Vortex of Negativity and a Stake
Besides the principal, there were three more people in her office. Professors and the head researcher, hailing from Kirihal, Ludancia, and Euroba.
A knock came at the door.
「Hmm? Do you have an appointment with someone today, Ma’am?」Professor Kilnenko asked.
A short spear instructor, he was from Ludancia. Acting like he owned the place, he opened the door.
His expression turned serious, clearly not expecting the guest.
「The principal requested to see me.」
League “Green Ogre” Rumania entered the office. The men from Kirihal and Euroba looked surprised as well.
The academy principal was from Zubura, the weakest nation in Forestia. Being the head of the academy, calling students to her office was possible. But this time it was a bit different. The one she summoned was no ordinary student. It was widely known to those who dabbled in politics that the Green Ogre was the most powerful clan in Rumania. Even with her authority as the principal, she couldn’t possibly call for him that easily.
「Thank you for coming, Mr. League.」
「In this academy, I’m only a student. Please drop the honorifics.」
「Very well, League.」
Watching the exchange, the three men looked even more surprised now. The relaxed atmosphere almost made them question when Zubura and Rumania became close.
「Can you please leave us?」the principal asked.
「This is not a request, but an order.」
The three men begrudgingly left the room.
「Are you sure about this? They probably don’t know that your nephew has recovered.」League spoke as soon as the men were gone.
The principal’s nephew had recovered from the poisoning thanks to the leaves of the Drakon Kidney Flower.
The three men just now were among the many people who tried to take advantage of the mentally exhausted principal, whispering words like “I can help” or “Take revenge against Ponsonia”. Even worse, some shamelessly suggested she stepped down from her position so she could take care of her nephew.
「They’ll find out soon. Anyway, I’m surprised you helped in gathering what we needed as well.」
「Lord Silvester already had some so what I did was pointless.」
「You don’t have to be modest. I heard the adventurer you hired saved Lord Silvester’s life.」
「If he said so, then it must be true. I wasn’t there at the scene.」
League only knew what Hikaru told him. The boy might be a skilled adventurer, but he couldn’t possibly take on a dragon alone. Or at least that was what he thought. He was taken aback when he heard Silvester admit to Hikaru saving his life. The Zuburan Lord basically showed weakness with that statement.
「Lord Silvester wouldn’t lie. He’s a great man who could carry the future of Zubura on his shoulders.」the principal said.
「I am truly grateful for what you did. I want to show you my gratitude, but I don’t really know what it is you desire. If you hoped to claim my seat, you wouldn’t help Lord Silvester. He said that the Green Ogre did so out of goodwill.」
「And you don’t believe that?」
「Unfortunately, I can’t. Our nations have quite the history.」
「I know our relations can’t be improved overnight. And I didn’t send the adventurer specifically to save Lord Silvester. If you wish to thank someone, you should thank him.」
「Him? You mean the adventurer you hired? Do I know him?」
「Yes. He’s a student here.」
She sounded delighted, half-rising from her seat.
「I didn’t know we had such a gifted student! What’s his name?」
「He recently enrolled to the academy.」
The principal suddenly sank back down to her seat, as though feeling dizzy.
「Does he have black hair and eyes?」
「I see now why Professor Mikhail took a liking to him. That man doesn’t care about personality as long as someone has talent.」
League couldn’t help but smile after hearing the last part.
「True, Hikaru has a bit of a twisted personality.」
「You sound like you two are close.」
「Not at all. I can’t even let my guard down when talking to him. He might just stab me out of nowhere.」
「Why did you ask him to do a job, then?」
「His skills are the real deal.」
The chair creaked as the principal straightened her posture.
「Very well. I’ll make sure to thank Hikaru when I have the time. But since you’re the one who sent him, I want to somehow repay you. I can’t give you my seat. Will money do?」
「No need. Like I said, I did it out of pure goodwill. I know that’s hard to believe, so how about this? If I’m in trouble, I would like to request your assistance. Any way you can help.」
The principal studied him suspiciously.
「Are you scheduled to have some sort of trouble?」
League heaved a sigh.
「It’s hard to have a conversation with someone who feels suspicious about everything.」
「I told you. We have a complicated history. Do you want me to be more specific? Two hundred sixty years ago, Rumania deceived Zubura and took our land. Recently, about four years ago, you overthrew a Zuburan government official.」
「I’m well aware of that. I’m just saying there’s a vortex of negativity here.」
「…Vortex of negativity?」
League gave a nod.
「The vortex spins and spins, speeding up over the years. Gradually the relationship between our nations worsens. Someone has to stop it. I want to be the first one to stick a stake into the vortex.」
Childish words, the principal thought. Not even idealistic. But these words came from a young man from the Green Ogre clan. She could tell he was serious.
「I’d like to believe you, but…」
「I know. My words are hardly convincing.」
「Does your family know about this?」
For the first time, bitterness spread across his face.
「I have a few people on my side, but most of them are the typical Rumanians you know.」
After a few more words, League left the office without accepting anything tangible as gratitude.
「Stick a stake into the vortex of negativity…」the principal muttered under her breath.
After leaving the office, League headed straight outside. As he passed by the campus grounds, he noticed something.
Professor Mikhail had his arms crossed, roaring with laughter, saying “Sloppy” and “Put your backs into it”. Professor Mille was behind him, fast asleep under the shades.
What drew his attention was the students lying sprawled on the ground, gasping for air with practice swords by their side. Roy was among them and the student from Jarazack who was the strongest in the great sword class.
Wearily, the boy with the black hair and eyes, stood up.
「What’s this? Only Hikaru got back up. You lack stamina yourself, Hikaru!」Mikhail said.
「I’ve been fighting non-stop…」
「Yeah, but they didn’t even land a blow on you.」
「That’s just how I fight… Man, these guys are tough. I kicked them a number of times…」
「Want to fight me next?」
「No way. I’m completely out of gas. I’m heading home.」
Hikaru started limping back.
「What happened?」League asked as he caught up to him.
「Don’t talk to me. I feel like throwing up.」
「So you get exhausted too.」
「You look like you had fun.」
「Get your eyes checked, then. I feel awful. I’m all sweaty and dirty.」
「You look refreshed, though.」
「So you got to experience things that friends do.」
「Not at all.」
「I’m sure Roy was happy that you spent time with him.」
「League, is this some sort of a payback?」
「You’re overthinking things. 」
League followed Hikaru all the way home. It might look like he was poking fun at Hikaru, but he was actually worried. The young man didn’t know just how strong Hikaru really was. But the amount of stamina he had was just right for his age. So he decided to walk him home. He was disappointed, however, to find out that Hikaru’s home was close.
「For the record, I didn’t ask you to walk me home.」
Hikaru apparently noticed League’s concern.
「Of course. I just wanted to.」
「Okay, cool. I won’t think much of it, then.」Hikaru said and entered his apartment building.
「”I won’t think much of it…” I suppose gaining other people’s trust is not that easy.」League said as he turned back.