Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut:Volume 7 Episode 1
Episode 1 – Arriving in the Nostalgic Land
「Is it really okay doing that I wonder……」
Lux shivered from the cold air right after he recalled it and smiled wryly.
It hadn’t began to actually snow, but the whole surface of the city was covered with the quiet color of winter.
In order to distance the body from the cold, the houses were made from thick stone.
Among them, he could see several buildings made from wooden staves in the style of a stave church. It made him feel for real that this was the land that was supported by religious faith──the great country of the north, Ymir.
The number of churches was incomparably a lot more than in the New Kingdom. And even among those churches, he could see from afar the cathedral, which was the substitute for a royal palace in this Holy Capital, in the northern part of the city.
「From here the weather will be growing cold, so it’s better to tighten your collar a bit more.」
Krulcifer beside him gently whispered and she circled her hand on Lux’s collar.
The girl’s slender fingers that could be felt even from across the gloves and her smiling face caused Lux’s heart to throb slightly.
The warm and light fur coat he wore was all prepared by Krulcifer for him.
Traveling for half a day from the New Kingdom until the Ymir Theocracy was really difficult.
If using normal methods, they would have to go through a voyage of more than ten-odd days using horse carriage and ship with transit in between, but Lux and Krulcifer ignored that.
They made maximum use of their status as Drag-Knights with high aptitude scores to travel through the sky in the fastest speed.
It was a long distance that if it was other students, they would quickly get exhausted. The two were able to fly by taking several short breaks midway.
And then now, the two entered the Holy Capital that was the capital city of the Ymir Theocracy. Currently they were taking in the sight of that townscape.
「I made you do something really excessive all the way until here, so if you’re tired do you want to go rest somewhere?」
Lux lightly shook his head towards the consideration of the girl walking beside him.
From the start Krulcifer was a beautiful girl, but seeing her in this Holy Capital gave him another different impression.
Her symmetrical supple stature, and her snowy skin that was pure white and smooth.
Her fantastical blue long hair and her pair of eyes that looked like ice made her look more like a fairy than human.
「I’m fine. Besides, this time, I’m coming as Krulcifer-san’s escort.」
He would be lying if he said that he wasn’t tired, but Lux pretended to be tough like usual and said that.
The reason Lux accompanied her this time was that.
The home of Krulcifer, who came as a transfer student from the Ymir Theocracy, the Einvolk house called her back using a letter that said that there was an urgent business.
There was the secret that Krulcifer’s birthplace was from the fourth Ruin, the HallTunnel , in this country, so most likely this urgent business should be related to the Ruin.
In order to become the strength of this girl who was his important friend, he came together with her to pitch in and help.
「It’s okay to not act tough you know? Everything will come to nothing if you catch a cold.」
She leaked out a chuckle before bringing her shoulder close to him.
「Wha, what’s the matter Krulcifer-san!? I, if you stick that close, i, it makes it harder to walk……」
「I’m thinking to warm Lux-kun a little so you won’t feel cold. You don’t like it?」
The cheeks of the girl who was smiling teasingly could be seen faintly blushing.
The sweet breath and whisper caused even Lux’s face to turn red.
「I, I’m fine here. Rather than that, everyone──I wonder if they are surprised that I was suddenly gone?」
「Surely just about now it’s turning into a great uproar over there.」
The tone of voice of Krulcifer who was telling Lux that sounded vaguely amused.
She fundamentally had an image as a talented person, but unexpected she also possessed humor or perhaps playfulness.
Regarding the journey this time, Lux followed Krulcifer’s suggestion and made preparations beforehand.
First, he didn’t want to make this talk to become too big of a matter and dragged the other girls into it.
Especially to Lisha who Lux served as her exclusive knight, and to Celis who acted as his aide in his capacity as a Seven Dragon Paladin.
Thus, he informed only very few people about the matter this time, including the headmaster, Relie. And to make it look like Lux was still remaining at the academy until the very last moment before it was discovered, he left Yoruka behind to convey his message to the others.
Yoruka fundamentally didn’t listen to what anyone said except Lux, so Lux ordered her just like Krulcifer suggested, but──
「But, I wonder if Yoruka is doing well in conveying my message? As I thought, I should have at least told the others when I was departing from the Academy……」
「That’s no good Lux-kun. If we didn’t have that girl remaining behind in the New Kingdom with your command, she would willfully come with us no matter what right? In that case, my plan would also come to nothing.」
「Eh……? Just now what──」
Lux could hear the word plan said smoothly just now, but did she mean the travel plan by that?
「More importantly, there is a nostalgic face there.」
When Lux was about to ask about it, Krulcifer turned her gaze to the front.
There, an adult female in black dress suit attire was standing.
「I’m sorry to have made you wait, Ojou-sama. And then──Lux-sama, long time no see.」(TN: Ojou-sama = term of respect for a daughter of a high-class family)
A steady and rigid woman who was a butler of the Einvolk house. Once, she had confronted Krulcifer, nominating Barzeride of the Four Great Nobles to be her fiancée. In the end she recognized Lux and also reconciled with Krulcifer.
The girl who he was reunited with after a few months welcomed him with a friendly smile.
「Are you also in good health? In the letter, I heard that the snow has begun to fall this year though?」
「It’s colder than average, but I’m fine. After all I was also born in this country.」
When Krulcifer called out to her, Alterize smiled calmly in response.
Their personalities were opposite to each other’s and their relationship was also that of master and servant, but the two who had a similar background of getting adopted and raised in the Einvolk house looked like they had a mysterious bond with each other in Lux’s mind.
「I have prepared the horse carriage. Please, over here.」
Alterize bowed before she began to walk through the main street. Lux and Krulcifer followed her.
(I’m glad. Both of them look like they are closer than before.)
For Krulcifer, it seemed that her home,the Einvolk house felt somewhat uncomfortable for her, but if Alterize became her ally then it was reassuring.
While Lux was thinking like that in relieve, Alterize suddenly lowered her walking speed and walked beside Krulcifer.
And then, she sent a brief glance at Lux who was walking slightly behind them.
「By the way Ojou-sama. That’s──your relationship with him, how far has it reached?」
「My? So even someone serious like you will grow some interest in the relationship of a man and woman any time now?」
「-…… do, don’t make fun of me please!? That’s, I have a duty to report to the house.」
Alterize coughed with a red face against Krulcifer’s reply.
Then the blue haired young lady spoke her answer with slight hesitation.
「Let’s see. Our situation is one where it won’t be an exaggeration that our relationship as lovers is deepening favorably.」
「Tha, that’s really good to hear. And──is, is it okay even if I ask for the specific?」
「It’s just as you saw, when we were walking together at the festival in the royal capital, I received a kiss from him. That is the degree of our relationship right now.」
「Besides, in the Academy, we were spending time together almost every night.」
「A-, as expected is, isn’t that, a little bit too far of a progress!?」
「It’s not a concern. Because we are properly bearing in mind our standing as students.」
Krulcifer informed the flustered Alterize with a smooth tone of deep meaning.
But, perhaps the information was too astounding because the female butler stiffened dumbfounded for a while.
(Are they talking about the matter of the Einvolk house?)
Lux was watching over the two in front of him without even knowing about that. Then Alterize dropped her pace and came to stand besides Lux.
