Chapter 1 Part 2
It was the morning of the graduation ceremony at the military academy that everything was unwound. The dazzling sunlight lightly burned my cheeks. At the same time, I felt a slight chill. The wind had not yet warmed up. If my memory serves me right, this was supposed to be the day when a decisive catastrophe would ignite the spark between the Kingdom of Leshfeld and the Vulcan Empire.
To an ordinary person, it would be the worst day ever. But to me, it was nothing but a day that could be seen as a turning point in my life. Therefore, I was not pessimistic. I still had hope that things would somehow work out.
“Haa, graduation, huh? I still can’t believe it… Is it the feeling of being a student? I can’t seem to shake it off yet.”
While walking towards the military academy with Steano, I pondered about what would happen next.
“I still wanted to play around more. Once I join the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order, I won’t even have time to play around… and the training seems pretty tough.”
I gave a vague response while walking beside him. Steano seemed to be thinking about his future as well.
Although our intentions were different, we both imagined an unseen future and had hope swelling in our hearts. His eyes were sparkling with a gleam that could be seen from afar.
Unfortunately, I could not picture such a bright future. Since I knew the outcome would be disappointing, all I could think about was how to survive in that future or how to change it.
“Hey, Al. You’re going to join the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order after graduation, right? And we’ll be in the same unit, right?”
“…Come to think of it, yeah. I was supposed to join the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order, too.”
“No, it’s nothing.”
He gave me a suspicious look.
“Did you forget where you’re going to work?”
“It’s not that I forgot. I was just thinking about something…”
Unintentionally, I had already decided to give up on joining the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order.
My assignment was already decided, and my path after graduation was set. I have passed the exam, and next month, I will be serving as a member of the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order. It was a relatively fortunate path. If I followed the original path, that was what I would become.
However ―― I could not accept that.
“……Steano, you know what? I’m thinking of not joining the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order.”
I had no intention of walking down the wrong path again. Even if I continue down that path, there is only a future of regret waiting for me. I would have become an enemy of Princess Valtrune, knowing her kindness, yet continuing to engage in futile battles with the Imperial Army for the sake of the kingdom. Knowing such a future, I thought I should make a different choice at this crossroads.
“Hey, you’re not joining the chivalric order…!?”
Steano looked like he wanted to say it was a lie, but before he could say anything else, I continued,
“I’m serious. It’s not a joke. I’m going to the Vulcan Empire as soon as I graduate.”
“To the empire…? Giving up becoming a knight of the kingdom?”
“Yeah, that’s right. I’m not going to become a knight. Sorry for the sudden news, but I’ve already made up my mind.”
In the first place, my existence itself was unexpected. I’m not someone who should be in this place.
“But… it’s not like you, Al. I thought you were the kind of person who would think more before acting. This is the first time something so unexpected has happened…”
“I also… until recently, thought that I was that kind of person.”
I miss my time at the military academy. I had been careful not to stand out too much during my student days. Even in practical exams and studies, I had been quite lazy. It was a miracle that I was allowed to join the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order.
“You won’t have this kind of opportunity again…”
“Maybe. It’s a miracle that I was allowed to join the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order with my grades.”
“You idiot, I know you were slacking off during the exams. I wasn’t talking about that, but the fact that we could join the order together as peers.”
Steano has a sad expression on his face. He had been looking forward to joining the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order with me. In my previous life, we were assigned to the same unit and saw each other every day, just like we did in the academy.
However ―― I could not save him.
That is why I have decided at that moment not to join the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order. I want to save the man in front of me.
―― I could only watch as he was dying. But now, maybe I can change it.
“Hey… this is a personal matter I want to consult you about.”
I stopped and grabbed Steano’s hand. His light brown hair swayed slightly.
“…What is it?”
“I know it’s a pretty unreasonable request, but if possible, would you consider going to the Vulcan Empire with me after graduation?”
―― He must have thought, “What? Why?”.
At the time, I wasn’t interested in the Vulcan Empire. After graduation, I unconsciously decided to find my career path in the Kingdom of Leshfeld.
“Me too? To the Vulcan Empire?”
“That’s pretty sudden… Are you telling me to resign from the Kingdom’s Chivalric Order, too?”
“Sorry, that’s not my intention…”
“I understand. So, don’t apologize.”
I’m only able to ask something like this because it is my second life.
I will never side with the Kingdom of Leshfeld now. I cannot work in a country that betrayed me after I served it. But if Steano stays in the kingdom, there may come a day when I have to turn my blade against him. I definitely want to avoid that.
“I’m sorry… Can you give me some time to think about it? It’s too sudden and confusing.”
Steano asked me to put my Vulcan Empire plans on hold.
“Yeah, thank you.”
To be honest, it was unexpected. It was just wishful thinking that I asked for on a whim. I was happy that he seriously considered it without immediately rejecting it.
In addition, if he has the slightest intention to do so ―― it might be possible to change the future where he dies.