Chapter 2 Part 1
Chapter 2 – The Beginning of the Path to Supremacy with the Princess
The next day, after pledging loyalty to Princess Valtrune. I was quietly making preparations for the recruitment of Flegel, with the help of Princess Valtrune.
We are currently inside the Imperial royal family’s exclusive carriage owned by the Princess. The interior was luxuriously decorated, something that a commoner like me would never have the chance to experience in a lifetime. And inside the carriage, there are only Princess Valtrune and me.
…I felt a bit unsettled for some reason. However, in order to ensure that our conversation would not be overheard by anyone else, there was no better secluded place than this carriage.
“I’m aware of the existence of the Viscount’s son, Flegel von Margneuer as well. If I remember correctly, he was engaged to Lady Mariana, the second daughter of the Duke of Vulcan Empire.”
“I see… So he was engaged to the daughter of a duke.”
Inside the carriage, we were discussing Flegel, whom we were about to meet.
――I never imagined that Flegel’s fiancée would be such an influential person. It was surprising that he had become close to the daughter of a duke.
However, the Princess explains that he will be separated from Lady Mariana if he continues to stay with the Viscount Margneuer family. The relationship between the Kingdom and the Empire will continue to deteriorate in the future.
“Flegel went missing in the previous world. That’s why I’ve been curious about what happened to him.”
“Actually, Lady Mariana also went missing during the war. We didn’t know at the time whether she was alive or dead…”
“Could it be…”
We both arrived at that possibility simultaneously.
Without being affected by the cracks in the country, they chose to walk together. Thinking that way, we cannot definitively say that he was unhappy when he went missing in the past. If he made choices that I could not make and stayed true to his beliefs, that’s worth more than anything else.
“I think that possibility is high.”
“Then, if their happiness can be fulfilled in that way… should we not interfere?”
If it were just me, a mere commoner, inviting him might be one thing, but now I have pledged loyalty to Princess Valtrune. If I were to bring Flegel to the Empire, he would undoubtedly be involved in the war as well. That is why I am uncertain about what the right course of action is… I’m hesitant to make a judgment.
I have experienced firsthand how thoughtless actions can be the trigger for self-destruction.
In response to my indecision, she showed a hint of contemplation before speaking.
“Aldia, make a choice without regrets. What do you want to do?”
The meaning behind her words deeply struck my heart. It could be interpreted as her own cautionary words as well.
We are living our second lives. That was why the emotion of ‘not regretting what we didn’t do’ comes across as so.
“We’ve had enough failures, haven’t we? In this world, I think it’s best to believe in a path without regrets and move forward. Don’t you think so?”
――In other words, she was telling me that no matter what the outcome may be, I should make the best choice for myself now. That’s what she conveyed.
She was right. I was losing sight of why I had been given this second chance. I want to remain friends with Flegel. The answer has solidified within me.
“Thank you very much. I have no more doubts. I will definitely bring Flegel to our side.”
“Yes, that’s the spirit.”
To pull Flegel away from the Viscount Margneuer family. If he strongly opposes it, then I will reconsider at that time. However, if he agrees to my wish… at that time, I will do my best to support him.
“He is incredibly talented. That’s why he is someone I want to have on our side.”
“Yes, considering his performance at the military academy, it’s clear how capable he is. And if he was engaged to Lady Mariana… there’s a possibility of gaining the support of the Duke’s family. I can’t find any reason not to bring him in.”
If it comes to being enemies, there is no doubt that he would become a formidable opponent. However, there is not just one ending. There are thousands of branching points, and the choices we make from them lead to the future. Therefore, it should be possible to hope for a future where we can move forward together with Flegel.
“If we can present the conditions that Flegel desires, it will be easier to invite him to the Empire.”
“Then, we should guide them so that the relationship between him and Lady Mariana isn’t torn apart.”
And even if it is a matter between nobles, the Princess and I have the power to make it possible. Because we are living our second lives. No matter what obstacles come our way, we should be able to overcome them.
“We’re almost there. I’ll leave the persuasion to you, but I’m sure it will be fine.”
“Yes, I intend to do my best.”
Therefore, failure is not an option.
In the midst of anxiety and a sense of urgency dominating my mind, the movement of the carriage slowed down. The mansion is already right in front of us. Eventually, the carriage came to a complete stop, and she placed her hand on my shoulder.
“Aldia, we’ve arrived.”
I take a deep breath. However, in the end, my heart is still racing, and I cannot calm down.
“Are you okay?”
“Doesn’t really seem like it.”