「E, err, Lux-sama. I’ll look after the luggage.」
「Thank you very much.」
Lux responded to Alterize’s offer with a gentle smile.
But, for some reason she didn’t return to Krulcifer’s side who was walking ahead and continued to walk beside Lux.
「Err, Lux-sama. While presumptuous, there is something that I wish to ask you. How is your relationship with Ojou-sama recently?」
Lux was staring in puzzlement while thinking slightly.
Several moments ago, there was a need to make Alterize be under the impression that he was Krulcifer’s lover.
This time he came as the escort of Krulcifer who returned back home because of her house’s order. He wondered if he should answer that they were just normal friends.
「Yes. Krulcifer-san is always looking after me.」
「I, is that so? That’s, I heard that the two of you have become even closer to each other? That’s, it seems that the two of you got along really well even at the royal capital. I also heard something like, the two of you spending every night together at the Academy……」
「Ah, so it’s about that. It’s exactly like that but──」
Lux agreed and he nodded with a smile.
It was about the matter of Krulcifer giving Lux supplementary lessona in order for him to catch up to the class work that he fell behind because of his late admission.
「I, is that true!? That Ojou-sama is doing something like that, I find it a little hard to imagine it.」
「Yes. She was the one who invited me, but I too often requested her for it. Because Krulcifer-san is really skilled at teaching.」
「I, it’s Ojou-sama who is leading!?」
「……? Err, I think that’s the case. Though I’m also doing my best to catch up to her.」
「E, even though I’m four years older……! Su, such thing is……. Pu, putting that aside, yo, you are doing that far inside the academy!?」
「Not just in the classroom, we were even doing it in the girl’s dormitory or the dining hall. When we don’t have time, we would even do it in the courtyard a bit.」
「Do, doing such things even outside-!? Tha, that is, as expected──」
Alterize couldn’t hide her shock and she started walking to the front once more with staggered footsteps.
When Lux tilted his head in puzzlement, Krulcifer came to his side.
「Krulcifer-san, what were you talking about with Alterize-san?」
「I was only telling her accurately about the relationship between the two of us.」
They boarded the horse carriage Alterize prepared and they advanced through the main street of the Holy Capital that was the mainstay city of the country.
Lux was peeking at the scenery outside through the small window while feeling a certain out-of-place feeling.
「The townscape of the Holy Capital, how is it compared to the Royal Capital?」
「Somehow, I’m having a mysterious feeling. Even though the atmosphere is quiet at a glance, it looks like the citizens are vaguely restless──」
The air was solemn which was appropriate for a religious country, but there was a vague feeling of exhilaration.
When Lux told the impression he felt, Alterize who was sitting behind the carriage answered him.
「What a keen insight. It’s because the Pilgrimage Festival, which is an important ceremony for the adherents of the Ymir Theocracy, will start from tomorrow.」
Lux heard about the country’s culture from Alterize during their travel until the destination.
The Pilgrimage Festival was one of the large festivals that were held every year in the Ymir Theocracy. It seemed that it was a ceremony that also held a large meaning in their doctrine.
This country deified an existence that was worshipped as god. On that day the people would offer their prayers.
It was also a festival where people would walk towards places which had a connection with god, but in reality the ones who would visit several holy places would only be the high ranked priests like the pope and bishops, their guards, and perhaps several influential nobles of the Theocracy who were believers of the religion.
In addition, one of the holy places in the country existed nearby the Ruin.
Therefore, in the current time, where the Abyss’s appearance frequency was increasing, the pilgrimage would be accompanied by a lot of guards.
「Currently we are not heading towards the Einvolk house, but to the center of the capital──the Sanctuary. Originally his eminence the pope would be at the cathedral, but for the sake of the audience of this time, we are heading to this place.」
Lux’s hand was holding a letter from Queen Raffi.
The content couldn’t be read because the letter was sealed, but when he received permission for his trip from Headmaster Relie, for some reason even the New Kingdom’s Prime Minister Nulph knew about this trip.
As a person who was appointed as a member of the Seven Dragon Paladins, go to give greetings to the allied country──that must be their intention.
Before long, the horse carriage arrived in front of the sanctuary.
It was conspicuously standing out even inside the Holy Capital, a chalk white palace that brought about a solemn atmosphere.
Its outside appearance wasn’t too showy, but, it was a building that was congealed with a design that made its viewer feel the history and authority.
「Ojou-sama. Do you remember the etiquette in the Sanctuary?」
「Even though I look like this, I intend to be a devout believer you know? Even in the case that I’m driven out from the Einvolk house, I won’t forget it in just around one year.」
The question of Alterize who got down from the carriage was answered like that by Krulcifer with an ironic smile that didn’t feel pious at all.
Alterize leaked out a wry smile at that attitude while presenting something wrapped in cloth to Krulcifer.
「This is the usual garment. I will wait here.」
「Then let’s go, Lux-kun.」
Lux passed through the sanctuary’s gate after Krulcifer.
The inside had pillars and a ceiling that were engraved with pictographs, made in a way that gave the feeling of the history and culture of the religious country.
The corridor that connected the building had a long and narrow carpet laid out on the floor. The surrounding was illuminated dimly by lamps.
While Lux was soaking himself in that unique atmosphere, Krulcifer’s feet suddenly stopped.
「There is a waiting area if you go straight from here. My bad Lux-kun, but can you wait just for a bit there? Don’t move as much as possible from there.」
「I don’t mind but, why?」
「I have a bit of business. When it has been a long time since a believer entered the Sanctuary, there are a lot of troublesome procedures to do.」
After saying that with a faint smile, Krulcifer walked towards a byway passage.
Her back became more distant without even any time to call out to her.
「So I guess for now, I just need to wait over there……?」
Lux headed towards the place that seemed to be the waiting place at the corridor, then there he sighed ‘fuu’ and sat down.
The Sanctuary in the Ymir Theocracy was mainly a place for audiences or ceremonies. The number of guards there weren’t that many, but a strange tension was hanging in the air.
(Even so, is she okay I wonder, Krulcifer-san.)
The reason Krulcifer was called back by the Einvolk house still wasn’t clear yet.
The hidden past of the girl whose origin was from a Ruin.
It would be fine if Lux could become the strength of Krulcifer who was bound by that fact.
「I’ve to properly help Krulcifer-san.」
When he whispered to himself like that, suddenly he could hear the repeated sound of footsteps on the floor.
「Big brother over there, are you worrying about something?」
When Lux turned around towards that voice, a small silhouette was standing there.
A pure white robe without any stain was covering that petite body that was still childish.
Under the veil of the same color covering her head, a lovely smile could be seen.
It was a girl that was giving off sweetness like a white rose that had just only budded.
「Ah, right……a little bit. You are, a believer’s child? Did you come here for praying?」
When Lux also responded like that with a smile, the girl nodded once.
「Thaat’s riight. I’ve been praying here from quite some time ago. Big brother is a person from a foreign country right? Should I show you around?」
The young girl suggested with a friendly smile.
「No but, I’m waiting here for a friend who I came with.」
「It’s all right. We won’t go for that long, we will be able to return soon, okay?」
The girl pulled at the sleeve of Lux’s uniform with a spirited bright voice.
In the end Lux lost against her pushing and he accompanied her just for a bit.
The girl took Lux’s hand and started walking with a fast pace.
