As a result of our discussion, it was decided that Sophia would be returning to her home next week.
There didn’t appear to be any issues with us visiting her family home, but Crane contacted me and wished to meet, so I decided to take care of that first.
So, on a certain day in the afternoon, Crane visited the mansion.
“Hey, Leon. I see you’re still surrounded by beautiful girls.”
“…I think one of them is here because of you.”
We were sitting across from each other in the drawing room of the mansion. I sat on one side with Claire and Liz on either side of me. Tina stood behind us.
Claire is obviously here because she’s the acting earl, Tina is here because she’s Claire’s assistant, and Liz is here because she’s the princess of this country and she has collaborated with Crane before.
“Marquis of Gramp, thank you for your previous assistance.”
Liz’s bluish silver hair bounced slightly as she lowered her head. She looks just like a princess despite here clumsy personality.
“It was no problem. Taking care of the royal family is also a responsibility of the nobility.”
Crane answered with a casual tone, but…that was a lie. He only helped her because he knew it wouldn’t impact him or his family negatively.
“So, Crane, you’re here about something concerning Patrick.”
The matter of Patrick’s involvement in the attack in the forest has yet to be resolved.
Our investigation into that attack led to us believing Patrick may be behind it.
…eh? Does Crane know Liz was acting as an escort during that attack? We never told anyone and it was never written in any of the reports about the attack.
If that ultra siscon Albert were to find out about that, I’m sure I’d be executed.
“Yes. I actually have a request as well, but…Patrick is the main reason I’m here.”
I feel like he just glossed over something important, but Crane continued before I could ask about it.
“We investigated further into the matter, but, as of now, we have no hard evidence that proves Patrick was behind the attack.”
“Is that so…well, I expected as much.”
There’s no way to collect fingerprints in this world and there are no cameras or pictures. I never expected they’d be able to prove anything with just a brief description of the man that hired those bandits.
“However, if Patrick were to ever show his face in your territory, all knights and soldiers in every town have been given orders to capture him.”
“…if he enters our territory?”
I wasn’t quite sure why he said that and curiously tilted my head.
“The promise you made? He is never to step a foot in your territory again. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten.”
“Of course not. I was just doubting he’d be stupid enough to show his face.”
That was a lie. I actually completely forgot. I did my best to cover it up but I could tell Crane saw straight through me.
“…it’s okay if you forgot. I just want you to take care of yourself. There’s a chance he’s died already or just given up on the idea of revenge, but there’s still the chance that he’s just waiting for the right moment.”
“You don’t need to worry. I’ve already been at work increasing the security of the school and the city.”
“None of that would make a difference if he were to attack you directly.”
“…you think he might be planning to attack me directly? I’ve already proven to him that he wouldn’t be able to beat me one-on-one.”
“It’s entirely possible. And that’s why…I’m worried about you.”
Crane muttered his last few words while turning away from me. As I was thinking he was acting like a tsundere, Claire wrapped her arms around my arm.
“Wait a minute, Marquis of Gramp! Otouto-kun is ours, don’t even think about trying to steal him!”
“It’s just like she said, Marquis of Gramp! You need our approval before you can start trying to seduce him!”
Following Claire’s lead, Liz clung to my other arm. Crane began to laugh after hearing the ridiculous things they were saying.
I could see his eyes telling me he understood how hard it must be for me.
“Haha, don’t worry. I’m only interested in young girls with large chests.”
“If that’s the case –”
“There’s no problem.”
Having been convinced, Claire and Liz moved away from me.
— no, no, no, how is that okay!? They don’t have any follow-up questions!? Crane is going to be thirty-five this year. No matter what world we’re in, it’s a criminal offence for him to be chasing after young girls. Eh?
Actually, I guess that is legal in this world.
I’ve been living in this world for sixteen years.
I may have gotten used to the common sense of this world but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the fact that it’s okay for a girl that’s in her early teens to marry a man twenty years her senior.
“Well, that’s everything I had to tell you concerning Patrick. Don’t worry though, I’ll handle all of the more annoying tasks that need to be taken care of involving him.”
“I’m sorry for making you take care of everything.”
“No need to worry. You and I are friends after all.”
“…thank you…very much?”
I could sense something bad coming and was actually unsure if I should even thank him. And, just as expected, Crane showed a broad smile.
“On a side note, I actually have a request for you, will you hear me out? Why am I even asking? We’re friends after all.”
…just as expected.
“I’ll listen, as long as it’s something I can do…. What kind of troubles are you having now?”
“It’s nothing too troublesome. I created a school and an Adventurer’s Guild just like you recommended, and I was hoping you’d be able to come visit.”
“You want me to visit…?”
By the way, the Adventurer’s Guild is a central hub for people to post requests to subjugate monsters, collect materials, or hire escorts.
However, there really aren’t many monsters on this continent.
So they primarily escort merchants or gather medicinal herbs or other materials. They’re basically like like hunters or guards, but there wasn’t a centralized organization for them, so I recommended we establish one in several cities.
The school is set up in the same way as Muhle Academy.
So his request is for me to visit the now completed Guild and Academy…. Last time, he had a simple request of just accepting one additional student.
There’s no way it’s just a visit.
“…what are you plotting now?”
“What kind of reputation must I have if you immediately assume I’m planning something? Well, you’re not too far off. I just want you, specifically, to come and make sure everything is setup correctly.”
If he just wants someone to come and inspect the school, there are plenty of other qualified people he could ask. So why does he want me specifically?
“I don’t mind coming to visit, but why do you need it to be me?”
“Well, it actually has to do with Owen.”
He spoke as if it was a given that I’d know this person.
When I was about to tell him I didn’t know that person, Tina spoke from behind me and said that Owen is the head and marquis of the Full-Flat family, a supporter and ally of the Gramp family.
“What does this have to do with the Marquis of Full-Flat?”
“He’s been an ally of mine for a long time. When he last came to visit me, do you know what he told me?”
Even if he asks me, I can’t tell him something I don’t know. I could just guess, but I’d rather just get straight to the point.
“That guy, Owen, once he found out that you became friends with Crown Prince Alberto, he became worried that he and his family would be overlooked and eventually fall apart.”
I was finally able to understand and let out a sigh.
“…I could understand his worries, but you know that won’t happen. I’ll come visit and clear up his misunderstanding.”
“Thank you for understanding. You can use this visit to give our school and Guild a proper inspection as well.”
It’s just as I expected and all I can do is sigh.
But, I really don’t have much choice but to visit. The Marquis of Gramp is a necessary ally to us. I’d be in trouble if a rumour started spreading that he was unhappy with me.
“I don’t mind visiting, but…is it entirely necessary? If you were to make it clear that we have a good relationship, that should help alleviate his concerns, right?”
“I actually tried to do that once already but he took it the wrong way. He was quite agitated after that.”
“Is that so….”
Could it be that?
Is this guy feeling jealous of the relationship between myself and Crane? It’s kind of a ridiculous for someone in the position of marquis to be feeling this. However, it’s also quite terrifying considering the power he wields.
However, as I said earlier, it would be bad if rumours of Crane’s unhappiness were to spread. So, after travelling to the Sfir home, I’ll visit the Marquis of Gramp.
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.