Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Meeting’s Crucial Moment
The meeting proceeded smoothly. A government official presided over the meeting, and the Prime Minister, Zofira, explained things further as necessary. Anyone could speak up if they had problems, but most of the matters brought up were simply and nothing out of the ordinary.
· Reward approval for successfully stopping the monsters advancing in Borderzard
· Tax adjustment on this year’s fall harvest (under 0.1%)
· The Foundation Ceremony release of reserves and what’s left (ex-post-facto approval)
· Current report on the war between Ponsonia and Quinbland
Delegates with information on the war between Ponsonia and Quinbland that no one else had gave meaningful grins, but didn’t say anything. They just listened to the report until it ended.
The meeting started at ten in the morning and ended at five in the afternoon with a lunch break at noon.
The session started really moving during the last agenda—the proposal of the delegates. Most of the proposals involved the allocation of budget. For example, as with every year, Kotobi’s delegate suggested an increase in the budget that went to the creation of magic items. Everyone simply ignored him as this was a yearly thing with him.
National road maintenance, mining rights, diplomatic issues were not brought up here. Discussions regarding these matters would be done during the winter, the political season.
「Permission to speak.」
After the Alchemy King’s proposal was rejected, Silvester G. Zubura raised his hand.
「Is this about Kotobi’s proposal or a proposal from Zubura?」the chairman asked.
「A proposal from Zubura.」
The leaders of Ludancia and Euroba raised their eyebrows, while Rumania’s leader glanced at everyone.
Zubura rarely proposed anything, or perhaps not even once before today. Unlike the two leaders who simply wondered what Zubura was up to, Billion did something different. He studied the other leaders’ faces. Those who looked calm already knew about the proposal. Preparations had been made without his knowledge.
This is bad, League thought. He realized just how familiar his father was with the world of politics. Conversations, facial expressions, and gestures were all ingredients in formulating a strategy. There was no doubt that Silvester’s proposal surprised him. But Billion was already beginning to catch up, trying to make up for the fact that he had no prior knowledge about this.
「Father, what is this about?」
「I have no idea. You don’t know about this? That guy started attending the academy recently.」
「I’m sorry, but I don’t know anything.」League moved closer to his father as preparation for his next move.「Jarazack and Kotobi seems to know what the proposal is about. I don’t know about the Queen, though…」
Billion knew that much already.
No need to panic. We have the advantage. My father doesn’t know that I’m with Silvester.
League was well aware that the meeting’s direction hinged on his own actions. A form detailing Silvester’s proposal was handed out. League himself drafted the contents relating to the founding of a student alliance.
Silence descended on the room. Ludancia and Euroba’s delegates read the contents with a bored look.
Just as expected.
At first glance, the contents looked harmless. The gist of it was: to create a body where students could exchange ideas and opinions about the academy and produce great results while they were still studying.
「Well, this sounds like trouble…」Billion muttered.
「What’s wrong, father?」
「What do you think about this?」
Billion returned League’s question with another question. League’s father looked displeased. He didn’t know how much his father inferred from the proposal.
I have to stop underestimating the risks.
League made up his mind. He thought of three patterns his father would take:
1. His father was an idiot. Sad, but the most favorable.
2. His father was competent. They could win with the element of surprise, although it would be difficult.
3. His father was highly intelligent.
League had to consider the worst possible scenario to fulfill his duty. My only option is to do my best to mislead him.
「This proposal is dangerous. That’s what you think too, right?」League asked.
「Rumania are sending not-so-bright students into the academy. This is true even among the more powerful clans. We do this to make it look like we’re supporting Her Majesty’s plan of reforming the academy. But this student alliance could turn into something that upsets the balance of power between us and the Queen.」
「What does Zubura have to gain in this?」
「They probably want to create a network by controlling the alliance. They can also get intel from alumni.」
「I was thinking the same thing. Good job.」
League didn’t know if he was telling the truth or not, but he had to assume he was. Underestimating his father would not be wise. He might get the carpet pulled under him.
「Father, can you leave this to me?」
「You’re going to talk?」
「A proposal like this while I’m currently enrolled? I can’t help but think they’re making fun of me.」
Billion stifled a laugh, and nothing else. It meant he approved League’s request.
「I believe a student alliance will improve campus life. I’ve had a lot to think about ever since I enrolled in the academy and that’s why I’m making this proposal.」Silvester finished explaining.
The delegates listened while whispering with their aides.
「If there are comments and opinions from the delegates…」
「Permission to speak.」
「Sir League Green Ogre Rumania. You may go ahead.」
League rose and fixed his eyes on Silvester who was also standing. Some people stirred, perhaps because League, who was completely silent until now, stood up to speak.
「I don’t think it’s necessary to create a student alliance.」He directly opposed the proposal.
「Why is that?」Silvester asked in discontent, brows furrowed.
