Despite the incident of Nero’s outburst, drunkenness has spread throughout the banquet hall and everyone is enjoying the party.
I’m glad that this celebratory event wasn’t destroyed.
Such a thought runs through my head as I stand on the balcony, cooling myself off with the evening wind. The Month of Blue Moon (Sougetsu) would be equivalent to October in Japan, but the air doesn’t contain the piercing cold of an autumn breeze just yet.
The banquet is only on the first floor of the castle, so it’s not like I get a great view of Spada at night by coming out onto the balcony. If it were daytime, I’d at least be able to see the beautifully-arranged garden, but it’s already quite late at night and darkness has settled in.
As I turn from the dull, black scenery towards the bright banquet hall, I hear happy laughter and a pleasant melody. I see the excited students enjoying themselves.
The one playing the music is Will, of all people. It’s a guitar. Well, it might not technically be a guitar, but that’s what the automatic translation is telling me. With this instrument that both looks and sounds like a guitar, Will puts on a masterful performance despite his drunken state.
「FAAHAHAHA! Music is an art of noblemen and royalty. I had no talent for combat, but my talent with a musical instrument is as you can see, what do you think? It is quite impressive, is it not? Sharl was so unskilled in music that she would cry and smash the guitar!」(Wilhart)
As Will tells a revealing story about his little sister’s rock-concert like performance, I feel considerable surprise at discovering Will’s unexpected talent.
But music is an「art of noblemen and royalty」as Will says, and there are apparently quite a lot of people who learn how to play it. Spada has an image of being a military-focused nation, but it seems that its people are somewhat proficient in the arts as well.
And as Will strums the guitar in a good mood, Lily dances in a cute way to the rhythm of the music.
Upon hearing the word “Fairy”, one might think of a singing, dancing idol, and it seems that Lily is able to dance magnificently by instinct just like an idol. Well, in her little girl form, her dance only induces the pleasure of seeing a kindergarten-age child playing – or so one would expect, but she is giving a dynamic performance with her unexpectedly quick movements and three consecutive triple-axel jumps. Well, she’s cute, so everything is okay no matter what she does.
Incidentally, Fiona is dancing together with Lily. She is dancing in a curious way with her usual sleepy expression. The way she dances is profoundly mysterious and hard to describe in words; it almost makes me want to ask if it’s some kind of witch’s ritual.
Lily is cute, but if I was asked what I thought of Fiona’s dancing, hmm, how should I put it… It’s her own unique dance. Yes, let’s go with that.
In any case, now that I, a source of fear, have put some distance between myself and the banquet, an incredible number of people have crowded around the two of them. Lily was already popular around the academy, and Fiona, well, it would be good if she took this opportunity to make some new friends.
If Fiona were to have some kind of wonderful encounter that could restore the color to her gray academy life, that would be great. Well, I’ve only made two friends since coming to Spada, so I can’t really say much myself.
「Have you been able to enjoy the party?」(Mysterious person)
As I space out, someone unexpectedly speaks to me.
I thought nobody would come near the balcony because I’m here, but, well, considering the tone of speech, it’s clearly not a student.
Then just who would – my question is immediately answered as I turn around.
「Your Majesty, King Leonhart…」(Kurono)
The one standing there is a giant who somehow seems like a red lion. It is undoubtedly the king who awarded me the decoration this afternoon. He is wearing the black military uniform of Spada’s army rather than his flashy red cape, but there’s no mistaking the identity of someone with such a conspicuous appearance.
W-what is he doing in a place like this? Actually, is it alright for him to be here without an escort or something? These questions swirl around inside my head.
「Be at ease; I do not care for formality.」(Leonhart)
I almost stood to attention without thinking, but hearing these words, I relax a little. Though it doesn’t change the fact that I’m nervous.
「Thank you very much. The party was very lively and enjoyable.」(Kurono)
With that, time passes on in silence. The pleasant music and singing coming from the banquet hall seem incredibly distant. My nervousness increases.
Unlike Will, I suppose King Leonhart is the reserved type. This silence is a little, no, considerably painful. Should I be the one to bring up a conversation topic…?
