“Hey, Ronald. Claudia will surely not come back. It’s a bit different from the original story, but Claudia will go to war and die. It has already been decided.”
By the time Claudia would be arriving at the battlefield, I was having a rendezvous in the backyard of the school with Amelia who stayed behind in the capital.
Amelia said something strange while snuggling up to me.
“How would you know that? I cannot think that she, with the protection of the Dark Spirit King will die so easily…”
I haven’t heard that Light Spirit King has the power of precognition. As I wondered and tilted my head, Amelia happily showed a complacent smile.
“I have memories of my past life. This is the world of the novel I read in that life. In that novel, I was the saint which saved the kingdom and Claudia was a villainess. I was the heroine loved by all, while she was hated by everybody.”
Memories from past life? She’s saying something strange again.
Besides, the characters from the novel that she just described seem to be the exact opposite of the current reality.
“If what you are saying is true, wouldn’t Claudia be praised as the hero which saved the kingdom in case she does come back?”
“That’s impossible, Ronald.”
Amelia snickered as if mocking me.
“But it’s a different development from that novel, right? In that case, I think it would be better to prepare for the worst-case scenario.”
For the time being, I decided to play along. I was thinking “what is this stupid girl saying?” on the inside, but I firmly hid it.
Hearing my words, Amelia must’ve started to feel anxious. She stared at me with restless eyes, as if wanting to cling to me.
“That makes sense too…what should I do?”
What a stupid girl. If she’s this thoughtless, it might intervene with my plans. What a pain.
Besides, what I really want is not the power of the Light Spirit King, but instead the Dark Spirit King with combat ability. Light Spirit King does have the same level of power as Dark Spirit King but, he’s not a spirit that’s suited for combat. If I had to say, he’s more of a healer spirit.
I approached them thinking that I could use them, but neither Amelia nor Light Spirit King seem to have any use so it might be about time to have them disappear.
“It’s simple. If the war is won, there will be a banquet held in the royal palace. There will be important figures of the kingdom gathered there, as well as royalties. You should just teach everybody present there just how much of a heinous human Claudia is.”
Amelia clapped her hands and showed a joyful smile like a blooming flower.
“That might be a good idea! You’re so smart, Ronald.”
I smiled back at the happily laughing Amelia.
While thinking about her last moment in my mind.
Having finished treating the injured people, I returned from the border village that was occupied by Galdia to the capital.
A banquet was to be held soon after my return. Being neither an official knight nor a high official, originally I didn’t have the qualification to attend it, but this time I was specially invited due to my contributions to the victory.
When I first heard about it, I tried declining. I thought that my presence would ruin the festive mood. But my father persuaded me to attend.
According to him, “participating in this kind of event and deepening my relationship with the knights I came to know isn’t a bad thing.”
My father’s words aren’t the only reason why I decided to attend the feast. The big part in plays the idea that I thought I had a chance to get along with the knights that I fought together with. In difference from the time when we were leaving, on our way back,the attitudes of the knights seemed to have become softer.
Nevertheless, I’m still only 14 years old and there are two more years left until my social debut. That’s why I’m nervous.
I greeted the day of the banquet with anxiety and excitement.
The venue was illuminated by a number of chandeliers. The floor was marbled and a red carpet was laid on it. The walls were decorated with the Queen’s favorite pinkish roses.
The attendees were the knights who went to the war this time, their relatives and influential nobles. There were much more people than I expected and the venue that should’ve been large, felt narrow.
As I entered while being accompanied by my brother, I heard the usual whispering voices.
“So that’s the person with the protection of the Dark Spirit King. I’m seeing her for the first time.”
“She hasn’t had her social debut yet so isn’t this the first time she’s appeared at an event like this?”
“From a distance, she almost looks like a foreigner.”
“Yeah, she looks mysterious. Does such a beautiful girl really hold the power to destroy the world?”
The noblemen were talking among each other while looking at me.
Would it really look like that just because I went to war? Unfortunately, I haven’t changed at all on the inside.
As I was thinking so, another man rebutted their words.
