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Chapter 226 Determination
“Baron Messi and General Gazelle are fighting for Tasmeria. But the opposition seems strong…”
“Grandfather seems to value speed, only bringing a few of his best troops to the frontline. I’ve heard that there will be further support sent afterwards?”
“Indeed. Did Mistress tell you?”
“I see. The second shipment of troops has already left. At their current speed, they should arrive in a day or two.”
“That sounds good. No matter how strong Grandfather is, he can’t ignore a difference in numbers.”
“…Other than that, although this is only a rumor at the moment, the Towair Kingdom seems to have sent out both military and civilian troops.”
“Civilians? Aren’t regular, untrained people useless on a battlefield?”
“I would say that you’re correct on that count. As a matter of fact, even though we’re at a disadvantage in terms of numbers, the circumstances on the battlefield are still seesawing back and forth. But they seem very enthusiastic in battle…so we don’t know how much longer we can hold out.”
“…The people are enthusiastic for battle?”
Originally I’d assumed that it was the result of a draft. But if that were the case, there would be no bloodlust.
“Yes. It seems there was a famine in the Towair Kingdom last year.”
“…I think I’ve heard about something like that. So that’s the case. It seems that war is their last resort.”
Did they intend to face death together in the desperate situation of having no food, no resources, and no future?
Or were they planning to seize rich territories for their loved ones…devoting themselves to war for the sake of hope?
They were caught between a rock and a hard place.
It seemed like the people weren’t being forced to choose one over another.
“Maybe this is me overthinking things…but Divan might’ve decided to utilize the occasion of a famine, manipulating it for his own purposes.”
I couldn’t help but think that.
No matter what, if remaining behind meant dying, then most people would want to seize upon the last straw, or perhaps search for their own value.
“How could this be, that’s…”
“Just my conjecture at the moment.”
“But Miss Iris. Why would someone cut off their own retreat, and push themselves into an even more dangerous place?”
“What would the result of that be? Tanya, do you think that humans backed into a corner can retain their rationality?”
Tanya hesitated when I turned the question on her.
“A barren earth, financial pressures piling up from the previous war. How far can you sustain yourself by just working the land? Poverty, starvation, the lack of social security resulting from those factors, plus the dissatisfaction and unease spreading…how long can people sit on their hands and endure everything?”
Meanwhile, there was sweet fruit ripe for the picking neighboring them: the rich, expansive territories of the Tasmeria Kingdom.
It’s not strange that anyone would wonder “Why is this happening to our country…”, “Why is everything so unfair…”, building up envy and unhappiness.
“Perhaps the government decided to go to war to remove the possibility of their people accusing them of wrongdoing.”
“So this is the result of the people hoping for conflict?”
“Every stream in this world matches the river. Even if every drop of water wishes to turn a different direction, they can’t hope to betray the direction of the larger flow. As such, even if there were individuals who wished to avoid war, they couldn’t hope to oppose the larger current. Eventually everyone moves in the same direction, thinking ‘there’s no other way’, ‘this is our last resort’.”
Hadn’t this already happened in my previous life?
In a swirl of dissatisfaction, people gather around people and things that have the potential to interrupt their current reality.
Isn’t that how most things work?
“Especially if someone wanted to use this situation to instigate the crowd…the more they interfere, the more the situation would degenerate into a strong current sweeping in a singular direction. At this point, the instigator probably can’t control things any longer.”
Now it was impossible to find out if instigators acted to change the target of dissatisfaction, or just to avenge themselves upon us?
The reason wasn’t just that we weren’t on the same side. They probably didn’t even know the answer anymore.
Gradually, methods became ends. In the end they can only dedicate themselves to victory.
Any other path than that probably leads to a dead end for them.
“We’ve gotten a little off-topic. Even civilians might be difficult for Grandfather to deal with.”
“Yes. But I’m sure Master will quickly come to the conclusion that they must fight their own battles.”
“Indeed. Thank you for your report, Tanya. If there’s any further developments, please let me know.”
After Tanya departed, I moved closer to the window once again.
This time I didn’t sit on the window sill. Instead I stood there, looking at the scenery, then down at my hands.
War had begun.
Where would this savage, cruel current sweep us?
And where would it end?
…I couldn’t allow myself to be swept up.
Nor to be swallowed up.
Because if I surrender, if I lose my way, I won’t be the only one drowning.
To confront my own determination once more, I stood there for quite a while longer.