As I return to the academy from the Stratos Smithing Workshop, the sound of a bell signals midday and the beginning of lunch break.
It’s already midday, huh. I suppose that’s only to be expected, since I spent quite a while discussing ideas for strengthening my weapons with Regin-san.
That number of weapons with that large amount of monster materials. I knew that discussing my options would take a while, so I let Fiona and Lily make their requests first.
Apparently the two of them have plans for the afternoon, so I came back on my own without waiting for them after making my requests.
They said they’d be back before dinner, so that means I’m alone until then.
Simon hasn’t returned to the dormitories yet and Will is apparently incapacitated due to a hangover.
「I can’t really go to visit Nell, either…」(Kurono)
After incurring Nero’s wrath at last night’s party, I think it would be awkward – no, it seems that it would be difficult to approach her.
I wouldn’t have cared a few days ago; I would have thought,「Who cares about people’s feelings when my friend is feeling ill!」But it can’t be helped; Lily and Fiona have hammered into my head just how dangerous the social status of royalty is. I can’t make such careless moves.
Well, since Nell is resting in a women’s dormitory that prohibits men from entering, I can’t visit her normally anyway. Going as far as to commit a criminal act in order to visit my friend would be bad. It’s the dormitory for the cadet women; it has particularly strict security. A man like me might be arrested just for loitering near it.
That still applies even if I am the Rank 5 adventurer who rose to fame in Spada overnight.
「Hey, isn’t it that person? The berserker who groped and killed both monsters and students at the Iskia Hills with his tentacles.」(Girl 1)
「Eek, his face is super scary! Seriously, I might have nightmares tonight, you know!」(Girl 2)
As soon as I pass a pair of girls each carrying a small, cute-looking lunch box, presumably on their way to eat lunch, I hear this conversation.
It’s plenty loud enough to hear without straining my ears, and their stares are incredibly blatant.
「Kyah! He’s glaring in this direction!」(Girl 1)
「No, I don’t want to be touched by tentacles, no!」(Girl 2)
And then the two of them run away, making a lot of noise. The footsteps of the super-heavyweight pair of girls, a Golem and Cyclops, remind me of those of the Greed-Gore.
Even though I received those great awards, this is still how I’m treated.
Nevertheless, I’d at least like my actions to be reported accurately. What do you mean, grope and kill? They’re even saying that I killed students indiscriminately. If I had been in a Berserk status back then, I would have been executed on the spot rather than decorated with awards.
「Let’s just forget about it… I’ll just eat something nice at the cafeteria and forget about it.」(Kurono)
That’s right, it’s best just to not pay them any attention. It’s not like I want fame or anything, right? I received awards, rose to Rank 5, I should be receiving quite a lot of money as a reward and I’ll be given information about the Crusaders. I’m gaining things that I would have never imagined I would gain, aren’t I?
That’s why I don’t care about what people around me think. I’ve been used to people being scared of me and running away from me after seeing my face since high school. I should be used to it. Let’s say I’m used to it.
Now then, I’m not like Fiona, but let’s distract myself with some delicious food. I’m going to be receiving a lot of reward money so I suppose I’ll go with something a bit extravagant today. Now that I think about it, I also have the 13,000,000 Klans that I received as prize money from the『Curse Carnival』in my wallet.
Ah, aren’t I super rich right now? Since I have this much, Fiona can go on one of her gourmet tours around Spada anytime she likes. I can treat her to as much sushi and tempura as she wants.
No, this is amazing, it’s really amazing. I’ve obtained the funds I need to return the favor for the expensive presents they’ve given me! I don’t have to feel guilty anymore, yahoo!
「Excuse me, you over there with the evil smile.」
I’m extremely embarrassed, but if I think about it, the voice that’s calling out to me is being very rude.
I turn around to see a female student. Judging from her hostile gaze, I’m guessing she isn’t one of my fans.
「You are Kurono, aren’t you?」(Female student)
「That is right. Is there something you needed from me?」(Kurono)
I’m using my terribly unpopular formal language, but I suppose it’s needed when talking to someone I’m meeting for the first time.
The female student who called out to me is quite a beauty. That beauty goes to waste because of the clear expression of displeasure on her face, however.
She has shoulder-length blonde hair and upturned, clear-blue eyes. Blonde hair and blue eyes are relatively commonly-seen traits in Spada. She doesn’t have long ears, nor is her body made of steel, so she’s definitely a human.
Judging from the red cape fluttering at her back, it’s also clear that she is a cadet. As I wonder if she’s a daughter of a rich family, it makes sense; there’s something elegant about her face.
