Abolition of Nobility
Silvester could not believe that Rumania, essentially an enemy of Zubura, would help the academy’s principal. He had made quite the gamble in forming the search party for the Drakon Kidney Flower.
It was extremely important for Zubura, a small nation, to acquire the position of principal of the academy – a place with cutting edge research facilities and a next-generation educational institution. All the other nations had occupied the other important positions in Forestia.
So when news arrived that the principal’s nephew had suffered serious injuries, having been caught in the crossfire between Ponsonia and Quinbland, they knew they had to do something.
Unfortunately, competent adventurers had a tendency to move to Forestzard. Once they arrived at the capital, they didn’t return, like they caught some sort of disease that made them completely forget about their hometown.
Zubura’s population was steadily declining, the complete opposite of Rumania which accepted immigrants, and a nation that was still expanding even now.
Silvester announced that he would lead the search party, having knowledge of martial arts. To no surprise, Zubura’s ruler and leaders were strongly against it, most of them the elderly. They had already accepted the slow and steady decline of Zubura. After all, they’d be gone before the nation completely fell.
But the young Silvester was different. Fortunately he had a younger brother, so if something were to happen to him, he could leave Zubura in capable hands. He wanted to win in this gamble with his life on the line. Everyone in Forestia knew about the condition of the principal’s nephew. If Silvester, a member of Zubura royalty, heroically solved the problem, it could give a big boost to his own nation.
He didn’t mind dying if his death meant the others would change their mind. Silvester was that much aware of the danger looming upon his country.
Bringing many people would only draw attention, and he didn’t want more to fall just because he himself was willing to sacrifice his own life. He told them they might have to fight a dragon and made them stay behind at the foot of the mountain – the opposite side from where Hikaru came from.
While searching, they spotted a Lesser Wyvern flying about that seemed to be landing soon. They were in luck. There was a high chance they’d find Drakon Kidney Flower nearby from where it landed.
Dragons fell asleep fast. Silvester’s party could fire the first shot without any risk. Sneaking close to pick leaves was not possible as dragons were sensitive; it would sense anyone coming close right away. They didn’t even consider waiting for it to wake up and leave. They thought luck was on their side, that they could win. Combine that with the report that the patient’s condition was worsening, they became impatient.
As a result, Silvester ended up being saved by a mysterious boy.
「Your Highness, perhaps Rumania is after the position of academy principal.」Zamui D. Buck said as he made Gallios drink a potion. He was a Count and Silvester’s teacher in the ways of the sword.
「Ah, I knew you’d think that. For the record, this is a favor from League… from the Green Ogre clan.」
「I find that hard to believe.」
「That’s understandable. But if I didn’t mention that and instead say “I only did it out of goodwill”, you wouldn’t believe me even more. You’d assume I was demanding gratitude because things just happened to work out fine.」
「That’s… true, I suppose. But there’s no reason for Rumania to do this.」
「Count Buck.」Silvester admonished him, but the Count didn’t stop.
「They’re just as nasty as Ludancia when it comes to politics. They’d employ various means to apply pressure on people and secure positions for their clans.」
「I see.」the boy mumbled.
He appeared to be unfamiliar with politics. This time Silvester spoke.
「May I know your name? Where are you from?」
「My name is Hikaru. I came from somewhere far, far away.」
Silvester could tell there was something more in those words.
「What would you say if we wanted you to lend your strength to Zubura? How much would we have to pay?」
「I don’t intend to work for anyone at the moment. I have some business to take care of as well. I’ll be leaving now. The Lesser Wyvern is too heavy for me so I’ll just take its eyes. Your party can take the rest. It would be a 1:9 split.」
The eyes were used for making medicine so it could fetch for absurd prices. But compared to the rest of its body, their value was nothing. Its meat was delicious and its skin could be used to make accessories and excellent armor.
