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Chapter 015 – Dear Tenma, I Am Also Familiar with Friendships Between Fellow Men II
After Rio met Sophie and the children of the orphanage, his thoughts began to change. He was more arrogant before he met Sophie, and didn’t even realize his own arrogance.
And this change raised questions. He wanted to ask one such question to the girl in front of him. Taking the chance while his usual escort wasn’t present, Rio turned to her.
“Hey, Sophie. What do you think about this nation? Although other nations also have it, why are there social classes like royalty and aristocracy?”
Without any preface, Rio blurted out his question.
“Don’t you think it would be better if there were no social castes, like royalty and aristocracy? If it happens, people will surely be freer and more equal, making it a better nation.”
As Rio divulged his thoughts with a serious expression, Sophie was silenced by his words.
Rio’s golden hair danced in the wind. Sophie learned recently that men also grew their hair long as a symbol of aristocracy.
The higher their pedigree, the longer their permissible hair length was as well.
Aristocrats who also served as knights were exceptions and cut their hair, but for the most part, the length of their hair showed their pedigree.
Ever since Sophie first met Rio, his hair was long. Its length was longer than her father’s, who was a Baron.
“Sophie, don’t you think so?”
Perhaps due to his high social status, he has lost sight of the place he could belong.
That was why Sophie told him clearly.
“…You are also an aristocratic woman, after all.”
At Sophie’s denial, Rio responded in disappointment.
Rio thought that Sophie would understand and agree with his view.
“Well, I won’t deny such a view. But it’s impossible at any rate.”
Humans were born unequal.
Even in Japan, a country with better social security, inequality still existed.
Perhaps it was because Sophie had memories of her past life as Tasuku, who was without a father and abandoned by his mother, that she thought so in particular.
He’d managed to live on, despite his situation, due to the society’s structure, but in this world, if a child were abandoned by their parents, they had no choice but to live on the streets or resort to prostitution. Those who were picked up by the orphanage were the luckier ones.
The world was beautiful, yet cruel at the same time. Regardless of how beautiful people lined it up, that was still the case in the end.
“I think rather than making an effort to create a classless society, it would be better to make the place more livable to the people within it.”
“…Isn’t that the same thing?”
Rio asked what the difference was.
“I don’t think it is the same. People who are dissatisfied with their social pedigree are proof that they couldn’t live a better life in that state. If people have food to eat, a place to live, a job to work, and are able to spend their days peacefully, which shows that they can afford a comfortable life, I doubt they would have a big dissatisfaction about it. It might be hard to improve the quality of life, but it would be better than trying to eliminate the aristocratic pedigree. That would trigger a huge conflict.”
Was there a world without any social classes at all? Humans were creatures who wanted proof of their superiority over those who were inferior. And it wasn’t only humans; most animals did as well.
“I don’t consider the social pedigree of royalty and aristocrats to be the absolute evil in this world. Even animals have one serving as the apex in their herd. They are the ones responsible for driving away their enemies and dealing with unexpected circumstances. What they have are not only glory and honor, but also obligations and responsibilities at the same time. As long as they don’t forget that, I don’t think they are evil at all.”
Perhaps it sounded like idealism, since the one who was saying it was an aristocrat.
However, she’d also thought the same thing in her past life. Tasuku was a mediocre young man. He didn’t think of becoming a rich person or a prime minister. He was just an ordinary man who worked for the sake of tomorrow and enjoyed his daily life.
He saw politicians who were criticized by mass media for difficult situations within their responsibilities. Tasuku didn’t think he could take over in their place, and he didn’t want to do so. I’ll entrust all difficult stuff to you, I’ll just continue to pay the tax. It might sound like the mindset of a typical Japanese person who was stupidly peaceful, but Tasuku loved such a stupidly peaceful life.
“There are many surrounding nations who want to seize our territory through war. If the royal family and aristocratic pedigree were gone, who would command people and carry out diplomacy for the nation?”
Although Orlando Kingdom was peaceful at the moment, they had experienced a big battle about half a century ago. The peace that people experienced then had been earned by those in power at the time. The peace that lasted even now was due to the current people who were in power. A foolish king wouldn’t be able to achieve this.
“What would happen if a commoner did it in their stead? They are all desperate to continue their everyday lives. The standard of living and education are not equal. We need to first eliminate the war between nations and improve the quality of lives to reduce the responsibilities of royals and the aristocratic classes. It would be hard to eliminate all of it, but with their responsibilities reduced, the authority they would hold would also decrease. It would all depend on the world’s situation and the improvements that happen.”
Rio was listening silently to Sophie’s story. His eyes were like a calm sea.
“However, your thoughts are correct, Rio. Regardless of your awareness of how unequal the world is, you must never forget to aim for the world of equality.”
“…Do royalty… and aristocrats, still have such responsibilities even now?”1
“Yes. At least, I think so.”
His golden eyelashes trembled, as if they were in anguish. Rio was a friend who grew up in a good environment and was arrogant sometimes.
However, to her friend who always listened to her words instead of ignoring them, Sophie just silently stared at him. Perhaps Rio felt her gaze, so he laughed as a way to it cover up.
“Sophie sure is smart. You are wise and offer a good perspective.”
“Oh, you won’t get anything extra, even if you praise me, you know?”
“Where do you grow these values? You are only seven years old.”
Rio’s words stopped for a moment, and he stared hard at Sophie.
“Really… what kind of person are you?”
Rio said this as if he were speaking to a stranger.
Certainly, the thing that Sophie spoke of earlier wasn’t something that would normally come out of a seven-year-old young lady. Since she had gotten closer to Rio now, she spoke without thinking.
However, Sophie always tried to smooth it over with a joke at times like this. And this gentle friend of hers would allow himself to be deceived.
“Oh, did you forget who I am? I am Sophie Linier. As a young lady, I am putting all my effort to shine as a lady!”
“…Sophie, you are smart but you really are unaware of yourself, you know?”
“That’s a rude remark to a fine lady, Rio!”
As Sophie walked ahead, Rio didn’t chase after her, but continued to stare at her back, as if he was seeing something dazzling. He muttered.
“Sophie… It is my treasure to have been able to meet you. It feels as if you are someone who the world prepared for this foolish me…”
His quiet whisper was drowned by the wind, and failed to reach Sophie’s ears—
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