Houseless and Concealed Lineage
A few months after he licked that magic stone, Ain continued his daily efforts.
I can’t allow Olivia to be looked down upon──With these feelings strongly in his mind, he was trying to achieve something.
Today, despite Ain having swung the sword since morning, he had a wry smile.
“──No, it is weird after all.”
The wooden sword broke. Well, he had gotten used to it by now since it had happened many times, but this time was a bit different.
“Can iron armor be cut with a wooden sword? I see, so it’s this sort of world──Like hell it is.”
In front of him was a wooden humanoid figure wearing iron armor, who acted as his enemy.
This might useless, to be honest, but it felt refreshing for him to have something in front instead of just swinging his sword at nothing.
However, this armor had just been torn apart by Ain’s wooden sword.
The wooden sword had shattered at the same time, but that didn’t matter.
“……Uhmm, well. Could it be……metal fatigue or something? ”
He wanted to blame that, but he didn’t know the principles behind that.
Wondering if it had deteriorated while rubbing his temple, he decided to ignore it and walked away.
Before he noticed, he had been moving his body more than he expected so he felt a bit restless.
“Ohh……If I don’t get ready soon, I will be late.”
If he didn’t take a bath soon, he might run late.
A party was being held today in the Royal Capital.
It was an event where the children of nobility were presented, and Ain had been looking forward to what sort of party this would be for a few days now.
So, with lighter footsteps than usual, he returned to the mansion.
──After Ain left, almost passing by each other, a servant went to clean the training grounds.
“……Huh? This armor was…… there are traces of it being slashed by something……”
Metal fatigue? Deterioration?
The servant confirmed that the sharp cut was not due to any of these things.
And, while wondering why such a thing had happened, he discarded it alongside the broken wooden sword.
◇ ◇ ◇
Several hours after Ain’s training ended, the Roundhart family was headed for the Royal Capital inside two carriages.
The front one carried Logas and the second wife, Camila. And, together with Grint, the number of occupants numbered three.
Ain and Olivia were both riding the carriage on the back.
Inside the carriage, Ain placed the book he was reading on his lap.
Sitting next to him, Olivia’s expression seemed very somber.
(Can’t be helped. After all, it was decided than Grint would be the next head of the family……)
With only Olivia objecting that matter, the decision was quickly settled upon.
At that time, she held a strong resentment against them, who showed an attitude of not caring about the eldest son.
However, as a result of this disappointment, disgust, and grief──All of these frustrating emotions caused her to place more effort into the work she had asked the adventurers and merchants to do.
And also, she spent all her free time together with Ain.
(As for me……That was a bit painful, I can’t lie.)
Olivia praised him and acknowledged his efforts. This alone was enough to make him happy.
He couldn’t help becoming closer to Olivia, who thoroughly acknowledge him and loved him unconditionally.
(I would hate being scorned even by Okaa-sama. I somehow have to make father and the others accept me.)
Feeling a strong motivation in his heart, he decided to make an even greater effort in the future.
──By the way, looking out of the carriage’s window, not only the scenery but also the walking people were a new sigh to him.
They were called adventurers, and to Ain, they seemed to enjoy quite the freedom.
“Could I also go to many places like them?”
Those were words that would usually have nothing to do with the eldest son of a noble, but since it was decided that the little brother would succeed the house, he could speak like that.
“I’m sure, if it’s you Ain, you could travel a lot.”
He couldn’t believe she agreed. Yet he felt a bit of unrest by Olivia’s words.
“But, fighting against monsters is dangerous. That’s what I’m worried about.”
It appeared that fighting against monsters gave the best rewards, but Ain felt that might prove difficult for him.
(With that being the case, I’d like to instead look for some precious stone for Okaa-sama……)
Rather than focusing on battle, he wanted to look for some adventure.
While thinking so, Ain touched the back cover of the book he was reading a while ago.
“──By the way, what book are you reading? ”
“Ahh, this? ……It’s just a book of ordinary stories that I found in the library.”
He loved to read stories about heroes, but he read a wide range of stories, even romance ones often portrayed as fairy tales.
The book he was reading right now was like that, about a Princess who fell in love with the Prince from another country.
The slightly pretentious lines from the prince were surprisingly interesting to read.
“Right now, I’m at the buildup scene where the two of them meet each other in the flower garden. Saying, 『Princess, would you please accept this ring? 』……he gave her a ring.”
A scene full of indescribable romance, at the moment where the distance between the two closes down.
