“That doesn’t sound like you, though.”
“…I think your image of me is a bit concerning, but… Yeah. You’re right. Matters stemming from a person’s negative emotions aren’t something that can be dealt with instantly. When it comes to such things, all you can do is to pile up one thing after another until you can build something that can overcome that person’s distrust.”
Those words were meant for her, who was having difficulties with her relationship with her older brother. It was sad and painful that he hated her, but there was nothing she could do to make that hate go away right now. All she could do was to show her good will time and time again, even if there’s no guarantee that it would work.
“That’s probably why I wanted to find out how you felt first.”
What kind of emotions did the boy hold toward them? If she didn’t know that much, then she wouldn’t even know how she should act.
“…It would be great if everyone was like you.”
“What do you mean?”
‘To think she would take his advice this way,’ the boy smiled, but…
As he heaved a faint sigh, Frire felt like that wasn’t meant for her.
“Before coming here, I saw people who hated Garestonians precisely because of what you said. People who’ve suffered because of the changes in the world.”
She couldn’t say anything in response to that confession. She just felt miserable that he had to see something like that as soon as he came back. But perhaps it was precisely because he could scrutinize Garesto with neither blind acceptance nor blind rejection that he could remain so calm.
“But as far as the
It was called an exchange precisely because they kept in touch with each other. If so, then the darkness of society born from that wouldn’t exist only in Earth. Anyone would realize it if they just pondered it, but the number of Earthlings who could realize that truth were few. For better or for worse, the Earthlings had their hands full just dealing with themselves. But the boy didn’t think there was anything unnatural about being able to realize that much. This insight of his was truly a troublesome thing, and Frire knew that all too well.
“The hostility from Garesto… In other words, the Anti-Earth faction.”
“There are plenty such people just here in the academy. Surely, there must be more in Garesto. Over here, though, they look like they’re just putting on airs.”
Frire nodded and confessed that it was indeed a problem worrying her as a teacher.
“It’s the group centered around Padyuel’s head servants. Their opinions might clash with their master’s, but they’re trying to persuade her. It’s a really a troublesome affair,” Frire said sympathetically.
She wants to respect their freedom of opinion, but because most of them were affiliated with the special class, she didn’t know whether she should see that as their special privilege or see it as them going too far.
Ironically, most of the burden ends up falling onto Aristel since she’s the one who has to go apologize and mediate.
They were both the next head of their respective houses, so Frire couldn’t just act like it was someone else’s business.
“But that’s a part of her responsibilities, so other than encouraging her, you should just leave it to her. What I want to know about are the finer points of their ideology and how many extremists there are.”
Frire hesitated a little, but she answered him. It was hard to turn down a request when he wanted to learn more about Garesto, and she also trusted that it wouldn’t be a problem to answer him. As long as he takes this information as just information, anyway.
“The most common opinion among those who hold anti-Earth sentiments is the opinion that Earthlings shouldn’t be treated equally since our technology is superior. There are also those who wish to reject the culture coming from Earth. And then there are those whose situations worsened because of the exchange with Earth.”
Problems were bound to come with the exchange of culture and the difference in their level of technology, Frire intentionally spoke in a manner similar to that of Shinichi, as though to say that the problems occurring on Earth were not limited just to Earth. Garesto was changing too.
“What stands out the most are the matters related to Earth’s food culture. People who fuss over it are on opposite ends. I like Earth food, so I don’t really get it all that well, but there are Garestonians who don’t understand the point in enjoying food. They’re a minority, though. But because of that the culture and industry of eating only by taking in nutritional supplements has shrunk.”
Supplements that could effectively provide the necessary nutrients of the body. Food in Garesto mainly consisted of medicines like that.
But because the Garestonians welcomed the food culture of Earth, the international industries responsible for manufacturing those medicines have been severely damaged.
“Naturally, the people working in those fields would lose their jobs, and if they can’t adapt to the emergence of the food culture, then…” Shinichi said.
“I’m sure shame plays a part in it too. What’s more is that food culture entered the fray seriously 8 years ago. Food culture was never a thing in our world, so it’s a new field to us. The Earth food boom going on now is completely monopolized by Earth,” Frire said.
Garesto couldn’t export much because of all the restrictions they have, but not only did they have to import the ingredients, they even had to import people.
