Chapter 10: Duel
*ZAWA* The atmosphere in the room changed completely.
Durf stiffened while Shadiverga has an absentminded look on his face as if his soul has escaped from his body.
Even though Walkins looked slightly bewildered, she clapped both her hands steadily.
I called out to Shadiverga who was next to me.
「Father, this is probably what I wanted to say. 」
「Y-You’ve said too much! 」
Shadiverga cried with tears in his eyes.
Even if you say that, I couldn’t think of a better plan than this.
Since the beginning, his attitude was seriously awful.
Despite everything he’s still just a messenger so he should try going down on his knees a little when he’s asking. That was what I was trying to say.
「……Th-This kid. What did you say just now? I won’t get angry so just try saying that again」
Blue veins could be seen popping up all over his face and his eyes became blood-shot.
However, it seems like there is still a leeway.
Shadiverga who saw this as an opportunity whispered to me in desperation.
(Retract it! Try using a more gentle tone, Regis!)
(Just leave it to me. I’m good at dealing with complaints since last time)
I tried clearing my throat once, faced Durf and saluted him.
What Shadiverga said was right. I have something that I should reflect on as well.
It was the aspect that I might have been too rough on my tone.
Take 2 now.
It is necessary to perform the most respectful greeting to a noble with high standing.
「Well, to Durf, the emasculated pig coming from Horgos household’s, as you’re one of the same family as a livestock, please by all means castrate yourself to prevent the reproduction of your own ki–」
「What I meant was to change your worrrddsssss! 」
Shadiverga cried out as if he was shrieking.
However, this time I wasn’t given the instruction for a ‘retake’.
Since it has become an irreparable situation, a feeling of resignation must have swept over him.
Facing Shadiverga who was already at his wits end, I asked him seriously.
「Then conversely, is father fine with it? Are you fine with sending Walkins off? 」
「Of course I’m against it. She’s an important……servant from this house– 」
Shadiverga replied in a way as if the words were squeezed out of him.
He was finally able to pour his real intentions out on Durf.
The representative of this house, has been unanimously decided that it will be Shadiverga.
I gave a big nod and called out to Durf.
「And thus, we have all reached the same opinion. I’ll say it again so listen well Durf.–We will definitely not hand over Walkins.」
I declared out loud with all the strength in my body.
Could it be that Durf who was twitching in anger earlier, suddenly blew a fuse?
He ended up forgetting his dignity and started shouting.
「THIS PILE OF TRASH! Using that tone on a man from the western region, do you even understand what will become of you! 」
「You shouldn’t be self-proclaiming that yourself and what do you mean by man from the western region? Is that a territory of livestock population that includes you? 」
「CRUSH! I WILL DEFINITELY CRUSH YOU! Don’t ever expect to receive assistance from the surrounding nobles anymore! 」
Screams of threats were showered on us but it was within my expectation.
I have never been expecting any support to begin with.
I fixed my eyes coldly on Durf and said.
「This land, instead of calling it hard to develop, it was really instable to the point of having no way out. We are already fallen nobles from the beginning. We’re actually of low social standing, so to speak. So I don’t think we can fall any lower than this. 」
The cultivated land here is narrow too.
There was no mine anywhere nearby.
If the population of people increase any more than this, we’ll definitely reach the level of bankruptcy.
However–it was precisely because of this adversity that the numerous obstacles confronting us are now viewed as mere pebbles by the roadside.
If we take on a more serious approach, we will somehow be able to manage it. This is one of the example.
Durf wasn’t able to understand my words so he switched his target.
「Gununu….Oi Shadiverga! Shut this kid up! 」
「Nn? I don’t think it’s necessary to stop him though. I’m leaving it to Regis now. 」
Shadiverga’s backup came in.
I’m seriously thankful.
I will keep pressing on as it is then.
Just when I thought so, the subordinate in the vicinity of Durf suddenly made a move.
He approached his master and whispered something into his ear.
