Chapter 9: The Most Powerful Onmyoji, Becomes an Opponent (Part two)
In this world, too, there was a board game called Sen-Gi, in which two players move pieces that resemble soldiers, like Shogi, Da-Shogi, Xiangqi Shanqi and Western chess in the previous world.
The window on the second floor of the Lamprog House.
Looking down at the chess board on the table, Fiona moves her “infantry” piece in front of her.
There is no one on the other side. It seemed that Fiona was also moving forward on the other side of the board.
“Why don’t you ask someone to play with you?”
When I spoke to her, Fiona looked up and smiled at me.
“No one is sitting in front of me anymore, because they can’t be my opponent. Seika-sama, do you understand the game?”
“If it’s about how to move a piece”
“Then you can do it.”
As she says this, Fiona returns the pieces on the board to their initial positions.
“If no one can be your highness’s partner, how can I, a novice, serve?”
“Ufufu. Of course, I’ll drop pieces.”
With that said, Fiona removes her own pieces.
She dropped powerful pieces such as the “sorcerer,” the “sage,” …… as well as the “dragon knight” and the “chariot,” until finally Fiona had only “infantry,” “knights,” and her own “king” on the board.
“…… can you win the game after dropping so many pieces? I can win just by exchanging pieces one-on-one, since you can’t use the pieces you’ve taken.”
“Ufufufu, that’s right, in theory. But the victory condition for Sen Gi is not the annihilation of the opponent … But it’s interesting to be able to use the pieces you’ve taken. It might be a good idea to add that rule … Please make the first move, Seika-sama. “
As I was told, I moved one of my “infantry” pieces forward.
Then she mutters quietly.
“The first player has the advantage and you’re giving it to me …… Is that okay? I’m not good enough to take it easy on you, so I’ll really go for the win.”
“Ufufu, please. If you can …. Yes. If you say so, why don’t you bet?”
“Yes. The loser listens to whatever the winner says.”
“It’s a pretty tough bet!”
“Ufufu, Of course it’s just for fun, so you can refuse if it’s something you can’t do. How do you like that?”
“… I understand. It’s okay.”
‘Ufufu, I have taken Seika-sama’s word for it.
“I tell you, I will win.”
Fiona says in a good mood while moving her own “knight”.
“It may seem surprising, but I’m still pretty strong.”
“No, ……, it’s not surprising.”
“I think this kind of tactical eye is also important in political affairs.”
“Well, that’s overbought.”
Fiona moves the “king”.
“This is just a hobby. When I wasn’t free, entertainment was limited. And … my battlefield isn’t such a bloody place.”
“Then where is it? What is a politician’s battlefield?”
Fiona smiles as she moves forward with the pieces, not answering my question.
“Seika-sama. What do you consider the most powerful piece in this world?”
“…… that’s not about our(Sen Gi) war chess, right.”
“No, that’s right. Since it’s a big deal, please try to point out where it is here. It doesn’t matter if it’s not there.”
In response, —- I point to Fiona.
“If I had to describe it here …… the strongest pawns are you and I, Your Highness Fiona. You can never defeat a king, let alone an army, on the battlefield. Politicians are the strongest pawns in this world.”
“Well, I’ll give you a nice answer, Seika-sama.”
Fiona smiles radiantly.
“A normal person would probably have said ‘dragon knight’ or ‘king. It is precisely the kind of answer I was looking for.”
“Then is it the right answer?”
“No one knows the right answer. But …… I think differently.”
“So, Your Highness, which piece is the strongest?”
“Ufufu … The strongest in the world are those who are here.”
Then Fiona pointed behind her own camp in a large circle with her finger.
There was nothing there.
There was nothing there but a tabletop with a game board spread out on it.
“There is nothing here right now, but in reality there are many people around soldiers, kings and politicians—the people who live in this country.”
“The nameless people are the strongest?”
Fiona nodded without hesitation.
But I was still not convinced.
“Yes, popular uprisings can topple regimes, …… but they will be the exception. In most cases, the people are the powerless ones who just get robbed.”
“Yes, that is true. But still, the people are the strongest.”
Fiona smiles at my furrowed brow.
“Kings and politicians do not produce anything. They simply take the crops and resources of the people under the guise of taxes. In reality, they are little more than fleas living as parasites on beasts.”
“You are saying a lot of things from the standpoint of a princess.”
“The fleas are no fools either. First of all, they can jump very well.”
