I’ll borrow some men in the castle to give the herald warning and we’ll make our move and leave the castle. It’s getting dark so we’re going back by carriage. Not the count’s carriage but a hired one. The family crest on the count’s carriage has a frame over it so it can’t be used easily.
But I think it’s rather appropriate for a minister like my father. And I can’t deny I have a bit of a thing for cool crests and family crests.
I’m looking outside and thinking things over in my head when Lily calls out to me. She doesn’t sound very friendly, so I decide to make the first move.
“No, I think I’d have been depressed if any other name had been mentioned there.”
No, I won’t do that!
I said it in a joking way, and he denied it. Maybe I was joking a little too much. But I’m really glad you trusted me and chose me. I think the way I brought it up was a bit unfair.
“So, what’s a duel?”
“I don’t really know what the rules are.”
It’s a lack of a legal system, or whatever you want to call it. But it’s a world where the powers that be say more than the law. Some would say that. Only in this world, as in the Middle Ages before it, are we allowed to duel in court as a means of finality.
In the case of this world, I can’t help but feel that it’s the result of a subtle display of cerebral thinking, but I wonder if I’m biased.
In a previous life, the Church intervened and said, “This is God’s judgment. “God’s judgment… you prayed before God and fought… and now God’s right.” But I don’t understand it that way. I wonder if it’s because I was Japanese in my previous life. But even in ancient Japan, there was a god of war called Mengami Sagatachi. Maybe it’s human nature to throw things to the gods when things get complicated.
But dueling is a lot more complicated than that. In comic books, if you throw down the white glove and say “Let’s duel! the next page is usually the dueling arena, but in reality it doesn’t work like that. Of course, you have to set up the venue first.
And actually, the process is a bit more complicated than that. After the gloves have been thrown down, both fighters now submit their formalities, agree on the date, the weapons they will use and the other terms of the duel in front of the judge, and arrange their mounts and harnesses for the day of the duel. On the morning of the duel, both fighters declare that they are right and swear to accept the victor’s side of the story.
The judge of the day will make a formal peace and declare that the knights present will have their hands and feet cut off if they intervene. Now, a knight can cut off a man’s head with one hand, but a squire can cut off a man’s head. I’m not speaking metaphorically.
This is strangely similar to the duel in the previous life. The only thing that is not similar is that there is no place to pray on the cross. As a side note, for some reason, in the Middle Ages, duels were supposed to be fought on Tuesdays. I really don’t know the reason for this to be honest. Maybe I just don’t know.
But this time General Seyfert has taken care of all the formalities for me. But this time, General Seyfert took care of all that for me. No one would suspect forgery against a man of his rank.
But there’s a lot more to it than that.
“But I’m sorry Lily, I’m not such a good-looking man, I’m more of a coward.”
“So I’m gonna take a little detour. I’m sorry, but I’m gonna have to ask you to come with me.”
Lily is tilting her head at me, and I’m once again lost in a sea of thoughts. This time I’m the one who’s supposed to do the trick. I don’t need to know what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s good that I don’t have to know what’s going on behind the scenes, but how am I going to act? My stomach hurts.
Well, well, well, Viscount, we’ve been expecting you.
“Sorry again, Bierstead.”
We stopped at the guild of commerce today. It’s not safe to leave Lily alone in the wagon, so she’s coming with us. I told Mr. Bierstead not to look at me like that just because we’re alone. I don’t think he got that idea, but his expression turned serious.
The messenger told me what you said, if I may.
“It’ll be all over the news anyway. Not every duel’s a spectacle.
You seem to think there’s some truth to my having heard about the duel before the announcement and you’re weighing my words carefully. I’m sure he understands my intentions.
“So I need a favor. I need you to get me some armor and shield ornaments to make me look as strong as possible.
In prehistoric Japan, the crescent-shaped helmet of Date Masamune is a good example, but in the West, there are also zimier helmets like this one. Some of them are ridiculously large, and they are more likely to be used to show that they are here during a break time. They were more likely to be shown to ladies during a march or before a group cavalry match.