Then an indescribable smile etched across his face as if he has already foreseen himself obtaining the destiny he wants.
It appears that the subordinate must have instigated him into doing something.
「I see. I’m somehow convinced now on the reason why Din can’t free himself from being a low standing noble. A head of the family ended up clinging to a kid for help, leaving all the work to him. I have finally grasped that truth. Apparently there doesn’t seem to be a single decent people in Din’s household. 」
A creepy smile floated over Durf’s countenance.
It is painful to look at him directly.
Just looking at his eyes, I could tell that he is beyond cure.
I unconsciously glanced at Walkins who was standing at the back.
When her eyes met mine, she flashed me a slightly embarrassed smile.
Cute, as expected.
Cuteness is definitely justice.
Even seeing the same smile is a big difference.
Shadiverga seems to be chewing on Durf’s words.
In the end he shrugged his shoulder and replied to Durf.
「I will take the responsibility for my household’s impoliteness. Please do not place the blame on my blood relative. 」
「I will not stop. I just happened to recall something interesting. 」
Something interesting….is it
If it was something that interest Durf, then it will almost certainly be something that will harm me.
Durf continued on intentionally.
「Come to think of it, Shadiverga. A few years back, you took in a degraded noble without minding your own social standing, am I right? Wasn’t it, Jirgens house? It’s a barbarous and filthy clan that uses sword and magic to pursue their own self-interest. 」
The moment those words came out, the surrounding atmosphere suddenly made my hair stand on end.
If I am not mistaken, it was my mother, Sefina’s parents’ house.
The house of Jirgens that was on the verge of falling into ruin has affiliated with Shadiverga previously before becoming the house of Din.
A house that was look down upon and a house that has already been reduced to poverty.
Once both fused that’s how Din house came to be.
Dark shadow overcast our faces.
I don’t care about such things anyway but Durf was ridiculing Sefina’s house.
「This is truly repulsive. It’s because of such people that the Din house can calmly allow someone else to accompany them in important negotiations like this. By the way where is the daughter of Jirgens? I don’t see that person anywhere. 」
Durf was looking around the room.
Of course Sefina couldn’t possibly be here.
That’s because she is bedridden now.
That guy might have known it already but he was being sarcastic about it.
「In any case she must biting at someone somewhere again since it’s a mad dog that couldn’t be managed. Good grief, a clan that doesn’t even understand their own standings is seriously a terrifying one. 」
How dare he. For those words to be coming from that lips of his.
I seriously felt like knocking him down.
To be honest, I might not be able to endure that long anymore.
Seriously, stop bullshitting me. Why did he have to go that far just to dump the poison on us.
I glared at Durf.
Even if he has a habit of not being able to do anything himself, upholding his stupid vanity and jeering at people were the only things that he is good at.
Looking down on a person without concern and trampling the weak.
These are the types of people that I hated the most even from my previous life.
I took a deep breath for a moment before standing up.
No. It would be more accurate to say–I tried to stand up.
There was another person who stood up ahead of me.
That person slowly raised his upper body and looked down at Durf.
The pupil in his eyes dilated
His shoulder was trembling with anger
The insurrection that has started was coming from the person no one would be able to imagine.
「DO NOT insult Sefina! Looking down on her is the only thing that I will absolutely not forgive! 」
He’s always being indecisive but it will be absurd for him to be initiating a fighting scene.
He does have an aspect of being opportunistic but overall he is someone that Durf usually makes light of.
Such a person, is currently refuting Durf’s words in an indescribable spirit that has never been seen before.
「If there should be any fault that lies with her, then they are all my responsibility. It will be Shadiverga Din’s responsibility! 」
He placed his hand on his chest, flatly denying all the insults directed to Sefina.
That appearance indeed resembles a rakshasa.
Apparently this guy has incurred the wrath of Shadiverga.
「Sefina is corrupted? Don’t bullshit with me! The only person who truly has a corrupted nature is you, Durf! 」
Shadiverga’s anger flared up like a blazing flame.
