As Lux yawned in the academy’s courtyard, the girls on both sides of him unintentionally laughed.
They were enjoying their lunch break with just the three of them right now.
Placing the furnished platter of plates loaded with several meals on his lap, Lux was sitting alongside the curbstone that was placed similarly to a semicircle.
Lux was sitting right in the middle of the girls.
“Hey hey, it’s too early to sleep, Lux. Are you tired?”
“W-Well, sort of, yeah……”
As Lux awkwardly replied, the girl sitting on his right side drew her face even further closer to his.
The girl with firm deep crimson pupils and lovely blonde hair side tail as features ── she was the New Kingdom princess, Lizsharte.
She was the one who caused his enrollment into the academy to happen, he had complete trust in her right now; she was a reliable princess.
They already had an intimate relationship, but in regards to the matter of yesterday’s request, he still hadn’t told her about it.
Since he found crossed dressing embarrassing, Lux wanted to conceal it forever between him and the girls of the Triad.
“Don’t push yourself too much. You, um……, have various things to do with me from here on out after all. And recently, the time we can be together has finally increased, too……”
With a somewhat feverish expression, Lisha muttered so.
Until just recently perhaps due to the fact that he handled a certain request preferentially, he seemed to have made her feel lonely for a while.
“Ah, I’m alright Lisha-sama. I’m fine so──”
Lisha was an eccentric person, rather he should say that she was very much like an innocent child, but he thought that the part where she honestly relied on him was very cute.
Moreover, since she was not very good at fulfilling her responsibilities as a princess, she continued to endeavor every day as both an engineer of Drag-Rides and a Drag-Knight.
Lux didn’t feel reluctant to cooperate with that girl who deserved his respect.
“You shouldn’t push yourself so much.”
As he was thinking so, he suddenly heard such a voice.
“There are a lot of things that I, too, really want to do as usual, but──, it can’t be helped if you’re tired. Should I reduce the amount of time we should study today?”
“Eh…… Errr, as I still haven’t caught up to everyone in class, please take care of me today too. Krulcifer-san”
As the girl sitting on Lux’s left side sent him a seemingly lonely gaze, he hurriedly shook his head.
The girl with white skin harking back to fresh snow, blue long hair, and possessing a fairy-like mysterious beauty.
An earl’s daughter of Ymir from the North, Krulcifer Einfolk was a girl whose relationship with Lux had suddenly improved recently.
Ten days ago or so, as part of an event, a request was made by Krulcifer to have him play the <Role of a Lover>, and he had fought for her sake in order to dissolve her undesired engagement.
Originally, at the time when that matter ended, the temporary lover relationship should have also ended, but──
“Or, would you like to take a break from studying once in a while and go out somewhere with the two of us”
Krulcifer softly brought her mouth close to his ear and spoke as if tickling it.
The sweet fragrance drifting from her long hair tickled Lux’s nose.
“N, No──. For a while, I’m still a little……”
While his spine quivered with a shudder, Lux’s face turned red.
Ever since that matter, Krulcifer’s attitude towards Lux has slightly changed.
Simply put, the way she often teased him hasn’t changed, but recently the level of teasing has begun to exceed that of “just a friend”.
“Is that so? That’s too bad. Then next time, I’ll invite you again.”
During the times when Krulcifer tutored Lux, she would softly place her hand over his; for Lux who had never gone out with a girl officially, it was quite bad for his heart.
When Lux was inwardly thinking so as his heart was pounding like crazy──,
“Hey……! What are you two secretly talking about?!”
After Lisha, who saw that, groaned in displeasure, she broke the ice in a somewhat impatient manner.
“More importantly, we have to think about a countermeasure regarding that woman──”
“I’m talking about that young lady from one of the Four Great Nobles. The third-year student Celestia, the leader of our “Knight Squadron” has finally come back last night.”
With Lisha’s words, Lux recalled that fact.
As expected, he could not speak about the matter where he had met her in a cross-dressed state.
“That’s right. We must certainly talk about it.”
Suddenly showing a pondering face, Krulcifer agreed, too.
“Using morning’s break, I heard various stories, but──. It seems that a few days, a movement of trying to drive Lux-kun out of the academy has been formed among the third-year students.”
Lux and Lisha unintentionally reacted to the information they heard for the first time.
“It’s the truth. Strictly speaking, only one person, a third-year female student called Saniya seemed to be stirring up other classmates.”
Hearing that story, Lux could not say anything.
Although he thought that he was completely familiar with it now, Lux was a “man” who should not originally be in an all-girls academy; so it was probably inevitable that such an event occurred.
The Old Empire’s ideology which had forced the custom of strong androcracy.
Especially, the bad impression towards noble men could not be easily removed.
Until now, with the support of the first- and second-year students, the third-year students who did not know Lux that much also seemed to have been watching the situation; but the girl called Saniya seemed to once again try to drive Lux out.
“Well, rest at ease. I swear on my name of the New Kingdom princess that I’ll absolutely not let them cancel your attendance at the academy.”
When Lux showed an anxious face, Lisha said so and puffed up her impressive chest for a small-sized body.
Seeing her figure, Lux took a breath of relief.
Frankly speaking, Lux grew quite attached to this academy.
Friends of the same generation and reliable comrades in arms were things that Lux has never had.
(Even though I never thought about such a thing when I wandered around due to odd jobs for five years……)
As Lux was thinking such a thing──,
*tic tic*. Suddenly, his back was lightly poked by a finger and he turned to look back.
“W-What’s the matter……? Phi-chan”
A girl of a somewhat elusive atmosphere having cherry pink-colored hair and a rich chest.
After Philphie, who was also Lux’s childhood friend, stared at Lux with absentminded eyes for a while, she casually and softly put her forehead on Lux’s.
Lux panicked as the pretty face of the girl came before his eyes.
While Lisha and Krulcifer on his sides stiffened as they were also surprised, Philphie quietly separated her face.
“It’s Phi-chan, right?”
Philphie muttered slightly sullenly.
“I-Is that really something you should correct now!? M-More importantly, why did you do──”
“Lu-chan. Let’s sleep early today.”
With her usual tone of doing things at her own pace, Philphie said so.
Although the matter of last night’s patrolling should not be known by anyone aside of the girls of the Triad, it looked like Philphie has noticed that Lux has been tired recently.
Her action of having put her forehead on his was to check whether he had fever just in case.
“No, but I’m still all right, so──”
When Lux tried to act brave like he usually did,
“It’s no good if you don’t sleep early.”
Philphie emphasized so as she drew her face closer.
“If you don’t listen to what I say, we’ll sleep in the same bed.”
With her absentminded serious look as is, Philphie muttered such a thing.
At her statement, Lisha and Krulcifer’s eyes changed.
“H-Hey, Lux. What the hell does that mean? S-Sleeping together──!?”
“Speaking of which, there was no roommate in her room. Lux-kun, don’t tell me──”
“Y-You’re wrong! U-Um ── Phil…… Phi-chan, um, surely says it in the context of a nap──!”
While desperately explaining himself, Lux cursed his own carelessness.
Philphie was quiet and taciturn, at the same time she was surprisingly stubborn.
“I-I got it, Phi-chan! Sorry, it was my bad! I’ll properly sleep today! I won’t push myself!”
“Yes, please, do so.”
“Haa, haa”, Lux roughly breathed.
He was really surprised every time at the words of this natural airhead childhood friend of his.
But, this was surely Philphie’s consideration.
