Klaus Harvan’s letter.
Dear Erica Aurelia,
A month has passed since we returned to Harvan’s Gineda Castle.
Even now I still remember the case at the Spring Palace as if it was yesterday.
I finally settled down, so I decided to send a letter to you.
To tell the truth, I didn’t think much about the visit to Aurelia at that time.
I think that I remembered that father and Duke Aurelia’s conversation face to face was about mine development and forest resources.
However, you may not have noticed, but it seems that they were consulting about an engagement between you and me secretly behind the scenes.
When we were gathered together, our parents’ arrangement about the political marriage had already took part.
I have never thought that I would get into a political marriage with you like this.
‘The Aurelia’s daughter would be a spoiled and an intolerable girl anyway.’
‘Why should I be a couple with someone who is a showy, ill-natured girl?’
I was thinking about such prejudiced things.
But the truth is different.
You are much stronger than I am.
No, your merit cannot be measured by a strong-weak criterion.
You have been more than me……
I wonder what.
I cannot express it well.
The only thing that I can say is that it was the first time I saw a woman like you.
Well, let’s get back to the story.
I was…At the bottom of that place, I couldn’t do anything.
Even when I was stuck with being blocked by the traps of the labyrinth.
Even when my younger sister was likely to be killed by a strange monster.
It was you that saved us all the time.
You thanked me for it, but it is not so. It is the opposite.
It is I who is thankful.
Thank you for protecting my sister, Ann.
If I couldn’t make it in time, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for the rest of my life.
I want to be a person that balances you.
I am weak now.
So, someday I want to apply for an engagement with you if I gained enough strength to suit you.
Of course, if you don’t like it, you may decide not to follow through with this engagement.
You do not need to be mine, but remember that I am yours.
When something happens to you, I will rush to you earlier than anyone else.
And even if I have to throw my life, I will protect you.
From your eternal shield, Klaus Harvan.
“Ann!!! Why are you reading other people’s letter without permission!? Give it back!!”
“This is not good, Klaus-oniisama! Absolutely not good!”
Before Klaus noticed it, Ann was drawing near and snatched away the letter he had just completed, and he became terribly flustered.
Ann completely disregarded her older brother who was becoming agitated.
Klaus was not good at dealing with his sister who was three years younger than him.
“Onii-sama. Why are you writing a sultry letter?
As soon as I take my eyes off, you immediately wrote incomprehensible things that was just an exercise in futility.”
“Who said it’s sultry!?”
“It’s definitely a declaration that you will become a yandere stalker anyway!
If she received this, Erica-oneesama will definitely become annoyed!!”
“What! What did you say!”
“Your feelings are too heavy!!”
“Before that, about the ‘yandere stalker’, I don’t understand the meaning!!”
He didn’t understand the meaning, but Klaus also knew that there were serious mistakes in his letter.
First of all, he had to listen properly to the argument of his foolish sister who was exasperated.
No matter what, because Ann was one of his few source of information about the Duke of Aurelia’s daughter.
“When I had a girl talk with Erica-oneesama……”
Klaus didn’t really understand the meaning of ‘girl talk.’
Ann was starting to use odd words due to the influence of Erica Aurelia.
At present, it was only Ann that could grasp the meaning of those words.
When such a story came out, Klaus was obliged to follow his sister.
“I heard the type of Onee-sama’s favorite gentleman.
That is, she has no favorite type, but there are the types she disliked.”
“……Then we can guess her preferences by elimination method.”
“This is important information, please continue.”
“A man who shoved his feelings without permission.
Also, a man who at first glance seemingly favourable, but in fact he has no interest in communicating.”
“Certainly, that’s a man with a bad quality.”
“Worst of all, she doesn’t even want to breathe the same air with them, you know?”
“Kuh, doesn’t even want to breathe the same air……!?”
“This is serious, you know?”
“This is serious……”
Klaus secretly recorded Ann’s information as an important item in the memo pad of his heart.
These should be the profound reasons behind Erica’s state.
If he conducted those acts unintentionally, there was a possibility that he would receive Erica’s absolute refusal.
Klaus thought so, not knowing anything.
“After that, a man who suddenly hit her from behind, and she also refused any type of stabbing……”
“That……, isn’t that a matter of course?”
Klaus was ashamed.
What kind of experience did his fiancé candidate has when she was still an 8-years-old?
Was it an assassination?
Was it because of an experience that someone she knew was likely to be assassinated?
Was that why she sometimes has such gloomy eyes?
Klaus strongly set his will to ‘I must protect them as well.’
“There are many things that I don’t understand in this world…”
“Erica-oneesama is friendly to everyone at first glance, but in fact she hates a fierce man……
No, there is even the likelihood of human dislikes.”
“Oh, Onii-sama is insensitive so you don’t understand.
Erica-oneesama has a smiling poker face, right?”
Klaus was further ashamed.
He recalled Erica’s figure when he was staying in Spring Palace.
