Chapter 12: The Strongest Onmyoji, Takes Over
After several days on the road, Fiona’s group made it safely to the imperial capital.
“Gentlemen. It’s been a short time, but it’s been a lot of fun.”
Fiona, smiling in front of the huge gates of the Imperial City, says to us.
It seems that even princesses must abide by the rule that no carriages from outside can enter the castle during the daytime, so we all disembarked from the carriage we had been riding in for so long just before the castle gate.
Fiona was to change to another carriage inside and head for the imperial castle where the court was to be held. We will stay overnight at an inn in town and say goodbye to Fiona and the others who will be leaving for Rodnea tomorrow morning.
I said as I looked at the assassins, their hands tied, being taken away.
“……There really was no raid, was there?”
‘Ufufu . Wasn’t it just like I said?”
Fiona smiles at me and I nod.
There was no sign of an attack, the assassins were quiet, and the road was peaceful.
I look toward the gate, which is somewhat crowded because of them.
“However, it seems that it is taking them a long time to enter the castle because of the large number of people. The Imperial City seems to be heavily guarded.”
“Normally we wouldn’t go this far, but …… right now the court is a little tense.”
“The Court? Why at such an inopportune time?”
“Now … why? I don’t know.”
After smiling meaningfully, Fiona says somewhat regretfully.
“I really wish I could have invited you all to the court, but such circumstances made it a little difficult……. would you have liked to see it?, The Imperial Castle.”
“I wanted to see it. I’m sure I’ll be proud of it for the rest of my life to be inside the Imperial Castle.”
“Mou Amiyu-chan …… ehehe, it’s all right. Her Highness will be busy with all kinds of things from now on.”
“It’s good because we got a luxury inn.”
The women talk in a friendly manner.
They had, in fact, already gotten to know each other quite well during their stay in Lamprog territory. Women are very sociable.
“Ufufufu. I haven’t had much time to talk to people who are close to my age … I enjoyed it….”
So Fiona turned her smile, which seemed to stifle the slightest bit of pain, to Amiyu.
“I’m sure there will be opportunities to invite you.”
“—- Oooh, Your Highness. We’re done over here.”
When I turned my head to look at the voice, I saw that Grey had just pulled his horse.
Had he finished handing over to his second-in-command, Lauren, and said goodbye to his own subordinates?
This is where I say goodbye to my second brother. I wonder when we will meet again.
“Hm. See you later, Seika.”
I responded in an appropriate manner to Grey, who talked as if to throw up.
“Take care, Grey niisan. Good luck and be strong.”
“Oh, come on, you’re talking big you little brat!”
“…What’s that? Stop being such a kid.”
“Don’t neglect training. Don’t rely on just the sword and be aware of the pattern. You have talent.”
“Naah! I’ll do it even if you don’t tell me!”
I think of Amiyu, who gets angry and replies.
For such an encounter, these two have become good friends too. …… Or haven’t they? I’m not sure.
“Ma…… I must be on my way.”
I respond with a laugh.
“Please be fine. I am honored to have been able to serve you so far.”
“Well, thanks for accompanying me, I thought I was able to become a friend……”
“Then that’s fine.”
“…The sons of the Lamprogs are carefree with me, you know. I am still the emperor’s own child, a princess, though I am a child of the commoner.”
“I’m sorry. My oldest brother is the only sane one.”
Fiona laughed a little and —- then quietly walked over to me.
Then, with a smile on her face, she says in a serious tone of voice.
“I’m on your side. Really, don’t forget that.”
“Ufufufu … Then”
Fiona, with her back turned, leaves for the castle gate with the maids and Grey.
I think about the meaning of the words she left behind, but I’m not sure.
It is rather Fiona who needs allies, isn’t it? Hmmm, she was a mystery to me until the very end.
“Oh, Mabel-chan … Are you going to stop by your brother’s grave?”
“I was thinking of going tomorrow morning.”
“Then, let’s prepare flowers.”
“If you’re lucky, you can buy it at the market. Oi, Seika, I’ll go.”
I answered briefly and followed them.
We stayed overnight at a fine inn in the city and left the imperial capital as scheduled the next morning.
Two days while rocking on a horse-drawn carriage on the road extending to the east.
We returned to the school city of Rodnea for the first time in about a month.
I was surprised at how it felt like the school dormitory was a place to look forward to coming back to. I’ve only lived here for two years, but many things had happened.
