Waiting for Alto to come back to the orphanage, Kamui’s group gathered in the room given to them by the bishop. Dierk being present as well.
“Have you heard the story, too, Dierk?” (Alto)
Alto, who has returned, is slightly surprised at the unexpected participant.
“Yeah, I believe it to be better to have some experience in things like what you are planning based on the gathered information, although it likely won’t affect me directly.” (Alto)
“That’s true as well.” (Alto)
After Kamui’s group is gone, Dierk ought to do the same thing with his comrades.
“Besides, it’s not like we have become adults either. It’s better to have many thinking heads. Even if a good idea doesn’t spring up, it probably won’t be in vain to ponder about things together.” (Dierk)
Even for Kamui’s group this is something like practice. They are still students. At the real performance, they will be involved with the politics of their territory.
“Then, let me quickly explain the things I discovered so far. I think you realized it, but our grade is a treasure box full of talented people. In addition to that, it’s not only about calling them excellent or such.”
Alto began to promptly report the things he investigated.
“What do you mean?” (Kamui)
“Let me first report, or rather, I guess it will be a good method to explain the current Imperial family. Especially the issues concerning the heir.” (Alto)
“The story goes that far?” (Kamui)
The story, which Alto is trying to start, seems to have details that go beyond Kamui’s assumptions.
“That’s because the freshmen* are called talented and wealthy. First off the Emperor, he is already quite advanced in age. His formerly prided martial arts are likely a matter of the past by now. He has already handed over most of the government affairs to the Crown Prince. Although that doesn’t mean that his authority has weakened. It won’t change the fact that he is the Emperor controlling the Empire in any way.” (Alto) (T/N: * I think the English language lacks the word for “someone being in the same grade but not in the same class” as it is usually defined precisely aka senior grade means all of them are seniors; as Alto is talking about the new entries of the middle school section, I will call them “freshmen”)
“That’s very likely.” (Kamui)
The current generation’s Emperor is a person who possessed a lot of authority over the Empire due to his military arts. Based on his achievements, his authority shouldn’t fade away that quickly.
“And, the Crown Prince, who will be the next era’s Emperor, has a firm grasp on this position too. To begin with, there wasn’t any competitor for the position of Crown Prince since before his investiture. Receiving education as Emperor from his childhood, he will likely assume the seat of the next era’s Emperor without any problems, although he has no actual accomplishments on the military side.” (Alto)
“… Aren’t there any issues at all then?” (Kamui)
It should be a talk about the problems of the heir, however in Alto’s explanation there’s absolutely no aspect that might become a problem.
“The problems come up next. There was no rival for the Crown Prince. That means the Emperor had too few children. It’s a great thing that it hasn’t caused any inheritance issues, but there were also many courtiers seeing that while holding anxiety in their hearts. It’s about the possibility of something happening to the Crown Prince.” (Alto)
“Being troubled if there are too many, and being anxious if there are too few, eh?” (Kamui)
“That’s how it is. Despite that, is it because of a backlash from the Emperor’s time? The preparations for the Crown Prince of the next era are going to extremes.” (Alto)
“Are there so many children?” (Kamui)
Contrary to the Emperor, there are many children, that’s how Kamui interpreted it.
“It’s not the children, who are many, but the wives. There are plenty of concubines besides the official consort.” (Alto)
“… So the Crown Prince is lustful?” (Kamui)
Kamui’s expression changed into something bitter.
It’s not a rare case to come across nobles having concubines either, but to Kamui that caused antipathy. Moreover, once he hears that it’s not only one or two, he ends up getting a bad impression of the Crown Prince.
However, with Alto’s next explanation, Kamui’s ill will towards the Crown Prince vanishes right away.
