—I’d like to talk with you for a bit.
The boy who called out to me like so went by the name of Kyria Grandor. His long, green hair was tied into a ponytail and dangled in front of his shoulder.
The Grandor household of dukedom.
I was also one of the numerous nobility, and I knew of the duke households that served as the kingdom’s pillar of support.
His school uniform wasn’t any different than ours, but the aura he carried himself with was on a different level. It must’ve been because of the refinement and pride on Kyria’s face; however, there wasn’t any hint of unpleasantness.
He possesses the attributes to stand as someone above all others, as smoothly as he did naturally.
…I suppose the time’s finally come…
Feeling somewhat gloomy, I came to grips with the current situation.
I enrolled into this academy as a commoner. However, the fact that I was the son of the Luminous household was exposed right before summer break.
I was the successor to a marquis household who suddenly appeared out of nowhere—
as well as a person of distinguished service in the previous battle.
Rumors about me must’ve been making the rounds through the high society of nobles. If their children were attending this academy, they would order them to do as so:
Become acquainted with Albert.
The first wave of such noble children have arrived at last.
I could understand why it was Kyria Grandor who came first. He was the mediator of sorts for this class—or rather, the entire student body of freshmen nobles.
They likely had various behind-the-scenes discussions and appointed him as the glorious first in line thereafter.
To be completely honest, I wasn’t very up to this.
However, I made a promise with Father.
I swore I would become the next head of the Luminous household of marquisate.
In that case, conducting myself as a noble where I needed to act as a noble was probably part of that promise.
I was being invited by someone from a duke household, which was of the highest rank.
There was no way I could refuse.
“…What is it?”
I faced Kyria and asked like so.
Laura spoke up in a panic.
“I-I-I’ll be on my way!”
Laura left in a hurry.
…She’s looking out for me, huh… I did something bad to her. This was where Laura was sitting, though.
However, that was how any commoner would react.
In the first place, the fact that Laura—a commoner—and I—a noble—talk to each other normally was abnormal in itself.
On the other hand, Kyria began speaking, seemingly thinking that he didn’t do anything wrong.
“I’m glad you said that.”
It was like he never paid any attention to Laura’s existence from the start.
However, that was how any noble would react.
Nobles cared not for commoners. Naturally, it varied person by person; but it seems like Kyria was your typical noble.
…I’ve been a little too detached from noble society… I’m not accustomed to the thought of looking down on commoners at all…
Without paying any heed to my state of mind, Kyria continued to speak.
“Allow me to introduce you to this person right here.”
Kyria then gestured to a student standing behind him with his hand.
There stood a boy of taller height than Kyria. He was thin, but quite muscular, and he wore glasses; he seemed like the diligent type.
“He’s the son of a viscount household that’s acquainted with my family—my childhood friend. His name is Fay Rockwell.”
“The name’s Fay. Nice to meet you.”
Fay spoke quietly and held his hand out to me.
I shook his hand in kind.
…By the way, Fay—a viscount—was lower in rank than me—a marquis—but he could speak casually to me without any problems for the same reasons that I could speak casually to Kyria, who was a duke.
Fellow nobles were allowed to speak casually with each other if they were students.
However, the same doesn’t apply when at home, where a master-servant relationship exists. Fay most likely speaks politely to Kyria otherwise.
Naturally, some people spoke politely, regardless of whether there was a master-servant relationship or not. There were also cases where people spoke casually because they knew each other through a master-servant relationship, but that depended on the person.
Kyria made a sweet smile.
“…How’s your student life been, Albert?”
…That’s exactly what I’d expect a noble to pick as a conversation topic.
He completely ignored everything—from my battle against the lizardmen and my summer break after reconciling with my parents—that he wanted to ask and started off with something bland and inoffensive.
I’d never mistake this feeling of keep away for anything else.
I played the same game of keep away as I responded.
With Laura, I spoke whatever came to mind; we always had openhearted conversations—enjoyable conversations where we went back and forth.
When I thought back to that, this was truly a depressing conversation in contrast. Armed with spears and shields, we probed and poked at each other for information and openings as we conversed.
Although I wasn’t as shrewd as Alencia was, I was able to hold my own in these sorts of situations back in the day, but—I just couldn’t seem to get the words out as I’d like.
However, I needed to get accustomed to this.
This is what it meant to become the head of a noble family, after all.
It’s been two weeks since then.
Like always, Kyria leisurely called out to me.
“Hey, Albert. Won’t you have lunch with me?”
I stood from my seat and tagged along with Kyria and the others.
As the days went by, Kyria approached me more frequently and spent more time with me.
As of now, it’s come to the point of having lunch with him every day.
Other noble children were waiting for us when we arrived at the cafeteria.
“You’re late, Kyria!”
“It ain’t the same without the main guest, you know!”
“Albert! Over here, over here~!”
They made an uproar, saying this and that and yada yada yada.
The group of nobles began noisily conversing with each other.
I sat next to Kyria, which was my usual spot. They were young and a little rowdy, but they were all sociable and skilled at conversation; I wouldn’t have expected any less from people of noble birth.
However, I couldn’t grow accustomed to any of this at all.
I end up remembering—
about my student life 10 years ago.
I enrolled into the academy as the eldest son of a marquis household. That lineage of mine gave me plenty in the way of social relations.
But when they learned that I was inferior as a magician…
When they learned that my far more brilliant younger brother was more likely to be the successor…
My relationships with the nobles that had gotten close to me fell apart in an instant.
I had only two friends that remained: Lucard and Flin.
I knew how coldhearted nobles could be.
They directed smiles at me because they found value in me and my household, attempting to maintain their flimsy relationships with me.
I got the same feeling from them as I did from the nobles that all vanished from my sight 10 years ago.
There was one more thing that had me distressed.
It was Laura.
Ever since I got involved with Kyria, I stopped spending time with Laura. Kyria wouldn’t associate with a commoner like Laura, and Laura was avoiding me out of consideration as to not bother me.
I’ve always been with Laura.
If I become unable to meet with her—
then she’ll end up becoming completely alone.
I felt terrible whenever I saw her eating all alone in the cafeteria until recently, even though we’d usually be merrily making conversation.
I haven’t seen her at the cafeteria these past few days. It seems like she stopped coming.
Before we started attending the academy, this is what I said to her:
You’ll probably make a bunch of friends the same age as you. When that time comes, don’t hesitate to jump over to their circle.
…I never would’ve thought that we’d end up in opposite positions…
I didn’t want to bring my relationship with Laura to an end.
But I didn’t know what I should do.
Asking for Laura to be included in this group—was probably out of the question. I knew these nobles wouldn’t ever approve of that, and there was absolutely no way a commoner like Laura would enjoy being here in the first place.
—No matter where it may be, I’ll always be your friend. I swear it—I will never break this promise, no matter what may happen.
I needed to keep my promise with Laura, no matter what.
And yet, I was failing to do so.
However, I had my position as the next head of my family—I couldn’t just throw that away.
My relationship with the nobles.
My relationship with Laura.
How should I go about balancing the two…?
With a smile, Kyria shifted the conversation to me.
“Wasn’t the previous conversation hilarious, Albert?”
“…Yeah, it really was.”
I quietly smiled and gave a bland response.
Am I really going down the right path in the end?
Today’s first chap. Will post the second later today or early tomorrow, depending on how fast I translate it. See you guys then.