Akuyaku Reijou ni Koi wo Shite Chapter 14:
“‘Event: Excursion (Second Half)”
Although Rion only followed well after Vincent’s group departed, he was able to catch up to them faster than expected. Even though the situation called for escaping as soon as possible, the group of students halted.
「Is there something wrong?」
The reason the students came to a halt was at the end of Vincent’s gaze. One of the girls was sitting on the ground, caressing her foot with a painful facial expression.
「…Is she injured?」
「She seems to have sprained her leg.」
「Well then, please heal her immediately.」
「The healing magic doesn’t work.」
Although fractures could be healed, concussions and sprains weren’t affected by healing magic. Similarly, things like cold and food poisoning could not be healed either.
Although the reason for this wasn’t known, it was still an accepted fact.
「…We must hurry. It is likely, that the demonic beasts have started following us by now.」
Rion only shook his head as an answer to Vincent’s inquiry. Knowing the meaning of that gesture, Vincent’s face turned grim.
「Sir, please make a decision.」
「To save many lives, you must have the resolve to sacrifice a few.」
「…You mean leave the injured behind?」
The thing that Vincent hesitated to say… Was brought into his mouth.
「N-Noo! Please do not leave me behind!」
Hearing Vincent’s words the face of the female student changed colors as she began to panic. Being left behind in a situation like this, meant death. Even she knew that…
「I beg of you! Please don’t leave me behind!」
「Please! I will do anything! Please help me!!」
The surrounding students and their servants kept silent while the girl pleaded desperately. There were even a few who turned their faces away. The final decision was now forced onto Vincent.
Being left with such a huge call, he began to break down under the pressure.
「There is also another option.」
In that moment Rion offered another option.
「Please give me the order.」
「The order? What order?」
「To suppress the pursuing demonic beasts.」
The sacrifice was changed from the injured female student to Rion. Vincent could not come to a decision easily.
「Please understand your own position. Vincent-sama is currently the commanding officer of the group.」
「Even if we leave the injured here, it is still likely that the demonic beasts will still catch up. To shake off the pursuit a rear guard is clearly needed.」
「That is the duty of this platoon.」
「The meaning of being a rear guard is to confine the pursuing demonic beasts by fighting them. This is not the place for Vincent-sama to risk his life in.」
「Have you forgotten your duty as the member of a marquess house!?」
It might be called unfair but for Rion to convince Vincent, this argument had to be used. These words could not be refuted by Vincent who was clearly aware of his responsibility as the heir.
The silence was the best answer that Vincent came up with.
「The time for Vincent-sama to risk his life is not today but will come in the future. As long as you understand that, please make a decision as the heir of the marquess house.」
「I am only advising to order me to suppress the demonic beast. This is not synonymous with ordering me to die.」
「…Is that so? You’re right.」
Even Vincent knew that Rion only said that in order to placate his feelings. And because he knew, he chose to reply as follows.
「Well then, your orders sir?」
「Suppress them… Suppress the demonic beasts.」
「And make sure to come back alive.」
「Understood. I’ll make it so.」
「I can only lend you this. It should offer you a bit of help.」
Vincent gave him the sword hanging from his waist. Rion accepted it respectfully and immediately turned his back on Vincent.
「Please hurry. They’ll arrive here soon.」
This was not the time to indulge in sentimentality.
「…Yeah. Well then, I’ll be waiting.」
Vincent’s orders flew immediately afterwards. He instructed others to carry the injured female while dividing the group into two and marching forward. One of the groups was tasked to be the rear guard after Rion.
Although it was irrelevant with Rion remaining in this place, he was still happy with the caution that Vincent exhibited.
After confirming that the students were gone, Rion took off his eye-patch. As if replacing the departed children the presence of the pursuing demonic beasts began to be felt. Rion assumed a combat stance.
He, who have always longed for a desperate battle, had a wide smile on his face.
This was Rion’s true self.
If the blue eye, looking calm as water’s surface, held Ryou’s reason behind it, then the crimson one burned with Flay’s flame of hatred. The existence of Rion was a mix of those two dispositions.
Currently, as he was facing battle, Rion’s self was more inclined towards belligerent Flay. Being able to use the strength, he managed to acquire, this freely lit a fire in his heart.
As if answering Rion’s call, bright light gathered around him. As it began to move restlessly in his surroundings Rion could only offer it a bitter smile.
「Don’t be so mad. Red eye would stand out too much and I must not appear conspicuous.」
Hearing that the light became even more agitated. Like it was not satisfied with the excuse.
「Rejoice. This time, there’s no need to hold back. We rarely get this kind of opportunity.」
With this, the lights seemed to calm down. It was clearly able to understand Rion’s words.