Even while using some common lines, the Prince in the story was amazing……He even felt a bit of admiration.
“From what I can see, you’re much better than that Prince, Ain.”
……And you’re better than the Princess in the story, Okaa-sama. He wanted to answer with that.
However, his shyness prevailed.
“……I’ll do my best.”
He knew those words were even more embarrassing than the ones he answered with.
Olivia looked at Ain’s profile while squinting her eyes in joy.
And, like this, the two enjoyed their journey to the Royal Capital.
In the front carriage, Ain’s younger brother, Grint opened his mouth to speak while frowning.
“Chichiue? Are we there yet……? ”
Similar to Ain, he had inherited his mother’s gorgeous blonde hair, and the bold bearing from Logas.
He had those types of looks, yet he showed a disgruntled face that matched his age quite well.
He had gotten tired of the long carriage ride and raised his complaints with a bored-looking expression.
“Grint. There are about two hours left, so be a little more patient.”
With an expression of saying it can’t be helped, Logas talked to Grint.
“It would be embarrassing if you can’t put up with this, Grint, even though the one in the back is quiet, right? ”
Camila then spoke about Ain as if to stir Grint up.
The inferior one── When compared to his older brother, Grint’s expression became excited.
“Hm──!? Ah, I would hate to lose against Aniue! ”
For him, Ain, whose natural skill was quite plain, wasn’t even worth comparing to.
To this exchange, Logas smiled bitterly, and Camila smiled with joy.
“By the way, Grint. You got a letter before we left, right? ”
“Yes! Actually, my status card arrived! ”
There was no way his mother, Camila, didn’t know the contents. She only spoke up in order to stir up Grint.
“Wow, that’s amazing! Then, can you show it to me and your father? ”
In response to Camila’s question, Grint took the status card out of his bosom pocket.
【Job】 Roundhart House Second Son.
【Skills】 Holy Knight
“Incredible! Your stats are even higher than the twelve years old who are already considered adults! As expected of a Holy Knight! ”
After this, Logas joined Camila in hugging Grint.
Seeing Logas high praise, Grint’s body quivered in joy.
“Eventually, the Holy Knight will end up not only as just a skill but as a job. And, if you keep improving, you’ll be able to reach an even higher rank as Holy Knight.”
Logas’s words caused Grint to look up at him with shining eyes.
“That job is called Heaven Knight──”
Excelling in magic, as strong and sturdy as a castle, and causing devastation with the swing of their sword……A knight among knights, according to Logas.
Grint nodded with shining eyes as he heard, saying “I will definitely become one!”. This with a motivated voice, to both of his parents.
Eventually, Camila smiles softly in a good mood, as if she had won.
The reason being, she had ridiculed Ain, and besides, she had pushed her son to become the next head of the family instead of the eldest son and had made Logas pay attention only to Grint.
“That’s right, Grint! And I’m sure the girl who will become your bride will be happy too. ”
“……I wonder if I’ll be alright? Hmm, I’m getting nervous……”
“Don’t worry. If you’re not good enough, Grint, then all the other boys in Heim are simply useless. I’m sure that young lady will fall in love with you.”
Encouraged by Logas’ words, Grint clenched his hand tightly.
“By the way, Logas-sama. It’s about Shanon-sama, the one to become engaged to Grint……”
“Do you want to ask what kind of young lady is she? ”
Camila nodded at his words.
After that, Logas continued speaking.
“She’s the only daughter of Marquis Bruno──She’s six years old this year, two years older than Grint. However, she’s a very smart young lady who has already earned a reputation for her talents.”
“That is marvelous. I’m glad you’re getting engaged to such a nice lady, Grint.”
The girl they were talking about, Shanon, was to be married to Grint.
Grint was still four years old──Would be five in a few days, still, he was one of the youngest nobles to become engaged.
Camila didn’t know the details of the engagement since the talks about it were being conducted by Logas.
But she didn’t say much about it and just left it to him.
“In today’s presentation, I’ll make the announcement of you being the next head of the family. We will also announce your engagement with miss Shanon. Grint. Aren’t you proud? ”
Encouraged by Logas, Grint raised his face to answer.
“Yes! Chichiue! ”
“Logas-sama. You didn’t forget to tell those two about the face to face meeting before the party? ”
The original lead was Ain. However, that had now become unimportant, and Grint had now taken the leading role.
Camila smiled inwardly at the fact that she had obtained a marriage to the upper nobility for Grint before the eldest son.
