After I saw that Eric had calmed down somewhat, I pulled over a chair and sat down as well. Time is urgent, and this was a good chance. I have to be able to convince Eric either today or tomorrow.
“I understand perfectly well, Baron Dovadain’s concerns. The things that you’ve said, everyone’s considered them, including me.”
“However, what you’re saying is wrong. Since you’re from Archduke Dovadain’s family, you should be looking at the situation as a politician, not a knight.”
I used a rather forceful tone of voice with Eric, and while he looked surprised for an instant, his face soon stiffened again as he bit his lip.
I want to sigh. From his reaction, I know what he’s thinking even if he doesn’t say it out loud.
“…………Kaldia, you must have known all this already. That’s why you brought me here.”
I didn’t say anything in response to Eric’s question. I didn’t know how Eric would react, after he met the injured soldiers again this time.
In the first place, I already achieved half my goal of resolving the conflict at noble school, when I succeeded in bringing Eric to Fort Jugfena. Eric will forced to officially retract his previous statement by me.
In order for him to give condolences to the soldiers successfully, I had hoped that seeing the actual state of injured soldiers would galvanize him, and that he’d be able to gain some passion as he encouraged the soldiers.
While passion was indeed injected into him, it went in the opposite direction I expected – while being a politician, he also took a knight’s viewpoint, meaning he’s on the ordinary soldiers’ side. While being compassionate about the citizens, he’s not considering the benefits from Arxia’s standpoint, and he doesn’t even know the determination of the soldiers that are willing to stand on the battlefield, so that’s why he’ll only be able to say words without much substance behind them.
“Even if you’re wrong, you’re not someone who will stand on the battlefield, and you weren’t born as someone who will become a knight. It’s a mistake for you to think about the battlefield from the viewpoint of a knight.”
For those standing on the battlefield, they must be prepared for the loss of their lives or their friends’ lives. Politicians must realize their own positions as well. They must be prepared to defend their citizens’ lives as well as their own, and have the resolution to use others’ lives for that purpose.
I’m someone from both of those worlds, and unlike Eric, I’m flexible and can adapt to both a military officer and a politician’s roles. I continued lecturing him.
“……Death is scary to soldiers. So only those who are prepared to die can stand on the battlefield. Those whose hearts are broken, will retreat from battle. For the remaining soldiers whose hearts haven’t been broken, it’s considered an insult to run away from the battlefield. Baron Dovadain, after coming here, will you still insist on insulting those whose life is represented by their swords? Then will you escape back to the royal capital, and will you be able to show your face in front of Sieghart?”
If Eric returns to the royal capital just like this, as I explained to Eric earlier, I’m certain that Arxia’s army will be unable to do anything to the Rindarl army that will use its slaves as a meat shield, and they would be forced to retreat from Fort Jugfena.
That would mean letting go of all our previous victories. No matter how you look at it, it would be a clear loss for us. ……And General Commander Marquis Rolentsor’s name and honor will bite the dust.
When I mentioned Sieghart’s name, Eric’s expression became clearly distorted. He seemed almost about to cry, quite a childish reaction.
-Well, from what I remember of my past life, thirteen should be considered quite young. And, I’m the same age as him. But in the common sense of this world, thirteen means you’re almost an adult. They’re treated almost equal to adults.
That’s why, even though I realized that he wasn’t mature enough yet to handle things, I was different from him as I was a reincarnator.
“You should know your own role.”
……If I try to think like a child, I feel like I can also sort of understand Eric. When I think about how he has no female role model in his life to look up to anymore, he seems pitiful, but just because I sympathize with him doesn’t mean I’m going to be friends with him.
“You need to have at least a minimum amount of resolution, to be prepared before having come here.”
In this situation where it’s only the two of us in this room, it’s ridiculous to even try and conceal my feelings. I threw out those words forcefully at him.
While Eric’s expression remained distorted like he was about to cry, he didn’t remove his gaze from me until the very end. I think that this might be the first time we’ve held each other’s gazes for so long.
“……Ahh, I got it. Just now, ……and the thing with Sieg as well, it was my bad.”
Nevertheless, in the end he was honest with his feelings for once, and then he hung his head.
As I was taking the despondent Eric back to his room, Paulo found me in the hallway.
“Eliza-sama, Earl Einsbark is calling for you.”
“Yes. He told me to inform Baron Dovadain as well. Our scouts have reported that Densel’s forces have moved out from their capital, and orders are for our royal army to return to the frontlines immediately……”
“Got it,” I nodded, as I glanced sideways at Eric who was still looking down. He seemed to notice me observing him, and for a moment he turned around and looked back in the direction of the makeshift hospital, but he nodded affirmatively.