Gate Vol 02Edit
Imperial Princess Pina Co Lada's eyes opened. Her office was already bright. It was because the windows were opened, morning sunlight shone brightly causing her to close her eyelids.
The imperial capital situated approximately 2 month walk inland from the sea called Azure Sea.The sunlight was strong but but the cold and refreshing winds from the icy northern mountain range moderate the heat, it was very comfortable to pass time there. The imperial palace situated on the east most hill of five imperial capital's hill, it was on the Sadera hill.
Her mansion was located on verdant east hill. The ventilation was excellent in there, refreshing scent of cypress spread from the east forest. The scent was dizziying, but Pina really like it.
'Your highness, you didn't sleep on your bed again'
Her subordinate, Hamilton, were opening the works room's windows' one by one, while her sigh was mixed with scolding. When she said that, in this place the woman called [Pina] still wearing her work clothes and lay down on her desk.
All sort of documents pile up like a mountain on the table. There were every type of letters come from here and there too. Those were mostly made of parchment but, recently 'kopishi/コピイシ' called 'paper' purchased from Alnus living community became favourite because it was convenient.
She flustered to striaghten wrinkled parchments that was used as her pillow. It were financial affairs report letter of count Formal house sent from a magistrate. As it looks like the content could cause one to close their eyes and sleep. Her fingers were dirtied by the ink from the parchments. She worried if some part of her clothes and face covered with filth. As what had seen, her clothes were wrinkled. She felt bad as her face and body sticky all over.
'Your highness, you should take a bath before going to eat.'
'Sorry, I'll do so'
She can only give up with raising her hands and recieved her subordinate advice .
'About today's schedule, even it were a big thing, there is a promise to lunch with Lord Cicero of senate. The dinner would be at birthday celebration party of Marquis Duche's daughter. And concerning the problem of the successor of White Rose commander, there seems to be a detailed opinion report. I turned down the meeting with Lady Shante because lunch and dinner time are already took hours.'
'Isn't Panache and Shante sharing a vow of sisterhood? If that is the case, could the arrangement of Shante Gav to be White Rose corps'commander was no good?'
'Rather than her inauguration as the commander of White Rose Corps, isn't she wanted to go to Alnus with Panache?'
Pina can't understand that and only knit her eyebrows. Shante's duty was to answer the trust and became a successor for her older sister, Panache.
Right now because honesty and what can be said, it was unpleasant to say that it violate the corps' customs and rules. Would she tell us whatever her intention was? In this case, according to what Hamilton said it was inexcusable but, at any rate every minute one looked the more that decision can be overturned later on.
'Today we went to Lord Cicero to introduce Sir Sugawara and then to Lord Duche party, uh huh'
'At the party of Duche House, the relative of prisoners whose name on the first group list to be released were gathered. I would have Sugawara take care the list with the representative of raletive than a marquis.Have you seen through the draft of list?'
'Yes, i had confirmed it last night. Why were there only 14 names in it where it supposed to have a total of 15 names? I can't remember why I set aside one person's name...'
Pina pulled a bunch of related paper from the mountains of documents piled on top of her desk. At that moment, the documents that were piled up like mountain crumbling and scattered on the floor.
The imperial princess held back when Hamilton rushed to gather and started picking up while sorting out the documents.
‘Your highness, one name was set aside for Lord Cicero. One of Lord Cicero relative became prisoner of war, didn’t him? His nephew from the branch family’s name recorded on the list of prisoners. If today’s meeting went as we hope, his name will be place on the first group list.’
Pina became greatly perplexed when hearing Hamilton’s speech. Either her memory capacity was low or the speed of her thought was not rising.
‘Are you okay? It seems like you are tired.’
‘If I said I am not okay, will you substitute me?’
‘Then, I can only do my best’
Pina sighed while pushing document bundles to Hamilton’s chest and left the work room for bath.
She braided her red hair after bathing, put on light make up, and put on her garment. In this outfit Pina make an appearance at dining room, after approximately one hour since she was woken up by Hamilton. This was quite fast if you consider a lady’s dressing.
Nevertheless, Sugawara Kouji was eating breakfast without waiting for Pina. The menu was wheat congee with baked dried meat and citrus fruit.
At Pina’s house, there are many servants… called maids, but there are no unclear reasons. They were dressed in their uniform, the preparation of meals also by them. Therefore, there was no need to be embarrassed at all. However, the work can’t begin at all when she isn’t home.
The diplomacy began with meeting the other party. The introduction from Pina was necessary for a meeting with anyone, in this Imperial Capital everybody recognize her.
