I was getting used to the atmosphere of the military school in Granden.
The classes are still the same boring as in Mildiana, but this city is not so bad here.
As I left the school building, thinking that I would try to remember the current structure of the citadel, I heard the familiar voice of a girl.
“I don’t understand!”
I wondered if it was coming from the back of the school building.
And when I sneaked a peek from the shadows, I saw that it was also Clarice, a girl with blonde hair tied on the right side, who was shouting.
On the other side was a tall general who stood like a statue, his expression unchanged. It was General Duras.
He showed no sign of being fazed by the girl’s momentum, even though she was about to bite him. The blond general replied quietly.
“No matter how many times you ask it, the answer is the same. You and your platoon will not be allowed to leave this city.”
“Why, sir? I will not accept the word of General Duras without a good reason!”
“…… because you’re stronger than normal.”
Clarice was startled by the words she hadn’t expected to hear.
General Duras looked down at her quietly as he continued.
“Therefore, I have entrusted you with the defense of this temple inside Granden.”
“But, that’s …….”
“The security of the outer temples will be left to other units. You can continue to interact with the people in the platoon you lead and work hard to teach them. You may still be a lieutenant, but you will surely become an outstanding person who will carry the Elberia Empire on your shoulders in the future.”
“But, isn’t it a contradiction? If you admit me that much, why do I still have to go to a military school? Aside of temporary instructor, why should I bother taking classes as a student ……?”
Was that the reason for the slight hint of irritation Clarice showed when she introduced herself?
She was certainly strong. Her swordsmanship and physical skills were impeccable, and she probably has a very high level of skill in magic as well.
“You are still young. As a student at a military academy, there is always something to learn.”
“With all due respect, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince has personally recognized my graduation from the military academy and given me a commission as a second lieutenant, on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor, who is now laid up on his sickbed! My abilities are far beyond that of an ordinary soldier. I’m proud to say that I’m well-liked by my troops and the people of my domain. And yet,……, you are the only one who still doesn’t accept me as as a full-fledged, General Duras!”
Clarice shouted out in an emotional state, but quickly made her move. Deciding it was rash, she kept his mouth shut. However, she did not seem to be able to hide her frustration.
Proud and noble. Perhaps she has never experienced a setback in her life.
General Duras looked at her and said to her as if to shun her.
“Is that all you have to say?”
“I have not changed my mind. You will continue to work hard at your studies as you always have, but aim for even greater heights as a soldier. There is no need to rush.”
“I already know what General Duras is thinking. ……! Excuse me, sir!”
Clarice came running toward me.
When she almost bumped into me, she stopped in her tracks.
“What’s the matter, Clarice? You don’t look like your usual self with that look on your face.”
Clarice slipped past me and took off running.
“Theodore. I’ve made an unsightly scene,” General Duras said as he approached.
The expression on his face did not seem to change, even though he was so frustrated with his student.
“I just happened to be passing by. I don’t mind. It seems that General Duras is having a harder time than that, right?”
“… It’s embarrassing, but you’re right.”
“She’s strong. She’s good at both skills and sciences. She’s good at everything she does. She’s full of confidence. She has the power and charisma to inspire her subordinates,” I continued after acknowledging her abilities.
“But kids like that tend to die young on the battlefield.” (Theodore)
“You speak as if you’ve seen it all before, but have you any experience with it?”
“…… a little.”
I’ve seen it more times than I can count.
Whether you are human or demon, if you are good, proud, and only ‘halfway strong’, that is usually the case.
That kind of human resources are important as long as you don’t use them in the wrong way.
To put it the other way around, I can assure you that there is no chance that they will be able to reach the pinnacle – the position of Grand Marshal that Keith is aiming for.
“Then, I will be frank. Theodore. I want you to get in touch with Clarrice.”
“I literally meant to get in touch with a pretty girl like her.”
Although I said it jokingly, General Duras did not change his expression.