“I haven’t heard such rumors. If pushed, I’d say that he has a serious character. Since he is serious, isn’t it about him having received the concubines, as he was told, out of a sense of duty I wonder?” (Alto)
“Then… I pity him a bit. Aren’t they treating the Crown Prince like a stallion?” (Kamui)
“If I had to pick a word, it would be something like that. And the biggest problem is that the vital official consort doesn’t birth anything but girls.” (Alto)
“Uh-oh. Finally it’s something messy befitting an heir’s problems.” (Kamui)
There is rivalry between the legal wife and the concubines. It’s a story you hear in folklore, songs of minstrels and such. To the bitter end it’s fiction though.
“Moreover, it seems to turn into that. The rank of the eldest son’s mother is low. It has been said that the Crown Prince hasn’t declared the next era’s Crown Prince even though he is there. There are formal inheritance cases, but in reality those are a formality. From now on there is the possibility that those might change countless times.” (Alto)
“The current ranking is?” (Kamui)
“Naturally the oldest son is first. Next after him is the daughter of the official consort. After that, it’s the son of yet another concubine. He is the second son, if you look at it from the Crown Prince’s view. After that is… it’s too annoying to explain.” (Alto)
“The Imperial princess is higher than an Imperial prince?” (Kamui)
Something like a woman succeeding the Imperial throne was a case that didn’t happen according to Kamui’s information.
“With this and that, I guess the official consort isn’t respected? Besides, since the eldest son will succeed unless something happens, it’s merely for form’s sake, although it might be called second rank.” (Alto)
“That’s true, I guess. But, because of that it’s an inexcusable situation, right?” (Kamui)
If it’s exactly as Alto stated, it should not become something like an inheritance problem.
“Correct. Influential households are trying to intervene. And that’s where our freshmen finally come into play.” (Alto)
“I see. I got the background story a bit.” (Kamui)
The “talented”, about which Alto talked at the beginning, has a different meaning from being a talented person. Kamui grasped that now too.
“First, the eldest brother. The one trying to back him is the Earl of the East. It’s an aspect that boosts his influence as they aren’t only backing the eldest brother but also actively assisting him. Naturally, that’s not all there is to it. It seems they are aiming for the position of official consort.” (Alto)
“This late in the game? They likely have married into the family many times by now.” (Kamui)
The Earl of the East is one of the Four Earls. Something like them being related to the Imperial family by marriage is a fact for a long time now.
“That’s the same with other houses as well. And currently the Earl of the West is the closest to the Imperial family. The Empress is from the family of the Earl of the West after all.” (Alto)
“If she becomes the Empress, her influence will be rewritten in one go. It’s unproductive. Even if they provide the official consort this time, they will only be upset sooner or later, right?” (Kamui)
From the Imperial family’s view, they are supposed to wish an equal association with the Four Earls. If it turns out that someone affiliated with the Earl of the East becomes the next Empress, it’s likely that next Empress will come from the Earl of the North or South.
“But, at that time the current Earl of the East won’t be there. The point is that he obtained glory in his own generation, I guess. Although they are flourishing plentifully, it’s a matter of greed.” (Alto)
“Correct. If it becomes like that, the official consort’s daughter’s, the Imperial princess partner is…” (Kamui)
“Right. There’s just the right handsome man in the household of the Earl of the West. Once again a classmate enters the stage.” (Alto)
“… Isn’t his blood-relation too close?” (Kamui)
“That something you, a noble, says?” (Alto)
It has been popular to hold marriages between nobles. Something like the marriage of fellow cousins is common. It’s not like even marriage between closer family members hasn’t been done in the past.
“That’s also true, I guess. In that case, will that guy become the Emperor?” (Kamui)
“That’s how it will turn out, I guess. But, for form’s sake, the Crown Prince’s child will become Emperor to the bitter end. In other words, she will be the Empress.” (Alto)
“Such a thing is allowed?” (Kamui)
“Don’t know. I haven’t investigated this far in.” (Alto)
“For argument’s sake, if it’s possible… it would be suspicious.” (Kamui)
The strife over the next Crown Prince; the possibility that it might become intense is quite high.
