Chapter 43: The Past of His Parent
At that moment, in the hall of Yuba’s house, four people gathered in one place.
In that place was Rio, Yuba, Gouki and Kayoko.
The people who came along with Kayoko and Gouki became their guards to prevent anyone from hearing their conversation.
「We truly apologise for suddenly borrowing your time, when Rio-sama is still busy」
Gouki expressed his courtesy in a most polite manner, along with a somehow awe-inspiring kneel.
Kayoko on his side was also trying to completely hide her apologetic expression from her face.
「Uhmm, I’ve yet to understand the core of the story though …… 」
In regards to being unable to fully understand the flow of their story, Rio indirectly expressed his wish for more explanation about the circumtances.
「In that regard, Gouki-dono is getting approval to tell the story of Rio’s parents」
To the confused Rio, Yuba told him the most simple explanation.
「The story of my parents, is it？ 」
Even if he knew that this was his long awaited moment, he was not agitated and asked with calm tone.
This was someone who had obviously come from one of the top most places of the social ladder, and from the fact that he showed his respect to Rio, maybe his circumstances were even more complex than what he thought.
「First is, let me see…. Today we’re calling upon Rio-sama to explain his parent circumstances」
Gouki told him that fact with a respectful tone.
Though there was a low probability of badly handling it, even Rio knew that, from today’s situation, it was not something to be heard without prior preparation.
「Anyway, we should sit first, right？」
Rio turned towards them and advising them to sit first, before hearing their story.
Though he really wanted them to refrain themselves from showing such courtesy, since the current situation didn’t give him the chance to ask, he decided to prioritise hearing their story.
Gouki excuse himself and sat slowly, followed by Kayoko.
「Well then, I should hear the story now, right?」
Replying with consent to Rio’s words, Gouki took a short breath and showed a somewhat melancholic expression.
「That’s right …….. This is something that happened around 20 years ago. First, let’s start with the story about Zen」
Zen, Rio’s father was a soldier who served the Karasuki kingdom.
At that time, the Karasuki kingdom was entering a tense relationship with the Rokuren kingdom, who was already antagonistic with them since long time ago, resulting in repeated skirmishes between those two kingdoms.
The whole kingdom was being burdened by heavy taxes, it also made the livelihood of Yuba’s village become harder.
「Nevertheless, Zen, who was the second son, volunteered himself to reduce the number of mouths to feed. One day, by some chance, he stumbled into a soldier recruitment」
When recalling those times, somehow Yuba showed a melancholic expression and muttered in a low voice.
Zen, who was a Spirit Arts genius in addition to his gifted physical constitution, was even gifted with a talent for martial arts.
Different from the Strahl region, where the Spirit Arts disappeared due to the introduction of magic, though they were very small in number, the people of the Yagumo region still used the Spirit Arts.
That kind of person was extremely valuable in war.
For Karasuki kingdom, who was a the state of Quasi-war, it didn’t take that much time for the soldier called Zen to distinguish himself.
Despite just being a skirmish, he decapitated the enemies heads one by one, when his troops faced a crisis he volunteered himself to be left with the rear unit; he always returned alive no matter how hopeless the situation.
To give praise to that achievement, Zen was awarded with a medal from the kingdom and was hailed as a hero of the kingdom.
「Since that time, Zen became a samurai who served the kingdom. Though a person who became a new samurai would have a sparring match with a senior as a custom, that guy’s ability was the real deal」
Gouki was the one that appointed to test Zen’s ability with a match.
At that time, Gouki was charged with the job of being a protector of the royalty despite his youth, he was the most prominent master in the kingdom at that time.
Though his movements were self-taught, Zen’s ability rivaled Gouki’s.
Though the result was Gouki’s victory by narrow margin, if Zen learnt formal sword arts, Gouki knew that the one who would lose might be himself.
「Dear me, though it was called a sparring match, it’s not that often I face a battle that rouses my soul as much as that, that’s how much of a battle it was」
Gouki said that with a deep tone, as if being deeply moved when he recalled that time.
Kayoko smiled lightly on seeing the state of her husband.