Considering his personality, what he said was natural.
He has never doubt anyone and he has not indulged in anyone at all.
He will place absolute trust on people who are close to him.
That is why currently, the anger that he is feeling is far more than anyone else.
Towards Durf who has verbally abused his beloved wife, in order to denounce him—
「For someone like you who has been doing the same despicable deed repeatedly, you do not have the right to blame anyone at all. Even more, you have no right to look down upon Sefina who is totally unrelated to this at all! None at all! 」
Shadiverga took the sword by his side as he stood up.
If he has the intention to keep depreciating Durf, he will definitely draw his sword without a doubt.
He confronted Durf, while still keeping his sword in the sheath.
It could probably be what the other side was aiming for from the start.
「……Oh, a duel？」
Shadiverga soon realizes it. The expression 「Damn!」 was written across his face.
Hence, a noble has ended up pointing his sword at another noble.
If the other party,
「Very well. I shall then accept your duel」
Once you have said this, a war that bets on the pride between both families will begin.
This is a custom that is absolutely unavoidable.
It’s a tacit understanding.
Once you have reached this far, you can’t pull back anymore.
It has come to the point of no return.
「This is a great opportunity. Let’s crush those nobles that have been an eyesore for some time. The other party has also willingly jumped into the jaws of death themselves. If they have extended their courtesy then we should offer them our hospitality too, right? 」
Durf burst out laughing pleasantly.
A tenacious sounding laughter reverberated in Din family’s mansion.
As such, our household have ended up participating in the war.
What the heck are you doing.
「….I’m not sure how I should apologize in this. 」
「No, it’s fine. Even if you bow your head, you won’t be able to turn back the time. 」
At the mansion after Durf left.
Shadiverga fell into a state of depression.
As I said so, he was bowing his head towards me and Walkins.
「As Sefina has said before, even if we were to hold you back, it would still be the same……」
「No, if father has not jumped out earlier, I might’ve end up hitting him myself. I think it would probably end up in a bloody scene. Rather I was really angry at that time. 」
Myself aside, if Walkins were the one who went into rampage, it wouldn’t be funny.
I have known it from long ago that Shadiverga will get angry if someone were to insult Sefina.
However, the rage was just three times more than what I had initially expected.
「That’s right, Shadiverga-sama. Please do not prostrate. If you keep rubbing your head so much there, you’re going to get even more bald. 」
「I wasn’t prostrating! Besides, I’ve told you before not to mention a word again about my baldness in this family, haven’t I!? 」
Shadiverga was denying it desperately.
I’m glad I’m glad.
It appears that he has regained his spirit somehow.
Thereupon, I asked them for a detailed explanation.
「Father, I understand that we have proposed for a duel. Specifically, how will the outcome of the duel be decided? Something like a war between soldiers? 」
「It is different. That is not the method in determining the outcome of the duel. We don’t just effortlessly cut down the opponent’s strength like a normal dispute. We will do it properly as stipulated in the law. 」
「It’s our kingdom’s 『Duel Method』. 」
Walkins added in as a complement.
That is new to me.
I do know that it’s a common sense that a duel is initiated once you point your sword at the other party though.
Based on the story, when the nobles place their pride into a duel, there are a few regulations to take note of.
That regulation is called 『The Seventh Duel』, and this is usually determined strictly in accordance to the law.
Incidentally the duel method consisted of the seven following rules.
・When one of the house made a declaration of duel, the duel will only occur if the other house accepted it.
In this case, this duel only started because Shadiverga pointed his sword at Durf.
Since the other party accepted the duel, this condition was met.
・ The head of the family can select someone from their side for the duel.
Also the duel is carried out in a one-to-one individual match.
In short, a fight occurring between nobles do not usually happen.
It is a common sense usually for the person who participate in the duel to hire a mercenary, soldier, or a private army instead.
This way, they will not waste their own group of soldiers by throwing them into the duel and the consumption of the soldier will be less too.
