Around the time when the autumn season was about to end.
Early snow had already begun to fall, and after another month, snowscape would become the norm.
“Then, let me explain it once again.”
Ninim speaks toward Wayne who was looking at outside scenery which soon would be covered by snows.
“Louwellmina Azworld is the second imperial princess. The Emperor who died had three princes and two princesses, with a total of five children, she is the youngest. According to the official record, her age is the same as ours. She was rarely seen in the imperial court, and also rarely seen coming to a party. However, the person in question is a beautiful girl, many said that whenever she attended a party, she would always gain many gentlemen attention…”
“That sounds like a fairy instead of a person…”
“I agree… But there are a lot of nobles who are passionate about her, it does seem to not just an illusion. The most famous among them would be the son of Earl Rubit or Marquis Antogadar.”
“They are rumored to be a hardcore playboy whose rumors even reached Natra. And yet, the princess didn’t fall for them. —Also, Ninim this cloth is really uncomfortable…”
“Endure it, please. You will be welcoming an Imperial family member, that’s why you have to dress up appropriately.”
Wayne who plays around with his necktie was properly dressed. As Ninim had said, they were currently preparing to welcome Princess Louwellmina who will arrive today.
“Also, the Empire is right now in the midst of a political struggle between the three princes… But it seems the princess has distanced herself from political conflict. That was why the imperial princess proposal this time had caused them to fall into confusion.”
“Which mean this marriage was not the ploy of those princes, huh? I’m getting more suspicious of it now… By the way, did one of the princes factions tried to stop it?”
“They seem wanted to stop it, but unfortunately, only the Emperor who had the authority to stop it. And since right now the seat is vacant…”
“No one could stop the princess huh?”
“Since they wanted to arrive here before the start of winter, they have to rush their schedule, their real intention seems to be that if they didn’t move as soon as possible, the struggle might get resolved during winter, and the princess won’t be able to move…”
“Whatever the princess intention is, she only has this timing as the window huh? But, I never thought that the Empire has not yet calmed down…”
Almost half a year had passed since the Emperor’s death. That said, Wayne was surprised that they hadn’t decided who going to be the next Emperor yet. Even Wayne who was a foreigner thought that the Empire’s people must’ve been very anxious.
“Their factional rivalry seems to be quite severe huh? The subordinate regions are also dispersed and supported one of the three princes.”
“Did you know that each of the factions had started to purchase weapons?”
“Yes I’ve heard, if they stay as it is, civil war would be inevitable. If one of the prince side with another one, everything would be over but, I guess with the throne in front of their eyes, that seems to be impossible.”
“If it’s me, I would hand over my throne to the person who is able to do the job better than me.”
“Only Wayne would think like that.”
Hearing that response, Wayne shrugged his shoulders.
“In any case, the Empire’s turmoil is not going to end soon…”
Wayne who speaks such a complain, showed a wry smile. Without knowing why he smiled, Ninim tilted her head…
“No, I thought those guys must have a hard time over there…” -=TLN: He’s using the very rude word ‘Aitsura’.
“T-Those guys you said…”
“I’m talking about those three we spent time together in the military academy.”
‘Ah…’ Ninim then consented as if she remembered something.
When Ninim and Wayne studied aboard in the Empire for about two years, they both had to hide their social position.
Because his father, the King, had fallen ill, he needs to return back home and withdrawn from the academy before he manages to graduate. During their stay there, they had managed to make three close acquaintance.
Their name was Glenn, Strang, and Lova.
“If they properly work, Glenn would’ve joined the Imperial Army by now, and Strang would’ve returned to his hometown and work as a bureaucrat… I guess both of them would be worried as to what would happen to the Empire.”
“Then what about Lova?”
“Since she is a member of the nobility, I would like to say that she should be worried as well but, since she said she would return to her home in the countryside, among the three, only her who seems to be the most unrelated…”
Ninim then smiled…
“Unexpectedly, due to the Empire’s current situation, she might actually suffer the same fate as Wayne? Moving around in confusion due to a marriage proposal?”