Zen, who proved his ability with that match, along with Gouki’s strong recommendation, entered the post along with Gouki and became a protector of royalty.
「And that royalty was, Ayame-sama」 [TL : SURPRISEEEE!!!!]
When he heard that his mother was the kingdom’s royalty, Rio showed a clearly surprised expression.
Though he already guessed that his parent were people of a somewhat high pedigree, the word “Royalty” was never in his prediction.
Seeing Rio’s reaction, Gouki and Kayoko were unable to hold their laughter.
Though Ayame’s position terms of throne inheritance wasn’t that high, she was a widely famous woman in the neighborhood of the kingdom due to her beauty.
Zen, who was the rising star at that time, was appointed to become her escort.
Though there wasn’t any problem due to his military exploit, there were some points he was lacking, like family standing and education. At first, many people envied him for those reasons.
「However, also being charged with the protection of Ayame-sama was this Gouki and Kayoko. My wife comes from a prominent family lineage, even amongst the senior samurai families. Though Kayoko’s family is also a little special, it’s still an influential one 」
With those two sticking to Zen, there was not that much of a problem as Zen was doing his best with his duty to protect Ayame.
In addition, Zen and Ayame’s relationship was also a favourable one; Zen taught many things regarding the outside world to Ayame, who was ignorant about it.
Just like Gouki and Kayoko, it didn’t take that long for them to be attracted to each other as a man and woman.
Even from an outsider’s perspectives, it was easy to see through their feelings for each other.
Being interested in Zen, sometimes they would also travel incognito to stay in the village, Zen’s hometown.
But, despite being hailed as a hero[eiyuu], Zen was warrior that rose from a commoner[upstart], and Ayame was royalty.
The difference of social status between them was too big, and Zen was being pressured by that thought.
「At that time, the Rokuren kingdom sent a ceasefire proposal to our kingdom」
The cease-fire had happened so many times during the long time of war.
Though the Rokuren kingdom was the one that always broke it first, even the Karasuki kingdom didn’t wish to prolong the war, from the point of view of national treasury. Thus they always accepted the ceasefire.
The ceasefire was being celebrated, also to let the kingdom’s citizens vent their dissatisfaction, a grand ceremony was held in the royal capital of the Karasuki kingdom.
The prince of Rokuren also came as an ambassador for entering the ceasefire.
The ceasefire agreement also passed nicely; later the prince was supposed to go back to his home country without any incident.
But, the evening of that day, someone kidnapped Ayame.
The culprit was the assistant of the Rokuren kingdom’s prince, who belonged to a dark side that came the conclusion of the ceasefire agreement.
Zen, who was protecting Ayame from the back splendidly, managed to capture that person.
Though some circumstances were omitted, having been trained to commit suicide with an unknown ability, that person was dead.
The next day, while the Karasuki kingdom side asked for explanation of this matter, the Rokuren kingdom prince was angry with reason that his assistant was brutally murdered.
Despite the fact that their opponent is the one who’s starting all of this event, due the sudden death of the culprit, Karasuki kingdom side decided to treat this case with caution.
But, the Rokuren kingdom’s prince wouldn’t give a shit about it, and made a fuss of himself going all the way to the enemy kingdom, only to be betrayed like that.
The negotiations of both kingdom were going down the drain, just like that, the situation was almost forced the breaking of the ceasefire agreement.
「In that situation, the Rokuren kingdom prince made another point to fix the ceasefire agreement」
Gouki continued his story, with tone as if he was chewing his anger.
「The execution of Zen, who personally killed his assistant, and a demand for Ayame」
The fact was that it was truly a shameless demand.
Though he didn’t know how to describe the situation, but from Gouki’s tone, there was a rumour saying that the prince of the Rokuren kingdom was a distasteful man, whose hobby was philandering on women with his sadism.
If they just let go of Ayame like that, it was easy to imagine what kind of treatment she would get.
In the first place, the ceasefire agreement came from the Rokuren kingdom; maybe their aim was Ayame all along.
They could not help but distrust the Rokuren side.
