「At any rate, I didn’t think that the headmaster and Professor Frute would agree with this plan.」
「That’s because Rufeus Academy has seen a stagnation in research these last hundred years. Not only that, but these last five years have uncovered absolutely nothing new, so some drastic measures will no doubt be in order.」
「Even if there is a possibility that your research will all be denied？」
「No researcher worth his salt can fear on that basis.」
The headmaster declared with a grim expression in response to the young king’s words. In this world, there was always research that would end up being useless. There were countless examples of this. Fearing something like that would not bring about fresh outcomes.
If anything, research comes down to failure and futility.
「Assuming we’re fine with this, is there any merit for them accepting our request for anything other than what we intend to give them？」
「I cannot really say at this moment, no. I understand that their aim is in the library, but anyone has the right to enter the library. And anything besides that is likely to be something they can manage better on their own than relying on others.」
「If anything, maybe having that assumption is safer.」
「Honestly, this is a vexing subject.」
「Hopefully them taking in our request and sending someone to the academywill have some sort of merit for them as well……」
The headmaster nodded at the king’s request. Rufeus Academy still maintained the top ranking position in the world’s academic pursuits and education, but unfortunately, the current tide was clearly ebbing away. Perhaps there would not be anything to gain from sending these overly prepared technology experts.
Lorren being the only one to benefit from this was not a good lasting relationship.
「Either way, there will be nothing wrong with quickly getting in touch with them.」
「Yeah. We lack manners to summon them so quickly as soon as they arrived today, but it would also be rude to ask for their lodging and then wait one or two weeks, and the whole purpose of giving them presents could very well falter.」
The king was overanalyzing this meeting with a mere civilian workshop master. However, for someone like him who not only lacked a solid foundation for his authority but lacked even a decent foundation for said authority, interacting with the leaders of the three western kingdoms in a struggle required him to be this highly strung.
Then again, it was not rare in Lorren to have a king without a firm authority foundation even after three years since enthronement. After all, Lorren’s royal elections more often than not consisted of people who had generally not involved themselves with politics. Also, for the purpose of appearance as an election, it was nearly impossible to educate the candidate while the predecessor was still in office or advance the delegation of the foundation of authority, so you might as well say that if anything, having a proper foundation of authority was highly likely to be in a collusive relationship with designated influences and factions.
In order to compensate for the foundation of authority and lack of experience, the Senate and Council of Elders did exist, but the older generation who had retreated from the line of politics became the sponsors, and in exchange for limiting the power of the king for two years, this system in practice allowed them to teach the king the fundamentals of politics.
In exchange for not questioning any of the inconveniences or issues during this period of time, any striking results would not count as achievements, so it was quite difficult to use the rite of passage as a reason for not having any achievements and unify the retainers in getting to listen to you, as was the case with the current king who had just finished his trainee period.
To him, no matter how well he prepared, the king could not have confidence in negotiating with Azuma Workshop and its tremendous influence. At the same time, the king was dealing with many problems due to his lack of achievement and was on the path to losing ever shred of confidence as the king, so it was imperative to him that he accomplished this affair of building a cooperative relationship with Azuma Workshop, who had definite, clear achievements.
At some point, Azuma Workshop had become an exceedingly influential organization among the three kingdoms. The only ones who had no idea of this were probably the workshop members in question, ironically enough.
「Anyhow, it’s tomorrow. Let’s aim for right after breakfast and send an envoy.」
「That’s probably the safest route, yes.」
「And we must carefully choose who we send out. No matter what, we cannot afford to send out an overbearing fool.」
The headmaster inwardly grimaced at how humble the king was in all his actions. From there up until they had lunch, various briefings including tomorrow’s plans continued their course.
「Deary and friends appear to have arrived.」
『I see. What state is Lorren in as of now？』
「Just as you have heard prior. Unlike Darl, the nobility and diet members appear to be behaving themselves.」
『Right, as they do at least have a sort of pride of residing in the country of knowledge.』
Layotte let Rainy’s report go in one ear and out the other, not making any particular remark. Unfortunately, there was not currently any information to specially mention.
『And the academy？』
「This is just a rumor, but apparently the reformist faction with the headmaster at the top is ignoring the conservative faction and proceeding with hard-line policies.」
『That makes sense. Infighting lasts quite a while over there. I could see why movements are starting to emerge.』
「Also, there are no signs of Barold making any movement.」
『That’s because Lorren is a difficult country for Barold to move in, although not in the same way it was with Forre.』
Rainy tilted her head at Layotte. She couldn’t think of any reason for Barold’s movement to be hampered there.
『Lorren, from all echelons of society, pathologically hates all form of bribery and corporate entertainment for the purpose of inducing one’s own profit, or what you might call money under the table. It’s extremely difficult to have that initial common ground if you even so much as try to indoctrinate them by whispering half-truths into their ears.』
「Do they have no social life？」
『In that area, the rules dictate that there can be no conversations linked to money or personal interests. Also, unlike Farlane or Darl’s high society, anyone who badmouths or gossips in a way that could damage someone’s reputation is instead scorned and expelled. In order to criticize someone, you are required to provide objective and decisive evidence; truly an annoying national character to have.』
「And how are they negotiating in that area？」
『Apparently they just have open meetings. Now, of course there are still secret meetings they can’t openly discuss. Also, they only hate money under the table, so there isn’t such opposition with diplomatic wining/dining/gifts for gaining the country or region’s profit, or sending favorable treatment and gifts to specific individuals or organizations so as to invite them in. Gifts for things like apologies for trouble or gratitude for a favor, also known as etiquette gifts, aren’t seen as especially problematic either. Basically, no one has an issue as long as the reason is public and doesn’t go against social standards, conducted openly.』
Hearing Layotte’s explanation, Rainy made an exceedingly tired face. No wonder it was so difficult to gather information.
Of course, being human, it wasn’t like no one in Lorren gossiped or bad-mouthed people. It was impossible to fully eliminate shady money circulating around. However, the culture shamed anyone who brought it into high society, parliament, or any sort of formal sphere.
Well, conversely, this meant that taverns and other personal spaces were filled with badmouthing, groundless rumors, hush money/treats on a daily basis.
「Wouldn’t something unfamiliar like this make things harder for Deary and the others？」
『Well, in their case, it’s not so much profit inducement as it is them wanting to do as they please, which ends up benefiting both sides immensely anyway, so I don’t see there being much of an issue.』
「Either way, the country sounds like a drag to live in.」
『No, I’m pretty sure anyone from any country feels that way about places other than home.』
Layotte’s words had an odd persuasion to them that caused Rainy to agree, recalling what the country she had previously operated in was like. It was true; any other country seemed bothersome in comparison with Farlane.
『At any rate, the Lorren royal house and Rufeus Academy will be making contact with them, so things will probably get a bit clamorous. As per usual, I’m counting on you to gather intel and support them.』
Nodding at Layotte’s order, Rainy finished her periodic call. Unable to imagine herself actually doing something in an academy, Rainy considered the manner in which she should sneak in.
And so Hiroshi and friends’ first day in Rufeus passed by like the calm before the storm.