「I wanted to thank you personally.」(Leonhart)
As if sensing my distress, the red king opens his mouth.
「Oh no, being honored with the decorations was more than enough gratitude for me to receive.」(Kurono)
「That was my thanks as the king of Spada. Right now, I wish to thank you as a father. Thank you for saving my son.」(Leonhart)
With the astonishing sight of the king of a nation lowering his head before me, I’m only capable of this extremely plain response. Even though I’m a Japanese person ignorant of the class system here, I do understand that the king lowering his head to me is kind of amazing.
My feelings of worry that someone might see this scene and make a big fuss about it come before my happiness at receiving his gratitude.
But fortunately, I don’t hear any sudden screams during the time that it takes for King Leonhart to raise his head again. I’m happy that I haven’t created any more strange rumors about myself.
「You and your party will be paid a suitable reward by myself and the Adventurers’ Guild, but again, this is but an interaction made for the public. As my own personal thanks, I want to grant you one wish. Do you have such a wish to be granted?」(Leonhart)
I’m even further taken aback by this sudden offer. But though he says that he’ll grant me one wish, it’s only sensible to assume that it has to be within the realm of possibility. Even so, having the king of a nation do me a favor is a great chance that most people normally don’t have.
I almost reflexively give a response like,「Your feelings alone are enough.」Well, he really doesn’t need to go so far, but… I won’t simply be continuing this lifestyle as an adventurer.
I wonder if I should make a wish.
Should I have him knight me? Ask for a powerful cursed weapon? Or an Artifact? If I ask for it, he might even give me land and a mansion. Even simply asking for an increased monetary reward would be reasonable as an adventurer.
No, these are all wrong. I have something that I need much more than these.
Alright, I’ve decided. My wish is –
The room is one of the castle’s private rooms for royal use, though its interior is quite ordinary compared to the banquet hall.
Right now, there is a parent and child of Spada’s royal family in here.
「So what did Kurono wish for?」(Wilhart)
One of them is Wilhart, Spada’s Second Prince. The banquet has already come to an end and he has presumably consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, but his clear manner of speech shows no sign of drunkenness.
The golden eye behind a newly-worn monocle has an incredibly intellectual-looking shine to it.
「He said he wants information on the Crusaders.」(Leonhart)
The one answering him is Wilhart’s father, Leonhart, king of Spada.
As he sits down on the black Bluehorn-hide sofa, a heavy presence drifts from his figure. His physique looks even more magnificent than usual because of the contrast with the person sitting opposite him, the slender-bodied Wilhart.
「Hmm, that Kurono, being so reserved. If he had asked me, I could have offered him any number of things…」(Wilhart)
「Will, you are still a student. Try not to pry into the nation’s secrets too much.」(Leonhart)
「Oops, that was a slip of the tongue.」(Wilhart)
Leonhart slightly regrets assigning him an escort maid who was originally an Assassin of the intelligence department.
However, though Leonhart would never tell Wilhart this directly, there are several matters that require information analysis that he wishes he could just leave to Wilhart. He, his wife and Aisenhart, who is set to become the next king, are all inept at this kind of mental work. To be more precise, they are constantly at their wits’ end.
If he were to be completely honest, he would admit that he seriously wishes that Wilhart would graduate quickly and become his secretary.
「Still, I did write you a letter earlier. What do you think about the threat posed by the Crusaders, Father?」(Wilhart)
「Do not worry, I am not taking them lightly. Most importantly, I saw the white being who possessed the power to defeat Garvinal when I visited the Galahad region.」(Leonhart)
「Hmm, that is possibly one of those known as the『Apostles』, the Crusaders’ most powerful warriors.」(Wilhart)
As Leonhart repeats the word, he feels a little frustrated that his son seems more knowledgeable about the Crusaders than him. He warned Wilhart not to pry into the nation’s secrets too much only a few moments earlier, but this is how things are.
