28.1 A Child with a Knife
“Since you’re clever, you must be thinking about reporting me to the teacher—‘I was practicing magic in the backyard for the upcoming lesson. Not realizing others were nearby, I almost hit them by accident.’—it no longer sounds like an assault, doesn’t it?”
Roland Louis Ulyssia Elgacia walked with his arms spread open—for some reason, he looked quiet smug, even though up until that point, neither Sharina nor Riol had said anything.
Roland wanted to dissuade them from telling the teacher because he deemed it useless.
“Your Highness, what are you talking about—!? It’s too difficult to chalk the previous incident as a mere ‘coincidence’—!! If you were going to practice your magic, confirming that no one is around is the basic of the BASICS—!! Even if you did neglect that, what’s the probability of almost hitting a person twice in a row—!?”
“Eh, umm, Tobias?”
“—Furthermore, you just confessed your true intentions—!! You were trying to size up the person whom defeated your brother—!!”
“Please wait, Tobias, hold it—”
“In addition, there is that light elemental brooch—a magical instrument—which Your Highness activated to vanish on purpose—you were trying to perform a sneak attack on Riol, weren’t you—!?”
It seemed that the implication behind the second prince’s words failed to reach Tobias. Tobias instead chose a very straightforward manner to confront the second prince. Not only had he found Roland’ lie outrageous, he also deemed it unacceptable.
“You see, Tobias, what His Highness Roland wanted to say is, even if Sharina or I were to tell a teacher about this, it’ll be useless because he already has an excuse ready…”
Riol pulled on Tobias’ clothes and whispered. It honestly felt like explaining a joke to someone.
“…Fuun. It sure is hard to have a thick-headed servant…”
“Then, that basically means…! Your Highness—! Are you trying to cover up your sins and escape without making amends—!?”
Tobias wasn’t wrong, though. Rather, it was the undeniable truth. Even though he had such a good servant, how did the lord end up being like that?
“…Fuun. Not only is he thick-headed, my servant is also one who is easily won over by the enemy…”
Instead of being frightened, Roland sighed on purpose and shrugged his shoulders in an exaggerated manner. His mental strength sure was strong.
“I’ve overlooked it so far, but it’s getting out of hand.”
‘There’s no going back, now.’ Was probably what Roland was implying.
Sharina herself barely endured it. Despite so, Tobias’ honesty had avenged her.
“How about this? Let me rephrase—‘I was merely sparring with my nemesis, whom also happens to be my future opponent in next month’s magic tournament.’”
“What are you…?”
Tobias let out a low voice, keeping his hand on the handle of his sword.
Even now, his attitude towards Roland was as if his lord was an enemy—…is that okay?
“Thereby, Riol Glen, I’m looking forward to seeing you there next month. Even if the most likely outcome is that of you being beaten to the ground.”
Turning his back, Roland slowly left.
“Ah, that’s right. For you to run away… even if my expectation of you is already low in the first place, you wouldn’t be that kind of coward, right?”
By the end of it, Roland turned around and gave them a smile. His smile was the kind that could only sow discomfort. Certainly, Angelica had previously mentioned a black-bellied character having a signature evil smile—it may be close to that.
Sharina also remembered the words of her best friend.
“…The future… doesn’t seem too good, for the two of you…”
As soon as he let go of the sword’s handle, Tobias sunk to the ground. His head was lowered to the maximum—the so-called dogeza.
Before they realized it, the same cat had already perched itself on his head with perfect balance. The tension vanished immediately.
“My lord is truly ridiculous…! I will report this to both the teacher and His Majesty the King…! Against an opponent who is incapable of using magic, he aided himself with a magical instrument to systematically commit a crime! Even if it failed, it’s still considered attempted murder—not to mention, towards a group of people! Even if he is the crown prince, surely, his deed won’t go unpunished!”
“Please wait, that’s too heavy of a crime, he’d be wiped out instantly.”
The attempted assault had been transformed into a premeditated murder. Well, if they only judged the result of his actions, that was correct. But Roland probably didn’t intent to go to such an extent.