“Isn’t it? In the long, continuing Imperial family something like a bloody succession conflict didn’t happen so far. But then again, that it has gone this far now isn’t understandable as expected.” (Alto)
“… The other two are? Are they affiliated to yet another Imperial prince or princess?” (Kamui)
He comprehended the motive of the Earls of the East and West. But, there are two other people in the same year at school. They are youths from influential families.
“I don’t understand the Knight Leader well. Isn’t his part to support the side, which appears to win, I wonder? No matter how much he might be a Knight Leader, the knight peerage is the lowest rank. Something like him letting his blood flow into the Imperial family is impossible unless something very unexpected happens, right?”
Knight is a warrior peerage. They are far below in peerage in comparison to the Viscount Kreutz household, which is Kamui’s home. Or rather, those like Baronets and Associate Warrior peerages, which are below a Warrior peerage, aren’t anything else but nobles for one generation.
“It’s also possible that he might be waiting for the unexpected.” (Kamui)
“There’s also the viewpoint that the East and West might crush each other. I guess that’s the point. But then again, since there’s the South and North too, it might be an empty dream. Well, isn’t he considering it to be sufficient by only emphasizing on his influence in the army?” (Alto)
“The other is?” (Kamui)
Even the daughter of the Mage Leader is in the same school year as Kamui’s group.
“This is a love call from her partner.” (Alto)
“The second son?” (Kamui)
“Right. Surprisingly the second son didn’t possess any backing either. Notwithstanding that, he is second in rank as man. Is it because the Imperial princess holds this much power as second in rank? At present I can’t grasp it. Given that there are no nobles, which would oppose the Earls of the East and West, he had an eye on the Imperial Mage Unit, I guess.” (Alto)
“Well, it’s a splendid move. At this age everyone’s marriage partner has already been decided.” (Kamui)
“It ain’t everyone. The Knight Leader’s son is free.” (Alto)
“There was that. By the way, classmate-dono is?” (Kamui)
If there’s a man remaining, the remaining person is bothered about the woman’s side. Kamui asked with such belief, however Alto’s reply was slightly different.
“Imperial Princess Claudia Weilburg is 5th if we are talking about the succession order.” (Alto)
“… It’s higher than I expected, too.” (Kamui)
In fact, even if it’s the 5th rank, the succession aspect won’t matter at all. However, the impression he got from Claudia, and the fact that she is 5th-ranked in the succession order just doesn’t mesh within Kamui.
“After all she is the second daughter of the official consort.” (Alto)
“Uh-oh, is that true?” (Kamui)
“That is to say, it’s irrelevant. On top of the eldest daughter of the official consort making it to second rank, she ought to be placed in the order, they were born, even in the future, right? That’s because classmate-dono is the 5th child of the Crown Prince.” (Alto)
“By the way, how many Imperial princes and princesses are there in total?” (Kamui)
“… That’s a lot?” (Kamui)
There were Emperors having princes and princesses in two digits in the past. That is to say, 8 people is a sensitive number.
“I told you at the beginning, didn’t I? The “a lot” is on the side of the wives. If you exclude the sisters of the official consort, all of the remaining are half-sisters.” (Alto)
“So, about 6 concubines, eh…? Indeed, Crown Prince-sama is diligent. The official consort is important to him after all.” (Kamui)
“Why do you think so?” (Alto)
Alto didn’t comprehend why having 6 concubines means that the official consort is precious.
“Isn’t it about that? If he properly approaches a concubine, he will accomplish his duty. Once the child is born, that will be the end and he will go back to the official consort once again.” (Kamui)
If it’s according to Kamui’s conjecture, the concubine’s side is quite pitiful. Whether that can be called diligent is a questionable point, but it’s not like Kamui has thought that deeply into it either.
“That’s only since there are too few children of the official consort.” (Alto)
“… Is that so? As expected, it was reckless to guess the matters between men and women at this age.” (Kamui)
“That’s true. We are still 12 years old.” (Alto)
At the age of 12 years it’s strange to ponder about the conspiracies of influential noble households or about how to do something about the slums.
