With the summer vacation just around the corner, the school’s students are beginning to show a buoyant atmosphere.
People who invite friends they made at the school to stay at their parents’ house.
Those who plan to go somewhere to play together.
Those who challenge the dungeons of the royal capital due to unavoidable circumstances.
I get the impression that many students are expecting to spend their free time, the long vacation, how they will spend it.
Meanwhile, I [Leon Fou Bartfalt] am the poor guy who was forced to officially hold the title of Duke, even though I am a student.
I am deprived of the student privilege of wasting long vacations and forced to participate in national politics.
Even now, I was preparing to leave for the royal palace.
I was wearing a ceremonial knight uniform with many decorations, and had a medal attached to my chest.
I’m standing in front of the full-length mirror, and I have a look of utter disgust on my face.
“Who the hell do you think you are, Roland, calling me out?”
The reason I went to the trouble of pulling out my knight’s uniform and changing is because I was summoned by the king [Roland Rafa Horfalt].
“Come to the royal palace,” I was unilaterally summoned.
When I think it’s no use complaining, Olivia —— [Livia], who is attaching one of my medals to my chest, replies.
“Whoever or whatever he is, he’s the king, you know.”
Livia, who helps me get ready, doesn’t change her expression.
While understanding that it was a complaint, she probably responded with a reasoned response.
“If he’s the king, I hope he’s more respectable.”
“Well, that’s true.”
Livia agreed with my opinion with a wry smile.
The king of Horfalt, who is called by many names behind his back —— the foolish king, the lazy, the garbage, the enemy of women, is a hateful existence for the nobles.
If this were a respectable king, there would have been nobles who would have respected him and sworn their allegiance to him.
However, he is a man who pushes his work to the Queen, [Milene Rafa Horfalt], while he himself frequently plays with women in the castle town.
It is unreasonable to ask them to respect him.
And for me, he’s my biggest enemy.
After all, he was the one who kept promoting me when I didn’t want to be promoted.
If this were some kind of misunderstanding, it would be a good thing, but he knows that I don’t want to be promoted.
He has a really bad personality.
Livia checked my medal and nodded a few times when she saw me.
“There you go. Leon-san, you look great.”
“Fine feathers make fine birds is what it is called. I’ll look great if I dress appropriately.”
Shrugging her shoulders, Livia lets out a small sigh of amazement.
“Just be honest and take a compliment once in a while.”
When I look at my reflection in the mirror, I see that I look much better thanks to Livia’s help.
I finished getting dressed faster.
“Thanks to Livia, I’m saving time. It’s hard to wear this thing.”
“Leon-san usually likes to dress in a very simple way. It is not unusual for you to wear only a shirt and pants on some days.”
“I am being raised so.”
“Your parents are all well-behaved, so it’s a personal trait”
——Lately, Livia is being strict with me.
No, all of my fiancées were no longer reserved toward me.
I don’t see that as a bad thing. In fact, I personally favor it.
I just don’t like the idea that they think I’m the only one who’s sloppy.
“Livia doesn’t know the true nature of my father and brother. We Bartfalt men are used to jumping in the lake in our underpants in the summer. It’s the height of crudity.”
When I was a child, I used to jump into the lake naked and play.
Last year Colin was naked, but this year he will have at least some pants ready.
Livia, who had a relaxed attitude earlier, looked away from me and blushed a little.
She seemed to be embarrassed by my story.
“There are women in your family, what are you doing?”
I think of the faces of the women of the Bartfalt family.
Mother, Jenna, and Finley.
But they weren’t the least bit surprised to see the dudes naked in front of them, and all three of them were uninterested.
“They didn’t care. Well, that’s what family is. What about your family, Livia?”
Livia replies with a blush.
“I didn’t have any male siblings, so I don’t have any idea about those circumstances.”
That’s too bad——or not?
Livia brings her held hand to her mouth and clears her throat in an attempt to drown her embarrassment.
“Anyway, the preparations are over. You’re wonderful when you keep quiet, so please keep your mouths shut in the audience chamber.”
That’s some pretty harsh words.
It’s as if I’m a disappointing guy when I open my mouth.
—— With a mischievous mind, I pull myself closer to Livia.
“It’s a shame you thought of me that way. I’m often misunderstood, but I thought Livia knew the real me.”
When I put my hands around her waist and hugged her, Livia suddenly started to panic.
