Liz’s older brother, along with an older man that appeared to be a servant, and several knights including Elsa, appeared in the classroom.
“…Onii-sama, what are you doing here?”
“I told you. I’ve come here to take you home.”
“But that shouldn’t be for another two months.”
Liz spoke up in confusion. In response, Crown Prince Alberto laughed.
“Did you actually expect me to wait until that day? You’d obviously just run again.”
“T-T-That’s not true!”
“Isn’t that what led to you fleeing from the castle?”
“R-R-Really? I don’t remember.”
She’s really panicking. I feel like I should say something…but this guy is the prince of this country.
I have to choose my words carefully….
“Now, Liz. You’re coming with me.”
Wait, please wait! Please, just please give me a little more time!”
“Do you think I’m going to fall for that again? That’s exactly what you always do. You try to keep pushing your problems off for as long as you can, ignoring all of your responsibilities.”
“Please stop, onii-sama!”
“…stop making it worse than it has to be. Just listen obediently and come home with me.”
Crown Prince Alberto tried to grab Liz’s hand, but Amy placed herself between them.
“…what do you think you’re doing?”
“Stop this already! Can’t you tell Liz doesn’t want this!?”
I stood up at that moment. I was afraid of what Alberto may do and began walking towards Liz.
“…you’re telling me to stop? And who are you to be giving orders to me, Alberto von Rizelheim?”
“…eh? Alberto von Rizelheim, no way…the prince? He’s lying, right…?”
Amy turned to Liz, but Liz just looked down at the ground and remained silent.
Amy’s face turned pale. I guess she’s able to understand now.
“Now that you know, just return to your seat and be quiet. I’ll look past your intrusion this once considering you didn’t know who I am.”
She can’t really do anything. Amy’s face was quickly overcome with fear and she started to back away.
But she only took one step —
Amy was just barely able to keep standing between Liz and Alberto.
“Li…Liz protected me. So –”
This is really bad. For a commoner to confront a member of the royal family, it wouldn’t be out of the question to have her executed.
Thinking this, I quickly interjected myself into their conversation.
“Crown Prince Alberto, please forgive me for my intrusion.”
“And you are?”
“I’m Leo — no, I am Leon Grancess. The Earl and head of the Grances family.”
The moment I said this I could hear several people in the classroom begin to quietly whisper.
I would’ve liked to have done this differently, but Alberto has really left me no choice. Although I was the one to interject, I really haven’t thought about what I should say.
I’m desperately trying to think of a solution that benefits everyone.
“Oh? I see, so you’re Leon. Rumours about you have reached even my ears.”
I was worried about what kind of rumours he may have heard about me, but Crown Prince Alberto didn’t seem all that interested in the rumours and said, “So, what business do you have with me?”
…what should I do? I only spoke up because I was worried about Amy. I didn’t even have time to think about what I should say to him.
Umm, umm…well, I should first try some meaningless small talk in order to buy myself some time. Besides, we shouldn’t be talking about any serious matters when there are so many students around.
“I have a proposal for you, Crown Prince Alberto.”
“You have my interest. Please, go on.”
“…I’d rather not speak of it here, with so many people watching. Can we continue these talks in my office? Of course, Liselotte-sama will come with us as well.”
“…hmm, alright, that sounds good. Please, show me there.”
I gave Alice the task of explaining the situation to the classroom and left with Alberto, Liz, and the elderly man to the office in the mansion.
This, of course, is, in fact, Claire’s office….she still hasn’t returned from wherever it is she went to.
I would normally rely on her in a situation like this, but….
“So? What did you want to speak with me about? You made me go through the trouble of walking all the way here, so I expect something meaningful.”
Aaah, I’ve made the situation even worse by trying to buy time. No, just calm down.
I took a deep breath and tried to speak in as calm a manner as possible.
“Princess Liselotte doesn’t wish to go home earlier than planned. Is it not possible for you to let her stay as long as you originally promised?”
“…why would I do something like that?”
“Princess Liselotte had trouble understanding the differences between herself and the commoners in class. This led to her being isolated for most of the time she spent here.”
The Crown Prince turned to ask Liz this. Although she was clearly still terrified, she managed to give him a slight nod.
“It was all my fault. I really didn’t consider everyone else’s feelings, so everyone hated me.”
“…they hated you? That’s surprising to hear.”
Alberto’s eyes widened slightly and he seemed to be thinking.
From what I know, Liz is incredibly popular with almost everyone in Rizelheim. I’m not surprised that he didn’t expect for her to be hated.
“But, if you’re being hated by everyone, wouldn’t it be better for you to return before your bad reputation spreads beyond this school?”
“No, onii-sama. Actually, the other day –”
“– the other day, something happened that allowed the other students to finally be able to understand Princess Liselotte.”
I quickly stopped Liz from speaking and answered Alberto myself.