“However, what does she want as 5th rank of the succession order, I wonder?” (Kamui)
“It’s too far off to win in the succession race. There’s too many things she mustn’t do, if they don’t get rid of her. Besides, there’s also her elder sister. Do you believe that spoiled princess to have thought that far?” (Alto)
“Let alone her elder sister, even everything else seems impossible. If that’s the case, the enemy isn’t the Imperial family but the nobles after all.” (Kamui)
If her personal objective isn’t the Imperial succession, then it will be an action as a member of the Imperial family. However, even this doesn’t click very well within Kamui.
“I told you that. The three people at the top of the succession order are going to have the strings of influential households attached. If that happens, the Imperial family’s authority will likely weaken quite a bit. I think it’s about the power to oppose that from above, once you predicted it.” (Alto)
“That prediction is magnificent, but… you are mistaken.” (Kamui)
“Yea, it’s not a situation for her having to come to the academy. First we should concentrate on the Imperial family’s authority. Even if someone becomes the next Crown Prince and thus the Emperor after that, we have to support that Emperor without the Imperial family falling apart. If that’s possible, it won’t be difficult to maintain the influential voice of the Imperial family either. In the first place, the influential households have no gaps, we can take advantage of. If we don’t support the currently eldest son, it will be fine, if we intend to at least support the Imperial family.” (Alto)
“Isn’t the situation such that it’s already impossible to do that?” (Kamui)
“Even if it’s not what they feel towards the people concerned, they are their mothers. And, there might be circumstances at their family’s home as well. Be that as it may, coming to the academy won’t have any meaning, if we don’t increase the number of allies a bit.”
“Well, that’s acting on your own accord. What’s important for us is who wins and the nature of that person.” (Kamui)
That outcome will make the state of the future Empire apparent. What Kamui’s group wants to know is whether it will be excellent or not. It’s a way of thinking befitting for remote territories.
“At the current stage I can’t predict who’s going to win.” (Alto)
“You can’t even make an estimation?” (Kamui)
“Unexpectedly I’m wondering whether that won’t be strongly influenced by the Crown Prince’s intentions. The South and North won’t make an appearance, I guess. Although they have no sons, those two households have sworn firm allegiance to the Emperor and the Crown Prince, who’s the successor, haven’t they? Well for a retainer that’s only natural though. The heads of the two households, I investigated as much as possible, have a deep connection to the Emperor. When the Imperial family moves in a large manner, it also means, that they move following the Crown Prince’s intentions, I believe.” (Alto)
The relationship of the Earl of the North and the Earl of the South with the current Emperor could be compared with the bit attached to a bridle. It’s a relationship you might even name as comrades in arms. It’s at a level that the Emperor himself would marry a queen from either of the two families.
Moreover, in opposition to that, both Earls aren’t tied by marriages. It’s to the extent that both have declined that wanting to cherish their personal friendship to the bitter end. One can think of their mutual feelings as having exceeded that of a lord and retainer.
“But, if that’s the case… ah, I see, that was why the Crown Prince can’t declare his eldest son as successor.” (Kamui)
In case they honour the ranking from old to young, the eldest son will become the heir as it is. That was what Kamui thought, but he was bothered by the fact that the Crown Prince hasn’t declared so.
“Right. It’s proper for the eldest son to succeed, if there’s no one else being backed and so on. And yet there hasn’t been any declaration. Maybe they are considering it as still too early or there are other motives, I haven’t grasped that yet.” (Alto)
“… Won’t the East and West make sure of that then?” (Kamui)
“Yea. Especially the West. I don’t know what will become of their title, but there is a person, who has the possibility to wield real power as proxy Emperor. I think it would be better to check his nature.” (Alto)
“The East ignores it and remains unconcerned?” (Kamui)
“That depends on the eldest son of the Crown Prince. If he’s a person, who obediently listens to the things said by the Empress, they wouldn’t move to check up on him. Women have nothing to do with politics after all. If he was such a man, they would ignore him.” (Alto)
Alto is speaking in such way, but it will become quite the situation, if the Empress voices out her opinion towards the national politics. To begin with, it can be regarded as no problem as she will be ignored.