She is right. My hands are trembling with nervousness. Nevertheless, now that I have made up my mind, I will do my best to negotiate with him.
“Your Royal Highness, I’ll go now.”
“Yeah, good luck…”
After exchanging a gaze with Princess Valtrune, I got off the carriage and waited for Flegel to come out of the mansion.
The passage of time felt long, as if I had forgotten about the coldness of the wind.
――He is here.
I heard the approaching footsteps and directed my gaze toward that direction.
“Aldia… Why are you here?”
The reunion with my once lost friend took place on a side road near Viscount Margneuer’s residence. Unfortunately, as a commoner, I could not step foot inside the noble mansion. So I waited for him to come out here on this side road.
Princess Valtrune parked the carriage a little distance away and secretly watched over us.
Failure is not an option.
I silently pledged to bring Flegel back to the Empire without fail.
His complexion, after not seeing it in a long time, looked bad, and he seemed to have lost some weight.
“There’s something I need to talk to you about… Is it okay?”
He lowered his head and awkwardly averted his gaze.
“Is it about not being able to attend the graduation ceremony? I am sorry… There were a few things going on.”
“That’s not what this is about.”
“――Is it something else?”
“Yeah, I came to meet you for another reason.”
The real purpose of this meeting was not about that.
“Well… Petra was furious, though.”
“…Ugh, I knew it.”
“But I’m not really mad. I understand the circumstances… to some extent.”
He must have thought I was mad because we did not meet up before the graduation ceremony. However, even if Petra was furious, I had no intention of blaming Flegel. Because I knew all the circumstances. I will not blame someone who is not at fault.
“Then, why are you here today?”
He asked in a somewhat indifferent tone. Perhaps it was after his relationship with his fiancée was severed. His frustration was clearly evident. I feel sorry for reopening the wound, but there was no time to be considerate right now.
Taking a deep breath, I firmly looked into his eyes.
“Flegel. I’ll be straightforward. Would you leave the Kingdom and come to the Empire with me?”
――So, it has come to that.
His stunned face showed the extent of his confusion.
Afterward, the discussion ended in just a few minutes.
To cut to the chase, I succeeded in recruiting Flegel.
I learned that he was pressured by his father to break off his engagement with Lady Mariana, a noblewoman from the Empire, which caused a significant rift in his family. It seemed that there were quite a few things he could not agree with.
“…Alright. I’ll go to the Vulcan Empire.”
He willingly accepted my proposal.
With this, the objective of pulling Flegel away from the Viscount Margneuer family was achieved.
…If the story ended here, it would have been a happy ending. However, it did not end so easily.
“W-Why are you and Princess Valtrune in the same carriage!?”
That happened as we were leaving.
By a careless mistake, Flegel caught sight of Princess Valtrune and me together and gave me a sharp gaze.
While he exclaimed in astonishment, his expression changed rapidly. Princess Valtrune, with her dignified demeanor, sent him a gentle gaze.
“Aldia has… become someone precious to me. That’s why we’re together.”
It was a phrasing that invited misunderstandings. I could see a future where I would be bombarded with questions. I tried to explain myself, to find the right words, but it was in vain, and the misunderstanding continued to spread.
“I intend for Aldia to serve in the military of the Vulcan Empire. And…”
“Ultimately, I plan to appoint him as my personal knight.”
That was something I had not even heard yet.
I had only pledged my loyalty to her, but to be appointed as her personal knight…? I had not anticipated the situation unfolding like this.
Becoming a personal knight to a member of the Imperial family in the Empire carries meaning beyond words. Naturally, it entails protecting the life of one’s lord, but it also means obeying their orders unquestioningly, no matter what those orders may be.
While I do not think she would give me unreasonable orders, I was quite shaken inwardly.
“Your Royal Highness, is that statement true?”
“Yes… I’m sorry. I didn’t mention it before.”
――She has a deliberate look on her face.
Princess Valtrune smiled in an artificial manner.
Naturally, I was surprised by the bombshell she dropped, and even Flegel was taken aback, delivering a strong punch to my shoulder.
“…Aldia. What the hell did you do to the Princess!?”
“I didn’t do anything.”
“Don’t lie! You must have some leverage over her. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be saying something so cryptic!”
In his mind, he must be imagining a scene where I am blackmailing Princess Valtrune.
――Please, I hope he refrains from having strange delusions.
It was not just my imagination, but Princess Valtrune seemed delighted by my flustered state. She must have deliberately chosen her words to surprise Flegel. The thought crossed my mind that I might continue to be toyed with by her in the future.