「Are you not tired standing like that? Take a seat. 」
While saying the same line as Nicole, Rai took his seat on a three person sofa.
「Here, there are spaces here. 」
He prompted Kyrill to sit beside him as his bottom hit the seat.
「Eh, ah…… but 」
Not understanding what to do, Kyrill’s gaze continued to swim.
However, having settled their minds already, Ardis and Marrieda both sat on a sofa directly opposite to Nicole’s.
It was only Kyrill and Ellenoa who were still standing in the room, but Kyrill who read the good mood soon raised the white flag.
After heaving a small sigh, he sat beside Rai with slight hesitation.
「Here, Ellenoa too. 」
「B-But…… Your Highness……」
「There’s no need to be reserved at this point. 『I just so happened to be born in a noble family』, wasn’t that what you said? 」
Rai smilingly suggested the same was of him, as it just so happened that Rai himself was born into a royal family.
「T-That……, that’s certainly what I said, but……」
Rather than treating him remotely familiar, the classmate she used to treat roughly was now revealed to be a crown prince. She was probably still too shaken by the truth.
As if she had forgotten her usual unyielding spirit somewhere, Ellenoa was suddenly as docile as a cat in unfamiliar grounds.
「Ellenoa, just give up and take a seat. 」
「Kyrill…… that’s why you are……」
Unable to resist any longer, Ellenoa finally gave up and sat beside Rai, but not before throwing a hateful stare towards Kyrill.
「Hahahah! It’s been a while since the three of us have been together! 」
While laughing refreshingly, Rai was hitting Kyrill and Ellenoa’s back.
Kyrill showed a troubled smile, while Ellenoa seemed to have finally accepted the situation as she started to speak towards Rai more frankly.
After considerable discussion, she asked a condemning question.
「So what happened for you to hide your identity as a crown prince and go study in another country? 」
Although Rai’s classmates questioned him with a gazing glance, someone else responded for him.
「May I offer my foolish guess. I believe it was because he learned from a bad example of a relative. 」
While serving enough tea for everyone, Samuel said this while putting the cup in front of Ellenoa.
「Oi, I can hear that, Samuel. 」
「It’s not that you can hear, but I made sure to have you hear it, Your Highness. 」
Despite Nicole’s tone of complaint, Samuel returned his words without mercy.
「Respectfully, wasn’t it a certain brother of the king that fanned the idea of hiding one’s identity and studying abroad in another country to the crown prince, saying that 『It’s more interesting that way』? 」
「I don’t want to hear anything from the guy that arranged the paperwork for Rai to study abroad and be accommodated while everyone opposed it. 」
「I was only following the will of His Highness the Crown Prince. In the first place, the dissenting voices were only barks from close-minded nobles, or nobles who were eager to have their daughters get to know His Highness. Their Majesties the King and Queen had both considered it an opportunity to widen one’s views after all. But well……」
A slight bitter smile showed on Samuel’s face.
「It did not come to our mind that the Nagras Kingdom would mobilize the students not long after the war started……」
Ardis was completely on board with this.
Just mobilizing the students that early was already unexpected, and who would even expect a foreign crown prince was among the students that were mobilized?
Likely having the same thoughts as Ardis, Ellenoa stated her opinion clearly.
「To mobilize a foreign prince as a student into the battlefield, it was destined to be a diplomatic problem. 」
「Really, even I didn’t expect they would mobilize the academy’s students that quickly, hahahah! 」
「It’s not something to laugh at! 」
Ellenoa replied angrily to Rai, who was laughing at something that could have gone horribly wrong.
「I heard that was a particularly rough time in Calves? Being almost dragged onto the battlefield after having their crown prince involved in a foreign country’s war. 」
Saying this, Nicole who was still Marrieda’s bodyguard in Reiten at the time smiled bitterly.
It seems like he had panickily contacted Calves after the news arrived at Reiten, but Rai departed from the capital of Gran with Kyrill and the others few days later, so there wasn’t anything they could do.
「There was no peace for me. Even if it was His Majesty who gave the permission for His Highness to study abroad in the end, the person who instilled――, suggested this was His Highness the King’s Brother. On top of that, the person in question was living a wandering lifestyle as usual, only sending letters back home few times a year. Then the blame circled here and it landed on me――」
「If you want to tell a good story about yourself, at least do it better. 」
Ignoring Nicole who interrupted in the middle, Samuel continued.
「It is thanks to Countless Swords Sorcerer-dono that my head is still connected today. I cannot be more thankful to you for saving His Highness the Crown Prince. As a citizen of Calves, or even on a more personal level, thank you so much. 」
Seeing Samuel bowing, Ardis responded with a humble diplomatic tone.
「I have done no more than fight on the battlefield as a mercenary. It is pure coincidence that it became like that. 」
「There is no need to be humble towards my lowly self. 」
As Samuel said this with a slightly surprised face, Ardis looked a little troubled.
「Even if you say so…… aren’t you a noble too? 」
「Oh no, this lowly self is only a small pebble far from the main faction thanks to a certain king’s brother. There’s no need to be reserved with me. 」
「Is it a disease that you can’t speak without dissing me somehow? 」
Nicole interjected, but Samuel’s expression was cold in response.