“It’s likely that even if you report it as an attempted murder, no one will make a move. Even if trust in the royal family has been shaken by the matter of the first prince, for the second slash crown prince to commit attempted murder right after his return, people will surely doubt that. What if they turned against us, instead?”
Back when they were still dealing with Leonardo, it ended with a public duel. Not only had hundreds of aristocrats bared witnessed to it, the use of the national treasure—a magical instrument—couldn’t be denied no matter what.
However, at the present, there were only three witnesses. They were also in the secluded backyard during lunch break. The outcome was too apparent.
“T, then, I will just report it as attempted assault. Surely, a few days of scrutiny is better than nothing, but still…”
“That is also difficult. His Highness Roland has already prepared an excuse for such a situation. As such, if we were to cause a fuss, we may be in trouble instead.”
“T, then, we’re just going to leave him be!?”
Tobias clenched both fists, apologizing yet again.
Sharina too, felt frustrated. A man who tried to inflict serious injury on Riol got off scot free.
“Riol… if we had the same magical instrument that His Highness used, could we give a little payback? Recently, on the stair, part of the railing has become weak. Iif we were to place an empty box on the stairs and turn it invisible with said instrument on the exact moment His Highness passes—”
“—That’s not a little payback, that’s an actual solid revenge plan.”
She wished to get back at Roland a little, but her idea was rejected. Maybe Riol was overwhelmed by her murderous intent. Sharina reflected and wondered if there was anything she could do.
“Are Sharina and Riol going to stay silent…?”
“Actually, yes. But doing just that is annoying.”
While sitting on the ground, Riol put his hand on Tobias’ shoulder, and said casually.
“Let’s shame him a little.”
One of the annual events of Fala Rubia Academy—the magic tournament. It would be held for six days at the school arena.
An event with the purpose of cleanly and properly competing against others, utilizing what they had learned so far.
“You were told to settle it at the magic tournament!? By His Highness Roland!?”
As long as they were students of the academy, gender or grade wouldn’t matter. However, it should be obvious which department of the academy bore the least participants.
“Yes, therefore, I can’t help but participate.”
Before the end of lunch break, near the teacher’s office in the academy building, Sharina retreated half a step as Riol presented a piece of paper to the teacher.
“Did His Highness really…?”
Before suspicion could set in, however, the teacher saw Tobias Gardner standing beside Riol. There was no way for a teacher to not know Tobias Gardner.
“But, you’re a student of Written Magic Department… no matter how much His Highness tells you, you shouldn’t force yourself to participate…”
…Because it would end up being a hassle. The teacher’s expression clearly withheld such sentiment.
The second prince had declared war upon his opponent, who had defeated his brother—the first prince. It was obvious that the second prince was planning some sort of revenge.
“I will accompany you to apologize to His Highness. Rather than being injured in a reckless game, wouldn’t it be better to admit defeat?”
On the surface, the tournament was supposed to be a healthy competition between students. If the teacher were to stop him now, then when His Highness Roland exacted his revenge later, they wouldn’t be accused of negligence. Either way, it would be a serious blow.
“Even someone like His Highness Roland won’t chase after those who obediently apologize.”
“I met His Highness Roland during today’s lunch break.”
Towards the teacher, who tried to dissuade him with wandering eyes, Riol stared straight.
“It seems that His Highness can’t wait for the tournament. He asked for immediate arrangements.”
“However, not only was I unable to give my name properly, I also lacked respect… if I fail to fulfil my promised rematch, surely, no matter how gentle His Highness is, he’d get angry…”
The teacher silently clasped the entry sheet. The teacher might be wondering which would be more troublesome—to allow Riol to participate, or not.
If Roland, who wasn’t allowed a rematch, were to go up against Riol in the academy…
“…I understand. However, when the going gets tough, please give up immediately. Even if you lose, it won’t affect your grades, so don’t overdo it. Simply stated, give up before it turns into a hassle.”
“Of course. I also don’t want to get injured.”
Towards the teacher, who clenched the entry sheet for the magic tournament with a bitter expression, Riol gave a cool reply.
***T/N: Tobias, you sweet summer child…
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