“If it weren’t for her position as a soldier, Clarice would already be at an age where she is being courted by powerful noblemen. However, she is very unfamiliar with just that aspect. I would like you to refrain from saying or doing anything provocative.”
“It’s tough. I think so because she’s in that age. Well, fine. I also wanted to talk her a little.”
“Thank you. I’d like to invite you to my residence tomorrow, if you’re available……”
“Sure. But what do you want to talk to me about? I can talk about my life in Mildiana, it’s very interesting about what happened lately. However, with your daughter there, General Duras, I think it’s not appropriate things to do.”
“I’ll send Charlotte to visit the grave of my late wife. I was going to visit with her the other day on the anniversary of her death, but unfortunately …… I had important military duties that prevented me from doing so. This is a replacement for that. There’s nothing to worry about.”
So that is..
“All right, fine. Is it okay if I invite everyone else?”
“No, you’ll have to come alone. My mansion is cramped, even for a Duke. It would be problem if Mildiana’s unusual special students in.”
Well, that’s for sure.
There are definitely two people who are going to come in front of General Duras, and they’re going to be so motivated to fight that they won’t be able to resist.
“All right, fine. Tell me about the heroic tale of the man they call the Great Hero. I was very curious until now.”
“All right, but it’s not a very interesting story.”
After that, I left the military school with a detailed time commitment.
After walking around for a while, looking at the streets of Granden, I saw it in front of me.
I saw a back of a familiar figure.
She is a girl wearing a military school uniform but with a shoulder patch and her long blond hair tied up on the right side. In her hands, she holds a black cloth.
She entered the alleyway and carefully stared at the people passing by.
What’s going on?
Just as I thought this, she suddenly threw a black cloth over her head. She even covered her mouth, and became dressed in black, which was suspicious to look at.
Then she sneaked away somewhat quickly and stood between one of the stores and said to the middle-aged woman who worked there.
“I’ll have ……3 crepes, please.”
“Oh, it’s you, Clarice-chan.”
“What? What are you saying….? Shh, shh, shh! Shh!”
Clarice, in a panic, put her finger to her mouth and made a gesture to shut up.
“What’s the matter, Clarice-chan? You look so scared.”
The woman’s voice was loud, completely unconcerned. It’s probably unconscious, but…
This seemed to be an important issue for Clarice at the moment, and she was very wary of the area.
“Here you go, Clarice-chan. So you still like sweets.”
“Oh, um, please don’t tell anyone I’m here. ……!”
“Why not? It doesn’t matter if you like sweets or not. If we told Clarice that she was our patron, our sales would go up.”
“If you do that, I’ll never come back. ……!”
Clarice quickly put down the payment and received three crepes, and in the blink of an eye, she ran from the scene.
It sounded interesting, so I followed her. She went back to alleyway again.
After finding an quiet staircase, she again looked around. She sat down on those stairs as she thought no one around.
After checking hee surroundings again, whe finally took off hee hood and struggled to hold it.
She threw one of the three crepes into her mouth and began to munch on the other two, holding them with both hands.
As soon as she puts the crepe in her mouth, she looks comfortable.
The usual stern look on her face was nowhere to be seen. A fluffy expression appeared on her face.
She was so happy with the way her mouth was filling up with crepes, that her squirrelly-cheeks were moving with satisfaction.
After finishing the first crepe, Clarice wasn’t satisfied with her meal.
She lets out a sigh of relief and tried again to take a bite of the second crepe.
She jumped up and down, screaming in a way that you wouldn’t expect a girl to scream.
When the girl saw me, her previously relaxed expression suddenly paled.
“The, Theodore? Oh, um, it’s not what you’re thinking!”
“I haven’t say anything yet, so what are you doing?”
“This… Um, taste of the common people, yes. It is also my role to carefully research what the people of this Granden territory eat on a daily basis.”
“The aunt at the store said, ‘She was our patron’, though?”
She gushed and then hurriedly wiped her mouth.
And I’m sure she tried to think of an excuse, but she stared at me and was silent.
After about a dozen seconds.