“It sounds like you’re making fun of me.”
“And by sucking blood and transmitting disease, they can torment hosts many times their own size. Perhaps, in truth, it is even easier to kill them. As the people are to the king.”
“But, ufufu. A flea can never kill its host. That option does not exist from the beginning. Because …… it would also mean its own destruction. The flea cannot live without its host.”
“Without tax revenues, politicians cannot exist. Without logistics, the military cannot be sustained. The people are truly our lifeline, our giant host. We cannot destroy them, never.”
While taking my piece, Fiona continues.
. “In addition, they have enormous power, the overwhelming power of multitude. If they were able to unite…… there would be nothing the imperial army could do in the face of that difference in quantity. It would be very difficult, but it could happen at any moment if they were in a bad mood. They will never be destroyed, as long as they have the attribute of immortality……. Do you understand, Seika-sama?”
I just listened to Fiona’s explanation.
“The people are immortal beasts with tremendous power. Once they awaken from their slumber and bare their fangs, we fleas are no match for them. They are the strongest pawns in the world.”
It was an idea that had never occurred to me.
The people in the previous life were only weak people, robbed by wild thieves and nobles, dying of hunger, cold, and epidemics. In Japan, in the Song Dynasty, in the Middle East, and in the West.
However, Fiona’s claim has the same theory as in the previous life.
Alternatively, there may be a national character.
In the Uldwight Empire, which has an anecdote that a hero who stood up from the people became the first emperor, there is still a ceremony in which people approve a new emperor in the square of the imperial capital when he succeeds to the throne.
Even as a politician, the people cannot be ignored.
“Is that why Her Highness is actively spreading her presence to the …… public?”
“Yeah. There is no “king” or “Dragon Knight” in my hand pieces. Therefore, I use pieces that no one pays attention to. If it is the strongest, even more so.”
Fiona laughs a little there.
“I’m sure this is just a slapstick attempt right now. But I am sure that in the distant future, …… all politicians will be beholden to the people. One day, in all countries, the people will have the power of kings.”
“People have kingship? No way”
“Is it funny? It is natural for the greatest authority to fall into the hands of the strongest. It will come to pass one day, just as water flows low. A time when the people will elect their rulers and the people will denounce their iniquities.”
I look at Fiona, who talks like a dreamy little girl, and I think.
After all, this princess is a politician.
Even if she has no backing or real power. Even if she is only a young girl.
She sees dynamics and scenery that I cannot see.
I gently open my mouth.
“I’m sure…… even your highness’s future vision can’t see that far into the future, can it?”
“Well, I wonder, was it Grey.”
When I nod, Fiona says in a surprisingly relieved tone.
“I have to thank him. I’ve been worried about how to talk to Seika-sama for a long time.”
“Then, it’s true, isn’t it?”
Fiona says, playing with a piece she dropped off the board.
“When I was a child, I did not know what this power was. The future I could see, and the memories that accompanied it, were all like possibilities that could change with the flap of a butterfly’s wings. It was when I realized the true nature of these daydreams, which may or may not come true, that I realized that there was a flow of destiny, like a storm, that could not be changed by the flap of a wing. And when I was told who my mother was, I became convinced, and at the same time, …… I realized the meaning of my birth.”
“The meaning of your birth, you mean? Is it like benefiting the empire with the power of future vision?”
“Ufufufufu … No, it’s not.”
Fiona says with a fleeting smile.
“There is no meaning in human life, Seika-sama.”
Fiona continues, as I remain silent.
“The future is volatile and easily changeable. The flow of fate is just the future that is stochastically most likely to be realized. Human life has no meaning defined by heaven… and When I realized, I decided to live as I like. Instead of being quietly under house arrest, on the contrary, I would live on my own will, without relying on anyone’s thoughts. “
When I’m silent, Fiona, who has finished her turn, grins.
“It seems like you’re getting outnumbered. Do you want to continue, Seika sama?”
“… I won’t give up until the end. The number of pieces are still equal.”
“Well, it’s nice, but this board actually has seven moves left.”
“…………then I will concede. By the way, how do you get unstuck from here?”
“Ufufufu. When this happens …”
Fiona’s thin white fingers moved the pieces.
It seemed that the board was really deadlocked, and I let out a few words with a heavy breath.
“It’s a complete defeat. You were really strong, Your Highness.”
“Ufufufu … wouldn’t you say that it’s cunning to see the future?”