And then she opened the door of a room that was slightly to the side of the passage that Krulcifer was heading to just now.
「Then, first won’t you try going in there?」
Urged by the girl, Lux entered the room that he was shown.
The cool room made from stone was dim, it was narrow like a passage.
Inside the long and narrow room, there was only one lamp. He couldn’t even see a few mel ahead.
Several shelves were lined up on the wall, and there was a small window at the opposite side with window bars in it.
Deeper inside the room was a closed door. There was the slight sound of water that he could hear.
「Err, this place is──?」
「Shh. Be quiet, we will be heard.」
When Lux tilted his head at the strange room’s shape, the young girl put her index finger in front of her mouth.
And then, she showed a vaguely mischievous smile and made Lux’s hand hold something.
「……Eerr, what’s this?」
While Lux was bewildered with the sensation of the fabric that was somewhat warm despite its smoothness, the young nun pointed at the barred window.
‘Look over there’, that must be what she meant.
But, when Lux brought his face closer to that window, a hard to believe sight flew into his eyes.
He spontaneously doubted his eyes.
The naked body of Krulcifer bathing in cold water was standing out in the dark background illuminated by lighting.
Pupils of ice color that were tinged with gloominess. Transparent pure white thin fabric was clinging on her smooth skin that glistened.
That was all her body wore, her lower body was naked.
Her beautiful blue hair that was dripping with water, and her lean body line were also in full view. Despite that on the chest of her body that looked like there was no excess at a glance, a vivid swelling of flesh could be seen just slightly although it was smallish.
That beautiful and sensual sight caused Lux’s heartbeat to drum fiercely.
(Wha-!? Wh, why──!?)
Lux suddenly noticed in surprise a moment later.
It seemed that a devoted believer would clean their body at the entrance when they entered the sanctuary, rinsing out the filth of the outside world.
The bundle of cloth that Alterize handed over a while ago must be filled with the cloth for bathing.
But, Lux’s head was wrapped in chaos even now when he had reached that answer.
At the other side of the window bar, a bewitching voice suddenly could be heard.
(This is bad! Like this, I’m peeping at Krulcifer-san will be──)
When Lux came to his senses and he was about to avert his gaze, the girl on the other side of the wall stirred.
Krulcifer raised a tense voice. Lux twitched and his body trembled.
The piercing gaze of the girl stabbed him through the window bars.
「Yo, you are mistaken Krulcifer-san!? Thi, this is, it’s not like I’m peeping, that’s, I was just led here by accident──」
Lux made an excuse in great panic towards Krulcifer who was making a bewildered expression.
The girl who was hiding her chest with both her hands was blushing red in shame while directing reproachful eyes filled with resentment towards him.
「I thought Lux-kun was a pervert and an underwear thief only when you enrolled into the Academy, but it seems that it was only my imagination.」
「Those are both misunderstandings you know!? I’m saying the truth, I was led here when someone was showing me around, it’s not like I have any guilty conscience──wait, that child isn’t here-!?」
When he noticed and looked around, the figure of the nun who brought Lux here was gone.
When Krulcifer saw that with a chilly look, she let out an exasperated sigh ‘haa’.
「Is that so? If possible I also want to believe Lux-kun, but unfortunately your persuasiveness seems to be nonexistant……. First can I ask you to let go of that thing inside your hand?」
When Lux turned his face down just as he was told, his own hand entered his sight.
What his sight that was used to the darkness could see, was that his hand was clutching a light green underwear tightly.
「……Wait, don’t tell me this is Krulcifer-san’s──!?」
Lux’s blood flow accelerated drastically and his heart was pulsating as though it was jumping in his chest.
「I, I’m sorry-!? The, then──!?」
Lux yelled as though screaming while letting go of the underwear and exited the room.
Thinking back now, what he entered was the dressing room for the bathing. What’s more──it was the room for girls.
「Haa, haa……why!? Why is something like this──!」
He was oozing out torrents of sweat even inside the chilly Sanctuary.
Lux returned to the sofa at the passage with waiting area, and when he was immersed in confusion.
「I wonder if you could see heaven? Hell is waiting right after it though.」
「……-!? You are──!?」
A voice could be heard suddenly. The nun from before appeared in front of him.
The attitude of the childish sweet girl was a complete change from before, she was spotting an evil smirk.
But, the reason for Lux’s surprise wasn’t just that.
He had seen the girl’s face and impression before.
Before he could recall it, the girl herself shed light on her true identity.
She took off her robe and veil, and a figure wearing a chic black dress appeared.
Wavy platinum hair, and a self-assured grin that contained unshakeable confidence.
One of the Seven Dragon Paladins he met at the Vanheim Principality──The Subjugator, Mel Gizalut.
「Why, are you here──!?」
Lux spontaneously blurted out. In response, Mel smiled innocently.
「My, I am the Seven Dragon Paladin of the Ymir Theocracy you know? There is nothing strange for me to go in and out of the local Sanctuary here right?」
There was no vestiges of the cherubic girl until just now, instead she was even tinged with a vaguely bewitching, glamorous atmosphere.
Therefore, Lux’s doubt melted away.
The incident just now, was him getting thoroughly set up by this girl.
「Even the Black Hero of the New Kingdom is unexpectedly nothing much. Or else, are you just indulgent against children I wonder? For you to be that easily caught by this kind of classic trick.」
「Wh, why did you do something like──」
When Lux was bewildered by the chuckling Mel, the girl stood on her tiptoes and peered into Lux’s face.
「Hey, I wonder, how far has your relationship with Krulcifer progressed?」
The girl suddenly asked such thing.
「E, even if you ask me such thing, that’s……」
Even while mumbling unclearly, Lux answered that question inside his heart.
A girl who was his really important friend.
Starting since he played the role as her lover, he was building a good relationship with her even after that.
As though seeing through inside the heart of such Lux, Mel brought her face even closer.
「Hmmm. It looks like you two are still not properly lovers. Although you don’t look like you are that dissatisfied with that.」
「Lo, lovers? It’s not like, Krulcifer-san and I are──」
Having that pointed out caused Lux’s heart to skip a beat and his face reddened. It was then,
「Then, how about I help you to reconcile with her?」
Mel’s expression suddenly burst into a smile that was typical for a child and she told him that.
「When Krulcifer returns, I’ll defend you about the matter of your peeking. I’ll tell her that it wasn’t intentional, but an unfortunate accident.」
「That’s, helpful but──……wait, in the first place that was your trap right!?」
「Just, there is a condition if you want me to do that. Can you teach me that Krulcifer’s weakness? Anything is fine so can you tell me?」
Those unexpected words from Mel caused Lux to reflexively tilt his head.
「That’s, what do you──」
「There is no particularly deep meaning. And, what will you do?」
The temptation of the girl that was like a little devil’s invitation.
But, after hesitating slightly, Lux decided his answer.
「I don’t know anything like that, so I cannot answer you. Let’s keep this a secret from Krulcifer.」
Lux turned down the offer clearly, but Mel too didn’t show any shred of agitation and scoffed.
「That’s what I thought you will say. But, I wonder if your excuse will be able to persuade that girl.」
「It’s not like I’m planning to frame it as though it’s wholly your fault you know? I understand that half of it is my own fault.」
Lux was reflecting not just from getting tricked, but also about his own act of carelessly walking around.
In regards to that, he could only apologize sincerely.
