When returning to the party venue, the place was wrapped in a strange atmosphere.
The students were watchfully waiting while clinging to the walls, but there was a group in the center being noisy.
I asked Olivia about the situation.
“What in the world happened?”
“It started out as a small quarrel. However…”
In the center were five people surrounding Marie. In addition to them, I could also see the figure of a pretty elf with blond hair and blue eyes, “Kyle.”
Anjelica raised her voice in front of the seven people.
It was a shout filled with grief.
“Why can’t you listen to me?! I’m──I’m doing this for your sake, your Highness!”
The prince was absolutely cold towards her quivering voice.
“Your words are not fit to be heard. End of discussion.”
“Please wait. If you know the character of that person, why do you still accept her?!”
I’m not sure what had happened, but I understood that Anjelica was desperate and trying to appeal to the prince.
When I looked to Olivia, she continued talking.
“Um, when Anjelica saw Marie holding hands with a boy other than his Highness the crown prince, she got angry. Then his Highness the crown prince said that she shouldn’t be noisy over just that much.”
He forgave his girl even when she went after other men.
That was the kind of guy Julian was.
I definitely would hate it if something like that were to happen, but the prince seemed to think that it was fine.
Marie, wearing her uniform, hid behind the prince.
She took an attitude that would make someone want to protect her, while Anjelica on the hand wore a red dress, makeup, and appeared to shine.
Quite the contrast, right?
Anjelica and Marie looked like exact opposites.
Marie had guys and pretty boys surrounding her, but Anjelica had nobody near her.
Brad stepped forward.
“So the daughter of the Redgrave family has become this wretched. Look, there’s nobody by your side.”
When Anjelica looked at her surroundings, the rich students and her supposed followers both turned away.
The students who held animosity towards her didn’t act hostile, but they grinned while watching.
“Do you all know what that woman’s done? All of you have been──”
Everyone held out their hand.
However, the boys weren’t in a panic.
Anjelica was surprised when the blue-haired Chris said that.
I felt that Chris had smiled for just a moment when looking at Marie. He was a guy that would keep a blank expression while swinging his sword, but when he made that expression, the girls around him had blushed.
Is it really because his looks? Is it his looks? It’s his looks, isn’t it?
“She had saved me. She listened to my troubles. So──I want to protect her.”
I felt it was praise-worthy that he was able to make such a confession while all the students were watching.
The next one to step forward was Greg.
“Your argument is way too shoddy. Him directly saying that he liked her should give you enough of a clue of what’s going on.”
Jilk held his hand over his mouth while smiling.
“That’s right. She’s a lovely woman. Though, I’m sure that the one Marie loves the most is me.”
Anjelica, who was at a loss for words, looked to the prince.
Julian made a slightly huffy expression
“Jilk, I think you’re wrong. I’m the one Marie loves the most.”
When he said that, the girls, who had been silent, then raised shrieks of cheers.
“Did you hear that just now?!”
“I want him to say that to me too!”
“I’m jealous. On the other hand, that duke woman is quite unsightly.”
She cast her eyes downward while clenching her fists.
“…Do you not intend to stop playing around while attending the academy, your Highness?”
Julian lowered his gaze once Anjelica said that.
“She’s the only irreplaceable woman for me. Anjelica, I didn’t dislike you before I had entered the academy. However, I cannot forgive your attitude towards Marie.”
The girls around Anjelica laughed at her.
“Did you hear that? The duke woman’s done for.”
“This is pretty much the same as him breaking off the engagement, isn’t it?”
“I always hated that girl.”
They were slandering her to their hearts content now that her position had weakened.
“I wonder if this is what girls feel when they see a harem? It’s kind of unsettling, and it’s painful just to look at this scene.”
“What’s wrong, Leon?”
Olivia, who was next to me, tilted her head.
Daniel and Raymond were surprised looking at Anjelica’s expression.
“H, hey, isn’t this really serious?”
“Judging from her face, it looks like she’ll resort to violence at any moment”
As if deciding on something, she then took on a blank expression like she had given up. The light in her eyes had disappeared, and I felt that I could see something dark dwelling within.
Anjelica threw something at Marie.
While Marie was taken aback, the thing that Anjelica threw had fallen to the floor. It was a white glove.
“Pick it up, you sellout of a woman. You witch that would deceive his Highness.”
It was a challenge to a duel.
In moments like these, picking up the glove is a sign of accepting the duel.
“Come to think of it, there was also a setting like this. The duel event, was it?”
While I was muttering such things, Raymond got into a panic.
“You must know what this means! Do you understand the meaning of this duel?!”
A duke woman challenged a girl from the viscount family to a duel.
That’s just what it looks like on the surface, though.
“His Highness Julian will stand as her representative──so it’ll be a duel between the duke woman and him, right?”
Once a duel rises, it’s considered shameful if a boy used a representative. However, there are no complaints when a girl has a representative take her place.
In the game, a boy the protagonist has raised the love meter with would take on the duel proposed to the her by the duke woman. It’s quite possible that things are heading towards that route.
The argument from just a bit ago gave me a bad premonition.