「It is said that they are the twelve warriors chosen to receive a divine protection much more fearsome than those of Ark’s gods, the divine protection of a god that is known only as the White God. They apparently possess power that far surpasses that of Kurono, who repelled the Wrath-Pun and defeated the Greed-Gore.」(Wilhart)
「Father, please stop releasing your desire for battle in a place like this.」(Wilhart)
As a swordsman, Leonhart cannot help but to feel raging emotions upon hearing of a powerful adversary. As such, he is unfortunately warned by his son to mind the time and place for such things.
「Surely you have not challenged Kurono to a duel or anything of the sort, have you?」(Wilhart)
「Will, you would doubt your father?」(Leonhart)
「Though Mother and Brother may be unaware that you discreetly challenge those you award decorations to for their achievements in battle, I, Wilhart, know of this. Did you not indirectly say that you might challenge Kurono to a contest of strength when there is an opportunity?」(Wilhart)
How sad it is for the king of Spada to be doubted this much by his own son… But as what Wilhart is pointing out is true, Leonhart has nothing to say in response.
Will speaks in an exasperated tone as he says that he will tell Kurono,「Pay no heed to the king’s words」and warns Leonhart that he should restrain himself from now on. And then the conversation returns to the original topic.
「– But it is reassuring to hear about measures to deal with the Crusaders directly from you, Father. It seems that dispatching the『Rampage』General Gezenbool and gathering airborne troops at Galahad Fortress was not just for show.」(Wilhart)
「… Why are you so well-informed about all of this?」(Leonhart)
「I merely happened to overhear some things.」(Wilhart)
Seeing his son grinning broadly, Leonhart feels defeated as he runs his fingers through his wavy red hair.
「Even if that is not the case, if we consider that no Pegasuses, Dragons or Griffons came flying to Iskia Fortress, we can conclude that they were made to stay gathered at Galahad.」(Wilhart)
「That was unfortunate. If even one of those forces were mobilized, there could have been immediate reinforcements.」(Leonhart)
Which would have been faster, delivering news of an urgent mission to the airborne knights in Galahad or waiting for the forces that departed immediately for the frontlines from Spada?
Taking into account various things such as the relaying of information, the distance and preparations, the correct answer is without a doubt that the forces led directly by Leonhart from Spada would have been faster.
However, either way, the fortress would have fallen if it hadn’t been for Kurono’s actions. It does not change the fact that the reinforcements would have been too late.
「It is a thing of the past. Your judgment was not incorrect, Father. Even us academy students are not mere children. Everyone fought well, and as a result, we held through the monsters’ attack.」(Wilhart)
「Indeed, you did very well.」(Leonhart)
Indeed, they did well, to the point that Leonhart uncharacteristically thinks to himself that Spada has a bright future. He himself would have been unable to endure such a battle to hold a fortress during the time he was a student.
He was an idiot back then, but more importantly, the cadets were useless. They were the typical incompetent, blockheaded noble children.
The country of Spada has changed, and the academy has been changed by its current chairwoman, Sofia Sirius Parcifal. Thinking about how she has raised such reliable young people, Leonhart once again realizes that it was the correct decision to leave things in her hands.
「However, that does not mean that everything proceeded favorably. I knew that we would be able to hold the fortress until the day of rescue with the power of『Wing Road』, but at the last second, a reckless decision… As embarrassing as it is, truthfully speaking, I cannot help but to think of it as reckless.」(Wilhart)
The way Wilhart understands Wing Road’s actions and still does not criticize them publicly is behavior that wouldn’t be expected of a student. At this young age, Leonhart’s son has already acquired a mind of steel that can endure humiliation.
Leonhart has not spoiled Wilhart, but nor does he remember raising him so harshly. Children are mysterious things.
「As a father, I must be thankful for the actions of Prince Nero. But as a king, I cannot praise them.」(Leonhart)
Leonhart has already heard about the events that transpired at Iskia Fortress.
At the last possible moment, with the monsters on the fortress’s doorstep,『Wing Road』left. Under other circumstances, this could even be interpreted as an act of desertion, but…
「If I were a student, I would have done the same thing as Prince Nero. I cannot criticize him too harshly.」(Leonhart)
No, there is no doubt that Leonhart would have been the one to sneak out of the castle to aim for enemy’s general on his own. As a student, he felt no desire to protect other students; in fact, he thought that all of the cadets simply deserved to die. The circumstances were a little different back then, but that does not change the fact that he would have acted in a problematic way.
