Watching his daughter storm out of the room, Vince made a small sigh.
“Good grief──why can’t she be more honest?”
He stood up after seeing his awkward daughter leave the scene.
Thereupon, Gilbert entered the room.
“Father, why did Anjie storm out with such a face?”
“I’ll keep an eye on her, so don’t worry. This may be painful for Anjie, but I don’t know what she would do if she knew the truth. That girl is too emotional. Why can’t she let her feelings clear?”
“Up until now, she had been raised to be useful for a specific household. Would she not be troubled when she’s suddenly told about free love? It’s understandable once you realize the circumstances.”
Vince made a slight chuckle.
“There are various tricky problems regarding that matter. If we’re too forceful, the other household will complain. Besides, it depends on the feelings of that child. Is their relationship just as friends, or perhaps──”
Gilbert nodded his head, as if convinced of something.
For the time being, he left aside what Anjie said and reported what he investigated.
“I’ve looked into those who have made contact with the viscount inside the dungeon. It appears that there are those who are upset that they cannot operate Partner. A portion of them are making a clamor about trying to kill him to see if it’ll accept a new master. They’ve made a direct appeal to his Majesty about executing him soon.”
Vince folded his arms.
“Are they afraid of the viscount? Well, I suppose that’s inevitable. After all, he’s a knight who single-handedly forced the principality’s troops to retreat. Perhaps they’re anxious about the possibility that he’ll point his blade at them.”
From the viewpoint of the faction opposing the duke household, they didn’t know when Leon would point that blade towards them.
Vince understood their anxiety.
“The people from the temple are also beginning to make noise. Though this is a power struggle, at this point, there’s a limit to how much things can escalate. If not taken care of properly, the country will be divided by a civil war.”
Vince unfolded his arms and spoke as such.
“The time has come. Sooner or later, all the pressure that been built up will erupt. Nevertheless, it seems I have many enemies.”
Vince, who led what had been the largest faction up until a while ago, was struggling to deal with the marquis’ rising faction.
“──It seems you did something foolish, Malcom.”
Speaking the name of Marquis Frampton, Vince looked at Gilbert and smiled.
“Gilbert──don’t you agree that Anjie’s eye for people is quite something?”
Gilbert had an indescribable expression.
If it wasn’t for Anjie, the duke household would have also been wary of Leon.
The engagement with Julian being broken off was a hard blow──but thanks to that, they managed to win over Leon.
“In a sense, we were lucky. We don’t have to shoulder around ‘his Highness the Prince,’ so I suppose you’re right.”
Vince agreed with that opinion.
“Now then, return to your territory and prepare for war. There’s something I have to do here.”
Gilbert nodded and briskly exited the room.
Vince then headed towards the royal palace.
Floating above the academy was a warship owned by the kingdom’s army.
Knights wearing armor were keeping an eye on the surroundings, and both knights and soldiers were dispatched to the ground.
Amidst the overdone policing, the academy’s students picked up on the tense mood.
It felt like the tension before a war.
Once returning, Anjie saw Livia running over.
As she approached, she grabbed her arms and spoke at a close distance.
“Anjie! It’s Leon! Leon’s been arrested!”
Seeing Livia’s confused state, Anjie held back her tears.
There were other students around and above all, she was in front of the school gate. There were many people.
“I know. Let’s head inside.”
Anjie took Livia with her and headed towards the girls’ dorms.
Livia was worried about the situation.
“Leon was taken away, Clarice and the others are away from the academy as well. What in the world is happening?”
It wasn’t just the royal palace that was hectic.
The academy was also affected.
“There’s a war.”
“Quiet. Don’t speak so loudly.”
They quickly entered Livia’s room.
Anjie, relieved after entering the room, then fell over.
While supporting herself using Livia’s body, she sat down on a bed and began to speak.
“There are people who are linked with the principality. Those people arrested Leon and threw him into the royal palace’s dungeon. They seized Partner and Arroganz as well.”
“W, what! Leon has done nothing wrong!”
“That’s irrelevant. Leon’s an obstacle to them. ──If only I had more power, I would have been able to protect him.”
Seeing Anjie, who felt pathetic and down, Livia spoke as if something flashed into her mind.
“The queen! If we ask Milaine──”
Anjie shook her head, believing that if Milaine had done something, she would have known. Since Leon received no assistance, the queen probably can’t do anything.
“Milaine can’t do anything. I thought she’d lend a hand, but since she isn’t, that must mean someone is negating her orders. Or perhaps it’s a case where she can’t afford to get involved with Leon.”
The marquis’ faction suddenly began to move.
Anjie knew the meaning of this.
After checking with the information from her home, she understood what it meant, even if she didn’t like it.
“Livia, there’s going to be a power struggle within the royal palace. If not handled properly, it will turn into a civil war.”
“Huh? W, why?!”
In response to Livia, who was surprised to hear about a civil war, Anjie spoke her thoughts.
“We’re in a state of high alert. My father and brother are moving about, so it’s already as if a war has begun, with no blood being spilt on the royal palace.”
Anjie believed that the airship arriving at the academy was to be deployed in case something happened.
