It was the evening.
Entering the deck, I carried a heavy bag containing the sharp, black armor part.
“Are we really doing this?”
Luxon’s red eye glowed ominously, which was a bit eerie.
[Of course. The preparations are already complete. This destructive impulsive is deeply ingrained into my program. Speaking in terms of humans, it’s an instinct. I have to get rid of it within the next minute, or even the next second.]
──Is that so? All things considered, it’s scary to have an AI talk about destructive impulses.
[It seems to have been preserved in the ruins as a research object, but it has no value now. Now then, hurry!]
I took out the black part from the bag in order to throw it out, and when I touched it with my hand, the part pulsated.
There was a gap in the part that opened up to reveal a giant eye, making me let go.
The lively eyeball seemed like a human’s, but it was definitely larger than one.
Twisting tentacles from the part reached out towards me.
[Be careful. This thing is still alive.]
The part raised a ghastly cry.
Luxon shined a laser from its eye to signal for robots to attack the part.
The tentacles were burned down and the part’s eyeball continued receiving attacks.
The gathering robots carried the part and flung it into the sky──and then Luxon’s main unit, which had been hidden, attacked the part with a direct hit.
“Are you sure we burned it without leaving behind a speck of dust?”
Luxon answered with a robotic voice that seemed satisfied.
[Of course. That thing is a weapon that must not exist. No relics of the new humans have any value in this world. At any rate──is that what they call ‘feeling refreshed’?]
Well, it seems that its mood has improved, which is good.
However, that was a relic of the new humans? How revolting.
Having disposed of the part on the empty deck, we returned to the ship’s interior.
Thereupon, on the opposite side of the deck, Hertrude appeared.
“So you were here.”
“What are you doing? Actually, what happened to your escort?”
Hertrude didn’t answer my question.
“I wanted to talk with you alone. I already said this at the collective, but could you sell me that object you found? To tell the truth, it’s a valuable item. I will pay a suitable amount for it.”
──Hmm? That thing had worth?
“That thing was actually valuable? Wasn’t it just a junk part?”
In the first place, how is that thing supposed to be useful?
“You do not know its value. So, sell it to me. It’s even alright if you want me to offer it to the kingdom. I’ll only negotiate with a government official this time.”
Staying silent might not be the best option.
Luxon said something like [Oh my,] acting as if it has nothing to do with this.
Are you just going to like act you aren’t involved?
“──Sorry. I dropped it.”
When I said that, Hertrude’s mouth was agape for several seconds.
“A, are you an idiot?!”
──She was furious.
“No, you see──I got bad vibes from it!”
“That’s not the problem! Idiot! Idiot! Complete idiot! I can’t believe it. You dropped an important treasure? Lower the ship and retrieve it at once!”
Hertrude trembled when Luxon immediately refused.
“T, this matter will be reported to the kingdom’s upper management!”
[Oh, and what is that supposed to mean? The treasure was found by Master and is his property. You’ll only burden the upper management by complaining to them.]
There’s nothing left of it, so I can’t retrieve it anyways.
“If you can’t handle such valuable treasure with care, you have no qualifications to be an adventurer! What have you been learning at the academy?!”
“Sorry. The academy’s just a place to find marriage.”
Luxon was quite cold towards Hertrude.
Hertrude turned around, causing her hair to sway, and returned to the ship’s interior.
“K, keep this moment in your memory!”
Seeing her leave that parting remark left me with one thought.
“──What an interesting person. I thought she was just a calm beauty, but surprisingly, she has a plethora of emotions.”
[Are you interested in her? She’s deviates quite a bit from your tastes, Master. The stats on her chest are too low.]
“Do you think of me as a guy who only judges people by their chest?”
Luxon’s immediate reply irritated me.
Upon returning to the academy, I rushed to get ready for the royal palace.
Luxon stared at me as I was changing my outfit.
[A report as soon as you come back? How tough.]
“I wonder why I have to do all this while still being a student.”
When I made a complaint, Luxon responded.
[What happened to being an adult male on the inside?]
“My heart is always that of a child who never forgets how to have fun.]
Since I have to head towards the royal palace immediately, I had no time to rest.
[Didn’t you call yourself an adult beforehand?]
“Did I say that?”
[You did. I haven’t forgotten.]
“You sure are an insistent one. Listen, forgetting whatever’s inconvenient is also the way of an adult.”
[That’s called escapism. I suggest you improve yourself.]
“I refuse. C’mon, we’re going.”
Luxon and I left the room.
I was in a hallway of the royal palace.
I was dead tired after having to report the latest matters.
It was dark outside.
“It’s already night.”
[This visit had more to do with a women’s tea party than the report.]
What awaited me there was a tea party with women who had graduated from the academy.
The daughters of influential nobles and of nobles who had recently gained power were there.
The tea party lasted for several hours despite the report being done in about ten minutes.
“I did not enjoy it at all.”
[That seems about right.]
The daughters of baron through earl households were there at the tea party.
However, they all had exclusive servants with them.
They kept talking about money, asking me what kind of revenue I would earn in the future.
It felt like being asked about my annual income at a mixer, I suppose. ──It gave me a headache.
Walking along the nearly vacant hallway in the royal palace, I happened to come across the queen, Milaine, who was wearing a different dress than when I had last met her.
Her platinum blonde hair looked as if it was sparkling.