「Acting arbitrarily against orders… If they were knights, they would have been executed for that, but we are still students not bound by the steel of discipline. Thus, punishing them publicly would be impossible. Most importantly, Nero is a prince of Avalon; if Spada were to find fault with him, it would become a diplomatic issue.」(Wilhart)
Will’s words are very much based on reality.
「If collective criticism for『Wing Road』came from the students, there would be problems caused by not punishing them as well, but… By lowering my head, I was able to divert the brunt of the students’ dissatisfaction away from Wing Road. A small price to pay.」(Wilhart)
Leonhart is listening to the story of how Will showed an incredibly unsightly display, crying on his knees as Wing Road departed the fortress.
He played the fool to prevent the students’ morale from vanishing and Wing Road from becoming villains. In fact, the students’ morale was successfully preserved and they managed to hold the fortress until Kurono and Nell arrived as reinforcements.
However, at that moment when Will rubbed his forehead against the surface of the ground, was he kneeling with the knowledge that this would solve all of the potential problems in the future? If so, it is becoming difficult not to doubt whether he is truly Leonhart’s son. No, he should be praised without reserve for this rather than doubted.
Indeed, if nobody else would praise Wilhart for this, Leonhart, as his father, should praise him personally.
「Will, your actions were correct, as a prince and as a general. The ability you admirably displayed to overcome that difficult situation, you should be proud of it.」(Leonhart)
「Thank you very much, Father. Those words alone are more than enough praise for this son of yours.」(Wilhart)
Wilhart’s behavior is as formal as that of a retainer, but this is Leonhart’s son’s own way of hiding his embarrassment.
「In any case, the battle of Iskia has safely come to an end. The policy of being on maximum alert against the Crusaders must not be changed no matter what.」(Wilhart)
To think that Wilhart would emphasize it to this extent. This only further confirms Leonhart’s belief.
Wilhart, General Emelia and Kurono. All of the individuals who know about the Crusaders have strong feelings of danger regarding them. Such enemies are lurking far away, on the other side of Galahad.
A prediction that a difficult battle is coming passes through Leonhart’s mind, one that would later prove to be true.
「Anyhow, Father, is it alright if we were to attend to the main issue at hand now? I feel pity for Sharl, keeping her waiting for so long.」(Wilhart)
「What are you trying to say…? Baka-aniki…」(Charlotte)
Up until now, the conversation has been between only the father and son, but there are in fact three people in this room. Leonhart’s daughter, the somewhat pale-faced Third Princess Charlotte, glares at her older brother.
「Sharl, restrain yourself for now.」(Leonhart)
「Uu… I’m sorry, Otou-sama…」(Charlotte)
Charlotte is sitting right next to her father. Her body is already small to begin with, but next to Leonhart, she looks like a rabbit that has been captured by a lion. Charlotte is showing signs of fear, and it seems that fear is indeed what she is feeling.
「I have heard the rough details of what happened. Will’s decision to defend the fortress was correct; first, you must understand that. And so, Sharl, I will allow you to speak. I will hear your excuse for leaving the fortress to try and defeat the Greed-Gore on your own.」(Leonhart)
When Leonhart arrived at Iskia Fortress with the Knights’ Order, Charlotte was put under strict orders to stay at her father’s side at all times. Even during the victory parade, she was not with her party,『Wing Road』, but riding on her father’s red Sleipnir behind him at the back of the parade.
It gave the image that Spada’s newspapers wanted of a father rescuing his daughter, but this was certainly not done for the sake of giving a performance.
Leonhart, who has heard the details of the battle of Iskia, is angry. However, he has not yet punished his daughter for her actions.
Charlotte has been forced to wait in fear until this day, this moment, to receive her father’s punishment that could come at any time. And now the time has come. It is finally here.