But, sometimes even that kind of shameless demand couldn’t be avoided in diplomacy.
With superb preparation, the Rokuren kingdom prince used his own vassal to distort the summarised story, regarding the truth about that incident, in the capital.
Agitating an unrest in the citizens, regarding the news that the long awaited ceasefire agreement was on the verge of breaking, it was said that they were manipulating the public opinion to favour the conclusion of ceasefire agreement. [TL :how very like of that accursed current president of Indonesia and his bosses, who sold their own country]
The citizen dissatisfaction kept piling up and just like that situation, Ayame was to be sent to the Rokuren kingdom.
And, in the kingdom itself, the number of the nobles who were favouring the war wasn’t few in number, either.
Though they could hold their dissatisfaction with the royalty, that was only on the surface.
Though, if the truth of the incident was being told to the citizen it might light their wrath, in that case they couldn’t escape from the fate of war, just for the sake of smearing mud on the Rokuren kingdom’s honour.
Though the Rokuren kingdom actions were breaking international laws from one point, by making the first strike, the Karasuki kingdom faced against a disadvantageous position.
But, the Karasuki kingdom no longer trusted the Rokuren kingdom.
While it might be true that they were temporarily accepting the Rokuren kingdom’s demand, for the sake of fulfilling the conditions for ceasefire, there were many doubts regarding it.
They could not just swallow the Rokuren kingdom’s demand.
On the other hand, it might affect the ceasefire agreement if they announced the truth of the incident, and that would cause an outbreak of conflicts which would drive the warfront into a corner.
They were forced to enter a state of war while pinning the dissatisfaction from a portion of the noble and citizen, furthermore the Karasuki kingdom had to knead an excellent plan to triumph over that situation.
「Thus, his majesty pretending to accept those demands to the public, and gave a secret order for Zen and Ayame-sama to flee」
They could bide their time, temporarily, with the Rokuren kingdom and the noble opposition.
One man and the king carried out a secret operation during that time.
With a scale which couldn’t be sniffed out by the Rokuren kingdom and the opposing domestic nobles, picking the most elite amongst the samurai organisation’s fighters to dispatch them without being found by the Rokuren kingdom.
「The samurai who were dissatisfied with the Rokuren kingdom were gathered in that operation, including me. The morale of the samurai who participated in that operation was soaring through the heavens」
Soon after that, Zen fled while taking along Ayame.
The Karasuki kingdom announced that news.
Of course, the Rokuren kingdom’s indignation was not a joke.
Though many complaints from those who opposed war were directed to Ayame and Zen, thanks to that, they successfully directed the mood to start a war with the enemy kingdom.
Later, the prince of the Rokuren kingdom returned to his kingdom due to anger, which become the trigger to the beginning of the war.
Karasuki kingdom gathered a large army as a diversion, attracting the attention so that the secret unit could go to the Rokuren kingdom.
Of course, they had no choice but to secretly move in the middle of war to ambush the Rokuren kingdom; thus the large army being dispatched where they would start their operation.
Thus the Rokuren kingdom’s troops on national border had a glaring contest with the Karasuki kingdom’s troops, without knowing that the elite troops of the Karasuki kingdom’s samurai had already infiltrated into their kingdom.
The samurai’s elite troops were responsible for delivering grievous, one sided damage to the Rokuren kingdom.
Though the rear side of the Rokuren kingdom also moved quickly, they were unable to leave the battlefield and disregard the enemies facing them.
When the elite troops quickly retreated before they were counter attacked, finally the Karasuki kingdom’s main forces began their attack on the Rokuren kingdom’s troops.
Though the Rokuren kingdom’s main troops didn’t have any choice but to face it, a great disturbance happened in the middle of the battle, caused by the few elite samurai coming from behind and easily taking the head of their general.
The Rokuren kingdom prince was also mixed amongst the captured prisoners during that campaign.
Undoubtedly, that was the greatest historical victory of the Karasuki kingdom.
「The Rokuren kingdom once again frantically proposing a ceasefire agreement」
Gouki showed a really happy expression when he told Rio about the events during that time.
