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Chapter 134 – Conquering the North part 5 ~Blood Brother~
Hearing Ares’ revelation, Shu immediately stepped back and even corrected his posture.
[Please pardon me! This vassal did not know that yoursir is related to the 4th head…]
Ares chuckled after seeing the sudden change, but proceeded to assure Shu.
[Nah, I only inherited his memories. Doesn’t mean that I also inherited the Murakumo bloodline… no need to act so respectful to me?]
[No, that is not the case. Certainly, Murakumo 『bloodline』is important, but it is nothing compared to the person himself. Moreover, the Shiranui clan owed a lot to the 4th head…]
Shu further lowered his head as he said that.
Feeling iffied by this, Ares decided to change the topic.
[You are… Raiha’s descendant, aren’t you?]
[Yes. Raiha Shiranui was the forefather of our Shiranui clan. He was the 4th Head’s first disciple, before being recognized as one of the 4th’s vassals.]
Apparently recalling something, Shu suddenly raised his head.
[Regarding the 4th Head…is it alright for me to ask something?]
[What is it?]
[According to the Shiranui’s clan records, when the 4th Head headed out to this continent, it is said that ancestor Raiha was supposed to accompany him. Why did the 4th Head end up departing alone?]
Upon hearing that question, Ares scrunched his face.
[Why do you want to know that?]
[It is said that ancestor Raiha spent the following year grieving in the mountain for being unable to serve the 4th Head. Afterward he dedicated the rest of his life to serving the 5th Head…but… it is also said that he became a lot grumpier after leaving the mountain…]
Shu asked with a wondering look on his face. Ares frowned in return.
[Ancestor Raiha left a will for the clan before he passed. If any of our clan members is to visit the continent, should we find the 4th Head’s descendant, then we are to confirm his or her intention. You sir, might not be the 4th’s descendant, but you are as good as the 4th himself in person.]
In contrast to the excited Shu, Ares’ face was getting more and more contorted as the conversation went on. Shion felt the need to ask why.
[Milord… Can you tell us the reason?]
Sigurd also looked on with a concerned face.
After taking a deep sigh, Ares finally spoke.
[……apparently he forgot.]
[Well… Shinn, you see, he was actually a scatterbrain. He was so worked up, feeling like he should act as soon as possible, that when he decided to leave for the continent, he forgot the promise that he should’ve departed with Raiha on the next day. He left with his luggage a day before the appointed time… and only realized when the boat he boarded already set sail. By then it’s already too late to return…]
When Ares looked at Shu, the latter was too shocked to even respond for a while.
[He forgot…? No way… that is… My ancestor was left behind for that kind of reason, and to think that his regret and will has been handed down for centuries within the clan…]
[Ah, but Shinn still regrets it himself till this day… Are you listening? Oii…]
Seeing the situation, Sigurd and Shion could only murmur in pity.
[Somehow… I feel sorry for the entire Shiranui clan…]
[Perhaps we will also receive similar treatment in the future…]
Shu was depressed. Ares tried to console him. Meanwhile the two other men continued to murmur to themselves.
A few days later. Ares entered the tent at the center of the Wind tribe camp to respond to Batu’s call.
[I’m sorry to bother you, Chief of Grants.]
[Nah… no need to be too worried about that]
Batu was sitting in front of a low table at the center of the tent in a cross-legged position, where Ares joined him.
[This would be the first time we meet face to face in peace.]
Batu let out a hearty laugh after saying so. It was a bit hard to imagine how they’re now sitting here together after fighting each other on the battlefield just a few days ago. Ares smiled back.
[Alright then…let me hear your reply.]
As soon as the greeting finished, Ares immediately got to the point. Both men’s eyes turned sharp. Depending on Batu’s reply, Ares knew that he had to be prepared to kill this man sitting before him.
Batu remained silent for a while before finally speaking.
[The Wind tribe will certainly not forget this favor. However… We are still hesitating about joining hands with the inlanders.]
The northern barbarians….that’s how the people living outside the steppe call these horse riders. In return, the barbarians used the term 『inlander』to refer to the Arcadians to spite them back. The conflict had been ongoing for centuries, so it’s understandable that it’s hard for them to make this decision.
But debt of favor must be returned, otherwise it will hurt the pride of the Wind tribe. On the other hand, joining the inlanders will also hurt their pride.
[Therefore I have one suggestion]
Batu looked Ares in the eyes. Ares also returned the gaze, waiting patiently.
[Be my brother, or to be exact, be my blood brother.]
Here was what Batu suggested.
The Wind tribe will certainly return the favor. However, they still hesitated in joining Ares. therefore…
All they had to do was to make Ares be part of the Wind tribe.