If the noble that supports the country collapse, the country will collapse too.
They must have thought through this carefully to prevent a country from declining.
・ Both duelist will fight till either party surrenders or dies.
Even if it was said that the duel will end once the other party surrender, there is actually hardly any case at all whereby someone will just say『I give up』.
Basically the duel just continues until the other person is killed.
If by chance, they do throw their sword aside and return with their heads lowered, they will obviously be killed by their employer too.
・ Once the duel has reached a conclusion, the winner gets to demand a request in public and the loser will need to provide whatever the winner demands.
It felt slightly strange here.
The request will be submitted to the referee in the form of written paper in advance. It is the principle to leave the paper face down until the duel has reached a conclusion.
By the way, there seems to be a proper reason to this.
In this kingdom, stoic asceticism has been a symbol of the noble.
So from the beginning those highly proud prestigious family will
『I want that』
『I want this』
hence having the request written out first will prevent them from raising hell.
It was not mentioned inside but it’s a common sense to make only one request.
It seems to be bound by tacit understanding more than I thought.
After listening to the conversation so far, we have already decided on the potential representative from our side for the match.
If Walkins were the one chosen to go out, most of them will probably be instantly killed.
However, the other party knows that the next rule is exploitable in order to carry on with this duel.
・ If there is any particular people from the opponent’s house who is involved in the request, you are to submit the notification in advance. In doing so it is possible to exclude the person from the duel.
In addition, that specified person is not allowed to carry out any act that will influence the power of both houses in the duel. Moreover, self-injuring is prohibited.
However, once you have done the specification, the house will not be allowed to make any more changes to the request later.
To summarize it simply,
『I have a request relating to A-kun so I put a stop in the participation of A-kun in the duel』
So if you were to ask what is the purpose of this rule…….
You would like to steal a competent mercenary A from the opposite opponent’s house, in current state–In other words, you want mercenary A “intact”.
If the opponent’s house happened to select mercenary A as representative and both houses ended up fighting, it is assumed that the duel will be won only after a fierce battle.
At that time, mercenary A might have already become a defective good and is not usable anymore due to the duel.
That is why if you make your claim in advance, you can make it possible to disqualify him as the representative.
By the way, there will be someone assigned to watch over the specified person during the duel, to prohibit that person from making a move.
The latter half of the fifth rule also appears to be significant as it seems to be enacted due to a case that happened before in the past.
According to it, when the soldier refused to go to the other party’s house due to their loyalty, there have been many cases whereby the soldier tried committing suicide during or after the duel.
To a noble, after knowing that their own vassal who treasured the house to this extent ended up in this predicament, this rule might be really painful to them in either way.
Durf will definitely be making use of this rule well, so we will not be able to make Walkins participate.
This rule that treats people as objects makes me feel disgusted.
Although this has been a custom since long ago so it couldn’t be helped.
「Father. Has the other side already nominated Walkins? 」
「Aa, they have already informed me before leaving just now. 『To avoid getting Walkins-dono involved, do not send her out as representative』. 」
「Well since they knew the existence of this rule, they will definitely make use of it. 」
Thus, Walkins will not be able to appear as our representative.
Everything will be resolved easily if only she could represent us in the duel.
This is a very grave situation.
「….Aa. It’s really an unpleasant rule. 」
Walkins heaved a deep sigh as well.
If only the first rule could be abolished, we wouldn’t need to worry about anything else anymore.
Well, we wouldn’t be able to do anything now even if we are frustrated by it.
Let’s explain the details of the next rule.
・Once the duel between the two house have reached a conclusion, the two houses are prohibited to be in contact for 3 years.
This is a rule to prevent retaliation due to grudge.
Failing to do so will cause that house to be the main subject of condemnation from the surrounding nobles.
I wonder if there are no nobles who have broken this rule at all after all the past duels.
・The kingdom will despatch an observer as a referee to oversee the duel to avoid any foul play in between.
Furthermore, the duel will be held at an arena in the Imperial City—in the presence of all the nobles to ensure that it is carried out justly.