Well, I thought you didn’t like all those fancy decorations.
“I still hate you.”
“… I see.
He seemed to get the message and nodded. Lily beside him is tilting her head, and Mr. Biersted asks if he can explain. Mr. Biersted would be glad to see me win, so he wouldn’t say anything else.
I nod my head in agreement, and look through the catalogue of pictures for shields that the shopkeeper has brought from the back. I’m not going to use it anyway.
I’m sorry, but I was wondering if you’ve heard of the Viscount’s reputation.
Don’t worry so much about me. It’s true. You don’t want to say it, so I’ll say it.
“The Viscount Spender, or something like that.”
I don’t need that for now.
And I’m going off on a tangent, so I’ll get back to it. Mr. Bierstead nodded.
“Sometimes people believe what they want to believe. A reputation as a spendthrift viscount who’s only got the good looks to match his armor will be heard by the other side.”
I mean, part of what I’m asking you to do is to spread the word so they can hear, and I’m sure you understand that. But I don’t care if they don’t hear me. It’s not a loss.
“If you listen to him, you’ll get the impression that he’s a softy who only cares about appearances, who ordered armor rather than weapons.”
Lily seems to understand, but that’s what this is. This is just a deception. It’s only nice if they think we’re stupid, but it can be surprisingly effective, especially in this world. Especially in this world.
My spear was given to me by Mazel… and it can withstand a battle with a demon general. It’s not a magical spear but there aren’t many like it in King’s Landing. We don’t need to find weapons for it. A direct hit could kill you.
He closes the catalogue with a snap, prompting Lily to close it.
“Yes, sir. I look forward to working with you in the future.”
Well, we’ve got a lot to do today.
I’ll go back to Zehrfeldt Manor and make sure my father hasn’t come back yet. I’m sure he’s been briefed in the castle.
The herald has summoned us and not only Frensen but Neurath and Schunzel are waiting for us at Zierfeldt’s house. Norbert has prepared some plainclothes and we’ll smoke until we’re ready. Tirra has made us some tea today.
“I didn’t think it would cause such a stir.”
But now we know exactly who we’re dealing with. Now we have a chance to fight back.
“The Dauphin and the Prime Minister can’t be that naive.”
Neurath interrupts the conversation between him and Schünzel and everyone in the room looks surprised. They look as if they don’t understand. I’ve been following the conversation and I’ve finally come to the Prime Minister’s idea. My brain cells are boiling.
“Where do I start? Or maybe I’ll start with the fact that you made this a riotous event, a duel. What do you think?”
I’m going to ask you all a question. Frensen opens his mouth.
“First of all, this one’s out in the open.”
I can’t cover it up now.
“So now everyone knows that there’s a faction that’s trying to do injustice to the hero Mazel and the saint Laura. I think this was partly an accident, to be honest.”
No one, including the rest of the Delitzdomme, could have calculated that Kempel would put his own greed ahead of his own in this situation, much less that it would be brought to the attention of the rest of the department. If you could have thought that far ahead, you’d be a god.
“Instead of a closed-door trial, we’ve created a duel, an arena for a large audience. What happens now?”
“The false accusations against the heroes will be heard by many… I see. Word will spread to the surrounding lands, including Delitzsch Dam.”
“Frensen is right. Perhaps the other kingdoms wanted to use Mazel more or less as a weapon. But the Kingdom of Wein stood against it. At the expense of exposing the stupidity of their own nobility.”
I’d rather protect Mazel even if I have to go this far. But you’re still going to use me? We’ll have to prepare ourselves for an international incident if we interfere with Mazel’s quest to defeat the Demon Lord. And besides…
“And what will Mazel and the others think when they hear this rumor?”
It won’t be long before they realize they’re being taken advantage of. Laura and Erich can make political decisions and Feri’s instincts are off the charts. If Mazel and the others hear this rumor, they’ll have a very bad impression of Derridsdom.
Worst of all Delitzdom even risked that if they did anything strange to the Kingdom of Vine even after defeating the Demon King the brave Mazel and his men would be standing in the front lines.