(If that’s the case, did my father or Milaine have a hand in the airship at the academy?)
Vince said that it was standing by at the academy, so the academy was likely safe.
While she was thinking about such things, Livia seemed uneasy and asked something.
“──What will happen to Leon?”
For a moment, Anjie thought about making a lie to relieve her, but──told Livia the truth.
“I’m sorry. My household has given up on Leon. They see no value in him now that his lost item is gone. I don’t know if Milaine will help him either. If worst comes to worst, he will be executed.”
Livia hung her head upon hearing that, then suddenly stood up.
She was about to head out of the room with an unsteady walk, so Anjie grabbed her arm to stop her.
“Where are you going?!”
“Anjie──I’m sorry. I want to help Leon. For that, I want to try anything I can.”
While crying, Livia attempted to leave the room.
Anjie guessed what she was possibly thinking about.
“Wait. ──I’m going too.”
So, Anjie and Livia both left the room together and decided to turn towards someone who could potentially help Leon.
Being the saint, the academy provided a special room for Marie.
It was the biggest room in the girls’ dorm──used by noble daughters with ranks equal to that of Anjie’s.
In that room, Marie sat on a sofa with her legs crossed.
She felt refreshed to see the two standing before her.
“You want me to help that mob guy? Why should I?”
While Marie’s followers laughed, Anjie once again pleaded to her.
“I judged that you could help since you’re the saint. Please──I want you to help Leon.”
Livia nodded her head.
“Please! Please save Leon.”
Marie took a sip of her drink while making a triumphant smile.
(I was overjoyed when hearing about that mob guy being arrested, but I didn’t expect to feel this good seeing these two beg me for help!)
The one that the two turned to was──the saint, Marie.
(Well, I have no obligation to help that guy and I don’t know how I would either though.)
Though Marie was the saint, she hasn’t been one for a long time and she didn’t know how to influence an organization.
She didn’t know the procedure to release Leon, but nevertheless, she decided to use this opportunity.
She looked at Anjie and Livia, then spoke.
“You’ve said so many things to me before, though.”
“P, please forgive me. I was foolish.”
“Of course! And you, the naive one.”
Marie asked a question to Livia, who she called naive.
“Don’t you think there’s a courtesy to asking a favor?”
“Courtesy? U, umm──”
Marie spoke to a stumped Livia.
“You two──kneel down before me in front of the public. If you do that, I’ll think about doing something for that mob guy.”
Though Marie gave that condition, she had different intentions on the inside.
(Anjelica’s pride is too high for her to agree to that. Perhaps Olivia would do it, but there’s no point since I said for the both of them to kneel. Well, I’d be worried if they did agree though.)
──Those were her thoughts.
Marie was regretful.
She was in the academy’s plaza.
(No way. Why? Why did it come to this?!)
She was breaking into a cold sweat.
A ring of people surrounded Marie.
In the center were Marie and her followers.
“Look, Marie. Look at the pitiful state of these people.”
“The duke’s daughter and the commoner are both bowing their heads. Furthermore, their foreheads are against the floor.”
The surrounding students were laughing.
Next to Marie, Kyle was quite dispirited.
“Is it okay going this far? Honestly, even I don’t want to see anymore of this.”
In the plaza, Livia and Anjie were kneeling down together──and in front of both the protagonist and villainess was Marie, who kept sweating.
They did what she told them to do. Despite that──she didn’t think they would actually follow through with it.
No matter how cocky Marie might be, even this wasn’t something she could laugh at.
(Wait! Seriously, wait! I told them to kneel because I didn’t think they’d do it! I have no idea what to do about their issue!)
In the first place, Marie couldn’t think of a way to help Leon.
Now she would need to revoke her promise despite the fact that the two had kneeled.
She could hear laughter directed towards the two. ──The people around were more elated than Marie.
“How pathetic for the duke’s daughter.”
“To think that I was a follower of such a person. I’m going to cry. Did her pride as a noble disappear?”
“It’s for the sake of that guy. What’s even good about that Baltfault?”
People who used to be Anjie’s followers whispered amongst each other.
If a person of high status bows their head so easily, they will lose authority.
That’s why Marie thought Anjie wouldn’t actually do it.
Marie’s followers took an arrogant attitude towards Anjie and Livia.
“Hey, do a proper job at making your request to Marie!”
When Anjie bowed down and pleaded with “I want you to save Leon’s life,” they further toyed with her.
“That’s not how you do it, right? There’s a specific way you need to make a request, isn’t there? Could it be that the duke’s daughter is unaware of how to ask people for something?”
“Please save Leon’s life, M, Marie!”
Marie couldn’t speak to the one who forced the prideful Anjie to bow down and address her politely.
“Commoner, speak too.”
“Please save Leon, Marie.”
“What a wretched state you’re in now that Baltfault’s gone. You’ve been hiding behind that man for protection.”
Marie’s followers and the surrounding students laughed.
(Huh? What? These followers are scary. Aren’t these guys just using my name to vent their anger? I can’t put my trust in them.)
Turning away from the fact that she told them to kneel down, Marie felt a disconnect with the surrounding people.
