Akuyaku Reijo ni Koi Wo Shite Chapter 13 :
“Event: Excursion (First Half)”
Ever since Vincent came to the Academy, rather than improving, his reputation fell continuously. It was due to the rumors that continued to pop up all the time.
Although Rion had begun to act thoroughly to determine their source, he was not able to arrive at any conclusions. The answer he always got was “I’m not sure, I heard it from someone”.
With such rumors being spread to that degree, surely there was someone carrying ill intent behind the whole matter. He thought he had to, one way or another, find the culprit. But he was still unable to do anything and that made him irritated.
He had a suspect although it was just a guess. However, that person was someone hard to deal with. He kept pondering things that he should do to obtain evidence.
「What are you daydreaming about? I have been asking a question you know?」
「Apologies. What is the matter?…」
「It was about the route of the excursion. Which one do you think is better?」
In Autumn, the main point of the curriculum was the excursion. Though it was called an excursion, it was far from just going towards a specified place. The students had to determine their route and prepare necessary items beforehand by themselves.
The marching required by that training journey was made extremely easy.
However, demonic beasts that would frequently appear in their path were a real problem. Although those beast were of a kind that could even be injured by normal animals, for students who had almost no combat experience, they were considerably dangerous opponents.
Of course, to guarantee that emergency situations didn’t occur, the Academy made certain precautions. However the existence of the danger and precautions was not conveyed to the students.
It was to boost their desire to fulfill their assigned task of reaching their objective using only their own power.
「Have you consulted others?」
「I already did. They have different opinions so I decided to ask Rion.」
「Well then, why not decide by majority vote?」
「Majority deciding on something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right thing to do. Wasn’t you yourself the one who said that?」
It was said to comfort Vincent during the time when his opinion was disregarded by others. Those kinds of things Vincent would always remember.
「You have also said that deciding by the majority should be used only when disputes are settled. 」
「…Yes. I have also said that.」
He said so to defuse Vincent’s plans to use the Windhill’s influence to suppress opinions opposing him. Although those words were said at a different time with a different meaning, Vincent was properly able to adapt them to the situation at hand, which made Rion slightly surprised.
「Like I said, there’s a dispute. To put it down, we want to hear Rion’s opinion.」
「…..In what way are the opinions divided?」
「You weren’t listening at all, were you?」
「I apologize, sir. I was thinking of a different matter.」
「I guess there’s no choice. Well then, I’ll explain it again.」
「There are three routes to the designated point. First would be going around the north flank of the forest. The path led through the mountains, but it was carefully maintained and would be easiest to travel to, even if the distance was the longest.」
Starting with this, Vincent began explaining the problem to Rion carefully.
There were two other routes. The second one would skirt the woods from the south. Although that path was barely maintained, it was much shorter than the northern path.
The last route was to go straight through the forest towards the designated point. Of course, this was the shortest path but the road wasn’t maintained at all. Also, this way carried another problem with it.
The chance of encountering demonic beast was incomparably higher compared to the other two routes.
If one considered the risks alone north, south and lastly the middle, would be the order.
That being the case,the natural solution would be just to choose the safest path, but the conversation didn’t go that way. Although this assignment was called “excursion”, its purpose was to train the students so the dangerous, direct, middle part would be given a higher priority.
Braving the risk and choosing the middle route was the likely outcome.
「Is the opinion divided into three camps?」
「No, into two.」
「North and middle?」
「No. It’s middle and south.」
「…Why is the south route popular?」
「North is too simple.」
「Is the south path not good?」
Vincent knew that judging by Rion’s way of talking, there was a problem with going south. However, he couldn’t figure out why.
「I wouldn’t say that. I have only thought that this option is half-baked. I expected that people’s opinions would gather around both extremes.」
「Shall we go through the reasons behind the choices? What’s the priority for those choosing the middle route?」
「And the south path?」
「Those are rather vague. In this exercise isn’t the objective “arriving at the destination without anyone missing” ?」
「Something like that.」
「If the objective is this, then the chosen path should be the northern one. Although it’s a little long, traveling on a carefully maintained path will be less tiresome.」
「The south path not only is the most remote, but to make matters worse the possibility of dropouts happening would appear. I was thinking that there was no reason to choose it.」
「It’s as you say.」
While Rion was speaking he was also paying careful attention to the response of the other students. Their reactions were roughly the same as Vincent’s.