“Don’t be deceived by her appearance. She might look docile, but you don’t know what she might be thinking on the inside.”
“But she fought in order to protect this country, did she not? And, according to the words of knights who’ve accompanied her, she even treated the wounds of the injured villagers.”
I did treat their injuries, but it was simply the only thing I could do. I don’t like when small things get overblown like this. It’s not even like I played an active role in the battle.
“Oh my, that is indeed a splendid conduct. In contrast, I have heard that Lady Logan…seemed to have declined the departure out of fear for her own safety.”
“My son also attends the same school, and according to him, Lady Logan has bigger issues than Lady Letsya.”
More people joined the circle of conversation and the topic shifted to Amelia.
There are certainly various issues with her conduct. To the point that sometimes I wonder if she might be even more hated than me.
“I have also heard that story. It seems that she’s only currying favors with high-ranking young men. I’ve heard that she’s almost acting like a prostitute.”
“If that is true, there is no way of knowing who is more suitable as a saint, the light or darkness.”
While listening to such gossips, I advanced towards the back of the hall and attended the audience with His Majesty the King.
As expected, receiving the words of appreciation directly from His Majesty made me feel nervous.
After I somehow managed to do that, I took the opportunity and talked with the knights who went to the battlefield together with me.
Sometimes when I laughed, everybody would be surprised and there were even those who would turn red or avert their faces. As I looked at my brother and His Highness Levy who were standing nearby in hopes of explanation, for some reason I found them smiling wryly.
At that time, I heard a familiar voice.
After I turned towards the direction of the voice, I found Amelia there. She wasn’t invited to this banquet. And yet, why is she here?
Everybody’s eyes gathered on Amelia.
After she looked around the room, she grinned and said loudly.
“Don’t be deceived! This woman has the protection of the Dark Spirit King who will ruin this country! You all should know what the person who held the same powers did in the past!”
What is she saying? Is she trying to incite fear in people and make them attack me?
My brother embraced me as if to protect me. As I looked up at him, he smiled gently and told me that everything was alright.
His Highness Levy held my hand tightly and also said that there was “no need to worry about anything.”
The warmth of the two helped me calm down.
“Claudia has killed the enemy soldiers in a very cruel way. How can you be sure that her fangs will not turn against you?”
It wouldn’t be surprising for her to get accused of lèse-majesté for causing such an uproar during a banquet organized by His Majesty. However, Amelia, who had confidence as the heroine, didn’t seem to have any doubts about the rightness of her actions.
Amelia’s nonsense was still continuing, but I was no longer feeling anxious.
It’s alright. I have my Older Brother and His Highness Levy.
As I was thinking so and watching over the situation, one of the knights raised his voice. It was a person I went to the front with.
“Quit your bullshit! How can somebody who didn’t even go the war say that?!”
“I just know it! Because I am a person who will become a saint.”
Amelia smiled smugly at the Knight who wasn’t even trying to hide his anger.
The other knight, who was watching, stepped out in front of Amelia and raised his voice.
“She hasn’t killed anybody! She only stopped the movements of the enemies so we could fight easier.”
“Isn’t that also helping with murder?! It’s basically the same thing.”
The surrounding people scowled at Amelia’s words.
It’s natural. Nevermind me, Amelia also criticized the knights who fought for the country.
A low-pitched threatening voice resounded from one of the knights.
“…My friend died in a previous war with Galdia. I am proud of my friend who took up the sword for the sake of his country, his friends and his beloved family and fought until the very end. Are you calling him a ’murderer’?!”
There were tears in the eyes of the knight who said so. Looking closer, all the other knights seemed to be the same too. They must’ve also lost their comrades in war with Galdia.
“Do you know the number of deaths in our knight order during this battle?”
Even though the knight’s voice was quiet, my body shrank back. When I became aware, Amelia’s surroundings were full of murderous aura from the knights.
“It’s zero. It’s all thanks to Lady Letsya. There has never been a war before where nobody died.”
The many people gathered in the venue were glaring at Amelia. Having finally realized that the current situation wasn’t favorable for her, Amelia started to get agitated.
