Akuyaku Reijou ni Koi Wo Shite:
“A World No One Can Oppose”
For Arnold, any information helping to separate Rion from Ariel was very much welcomed. Therefore, he was very pleased with Erwin’s story.
Of course, that just meant he still had some lingering affection for Ariel, but none of the conspirators were concerned by that. After all who the Crown Prince had feelings for right now was irrelevant. Forces sharing the goal of dissolving the engagement between him and Ariel didn’t care about such details as long as the situation headed towards their desired goal.
They were probably advised that the breakdown of the engagement would sadden Ariel and damage her relationship with Arnold beyond repair.
Considering all that, Arnold began to act just as all those people secretly wished for him to do. He contacted the Royal Bureau, the office of state holding jurisdiction over royal family marriage and public life in general, and using it conveyed his desire of wanting Rion dismissed to Marquess Windhill household. The official reason was unsuitability of a person with such a dubious background to be present in the inner circle of people around the future Queen.
The Bureau staff had no ulterior motives. For them removing a person born in the slum from the side of Crown Prince’s fianceé was a natural thing.
Because the order came from the Royal Bureau, which served as the voice of the royal family, Lord Marquess Windhill was in no position to reject it. But he also had reservations about the desirability of having Rion beside his daughter. So he took advantage of that proclamation to remove Rion without earning the resentment of his daughter while pushing all fault onto the Bureau at the same time.
And, just like that, suddenly, the day arrived.
「I’m dismissed, huh?」
「Yeah, that’s how it is. Just what on earth did you do?」
The one to inform Rion about the dismissal was Will and he was visibly displeased with the situation. But it was not due to sympathy for Rion. It was because now he would once again be assigned to serve Vincent.
「Was a reason given?」
「I was not made aware of one. But it is on request of Royal Bureau, so I guess you can figure it out, can’t you?」
So he noticed that since it was the Bureau’s proclamation, the whole matter must have been backed by the Crown Prince. Will had quite an excellent mind to be able to deduce that with the limited information he had at hand. If only his loyalties weren’t affected by his ambitions.
「I do have an idea, I am, however, surprised by the forcefulness of the reaction.」
Rion was aware now that he had earned the wrath of the Crown Prince. However, it was incomprehensible to him that a jealousy over a mere valet could lead to this kind of development.
「Well, that faint-hearted… Hey, stop making me say unnecessary things!」
「Ah no, you of your own accord…」
「Anyhow, you are dismissed. You are no longer to involve yourself with persons or matters of the House. Were you to disregard this warning, then as per discussions when you first arrived here…」
「…My life will be forfeit.」
「Well, yes. As a special consideration, you have been awarded a severance payment and a larger one than customary for someone working here between four and five years. Be grateful as you take it.」
「…Does this mean?」
Will’s words clearly carried a deeper meaning.
「Presume Ariel-sama learns of this, what do you think she would do? Wouldn’t she go all out to block your dismissal? 」
Rion could affirm with confidence. And not just Ariel, even Vincent would never recognize his dismissal without a fight.
「However this time her selfishness wouldn’t be indulged. A proclamation from the Royal Bureau is like an order from the Crown, there is no refusing to that. But you know all this, don’t you?」
Will had Rion’s weak point firmly in his grasp. Rion wished for Arnold and Ariel’s marriage to proceed without obstructions as he thought that making it happen would let Ariel avoid her bad ending.
Incurring the wrath of the royal family would make the marriage as good as forfeit. Knowing that, Rion could not fight his dismissal.
Besides, he had already decided to part ways with Ariel. Although the day came before he even managed to act on his resolve.
「…I understand everything. I will depart immediately.」
「Do that. This is the money mentioned earlier. I advise against pretending you don’t need it. That kind of hubris might give people wrong ideas about your future plans and anger the Lord.」
Saying that, Will handed a bag of coins to Rion.
「…It seems that I have actually misunderstood you, Mr. Dirk.」
It was obvious that Will said all that in order to get Rion to accept the money.
「Misunderstood me? What did you have me for?」
「A self-centered person, with minuscule amounts of loyalty.」
「You were right to think that, I’m just not entirely heartless. Nothing more. 」
Will would act as long as it was in the interest of his blood relatives.
「Is that the case? Well then, I just want to say that I have been in your care.」
「No need to bother.」
「Well then, I’ll be going now.」
Will, watching the back of departing Rion, exhaled deeply. His emotions, so far, were on the edge. Though he talked about the prospect light-heartedly, in reality, he didn’t know what would he do had Rion called for Ariel. He was entirely devoid of confidence of being able to defuse the situation that would have unfolded.
Like this, he was somehow able to do his duty, but thinking that created an opening in his mind.
