The next morning.
I went down to the lobby to prepare for my morning workout as usual.
“Ah, yes. Hello.”
The usual members of the early morning exercise squad began to appear one after the other. They were all part of the high school section, but I didn’t know most of them. The seniors that I got to know because of that duel greeted me warmly.
……What might this be? This uncomfortable yet pleasant feeling.
Among the first years there were three members of the early morning exercise squad: Me, Ludwig, and Ellen. The ones that only appear occasionally were Bertus, Cliffman and Scarlett.
Ellen went ahead first while I was waiting for Adriana. We didn’t make any plans, but I was sure that she would show up.
“Heya, Reinhardt. Out early again today?”“Yeah.”
Ludwig, who was in sportswear, greeted me brightly, to which I nodded.
In addition to him, two other people in sportswear were walking out of the first year dormitory.
“If you feel tired, you have to rest. Don’t overdo it.”
“Yes, yes. I got it. And talk comfortably to me. We’re in the same grade.”
And Number B-1 Charlotte de Gardias.
“Tha, that’s…. I can’t help it. It became a habit….”
“Fufu. You’ll get used to it bit by bit.”
The two of them came out to do their morning workout together.
“If I’m disturbing you, you can just leave me behind. I don’t want to force myself on you. Your training is more important after all, right?”
“No, no. You still have to look after your health…. I’ll just watch.”
Yesterday, when Charlotte saw Scarlett getting bullied by Erich, she couldn’t stand it anymore. I had no idea what happened in the dorms after that, but Charlotte seemed to have decided to work out with Scarlett in the morning.
It seemed like Charlotte made it clear that she wanted to make Scarlett her own.
The two of them made eye contact with me, as I was standing around in the lobby.
“Erm, Hello? Reinhardt.”
Charlotte smiled slightly at me as she greeted me. Since she came to know that my power would help her find Valier, she wasn’t so harsh on me anymore.
She was slightly different from Bertus in that sense. Scarlett just looked at me and slightly bowed her head towards me. We weren’t really close, but it seemed like she held a certain sense of unity towards me. In the end, she didn’t move according to my advice, but Scarlett’s suffering would come to an end now that she is under Charlotte’s protection.
All her problems would be solved, albeit in a different way.
The kidnapping of Delphine Izadra never happened, and Scarlett’s bullying was taken care of by Charlotte.
……It felt like Ludwig’s existence was becoming more and more redundant.
The one who was supposed to be the main character was gradually become just the guy in the last place of Class B! Nothing more nor less!
Was it really fine for the main character’s influence to become less and less?
However, wasn’t it kind of prejudiced that the main character had to hog the attention of all the other characters around him?
Was this really so bad? Wouldn’t his future destination still be the same, even if he took a different way? Ludwig was a crazy hard worker, so he would thrive in any kind of environment. He’d end up overpowered no matter what happened.
In the midst of my contemplation whether the story was heading towards a really strange direction or whether it was still okay….
“I’m sorry, junior. I kept you waiting.”
The always calm and kind church sister was walking down the stairs.
Adriana praised me for my increase in stamina while we were working out together after a while.
“You worked hard, junior. It isn’t that big a change, but your stamina has certainly increased.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“Okay. Let’s keep it up.”
In the week Adriana was gone, it was clear that my physical abilities had improved a little. I definitely felt less tired than before.
“So shall we pick up the pace a bit then?”
Of course, I was still far below Adriana’s standard.
It was good and all that my stamina increased, but Adriana increased the difficulty just as much as I improved, so I was exhausted again.
So what would happen when I improved even more? That monster would work me until I was completely drained, no matter what. My future still seemed bleak.
“Still, you did great for being able to follow me up to this point.”
After running a lap, doing some muscle training and some aerobic exercises, Adriana and I sat down on a bench to rest.
“By the way, I heard that Demons attacked the Knights Templar.”
Even though Adriana had just returned from the monastery located in the Saint-Owan Grand Duchy, she, of course, heard about this piece of news.
“That’s what they said.”
I could see slight anger in Adriana’s calm eyes.
“These demons have not yet been exterminated.”
This sentence was loaded with her will to participate in the hunt immediately. Even Adriana, who was always gentle, hated the demons with all her being. I was kind of curious about what kind of expression she would make if she ever found out that I was actually a Demon Prince. Would she look at me superficially, or would she take my inner self into consideration?
It would probably be hard for her to see me as someone on the good side, though.
“They say there were no fatalities.”
“Yeah, I’m honestly glad about that. They were surely under God’s protection.”