This girl knew well since childhood that Lux easily overworked himself.
(Did I make her worry until now?)
“T-This airhead girl is unexpectedly a formidable enemy……”
“Yes, I was also taking her lightly, but it looks like she’s quite tough. I must be careful, too.”
“W-Wait you two, what are you saying!?”
Lux reacted in a hurry to Lisha and Krulcifer who whisperingly communicated.
Within such peaceful noises, lunch time passed.
And, after school when he finished all of his classes.
“Phew…… With this, today’s jobs are over.”
As usual, Lux finished handling the requests sent by the academy and students and took a breather in the dormitory’s dining room.
As it was pointed out by Philphie, he had been feeling sleep deprived recently; so he moderated the odd jobs that he undertook to ten, moderate compared to the usual.
But alternatively, Lux felt a strange sense of incongruity that he did not have until yesterday.
(──It’s not my imagination, huh……)
He was being looked at.
The gazes from first- and second-year female students and instructors did not change.
But, color of caution was slightly mixed in the gazes turned by the third-year students.
Though it was not to the extent of being called hostility, as expected the influence of Celis’s return was probably spreading among the third-year students.
While thinking about such a thing, Lux secretly headed to a certain place for the time being.
The Drag-Ride’s Atelier located in the school premises.
He knocked on the backdoor of the brick- made building, and after saying “sorry to have kept you waiting”, he calmly opened the door.
“Ok, it’s all right. Come in,”
As he went inside being invited by Lisha who showed up, several girls have already gathered there around a table put in the place of the usual large work table.
“……Wait, so many people came!? Even Airi──”
In addition to Lisha, the chief of the atelier, Krulcifer and Philphie, the three girls of the Triad and even his little sister Airi were already in the atelier, too.
“What do you mean by even me? I was worried because Nii-san is too unreliable.”
Being looked at with slightly amazed and reproachful eyes, Lux got flustered.
In the academy, Airi aspired to become a civil official and did the work of deciphering ancient documents of ruins.
Recently, she seemed to work on the deciphering of documents which were recently brought back from the previous ruins investigation; and partly because she was busy with it, they did not met each other for several days.
“If you say that, I would want to reveal that to everyone, you know?”
Perhaps because she did not like Lux’s reaction, Airi suddenly said such a thing.
“T-That, don’t tell me……!”
“Yes, I know about that. I wanted to see it, too. Nii-san’s……”
“Wait, stop!? Please, anything but that──!”
“Next time, will you properly consult me, too? Nii-san”
As he nodded at Airi who whispered with a somewhat evil smile, his little sister finally forgave him.
“Then, I’ll forgive you.”
Looking at Lux who tried to stop Airi’s words in panic, Lisha and company, who knew nothing, looked puzzled all together.
“S-Somehow it bothers me, but…… Well, let’s leave it for later. More importantly, it’s the matter at hand. It’s fine, right?”
To Lisha’s steering, all the people present nodded.
“Then first, it’s the talk that we heard today from the members of the “Knight Squadron”, but──”
So, she spoke about the information that she gathered about Celis this time one by one.
The third-year students knew about Lux almost only by hearsay, but maybe because of the underclassmen’s persuasion, they did not have so much resistance towards Lux’s admission in itself.
But, if the man-hater Celis tried to drive Lux out, the great majority of the third years who kept quiet would end up supporting her.
“In other words, it’s up to her will how we, the third-year students, will move. Which means that everything will depend on what Celis thinks of Lux.”
Sharis, the only student at this place in the same year as Celis, summarized as such.
“Yes. Then, should we, who know Lux-san well, first try to persuade Celis-senpai?”
“No. I think we should probably stop it.”
Krulcifer calmly shook her head to Noct’s proposal.
“Until now, she has always brought this academy together with a strong conviction. At least, if she could feel shaken by our persuasion, it should have never turned into a situation like this to begin with.”
“In the first place, even if we, who support Lux-cchi, say it, there won’t be any persuasive power, eh~”
“Hmm……” Lisha, the one directly responsible of Lux’s admission, groaned to Tillfarr’s sigh.
In the end, it would turn out like that.
As the talk changed topic of whether they should approve not the individual called Lux, but the existence called “man” or should they let all the students decide it, there was no doubt that they were in disadvantage.
But perhaps because she thought of an alternate plan, when everyone kept quiet,
“──Then, there may be nothing else to do other than having Nii-san himself do his best after all, huh.”
To the words suddenly uttered by Airi, Lux tilted his head to the side.
“I see, there’s that way.”
As Lux was absentminded, Sharis also nodded with her arms folded as is.
“Simply put, this means that it’ll be fine as long as Celis regards you as an exception. No matter how much one advocates justice, a human is a creature moving by his feelings in the end. If you make Celis herself take a liking to you, the problem will be solved. ──With that said, shall we try arguing this time in that direction?”
“N-No, isn’t that kind of impossible──”
Lux was not familiar enough with girls to think of a way of charming the man-hater girl.
“A method to make her take a liking to him, huh…… Let’s see, shall we try putting up the Drag-Ride’s parts that we have excavated from the ruins recently──”
“Would you please stop with your mania-like idea……? There are few girls who will be pleased with that.”
To Lisha’s words, Krulcifer put in a tsukkomi with an amazed face.
“Ugh……!? T-Then, what do you suggest to do!?”
In a place where a small dispute began, Krulcifer turned around to Lux.
“For that, first it’s necessary to have Lux-kun exhibit his weapons, I guess. How about it? Have you experienced an odd job, which looks like it would make a girl happy, so far?”
He pondered for several seconds, but sadly nothing came into his mind.
During his five years of odd jobs life, the clients were various; in the first place he had no memory of having dealt with one long term work to the extent that he thoroughly investigated something.
When he began to write all the jobs he has done so far on a paper for the time being,
“Hmm, how about handmade accessories? In order to show his sincerity with a present? Lux-cchi, for the trial before the main performance, I don’t mind you making one for me, too, you know?!”
“No. Please, restrain yourself, Tillfarr. I judge that it’s merely you who wants a gift from Lux-san.”
In contrast with Tillfarr in high spirits, Noct, who was one grade below, coolly retorted.
“Hmm. We can always put her in danger and save her from it. Even I, who am Celis’ fellow third-year student, don’t know well what she dislikes other than men, but──. Ok, after mixing alcohol in juice and making her drink it, I shall kindly nurse the drunken target. While giving her a favor like this, I might end up reaching the destination as it is──”
“Um, a plan where we’ll all be expelled is a little……”
As Lux stopped Sharis’s proposal while sweating,
“Yes. In the first place, demanding resourcefulness in such a meaning to Lux seems to be a slightly severe judgment.”
“W-Well, that’s right; but it hurts, so please don’t say it too much!”
Although agreeing with Noct, Lux had his heart plainly gouged out.
“Indeed. Even when I made the request of being Lux’s lover, he was feeling quite restless the whole time. I hardly think that he can skillfully lead Celis-san who is older.”
“Could you please end with this topic already!?”
Being told that even by Krulcifer, Lux ended up being crestfallen.
“I’m sorry. It has been a little too fun teasing you.”
With her usual cool smile, the girl turned her gaze to Lux.
Except the fact that she was an exchange student from another country, thinking about Krulcifer, who bore a certain mission and secret, and felt loneliness, it was a good tendency, but──.
(Since she’s a person who seems very noble-like more than the half-hearted me, I’m one-sidedly teased……)
When Lux was making a complicated face,
“Don’t you have any proposal? Philphie-san”
As Airi remembered suddenly, she brought the subject to Philphie who was eating cookies.
