Harriet cried endlessly, so I eventually tried to pat her back.
Obviously, she started to cry even more, telling me not to touch her.
Not knowing how to soothe a crying kid, I took out some candy from the dining room’s storage and gave it to her.
She said that she didn’t want to eat it, and when I forcibly pushed it into her mouth, she pretended like she wasn’t going to eat it, while actually eating it.
It was so fatally cute, seeing her eating it while crying and denying she would, just because I teased her a bit.
10 out of 10….
Seeing her bite and suck on the candy, there was nothing cuter in this world.
“Just because I was joking around a bit, you end up trembling and crying like a three-year-old brat. Are you a little brat? Do you actually think I’d do that?”
While that girl stopped crying and slowly sucked at her candy with her eyes closed, I couldn’t bear it anymore and just shut my mouth. Then she suddenly opened her eyes and stared at me.“You would! Even if you won’t do it to other kids, you’d definitely do it to me!”
Huh. I thought she was being surprisingly straightforward.
Even if I wouldn’t do it to other kids, if she took a leave of absence and returned a year later, she thought I’d absolutely tease her to death.
She originally was a kid much smarter than me, after all. She accurately predicted a behavioral pattern I didn’t even know I had. At first, she took my telling her not to take a leave of absence as a type of confession, then I teased her for that.
That was how I was acting around her.
If I had a daughter, I thought that I would absolutely tease her the same way I do to her. Gaaah! The more she cried, the more excited I would get, leading to more teasing.
There was a 100% chance that I’d treat her that way.
Harriet seemed confident that if she took a leave of absence, she would end up leading a hellish Temple life as Reinhardt’s junior.
“No, well…. Honestly, after listening to you, I can’t deny that I would do it. So why are you even taking a semester off, then? Is there some sort of problem?”
“And what are you going to do with that information?”
After asking me what I would do with that information, Harriet turned her head with a “Hmpf”.
No matter how much you ignored me, despised me and teased me for being a beggar, it was no use.
You had already lost as soon as you followed me here and talked to me.
“What’s the point of telling you? You don’t seriously think that you can do anything for me, right?”
Actually, I didn’t really have any good ideas, but we might come up with something as we talked. And if we couldn’t come up with something, and she still wants to absolutely stay in this class, I could always use “Revise”. I wasn’t sure how many points it would take to make the Grand Duke of Saint-Owan say that Harriet didn’t have to take a leave of absence, though.
Harriet seemed to stare at me, narrowing her eyes. She certainly didn’t seem to trust me. This probably was similar to grabbing at straws for her.
“Won’t it be good for you if I take a leave of absence? You’ll get to bully me as much as you want then.”
Harriet seemed to be thinking about this completely differently. She thought I’d be happy, because I’d be able to bully her to my heart’s content, so she was wondering why I didn’t want her to take that leave.
“Ah, that was a joke. I don’t want you to take a leave of absence.”
There were some very complicated reasons behind this, but it would be hard for me to explain them to her.
“Why…. do you not want me to leave?”
Why do I have to keep playing along with this girl?
…She was so excited.
God damn it.
“It’s fun just being with you.”
Honestly, it really was kind of fun. Harriet wrinkled her brows, giving an impression as if she thought that she was an idiot for even expecting anything from me.
“Hey! You just want me not to take a leave of absence to keep teasing me after all!”
“Even if that’s the case, what’s important are the results! You don’t want to take the semester off! I don’t want you to take a leave of absence! Regardless of my reasons, our purpose is the same, right?”
Harriet seemed to cuss me out with her eyes. No, I mean, if our goals are the same, what did it matter what my reasons were?
Just looking at her, her attitude was rather ambiguous as to whether she liked me or not. Now she had a really disgusted expression on her face. Well, people can like some parts and hate other parts that make up a person.
In other words, people were like cheonggukjang.
At first it might have smelled like “Ew!” but at some point, one might start thinking differently like:
Maybe I didn’t actually hate it that much.
I kind of want to taste it again after such a long time….
Was it something like this?
Anyway, Harriet was really annoyed right now, but she eventually opened her mouth after probably thinking that it couldn’t get any worse anyway.
“Dad…. told me to take a leave of absence. Repeatedly.”
As was expected.
Harriet began to explain her situation.
When the news of the terrorist attack on the Imperial Capital first got spread, the Grand Duke wasn’t outside of the Saint-Owan Grand Duchy. He actually was in the Imperial Capital. As the Empire’s victory celebrations were underway, almost all the powerful nobles should have been in the Imperial Capital at the time.
Harriet didn’t return to the Grand Duchy to meet him, she was still in the Capital. In that case, she could have just returned to Temple immediately, but she didn’t.
“I was told that even Temple was too dangerous, because something like that happened in the middle of the Imperial Capital. That’s why I stayed with Dad all the time….”
After the terrorist attack, the festival as well as all official events connected to it were canceled. Grand Duke Saint-Owan probably kept Harriet somewhere in the vicinity of the Palace or outside the Imperial Capital to protect her. He probably thought it was only natural for him to protect his own daughter with his own hands, at a time when the Capital’s security was already compromised.
