(… I can’t read his reaction.)
Even for Ziva, the proposal to erase the fact that they were at war was a desperate measure.
If there was a little more time, or if King Fushtar capacity was a little bit wider, there might be another way. However, this was the only method Ziva could think of where he could satisfy Fushtar and achieve peace in a short time.
The reason why he spoke enthusiastically one-sided earlier was that he understands how difficult his own proposal was and wanted to make sure it goes through the other side…
However, he was not sure whether such a trick was effective.
The young man who sits in front of him just stared at him while listening to him. He didn’t say any words, only gazing at Ziva.
(It feels like I’m trying to knock down an iron statue with a wooden hammer… Still, I can’t back down here…)
He cannot afford to step back. Though it can’t be helped if he was a bit shaken. The reason was a scene that appeared in his mind.
The miners were people wearing only tattered clothes. Natra soldiers cooked foods for them.
If Natra soldiers were gone, what will they do? Will the mine’s manager that comes from Marden would treat them the same?
(… What am I thinking? What I need to do is to get the gold mine back. That is my duty, and I will do my best for that. Right, anything else does not matter…)
After a long silence, Wayne finally begins to speak…
Unable to understand the meaning of the words, Ziva looked puzzled while Wayne continues speaking…
“Sefti, Rehis, Targia, Carrral…”
“Y-Your Highness… What do those words mean?”
“It is people’s names…”
Wayne’s voice somehow felt chilling…
“Those are the name of our soldiers that died in Porta WIlderness…”
Hearing that, Ziva heart jumps…
An extraordinary benevolent ruler. Ziva felt that the young man in front of him was the one who would be described as such.
He should’ve known that…
“I understand your proposal… Such an interpretation would be possible. However, Ziva-dono, where should the souls of the dead soldiers go then? For the sake of our country, they had fought, what should we carve in their grave marks?”
“It can’t be you suggesting I wrote ‘those who died for nothings sleep here,’ isn’t it?”
Somehow feeling threatened from his gaze, Ziva could not speak another word…
Seeing that, Wayne cheers inside his mind…
(Oho, it seems my method is working!)
But next to him, Ninim was still nervous…
(“Isn’t this a bit too effective? If he begins to think that the situation is non-negotiable, it would be the end of the world for us, isn’t it?”)
(“Well, this much is nothing… In fact, I think we should do another push for a bit…”)
Fortunately, he had appeared as a benevolent ruler. It should make him more persuasive if he talked about the soldiers and people. And the higher the bargaining barrier, the more money he would get from the negotiation…
“Ziva-dono, do you aware the treatment the miners had received before we from Natra arrived here?”
“A little while ago, one of the officials here made a petition. Please don’t forsake the miners, it said… Not to Marden, but to us, the Natra. That alone should give us the image of how they had been treated. If I hand over the gold mine to you here and now, what would happen to those people?”
“Based on those, I will ask you one more time. …Ziva-dono, what did you come here for?”
—Be a proud person.
Ziva recalled the words that his mother told him once upon a time.
It was a faded memory, but the trigger of those words was when he saw a boy being bullied. When he saw that, he went home as if there was nothing, but his mother was different…
She said one should become a proud person. Be someone who could puff one’s chest up with pride in the future.
Those words remained strong inside his heart, which makes him strive to become a proud person. After, ten, twenty, thirty years of living, he thought he would try to live a way of life that didn’t turn his eyes away from what he saw.
That was what he should’ve done…
But, frustration. Pressure. Self-defense. Factional disputes…
Before he noticed, he had forgotten the words from his childhood, and his path had derailed far from the sunlight.
However, that was something that cannot be helped. The excuse was that one would never to reach perfection when it comes to one’s ideal.
However, the young man in front of him didn’t hesitate to protect the people while putting himself in a much harder position as the regent…
“… Your Highness.”
“What is it?”
“Before I give my answer, may I asked you one question?”
Wayne’s eyes didn’t waver… He looked straight at Ziva.
“… The person who stands behind your highness, for your highness, who are they?”
A young beautiful Fulham girl.
At that time in the past, the boy he saw being bullied was also a Fulham. He was a Fulham. Therefore he ended up being persecuted.
Why did Ziva remember those memories now?
The reason, he finally understood.
“Ninim, for me, she is my soul.” (1)
(I, want to become someone like him—)
(1)Wayne used the word Shinzou(心臓), it can be translated as heart, but readers might interpret it as something ‘romantic,’ where what Wayne want to convey is that Ninim is someone irreplaceable for him. The reason why we cannot interpret it as something ‘romantic’ was that if he wanted us to think like that he should use the word of Kokoro(心). Not to mention we still don’t know their relationship background, we only know they are in a master-servant relationship, that they are very close, and at least Ninim had a certain feeling toward him, based on how she wakes him up every morning.