……Well then, just a little more to the Royal Capital.
While Camila was excited by her high expectations, Logas steeled himself.
Grint, on the other hand, held his hands tightly while thinking about the first meeting he will have with his marriage candidate.
And so, while immersed in this little tension, his eyes shone as he looked at the scenery from the window.
◇ ◇ ◇
Dusk. The Roundhart family had arrived at the mansion, at the venue for today’s party.
Getting off the carriage, Ain was amazed after seeing the mansion and its vast grounds.
(……What an amazing garden.)
After passing through the gate, Ain’s eyes were caught by the many flowers and carefully arranged trees.
It was a beautiful, yet solemn garden in which the high skills of the gardener could be easily seen.
“It sure is big.”
“Fufu……This is Heim’s only High Nobility mansion.”
Immediately after, Logas approached with relaxed steps the talking pair.
“Olivia, Ain. We have to go to a face to face greeting before today’s party.”
Hearing those words, Olivia and Ain shot a puzzled look at Logas.
“Danna-sama? What do you mean with face to face? ”
“A meeting with lady Shanon’s family, the girl engaged to Grint.”
“……I know about the engagement, but this is the first time I heard something about this meeting. ”
Hearing this exchange, Ain’s face stiffened.
He knew he was being treated coldly, and even knew that Olivia was also being treated the same. But-
(He should tell her something this important…… Well, maybe it was intentionally hidden.)
“Huh? I believe I asked Camila to tell you about it……Well, I suppose she missed her chance to tell you.”
Don’t ignore this so easily. He wanted to rebut with those words.
However, just like Olivia next to him, he desperately endured it.
Olivia seemed to have been thinking the same, judging by the cold expression she looked at Logas with.
“Haa……Let’s say she missed her chance. Well then, do you want Ain and I to go with you to say our greetings? ”
“Umu. It would be rude if my first wife and eldest son don’t come and greet them.”
“……Yeah. I suppose it would.”
It should’ve been obvious that Olivia wasn’t in a good mood.
As unusual as it was for her, her answer to Logas was a bit sarcastic.
“Marquis Bruno is waiting for us.”
Saying that, Logas turned his eyes in a certain direction.
A middle-aged man stood there with a little girl near him, and behind by two steps, a well-dressed woman in the prime of her life accompanied them while smiling.
“──Understood. Then, Ain and I will go greet them too.”
“After you’re done greeting them, go wait in the hall of the mansion. I don’t want their daughter to feel nervous.”
Rather, was there any point in Ain and Olivia going to greet them?
After all, he was told to leave immediately afterward. This piled up sadness and resentment in Ain’s heart.
“Go ahead. We’re right behind you.”
Olivia, who was at loss for words, managed to answer Logas.
Logas, on the other hand, feeling a bit sorry for all this, uncomfortably crossed his arms.
However, he immediately opened his mouth, calling for Camila and Grint.
“Camila, Grint. Come here.”
Answering to Logas’ call, the pair immediately approached.
Camila wore a somewhat triumphant expression, while Grint looked nervous and restless because of the face to face meeting with his marriage partner.
And finally, after straightening his collar, Logas walked in front of his family with dignified steps.
“Ain. Please endure it for a moment, okay? ”
“……It doesn’t bother me, it’s alright.”
With those words, Olivia showed his worry for Ain, but Ain, on the other hand, wanted Olivia to worry about herself.
“Be sure not to be rude. Ain, Grint.”
“Yes! As your child, I will be sure not to do anything embarrassing, Chichiue! ”
Grint cheerfully answered Logas comment.
It was quite the grown-up answer for a four-year-old boy.
“Marquis Bruno. I’m sorry to keep you waiting.”
“Ohh! If it isn’t Earl Roundhart! Not at all, I appreciate the trouble you went to come all the way here! ”
Marquis Bruno had carefully trimmed red hair and beard and was also dressed in high-quality clothes.
After answering with a strong voice to the approaching Logas, he offered a firm handshake.
“It might be rather sudden, but let me introduce you. These are my two wives──”
“──It’s been a while. Marquis Bruno.”
Olivia was the first to greet the Marquis.
She picked up the hem of her dress and bowed her head so beautifully that one would mistake that scene for an artwork.
“A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I’m the second wife, Camila. I’d love to express my sincere gratitude for your kindness towards my Grint.”
Camila then opened her mouth, trying to speak more than Olivia.
