Chapter 28: An Invitation to the Battlefield (Beginning)

A month after we returned from the Lake Bjarnu investigation—

“Aah, Albert and Laura, come with me once class ends. Alright, today’s lesson is over.”

Our homeroom teacher Firvus asked us to follow him as he dismissed the class.

Laura and I exchanged glances, then followed behind Firvus as he exited the classroom.

“Hey, hey, follow me along.”

Firvus glimpsed backward.

“Do you need something from us?”

Laura asked a question.

“There’s someone I want you to meet for a bit. I can’t really say his name out loud, so let’s just leave it at that and look forward to it.”

Firvus placed his finger to his lips and grinned suggestively.

I wonder who it could be?

Firvus faced the reception room used for privileged guests.

“I’m coming in.”

Right after Firvus spoke, he opened the door and entered the room. We followed after him—

and made eye contact with the person inside.

“Hey, Albert. It’s been a while.”

A slender man wearing frameless glasses greeted us.

Naturally, I knew who this man was. He let me shoot him with my Magic Arrow during the entrance examination, after all.

However, the one who spoke his name was Laura.

“L-Lord Carlyle…!”

“Hello, hello. I haven’t seen Albert in a while. As for Laura, I think this is the first time we’ve spoken. Nice to meet you.”

The genius Royal Court Magician who commanded 700 spells sat on the sofa.

Laura and I greeted him back.

“You don’t have to be so stiff. You can treat this guy more crudely. Come on, sit right over there.”

While sitting on the sofa lateral to Carlyle, Firvus beckoned us to take a seat.

Laura and I sat facing Carlyle.

“Can I help you?”

“You’re rather hasty, Albert. I don’t dislike that, though. Well then, I’ll cut to the chase right away.”

After speaking, Carlyle took some documents from a nearby bag and placed them on the desk with a thud.

“Y’see, I want you to serve in a war.”

“Serve in a war…?”

I hadn’t been expecting to hear that word in the slightest.

As if enjoying my confused reaction, Carlyle smiled thinly and intently stared at my face.

“That’s right. The kingdom is thinking about expanding their military operations, so they want to recruit outstanding magicians to their army.”

“Me? Outstanding…?

“I’ve heard the news about your heroic deeds at Lake Bjarnu. I would absolutely love for you to display your abilities on the battlefield.”

The battlefield

In all honesty, I’m not up to the idea. I don’t like conflicts.

However…

“I’m just going to ask in advance, but is this an order from the kingdom?”

“Naturally.”

“Is that so? Then I have no reason to decline.”

I readily agreed.

Though I may have been exiled from my household, my origin is that of nobility. Loyalty to the kingdom and the king have been hammered into me since I was a child.

“…To be frank, I’m not inclined to fight against other humans.”

“Aah, don’t worry about that. I forgot to say, but the enemy isn’t human.”

After saying that, Carlyle pointed at one of the documents scattered across the table.

“The enemy is a lizardmen colony.”

“Lizardmen?”

Lizardmen are lizards who walk on two legs, similar to humans. They have imposing physiques, with males reaching heights of over two meters. They’re muscular and extremely strong.

“They have a considerably large colony… We’ve been unable to ignore their power for a while. However, there was an implicit, unspoken line that separated us. As long as both parties didn’t cross that line, neither of us would interfere with each other. However, as of late, they’ve begun breaching that line, y’see.”

“So that’s why the country has decided to deploy knights there.”

Carlyle shook his head in disagreement in response to what I said.

“We already did. They were subsequently annihilated.”

“—!?”

I was a little shocked. Lizardmen are indeed exceedingly powerful organisms at an individual level; Even a fully-fledged soldier would struggle to confront them directly.

However, they aren’t intelligent, and their weapons are unrefined.

A squad of well-trained knights commanded by a general should be able to defeat a lizardman with ease, but…

“They have something called a Crest Master.”

“A Crest Master?”

“They settled into the lizardman colony a little while ago. The lizardmen that the Crest Master inscribes a tattoo onto seem to evolve as a specimen… We can’t compete against them with half-hearted military strength.”

Carlyle breathed a long sigh.

“For these reasons, the kingdom can no longer ignore the strength of the lizardmen living in that wetland. We’ve decided to assemble a real army and beat the nearby lizardmen square in the face.”

“I see, so that’s why.”

“Which is why this is a battle to protect humans rather than kill them, y’see. Display your full power on the battlefield for me.”

“Understood.”

If that’s the case, then I have no reason to hesitate.

Carlyle shifted his eyes to the side.

“I want to have Laura jointly operate with Albert.”

“—Please wait.”

I wedged myself in before Laura responded.

“I… don’t really mind going, but Laura is a child. Taking along Laura to the battlefield is—”

“Hmm, so you’re the humane type, huh?”

Carlyle grinned broadly.

“But y’know, I want to cherish the feelings of the person in question. Laura, you know about your own village, right?”

“…Yes.”

“If you contribute to the kingdom as a magician, various royalty and nobility will surely think well of you. Does that not align with your wish?”

Laura nodded with a meek look on her face.

I remembered. The ancestors of Laura’s village were blood relatives of the Witch of Calamity, so they were neglected by the country.

She wanted to contribute to the country and improve the position of her village, even by a little.

That was Laura’s firm desire.

“Yes. I… want to be of use to the country.”

I knew that, so I couldn’t refute what Laura said.

Instead⁠—

I made a single oath in my heart.

“You just said I’d be taking Laura along, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“…Understood.”

Then, I’ll protect Laura.

I don’t believe myself to be outstanding, but⁠—If this Royal Court Magician is praising my accomplishments, and if Laura believes that I’m her hero⁠⁠⁠—then I must be doing something right. 

I’ll use that power to protect Laura.

“Let’s do our best, Laura.”

“Yes! Let’s, Albert!”

She looked at my face and gave me a sweet smile.


Aaaand that’s today’s third chapter, making up for yesterday’s missed one. I’ll be off to bed now, so goodnight.

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