Chapter 129 – Divided Parties (Part 1)
Lydia smiled at Daichi replying “This is my father. There is no current head of the academy, so while my father retains the title of Vice-Headmaster. He is the head of the academy and in effect, the city itself.”
Lydia was expecting a bit more of a reaction from Daichi as he only nodded his head in acknowledgement which made her frown.
‘Why is she looking at me like that? Is that supposed to be that impressive? I mean how big is the difference between the man in charge and the man next to the man in charge?’
Daichi wasn’t affected at all by the news as he was already under the impression that ‘Stanislas’ was in a position of power. It didn’t matter to him whether Stanislas was the Vice-Headmaster or Headmaster because it didn’t change his own position as an outsider.
If anything he was starting to find Lydia’s annoyance with him a bit amusing. Every so often even as they’d been on their way to the city she’d say something and be annoyed that he didn’t react the way she’d expected him too. Others may not have caught it but he clearly did. The only one he’d met who gave him the impression of an impregnable fortress was Stanislas.
The man gave Daichi nothing, and while that may have put others on edge it had the opposite effect on Daichi. Instead it made him completely intrigued by him, it wasn’t everyday that he met someone like him (not that he’d met many people over the past hundred or so years…) but he’d never met someone like Stanislas before.
“Daichi, I’m going to make a request of you, because of that I am going to allow you to make a request in return.”
Daichi’s eyes didn’t reveal anything at that, as he’d expected something along these lines but Lydia couldn’t take his silence at the moment.
“Daichi! You may not realize it, but everyone within the walls of the city would kill for a favor from my father! That he’d willing to grant you a favor is tantamount to being granted anything possible inside of Lumea!”
Daichi watched as her cheeks were puffed up and a slight red hue colored her cheeks. Even her chest was heaving, which drew his eyes to a place he normally wouldn’t have bothered to look.
Even still, Daichi was unmoved but internally he was a little pleased by the sight. It was pleasant on the eyes, so he wasn’t at all angered by her angry tone.
“What do you want to ask of me?” Daichi answered unperturbed by Lydia’s outburst.
“I am going to ask you to keep your origin to yourself. When the time is right, I am going to ask that you stand on my side and not only tell others of your origin but support me as well.”
Daichi’s eyes were clear but inwardly his mind was racing. ‘He doesn’t want me to reveal that I’m not from Lumea. I’m supposedly the only person not from Lumea they’ve come in contact with since the calamity. It makes no sense that they’d want to keep this info to themselves. Moreover he wants my support even though from his perspective I have no real use other than my origin…”
Daichi knew that he could ask for just about anything and he could receive it. If he asked to become his legacy perhaps he would agree and he could receive access to the deepest levels of the Lumea Library without having to do a single thing. He could perhaps even ask for a spot to enter the Pagoda and skip any hassles. He could ask for information, weapons, luxury and those would all be even easier for the Vice-Headmaster to grant him.
“I would like you to tell me why you want my support.” Daichi replied within a few seconds.
“Are you merely asking or is that the favor you ask of me?” Stanislas inquired with a slight lilt to his voice at the end.
Daichi didn’t have to ask twice after hearing his response. “That’s the favor I want in return.”
Even if Daichi could ask for anything, he knew by that reply that the reason behind why Stanislas wanted his support was equivalent to anything else he could ask for, otherwise he wouldn’t have responded as to whether he wanted to call in his favor already. Daichi had immediately decided that it would be better to have a general understanding of the head of the city rather than something he could achieve himself. He also knew that should the reply be something he wasn’t amenable toward, he could find a way not to cooperate. The truth was far more important than anything else as it would allow him to understand where he stood.
Stanislas was likewise praising Daichi in his head. He was also weighing the pros and cons of telling him the truth regardless of how much he revealed.
After thinking about it for a few seconds, he decided on honesty. He’d been staring at Daichi the entire time and something about Daichi gave him the impression that he wasn’t simple at all. He would be worth his weight in gold… In the back of his mind he was also still a little unsettled by the inscription in the book. A small part of him wondered if perhaps Daichi was like her and the previous headmaster Taeger. ‘If so, Daichi might look like an older teenager but could perhaps be any age. He wasn’t about to ignore such a possibility, he wasn’t from Lumea and he’d survived Bull-Wind forest. Who else but the Queen of Death managed such a feat?’
