Reborn as The Underdog First Prince Volume 1 Chapter 5 part 9

“The men serving me seem to intend to bring mountain people with them to the kingdom. When they have children, while those children will be kingdom citizens they’ll have mountain folk blood flowing through them right? So the mountain people won’t disappear. Even if the names of tribes vanish from history, they’ll undoubtedly continue living on within the kingdom citizens.”
 
The words flowing from Todd were notions Totila had never once considered in his life before.
 
He had thought of the mountain people themselves as embodying the way of life.
 
If one considered what the mountain people were, then customs and culture would likely come to mind.
 
However, blood too constituted an undeniable component forming the mountain people.
 
Deep blood ties were cultivated within tribes, to the point those sharing blood were referred to as blood kin and bound by an unbreakable bond.
 
So even if everything changed, the existence known as mountain people itself would seep into their blood, and its lineage inherited… While an idea he was unfamiliar with, explained that way it made sense to Totila.
 
“Plus I plan on utilizing the mountain people as my private troops. Some things might change but I intend to properly preserve what matters.”
 
“You are…a plains person who refers to us as savages, yes?”
 
When he was young, Totila had been brought before plainsfolk by adults a few times making contact with them.
 

Over several decades ago, though on a very small scale, there were also merchant caravans traveling back and forth between the two peoples.
 
However, even back then discrimination existed.
 
The contempt from the plainsfolk back then drove a wedge deep into the young Totila’s heart.
 
The root cause for his desire to demonstrate the might of the mountain people originated from the discrimination he suffered in his youth.
 
But Todd was unaware of any of those circumstances.
 
Speak frankly with a carefree attitude,
 
“It’s just differences in culture, customs, and traditions…that’s all there is to it right? Well I do think there are parts that seem kinda savage, but I think there are parts worth learning from too. Like for example, the women.”
 
“There are…parts worth learning from?”
 
“Yeah, I find the women here really straightforward. Devoted, innocent, frank and sincere. I guess it’s because you have the custom where if you win you can freely take women, but they’re all super candid. But the women of our kingdom are different. They’d do anything to enjoy romance. For us kingdom dwellers, love is war. But for the mountain women, love is probably something more of an extension of their lives, I’d say.”
 
Seeing Todd freely criticize points like here’s what so great about mountain people but this part’s no good left Totila shaking all over, unable to stop.
 
Discrepancies in age or status no longer mattered.
 
That he held enough power to command those around him also became irrelevant here.
 
It was simply that the vivid clarity Todd viewed the world before him and the breadth of his perspective utterly dwarfed all others.
 
It wasn’t a matter of conquerors and conquered.

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There were no problems regarding discrimination or being discriminated against.
 
Todd sought to extract the best parts from everything.
 
Utilizing what should be utilized, correcting what needed fixing.
 
Doing that while still keeping a high-level viewpoint was simple in theory yet actually very difficult.
 
But there was surely something in the words Todd spoke from his viewpoint that truly shook Totila as a human being.
 
Since resolving himself in his youth, he had fought to prove that the mountain people were no way inferior to any others.
 
He had tried to inspire terror to make everyone yield and aimed to emerge onto the plains after conquering the mountain ranges in order to demonstrate the excellence of the mountain folk.
 
Yet now before his very eyes stood someone comprehending their excellence beyond any other, someone surpassing even them in excellence.
 
Totila reconsidered, thinking his assessment must have been mistaken.
 
Not pathologically cowardly, but possessing intelligence that even doubted common sense.
 
If he was twisted as a person, it was because he was trying to grasp far more within his hands than would be accepted unless he did that.
 
It was unbelievable that this man was still only twelve years old.
 
His knowledge and insight were as profound and mature as a seasoned veteran, regardless of what was discussed.
 
“Just what is it you see? Do you intend to make everyone yield, even the peoples of the far northern frozen wastes and southern deserts across continents!?”
 
“…Huh? No way, I won’t do anything like that. I just want to make battle preparations for what’s to come, then live nice and easy with my younger siblings.”
 
But it seems this man had no intention of baring his true feelings to Totila.
 
That was only natural, considering they had opposed one another as enemies up til now.
 