「Look, they’ve arrived. There’s no time for sulking.」
Demonic shapes began to appear in Rion’s field of vision in steadily increasing numbers. Although they arrived in significant number, instead of charging recklessly they halted their advance at a considerable distance away, as if remembering his magical assault earlier.
「Sarah, you will be the one attacking. Burn the enemies to a cinder. I’ll leave the defense to you Diane.」
The light in Rion’s surroundings begun to take the form of a dragon blazing brightly and in contrast, a lump of transparent, nearly visible, water appeared to stand beside him.
The appearance of the two formed according to Ryou’s memories of a fire spirit and water spirit.
「…Well then, let’s go.」
Drawing the sword that Vincent lent him, Rion advanced.
As if taking that for a signal, the demonic beast had charged immediately.
He swung the sword in an arc in front of him aiming at the demonic beast that leapt at his body. The sword split them in half.
「…There’s no resistance… This is not a normal sword.」
The sword was cutting the demonic beasts like paper and Rion was surprised by its sharpness.
But it was the sword that the doting marquess gave to his heir, Vincent. There was no way it would be an average blade.
「With this, I can go at them seriously.」
While Rion had been cutting the demonic beast with his sword another one flared up to be devoured by fire. Just like that, two had died.
Although the damage was still insignificant compared to the overall number of assailants, Rion felt considerably less resistance.
Vincent who advanced after leaving Rion behind encountered yet another trouble. Compared to the situation they were in when they were escaping, this problem was absurd.
「I can’t believe it! How can you do such a despicable thing!?」
The person yelling at him was Maria.
(PN*: PR got triggered again by Maria
TN*: I even unconsciously typed “Shut the hell up” instead of “Stop it/Cut it out” on the latter parts because of her.)
What awaited Vincent, who hurried forward, was not one of the preceding group from class B, but the students of A-class.
The leading pack of his class’ three separate detachments was able to arrive at the designated point without even encountering a demonic beast.
Arriving at the designated point, they related the situation to the teachers and asked for reinforcements, but the one who answered their plea were not the teachers nor the knights, but some of the students from the A-class.
Of course, one of those students was Maria. Arnold, Lancelot, and Charlotte who were pulled along her whims came as well. And when those three made a move, others would be obliged to follow.
As a result, with the VIPs moving to rescue the B-class, teachers and knights had no choice but to get involved as well.
Almost all of the people who were at the designated point were now backtracking along the northern path.
Although they expected to meet wounded on they way, before this worry managed to grow further, they met Vincent’s group.
Maria who saw Vincent immediately came to rebuke him. This fact was incomprehensible to Vincent. Although he was able to guess why he was being scolded, the fact it was done by a commoner female student defied all his reason.
「To think that you can conveniently sacrifice others to save yourself! And you still call yourself an aristocrat!?」
He couldn’t understand the meaning behind her words. After all, it was because that he was an aristocrat that he chose to overrule his personal feelings and withdraw.
「Someone like you has no right to stand above people!」
This as well. It was because he stood above others, that he chose to ignore his personal feelings and made a decision that was for the benefit of the group. It’s because he was considering his position that he chose to escape with everyone.
If Vincent wasn’t a person of an aristocratic background and shared Rion’s life circumstances, he would stay behind and fight with him.
With Vincent not able to comprehend her words, he was stunned into silence and just stood there receiving her admonishment.
Staying silent was his form of protest but Maria showed no signs of stopping.
However, Vincent wouldn’t let a situation like this continue indefinitely.
「Would you stop already?」
「What did you say!?」
「How long do you even plan to carry on with this!? I don’t have the luxury to humour you forever!」
「What hubris!? You do not make any sense!」
「That attitude of yours is so stuck up! Why don’t you admit your mistakes for once!?」
Although Maria kept rebuking the no longer silent Vincent, she was looking happy.
「Like I told you, I do not have the time for that!」
「Then, when will you!?」
「Cut it out already! Even at this moment, Rion is fighting there all alone!」
「I have to ask for reinforcements right away! I have no time to talk to someone like you!」
「It’s too late. He has died already.」
「That is something you selfishly assumed! I believe in him! Anyway, I can’t stay here and accompany you! I have to hurry up and ask for help! 」
Shoving Maria aside, Vincent yelled in the direction of the teachers in the back.
「Well that’s that. Let’s hurry.」
「Yeah, please hurry up.」
「Then, how many demonic beasts were there?」
One of the escort knights inquired Vincent.
「The figure that I saw had exceeded hundreds. But there might be more.」
「Wha!!? What kind of demonic beasts!?」
The knights were clearly shaken by that reply. It seems they did not expect the situation to be this bad.