“Is there some method to investigate the nature of that eldest son?” (Kamui)
“As expected, that’s impossible. To say nothing about the person himself, I won’t even be able to get in touch with the people in his surroundings. Currently, being close to him means being a candidate for chief vassal of the future Empire. I won’t be able to approach.” (Alto)
Having no special title or rank and moreover still being minors, what Kamui’s group’s hands can reach is no more than what’s within the academy.
“If that’s the case, there’s no other choice but to get in contact with our freshmen, huh? But, how will we do it? At this rate we won’t be able to investigate much, right?” (Kamui)
There’s also the matter of them being in different classes and thus information won’t readily flow in. Not to mention that their vicinity is always enclosed by followers. There’s no opportunity to make contact or such.
Even if they consider to probe the surroundings, those, who are close to the relevant people, have been educated well after all. They absolutely won’t mention anything worthwhile.
“I have a suggestion.” (Alto)
Alto, who was troubled over these circumstances, hit upon an idea.
“What suggestion is it?” (Kamui)
“Well, at last it’s Lutz’ turn here.” (Alto)
“Oh? Me? Something like strategy is impossible for me.” (Lutz)
Lutz is also with them, but to the last his objective is to the extent of keeping their conversation in mind. Lutz has relinquished to think about matters by himself from the start. Being told that such a him has a turn now, has surprised Lutz a bit.
“It’s not a talk about polishing a plan. I plan for you to become bait, Lutz.” (Alto)
“Bait, you say? What do you mean by that?” (Lutz)
“How about you show a bit of your true abilities?” (Alto)
“… Ah, that’s what you mean eh?” (Kamui)
Listening to Alto’s words, Kamui apparently grasped the idea.
“I don’t understand what you mean.” (Lutz)
Lutz, being the one concerned here, still isn’t able to comprehend.
“The East as well as the West seem to like talented people. They are trying to recruit excellent personnel for their own factions. If they realize that Lutz is possessing suitable strength to be their subordinate, the other side should get in touch with him.” (Alto)
“That’s why bait… It’s not necessary for me to be it though, right?” (Lutz)
If it’s about excellent personnel, Kamui and Alto are the same.
“It’s not like Kamui can be the bait, right?” (Alto)
As if seeing through Lutz’ way of thinking, Alto said that Kamui would be no good.
“You know, winning over Kamui for a faction is the same as winning over the future Viscount Kreutz. There’s also the possibility of them eyeing his home, right? And even without that, what will you do if it resulted in pressure being applied on his father’s place?” (Alto)
It’s pressure from a Landgrave household. There’s no doubt that it might get quite severe, if they went at it seriously.
“And in my case?” (Lutz)
“Kamui will likely be pressured. But, you are Kamui’s retainer to the bitter end, Lutz. You can insist that you are unrelated to the Viscount Kreutz household’s intentions.” (Alto)
Not as fellow member of the household but thoroughly treat it as personal problem; that’s Alto’s notion.
“More or less I got it. But, what about you, Alto?” (Lutz)
“It’s impossible for me. I won’t pass their judgement in swordsmanship and magic, I guess.” (Alto)
“But as a schemer?” (Lutz)
“How do you show such thing?” (Alto)
“… That’s true, too. Well, can’t be helped then.” (Lutz)
If there’s no one else, there is no other choice but him doing it. Lutz isn’t a little child, that keeps on grumbling by only saying “No”, either.
“But there are risks. Mainly for Kamui though.” (Alto)
Alto switches his sight from Lutz to Kamui.
