3.5 – 1
About a month had passed since the manastone disaster in Einst.
The assessment of the underground tunnels and caverns had long since been completed, and the town was in the process of rebuilding.
After cleaning up the rubble, the next step was to begin new land reclamation projects that avoided building over the manastone veins. New homes had to be built and roads mended, with the townsfolk being ever more conscious of the ground beneath their feet than they had been before.
By now, most of the displaced families in town had been moved back into solid buildings. They were large, yet simple buildings that could house many people at one time. Even if they weren’t lavishly decorated, they served to keep out the wind and rain so they were much better than sleeping in a tent.
Now that the new areas to be reclaimed were being decided on and the tasks that lay before the people became clear, the revival of the town could truly begin.
The spirit of that town, as well as its people whose spirits had sunk, began to stand tall and look forward to the day their pride would be restored.
And taking a leading role were the people who came all the way from Grenze to support them.
“You asked for help from the people of Grenze!?”
A month ago, after being told as much by Alois, Camilla was left stupefied.
The feud between Einst and Grenze was infamous, Camilla had realized just how badly that bad blood ran after coming to Einst herself.
The two towns stood in stark contrast to one another. Irreverent yet vibrantly full of life, that was Grenze. Obstinate yet with a modest sort of pride, that was Einst. The reason they logged heads was unfortunately due to them both being mining towns that competed to support Mohnton’s economy.
If it weren’t for that single point of similarity, these two towns likely wouldn’t even pay the other a single thought. Instead, each town constantly compared themselves to their counterpart and, especially for Einst, usually wallowed in a sense of jealous inferiority.
Since Einst was like this, calling for help from Grenze of all places must have been completely out of the question. Especially since Einst was even more on edge after the disaster. Not to mention Einst’s usually xenophobic attitude, it seemed like a recipe for all sorts of further disaster.
Camilla herself thought it was utterly unreasonable.
“It’s the closest major town to Einst, not to mention that the people from Grenze are skilled and well-versed when it comes to manastone veins and miasma.”
Camilla shuddered at the thought, but Alois seemed to be quite calm about the whole thing.
“Falsch is a mountainous town and isn’t anywhere nearby, it would take them too long to send aid. Right now, Blume has its own problems to deal with. I did also call for support from back home, but right now the best course of action is to bring in help from Grenze. Since that town mines almost as much as this place does, they aren’t just knowledgeable, but the people there are also strong.”
“Well… I suppose that’s true, but…”
She couldn’t poke any holes in Alois’ logic. What’s more, the people in Grenze had probably dealt with similar disasters in the past, albeit on a smaller scale. Even if the threat had faded somewhat since the initial crisis, having people around who knew how to identify and take measures against manastone vein instability and miasma outbreaks would be a great help.
Most of all, however, Grenze was the closest town nearby to Einst. There shouldn’t be any need to call people from further afield.
She knew it. That much at least was easy to understand. Alois’ choice was the most logical and pragmatic option available to him.
She didn’t have a sound counterargument, but something in her heart made her wary of his words.
As Camilla pondered in silence, Alois smiled at her.
It was a gentle expression, as if he were trying to relieve her of worry.
“Besides, this might serve to be a good opportunity, perhaps the two towns might become a bit more amicable. Isn’t it in times like these that you can see people’s true feelings, after all?”
Once again, she couldn’t find much fault with Alois’ calmly expressed idea.
But, Camilla couldn’t just bring herself to nod along obediently either.
Was he taking advantage of Einst’s moment of weakness? That’s all Camilla could think about.
Thinking about it properly, Alois wasn’t the kind of person to let his true feelings show on his face.
It wasn’t as if he never got angry, but he usually tried to keep his emotions level. Thinking back, the only times Camilla could really recall him losing control of his emotions were when they argued at the orphanage in Grenze and when Nicole broke that keepsake dish of his.
He had a strong measure of self-control. Indeed, in terms of being a lord, it was a virtue to have such firm reign over one’s own emotions.
That cool line of thinking lead him to the “most correct” decision to bring in reinforcements from Grenze.
Although there were some small scuffles at first, people soon learned that they had little choice but to cooperate in such a situation. As they worked hard together to rebuild the town, it wasn’t long before some of those cold looks and insults became laughs and smiles.
Walking through the streets, the people from Einst and Grenze walked and worked side by side. There was still a bit of resistance from the more influential men and women of the town, but for the townspeople who came into contact with these hardworking outsiders every day, their attitudes didn’t take long to change.
– It is a nice thing to see.
From the beginning, Camilla thought that people from the same territory quarreling with one another was ridiculous. That stuffy air of Einst, which almost seemed to shut itself off to the world, irritated Camilla in more ways than one. By opening up the windows and learning to accept new people, the town would change for the better.
– It is a nice thing, yet…
Einst was surely moving in the right direction, probably all according to Alois’ intentions.
But, Alois’ plans extended far beyond one mere town. As the lord of this land, his thoughts always lay with the territory as a whole.
Yet, Camilla just couldn’t bring herself to think in the same way. Those thoughts of hers that she couldn’t find a way to express in words swirled in her chest like a whirlpool.
Despite the potential for clashes, there was no doubt that Alois calmly saw an opportunity in the aftermath of this disaster.
– Rather than calm, isn’t he being cold?
Flustered, Camilla tried to drive that thought from her head as she racked her brains while in that room of hers that she had been given in Einst.
Alois, the townspeople, and the helpers that arrived from Grenze. Everyone’s only thought was helping to rebuild the town. To be thinking about such a thing when everyone was trying to work so hard, Camilla felt like she was the one who was being cold and calculating instead.
Edited by: ApoPie