There was hardly anyone in this class who wouldn’t do as Vincent told. Not because he was well-received, but because of his family’s pedigree. Having him force people to do things would lead to dissatisfaction.
For Vincent’s reputation, that was something Rion wanted to avoid the most. That was the reason why he told the young lord that it’s important to address the dissidents.
「The choices now are either the northern route or going through the middle. Are there any objections?」
Vincent’s question raised hardly any response. This was not because of fear but because people agreed.
「That being the case, we’re down to setting priorities. Which one should we put higher?」
「…Erm, having me to decide everything is…」
This was also something Rion was mindful of. He thought that if he was to intrude in such matters, it would also be considered borrowing the influence of the aristocratic house. Such a thing would impact the reputation of Vincent who let it happen.
「We’re merely going to use it as reference.」
「…Well then, If we’re talking priorities, what is the main objective of the excursion?」
「Objective of the excursion?」
「…What is it?」
「It might be called excursion, but there’s a meaningful reason behind it.」
「Oh? It’s about the marching drill, huh?」
「Yes. The excursion is just an imitation of military marching drills. That being the case, what is the minimum objective of a military march?」
「Arriving at the designated point?」
「It is arriving at the designated point within the time-frame specified.」
「Oh, time-frame, huh? In other words…, Northern route, huh?」
Vincent, after giving it a thought managed to reach the correct answer. He was able to understand that arriving in time was more important than being the first to arrive.
「If I was to be the one to decide, then it would be like that. But of course, arriving faster would be better. However, this is your first excursion. Because the danger that the middle route poses is currently unknown, going straight there wouldn’t be the right thing to do in my opinion.」
「I see… You’re right.」
In the end, the whole class was in full agreement with Rion. B-class students decided to bypass the forest from the north.
The very day of the excursion trip. On the carefully maintained road, the B-class students were advancing forward forming a column.
While the B-class chose the northern route, the other classes each chose one of the other two routes respectively. The excursion became neatly separated with one class per route.
「If we manage to estimate the distance and the path properly, we could even advance while running.」
「What are you trying to achieve with running?」
「If we gave it our all, we could arrive at the destination first.」
「That is… Something only Rion can do.」
Rion had the well-trained body to make it possible. Vincent clearly knew that he, himself, didn’t have that.
「If you trained yourself, sir, surely you would be fine as well.」
「… Rion’s training is too much. I could never go to such absurd lengths.」
「If you continued doing it, you’d get used to it eventually.」
「Before that, I would surely die.」
「Not at all. You would be able to get accustomed to it quickly.」
Those who didn’t believe Rion’s words were not limited to Vincent, but also included the eavesdropping students along with their own servants. They all realized that Rion’s common sense was slightly off compared to that of a normal person.
Actually, ever since they departed, Rion ran ahead of the group and returned countless of times. It was obvious he had a considerable endurance since despite all that running he was showing the least signs of tiredness.
As to why Rion kept running ahead like that…
「After crossing the gentle curve ahead, let us take a break. There should be enough space for everyone to sit down.」
「Yeah, let’s do that.」
It was to search for a proper place to take a break. Although compared to the others this route was considerably easier, they were still diligently taking breaks.
It was because, in their class, there were also noble lady students. Some of them had never traveled far on foot.
Although for Rion and Vincent the distance was still easy, for those female students it was a hellish exercise that they had never experienced before.
「So Ariel would be like them as well, huh?」
Vincent whispered to Rion to prevent others from overhearing.