「Ah, that’s right! There is something I’ve been wanting to ask!」
Shouted Rion after suddenly turning around.
「What is it?」
「Is Erwin-sama really a child of the Lord!?」
「….F-Fool, don’t just carelessly yell out those kinds of jests.」
A little moment of hesitation, that slight pause before Will answered gave Rion exactly what he wanted to know. Seeing his smile Will understood the magnitude of his error.
However, Rion didn’t let him off just with that.
「I have really misread you after all.」
「What are you…」
「You are loyal. It is just not immediately obvious what to, at the very least your own gains do not come first.」
「What are you talking about, bastard?」
「But isn’t that the truth? Mr. Will. Austin?」
Will wasn’t able to keep his composure anymore and his face visibly paled. It was as good as confirming Rion’s words.
「You see, I found out just recently. You are the third son of Viscount Austin. And I always wondered why did the Viscount look after Erwin-sama just like a guardian would?」
The head of the House Austin, Viscount Lange Austin had been supporting Erwin from the very beginning and, despite being a prominent vassal, was very overt at it. Originally, Rion was able to discover that Will was actually the third son of that Viscount.
It was not very complicated, he had a rough idea by the time he noticed the surprisingly close relationship between the two of them. Afterward, basing on that hunch, he simply found proof of barely hidden blood ties.
「…..A-Ahh, I am adopted, I have nothing to do with that house anymore.」
Will was trying to bluff his way out, however…
「If that’s the case, then you are completely irrelevant to the special relationship between the Viscount and Erwin-sama, right?」
Speechless. That was the only reaction that Will could offer. He didn’t know why or how but he was certain that Rion knew something.
「Therefore, let me give you a warning. I will go quietly now. But do not do anything… Unnecessary. I would feel forced to reveal all I know in public then. We wouldn’t want that.」
There was no one other than Erwin who could have brought about this situation. Although this was Arnold’s intervention, Erwin had to be the one to provoke it without a doubt.
The real cause behind his dismissal – Rion could think of more than one of those, but none of them could be told to Ariel and Vincent. Furthermore, it would be detrimental for House Windhill were it to be widely known that they employed a valet with dubious origins and ties to the slums.
The only outsiders with knowledge about his circumstances that wouldn’t be harmed by it getting known were Erwin and his circle, and since he was the only person from that group with access to the Crown Prince, his culpability was clear.
Erwin, who didn’t take part in the game before this had now started to act. Rion was able to gain a weapon that would put a stop to this. One of many he obtained to protect Ariel.
However, Will was unable to relay Rion’s warning to Erwin.
Erwin was not aware of his true ancestry. It was due to fear that he might one day carelessly leak the truth and expose his faction’s weakness.
In result, Rion’s warning was not able to restrain Erwin’s movements. Later, learning of that he would come to regret many things, but by then nothing could be done.
The World acted to get rid of Rion in order to reach its desired future. This was not something he was capable of resisting.
From this day onward, Rion’s face would no longer be seen within the Academy grounds. And no matter how hard Vincent and Ariel searched for him, they would not unearth any clues about his whereabouts.
That being the case, it was not as if Rion forgot about the siblings completely. It was, actually, the opposite. Now, no longer constrained by his role as a valet, he planned to use any measures available for their interests.
However, there was something Rion did not know. He had no idea just how important was his existence for the siblings. And that if he stayed with them, they, just by being next to him, could become a force to bend the will of the World.
But, with this, the World have removed person causing the biggest disruption from the stage. All it had to do now was to shepherd the people remaining into the direction of its desire.
There was a dark mood looming over the Academy’s cafeteria. Something of a regular occurrence recently, the source of which was widely known.
The person who could normally make the place liven up, Ariel, fell into a state of misery. And no one was able to do anything to heal her sadness. All here knew that the only person capable of such a feat was the root cause of the problem.
「Ariel, I understand your feelings, but to continue like this day after day…」
Even so, Vincent continued to try and comfort her. Even though he himself felt the touch of depression, Ariel’s melancholy was so soul-crushing that it made him feel he could not afford to be like her.
But no matter how much he tried, she stayed silent with grim face and eyes devoid of life. To those students closest to her that appearance on the verge of tears caused their hearts to ache.
Worried about Ariel they went to town to search for Rion on their own but, all that effort resulted in no one finding any new leads. Truthfully there was no way for mere students to find him. After all, he withdrew to a place no honest person would usually want to enter, the Royal Capital’s shadow, the slums.
「Should we search the slums?」
Finally, Vincent uttered the question he was avoiding for a long time.
And sure enough, Ariel, unresponsive until now, opened her eyes wide and stared at her brother.
