Well then, it happened just as I was mentally sighing about Eric..
“Eeeee!! Why, why is the vampire here!? Noooooo!! I don’t want to die, I don’t want to dieeee!!”
Suddenly, a crazed shouting arose from the corner of the nursing room. I clicked my tongue at being called a vampire, while the doctor headed over to see what was going on. Eric was frozen in shock for a moment with his shoulders trembling, then he looked around the room aimlessly.
“Please calm down, don’t get excited! Someone! Sedatives!”
“No! No!! There’s so many, I don’t want to be the vampire’s bait anymore!!”
“Why is the vampire back here!? I thought the vampire was currently at noble school!!”
“I can’t even fight anymore! Stop it, I don’t want to kill anymore or die!! I can’t even fight anymore, I’m even missing a leg now!!”
With the first scream getting everyone’s attention, subsequent screams arose all at once, and the room suddenly was awash in commotion. I detected many eyes on me, containing clearly negative emotions such as condemnation, contempt, and fear. The doctor hurriedly ushered me out of the nursing room, and like he was attached to me, Eric came following after.
When I closed the door to the adjacent room in an attempt to block out the sound, I finally let go of a heavy sigh.
Among the royal army’s soldiers, my infamous reputation is commonly known. They seem to be strongly emotionally opposed to me due to my methods of attacking enemy units and dealing with enemy prisoners, which runs directly contrary to their ideals of chivalry and benevolence.
I hadn’t taken into consideration that my appearance would cause them mental trauma…… even through the closed metal door, I could still hear the doctors and soldiers dealing with the panic that my appearance caused, and I unconsciously chewed my lower lip.
For them, I’m a symbol of death, violence, and the battlefield. As the hubbub continued in the distance, my emotions felt like they were condensing into something leaden.
“Baron Dovadain, my apologies. It seems that the place where you were to give your condolences has become chaotic. I shall let Earl Wiegraf Einsbark know that I’ll have some other person take you here again on another day, so you can return to your room now.”
Eric seemed unable to comprehend the situation at all, he just kept staring with a frozen expression on his face at the closed door leading to the nursing room as I talked to him. He finally looked at me when I finished speaking, with an expression of utter confusion.
“T, that just now…… what was that about? Why is it that, our own country’s soldiers fear you so much?”
“……The battlefield is a place that easily damages people’s hearts.”
While urging Eric to walk out of here with me, I decided to answer him. I had thought that it was necessary to educate him anyways, so I suppose this could be a good opportunity. When he visits here again to give his condolences, it’ll be better if he’s able to handle it better and come up with some words to say.
“For enemies on the battlefield, it means that you’re fighting each other and trying to kill each other, which can create a sense of denial and mental suffering in humans. And as Eric-dono already knows, I’ve already killed many enemies mercilessly, even prisoners. The injuries those soldiers from earlier received caused them to have weak hearts because they don’t ever want to return to the battlefield again. So, without being able to distinguish between allies and enemies, anything that reminds them of the battlefield causes them to be terrified.”
“Injuries and death don’t only happen to your body, it can also happen to spirits. For example, it’s incredibly common for a person to have a phobia of fire if they were burned before, and all living creatures fear pain that they understand the cause behind. In order to keep living, in order to not die, they fear getting injured.”
While giving a basic explanation of psychological damage to Eric, I also thought about my own citizens. The hellish life that they had under my late father’s rule, scarred their hearts deeper than anyone. Although it was necessary, what followed after with my and Earl Terejia’s rule amounted to what was essentially shock therapy. I felt a sense of regret that I wasn’t able to take better care of their hearts.
From behind me, Eric said only one word, with nothing else to go on, not even a question.
I had no idea what he was trying to say, and I tilted my head as I asked him back. Eric himself seemed unsure what to ask me, he was furrowing his eyebrows deeply.
“……You, um, well, didn’t personally kill those enemy soldiers, did you?”
He finally ended up asking me a question in quite a roundabout manner. Even though the royal army also consists of commoners, their pride wouldn’t even let them consider a tactic like the one I used before. Since they’re not even in the same chain of command as me, they’ve never even participated directly in battle together with the infamously villainous me.
“…………Are you really fine? Acting like nothing happened, even with something like that,”
He trailed off with a whimper as I glared at him. While his words were cut off, I perfectly understood what he was trying to say.
“They simply weren’t my citizens.”
I shrugged as I answered him. I didn’t mention if I was fine or not.
I could sort of say that I was fine, but it’s also partially true that I wasn’t. Right now my feelings are sleeping deep within me, and unlike my citizens, maybe they’ll come up floating to the surface again at a time that I can’t control.
End of Act 3, Part 3
TL note: As you can imagine since this arc has ended, the next arc is basically straight up warfare. Also, if Eliza’s own allies view her like this ever since the impalement incident, can you just imagine the rumors that must be spreading in Rindarl?