On the way home. It was the birthday celebration of a child who had just become a pre-adult, so the celebrations ended a little after dusk. I took an unpopular street on my way home.
“Huh? Isn’t that Margrave Freche’s youngest son?”
Claudia, who was looking out the window of the carriage, suddenly said.
“… Are you acquainted with Margrave Freche?”
“Nope, not at all. It’s just that one of his sons was a classmate of mine and I once attended the Freche’s evening party because of that. I saw him then.”
Claudia said and I pursed my lips together feeling unconvinced. She’s catastrophically bad at remembering people’s names, so how is it that she remembers the face of someone who she hadn’t seen in years and isn’t even an acquaintance? … Sometimes at the back of my mind, I think that Claudia is a terribly irrational person.
I had no direct connection with Margrave Freche, but I do have a certain connection with Freche fief, since I trade horses with Luctfeld. If we become more vigilant against foreign nations in the future, then I will have more relations with them.
With that thought in mind, I peeked out the window to catch a glimpse of Margrave Freche’s youngest son.
In the direction Claudia was looking was a boy around the age of an adult, and next to him was a girl. They were holding hands intimately. The two of them suddenly looked our way, perhaps because they had sensed our gazes on them.
The face of the girl was all too familiar.
Lady Feyria Roguesia, the person who was at the vortex of my troublesome problem, was foolishly enjoying a date with a man who wasn’t her fiancé.
“… Lady Feyria.”
I couldn’t help but say in a stunned voice since she looked too unguarded and unapologetic.
Is she ready to be expelled from high society alongside the man she’s dating? Or is this just thoughtless, youthful indiscretion?
Claudia turned towards me and suddenly put on a poker-face. When I looked at her, she slid her body out of the carriage window like a cat with artistic flexibility.
My heart skipped a beat, but I was used to this and settled my beating heart down with a breath. I felt like my life was shortening but complaining to Claudia about this would be a waste of time. I guess I’ll just have to get used to this from now on.
I can faintly hear her telling the coachman to stop the carriage. The horses gradually slowed down, and as soon as the view outside the window slowly came to a standstill, Claudia jumped noiselessly from the roof of the carriage as her golden hair fluttered in the air.
“――― Please wait, that lady and gentleman over there.”
Her clear voice echoed in the deserted lane.
A few figures stirred from around us. They were probably the guards of Freche’s son and Feyria. It’s impossible for a noble’s son or daughter to walk around unaccompanied no matter how safe the noble district is.
… But still… Margrave Freche may not restrict his son’s movements, but I confirmed that the Roguesia House doesn’t restrict Feyria’s movements either. This troublesome matter is getting more and more troublesome.
The troublesome couple turned towards Claudia in surprise. I let out a small groan as their faces quickly paled. They are students of the Academy. Students who live in the dormitory are not allowed to leave the Academy without permission from their respective head of house… The fact that they paled meant that they had snuck out of the Academy without permission. Do I even need to protect them depending on their reason?
“Wh-what is it…?”
Freche’s son asked Claudia, who had stopped them in a panic.
Claudia approached Feyria with a stern expression on her face… This was the first time I had seen this expression on her face. I always thought that Claudia was very calm even though she was belligerent, and she never exposed her animosity towards others.
“You are the daughter of Viscount Roguesia and you are the son of Margrave Freche, am I correct? Where are your attendants?”
“You lost sight of them? This is a serious matter. I’ll take you back to the Academy.”
“I-it’s alright! We can’t trouble a stranger like that!”
With a pale face, Freche’s son shielded Feyria behind him before taking a step away from Claudia. Claudia maintained her stern expression and shook her head, “Don’t mind it.”
“It will be night soon and the Academy is still some distance away. ――― Besides, My Lord would very much like to speak with Lady Roguesia.”
“Hii,” Feyria’s shoulders jumped. Her eyes showed she was frightened, but she timidly looked over Claudia’s shoulders.
Then, when she saw me looking out of the carriage window.
Her eyes widened in surprise, and she helplessly slumped down onto the ground. Freche’s son quickly took her into his arms to support her, but he wasn’t strong enough and they both almost fell to the ground.