Philphie tilted her head to the side for about a few seconds, and then responded with
“Won’t it be fine if he acts like usual?”
Because she gave a normal answer, everyone fell silent.
“Was this airhead girl listening to the talk so far? Listen carefully, at this rate Lux will be expelled from the academy──”
“I think that my big sister will probably not let such a thing happen. So, I think that if a problem happens, we should just tell her that we don’t want Lu-chan to leave the academy.”
With an absentminded expression, Philphie indifferently muttered.
To her reply, the others pondered for a while,
“──She’s right. That may be the best for the moment.”
Airi nodded first.
“It’s a fact that there’s a person spreading bad rumors among the third-year students, but it’s only a person called Saniya and it’s not really like a problem has occurred. If we were to react to it and make a fuss, it might strengthen the opposition.”
“In other words, it’s important to unify the wills of the first- and second-year students who already accepted Lux-kun, huh.”
When Krulcifer answered so and the talk was about to complete the first stage,
*knock-knock*, a sound of the atelier’s door being knocked was heard.
“……What’s the matter? I’m busy now.”
“I’m sorry. Is Lux-kun here?”
When Lisha, who was the atelier’s chief, answered over the door, the voice of a girl who seemed to be a student returned.
“H-Hey, the dorm leader seems to call Lux-san, but──”
“He’s currently running an errand for me. I’ll tell him when the work is over. Tell the dorm leader that if she’s lucky, he may go there early.”
“I got it. Then, I’ll take my leave.”
When everyone lowered their voices with dubious faces, the girl’s footsteps went away.
“I wonder if it was a nervous reaction. Even if the fact that Lux was there is exposed, the “opposition faction” should not be able to do anything about it──”
Lisha muttered so, but she could not be quite sure.
“But certainly──, it’s dangerous to move stealthily too much. It’s already late today, so shall we call it a day for the time being?”
When Airi concluded so, everyone nodded and decided to do as such.
“Then, I’ll leave first. I seem to be called by the dorm leader. And also ── I thank everyone for having gathered tonight for my sake.”
Giving his thanks in the end with a smile, Lux left the atelier while looking out to the surrounding.
A few minutes after Lux left the atelier.
Silence filled the room for a while, but Lisha sitting at the back muttered before long.
“U-Um…… I’ll say it now. But, having Lux curry favor from Celestia, personally I don’t want to do it, but──”
Looking at the blushing girl who was somehow irritated,
“Y-Yes, indeed. It’ll be good and all that her man-hating is cured, but ── there’s also no guarantee that both of them won’t really become serious. If that happens ── I’ll be troubled.”
Krulcifer too slightly blushed and said so.
“Haa, what troublesome girls.”
Airi, who looked at these two girls, breathed a small sigh; and the trio of the Triad showed a happy smile immediately after.
“I see; in other words, the reason why you said “you can’t lead Celis” to Lux-kun was because you didn’t want it to be like that, huh. You also have a cute side in you, eh, Krulcifer.”
To Sharis, who turned a broad grin, Krulcifer fell silent.
“Then, since the boy left, shall we try having occasionally such a talk? It seems pretty fun after all.”
Seeing Tillfarr, who bent herself forward further, Airi lightly clapped her hands.
“Let’s already call it a day. Everyone, please do not take my big brother as your plaything.”
Along with the slightly amazed voice, the girls’ meeting spelt its end.
“Still, I wonder what that urgent business is.”
Lux, who came out of the atelier, hung the bag packed the complete set for the said cross-dressing and went to the dorm leader room in the women’s dorm.
He originally intended to go return it as is to Principal Relie, but the plans have changed.
When Lux was walking the long corridor while thinking about such a thing,
“I-I’m sorry. Can I have a little of your time!?”
A girl who gathered her long hair in three braids called out to Lux in a flustered state.
Since the color of her necktie was blue, it looked like she was a third-year student; but he was not familiar with her face.
She was probably a native of the south region as the rare brown skin was their peculiarity.
“Ah, yes. Errr── what is it?”
“There’s a person in this room that is unable to move. She is overused her Drag-Ride and seemed to have ended up having muscles’ pain. Until I get the doctor for medical treatment, could you please look after her?”
“Eh……? I-I don’t mind it, but”
“Then, please! This way──”
The braid-haired girl pulled Lux’s hands and took him to a room on the third floor.
“It’s here. She doesn’t look fine, so please lightly massage her body.”
“Ah, yes. I got it. ──Wait, massage!?”
No matter how urgent it was, wouldn’t it be quite a problem for him, a man, to do it?
Lux thought so and was going to decline it immediately, but
“Please. I’ve already told her about it after all.”
As the braid-haired girl said only that, she quickly left the place.
(I-Is it all right for me to do such a thing? But, I’ve got to take responsibility for accepting the request……)
After having hesitated a little while, Lux steeled himself and opened the door.
Unlike the sharing rooms for boarding students, it seemed to be a slightly small, private room. Perhaps because the lamp was not lit, the face of the girl lying face-down on the bed could not be seen.
“Um……, excuse me.”
As I called out to her just in case and entered the room, the girl’s voice returned.
“Please, come in. you’re quite late.”
“Um…… is it all right if I rub you?”
“Yes. I have heard that by doing so, one can be rid of their fatigue.”
Though it was a slightly feverish voice, Lux looked puzzled as he felt like it was not a painful voice.
“T-Then, excuse me……”
For note, Lux had odd jobs experience in large public baths. Of course, there were only men, but he had done massage for visitors.
(But, I’ve almost never done jobs like medical care──)
As Lux was troubled as to how he should deal with it,
“Is something wrong? If possible, I would like you to do it before my body gets cold.”
“I-I understand. Then, please tell me if it’s painful.”
As Lux explained, he nervously extended his hands.
When his finger softly crept on her back,
He unintentionally raised his voice.
It was dim and one could not see well, but the girl’s upper half was naked.
That the white abundant chest of the girl’s upper body was softly flattened and could be seen as its majestic volume was reflected in the window before his eyes.
At the touch of the finely strong, firm skin as if sticking to him, and at the touch of the strong, firm skin, Lux’s heart began to pound violently.
“……? Is something wrong?”
“N-No!? It’s nothing──!?”
Although his voice was clogged, Lux once again let his fingers creep on the girl’s skin.
(……Wait!? Looking closely, not only her back, but also her buttocks, this──)
Upon close inspection, she only wore a piece of white thin cloth on the bottom of her neatly constricted waist.
Through that piece of cloth, the girl’s well-shaped big buttocks, and well-fleshed body lines also distinctly stood out; Lux’s head immediately boiled.
“Should I turn the light on? Saniya told me that I can relax when it’s dark, so it’s better to turn it off.”
“N-No, it’s all right! Um, I will continue, so──”
While parching his throat in nervousness, Lux massaged her back in panic.
The touch was totally different from when he massaged a man of an excavation shop during an odd job before.
Lux’s face spontaneously became hot at the rising sweet fragrance and the sensual touch.
Even so, as his fingers remembered the job of before, he somehow manage to do it well, but──
“It’s been a while since I last took a bath in the girl’s dormitory, so I unintentionally had it long and leisurely.”
As she was satisfied with Lux’s way of using his fingers, the girl muttered in a calm tone with a slightly pleasant atmosphere.
“But, an academy of only girls without males is good as expected. In the capital, I was tensed every day.”