“The other thing is, do you think a man of the Dauphin’s stature would challenge me to a fight he couldn’t win?”
That’s the whole point of this case. If you think about it, the fact that they can mention Delitzdam’s involvement before the trial even starts suggests that they’ve already investigated the whole backstory. Maybe they even have evidence against the Derridsdammers.
It’s more reasonable to assume that His Highness himself is taking the initiative because he has the evidence and that the Vine Kingdom is ready to take the initiative diplomatically.
In other words, the fact that he went to the trouble of bringing up this issue in an open forum called a duel, and that someone in his position as the crown prince stood in the forefront, was to use Delitzdam to tell the entire continent that ‘the heroes are under the protection of the Kingdom of Vine’ and at the same time to ask, ‘Are you prepared to take the heroes away from our country? Are you prepared to take the brave from our land? Is it your determination to take our heroes away from us?
The whole country has declared that they’re going to surround Mazel with brave men and whatever the outcome of the trial, it’s hard to complain since he was falsely accused.
It is a strong preemptive strike against the Church, which might say that brave men should not be under the rule of one nation, since the Church is involved in the trial. The Church may resent those involved in this matter for doing something stupid.
The Derridsdammers are probably more pale by now. They’re the ones who got the short end of the stick.
So you’ll immediately take action against those responsible?
“I don’t think he will.”
I respond negatively to Neurath’s statement. I have mixed feelings about mentioning this point, because it implies that I understand my position to be that way.
“Why did they bother with the duel?” Domestic Issues. Let me give you a hint. In politics, everyone’s on their guard at some point. But at a festival, you can’t help but be distracted. Especially at a festival, where you’re about to be humiliated by a bull’s-eye, how do you think it’s going to work?”
“If it’s a festival, you get together with your friends to watch them lose and get excited.”
Frensen muttered something like that and everyone but me looked at each other as if they had finally realized what he had said.
“The seats are naturally color-coded, right?”
That’s what it’s supposed to be. The eyes of the Dauphin and the Prime Minister will be at the duel. But they won’t care about the outcome of the duel… they’ll be looking to see who’s crowding around the High Priestess of Malavois and who’s browbeating the Marquises.
And now we’re gonna put eyes on the people around it. He’ll visit someone else. And then, down the line, we’ll have a list of everyone in their faction. We’ll be ready to round up the big boys as well as the little boys.
The dueling events are good fodder for building a list of people who interact with troublemakers. From that point of view, it doesn’t matter if I win or lose. Because once it’s held, the Dauphin will have a list of fools who don’t understand the gravity of the situation.
“Maybe the State will act like it’s only the Marquise of Koltoretsis for a while. Then, when they have proof, they’ll clean up the whole thing at once, including the church officials.”
When Mazel and I were summoned before the Prime Minister and the General he made it clear that he wanted to deal with at least half of them when the time was right. So cleaning up was already in the plan.
And he also invited Lily when he held the soiree. She must have wanted to confuse them as to who Mazel was dancing with, so she was going to use the fact that Mazel and Laura were traveling to stir things up.
Then perhaps His Highness the Dauphin’s carelessness means that he didn’t expect the Marquise Cortolezis to dance to the tune of another country’s flute even before he started to stir the pot.
Anyway, if we punish them now when some of them are dancing wildly, only some of them will be punished and the roots will remain. They’re using the trial as a sensational event by making it a duel so that they can make a list to “deal with more than half of them”.
I’m really scared that His Royal Highness the Crown Prince will use this issue to his advantage.
So, it’s very sad that the duel against the false accusation trial, which should be a hot topic for the common people, is a fishing pond to catch idiots politically, and I’m just the bait for them. It’s sad to realize it.
I’m sure you’ve already figured out what happens if I lose a duel, but that’s just it. I have my reasons for not losing.
“Master Werner, the commoner’s clothing is ready.”
Okay. Neurath and Schünzel go out with him.
Well, it looks like my results so far may be useful enough, but I’d like to make at least one more move.
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