A few warm and harmonious days passed by.
The atmosphere of Fall and the smell of Marron glacé filled Juliette Palace.
The Imperial Crown Prince showed off his fire-like temper but thanks to Christelle, the letter from the Queen was not burnt.
Although the letter did not mean much to me, Prince Jesse might cherish it when he wakes back up in his body in the future.
After quite the contemplation, we put the scroll in a large chest, put it on a luggage cart and had it delivered to Juliette Palace.
Even the workers passing by seemed to understand when I said it was ingredients for my meals.
It barely fit in my safe once I stood it up. That was a relief.
‘Anyway, why did you try to burn up that letter? Do you hate the Holy Kingdom that much?’
I peeked toward Crown prince Cédric next to me.
The window curtains that were fluttering from the autumn breeze were tickling his hair.
The crown prince felt my gaze, stopped moving his quill pen and flinched.
“I will now explain about our family’s matriarch.”
Eva’s voice echoed throughout the reception room, no, the improvised classroom.
Yesterday and today had been the young lady’s lectures on the ‘Blanquer Culture and Traditions.’
The House of Blanquer was famous for being closed off and did not interact much with the Imperial family or other Pair de Riester.
It was quite rushed right before we were scheduled to head toward the Duchy, but it should be quite useful since it was information given directly by the Duchess’ daughter, Eva.
“My mother, Duchess Cecil Blanquer, is one of the greatest mages of the Empire. She is of course a Grade 8 mage and her specialty is light. She has personally controlled the continuous friction at the border until now and her existence itself is called a deterrent force. I don’t really know what that is, but……”
The young Duchess holding the chalk trailed off.
Sir Johann, who was by her side holding the chalkboard and supporting her, gently smiled.
‘It means that the opponents can’t even think about attacking because they are scared of the Duchess attacking them back. How cool.”
“I did not mean that I needed an explanation!”
Eva’s gaze turned sharp. The Holy Knight pushed his white hair behind his ear and backed off.
The attendants of Juliette Palace who filled the classroom started laughing.
Christelle, who was seated on my left, laughed out loud as well.
She warily looked at our young Duchess teacher before extending her arm to my desk and scribbling something.
Letters started waltzing on the white piece of paper.
‘I heard there is a pop quiz later.’
I couldn’t help but drop my jaw in shock. ‘I didn’t hear anything about that. Really?’
‘Teacher Eva is so tough.’
Her handwriting became messier. I quietly chuckled before writing something back.
‘Who are you going to the Masquerade with?’
‘That’s a secret.’
‘I guess the rumors about you getting a partner were true then.’
‘Your highness, your handwriting is very much like you.’
Christelle changed the topic. She chuckled once we made eye contact.
‘Is she talking shit?’
At that moment, Demy, who had been on patrol around the feet of the students, stood up while holding my calf.
The lesson must have been boring for him as he was tearing up.
Rhea and Perry were in the back chasing their tails.
I put Demy on my knees and patted his back as I continued to exchange messages.
‘How is Lady Sarnez?’
It was a simple question but held a different meaning.
In the Empress Palace, we had experienced Duke Sarnez’s …… It had been five days since we saw that happen.
I cautiously observed the expression on Christelle’s face. She answered back as if it wasn’t a big deal.
‘Yes your highness. My father ran off to the Duchy that afternoon.’
I put my pen down and continued to read her messages.
‘Apparently he has a lot of work.’
‘My mother doesn’t know about the situation. Sometimes, I think it would be great if she continued to not know.’
‘……Do you think all nobles are like this?’
‘But apparently the two of them are going to the Masquerade as well. Isn’t that unbelievable?’
I couldn’t help but scowl a bit at that last comment. Christelle shook her head.
Her eyes then opened wide as if she thought of something and her pen started to move again.
‘Apparently Marquis François Duhem will be attending as well! Vice Captain Élisabeth just told me earlier today.’
This was unexpected. I peeked toward the young Countess seated in front of me.
She was earnestly writing down Eva’s explanations.
The Marquis seemed quite busy when we met him in the Empress Palace on the day of the Holy Knight appointment and he seemed quite serious when he said that he would not be attending the Masquerade.
But I guess he found a way to make some time.
It felt like we would finally have an event with a lot of our friends for what seemed like the first time in a long while.
The moment I turned back to look at those blue-gray eyes…
A fireball the size of a fist slammed down from the right!