「That’s why, it’s, I cannot say anything about weakness. But can you just tell me one thing? You, what is your relationship with Krulcifer-san?」
The Einvolk house was a distinguished family of great nobles in the Ymir Theocracy.
And then, Lux predicted that Mel’s Gizalut house was likely also on the same level.
But, Lux couldn’t see her as simply Krulcifer’s aristocrat rival.
The eyes of Mel who saw Lux’s reaction slightly widened in surprise.
「So you won’t sell me out? Besides, it also looks like you aren’t just a simple pacifist who avoids rocking the boat, aren’t you? For you to keep that woman’s secret and probe me out instead.」
The more Lux talked with this girl named Mel, the more he understood the depth of her thoughts.
If he got tricked by her young appearance, it felt like he would meet a painful experience.
「It’s not like we are making a deal──」
「It doesn’t matter gentleman-san. I want to teach you the answer in deference to your interestingness, but you can just ask it from Krulcifer later. I hate explaining it or even hearing it after all.」
Mel showed a smile with deep implication before she turned her gaze to behind Lux.
When Lux turned around, there Krulcifer was standing with a somewhat conflicted expression.
「Then see you later~. Lux-oniichan!」
Mel left along with an innocent smile.
After that only Lux and Krulcifer were left behind with an awkward air between them.
A few seconds of silence.
「Kru, Krulcifer-san!? That’s, just now, eerr──」
While Lux was worrying about how to apologize, Krulcifer brushed up her hair with her usual cool-looking face.
「Let’s leave that matter for later. Let’s go quickly. His eminence the pope should be waiting.」
She told that to Lux calmly and started walking on the floor of the sanctuary.
Lux, too, slowly followed behind her after a moment of hesitation.
「Krulcifer of the Einvolk house, and you are the aforementioned Lux Arcadia of the Seven Dragon Paladins. How admirable for the two of you to visit this land at this chance. Coming from afar through a long journey must be arduous.」
The audience hall was decorated with angel sculptures and radiant stained glass.
While Drag-Knight guards that were called the Sanctuary Knight Order and three bishops were standing at the side, Lux was handing over the letter from Queen Raffi while greeting Pope Nias.
(This person is, his eminence the pope of the Ymir Theocracy……?)
He had heard the rumor, but Lux couldn’t hide his surprise inside his heart.
「There is no need for consideration. God should be equally generous to all the people. You can be at ease.」
The one who told Lux that in a very formal tone was a young boy of very young age.
Although his appearance was wearing a robe for ceremony use, his whole body looked really weighty even after the dress had been modified for children use.
Of course, Lux had no intention to make light of him just because he was young.
Just, Pope Nias smiled, perhaps because he had guessed Lux’s bewilderment.
「Have you heard of the rumors about me? Well, it’s just as you see, I have only taken over after the previous pope. I’m not good at difficult talk. Because of that, Orphel, I’ll leave the rest to you.」
The one who bowed reverently and walked forward was one of the bishops who was the pope’s close aide standing by at the back.
She was a young beautiful female with an intellectual look.
He heard she was a person of character who seemed to be of help to Krulcifer in the past and also had a close relationship with Mel too.
「Well then, please allow me to briefly talk about the Pilgrimage Festival that will start from tomorrow and about the matter that had us call you two here.」
With that preface, the bishop Orphel started talking about the circumstances this time.
First the pilgrimage, the visiting route would be different according to the believer’s rank, and the route that the pope, whose rank was the highest among the believers, would take was the most dangerous route.
The reason was because the route would graze right beside the fourth Ruin, the Hall.
Even at the best of times the Abyss would still appear from the Ruin, and yet recently that number of appearances was also increasing.
Thus, until now the elites of the Sanctuary Knight Order that consisted of Drag-Knights would accompany the pope with a lot of guards.
But, taking into account the recent year’s situation where the warmongers called Dragon Marauder were secretly maneuvering, there was also no way they could neglect the country’s defenses just for the sake of the pilgrimage.
In order to make the pope’s pilgrimage end smoothly while still leaving behind a combat force that could oppose any threat, it was thought that reinforcements of excellent Drag-Knights was indispensable.
「So, that means──」
Pope Nias nodded right away at Krulcifer who muttered that.
「Correct. My accompaniment for the pilgrimage this time will be the elites of the Sanctuary Knight Order and Mel Gizalut of the Seven Dragon Paladins. And then Krulcifer, you too are included.」
Even if it was a dangerous route where it would pass near the Ruin, if there was a force that included two users of Divine Drag-Ride serving as guard, then they would be able to oppose any opposition without problem.
「──That’s the plan so far, but we wish to make an additional request. The Seven Dragon Paladins, Lux Arcadia. Can we ask you to also accompany the pilgrimage of his preeminence the pope?」
The words that Orphel said next caused Lux to stiffen slightly.
If asked whether it was unexpected, it was an unexpected talk.
Currently, Lux only came with the intention of accompanying Krulcifer.
But, the Seven Dragon Paladins were originally created in order for cooperation against the threat of the Abyss and Dragon Marauder.
The Ymir Theocracy, too, had no reason to hesitate for requesting cooperation.
「Of course, Ymir will pay the compensation through the New Kingdom. Besides, just by receiving this guard duty for the pilgrimage, you will be given a positive evaluation as a Drag-Knight. How about it?」
Raising his World RankWorld Grade Rank and through that increasing his influence inside the Seven Dragon Paladins was also one of Lux’s objectives.
In that case, he had no reason to refuse.
「Understood. Please allow me to accompany on the pilgrimage too.」
「Oo! As expected from the representative of our allied country. You can ask about the details of the schedule from Orphel. Then, I will be relying on you from tomorrow onward.」
After Pope Nias spoke expressing his delight, the meeting was closed.
By the way, the archbishop with highest rank after Pope Nias seemed to be unable to come out because of sickness.
After that, Lux was told about the specifics of the arrangements from Bishop Orphel in a different room before he left the Sanctuary for the time being.
Perhaps because the sun would soon set, the air felt colder than before and Lux shivered lightly──then.
「You will quickly freeze if you are forcing yourself to endure in this country you know?」
Suddenly a cape was put *pofu-* on Lux’s head from the side.
The fluffy sensation from the fur seemed to be something Krulcifer prepared in advance in anticipation of this situation.
Lux was relieved from the girl’s consideration while he recalled about the peeping incident.
「Ah, Krulcifer-san. That, about the matter from before──」
「You don’t need to apologize anymore. It’s not like I was angry about it, I was just embarrassed that’s why……」
Saying that, Krulcifer’s cheeks reddened slightly while she walked ahead.
In front of the Sanctuary, Alterize was waiting with the horse carriage.
「After that, I also secretly listened to the conversation between Lux-kun and Mel.」
「Ah, uh, right.」
Krulcifer was still looking vaguely dissatisfied, but Lux was relieved that he was forgiven.
On the other hand, Krulcifer was still averting her blushing face from Lux.
「Rather than that, it was embarrassing that my unprepared side got seen by you……」
The girl whispered like that to herself with a small voice that couldn’t be heard even by Lux who was beside her.
They had just gone through a long travel, no, it couldn’t be said to be that long but it still took almost the whole day. The underwear she was wearing all that time that she had finished wearing and left to be washed was taken into Lux’s hand and it got seen by him.
