Chapter 130 – Divided Parties (Part 2)
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 if things are never that simple.”
Daichi didn’t say anything. He was already unsure of where he stood, and it seemed to him that if they wanted him to know they would just be more direct. Instead they were taking a round-about method of clueing him on what was going on.
Stanislas realized that Daichi wasn’t going to ask but it was clear he wanted to know. ‘He reminds me of when I was younger hah…’
“The Queen of Death reached the peak of power within the city and then after appointing Headmaster Taeger to all but basically take over all of her responsibilities, she informed us she was going to head north. There is an area we’ve sent forces numerous times but every time we have, no one has returned alive, she was the only one that had once returned from a search expedition to that zone as the sole survivor from her group. After she took over the city she deemed it a zone never to be ventured back into without her permission.”
Daichi felt there was something odd about that, but perhaps that was because he was an outsider so he kept his mouth shut about it “So she left for that area and never returned?”
“That’s right. That was 20 years ago. 10 Years after that, Headmaster Taeger abruptly decided to go in search of her. He told no one, and left a message scroll telling us to follow the rules and not send people after him.”
Daichi couldn’t help but ask “Was it for the city or were they just that close?”
Stanislas frowned but still responded “They were close, but I am certain that whatever actions he took he did so for the good of our city.”
“That left you in charge… I don’t want to be rude, but I prefer direct. You’re in charge, you don’t think that Lumea will survive if it continues on the path it is on, so why not do something about it? Rally your forces and…”
Stanislas cut Daichi off mid-sentence “That’s exactly why. I can’t rally our forces. I am not the leader, I am merely in charge.”
Daichi looked back and forth between Lydia and Stanislas trying to figure out what he meant, clearly Lydia knew but it seemed as if he was missing something obvious.
“Whether we are speaking of the Queen of Death or the previous Headmaster. Their power was unrivaled. That is the reason why no one opposed their leadership.” Stanislas said in a tired voice answering Daichi.
“I’ve been the scrolls, your insight into the void is incredible. That you could make such objects is proof of your power. I don’t quite understand.” Daichi said with a look of confusion.
“My father has dedicated his entire life into the pursuit of passing through space. The void is a dangerous concept. It can tear you into nothingness, to be able to pass through it is a testament to a human’s power. To create an object to allow someone with no insights into such an element to do so is an even greater testament to that power.” Lydia said with pride, but Daichi could tell it was mixed in with some sort of regret as well.
“It takes a certain kind of touch, to enable others to pass through the void unharmed. I wasn’t born with particularly incredible comprehension. I have achieved everything I have up until now due to perseverance, hard-work and the willingness to follow a specific path to the end.” The mask he wore so well showed a crack as he said those words, one Daichi nearly missed as he tried to decipher the meaning behind his words.
It was only as that look of helplessness settled in that Daichi finally found some understanding. ‘He means… That all of his insight and ability is perhaps… Focused on utility and not combat?’
Daichi’s mind worked overtime as the meaning sunk in ‘No wonder…If that’s the case then that’s indeed a problem.’
Stanislas saw understanding dawn in Daichi’s eyes as he felt resigned. He could have easily said as much to Daichi, but he couldn’t bring himself to speak of his own weakness so easily. He also believed that if Daichi wasn’t smart enough to figure it out with them guiding him in such a way, then he didn’t deserve to know. They needed useful allies, and if Daichi didn’t prove his use then they would use him as a pawn instead.
After a long sigh, he glanced at Lydia and gave her a nod. After getting consent from her father, Lydia began giving Daichi some details that even most people within the academy didn’t know.
Stanislas had spent his entire life trying to understand the void, but in doing so he’d inadvertently taken what could be considered an “incorrect” path. He’d been too narrow in his vision, and had solely focused on understanding the void for the sole purpose of moving through it. He had at some point begun walking down a very narrow path that involved turning the void into something gentle. He’d focused on ‘gentle’ as a template in order to move through it, but this had limited his view far too much, by the time he’d realized it… It was years later, and far too late. He had reached a point in his life where he could no longer analyze it, or view the void from an objective perspective. His view inadvertently intermingled “gentle” and “void” all at once.
