|Author: Cherish the World||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: raltzero||English Source: Re:Library|
Why should I face this mess in the short-term?
It’s actually quite simple. There are things that, once people handle them, change their nature.
In the past, regardless of whether it’s Moon or Aleya, other people would use cities as a bargaining chip to exchange for them. I would never agree and other people wouldn’t make a fuss in response. After all, those cities couldn’t be seen nor could they be reached, they hadn’t passed through my hands, they hadn’t been obtained, so naturally there was no feeling of loss. But this time, Fang Thirteen proposed for the three cities to be returned to Fang Lita. Although I had agreed to the demand, I didn’t need to think in order to know what sort of storm this action would create.
I was doing this in order to fulfill Fang Thirteen’s final wish and make up for the debt I owe her. But as far as West-Resisting City’s populace is concerned, they didn’t understand Fang Thirteen’s importance. Compared to a woman, three cities held much more importance in their hearts. This was especially the case since it was difficult to win over these three cities. West-Resisting City and Abyss City had to make great efforts, so it could be said that these three cities were a result of a collective struggle. Now that I had given it back so easily, it was no wonder they were unhappy.
Walking on the streets, all sorts of whispers and comments were abound.
“Hey, did you hear? Sir Feudal Lord seems to have decided on returning the three cities.”
“Is that true? When we just moved in?”
“True to one’s words, more like what the hell! He wasn’t the one who worked for it yet he wants to return the hard work of other people’s great efforts?”
“At first I thought that we now had a better City Lord, but now I know that we actually have a fool as one……”
As I brought Aleya with me through the streets, Aleya had a hand on the hilt of the sword by her waist.
The sights filled with malice coming from all directions made her appear very nervous. Whenever someone looked over at her, she would fiercely glare back at them.
From the perspectives of the passerbyers, it was probably like a mother cat protecting its cub.
On the other hand, I was very open-minded and had long since prepared myself to be looked at in such a way.
I knew that after the news was announced, West-Resisting City’s soldiers and populace would have much to discuss about me, but I didn’t particularly mind it. When Fang Thirteen conquers city after city, the victories will naturally block up their mouths and make them wholeheartedly accept my decision. Until that happens, any words I say will be useless, so I might as well not speak.
But there is still a place that I still need to make a trip to.
The mourning hall.
That place contained the ashes of the 27 soldiers that had died in the attack on Star-Commanding City. Because West-Resisting City’s firepower mainly comes from Felita’s magic, the casualty rate among the soldiers is already very very low. Compared to the death of several hundred people in Abyss City, the casualties in West-Resisting City’s army were basically negligible.
But this was only regarding the entirety of West-Resisting City. With regards to the families that had lost a loved one, it was an unbelievably heavy matter. While it was an acceptable number of casualties to me, it was the tragic reality of the person they love and yearn for to eternally leave their sides.
Therefore, when it was known that the three cities would be returned back to Fang Lita, every family that had a KIA soldier found it hard to accept it.
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The mourning hall was also a chaotic mess of things.
When I showed up, there were already many people with agitated expressions as they cried and howled:
“The city that my child used his life to take, why should we surrender it so easily?”
Many people shouted their agreements in succession:
“That’s right! What is sir City Lord thinking, does he think our children’s lives aren’t considered lives?”
“Even if this old body of mine needs to be sacrificed, I will seek justice for my son!”
“My husband will never return……I have a three year-old child! How am I supposed to survive in the future……”
“If I had known that this would happen, then I would have blocked my child from applying to the army when he did! In the end, even I don’t know who he sacrificed his life for……”
I listened on silently as I stepped into the mourning hall.
Due to how far it was and the rain that had fallen in recent days, it was very difficult to transport the bodies of the deceased soldiers back to West-Resisting City. The family members of the deceased didn’t wish for them to be carelessly buried in the vicinity of Sky Star City, so they decided to cremate them and at least bring their bone ashes back. At the very front of the mourning hall was an area with white flowers laid out and 27 pitch-black boxes neatly placed next to one another. A sheet of white paper swaying gently in the wind recorded the names and birthplaces of the 27 individuals.
My arrival made the crowd gradually become quiet, but everyone was still gazing at me with an ill expression in their eyes.
A short period of time later, as I was standing in front of the list of names, an elderly person in the back spoke with a faltering voice:
“S-sir City Lord, we ne-need an explanation.”
I sighed and said:
“Aleya, bring some incense to me.”
After three sticks of incense were handed over to me, I lit the candles ablaze. When the smoke began curling upwards, I paid three salutes to the fallen soldier’s bone ashes and soon after, personally inserted the three incense sticks into the copper furnace. Afterwards, my left leg bent forwards with my right leg following right after to kneel. When my knees touched the ground, I bent my left leg downwards and kneels with that leg as well. Now that both legs were kneeling, I placed both hands before my body and deeply kowtowed.
When I stood back up, I told the silent families of the deceased soldiers:
“This is the explanation, okay?”
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Nobody spoke, but there were people crying. As the City Lord, I had personally kneeled to pay respects. This was the equivalent to a disguised sincere apology, so what could they say in response? While the resentfulness in their hearts had died down a little, the pain of having lost a relative bubbled forth in their hearts, so the tears naturally came out uncontrollably. I have seen this sort of scene many times before. People who personally avenge their loved one will typically end up in tears. It’s the same logic as the pain rushing forth after not feeling a wound’s pain due to nervousness.
I calmly told them:
“As for the relief payment and subsequent privileges you will receive, Moon will give you an explanation. From my point of view, I can only tell you that their deaths weren’t in vain. Unless you mean to tell me that when they attacked Star-Commanding City, their thoughts were solely on capturing the city? My guess is that they wished to make West-Resisting City more formidable so that all of you and everyone else would live even better lives, and that’s the reason why they took the lead regardless of the perils they faced. What I’m doing is what they were thinking, just different means of achieving the same goal. I can guarantee everyone here that returning these three cities will bring us greater benefits and that there will inevitably be a day where people remember their names and their contribution; that there will inevitably be a day when you can stand up tall and feel pride because of them.”
A sigh escaped my lips as I continued:
“But this time, it is I, the City Lord, who has let them down. As long as I am alive, I will take care of their families and use my actions to apologize. This kneel is just an apology to them, as well as an apology to you. As for whether or not you accept it, whether or not you still hate me, I don’t care. As long as everyone doesn’t follow some suspicious person harboring unfathomable motives during the most chaotic time within West-Resisting City, regardless of how you scold me, whether it’s in public or in private, I will regard you as innocent. Aleya, let’s go.”
As I spoke, I didn’t turn my head and walked out of the mourning hall.
The instant I opened the mourning hall’s doors, dozens of candle flames gently swayed due to the icy wind that blew in.
“It’s all right just like this, young master?”
I smiled and patted her shoulder:
“This is enough, there will be someone to help us do what we can’t do. Let’s return, Aleya. I haven’t returned to West-Resisting City in a while, so I’m a little homesick.”