Chapter 258: Gaze at Both Sides of the Shield
The night of the next day.
I was watching over Ren’s studying, when he suddenly let out a deep sigh.
“What’s up? If you don’t concentrate, you’ll never learn the language.” (Naofumi)
If you don’t have the motivation to learn, I’m not going to teach you.
“Ah… Just a bit. Won’t you hear me out?” (Ren)
“That depends on the content.” (Naofumi)
“As I thought. Actually, it’s about Eclaire-san.” (Ren)
Eclaire… Female Knight?
Just by hearing her name, I feel that this is going to be a pain.
However, I’m slightly curious as to why Ren would sigh over her.
“Did that woman cause any problems again?” (Naofumi)
Is it time to send her back to the castle yet?
Since Ren has begun working on his own, there’s no point in me having her around.
Right now, she’s sparring with Atlas outside of my house.
“Did something happen?” (Naofumi)
“Well, that is…” (Ren)
Apparently it happened around noon.
Some reckless thieves tried to go after them while they were peddling.
Even though everyone from my place has the ability to crush a bandit group or two.
I think the group Ren usually goes out with is Taniko’s.
No matter how many bandits we capture, they still keep popping up.
But that doesn’t really matter.
According to Ren, they subjugated the bandits immediately, and tied them up.
“Oy, jump up and down. I can see that you’re still hiding something.” (Taniko)
Taniko uses her magic to threaten the bandits like a gangster. She even takes all of their small change.
The threatened bandits desperately look to Ren for help.
“Wyndia. There’s really no need for you to do that.” (Ren)
“Shut up.” (Taniko)
Ren is shut up immediately, and Taniko continues extorting the bandits.
And at that point, even Ren starts to feel sorry for them. He grasps her shoulder and pulls her back.
Recently, Taniko’s developed a sort of switch. She occasionally becomes very dark and negative.
In the village, she happily plays with Gaelion, the Caterpillands, and the other monsters.
She occasionally goes over to see Rat as well.
Because of her switch, Gaelion has come to consult me as well.
I’ll have to think of something.
“Really, where could you have learned such a thing…” (Ren)
“It doesn’t matter where, does it? More importantly, they still have some valuables, so move over.” (Taniko)
Ren sighs at seeing how bad Taniko’s upbringing was. Female Knight, who was busy tying up the other bandits, heard them and came over.
Taniko was in for a long lecture… she thought.
But Female Knight went over to the bandits that were being threatened.
“Hey, jump. You still have some valuables in your possession, do you not? How does it feel? To have your things taken instead?” (Female Knight)
She starts threatening them with her sword.
What does this mean?
Within my village, I thought she was on the honest side…
“O-oy… What happened to you!?” (Ren)
“Wyndia, help me carve the consequences of their crimes into their bodies.” (Female Knight)
“Now Jump!” (Female Knight and Taniko)
As the bandits jump, coins scatter across the floor.
The ground was covered with several copper and silver coins.
“Really, you could have just handed them over…” (Female Knight)
“What the hell are you doing!?” (Ren)
Ren got over his initial shock, and shouted as Female Knight kicked the bandits around with a cold expression, while loading them onto the carriage.
“Ren, this is a necessary evil. For someone who makes a good life off taking the belongings of others, it’s necessary for them to feel what it’s like to get taken from. They need to learn from experience.” (Female Knight)
After that, they turned them in to a nearby town, but Ren had believed that Female Knight was normally not a person to do such things.
But no matter how far he pressed her, she never gave an honest response.
“So that’s why you were troubled?” (Naofumi)
What could have caused this change?
I can’t think of a reason why that stupidly stubborn Knight would go so far.
If there was one, it would be related to that brainwashing incident…
“Call Female Knight… Eclaire over.” (Naofumi)
We call Female Knight inside from her training.
After a while, she enters the room.
I reiterate Ren’s story, and ask.
“What sort of change is this? To you, weren’t all of my actions cruel and unjust?” (Naofumi)
“Ah, so it’s about that.” (Female Knight)
Female Knight has a philosophic expression as she turns to me.
What? It’s rare for that diligent knight to make such a face.
