I suddenly realised that the way he spoke to me was vaguely familiar. He spoke like his father, and yet it felt strange. I wondered if it was because their auras were similar or if it was because they spoke the same.
I pondered as I walked down a deserted corridor.
I suddenly saw a familiar face. The girl who was walking down the corridor across from the courtyard was Feyria Roguesia.
Next to her was a boy who looked nothing like Viscount Agren. The two were walking intimately next to each other while paying attention to their surroundings.
Suddenly, Feyria’s gaze found me. Her eyes widened and she ran down the corridor and the boy next to her quickly chased after her.
――― What was that? I felt an emotion similar to irritation and just as I was about to chase after them…
I reflexively swept the hem of my coat as the owner of the voice approached me from behind. I turned my body and jumped about two steps away, then removed the hand that was extending to my shoulder with a cloth.
The owner of the hand shrieked. I avoided them, but although my actions were light, they could be seen as an attack.
“… Oh, I’m sorry, Lorenzorell! I was taken by surprise ――― it’s a habit from being on the battlefield. I’m sorry.”
I felt like I was breaking out in cold sweat. I really did move on reflex. It seems that the spinal reflex against surprise attacks that was drilled into me by Gunter had deeply ingrained themselves into my bones.
Sieghart, Marquis Lorenzorell’s grandson, blinked and looked at me as he clutched his right hand which had been brushed away.
“I-it’s alright… I’m sorry to have startled you, Earl Einsbark. It was a great move… as I would have expected from someone who fought alongside grandfather.”
“It’s absurd to compare me to the Commanding General. I was only running errands. The fief army I led was also small and was barely the size of a royal army battalion.”
I wasn’t being humble as I told this to the serious Sieghart. The Commanding General’s grandson seemed to have understood my words and nodded.
“But I heard you played an active role in the war.”
“Yes, thanks to your grandfather, my foster father and his brother, I was able to play an active role.”
“I see. That’s fine since war isn’t something you can do alone.”
I see, I can catch a glimpse of the education given to someone in the Lorenzorell House. I was a little relieved to hear that.
A lot of people had been treating me strangely after I returned to the capital.
I was treated like a hero ――― which was a bit intense and had been praised unnecessarily.
As Sieghart had said, war wasn’t something to be waged alone. Even when I acted alone, there were dozens, hundreds and even thousands of people who had carried out their missions.
There weren’t many in the Academy who understood this. That was why I felt a little disappointed. If Sieghart wasn’t a close aide of the Crown Prince ――― and had he not been a character in the otome game, then I would have loved to be his friend.
“I see you’re not with the Crown Prince today.”
“Yeah, His Highness Alfred has a bit of political work to do today… Well, I think he’s not feeling well right now.”
I raised my eyebrow at the last words he had added in a hush tone. It wasn’t a good thing for the Crown Prince to be in poor health.
Unlike the dreamlike otome fantasy in my previous life, there are many people who lose their lives from colds here. Although there are a few superstitious medicines in Arxia, there aren’t many effective medicines or treatments for diseases.
“I see. I’m a little worried.”
“Of course. What vassal wouldn’t be worried about their future King?”
If anything, that was all… Alfred was the only prince left in this kingdom. Prince Albert had been sent to the convent and couldn’t attend the Academy, and he had even been the cause of the war, so he wouldn’t be able to become the Crown Prince even if Alfred died.
“… Yes, in any case, it means that I can feel joy from seeing His Highness’s healthy face from afar.”
“What’s with that? That sounds really fishy.”
Sieghart laughed as if he couldn’t hold it in.
“Enough about that. What is it you want?”
He hadn’t stopped me for no reason. When I asked him what he wanted, Sieghart reverted to his serious expression and said, “Oh,” as if he had just remembered why he had called out to me.
“I’d like you to do sword training with me this afternoon.
“… Oh. Sure, but me…?”
This was the first sword training session at the Academy since I entered. The girls observe, but the male students and those who have peerage must attend, therefore I also have to attend. Even though we were required to attend the training session in pairs, I always assumed that the Commanding General’s grandson would be paired with one of three good friends, so I was greatly surprised.
“… Alfred is on holiday and Grace is accompanying him. Eric also has official duties to perform in the afternoon… Well, Eric didn’t train from the start.”
A dry laugh escaped from both our lips. I also knew that Eric wasn’t athletic since I went with him to Jugfena Fortress.
“Of course, I’m also interested in you. None of the other students have any real combat experience except for you.”
“Oh, I see. Alright.”