“Le-Leon-san! You’re teasing me, right? Right?!”
“Who knows? What are you talking about?”
She tries to move away as if in trouble in my arms, but her resistance is weak.
Amidst the feigned resistance was the desire not to mess with the knight’s uniform. At the same time, I could see that she was accepting the situation.
As I brought my face closer, Livia stopped moving and closed her eyes.
When she lifted her chin and got into a kissing position——.
[That’s nice, you two! Hold it! Just like that! I’ll capture it on video forever as a record. Don’t worry about me.]
——The one who ruined the mood was [Creare], an artificial intelligence that can’t, or won’t, read the mood.
The sphere floating in the air has a single blue lens like an eye.
A ring is moving inside the lens and seems to be adjusting the zooming in and out.
Hearing Creare’s voice, Livia’s eyelids opened quickly, and her face turned red.
When she turned only her face to Creare, she looked at her shyly and resentfully.
[Ara, you’re embarrassed, so cute~]
Realizing that Creare had been peeking, I hurriedly smooth it over.
“Why are you peeping! Get out now.”
[I was here~. I was here from the beginning~]
Without a hint of remorse, she claims that she was here all along.
Maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to leave this place.
[It’s just that Master and Livia suddenly got into a good mood. This is not peeping.]
“You really are a bunch of talkative artificial intelligences.”
[I’ll take that as a compliment.]
I’m the one who’s losing my patience by Creare’s refusal to respond to anything I say.
Of course, even I hesitate when I hear that it will be on the record.
As I tried to pull away from Livia, my waist was hugged.
Livia, who had been pressing her forehead against my chest when I was puzzled, raises her head and stares at me, looking embarrassed.
Livia looks up at me.
As it was, Livia put her hands around my waist and then put them on my cheeks—— She holds me with both hands.
It was a strength that could be easily shaken off, but strangely enough, I could not resist.
Livia, who is staring at me with moist eyes, tells me shyly.
“Please don’t stop halfway, please finish it.”
When I glanced at Creare, the blue lens was staring at us.
[Livia-chan, you’re so bold!]
I am eager to kick the teasing Creare like a soccer ball, but for now I hold back and look at Livia.
We both blush and bring my lips to Livia’s lips.
“What is that idiot big brother thinking!”
Around that time.
It was [Marie Fou Lafan] who was raising her voice in the school’s girls’ dormitory.
Marie resents her brother from a previous life who does not show up for discussions.
Such Marie’s companion is Leon’s partner, [Luxion]. It is a metallic-colored sphere floating in the air, with a single red lens like an eye.
While in an electronic voice, he is accompanying Marie with a somewhat dismayed tone of voice.
[It can be said that the improvement in his wimp part is growth, but this time he’s getting caught up in the moment. Even now, he is in mucosal contact with Olivia.]
The information brought by Creare makes Marie know about it.
Marie was not happy to hear it.
She did not want to know about her brother’s love life from a previous life.
“Don’t call it mucous! It sounds even more obscene!”
[Understood. Then let me correct it to ‘kissing’.]
“Don’t talk about my brother in such vivid teeeerms!!”
Hearing Marie’s screams, Luxion really seemed to be having a little - fun.
[Marie’s reaction is worth observing.]
“What do you think I am? More importantly, are you going to proceed without aniki?”
In fact, today, the two of them, Leon and Marie —— plus the artificial intelligence, were supposed to be planning future countermeasures.
Marie is troubled by the recent situation.
“The Holy Kingdom of Raschel, right? That’s where they become allies and join forces with the neighboring countries of the kingdom to attack us, right?”
Luxion adds to Marie’s rough explanation.
[They haven’t attacked us yet, though.]
“It’ll come eventually, won’t it?”
[That depends on today’s audience. A messenger from the Holy Kingdom of Raschel will visit the Kingdom of Horfalt and have an audience with King Roland. Master will attend the audience.]
The reason Leon was summoned to the royal palace was because a messenger was coming from the Holy Kingdom of Raschel.
What will the messenger say?
The nobles of the kingdom of Horfalt have taken a strong interest and have come to the royal capital one after another without being asked.
Nobles were flocking to the royal palace.
“I wanted to talk to him before that, but it’s been all women, women, women these days. I don’t think that stupid brother deserve to complain about the king.”
He is always bad-mouthing Roland, who is a womanizer, but recently Leon has also been focusing on his relationships with women.