With tears faintly appearing in the corners of her round, golden eyes, her lips tremble as she forces words to come out of her mouth.
「I wasn’t wrong! If this baka-aniki had listened to me from the beginning, everything would have gone well! Wing Road would have been able to defeat the Greed-Gore! We wouldn’t have suffered casualties in a pointless battle to defend the fortress!」(Charlotte)
With tears finally spilling down her cheeks, Charlotte declares her righteousness. Wilhart is wearing a dumbfounded expression, as if lost for words. On the other hand, Leonhart does not move even a single eyebrow; his face remains expressionless.
Leonhart understands. The reason Wilhart has opened his eyes wide in shock is certainly not because of his younger sister’s foolishness.
「F-Father, Sharl is still inexperienced, so I humbly request that you forgive –」(Wilhart)
Sensing that his foolish sister has triggered their father’s wrath, the older brother is desperately begging for her punishment to be made lighter. Both of them grew up in a Spadan family, so they know the fearsomeness of a father’s anger.
「Sharl… You –」(Leonhart)
Wilhart steps forward to stop him, but it is too late. Leonhart remains seated, but has already raised an arm and clenched his hand into a fist.
「– UTTER FOOL!」(Leonhart)
With an angry roar that shakes the castle, the king swings his fist.
Though he has a human’s body, the sword-king Leonhart possesses enough strength to rival the Dragon King. Even without a sword in his hand, the impact of his fist would be enough to crush a steel Golem.
The speed of the fist is not perceivable even for Charlotte, the one this terrifying destructive power is aimed at, let alone Wilhart who is watching from the side.
A moment before the sword-king’s fist touches Charlotte’s adorable cheek, it suddenly stops.
Charlotte’s pure-red hair is blown back in the wake of the force contained within the fist. Her long, trademark twin-tails flutter violently. The wind pressure created by the fist is terrifying.
「If you were a son, this fist would have hit you. Be grateful that you were born a girl.」(Leonhart)
The one letting out a sigh of relief with a hand on their chest is not Charlotte, but her older brother. Charlotte herself is staring into space with a dumbfounded expression, tears still spilling from her wide-open eyes.
「Sharl, Charlotte, it seems that there is a need to teach you the difference between confidence in your strength and overconfidence. But before that, you must be punished. You must atone for at least one ten-thousandth of the mistake that you made, with your own body.」(Leonhart)
Charlotte bursts into loud tears. But the gaze in Leonhart’s cold, golden eyes is absolute proof that his decision will not waver, even with the tragic sight of his crying daughter before him.
「Will, return to your room. Even if Sharl calls for help, do not come in here to stop me under any circumstances. Tell this to Aik* as well.」(Leonhart)
「… Yes, Father.」(Wilhart)
There is no way for Wilhart to respond other than to acknowledge his father’s words.
Being as intelligent as he is, Wilhart understands. He knows that his father is soft enough that he would loosen the hand of punishment if Wilhart were to enter and stop him.
What Leonhart is regretting most of all right now is not Charlotte’s foolishness. He is regretting the naivety that allowed Charlotte to get away with all sorts of selfish behavior. It is not only his own naivety; everyone in the family has spoiled Charlotte too much.
The price for that is finally being paid by both the father and daughter’s bodies.
And so, with an expression of sorrow, as if some bitter decision has been made, Wilhart leaves the room.
Just this one time, Charlotte gazes at the back of the older brother that she makes a fool of, as if desperately trying to cling onto him. Only the final remnants of her pride prevent the words,「Onii-chan, help me」from coming out of her mouth.
But Leonhart has already made his decision.
Charlotte has built up a twisted pride, mistaking overconfidence for confidence. Leonhart must break that pride with his own hands. He must break it into pieces.
「Fuh, kuh, uu… yesh, Otou-sama…」(Charlotte)
Charlotte’s pitiful, crying face freezes. She doesn’t know what she has been asked to do; no, she simply doesn’t want to know.
「I told you to undress. You are not a child anymore; you understand what the word means, do you not?」(Leonhart)
Leonhart has seen her body stiffen. But he has no intention of letting her get away.