The Saint-Owan Grand Duchy was incredibly advanced in the field of magic, and the Grand Duke’s family was originally a wizard family. Therefore, it was more or less already set in stone that Harriet de Saint-Owan was born with the most outstanding talent out of all the wizard bloodlines.
She was gifted with the tremendous talent to wield all kinds of magic, including summoning, offensive magic, support magic, magic crafting, mind spells, alchemy and even black magic. Harriet possessed a completely broken talent to masterfully comprehend and acquire any magic in existence.
In other words, as the Saint-Owan family was a family with its roots in magic, the Grand Duke would already be a grand wizard of a high level. He actually participated in the Demon World War after all.
Grand Duke Saint-Owan was currently one of the most powerful wizards the Empire had to offer.
He was more than capable to look after his own daughter, as such he couldn’t allow her to continue to attend Temple now that the Imperial Capital’s security was compromised. He’d rather have her attend a magic school in their territory or teach her directly, even if the education wouldn’t be as good as what Temple could offer.
Quite frankly, if that wasn’t the case, she wouldn’t have the need to attend Temple in the first place.
“Hearing that, wouldn’t he just kept you at his side then?…. How did you manage to return to Temple?”
It seemed like Harriet was only able to temporarily return after she whined, cried and made a huge fuss in front of her father who tried to stop her from going back to Temple.
However, he probably heard that it was possible for her to take a leave of absence, so she could continue attending Temple, but only after a year. That was perhaps the compromise Grand Duke Saint-Owan acquiesced to.
A year should be enough for them to catch the culprit and stabilize the Imperial Capital.
The Grand Duke’s words were rather reasonable, actually. Rather, Harriet, who insisted on not taking a leave of absence, was the unreasonable one here.
However, the most important thing was that I was pretty damn sure that no more terrorist attacks by demons would occur from this point on. Of course, I couldn’t actually predict the future clearly, but the possibility of Harriet being involved in acts of violence by demons was practically nonexistent.
Join our Discord for release updates!
Although, she already was heavily involved in acts of bullying caused by a certain demon.
Anyway, I was the only one who knew that the Grand Duke’s worries were completely unwarranted at this point.
“Try crying and whining that you don’t want to take a leave of absence.”
“I already di…!”
Of course, what she tried to say was that she already did that, but that girl suddenly got startled and quickly covered her mouth. She thought that I might make fun of her again if she told me that she cried while whining to her parents.
“No, it’s fine for kids to whine and cry. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, you know?”
It would be shameful for me to do something like that, but her doing that was fine. At my words, Harriet’s expression turned into a gloomy one. Her face turned beet red again and she let her head hang down slightly.
“It didn’t work….”
In the end, she confessed that she was crying and whining desperately. From the Grand Duke’s point of view, he wouldn’t just let his daughter go just because she was screaming and shouting. Her life was on the line, after all.
“Hmm…. What should we do?”
I couldn’t come up with any logical reason for the Grand Duke to let his daughter continue to attend Temple this year. At my vague musings, Harriet opened her closed eyes and stared at me.
“What? So you can’t come up with anything as well after all.”
“No, I just said that we should think about this together. Did I say that I knew how to solve this?”
“Shit needs some pushing force to get out as well, right? So, let’s be that force together.”
“Eeeeew! You’re so dirty! I feel like throwing up!”
“What? Don’t you shit?”
“Eww! Urg! Aah!”
As if she was pretending that she couldn’t hear me, Harriet was covering her ears and screamed. It seemed that the more she talked with me, the worse she felt instead of coming to an answer.
It wouldn’t make any sense to tell him that she’d lag behind if she were to take a leave of absence now. This kid was special in more ways than one, so the Grand Duke might just hire numerous wizards from his territory to personally train her.
How about a childish reason like she doesn’t want to be separated from her friends? Grand Duke Saint-Owan might just tell her she’d see them again in a year anyway.
There was little reason to let Harriet continue to attend Temple.
I wondered whether it was really necessary for a kid to take such a long break from school, but we didn’t have any justification. I was completely sure that it would be safe, but I doubted the Grand Duke would believe that….
No, I mean, even the Prince and the Princess were calmly attending Temple, so how come the Grand Duke was acting this way even though he’s just some little fart compared to them?
I suddenly got mad.
Ah. Come to think of it, that’s right.
How about using that line of reasoning?
“The Prince and the Princess are just calmly attending Temple. Right?”
Both of them didn’t seem to have any intentions of taking a leave of absence. The Imperial Palace and Temple were both in the Imperial Capital to begin with, so taking a leave of absence was pretty much meaningless.
“But if you suddenly take a leave of absence in this situation, wouldn’t the two of them think slightly badly of the Saint-Owan Family?”
“H, huh? Tha, that’s…. What are you talking about?”
Harriet paled when I suddenly mentioned the prince and princess.
“No, that would work. Both of these precious people still went to Temple even after this incident took place in the Capital, you, on the other hand, who’s just from a Grand Duchy, are taking a leave of absence because the Capital is too dangerous. If we just expand on this a little more, couldn’t we make it out to be the Grand Duke ignoring the security Temple has to offer and thus completely ignoring the Prince and Princess’ security?”