With these words, Lux noticed.
(Having returned from the capital? Wait, d-don’t tell me this person is──!?)
When Lux was thrown in further intense agitation,
“Celis-san? Are you in there? Saniya-san was looking for you, but──”
These words were heard along with a small knock.
It was a different voice from the braid-haired girl’s of earlier.
(T-This is bad……!)
Lux’s heart was about to stop.
This current situation was definitely not Celis’s intention. There was no way that Celis, who is a man-hater, would expressly asked Lux, a man, for a massage right after bathing.
(W-Why did such a situation happen!? No, in the first place, the girl who called me here said that there was someone who hurt her body──!)
『It seems that since a few days, a movement of trying to drive Lux-kun out of the academy is occurring among the third-year students.』
『Strictly speaking, only one person, a third-year female student called Saniya seemed to be stirring up other classmates though.』
Krulcifer’s voice echoed in Lux’s mind.
And Lux did not know what Saniya looked like.
(No way ── was it that girl!?)
I’ve been set up, when he noticed it, it was late.
If the door were to be opened here, Lux would be framed for sexually attacking Celis and expelled from the academy.
No amount of resistance from the pro-Lux faction could possibly prevent the explosion.
“Understood. I’ll come back very soon, so could you wait a little?”
“I’ll wait here then.”
When Celis politely told so, at the same time she softly raised her upper body.
As the white, beautiful back of the girl came before his eyes, Lux unintentionally averted his eyes.
“I’ll turn on the light. I give my thanks for having come expressly for my sake. But, I must soon change my clothes, so──”
When Celis was going to stretch her hand to the lamp of the room,
“P……Please, hold on a little!”
“Is something wrong?”
“E-Errr…… um, I-I must close the curtains! Because you’ll be seen from the outside! And also recently, there’s been a suspicious person──”
Those were Lux’s words with only the intent to gain time but,
(T-This is bad. I might have been found out……!?)
“Thank you. I was a little careless. It looks like I need to reflect.”
The girl muttered with a slightly wry smile.
(I-I’m saved…… But, what do I do from here on?)
He could not do something unreasonable such as jumping off from the window of the third window.
Even if he were to run outside of the room, the girl waiting for Celis stood right there at the corridor.
While a troubled Lux closed the curtain, Celis stood up from the bed and the cloth which was put on her body softly fell.
Lux unintentionally turned his gaze at her white naked body visible in the darkness.
“……!? S-Senpai!? What are you──”
“I thought about wearing at least my underwear.”
(B-But, changing your clothes without even hiding yourself…… even if you’re thinking that I’m a woman──. Ah……!)
At that moment, a certain idea crossed Lux’s mind.
Lux hurriedly stretched his hand at his bag on the floor and executed it.
“Then, I’ll turn on the light.”
Immediately after Celis said so and turned on the lamp putting on her underwear──,
“Ah, u-um──, good evening.”
Celis opened her eyes wide in puzzlement, staring at the cross-dressing Lux.
A girl who wore the blouse and skirt of the uniform and put on a wig of hair reaching until the waist.
It was an emergency measure to use the cross-dressing kit, coincidentally he was on his way to return it, but──.
When Celis muttered in bewilderment, Lux’s body suddenly stiffened.
(A-As I thought, it may have been reckless. There was no way I would deceive her with this──)
“Luno. So, it was you. I’m glad to able to meet you.”
When Lux cocked his head in puzzlement to the unexpected words, Celis softly took his hands.
“Is your injury all right already? I’m sorry to have asked you for such a work without even knowing.”
As Celis completely thought Lux to be the girl of yesterday, she said so with a voice filled deep affection.
(I-It’s good that she hasn’t noticed, but I kind of have mixed feelings about it…… wait, more importantly!)
“S-Senpai! Your clothes! You still haven’t worn your clothes!”
Lux, who noticed it, hurriedly stepped back.
When looking, Celis was still in pale light blue-colored underwear.
“Please, do not mind it. More importantly, meeting you is more……”
“U-Um! You’ll catch a cold! So, Celis-senpai should──!”
“I understand. Then, can you give me a little time?”
As Lux desperately appealed, Celis slowly stretched out her hand to her uniform on the side.
Of course, Lux turned his face away to avoid watching her change, but even so his heart was violently pounding.
Celis’s aloof atmosphere coupled with her beauty that could be described as peerless, by just being in the same room as her, made him feel exalted.
This was probably the status as a Duke daughter she held.
“Errr, but…… I ── not that, I-I don’t think that I’m that great a student to keep company to Celis-senpai. And earlier, someone else seemed to call you, too, so……”
Frankly speaking, he wanted Celis to leave as is without incident, so when Lux tried to lead as such──,
“It’s not really like I like people of the same sex.”
Celis who finished changing her clothes and approached again said something unexpected.
“No. of course it’s not like I dislike them, either, but…… um, I would say that I don’t see them as targets of romantic love. It’s just ‘like’ in the meaning of being close friends with them. But ── for some reason, I’m misunderstood by the students around.”
He did not know the reason why Celis suddenly said such a thing, but he felt like he somehow understood why the surrounding students would think so.
A fairytale-like beautiful and strong girl in all respects.
If such a girl was to allow men to get close, the girls, who admired her, would further pile up fantasies.
“But, it’s strange. When I look at you, for some reason um, I’m captivated by you. I’m sorry to say something strange so abruptly, but──”
“N-No, I’m very happy that you say that of me, but──”
This was half his true feelings.
Being able to attract the attention of a noble, beautiful girl like Celis, there was no way that he would feel sick about it.
Though, it might be natural because he was a man.
“Senpai. Not yet? It’s late.”
Again with a knocking sound, the voice of the girl of earlier was heard.
After Celis stared at Lux’s face for a little while,
“Your words of a little while ago, do you really mean it?”
“Eh, ah, yes……”
“Then, on the day off three days from now, um, will you go out with me?”
“Eh……!? But, that’s──”
“Y-You didn’t want to didn’t you!?”
As Celis’s expression looked despondent as he has never seen so far, Lux was flustered.
“N-No! It’s all right! I’ll go.”
“Thank you, Luno.”
(I-I’ve said it……! Just reflexively……)
“Then……, let’s see. At 9:00 a.m., after eating breakfast, please wait for me in the dining room.”
“I-I got it.”
“Then, see you again.”
After saying only that, Celis reluctantly left the room.
As the two girls’ footsteps became more distant, Lux turned the lamp off and kept his disguise just in case.
When he heaved a sigh of relief for the time being,
“I’ve never seen your face.”
Being called out from behind, Lux unintentionally held his breath.
When he turned around, the black braid-haired and brown-skinned girl, who lured Lux over there earlier was there.
“……Ah? Do you recognize me? I think that this is the first time we met though.”
Here once again, Lux understood the situation.
The aforementioned girl that denied the present situation that there was a man in the academy and incited Celis to drive Lux out.
This third-year student called Saniya lured Lux into a trap.
In order to make a situation where Lux attacked Celis and immediately spread the commotion, she probably came here to see how things went.
(It’s bad…… Unlike Celis-senpai, this person suspects me.)
“Well, whatever. More importantly, did you happen to see a male student in this room? You’ll know at least that, right? You were in there just a moment ago.”
She stood in front of Lux and asked with a dubious expression.
He could not escape.
She had a calm demeanor at a glance, but sharp doubt and hostility were emitted from her slender body.
(This is bad, at this rate……!)
