༺ Faculty Meeting ༻
There were many things that didn’t make sense about this protest.
First of all, in a situation where the empire, which is now more powerful than ever due to its victory in the war, is pursuing a policy of peace and harmony, the protest against the oppression of immigrant and different races was like a perfect excuse for rebels opposing the royal policy to be branded as traitors and put on the scaffold.
Also, the purpose of the protest was unclear. It was overly radical and impulsive, appearing to be nothing more than the impulsive actions of dissatisfied individuals. It might have attracted the public’s attention, but the risks far outweighed any possible benefits.
If it was intended as a hate crime against a specific group, there were other ways to send a clear message without revealing one’s identity, such as terrorism.
The fact that this didn’t happen suggested that the real purpose of the protest was simply to cause a disturbance and divert the attention of the military police, with the real objective lying elsewhere.
Would it be too far-fetched to think that someone knew that Titania was here, incited the public to cause a disturbance, and tried to kidnap her in the chaos?
It might be. But my intuition, honed by 20 years of battlefield experience, told me that there was more to this protest than met the eye.
“Hehehe… who’s the real mastermind?”
The scarred man could no longer maintain his strong stance, bleeding from not only his thighs but also his wrists, yet he forced a mocking smile.
“There’s no such thing. We just wanted to take advantage of the chaos to kidnap the elf. It has nothing to do with this protest.”
I sighed briefly. They always made things so difficult.
Due to my war experience, I knew very well how to extract as much information as possible from an enemy in a short amount of time. And I was very good at it, perhaps too good.
“I guess if I gouge out those arrogant eyes first, your tongue will become a bit more flexible.”
I bent one knee and brought the blade of my knife close to the scarred man’s face. The broken blade slowly dug into the skin just below his eye.
“Wait… No, stop! Please!”
The smile disappeared from the scarred man’s face, and his pupils trembled visibly.
Cold sweat beaded on his forehead, and he swallowed nervously due to the tension. It was a clear expression of fear for the upcoming torture.
I stared silently into the man’s eyes for a while before striking his forehead with the hilt of my knife.
The man’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he passed out in an instant.
After thinking about it for a moment, there was no need to torture him in front of the students.
What was important now was the students’ safety. The military police would take care of the rest.
“Let’s go back.”
I quickly left the alley with the two of them.
When we returned to the market, most of the protests had already been suppressed.
The Military Police cracked down on the protesters with force as soon as they arrived at the scene, and as a result, the protesters quickly dispersed.
I showed my identification to the military police, who were detaining the protesters, and informed them that there was a ringleader in the back alley. I requested that they apprehend him instead.
Thanks to my rank, the military police treated me very respectfully and gladly accepted my request, rushing to the scene immediately.
Now the men who targeted Titania would be interrogated by the military police, and I would be able to share the information later.
I returned to Philion Academy with the two of them.
Although Oznia remained calm throughout the incident, unlike Titania, who appeared anxious even after the situation had ended. However, once we passed the academy’s main gate and arrived at the Opal Black dormitory, Titania seemed to finally realize that everything was over, and she let out a sigh of relief.
After sending Oznia and Titania back to their respective rooms, I went straight to the Dean’s office to explain the situation.
Recognizing the seriousness of the matter, Dean Heinkel immediately gathered the remaining faculty and staff for a faculty meeting.
The main topic of the meeting was, of course, Titania’s problem and her welfare.
In a small conference room in the faculty building,
“Dean Heinkel! This is a serious issue!”
Instructor Lirya shouted in an agitated voice.
“A student of our Philion Academy is being targeted by an organization of unclear identity. We must devise a plan and take action at the school level!”
“Come, come, Instructor Bennett? Calm down. We don’t even know for sure if such an organization exists.”
A young man with a sad expression, a first-year in charge of the Sapphire Blue class, Lian Closterman, tried to calm her down.
“Titania’s enrollment as a freshman at our academy is well known within the system. A small number of people who heard the news might have become resentful and planned this. And didn’t Instructor Graham catch those people already?”
“But! What if more people like that appear and put Titania in similar danger?”
“No matter how great Philion Academy is, we can’t monitor all the citizens of Shangria. And preventing crime is the role of the military police, not us.”
First-year in-charge of the Diamond White class, Cylon von Akeron, stroked his mustache and spoke leisurely.
“I didn’t like Titania’s enrollment from the beginning. Haven’t I told you numerous times that problems like this would arise? Dean Heinkel.”