“Do you know how Lumea has managed to sustain its residents for over a hundred years Daichi?”
Daichi wasn’t sure whether there was an underlying meaning but figured he should assume there was. “Lumea Academy. The knowledge within it should be enough to create warriors to provide its residents safety within reason”
Stanislas smiled at Daichi for the first time. “We’ve had a repository of knowledge since the inception of the city. The library itself has more knowledge than any single person will ever be able to hold inside one mind. Knowledge has never been an issue, and likewise power has never been an issue. Human nature has been our problem. We were complacent and instead of making progress, we stagnated. Had we held the power we hold now over a hundred years ago, perhaps we would have cleared our way to another section of the world.”
Lydia was surprised enough she couldn’t stop it from showing. While Daichi might not know where he was going with this, she had a feeling he was about to lay his cards on the table. It wasn’t because she understood how he thought, but intuition that told her that he was placing Daichi’s value above what even she’d calculated.
“We’ve survived due to the supplies we’d already accumulated throughout the years. When Lumea was at it’s peak, we received gifts from the 6 other cities. Everybody wanted a chance to enter the library, and the higher ups gave us whatever we wanted in trade. We accumulated enough so that when the calamity occurred, no one worried about the consequences for quite some time. That was yet another unfortunate mistake.”
The serene expression on Stanislas face finally turned into a grimace, as if he felt it his own fault that the circumstances had developed as they had.
Daichi took the lead “Are you saying that abundance of resources has dried up?”
Stanislas waved his hand as if that were a joke “How could they have dried up in a measley hundred years? No we still have resources, but the population of our city has only risen. Risen to the point that we’ve had to relocate residents outside of the barrier… We’ve mitigated our expenditure of resources by hunting. There are more beasts now then there were before making it a lot easier, but the loss of life has only grown higher and higher. The Bull-Wind Forest is no safe place, but did you know of the areas that surround our city it happens to be the safest?” there was a steely look in his eyes when he said that to Daichi.
Daichi on the other hand finally showed some emotion as a bit of shock coursed through him. ‘How could that place be the safest!? Ridiculous!’
After what he’d experienced in that forest he was having a hard time accepting that statement. If it were true, then the danger Lumea was facing wasn’t being exaggerated. Daichi didn’t care about this city much, but he also realized that the only thing keeping it standing was that barrier that surrounded the city.
Stanislas grave expression turned into a forced smile “I believe your thoughts have reached the obvious.
Yes. The city merely stands despite our best efforts due to the barrier the gods enacted.
If it were to fall one day, our fall would follow soon after. That’s assuming that we don’t succumb to in-fighting before then. Our resources might not be extinguished yet, but it is only a matter of time. I’m looking towards the future, and the reality is that we’re being lead down a path that ends with our race crumbling.”
Daichi processed what he was being told as he wondered why they weren’t doing something to change things. If it was so obvious that something had to change, why weren’t they?
Stanislas finally laughed “Yes yes. Easier said then done. That leads us to where we are now. Has Lydia told you about the history of our city. I don’t mean since it’s beginning but rather after the calamity?”
After giving it a few seconds Lydia broke in: “After the calamity and the barrier the city was in chaos. The academy shut its gates and holed itself off from the world. Back then, the city was run by the imperial family. They stood on par with the top brass of the academy. This system stayed in place and had worked over the years because the city was perpetually prospering. After the calamity though, all of the problems of having an un-unified city showed itself. It was only years after when the Queen of Death stepped into power that things changed. She took power by destroying the imperial family. It was cruel, but it saved the city. Although she destroyed the imperial family, she didn’t take power for herself but rather, she declared that the headmaster of Lumea academy would lead the city. There would be a basic system in place where the royals would dictate the things going on in the city aside from the academy, but the headmaster and vice-headmaster had final say over all matters. It was more like delegating responsibilities. After her there has only been one person to take power and it was because she appointed him when she left the city.”
Stanislas nodded “Headmaster Taeger. A powerful man who knew how to lead, he was respected by all. If he were still here, we likely wouldn’t be facing such a calamity.”
Daichi was once again faced with that title that made him think of only one person. Instead he ignored it, feeling as if he was overthinking things again. “What happened to both of them? If they aren’t here, if you’re in charge… Why not just become the Headmaster yourself?”
Stanislas chuckled at that making Daichi’s eye twitch as he felt as if he said something silly. “I am not laughing at you, but things are never that simple.”