36.2 Even if it Wasn’t as According to the Script
When Sharina and the others returned to the audience seats, there were screams among the students who saw them.
A man and a woman appeared through the crowd.
“Ah, you guys have finally returned. You guys seem alright.”
“Sharina-chan, um, it’s me…”
Patrick Wardington Margrave, a young man with wolf-cut silver hair and grayish blue eyes.
A girl with brown eyes and brown hair, Kate Fairfield, the daughter of a baron.
Both of them were acquainted with Sharina and the others. During the confrontation with Prince Leonardo, they had testified towards Riol and Sharina’s innocence. Kate Fairfield in particular was a classmate of Angelica and Sharina.
“Riol Glen, I believe you didn’t cheat—isn’t that so? Tell me whenever you need a follow-up.”
“M, me too! I watched the second and third rounds of Riol, neither opponent used magical instruments. They fell down because of the amulets used by Riol! I saw all of it!”
By the way, it seemed that in the aftermath of giving their testimonies, they had gotten along and now had a relationship of more than friends, but less than lovers. It had been revealed after Sharina thanked them. At that time, the mess had settled down. Patrick and Kate were probably going to visit each other’s houses for greetings during the next long vacation—something about finally trying to formally engage.
“…Thank you, both of you. However, this time, there’s nothing we can do…”
“Why is it so—!?” “Why!?”
They were just walking in a row between the seats, so Riol, who was behind Sharina, stepped forward.
“Because if the allegations were to be completely lifted, everyone’ll end up pointing fingers at the academy, saying that as a result of their sloppy investigation regarding the crown prince, they had framed an innocent student. Some may wonder why His Highness Roland didn’t put a stop to that. The problem with His Highness Leonardo has finally weathered, only for a new flame to be fanned.”
“Well, indeed, but… the dirt is still on you…”
“Are you alright with being suspected, Riol-san!?”
Patrick and Kate asked with annoyed expressions. While they understood Riol’s argument, that didn’t mean they would just accept it.
“It’s enough, because even if I’m like this, there are still those who believe in me.”
Riol turned around and glanced at Sharina, “Of course, you included.” And laughed gently.
“…What is the meaning of this!?”
A large and dim-lit room in the academy. The room had its two doors, both locked, and a long table in the center.
A fat, white-haired, man vigorously slammed his fist against the edge of the long table.
“How could this be!? With this much evidence, how could he still evade it?!”
A brooch-type magical instrument had been placed before the man. It was real proof provided by the second prince, Roland. The magic circle carved in the stone had been tampered with. It was sabotaged with the intention of causing magic to run amok when any is casted in its vicinity.
“Well, that’s, it seems that this was what he’s aiming for…”
The ‘executive officer’ man sitting diagonally in front of him shook his shoulders. Today, said man was responsible for exposing the guilt of a certain student in broad daylight as he proclaimed his innocence.
“I, didn’t manage to follow the script…”
“In that case, you could’ve just proceeded as it was! Considering that he is just a boy, shouldn’t it be easy!?”
“W, well, that’s because the teacher who was supposed to testify was delayed… other students gave their favorable testimonies regarding him first… Hey, you! Why were you silent at that time!?”
The executive officer glared down at the supposed witness, as if trying to gloss over his own mistake. The youngest teacher was the one whom was supposed to play the most vital role.
Said youngest teacher was supposed to backstab Riol by claiming that he had seen the freshman rushing out of the third-year classroom early one morning—such was how the script supposed to play out.
“Uh, the conversation went in an unexpected direction, I messed up the timing…”
The gray-haired man—the academy director—hatefully gritted his teeth.
“Are you still sympathizing with that student?! Between one kingdom and one person, shouldn’t it be obvious which to prioritize?!”
The young teacher’s shoulders trembled as the highest authority of the academy yelled at him. He lowered his gaze.
“Or, is it a measure of self-protection?! Are you afraid of our plan being revealed?! Is that enough to make you to ditch your prestigious role?!”
Usually, an executive officer would impose punishment based on the evidence submitted. Despite such, that time around, not only the testimony, even the witness was prepared by the ‘officer’ himself.
Therefore, in the unlikely event that the boy managed to clear his name, said witness would turn him into a scapegoat for his false testimony.
The young teacher was forced into such role because he was of little significance.
“That’s not true! I’m not trying to protect myself, as I thought, condemning an innocent student is just…!”
“…Hmm, it seems that you still don’t understand.”
The director of the school shrugged his shoulders as if he was facing a brat. He sighed in a long, exaggerated manner, while staring at the witness with a disappointed expression.
“…Listen, never let anything that I’m about to say leave this room.”
His voice further diminished.
“The truth is… His Majesty the King is suffering from demonic disease.”
“It’s progressing rapidly. At this rate, he only has a year left—or worse, half a year.”
The young teacher was at loss for words due to the shocking fact he had suddenly received.
About a month ago, the king, who had been extremely busy due to the scandals involving the first prince Leonardo, suddenly became ill and collapsed during his political affairs.
Fortunately, the doctor’s diagnosis at that time temporarily indicated that it was due to overworking. It was announced that the king would soon return to political affairs after taking some rest.
“Demonic disease… no way, His Majesty…”
“The name of the disease couldn’t be announced. Considering the current situation…”
Demonic disease. A terrifying disease in which the high concentration of magical power in the body crystallized and become a magic stone that devoured the body from within. The name came from the fact that demons form magic stones inside and out of their bodies. At the same time, it was also known as an aristocratic disease due to its nature—it only afflicted those with a certain level of magical power.
As for the rate of progression, there were significant differences between individuals. Some would lead a fulfilling life and die of old age with only small number of magic stones in their bodies, while others die within a few years of the onset.
No cure had been found yet, and no matter how much money was spent on healing magic, it was to no avail. It was one of the most feared diseases of the aristocrats of that kingdom—no, all over the continent.
“For a while, he was able to continue his affairs while under the pretense of symptomatic treatment. However, the speed of progress is so fast, it’s no longer possible to deny the inevitable…”
“N, no way…”
When the young teacher started doubting the school director, he recalled it—
—the family of that school director had been a family of doctors for generations. Said family had gave birth to many court doctors.
“If His Highness Roland were to lose his right of succession like His Highness Leonardo, and His Majesty passed away… what would become of this kingdom?”
“You can’t rule a kingdom by staying clean alone. If you’re truly concerned about this kingdom, sometimes you have to dirty your own hands.”
A heavy silence descended upon the dimly-lit room with closed windows and doors.
***T/N: Oh my GOD–!!! DOESN’T THIS MEAN THAT ROLAND IS GOING TO SUCCEED THE THRONE SOON–?!?!? THAT KINGDOM IS OVER. OVER, I SAY. THE KINGDOM DIDN’T KNOW WHAT PERIL IT IS IN YET, SO I’M PANICKED IN THEIR STEAD–!!!!! THOSE POOR, INNOCENT, SOULS, WHOM WERE ABOUT TO BE RULED BY THAT #2 *run around in circle*
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