I gasped and sat back and the flame became smaller before it sizzled and disappeared.
Neither the piece of paper nor the wooden furniture were burnt. I scowled and looked toward the crown prince.
His orange eyes were full of discontent. ‘You did nothing good!’
“What are you-”
“Your highness, are you slacking off in the back?”
I heard Eva’s voice. My heart sank for a moment. I really felt like I was back in high school.
I couldn’t finish my sentence.
I didn’t want to lie because I did chat about something else with Christelle.
Christelle feigned ignorance and buried her face on her desk while Vice Captain Élisabeth was biting her lips as she turned around to look at me.
The young Duchess’s gaze soon turned vicious.
“Please tell me about a mage’s specialty.”
“……Specialty is a magical ability that shows a mage’s natural born level of mana sensitivity. People quite frequently figure out that their child is a mage thanks to figuring out their specialty. Normal mages have one specialty their whole lives and do not need magic formations to activate spells of that specialty. In his Royal Highness’s situation, his specialty is metal.”
I slowly answered. I could hear people gasping, ‘ohhhhhh’ all around me.
Sir Johann said that my explanation was magnificent. My cheeks became flushed because I did not expect this kind of reaction.
However, Eva looked extremely grumpy.
The child looked at the piece of paper on the tea table and thoroughly read out loud.
“The Venetiaan Holy Kingdom has a tendency to compare mages to religious figures and look down on them. Please focus on the ecology of demonic beasts and the influence they have on our lives to write about the Holy Kingdom’s tendencies. 4 points.”
‘……It’s short answer questions?’
Eva seemed confused as well as she looked toward Sir Johann. She then whispered to him, asking what it was talking about.
This did not seem to be a problem that she had prepared herself.
Christelle, the young Countess, Benjamin, Ganael, and even David looked at me with gazes full of anticipation.
I calmly organized my thoughts.
I felt like I could understand who provided this sheet of problems to Eva.
The words were a bit complicated but the question itself was simple. They were all things I had learned a few months ago.
‘Mana, as recorded in the holy text, is power left behind after being used by the Almighty God. It is the original. I’m talking about the rest of the abnormal traces other than water, fire, air, and earth.’
Cardinal Boutier’s voice echoed in my ears.
‘However, some of the religious figures took this and analyzed it as mana being power that was discarded by the Almighty God. They’ve even looked down on it saying that it was a profane and dirty aura compared to ether.’
“……They even belittled it. Furthermore, a priest’s authority is omnipotent in the Holy Kingdom. Their path to gain authority included belittling the mage profession, so it is not weird that such a disposition was created after numerous generations.”
I calmly continued to speak.
“It is the same for demonic beasts. They are born from natural mana and always harm humans. Since demonic beasts, which are the by-product of mana, are chaotic and do evil deeds, the religious figures were not able to see mages, who also control mana, in a positive light.
I then quickly added on.
“Of course, I do not feel that way.”
The Riester Empire had never had a single Holy Knight until now. They relied on the strengths of their swordsmen and mages to expand their territory and maintain their borders.
Most of the high-ranking mages in the Empires were celebrities and respected as much as most Archbishops.
I had no intentions of coming to such a nation as a diplomatic hostage to say that religious figures were better than mages or nonsense like how mana is dirty.
I finished speaking and awkwardly smiled and…
This time, I heard applause from the side of the students.
Sir Johann’s eyes curled up as he gave me one hundred percent while Eva was annoyingly poking at his side.
Her ears seemed to have flushed because she was embarrassed, but I was happy that they seemed to have gotten close really fast.
The crown prince snorted after hearing the response.
He looked back at Eva and seemed to care more about the unrelated administrative document than Eva’s lesson.
I placed an arm on his desk. I happened to see a scrap piece of paper.
‘You’re the one slacking off during the lesson, your Royal Highness.’
The young man scowled. I focused my eyes on Eva and only moved my hand.
‘We won’t all head out to play without you so please work slowly.’
‘Don’t treat me as if I am a kid.’
He seemed quite angry as he answered back with something unexpected and glared at me.
I just chuckled and nodded my head.
‘If it is not that important, should I help you, your Royal Highness? I know how to read and write, you know.’
The crown prince’s movement stopped after reading that.
I peeked at what I wrote wondering if I made some sort of slip of the tongue, but it wasn’t anything that sounded problematic.
In dramas about England, the King often discusses the kingdom’s affairs with his close friends.
