Wizard! Chapter 527
The territory formerly occupied by the league was quickly taken over the by the other two segments of Liaoyang. William thought that was for the best. The average citizen wouldn’t notice the difference in who they were paying taxes to, and they wouldn’t be hostile to Cruonia. Even though Liaoyang was separated into Western and Eastern Liaoyang, they were probably the most united that they had ever been. One powerful clan controlled each half, unlike its earlier times where large cities were mostly independent of each other, only working together to resist influences outside of the country. Their current unity was good… as long as they didn’t plan to cause any trouble.
Populations continued to grow, but there was still sufficient space for everyone to expand into. Western Liaoyang had claimed some islands found to their southwest. Eastern Liaoyang was nearly landlocked, except for a single port city at the southernmost point near the border with Ustil. Even so, they were still expanding into the Endless Forest. However, such progress had slowed down significantly. There were many deadly magical beasts deep within… or not so deep, as things currently were. Still, William was glad to see some ecological conservation even if it wasn’t intentional.
Ostana was entirely landlocked and surrounded on all sides by other countries, but they had plenty of claimed territory to expand into. A long age of war had kept their population in check, and the advancement of farming and food storage technology meant they didn’t need as many farm, which allowed cities to grow larger. Eventually they would run out of room if they kept growing… but that would be many, many years down the road.
Ustil wasn’t able to expand much. They only really had one area of good land around Jeim, and the rest was harsh desert. The biggest expansion was a few coastal cities involved with trade and a handful of small islands they could now reach by virtue of improved seafaring techniques- and more importantly sea monster repelling devices. Even so, they started up some small amount of trade with the Allied Subterranean Territories, who had constructed a few solid tunnels up through the sand of the desert. William was least surprised about those particular locations remaining hidden. Even if they hadn’t had any camouflage at all, it was unlikely anyone would have stumbled upon them.
Eclea… remained isolationist and anti-non-humans. They continued to expand to their new territory across the oceans to the east. Cruonia sent ships to the east as well, but progress was slow. Eclea had managed to place buoys at regular intervals with the help of a few island chains where they could resupply along the way. Meanwhile, Cruonia had no such luck in their eastern oceans.
To the west, a series of buoys had been set up between Cruonia and the dwarven islands, and then another onto the elves. Trade was slow, but trade and travel were possible, and that was good enough.
Cruonia found nothing particularly interesting to the north except sometimes ice and uninteresting islands. However, just below were the Allied Subterranean Territories. Though they had tunnels connecting to the surface in many locations, they still respected the surface as a national border. While other nations weren’t necessarily happy about that revelation, William didn’t mind. He was always happy to meet more people with peaceful intentions. Not that they never had conflicts over trade and tariffs… but they were able to talk things out. Nobody was trying to go to war.
On the subject of war, the various countries signed a nonaggression pact. Cruonia had already arranged such with most of the other countries, but this pact included every nation… barring Eclea. Eclea had been invited to the discussions, but sent no representative. However, even though they didn’t sign on the pact itself, the invasion of any nation was forbidden. William knew that was in part because some people were still worried about Cruonia and the gevai… but there were provisions for the protection of trade as well. The most important part of the whole pact was the formation of a council intended to resolve international conflicts. William had no illusions that it would be perfect, but at least it gave a chance for negotiations to work.
Cruonia itself continued to grow. While William would have liked to say there were no racial issues and that everything was perfect, but there was no way that would be true. Even if everyone had all been one race, skin color would be a factor. For that matter, William suspected that even if everyone physically looked like clones, there would be some factor people would use to make different groups. Money, clothing, intelligence… the list could go on. The important thing about Cruonia was that it tried to be a safe haven for everyone. It even somewhat worked, because the economy was healthy enough to sustain the influx of people. As more people came, there were more jobs for them to do. It was harder to be angry at others when everyone was properly employed.
In a way, Eclea was helping Cruonia. Humans with anti-non-human prejudices went there. There were still some dwarves and elves who hated gevai- and sometimes humans- but they remained in their own nations. In the Allied Subterranean Territories, there were still those who didn’t particularly like gevai or humans as well, but they had a very long history of living with races combined so they more strongly leaned toward acceptance. Of course, that was only possible because the Demon King was dead. Consistent reminders of that and the gevai civil war helped people not be too biased by old stories. It also helped that nobody living had experienced the Demon King Wars first hand, or even heard about it directly from grandparents… except a small number of gevai. Those in the Allied Subterranean Territories were the exception- with their elven blood they lived longer. However, they had been watching the actions of the surface carefully, and had only revealed themselves because they believed there had been real change.
Upon surveying the totality of how the world was developing, William was optimistic. He hoped the world would remain without war forever. Communication between nations was easy enough that it was possible… but even if it was possible, it would take much hard work to maintain. William couldn’t afford to just let things continue without constant effort for upkeep.