There are only a few days left for the spring holidays.
This year’s entrance ceremony is just around the corner.
While the school was a little busy, one day I was spending time teaching Mabel to study and going shopping in the city — I was suddenly called by the school principal.
“Don’t be so defensive. It’s not a big deal.”
So said an old dwarf woman in the headmaster’s office on the top floor of the school’s main building.
The headmaster is the one who knows Amiyu’s true identity and part of my power. There was no reason for me not to brace myself.
The headmaster, who was a little taken aback by my expression, opened up the conversation.
“Would you like to try out for valedictorian?”
“……? The valedictorian, mam?”
“There was a current student who gives a speech at the entrance ceremony every year, wasn’t there? That’s it. That’s the valedictorian of the elementary school.”
“That’s a dumb question, isn’t it? Of course it’s simply because you have good grades.”
“… Is that all I need to do?”
“I don’t know what you were expecting, but that’s it. You are a student. The only time I have any use for a student is when I have to choose a delegate, or when I have to give him an expulsion.”
“Is that so……”
“I don’t mind if you decline. I’ll ask one of your followers or another student to do it. It doesn’t matter who the valedictorian is.”
The dean said as if she didn’t care about anything.
In fact, compared to matters such as the future of the Hero, the demon tribe, and the empire, it was not a big deal at all. It was somewhat disconcerting.
I took a moment to respond.
“I’ll take care of it.”
“I’m surprised. That’s unexpected. I thought you would refuse. …… Oh?. I feel like I said something similar a year ago.”
“I’d be willing to do that if it’s okay with you. It would probably be an honor.”
“Kukku. Oh, that’s right.”
The dean says with a chuckle.
“For the average student, it’s an honor. It adds a foil to your career, and it is advantageous to your promotion to a government position. I don’t think you’ll care about such things, but …… you should just accept it without saying a word. That’s what a normal student does.”
I answer with my eyes downcast.
“I suppose it is.”
“Seika-sama, are you sure you want to do this? To take on the role of valedictorian.”
Yuki asked me this as we left the main campus building.
The sun was still high in the sky, but gray clouds covered the sky and it was a little dark.
“Oh, that’s okay.”
“Why? I’m afraid you’re going to have to stand out again.”
I respond to Yuki’s curiosity with a light smile.
“This kind of thing won’t stand out. It’s the same as the martial arts tournament in the Imperial City. An unusually strong person who can attract the attention of those in power doesn’t have a normal career as the valedictorian of the academy. Yes, for example… from an orphanage, like someone who was picked up with the expectation of his power, killed his apprentices and masters and eventually disappeared, lived a wandering life outside the country, and then returned to his country to train his disciples.”
As Yuki falls silent, I continue.
“And lately I’ve been thinking …… that maybe I should have been more, you know, normal.”
“Normal, is it……?”
“The opportunity to exercise unusual power is not something that you will see if you live normally. I seem to have been a little cowardly from having died that way in my last life. I don’t think I had to go out of my way to find someone who would be the strongest one to replace me. The Hero or the Demon Lord had nothing to do with the matter. Even if I didn’t come to the school, I might have had a way to live peacefully while working as a technician in the school.”
“I don’t regret meeting those kids. The school is a nice place. I’m interested in the adventurer’s life that will eventually begin. I’m not going to change my policy now. I’m just going to …… try to be more normal from now on. Not like a person who is nervous about standing out, but more like a normal human being.”
“… Then, Seika-sama”
Yuki asks quietly.
“Rather than confront the enemies that are approaching now … are you going to run away like a normal human being?”
“Oh, what the heck. You noticed that too?”
I say calmly.
They are still out of town for now, but the time of the attack is probably near.
“I’ll take care of that. I’m supposed to give a speech at the entrance ceremony. If we lose the entrance ceremony itself, we won’t be able to fulfill that.”
“Have you not noticed that …… Seika-sama? The contradiction you are talking about …… is not something that an ordinary human being would be able to do.”
Yuki’s voice is stern, and I reply with a wry smile.
“I can’t help it. I’m already involved. I can’t ignore it now. Besides, —- it’s easy for me. If they don’t know who did it, it doesn’t matter.”
“Yuki, stay close to me. Things are going to get a little hectic from here on out.”
I put up a hitogami.
This would be my first job as valedictorian.
《 vocation: —-…………