「I’m also a student, but I don’t have any complaints about the present condition in the academy. I’m sure there are some who are not satisfied, but I’m sure the bigger problems have been resolved and all that’s left are minor issues. Needlessly giving more power to students will make it harder to manage the academy.」
「You probably feel satisfied because you come from a well-off family. Majority of the students are not satisfied, but they don’t have any means to communicate their complaints.」
「Since I myself attend the institution as a student, I was deeply curious as to how things were run. I once checked the academy’s operation from a financial standpoint. The yearly report says the academy is spending most of its budget on hiring to increase satisfaction among the students.」
Some sounded impressed. There probably wasn’t any other student who did that much research. League glanced at his father who looked dubious.
I did too well. We’ll lose everything if he suspects me. I should dial it back a bit. This is hard.
Silvester, on the other hand, turned a bit pale, not expecting such a rebuttal. His face said “Hey, that’s overkill”, but he continued defending.
「The report is different from the actual situation. I realize this might sound rude, but have you lodged a complaint to a staff before? A friend of mine who talked to one before said “The staff only performs the duties they’re assigned and are never creative so they could keep their jobs.”」
League wanted to laugh. Those were Hikaru’s words. Hikaru had complained about a staff before and League was there to hear it.
「Even if what you say is true, I believe it is unwise to leave the issues to the students. We have meetings that delegates participate in like this one, why not make use of them to improve the conditions in the academy? That’s how Forestia has done things so far.」
「Nothing has changed all these years, and I want to do something about that. Which is why I propose the founding of a student alliance. The academy’s philosophy mentions ingenuity and self-reliance.」
「Forestia’s philosophy also mentions harmony. This student alliance might violate this principle.」
「Only because you’re viewing this alliance as something dangerous. I believe this organization has potential to be something great. You can’t grow a tree if you cut the sprout.」
「Your Majesty, I believe I told you not to talk to me while the meeting is ongoing.」
「I know, but that Rumanian kid…」
「Yes. Isn’t he supposed to be supporting the student alliance?」
「That’s what I heard.」
「It looks like he’s seriously trying to foil their plan.」
「It sure does. He’s probably making it look like he’s doing that. Otherwise he can’t deceive his father, your arch nemesis.」
「Incredible. Zubura’s delegate is quite something as well. He’s not giving in.」
「It might be scripted to some extent, but they’re arguing like they mean it. The future sure looks bright.」
「I can’t do what they’re doing. No way.」
「But there might be times when you have to.」
「Ugh, not a chance.」
「They’re trying to throw the ball on your side.」Zofira quickly feigned a look of innocence.
「Whether it’s in line with Forestia’s principles or not is not for us to decide. I believe we should ask Queen Marquedo about this」Silvester said.「What do you think, Your Majesty?」
「I’m sorry, Your Majesty, but may we have your opinion on this?」the chairman asked.
For an instant, Marquedo looked confused, but recovered immediately, wearing her almost unreadable expression once more.
「I understand what you both are trying to say. I’m glad there are brilliant students who are seriously thinking about the future.」
League and Silvester nodded.
「But this is the Allied Nations of Forestia. It’s not something for me to decide alone. I believe we should have a vote.」
League’s cheek twitched. The plan was to have a vote in the end, but it was still too early. Zofira had a distant look on her face. It appeared that the Queen wasn’t used to acting. That or she just couldn’t be bothered.
「That’s a great idea, Your Majesty! I don’t really like these debates.」Alexei agreed. He’d been stifling yawns for a while now. Euroba’s delegate looked at the man with eyes saying “you idiot”.
Although not what the parties expected, the meeting moved to a voting. League, who had a few more points to bring up, sat down looking disappointed.
「Well, that was a waste of effort.」Billion muttered.
League straightened back up.「I’m sorry. I didn’t expect a vote.」
「Just think of it as publicity for you. They probably got the Queen on their side before this even began. Try as you might, the proposal would’ve been approved anyway. Zubura, Jarazack, Kotobi, and Kirihal. One missing vote and they would’ve lost. But a win is a win.」
League still had his guard up. He didn’t know just how much his father knew. It seemed, however, that Billion thought his son felt disheartened because he lost.
「Don’t worry about it. You just have to control this student alliance. And after you graduate, a Rumanian will take over. Make sure that happens.」
Surprisingly, his father told him to join the alliance.
「But I’m curious. Did the Zubura kid come up with this? Or is there someone else out there who did the planning? 」
He’s really sharp, League thought. He’s already beginning to realize that there’s someone else—Hikaru.
Zubura’s proposal was approved with a four to three vote. The students would operate it, but management would be done by the academy.
「I actually have one more proposal.」
Seeing Silvester’s smile, Billion became more and more certain that there was someone backing Zubura—the brains. But he didn’t expect the next part.
A mass wedding, and the marriage between a man from Kirihal’s Zahad family and Ludancia’s third princess caused massive chaos.