“I’m aware. The part about the pressuring, right? If they stop choosing their methods in order to obtain Lutz, it means that danger will extend to me.” (Kamui)
“That’s right.” (Alto)
“… However, that’s not it.” (Kamui)
Pondering for a bit, Kamui denied Alto’s concerns.
“Is that so?” (Alto)
“Both of them seem to be serious. The pride of big noble-sama’s, I think? I can’t believe that they would resort to dirty tricks.” (Kamui)
“There’s no absoluteness though. Even if the two themselves won’t do it, it’s still possible that those around them might.” (Alto)
Mostly it’s like that. Someone called an excellent subordinate will mainly finish the dirty work before it’s noticed.
“Well, yeah. But, this matter is a good way to check the other party’s nature. Whether they have a cold-blooded character, which doesn’t shirk away from using underhanded methods, or whether they have a fastidious character, which doesn’t forgive dishonesty. Either way, it’s very unlikely for us to be able to become friends with them though.” (Kamui)
Unrelated to Alto’s worries, Kamui is considering this at least as a good chance to study the attitude of the other party. He has the confidence of being able to dodge almost all trouble if the other party tries to do something.
“What if they have a character we could get along with?” (Alto)
“… They might become our ally.” (Kamui)
“Ally, not friend, right?” (Alto)
“That’s natural. Isn’t the other party from a Landgrave household? Although it’s not impossible if they abandon their family status and become an individual, that’s not likely, right?” (Kamui)
“Well, yeah.” (Alto)
It’s the Empire harassing the remote regions, but the Landgrave families aren’t unrelated either. The Landgrave households have been given the authority to influence territories besides their own as well. That’s the same for prominent nobles outside the Landgrave households, too.
“Therefore they won’t become our friends. Lutz, you have to act with that in mind. One way or another, you are naive towards people Lutz. If you get strangely attached to them, you will just suffer afterwards.” (Kamui)
“Yeah, I will be careful.” (Lutz)
“You have to be as well, Kamui, don’t you?” (Dierk)
At this point Dierk, who has been only listening to the conversation silently, cut in.
“What is it, Dierk? I’m surprised that you opened your mouth so abruptly.” (Kamui)
“I mean, Kamui, you are soft on people as well, no? You are especially generous to an absurd degree towards troubled people.” (Dierk)
“That’s why I’m here. If Kamui shows naivety, I will stop it.” (Alto)
Alto, who says this, has also been thinking that Kamui has a soft side.
“I wonder about that?” (Dierk)
In regards to Alto’s statement, Dierk has a doubtful view on the matter.
“What’s wrong? I don’t rely on others. I absolutely won’t show something like weak-heartedness.” (Alto)
“However, Alto, you are undoubtedly lenient towards Kamui.” (Dierk)
There is an exception even for Alto, who doesn’t place his trust in people. It’s Kamui.
“Will you be able to stop Kamui at the time he says that he must do it at all costs, Alto?” (Dierk)
“… Shut up. It will be fine, if I properly think about a plan for how to deal with it at that time.” (Alto)
Using such words is the same as if he admits that he won’t be able to stop him.
“That is called soft-heartedness towards Kamui. However, is it fine for me to ask something?” (Dierk)
“What is it?”
“Well, I was surprised at the time when I heard that Alto is following Kamui, but in the end there was no opportunity to ask for the reason. Alto, why did you want to follow Kamui?” (Dierk)
You can’t say that Alto was on good terms with Kamui. If pushed to say, he had a critical attitude towards Kamui’s behaviour and Dierk remembers that.
“… It’s difficult to explain.” (Alto)
“But, something happened, right?” (Dierk)
“He gave me a textbook.” (Alto)
“Haa!? Just that?” (Dierk)
Dierk raised a voice of surprise due to the overly unexpected reply. The other two as well, although they didn’t voice it out, are wide-eyed in surprise.