In particular, he focuses on his fiancées.
[The other party is his fiancées, Angelica, Olivia and Noelle, the three people. So there is no problem.]
“It’s full of problems! At this critical time, he is not even willing to talk to me, saying that he has a date or a tea party, isn’t he!”
Luxion, watching Marie writhing with her head in her hands, was impatiently moving the ring in his red lens.
He recorded Marie’s behavior.
[Are you lonely because your relatives were taken?]
Marie grabs a nearby cushion and throws it at Luxion.
Luxion could have avoided it, but instead chose not to and got hit by the cushion.
Since the damage was not significant, there was no need to avoid it.
[It is important for Master to have a good relationship with his fiancées. Up until now, it’s just been too lousy.]
“I agree with you on that. But it’s strange when he has three fiancées. I mean, it’s a miracle that that brother has three fiancées, right.”
Luxion, hearing that, says to Marie.
[——There are five men trapped by Marie, right?]
Marie screamed cutely, but when she pressed her chest, she collapsed to her knees on the spot in pain.
Her face is bloodshot and her body is shaking.
Marie blamed Leon, but those words bounced back to her and stabbed her in the chest.
“Stop, don’t mention it. I am remorseful. But——But——They all refuse to go away. I want to let them go, but none of them want to leave me!”
Teary-eyed Marie tried to free the five men she had caged, the five capture targets who had once been nobles.
But what did they think, they did not want to leave Marie’s side.
[Let’s stop talking about Marie and get back to the previous subject, shall we? It is true that Master is getting too carried away these days. He puts his fiancée first, and everything else is neglected.]
When Leon is somewhat more relaxed, Luxion says that he is not worth teasing.
Marie raises her head.
“He’s such a pain in the ass, isn’t he? Just when you think he’s gotten less of a wimp, he gets cocky and starts playing with women. He’s going to get stabbed someday. Or rather, he should get stabbed once. Then he’ll wake up.”
[That’s not going to happen.]
[Because I will protect Master’s life.]
Marie looks up at Luxion, her cheeks drawn back.
“——I’m starting to think you’re the most troublesome existence.”
[Troublesome? I don’t understand. I demand an explanation.]
During the audience room of the royal palace.
Sunlight streamed in through the large window panes.
The temperature is controlled by magic, but the surrounding area is full of nobles who have crowded into the royal palace.
The pressure makes me sweat.
But my attention was on the man facing Roland, and I couldn’t care less about sweat.
The elegant man in the suit has his loud voice echoing through the audience chamber.
The theatrical dialogue seemed on the nose, irritating those around him.
“The Holy King of the Holy Kingdom of Raschel- His Majesty the Great is concerned about this situation. The Fiend Knight who has acquired a powerful strength! His unruly behavior is the very source of disturbance to the peace and tranquility of all the nations around the kingdom!”
He glanced at me, who was sitting quietly at the corner of the room.
At that moment, the gaze of many people in the audience is fixed on me.
The gentle man makes a gesture and raises his voice in front of Roland.
“I would like to make a request to His Majesty, the King of the Kingdom of Horfalt. If you want peace, shouldn’t you distribute all the lost items that the Fiend Knight has to other countries?”
Fiend Knight —— Before I know it, it’s become my second name, and I hate that even Raschel calls me this.
Also, I don’t like the idea of them trying to take the Lost Items from me like that.
But I suppose I should hear the story to the end.
I silently checked my surroundings and saw Roland sitting on his throne with a grin on his face.
Seeing me with a bitter look on my face, he looks quite happy.
“Hou, does that mean that the Duke’s Lost Items should be given to another country?”
The seat next to Roland.
The queen’s seat is occupied by Milene-san.
She silently gazed at Raschel’s messenger, but her appearance was full of elegance.
Her unusual cold gaze is like an ice queen.
I felt as if I had shown up at the royal palace, which I did not want to come to, just to see this person.
Aah, she’s so beautiful —— or so I think I have to stop running away from reality now.
Raschel’s messenger took one look at me and flashed a smirk.
“That won’t be enough. You must also give up the Sacred Tree and the Priestess, which you obtained from the Republic of Arzel.”
The audience hall was buzzing at that statement.
The nobles were verbally defending me.
“The priestess is one of the Duke’s fiancées.”
“Offer up your own wife, that’s a big deal.”
“Are you willing to negotiate?”