Sure, God’s protection. It was me who took care that no one would end up dying. Of course, I managed to do that using the Revise Function, but it was still fortunate that none of the Knights Templar ended up dying.
Well, I was kind of this world’s God of Creation, so me using the Revise Function to ensure no one died could be called God’s protection, right?
What? So she was wrong, but actually right.
“There might be a second Demon World War happening soon.”
That was what Sarkegaar hoped for, but it wasn’t something I wanted to happen. Come to think of it, Adriana seemed to have longed to join the Knights Templar.
“Are you going to join the Knights Templar?”
Adriana was already able to use her divine power very well. She was even using them right now. With that level of talent, the Knights Templar would probably let her join with no questions asked.
Adriana nodded to answer my question.
“Originally, I was planning on attending Graduate School, but now I want to go join them as soon as I graduate from Royal Class.”
Adriana originally wanted to go to Graduate School. However, because of this incident, she seemed to want to join the Knights Templar immediately after she finished her 6 years in Royal Class. Because Demons ran rampant inside the Imperial Capital, Adriana decided to change her course of action.
“What’s the matter, junior?”
Adriana looked at me, wondering if there was something wrong.
From what I had seen before, the Knights Templar seemed to be a corrupt organization. The reason why they took the succubi from that black market was because they had similar intentions. If that were to be discovered, they’d just say they took them for research purposes or something. They would just give some reasonable excuses to appease the masses.
It wasn’t known to me from where that corruption originated from or how obvious it was, but the Knights Templar were already one of the most powerful armed forces, so it was pretty hard to simply believe that they were completely innocent.
I can’t deny that I was a little worried about Adriana joining a group like that. If Adriana were to join that place, would she get disillusioned and leave the group? Or would she become an equally corrupt Paladin?
“No. It’s just….”
Adriana’s eyes were so pure.
I had no right to tell Adriana to not join the Knights Templar. In fact, this was still quite far off in the future at the moment.
It felt really strange seeing the incident I caused making such big waves everywhere around me. For me, this was just a simple incident I caused to rescue some demons.
However, it ended up becoming a reason for the unity of the Empire to become stronger.
For some it was the reason to take a leave of absence from Temple.
For others it became the reason to quickly join the military.
Witnessing with my own eyes how a single event triggered hundreds and thousands of connected events, it honestly felt unreal. I knew that everything in the world was somehow connected, but because this connection was now pushed right in front of my eyes, I was experiencing this new feeling.
It wasn’t in the least predictable what my actions would cause.
-Shall we take a rest?
-Haah…. Haah…. No…. W, we can still do some more.
-I think you should rest for a bit, Charlotte.
-No…. No…. I’m fine….
I could see Scarlett and Charlotte running in the distance. Anyone could see that her stamina was already exhausted, but it seemed like Charlotte was trying to continue with her teeth clenched.
In a way, this scene wasn’t that much different from my training. The silent pressure Charlotte put on Erich stopped his bullying behavior. That was probably also why Charlotte was talking with Scarlett like that.
Everything in this world had a cause and effect.
But it was giving me a serious headache, thinking about how a single cause would lead to hundreds of events, and those events would lead to hundreds of different effects.
There just had been too many consequences for my actions. Hundreds of thousands of them.
If that were the case, causal reasoning would become completely meaningless. Because these vast amounts of causal effects could only be called chaos.
In the end, there was only one conclusion.
“The Princess sure is enthusiastic.”
“I know, right?”
I couldn’t smooth out all the consequences my actions brought.
In Harriet’s case, I wasn’t exactly sure how her situation would conclude. There was also Liana de Grantz left. If she were to decide to take a leave of absence, I wouldn’t know how to stop her from doing that. We didn’t even exchange a single word yet. In Harriet’s case, we had this bad relationship connecting us. Even a bad relationship was still a kind of relationship after all. So I could talk things over with her….
The solution to that problem came from a rather strange place.
After breakfast, I could see Bertus having a conversation with Liana de Grantz.
“As I was saying. I believe it would be better to avoid taking a leave of absence if possible.”
Liana tilted her head at Bertus’ straight words.
“I’m not forcing you. It is your choice, but wouldn’t it be better to stay together in the same class than changing our relationship into a vague one like senior and junior after already having paid tuition for this year?”
Bertus was speaking very kindly. He wasn’t forcing her, he was just telling her that he would feel sad if the class fell apart. However, the intention behind that smile of his was very obvious.
‘If you quit the class, prepare yourself for the consequences.’
That was what he actually meant. Liana slightly nodded her head with a firm expression, not clear if she understood his intentions or not.