“For me that’s something important. Although it’s because I’m like this, I have thought that I’m smarter than most.” (Alto)
“I admit that.” (Dierk)
That is something the orphans around Dierk, who lived together with Alto, know. Those living with him were able to experience Alto’s natural intelligence, that didn’t require him to study.
“However, at the time when I was at the orphanage, that didn’t cause anything but bitterness. While it may be true that I’m smart, it’s not like I was given the chance to study. And, it’s not like I would be appointed to an useful employment just because of studying. That’s what I believed.” (Alto)
“… I see.” (Dierk)
“However, once Kamui came here, everything changed. When I thought that I want to study, a textbook appeared in front of me. When I considered to make use of what I studied, the path to serve a noble appeared. Kamui is a light for me. A light, which opens the path on which I should advance. I don’t dislike to be a shadow, if it’s for the sake of keeping alive that light. The darker my shadow, the stronger Kamui’s light.” (Dierk)
This is Alto’s determination. Alto has already come to a clean decision at this age that his job is to do the dirty work. For the sake of the light, Kamui, to be able to shine brightly, he has realized that it is necessary for someone like him to to stain his hands instead.
“For me, who is hearing this, it’s embarrassing.” (Kamui)
“The one being embarrassed is me. I will never again mention these things.” (Alto)
“Well, then next it’s my turn.” (Lutz)
Listening to Alto’s feelings, Lutz tried to talk about his reason next.
“No, I know about you, Lutz.” (Dierk)
However, Dierk has no interest in Lutz’ reason. For Lutz to follow Kamui was an obvious fact.
“What’s wrong? It’s fine, isn’t it? Please hear me out.” (Lutz)
“Yeah, yeah, then, please go ahead.” (Dierk)
“Kamui is my goal. If I chase after Kamui’s back, I have a hunch that I can reach anywhere. This me, who was born as orphan. Kamui showed the goal to me, who didn’t see what’s beyond before. Therefore I will follow Kamui no matter where he goes. It’s in order for me to survive in a way that befits me.” (Lutz)
“… It was more decent than I expected.” (Dierk)
“What’s that about?” (Lutz)
Although he used this way of talking to hide his own embarrassment, Dierk has been slightly moved emotionally due to Lutz determination. Affected by this, he opened his mouth thinking of his own circumstances,
“Then, me too. I didn’t accompany Kamui, but, just like for the two of you, Kamui showed me my life’s goal. Although it’s a goal I’m not sure whether I will reach or not. The time I’m able to be together with everyone might only be a small period in itself, however I’m considering everyone to be friends walking down the same path as me. After thinking about that, I’m able to give it my best from here on out as well, I believe.” (Dierk)
“That’s right. Dierk, you are our friend.” (Alto)
“Yea, that’s true.” (Lutz)
And, Lutz also spoke words recognizing Dierk as friend. They were friends until now as well, but they exchanged vows once again as friends sharing a common goal.
“What’s up? What happened to you guys?” (Kamui)
The only one feeling left behind is Kamui.
They are friends, who can put embarrassing things into words without hesitation. It was the first time for Kamui to see such a situation.
“Now it’s Kamui’s turn.” (Dierk)
Dierk wishes for such Kamui to make a statement.
“Yea. What are you thinking of us, Kamui?”
“… You are my friends… you want me to talk about it properly, eh? Because everyone made it clear like that.” (Kamui)
It’s not an occasion, where I can dodge the issue by feeling shy. Considering it like that, Kamui changes his facial expression and begins to speak,
“At the time I realized that my magic wasn’t usable, I felt like my entire life came to an end. The attitude of those in my surroundings completely changed, I was looked at coldly at school as well as at home, and everything in this world changed to ill will towards me.” (Kamui)
The entire world is my enemy, was what Kamui believed.
“However, at the moment I thought I lost everything by being discarded by my family and having left the academy, the malice of my surroundings vanished. Honestly, the time when I came to the orphanage was strange. Everyone didn’t think anything about me not being able to use magic. So, what was it that I was worried about, I wondered.” (Kamui)
The tension, which was clinging to Kamui’s heart, was resolved immediately once he came to the orphanage. It was the moment when his own values changed.