Becoming Batu’s blood brother means Ares had joined the Wind tribe. With Ares being part of the Wind tribe, the other tribe wouldn’t mind working together with him, as his vassals and territories would also be considered as that of the Wind tribe.
Ares laughed grandly after hearing Batu’s offer.
[Ahaha! Impressive. That will indeed solve all the problems at once!]
[That way, I’m sure that I’ll be able to convince everyone. But will it be fine? Both of us know how the Arcadians hate the barbarians. And by being my blood brother…]
[Then allow me to say this.]
Ares then proclaimed with a clear voice.
[Be it race difference or because you are a barbarian… Me and my people will not use that as a reason to discriminate against others. More than that…your suggestion will put an end to the centuries-long conflict between the Arcadians and the 『Northern Riders』. That is the most important part.]
Batu silently digested Ares’ proclamation… then laughed out loud.
[Hahahah! It’s just as I said, right, Mukasa?]
[Yes… it is just as you said. With this, we have no reason to oppose.]
Batu nodded in satisfaction to Mukasa’s reply. Then after laughing once more, he turned back to Ares.
[Pardon me. It’s just that most of us here doubted that any normal Inlander would accept such a proposal. Only a weirdo will accept it… or perhaps, only a hero would.]
[Well, you have a point there. I can be considered a weirdo in a lot of ways, don’t you think?]
[No… you are more of a 『Hero』instead. One this world has never seen before… even.]
Batu shook Ares’ hand.
[I’ve confirmed, since you are a few years older than myself, then from now on,you shall be my older blood brother.]
Batu then laughed merrily.
[You are most definitely a 『King among kings』, brother. Therefore, as your brother, I should at least try to become the king of the steppes.]
Mukasa, Batoru, and many other Batu’s subordinates present took note of that. After all, that was the first time they heard Batu proclaimed that he would become the [King of the Steppes].
[Defeat Amqa and claim the 『Ran』title. Then I will conquer the entire grasslands.]
[Understood. Then as your blood brother, I should help you. Let’s defeat Amqa together.]
[Will that be alright?]
[Isn’t that what you intended in the first place?]
Batu laughed in return.
[So you realized?]
[Of course. However… It’s still a good proposal. You get the grasslands and I get to ensure the safety of the northern part of my land.]
[It’s not only safety that you’ll gain. Brother will also obtain the heart of the riders.]
Batu continued on.
[At brother’s behest, we’ll ride to the battlefield. The Wind tribe will never forget the favor you have given us.]
[Thanks… But first, we need to defeat Amqa.]
[Obviously. Together, there’s no adversary we can’t beat.]
Standing up, Batu then shouted to the subordinates present at the meeting.
[Alright, as you all can see, today we got ourselves a new brother. Bring out the booze and celebrate!]
[Ahー…….I don’t want to get drunk, so goat milk will do for me…]
A few hours later, food and liquor were transported ceaselessly to the tent. The northern riders were truly celebrating the occasion. And with Ares’ approval, the soldiers and people of Fort Troia also joined in the festivities.
Soldiers and the townsmen of Fort Troia had brought their families along. With the addition of the recently freed women and children of the Wind tribe, the celebration became even grander.
But at the moment, the attention of both the Arcadians and the northern riders were all focused on the view of Ares standing next to Batu.
Ares was wearing the tribal outfit of the Wind tribe. Meanwhile Batu was wearing the style of clothing mostly seen worn by Arcadian Aristocrats. This was a suggestion from Ares.
[How about we exchange outfits? That way we should be able to appeal to each other’s vassals at least visually.]
And after looking at each other’s appearance with their exchanged outfits…. Neither Ares nor Batu could hold their laughter.
Following the Wind tribe’s traditional way, both men drip a droplet of their blood on the cup filled with goat milk. The ceremony to tie the blood brother relationship concluded when the two drank the from the cup. And with that, the two had officially become blood brothers.
When the ceremony was over, the banquet continued. The Arcadians and the northern riders mingled, sang, and danced together side by side. The centuries of conflict between the two no longer mattered.
Race or standing didn’t matter. At this moment, there were only people smiling together with their two kings.
It was said that the feast continued on until dawn. And with that feast….also came the end of centuries old conflict.
『Hero Sovereign』 Ares and 『King of Winds』, otherwise known as the King of the Steppes, Batou Ran.
After this event, both continued to work together, laying the foundations for prosperity.
Batu would then proceed to expand to the east, building a vast empire which exceeded that of Jamka Ran’s…
It was said that the bond of brotherhood between the two kings remained strong till the end.
Later on, Batu’s successor would marry one of Ares’ daughters, finally turning the two families into true relatives…. But that is another story.