Reborn as The Underdog First Prince Volume 1 Chapter 5 part 8

Todd couldn’t get that hypothesis out of his head.
 
While most things progressed as he knew them to, completely unanticipated developments also frequently occurred.
 
How Edward was raised. People like Renge and Gaaru who didn’t exist in the game. And the sense of discomfort from Totila.
 
There were several irregularities that seemed to defy explanation from Todd maneuvering things and changing everyone’s actions alone.
 
While he could theorize things to a degree with some guesswork, that would still end up being speculation based on what was depicted in the game.
 
Of course Todd hadn’t met with any god or anything while reincarnating and gotten everything explained to him, nor was it the sort of issue that he could just think on and have the answers pop out.
 
(But if so, could it be that rather than a bloodthirsty tyrant seeking to plant terror, this Totila was… No, it may also be possible that some tragedy occurs from here that changes him into that.)
 
In other words, the Totila he had fought now was not necessarily the utterly fiendish and cruel man he had envisioned… At that point, Todd’s train of thought ground to a halt.
 
“Excuse me, sir, I’ve captured him and brought him to you as promised.”
 
“Yeah, send him in.”
 
Todd was currently making use of a house constructed in the architectural style of the plainsfolk that had been on Mount Sheila, commandeering it for personal use.
 
With Raienbach standing by in full armor behind him, for the moment Todd had taken off Shiranui.
 
As a bare minimum precaution he still wore fortified armor.
 
After some time, a single soldier entered accompanied by…Totila, now dressed in simple prisoner’s clothing.
 
—That’s right, in the end Todd had not killed Totila.
 
A massive white scar remained on Totila’s chest. The mark left by Todd healing that wound with recovery magic.
 
At the very last moment, Todd had failed to go through with finishing him off.
 
Uneasy whether it was truly alright to kill off such a famous character here and now, he had decided to hear Totila out first.
 
The Totila brought before him had also rounded his eyes in surprise.
 
It seems he had also not anticipated the true identity of the one who removed Shiranui would be this young.
 
Since Todd only took off Shiranui when reliable people were nearby where he could feel at ease, the actual number who had seen him directly was unexpectedly low.
 
Judging by Totila’s reaction, it seems information on Todd had not actually spread that far.
 
“I’m…shocked. To think you were this young.”
 
“How’s it feel losing to a brat?”
 
“It’s awful. Makes me think I lost to someone younger than my own kid.”
 
Totila’s arms were bound behind his back with rope wrapped round and round, and chains attached to iron balls were fastened around his legs.
 
His appearance was clearly that of a convicted criminal.
 
Having told them to bring him as soon as he arrived, that meant he had passed through between both battle lines like this.
 
There was little chance of opinions changing after leisurely conversing.
 
Todd decided to conduct business-like and promptly settle things.
 
“From now on, all your tribesmen will be absorbed and welcomed into my tribe as part of Clan Todd. The women your side took will be returned to their original places, but there won’t be any complaints about that right?”
 
“Obviously. All of those things are for you as the victor to decide.”
 

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Since this time Totila’s group had called their entire tribes to action, women could also be seen among them.
 
So Todd had already announced that those brought by force could return to their former places if they wished.
 
And among the great number of women Totila’s tribe had been keeping could be found Gaaru’s sister, the one he had been searching for.
 
Of course for mountain people, the victor gained the right to obtain everything.
 
While she had been taken by a few members of the tribe, she was the picture of health mentally and physically with no signs of having become pregnant either, leaving Gaaru to heave a sigh of relief.
 
“Also, Ho… I heard from the mountain people that you have warriors directly serving under you. If I killed you some trouble might occur there right?”
 
“They shouldn’t… I instructed them not to cloud their eyes with momentary hatred.”
 
Incidentally, several pleas had made their way to Todd saying that if he killed Totila, he should kill those Praetorian Guards along with him.
 
