Chapter 224 – Luka’s Distress
Paula hadn’t actually met Luka and Catherine before. She only arrived in Scholarzard after the chaos in Un el Portan was dealt with. By that time, Luka and Catherine were already attending the Foundation Ceremony and hadn’t come back to Scholarzard ever since.
But it was clear that two girls were here in this tavern. Sure, the food might be great, but definitely not the place for students to hang out in. Paula knew that the Student Alliance usually gathered here. Combine that with one of the girls having bluish skin and their fine cloaks, it didn’t take long for Paula to realize who they were.
「Who are you?」Catherine asked.
She was eyeing Paula warily. The pub didn’t have waitresses when they left Scholarzard.
「I-I’m a member of Hikaru-sama’s party.」Paula replied.
The two girls looked surprised.
「Hikaru is here in Scholarzard?」
「H-He is. He arrived the day before yesterday. D-Did something happen? Isn’t the wedding this spring—」
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Catherine held her forefinger to her mouth and looked around. At that point, Paula realized that some kind of trouble occurred.
The Green Ogre clan practically controlled Rumania. League Rumania—the eldest son of the head of the family, Billion Rumania, and recognized as the successor to his father—was just about to finish his trip that spanned a few days.
「We’re finally here.」
A strong cold wind past by as League stepped out of the carriage. Jarazack was located on the northernmost part of Forestia. Even in the middle of the day, thick clouds covered the skies, making the surroundings darker than normal.
「Welcome! We’re glad to have you!」
The mansion’s door opened and dazzling light spilled from within. The one who greeted League was none other than Professor Mikhail.
「It’s been a while, Sir. You don’t need to be so polite.」
「I cannot do that. You’re here as a representative of the Green Ogre clan. The king, Alexei von Jalzard Jarazack ordered me to give you the red-carpet treatment.」
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Mikhail put his arm around League and led him inside, closing the door behind him.
Warm air filled the mansion. It felt like a thin sheet of ice stuck to League’s face melted. The walls were thick, the door soundproof. From the proper ventilation, he could sense just how wise these people were, able to live in frigid lands.
「Can you handle Jarazack’s cold weather, Sir League?」
「I just have to think of my job as the clan’s representative and I’ll be fine. I’d like to get things done immediately. Can I see Lord Alexei now?」
「Of course. I’ll go call him now.」Mikhail said.「Please see Sir League to the reception room.」he ordered the servants.
Their relationship right now was not that of a professor and a student, but as two parties representing their own nation.
Professor Mikhail sure is thorough. I have to focus.
After having the Student Alliance and mass wedding approved at the Foundation Ceremony, League tried his best not to get in touch with the other members. He didn’t want his father finding out about his plans.
Four months had passed since then, and he met many people in the capital Forestzard, inheriting his father’s personal connections and creating one himself.
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He didn’t realize it at first, but he was excited to finally see the other members of the Student Alliance. He even expected Mikhail to treat him like they were in the academy.
I have people watching me right now.
The servants accompanying him worked for his father. Who knows what they’ll tell him? I can’t give them an opportunity.
League was led to the reception room. Handing his coat to a servant, he sat down on the sofa. He then ordered the men accompanying him to leave the room. They would most likely sort their luggage, since they planned to stay here for the night.
He breathed a sigh. Finally alone…
The door slammed open, causing League to jump to his feet.
「Long time no see, man! It feels like forever since we saw each other in the academy!」
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「Oh, Ivan and… Claude?!」
Ivan, Jarazack’s representative in the student alliance, and Claude entered the room. Claude Zahard Kirihal, who despite being a Spirit Elf, looked exactly like his age suggested. The man who was supposed to be married this coming spring.
But his eyes were swollen, a clear sign that someone beat him up.
「Wh-What happened to you?」
「Well, you see…」Ivan seemed to hesitate.
Claude heaved a deep sigh.「Luka ran away, and then Lord Alexei beat me up. He said I should keep this look for a while.」
「What in the world happened?」League asked, forgetting that he was here as Rumania’s representative.
He quickly realized his mistake and felt relieved that his attendants weren’t in the room. Claude looked at Ivan who only gave a shrug.
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「So in short, it became known that Claude was as skilled as Alexei with the sword. After becoming famous, he grew arrogant and neglected Luka.」Hikaru said, holding his right palm on his forehead.
They were in Hikaru’s apartment. Paula came to the academy to pick them up, her face flushed, so Hikaru and Lavia returned in a hurry. They chose the apartment since the topic was not something that could be talked about in the open.
「That idiot…」Hikaru let out a groan.
Catherine visited Jarazack to attend to some family business. Also, she was a member of the Student Alliance. After seeing Luka all sad and alone, she learned about the situation and snapped. She then dragged Luka with her all the way to Scholarzard.
「But isn’t it dangerous for Luka to be out of Jarazack?」Lavia asked.「I thought the plan was to let her stay there until right before the wedding.」
「I know, but I don’t think any potential assassins were aware. They probably didn’t even notice my arrival and only learned about us leaving long after we left.」
「Jarazack is especially cold. People drink for long hours.」
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Jarazack’s alcohol consumption increased during winter season, mostly because of tradition, but it also helped the body overcome the cold. Hikaru glanced at Luka. She was completely silent, her eyes on the floor.
「What do you think?」Hikaru asked Luka.「Do you really think getting away from Claude was the right choice?」
From Hikaru’s perspective, Claude was not completely in the wrong. For the most part, it was his fault, but it felt like Luka was acting differently than usual.
「I… don’t know. I just didn’t expect for things to get this big…」she answered.
「By that, you mean?」
「There are plays about us, over a thousand couples applied for the wedding… Almost every day, women in Jarazack pester me, asking me questions. I don’t even have the time to think about the future…」
Hikaru nodded. Pre-nuptial doubts. The people around her and Claude’s attitude made it worse. In that case…
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「Luka, I think there’s only one thing you can do.」
「What’s that?」Luka stared back at Hikaru like a believer seeking salvation.
「You should confront Claude. Only he can solve your problems and he’s the one you’ll spend the rest of your life with.」
「Let’s go to Jarazack immediately.」Hikaru said as he got up on his feet.
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