I’m worried he might think I’m being disrespectful to her, but, even though Liz gave me her approval, I basically used her as a guard and put her in a very dangerous situation. I’d rather Alberto not know anything about that.
That’s why, rather than allowing Liz to continue, I decided to interject.
“That’s right. So I’ve finally been able to speak normally with everyone. If you take me back now, all of the progress I’ve made will be wasted.”
“Are you trying to say you’ll miss those commoners if you leave?”
Looking at Crown Prince Alberto’s expression, I believed he might acquiesce…but he unexpectedly turned to face me.
“I’d like to ask you something…why are you supporting Liz? Don’t you think it would be better for you to be on my side?”
“I am the one that formed this school and I have an obligation to protect all of the students here. If Princess Liselotte was forced to leave, I feel like many other students would be negatively affected.”
I don’t want to create a bitter memory in everyone’s life here.
Especially for Alice and Sophia.
“Alright…I understand what you’re saying, but Liz’s identity has now been revealed to the commoners that were in that classroom. Can you guarantee her safety?”
“I…I don’t know if that’s possible, but I will take responsibility for her.”
“You will? You –”
Crown Prince Alberto began to speak, but the elderly gentleman stopped him and whispered something in his ear.
Immediately after hearing his words, Alberto seemed displeased.
“Fine then. You will be responsible for her until the end of this month. At that time, return her safely to me in Rizelheim.”
The end of this month…? The month just began and the trip to Rizelheim will take five days. So that means she can spend another three weeks here.
It will be tough for us to accomplish anything, but…I don’t expect him to give us any more time. At least this way Liz can say goodbye to everyone.
“I understand. I’ll return Princess Liselotte safely at the end of the month.”
“Do you swear on the name of House Grances?”
“Yes. I promise on the name of my family that I will return her.”
“Good. If you break your promise, I expect you to accept responsibility.”
In other words, if I break our promise, he will crush the Grances family.
I also can’t let Liz escape if that’s what she was planning on doing. I don’t really think it’s a good deal for me, but…I can’t turn back now.
I graciously lowered my head to Alberto.
“Liz, do you understand? You will return home at the end of this month. If you wish to escape or hide here, he will be the one to suffer the consequences.”
“…I understand. I’ll definitely return home.”
“As usual, I’m too soft on you.”
Alberto muttered this under his breath.
“Now then, we should be taking our leave. I hope you’ll excuse our sudden intrusion.”
With these surprisingly humble words, Crown Prince Alberto got out of his seat and headed for the door. However, just as he was about to leave, he turned to me.
“There’s one more thing…. I’ve heard about a clothing called ‘Alice Brand’ in this town. I’d like some clothes made personally for me.”
“Clothes? What kind of design were you looking for?”
I was expecting it to be clothing he’d wear on official business, but he requested one of the most popular designs that Alice sells. I was surprised.
“Of course, I’ll pay for the costs. Whatever price you wish, just name it.”
“No, I wouldn’t need you to pay Crown Prince Albert.”
“Are you sure? I’m sure the materials can’t be cheap.”
I told Alberto that it was a gift for listening to my request.
After a maid took his measurements, Crown Prince Alberto left the mansion and rejoined his escort that was waiting for him outside.
I watched them leave before finally turning to face Liz.
“…I’m sorry. You’ll have to return home at the end of this month.”
“No, it’s…it’s fine. I was going to be forced to return home now anyway. Thank you.”
She didn’t seem to be hiding her true feelings. Maybe she really is thankful for the small amount of time I was able to buy her.
“When the end of the month comes, you will return home, right?”
I need to know.
I don’t think Liz would try to escape, but if she does, everything I hold dear will be destroyed. I can’t remain uncertain.
— And Liz nodded.
“I swear on my name of Liselotte von Rizelheim.”
“…thank you. And sorry for ever doubting you.”
“No, I should be the one apologizing. I’ve caused you so much trouble, Leo…actually, Leon.”
“Oh, right. Sorry for hiding that this entire time.”
“I don’t mind, but…why are you even going to school?”
“How do I say it…it’s a hobby?”
I scratched my neck and tried to think of a better way of saying it. It’s not like I can tell her in my previous life I was never able to go to school.
“Anyway, Liz, your older brother caused more problems than I expected, but he seemed like a decent person. He was surprisingly more receptive than I thought he’d be.”
“Onii-sama is a really good person. He takes really good care of me and hopes to make the world a better place.”
“He really did seem to care for you, but…why is he trying to force you into a marriage you don’t want?”
“That’s because onii-sama is really enthusiastic about it, but I really can’t see him as a member of the opposite sex.”
“That makes sense. Wait…eh? What does that mean?”
“Eh? Umm…didn’t I tell you? My fiancé is my brother-in-law, Alberto onii-sama.”
The moment she said this, I finally understood something. Alberto proposed to his half-sister, and Claire told me I could learn a few things from him —
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.