When Lux was flustered──,
“Hey, may I intrude?”
From behind Saniya standing before Lux, a dignified voice was heard.
Exposing while slowly walking was Krulcifer.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation, but I’ve an urgent business with that girl. Can you hand her to me?”
With calm, yet unfazed movements, Krulcifer stood next the cross-dressing Lux.
A leisurely smile floated on her face.
“For you, who is an Earl daughter, that’s quite impolite, you know? Can you wait until I finish my business with──”
Saniya aggressively fought back without retreating. But,
“The principal told me that she wants me to bring her as soon as possible, but──. Do you still need a reason?”
Though Lux thought that the request for his presence by the principal was a lie, there was no way of confirming it in this situation.
Perhaps she thought that detaining or doubting would be unnatural, Saniya heaved a small sigh.
“I understand. Then, excuse me.”
And then, she turned her back on Lux and Krulcifer and briskly disappeared into the corridor.
After watching Saniya leave until her presence completely disappeared,
“Then, shall we go?”
Krulcifer quietly pulled Lux’s hand and began to walk as if nothing happened.
They both left the dorm silently as is, and went up the stairs of the school building, whose door was about to be closed already.
Lux, who ascertained that there was no one in their surrounding, finally asked.
“Errr, Krulcifer-san. Um, thank you.”
As he first thanked his friend who saved him from a predicament,
“As usual, you’re too softhearted. After I heard the voice that called you in the atelier, I found it a little suspicious.”
“Incidentally, I went to confirm it with the dorm leader, but she told me that she didn’t remembered calling you.”
Being told so calmly, Lux was at a loss for words.
Looking back now, the appearance of the girl, who asked for him without showing herself, was certainly strange.
The ones who knew that Lux participated in the meeting in the atelier should have been only the girls who were present there.
It was probable that Saniya secretly followed Lux.
Lux has certainly been careless.
“But……, I’m amaze that you knew it was me. Even though I’m dressed like this──”
Because he did not tell Krulcifer about his cross-dressing to patrol a few days ago, she should not know that he had the means to cross-dress.
When Lux asked as he thought so,
“There’s no way that I’ll mistake my precious Lux for someone else, right?”
She said so with her usual cool smile.
“Errr, what do you──”
“Can’t you not ask about it? Even I became embarrassed a little……”
When Lux’s face turned red as he understood what she meant, Krulcifer also blushed while feigning calm.
After they arrived at the principal room as is, they explained the circumstances to Relie who stayed for work and she promised to arrange an alibi for him.
And then after having changed back into his male uniform, Lux returned the female uniform and then parted from Krulcifer there.
He returned to the room he shared with Philphie and finally heaved a sigh of relief.
At any rate, it was dangerous.
That third-year female student Saniya was trying to drive out Lux with hostility he has never seen so far.
Because the girls around him so far have received him favorably, he had forgotten; but relaxing his attention for a moment was dangerous.
“But……, what on earth does that girl──?”
A girl who regarded the nobles “men” as enemies due to the custom of androcracy that the Old Empire had laid out before.
Or a girl who did not originally liked Lux that got into a school of aristocrat daughters where there were no men.
He could understand those simple reasons.
But, he felt a stronger intent from that girl called Saniya.
“Muniah (cute yawning)……, Lu, chan”
The double room’s light was turned on, but Philphie seemed to have gone ahead sleeping on her bed.
“Good night, Philphie.”
When she called out to her with a gentle smile, Lux turned the lamp off and went to bed, too.
In any case, the Campus Selection Battle would begin soon.
And, the awakening of Ragnarok, which was the New Kingdom’s crisis to come, approached closely every day.
(I must also tell Celis-senpai about that──)
While thinking about such a thing, the calm night wore on.
That night where the moon was shrouded with thin clouds.
One shadow stretched in the prison of the royal capital far away from the Fortress City.
The shadow’s owner was a doll-like figure that put on a jet black robe and wore a hood over is eyes.
His footsteps resounded on the stone corridor illuminated by flames of torches and he kept walking at a regular pace.
The capital’s prison was divided in three levels, matching the kind and weight of the crime, and managed criminals.
The shadow easily reached the most strict, deepest level among them.
“──Good evening, my dear sworn friend. Are you doing well?”
The robe figure, which stopped in front of the grill, talked to the man inside with a calm voice.
The next moment, the blond-haired man ── Balzeride, who was reading a book inside the jail, noticed and raised his head.
Though he was a criminal charged for conspiring with various backroom deals, perhaps related to his position of the heir of one of the Four Great Nobles, he wore fine clothes for a prisoner.
Perhaps because his appearance was quite unexpected, even after recognizing the robe figure’s identity ── that it was the “Black Marketer” with whom he have made deals before, he was not able to utter his next words.
“Oh my? Are you so moved you’re lost for words? That’s good to know. It looks like it was worth braving danger and coming here to meet you.”
The robed figure, his eyes still hidden with a gloomy shadow, uttered an extremely bright voice.
His attitude was completely different from when they were making deals before.
It had a trace of child-like innocence, but Balzeride was seized with a strange uneasiness.
“H-Have you come to save me? Sorry.”
When he asked so as to guess the other party’s feelings, the robe figure’s lips curved in a crescent shape.
“There’s no need to apologize, “Title Holder of the Kingdom”. I highly value the talent you have. That’s the number one reason why I came here like this.”
“I-Is that so……”
Balzeride heaved a sigh of relief to the robe figure’s reply.
If this “Black Marketer” still highly valued him like this, then the talk would be easy.
“As expected of my sworn friend, how discerning.”
Balzeride, who said so with a calm smile, stood up.
“Indeed, I still have some authority left. There’s also a hidden sanctuary in my territory. Afterwards, I’ll have you procure me new mercenaries and Drag-Rides. What, if I break out from here, everything will work either way. It’ll be fine if we just pin the crime regarding this matter on the rebel army. I’ll talk to the consuls that the Kreutzer House has won over, and when we select a criminal of substitute──”
Balzeride made an address as if pressing for an answer.
He considered this to be golden opportunity and began to persuade the robe figure,
Fresh blood suddenly splashed before Balzeride’s eyes.
A dark read horn-like protuberance pierced from inside his chest and sprouted.
The robe figure trampled down the head of Balzeride, who raised a shriek and rolled on the floor, with the shoe that he inserted in between the lattice.
“Hey, hey, be quiet, will you? It’s night now, you’ll cause trouble to the prison guards, you know?”
The robe figure put his index finger on his lips and said with mischievous voice.
He was looking down at the “Title Holder of the Kingdom” not with surprise or fear on his expression where his eyes were covered, but rather a smile that could be called calm.
“W-What did you do!? Y-You bastard! Guh, Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah……!”
While greatly opening both his eyes and twisting his body in pain, he continued crying.
The dark red horn, which sprouted from Balzeride’s chest increased in number and thickness, broke several bars of the grill and spread out as if eating away from the inside.
Each time that erosion advanced, blood vessels and skin burst open, and the inside of the prison was dyed red.
“Didn’t you hear what I said? What an irritating person, geez. ──I said it earlier, right? That I value your talent quite highly.”
“Gahah! Guaaaaaah! Ugaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”
Balzeride, who writhed as he scattered bloody vomit, the robe figure shrugged his shoulders while saying “good grief”.
And then, he widely opened his eyes covered with the hood and wickedly laughed like a devil.
