Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
League’s Worries and Claude’s Resolve
League sat facing Ivan and Claude, his comrades in arms who survived the tumultuous Foundation Anniversary with him. Months had passed—it was now a new year—and they were finally reunited, but now was not the time to rejoice.
「I see.」League said.「I have a general idea of the situation now. You’re the only one in Jarazack who can cross swords with Lord Alexei, and even the subject of rumors all throughout Forestia. Your fame made plenty of ladies approach you. Instead of turning them all down, you flirted with—」
「I didn’t flirt with them! It’s just… women in Jarazack are too aggressive.」Claude replied.「I was having trouble turning them all down.」
「I’m quite sure Luka saw it as flirting. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have put herself in danger by leaving the safety of Jarazack.」
Luka’s mother, the ruler of Ludancia, wanted her dead. She would rather kill her own daughter than hand her over to Claude. It showed just how much Kirihal and Ludancia despised each other.
League actually received information that a faction from Ludancia were working to try and snatch Luka away. Fortunately, they didn’t have much connections in Jarazack, and the deep snow limited entry to Jarazack, so the country knew who came and entered.
「I know how he feels.」Ivan said.「Among the seven nations, the women in Jarazack are rather unique. They support Jarazack’s martial arts from behind the scenes and always stay one or two steps behind so they don’t stand out more than the men. But when it comes to asking people out, they’re fierce. They say a Jarazack woman’s worth is determined by the man she’s with. For a pampered young man who only knew about Kirihal and Scholarzard, it might seem enticing.」
「I-I’m not pampered!」Claude protested.
「Claude…」League muttered, staring at him with eyes full of disdain.
「League, could you please stop looking at me like that?! I always remained faithful to Luka. I never crossed any line!」
「You might be telling the truth, but it still doesn’t change the fact that we have an awful situation in our hands. No wonder Lord Alexei hit you.」
「I’m sorry, okay? I regret my actions. Trust me, I do want to talk to Luka. But everything changed when Catherine arrived.」
A ripple formed in League’s heart that was otherwise usually calm. A moody girl from Euroba, she reviewed the student alliance’s bylaws. League actually thought of asking Hikaru for help, but the latter had to go to Un el Portan, so Catherine took the job instead.
League met her at the Foundation Anniversary. While dancing, she gave her comments on the bylaws. But since they weren’t of equal status—League being the next head of his clan while Catherine was only an ordinary girl from Euroba—they drew envious looks from the ladies. By Catherine’s suggestion, League dumped her harshly, humiliating her.
League still couldn’t forget how she looked back then. She stood tall and never pandered to anyone. She was completely different from the women around him.
「Catherine probably egged her on and they both left Jarazack.」Claude said.「Now we have no idea where to find them. If Luka was alone, we could probably narrow down her location.」
「They went to Scholarzard.」League said.
「Huh? How can you be so sure?」
「You said Lady Catherine egged her on, but she has no reason to do that. There’s meaning to her actions. I’m sure she would try to bring the situation under control.」
「Wh-What? How could you trust her that much?」
「There’s only a few options she could take to bring you back to your senses. Staying in Jarazack is foolish. Do you know that Ludancia is trying to kill Luka? Did you consider that perhaps the women after you wants to sell her out to Ludancia?」
「Wha—」Claude turned pale, while Ivan’s expression became serious.「The situation’s that bad…?」
「Claude… Luka was almost killed once before. She barely managed to escape death because Hikaru asked some adventurers for help. Look at you. You got stronger and you let it get to your head. The more recognition you got, the more Luka thought you could live without her.」
「I, uhh…」Claude was as pale as a sheet, his head hung low.「I’m going after Luka! I’m heading to Scholarzard right now!」he declared, getting up quickly like a spring.
「You finally reached that conclusion.」
The door opened, revealing a huge vicious-looking man over two meters tall, his frizzly hair tied to the back. It was none other than Alexei von Jalzard Jarazack, the man who stood on top of Jarazack and owner of this mansion that was once a castle. He brought with him Luka’s personal attendant, the old lady, who was also under his protection. Alexei learned about the situation from her, prompting him to teach Claude a lesson.
「Go on. Tell him, granny.」
「Thank you, great king of Jarazack.」the old lady said.「The princess may appear tough, but she has many things on her mind. Needless to say, it is her long-cherished wish to be married to the man she loves. But she feels she’s causing trouble to a lot of people.」
Claude listened to her with a sorrowful look.