However, one of the participating nobles——Vince-san of Duke Redgrave, and Ange’s papa was expressionless.
We are now cut ties with Duke Redgrave and have an unfriendly, if not hostile, relationship with them.
It seems that he has no intention of defending me.
The messenger, seeing my silence, continues.
“Why don’t you just keep all your fiancées outside the kingdom? Fiend Knight-dono——No, Leon-dono, all you have to do is go to a foreign country. I’ll let you see your fiancées.”
I couldn’t even speak up at the demand——but I felt my blood boil.
I am told to give up everything and live my life in accordance with Raschel’s liking.
Floating near my right shoulder, the invisible Luxion speaks to me.
The people around me can’t hear it.
[I think they don’t want to negotiate. What trump card does the Holy Kingdom of Raschel have that makes them believe in victory so far?]
The trump card of the Holy Kingdom of Raschel would be the Demonic Armor.
There is a being called the Holy Knight who takes in and manipulates pieces of Demonic Armor.
In exchange for their lives, draw out the power from the Demonic Armor and only once playing an active role on the battlefield and then die.
Their personality is bad because they are even proud of it.
—— However, no matter how many of such Demonic Armor are available, they are meaningless in front of Luxion.
I have fought many times against the Demonic Armor, but Raschel’s Demonic Armor was the weakest.
Finn’s Brave —— Compared to the perfect Demonic Armor, they’re a lousy substitute.
Luxion also asserts, [It can’t be a threat.]
That’s probably why. Luxion hints that Raschel may be preparing a trump card to replace the Demonic Armor.
When I tried to open my mouth, it was Milene-san who moved first.
The reason for the colder-than-usual tone is probably because the country of Raschel is also an enemy of Milene-san’s homeland.
“It’s out of the question. It seems you are not willing to negotiate.”
Hearing Milene-san’s words, the messenger’s eyes glared.
“I think you are the one who doesn’t understand the situation? The military alliance, led by the Holy Kingdom of Raschel, is besieging the Kingdom of Horfalt. No matter how strong Leon-dono is, he will not be able to appear on every battlefield.”
If the Horfalt Kingdom were to be attacked all at once, whether it be Luxion or not, it would cause damage.
But that’s all.
They will cause damage, but in the end I will win.
The problem is the nobles who guard the borders rather than me.
Some of the nobles who flocked to the palace guarded the border.
They all had bitter faces.
Luxion guesses how they feel.
[If they attack all at once, they will be forced to defend themselves alone until I come to their aid, and the Kingdom will not be able to send enough forces to all borders.]
In other words, it was the nobles guarding the borders who would suffer the most harm.
Milene-san says back to the messenger.
“You are being very forceful. Isn’t it Raschel who fears the Duke’s power and is willing to join forces with other countries to overcome this situation that frightens the most of us?”
Milene-san said, “Isn’t it you who are scared?” the messenger’s smile was slightly distorted.
“Shall we give it a try?”
Milene-san says to the messenger.
“Go back and prepare for war.”
When the audience is over, Raschel’s messenger leaves the room.
When the nobles start talking to the people around them as if they were burst out, I use the noise as a cover to converse with Luxion.
“Isn’t Milene-san aware that the borders are at stake? I think she’s being a bit brave, or maybe she should consider the feelings of those around her?”
In answer to my question, Luxion says somewhat confidently.
[I’m sure she is aware of it. Is she ignoring them on purpose?]
“No way Milene-san would do such a thing”
[Does Master’s trust in Milene come from lust?]
I looked at the throne and saw Milene-san looking at me.
However, I don’t feel the cuteness that usually overflows there, even if it is hidden.
She gave me a slight smile, but her expression seemed somewhat cold.
After the audience with the messenger.
I was approached by a knight of the royal court and led straight to another room.
It was a room decorated with luxurious furnishings, but with practicality taking precedence over decoration.
The parlor looks much more luxurious.
I was called to such a room, and I remembered that I had visited there before.
“Ah~, here, huh. I’ve been here a few times.”
As I recall, Luxion earnestly adds.
[This is the room that Master used when you were appointed Commander-in-Chief in the war against the Principality, isn’t it.]
While chatting with Luxion, I turn my gaze to Milene-san, who called me.
I thought I might offend her with my rude attitude, but she was still smiling.
Sitting in a chair, covering her mouth with her right hand, Milene-san reminisces about the past.
