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“Hello. Feeding the cats? Can I join?”
It happened one day during my usual routine of feeding the stray monster cat I encountered some time ago. I told the cat to stay in secluded areas and it obeyed me. But for some reason, someone seemed to be there. And that someone unexpectedly called out to me.
When I turned around to see who it might be, I was taken aback. But I didn’t show any reaction nor expression. I was used to keep my calm look, even if I was taken aback inside.
The one who called out to me was… the Hartmann’s second son.
Now, now, I know that he’s keeping his identity a secret in this academy. However, being the crown prince, I still managed to get the leaked information, somehow.
He didn’t stand up very much, in contrast to his elder brother. However, I made sure I kept tabs especially for the Hartmann family. So, obviously I’d recognize him, even if he used his ability to alter his appearance.
The Hartmann family.
They were notorious for their corrupted nature. Unfortunately, they were very clever. They managed to keep the façade of a “good” noble family, though their noble-exclusivity mindset was quite apparent. So, I had no choice but to admit their shrewdness.
They are a bunch of two-faced rats. The royal court has heard rumors about their illegal deeds, but for some reason, we couldn’t unveil them.
Now then, what is the youngest son of that family doing here?
Surely, he must have recognized me as the crown prince.
Is he trying to lick my boots in hopes that I can back him up as the next duke?
I heard that the first son was more favored, and that it was already decided that the heir of the Hartmann family would be that first son.
Those were my considerations as I assessed him from head-to-toe.
Then, I showed my usual “business” smile.
“Sure. I’m Titus from the Advanced Level. Who might you be?”
In the short moment before he answered, I could sense that there were flashes of emotions on his face, for a very short moment. However, I couldn’t discern what that might be.
“I’m Cyan, a new student from the Intermediate Level. It’s nice to meet you.”
Icarus Valkyane Hartmann?
If I’m not wrong, that’s his true name.
However, fine. If you so wanted to play this game with me.
I will make sure to have your intention of using me to get the title of the next duke to backfire.
I will be the one to take advantage of you—to use you to crush your own family.
This might be the chance that the heavens gave to me.
I stood up and dusted the dirt that was on my uniform. After that, I approached him and reached out a hand.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance. Do you like cats?”
“Mmhm, very much.”
He said that with a friendly smile as he took my hand. We shook hands just like how friends would.
Only two years are left before I graduate from Harmonia Academy.
Can I catch them before that? Or should I just lure him and invite him into the royal court, to have him under my supervision if I don’t get to catch their tails before then?
Oh well, let’s save that for later.
Now, what kind of future awaits us?
I’m looking forward to it, little liar.
And that marked the beginning of the two young men’s friendship. A friendship that started off with their own ulterior motive and differing thoughts.
However, they only have their own prejudices against each other—they don’t have any clear idea of each other… yet.