Genjitsushugisha no Oukokukaizouki - Volume 18 - Chapter SS3

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Relying on the God of War When Times Are Tough

The decisive battle with the Great Tiger Empire led by Fuuga Haan was fast approaching, and we have been steadily preparing to meet him in battle. We didn’t just need careful planning and the deployment of forces; we also needed to evacuate residents along the predicted invasion path. In order to convince them to leave quietly, we had to show them that the evacuation destinations would have the supplies they’d need to survive, which we had to prepare too... Essentially, we had a load of things to do.

I’d left the military plans to Hakuya, Julius, Excel, and Kaede so I could focus entirely on the paperwork. But even as I did, I couldn’t escape the plaguing uncertainty of the war. Our opponent was the favorite child of this era, the great Fuuga. No amount of preparation could have given me complete confidence.

I have nowhere near the guts that Fuuga has...

I couldn’t approach things with the kind of cavalier attitude towards my own death that he had. I didn’t want to die, and I didn’t want to lose any of my family. I’d like to think everyone in this country felt the same way. And yet, with just a simple order from me, many lives could be lost. If I ever stopped feeling pressured by that fact, it would mean I was no longer human.

Being human means wanting something to cling to... I thought with a sigh.

“What are you sighing about, Souma?” asked Julius, who was waiting on the paperwork I was handling. “The whole castle is on edge right now. If you act that way, you’ll make those beneath you uneasy.”

“Sorry... I just can’t help but be concerned. Here’s the paperwork.”

“Duly received... Well, it’s not that I don’t understand where you’re coming from,” Julius said, a slight furrow in his brow despite his calm face. “One of the Great Tiger Empire’s strengths is their lack of fear of loss. They are a group which had little to begin with, so it stands to reason they would act this way. On the other hand, we have our loved ones to care for, which comes with the fear of losing them.”

“Yeah... And that is all the more reason everyone can dig their heels in, determined to defend those loved ones. But there’s no getting rid of the uncertainty and doubt. Although, maybe that’s a worry the Great Tiger Empire would be glad to have.”

I leaned back in my chair and stared up at the ceiling.

“When I’ve got my back to the wall like this, I find myself wanting to cling to just about anything. I’m about ready to start praying to the god of war for help.”

I wouldn’t turn to the gods when times were tough...but it wasn’t because I was an atheist. Being Japanese, even if we didn’t have a concrete faith in Shinto, Buddhism, or Christianity, we did have an ingrained reverence for our ancestors and the natural world. We’d think things like, “How will I ever face my ancestors?” or pray to a rock that would never fall and ask it for success on our exams. That was why I felt an urge to rely on them now...which may be the mental space that people in cults took advantage of.

As I contemplated that, I noticed Julius was also deep in thought.

“Hmm...” he grunted.

“Is something up?”

“Hmm? Oh, no. I was thinking that, if you’re uneasy, you might try asking the gods a favor for real.”

Me? Turn to the gods for help? In this world? I thought, then said, “But I’m not a Mother Dragon or Lunaria worshipper.”

“No, I don’t mean it like that. You could pray to a war god who’s close to you.”

“A war god who’s close to me?” I wondered, repeating the strange phrase.

Julius smiled and nodded. “Yes, a god that is close and deeply involved with us.”

◇ ◇ ◇

Near Van, the capital of the former Principality of Amidonia, a mausoleum had been erected atop a hill that looked down on the river where we had floated boats for the Memorial Festival.

“Is this Grandpa’s house?”

“Sure is. This is where your grandfather lies sleepin’,” Roroa explained to our son, Leon, who was holding her hand.

“Are Leon’s grandpa and my grandpa the same?”

“Hee hee! Yes, that’s right. He’s your grandfather too,” Julius’s wife, Tia, said while holding their son, Tius, in her arms.

This was the mausoleum of Gaius VIII, father of Roroa and Julius.

We’d held the Memorial Festival for him to console the people of the Amidonia Region, who had admired his feats as a warrior. If a festival was to be held, there needed to be a place for celebration and worship, so we built this mausoleum on the site of the princely family’s grave.

I didn’t know this part myself, but at some point, Gaius—who was worshipped in this mausoleum—had been elevated to war god status. I had only set the place up to console the spirits of the dead, but as it was a place of worship, people assumed it was for some god, so warriors started worshipping Gaius there because of how he had acted during his life.

I was here to pray with Roroa and Leon, plus Julius, Tia, and Tius—all members of Gaius’s family.

“Never thought I’d be praying to my father-in-law for help,” I muttered before the mausoleum.

Julius stifled a laugh. “Ah, well, he’s still a father to Roroa and me.”

“Now that you say really feels like we’re just visiting the family grave.”

I felt like I was standing in front of a relative’s Buddhist altar during Obon. To think Gaius would be revered as a warrior god...

“He might help you, Julius, but would he really lend me his strength?” I asked.

“Even if they hate their son-in-law, grandfathers are always soft on the grandchildren.”

Julius gestured to Roroa and the others with his chin.

“Go on, put your hands together ’n’ pray to Grandpa,” said Roroa.

“You too, Tius,” followed up Tia. “Let him know that we’re all doing well.”


Leon and Tius, now four years old, did as their mothers told them and held up their hands. They were striking poses, but they looked cute, so it was fine.

Even Gaius’s stony face would have softened to see such adorable grandkids.

“Yeah... I’ll pray too.”

I bowed twice, then clapped my hands twice, even though that wasn’t the general custom in this world.

I promise to protect your children, grandchildren, and the land you loved. Even if you can’t stand me, please be on my side for now. I ask that you give me the that I can stand without fear, even if Fuuga appears before me.

With that prayer, I bowed my head deeply towards the mausoleum.

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