Since Totila’s closest aides might rise against them even knowing they didn’t stand a chance for their lord’s sake…was their reasoning.
 
He did properly have some charisma it seemed.
 
Though that was only because the excessive reforms created substantial pushback.
 
Judging objectively ignoring the preconceptions from the game’s events, he was nothing more than a reformist who had appeared among the mountain people.
 
And since he was also a mighty warrior at the same time, he had many followers, meaning one could say he also possessed personal magnetism…
 
Factoring in tactics as well, his total status assessment would likely reach around Rank A.
 
He stood among the upper ranks of exceptional talents.
 
With no information available beforehand, the kingdom had been powerless before the mountain people moving however Totila dictated, hence their defeat.
 
Todd’s body began fidgeting uncontrollably.
 
He could not remain unaware of the unsavory emotions welling up from within himself.
 
“You sought to band the mountain people together in order to make the world tremble at the mountain folk’s name right?”
 
“—So you researched that much huh. That’s right, I wanted to carve the names of Tribal King Totila and the mountain people into the earth for all the world to fear. To show that we will never yield to you plains dwellers.”
 
“Yeah. Honestly—I think you’re right. Without me, you probably could have united the mountain people, and the kingdom would have likely fallen before your army.”
 
“…What?”
 
Totila could not comprehend in the slightest what this boy before his eyes was talking about.
 
What mattered most to mountain people were victory and results.
 
That was everything. The victor gained everything while the loser was stripped of all.
 
Precisely why Todd’s words praising even the loser passed in one ear and out the other for Totila, unable to comprehend them properly.
 
(Just now, what was it he said to me who should have my status and honor stripped as the loser? That without him, I could have won and conquered their plains nation…? Timid or whatever, is that how this man operates?)
 
(Oh, this dude’s a total wimp, pathetically scared all the time.)
 
Totila, after just a bit of chit-chat, saw right through Todd’s deep-seated issues.
 
Moves forward without even glancing at his own self.
 
But never does anything reckless.
 
In situations where it’s okay to muster some courage, he’s got the guts to be as bold as it gets.
 
Recognizing the opponent, thoroughly researching beforehand, plotting, and only engaging in battles he’s guaranteed to win – that approach seemed incredibly messed up to Totila.
 
(This guy is seriously messed up. Twisted as hell, even by human standards.)
 
Totila could not help but think that battling someone so warped would surely end in defeat.
 
—After all, the temperament of mountain people had not been warped so much as to be able to battle such a twisted individual.
 
“What do you intend to do with us from here on?”
 
“I’ll treat you as my private army. I think it’ll be something like second-class citizens with taxes and rights reduced a bit compared to kingdom civilians. But I won’t exterminate you all or anything, and you’ll probably be able to live better lives than now.”
 
“You’ll dig up the mountains, tear down the forests, build cities?”
 
“Well… I’d like you to allow that to some extent if possible. I do have some plans in mind. It’s not feasible now but I intend to build connections to avoid destroying forests from here on. And I have the right personnel to excavate the mountains without changing things too much from before… Cities for people of Rynsgaya to live in will likely be constructed but I plan on enabling mountain people to live as mountain people still.”
 
Various so-called fantasy races such as elves, dwarves, and halflings existed in this world as well.
 
With the mountain people’s conquest concluded, Todd needed to immediately head to the great forest on the other side of Rinfelt in order to poach some of their particularly skilled individuals.
 
He also had to consider the revived Yamata no Orochi on Mount Akitsushima, so his schedule was actually quite crammed.
 
“Our way of life will be destroyed. All that will be left are imitations of plains people who do nothing but increase their gold and grow fat.”
 
“Nothing stays the same forever. I couldn’t just leave you all…or rather, leave you alone. That’s why I conquered you. —Isn’t it the mountain folk’s way to obey the victor? And…the mountain people themselves won’t vanish. Even if they become kingdom citizens and lead different lives than before, their blood will still be passed down continuously.”
 
“Their…blood?”


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