「They look like pitch black wolves, but their bodies are considerably larger than an adult human.」
「….A Mother Wolf? No way. Mother Wolves were not supposed to appear in this forest.」
「I don’t care about the demonic beasts! Just hurry with the reinforcements!」
However, the teachers and the escort knights didn’t comply with that demand. On the contrary, they pulled away, formed a group and started conversing among themselves.
「What are you doing!? I’m telling you to hurry up with the relief!」
「W-Wait a minute.」
「Like I’d wait!」
「If they were really mother wolves, relief is meaningless.」
「What did you say!?」
「That’s a demonic beast which shouldn’t have appeared in this place, in addition, there’s over a hundred of them. Rather than thinking of rescue, we must figure out why have they appeared here.」
「What will happen to Rion then!?」
「He has already died.」
「It is not something a mere valet could stand against. If they were able to follow up, the escort knights holding them back might have perished as well. These demonic beasts are that strong.」
「Do you understand?」
「…Rion promised that he wouldn’t die.」
「That’s…. That kind of promise is meaningless.」
「It was a promise with me! There’s no way Rion would break it!」
「Anyhow! There’s no telling when will these demonic beasts appear again. While we are preparing to intercept them, please return to your assigned place.」
The teacher who said that did not look at Vincent anymore. Although Crown Prince Arnold showed some hesitation as he met the teacher’s gaze, in the end, he nodded in agreement.
Then it was decided that they would move in together.
According to the instructions of the knights, the students would form a group and move out. The only people to remain behind would be the knights assigned as a rear guard and Vincent.
「If you do not retreat as well, you might lose your life.」
「…But Rion is…」
「It would be better to give up. If hundreds of Mother Wolves really were to assault, even we would lose our lives. It is that strong an opponent.」
「What if magic is used?」
「The chance of beating them would increase, but what if the spells fail? If students under our care lost their lives due to that, our lives would be forfeit as well in result.」
Even if they were knights, their position was still that of a retainer of the royal family. If the Crown Prince Arnold and the three other children of marquess families were to be put in harm’s way, the repercussions would be heavy indeed. It’s not unlikely for it to result in a capital punishment.
And… Hearing those words, even Vincent would choose not to remain here any longer. Leaving that place, he turned his back towards the knights and departed.
「…Were you waiting, sir?」
A voice rose behind his back. Even if he didn’t see the speaker, Vincent knew to whom that voice belonged to.
「If that were to be the case, that wouldn’t be very admirable. In order to avoid danger, you should be escaping as fast as possible.」
Rion’s condition was still unchanged, putting Vincent’s worries in question. That sight calmed Vincent down and made him regain his composure.
「I was just about to do that now. You only stopped me with your call.」
「I see, I apologize sir.」
「What happened to the demonic beasts?」
「I was able to deal with them somehow. Because of the two knights that were escorting us, I did not really have to do anything.」
「…Is that so? Then I must offer my thanks to those two.」
There’s no way that the two knights survived. It was because he knew that they were defeated that Rion decided to stay.
Even knowing that Vincent still went along with Rion’s tale.
There were other people here than just them two. Vincent played along because he deduced that the truth was not something Rion wanted the knights to hear.
「Well then, what should we do now?」
「Let’s reunite with the other students. I don’t know what to do after that as well.」
「That’s right, isn’t it. Well then, shall we proceed?」
With this Vincent and Rion attempted to leave the place as well but..
「You! Please wait a bit!」
Rion was called by a knight. That was to be expected, though.
「Do you require something?」
「The demonic beasts… What happened to them?」
「Would it be fine to say they escaped? Roughly all of them left in the direction of the forest.」
「Roughly? Can you elaborate?」
「Don’t the demonic beasts partake in cannibalism? There were several demonic beasts in there that took the remains of their fellows.」
「…There were still some remaining, huh?」
If that’s the situation, then conducting investigations on the scene would be difficult.
「Their numbers weren’t really high and they did not show any sign of attacking again. That is also the reason why I was able to escape safely.」
「Is that so…」
However, the danger that their presence possessed still remained in place for the knights. But this was within Rion’s expectations. After this, he let himself be carried by the flow of conversation.
「Is it already fine for me to go? I was able to return safely, but I had just made it through a life-or-death experience.」
「That’s right. I understand how you feel. Proceed to the assembly point.」
Judging that the immediate peril disappeared based on Rion’s report, the knights themselves had decided to leave the place too.
After all, even if they were knights, they didn’t want to die.
After that, because impending nightfall raised a risk of having to travel in the dark, their preparations to leave the forest were postponed till the morning.
With their vigilance heightened, the remaining journey was undertaken with extreme caution. It might be fine to say that because of that they were able to leave the area without any further incidents.