“You’re a genius who makes me angry! To make this gentle me come all the way here; really, you’re an amazing genius. Ah geez, you garbage. Trash. Scum. Die. Just die at this moment. Die after fully suffering. Die while being eaten away from inside. Become like a corpse with maggot crawling all over it while keep on living..”
The robe figure continued rebuking it with a gloomy voice, but with a joyful look.
But perhaps he was not satisfied with only that, when he set foot inside the jail, he stepped on the chest, which was about to crumble, with his shoe heel.
“Listen up! <Aži Dahāka> was my Divine Drag-Ride, too. But even so, it has an energy limit. If you copy several other Divine Raiments and use them at the same time, both power and accuracy will naturally decrease. I taught you that, right? If you didn’t get cocky ── ah geez; what’s more, it has been magnificently destroyed to that extent, so even restoring it is already impossible.”
Under the robe figure, which kept uttering words of resentment, Balzeride was already dead.
But, not even caring about such a thing at all, the robe figure danced like a child playing in a puddle of water.
“Ah, geez. Show a little backbone. So, even the last dosage was useless? Well, considering this guy’s age, the compatibility possibility seems to be zero to begin with though.──See you, useless rich young master.”
When the robe figure spat out and turned on his heel, he took out a horn from his breast pocket and put it on his lips.
“……Now, then. Without delay, let’s go get revenge for this pathetic fellow who died.”
An innocent and bottomless wicked smile spilled from under the hood.
After the interval of an instant, a violent dissonance echoed.
──The next day, during lunch time.
While eating lunch with his friends in the courtyard, Lux was thinking about Celis.
Even if Lux’s existence in the academy was called into question again, a problem should not occur until the Campus Selection Battle ended.
However, the existence of the awaken Ragnarok still threatened the New Kingdom, a matter which warranted careful action.
The decision to give Celis the charge as the subjugation commander was still being discussed.
He heard from Lisha that because Celis had beaten up the instructors, whom were male, during the practice in the capital, or due multiple parties grasping for political power during this situation, there were arguments and disagreements regarding the subjugation corps’ personal selection.
(If Celis-senpai goes, I must accompany her, too……)
Lux defeated Balzeride, who was the first candidate to be the subjugation force commander, and made him lose his standing.
Of course, there were circumstances which compelled him to do that, so he had no regret on that point; but he still intended to take responsibility.
“I see that you’re thinking about complicated things again.”
To the mutter of Krulcifer who was eating her meal, sitting on the left, Lux quickly came to his senses.
It looked like he had lost himself while pondering.
“Lu-chan. You should properly eat your lunch.”
Philphie, who was sitting on his right today, softly held out a sandwich to him with her usual absentminded deadpan.
“You should properly eat.”
She repeated the same words so as to emphasize.
“S-Sorry. But, um, I’ve properly bought my own meal, so──”
Lux refuted as such in a hurry, Philphie looked into Lux’s face without pulling back the sandwich that she held out.
“You should eat.”
Unable to resist the pure girl’s eyes, Lux had a mouthful of the sandwich from Philphie’s hand.
Because Philphie was really stubborn at such time, he knew that resistance was futile.
Then, Philphie made a relieved expression and expressed a faint smile.
“Is it delicious?”
Frankly speaking, he was so embarrassed that he did not know how it tasted.
When Philphie muttered with a relieved voice, small screams like “Kyaaah” were raised by the first- and second-year female students in the same courtyard that were looking in the distance.
“As I thought, a childhood friend is different, huh.”
“I thought that Krulcifer-san was a step ahead, but looks like we don’t know yet.”
Such voices of curious onlookers could be heard.
“No, this isn’t really what you think──!”
When Lux, with a bright red face, was going to deny such voices,
“She’s quite the strong rival. But, I won’t lose.”
Krulcifer stirred up while chuckling.
“Wait, don’t say strange things, too, Krulcifer-san!?”
Watching Lux being flustered, the girls happily laughed.
It was a calm and peaceful daily sight, but Lux suddenly noticed that something was missing.
“S-Speaking of which, Lisha-sama ── she said that she a little thing to do, but she’s late.”
After the period of being Krulcifer’s “lover” was over, Lisha also hung with them almost every day; but just for today’s lunch, she said “I’ve an urgent business, so I’ll see later”.
She was the New Kingdom’s princess, a member of the “Knight Squadron” and was also doing research on Drag-Rides, so she should be a really busy person, but──.
“Lux-cchi! So, you were here!?”
As Lux was thinking so, one of the Triad, Tillfarr was hurriedly running his way.
When she raised her face in front of her while being out of breath,
“Big trouble! Celis-senpai went to have a talk with the Principal to expel you, and Lisha-sama went to stop her──”
Lux stood up at the words of the awfully flustered Tillfarr.
“Both of you, stay here!”
Leaving such words, Lux hurriedly ran to the school building from the courtyard.
The school building’s third floor, the corridor before the principal room has already been crowded with a great number of students regardless of the school year.
“Sorry, please let me through!”
Pushing his way through that crowd, Lux arrived at the principal’s office.
*Bang*! The moment he opened the door, that scene jumped into his eyes.
“That’s why I’m saying that there’s no problem with admitting Lux! It was originally my suggestion, but the principal approved of it as well and he went through an official procedure. There’s no way that he can drop out at this late hour!?”
“It is an admission that was selfishly decided when we, the third-year students were absent. Besides, in the original admission conditions, it is written only girls of regulated age can enroll. If we were allowed his attendance at the academy, it should affect the very meaning of the academy existence.”
Two girls were facing each other in front of the principal seat where Principal Relie was sitting.
On one side, the New Kingdom’s princess Lisha.
And on the other side, Celestia.
The two girls were having an intense dispute, but when they saw the figure of Lux, who entered the room, they suddenly stopped their words.
“Lu-Lux!? Why are you here──!?”
Not minding the surprised Lisha, Lux closed the door and began to walk slowly.
And when he advanced until the principal room’s center, Celis’s face turned towards Lux.
“Are you the Old Empire’s former Prince, Lux Arcadia?”
After a short pause, she asked with an appraising look.
Slight suffocation could even be felt in her presence and voice which overwhelmed others.
(So this is her attitude towards “men”), huh……
He had heard the rumor about being a great man-hater, but an overwhelming pressure pushed Lux’s body just by confronting her like this.
“You are not someone who should originally be here. Do you understand that?”
Lux could argue at once against her serene voice.
“I have heard the story about the recent circumstances.”
Before Lisha interjected, Celis continued talking.
“I am grateful that you saved the academy from danger several times during my absence. But, it’s not a valid reason for you to enroll here. This academy is for noble young ladies.”
When Lisha raised her voice, Celis held her back with a gaze.
“If we were to recognize and accept him here as an exception, we would have to recognize other exceptions. The talk about the academy not being a coed school should have already been settled seven years after the academy founding.”
When Lisha groaned, Celis heaved a sigh.
Then, Principal Relie also scratched her head as she was troubled.
“I thought that no one remembered such talk…… As expected, you’re quite formidable. What Celis-san said certainly makes sense, but could you overlook it only this time?”
“Just the other day, a suspicious man invaded the school grounds. The one over there is not the cause, but it will be trouble for this academy’s students if they are careless towards men.”
Unflinching even against Principal Relie, the talk seemed to take a parallel course.
The defense for Lux’s admission was eroding quickly.
The New Kingdom royal family’s power did not hold a great amount of power, the nobles, who were the investors of the academy, would adhere with the Ralgris House who had more influence than the royal family.