「It will not be easy, though. We will not be able to use servants of the House. This, we would have to do on our own.」
「Don’t say it so casually, sister. Slums are very dangerous. When I met him there for the first time, he was on the Death’s door. My life was under threat too. Who knows what could have happened to me had he not been there.」
The fear he had felt back then turned into a sort of trauma for Vincent. This was one of the things that led him to trust Rion who had saved his life.
「It will be fine. Brother is not the same person.」
Vincent was not able to say that scary things don’t get less scary no matter how much faith Ariel placed in him.
As soon as their conversation finished they were called by a timid voice of a student from the nearby table.
「What is it?」
「 You would do best to keep away from the slums.」
「So you heard us. We are aware that place is dangerous, I got lost in that area as a child and narrowly avoided a terrible fate.」
「If that’s true, why are you thinking of going back? The place is no better now.」
「…Because that’s where Rion came from.」
He was uneasy about doing so, but Vincent still told them the truth. Rion’s whereabouts were still completely unknown, so there was no longer need to hide it. If there were someone here who knew about the slums even a little, something useful might come up. Vincent decided to bet on that chance.
「Yes, him. He was the one who saved me back then when I got into huge trouble.」
Students hearing this story all knew Rion, they did not start thinking less of him now that they learned of his origins, they simply admired the impressive sounding tale of the meeting between him and Vincent. Getting to know this made them all the more frustrated about his forced separation from the siblings.
Just as this story was spreading through the whole cafeteria, the worst possible person suddenly showed up.
「Ariel, why have you not showed up at the Lounge?」
It was the Crown Prince. Arnold’s sudden appearance caused everyone to look away and fall silent. The bad impression he made at the banquet still lingered among the commoners.
「Ariel! Answer me!」
Facing Ariel, who did not even try to answer the question, Crown Prince Arnold became impatient and raised his voice. It looked like he didn’t care that the opinion of him that the people in this room had would suffer as a result.
However, some here would sympathize with the prince. This wasn’t the first time he asked her to come, he repeated the invitation ever since Rion disappeared.
And Ariel ignored him every single time.
「Why must I go there, highness?」
「Because I requested it. Isn’t it natural for you to heed me?」
「I dislike that place greatly. It brings out the bad things in people.」
「What did you say?」
「Your Highness, prince Arnold, apart from you not one of the Lounge patrons wishes me to be there. That will not change no matter how often you summon me there. Therefore, please spare me the ordeal of staying in such a place.」
Normally, even if she was to try and say the same thing, she would exercise caution and restraint in her words. But today Ariel was in no state of mind for subtleties.
「You don’t like the Lounge but think this place is good?」
「There is no comparing these places.」
「That man will never return! Why do you still feel attachment to… This!?」
It would be cruel to call this a gaffe. It’s just that the addressee of those words was the worst possible one.
「…Oh? How, I wonder, would his highness ever know that?」
Ariel splendidly snared the Crown Prince.
「It’s all so clear now. So it was all your highness’ doing. I thought it strange for the Royal Bureau to act as it did.」
Vincent who felt an uncomfortable aura gathering around Ariel raised his voice to try to stop her.
「Why… Why do this? Go so far? My time with Rion was fleeting already… Why snatch those remaining scraps away from me?」
「Ari, please! Say no more!」
Expecting words not to be enough, Vincent stood up and reached to gag her mouth with his hand. But his sister evaded him, and said all the fatal words that should have remained unspoken.
「Just because we are betrothed… You dare to claim the right to take my happiness away?」
「Wha… What… Did you say?」
Vincent decided to use this moment to try and bluff his way out of this disaster
「A Physician! Call a Physician!… Lady Ariel has departed her senses! 」
Still, he needed all those present on board to ride along with this deceit.
Naturally, Ariel’s last statement was dangerous. The students who realized that immediately stood up, some poised to truly call a doctor while others immediately headed to her side
True enough, Ariel was not in her normal condition. Just right after the female students came to support her, she fell down like a puppet with its strings cut and lost consciousness.
With this, the need for duplicity passed. The cafeteria erupted in an uproar as all the students started to worry about Ariel’s condition.
The Crown Prince Arnold was the only one left out. The surrounding was a riot due to Ariel and no one spared any attention for him. And while certain students gave him an occasional look, none of those were favorable.
All the students present were now aware that it was Arnold who brought despair to Ariel.
And Arnold was once again reminded that Ariel’s feelings were directed not at him but at Rion.
The events might have veered off course along the way, but everything arrived at the same conclusion. As the World headed towards its desired destination, everything was steadily proceeding according to its will.
First Chapter of the Year!
The ride is about to get more serious from here on and the urge to read raws would really be a struggle.
Plenty of thanks to Revan.
Happy New Year!