Students Alliance Conference – Meeting
「Thank you all for coming here today.」League started.「Before we begin, I’d like to make a rule. We are not to use honorary titles to address each other. We’re all students – Oh, there’s one professor. But when talking to fellow students, I think it’s best if we drop any title. You may, of course, speak politely.」
Seven people sat on a table, facing each other, with League sitting at the head.
「Oh, that sounds great! I’m not really good at that, you know.」Ivan Jarazack immediately approved.
A student of the great sword, Hikaru only found out he was the son of a skilled swordsman in Jarazack when he was requested to attend the meeting. Other than Ivan, nobody else said anything. League continued on with a nod.
「We have very limited time, so I’ll get straight to the point…」
League talked about how the seven nations worked separately; how decades have passed and the Forestian government doesn’t even function properly. And in the meantime, the flood control project and other defense-related operations have been untouched.
「I believe you are aware of all of this.」
Ivan looked puzzled, but the rest wore expressions that indicated they knew. Lavia went around to pour tea, while Hikaru distributed snacks. There was really no need to serve them food, but they just somehow ended up doing it.
「I know what you’re thinking. “Forestia isn’t doing anything, but our nation is”.」
The seven nations operated on their own. They collected taxes, improved their military, and developed their own technology independently. Forestia itself didn’t collect taxes. Travelling was easier, but that was it. The Forestian government was essentially just a figurehead.
「Then what’s the purpose of the alliance? Of Forestia?」
「A breakwater against foreign enemies.」Catherine, who was silent until now, spoke.「A hundred years ago, Ponsonia was gradually getting stronger. Scared of the threat, smaller nations gathered together and called themselves an alliance. After that, Quinbland started thriving, and this time Ponsonia was the one in trouble. If these two powers fought, we can go back to being independent. The “alliance” status won’t be needed anymore.」
「Exactly. But then Quinbland’s tyrant was assassinated and now Ponsonia is the one waging war against the empire.」Silvester affirmed.
「I believe the threat from a hundred years ago is drawing near once more.」League said.
「Is the current Ponsonia really that strong?」
「Yes. The kingdom’s Order of the Knights, led by Captain Lawrence, broke through enemy lines easily. If their leader wasn’t around though, it’d be a different story.」
Hikaru choked, almost dropping the kettle. League shot him a glance. Hikaru shook his head, implying everything’s fine.
Lawrence sure is terrifying. That sword of his would indeed be very effective against many opponents.
「But that’s not all. I heard Ponsonia retreated at once. It’s proof that something happened within the kingdom.」Catherine said.
「I’m surprised you know. But we don’t know exactly what happened. With Lawrence still around, Ponsonia is still superior.」League added.
Hikaru nodded. It was definitely Gafrasti. Lavia stared at him.
「You’re not telling them about Gafrasti?」
「I don’t mind, but I won’t for now.」
「What would have happened if the seven nations actually worked together all this time?」League continued. 「If Jarazack shared the secret to their strength, we could’ve formed a powerful military. If Kotobi analyzed the relics from Zubura, we could’ve created new weapons. If Kirihal and Ludancia got along better, the transportation of goods would be much easier.」
The main roads in Forestia were controlled by Kirihal and Ludancia. But they both set up strict checkpoints, obstructing the easy flow of goods.
「We might not even have to be afraid of Ponsonia’s every movement.」
League glanced at everyone. Silvester nodded. Claude and Luka exchanged looks. Ivan seemed like he didn’t understand anything, but said “Being strong is a great thing.” Catherine was deep in thought, not denying what League said.
「So what you’re saying is, the seven nations should unite for real?」Katy asked.
「How would you do something that could never be achieved for the last one hundred years? The students gathered here today have considerable power back home, sure. But the fact remains that you’re all still only students. Your people will treat you like kids.」
「Exactly. We’re students. Put it another way, we have a lot of time. I want to study what’s preventing the seven nations from uniting, what to do to unite them. And I want to do that with everyone present here.」
「Hmm… I see what you’re getting at. Before tackling actual politics, you want the students to unite first. I think it’s a good idea.」
Katy supported League’s idea to Hikaru’s surprise.
I thought she didn’t care about anything but research.
「Back when I was a student, I put together a research team, not caring about where the members came from. But when I left the academy, they pressured me to work hard for Kotobi, so I returned here.」
「Will you help us, Professor?」League asked.
「You have the right idea, but it’s hard to pull off.」
「Why is that?」
「I just told you. Once you leave the academy and return to your own country, you’ll know. That it’s not school anymore. All around you, there’s only Rumanians. They only think about what’s best for them. How long can you insist on having your own way? A normal person wouldn’t last a year. After all, your friends are on the other side of your borders, suffering just like you.」
「I see… I’ll have to trust you on that since you’ve experienced it yourself.」League said.
Claude and Luka looked disheartened.
「But it’s okay.」League added confidently.
「What do you mean?」
「I also don’t think Forestia can be changed that easily. But we can create a student alliance that will survive until the next generation. Taking it slow is fine. I want to build a relationship that transcends borders. I want to make friends like you did. I think the academy can be more than just a research institution. It can be a place to nurture young people who will carry the next era on their shoulders.」
「That sounds… grand.」
「I believe my role is to first create a student alliance, an organization that will last generations. I’ll return to Rumania in the future, but I won’t forget my goal. I swear I’ll become someone who will hold influence over the academy so I can protect it. Hopefully the alliance will still function even after I die. This is my job as the heir to the most influential clan in Forestia.」
League just said “after I die” without hesitation. That meant being attached to the academy for 30 to 50 more years. Even Katy was at a loss for words after hearing his determination. She didn’t expect this meeting to be so meaningful to him.
「Quit trying to do things on your own, League.」Silvester broke the silence.「I’m from Zubura, so I don’t hold much power. But each country has one vote in the government meetings. And I’m the only one here who’s almost guaranteed to be their nation’s next representative. I’ll be king of Forestia three decades later. If you’re still up to it then, I can more than help you out!」
Silvester’s words held something that made people feel relieved. It must be the charisma of the crown prince. The mood changed. Claude and Luka cheered up, perhaps because this concerned them directly as well.
「What are you going to do about the charter?」Catherine asked, ripping apart the positive atmosphere. 「The charter of Forestia. It is clearly stated that each nation doesn’t lose any interest upon the foundation of the alliance. To modify or amend the power of the government, all seven nations must agree. This is the same as not giving Forestia any power on its own. After all, each nation will always prioritize itself.」
「I don’t think my plan limits the interests of each country.」
「But you’ll rub people the wrong way. Kirihal and Ludancia, especially, will rage for sure. These two nations are the biggest obstacle to the survival of the student alliance.」
She’s right, Hikaru thought. People can’t think logically when emotions run high. The relationship between Kirihal and Ludancia might actually be the one factor stopping Forestia from truly uniting.
「Catherine is right. People’s feelings can’t be changed that easily. If Kirihal or Ludancia stopped supporting professors and students, the student alliance would be as good as gone.」Katy added.
But it seemed League thought about that as well. She made a really good point.
「Cheer up, League.」Katy continued.「People’s feelings can change in an instant. Let’s say there’s a person who despises his neighbor. One day he sees him carry a complete stranger to a hospital. That would be enough to ease off his hatred. I’m sure that can be applied to Kirihal and Ludancia too.」
「That… might be true. I too believe we need to make an actual move besides just forming an alliance to change these two nations. Do you have any ideas in mind, Professor?」League asked.
「Nope, I got nothing. I specialize in research. You should all come up with something. That’s why you’re gathered here today, right, Hikaru?」
Katy turned her attention to Hikaru all of a sudden.