She believed that it wasn’t that dirty, even so she couldn’t help but pretend to be angry.
「I wonder if I’m thinking that I don’t want my embarrassing side to be seen more than earlier……」
Krulcifer suddenly muttered with a small voice while climbing into the horse carriage.
Their schedule for tomorrow was settled, but there was one more trial that would come after this.
The homecoming after about a year and a half to Krulcifer’s home──the Einvolk house.
An exhale that was slightly tinged with nervousness vanished into the empty air that was dyed white.
「So, in the end, even headmaster was staying quiet? A matter this important──」
At the same time, in the evening.
At the Cross Field in the New Kingdom, in the headmaster’s office in the Academy, several girls were intruding inside.
Because today was the holiday for the anniversary of the Academy’s establishment, Relie too originally should be resting, but only for today she remained inside the headmaster office and put on a wry smile in front of her desk.
「I understand that you are shocked that Lux-kun vanished, but it’s not like I have any ill will in this matter.」
In front of her wasn’t just Lisha who was making a dissatisfied face.
Celistia, Philuffy, Airi, in addition even the members of the Triad, almost all of the main members of Syvalles were gathered at the same time for some reason.
The matter of Lux traveling to the Ymir Theocracy without any previous notice.
They were unable to accept it just by hearing the verbal message from Yoruka’s mouth, and they intruded until the place of Relie who knew about the situation.
Like that what they were told from Relie’s mouth was that originally Lux and Krulcifer were planning to depart from the New Kingdom during the night today, not yesterday.
It seemed that originally he planned to say goodbye to everyone before departing, but──
「Haa, in short we got deceived by Krulcifer-san’s plan isn’t it.」
Airi muttered while letting out a deep sigh that was mixed with resgination.
「Thinking back now, that opinion is highly possible.」
Relie replied lightly like that and continued the explanation.
If Lux escorted Krulcifer who was ordered to return home, there was a possibility that Lisha and the others would try to follow and drastically reduce the defensive force of Cross Field.
Therefore, she wished to depart without telling anyone until the very last second. ──That was Krulcifer’s original stance on the surface.
But, a deviation of a day occurred on the day before the scheduled day. Noticing that the two departed in hurry without even any time to say goodbye to everyone. Lux then hurriedly entrusted a verbal message to Yoruka──that was the circumstances of this case.
「She was totally planning it. Krulcifer missy is really too shrewd.」
「Wee-ll, it’s really like her though.」
Tillfur responded to Sharis’s smile, and Noct nodded at the end wordlessly.
「──And, the decider is that woman huh.」
And then Lisha glared at the corner of the room. The gazes of everyone present gathered there then.
The girl who was unusually wearing the academy’s uniform──, Kirihime Yoruka was standing there.
「I was simply following Aruji-sama’s order.」
Yoruka floated a bright smile and lightly turned aside the gazes.
But, Lisha walked rapidly before her eyes and then she stood in front of her while folding her arms.
「……I wanted to ask this since some time ago, what do you think about Lux?」
「My apologies, but my principle is not to think about troublesome things.」
Yoruka’s attitude was unchanged even in response to that question.
「My long cherished desire is to live for the sake of Aruji-sama and die as a tool. I already accomplished conveying the verbal message, so I’m intending to pass my time quietly just like I’m told.」
「──Irritating. It makes me astounded asking this so called servant.」
Lisha who heard that pouted her lips in dissatisfaction and she pointed with her index finger.
「You thinking that it’s fine to just listen to the instruction like that conversely means that you don’t have any interest whatsoever in Lux right? Because you’re like that you got caught in Krulcifer’s scheme. As a Drag-Knight you are fairly strong, but on the inside where it’s matters, you are hollow, huh.」
「That’s troubling. I don’t happen to have any words in hand to reply back to that kind of emotional argument.」
「We-ll, in short Lisha-sama is saying 『Even though you also like Lux, and yet don’t you get pissed of that you got tricked by Krulcifer?』, like that. She isn’t being mean, so don’t let it get to you okay?」
「Wha-!? Do, don’t interpret it strangely as you please!? Pu, putting that aside. Now that I know Lux’s location, starting from now I’ll also go to the Ymir The──」
「It’s unfortunate but, you cannot do that. Though I feel bad for everyone.」
When Relie said that while smiling wryly, Lisha straightened her back and puffed her chest.
「Lux is my exclusive knight you know!? That’s enough reason for me to accompany him right!?」
「No, even I cannot permit that. You, who are the princess, leaving your own country should be avoided as long as there are no very pressing reasons, is what I think.」
Celis cut in and remonstrated Lisha.
「And so, I who am an aide of the Seven Dragon Paladins judge that I should go to check his condition.」
「──Wait, wait a second!? You are planning to go!?」
「At the very least, I think that I am suitable for that duty though?」
「……Haa, I thought that it would become like this.」
Relie smiled in exasperation and stared at the scene while supporting her cheek with her hand.
If there was even one person trying to go to where Lux was, the other girls would obviously raise their hand wanting to go too.
Looking at this situation, then Krulcifer’s decision to depart without anyone knowing might actually be the correct course of action.
(……But, it’s nice being young isn’t it.)
Being true to one’s own desire, or perhaps she should call it crashing their honest feelings against each other, Relie thought of their figure that was like that as charming.
Having said that, currently she was an adult. She was in the position as a headmaster.
Originally it wasn’t in Relie’s principle to suppress this situation, but she had to fulfill her responsibility here.
「That’s enough everyone. I forbid anyone to follow after them in the matter this time. Surely all of you are dissatisfied, but I’ll take on the role to be the hated figure here. That’s why──」
When Relie was going to conclude it with such firm tone,
「I also, didn’t know.」
From the side, Philuffy suddenly muttered shortly with a serious face.
「Err, that, Phi……?」
Hearing the words of the little sister she doted on, Relie reacted timidly.
「I also didn’t hear anything from Nee-chan. Even though I promised, with Lu-chan to go to a new crepe shop today.」
Inside that apathetic expression and tone, the presence of clear dissatisfaction could be sensed.
That was a blunt attitude for Philuffy who was originally poor at expressing her emotions. Even Relie was bewildered against that.
「Wha, what you are saying is also reasonable but, ca, can you endure it only for this time?」
Relie tried to soothe Philuffy somehow with a smile, but Philuffy turned her face away with ‘puih’.
Philuffy kept her face averted from the petrified Relie and she didn’t even twitch with her expression staying serious.
After a bizarre silence flowed for a few seconds, before long Philuffy muttered a few words.
「……I hate, Onee-chan.」
The moment Relie heard that, her face that was usually quite indifferent turned pale.
She hurriedly approached in front of Philuffy, then she talked to her with trembling voice.
「Yo, you see. Thi, this can’t be helped you know? This is also unexpected for me. As expected, chasing after Lux-kun from now will be impossible, that’s why──」
But, as expected Philuffy averted her face with ‘puih’ once more while her serious face didn’t change.
Relie who saw that stiffened as though she was turned into stone, then a few seconds later she folded.
「I, I understand! I, I’ll at least try negotiating something! Even if it’s impossible for everyone to go, at the very least I’ll make it so that Philuffy can go to the Ymir Theocracy! That’s why, don’t hate Onee-chan!」
After saying that Relie returned to her desk and began to write up a letter hurriedly.