“W-what! You’re almost making me sound like a bad guy. The true villainess is Claudia standing over there!”
Saying so, Amelia pointed at me. Looking quietly at her, I opened my mouth.
“Lady Logan, there are no heroines or villains here. Because this is a reality and not a novel or a play.”
“I understand that much!”
She must understand it logically. But her heart doesn’t seem to follow.
“However, I know that Claudia will be exiled from the country because of her crimes of trying to frame me, the Saint. Then she will become Galdia’s pawn and try to destroy Leycia. I know it because I am going to be a Saint.”
Perhaps those words were the last straw, His Highness Levy shouted.
“Cut it out already! There is nobody here who would believe such fantasies. Just like there’s nobody here who thinks that you’re worthy of being a Saint. You’ve been talking about Saint this, Saint that since a while ago but do you even understand what that is? The Saint is a symbol of healing for people, and therefore, only people recognized by the church can take that position. The person chosen as the Saint has a duty to pray for the people and devote themselves to them!”
This is a fact that hasn’t been depicted in the novel. There is no doubt that Amelia didn’t know enough details about Saints. She’s so shocked by Levy’s words, that she’s frozen still.
“However, your conduct is already infamous within high society. Some opinions that you should not be made into the Saint have risen too.”
His Highness Levy said as if dealing the last blow to Amelia. Furthermore, my older brother moved in front Amelia and opened his mouth.
“In this situation, forget becoming the Saint, you might even get punished for treason. To raise such a ruckus at the party organized by His Majesty and as a mere daughter of a Baron take such attitude towards my younger sister, who’s a daughter of the Duke, since when has the Light Spirit King’s protection given you a bigger standing than that of a Duke’s family?”
Older brother’s voice was clearly mixed with anger. But Amelia didn’t retreat.
“You lot are being deceived! This is just too strange! Why are you people taking Claudia’s side when you should be hopelessly in love with me?!”
Amelia shouted while shaking her head.
His Highness Levy scowled and said exasperatedly.
“Huh? What are you even talking about? Us, feeling affection for you? Stop your jokes.”
The surroundings were stunned from Amelia’s incomprehensible words, but eventually, exasperated or pitying words started to leak.
Older Brother also agreed with the words of His Highness Levy.
“You could say that again. I don’t think that my taste in women is so bad that I would choose you, even if it killed me.”
Amelia, who seemed to believe that being the heroine ―― it was only natural that she would be loved, must’ve found the words of my brother and His Highness Levy to be unbelievable.
“Wha-! Why is this happening?!”
Amelia became more and more agitated. Then, His Majesty the King, who was silently watching over the development until now, opened his mouth.
“That’s enough, Lady Amelia Logan.”
Everybody’s eyes gathered on His Majesty. Perhaps thinking that he was going to save her, Amelia’s eyes glittered in anticipation.
Not only the people in the venue, but even His Majesty was puzzled by her state. But His Majesty immediately changed to a stern expression and continued to speak.
“Lady Logan, I can’t forgive you for making light of Lady Claudia.”
The words that resounded must’ve greatly betrayed Amelia’s expression. She was frozen still with her mouth open. Ignoring her, His Majesty continued.
“I can’t forgive your insult towards those who fought and were wounded for the sake of the country either. Cool your head in the prison. I will pass down the verdict later on.”
“Wha-! Don’t be ridiculous, you blockhead. You can’t even recognize who’s a villain even though you’re the King. Have you already gone senile? Whatever! Grace! Come out and take care of these guys!”
The venue turned still from Amelia’s words.
Grace must be the Light Spirit King’s name. Everybody turned pale, fearing his anger.
However, no matter how long we waited, nothing happened.
“Hey, Grace! What does this mean?! What do you think you are here for! Come out right this instant and fight for me!”
Then, a blonde woman with milk-white skin and voluptuous body appeared. She seems to be Grace, the Light Spirit King.
She took a glance at Amelia and humphed.
Saying so, she turned the other way, just like a sulking child.
“Huh? Are you kidding me?! Why are you not listening to me?!”
Amelia shouted with bloodshot eyes,
Looking at her, Grace showed a sorrowful expression.