The Rokuren kingdom’s side admitted that they were fully responsible for causing the war, and the prince, who was the mastermind behind that event, was executed in front of the citizens by the Karasuki kingdom. Furthermore, they had to pay a large amount of money to compensate for the damage caused by the war .
The citizen’s dissatisfaction lessened due to the compensation from the kingdom.
The Rokuren kingdom’s national power greatly declined, and now they had become a vassal state of the Karasuki kingdom, that situation wasn’t something that came with war.
It was seen as a huge success for the king, who passed the final judgement on seeing the results.
But, though they had a chance for victory, it was a fact that he deceived his own citizens, which will turned into an unfavourable deadlock, with just a single mistake.
That was why it become unavoidable for him to explain the true reason for the outbreak of the war, it became necessary treat the case of Zen and Ayame desertion as only running away because they’re scared of war.
They even put them on the wanted list in the neighbouring kingdom.
Thanks to that, they lost their place and were forced to flee all the way till the Strahl region.
At that time, it was completely obvious, even to the king, that Ayame and Zen had fallen in love with each other.
But, the high wall called social position wouldn’t let those two become a couple.
Maybe because she was almost turned into a woman who would become the plaything of that evil prince of the enemy kingdom, and with that unwillingness, even if it meant bridging the relationship between the two kingdoms, she entrusted her everything to Zen; even if that meant that she will life the live of fugitive, and always go along with great danger during their journey to a far away place.
The actions of Ayame and Zen were seen as treason against their own kingdom.
To add one thing after another, when it came to Zen, his crime was desertion and kidnapping of royalty.
Their secret was guarded carefully as a top secret of the Karasuki kingdom, the ones who knew the truth was Yuba, who was Zen’s mother, and part of kingdom’s upper echelon.
And Yuba was unable to tell Rio about his parents due to the king’s order.
「We were always regretting the fact that we were unable to do anything to help Ayame-sama 」
Gouki and Kayoko showed a sad expression.
At that time, inside Kayoko’s belly dwelled the life of Hayate, Gouki son.
Politically, the desertion was treated as “due to Zen’s recklessness” regarding his duty to protect Ayame, while Gouki and Kayako remained in the Karasuki kingdom.
「But, few days ago, a letter from Yuba-dono arrived. The content said that Ayame-sama and Zen’s son was staying in her village」
It might be referring to another person but, he say that Yuba was his grandmother.
Though he didn’t have anything as evidence to his identify, whether Rio was the real deal or a fake one, the possibility that Yuba made a mistake in her judgement was low.
Thus, Gouki immediately reported about that letter to the king, seeking for further instruction.
And then, they were to judge with their own eyes and if they were convinced that Rio is Zen and Ayame’s son, they were ordered to bring Rio to royal capital after telling him his parent’s past.
Gouki, who receiving that order, carefully picked his most trusted subordinates, then immediately came to the village in a hurry.
「Thus I was overcome by emotions to the point that I offered my bow when I’m looking at Rio-sama countenance. I’ve no doubt that you’re Ayame-sama’s son*」 [TL : Poor Zen]
Even Rio had no choice but be a little hasty.
That was just how much he was similiar to Ayame.
Today, he couldn’t help but recall the face of his dead mother.
「Rio-sama, his majesty wishes to meet you. How about it, will you have no problem to coming along with me ? 」
Gouki told him that as if urging him with sincere tone.
「Meeting with his majesty ……」
For the time being, that person was Rio’s grandfather.
Though he didn’t want to, he was unable to deny that request in that kind of situation.
It seems they wouldn’t leave, either.
The safety was guaranteed by looking at Gouki personality thus far.
Rio gave his agreement to that wish, despite smiling wryly due to the most unexpected development.
Gouki’s expression instantly turned into a joyful one.
「Thank you very much！ Now, I’ll explain the circumtances to the people in this place. Those people’s ability is real; his majesty and I guarantee that they’re trusted people of the dark side of this kingdom. They’ll become our convoy in the journey until we reach the royal capital」
After saying that, Gouki’s subordinates kneeling once again before Rio to show their loyalty.