「Just what happened with that role to be the hated figure……?」
「Or rather, that airhead girl, isn’t she actually really calculating……?」
Celis muttered dumbfounded, followed by Lisha responding like that with a conflicted face.
Although, from the view point of the national defense, it was hard to imagine that this situation could be overturned that simply.
「I too need to think of a reason so that I can go somehow. Oi eroerotic woman, is there anything else that you know?」
While Lisha was asking Yoruka like that, Airi and the Triad members were staring at that commotion.
「……By the way, this is just in case. But if they are able to go to Ymir, can we also go along with them I wonder. Look, we will be like extra assistants or something!」
「No. You can think of it as definitely impossible. Or rather, you should hide your true intention a bit.」
「Unfortunately there is nothing you can do but give up. Well, I too will be lying if I said that I don’t want to at least show my face.」
Tillfur said jokingly, but Noct and Sharis easily admonished her.
Inside the headmaster’s office that was filled with the tumult of the girls, Airi sighed with reproachful eyes.
「Everyone, are really a pain isn’t it……」
Everyone had the position as aristocrats in their own way, and they were also outstanding and powerful Drag-Knights. And yet, when it came to Lux, they were like children.
(Well, there won’t be any persuasiveness even if I say anything though.)
She had no skill to control a Drag-Ride despite her aptitude for it. In a sense that might be fortunate.
She was putting up a calm front but, actually she was the one who was the most──wanting to meet her big brother Lux.
(I’m also, a pain as a little sister……)
Airi whispered inside her heart and stared once more at the commotion before her eyes.
The situation was slowly moving in the New Kingdom too.
On the other side, at the Holy Capital of the Ymir Theocracy where the sun almost set.
Lux stopped by at an inn together with Krulcifer and prepared for their visit to the Einvolk house.
The home of Krulcifer, who was a daughter of a count, was in another territory, but on days like this, where the day when there would be a ceremony was close, the family would move into their secondary residence in the Holy Capital.
First, Lux and Krulcifer put their appearances in order as the preliminary arrangements before visiting that house.
Normally he had a close relationship with the girls at the Academy like with Lisha or Philuffy, so he almost forgot, but the arrangement of nobles was basically troublesome.
「……Yosh, something like this is fine I think?」
Lux who changed from the academy uniform into a black dress suit looked at the mirror while whispering.
This attire was also something Krulcifer prepared for him, but it looked excessively expensive, so he didn’t dare to ask the price.
This kind of full dress reminded him completely of his time as a member of the Old Empire’s imperial family. For Lux he also felt a bit not used to it but──
「Can you show your appearance to me too? Let’s check each other’s attire.」
The voice that Lux suddenly heard caused him to look beside him in panic.
Krulcifer wearing a graceful dress with her shoulders slightly visible was standing there.
The black fabric that gave the impression of elegant smoothness made her white skin appear even more prominent. A small silverwork accompanied her as a reserved decoration.
While it was an outfit with little showiness, it didn’t harm the intelligent charm she possessed at all.
No matter how he looked at her, she looked completely like a count’s daughter.
「It has been a long time since I returned home, that’s why I’m worried whether I’m wearing this well.」
After saying that, Krulcifer coolly brushed up her hair. Seeing that, Lux unconsciously became dazed.
Lux noticed that she was looking for his impression and he raised his voice in hurry.
「It really suits you, Krulcifer-san.」
「Is that so? Thank you. But, as for you it’s still coming a bit short.」
Krulcifer approached Lux who was smiling awkwardly and she slowly brought her face closer.
Lux was bewildered seeing that bewitching smile brought closer to him.
「Wai-, Krr, Krulcifer-san!?」
Their lips would touch with just one more push──it was a distance where their chests almost clung to each other.
The moment Lux became aware of the nice smell of her hair, her slender fingers touched Lux’s chest.
「Come on, don’t move. Your collar is slightly off.」
With just a single whisper, Krulcifer stole Lux’s movement ability.
After slightly pinching the chest part of his shirt, she lightly adjusted its shape.
「Okay, I’m finished. With this you too became a really cool prince.」
「Tha, thank you……」
He thought that it was a bit exaggerated, but he didn’t feel bad getting praised by her. His face turned completely red.
(Wait, isn’t this, aren’t our positions reversed here……?)
When they were alone together, Krulcifer led him around by the nose just like always.
But perhaps it was thanks to that both of them could relax somewhat from their tension.
While he was thinking that, Krulcifer suddenly turned her back towards him.
「My, it’s a bad hobby to peek you know, Alterize.」
「N, no-!? I’m coming only to take a look at the situation!」
Krulcifer’s teasing caused the female butler looking at the two of them from the corridor to respond in panic.
「I, it will soon be the time for the visit. If we are too late in coming, it will become time for dinner.」
Alterize awkwardly averted her eyes from the two with her cheeks still faintly blushing.
The girl had an image as a steady bulter, but it seemed she was estranged from the matter of romance.
「If you are jealous, how about you also find a lover?」
「Tha, that’s not true, I’m arranged to have a marriage interview someday and then marry anyway, so I’ll refrain from that.」
After saying that with a red face, Alterize exited the inn and headed to the horse carriage.
After that only Lux and Krulcifer were left behind.
「Come to think of it Krulcifer-san. How did you tell about the matter of us two to your family?」
Lux asked because Alterize’s reaction when the word ‘lover’ was said caught his attention.
A few months ago, in order to avoid an undesirable engagement, Krulcifer requested Lux to play the role as her lover.
The act itself went well and her engagement with Balzeride of the Four Great Nobles was discarded, but at that occasion, Alterize misunderstood that Krulcifer was engaged to Lux.
In the end, in regards to that matter it was ambiguous until now, but,
Krulcifer was thinking with a serious look for a full few seconds, which was rare for her, and then,
「There is no use for you to be bothered by such trivial things. Now, let’s go.」
「Wait!? That’s a really important problem you know!? Just what is going on with our relationship!?」
「Lux-kun wants me to say such embarrassing things from my mouth huh. As long as we understand each other’s feelings, it doesn’t matter what other people call our relationship right?」
「Why are you trying to conclude it with such nice sounding words like that!? At the very least, my question here isn’t going through you know!?」
「Lux-kun, do you hate me?」
Suddenly Krulcifer’s tone fell and she showed a serious face.
Her ice colored pupils that were tinged with gloominess shook in loneliness and moistened.
Lux who saw that felt a slight pain in his chest.
He hurriedly shook his head on the spot.
「N, no such thing at all! There is no way I’ll ever hate Krulcifer-san──」
When Lux immediately said that with a serious face, Krulcifer chuckled and walked away.
「I see, thank you. I also like you Lux-kun. Then let’s ride the horse carriage now that you understand.」
Lux’s reaching out hand wandered in empty air and stiffened.
He was completely, played…….
「Also Lux-kun. A warning for you, you are a bit too soft-hearted. That’s also your good side but, you should at least be careful right after getting tricked by Mel.」
「That’s cruel! Krulcifer-san!」
Lux spontaneously yelled in response to her teasing smile.
Alterize who was made to wait under the cold weather was staring at them with a reproachful gaze.
After that the horse carriage ran for a few minutes, then before long it moved out from the bulky townscape made of stone into an area where a lot of houses modeled after a church could be seen.