「Yes. As unpleasant as this is, I can’t overlook you any more than this.」(Female student)
Well then, what does she mean by overlook? This should definitely be the first time we’ve met, so it’s not like there’s some kind of connection like there is between myself and Nero.
「I have absolutely no idea what you mean by overlook.」(Kurono)
「Whether you are aware of it yourself or not doesn’t concern me.」(Female student)
Uwah, the way’s talking is dangerous. She’s definitely the type of person who’s not going to hear me out.
She vividly reminds me of the woman with blonde drills who barged into the arena during the『Curse Carnival.』
「Come to think of it, I have not introduced myself yet, have I? Pardon me; a knight should at least show this common courtesy, even when facing a detested enemy.」(Female student)
Wait, by detested enemy, do you mean me? Come on, seriously, please spare me. What on earth have I done?
「My name is Helen, first-born daughter of the Azrael house, one of the Twelve Noble Houses that have served the royal family of Avalon since ancient times.」(Helen)
Haah, is that so. I almost say this careless reply out loud without thinking, but I somehow manage to catch it in my throat.
It’s the first time I’ve heard of these Twelve Noble Families of Avalon, but, well, I suppose it’s a title like the Four Great Houses of Spada.
I can guess this much, so I don’t need to be considerate enough to act surprised –
「And I am the commanding officer of Princess Nell’s guards.」(Helen)
I can’t help being surprised. She really has guards?
「… Princess Nell’s mind is currently very ill.」(Helen)
Helen-san – no, I suppose I can drop the honorific – Helen glares at me with an expression that looks as if she is holding herself back from saying,「What a vulgar savage you are」in response to my surprised reaction.
「I was not able to help her recover from her depressed state. However, I am able to eliminate the one who caused her condition. No, that is not it – I simply cannot forgive you for hurting Princess Nell.」(Helen)
I heard that Nell’s collapse was caused by fatigue from expending too much of her mana. I have a lot of questions I want to ask, like how that could cause her mind to be ill or how that could be my fault. But with Helen’s menacing presence before me, I can’t confirm or deny anything and I realize that saying anything would be futile.
「Haah… I can really understand why Lily and Fiona were so angry at me…」(Kurono)
This is the exact situation that they were worried about. Even if Nell and I consider each other friends, those around us will never acknowledge that friendship.
A lowly adventurer becoming overly familiar with a beautiful princess is an unforgivable『evil.』
I can understand Nero picking a fight with me as her older brother. But I feel that this hostility towards me that has been caused by misunderstandings and prejudiced opinions is unreasonable, and I’m starting to get angry. I’m done using formal language.
「So what is it you’re planning to do to me? Are you going to suggest that we have a duel?」(Kurono)
「Good guess. Yes, exactly, we will suggest a duel with you.」(Helen)
「I see. We, huh.」(Kurono)
I’ve become surrounded without realizing. From the outside, it may appear as if curious onlookers have gathered around after sensing the serious atmosphere between me and Helen.
However, these male and female students have surrounded me in the middle of this narrow road and are gazing at me with expressions full of hostility.
「The ones gathered here are no foolish commoners who have merely been charmed by Princess Nell’s kindness and beauty. They are all exchange students from Avalon. Like me, they are all guards who have sworn loyalty to the royal family from the bottom of their hearts.」(Helen)
Management cadets with red capes, knight cadets wearing normal uniforms with blazers, adventurers wearing light armor or robes. These guys are all from Avalon, huh. There are quite a lot of exchange students, aren’t there?
「But rest assured, we will not take your life. We will apply the rules of the mock battles allowed at this academy.」(Helen)
「You can kill someone even with a wooden sword if you hit them in the wrong spot, can’t you?」(Kurono)
「Yes. Let us both be very careful to avoid any accidents.」(Helen)
I see. I have a good understanding of their intentions. I instinctively think that I don’t want to be the subject of this lynching. But now that I don’t have my weapons with me, I suppose this is the perfect opportunity.
The training I did with Mia-chan wasn’t just for the parade.
「Alright, I’ll accept a duel with all of you. Are we doing it here?」(Kurono)
「Heavens, no. We have arranged to use the colosseum, so we shall settle things there fair and square with no running away.」(Helen)
As elegant as Helen is, she can’t fully conceal her sadistic personality from showing in her evil smile. Fine, if that’s how you want it, I won’t hold back.
I feel sorry for you guys, but I’ll have you become my guinea pigs to test out the second and third divine protections.