“My current surroundings are filled with good will towards me. That’s why I want to become strong. It’s for the sake of protecting my friends, who support me. Everyone says that it’s thanks to me, but for me to be able to do my best like this is thanks to everyone. Having friends is for me the biggest help, more than anything else. I’m grateful for that.” (Kamui)
“… We won’t betray you. For our entire lives.” (Alto)
“Naturally, same applies to me too.”
“Thank you.” (Kamui)
“That reminds me, do you know of the oath between the founder and the four heroes?” (Alto)
The oath between the first Emperor of Schutzarten and the four heroes. It was a time when the Empire was still a small country which you couldn’t call an Empire yet; the five comrades gathered while distressed over the devastation of this world.
Those five people spoke words of oath to stand up at that time for the sake of bringing peace to the world. Alto suddenly mentioned a story that appears in fairy tales.
“What is it so suddenly?” (Kamui)
“Isn’t it a similar oath? Like ours?” (Alto)
“What oath do you mean?”
Boys yearn for heroic tales. Kamui’s group is no exception to that.
“Certainly… we have gathered here to take an oath. Spending our lives from here on behalf of the suffering people, we will bring peace to this world without fail. Even though our birth and upbringing differs, I pray for my death to be in the same place and at the same time as you. Was it like that?” (Alto)
Alto verbalized the words of oath from his memory. As might be expected of him mentioning it at this spot, he likes the story.
“That’s great and all, but the four heroes are the ancestors of the Earls of the West, South, East and North, right? Even so, you want to take the same oath?” (Kamui)
The position of Earl was given as reward to the four heroes for their contribution during the founding of the Empire. Kamui, who looks on the Landgrave households as hostile, has a bit of reluctance to imitate them.
“That’s also true. So, what will we do?”
“How about this? Even though our birth and upbringing differs, we aim for the same future. Even if someone dies along the road, we will definitely inherit their wishes and advance ahead. Our entire lives will be dedicated to the same cause.” (Kamui)
“… That’s nice, isn’t it.” (Dierk)
Dierk muttered in a state of admiration towards the words Kamui thought up.
“Yea, this way is better. It doesn’t matter where and when we die. If it’s something that’s ought to be done, I have the resolution to bet my life for it.” (Alto)
“Indeed, I agree.” (Lutz)
Alto and Lutz agree to it as well. For the two, who have sworn in their hearts to support Kamui, this way is perfectly matching with their own desires. If it’s necessary for Kamui, they will lay down their lives. They have already resolved themselves.
“Then, with this it’s agreeable for it to have a shape of matching only at the end.” (Kamui)
“Let’s go with it.”
“Even though our birth and upbringing differs, we aim for the same future! Even if someone dies along the road, we will definitely inherit their wishes and advance ahead!” (Kamui)
“””Our entire lives will be dedicated to the same cause!””” (Alto, Dierk, Lutz)
The oath, which should have been finished with the previous words, is extended by Alto.
“””All our loyalty is devoted to Kamui Kreutz!””” (Alto, Dierk, Lutz)
“The last part is an oath as retainer. Please take care of me from now on as well, Kamui Kreutz-sama.” (Alto)
“Best regards, Kamui-sama.” (Lutz)
“Even if I’m apart from you, I shall entrust my allegiance to you, Kamui-sama.” (Dierk)
“You guys…” (Kamui)
“Even though we said that, our loyalty doesn’t lie with Kamui of the Viscount Kreutz household, but with Kamui the individual. Even if you decide to discard your family status once again, it won’t change our loyalty. Please don’t forget that.” (Alto)
“… Thank you.” (Kamui)
It must have been something unexpected for them at that time. In later days their oath on that day would be handed down between people in the same way as the one between the founder and the four heroes.