༺ When the Problem Disappears ༻
“Can I enter?”
“…Yes. Please come in.”
Titania seemed surprised by my unexpected visit, but she nodded and opened the door wide as if she couldn’t leave me standing outside.
There were already guests in Titania’s room beside me.
Both Oznia and Marian’s gazes turned towards me at the same time. It was understandable for Oznia since she had returned with Titania, but I didn’t expect Marian to be here as well.
Marian approached me with slightly excited steps.
“Instructor! You were caught up in the riot, right? Are you okay?”
“No one among us is hurt, so don’t worry-“
“No! I mean the others. You didn’t kill them all, did you?”
Marian looked at me with eyes that seemed to be asking whether the instigators of the riot had died by my hand rather than if I had been caught up in the riot.
Was the combat training class that impressive?
“No one died, and those who were injured are receiving treatment. Most of the leaders of the demonstration were arrested on the spot.”
Marian smiled as if relieved.
“I’m glad. No one died, and both Oz and Tanya came back safely.”
She definitely wouldn’t say she was glad that I was safe, even as an empty phrase. It seemed that there was no consideration in Marian’s mind for the possibility that I might have been in danger.
I met the eyes of Marian and Oznia in turn and spoke.
“I want to talk to Titania. Can you give us some space?”
Marian cautiously looked at Titania. Titania hesitated a bit and then nodded, and after confirming her intentions, Marian and Oznia obediently left the room and closed the door.
Before leaving the room, Oznia whispered softly as she passed by me.
“Please take care of her.”
I didn’t answer explicitly. It was clear who she was asking me to take care of.
As the two left the room, Titania smiled awkwardly and said.
“…Would you like a cup of tea? Marian just made black tea, and it tasted quite good, even though it was my first time trying it.”
I thought for a moment and then shook my head.
“No need. I didn’t come here to drink tea.”
Titania didn’t seem to want tea either, as she climbed onto her bed and hugged her knees. She still looked like she hadn’t fully recovered from the shock of the market incident.
But it seemed like there was something deeper hiding behind the shock of witnessing the violent scene and almost being kidnapped.
Both Dean Heinkel and Oznia seemed to hope that I could comfort and soothe Titania, but no matter what expectations they had for me, I had no talent for comforting and soothing others.
Slapping Titania like slapping a panicked soldier on the battlefield was out of the question from the beginning, and I didn’t have the gift of gab, so it didn’t seem like Titania would be comforted by anything I said. Marian would probably be better at that.
So instead of comforting her with pointless words, I decided to get straight to the point.
“We just had a discussion about your situation.”
“Since your safety is now at risk, there’s an opinion that you should be sent back to the forest for your own protection.”
Titania’s eyes widened in surprise, but she soon nodded her head slightly and quieted down. It was as if she had heard something she didn’t want to hear but had been expecting.
“So, what’s the decision? Do I have to go back?”
“We decided to listen to your opinion first.”
Titania bowed her head with a bitter smile. She muttered to herself in a self-mocking tone.
“It’s as if my opinion actually matters. That hasn’t been the case much in my life.”
I raised an eyebrow and said,
“Isn’t the reason you’re here because you strongly wanted to be admitted?”
“It was the first act of rebellion I’ve ever done in my life. If you knew what I went through to break the stubbornness of the adults, you’d be surprised too.”
Titania didn’t seem to want to talk about what she had done in the forest, but it must have been something extraordinary to break the stubbornness of the obstinate Elf elders.
Her bitter smile deepened.
“But it’s only been a week, and this has happened. If the village elders find out about this, they’ll try to take me back immediately, whether I want to or not.”
“You sound like you really don’t want to go back to the forest.”
At that, Titania didn’t deny or affirm, just remained silent for a while.
By the time the tea on the table had cooled down, she opened her mouth with an awkward expression.
“Instructor… are there many people like that?”
It was sudden and out of context, but I could easily understand what she meant. It must be about the scarred man, who had targeted Titania out of hatred for Elves. The former soldier who despised Elves had left a deep mark on her.
I shook my head.
“No. Such people are only a minority.”
“But they do exist.”
I couldn’t deny that.
“I’ve heard that there are humans who hate Elves. But I never knew it would be this serious.”
Titania hugged her knees tighter as she spoke.
“Elf society is closed off. Most are born and buried in the forest. To me, it was no different than a prison. I wanted to see and experience the wider world for myself.”
The sincere expression Titania had while walking through the market was genuine.
She smiled faintly, as if thinking the same thing as me, and continued speaking.
“Initially, that was my reason, but now it’s a little different. There are Elves like that man too. Most older Elves hate humans, and the elders especially. If they just keep misunderstanding and hating each other while being separated, there will only be more people like that, right?”
“Going back to the forest won’t solve anything. Humans and Elves may have misunderstandings, but they won’t create opportunities to resolve them, and the situation will only get worse. But if I stay here, something might change.”
“If I can create an opportunity for Elves and humans to understand each other, I don’t want to give up that chance as a daughter of Illendrin.”
“I know. It’s a fanciful thought. If I stay here and face danger, the situation could get even worse. My friends might be put in danger like now, and it could be a selfish choice. I don’t really know what the right choice or the wrong choice is….”
Titania seemed to have felt some sense of responsibility for her race as the princess of the Elves while experiencing the chaos in the market.
She also seemed to be constantly struggling with whether staying or leaving was the right choice for her race.
But that was not the answer I was looking for.
“Just tell me one thing.”
“Do you want to leave, or do you not want to leave?”
Titania slightly parted her lips and looked at me with trembling eyes.
For a long time, she couldn’t continue speaking, but then she managed a bitter smile and said, “I don’t want to leave.”
I have no way of knowing what the right choice is, and I can’t provide an answer to a question with no answer. So as an instructor, my job was just one thing.
To respect the student’s decision and support it.
I approached Titania and placed my hand on her head.
Comforting someone wasn’t something I was familiar with. However, I could at least try awkwardly, and this was the best consolation I could offer at the moment.
Titania didn’t seem to fully understand the meaning of my words, but at least she didn’t immediately reject my touch.
I stroked her leaf-like hair a few times and turned around. As I put my hand on the door handle, Titania caught me with a desperate voice.
“Instructor Eon? Where are you going at this hour?”
“If the ones targeting you disappear and your safety is ensured, the elders will lose their reason to forcibly take you back.”
“Huh? What do you mean-“
Instead of answering her question, I opened the door and left the room.
There’s no need to wait for the faculty meeting. If a problem disappears, it’s no longer a problem.
I thought becoming an instructor would mean I wouldn’t have to get my hands dirty anymore. But once again, I realized that things don’t usually go as planned.
I still didn’t know who was targeting Titania and for what reason.
It didn’t matter.
I left the academy and headed straight for the headquarters of the Imperial Police.
The information I learned there gave me an unexpected shock.
You can rate this series here.
Advаnced chаpters аvailable on gеnеsistls.cоm
Illustrаtiоns on our discоrd – discоrd.gg/gеnеsistls