Stanislas Skywater’s insight into the void was unquestioned in Lumea. The usefulness of his ability had made it so no one question utility and value to Lumea. Through his help, he had saved important members time and time again either directly, or indirectly through the use of the items he’d created. He was indispensable to Lumea!
Unfortunately, the lack of offensive power he possessed also gave way for another faction to hold just as much power. While Stanislas may be viewed by all as indispensable, he also wasn’t viewed as mighty, or a leader. He could save, but he couldn’t kill. Stanislas’s lack of offensive ability gave rise to various other factions to form as they propped up their own candidates for the position of ‘Headmaster’. That one word “vice” made a heaven and earth difference in the power he wielded. The position of Headmaster of the academy would have made it so that he could freely lead all of the forces of Lumea undisputed, the future of the city would be in his hands.
Alas, he simply didn’t have the power to take the position. Likewise, due to his value the others who were coveting the position of Headmaster could likewise not make a hasty move themselves. Therefore, creating a precarious power-dynamic within the city that hadn’t been seen since the royal line fell all those years ago.
Daichi was stunned as heard all of this. Even more so he was stunned because this old-man whom he didn’t know had volunteered such precious information so easily! Daichi was a young man (from their perspective, he hadn’t yet proven himself powerful (from a useful perspective), nor was he even from the city! All of which made Daichi feel uncertain towards Stanislas’s motives.
Although from this he could understand that as an outsider, he could be of great value in convincing the other party that they should indeed continue their searches for other people, perhaps they could reach one of the other cities after all and there would still be a city left to be found. He couldn’t understand why they would clue an outsider like him in with so much insider information on their first meeting. The more they told him the more he felt something was amiss.
Daichi would have under normal circumstances sided with Stanislas. If he were part of the city, and had the power to make a difference he would also agree that staying inside the city like a turtle would be no different than waiting for death. Eventually the resources would run out, or perhaps the barrier would long disappear before then. Regardless of the leaps and bounds the people had made in power in the past hundred years, clearly they are still too weak to contend with a lot of things in the outside world. The professors which should be the peak of power within the city falling during the exam is proof enough of that. Others could claim that, that is reason enough not to throw away lives in a fruitless venture that is likely to yield zero results… But if there is any hope then it’s worth taking.
That was the train of thought that had pushed Daichi to survive in his darkest hours thus far, there’s no way he would be willing to go with such a passive strategy like the opposition facing Stanislas.
After having Daichi hear everything and giving him a few minutes to think about everything that was said Stanislas finally got to the point
“I’m telling you all of this because of the importance I’m placing on you. That and because you called in your favor and I value my word. I will make sure that you are given as much as any other student, but from now on you will be treated as just that. A student and no more. I will also expect you to keep quiet about what we’ve talked about, whether it’ what was spoken regarding myself or the troubles facing the city or yourself.” Although he was seemingly being fair, his tone was stern and Daichi could tell that Stanislas was the type of man that would either be your friend or an enemy but there was no in-between for him.
Daichi didn’t need to think any further, he had the truth or as much of it as he was going to be told. He’d already reasoned that as long as he could be considered a student and enter the library freely then he’d have what he’d been aiming for. He would proceed with caution and if it seemed like his life was at stake, he’d make a move. Until then there was no downside to taking Stanislas’s side for now.
“There is no need for me to say any more, I feel as if I agreed to your terms when I called in your favor.” Daichi said in an even tone.
Stanislas gave him a smile as a curious look crossed his eyes for a moment as he spread the three books apart next to each other on the table. Then he pushed the three books across the table towards Daichi.
Daichi’s eyes glanced down at them but the indifferent expression he’d been wearing crumbled in that instance as he noticed the name of the author.
‘Three books…? He only wrote one. He only wrote one then… Unless he… He survived…’