At Akeron’s reproachful words, Dean Heinkel bowed his head heavily.
“That’s hindsight, Instructor Akeron. We must not forget that our Philion Academy is an institution that educates and nurtures talent regardless of race or background.”
Dean Heinkel spoke softly.
“When I accepted Titania as a student at the academy, I promised to teach her just like any other student.”
“Hmm… I understand your opinion, Dean. But what about Titania’s thoughts?”
A stern-faced woman with glasses, first-year in-charge of the Emerald Green class, Helga Brown, spoke in a cold tone.
“What do you mean by different thoughts, Instructor Helga?”
“I mean that Titania might think it’s dangerous to be here. Even if she doesn’t think so herself, her parents might think differently.”
She pushed up her glasses and spoke in a cool, composed tone.
“What would the elves of the Liniya Great Forest think when they hear this news? Wouldn’t they want to take Titania back to the forest immediately?”
It was a reasonable point.
To my knowledge, the elves of the Great Forest did not welcome Titania’s enrollment at Philion Academy. They were consistently exclusive to events outside the forest.
However, due to Titania’s strong determination, the forest elves couldn’t refute her claims and had no choice but to send her to the empire.
But now that the situation had reached this point, it was clear how the elves of the Great Forest would act. They would seize this opportunity to take her back.
Helga spoke calmly and firmly.
“Whether there is an external organization targeting Titania or not, it’s clear that she’s faced a threat to her life. In that case, we can send her back to the forest.”
“Are you suggesting we give up on her now, Instructor Brown!? Titania will be safe inside the academy!”
“I’m saying this for Titania’s sake. Does Instructor Lirya plan to keep her locked up in the school? What about the future curriculum? It’s impossible for us to protect Titania 24/7 until she graduates. She wouldn’t want that either.”
A heavy silence settled in the conference room.
Each instructor seemed to ponder Helga’s suggestion.
Sending Titania back to the Liniya Forest would ensure her safety, but it would mean separating her from the life she had chosen for herself.
Lirya, the instructor, was clearly opposed, Helga and Akeron, who proposed the idea, seemed to agree, and while Lian appeared neutral as he tried to cool down the heated debate, he subtly seemed to support Lirya’s opinion.
As the silence in the meeting room grew longer with the agreement and disagreement divided in half, Dean Heinkel turned his head and asked me,
“The opinion of the instructor in charge is most important in this matter. What do you think, Instructor Eon?”
During the meeting, all the instructors’ eyes were focused on me, who had been silent.
I calmly opened my mouth without being bothered by their gazes.
“We have to listen to Titania’s opinion.”
“Hmm… What do you mean?”
Dean Heinkel let out an interested exclamation, stroking his long beard.
“If Titania wants to go back, I’ll take responsibility and send her back. However, if she decides to stay, I’ll respect my student’s opinion.”
“That’s irresponsible. You say you respect the student’s opinion, but as a result, Titania might be in even greater danger than now.”
I firmly looked into Helga’s eyes and replied.
“That won’t happen.”
“What? No, on what grounds do you…?”
Helga widened her eyes, bewildered by my groundless assurance.
Listening carefully to my words, Dean Heinkel seemed to organize his thoughts and nodded his head.
“All of the instructors’ opinions are valid. However, ensuring the safety and security of our students is our responsibility. I believe that responsibility includes respecting the students’ freedom of choice.”
Dean Heinkel concluded with a warm smile.
“First, let’s listen to Titania’s opinion, and then it won’t be too late to decide on the next course of action. Instructor Eon?”
“Titania must have been quite shocked. Can you calm her down?”
I silently nodded.
“Alright. Let’s conclude this meeting.”
Some instructors could not hide their uneasy expressions at the meeting’s conclusion, but they dared not openly contradict the Dean’s words.
The instructors in the meeting room exchanged polite greetings and left one by one. Just as I was about to follow them out, Dean Heinkel’s voice stopped me.
Dean Heinkel called me, but he did not speak for a long time.
Finally, after hesitating, he opened his mouth to say one thing.
“Thank you for protecting Titania.”
Could it be that Dean Heinkel had secretly suspected that something like this might happen?
I didn’t know the truth, but I could see that his wrinkled eyes were filled with sincere gratitude and deep concern.
“I’ve only done my duty.”
I left the meeting room after giving Dean Heinkel a light bow.
After the meeting, I returned to the dormitory and knocked on Titania’s door.
When the door opened after a while, she had a deeply troubled expression on her face.
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