Gardina Forest Capital
It has been over a year and a half since the day that Gardina’s population grew to over 1,500 residents.
In a pleasant turn of events, the people who had been initially skeptical had now come to enjoy living in the Forest Capital of Gardina.
This hadn’t been an easy process, though, and many hardships had to be overcome. One could easily guess how Georg worked hard during this time, assigning work and homes, teaching classes, and organizing social events like soccer and knitting so that the newcomers could smoothly meet and integrate with Gardina’s residents.
But now, a year and a half later, the chaos had calmed and normal had days returned. Even Gardina’s newly-introduced monetary system had stabilized, showing glimmers of the city’s future economic development.
Georg’s mansion had recently been rebuilt to be nearly twice as big as before, and people had even started calling it the “Gardina Forest Capital Assembly Hall”.
Actually, I wish you guys would stop referring to my private home like it’s the Congress building… was what Georg wished to say. Well, since Georg was Georg, he decided to ‘fix’ the issue by summoning an artificial island on the lake (he hadn’t been aware of it himself, but it was massive), constructing a bridge between the island and the mainland, and building a new home there.
To use a name like ‘Congress’ gave Georg a really stuffy impression, but it couldn’t be helped. The administrative meetings that, until now, had been comprised of only twelve attendees had since tripled in attendance because of the expansion of businesses and the establishment of new organizations.
The heads of each department were accompanied by assistants. There were was the new Medical and Civil Engineering departments, as well as the Agricultural Research Society aiming at crop improvement with selective breeding. The Weapons Production department was a subdivision of the iron industry, and there was also the Mint, which was responsible for money casting. Adding to the number of people was the security force deployed in the assembly hall. At last, the appearance of a city had begun to take shape.
Another big change was that when Congress met, there would be a heated debate. Everyone had their own opinion: how and where should we improve, is that really important, and what should we do to make it more efficient than the current situation? These debates were especially heated among the senior members of Congress, who had accumulated enough knowledge and experience that their differing opinions were all weighty and meaningful.
Although Georg was the one who decided whether a suggestion was denied or approved, and also the one to give the order for implementation, he had recently begun thinking about the establishment of a new organization and the appointment of its head and their aide.
Gardina Forest Capital was about to enter a booming period of growth.
“… It’s really become lively here now, huh?”
“It really has.”
On the terrace, a new addition to the third floor of the Assembly Hall that overlooked the city, Georg and Ferris were watching the people coming and going.
“There’s no one here who’d want to go back to how they were before, now, do you think?”
“Mm, well, I think that even if you had a good relationship with the person, you definitely wouldn’t be able to sell that to them.” 1
“That’s true, huh… I don’t think there’s anyone who’d be able to build a relationship good enough for that. In any case, I’ve been thinking… In two or three years, I might set my eyes on the north.”
“Ah, if only we had the time, I wonder just how much richer our town would become. Even when building a city of this size we still haven’t seen the end of this forest, so there’s still room for us to grow.”
“… But sooner or later, we’ll be noticed by the humans, won’t we.”
Ferris muttered as a sad look appeared on her face that had recently become more mature all of a sudden.
“Yeah. That’ll be our true do-or-die moment. For now, I don’t think it’s possible for them to break through this forest, but before they are able to mobilize enough soldiers for that, we’ll have to reassemble the guards into an army so that we’ll have the military power to counter the humans.”
Currently, the Guard Corp had been reorganized and approximately doubled in size. 47 people had increased to 92 people. Recently there had been fights and such, so they were increasing as the necessity demanded. The base currently referred to as the “Guard Corps Command Station” was only a large two-story building at the city center, but recently they had been considering setting up substations like police boxes 2 in each outlying section of the city.
“… So, we’re going to have to fight it out after all, huh?” [F]
“We’ll see. If we can avoid it then there won’t be any battle to come to pass, but it’ll be difficult.” [G]
“Does brother really have to be the one to stand at the forefront?” [F]
“That doesn’t matter to me. What I do wonder is, when I die, how will our army with zero combat experience fair? No matter how many children the current residents have, their population will not catch up to the Human’s anytime soon. As such, I want our people to realize that even when the humans greatly outnumber us, and no matter how many battles we must fight on this land, as long as we’re sufficiently prepared then we will not allow the humans to take an easy win. That even if it’s painful, as long as our people are alive, they’ll be able to recover again.”
“…….Then, older brother, are you saying that even if people die here, you’re just going to accept it?”
Ferris’ eyes turned angry as she looked at Georg.
“That’s right. If the deaths of a hundred people here will save a thousand lives in the future, then I’ll choose that without hesitation.”
But Georg’s answer took no consideration to her nor her anger.
“Ah, I’m really the worst kind of guy, aren’t I? But, I think this is the right thing to do as a statesman. Obviously, it would be best to not let anyone die… but if the ‘best’ option isn’t available to me, then I’ll have to choose the second best without hesitation. That is the obligation of the person who leads. Leaders are the only ones who cannot lose their way. We must always choose what is best for the people who follow us. It’s necessary for us to walk ahead of all others, opening up and showing them the way with our own two feet. But, though I say that, in most cases, it is the leader who must die later than everyone else. That is because the person who must carry the weight of all that responsibility is, again, the leader. That is why, when I die, it can only be either as a great existence boasting every accomplishment, or as a sinful existence who bears countless wrongdoings and faults. It can only be one of those two… At least, that’s what I think.”
Ferris kept silent while Georg spoke without pause. She then said,
“Then, as long as the best option is still available, older brother is still able to choose.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Then, I’m relieved,” she whispered softly.
“Because, it’s older brother, after all. My older brother who’s more passionate than anyone, deeper than anyone, and whose way of thinking is kinder than anyone else’s in the world, would never be able to give up the best choice so easily. So if such an elder brother says that he has to choose the second best option, then no one can criticize him, is what I think.”
“… That put such terribly high expectations on me, my stomach hurts now.”
Georg answered with a bitter smile to Ferris’ shining smile.
“Good luck, brother.”
He closed his eyes, and when he strained his ears that are greater than a person’s ears, the nice, sentimental sounds of everyday life, such as the voices of the Guard Corps training, the high-spirited voices that are selling vegetables and hardware in the open-air, the cries of the animals, the bustling of people coming to and fro, and the sounds of work coming from the blacksmith workshop, came echoing.
Georg opened his eyes again and slowly turned to Ferris.
“Ahh, well, at best, I’ll try not to betray everyone’s expectations. The moment our people are noticed by the humans and conflict becomes inevitable, I’ll do as much as I can to help out without revealing myself. But the moment that becomes impossible, then I’ll go all out and protect everyone with all my power, and exterminate the enemy. I’m not certain if it’s possible to do this without anyone’s deaths, but I’ll put my best effort into trying to make sure as few people die as possible.”
“What you mean to say is, that’s something only older brother can do.”
“No, we don’t know if maybe one of these days, Johann or Jill might stand out as the commanders of our military, maybe.”
Georg retorted as he once again solidified his determination:
To protect this city overflowing with life, those who live there, and his beloved family right in front of him, until the end, even if he must sacrifice this body.
The two of them sat together and gazed at the cityscape. Their facial expressions had a sense of accomplishment which would probably only be understood by these two or even the earliest inhabitants and was wrapped in the hope for their future.
In this place where recently marriage and birth has somewhat increased, the afternoon passed as the bright rays from the sun poured over the Gardina Forest Capital.