“Lova having marriage proposal? Is there even a man who wants to marry such a troublesome fellow?”
“Even though she was like that, she was pretty popular at the academy, you know? She’s beautiful and is skillful at hiding her true character. Well, though thanks to those problem children being close to us, there was no one who tried to get close to us…”
“And now that the one who acts as breakwater is gone, the men would get deceived by her. It is their own fault for not having discerning eyes but, I do sympathize with the man who would marry her.”
Hearing Wayne’s remark, Ninim sighed.
“To think you would say such a word about her… If you asked me, I think you and Lova are pretty similar, you know?”
“Me and Lova? Are you blind or something?”
“You both are good at hiding one own’s character, always thinking about your own self first, always behave in a surprising way, despite it is your own work, you always drag other with you, and also…”
“Wait a moment, then that means Ninim think that I am an overconfident bastard who is good at hiding my own character and always involve others?”
“Yes, that is what I believe, so?”
“Such a thing is…”
Wayne then thinks back on his action.
And he was unable to refute her remark.
Suddenly, someone knocked on the office’s door. It was one of the government official working in the Royal Palace.
“Her Highness, Princess Louwellmina has arrived from the Empire…”
Wayne and Ninim then looked at each other.
“Yes. Let us go, your highness.”
Wayne and Ninim then left the room.
Their destination was the palace entrance. If they listen properly, they could hear the noise coming from the distance.
Then the two people arrive at the entrance. The unfamiliar group was lined up in front of them. They were the Empire’s delegation.
At the center was a girl wearing a dress while hiding her face with a thin veil.
“– Welcome to the Natra Kingdom.”
As he stepped his foot into the hall and raised his voice, everyone from the delegation mission gazed at Wayne.
Some of them looked cautious, some of them appraising him, some of them also looking down at him due to his young age. Such a gaze mixed into one and become a pressure that pierced Wayne. If he was ordinary people, he would’ve already run away.
But Wayne went toward the girl in the middle with slow steps while taking the pressure as if it was just a gentle breeze.
“I would like to greet all of you on behalf of my father. My name is Wayne Salema Albarest, the regent of this country.”
“… Louwellmina Azworld.”
A dignified voice comes out from the girl’s mouth.
Her voice sounds like a precious stone being rolled. Even the government officials in the surrounding could not help but held their breath.
Wayne who heard her voice was the only one who reacted differently.
It was definitely a beautiful voice. But somehow, he felt her voice was familiar…
“What’s wrong? Wayne-sama?”
“Ah, no, I’m very sorry. It seems my heart has flown away due to your highness beautiful voice. … Somehow it feels mysterious but also familiar… Perhaps, we’ve met somewhere?”
Even so, no matter how hard he flipped his memories upside down, the memory of him meeting a princess didn’t come out.
Perhaps, it was his misunderstanding and he was sure that she would’ve denied it too…
“— Oh my, you’ve noticed unexpectedly fast…”
In front of Wayne who leaked a dumb voice, the Imperial Princess takes off the thin veil covering her face.
There he saw a beautiful girl face.
It was the face of someone that Wayne and Ninim familiar with.
“It has been a while eh? Wayne…”
Louwellmina Azworld or Lova Felvis whispered those words in a voice that only Wayne could hear.
“Nuaaaaah! Why?! Why did you win?!”
A scream could be heard from the opened classroom.
Inside there were three boys and one girl.
The four of them were surrounding a large desk, on the desk, the symbol of terrain was being drawn, and there were several pieces on the table imitating soldiers. Those were teaching tools for conducting the military exercise.
“Thirty-two battles, thirty-two defeats… I, who is going to become a proud imperial army soldier, to think I would show this kind of disgraceful sight, uoooooooooh~…”
The one who shouted earlier had a particularly the biggest body among the four, the name of the boy was Glenn.