「You are a woman; I will not strike your face. But I must punish you enough to make you regret being born as a woman.」(Leonhart)
「Th-that’s… No way, Otou-sama… You can’t be…」(Charlotte)
「I will not say it a third time. If you are going to pretend that you cannot hear me, I will tear your clothes off myself, even that splendid red cape.」(Leonhart)
Like a powerless girl in the hands of cruel men, Charlotte clutches herself with both arms as if trying to protect her small body that is trembling in fear.
Even with the pitiful sight of his beloved daughter in front of him, Leonhart has already steeled his resolve and is glaring at her like a beast with prey before its eyes.
How fortunate this situation would be for crueler men. Even if they conspired to capture Charlotte, she would simply mow such low-lives down with the lightning magic that she prides herself in.
However, the one assaulting her now is the sword-king Leonhart. There is not a single woman in Spada who would escape unharmed if he were to assault her in earnest.
Charlotte understands this well; she immediately realized that trying to resist or beg for mercy would be meaningless.
Her thin legs shake like those of a newborn fawn as she stands up from the sofa.
「I-I’ll undress… I’ll undress, so…」(Charlotte)
That is why she wants to at least be spared the experience of being forcefully stripped by having her Royal Spada Academy uniform and the red mantle that is proof that she is a cadet being torn to pieces. Her words sound heartbroken and devoid of dignity.
After a moment of silence, as if she has now killed her emotions, Charlotte puts her hands beneath her pleated skirt.
The tomboyish Charlotte flies, jumps around and kicks people in her everyday life, never mind the things that she does in battle. She is wearing short leggings so that her skirt rolling up does not cause her any problems. She takes those off first.
The glossy black fabric slides off the beautiful, white skin of Charlotte’s legs.
Perhaps because these leggings protect her every day, she seems nervous after removing just this one piece of clothing.
However, she is about to experience a shame that this meagre embarrassment cannot compare to.
Leonhart waits in silence. He waits for his daughter to take off every single piece of her own clothing.
As more time passes in silence, Charlotte puts her hands beneath her skirt once more.
Her fingertips touch the white shorts made of Valhalla Silk. These are underwear of the highest-quality, worthy of being worn by royalty.
Charlotte lowers them forcefully as if shaking off her hesitation – or at least, she was supposed to, but she is still trembling and her face is completely red. As pathetic she looks, she lowers her underwear awkwardly over her thin, tightly-closed legs.
As the bright, pure-white shorts that don’t have a single stain on them reach her knees, Leonhart takes his daughter’s body in his strong arms as if he is unable to wait any longer.
「Kyah?! No, Otou-sama –」(Charlotte)
Charlotte lets out a high-pitched scream, but if that were enough to stop Leonhart, he wouldn’t be doing this in the first place.
Leonhart sits on the sofa and pulls Charlotte, whose underwear has almost been completely removed, towards him. As if he will not accept even the slightest act of resistance, he forces her small body face-down on top of his knees and pins her down.
As Charlotte is thrust forward on top of Leonhart’s knees, her short skirt flips up as if a gust of wind has blown against it, and her sweet, white bottom is exposed before Leonhart.
Leonhart is already restraining her with one hand. He has forced her arms behind her back and is holding onto her wrists, completely sealing her arms’ movements.
No matter how much she struggles, it is pointless. Even if she were to release enough lightning to self-destruct, his grip would not loosen even a little.
Feeling the momentary struggles of the mage-class girl against his left hand, Leonhart slightly lifts his knee beneath her abdomen and forces her into a position where her bare bottom is raised into the air.
「No! No! No, no, no! I’m sorry, Otou-sama! Otou-sama!」(Charlotte)
Charlotte is finally crying and screaming for mercy. The sight of her inexperienced, smooth, pure-white bottom being raised up would stir up the sadistic desires of any man.
Leonhart moves to violate the soft skin of the trembling maiden, his own beloved pure, uncorrupted daughter, with his own hands.
「Reflect deeply upon your sins, Charlotte. I will spank you one hundred times.」(Leonhart)