in this country, a day to invade the Demon Lord Territory won’t come.」(Mysterious Man)
「…… At the present, there is no country that has enough power to invade Demon Lord Territory. No matter what country we choose, we will be kept as a defensive force until we die. Then in that case, at the very least, we chose a country closest to our hometown.」(Jirukoma)
「Hometown…… Hometown, isn’t it?」(Mysterious Man)
The hooded man groaned while crossing his arms.
「Is it…… worth enough to pursue that you abandon a shot for a peaceful life?」(Mysterious Man)
「? What are you talking about? Don’t yourself have a hometown too?」(Jirukoma)
「I had…… ……No, I still have one, but …… I am someone who had been abandoned by my hometown……」(Mysterious Man)
The man in the hood said that with a coldness in his voice. There weren’t any hint of sorrow in his voice, but confusion and feeling lost could be felt. Then the hooded man murmured something as he fell to his own thought.
「Surely, we have done everything for our hometown ……. Even so, my hometown had forsaken me…… No, is it different? Had we not devoted ourselves for our hometown’s sake? Surely, we have acted like what our hometown wished. Or perhaps…… that wish, was actually something else? Actually, what did the people of our hometown wished for? Is it something that we wished for? Since we didn’t know this, that’s why…… That’s why we lost……?」(Mysterious Man)
Jirukoma completely couldn’t understand what the man said, but he understood that the man was only wishing for some kind of answer as he repeated the question and answering it by himself.
「You are…… you are quite shaken. Do you not have any confidence in yourself?」(Jirukoma)
「…… Confidence? Such a thing had been broken a long time ago.」(Mysterious Man)
As he said this, the hooded man made a self-deprecating smile.
「I once was full of confidence. However, that confidence was crushed into pieces when I was abandoned by my hometown. What I thought was for my hometown’s sake, my hometown didn’t desire, the people who I loved and cherished had betrayed me. At first, I resent…… the people and the hometown that betrayed me. However, as I continuously question and answering it myself, I don’t know anything anymore. I don’t know if what I believed is righteous. I lost confidence in myself. What is a nation? What is a King? Isn’t the King the nation’s will? What is a citizen? What is the citizen’s will? Are the citizen and the citizen’s will different? Why did the King’s will and the citizen’s wasn’t the same?」(Mysterious Man)
As he watched the hooded man repeating his own questions and answers, Jirukoma felt as if he was someone who was seeking a way. A person who have lost his bearing and was seeking for a way. From the content of the words he had spoken, he realized that he wasn’t just someone who was seeking for a way. A man who could think even about things like 『King』 or 『Citizen』…… Perhaps, he was originally someone of a high station.
「Just…… what in the world are you?」(Jirukoma)
When the puzzled Jirukoma inquired, the man moved the hood covered his face.
「…… Though my family name had lost any meaning by now. An idiot man who was defeated by Friedonian King Souma and had his country snatched away by his imouto. I am Julius Amidonia.」(Julius)
Fleeing the rebellion to the Empire → Even when he wished to return to his home country, he couldn’t since the Empire established a secret alliance with the Kingdom → lost his temper and absconded, came to the Eastern Nations Alliance to make a name for himself, but lost himself after seeing various nations → while losing his life direction, he was in the Lastania Kingdom.
SPECIAL 100th Chapter!
 Want to type : Association of Eastern Nations. But between AEN and ENA and their shorthand Association vs Alliance. I prefer, the Alliance, as ENA is a valid girl name. (I know my logic is skewed)
 騎士王国Knight Kingdom.
 I hate how English lack a neutral gender third person pronoun.