Thus this event reached its conclusion.
Numerous weeks later.
In the headquarters of the knightly order, the Knight Captain was greatly perplexed by the report of his subordinates regarding the incident of demonic beasts appearing during the Excursion. The investigations of that event were now completed and the results were…
「In other words, the students following the central route needlessly fired consecutive spells provoking the surrounding demonic beasts by accident and they attacked the students in the northern route which was closest to them?」
「Yes, sir. That’s correct.」
「How did you arrive at this conclusion?」
「Well, it was the result of the investigations.」
「Sigh, what kind of investigations? There’s no telling what can provoke demonic beasts, don’t you agree?」
Knight Captain didn’t want to acknowledge a report like this.
「The truth is, sir, there was an underground cave near the central route.」
「Underground cave, you say?」
「Yes. Although, as expected, we couldn’t inspect the whole forest but the cave system is of considerable scope and runs the length of the forest.」
「So what about that cave?」
「It seems Mother Wolves were inhabiting that place. There were other things as well but either way, they were only bunch of demonic beasts that were not supposed to be in the forest.」
「…In other words?」
「Magic destroyed one part of the cavern and rest of the system was under continuous assault. Because of that, the demonic beasts fled that place and their exit path happened to be very close to the northern path.」
「Those accidents conveniently, no, inconveniently came one after another, huh?」
「We were able to confirm the exit paths from the part of the cavern that crumbled within the middle route’s vicinity. Investigating that place further, we were able to confirm the presence of corpses belonging to demonic beasts that you would not normally see in the forest. Of course, Mother Wolves’ as well.」
「…That’s circumstantial evidence.」
Although the result was strongly supported by that circumstantial evidence, the Knight Captain was still not able to accept the report.
「However, that evidence is pretty strong.」
「Well then, do you know who are the students that caused the collapse? Do you want to push the responsibility for this incident onto them?」
He had to be clearer since his subordinate could not understand immediately. The root cause of this incident were the actions of the Crown Prince and marquess houses heirs. The Knight Captain didn’t want to be the person to report such a thing.
「Mother Wolves were found inhabiting the depths of the forest. For some unknown reason, those beasts started assaulting the students on the northern path. That is all we found out, understood?」
「Well then, this investigation is concluded.」
「There’s also one other thing.」
Even though the Knight Captain was about to close the meeting, his subordinate had another thing to say.
「What is it?」
The Knight Captain, who wanted to put an end to this conversation already, was visibly fed up by now.
「When we were investigating the northern route, we were able to confirm that numerous demonic beasts were killed.」
「Is that so… So those two had that much skill in them, huh?」
「Half of those monsters were killed by magic.」
「Were those two capable of using magic?」
「…If they were, they wouldn’t have remained just knights in the first place.」
「That’s right, isn’t it.」
There were knights able to use magic in their ranks. Not just aristocrats, there were also those blessed with special talents. Those, regardless of their social status, had a considerably high position within the order.
Being able to fight with magic would be able to demonstrate that much of strength.
「If those two weren’t responsible, then who?」
「There is one possibility but it involves circumstantial evidence as well.」
「…Don’t tell me it’s about that infamous failure of an aristocrat?」
「Is it fine to say such a thing?」
「You heard nothing. However, is it really him?」
「No, it is not. The likely one is the valet that serves his House. It seems he was the only person connected to the aristocrats that remained behind to fight.」
「…Is that valet of noble origin?」
「No, he is a commoner.」
「Even though he can use magic, he remains a commoner?」
「Yes. However we suspect it is because he has yet to undergo the coming of age, I was thinking he’s not far off.」
「…Impossible. Just because he is able to use a little bit of magic, there’s no way a commoner’s child can defeat a mother wolf. There must be some kind of mistake.」
After hearing that the valet was still a child, the Captain rejected the report.
There were also those who could use magic among the commoners. However even if they were gifted with talent, without proper training, they wouldn’t be anywhere near decent. Not good enough to be used in battle.
Or so ran the conventional wisdom. The Knight Captain was not someone that would reject common sense.
「Is it fine to leave it like that?」
「I don’t mind. There’s no way I can report a wild speculation like that.」
「Is that so…」
With this, the truth was buried in the dark. To Rion, it was something both fortunate and unlucky.
After the Excursion incident, another rumor about Vincent spread around. It said that he was the worst kind of person that would leave his valet behind in order to save his own life.
This rumor made Rion question the nature of this world, he started to doubt it as a whole.
I apologize to those who kept refreshing yesterday. In the end it was still released on the next morning lol. I think the whole plot has just started at this point so please look forward to the next chapters.
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