Laura was waiting for me after I finished my talk with Father, so I told her the details of it.
Laura’s grave-looking face gradually brightened up as I told her what happened. Once I finished telling her everything, she spoke in a bouncy, cheerful voice.
“You made up with him!”
“I don’t know if you can call that making up, but—”
The making up part will probably start from here. We’ll be filling the 10 year void between us bit by bit after spending a long time with each other.
“It’s more like we’ve made up our minds to put in the work to make up.”
“That’s wonderful! Seriously!”
Laura rejoiced as if this was her problem.
Laura had a great relationship with her family. To her, having strong familial bonds was natural, and she probably knew how much of a blessing it could be.
That’s why she was worried sick for me, as I wasn’t as fortunate.
“…On that note, I have something to ask you, Laura.”
“What is it?”
“You see, I’ve decided to go on a journey.”
“I’m thinking of touring around the Luminous lands during this summer break. I want to know more about the territory that raised me—the territory that I’ll be inheriting.”
“I think that’s a great idea!”
“…If you’d like, won’t you come with me? Of course, if you wanna return to your vil—”
“I’ll come with you!”
She responded so enthusiastically that it sounded almost forceful.
“I want to see Albert’s hometown as well!”
“I see. I’m happy to hear it.”
I said that from my heart.
When I announced to Father that I’d be going on a journey, the journey I envisioned was one with Laura, not by myself.
No matter what happened, I’d always be with Laura.
It felt like something was out of place when Laura wasn’t by my side.
“Let’s depart tomorrow. We’re gonna be traveling on a budget, so enjoy the rich marquis life while you can today.”
“It’s alright! Whether it be in a grass field or under the eaves of a building, I’ll be able to sleep!”
Laura spoke, her words filled with willpower.
“Your traveling expenses.”
Sebastian spoke, placing a cloth bag brimming with enough gold coins that it made a loud clattering noise in front of me.
…Did I say budget? With this, we’d be able to stay in a suite wherever we’d like.
The next day, Sebastian called for me as I was getting ready to depart in my room. He greeted me in a hurry and brought something out.
“…That’s a lot of money.”
“It’s a farewell gift from the Master. He says to get a good look of the Luminous territory.”
…He’s a little too concerned for me. It feels like he’s being a little overprotective…
“This is too much for me to accept.”
When I was living alone, I went to the capital myself and bought my daily necessities. My money sense is close to commoners.
“You have a duty to accept this, Lord Albert.”
“You are the successor to the Luminous household. We cannot let you die on the roadside in the middle of nowhere.”
“…Even so, this is too much…”
I wasn’t really up to it, but I decided to accept it. We’d probably just argue back and forth even if I declined.
“Please take this as well.”
Sebastian then placed a thin wooden board in front of me.
The Luminous family crest was carved onto the board.
I knew what this was. I had this before I was banished from the house.
This was proof that the person in possession of it was a part of the household carved on the board.
It’d seem easy to forge if it only consisted of a family crest carved onto a board, but it has a built-in appraisal mechanism made from magic, so any fakes would be immediately exposed after an examination. In addition, a report would be sent to the household of the noble in question after the board is shown. If the noble didn’t recognize the person with the board, then a follow-up background check would await them.
If the fake is exposed, then the punishment is death.
Pretending to be one of the prominent nobles that acted as the cornerstone of the country is a heavy sin.
“In the case that you run out of traveling funds, please present that to the territory government. Additional funds shall be transferred to you.”
“…I don’t think we’ll ever be running out of money, but I’ll be taking that.”
I accepted the board carved with the Luminous crest.
“Is that it?”
“Yes. That is all I’ve been told to hand over to you.”
After a brief interval, Sebastian continued to speak.
“I have a question not from the Master, but from myself.”
“What is it?”
“It’s about your school friend, Miss Laura.”
“Yes. She is only a friend—is what I’ve been told, but do you have anything to add to that explanation?”
“…Sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re saying?”
“Then allow me to rephrase that.”
Sebastian intently stared into my eyes and continued.
“Are you lovers or something of the like?”
I slammed the desk with a bang and raised my voice.
“Of course we aren’t!”
I then instantly recollected myself and bowed my head to Sebastian in a panic.
“Sorry… I got too excited…”
“I don’t mind. I’m aware I asked something rude.”
Sebastian spoke, his facial expression completely unchanging.
“Is it alright for me to presume that you are truly just school friends?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. We’re really, really just friends.”
Both me and Laura were isolated; We bore the burdens of the past which were hard to tell other people about.
That’s why we swore to each other.
That we’d always be friends.
That no matter what happens, we’d help and confide in each other.
The only word fitting to signify that relationship of ours is friends.
“Is that so… I understand.”
“Why did you go out of your way to ask such a thing?”
“Because Albert is the inheritor to the Luminous household.”
I finally understood what Sebastian was getting at after he told me that.
Sebastian took a short pause, waiting for his words to sink in. He then continued to speak.
“It goes without saying, but the family head’s top priority is the preservation of the family bloodline. In other words, it’s to create children. You must carefully choose your marriage partner, one worthy to the lineage of a marquis household.”
That’s all Sebastian said.
The implicit meaning behind what he said was as so:
A commoner such as Laura cannot possibly become your companion.
“If you are friends, then there are no problems. Please be careful as to not go further than your current relationship. A partner worthy of Lord Albert shall be introduced in the future.”
After saying that, Sebastian bowed and exited the room.
Alone in my room, I became aware of the unfamiliar feelings filling my heart.
I thought it must’ve been anger, but it felt different. That’s because Laura and I were truthfully nothing more than friends.
“Please don’t date each other.”
“No, we’re really just friends.”
That’s all our conversation amounted to. There was nothing to be mad about.
An unpleasant feeling was festering in my chest.
I wondered what this meant.
Unable to find a satisfactory answer, I finished preparing for the journey and headed towards the front door.
A white-haired girl was standing at the end of the large hall with her luggage placed by her feet. Once she saw me, she waved her hand back and forth.
“ALBEEEERT! YOU’RE LAAAAATE!”
With a cheerful face, and a cheerful voice—
She called my name.
At that moment—
The cloudy skies of my heart cleared like the summer skies.
“Sorry for making you wait, Laura.”
I stood in front of Laura.
“What’s wrong? You looked kinda depressed.”
“No, it’s nothing. It wasn’t anything major.”
I shook my head.
“…Laura. We’re both friends, right?”
“Huh? Yeah, we are? Isn’t that obvious! You’re weird, Albert!”
Laura laughed after saying that.
We made a promise—of course we were friends.
Laura probably wished the same thing.
That’s right. Everything’s alright.
Laura and I were friends—we’d be together from here on out as well.
Eventually, some young lady from who-knows-where will appear by my side. Even so, my friendship with Laura wouldn’t waver.
However, that explanation wasn’t enough.
I couldn’t convince my own heart.
This sense of unease wouldn’t go away.
Someone besides Laura would appear by my side—I seriously couldn’t picture that in the slightest.
The one who should be by my side is—
I shook my head.
I didn’t need to think about it. The relationship between Laura and I is that of friends.
“Alright, let’s go on a journey, Laura!”
We pushed open the Luminous household door.
Today’s chapter. I didn’t upload yesterday cuz I didn’t have the mental energy to translate, sorry. I think I’ll just not post anything on sat/sun, 10 chapters a week is looking like my limit for now. Anyway I’ll post later today, see you guys then.