“You’re useless, Glenn, you’ve been making the same move and mistakes since earlier…”
Sitting opposite of Glenn was a boy with a thin body, his name was Strang.
“If you lost when using a brute force then try using another way of fighting. Sometimes it might good to stick with your own way but, if you don’t make progress because of that then it is the same as being lazy. And just like that, two thousand soldiers died due to your fixation, you know?”
“I know that, and besides, you’re the beast who laugh the most when my comrades are dying, Strang!”
“No, even a beast would learn something if they failed more than thirty times, now you’re less than that…”
The third boy who had been listening to them— Wayne, opened his mouth.
“Hahaha… You’re truly a crap Glenn. Was that bloodline of yours just a mere decoration?”
“Wayne, you bastard! I won’t let you insult my family you know?!”
“Oi oi— You’re the one who put the mud on yourself, it was never my fault…”
“Khuu… You bastard, is it really fun to put shame on me like that?!”
“You bastards, aaaaaaaargh!”
The three boys continued to create noise. Ninim who was a bit away from them was looking at them with a smile on her face. This was the everyday scene of these four people in the imperial academy.
“Now that it’s come to this, Wayne, let us duel, get out!”
“Eeeh~, since he could not win using this, the proud soldier decided to use duel in which he is good at huh?”
But then Strang cut Wayne’s words…
“No no Wayne, avoiding a battle that he could not win and defeating his enemy with what he best at, that is a good strategy, no? After all, pride could only grow with a victory.”
“As if I care about that, but then again, if this is counted as tactics, then I don’t have to respond, no?”
Strang nodded his head in a grandiose manner.
“Well, your opponent is Glenn after all, I can understand why Wayne feel nervous…”
“After all, you’re someone with top results from all subjects, and you’re facing an opponent that might make you kiss the ground for the first time…”
“But well, it can’t be helped, it is a tactic to avoid your own inadequacy and not to lose…”
“What is this bastard saying! There’s no way I feel nervous! Just where did you heard such false information?! Against Glenn, I can beat him with just one shot!”
“Oho, you said it, Wayne! But, let me tell you, even after 100 years, your puny swordsman skill won’t reach me!”
“I will be able to reach you! Back then, that happens because I was careless, but if I’m serious, I can beat you—!”
At that time, Ninim, who was quietly watching the three of them opened her mouth.
“What is it, Ninim? You’re not going to tell me to quit because I may lose, right?”
“I’ll be grateful if someone defeated you and break your nose instead, so I won’t stop it…”
As Ninim pointed out with her finger, Wayne followed the direction where she pointed.
A girl stood near the entrance of the classroom.
He remembers her. She was a student of the same academy as them. But they were not acquainted with her. –
“Do you need anything?”
Wayne speaks on behalf of everyone.
The girl then answered after looking at everyone.
“It’s because I’m interested in all of you, so, would you mind if I visited?”
Wayne and the others then looked at each other.
“I don’t think there’s something interesting here though?”
“That is not true.”
The girl then walked toward Wayne with a light gait.
“Rumors said this place had the collection of the academy’s ‘problem children’. And after seeing the exchange between you people, I immediately know, that you guys are interesting…”
Wayne distorted his lips.
“I think a person who sees another people as interesting the moment they met for the first time is either, that person must be a rotten bastard, or someone who misunderstood themselves as a superior person, what do you think?”
The girl who heard Wayne’s verbal abuse, instead of being frightened, she smiled…
“I totally agree. But, I would like to add that, there was sometimes a case where the person was indeed more superior than the rest…”
“… I see. You are interesting.”
Wayne laughed. Then he offered his right hand.
“My name Wayne. A humble commoner.”
“Lova Felvis. The only daughter of a poor rural noble household.”
Wayne Salema Albarest and Louwellmina Azworld.
That was the day when the two royalty met each other for the first time, by lying at each other.