“Now then, since we’re here, how about I introduce you to my friends?”
“All right, it shall be my honor to meet them.”
“Everyone, allow me to introduce her to you. This is Lesser Earl Eliza Kaldia Einsbark. Eliza-dono, these are the sons of Archduke Dovadain, Viscount Grays and Baron Eric. And this is Baron Sieghart from the Rolentsor family.”
“As he just said, my name is Eliza Kaldia Einsbark.”
The lineup of handsome boys in front of me is quite an impressive sight. As expected of otome game capture targets. I suppose it’s typical since all of them are from powerful noble families with long histories. I vaguely feel like their faces are younger than I remember, but it’s probably because I’m meeting them a bit earlier than when the game started.
“Mmm, so you’re the one we’ve been hearing about. When I heard about your military accomplishments, I was very surprised to find out you were a girl.”
“I know. Rather than knight attire, wouldn’t a dress look better on you?”
Everyone around us seemed to be astonished at our gathering, and listening in while chatting about us.
The boys introduced to me named Grays and Eric were chuckling impolitely while saying some inconsiderate things without even formally introducing themselves. The sons of Archduke Dovadain also have royal blood in them, they’re the crown prince’s cousins. Both of them have completely inherited their father Archduke Dovadain’s looks, and the two of them appear so similar that they could almost be twins despite me knowing the fact that they have different mothers. They had red shoulder-length hair tied behind them, with matching light gold eyes. In the game, they had looked like this as well.
In the game I could have sworn that both of them were supposed to be high spec, but am I recalling things incorrectly? In a public place, right after the crown prince’s introduction, they’re directly being so disrespectful to me. I feel like their heads are rather empty.
“You seem to resemble your father’s appearance greatly. It’s almost like you’re a living incarnation. ……And as for the battlefield, you were quite lucky. I have confidence that our military is quite well-trained, and we would have won anyway. You managed to defeat a small unit that happened to have a high-ranked commander in it, this can’t be anything but sheer luck.”
Although I didn’t allow my facial expressions to move even one centimeter, I wasn’t able to dodge their malevolent verbal barbs.
“She’s like her father, eh. I’ve heard about him, the infamous demon domain lord that raped and pillaged his own citizens, and devastated his own domain, right?”
Maybe Eric has a sense for how to strike at weak points, he irritatingly added some more malicious information. I furtively glanced at my surroundings. The people around us listening in, seemed to be drowning me in an unpleasant, sinister atmosphere. The crown prince, and the other member of his retinue Sieghart who hadn’t spoken yet, were the only ones who seemed like they were thinking about how to stop Eric.
“-Yes, there is no mistaking the infamy of the previous domain lord. The terrible deeds my father committed to his own domain were really troublesome. Even now, reconstruction still isn’t complete. I wish he could have been stopped five years earlier.”
“What a ridiculous thing to say. If your father had died five years earlier, you wouldn’t have been born.”
“If I was born earlier, then there wouldn’t have been any problems.”
I sparred with him calmly. I predicted that my answers would incite him. Eric was shaking his head in irritation. It seems like my answers are getting under his skin.
-I suppose that we’re now going to be more distant from each other.
I know that Eric isn’t a direct descendant like Grays and Sieghart, and that his bad temper is most likely the result of his mother being a mistress. Even after graduation, the higher ranked noble children will still associate with each other, and maybe he’ll get left out, I think he’s just taking things out on me, how troublesome. Since Eric is an illegitimate child, he probably doesn’t have a job lined up for the future.
Eric was glaring at me and seemed like he was about to explode, when Grays stopped him by tightly clamping his hand onto Eric’s shoulder. He whispered something to Eric, and dragged him away.
Well, although I’m supposed to have a higher rank, there was no respect for me at all. I don’t particularly want to worsen my relationship with Grays as well, but I’m probably going to have to deal with high-ranked nobles like the archduke’s family in the Upper House of Lords in the future. There’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ll just leave them alone.
“……My friend was rude to you.”
Sieghart awkwardly lowered his head towards me. Being the grandson of general commander Marquis Rolentsor, he had black hair and a sharp glint in his reddish-brown eyes. He has an intrepid face much like his grandfather, and he seems to have ambition as expected for a descendant of the greatest military family in Arxia. He’s also the tallest of the four boys, and is in the best physical shape, it was easy to tell that he’s a military noble.
My name as well as the Einsbark name are both known as military nobles as well, but compared to him I feel like my body is dreadfully tiny. I guess the huge gap between us is because of gender?
“Please don’t mind it. It appears that I have hurt his feelings as well.”
As I shrugged my shoulders, Sieghart seemed to sigh in relief. I can see a resemblance to Claudia in his actions, it definitely feels like they’re related.
“How has Marquis Rolentsor’s health been? On the battlefield, he took good care of me.”
“If you’re asking about my grandfather, you must know him well. While we did live in the same house, he hasn’t been there since the war began. It seems that he’s been quite busy lately.”
“Ahh, then he’s probably still dealing with the aftermath of the recent battles. There’s a lot of injured soldiers, and many captured prisoners as well. Not only that, the enemy has invented a new weapon. Since the war hasn’t ended either, he must prepare for the next battle.”
The royal army is commanded by the kingdom, while domain armies are personal armies. That’s why in war between countries, most of the fighting is done by the Royal Army and royal knights. Since Marquis Rolentsor has such a solemn personality, he’s probably taking the lead in doing the work. I thought about how Ergnade was quite busy at this time as well.
“……How about injured soldiers in the Kaldia army?”
The crown prince who had been silently listening to us for a while asked a question in a soft voice. Maybe he already knows how many were injured in the Royal Army, he had a serious expression on his face.
There weren’t many large-scale battles in the war – most of the battles were between small forces, and what’s more, Arxia hasn’t been in any major wars for 600 years. The population has increased greatly since that time period, along with the number of children.
“Fortunately, my army was almost unscathed on the battlefield. My army consists primarily of cavalry troops…… it is a slightly different configuration from the Royal Army, which is primarily infantry.”
“Ah, that’s good to hear. You won your first battle, and your troops were almost unscathed? You must be a very reliable leader.”
The crown prince seemed to be happily praising me, but I felt my lips slightly twisting into the shape of a smile.
“Thank you for the compliment.”
I see. He doesn’t know yet about the details of the first battle I participated in.