“Well then…… Can you tell us your story?”
In my residence’s tiny reception room, Claudia and I, the two noble teenagers that we just captured, and Oscar, who’s also taken on the role of gathering information for me, were all crammed in together. It’s an overwhelming situation for Feria and Freche’s son.
The young couple is so stiff, as if we’re threatening them or something. Feria’s face is ashen. ……Well, although I’m calling them young, I’m actually even younger than they are, technically.
“Without any companions, where were the two of you headed? Also, Lady Feria, you happen to have an engagement. You won’t exactly be praised for jaunting about on the streets with a boy. Do you have a permit showing permission from the noble school? I need to notify the school that I was able to protect you. Please let me confirm your permit.”
I held out my hand as if to say give it to me, that’s when Freche’s youngest son who had been chewing his lip all this time finally lifted his head with a glare aimed at me.
“Why do we need to show you our permit? You’re saying that you protected us, but you’re just a child that’s not even in noble school yet, where’s the head of your household, at the very least I should be talking to someone ranked above you.”
Oh? Come to think of it, while Feria does know who I am, I still haven’t formally introduced myself yet to this boy.
“My apologies for the late introduction. I am Eliza Kaldia. I’m currently the domain lord of Kaldia, from the Jugfena region. I have some business with Lady Feria and her father, so that’s why I’m acquainted with Lady Feria.”
“It couldn’t be. You’re the head of the house?”
I nodded in confirmation, and the young Freche’s mouth was wide agape in astonishment. Then, he lowered his face again with a scared expression. Oi, you can’t show me a permit?
It can’t be helped, let’s turn to Feria, she was biting her lips as well, although she opened her mouth to talk even as she was trembling.
“I, I, was heading for my fiancé’s place, the Ogren residence. The reason for going there is uh, er, private. ……Um, this here is Cornell Freche-sama, my old friend, and he was taking the trouble of accompanying me to the Ogren residence.”
For the time being, I’m going to ignore the part where she introduced Cornell Freche. Ogren? This is a name I never thought I’d hear Feria say, so I tilted my head.
“Something private, eh. That’s why, you snuck out of school?”
Maybe she’s realized she can’t hide it anymore, she admitted that she didn’t have a permit to leave school and nodded.
“I don’t know the details, but it’s about my engagement. I know that my fiancé is the Ogren family’s son.”
“I’m already aware. After all, I got acquainted with you in the first place because…… The Ogren family asked me to make sure that the engagement with you proceeded smoothly.”
I don’t know what Viscount Ogren thinks about this entire situation at all, so I vented my frustration as I told her my purpose. Now that she’s told me directly about Ogren when she’s kept silent all this time before, I feel like there’s no need for me to hide my task given to me by the church from her.
“Viscount Ogren went to the trouble of contacting the church, and asking me to convince you to go through with the engagement because it looked like you weren’t really interested. Well, neither him nor your father really matter to me, I was going to observe this rubbishy situation for a little longer, but.”
“Such a thing……”
Feria was covering her mouth with her hand as if she couldn’t believe what was going on. Maybe it’s an unconscious reaction, I saw her weakly grabbing onto Cornell Freche’s sleeve.
“……Please wait a moment, Lord Kaldia. I think you’re having a misunderstanding about the relationship between Feria and myself.”
Did he gain strength from Feria’s fingertips I wonder, Cornell Freche who had been drooping his shoulders all this time, suddenly cut in with a soft voice.
It’s difficult to hear him clearly. I couldn’t help but furrow my eyebrows, I’ve wasted the time frame in which he was afraid. My place is no House of Lords, where even the small things can threaten and scare people. ……Besides, I think that it would be a miserable thing to be scared of a child more than five years younger than he is. Quite pitiful, really. I would prefer it if he could stand up straighter.
“A misunderstanding? So, what’s your excuse for sneaking out of school together with a girl that’s already engaged?”
“That’s not it! In the first place, Feria’s engagement…… Don’t get angry at Feria. Their, no, what that guy really wants is for their engagement to be broken!”
He suddenly started shouting. Suddenly going from soft-spoken to shouting angrily in a show of unstable emotions, is he really okay, I wonder. I couldn’t help but start worrying.
The following is the story that Cornell Freche told me.
Originally, Cornell was a childhood friend of Feria and her fiancé, Ista Ogren. They all grew up together, being neighbors in the noble district. The three of them hung out together, even after entering noble school.
However, when Ista Ogren became a third-year student, and Cornell and Feria became second-years, the relationship between them changed slightly. The reason was because Ista liked a noble girl other than Feria. When Ista began spending more time with that girl, the natural outcome was that Cornell and Feria started being together more often. And after that, the relationship between them developed as I expected.
During the time that Ista was about to graduate from noble school, the three of them had a talk with each other about their futures. Ista said that he definitely agreed to canceling the engagement with Feria, and that he wanted to get engaged to the girl he liked instead, swearing that he would return to the Ogren domain to persuade his father, Viscount Ogren, after graduation.
“After he returned to the Ogren domain, we’ve exchanged letters three times, but it seems that persuading his father isn’t going well. However, this time Viscount Ogren summoned us to his residence, saying that after much persuasion by his son, he’s decided to think it over again after listening to all three of us directly.”
I listened silently throughout all of Cornell Freche’s long story that he desperately tried to explain clearly to me. He’s obviously not used to having to clarify things for others.
……Just what should I say in this type of situation? Am I supposed to be surprised, or amused? Cornell and Feria looked at me with such serious expressions as I thought about what to say.
“It’s well known within school that Feria and Ista are good friends as well as engaged to each other. That’s why, we can’t ask for permission to go out and let rumors spread in school, as it would greatly damage the reputation of both families……”
I wonder if he’s said everything he wants to say, after Cornell Freche finished his story, he lowered his head again. Is he trying to gain sympathy from me by acting modest?
-I have no leeway to sympathize with him whatsoever, so I decided to pretend as if I didn’t see his action.
I’m absolutely at a loss for what to say right now, and somehow I ended up glancing in Oscar’s direction. He had an expression that blatantly said his head was hurting from this situation. I wish I could let my emotions at this headache of a mess show on my face as well.