Adriana sat still in the brown meadow.
When she asked me to sit next to her, I sat down beside her.
It was chilly, but I didn’t feel that cold.
“It would have been nice if everyone else was like you.”
Someone who didn’t show any greater interest in her, even when in such close proximity to her…
Adriana wanted to be friends with everyone, so someone like me would have been perfect for that.
Not everyone could be like me, and not everyone could be like Adriana.
—So it was an impossible dream.
Someone would still confess while knowing full well that they would get rejected because they just couldn’t hold it in anymore, and if people who liked those people actually saw all that, they would harbor great malice.
What should one do if a friend saw you as more than just a friend?
Adriana’s words at that time hid deep worries.
I didn’t care that much at the time because I was busy with my own problems, but could I have prevented the problem from cropping up if I had paid more attention to her?
But what the hell was I supposed to do to prevent it?
“You might think I’m quitting Temple for such a small problem.”
“It’s not like it’s not a big deal though.”
It may have sounded trivial, but if it was so painful for her, why should she have to endure it? Even after she endured all that, there would be nothing to reward her for it at the end.
I’d wondered why Adriana had suddenly dropped out of Temple.
I wanted to tell her to come back if she could.
I had to stay in Temple, but Adriana had no reason to.
I couldn’t persuade Adriana or find any reason for her not to stay in the monastery.
I didn’t know if it was the best for Adriana to stay there.
However, Adriana, who had suffered through so much in Temple, seemed to have no other path left.
“Thank you for understanding.”
Adriana looked at me with a sad smile.
I wanted to comfort her, but I didn’t know what to say to her.
I had a certain problem…
I was in the outskirts of Elsion.
I arrived there through a medium-sized warpgate…
A warpgate through which monsters would eventually emerge as well.
Waves of carnage would occur in almost every city save the Imperial Capital.
If I couldn’t stop the Gate Crisis, Adriana would inevitably die there.
As Adriana said, you couldn’t be friends with everyone.
I wouldn’t be able to save everyone either.
I really wished there was a way to do that, but I didn’t know if there even was one.
Was it really right to leave Adriana there when the future is so uncertain?
That thought didn’t last long.
If I couldn’t stop the Gate Incident, I might as well have just smashed Elsion’s warp gate to bits.
Or I could’ve made Adriana somehow stay in Temple.
However, that was still far away.
Adriana had made her choice, and I couldn’t deny it.
It wasn’t the end of everything.
It was a place I could reach in a day, so there was no reason for me not to go back to visit.
“I’ll visit you often.”
“Redina was also very worried about you. I could bring her…”
Adriana looked at me.
Adriana looked like she was about to cry when that name came out of my mouth.
Just like Redina followed her around as if she was her real sister, she seemed to regret and feel sorry for leaving her behind.
“Thank you, Junior… No, you aren’t my junior anymore.”
Adriana smiled at me on that moonlit hill.
“Thank you. Reinhardt.”
“I’m more grateful to you.”
That person who felt grateful to me even though I did nothing…
I was going to leave her there for the time being.
However, I would definitely go back and pick her up later.
—That was what I swore.
* * *
Adriana left Temple, and she would never come back again.
That was a failure.
However, while it felt like a failure, it also didn’t.
Adriana saw me off that day when we returned to the far reaches of the fields.
I might not have been able to convince Adriana to return to Temple, but I could go and see her again from time to time.
I would bring Redina next time as well.
I left the Artowan Monastery with those thoughts in mind.
Seeing Adriana wave her hand, complicated thoughts swirled in my head.
She was the one who’d laid the foundation for my life at Temple. I knew that it wasn’t like I would never be able to see her again, but I couldn’t seem to take a step.
‘You can’t be friends with everyone.’
Adriana’s words were burned into my mind.
* * *
I had to go back to Temple.
It was already past midnight.
Adriana told me that she would stay in the monastery, and I decided to stop thinking about whether it was the right thing for her to do or not.
I was done tending to other people’s affairs, so I had to take care of my own matters.
Then, my next problem…
I had to do my very best to return to Temple that day.
[Quest appeared – Return]
[Description : Return to Temple before classes begin]
[Reward : 200 Achievement Points]
A small quest appeared.
In the end, I could have skipped a single day, but then there was that small quest giving me 200 achievement points.
But I didn’t think I would be able to return that day.