Because of that it was no exaggeration to say that most of the profits were going to the Earthlings. The people unhappy with that were all potential Anti-Earthlings.
“What about the extremists?”
But those were common opinions, and such people were also a minority. So what about the extremists? What did the people who were actually making a difference think?
Frire sighed several times. This boy really was too sharp.
“The common opinion of the extremists are a bit different from society. Although we, Garestonians, have a different culture and technology from Earthlings, the mental and physical construct of our bodies do not differ much; therefore, reproduction is possible. This has been proven by science.”
“…So we can have kids then.”
Frire was stunned to find that that was what caught the boy’s attention. What’s more was that the boy was staring at her stomach. She did her best to ignore that.
When it came to this boy, there was no telling whether he was intentionally sexually harassing her or merely asking a question.
As such, the right action to take here was to ignore him and proceed lest she bring unnecessary trouble to herself.
It was precisely because they were similar that they were apprehensive.
“Because of the difference in history, there are people who’ve come to see the Earthlings as a threat.”
“Difference in history? You mean the number of wars among ourselves?”
“If you’re so sharp, why can’t you get along with people? Sheesh. Sigh… Actually, I also couldn’t believe it when I first found out about Earth’s history.”
In between her sighs, Frire shook her head as though remembering the shock she felt back then. As a teacher and as a former soldier, she had plenty of opportunities to learn about Earth’s history. That history that could only be said to be an anomaly to Garesto.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that Earth’s history is basically a history of war. Ah, don’t misunderstand. Of course, we have fought among ourselves too. We’ve clashed many times because of a lack of resources or territory, but…”
“I see. It’s because the size of the world and our population is too different. No wonder the records of wars were so sparse.”
“You thought we were hiding them? Those records are everything. The wars we’ve fought among each other worth naming could be counted on your fingers. Of course, I know full well that that’s not something easy for Earthlings to swallow.”
She’s been a teacher for 3 years now, and such questions have been asked of her many times, some of those from her coworkers. If there was one thing that made Earth truly feel otherworldly to her, this would be it.
“Other than that there’s also the part where you don’t think about the future at all and recklessly destroy your environment. You have a world free of the threat of raybeasts, full of precious resources, and yet you just waste it all. Because of that some of the extremists refuse to be lumped together with Earthlings as fellow humans.”
“Sigh… As an Earthling, that’s painfully true.”
The boy shook his head with a sigh. He didn’t even feel like arguing.
But what he didn’t know was that Frire was actually impressed. She’d heard that Japan was relatively distant to such matters, and yet despite him having only 13 years’ worth of education, he still knew about the problems of his world.
He made such a big impression on her that she actually started to worry about her students’ lack of concern about such matters.
“…When we found out about these matters before negotiating with Earth’s nations, we couldn’t help but worry. Are we sure we won’t get caught up in their violent history? Will their violent tendencies spread to us too? Will our remaining flora and fauna be destroyed? There were many concerns, and from those came the idea that we should invade Earth and rule over it, a super extremist point-of-view, and unfortunately, such opinions still hold strong.”
Frire has met such people many times before moving to the public relations department. She understood where they were coming from, but she thought they were being too hasty. As far as she was concerned, what was really scary was the possibility of an all-out war.
“I guess Earth and Garesto are just incompatible when it comes to that aspect. But didn’t you take more than 30 years before reaching out?”
‘Did you really try to understand us?’ the boy implied.
“B-But we do understand, to some extent. We figured it must be because you didn’t have an external threat that you couldn’t deal with without working together like the raybeasts, and also because your world is too big, so there are too many people and too many different cultures. But it’s a completely foreign situation to Garesto, so it’s rather hard for us to understand…”
On one hand was a vast world without raybeasts full of different humans and cultures, and on the other hand, was a world where the raybeasts outnumbered the humans, and even beastmen were considered a part of the human race. It was only natural that they found Earth alien.
“We really are incompatible.”
Shinichi was surprised, while Frire laughed dryly.
But then the boy suddenly placed his hand on his jaw and became thoughtful before his lips twisted and a fearless smile appeared on his face. Frire had a bad feeling about that smile.
“Hey, Teach. There’s something I’d like to ask.”
As much as she hated it, her intuition was right on the mark, and this student of hers threw her a troublesome question with a smile that covered his whole face, as though he already knew the answer.
“If Garesto were to try and invade now— Can you win?”