“Okay. I’ll let them know.”
After all, a Prince was still a Prince.
In fact, a request from Bertus was no different from an order. Rather, it was even more compelling because he worded it as just a request.
‘Look, I’m honoring you so much, I’m even asking you favors.’
That was how this was to be understood.
Obviously, Bertus was the best choice if I wanted to dissuade them from taking a leave of absence. Actually, asking him to persuade the children to not take a leave of absence was my ace in the hole, even if I would be in Bertus’ debt.
However, even though I didn’t ask him to do it, Bertus was dissuading them of his own accord.
It was only natural.
“Wha, what should I do!”
Harriet came to me with her face completely pale.
Tuesday was the day I had the lectures I personally signed up for, so I wouldn’t really run into Harriet. She dragged me to the front door of the Royal Class dorm when I was on my way to my morning lectures.
I could guess why she was doing this.
“What? Did Bertus tell you not to take a leave of absence?”
“H, how did you know?”
“I saw him telling that to de Grantz earlier.”
He told Liana de Grantz, so, of course, he would also tell Harriet the same thing. That was why she got very confused and immediately came to find me and ask me what to do in that situation.
“What do I do? I don’t want to get on his bad side.”
Harriet was in tears, thinking that she would end up dying if she went against the Prince’s wishes. She didn’t know how he was on the inside, only his facade, but if what he said was enough to make her come whine to me, he seemed to let a bit of his intentions slip.
“What do you mean, what should you do? This is a good thing.”
“A good thing…?”
“No, wasn’t that what we planned your excuse to be. Now it actually became true. It would be easier for you to convince your parents now, so how is this something difficult to deal with?”
Her primary excuse was that Bertus didn’t want her to take a leave of absence, so she shouldn’t, to save the Prince’s face. However, Bertus actually told her just that. So this would make it the truth and not an excuse.
Rather, Bertus prepared the best stage one could hope for. I couldn’t thank him enough, but here she was trembling like a newborn calf because she thought she really annoyed Bertus.
“But still…. Even if I convince them that I shouldn’t take a leave of absence…. Doesn’t Bertus hate me now?”
Of course, the chances that she wouldn’t get forced to take a leave of absence rose pretty steeply, but that didn’t change the fact that she tried to take one, so she wasn’t exactly erased from Bertus’ black list. Rather, he might have some plans for the future.
“Idiot. Can you hear me? I think it would be more rude to just write him off like that.”
“Huh? Wha, what….what?”
I found out one more characteristic that that girl had. If she was in a state of heightened stress or fear, she wouldn’t even retort when I called her an idiot. She had already accepted Idiot as a word that was used to address her. That acceptance even reached her subconscious.
“Maybe he just told you that with completely pure intentions. Maybe he just didn’t want our class to get split like that, you know?”
“I, I see….”
“The fact that you think Bertus is being stubborn or annoyed by you already means that you treat him like some kind of jerk.”
Worrying like this, if the Prince got annoyed or angry, was the same as thinking that the Prince was a total jerk to begin with. That was the moment Harriet realized what she was doing, her face turning even paler than usual.
“N, No! It’s not like that! I…. I didn’t think that at all.”
“Then just relax. Because that guy’s much more broadminded than you think.”
He was so broadminded, in fact, that he didn’t give a damn if nobles, commoners or beggars spoke informally to him, because to him, they were all the same.
Harriet’s eyes widened as I spoke about Bertus as if I knew him very well. She seemed to ask me with her eyes how I knew these things.
“Tha, that’s right…. You said he brewed you some tea as well….”
She might have thought something like ‘Are you telling me that you two are close enough to drink tea together?’ or ‘Bertus is so generous to brew a lowly beggar like him some tea?’
I’d put my money on the latter, knowing this punk.
Harriet’s face, that had been very pale up until now, seemed to return to its usual color, her expression seeming more reassured.
“What a relief…. A, anyway, tha, tha…. thanks….”
No, no matter how relieved she felt, she even managed to thank me? Of course, it wasn’t something easy for her to do, so her face seemed a little red again.That girl began to stumble as if she lost the strength in her legs and walked towards the tram stop.
“Where are you going? I have to ride the next one as well.”
It was quite the cringy situation, having to take the same bus as a friend one just said goodbye to.
“What exactly were you thankful for? Tell me in detail.”
As I spoke, her face turned cherry red again.
“Go away! I’ll just walk!”
Harriet huffed and distanced herself from the station.
Then she began to realize that she would have to go quite far, so she returned with an even redder face.