Her gentle eyes soothed me and her smiling face compelled me to fell delighted as well.
“Oh, it seems that the viscount is tired.”
The attendant standing behind her stood with a blank expression.
I braced myself and straightened my attire.
“Apologies for the appearance. As for what the queen──”
“Viscount, may I have some of your time?”
──I felt joyed on the inside after having Milaine call out to me.
“It would be my pleasure!”
Luxon muttered something while watching me accompany the smiling Milaine.
[What an easy-to-read person.]
Luxon had hidden itself when Milaine arrived.
I was inside a room within the royal palace.
I was sitting across from Milaine, drinking some black tea that was brought here.
It’s better than the tea I have.
It’s not just the tea leaves, but also the technique that has to do with it.
While feeling a slight sense of defeat, I listened to what Milaine had to say.
Luxon stayed silent and hid near my side.
“Have you been getting along well with her Highness Hertrude? I was a bit startled to hear that her Highness was taken along for an adventure.”
“She was forced to come along. It seemed like she was given permission to though.”
Milaine’s expression turned gloomy. It seems that she didn’t want to permit it.
“There are people in the royal palace who have varying opinions about it. As for me, I don’t think that this matter falls under studying abroad.”
It seems that despite Milaine’s objections, someone gave permission.
I suppose anyone would be worried if the princess of a country that declared war was in the same academy their son was attending.
We need to be watchful of Hertrude’s safety, so if possible I’d prefer if she stayed still.
I agree with that opinion.
If some crazed person appeared and Hertrude got hurt, it would be an international issue.
When she’s in the academy, she’s escorted by female knights dispatched from the royal palace and students who have been given detailed instructions.
Even so, there’s still some unease.
“I also spoke with her Highness. She didn’t say it explicitly, but she holds quite the grudge against the kingdom.”
I didn’t see it for myself, but I did hear about the kingdom’s doings.
Listening to them made me raise an eyebrow.
However, I can’t reply to Milaine by lightheartedly saying “The kingdom sure is cruel, isn’t it~?”
I kept my mouth shut over this dicey issue. Is it cowardly? Yeah, it sure is. I’m a coward.
As I kept silent, Milaine continued.
“Viscount──no, Leon. I don’t think the principality will give up.”
“It seems that way.”
It’s not so easy to erase a mountain of grudges.
“Even the matter of the bodyguards is causing trouble. Did you hear about the Lafuan viscount household?”
When I shook my head, Milaine place a hand over her cheek and with a troubled expression, told me about what happened.
“Julian had been working around the clock to solve the saint’s debt, but the Lafuan viscount household increased it further. I thought about revoking that family, but as to be expected, there was a lot of opposition towards destroying the saint’s household.”
Marie really is cursed, isn’t she?
I wonder if Marie will faint after hearing that her debt increased even though it should have been resolved.
Though, I’d kind of want of laugh if I saw her in despair.
“It would be nice if the royal palace and temple could help pay back the debt on her behalf. However, there are a lot of things to budget for next year.”
After hearing about it, in order to pay back Marie’s debt──well, it would require a large cut in flexible funds, or in other words a large budget cut.
The debt is that large.
Just hearing about it alone makes this tea tasty.
What fine tea cakes these are.
It seems that I’ll sleep well tonight.
“Now for the main subject at hand. The commanding officer of the saint’s bodyguards is──you, right? Now it’s become a question of where responsibility lies.”
“Even when considering the time of your appointment and other matters, the royal palace and temple will be calling for someone to be punished.”
This doesn’t look good.
Just what kind of responsibilities do I have?
“W, wait a minute. My job is to be her bodyguard, so I don’t understand why I’m involved in her debt too.”
“I know that. Even so──this is a world where people will look for someone to blame.”
This world is the same my previous one.
Society is rotten.
“There are also people who are jealous of your sudden rise. As for me, I can’t bear to see the knights, who supported the promotion, being accused. I’ll need to patch things up as much as possible.”
“Thank you very──huh? Supported?”
“Right. You see, it was during the suppression of the sky pirates. Brad and Greg visited me and spoke about your achievements. There was also that matter of the principality, so I endorsed it.”
Milaine gave me a dazzling smile──no wait, something’s not right here!
I didn’t want to get promoted.
“S, say, rather than me being promoted──”
“Rather than being promoted?”
Milaine, who tilted her head to the side, looked sublime.
She’s so charming despite her age! I might be older on the inside, but I’m feeling kind of skittish all of the sudden.
Would it okay to hurt this person by saying that I didn’t want to be promoted?
Perhaps she would regret promoting me.
──I can’t let her feel sad.
I opened my mouth to quickly change course.
“──I want you.”
“W, wait! W, w, w, we can’t. I mean, the age difference between you and me is akin to that of a parent and child.”
We’re less than twenty years apart──we can’t? I mean, she’s more splendid than the girls in the academy. She’s perfect!
I clutched Milaine’s hand.
“Even so, I──”
I then heard a forced cough.
I don’t know who did it, but it was one of the attendants accompanying Milaine.
Whoops. ──I got carried away and made a move on her again. I forgot that this was the royal palace.
What a nice reaction. It makes me want to tease her.
“Again with the teasing. That’s a bad habit of yours, Leon.”
If only she wasn’t the queen──I’d really go after her then.
Changing the topic, Milaine spoke about Hertrude once more.
“By the way, there’s something curious about her Highness Hertrude.”