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That’s an expression meaning “Rushing towards Great Ambitions” on the Seldeas Continent.
From ancient times until the present, the lords and monarchs, trying to dominate the continent’s western area, all together attempted to get their hands on the city of Bolnis.
That’s not only because of Bolnis being a geographically important location acting as entrance door to the Solbiant Plains, the vast grain-producing area in the north, but also because of Bolnis playing a leading role in education, arts and industry for a long period of time.
In other words, it’s no exaggeration to call Bolnis the heart of the western region. For those aiming to conquest the western regions, seizing Bolnis was truly nothing but “Rushing towards Great Ambitions.”
And the one who “obtained Bolnis” as historically first is the Divine Child of Destruction Soma Kisaki.
The Bolnis of that time was no more than one of many frontier cities.
Even the Solbiant Plains, which have turned into a world-leading grain-producing area in the present time, were mostly no more than wilderness and savannah untouched by human hands. And thanks to the zoan opposing the humans, the reclamation had come to a standstill.
And that’s not all. Back then the major powers, located close to the center of the continent, acted as heart of culture and industry, or in other words, developed countries. In contrast to them, the city of Bolnis, which was located in the far western region and moreover a simple provincial city, had a development level, making it presumptuous to speak of culture and industry.
However, thanks to the Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki, Bolnis experienced a large transformation.
The wilderness of the huge, northern Solbiant Plains turned into a productive grain-producing area, and Bolnis itself changed from a single, poor backwater city into an important commercial hub, exporting the vast amounts of agricultural produce procured from the plains.
Furthermore, the transformation didn’t stop at that.
Within a mere few years after the Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki took over Bolnis’ government, a culture of education and arts bloomed profusely, and the industry as well as the technology advanced at a breathtaking speed.
Having been questioned about this, the Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki is said to have answered the following:
“That’s only natural, isn’t it? I’m from a different world than the others.”
What epitome of arrogance.
I remember how I shuddered at the pride of the Divine Child of Destruction Soma Kisaki for being able to clearly state that he’s in a different world compared to other people without even trying to restrict his own statement to him merely surpassing others or him being blessed by luck.
However, the development of Bolnis back then was so aberrant that you can’t deny it.
On the other hand this aberrant growth apparently required the government to be rigorous enough to make such development possible.
What allowed me to infer that assumption is a passage from the “Gossip Anthology” written by the philosopher Sennes. The “Gossip Anthology,” which starts with the famous opening phrase “According to the whispers of the wind,” compiles the circulating rumors on the streets in those days.
Following is written in that anthology about the time when Soma Kisaki entered the city right after the decisive battle over Bolnis:
“According to the whispers of the wind, the Divine Son of Destruction Soma Kisaki, who had defeated General Darius, entered the city accompanied by an army of sub-races.
It’s said that he first made the feudal lord’s seat his own and summoned the city’s officials and influential people. Once they had gathered, he forced them to submit to his rule by announcing “Those not obeying me will be beheaded.” The city’s influential people and officials trembled in fear and fell prostrate in front of him, unable to not pledge their fealty.”
To the utmost this was no more than the gossip on the streets, but if one takes the deeds of the later Soma Kisaki into account, those are definitely not unfounded rumors either.
However, what kind of governmental system he actually adopted faded into the darkness of history due to the Book Burning during the Big Reformation Period and the flow of time amounting to almost 1,500 years.
However, at least there’s likely no doubt that the foundation that supported the later Soma Kisaki’s advance was something which had been built up during his rule over Bolnis.
— An excerpt from 『The Divine Son of Destruction in light of Bolnis’ History』
The next day after the Decisive Battle over Bolnis.
Sitting on a bed inside a room of the feudal lord’s residence, Souma leaked a deep groan.
Even though he had become the ruler of Bolnis in name and reality after having defeated the highly decorated Darius, Holmea’s best general, there’s absolutely no joy reflected on his face. All he pulled was a very, very anguished expression.
“Shit! I’m an idiot, a big and utter fool! For things to have turned out like this…!”
Words of extreme regret streamed out of Souma’s mouth.
At that moment, a zoan girl – Shyemul – that held a small jar enters the room.
As if unable to watch the suffering Souma any longer, Shyemul shook her head slightly and then sat down next to him.