Claudia pulled both of them up in a very appropriate manner.
“Hmm, it seems like you are both very tired.”
The words she spoke to the people who she had captured were terribly shameless.
“Now… Can you tell me what’s going on?”
I led the two captures to the small parlour in my townhouse instead of the Academy dormitory. Claudia, Oscar, who has been rapidly rising to the position of being in charge of data processing, and I surrounded the two, making it look like a stress-interview.
Naturally, the young couple froze in fright. The colour in Feyria’s face had drained away… Even if I say they’re young, I’m clearly younger than them.
“Where were you two going unaccompanied? And you Lady Feyria are engaged to be married. It is unacceptable for you to be walking alone on the streets with a man. Do you have the Academy permit with you? I have to tell the Academy that I’ve taken you into custody. Can you let me see the permit?”
I held my hand out while asking them to give me the permit and Freche’s youngest sound looked up with a sharp glare.
“Why do I have to give you the permit? If you are taking us into custody, then the head of house or his wife should come out and talk to us.”
Hah. Oh yeah, I introduced myself as Feyria’s acquaintance in the carriage, but I haven’t officially introduced myself yet.
“Pardon me. I am Eliza Kaldia Einsbark. I am the feudal lord of Kaldia fief located in Jugfena. I have business with Lady Feyria’s father, Viscount Roguesia, and as such, I am somewhat acquainted with Lady Feyria.”
“Einsbark? That… That Einsbark?”
Which Einsbark? Well, I’m the only minor who holds the Einsbark name, so he is probably referring to me. I nodded and Freche’s youngest son stopped talking in a daze.
Then, he looked down again as if he was flinching. Hey, what about the permit?
“… Lady Feyria.”
I reluctantly turned towards Feyria and she faintly opened the mouth that she was biting and shivered.
“I, I was just on my way to my fiancé’s townhouse, the Agren House. He said he had something he wished to talk to me about in private… Hmm, Corneille Freche is an old friend of mine, and he was accompanying me to the Agren House.”
I decided to ignore the introduction of Freche’s youngest son for now.
Agren? I tilted my head at Feyria’s mention of the house which I hadn’t thought I would hear here.
“Something he wishes to tell you in private, was it? So, that’s why you sneaked out of the Academy?”
She admitted that she had left the Academy without permission as if she had concluded that it was no longer something she could hide.
“I don’t know what he wishes to discuss, but it’s about my marriage. My fiancé is the Viscount Agren’s son.”
“I know. After all, the reason why I am getting acquainted with you is because Viscount Agren asked me to ensure that the marriage between the Agren and Roguesia Houses proceeds smoothly.”
I don’t know what Viscount Agren was thinking, but I spat out that information in irritation. Now that they’ve summoned Feyria silently to me, I don’t have to hide the church’s request from her.
“Viscount Agren requested that the church ask me to ensure that you aren’t half-hearted about your engagement. Well, I was keeping an eye on you since your father and Viscount Agren are suspicious.”
Feyria hid her mouth as if she couldn’t believe this. She seemed very upset. Her fingertips weakly grabbed the sleeves of Freche’s youngest son on reflex.
“… Wait a minute, Earl Kaldia. Your story is very different from ours.”
Freche’s youngest son, who had slumped down, began to whisper in a low voice. Perhaps he had been encouraged by her fingertips.
It was hard to hear him. I frowned and frightened him unnecessarily. Unlike the old men at the House of Lords, it was very difficult to be frightened about every single thing. But before that, isn’t it a little pathetic for him to be so intimidated by a child who is younger than him? I wish he would put more strength into his back and abdominal muscles and sit up straighter.
“What’s different? Is that your excuse for sneaking out of the Academy in broad daylight with a young lady who is engaged to be married?”
“No! Feyria’s engagement is… Feyria isn’t the person who caused the friction in the first place. The two of them, no, it was him who wanted to break off their engagement!”
Don’t yell all of a sudden. Staying silent, then shouting, what an emotionally unstable guy. Are you alright? I couldn’t help but worry about him.