“Do you remember that incident the other day?” (Female Knight)
“Up ‘til that point, I thought it was best for me to only follow the justice I believed in. However, I realized that their justice also had some logical points.” (Female Knights)
“It did?” (Naofumi)
They had no logic, and their arguments were all over the place.
“I’m not sure what they told you, Iwatani-dono, but this is what they were screaming at me: 『In order to make a world without Discrimination, we can’t allow them to give Demi-Humans preferential treatment.』『Even those that take can only live by taking. They have their own situations.』” (Female Knight)
I’m not sure about the first one, but how about the second?
“There was definitely some logic. The second person added on, 『If it’s wrong to take from people, then how about monsters? There’s no reason for us to think about reaping crops. It’s human pride. For the sake of asserting out rights, we are waging this rebellion.』”
“You know…” (Naofumi)
That’s like saying that bullying is right because the bully has reasons for bullying.
Even if that’s true, that doesn’t make it right.
I have no reason to empathize with those messed up zombies. Just hearing their arguments makes me tired.
“By that logic, I who aides one side of a war is definitely evil to the other. But still, I have my justice. That’s what I believed. Even so, I kept seeing the people I protected, the people I trusted turning on me. Then what is justice… It must be something that constantly changes. The second I thought that, my own justice began to collapse. Perhaps I was evil from the start.” (Female Knight)
“So that’s why you’ve given up your honesty, and started doing bad acts?” (Naofumi)
That’s way too extreme of a change.
She was always one who over fixated on small things, but she was still fundamentally a good person.
Just because your opinion clashes with others, that doesn’t mean one of them is wrong.
“You’re wrong.” (Female Knight)
“What’s wrong?” (Naofumi)
“Doing what you believe to be correct is definitely important. But there’s a flaw in living only by that belief. In the end, it leads to using violence to solve problems, and silencing all that prove to be flaws. It’s merely an endless cycle.” (Female Knight)
“No matter how you’re trying to live, your way of thought is too out there.” (Naofumi)
I thought she was idiotically diligent, but isn’t she getting a little strange in the head?
Perhaps I’ll have to throw her in solitary for a while.
“And while I was worrying about all of this, I recalled my father, and Iwatani-dono.” (Female Knight)
“… Why me?” (Naofumi)
“In a country of human superiority, my father established a land that favoured Demi-Humans. But were his actions truly correct? And Iwatani-dono continuously performs evil and brutality, but…” (Female Knight)
By evil, do you mean my treatment of bandits?
I don’t really think that taking from them is particularly evil.
“If you change perspective, my father is the one who broke the rule of human superiority. Even so, I don’t think his way of thought was wrong. But evil is evil, and the one who continued to protect this land was father. There’s no way… he did something that could be called a crime to humanity.”
Well it’s not like I can deny that.
The Queen is the one who administers this country, and she does use her power to silence nobles.
There’s a possibility that nobles who take unnecessary action are fated to get into accidents.
No, unless they cause an incident of this level, I don’t think she would execute them.
She’s more of the type to control their actions from behind the curtain.
“And the answer that came to me was one I learned by Iwatani-dono’s example. That is my conclusion” (Female Knight)
“Hah?” (Naofumi and Ren)
Both I and Ren make the same noise.
I can’t follow what part of the previous conversation led to this.
“Iwatani-dono is loved by his Demi-humans. Even if they are supposed to be separated by the wall known as master and slave. That isn’t just because he is the Hero of the Shield. However, Iwatani-dono calmly perpetuates acts of evil. Yet still, the people follow him… It’s because he has the resolution to do evil for the sake of his allies.” (Female Knight)
“That wasn’t really my intention…” (Naofumi)
“Don’t be humble. I had misinterpreted the words father left to me. 『Live nobly, without any regrets.』 I think he was asking me not to become like him… But I want to become a person like my father. I want to be a noble who fights for the people.” (Femals Knight)
“And how does that lead to extorting from bandits?” (Naofumi)
“A long journey starts with the first step. Iwatani-dono and the people living here do whatever they can to make as much profit as possible. It was something I had labelled as evil, yet it was done with resolve.” (Female Knight)
Is that how it is?