“Marie, here’s a footrest.”
One of Marie’s followers pointed at Anjie’s head.
The other followers went along with it.
“Oh, in that case, you should use the duke’s daughter as a chair and the commoner as a footrest.”
“Aren’t you glad to be the saint’s chair, Anjelica?”
Marie wanted to shout at the girl trampling down on Anjie.
(What are you all doing?! Are you going to destroy me? If that mob guy finds out what happens, he’ll definitely come for revenge! H, he’s going to kill me!)
Imaging Leon carrying a rifle with a blank expression, Marie’s legs couldn’t stop trembling.
(R, right. Doesn’t he have a cheat item? If he does get angry, I’m──)
A hand intervened to stop the follower who was escalating the situation, and that hand belonged to──Julian.
“You two have shown your readiness. Marie, this doesn’t need to go any further.”
Brad then spoke.
“Right. Now that it’s come to this, we have to show our sincerity.”
“Let bygones be bygones. Marie, let’s forgive them.”
“If we disgrace them anymore, your name will be tarnished, Marie.”
Greg struck his palm with his fist and then smiled at Marie.
“They’ve done this much. Let’s help Baltfault, Marie.”
Since this world didn’t have a culture based around kneeling down like this, they forgave them since they went this far. However, Leon would understand the meaning of someone performing this action. (TLN: Japan has this “dogeza culture,” where kneeling down with one’s forehead touching the floor, which is called a dogeza, is viewed as a very strong and self-humiliating apologizing style.)
After all, he was a fellow reincarnator.
Marie trembled when thinking about what would happen if Leon caught wind of this.
(Not good. If I tell them that I can’t actually help──my life is over. Or rather, that guy can probably break out with his own power. I don’t need to do anything. This is pretty stupid, isn’t it?)
Marie, unable to do anything, asked the five confident guys for help.
“Everyone, can I ask you for help?”
The five turned to Marie and nodded, then departed from the venue.
In any case, Marie wanted to escape from the situation.
When she turned her back to the two, who were still kneeling, and walked away as if ignoring them, her followers went with her.
“How generous of you, Marie.”
“If it were me, I would trample on them.”
“Oh, if it were me, I would strip them of their clothes and make them apologize.”
Hearing her followers utter such things, Marie felt uneasy.
(This isn’t funny. ──It really isn’t. I don’t understand these followers. Who are these people? They’re completely different from what I thought they were.)
Amongst the boisterous followers, Cara was the only one who followed behind Marie silently.
Marie had left.
While the surrounding people were laughing, Anjie and Livia stood up.
The voices of those around them were cold.
“They’re going that far?”
“Oh, how the duke household has fallen. She doesn’t understand the meaning of bowing her head.”
“What a lowly woman indeed. Getting along with the likes of commoners.”
The two walked away from the scene while being ridiculed.
Livia spoke to Anjie.
“It would have been better if it was just me, so why did you do it too, Anjie? Um──with your household’s position and all.”
Anjie made a somewhat sorrowful smile.
“I thought that this was the best choice. Perhaps this might be bad for my household. However, above all, I wanted to help Leon. I really am a fool, aren’t I?”
Anjie, who had bowed her head to Marie, spoke as such──and wept.
“With this, I’ve really abandoned myself. I’ve sullied my house’s name. However, even so──if it means helping Leon, that’s okay.”
Somehow, Anjie seemed a little refreshed.
She had been robbed of her fiance, Julian, by Marie and the engagement was broken off.
It was painfully bitter for Anjie to bow down to Marie.
(──To think Anjie would do this much for Leon.)
Livia’s chest ached when comparing herself to Anjie.
A group amassed above the Principality of Fanoss’ skies.
A fleet, with a floating island that had been turned into an airship serving as a flagship, covered the skies.
There were over one hundred and fifty airships, along with monsters surrounding them.
It didn’t matter that the magic flute was with the kingdom.
After all, there existed another magic flute with the principality.
The user of that magic flute was the second princess, Hertrauda.
She was fourteen years old.
She had smooth black hair, just like her older sister.
Though they were alike, Hertrauda was superior when it came to using a magic flute.
She was able to command numerous monsters, and the magic flute itself was more powerful than the one Hertrude had.
Originally, Hertrude’s team should have been enough to sink the kingdom. However, Leon had single-handedly ruined their plans, causing the principality to be in a mad rush.
The principality didn’t originally intend for Hertrauda to depart for the front. The one who changed that was Leon.
“That heretic knight can’t do anything. Is that correct?”
Hertrauda’s retainer answered her question.
“There is no mistaking it. The reports state that his lost item, the airship, and his armor have been seized as well. The kingdom’s foolish nobles are quite negligent.”
Leaders surrounded Hertrauda.
A knight reported to her.
“Princess, the preparations are ready.”
With a small nod, the young girl, Hertrauda, set out for a battle that would determine the principality’s future.
“Attack the kingdom from here. Get everyone prepared. Our aim is Holfault Kingdom’s royal capital. Don’t pay any mind to the other small fries! Depart!”
In response to Hertrauda’s voice, the surrounding leaders responded with vigor.