30.2 The Black-Bellied Schemer
She recently noticed that he had begun to refer her by name more often. That alone was enough to make her happy—she felt that she was special to him.
“…No, never mind.”
“? I see? Please tell me if anything happens.”
Riol was about to say something, but he could only manage to fumble. In the end, he stopped and averted his gaze.
“If there’s anything I can do to help you regarding the tournament, please tell me immediately. Don’t hesitate from saying it, okay?”
“Oh, no, that’s not the case, no, it’s just that I lack courage to—”
“—Bull, I say! You don’t lack anything, Riol!”
“No, that’s not what I meant…”
The days leading up to the tournament were thus peaceful.
As expected, on the tournament table which was announced at a later date, the name of Riol Glen was firmly listed next to the name of Roland Louis Ulyssia Elgacia.
The magic tournament was to last for six days. Most of the male students participated, so not all the matches could be completed in a day. As for the time schedule, there was only a short break between the morning and afternoon. In short, the tournament would be hosted over the entire day.
“I’ll be cheering from the front row. Don’t get hurt, Riol.”
“Do your best, Riol-kun! You must have something up your sleeves, right!? I believe you do!”
“I’ll watch the tournament in the morning, too. Leave supervising Sharina to me!”
The morning of the first day of the magic tournament. In the venue, near the participants’ waiting room.
Sharina stood in front of Riol, squeezing his hand tight with tension.
“What am I going to do when you’re this worried? Don’t worry, I won’t suffer the slightest injury.”
She had intended to suppress the quivering of her voice, but Riol seemed to have noticed the subtle trembling of her shoulders. Riol gently placed his hand on Sharina’s shoulder.
“…I understand. If Riol says it, then absolutely, that’s what going to happen.”
The opponent was a cowardly prince who concealed himself to carry out a sneak attack.
Hence why, what if he were to resort to treachery? She felt anxious that Riol would get injured. However, the warmth from Riol’s hand comforted her.
His palm was small for a man—it was actually the same size as her own. Despite so, more than anyone else, she knew how reliable that hand was.
“But, is it truly okay? As you’ve said before, you’ve barred your hands to the other party, right?”
“Yes, but the same applies to the other party. I have to thank him for doing it so meticulously.”
The match was about to begin. The busy teachers hurried along, and the voices of the participants leaking from the waiting room grew louder.
“…Riol, His Highness Roland is strong—though not as strong as His Highness Leonardo. He’s also merciless. In case it gets dangerous, consider giving up.”
When she was about to return to the audience seats, Tobias suddenly appeared. His bright expression had changed to that of a serious one.
“…Just in case.”
It wasn’t that Tobias was making a fool of Riol, or because he didn’t trust him. Considering the ability and personality of the second prince, Tobias’ advice stemmed from genuine concern.
Because he could understand that, Riol’s response was a laidback one.
“What? I don’t remember saying anything funny.”
Sharina felt a smile rise to her face when she saw the mature Tobias behaving his age again.
“It seems that you guys are having fun. May I partake in your conversation, too?”
Her smile was erased in an instant. It was because an uncalled man had appeared.
“Your Highness Roland, do you need something?”
Tobias quickly moved forward and stood between Riol and Roland.
“I heard happy chattering, and merely wanted to say hello. But that’s a lot of hostility coming from you, Tobias. What, should I start referring to you as his servant, instead?”
“No, I’m still your servant. That’s why, if Your Highness were to commit a mistake, such as harming these people, I have to stop you—even if it cost me my life.”
“Fuu… so you insist upon twisting my words. Is this also the result of the witch’s wisdom?”
Tobias seriously looked for said, ‘witch’. Pulling Tobias’ sleeve, Riol whispered, “His Highness Roland refers to Sharina as a witch, remember?”
…Until now, how did the master and servant communicate with each other without an interpreter? Basically 80% of Roland’s implications failed to be conveyed.
“For you to be used as a shield by the familiar… the reputation of Gardner Family has been dragged through the mud, it seems.”
Tobias seriously looked for said, ‘familiar’. Tobias checked the front, behind, left, and right—and also diagonally above for some reason. Riol whispered, “By familiar, he doesn’t mean a bat.”
It seemed that Tobias was looking for a flying creature he deemed as a familiar.
“Well, relish your happy conversation. I hope you also bonded well with each other. Because the next time you meet… you will be lying on the ground unable to say anything.”
With a very happy voice and a very happy expression, Roland turned around. His expression didn’t match what he said at all.
The expressions of Tobias and Sharina stiffened at his ominous declaration. Riol was unfazed. While Angelica…
“Uueeh… no, I can’t stand it… he’s the perfect embodiment of that hero who says something poisonous with a smile…”
“Ange!? What happened?! Are you okay!?”
Angelica’s reason for being surprised was odd. She was holding her mouth as if enduring nausea.
***T/N: In my case, never once have I ever liked any shoujo ML that behaves like Roland. I mean, if someone is already giving all that sass from the way he talks…
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