I spoke to Laura at the academy cafeteria.
“Congratulations on your emblem, Laura.”
“Thank you very much, Albert!”
An end-term exam was being held just the other day at the academy.
I already had the Iron Emblem, so I was exempted from the test. Laura had yet to receive one, so she was taking the advancement test.
The result: she passed.
There was a Stone Emblem on Laura’s collar.
“It was thanks to Mr. Firvus’ one-on-one lessons!”
When we were serving in the war earlier, Firvus tagged along with us as a supervisor, but he also came under the pretense to instruct us as well.
For that reason, Laura received one-on-one lessons from Firvus during days we weren’t fighting.
“Weell… I think Laura would pass even if I didn’t teach her…”
Despite saying this and that, Firvus seemed to enjoy teaching Laura, who had a good attitude and fast understanding of concepts.
By the way, I—
“As if there’s anything I could teach you. Go and sit in the corner and read Magic Arrow spellbooks or something.”
—was treated heartlessly. After I did as he told me to, I felt like my understanding of Magic Arrow deepened another level.
Laura changed the subject.
“Come to think of it, it’s almost summer break. What are you gonna do, Albert?”
Those words made me remember something unpleasant.
Laura looked at my face and spoke in a panic.
“W-W-W-What’s wrong, Albert!? You look like you’re about to die!”
Did my face look that bad…? You can’t really blame me, though.
“…I’m gonna return to my parent’s home…”
I responded with a slightly depressed voice.
Father remembered our conversation during our audience with the king. He contacted me after returning to his territory, and he requested that I return home once summer break started.
In all honesty, I wasn’t really up to the idea.
To begin with, my parents’ house was uncomfortable for me. I was compared to my brilliant younger brother since childhood, and I was even laughed at by employees behind my back.
And now I’m going back there—
A sigh reflexively escaped from my mouth.
“I don’t want to go back if possible, though.”
I felt my hand, which was sitting on the table, stiffen.
Something warm gently wrapped around my hand.
Laura had put her hand on top of mines.
“…I know that you don’t have good memories of your parents’ home. You opened your heart up and told me, after all.”
Laura gave me a smile, which looked like the soft rays of the sun.
“However, I believe lots of things have been changing since ten years ago, just as you have been, Albert. That’s why I think things won’t end up the same as last time. You’re such a wonderful person, after all.”
Because of Laura’s words—
I felt the worries in my heart become lighter.
The words spilled from my mouth.
“Uh, if it’s okay with you, won’t you come together with me to my parents’ house?”
Laura widened her eyes, seeming shocked.
“By your parents’ house, you mean… the marquis’ house…!?”
“Huh, no, uh… A commoner like myself, would—”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll formally invite you. I won’t allow anyone to complain.”
I finished the rest of my proposal.
“It’d be a huge relief if you came… No, I want you to come. I apologize for being so pathetic for my age, but—I’m scared. It’s been 10 years since I’ve seen my father, and it’s been 10 years since I went back home… But if there was someone I knew nearby, then I might feel a little more at ease.”
Laura intently listened to what I said.
I didn’t want her to refuse—That’s what I thought. If Laura was there, then there wouldn’t be anything more reassuring.
However, this had nothing to do with her. Her precious summer break would end up going to waste. It couldn’t be helped if she turned me down.
After listening to everything with a stiff face, Laura—
spoke like she was embarrassed.
“If you tell me all that… then I won’t be able to decline.”
“I’m indebted to you, after all! If someone like myself would be of use, then please take me along!”
“…You saying that makes me happy.”
I then realized my own thoughtlessness.
“Ah! Did you have any plans on returning to your village for summer break?”
“…Weell, I was going to, but it’s alright. I don’t really need to rush back.”
“Wouldn’t your parents be worried?”
“N-No… I think they’d rather be in favor for it—”
Laura replied in a fluster while blushing.
…Why is she blushing?
I realized something. Laura’s father said something like this with a dead serious look:
—I want you to take my daughter as your bride.
A man and young girl were requested to marry each other, now they would spend their summer breaks together, and then they would even be brought along to his parents’ house. This situation was everything Laura’s father could’ve hoped for.
The moment I realized that, I went into a blatant panic. I hurriedly withdrew the hand that was touching Laura’s.
“L-L-L-L, Laura! T-That isn’t what I meant by this! T-That isn’t what I meant at all, alright!? D-Don’t misunderstand!”
“Y-Y-Y-Y, Yes! O-O, Of course! T-This is as friends! For the sake of my troubled friend! I’m just tagging along! Yes!”
We both saw each other’s weirdness—
and we both laughed at the same time.
“I’m asking you as a friend. Laura, come together with me.”
“Yes, of course!”
I held my hand out, and Laura shook it back.
Today’s chapter. This one was really rushed, I apologize if it’s low quality. Luckily this is just a filler transition for the next book. I’ll be busy tomorrow as well so I can only do 1 chapter. After that it’ll be the usual 2 a day. See you guys then.