The Truth About Ancient Book
Early the next morning.
Armed with some parchments and an old book, I was let into the room of the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Army’s Southern Command, the Mildiana Army.
Black tea was prepared on the table and I sat down on the sofa after the other had retired.
Across the table sat Ludio Lambert, who was both Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Command and Principal of the Military Academy of Mildiana.
He was elegantly enjoying the aroma from his cup of black tea.
Then, Principal Ludio said with some regret.
“Gee, it’s delightful that the lovely student have come to see me specifically …… but there are no girls.”
“I was going to bring everyone here, but it was such a late hour. And there was something that I wanted to tell Principal Ludio only.”
“Alright. But it’s good that you’ve come here. I’m surprised that you, who is suspended from school, made it to this room. …… Our military’s reputation for crisis management may be ruined.”
“Maybe so. Wouldn’t it be nice to be a little more vigilant? This is for you.”
I handed the parchment in my hand to the Principal Ludio.
“A letter of reflection, huh?”
“Yes. I was too violent as soon as I started school. So I felt I had to apologise to the principal first.”
“I didn’t think you had that kind of awareness, but most importantly the content of this article is even more surprising. It’s surprising in the extreme.”
After going through the parchment a little, Principal Ludio gently tossed it on the table.
“It’s full written in ancient scripts. Have the guards read this?”
“Of course. If it’s Mildiana Army soldiers, I showed them it so that them can understand it, they let me through with a bitter look in their face.”
“… Are elves in duty today? It must have been a real blow to their pride. Even among the elves, the number of people who can read ancient scripts has become quite small, especially among young people, and hardly anyone can read fluently.”
“There is no one more useless than an incompetent with high self-esteem, so it would be better to re-educate them, wouldn’t it?”
I said as I enjoyed the aroma with my cup of tea.
“Let’s consider it. However, the content of this article is really impressive. What are you going to do if someone understands it?”
The text was not a reflection, but a well-written account of the incompetence of the military, starting with the criticism of the military school and ending with the incompetence of the Ministry of the Army.
“In that case, the suspension period might be extended or the I might be expelled. Well, even if someone could read it, I didn’t worry about it, because I didn’t think it would be guards in first place.”
“Oh dear, you are one hell of a troublemaker. So, what is the reason for coming to see me all that way?”
I handed a book I had brought with me to Principal Ludio.
He looked at me quizzically and nodded his head, carefully flipping through the tattered book.
“This is a book in the library that only special students can enter.”
“Oh, it’s rare find. Books written in ancient characters are rarely seen.”
Contrary of his statement, I already knew he fully understand the contents, although he only skimmed through the book.
I frankly conveyed that.
“The one who wrote this book is the Principal Ludio, right?
“Why do you think that?”
“Before I do, I want to make sure of one thing. Does the principal have an idea of what is written in this book?”
Principal Ludio remains silent.
Although at first glance he looks expressionless, the corners of his mouth slacken a little. It’s his typical reaction.
“Let’s take another breath here,” he said.
“The book itself looks like it was written hundreds of years ago. But there are parts of it that contradict each other for it to have been written hundreds of years ago.”
“What do you mean?”
“The fool and the wise are incompatible. The phrase, as it stands, implies that humans and elves are incompatible. But what follows is very strange”.
I conveyed the key part of the article.
“Reconciliation is a dream. But a fool does not admit his mistake, and does not learn from the consequences of bridging the gap between human and the wild that never crosses. If we consider the context, does it mean the reconciliation between humans and elves who misused Final Droplet?”
“This author is alarmed at the misuse of the Final Droplet, the elves, by humans. But then he denies any reconciliation – or alliance between humans and elves. This is a contradiction in terms.”
“What does that mean?”
“The end of the rapprochement between humans and beastkin is tragic. Even now there is an ongoing war in Roka’s home country. Harmony between the different races is not possible. But instead of learning from this, the humans have become allies with the elves. That’s reconciliation right there.”
And then I add the final words.
“The alliance between humans and the elves was established 100 years ago. If the tragedy described in this book had happened almost 500 years ago, humans and elves would not have come up with the idea of an alliance at that time. In other words, the book was written after the alliance between the two countries had been formed. And why did such a book go all the way to the library, where only accessible to special students?
“Kukuku …… Ahahahaha!”
Principal Ludio burst out laughing. From my point of view it was as expected.
“Haa.. I always thought you were a pretty good student …… but you are brilliant, Theodore. You’ve done it.”
“So it was written by Principal. This is really a terrible article with a nasty personality.”
“Yes, it is. Hmmm, no, what a pleasure. –In my years as principal of the school over the past few decades, I’ve never seen a student as good as you, Theodore.”
“It’s not just me who came to this conclusion. After all, it was Julian who first entered the library. And I wouldn’t have learned the fairy tales without hearing about them from Roka and the others. And I wouldn’t have understood what the book was trying to convey if I hadn’t seen Liz’s white wing phobia. And if Keith didn’t tell me about Liz’s symptoms and the Great Storm, I’m not sure if I can think about it on my own. It thanks to everyone.”
“But, this is a conclusion that you can’t draw unless you understand the ancient text. Hmm, longevity is not bad either.”
“How did you come up with this book, by the way?”
The book is tattered and brittle, as if it would break right away if not handled properly.
It really does look like something from hundreds of years ago.