Sugawara was being transferred from Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Special Area Problem Committee, to expand the network of contact in Imperial Capital. He would build a significant connection and making preliminary preparation such as language study before the real negotiation team became active and to grasp the subtleties of human relation in Imperial Capital,s government structure.
‘Good morning, Your Highness’
‘Good morning, Sir Sugawara. You were as early as ever.’
You were the one who late, said Sugawara in his minds, while smiling professionally and praising Pina’s beauty. This was the habit he acquired when he went to study abroad at France, even in this world that response was not bad to use to greet a lady.
Pina sat in front of dining table and only take a bite of served wheat congee, she only ate the fruit. As can be seen the breakfast was made to lighten the burden of stomach, this was the reason that the breakfast was deliberately made in small portions; her next mutter would indicate that.
‘Today, we would have lunch at Lord Cicero,’s place and dinner at house of Duche. No matter how many stomachs you have, it won’t be enough.’
Wherever it was, there were troubles to entertaining a politician. Sugawara has same opinion because he had very similar acquired experience until this time.
‘There is a phrase in our country “moderation is its own medicine”. I understand that in this work we are almost not able to protect our stomach, but it is quite hard.’
Especially in woman’s case; skin, style or figure have not a little influence.
Sugawara was aware of various circumstances around Pina, he told her that he had a good stomach medicine from his country. Would you like to take one?, he adds.
‘Absolutely. Thank you. I really appreciate it.’
In the imperial capital, attending a banquet was not only concentrated on eating and drinking but also the social interaction. There were no other form of entertainment; even in Japan food and sake were indispensable so there was nothing to say for this world.
But it was hard in here because in this world taking a served dish considered manners. It was the same in Cicero House, gorgeous meals were lined up.
A whole roasted goat, overflowed soup in a pot crammed with fishes and vegetables, poultry, fishes, meats and plentiful vegetable was served, even sweet fruits chilled with snow from the mountain. But even so the foods came in large quantity and variety. Eating were the courtesy of the guests’, on the opposite side, as the testament of hospitality the host would prepare a sumptuous meals that can’t be ran out. It was such hospitality to be received because Princess Pina was standing for mediation. If Sugawara nonchalantly came alone, without hesitation he would have water thrown to his head in the end.
As suggested by his name Cicero La Malthous descend from the prestigious Malthous House that exist since the beginning of the Empire, it was a historical house but somehow it hold lowest seat of nobility. However, excellent speech and political power were highly valued, now he was a political leader who holds a position as senate member. Since senate were also enrolled by some other from Malthous house, to avoid confusion that man would be referred as Lord Cicero.
Now in the war against Japan, this man sided with Emperor War Advocacy faction. In short they had this opinion, ‘It is a state of emergency now. Therefore under the authority of the Emperor, the empire will spend all efforts to rebuilt military power as soon as possible. And drive out the barbarian forces that occupying Alnus.’
The opposite faction was Senate Peace Advocacy faction. On this side they had this opinion, ‘This reckless war began under the leadership of the Emperor, the senate will weaken the power of the Emperor and rebuild the military power. Then, in regard of the enemy that occupying Alnus, we will request them to return to other side of the “Gate”. There are other methods to look for such as peaceful ways other than military power. ‘
Lord Cicero was chosen as a partner of negotiation because he was seen as the type that could be comparatively negotiated among the warmongers.
Peace wouldn’t come no matter what the Peace Advocacy faction say. But, it can’t be helped their number were not enough. A great number of senators were needed to move in order to influence the decision of Emperor. Therefore by splitting a member from War Advocacy, the Peace Advocacy could gain momentum necessary to advance the peace negotiation.
Sugawara was under such exposition, Pina requested him to be introduced to a man named Cicero for that reason.
‘Lord Cicero, let me introduce you. This is His Excellency Sugawara, who is in charge of Japan’s Diplomacy’
Due to various circumstances, Pina raised Sugawara’s social status without permission. Sugawara understood her thoughtfulness; he was not making a correction even he was treated as an ambassador.
‘Pleased to meet you’ and they were exchanging greetings with each other. Cicero was speaking in haughty manner ‘With all due respect, I don’t know about the Country called Japan. What kind of country was it?’
The Empire was a great and green country. There were more than ten countries with its feudal lord surrounds it. The empire had diplomatic relations with almost 100 of foreign countries, vassal countries and various tribes from borderland that didn’t taking form as a country. Even for a senator, it was not strange if he didn’t know the origin of diplomatic official.