“Your soul as a child was definitely beautiful, but after a certain day, it started to get defiled. I always believed that one day you would realize your own mistakes and go back to how you originally were, but I’m already at my limit. I am not your tool. As if I’d listen to your orders!”
Saying so, Grace turned the other way in a huff.
Realizing that the Light Spirit King didn’t mean them any harm, the tension that was drifting in the venue somewhat softened. However, there was no way that this would calm Amelia down.
“What the hell! You’re all taking me for an idiot! Isn’t the one at fault only Claudia?! You’re jealous of me, the heroine, right?! So you’re using everybody here to set me up. I will open up everybody’s eyes right this instant!”
Having said that, Amelia readied the knife that she seemed to have hidden on her.
Grace sighed, while my older brother and His Highness Levy put up their guards.
Amelia readied her knife and ran towards me. Then, a long, black coat obstructed her way. Gerald laughed haughtily and rendered Amelia immobile.
“That’s…the Dark Spirit King…”
A whisper of some nobleman whisper resounded. Once again, tension ran through the whole venue.
Seeing that people were frozen in fear from Gerald’s appearance, Amelia flashed a malicious smile.
“Kyaa! It’s the Dark Spirit King! He must be here to kill us all! He might be intending to destroy this country Just like in the legend…”
His Highness Levy and my brother glared at Amelia, who was trying to sow the seeds of fear in the minds of the surrounding people.
“Claudia might use the power of Dark Spirit King just like this and threaten everybody. Are you still okay with that?”
Gerald sighed at Amelia’s words, as if mocking her.
“Fool. Stop blabbering nonsense. Unlike you, Claudia won’t use me as a tool for venting her anger. That’s exactly why I chose her. She’s different from you.”
Saying so, Gerald glared at Amelia.
“Are you kidding…mgh?!”
Gerald blocked Amelia’s mouth with the shadow as if irritated by her.
“If Claudia was the same kind of person you think of her to be, this country would be long gone. Because that’s how badly she’s been treated.
Gerald’s words must’ve rang bells with some. A considerable amount of people awkwardly averted their eyes.
Amelia seemed to be absentminded, her eyes wide open in fear.
“Don’t appear before Claudia ever again.”
Leaving only those words, Gerald disappeared.
“Capture Lady Amelia Logan.”
His Majesty’s voice echoed in the venue. Having been bound by Gerald’s shadow, Amelia was easily taken away.
Grace, the Light Spirit King, who was left behind, sent her off with a slightly sad expression.
When Amelia’s figure disappeared, Grace turned towards me and smiled as innocently as a child.
“I’m sorry, Claudia-chan. I have caused you various troubles. This isn’t an apology by any means, but please accept it.”
Saying so, Grace held her hand over my head and sent the particles of light down.
I was shocked to see my arm. My brown skin had changed to same milky-white color as Grace’s.
All the people in the venue speechlessly opened their mouths wide.
“Oh my, I’m sorry. I didn’t intend to change your skin color too…”
I don’t understand what’s happening to me. This kind of development wasn’t in the novel.
“U-um, what did you-?
“I gave you my blessing. You should be able to use simple healing magic with this.”
If spirits devoting all of themselves to humans is called giving protection, then blessing is granting a part of their powers to the chosen person. It’s not at the level of “protection”, but it’s also not something that’s given often. Even more so if it’s a blessing from Light Spirit King.
Both my older brother and His Highness Levy were stunned from this tremendous event.
Without taking notice of the reactions from the surroundings, Grace smiled bewitchingly and bid farewell.
“U-um, thank you very much.”
The moment Grace disappeared, the venue became noisy. And thus the feast was declared adjourned.
After a short while, Amelia was made to take responsibility for her various acts and it was decided that she would get punished. The Baron family survived on a hair’s breadth, but they’ll probably be made to feel ashamed in the future.
As it turned out, her followers were only with her because their parents asked them to act courteously with her, so there wasn’t anybody who would plead for her.
I heard rumors that Amelia’s mother returned to the downtown and decided to gallantly live alone.