Onto the first day of the Philosopher’s Conference. Ashia was strangely filled with energy since morning and helped Elsa dress up. Elsa wasn’t going to an evening party so she was dressed like she normally was. She wore a blouse with a blue vest and a skirt. She also wore a woman’s jacket on top of that.
The Philosopher’s Conference was also part of the Imperial Court, so in other words, the King would also be present. Since the King and the Prime Minister were present, there would be a total of 14 people. If the secretaries were also present then that would bring the count to 16.
It was Elsa’s first time at the conference so she was going to behave herself for the time being. It wasn’t good to stand out too much depending on who was attending.
None of the other attendees knew who would be there until they arrived at the conference. Elsa arrived at the royal palace early and sat in the waiting room while confirming the Martinez’s damage report that Sabina had gathered yesterday. She would probably know more about the extent of the damage in today’s meeting.
“Elsa-sama, it is time to enter the conference room. Are you ready?”
A young civil official came to informed Elsa and she stood up.
“Well then, let’s go into the conference room.”
The civil official smiled and passed Elsa in the corridor, guiding her to where the meeting room would be.
“Well then, please wait inside.”
She wondered if she was too early. Elsa was the first one to arrive. The table was round and there were plates placed on top the table. Elsa, who was 28 years old and a first time participant, sat at the foot of the table near the door.
She made sure that no one was coming and looked around at the plates on the table. I see. They were all famous scholars and philosophers. There was someone else here who was like Elsa, a professor at Fillure University.
“You’re here early, Ojou-san.”
A male voice echoed throughout the conference room and Elsa, who was now all the way on the other side of the room, quickly turned to look. She was relieved.
“Professor Trihory, you’re here early too.”
Elsa said and returned to the entrance of the room. The man whom she had called Professor Trihory, smiled.
“It’s been a while since the last Philosopher’s Conference. I didn’t think you would be here, Elsa-dono.”
“I was surprised myself.”
Elsa said seriously and Professor Trihory laughed amusingly.
“No, it was only natural if they looked over your merits. It’s also a good thing for a young woman to be at the Philosopher’s Conference.”
“No, I’m not that young……”
“Is that sarcasm towards me?”
Professor Trihory said in a mocking tone and Elsa shrugged. She didn’t know who else was attending the conference but Elsa was probably the youngest one here.
Professor Trihory taught geology at Fillure University. He was probably in his 70s but he was a hale and hearty person who also had a mischievous side to him. Elsa was acquainted with him because of his specialised field and she was always indebted to him. His seat was next to the Prime Minister’s.
By the way, people started coming in after Professor Trihory arrived. Everyone was surprised to see Elsa near the entrance and frowned. No one, however, asked her why she was here. The reason why they didn’t was because she was the second daughter of Duke Lombardini.
It didn’t take long for all 12 people to gather. Next to Elsa was a man in his early 30s who had influence in economics. Elsa was, of course, the youngest person there.
Everyone stood up and greeted the King as he entered. King Jean Carlo was a tall man in his late thirties. Naturally, he was Elsa’s older sister, Teresa’s husband’s older brother. Of course.
“Thank you for gathering today, everyone.”
The Prime Minister said. Everyone reached their seats and turned to face the Prime Minister.
“Because we are talking about urgent matters this time, we chose the participants amongst those who could come to the royal capital within a day.”
Elsa could kind of understand the reason why she was chosen from the Prime Minister’s explanation.
“The agenda for this conference is the reconstruction of Martinez, which was affect by the earthquake the other day. May I leave this to the Chairman, Professor Trihory?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Is everyone alright with that?”
The Prime Minister confirmed with everyone but no one disagreed so Professor Trihory became the chairman of this conference. He was the oldest amongst them.
“Well then, thank you Professor.”