I quickly nodded at Sieghart who was laughing boldly after he had said that his curiosity was piqued.
It’s his blood. He looks calm but he’s also a member of the Lorenzorell House. In other words, he’s Claudia’s blood relative.
“Then, meet me in front of the arena five minutes before training starts.”
I said as I glanced at the corridor across from the courtyard for a moment. Of course, Feyria wasn’t there anymore, and I no longer wanted to follow after her.
I held my rapier horizontally with the edge of the blade set towards the throat of the Commanding General’s grandson.
I usually used wide swords so my skills with a rapier was really limited to what I had learnt.
In contrast, Sieghart, the Commanding General’s grandson, who held his rapier gracefully in front of him, was given special education in the arts of the rapier, a court sword technique, in order to join the Imperial Guards in the future.
“Here I come.”
“By all means.”
The fight between rapiers was a high-speed battle.
Sieghart’s sword was gradually aiming for my weak spots as he said, “Here I come,” and he didn’t rush at me straight away.
Even though a rapier was light, it took a lot of muscle strength to hold a stance. If we continue to stare at each other like this, then I would be at a disadvantage because of my inferior strength. I rushed forward while thinking that.
My rapier was repelled and avoided its still shaking point. I dodged and counter attacked. I continued striking while trying to maintain my distance. My sword let out a clung even though it had been mangled. I brushed away the tip of the sword which was aimed at my shoulders with my coat hem, distanced myself and regained my posture.
… He really is the heir to this Kingdom’s top military family.
His sword form is flawless. It was evident that he knew how to use his sword.
“Your movements are clean, Lorenzorell.”
“I’ve been practicing for a while now, after all!”
I avoided the tip of his sword as he thrusted it at me and used my own sword tip to repel his sword. It was the way of the Imperial Swordsmanship to repel his attack and step back, ――― but I reflexively aimed for his heart.
A harsh metallic sound echoed in the air. Sieghart, who had more strength than me, put more strength into his rapier which was crossed with mine. I stopped resisting and pulled back, which caused him to lose his footing.
I stepped forward diagonally again to make him fall faster, ――― then parried my rapier with Sieghart’s and swung down from the top.
The force behind my attack caused the Commanding General’s grandson to fall face-first onto the thick mat. As he was putting both his hands on the floor to stop his fall on reflex and I was aiming the tip of my rapier at his back, the instructor shouted, “That’s enough!”
Sieghart is the grandson of the Commanding General and his skill with the sword was probably the best at the Academy.
“Then why couldn’t I win…?”
The grandson groaned. He had lost all five fights and was sitting there slumped with mental exhaustion.
“Perhaps the difference between us is actual combat experience.”
The grandson attacks with beautiful and honest strikes but I do not. The amount of force I needed to use when locking swords with someone, how to pull back, striking timing and how to aim for the opponent’s weak spot, ――― I had cultivated all these skills in actual battle, so I was a very bad matchup for Sieghart who wielded his sword in a pattern.
“Don’t worry, Sieghart will win against me in the practice tournament. And perhaps in time, I won’t be able to win against you with the sword.”
Sieghart’s physique was similar to mine right now, but once he goes through his growth period, he will be stronger and faster than me, and will probably get ahead of me in terms of skill.
I said that to encourage him, but he was staring at me for some reason. I wonder if he’s listening to what I’m saying.
“… That sounds kind of nice.”
“When you called me Sieghart. I’m sure His Highness Alfred will be jealous, but I prefer you call me that rather than calling me Lorenzorell.”
Apparently, he hadn’t listened to what I had said.
“Earl Einsbark, you know a lot of people from the Lorenzorell House, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do…? Well, not a lot of people from the Lorenzorell House, but I do know a few…”
The Lorenzorell House, a prestigious noble military house, is a rather large family. I am acquainted with quite a few people from that house: Claudia, and her father, Viscount Lorenzorell, the Commanding General, Marquis Lorenzorell and his son, Earl Lorenzorell and his son, Sieghart…
“See. It’s also a little confusing for me to call you Einsbark.”
“Hah… I’m fine with being called Kaldia as well. I’ve already told the Crown Prince this.”
“I see, then I’ll call you Kaldia. So, you can call me Sieghart too.”
I don’t understand why he said ‘so’, but I couldn’t hit away the hand that was presented to me like I had this morning.
I wasn’t satisfied with this because I didn’t feel gratitude towards him like I had with Eric.
I was reluctant in my mind, but I had no choice but to take his hand so that he wouldn’t realise I was reluctant.