‘It has water and forests, a beautiful place with four seasons’
Cicero made a small chuckle. His wife also gave a mocking gaze from behind his shoulder. The emissary of barbarian land with undeveloped culture answered it was a beautiful place with water and forests when asked what kind of country he came from, it like saying that there were no other thing in that country. At first glance he looked like a clever man, but after all he was a country bumpkin. His language skill was still not good enough to use in a speech to nobles in the Imperial Capital. That was Cicero’s evaluation on Sugawara. No, his personality wasn’t bad, apart from the country he came from. Even Cicero knew that he had always admonish himself to be fair, the evaluation on Sugawara was pushed down carelessly, so with just a little push the balance could be overturned …as it was planned.
Pina could clearly saw this, Cicero’s mind can be seen through.
She unintentionally sighed. ‘Please take heed. He already fell for it’ she whispered. However she was the mediator. The person who was not involved in diplomacy should close their mouth.
‘I brought products of my country as presents. I would be happy if you accept it.’
It was very elaborate products. When he snapped his fingers, sergeant first class Rikushiro Naoe who accompanied him as guard as well as attendant role with the help of Pina’s bring in presents in the box. Cicero and his wife expression became more and more cynical with derisive smile, Pina unintentionally began to smile broadly.
Beautiful silks made of Yuzen process, Kyoto Nishijin fabrics that were decorated with gold and silver thread, black and scarlet Kanazawa style lacquer ware, handicraft of Raden, bright colored folding fan, glass cup of Satsuma cut glasses were stacked in front of Cicero. The beautiful pearls of Shima which an artisan boasting to Japan’s emperor of his time ‘Let me see this wrapped around the neck of every woman in the world’. Japanese sword forged by Seki’ sword smith. And Japanese paper, western paper, pen and more convenient stationery. Cutlery, tableware pottery and porcelain in brilliant gold and silver.
The masterpieces were a set of practical use and handicraft represents of craftsmanship in Japan.
In these few days Pina had seen of Sugawara’s way, he came with humility and she thought it was a brilliant thing. He was made light of, and then he would strike at the moment the opportunity appeared and there were nobody who weren’t fell for it. If shown variety of beautiful goods that can’t even be obtained in the Imperial Capital, who would think what kind of country Japan was. It was not an unthinkable situation. It was simply because the nobles were familiar with stacked tributes; they understood how much labor and technology to make the presents in front of them.
Cicero’s wife was interested in colorful Yuzen style Nishijin fabrics, Cicero was mesmerized by the bright blade of Japanese sword. According to the speech, after all politicians just men in the government. His eyes seemed like going for the weapon.
‘Excellent. Are these from Japan?’
‘All of these are the handworks of my country.’
‘Please excuse me, which excellent country Japan was? I had underestimated you.’
Cicero changed his attitude. He hid his haughty manner and shows a suitable respect. Excellent products of civilization that could be seen through by discerning eyes and obedient attitude that could be said to express respect for a culture worthy of veneration.
‘However, His Excellency Sugawara, your entry was bad. You said it was a beautiful country with forests and water, I imagined there are nothing else to be boasted. Now, please tell me. What country Japan was like?’
Pina reflexively knotted her brow. He was deceived again.
There, just now his mind defense was grasped…..
‘Our country is currently in the middle of war with the Empire. It located beyond the “Gate”.’
Cicero gaped and could not close his opened mouth.
Needless to say, the rest of negotiation proceeded according to Sugawara’s pace.
Cicero was Emperor War Advocacy faction’s so called a man who innocently sticking to theory, to support was the best he can only do. And now, Pina brought the emissary of enemy there, it was close to a treason against the country.
Not only has that, to overturn the mental inferiority for conquering Japan, positive propaganda had been spoken by authority. The truth to be told, the army’s rebuilding proceeded steadily and would be completed in several more months, the number of new soldiers recruitment was around 100.000.
However, Cicero accepted the existence of the country called Japan, it means he must also accepted the existence of formidable enemies in there. As for Sugawara, to be accepted by Cicero as an equal negotiation partner in this place was enough. From now on, he would not be afraid from turned down at the gate. Afterward he could show the reality little by little.
Sugawara present him a piece of paper to silence Cicero whom began to critic Pina. There was written in the Empire’s letter the name of Cicero’s nephew from his wife family.
'I heard the story, about Lord Cicero's nephew. This person is our country's prisoner of war right now.'
'What, he is alive?'
Cicero's wife hear that good news and overcame with emotion then collapsed. She was carried out by her flustered maids from the banquet.
'The truth is the inter mediation carried by Her Highness Pina was enough for the exchange. She was requested several people right now. They could be arranged to be returned unconditionally.'
'There is no need for ransoms?'
'If I must say, Her Highness' service is enough for the ransom. There are several people in Her Highness' recommendation right now, we just need one more...'