“It’s very simple. I applied the Corrosion Jutsu. This is result of a combined jutsu… I thought it would be fun, so I’ll give it to you next time as an exam question.”
“I think I could have solved that test by now. It’s a combination of the Deep Water Jutsu and the Dark Jutsu, isn’t it? Use the water jutsu to make the book wet, and use the dark jutsu to promote changes in form – in this case, to speed up corrosion. The other pages will do whatever you want, so break them appropriately so they can’t be read.”
“There is no other student who is so “boring” as a protégé. Theodore, you have gone beyond the realm of students. How about it. If you feel up to it, as special case, it’s possible to hire you right now as a formal soldier.”
“I’m not interested in that kind of subject right now. All I want to know is whether what is written in that book is true or not.”
“… It’s all true. It’s the truth without any lies at all.”
“Are you saying it’s also true that you fundamentally reject the alliance between humans and elves?”
“Yes. Even though I’m an elf, I still think that way. Even considering my position as an Imperial Army General, humans and elves should never have crossed paths.”
“So that’s what the half-elf says. Well, I don’t know enough about history to object to the Principal’s ideas, so I don’t really care.”
“It’s quite refreshing to be able to give up that easily.”
“But why did you have to go through all this trouble? Julian and I found it by chance this time, but I don’t think anyone would have even picked it up if it hadn’t been us.”
The half-elf Principal shaked his head here.
“First of all, let’s clear up the misunderstanding. It was a long time ago that I made this book. It has nothing to do with the disappearances that are happening in this street now. It’s just a story based on a tragic event from the past.”
“It’s a kind of ‘test’. Or should I say a special one that was only given to special students from the time I took over as principal. In the end, though, you are the only one who could solve the questions for decades. And, fortunately or unfortunately, a tragedy that happened 500 years ago is now being repeated when you’re here.”
As nostalgically as if he had missed it, Principal Ludio turned his attention to me. He put down his cup and gazed over at me with sincere eyes.
“Originally, the person who solve this exam was supposed to be guarantee to immediately become an officer under condition I had just proposed. If someone had the enthusiasm and knowledge to solve this exam, I’m sure he or she would have seized this condition. …… But the situation is different now,” he said.
“Is it because of the disappearance of the elves?”
“Yes. But since it was rejected, I’m going to have to make the request not as a soldier but as a thoroughly personal one – please assist me in order to resolve this incident. If you participate, I don’t mind to express all information I have.”
“I’m not of noble birth, nor I don’t have anyone to vouch for my identity, are you sure?”
“…… If it’s better that way in a sense, what do you think I’m thinking? You may be aware of it.”
“In other words, as a personal request that cannot be made from a military position, I am expected to challenge the resolution of the incident without any military involvement at all. Regardless of the means, is it?”
The principal didn’t say anything, but he didn’t deny it. It’s no wonder that he couldn’t say ‘yes’ if he didn’t know whether I would accept it or not.
“Principal already had a rough idea of who the culprit was, or a complete picture of the incident, such as the whereabouts of the elves. And I think there are goals to be achieved only in areas where the Military cannot intervene.”
“It’s a beautiful piece of reasoning, although it doesn’t surprise me anymore.”
“What would happen if we just left it like this?”
After a cautious question, he said in a tone of conviction.
“This Mildiana territory was certain to perish. And the alliance with the Kingdom of Tsefte Aria will break down and war will break out. There will be a tremendous amount of death.”
Something that Lieutenant General Ludio Lambert, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Army’s Southern Territory Mildiana, still absolutely cannot interfere with, even with his power and authority.
Then, of course, it goes without saying that requests for co-operation with the military departments of other territories, let alone a plea for help to the emperor and his cronies.
The corner of my mouth naturally went up.
“Sounds interesting. I’ll take it.”
“Let’s be frank. You could die, you know?”
“What a cruel teacher would want to ask a student for something like that. Of course it’s okay. It’s because it seems to be more enjoyable to be in a place where there is excitement.”
“…… I’m going to trust you, Theodore. On top of that I would like to entrust this to you.”
Principal Ludio took the coat of arms from his bosom.
The one with the intricate and elaborate engraving was, at first glance, a far superior product to the magical silver coat of arms that had proved its worth as an special student.
Is it a sign of being a Lieutenant General in the Imperial Army?
“Take this and go to the ‘Second Warehouse’ in the Great Library, which is only accessible to the colonels.”
“It’s a pretty plainly named room, isn’t it?
“Ostensibly. Once you get inside, you can see that it’s a very special space. There is only one book on the bookshelf in that room, with the word ‘Mira’ written in ancient script on the spine. Please go and read it. There is information in it that you might want to know about the case.”
“But I think I’d be suspicious if I went there with something like this.”
“Please ask for a female Elf called Nia, the bookkeeper. She is the only female Elf who is the bookkeeper in the Great Library, so you will know right away. Show the coat of arm and tell her to go to the second warehouse.”
So you have another men you can trust.
“Understood. Right away, would it be better to go now?”
“Of course. It is just as well that your suspension is considered to continue until this event is over.”
“There’s nothing better than not having to take that boring lecture. Then I’ll just go and return.”
I got up quickly from the sofa and left the room immediately.
‘Mira’? I thought it was a common name for a human woman, so what did it say?
Feeling happy after a long absence, I went to the Great Library of the Mildiana.