Of course, everything depended on how one said something. In fact, if one had to decide whether those two would or wouldn’t care about this matter, it was safe to say that they probably didn’t care. However, there was a possibility that it could turn into an issue as long as we brought it up like this.
And these were quite sensitive times.
The Royal Class also was on edge because of the Prince and Princess. So the atmosphere inside the Imperial Palace would be even more tense.
To say something like “I’m making her take a leave of absence because it’s to dangerous here!” would be quite the thing during these sensitive times.
Besides, she was classmates with the Prince of all people, not just any ordinary Temple student.
Depending on how one interpreted this situation, it could be possible to infer that this was quite offending towards the Prince. While the Prince was still devastated by this terrorist attack, the little princess of the Saint-Owan Grand Duchy decided to take a leave of absence, because she thought Temple was much too dangerous.
This could be read as the act of throwing boulders at a very thin sheet of ice.
“Bertus and you are even in the same class. And even though it might not be intentional, you might end up hurting the Prince with these actions. Additionally, though the Capital might have experienced this type of incident, the Imperial Family still held the most authority since its foundation right now. If you lose favor of either of them, you might face a lot of problems later on. It’s also very important to note that this isn’t even a matter of choosing a side, as you might end up offending both with your actions.”
It wasn’t a matter of abandoning one side and switching over to another. One might end up losing both of their favor.
Harriet’s face had gone completely pale as she heard my words. No matter how strong her sense of superiority and nobility was, she tended to cower before those of higher rank than her.
“S, so…. So, what should I do? Isn’t this really bad?”
……No, why was she like this?
“…Hey, you idiot. I’m telling you to persuade your father with these words. Why are you the one getting persuaded here?”
Harriet was so surprised by this that she couldn’t even respond properly to me.
If we really stretched it like this, it would certainly seem like a pretty serious problem, but in reality it most likely wasn’t one. That was why I tried to tell her to use this reason that they might offend certain people in these sensitive times by making her take a leave of absence, which would cause a lot of problems.
However, this girl thought this was a real situation happening right now, so she was shaking in her boots.
“Do you seriously think they’d get that offended if you just took a leave of absence?”
It was true that the family of the Grand Duke Saint-Owan were very powerful. They were a family that wouldn’t even flinch by something like that, even if they might offend someone a little.
In other words, the only ones who were of a comparable rank, except the Prince and Princess, were 3 Liana de Grantz, the daughter of Duke Grantz, and 6 Heinrich, who was part of Kernstadt’s royalty.
“It’s just something I fabricated. In reality, there’s a high chance that they wouldn’t care, but it’s important for your father to take this seriously. So let’s just put it this way. If it was really that dangerous in Temple, why were they still staying there? So this would actually mean it’s safe. Also tell your father that you won’t bend.”
Harriet nodded her head, showing her understanding. I wasn’t sure if this would work or not, but it was worth trying at least.
“Now, there are two reasons. The first is that the current situation was quite sensitive, so taking a leave of absence might make a very bad impression on the Prince and Princess. The second is that they both continue to attend Temple because they are confident that it was safe there, and even if it wasn’t before, right now Temple’s security is even higher than before, so it should be even safer than before as well. Put it like that.”
“Ah, ye…. yes.”
Harriet nodded at my stormy words. Well, I really couldn’t vouch for its success, but it was better than nothing. I mean, Harriet kind of reached out to me, so if she had a better idea later on she could just use that as well.
It would have been even better if it was Bertus who told her not to take a leave of absence.
If Bertus requested her not to take one, the effect of my reasoning would have been maximized. Wouldn’t it be even better if he put it a bit more round about, as well? It would be sufficient if he just expressed that desire indirectly.
That way, the listener could interpret the message however they wanted. Even if Bertus only told her that because he didn’t want his classmate to repeat a year.
Should I ask Bertus to say something to Harriet pertaining to the leave of absence story?
This would make things clear, but I was extremely reluctant to owe him something. I thought I should push that thought back for now.
Anyway, after having listened to everything I had to say, Harriet was staring at me blankly.
“Wha…. What’s with you?”
If one were to carefully listen to this, one would realize that it was a lie, maybe that was why she was looking at me like that. However, it could also be that she was surprised that I actually came up with something like that.
“In the end, something will come out after squeezing hard enough.”
Herriet’s expression grew even weirder, as if she didn’t know what I was talking about. After that, Harriet and I continued to talk about the specifics.
“No, you can just say whatever comes to mind…. Well, we could also write a script if you want, you know?.”
“I would get nervous and forget all the lines!”“Fricking Hell. Are you really a magic major student?”
“I’m not an idiot!”
“No, I didn’t even call you an idiot just now, you know? Are you really some kind of idiot, though?”
“You didn’t say it right now, but you did before! You idiot!”
As such, we kept on bickering and talking in the dining hall. Before I noticed it, night had already fallen.
“Oh. You’re here.”
And that was when Ellen Artorius appeared, like always.