Game of Persuasion: Hikaru vs Queen Marquedo (Kirihal’s Vote)
「Oh? I didn’t know you were interested in this country’s politics.」Zofira said before Marquedo could even react. The prime minister wanted the queen to keep her mouth shut for a bit as well.
Marquedo, for better or worse, had the tendency to let her emotions get the best of her. This sometimes led to great outcomes, but also to failures due to thoughtlessness.
「Are you actually from Zubura?」
「Please. No way I’m from that place that glorifies such relics— Ah, no. Forget it.」
「“Such relics”? Have you seen them? Do you know their value?」
「That’s not the topic right now.」
「You’re obliged to answer. Anything related to the Zuburan relics is top-secret information. I don’t understand how a foreigner like you knows about them.」
The boy acted like he was deep in thought. A slip of the tongue, Zofira thought as she chuckled to herself.
「All right. I admit it. I know about the relics and how to use them.」
「For example, that Demon Mask. It’s actually not a demon, but a tengu.」
The conversation was heading to a different direction. At first, Zofira thought the boy snuck into some estate and saw the relic. After all, he was skilled in moving covertly. But she was wrong.
All of a sudden they were talking about the Demon Mask. Zofira had seen it before – it had a long nose and modeled after a demon. Excavated over a hundred years ago, it was thought to be a religious item. The fact that he brought up such a delicate item meant…
He knows something that we don’t? Doubt started filling her.
「They say the tengu is a guardian deity of mountains. Or that it’s a mountain demon. It dresses like a monk and has a red face and long nose. It’s quite popular as a mask.」
「Popular? They found those masks in Zubura and nowhere else.」
「Not here, at least.」
「I didn’t come here to talk about that. I’m good as long as I’ve proven that I’m not from Zubura. I don’t want you lumping me in with those guys who think those masks are actually important.」
「That’s enough, Zofira.」
Zofira wanted to get more information out of him, but Marquedo stopped her.
「From what I’ve seen, this man is wary of you. Which is why he changed the topic and baited you with information about the relics. All in order to confuse you.」
Zofira glanced at the boy who wore a smug grin.
「I am terribly sorry, Your Majesty. It’s supposed to be my duty to stay calm.」
「It’s fine. Like you said, this is no ordinary man. He surprises us and takes out spies probably for some future leverage. His goal is to put us in the palm of his hands for his demands. An extremely self-centered man.」
「I’m humbled by your kind words.」the boy said brazenly.
Queen Marquedo rarely openly judged someone. Especially not in front of them.
Get yourself together, Zofira.
Zofira focused herself and turned her attention back to the boy. She had unknowingly taken him lightly due to his appearance.
「If you want to meddle into Forestia’s politics, you should first tell us where you’re from. Then explain this matter that’s going to be brought up at the meeting. Her Majesty will make a decision after that.」
The boy, to their surprise, took off his mask. Black hair and black eyes. His appearance matched the description Claude gave.
「My name is Hikaru. As you know, I’m from Ponsonia. Right now, I’m a student in the academy.」
Hikaru felt relief. So far so good. His first plan was to throw them off. If it worked out, then he would proceed to the next step. If they managed to calm down, he would explain things properly. Talking to someone calm was better than dealing with someone overly cautious.
He tried a few tricks as well. He wanted to find out if they knew about someone named “Hikaru”. Based on their reaction, they didn’t.
It seemed the principal didn’t inform the queen about him. Perhaps she thought it wasn’t that important, or perhaps there was something between Zubura and Kirihal. Either way, it was time to get to the point.
「League of the Green Ogre clan, the head clan of Rumanina, plans to create a student alliance that doesn’t discriminate according to people’s nationality. The first president is Silvester G. Zubura of Zubura. Its goal is to build good relationships within the academy that transcends borders and someday break the barriers that separate the seven nations.」
Hikaru explained how the alliance came about.
「So the heads of Rumania and Zubura are already part of it.」
「We already have members from the other five nations too.」
As he named them, Marquedo gasped in shock.
「I’m surprised you were able to gather them. The ill feelings some nations harbor for each other are extraordinary.」
「The younger ones are almost always more open-minded. Besides, what the nation thinks doesn’t matter to the individual. There are plenty of people who are friends despite their different nationalities. The government just ignores that.」
「Exactly. So you want me to approve the creation of this student alliance? How long will it take until you reach your goal? Five years? Ten?」
「League said he’ll watch over and protect the organization until his last breath.」
Marquedo had a distant look in her eyes, perhaps not expecting that.
「…I see. So there’s a decent human being in Rumania.」
「I thought it’d be best to create the alliance while Your Majesty is still on the throne. Which is why I’m here to help.」
「Very well. I will approve it.」
「No, Zofira. This might become a problem later, but this is no big deal. Also there’s a chance this student alliance will help us in building the Forestia we envision. Besides, this boy, Hikaru, excels in concealing himself. Yet he revealed his identity to us. It’s only proper that we accommodate him.」
Hikaru simply thought his true identity would be exposed soon so he just went ahead and revealed it himself. He knew it was better to do that than them finding out on their own. That way he would look good in their eyes.
「Very well. If that’s your decision, then I won’t say any more. So Hikaru, that’s not all you came here for, right?」Zofira asked.
「What?」Marquedo looked confused.
Hikaru grinned. I knew it. Zofira is the one I should watch out for.
「Wait, Zofira. What’s the meaning of this?」
「You made your decision. Please continue until the end.」
「You’re being mean!」
「Your Majesty, you’re showing your true self.」
「Who cares? I’m sure this boy here watches us anyway! So what do you mean that’s not all what he came here for?」
「You made your deci—」
「Fine! I’m sorry I decided things on my own!」
「Well, I don’t really have anything to say. This boy seems to be an expert in outsmarting people. So, tell us your other problem.」Zofira said.
Hikaru was chuckling to himself.
「What’s so funny?」
「I just never thought I’d see a ruler and their minister get along so well. I just wish everyone did.」
The two ladies exchanged glances.
「Like the minister said, I have one more proposal along with the creation of the student alliance.」
Hikaru told them about the mass wedding. Marquedo was astonished after finding out about Claude and Luka’s relationship.
「No way! Absolutely not!」the Queen yelled in surprise.
Zofira burst out into laughter.
「Thanks for the laugh, Hikaru. Love transcends borders. That might be true. As you can see, Her Majesty is confused at the moment, but I’ll persuade her later to vote for it.」
「You owe us one, though.」
「I know. Finding spies is not enough to call it quits. I’ll pay you back before my debt gains interest.」
「Why are you two so calm?! A marriage between a man from the Zahard family and Ludancia’s third princess?! Are you serious?!」
「Be quiet, Your Majesty.」
「People outside might hear you.」
「Your composure pisses me off, okay?!」
Somehow, Hikaru secured Kirihal’s vote.