「What could you mean? Thinking about all the troubles that Your Highness has granted me, a little dissing is nothing to be compared. Your Highness said to me 『You will be my comrade in adventuring! 』 after granting me the position of a confidant when young. However, after pulling this unwilling lowly self along and escaping the castle, it didn’t stop at you just looking around the town, but you found a group of burglars, and then declared 『I will punish you』, dragging this lowly self into a fist fight, and finally getting yourself arrested by the patrolling knights for the ruckus. I wonder who was that certain king’s brother――」
「……That’s enough. I get it already. 」
Probably unable to endure his black history being revealed by Samuel, Nicole threw in the towel and waved his hands to put Samuel’s words to a stop.
Even though Samuel had just largely dissed Nicole, he seemed to know when to stop, and shut up for real.
All things considered, Nicole was still part of this country’s royalty, and even the king’s brother.
Both of them had gotten close and been together since they were young, but there was still a line to be drawn.
Come to think of it, their plans to Calves had gone smoothly, but now Ardis knew why.
It was ridiculous to even have thought about doubting Nicole’s connections.
Moore thought Nicole was 「Probably the third son of a noble family somewhere」, but the reality was, he was not just some noble, he was the king’s brother.
Because it was the king’s brother that had brought the news directly to the king, it was natural for the formalities to proceed quickly.
Ardis recalled Nicole mentioning 『Big brother』 and 『Eldest son』 when he had left Glock.
Certainly, Nicole hadn’t been lying at that time.
It’s just that his big brother was someone with the title of majesty, and as if he were peeved by this prank, Ardis’s voice carried some displeasure.
「Big brother, siblings, and family, right?……. Could it be, this grandiose castle is what Nicole considers『home』? 」
「Ou, now that you’ve said it, that is certainly the case. How is it? It’s pretty wide, right? 」
It’s not on the level of just pretty wide, but it was not like Ardis to point that out.
「So, that big brother you mentioned……」
「My eldest brother is working as the king. Second brother is the overseeing chief in the army, and my third brother is the head of all bureaucrats. 」
Samuel then casually joined the conversation between Ardis and Nicole.
「The fourth one is then the person that has terrible wandering habits and likes acting as a mercenary, causing worry for His Majesty. 」
「Acting, what acting. I’m really an upright mercenary, I tell you. 」
「That’s even worse. Even if you are the fourth prince, someone of royal blood should not want to become a mercenary that simply…… 」
The confidant that didn’t seem confidant-like was fake crying over his master.
「Who would want to entertain idiots that only see what they want to see? 」
「Come to think of it, didn’t His Majesty order you to show enough proof to convince those idiots? 」
As Samuel was completely out of his sad atmosphere and changed the topic, Minerva who had silently been watching their interaction responded.
「Was there any trouble?」
「Well, a little……」
Nicole had a difficult expression as he scratched his hair.
「Forming an alliance with Wisteria Kingdom itself is something my brother agrees on…… but there are complaints from the nobles who say that there is no need for an alliance with a country that hasn’t even declared its foundation yet. Personally, I believe it is preferable to join hands, even if it is with a minor ally, to resist than to be crushed after being alone without assistance but……」
「The dissenting voices were especially strong in the army. They were saying that the alliance was only going to hold them down. 」
Samuel added onto Nicole’s explanation.
「Holding them down, is it……」
Their concerns are understandable.
It is hard to say that Ardis and the others are militarily strong, as for Calves, they were probably thought of as a new force wanting to take advantage of the chaos.
It can’t be blamed that the army is skeptical of their strength from that existing prejudice.
「Can’t what happened just now be enough? 」
The soldiers on the walls should’ve seen what happened before Ardis entered Calves.
If they did, there wouldn’t be anyone doubting their strength.
However, Nicole replied in a mutter, appearing very apologetic.
「But even I can do that much……」
Nicole can be considered a force to be reckoned with in this world.
Certainly, if it is him, that previous situation wasn’t anything he would be troubled with.
Ardis didn’t even use any attack magic, and even his sword magic was hidden.
It was undeniable that Ardis would be underestimated because he only looked like a normal cavalry from afar, making him seem only slightly more capable than the average soldier.
「That is unfortunate. So? What should I do? 」
As if he had given up, Ardis sighed and asked Nicole.
「Should I just go chase away the enemies camping on the hill? 」
「If you can do that, then I’m sure they can’t say anything, but that’s going too far. It is enough to just participate in the defense battle and show off your strength. 」
It was Minerva who reacted to Nicole’s answer.
「Defense battle? Your Highness means to say that the enemy on the hill is going on the offensive soon? 」
「It is enough to just call me Nicole in an unofficial setting, Minerva-jou. To answer your question, yes that’s correct. From their standpoint, although they don’t know who, the fact is that that they’ve let outsiders pass and enter the city. That should have given them some pressure to want to find out what is happening. It has already been three days since their last attempt, so they should be coming to disturb us again soon. 」
After explaining, Nicole returned his gaze to Ardis.
「And so, Ardis. Sorry for the trouble, but can you let off a flashy attack during the defense battle? If possible, do the same one that Rai saw during the war with the Empire. 」
「Make a clear performance for the ones inside Calves, you mean? 」
「That’s right. 」
Since Calves is already in a state of war, Ardis already intended to take advantage of the chaos and participate in battle.
Now on top of that, hearing how it will be needed for their alliance, there’s no reason for him to refuse.
「Alright, since it’s necessary, a very flashy one――」
Riana, who had been keeping quiet until now, suddenly called him, tugging on Ardis’s sleeves as he was ready to make his promise.
「What is it Riana? 」
As Ardis prompted at the unexpected interjection, Riana showed a gaze full of determination.
「About that, let me do it. 」