No, Female Knight is being less stubborn, so I guess I can say she’s grown a bit. But that growth is in quite a strange direction. It’s a bit scary.
If handled badly, this may become the thought process of a tyrant.
“Ren, this one’s head is getting strange. I leave her guidance to you.” (Naofumi)
“A-ah… I’ll do what I can.” (Ren)
Ren has a better sense for these things than me. He might be good medicine.
From continuously witnessing malicious acts, she began to be dyed with evil… Since she lost her parents, she had no one to lead her back on track.
Though I shouldn’t really be the one to say it.
“In the lands my father liked, Silt Welt, and Shild Freiden, theres a saying like this. 『Gaze at both sides of the Shield』. Don’t just gaze at the front, look to the back as well. On the other side of glory, there is tyranny and disgrace. One can only make a judgment after carefully observing both the good and bad of a situation.” (Female Knight)
A word very familiar to me appears here?
No, my Shield may just be translating another word as Shield.
“Iwatani-dono is a one who displays both sides readily, I believe. His actions on his territory are worthy of respect, and he performs tyranny in order to protect his territory. In order to protect his people, even if he is a Hero chosen by god, he will dye himself with evil.” (Female Knight)
Female Knight’s eyes seem to have reached enlightenment.
She seems very excited.
Once she starts believing something, she’ll follow it to the death, this one.
I thought she had become more flexible, but… Her explanation leaves some to be desired.
“And so, I’ve decided to study land management under Iwatani-dono. Eventually, once Iwatani-dono leaves, I’ll protect this land with Raphtalia.” (Female Knight)
Gu… She hit a good point.
Yeah. I was worried over what would happen once I left this world.
Even if the Queen prevents Demi-Human discrimination, the people may eventually revolt.
The Demi-Human slaves had always been abused as a source of labor.
If the people were to see such Demi-Humans walking around normally in broad daylight…
It may be peaceful now, but plots are already in action, and the chance that my village will cease to exist isn’t zero.
We may have gotten rid of the extremist faction, but there’s no telling what the moderate faction will become.
And then, my village will be swallowed whole.
For its survival, Demi-Humans would have to be given preferential treatment, and political aide.
So Female Knight’s words aren’t wrong.
“I understand your thought. But extortion is going too far.” (Naofumi)
“What are you saying? I merely imitated what Iwatani-dono was doing.” (Female Knight)
…Ah. When I took care of bandits with Female Knight, I did say the same things.
Though Female Knight complained to me afterwards.
She was just imitating me?
“Naofumi… you did such things?” (Ren)
Ren looks over me with doubtful eyes.
“There’s was no choice! And doesn’t this country have way too many bandits as it is?” (Naofumi)
“Now that you mention it, that’s true. I get the feeling that when we were summoned, public order was being kept better.” (Ren)
Though most of them were probably just in hiding.
There’s also the fact that I’ve expanded trade routes, and distribution recently.
The Accessory Merchant passionately gave me a speech on expansion.
The appearance of the Spirit Turtle, and the country’s internal conflict caused a surge of nervousness among the populace. In order to protect their lives, many people have loosened their purse strings.
Some merchants want to hop on to the bandwagon, and get with this flow of money.
With food shortages and such, there are plenty of potential money trees around.
Perhaps the sudden increase of commerce has caused the amount of bandits to naturally increase.
Some unruly adventurers made a guild to gather money behind closed doors, while amassing forces apparently.
That’s what’s now known as this world’s Bandit Guild.
I don’t really have any relation to them, but the Adventurer Guild, the Merchant Guild, the Knight Brigades, the Church… Currently the Four Hero one… They’re all supporting one another.
When they first got here, I think Ren and the others began earning at the Adventurer Guild.
I’m not someone who would get hired. I’m more on the hiring side, so they’re unrelated to me.
Returning to topic.
For a Bandit Guild to emerge, it must be a den of criminals.
Since acting alone is dangerous, ruffians get together, and profit off of attacking merchants and towns.
The Spirit Turtle incident has, for various reasons, messed up the public order in Melromark.
“I may have to perform a grand sweep of them soon.” (Naofumi)
“But what will you do?” (Ren)
“I have an idea.” (Naofumi)