Even without saying that he would be liked, he didn’t think about the possibility of being hated.
Because Erica smiled thinly all the time.
“It is a smile that everyone will accept gently, or rather it is a smile that doesn’t let anyone come near—.
No way, did you not think about that at all?”
“That it was a smile that absolutely doesn’t allow people to shrink their distance beyond a certain point?”
“Even when she was surrounded by a lot of people, did you notice that she sometimes turned her lonely sight towards far away?”
“……Ah, I noticed that.”
“Good! Just barely above the safe line, Klaus-oniisama!”
Rather than lonely eyes, they were dazed eyes.
It seemed like that to Klaus, but he refused to go against her.
No matter what he said to his sister when she was like this, he couldn’t win with words.
Thinking about such a thing, Ann stared at Klaus with serious eyes.
The older brother drew his body back a little. Those were really serious eyes.
“As far as I concerned as a younger sister, it is nice for Erica-oneesama to become my sister-in-law.”
“Klaus-oniisama, you can work harder, right? You haven’t gotten serious yet, have you?”
“Let’s forgive such a weak attitude for now.”
Why, do I have to be forgiven by you, Klaus trembled at the unreasonableness of this world.
“Yes, you’re still fine now. Klaus-oniisama still has the advantage of time.”
“What are you fighting against?”
“What are you talking about! Seriously, Klaus-oniisama is the one that must take the initiative and fight!”
For a moment, Klaus felt afraid of Ann’s threatening attitude.
As expected women are difficult to deal with, he thought.
“In other words, what do you mean?”
“It’s because Erica-oneesama is beautiful.”
“Nn……well, that’s right……that girl, is somewhat beautiful, I guess……”
“Haa!? Look into my eyes, and say that once again, please?”
“Aa, I thought that she is beautiful for a child……Stop it, I can see your eyes……”
Klaus lost his nerve and turned his eyes away.
Hidden behind her brother, Ann had a strange expression on her face.
“In a few years Erica-oneesama will surely become as gorgeous and bewitching as a large-flowered rose, she will become a peerless beautiful woman.
With that indecisive attitude, it will be too late by then, you know?
Do you understand, Klaus-oniisama?”
“What do you mean by ‘too late’?”
“Onii-sama. Erica-oneesama will inherit the vast territory of her deceased mother when she reached adulthood.
Aurelia’s abundant silver ore……What do you think will happen if there is a rare beauty there?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
Even if she was an incomprehensible girl, there was an elegance to make her a wife after all.
It was Klaus who switched back with such a thing, but Ann’s reaction to that was unexpected.
“It would be a property that exceeded excellent quality! It would be very popular! Full of rivals all over the continent!”
“For example, Urus of Lucanrant, the Margrave of Harlan, will almost certainly aim for her.”
“W-what……!? He’s 26 years older than Erica, right!?”
The 34-years-old Urus of Lucanrant, the Margrave of Harlan was rumored to be reeking of blood.
Moreover, they said that he slaughtered the husbands of the female population of the fief to monopolize them.
Deliberately murdered his subordinates and such things as young girls of the fief by having everybody enclosing on them.
A maid who appeared in the service, who was found pregnant by the passing of the second month, regretted her circumstances and threw away her life.
In vague places where the boundary between law and humanity was ambiguous, plundering of women in barbarous degree by nobility was a normal business.
But, even so, Harlan was killing too much people.
“The infamous first prince of Ignitia, His Highness Auguste-sama.
He is 10-years-old, the same age as Onii-sama. He might be the biggest competitor.”
“What! That Auguste! That’s unforgivable!”
Ignitia’s first prince Auguste was also a person who only had bad rumors surrounding him.
Born from the queen’s unfaithfulness, he grew up without affection.
Because the blood of the royal family didn’t flow, he wasn’t blessed by the dragons which were the guardians of Ignitia and he was unable to ride on their backs.
He was doing improper conducts self-indulgently, exactly like a foolish ruler.
The bishops unanimously predicted that the age of darkness would come if he succeeded the throne.
However, concerning Prince Auguste, Ann didn’t hear that there was a clear victim.
Ann was of the opinion that it wasn’t good to believe such uncertain rumors.
Erica, who was notorious as a future wicked lady around here, also was a real example that rumors and the real thing were completely different.
However, if she considered it as a material to provoke her older brother, it was another thing.
Let’s take advantage of uncertain rumors, Ann thought so.
There were many aristocrats who didn’t want to get married, but Klaus’ level of knowledge about evil deeds, this area was the limit.
“If His Highness Auguste-sama was her partner, she will never be happy even if she became a queen consort. Especially if she became a concubine.”
“Concubine!? That Erica!?”
“But, His Highness Auguste-sama is the one who will be the king of the union kingdom.
In the unlikely event that Klaus-oniisama tried to save Erica-oneesama after the marriage was already decided, do you know what would happen?”
Klaus furrowed his eyebrows.