「… I wonder? In my opinion, milady has a considerable stamina.」
「Why do you think so?」
「During the dance lesson she is able to dance for how many hours straight.」
「Oh that, huh? However, she was able to go so far due to her stubbornness, right?」
「Is that the case? Certainly, she does have that kind of mood about her. However, I wonder what is that stubbornness targeted at?」
「You really are…」
Vincent swallowed the phrase “thick-headed”. He knew the reason behind Ariel’s stubbornness.
It was the numerous 『You must be tired』 remarks made by Rion which caused her to think that he hated keeping her company in dance.
Every time Rion voiced his anxious inquiries, Ariel’s eyes narrowed. Despite that, she seemed to be truly enjoying herself as his dancing partner.
That was the incident that made Vincent fully aware of his younger sister’s complex female heart.
While he was reminiscing, the roomy resting spot had become visible. It was the place that Rion was talking about.
「The third squad will be on watch duty. The female students should take a break in the center of the group.」
Vincent’s instructions flew towards the students. It was his duty as the commanding officer to lead and organize the entire group.
The male students took a position to surround the female students and their handmaidens. The outer circle of the group was made of the students on guard duty that were watching the surroundings carefully.
Although the movements of the group were rather crude, the situation did somewhat resemble an army.
「Let’s proceed with more care from now on.」
「Is it about the demonic beasts?」
「Yes. Because part of the northern path is covered by trees, the probability of demonic beasts appearing rises. That was written in the Academy briefing materials.」
「Is that so? Well then, we should rest a bit longer and then…」
「We should assume a defensive formation with those who can’t fight placed in the middle.」
「Yeah, that’s right.」
If Vincent was the commander, then Rion was the adjutant. Although there was a student given the duty of adjutant, because Rion was performing in that role very well, that student left it to him without a word. For that student with a considerably high pedigree, since he didn’t need to do the job he didn’t want to bother with it. Rion’s existence in that group was favorable to him.
After discussing the future plans, Vincent also took a seat. Although he was not really tired, there was still more than half the distance to go. He was taking the break time seriously.
Although he was about to tell Rion to rest as well, he stopped himself seeing the uneasy face his valet was making.
「Did something happened?」
「…If you look at it, are they not making quite a ruckus? 」
「A ruckus? Well, I do not mind at all.」
「Ah no, not the students but…. The forest…」
「….I didn’t mean the sounds…」
Rion whispered to Vincent who was trying to strain his ears. Vincent realizing his mistake, began focusing his attention on probing the surroundings instead.
「…Certainly, it does seem that way.」
「They may be far but they seem to be considerably agitated.」
「Is that demonic beast that strong?」
「Rather than that, they seem to be more numerous compared to expectations.」
「Is that so. We must take precautions as well, huh?」
The sensation that Rion and Vincent were trying to feel was magic. The beings that Rion sensed through the surroundings spirits were moving vigorously. That effect was called resonance.
There were also other students who were able to sense it and they could be seen making anxious faces.
「Just to be safe, let’s proceed more carefully. No, let’s accurately follow the agreed plan.」
「Yeah. Let’s do that.」
Because the B-class chose the safest route, they didn’t really have good contingencies in their plans. Although it could be said that they were only doing marching drills, no one understood that it could turn into a battlefield and made plans accordingly.
Vincent, having a much stronger sense of responsibility than other people, started to formulate a strategy and began to give instructions. Even without Rion to think for them, the marching plan formulated by the B-class was considerably good as is.
Enough for them to have confidence no matter what would happen.
However, unfortunately, this confidence would immediately crumble. With the situation beyond all expectations, that plan would not be applicable in any way.
「Female students! Gather in the center! Male students as well! Don’t head out on your own! Anyhow, just think of defending yourselves!」
The knight wearing a light armor approached the students while shouting.
The current situation has exceeded the expectation of the students and even the escort knights that secretly followed them along.
「What’s the distance!?」
「They’ll be visible soon! Their headcount… Is roughly in hundreds!」
「Hundreds of them…?」
With hundreds of demonic beasts approaching, although the knights escorting the students have stopped hiding and began to act, their facial expressions were grim.