Totila intended to devote his entire life to the mountain people.
 
And now halfway through that aspiration was crushed, his dream broken.
 
Yet as if mocking his established life’s goal, Todd sought to build something new.
 
Something far larger with seemingly no end, beyond anything Totila could imagine.
 
From his words, Todd seemed have in mind unifying both mountain and plains people, and was even including countries across the sea in his vision.
 
What he had his sights set on beyond this, Totila who had barely left the mountains could not comprehend.
 
(Cannot comprehend…that’s exactly why I want to know.)
 
The unknown that had provided grounds for denial until now transformed instead into a desire, stoking his investigative instincts.
 
“You think quite highly of me it seems.”
 
“—Well you would have definitely posed a threat for the next two years at least.”
 
“…In such a short period of time, something will change?”
 
“I’ll have soldiers outfit every one with armor stronger than what I was wearing. Warfare will transform. The age of cavalry will end.”
 
Totila laughed upon realizing that the reason they had come to annex the mountain people was to eliminate worries for the near future.
 
What he had staked his whole being upon amounted to little more than a pimple that needed popping to Todd.
 
He was not stupid enough to be unable to grasp why Todd was telling him all this.
 
Todd, who spoke of respecting mountain ways and maneuvered to basically avoid casualties outside the final battle, valued efficiency.
 
So much so that he would immediately try to fold even yesterday’s enemies into his own camp.
 
“It’s quite the bad habit…Someday such naivete may be your undoing.”
 
“I know that but…I just can’t help feeling it’d be such a waste.”
 
“A waste…?”
 
Seeing that Totila grasped his point, Reinbach took on a admonishing tone.
 
In response Todd gave a bitter smile, scratching the back of his head.
 
Then sharply collecting himself, he turned to face Totila.
 
Totila noticed a change within himself.
 
Before he realized it, his hunched back had stretched out straight. His bound hands had clenched into fists.
 
It signified the will to continue living within him, and the fighting spirit to fulfill his role.
 
“What will you do with me? No—what should I do?”
 
“Unfortunately I cannot have you remain in the mountain domains, that is the Elenesia Mountain Range. You’ve made far too many enemies, it would likely end poorly.”
 
“Then…go to the plains, where you all live?”
 
“I guess so, for starters. There are things I’d like you to do and things I’d prefer you do if possible, but for now take a look around.”
 
“You would…grant me freedom? Given the chance I may bite through your throat, raising a new force elsewhere.”
 
“But if you do something like that it’ll probably be against non-mountain folks right? If you’re going to the Six Kingdom Alliance I can provide a bit of assistance you know?”
 
“Ha! Don’t spout nonsense…No one would be stupid enough to throw their lot in with a tribe they know will lose after this.”
 
And so in the end, Todd had taken on yet more mountain people as new subordinates.
 
Naturally there was substantial pushback from those originally of Todd’s tribe and those mistreated under Totila’s rule, so publicly it would be claimed he was executed.
 
[Totila shall never set foot upon this land again.]
 
Strictly speaking Todd had not told a lie.
 
Since he intended to send Totila far away, never to return here.
 
Unsure what to do, eventually Todd decided to also take around ten-odd warriors, Totila’s personal guards comprising his Praetorian Guard, to the kingdom along with him.
 
He had something of a hunch that leaving them be would likely turn them into rebels.
 
He reunited them with Totila inside the carriage on the way back to the kingdom.
 
And when given the choice of accompanying or returning, they unanimously chose to follow along with Totila.
 
In order to demonstrate subjugation of further mountain people as well, he had a number of former chieftains including Ho come riding on horses back to the kingdom.
 
Knowing something bad would definitely occur if they met with Totila’s group, he planned to take them along quite the roundabout route and reunite only later.
 

“That took a while…but we properly finished.”
 
“Marvelously done, Your Highness. Or should I say Tribal King Todd?”
 
“Oh come on, stop teasing me. To them I’m still just the Alchemy Prince you know—“
 
Inside the carriage on the way back, Todd was finally relieved to have successfully eliminated one of his worries…and despaired over the fact that so very many more problems still remained.


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