「I’ll take some leaves from the Drakon Kidney Flower as well. That was the request I got from the Green Ogre clan.」
「Are they serious?」
Hikaru gave a shrug. He approached the corpse of the wyvern, took out a different dagger, and gouged the eyes out. He was getting used to dissecting. In a few minutes, he managed to take out the monsters’ two eyes, bigger than a fist, then wrapped them in a cloth before stuffing them in his bag.
The boy left. Michael, the Mage, approached Silvester.
「Yes. I didn’t even get to ask how he killed the Lesser Wyvern.」Silvester said.
「With his dagger, right?」
「I haven’t heard of anyone one-shotting a dragon with a dagger.」
「That’s true. Maybe he’s an assassin hired by the Green Ogre clan.」
「I don’t think so. He had no reason to help the principal. His objective is unknown.」
「You’re right. If you took the leaves home right away and made antidote out of it, that kid won’t get his reward.」
「Do you think I’d do something that cheap?」Silvester said, glaring at him.
「M-My apologies.」he said as he backed away.
「Wait a minutes… What if that was his goal all along? He didn’t have to tell us that he received a request from the Green Ogre clan. So why did he? To see how we’d react? What for?」
「Your Highness! Gallios is awake!」Count Buck called.
Maybe I’m overthinking things… Silvester thought.
Hikaru and Lavia were at the Rumanian-exclusive restaurant in Scholarzard. Drakon Kidney Flower leaves were on the table and sitting across was League with eyes wide open.
「This is…」League muttered.
「It’s what you wanted. How were things on your end?」
「I’m now studying under the professor from Kotobi.」
Hikaru saw League in a more positive light now. The man was determined to make a change, to breathe new life into Forestia.
「Are you sure about this? The Green Ogre clan is quite powerful, right?」
「So you knew. I thought you were unaware.」
「I heard about it while I was out gathering the leaves. I ran into a bit of trouble though, but I was able to conduct myself properly thanks to you.」
「Thank you… I guess? Anyway…」
「You must see me in a new light now.」
He must have noticed the change in how Hikaru addressed him.
「I don’t know what you’re talking about. So about the reward.」
「I’m sorry. I didn’t expect you to bring what I wanted today. The money is still not ready. I can deposit it on your guild account, though.」
「It’s fine. I’m sure you’ll have things to deal with.」
「What do you mean?」
「I told you I ran into some trouble.」
「I met the prince from Zubura.」
「I told them I was gathering Drakon Kidney Flower leaves for you. They got the leaves as well and should be making the antidote right about now.」
「You were going to talk to them sooner or later, right? Use this opportunity well. Good luck.」
Hikaru and Lavia exited the room, leaving League dumbfounded.
「…What do you think?」Lavia asked as soon as they were out of the mansion.
「I think it’ll be difficult for them to pull it off.」
「Do you sympathize with them?」
「No, but I like how they’re trying to break the status quo. Why do you think it’s difficult? Both of them are high-ranking people. If they worked together, I think they can make an impact.」
「Hmm… I did consider that. That’s why I induced Silvester to get in touch with League. But we don’t know just how much power League holds in his clan. Take that Yellow Tiger guy for example. He was pretty much kicked out of the house.」
「Ah, yes. I remember that guy.」
「Plus it’s extremely difficult to change a culture that’s been established for ages. Let’s say the king of Ponsonia says he will abolish the noble system. Do you think he can actually implement his plan?」
「That would be a real challenge. There are too many people who benefit from the system.」
「League is trying to do something similar to that. He could do it reliably, but in essence he’s still trying to dismantle an established power structure. People will oppose his plan. The more he pushes for it, the greater the friction.」
And yet League was still determined to carry it out.
「It’s a saying from my world. No matter how big the plan is, you must start somewhere, even the smallest thing. When I asked League to study under the Kotobi professor, he really went and did it.」
Hikaru was starting to like the guy.
「I think you’ll end up helping him again.」
「I’ll make sure to charge him a lot then.」
They returned to their home. The next day, Hikaru received one million gilans in his account, and they started school the day after.