Although there shouldn’t be any strong demonic beasts within the incoming group, their number was still too high, while the escort only numbered two warriors.
「They’re just small fries, we will manage somehow! Just don’t let them get close to the students!」
「What about having them provide magic support?」
「…Although this situation calls for it, for now, let’s just focus on escaping.」
「You mean, just let the students escape ahead?」
「There’s no choice. We only have two people here.」
This was the same as saying that their protection was insufficient. Hearing these words, the expression of the other knight turned into despair.
「….Why did this happen!? This was why I told them that two is not enough!」
「What are you saying now? Just steel yourself.」
The northern route should’ve been the safest of all. Compared to the other routes, the number of escorts assigned to it was usually small. However, having only two stationed there was too few.
But there was a reason for this. The students who chose to travel by the middle route belonged to the class attended by the Crown Prince Arnold, Lancelot and Charlotte.
The class that had to be protected the most went with the most dangerous path. Due to that, the majority of knights assigned as escorts concentrated on the middle route. And so the safest route was merely offered a token protection.
But even so, no one saw any problems about it. Normally, the northern route didn’t even need to be guarded. However currently, for some reason, numerous demonic beasts were approaching the students.
In number which was unprecedented in light of the past.
「Vincent-sama, let’s prepare for retreat.」
The voices of the knights were clearly heard by the students. Every one of them knew that the situation was considerably dangerous.
「We will leave this place immediately. Calm down and separate into groups as planned beforehand.」
With Vincent’s instructions, the students began to move. The class separated into three large groups. They formed a battle formation in which the female students and their handmaidens were in the center.
When the three large square formations were completed, the first group began to move.
After enough of a gap opened, the next group followed suit. Lastly, the group to which Vincent and Rion belonged set off. This square had no female students nor handmaidens in their ranks. It was the rear guard, in other words, the group tasked with eliminating any demonic beasts that would follow.
Vincent yelled towards the knights.
「Hurry up! They’re coming!」
Numerous shadows began showing up from under the tree cover.
They were demonic beasts with a pitch-black exterior. Although they had a body similar to that of a wolf, their build was considerably larger, they were bigger than the knights themselves. It was not a being that could be injured by normal animals.
「Don’t tell me, there’s hundreds of “that”?」
「Vincent-sama, let’s hurry up!」
Receiving Vincent’s command, the rear guard followed after the leading group.
「Prioritize moving in formation! I will verify the situation myself!」
Rion yelled towards the students that were looking back from time to time due to check the situation with the demonic beasts. They were doing such a thing is because they feared that the demonic beasts would be catching up.
Rion who was in the last line halted his retreat and turned towards the knights.
The two of them were slaughtering the demonic beasts one after another. However, the numbers of new foes from the forest just continued to grow. It was clear even to Rion that it was impossible for the escorts to hold.
Answering Rion’s call, lights gathered around him.
They concentrated on his upwards raised hand. Before long, a large ball of light formed above his palm.
As he swung his hand down, the ball of light launched forth and then separated into numerous water lances. Those flew towards the demonic beasts assaulting the knights.
Dozens of demonic bodies pierced by the projectiles began falling to the ground. But even so, the number of adversaries didn’t seem to be diminishing. It would only buy them a little bit more time.
But that much was fine. Because Rion’s objective was not really to help the knights but to buy time for Vincent to escape.
Turning his back to the still fighting knights, Rion followed Vincent. Even though he could hear death cries behind him, he didn’t spare a moment to look back.
Again, I’m sorry for not being able to release two chapters as I said before. It was even delayed, orz. I have no excuses. Anyway it’s not much of a cliffhanger, but well the cliff hanger is Chapter 15, and it’s a HUGE one.
(Peter and Deus) Editors’ note:
Hello everyone. Since we’ve been doing this a while we figured out it’s about time to get some feedback. What do you think about the style of the translation? Anything you hate or that irritates you to no end? Anything we could do better?
Do let us know. Enori’s the one doing all the hard work, but finished shape and end result is all on us. We’d like to make it as good possible :]