「She always thought being married to Lord Claude was nothing but a pipe dream. While she is happy that her dream is becoming a reality, she’s also worried. She wanted to seriously talk about the future this winter. Please, Lord Claude. I ask that you confront this issue together with her.」
「I understand. I swear I will see Luka and talk things together with her.」Claude vowed, his right fist on his chest.「I will never make her feel sad ever again.」
He didn’t sound like he was making excuses anymore. He finally came to his senses. Smiling, Alexei turned to League.
「So, what brings the son of Billion here?」
「Rumania is the one carrying out operations relating to the mass wedding. I came here to discuss provision of necessities.」
I’m still the “son of Billion” huh? League thought. It felt like Claude beat him to the chase of being recognized as a full-fledged man by the representative of Jarazack.
Right now, League was working on his first job as Billion’s successor—the mass wedding. It was only natural for Rumania, the greatest of the seven nations, to take over the task. Unlike Kirihal and Ludancia, they didn’t have any interest in this event. Of course, League also took this as an opportunity to see the other members of the student alliance.
「Hmm. You have the documents, right? Hand them over.」
League handed the materials procurement documents to Alexei. The man signed them without even glancing at the contents.
「Are you sure about this, Sir?」
「I’m sure everything’s perfect anyway. That patronizing look in your eyes reminds me of the old Billion. You couldn’t point out anything wrong with his projects. If you complained a bit, he’d come up with reasons to rebut you. Man, he was a pain.」
For a while, League was staring blankly at nothing. Billion was like the boss of the underworld, while Alexei was the leader of a gang. League suddenly realized they were once young too.
I’m just like my father… He never even considered it. Perhaps my father also once thought about uniting the seven nations?
「I believe that’s business taken care of.」Alexei said.「Sorry to bother you, son of Billion, but could you accompany Claude? He’s an important friend of yours, isn’t he?」
「It’s too dangerous for Claude to go alone, and we can’t really count on Ivan…」
「Hey, Boss! Why don’t you trust me?!」
「You moron! You were with Claude the whole time and you didn’t do anything! You don’t get to speak!」
「You’re to blame for this too! I’ll work you hard until Luka comes back.」
「Eeeek!」Ivan turned pale.
「Please teach me a lesson again once we’re back, Sir.」Claude said.
「Damn right I will. Now quit your dilly-dallying and get a move on. We have some disturbing information—」
Mikhail barged into the room.
「You were right, Boss! 」he professor said.「We can’t find the Fedor gang who’s supposed to be somewhere near the border. As suspected, they’re working with Ludancia.」
「What do you mean, Professor?」Claude asked.
「The Fedor gang are a bunch of notorious scoundrels. They don’t care if it’s snowing or if there’s a blizzard, they’ll strike anywhere. We’re having difficulty dealing with them as they’re elusive. We received word that they were acting strangely so we looked into them and found out that they made a move at the same time that Luka and Catherine left Jarazack.」
「So they followed Luka?!」
「No doubt about it. There were rumors that they were working with Ludancia, and this proves it. They were probably spying on this mansion and found out that Luka left.」
「Claude! Prepare for your journey at once!」Alexei ordered in a dignified voice.「Your destination: Scholarzard. I doubt you’d lose to anyone, but fighting while protecting Luka will be difficult.」
「Lord Claude, please keep the princess safe.」the old lady said.
「Understood!」Claude replied and dashed out of the room.
「I know. We will back him up.」the professor said.
「All right! I’m going too!」
Ivan was happy he didn’t have to suffer under his boss. Alexei watched the two go in astonishment. Ivan in particular walked fast before the boss could change his mind.
「Son of Billion. Forget what I said. Now that a bunch of rascals is involved, we can’t have you be in danger.」
League thought about it for a bit.「What would my father do?」
「I think my father would’ve taken caution in this situation. When the time comes to put your life on the line, you must do so. I’ll go as well. I can’t be scared of a bunch of lowly thugs. I will soon be Rumania’s representative, after all.」
League smiled and left the room to order his men to prepare for the journey. Alexei watched him go with eyes wide open.
「No. Billion would’ve prioritized his safety and give orders from the sidelines. Well, what do you know? They’re completely different, after all.」
And so League left Alexei’s mansion not long after he arrived. He wasn’t worried. If Catherine and Luka made it to Scholarzard, they had the academy to keep themselves safe. He didn’t know just how awful the Fedor gang was, but he believed they wouldn’t start a fight in the middle of town.
What League didn’t know was Catherine and Luka arrived safely in Scholarzard and were on their way back to Jarazack with Hikaru.