“It’s not a power that can be used that conveniently.”
“Even if you can see it, the game is a game in which the positions and movements of the pieces are all open to the public. Anyone can predict the future. The future is not related to the game. Your Highness is definitely good at this game.”
“Ufufu, I’m kind of happy. I hoped Seika-sama would say that.”
Fiona smiled and said in a good mood.
“But I wish you would have told me that …… I would never do such a cowardly thing.”
“I can’t say for sure that Her Highness does not have a darker side to her character.”
“… Then how can you trust me?”
Suddenly, I stopped talking.
Although she was smiling, Fiona’s tone and expression were serious.
Perhaps this is not about me personally, but about how to increase her allies in the political arena, or something like that.
I was wrong to respond to her with a joke at first…… With this thought in mind, I too adopted a serious tone.
“I would say, in general, …… that it’s good to speak your mind and show your vulnerability.”
“Weakness in the true sense of the word, is it?”
“You have to trust them first and open yourself up to them. If you do that, they will naturally open up to you…… But in your position, it may not be easy.”
Fiona growls with a bitter expression.
“Um, I understand. Then… Shall we go?”
“I am not good with pigeons.”
“Huh? Pigeons…? Why that? An unpleasant memory?”
“No, it’s not like that, but …… it’s just scary. Especially those eyes. Have you ever seen the eyes of a pigeon up close, Seika-sama?”
“Probably not …”
“If so, you should take a look at them when you have a chance. The white eyes are red, the black eyes are small and round, and they have the eyes of a psycho who you have no idea what he’s thinking. Of all the animals, pigeons are the only ones that I would say have absolutely no heart. I think they are more like insects. I used to cry a lot when I saw a pigeon outside my window.”
“I’ve never seen anyone so afraid of pigeons.”
“And I was afraid of stews when I was little.”
“Stew? Cooking? You mean you hated it?”
“No, I liked it, but I was scared. Especially in winter, eating in a room with a fireplace.”
“what do you mean……”
“I knew at one point that wheat was used in stews.”
“I was young but knowledgeable, and I knew that bread was also made from wheat.”
“Bread is made by baking wheat. When you eat stew, you have wheat in your stomach, right? So …… i thought that if you hit the fireplace as it is, the wheat would swell up in your stomach, become bread, and overflow out of your mouth.”
“Hahaha! Huh? Are you serious?”
“I’m serious. So, when the young me finished my stew, I would run off to a cold room and cover myself with a blanket, much to the consternation of my attendants.”
I laugh, like this.
“I’m sorry. I’m sure Her Highness must have been seriously troubled by the ……hahaha.”
“I’m sure that Seika-sama will be punished for the horrible crime of making fun of the royal family. It’s sad…….”
“No, no, no! Any loyal subject would laugh at that!”
“I have never had anyone laugh at my personal story before. …… Oh, yes, there was one more thing. This one is not a weakness, but a true one.”
Fiona speaks quietly, with a gentle smile.
“I … I want to help, for example.”
“Suppose a child is playing in a meadow. But there is a big hole near it, and the child doesn’t know it. If this continues, he will eventually fall down……. I want to help him. I am the only one who notices the hole, and this is something only I can do.”
I think for a moment and open my mouth.
“By the ‘’child,’’do you mean the empire?”
Fiona only smiled vaguely at my question.
“I’m sorry, I can’t give you the details. The future may change in unexpected ways.”
“Was meeting Amiyu part of that?”
“That’s ……, yes, you may assume that.”
“Are those things all that your Highness wishes to do of your own volition?”
This time I asked back at Fiona, who nodded firmly.
“If so, I will support you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”
“Ufufu. I’m so happy.”
After I said it, I realized I was about to get into something unnecessary again, but …… it’s too late now.
I’m sure Yuki will nitpick again later. Let’s not think about that now.
“That’s right. I’m not good with carriages.”
“A carriage? I didn’t expect that.”
“I get dizzy. However, I’ve become quite comfortable these days.”
“I’m fine with stew now, too.”
“You want to compete?”
“Ufufu … it was fun, Seika-sama”
Fiona stands up.
Thinking back, we talked a lot.
“Thank you for reaching out to me.”
“No. it’s my pleasure.”
Fiona looks down at me and says.
“I’ll think carefully about what request I’m going to ask of you.”
“Ah, haha …”
I looked away from Fiona and let out a dry laugh.
Damn …… you didn’t forget …….