If that happened──
Expulsion or attendance. While being made to stand barely at the edge, Lux thought.
Though he was about to be overwhelmed by Celis’s intimidating atmosphere, he steeled himself as he took a deep breath.
(Calm down…… no matter what I say here, it’ll only sound like an excuse. In that case──)
Thinking so, Lux made a certain decision.
“Celestia-senpai. I have a favor to ask you.”
To Lux’s sudden words, everyone present in the room held their breath.
After lowering his voice so that it could not be heard outside the door, Lux said.
“It about the matter of the Ragnarok subjugation that Balzeride Kreutzer was supposed to undertake. Would you lead the unit for that?”
At these words, tension exploded inside the principal room.
The existence of the Ragnarok, which rested at the seashore of the Heiburg Republic, was absolutely a confidential matter that was known only to a limited number of people.
After Balzeride’s downfall, Celis’s name has already been raised as the next subjugation commander candidate, it was a fact that Celis naturally knew, but
“……I will not ask why you know about that matter.”
After slightly accumulated breath, Celis indifferently responded while matching her gaze to Lux.
“But, it is a matter that has nothing to do with you. Therefore, there’s no need for you to worry about it.”
Her words bluntly refuted him.
But, Lux could not afford to pull back either.
“Most of the New Kingdom Army’s Drag-Knights are men for the moment, but would you be able to cooperate with them?”
“Lux Arcadia. Are you trying to sidestep the issue? If that’s the case, I will judge that there is no room for discussion.”
“My answer will be decided depending on yours. So──”
After Celis leaked a small sigh, she looked down at Lux, whose height was slightly shorter than her, and answered.
“I am going to accept the aforementioned subjugation request, but I do not intend to borrow the power of the male Drag-Knights. I intend to kill it by myself. Are you satisfied now?”
In a sense, those were expected words.
The academy’s strongest ── no, she was the girl who held the throne of the strongest perhaps in the New Kingdom. Her absolute ability and the words were coming out of her self-confidence.
“Then, I cannot leave this academy.”
“……What do you mean?”
Looking at Lux, who clearly showed a will of rejection, Celis inquired with a dubious face.
“Because I will tag along in your squad subjugation as a member of the Knight Squadron. Lord Ralgris”
Celis, who was perfectly the “dignified Four Great Nobles” so far, showed unrest for the first time.
“I have also heard about your ability. But──, the Ragnarok is a formidable enemy. I cannot let you fight alone without the cooperation of other Drag-Knights. If I am a member of the “Knight Squadron”, which can undertake missions of the army while being students, then I can cooperate with you.”
Lisha was about to say something unintentionally, but she held her tongue in the middle.
She probably guessed that Lux had an idea.
As he gratefully received her solicitude, Lux resolved himself.
“I have heard that your ability is equal to a member’s of the “Knight Squadron”. But, I do not intend to recognize you──”
Celis said in a slightly sharp voice.
When Lux, unfazed, was going to continued speaking,
“Hold on, could you calm down, both of you?”
Relie broke in as a mediator as she revealed a wry smile.
“It is already the time for the lunch break’s end, you know? Even if you deny each other’s opinions like this, you will not reach a conclusion, right?”
Saying so in a calm tone, Relie stood up from her seat.
And when she opened the principal room’s door, a great number of students, who gathered before it, crowded in as they fell while screaming various “kyaah!?”
“To summarize it, Celis’s demand is “Lux-kun’s expulsion”, and Lux-kun refuses this. And Lux-kun’s demand is that “Celis-san accepts Lux-kun’s cooperation in the Abyss’ subjugation”, and Celis-san refuses this, too. So a situation where both of you cannot accept each other’s claims, right?”
Relie greatly raised her voice so as to tell the students who gathered.
“So, you girls, who have heard the talk now, which claim do you support?”
When Relie asked so, the great number of students began to rustle.
“Errr ── As expected, I’m in Lux-kun faction, I guess? He hasn’t yet properly done my request, and if he’s expulsed, I’ll be troubled; so if Celis-senpai is to subjugate a strong Abyss, a safer way to do it will be better……”
“Well, I don’t think that he’s really a bad guy, but it may certainly be still a problem that a man is in this academy. If Celis-san said so, then……”
“Please wait! What you did is called thought resignation. At least, Senpai should decide after coming to know him well──”
The first- and second-year students supported Lux, and the third-year students who supported Celis.
From the female students’ debate that could be heard, such impressions were roughly transmitted.
“Yes, yes. Everyone, calm down.”
As she clapped her hands, Relie controlled the place which became noisy.
And then, she turned once again towards Lux and Celis.
“In the end, it looks the students’ will is fifty-fifty. Won’t it be difficult to settle this talk immediately?”
“I see…… I’m gradually reading your aim. Principal.”
When Lisha called out so in amazement, Relie nodded with a smile.
“You guess right. Since it’s a rare opportunity, why don’t you settle with your abilities?”
“What do you mean by that?”
As Lux and Celis asked almost at the same time,
“The Campus Selection Battle that will begin in three days ── you will settle this dispute depending on its result. What do you say about that?”
At Relie’s suggestion, all the students present were astir.
The International Tournament in order to acquire the rights to investigate the ruins.
She proposed to settle Lux and Celis’s problem simultaneously with the Campus Selection Battle to decide its representatives.
“We will solicit the students’ opinions afterwards. We will divide the power in two groups according to whether they support Lux-kun or Celis-san and have the other students participate as well.”
“Principal. What are you──”
Lux and Celis broke in a hurry to stop it, but it was already late.
“This is bad! We must quickly secure strong people──”
“Can we win against the third years……? But, if we have the first- and second years, we must somehow with the difference in number……”
The rippled that Relie caused became a big wave and spread out to the students in the school building.
It was a event where it could no longer be stopped.
“Isn’t it fine? Not only each other’s ability, but also whether or not they can get stronger great number of supporters ── on top of testing these qualities, it’ll be settled.”
Lisha suddenly stood up before the dumbfounded Celis.
“I naturally bet on Lux, but how do you feel about this? Madam Celestia Ralgris.”
As she turned her red eyes and provoked, Celis hesitated just a little,
She silently closed her eyes and consented.
“Although it was something inevitable, I have to take responsibility for the events that had transpired during my absence. Though it is not my original intention, I think that I will accept the challenge…… But”
Celis muttered in her usual serious tone, but her presence suddenly changed.
From the atmosphere as a calm senior to one of an aloof ruler,
“If you seriously think that you can win against me, then it is a tragic miscalculation.”
Lux and Lisha unintentionally winced at her smile filled with a sharp overpowering feeling.
When Celis turned and was about to leave the principal room,
“But──, didn’t Celis have some thought about Lux-kun?”
“Eh……? What do you mean by──!?”
To the words muttered by the Principal, the feet of a flustered Celis turned around.
On the other hand, when Lux reflexively approached towards the Principal, the two people’s feet got entangled.
They fell down on the luxurious red carpet.
“Owww…… ──wait, huh?”
In the time they fell together, Lux was looking at the ceiling, in a posture while he was pinned down by Celis.
There were a sweet fragrance, which gently drifted, and Celis’ face was near his own, and her glorious cleavage also stuck to Lux’s chest.
As Lux was flustered,
Celis, whose face became red, has stiffened as she looked at Lux’s face as is.
“H-Hey both of you, what are you doing!?”
Lux suddenly came to his sense at Lisha’s voice.
“Excuse me…… But, you look like him after all.”