(Yeah, yeah. I might’ve lost in talent as a son, but my mother overwhelmingly wins in beauty.)
Although he felt a bit miserable, in his heart he proudly laughed.
“Next is my eldest son, Ain. And this is my second son, Grint.”
Logas reached out and pushed both their backs.
The two of them briefly greeted him with a “Nice to meet you”, and bowed down their heads.
“I appreciate your kind words. I’m Aide Bruno. My mansion is in the Royal Capital, and I have been appointed to the position of Minister of Justice──A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Minister of Justice? Amazing. After hearing the title of the Marquis, Ain revealed a surprised face.
And then, the woman who was a step behind moved forward.
“I’m his wife, Naqoura. I’ve been looking forward to the day I would meet you.”
“……And lastly, this is Shanon, our only daughter. Come, say hello.”
The guest of honor in this meeting, the daughter of Marquis Bruno……Shanon took a step forward.
“A pleasure to make your acquaintance. I’m Shanon Bruno.”
The daughter of the Marquis, Shanon, bowed her head, wearing a cute dress.
Her slanted eyes and glossy and beautiful red hair coming down her shoulders made for a mesmerizing scene.
However, even though this was their first meeting, her smile felt somewhat cold.
(……I think she’s cute, but what’s this feeling?)
It was a hard to express feeling. But it was as if her smile didn’t come from the heart.
Seeing her face, no matter how he looked at her, she looked like a normal girl……
She then smiled at Ain.
It goes without saying than this caused Grint to get annoyed, however, Ain just returned an amiable smile.
“The future Heaven Knight of Heim, who is praised by the great Chief Commander Logas, Grint-sama. It’s my pleasure to meet you both.”
Her words, without a tinge of sarcasm, were well received by both Grint and Logas.
After those words were spoken, Olivia opened her mouth and spoke softly.
“Danna-sama. Ain and I will go take our seats, so please take your time.”
Afterward, Olivia placed her hand on Ain’s back.
Ain was also quite motivated to leave this place soon and nodded obediently to those words.
“Looks like you’re doing this for Shanon’s sake……”
“Not at all──Now, if you’ll excuse us, Ain and I will take out leave.”
For the Marquis, Olivia’s words sounded like spoken for the sake of politeness as she smiled and turned around.
“……Thank you kindly for this meeting. Olivia-sama, Ain-sama.”
Shanon spoke gracefully as they left, but Ain could only return a bitter smile.
After a little distance was placed between them, Olivia placed a hand on her forehead.
“Seriously……Everything is just about Grint……”
“It’s okay. I’m just happy to be with you, Okaa-sama.”
Rather, I wonder if you could just get divorced? In his mind, Ain had those indiscrete thoughts.
“……If you’re with me, Ain, that’s all I need.”
When he saw her with that smile like a goddess, he thought
that if he could stay with her, all those negative words he had heard could be easily ignored.
“In any case, Shanon-sama’s Blessing seems to be quite compatible with the Holy Knight skill.”
It was speculated that this was the reason why they wanted to tie her down with Grint in that engagement.
However, strangely enough, Ain didn’t physically like the girl called Shanon.
Hee…… Showing a little interest in his comment, Olivia asked a strange question.
“Ain? Even though your little brother just got engaged……You don’t seem to be very interested in it.”
“Yes. How to explain it, well, it’s not like I feel envious or anything.”
The strange feeling was difficult to put into words, so the answer was vague.
“I guess you’re right. ……What kind of girl do you like? ”
“Someone that’s like you, Okaa-sama.”
Rather, I just need Okaa-sama. Is what he wanted to answer.
Trying to hide his embarrassment, he walked ahead so that she couldn’t see his face.
“Oh my. If this wasn’t the mansion of another person, I would hug you right here and now……”
“……Please save it for later.”
I’ll be sure to remember. I’ll hug you later.
Feeling vexed, Olivia had that strong determination in her mind as she enjoyed her walk while humming.
“Ahh, that reminds me──”
Olivia smiled as she clapped her hands once.
“The job I told you about has been completed. I will tell you about it next time, Ain.”
“Job? ……Ahh! The one you employed adventurers and merchants in?”
“Yeah, that one. Next time we can relax I’ll tell you what kind of work it was.”
This incident was something that once cast a dark shadow over her heart, but now it was a story of the past.
As the two happily walked together, they set foot inside the Archduke’s mansion.
After that, they waited for Logas to come while enjoying the gorgeous sight of its interior.