“Do you understand the meaning behind your words?”
‘……I guess you can’t do that here.’
I immediately accepted that fact after hearing his question.
‘Yes, not all western-based places are the same. Most importantly, I’m a diplomatic hostage.’
“Your highness, you’re not paying attention again!”
“I’m sorry, ma’am.”
‘Damn it, Eva caught me again.’
Demy whined as if he was happy to see me get in trouble.
Vice Captain Élisabeth and Christelle high-fived each other and chuckled. ‘One of them must have ratted me out.’
“I’m not sure whether you are paying any attention to this class, your highness. But for you of all people to be the bad student!”
“Please forgive me.”
I sat up straight and immediately apologized.
I was frequently called a model student while I was in school so I had no idea how I ended up transmigrating into another world and being labeled as a bad student.
Eva shook her red curly hair and rattled off a question.
“In the jungle within the Blanquer territory, there is a long and tall building. It is the tower that the first head of the house, who was an Archmage, had built. Please tell me what it is, what its purpose is, who is in charge of it and the title of that person.”
I tried my best to come up with something.
Many of the webnovels I had read and the clichés within them flew through my mind.
If it is a tower created by an Archmage, then it has to be this.
“The Magic Tower?”
“Your highness, you really do know everything.”
I could hear whispers in the room. Eva’s gaze became colder.
“The purpose for it is magic research, and…… Guarding and keeping an eye on the border I would think. The title of the person in charge of the Magic Tower would be the Magic Tower Master, and the current matriarch, Duchess Blanquer would be my guess for who is in charge of it.”
“You’re so annoying. I don’t like you, your highness!”
I froze in shock for a moment and the young Duchess grabbed the hem of her dress and ran out.
To be more specific, she was about to run out before realizing that she did not show her respects to the crown prince and I and bowing toward us before running off.
‘There will be a pop quiz after a ten minute break!’ She also didn’t forget to warn us before she left. ‘How scary.’
“You were in the wrong this time, your highness.”
The young Countess turned around in her seat and smiled. Ganael walked over and put down some snacks for us.
Benjamin received David’s help in getting the attendants to eat some snacks as well.
The crown prince sighed.
“Is that so? Thank you, Ganael.”
“Young lady Eva looked like she wanted to be your private tutor, Your highness. I’m sure she’s upset that you were able to answer all of her questions correctly.”
“His highness would have conquered the entire continent a long time ago if he knew something like that.”
Christelle commented while taking a big bite out of a mousse au chocolat.
I stopped slicing my Quatre-Quarts with walnuts and tilted my head. ‘Is that making fun of me too?’
On the second day, it was finally time to head toward the Blanquer Duchy.
Another long trail of carriages formed at the Imperial Palace once again.
Vice Captain Élisabeth whistled and motioned to place the Imperial Guard in ideal locations and my teacher, who came to see us off, was caressing the crown prince’s hair.
As for me, I was all serious in front of the pool.
“Are you sure you want to go with us? There are going to be a lot of strangers there.”
Tithé extended his neck and cried.
I confirmed with him three times before wiping his white body with a towel that Benjamin handed me.
Percy, who was seated on the crown prince’s shoulder, chirped toward me.
He seemed to be criticizing me, asking how I could even think about leaving Tithé here and if I could really call myself his temporary guardian after having such thoughts.
I just smiled bitterly because I had nothing to say.
Eva even told me that they created a water tank at the Lord’s Castle, which I was extremely grateful for, but it had not been very long since this little guy came to the Imperial Palace.
I was just concerned about taking him out of a place again.
– Aarf, aaaarf.
“Okay, you can come with big bro.”
The crown prince got on the carriage first while I was patting Tithe and standing at the door with the divine beasts.
The Cardinal spoke with a benevolent look in her eyes.
“Go and enjoy yourself, my dear disciple.”
“Yes, your Eminence. I will contact you once I arrive.”
“That makes me so happy. Cédric doesn’t do cute things like that.”
She smiled so brightly that her eye wrinkles deepened and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
She then quickly whispered.
“Once you get to the Duchy, it is probably best that you do not take out the headdress. You will receive hostility from the residents.”
I blinked in confusion. She moved away with a relaxed gaze and did some ventriloquism.
“And be wary of little Modeste Bacary. He sees you as a dangerous individual, my little prince.”
‘……That little kid with glasses is going too?’
Look at all these cuties in this school AU. :3