“If you say anything about what you saw today in front of anyone else, I will cut you down.”
“That’s not very mature for an Ensign.”
“Shut up! If you don’t have anything to do with me, please leave now! I just want to be alone!”
“I’d like to talk to you for a minute. If you do, I will keep it a secret from everyone.”
I sat down next to her while Clarice was stammering. When I prompted her, she stood up but sat down again as if she had given up on her vigilance.
“So you like sweets.”
“No, not at all.”
“If not, you wouldn’t eat three crepes alone ”
Suddenly I got a crepe in my mouth.
“Here! It will be normal if for two person now!”
How forceful an interpretation is she making, this girl? Nevertheless, the crepes don’t taste bad either. I thought it was a little less sweet than Mildiana’s. I remember eating it with Rena that time.
The two of us stood side by side for a while, enjoying the taste of the crepes.
When I looked at her, I saw that she was also looking at me at the same time. I hurriedly turned my face away. Her cheeks were slightly red.
“Why are you trying to hide where you like sweets?”
“…If someone who stands on top of you likes something like this, your dignity will be questioned. When I was at the Fourestier family, I was disciplined and never ate sweets.”
“Did someone give you a taste for the sweet stuff?”
“I was half-forced by my subordinate to try it because it was …… delicious. So I found myself in that …… kind of situation.”
“So? You didn’t hide it from that person?”
“I was hiding it! I didn’t react at first, but I thought that time it was delicious… Since then I’ve been secretly coming here to buy and eat it.”
She gave me the impression that she was hard-headed, but she also seemed to have a funny side.
She said after finishing her food in a big hurry as if to hide her embarrassment.
“Well, I’ll be going home now.”
“Hey, wait a minute. Let’s just talk about earlier”
“Earlier? So you were eavesdropping on my approach to General Duras?”
“No, if you’re shouting like that, even if I didn’t intend to, I’ll hear you.”
“Is that so? Anyway, it’s as you heard. It seems I still not good enough. He just think I’m a cocky kid who’s still too inexperienced and immature. If you understand, please leave me alone now.”
Listening to Clarice’s words, I can see the problem with our country’s complete meritocracy.
She has a lot of talent, and it should not be a dream for her to eventually become a general.
As I heard from General Duras himself, but seemed it doesn’t resonate with her.
That may be due to the immaturity of youth.
“I think you have the power. You’re smart, and from what I’ve seen, you’ve earned the trust of the people. If you continue to study under General Duras, I think it wouldn’t be long for you to get promoted. So why are you in such a hurry?”
“…… You once tried to ask me something about the incident at the temple. How much do you know about it?”
“All I know is that there’s been a string of incidents where everyone in the temple has been killed.”
According to what Asmo said, there have already been such incidents in three temples. Don’t tell me it’s top-secret information!
“Yes. There are a total of six temples around Granden, including the one inside this city. In three of those temples, such incidents have occurred.”
“It’s a half of them. So?”
“I appealed directly to General Duras that I would like to lead my own platoon to guard the outer temples. But we were given the task of guarding the temple inside Granden. It seems that no matter how many appeals I make, he doesn’t want me to leave Granden.”
Clarice turned over and continued on, staring at the ground.
“My abilities are universally acknowledged. I am as good as any general on active duty – other than General Duras, of course. That’s why I should go to protect it even if I have to step over other generals. Even if I come face to face with the perpetrators, I can minimize the damage.”
That’s a lot of confidence.
Well, it’s unreasonable. The great hero is always by her side. However, she says she won’t be defeated by anyone else.
I’ve had a couple of bad experiences against Charlotte, but after that it seems like I’ve won.
But in a real war, that one slip-up could easily kill a person, but she probably doesn’t think about that. She probably have never been in a real fight in first place
“General Duras has put my family’s interests first and foremost in his mind. I think he’s trying to protect me. The Duke of Fourestier is said to be a prominent family, so he must thinks that it would be bad if something happened to me, their only daughter. That’s why he’s trying to satisfy me by assigning me to guard the temple inside Granden, where I’ll be safest.”