Most likely it was the residential area where believers with deep faith were living.
Inside a ground that was conspicuously large even in that area, there was a palatial residence.
「In order to defend against cold, it was built with corridors established at the outer side, so it’s not as spacious as the appearance suggests.」
Krulcifer added such explanation, but Lux thought that the building was huge even after taking that into account.
It was a three storey residence with overlapping pointing roofs that were slanted diagonally, perhaps in order to let the piling up snow fall.
The second floor had more windows than the first floor, most likely because when the winter came the snow would bury them.
This was the Einvolk house that was a distinguished family of the Ymir Theocracy. It was said that it also had deep connections with the Sanctuary Knight Order that was the army of the country.
Even while feeling like he would be swallowed by nervousness, Lux passed through the gate together with Krulcifer.
「We have been waiting for your arrival Ojou-sama. The family head is presently waiting.」
When they entered inside the residence, two maids welcomed them.
The living room they were taken to had beautiful furniture and furnishings lining up, and a flame was blazing brightly inside the hearth.
「I’ve returned home, Otou-samafather. Are you in good health?」
Krulcifer bowed respectfully and said that.
Krulcifer didn’t give the impression that her relation with her family was going well, so Lux was anxious inside his heart, but for the time being her father was responding calmly.
「Aa, my daughter, I’ve put you through some trouble at this chance.」
A man in his prime with a moustache growing──Stiyl Einvolk was the head of the house and also her adopted father.
His stern and sharp gaze was just as expected from the head of a military family.
「It’s an honor to meet you for the first time. I am Krulcifer-san’s classmate and the Seven Dragon Paladin of the New Kingdom, Lux Arcadia. I will be in your care in this time.」
After Lux also made a formal greeting, the people of the Einvolk family, the other family members who also came to the capital at present showed their faces.
The one who introduced himself as the eldest son, Zain, if he had to be represented with few words, then he was a typical noble heir.
His looks were well ordered, but he looked vaguely feeble and clad with an atmosphere that gave the hint of gloominess.
To say positively, he looked stoic which was becoming for a Sanctuary Knight Order, but obstinacy which was lacking of adaptability could also be felt.
The third daughter, Yunifa had a good manner and also ladylike image, but her smile was somewhat formal, making one conscious of her mask as a noble daughter.
The fourth daughter Irma was silent and obedient. She gave the impression of a girl who had led a sheltered life.
It seemed that there were still another three people who were of direct family, but the family members who were spending their time in the capital for the Pilgrimage Festival this time were only everyone here.
Because of Lux’s status as a former prince of the Old Empire, added with his rough livelihood that spanned for five years, he was used to getting attention, but even so he was quite nervous.
Just, the gazes they were watching him with felt more like pure curiosity rather than appraising him.
「So you are Lux Arcadia. I have heard of you from our butler Alterize. I heard that you are an excellent Drag-Knight, and you have deep relationships with the daughters of important nobles of the New Kingdom even with your status as criminal.」
When everyone’s self-introduction was finished, the family head Stiyl called out to him.
Alterize who served as the connecting pipe between Krulcifer and the Einvolk house was endorsing the matter of Lux positively to the house.
「However, excuse my rudeness, but I cannot see you as someone who is possessing the quality as high as the report that I received. There is also your status as a criminal, and your quality as a Drag-Knight too, I heard that you had only just gotten promoted to Middle Class. About how you were appointed as the Seven Dragon Paladin of the New Kingdom too, I suspected that there is more to it behind the scenes.」
He was doubting that Lux’s position was received not from real skill, but because the princess Lizsharte who Lux was close with was making arrangements, so perhaps everything was just some kind of political move.
Lux didn’t particularly harbor any animosity against Stiyl’s accusation itself.
After all in the first place, seen from the side Lux’s position was just too peculiar.
Currently he was a former imperial family member of the Old Empire that should have the role to be hated, the criminal of the New Kingdom.
At the same time in the new kingdom, he received the royal order of the princess and obtained a special status and post.
There was something behind that strange chain of events──it was only natural for anyone to be cautious like that.
But, Alterize who endorsed Lux as a fiancé candidate immediately raised her voice to object.
「My lord, that’s──」
「That’s impolite Alterize. Right now father is in the middle of talking.」
The eldest son, Zain, stopped her like that and Alterize shut her mouth.
In exchange, Krulcifer beside Lux lifted her face.
「Is that so? But Otou-sama, it will be troubling if you cannot believe it just because you didn’t see the process after driving me away out of sight. If Otou-sama has dissatisfactions towards him, then can I ask you to please say it clearly?」
Stiyl kept silent against the objection of the girl that was calm to the end.
At a glance, this was a confrontation of a distinguished noble father and his adopted daughter.
Only looking to that extent, there wasn’t anything particularly strange from this scene, but Lux became bothered by a certain thing.
「……Excuse me, Krulcifer-san?」
Lux dropped his tone until the very limit and whispered towards Krulcifer-san besides him.
「What is it Lux-kun? Right now I’m in the middle of war, so if possible please postpone it for later.」
Seeing how she immediately responded back like that with a small voice, it seemed that she still had composure.
「About that, from hearing the flow of the talk, could it be they are misunderstanding, that I am still Krulcifer-san’s fiancée?」
Krulcifer fell silent with a serious expression still fixed on her face.
「It’s not a misunderstanding. Because I made it so that they perceived it like that.」
「Wait a second!? Krulcifer-san!」
Lux reflexively yelled when she said that without hesitation. The father Stiyl and the eldest brother Zain slightly glared at Lux who acted like that.
Lux who noticed the glares hurriedly closed his mouth.
The two little sisters were watching over the course of events acting like it was unrelated to them.
Inside the oppressive air, only the crackling sound from the hearth continued to fill the air.
(……Is it as I thought, that Krulcifer-san’s relationship with her family isn’t really good? But)
‘What’s with this atmosphere……?’, Lux felt something strangely out of place.
First, even though they disregarded the adopted daughter who was discovered inside the Ruin, their attitude was slightly too strict. And second──
「You have heard about the talk of you accompanying his eminence the pope’s pilgrimage as a guard haven’t you? Including you and Zain, there are several names from our Einvolk house who are members of the Sanctuary Knight Order who will participate too.」
「Yes. He too will participate in it as a Seven Dragon Paladin.」
When Krulcifer answered like that, Stiyl nodded and continued.
「I see, if that’s the case then the talk will be quick. If he really has that much caliber and skill, then I want to have you raise an achievement to a certain degree as a guard in this pilgrimage.」
「What does that mean?」
「It’s exactly as it sounds. Looking from the state of the Ruin in these recent years, in the pilgrimage route that his eminence will follow, the Abyss will surely appear. If you can obtain meritorious deeds and raise achievements there as a member of the Einvolk house, I will listen to some of your willfulness. It will also become a chance to understand the true strength of him who helps you.」
The letter that called Krulcifer back this time was for the sake of the guard mission during the pilgrimage.
And then, in addition there was the talk that demanded Krulcifer and also Lux to make some accomplishment.
It was too much of a businesslike demand for this family reunion after a long time.
Even so Krulcifer’s calm expression didn’t crumble.
「Does that mean, that this is the last job before I’m driven off as a nuisance? It can’t be helped.」
「I’m sorry Lux-kun. I’ve made you accompany me for this long talk. Then, please excuse us for the moment. Guide him to his room, Alterize.」
A short pause later, Alterize moved with an anxious look.