“The Duke did a tremendous achievement at that time. We look forward to another successful performance against Raschel this time.”
While her tone is polite and gentle, she sounds somewhat distant.
Scratching the back of my head with my hand, I talk to Milene-san about the future.
“From the look of the messenger, is it difficult to negotiate?”
“I doubt that they intend to negotiate in the first place. They want to go around saying that the kingdom of Horfalt has kicked down the road to a peaceful resolution.”
Despite their outrageous demands, Raschel seems to want to be in the position of “We have proposed a peaceful solution!”.
It’s an unbelievable talk from my point of view, but it’s true that they negotiated to avoid war.
——And it is true that the kingdom kicked against it.
To a third party who does not know the details, it is possible that the Kingdom of Horfalt will look bad.
It’s a very dirty trick, but it’s the world we live in.
I ask Milene-san for a solution.
“Frankly, I don’t want a major war. If there is a way to minimize the damage, I would like to know.”
The nature of Milene-san’s smile changed when I mentioned that I wanted to borrow some wisdom from the queen who has been in charge of the kingdom of Horfalt.
She starts talking as if to say, “I’ve been waiting for it”.
“Raschel is the only threat to our current neighbors. In other words, once Raschel is contained, the rest of the countries are nothing more than a mere rabble.”
Indeed, no country other than the Holy Kingdom of Raschel is large enough to go to war with the Kingdom of Horfalt alone.
The former Principality of Fannos, which we fought in the past —— And the current Duke Fannos is a big part of it, too, if you look at the surrounding countries.
——Duke Fannos, huh.
“Do you think Duke Fannos is among the enemy Alliances?”
When I ask out of curiosity, Milene-san lets out a small sigh.
“If things happen, there is a high possibility that they will join them. I’m sure they would rather be independent than continue to follow Horfalt kingdom.”
For Duke Fannos, who lost the war and are being forced to pay huge reparations, the Kingdom of Horfalt is not their ally.
Until a few years ago, we were enemies who fought fiercely against each other.
If given the chance, they are likely to switch sides and become the enemy.
I put my hand on my chin and speak my mind.
“Then, should I beat the Holy Kingdom of Raschel and bring down the Alliance?”
My suggestion was too simple, and Milene-san looked at me in surprise.
But she immediately broke out in a smile and started laughing aloud.
I scratch my cheek with my finger and Milene-san apologizes.
“I’m sorry. It’s just too simple and obvious also funny. ——That’s right. The Duke has that option.”
It is a solution that ordinary people would not have chosen in the first place.
It’s only because I have Luxion that I can talk about such a stupid strategy.
Milene-san’s expression turned serious.
“If we destroy Raschel immediately, it will prove that the Duke’s power is dangerous. If that happens, there’s a good chance the Empire will make its move.”
Upon hearing the word “empire,” Luxion faithfully tells the official name of the country.
“The Holy Magic Empire of Voldenowa —— a country with ties to the Holy Kingdom of Raschel.”
From there, Milene-san explains.
“It is a superpower, more powerful than the Kingdom of Horfalt. Even the Republic of Arzel is no match for the Empire.”
Finn and Mia-chan’s hometown.
If such a country decides I’m a threat and invades, it will be troublesome.
Even if they don’t invade separately, the Empire can take the lead and blame the kingdom of Horfalt from all sides.
If we are not careful, the world will truly become our enemy.
A battle with the Empire, which seems to possess perfect demonic armor, would likely not go unscathed, even with Luxion’s power.
No, we are not careful——.
“It would be bad to make enemies of the Empire, wouldn’t it?”
When I confirm this, Milene-san nods and answers immediately.
After hearing all this, Luxion looked like annoyed.
[If we destroy them along with the Empire, the problem will be solved.]
It’s a solution that’s very much like this guy, but I don’t want to hurt even people who have nothing to do with me for my sake.
“Don’t even joke about it.”
[——Honestly, you don’t want to destroy even Raschel, do you? You are too soft, Master.]
As I and Luxion glared at each other, Milene-san clapped her hands to get our attention.
She smiles and nods her head slightly.
“I have a very special plan for the Duke.”
Milene-san leaves her seat.
Because of her position, she was against the windowpane, but the light shining through it cast a shadow on Milene-san’s figure, making it appear dimly lit.
In such a situation, Milene-san’s smile looks devilish, so please don’t do it.
“The Duke shall take me and Erika towards Marquis Fraser.”