The referee will be someone selected by the kingdom to judge the duel based on the regulations.
If that observer is also acting as a referee, then they must have some authority too.
They might have the power to disqualify a person from a duel too if they noticed any foul play.
During a duel they will not be able to carry out any foolish conduct so it will be safe for the time being.
In addition, to ensure the fairness of the duel, it will be carried out in front of the nobles in the Imperial City.
So as to avoid any trouble in future, they have established a really strict rule.
「So this is the Duel Method. I was just aware of all the details now too. 」
「There is also the existence of something called Duel Method Supplement Treaty. However, the particulars for this have only been decided recently so it’s fine even if you were to ignore it. 」
「It’s so troublesome. Won’t assassination work? 」
「Don’t do that. If exposed, the entire Din house will suffer criticism. 」
「I’m just joking. Don’t take that so seriously. 」
Shadiverga got frightened by my sudden disturbing suggestion and tried to stop me.
Due to his nervousness he is probably highly sensitive now.
Walkins who hasn’t spoken much since just now suddenly came up with an abrupt proposal, possibly because the conversation earlier has ended.
「There is still one month to the duel. I will select someone outstanding among my corps, and prepare that person for the duel through training regimen. How about it? 」
Certainly, that would be the best option we have at this moment.
There was nothing else that I could wish for.
However, Shadiverga voiced out his objection here.
「No, I don’t want to use the corps. They are indeed well-trained in group battles but they don’t have any experience in individual match. 」
「Then what about hiring a mercenary? 」
「Any trust that comes from money is fragile. Besides, the funds that Din house can spare to hire a mercenary is limited」
「…….Then, what can be done now? 」
Walkins tilted her head, immersed in thoughts.
Shadiverga seemed to be at lost there.
I will come up with something somehow.
Besides, even if the chance of success is really low, I will just push my way through.
In any event, I wouldn’t listen to it even if they were to stop me.
I waited for Shadiverga’s response in silence.
「–I will go out」
「Are you sane? The opponent is probably a skilled mercenary. Do you think you have the chance to win?」
「It’s not if I can win or I can’t win. I will win. 」
Shadiverga raised a powerful cry from the bottom of his stomach.
Walkin’s body shook momentarily.
Such an intense spirit.
However that reproval wasn’t directed at Walkins.
It’s a cry to brace oneself up.
「To Durf who injured Sefina with his words, I will deliver the punishment with my own two hands. 」
A strong determination.
Shadiverga who usually behaves foolishly most of the time, suddenly became serious today.
He wasn’t able to forgive Durf to that degree.
Well, I am of the same opinion too.
Winning or losing aside.
「Once we are done with the preparations, let’s go to the Imperial City. The incident this time has made me reached my limits. This will be the death of you, Durf–」
Shadiverga seems to be on fire.
He is dashing without stopping towards the ruin.
But it would be pointless no matter how much we try to persuade him.
Since his own beloved wife is being made fun of.
If I were to be in Shadiverga’s shoes, I would get angry too.
Fury. I will definitely not allow him to live.
「We’ll taking off tomorrow! Just watch this Durf! I will definitely not succumb to you! 」
Even though it might not be visible to the surrounding, his fighting spirit is certainly worthy of respect.
As for me, I definitely do not want this person to die.
Based on my experience, such a hot-blooded man shouldn’t die.
Besides, I will do whatever it takes to protect Walkins.
–And I would like to be a person who is capable of saving someone.
Those words that I have said before some time ago flashed through my mind.
Since I was given another chance I would also like to do my best, to protect the two of them.
The following day.
As soon as the journey started, I began to realize the reality of the impact.
I ended up finding out that I feel nauseous when I ride a horse-drawn carriage.
The carriage is swaying and swaying.
I’m gonna puke I’m gonna puke.
By the way, on reaching the Imperial City my body weight seemed to have decreased by 1kg.
I want a medicine to prevent motion sickness.