If that happened, it would be a crisis of civil war.
It had to be avoided.
Because the old royal family would never endure humiliation by their own vassal.
“But why are you familiar with the circumstances of aristocrats other than Harvan?”
“Because it’s not an unrelated matter.”
“If the political circumstances of Harvan became worse, I could also get married to the aforementioned Margrave or the First Prince.”
“I will not allow that to happen.”
“Onii-sama should never do that.”
“Whatever happens, I will never allow that, especially you, do you have an ideal man—”
“Mou! Enough about me!”
Incidentally, even though she was tough to her older brother Klaus, her ideal type was her older brother.
She didn’t want to marry a man who was as strong or stronger than her older brother.
So, in fact, it was Ann who had the most antipathy to this engagement talk.
However, at first she was also on the fence about the girl called Erica Aurelia.
It was when she was first guided along the rose garden of the Spring Palace.
At that time, Ann already determined the character of Erica and thought that maybe she could leave her older brother Klaus at the hand of this woman.
It shouldn’t be necessary to explain that during their case in the deepest part of the Ruins of Visitor, that conjecture turned into certainty.
“As long as the relationship between Harvan and Aurelia is strengthened, my marriage will also be fine.”
“Yes. Certainly, as far as you are concerned, this is not somebody else’s problem.”
“That’s why, communicate properly with Erica-oneesama! In moderation! Please convey your favor to her!”
Klaus turned his eyes away from Ann’s sharp gaze.
Originally oblivious to his own feelings, now Klaus’ civilities were at rock bottom.
He didn’t know how to process and arranged his true thoughts into what moderate sentences would be like.
“……You’re making an embarrassed and unwilling look on your face.”
“……You look like you find it difficult and troublesome.”
“No. There is no such thing. Don’t worry.”
“Then, a little bit more mild and light, yet it is rewritten to ensure that Onii-sama’s love is transmitted!”
“That’s not it?”
“N-no, absolutely, absolutely, that’s not it!!!”
“Aah mou! You’re so stubborn……!”
Ann’s scolding and Klaus’ scream echoed in the beautiful Harvan’s Gineda Castle.
It was around a month and a half since the case in the ruins.
A letter arrived at the place of the western duke’s daughter Erica Aurelia.
Written on a fine vellum paper, it was a letter from the eastern young noble Klaus Harvan.
『A letter from that black haired, good-looking dwarf?』
The source of that voice was the Zaratan – now the black dragon Tirnanog – who had completely adapted himself to Erica.
In the end, even if Tirnanog was to break free from the constraint of his armor, there was no particular problem.
Right now, we were just in the middle of bathing leisurely in the hot water set in the tub.
“Yes, that’s right. Gift from Ann-sama has also arrived.”
『Hou, is it an offering? As expected of the girl who had given me sufferings in a fight. That girl showed promise.』
“Offering……? I wonder if it is an offering, hmm. Well, perhaps.”
『Am I allowed to open them?』
“Yes, go ahead.”
When he received permission from Erica, Tirnanog finished up his bath.
And then, he started unpacking with a cheerful air.
『Ooh! Pig’s thigh!』
“Wah~~……, a very top quality dry-cured ham. How nice~~……”
The ankle of the ham was wrapped with a label with an emblem of Duke Harvan.
It was a gem that was aged carefully.
Or rather, I thought it was very large and heavy.
The specialties of the East were the abundant of acorns from the forest, the fattened pigs, and calves that were brought up with tender white clovers.
Such information was coming up to Erica’s mind.
『Can I eat it?』
“Yes. Ah, save a portion for me.”
『Umu. I will. I never starve my friend.』
As a girl, was it okay for me to feel pleased with meat?
At first she hesitated, but Erica decided to banish her doubt immediately.
Anyway, people who produced meat were not bad people.
In the meantime, Tirnanog was sinking his teeth into the ham heartily.
“Well, let’s take a look at the letter.”
Erica opened the seal of the letter.
At first, Erica was looking at the paper with a loose smile, but gradually her expression clouded.
After reading, she stared into the air with a mysterious expression.
Tirnanog noticed it and raised his face from the ham.
『What’s the matter?』
After holding her silence for a while with an expression that seemed to be suffering from a headache, Erica showed her letter to Tirnanog.
『’You are strong. I will become a man who will not lose to you.‘ Wait a minute, this is……』
“……What do you think?”
『A letter of challenge.』
“Oh, so it’s not just my imagination……”
『He is strong, but you can definitely win. I knew it.』
“No, it’s not that…”
Erica understood that she might have been regarded as a rival by the genius mage from the East.
She didn’t understand at all what went wrong.
This, perhaps, might be a new death flag.
She thought that she had made friends.
Or that she might have a decent friend of the opposite sex, for the first time in her life, including her previous life.
Erica Aurelia chewed her bottom lip slightly.
Her level of human distrust seemed to have risen again by one.
End of Arc 1
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