“Here’s some water. Drink this and calm down a bit.”
Souma accepted the small jar held out by Shyemul and gulped its contents down in one go.
“How is it? Did it work?”
Being asked that by Shyemul who took back the empty jar, Souma turns his teary eyes towards her and replies with a hoarse voice,
“…I still feel very bad.”
Shyemul pressed her hands against her hips and sighed deeply.
“You’ve drunk too much alcohol, you idiot.”
Souma’s first day as ruler of Bolnis began with a hangover.
After the battle, Souma ordered to have the injured treated and the prisoners tied up. Then he grandly returned to Bolnis while taking his main staff along.
It was for the sake of showing the residents that they are the rulers governing over the city for a long period to come and not just some rowdy gang that controlled the city temporarily.
The ones awaiting Souma and the others, who had such triumphal return, were the influential and famous people of the city who brought alcohol and meat as congratulatory gifts for the victory.
Even though they had treated Souma’s group as festering tumor until then, those people congratulated their victory with smiles plastered all over their faces while abasing themselves. As he had only gotten through a life-endangering battle, Souma, who became somewhat angry, couldn’t help but to reflexively utter the scandalous remark, “What a slick lot.”
However, their behavior was all to reasonable.
Pillaging and violence by the soldiers after an intense battle is an eternal occurrence. In order to protect the residents from that, it’s very natural to request the protection from the general of the winning army by giving them gifts.
He didn’t feel overly good about that, but there was no way for Souma to treat the people, with whom he will associate from now on, with disdain. After once again giving the city’s influential and famous people the firm promise that he won’t hurt the residents for no reason, Souma sent them away.
Just when he was troubled what to do with the offered alcohol and meat in front of him, Zurgu and Dvalin arrived, seemingly having gotten wind of it somewhere.
“Oh, it looks like you got booze!” Dvalin says.
“Oh, it seems you got plenty of meat!” Zurgu says.
The two said in unison as if they had arranged so beforehand.
“We have to hold a victory party!”
And then, overhearing that, Garam and Jahangil joined as well and the preparations for a victory party cheerfully began. All these egoists, who always clash with each other, only band together for a greater cause at such times, Souma ends up unconsciously smiling wryly.
“Please enjoy yourself without letting loose too much, okay?”
Although we won the battle, there’s a great number of prisoners, who used to be our enemies until a little while ago, waiting outside the city. It won’t be funny if we lose after getting overrun by the prisoners at the moment our troops are dead drunk from the booze.
Souma intended to give them a light warning after thinking so, but just at that moment, all of them look at each other with equally odd expressions. After the strange silence continued for a while, Shyemul, who represented everyone, said to Souma,
“Why are you talking as if it’s someone else’s business? You have to participate as well, Soma.”
“No, I will refrain from that.”
Souma himself had no intention to partake in the party.
In this time’s battle no only the enemy soldiers of Holmea, but also their own troops have suffered considerable losses.
If one includes the heavily wounded, who are going to pass away anytime soon, their losses amounted to a little less than 200. And it’s said that the majority of those losses are the zoan who charged at the heavy spear infantry that boasted numbers several times their own.
However, Garam, who had confirmed the overall state, was rather delighted that they had surprisingly few losses for having fought an enemy owning more than five times as many troops.
But even so, Souma, who felt a sense of obligation due to a considerable number of people having died under his command, wasn’t convinced that easily.
In the end, the one who remonstrated the wavering Souma was Shyemul.
“The warriors won’t understand why their comrades had to die without a victory celebration, right?”
I see, Souma thought.
The victory party is not only for the sake of recognizing the accomplishments of the survivors and celebrating the triumph in battle, but also serves as memorial service for those who died.
Understanding that, Souma decided that he will participate in the party, but remembering himself getting drunk with alcohol when he visited this city for the first time, he planned to quietly join at the edge of the party.
However, that was naive thinking.
If it’s a victory party, it’s only natural for the ones, who achieved great meritorious deeds in the battle, to play the leading role.
For example the person who saved the zoan on the verge of being destroyed no sooner than appearing in the plains by himself, who then allowed the zoan to fulfill their 30 years-old dearest wish to retake the plains, who furthermore liberated the various races that had fallen into slavery due to irrational violence and who finally obtained the marvelous achievement of repelling the punitive force that had several times their numbers.