The two sides’ opinions are fatally out of sync.
General Duras doesn’t care about your family history at all. He’s more concerned about something else. He looks cold-blooded, but he is very thoughtful. This is why his powerful subordinates couldn’t take advantage of him.
This discrepancy between the two sides will lead to the worst possible outcome in some cases.
However, there is no way that Clarice will be convinced when I point this out to her.
This is a problem she needs to realize for herself. There is nothing I can do. I can’t encourage, scold, or even sympathize with her.
It’s pointless to continue this conversation any further.
“Do we have any idea who did this to the temple?”
“I can’t say for sure. Afterall I haven’t seen the scene, but from what I’ve heard, sometimes I wonder if it was really ‘human work’ in the first place.”
“Most of the remains of those who were there were so badly damaged that it was difficult even to ascertain their …… gender and age. It seemed as if they had been eaten to death, as if they had been attacked by a large predator.”
“…… I see.”
It reminds me of those monsters in the basement of the High Magic Court in Mildiana.
I’m pretty sure it’s a magical creature. As President Ludio may still be investigating in detail, but that thing was a creature specialized only in eating elves and making Final Droplets.
That giant creature was unable to leave the magic circle, and people offered it the elves as a food.
“Do you have any information that there was some sort of magic circle in the temple?”
“There were no reports of such a thing. However, it seems that the temple was severely damaged in some places. The hard cobblestones were so shattered in some places that it was difficult to even examine the site.”
A good magical creature is able to move of its own accord and is intelligent enough to understand the commands of higher beings.
But is it really possible to do such a thing and not find a single fish so far?
Anyway, the appearance of magical creatures is clearly different from that of ordinary creatures. The majority of them are the same. If such a monster is wandering around in this Granden territory, there are bound to be one or two witnesses.
So, I guess it would have to be humans.
From the information we have so far, we have not heard of anyone outside the temple being killed. There is no doubt that the purpose of whoever committed the crime is in the temple.
“Is there anything special about the temple?”
“I don’t know, ……. I’m sure there was nothing special about the temple that was damaged. In fact, I also don’t think there was anything special about the temple I was guarding here in Granden. You can find statues of goddesses, abstract paintings, crystals, etc. everywhere.”
We don’t know what the perpetrators are after. This is the opposite of what happened in Mildiana.
There, I was able to speculate that someone – who eventually turned out to be Gislain – would want to create a Final Droplet and eventually summon Sky Demons, but this time it’s difficult to tell.
What’s the point of storming an ordinary temple?
Or is there something important hidden in the temple that even the Makins wouldn’t even think of, let alone General Duras in Granden?
“I believe that it is only human beings who are committing the crimes, either those who have a grudge against God, or heretics. I can’t say for sure. ……”
“Do you have any other information for me?”
“I have no definitive information on ……. However, there were reports of something a little strange happening at one of the affected temples.”
Clarice continues with a hand on her chin, but with a somewhat puzzled look on her face.
“In the midst of the wreckage of the temple, there was a dancing nun.”
“I don’t know the details. The woman was from the temple that was victimized, and oddly enough, she was holding and stroking the …… remains of the victims, and smearing the few remaining pieces of flesh and organs on her face. …… Ugh. ……”
Clarice moaned as if she felt a little nauseous.
Normally, this would seem to be the bizarre behavior of a nun who went crazy after seeing the damage to the temple, but it’s certainly something to be concerned about.
“…… Ugh, I’m sorry. The nun is being held by the military as a person of interest. But I have yet to hear of any progress in the interrogation.”
“All right, thank you. Let’s not talk about this right now. It might spoil the sweets.”
After that, we exchanged some idle chit-chat to change Clarice’s mood, and then I left her.
Well. It’s in investigations like this that Rena is indispensable, but this time she can’t be used …… no, she won’t.
Rather, I must now prepare for our meeting with General Duras.
That would be fine if nothing happened, but it probably won’t, so…
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