First, I had to go to Arnaca using Elsion’s warp gate and return to the Imperial Capital by using Arnaca’s super-large gate.
It was nothing difficult.
But how would I be able to go through that super-large warp gate with such a huge queue in front of it?
I sighed softly in front of Elsion’s medium warp gate.
If the others found out that I made such a stupid mistake, I might really get beaten up.
What was more important than those achievement points…
If Ellen found out that I was gone, she might’ve let her imagination run wild again, so if that were to happen, I might’ve actually gotten killed.
If she were to ask me why I didn’t tell her anything, I wouldn’t have anything to say to her.
Wait for me!
I’m coming back!
I might be a bit late, though…
* * *
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
Join our Discord for updates on releases!
* * *
When I arrived in Arnaca, the capital of the Saint-Owan Duchy, a brilliant night view unfolded before me.
The Saint-Owan Duchy, in which magic was extremely advanced.
Still, there were no extremely large magic-powered facilities like the mana train of the Imperial Capital, but Arnaca itself was a bright city with an excellent night view.
My mind went blank for a moment when I saw the majestic sight of Arnaria, the Duchy’s palace, shining white in the distance.
The Imperial Capital also had its own charms, but Arnaca was a city filled with a mysterious and magical atmosphere.
They didn’t have trains, but there were trams everywhere as well. It didn’t seem that it had been long since they were implemented, though.
That wasn’t the time to admire the city’s scenery.
That horrendously long queue before the super-large warp gate…
Just what should I do about it…?
I headed towards the gate at dawn. Arnica was wide, so I took a tram that even ran at dawn.
There were three super-large warp gates in Arnaca. That was quite amazing. As a territory specialized in magic, their warp gates, which could be considered super-large magic facilities, connected to many places.
I didn’t even have to check those three different places. Seeing that the queue merged into a single big one, I was convinced that it was pretty much impossible for me to get back that day.
They’d probably arrived very early and stood in line after receiving a waiting ticket beforehand. Those that I saw before me were not the full extent of the people who wanted to use the gates.
It was like that even in the early morning hours just after midnight.
I had no choice but to be stranded there in Arnaca for a few days. I had some money, and I was sure that there were various places where I could sleep, but the others would also end up finding out that I was missing all of a sudden like last time.
It sure felt great when I was able to use the Imperial Coat of Arms as a sort of fast pass.
How could I make them prioritize me in the use of the extrlarge warp gate?
I had no choice but to visit a certain place.
The White Palace, Arnaria…
It’s not like they would prioritize me for being a Temple student that was part of the Royal Class.
However, that was Arnaca, the capital of the Saint-Owan Duchy.
Wouldn’t they be able to do something for me as a friend of the Duchy’s young lady?
* * *
I had to go to the White Palace Arnaria and ask for a warp gate priority ticket.
I also thought that it was a crazy plan.
Even though he was the father of a close friend, he was the Grand Duke of Saint-Owan, the master of the duchy, basically a king.
The time was also an issue.
I could anticipate how I would get cursed out if I really woke him up in the early morning hours, asking him to use the warp gate first.
I was afraid of getting hit by Ellen, so I was actually thinking about going up to the ruler of a territory to make a racket.
Just what the hell was I doing?
Still, my feet still took me in the palace’s direction.
Achievement points were at stake, and it would whether I would get killed by Ellen or not.
I had to go back to Temple before the sun rose any further!
If he said no, I couldn’t do anything about it, but if he said yes, that would be great.
After some time, I confidently headed towards Arnaria.
The White Palace…
A mysterious yet beautiful palace that seemed as if it had carved out of half the mountain it was placed on…
Its walls and its five tall spires rising from them were glowing white.
The spires should have had some magical function, but I didn’t really know what it was.
There seemed to be four gates—one to the east, one to the west, one to the north and one to the south. I headed towards the southern gate.
If I got past that gate, I would be able to get to the palace by taking those steep marble stairs.
In front of that gate…
“What is your business?”
There were two guards, who seemed to be human but spoke a bit unnaturally, blocking my path.
They talked as if they were one person. The way they were armed and how they behaved was very natural, yet I felt a strange sense of incongruity when I looked at them.
They were golems.
That place was highly advanced in the study of magic, that was its setting, so they let golems that looked exactly like humans protect the palace.