After several seconds. Celis, whose cheeks were slightly dyed red, stood up, was about to lend a hand to Lux, but pulled it back.
And when she whispered something in a low voice, Celis left.
In the principal room where the large number of students already left, Lux heaved a small sigh.
“For the time being, we got a little deferment.”
Lisha muttered and looked at Lux.
“Geez, to think that you’ll come here; I wondered what would have happened. You, the person concerned, shouldn’t act so rashly.”
“I’m sorry. But, I thought that I have to speak for myself this time after all.”
Not long ago, he only saw himself as a criminal.
He was thinking that if he were to just undertake requests of the citizens, who knew nothing, and follow the wishes of the girls of this academy, he would atone for his crimes.
That’s why, depending on those girls’ will, he would accept everything no matter what happened.
But, it was different now.
“I also want to fight here together with Lisha-sama and everyone.”
This was because he thought that it was cowardly to only entrust his fate to the girls’ hands without speaking of the wish that budded inside him.
Perhaps because she guessed his intention, Lisha smiled and held out her hand.
“It’s all right. If it’s us, we’ll win. Um ── you also have many allies; um, above all, you have me here after all!”
When Lux took her hands, Lisha smiled as she blushed slightly embarrassed.
“Both of you, it’s nice that you get along so well, but it’ll be soon time for the next class, you know?”
Immediately after Relie muttered so, both of them quickly ran towards the classroom.
The talk of the Campus Selection Battle, while betting Lux’s attendance in the academy, spread in no time and became the hot topic within the academy after school.
Even with such an uproar, Lux faithfully handled requests from the academy and students; he finished everything by the day’s end and headed towards Airi’s room.
When he visited the room of his little sister whom she shared with Noct of the Triad, only Airi in uniform was waiting for Lux before a small desk.
“Good evening, Nii-san.”
It was frightening that she said it in a calm tone.
“U-Um, are you angry? Airi……?”
“I’m not angry. Yes, Nii-san is surely doing it so as to make me angry, so if I were to get angry here, it’ll only make you more and more happy after all.”
She was angry.
Though she smiled outwardly, a jet black aura oozed from her whole body.
“S-Sorry. Regarding this incident, various things happened──”
This is bad! Lux, who knew from experience, apologized on the spot.
“It’s nothing really. You should just lose and get expelled from this academy. Rather than ignoring my feelings and do dangerous things, that option is much safer after all.”
Airi muttered as she sulked.
No matter what she said, this little sister, who was his only relative, was probably concerned about her big brother.
Therefore, she was very angry at the fact that Lux jumped into the maelstrom of the incident on his own accord.
“There was no time to discuss about it with you this time. I’m really sorry! U-Um, to make up for it, I’ll properly consult with you next time, so……”
When Lux desperately apologized as such,
“……You’re unfair, Nii-san.”
Airi muttered with a troubled expression.
“Knowing that I’ll eventually have no choice but forgive you, you act on your own; so you always…… Haa, Geez”
When Lux asked as he could not understand well since she spoke in a low voice,
While slightly blushing, Airi hurriedly said.
“W-Well, making up for it, carefully think about it afterwards……, the reason why I called you this time is for a different matter.”
Airi began so and cleared her throat with a cough.
In response, Lux also took a deep breath and straightened himself.
Noct, who should be her roommate, was not there this late at night which meant that she probably had left her the room.
It went to show how important their talk was going to be.
“It’s a story that I heard in absolute secrecy from the Principal. Balzeride Kreutzer, who was imprisoned in the capital…… was murdered the other day.”
Lux held his breath at the truth that he was told.
“Also, Velvet, who has been confined as a commander in the rebel army, was also killed. Both of them due to an attack from the Abyss.”
Abyss, which originally appeared around the ruins and attacked all creatures nearby, rarely make it to the Capital.
Many defensive bases existed on a straight line to the capital, and even the Abyssal species which moved long distances while concealing themselves never made it.
Thus, Lux felt something unnatural.
“The Abyss itself, which appeared inside the prison, seemed to have been safely defeated, but for some reason something doesn’t feel right. Both of them testified their involvement with a person called the “Black Marketer” who has recently been maneuvering secretly in many countries and it seems that this individual was in the middle of a detail investigation.”
“And though it’s something different, the Heiburg Republic’s administration parliament seems to press forward the military expansion further in recent years. There is also a rumor that they obtained the cooperation of two alliances countries and made a mercenary unit different from the army. Furthermore there is the possibility of the Black Marketeer in question circulating Military power like Drag-Rides──”
The Black Marketer who sold weapons such as Drag-Rides and horns in various countries and secretly maneuvered the world.
As of now, his purpose was unknown, but he was a person regarded as dangerous in various countries.
“We’re going to be chasing him. It might be “him”.”
Lux’s big brother and cooperator in the coup d’état five years ago.
And the man who betrayed him in the end and destroyed all the Old Empire.
Chasing his footprints that disappeared, Lux has been looking for him in the country until now, but──
“It’s not certain that the Black Marketer is him, but you should see for yourself. Whether you’ll remain in the academy as is and fight, or temporarily leave the academy and chase him──”
“……Yes, I got it. I’ll think about it.”
Lux slightly nodded at Airi’s question.
“Well then, good night. Airi”
“Good night, Nii-san”
When he said so and left Airi’s room, Lux walked down the dorm’s corridor and gazed at the moon outside the window.
Airi purposely displayed the options probably because she was concerned about Lux.
If Fugil was the Black Marketer’s true identity, by remaining in the academy, Lux and <Bahamut>’s existence would be known and there was the possibility that the academy would become a target.
(But, I can’t let Celis-senpai go on her own to subjugate the Ragnarok.)
There was a reason why the Heiburg Republic firmly requested the Ragnarok’s subjugation at this timing.
By determining the subjugation’s time frame just before the International Tournament and exhausting the Atismata New Kingdom’s Drag-Knights, it was very likely that they were trying to gain an overwhelming victory and monopolize the rights to investigate the ruins.
Moreover, if Celis were to be defeated by the Ragnarok, it would also give the rebel army inside the country an opportunity to attack.
The New Kingdom is in an alliance with Ymir, but the exchange student, Krulcifer, and the New Kingdom’s Princess, Lisha, would not be able to join such a dangerous mission.
If there was someone who could take part in it in this current situation, it was only Lux.
(But, do I, who failed before, have such a qualification? No……)
Lux slightly shook his head and stopped hesitating.
A qualification was not something that was given, but earned.
While thinking so, Lux decided to return to his room and retire for the night.
At the same time. Celis was spending a night where she could not sleep in her room.
Her roommate Sharis said that she would patrol today too as the vigilante corps, so she slightly regretted that she didn’t follow her, as she could not sleep.
In order to calm her feelings, she read a book that she took with her to the Capital.
That book, which gathered sword skills, martial arts and the skill of Drag-Rides, was something collected and made into one single book through extracted from what Celis herself have learned and taught.
“Lux Arcadia. Rather than Emperor Arcadia, he really looks like you……”
While chasing the characters of the opened page with her eyes, Celis softly muttered and made her fingers crawl on its page
“This is unfortunate. To think that the one who came to this academy was, of all people ── him…… But”
After she suddenly showed an expression of anguish, Celis closed the book and raised her face.
“This is the only thing I can do. In order to protect him and also the students of this academy, I can’t come up with another idea. I’m not wrong this time, am I? Wade-sensei?”
That mutter, which contained a quiet resolve, echoed in her mind.