The Prime Minister handed the reigns to Professor Trihory. Elsa was a first time participant but this really was a gather of experts:
Professor Trihory in geology, Mr. Antoni in seismology, Professor Fallon in town planning, Mr. Zoff and Mr. Gausman in architecture, Professor Dakira in social welfare, Dr. Lordi in medicine, Professor Matzay in psychology, Mr. Bardini the dietitian, Mr. Testa the jurist, Mr. Croce the economist, and Elsa the historian. Elsa was the only woman and she was also the only one in her twenties.
Elsa was feeling a little out of it but she looked calm on the surface. She drank water while listening to Professor Trihory speak.
They first discussed the damage of the earthquake as well as how the citizens were doing so Elsa only listened to what was being discussed. There was no room for a historian like Elsa to speak.
It was, however, good for her to listen to everyone speak. It was a learning experience. Elsa continued to listen as the topic shifted to reconstruction matters.
Everyone was serious about recovering the land under the royal family’s jurisdiction. Mr. Zoff and Mr. Gausman proposed that they used the latest architectural styles. Mr. Antoni and Professor Fallon, however, warned them that should another earthquake occur, the latest style buildings would not stand a chance. Professor Trihory also concluded that there was a high possibility that an earthquake would occur again.
“What do you think Elsa-dono?”
Elsa, who was taking notes, paused and thought a little. Professor Trihory was probably concerned that Elsa hadn’t spoken even though she was participating in the Philosopher’s Conference.
“…… According to the historical records, an earthquake occurs in Martinez once every several hundreds of years. Architecture is outside of my expertise so I can’t say much on that topic but I think it would be better to plan under the assumption that an earthquake may occur again.”
“…… This is the first earthquake to occur in Martinez in 150 years, so it probably won’t happen again, right?”
Mr. Zoff objected unpleasantly and Elsa continued, indifferently.
“The problem lies in the fact that it may occur again. Most of the buildings in Martinez was built over a hundred years ago, like the buildings in Zola. Half of the buildings were destroyed in the previous earthquake and restored. The other half remained standing even after the earthquake occurred. Those buildings are probably very resilient.”
Professor Fallon said, “I want to say something”, stopping what seemed like Elsa’s never ending lecture.
“The people who built the buildings in Martinez knew that a lot of earthquakes were likely to occur around that area. I am unfamiliar with city planning and architecture, so I will leave that to you, but…”
“Then don’t say anything at all!”
“Martinez is a historical city. Therefore, what she is trying to say as a historian is that she wants to restore the buildings in Martinez.”
“I don’t care if it’s a historical city or whatever. It is our job to make that city into a liveable place for the people of today.”
“That’s true. That’s why I’m only providing the facts.”
Mr. Croce, who was sitting next to Elsa, struck the desk. He might not have been able to stand Elsa, who was acting nonchalantly. Elsa was surprised.
“Aren’t you pretentious!? Don’t butt in when you’re just a woman!”
The other participants probably wouldn’t go this far. The youngest person after Elsa was this Mr. Croce. Even if the other people thought the same as he did, they definitely wouldn’t say it out loud. In fact, no one had gone this far even when they were criticising her.
Most people, however, probably felt the same as him. No matter how dense Elsa was, she understood that much.
It didn’t mean that Elsa spent her time with only dandified men during her university days. Elsa narrowed her eyes and tried to reply to Mr. Croce but the Prime Minister spoke first.
“Words from his Majesty.”
All twelve people turned to face the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister did not continue, instead King Jean Carlo, himself, spoke next.
“All the people gathered here today are ones that I have personally picked. I’m not telling you to get along but at the very least, don’t say such statements in front of me.”
“…… I am sorry.”
Mr. Croce lowered his head to King Jean Carlo. Afterwards, he glared at Elsa for a second.
“…… I thought that everyone’s knowledge would be necessary, so I chose you twelve. Don’t forget that.”
“I am honoured.”
Professor Trihory said quietly and King Jean Carlo nodded.
“Let’s finish here for today. I hope you would gather at the same time tomorrow.”
Professor Trihory said again. King Jean Carlo and the Prime Minister left. A short while after, the participants also stood up.