Akuyaku Tensei Dakedo Doushite Kou Natta. / Akuyaku Tensei Dakedo Doushite Kou Natta. Chapter 203

For the newly emerged large country known as the Rindarl Union that was only a year and a half old… Well, more technically, it was mostly a war with the Densel Dukedom of the Rindarl Union. Since the Rindarl armies had suffered massive losses on the Tave River, together with the rebellion of their slave soldiers during their attempt to siege Fort Droyan, and the fact that their farthest frontline base as well as Densel’s capital Eris suffered a complete loss of all supplies kept there due to fire, Rindarl finally offered their unconditional surrender.

Peace negotiations were still ongoing, and it seemed that my neighbor Margrave Genas’ army was in charge of escorting and protecting Arxia’s peace ambassador to Densel’s capital. Arxia was now already circulating stories of how Rindarl finally understood Arxia’s true military might, that it was no joking matter to mess with Arxia.

Since I had to recuperate from my injuries, I returned to the royal capital much later than the royal army did, and returned to the noble school that still appeared the same as before I headed for Fort Jugfena. Anyways, at the school now, just about all the students avoided me even more than before, most likely because of stories they heard from their parents. Well, due to having fought again on the battlefield, stories about my infamous reputation and wicked plots that I used during the war may have spread even further.

Well, all those changes were trivial – such as how my head now felt lighter with less hair than before.

“Kaldia! It seems that Grays and Alfred are returning to school today. It’s been quite a long while since we saw them last, hasn’t it? Don’t you think we should go greet them?”

“…………His Royal Highness and Grays are most likely tired from their civic duties. I’m sure that they would be bothered by our greeting.”

“Nah, rather, if you go, I’m sure that Alfred will be saved from having too many people swarm around him. Let’s go!”

And so, Eric pulled my arm towards the crowd that was already beginning to form.

After Eric returned to noble school and had a few conversations with his father the Archduke, he’s remained like this all the time.

Did he misunderstand something and believe us to be friends now? Where did his unwillingness to associate with a low-ranked Earl like myself disappear to?

I thought that Eric wanted me to keep my distance from the crown prince due to my negative reputation, why did it become like this? I only had one long talk with Eric back at Fort Jugfena that I can recall. That was it. Was that the cause? Doesn’t this seem like too much of a change?

What’s more, Eric was sent off to Fort Jugfena in the first place as a way to punish him for starting that scandal with Sieghart and to distance him and me from national politics. Well, if his relationship with me improved slightly due to it, it was not a problem – that was within my calculations.

But instead, not only was Eric not removed from the crown prince’s inner circle, he seems to be acting far more familiar with me than I expected and is even encouraging me to interact with the crown prince now… For a lack of better words to describe it, I felt like I was missing too many pieces of the puzzle.

From what I heard, the rebellion of the enemy slave armies at Fort Droyan seemed to have come about due to the speech Eric ended up giving to the royal army.

After he was touched by visiting the mentally injured soldiers in the makeshift hospital at Fort Jugfena, Eric finally gave the royal army formal permission to attack as well as inspiring and encouraging the knights for their honorable service to Arxia. Due to his speech, the knights at the frontlines of Fort Droyan avoided combat as much as possible with the enemy slave soldiers, and in some cases even actively protected them – which apparently led to the enemy slaves’ great rebellion.

And as a result, all the troops at Fort Droyan returned almost unscathed.

Thanks to this being recognized as Eric’s accomplishment, while Eric did leave the crown prince’s side for a time, Eric ended up performing tasks such as giving inspiring speeches to some of the most powerful knight orders in Arxia, working on veterans’ benefits for retired and injured Arxian soldiers, and other such civic duties. In fact, it could be said that Eric had gotten closer to the center of national politics as well.

I could only smile helplessly at Eric telling this was all thanks to me. I did not plan for it, nor did I expect it.

Why did things become like this? Really, why did things become like this?

But right now, I didn’t want to deal with Eric’s minor bothering of me. Although I can’t say that we were friends just because of this one thing – it was an indisputable fact that I was able to rest peacefully and recuperate from my injuries before coming back to noble school thanks to Eric’s assistance.

Since I owed him this favor, I couldn’t treat his minor bothering of me as an evil action.

“Alfred! Grays! Ah, Sieghart’s here as well!”

Eric pushed his way through the crowd as he dragged me along after him. I could see that the crown prince and Grays had shocked expressions at seeing the two of us. The general commander’s grandson, who was most likely here to greet Prince Alfred and Grays, glanced warmly in my direction.

The crown prince was able to quickly return to his usual smile as he greeted me with an “it’s been a long time.” With that, I no longer had the option of escaping as it would be a breach of etiquette, so I could only greet him in return.

“Your Royal Highness Crown Prince Alfred, and Viscount Dovadain. It’s been so long since I’ve last seen your esteemed presences. It’s better than anything that you’re both doing alright.”

“You as well, Kaldia. I heard that you were quite active in the war against Rindarl. Apparently you suppressed Densel’s capital city Eris, and destroyed all the enemy’s ships on the Tave River.”

“That was all thanks to Earl Wiegraf Einsbark’s strategy.”

“I also heard that you declined most of the rewards. It does seem like your style, but…”

“…I don’t need any more increase in noble rank or additional territory. I’m terribly afraid to receive such things.”

Even the rank of an Earl was too high for my tastes, so I definitely didn’t want a promotion. And as for land, I didn’t even have enough time or personnel to develop what the Kaldia domain already had, so I wanted land even less. Even if I received such things, they would only be a burden and attract even more envy from other nobles that I wouldn’t want. The only thing I wanted was money. Well, personnel as well. And also food supplies, and materials to be used in construction and so on…

“Anyways, you seem to be getting along quite well with Eric now. That makes me relieved.”

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart for making Your Royal Highness worry about such a trivial matter.”

“Don’t mind such a thing. I’m just happy to see my friends and companions getting along. But, is everything alright?”

With that question, the crown prince tilted his head. Was everything alright? He was probably referring to the political and reputation balance and repercussions for me. Since he’s probably heard stories about me as well, I suppose it’s only natural that he would be worried.

“-In being able to act together, I think that it must be Misorua’s guidance that someone like me was able to become friends with Eric-dono. Although I say this, the grace of Misorua’s guidance has already exceeded what my body can handle. It would be arrogance on my part to desire more, like trying to force a bent nail to straighten with a hammer.”

Although my words were polite and formal, I basically told them rather bluntly through this that ‘while Eric and I have resolved our disagreements, I don’t intend to do anything beyond my ranking by associating with all of you.’ The crown prince and Grays’ expressions stiffened ever so slightly at this.

“…I see. You’re as humble as always. Then I as well shall pray to Misorua for an opportunity to become closer with you.”

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