They could be compared to an automatic security system, for example. That was a good call. One wouldn’t have to worry about them betraying you nor would they get tired, because they weren’t human.
“My name is Reinhardt, a student of Temple’s Royal Class. I’m also a friend of Harriet de Saint-Owan.”
The golems didn’t change their expressions at my words. What was before me were machines that only worked as ordered.
“I want to be prioritized when using the super-large warp gate.”
The golems were silent.
About 30 minutes or so passed.
The guards carefully stepped away from me.
Then the huge gate began to open.
“This is a message of the Grand Duke.”
It wasn’t just two golems.
It seemed like there was even a network-like system in place.
It was surprisingly easy to enter, so I was a bit flustered.
This is fine, right?
* * *
After crossing the gate, I went up the steep stairs leading to the palace, the golem guards walking beside me.
It seemed that the Grand Duke could receive reports and give orders through those golems rather than just “programming” them to do something. If it was just about the warp gate license, he could have just given me an answer like that, but he’d asked me to come in.
I had never personally met the Grand Duke of Saint-Owan before.
He was a crazy fool for his daughter.
I didn’t know what sort of impression he had of me, but it probably wasn’t a good one.
As I climbed up the marble stairs, I could see the White Palace more closely.
It wasn’t similar to the ancient castle Epiax at all. Of course, it was a little bigger, and if Epiax gave off a sharp, rough feeling, that place felt warm and soft.
Even though it was night, I could see the well-maintained gardens lit up by multiple lights everywhere.
There were people still working in the numerous annexes and central palaces even though it was the middle of the night; maybe they were golems as well.
Although I had never been to the Imperial Palace Emperatos, I felt certain that Arnaria, the White Palace, was absolutely one of the most beautiful places on the continent.
Just what would it be like to live in a place like that?
I thought it might be a little boring, actually.
There were golems no matter where I looked. The expressionless faces of the golems gave off a certain reliability, but…
It seemed a bit lonely.
None of the staff or servants were human probably, but there certainly were a few humans around.
Harried lived in that kind of place.
I suddenly thought that her childhood must have been very lonely. Wherever she went, there were only golems and no friends to play with.
—Just as Adriana had been content with her life at the convent and accepted that she would live her whole life there as she didn’t know anything else.
Since Harriet was also content living her whole life in that white palace, not knowing any other way of life, she probably didn’t really complain about being lonely, right?
Even at dawn, the White Palace, where golems could be seen working everywhere, wasn’t quiet.
However, no one looked at me nor did anyone try to talk to me.
From afar, the White Palace seemed to be a beautiful and vibrant building.
However, when I went inside, I could only see the White Palace as a lonely place. It was still beautiful and brilliant, but very lonely.
As I was led to one side of the palace while accompanied by the guard, I walked through the garden, where no one tried to restrain me or try to talk to me.
I didn’t feel like I was about to have an audience at all.
I was led to the palace where the Grand Duke’s bedroom was located.
It had a main reception room and a central lobby.
I thought I would just meet the Grand Duke there.
Of course, he was actually there. He sat on a fancy sofa, staring at me with a tea set placed before him.
“Long time no see, Reinhardt.”
Seeing him like that, it was more than clear that I had woken him up. He looked quite sloppy.
No, that made me even more aware about how rude I was acting, but the Grand Duke, the ruler of a territory, actually woke up at dawn as soon as he heard that I’d come.
Yeah, well, okay. Let’s say that was possible.
“So you are Reinhardt? Oh my… Oh my, oh my…”
An elegant and beautiful lady.
“No, I was told he was ugly. Aren’t you actually handsome?”
Some young man.
Some young man two.
“He is handsome, but he certainly looks dirty.”
Some young man three.
“Sit down,” The Grand Duke commanded.
I sat on the sofa opposite him, feeling cold sweat run down my body.
What the hell was going on?
Apparently, the whole Saint-Owan family had gathered here.
“I’ve heard a lot about you.”
The lady who wore a kind smile offered me some tea.
She was probably Harriet’s mother.
I just need the gate prioritization.
That was the reason for being there.
“How are things with Harriet?”
Why did it feel like I was visiting my girlfriend’s house for the first time
Did they think of me as her boyfriend or something?
Was it something like that?
“G-g… Good! H-How are you doing?!”
And why the heck was I responding to that?
I might have gone crazy!