With this one sentence, it looked like Pina's position was lost in speech and conduct, that was the meaning Cicero heard.
Pina became hostage even if she was worked as mediator to become lifeline for prisoner of war. That was the way of thinking that Cicero received. In that way, there was no other choice. Act of treason and being cornered were different.
She worked to sacrifice her honor and herself to protect the younger nobles.
This is like 'I will return the prisoners if you accept the peace' or 'Accept your defeat', which would be absolutely rejected by Cicero. However, the other party wished for Pina to be the mediator for negotiation. No matter who was the other party is, no matter what situation you were in, negotiation itself was not evil so it is good to accept it.
If she became hindered for becoming a mediator and prisoners would not able to get back. Furthermore, the limit to return several more people dependent on the negotiation between Pina and Japan, at least many things would become like this. If that happens no matter what War Advocacy idea could not stop her hindrance. However, whether his nephew returned or not was depended on Pina.
As for Cicero, he looked like wanted to ask for help even if he must beg to Pina. So, with nothing to say he took her hand. In respond, Pina nodded in calm expression.
‘In fact, there is a birthday celebration party for Marquis Duche in his house tonight. The invitation notice will be send to this place.’
‘Excuse me, I don’t understand what you are talking about. I am not acquintanced with Lord Duche’s daughter….’
‘In fact, there was a sorrowful event in the Duche House. The marquis decided to grandly celebrate her daughter’s birthday to remove that sorrow. The lady wanted to send the good news there. Would you like to attend?’
A politician won’t satisfy with the flow of conversation to this point.
Perhaps, a man of Duche House went to the other side of the gate. Then it was naturally good news if he is returned alive. More than to attend, the thing about Cicero’s nephew would be good to expect too. Or rather, to attend or not became a declaration of intention.
Cicero reverently bowed his head and kissed Pina’s hand.
‘By all means, at the moment when good news arrives, I want to share table with you. Your Highness.’
At the time Sugawara of Ministry of Foreign Affairs began to serious about his activity in the Imperial Capital, the temporary houses which were the refugee camp in Alnus was greatly changed in spite of the short period of several month.
It began when it was chosen as the place to stay of knights dispatched by the Imperial Princess Pina Co Lada as language trainee (however, all of them were women…).
At first the girls hoped to be trained at the city filled with skyscrapers and arts that was told about by Pina with a passion and dreamy look.
However, it was reckless to study abroad with no knowledge of that country’s language. It was harsh to go to Tokyo suddenly. Not to mention the guards there were various circumstances to begin with.Therefore Japanese government had decided to provide education in the refugee camp on Alnus so that they managed to spoke everyday conversation.
In this way, it was possible for Japanese side in preparation to receive them.
And in this place sages became the authority for “Special Region” <->”Japanese” interpretation, besides there were many children who acquire Japanese language lives there. If only learning Japanese language, maybe this place was more appropriate than Tokyo.
Assuming human resources from Japan side, each member of Itami Youji’s recon squad understood the language of the Special Region to a certain extent, furthermore it was convenient for the bureaucrat of Ministry of Foreign Affairs to learn Special Region Language there.
However, no matter how you look at it the numbers of building were not enough to support the population that increased more than double.
No matter how much training they received, staying in a small shared room stressed the noble ladies from the Knights Order. The stress for the servant who served them was greater, so the improvement of the infrastructures was strongly requested. In addition, Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said that they didn’t wanted to stay at refugee’s temporary tents.Therefore a special budget was made and better buildings than temporary housing would be built.
Furthermore water purification equipment was placed on a dug well, the drainage was laid down, the sewage and septic tank were set up, and installed solar panels to run all of those. Even if it was small Japan life environment was set up.
Along the way, the distribution of free daily necessities was terminated. There was nobody complained about it because the refugees have secured income from dragon’s scales.
However, it was inconvenient to purchase daily necessities from a faraway town. Therefore, a small store for various consumables was established. Needless to say, the management was entrusted to Alnus Living Community.
However, the view of elderly and children of refugee camp leisurely tended the store didn’t last for a few days. The entry and exit required more complicated procedures than in Ginza so this store referred as PX (Post Exchange) was convenient to drop by.
The refugees didn’t plan to make a big store.
There was no intention to expanding Alnus Living Community. Everything was enough to cover necessities. In the scale of sales and business, PX was necessary for buying food and clothing for Alnus Living Community itself also for the reconstruction cost when they returned to Koda village. The other reason was to create savings; they thought to repay JSDF who gave funds (such as gas masks, protective clothing and various consumables) for business.
However, PX’s customers were increased. Daughters of nobles from the Knight Order came. The maids who accompanied them also came.