Souma tried to quietly mourn for those who died in battle at a corner of the party venue, but in the blink of an eye he was surrounded by everyone and elevated to the main act of the party. And then Souma, who is a Japanese who can’t say “No” as he was continuously poured alcohol, had one cup after the other at an astounding rate. As a result he was magnificently filled up to the brim, which leads us to the present time.
But, just because he has a hangover, it’s not like he can afford to take the day off.
He has to decide how to deal with the prisoners. He also must consider countermeasures against Holmea. He has to decide the policy how to rule the city from now on. In short, there’s a pile of things he has to handle.
The first among the many problems waiting for him that Souma started to work on while holding his head, which suffered from a dull pain that throbbed in unison with his heartbeat, was the matter of bringing the officials of Bolnis on his side.
Souma summoned the officials, who took part in government affairs, among Holmea’s government officials, who got restrained at the time they occupied the city – contrary to the residents, who had the free permission to leave the city – and announced following:
“I don’t have any intention to fire you. If possible, I’d like you to carry out your professional duties as you have done until now.”
Their administrative proficiency is essential for ruling the city from now on, Souma judged.
Souma, who had been no more than a very ordinary senior high school student in modern Japan, naturally has no knowledge and experience how to rule a city. What Souma could depend on (whether it’s really reliable is another question) was only the information he recalled from manga and light novels with main characters, who are capable of furthering the domestic affairs of cities or countries by making use of their modern era knowledge.
However, just because he possessed such knowledge, it’s not a simple matter. The knowledge used by the main characters in manga and novels had been written down, but those writings didn’t go as far as mentioning how to actually implement that knowledge, how to put together a budget and what kind of personnel and materials had to be prepared.
For that reason he needs to adjust his own knowledge by matching it with the current situation. Souma thought that he has to take in the people, who possessed the ability to implement all that, at all costs.
The ones he selected for that among many others were the government officials who had managed the city so far.
However, due to Souma’s words, not only the officials, who were prostrating in front of him, but even Shyemul, who was next to him, stiffened while being startled.
“…D-Did I say something weird?”
Upon asking Shyemul timidly, she answered after hesitating for a bit,
“Umm, that is. —As expected, I believe there’s a problem with threatening them with decapitation after they surrendered.”
Noticing his blunder, Souma shouted “Ah!”
I said firing with the meaning of dismissing the officials, but they took it with the meaning “only your head will remain” if they don’t obey me. Maybe firing isn’t used for the act of dismissing someone in this world. Having realized that, Souma panics. 1
“N-No, that’s wrong! In the place where I lived firing someone means laying them off 2—no, that’s not it, it means having someone quit their job.”
By now it was already too late.
At any rate, Souma had glassy eyes because of his hangover, but to the officials, who aren’t aware of that, it only seemed as if he was glaring at them. If being told ‘firing’ by a person with such a glare, it’s impossible to not misunderstand it.
Even as Souma was frantically explaining, he couldn’t come up with anything but the words, “That now was a joke. Don’t take it seriously,” a phrase usually said by villains at the end while having thoroughly threatened someone.
The officials shuddered violently and they pledged their allegiance on the spot without a single exception.
Souma, who gave up with By now it’s pointless no matter what I say due to their state, thought of giving them a single warning, about a matter he had been worried about, now that he had scared them anyway.
“I won’t forgive embezzlement and injustice. If I discover any of you doing that, you will be strictly punished. Only this I will tell you in advance.”
Even in the modern era bribing government officials as if it’s only natural is widespread in developing countries, as frequently shown in the news. Until coming to this world, even Souma didn’t intend to handle everything squarely, but he won’t tolerate treating merchants unfairly or hindering their trade dependent on the height of their bribes.
Besides Souma deliberately exhibited a rigid attitude as there’s also the circumstance that he used the loophole to seize Bolnis through such bribes.
Of course the officials had no other option but to agree unhesitatingly.
And then, the one who suddenly appeared in front of Souma after the officials, who pledged their fealty, left is Company Commander Aide Marchronis who commanded the fortress in the plains.
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