Without pause they exited the living room and headed to the third floor. Lux was shown to the guest room he was assigned to.
Lux parted with Krulcifer and the others for the moment until dinner and he took a rest.
First, he put down his luggage inside the room. Then he sighed lightly.
Looking once more, he thought that it was a nice room.
Furniture were put insde the space that was moderately spacious. The large bed with feather blanket on it was also pleasant.
The room had also been cleaned, he didn’t find a single dust.
But, as expected, when he thought back to the exchange just now, he couldn’t really relax.
「Raise achievements as a guard in the pilgrimage, and obtain meritorious deeds at this chance, huh……」
By the time they visited the Sanctuary, he could imagine that the reason Krulcifer was called back was most likely for being the pope’s guard.
However, inside Lux there was still something that bothered him.
The reason for the coldness from the Einvolk house’s family members, was that the only reason he wondered.
Because Krulcifer was an adopted daughter whose origin was from the Ruin.
And then because as a Drag-Knight, she possessed outstanding talent that stood out from the crowd even among the Einvolk house.
Perhaps those were the reasons.
However, he felt like those weren’t the only reasons.
「──Or rather, in the end, what’s going on about the matter of the engagement with me!?」
As soon as the dinner was finished, he had to ask Krulcifer about it. Lux thought so, but Lux had the premonition that she would say this and that and give him the slip, which caused him to be at his wits’ end.
- katsun, katsun*
Footsteps echoed inside a dark corridor.
After getting down a stone stair, an open space spread out ahead.
Inside the room that was surrounded by countless bookshelves, a large table and numerous experiment utensils were lined up in fixed order.
The New Kingdom’s Cross Field. This was the laboratory existing underground the library inside the Academy’s grounds.
「Having a meeting in this kind of tasteless room, I’m really looked down here huh. I was having expectations because this is a reunion after several years, but I wonder if the Aingram conglomerate is declining?」 (TN: The person here is using ‘washi’ to refer to herself. ‘Washi’ is usually used by elderly males. Anyone who read Magika, Futsunushi no Kami also used ‘washi’)
It was the room where Lux and Airi once received explanation regarding the horn flute.
There, Relie Aingram and a girl were standing side by side.
「I really wished to give you the proper hospitality, but unfortunately I also really cannot do that. Especially in the recent years, we don’t know where the enemy might be.」
「……Dragon Marauder huh, what a really troublesome bunch. Thanks to them the price of things are fluctuating furiously. My business is also in a bad state.」
「That kind of glib talk won’t work with me you know? You must have predicted emergency demands in that kind of field already since a long time ago anyway, right about now you are making a killing right?」
「What a terrible woman. Even though I am merely protecting my beloved company.」
The girl──no, she looked young, but she was a blooming female with almost the same age as Relie, she who responded like that grinned widely with a predatory smile.
A part of her blond hair that was tinged orange was formed into a loop. It was a characteristic hair style.
Regardless, it really suited the atmosphere of the girl who possessed both dignity and also pretense without anything feeling out of place.
She wore stacked up fabric of black and red with golden embroidery, while several small pouches were fastened around her waist.
It was a custom made attire that stressed beauty while also endowed with the beauty of function.
A bizarre appearance that looked like the combination of a noble daughter’s attire and the work clothes of a merchant.
What was standing out from amidst that appearance was the sword belt of a Sword Device carried on her waist.
「──And, today what kind of ulterior motive you have, catching this world’s most beautiful girl? Though at the surface you were talking about something like national defense.」
The self-proclaimed beauty showed a somewhat crooked grin and looked up at Relie beside her.
Normally Relie would make a retort at the woman calling herself ‘girl’ while making frivolous talk, but this time Relie was silent instead.
The world’s biggest company faction that ruled at the top across dozens of countries, the Vanfrick company.
Relie was silent because she wanted to ask a favor of that woman who was the boss of the Vanfrick company.
「My bad but, I cannot answer your expectations today. Actually this isn’t something that should be said from my mouth but, this is really a talk about national defense. What’s more──this is concerning the world.」
Relie muttered that and put a sheet of a written report on the desk.
In it was written the report of a man who was a spy of Dragon Marauder, and the result that the higher-ups of the royal capital deciphered.
He was a military officer who searched for the secret medicine of the Ruin that Dragon Marauder possessed──the Elixir, and betrayed the New Kingdom for it.
A letter that recorded his exchange with Dragon Marauder was discovered as the result from searching his room.
「……Hoo, so those guys’ next target is the Theocracy huh. However what a risky season. Even if they noticed the leak of this information, there is a possibility that they will still cause trouble.」
One of their aims in order to accomplish their plan──to tear down countries, existed in the Ymir Theocracy.
The exact date and time were unclear, but aiming at the chance when the protection of the country was divided between the Holy Capital and the pope when thr Pilgrimage Festival was going on was the natural conclusion.
But, from the view point of national defense, mobilizing a large army for the sake of an allied country was difficult.
「Yes……. But I’m holding a certain kind of belief. No matter what their objective is, most likely it has the meaning of causing conflict.」
The Dragon Marauder, and the influential people supporting them were putting up a will of opposition to rebel against the large countries.
At present, they should be aiming to lower the national power of a country by poking at the Ruins and expose cities to the flame of war.
「They don’t question the right and wrong of the outcome. Or rather, they will be able to accomplish a part of their objective……so it’s something like that. And then, what are you wishing from me, your old friend?」
「I want to borrow your strength for a little while. In exchange, a force to save the Theocracy will be sent from this Academy. I already contacted the top, they said that they won’t mind if that’s possible.」
The female merchant grinned fearlessly in response to Relie’s dispassionate mutter.
「So you’re coming like that. You too are quite reckless huh, getting into a debt with this me. Well, I can mostly predict why you are doing that though. ──Is my favorite disciple doing well?」
「I cannot deny that, but this isn’t simply for my little sister’s sake. I also have to pay back my debt to him.」
Relie smoothly muttered that and she spread out the contract she prepared.
「Lux Arcadia, huh. I heard the rumor, but it seems he is quite the remarkable character isn’t he. I also heard that his looks is easy on the eye for woman. I’m looking forward to the time this eye will be able to catch sight of him.」
The blooming woman muttered that and she quickly signed the contract in consent.
It seemed like the woman was licking her lips subtly, but Relie smiled wryly and pretended not to see it.
She was a beautiful woman who was strong and veteran, but she was someone who was loyal to her own desires.
She especially didn’t discriminate with younger males with beautiful looks. Relie had even heard a rumor that this woman employed people of such disposition and put them at her surroundings to serve her.
In that kind of meaning, she didn’t want Lux to meet this woman when it was likely that he would be her preference.
(Though as expected, it’s only this matter that it can’t be helped.)
In any case, someday Lux would surely meet this woman, who it wouldn’t be an exaggeration even if she was called as the one ruling over the world from behind the scenes.
With her current status, she was in an extremely close position to Lux.
Before that happens, she had no other way except making Lux’s relationship with Philuffy into something secure.
「Then, please move immediately from tomorrow. I’ll leave the protection of the New Kingdom to you, Magialca.」
The beauty only responded to that with a composed smile.
The secret plan was already starting to move.