“…Anjelica, I’m disappointed.”
The prince, looking at his fiance with a look of scorn while furrowing his eyebrows, seemed to be reaching the peak of his anger.
“Marie, pick it up. It’ll be fine. I will take your side. I’ll work as your representative.”
Jilk followed along with the conversation.
“I can’t let his Highness be the only one looking good. According to the rules of the academy, girls are not limited to one boy as their representative. I declare that I will also participate.”
Greg hit his palm with his fist.
“This is looking amusing, so I’ll also get in on this. Come at me, anyone!”
“This is why you’re a meathead…but, calling her a sellout of a woman is inexcusable.” So how about I mend your ways? While we’re at it, we’ll also have you apologize after the duel. Naturally, I’m participating as well.”
Brad looked annoyed, but also seemed to be in high spirits.
Chris, crossed his arms.
“I’m confident in my blade skills. Let’s see if I can fight as Marie’s sword.”
Marie wiped her tears with her fingers.
“Everyone…I’m scared, but I feel safe when all of you are here. I will accept this duel. Anjelica, I will fight with all I’ve got.”
Kyle was amazed by the heroic image his master was portraying. This boy, who had a bit of a sharp tongue, was good-looking and had graceful movements.
“You really are a foolish master. How about you not forget me? I can assist, you know.”
“Thank you, Kyle.”
…It’s just as I thought.
“This is the reverse harem route.”
“You’re spouting out nonsense again, Leon. Anyways, now that it has come to this, what’s going to happen to that duke woman? Is there anyone who would go up against those five people?”
Raymond agreed with Daniel’s doubts.
“His Highness has scored top-notch marks, and the others have terrifyingly excellent ones as well. There aren’t any guys here who would battle against those five. The most frightening is Chris, the candidate for the next master swordsman. He’s not someone you can afford to make enemies with.”
Most of the boys disliked fighting. Any normal boy would definitely reject fighting against the prince.
This wasn’t a practice match, but a duel.
The boys following Anjelica up until now didn’t want to get involved either.
When Anjelica looked around her, the boys all simultaneously averted their gaze.
Greg added fuel to the fire.
“Hey, is there no commendable fellow out there who will help this girl? I’m going to start pitying her if none of her followers have the guts to stand up…She’s the one that proposed the duel. She can’t back out, even if she has no representative.”
A voice of ridicule towards Anjelica filled the party venue.
Everyone was either laughing at how nobody would help her, or was looking at her with sympathy.
According to the academy’s rules, bringing along someone from the outside to work as a representative was prohibited. It was sort of an implicit rule given how it wouldn’t be good if an adult entered a duel between children.
In the game, Anjelica broke the rule and still lost, piling shame on top of shame.
“Hey, anyone want to bet what kind of unsightly side to her will be exposed?”
“She won’t be able to cling to her family anymore. She shouldn’t have proposed the duel. After all, she definitely won’t find a representative for her.”
“Perhaps she’ll just represent herself. If that’s the case, then I hope she gets beaten black and blue.”
──The reactions of the girls were cold. Way too cold.
Though they were pretty complaisant in front of Anjelica around the time of school enrollment, perhaps they’ve gotten more cocky now that the situation had changed?
They were acting as if she was no longer a duke woman…so maybe they thought that since she made the disgrace of causing the engagement to fall apart, her life was over.
I believe that in the game, things concluded by having some ugly man from the countryside being forced onto her.
The normally-tough Anjelica looked around while seeming impatient.
Her sight met with mine.
Anjelica, a girl with a violent temper who never thought about the consequences, was evidently in disorder. I felt that she was getting desperate, and her eyes told me that she wanted help.
However, I clenched my teeth while looking downwards.
“I, I’ll do it even if I don’t get someone to act as a representative…”
Greg laughed scornfully.
“What’s the matter? What happened to all that spirit from just a while ago?”
The people around Anjelica looked at her very coldly.
The coldest among them was the prince. Even though she was more or less supposed to be his fiancee.
“Anjelica, I suppose you’re ready, right? You can’t back out at this point. You’ve already thrown your white glove at Marie.”
Really…just why is this happening?
I can’t ignore Anjelica.
Olivia grabbed my arms when I took a step forward.
“U, um…what do you plan on doing?”
Looking at her face of unease, I started wondering why this girl was here. A woman named Marie was taking the spot of where Olivia should have been──actually, it’s more like she snatched away the position of where Olivia was supposed to belong.
…What should I do? I then heard an answer.
Daniel came in to stop me.
“You idiot. Why are you trying to get involved? There’s no point!”
“This is the kind of duel where the result has been decided before the fight has even begun. Besides, whether you win or lose, you can’t ignore the representatives over there. Your opponents are his Highness and the others, you know?”
The three were stopping me, but I gave a grin.
“Well…it’s just that I hate those guys.”
It’s not like I’m close with Anjelica, who was being scorned at. I can’t say that I feel no sympathy towards her either. The biggest reason for why I’m doing is because of my own feelings.
I pushed my way through the people and stepped forward, causing everyone to gather their attention to me.
“Here! He~re! I’ll be the representative for the duel~!”