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Chapter 141 – The Young Lady Named Sophie Linier ~ The Breakthrough of Lars Rydholm ~
After school, as Lars walked down the granite corridor in search of Sophie, his friend Aaron called out to him.
“I tried to put together the minutes of what we all discussed the other day. Wanna see?”
“You’re already done? That was fast.”
“I just put the conclusions of our discussion into words after all. Of course that wouldn’t take long.”
Aaron casually said that, but it was clear that he stayed up all night writing, given the faint dark circles under his eyes.
Thinking he had to appreciate his friend’s effort, Lars immediately read the contents of the dozens of sheets of paper. When Lars read the minutes that were written brilliantly, he nodded strongly.
“I don’t see any problem. But before submitting, let’s show it to Sophie-sama first.”
The moment Aaron tried to agree with Lars’ words, a high-pitched voice called them to stop.
“Fuhn, to think the eldest son of the Viscount Rydholm family is now a servant of a young lady of a baron family. I guess the fame of the Rydholm family has fallen to the ground.”
As Lars and Aaron were surprised by the sudden mockery and turned around to look, they saw several young men dressed in black standing there.
For the pair of gold stars, who were good at remembering people’s names and faces, they instantly recognized them as black stars, with their names and the pedigree of their family in their minds.
“—Daniel Beck-dono. Don’t you think your remark is very rude toward Sophie Linier-sama, the bearer of the purple star?”
The one who argued back was Aaron. Daniel Beck hailed from a count family. It was a remark that was said under consideration it would be better for him, who also hailed from a count family, to argue.
Daniel was frightened for a moment when his name and surname were called, but he immediately snorted with an irreverent expression.
“Isn’t that a fact?”
Aaron was about to argue back but stopped as Lars put his arm in front of him.
Lars slowly looked at the faces of the black stars and made a gentle smile like a gold star would.
“I am aware that for a young person to be granted the chance to work under a capable and intelligent young lady like Sophie-sama is something overwhelming and a great honor for me.”
“Hah, what honor is there in serving under a woman?! I heard how your engagements broke several times, but I get it now. It seems you just don’t have luck with women, do you?”
For Aaron, who understood how painful pointing that out was for Lars, his face became dyed in anger.
However, instead of being hurt by such words, Lars realized that he only just remembered the fact that he already broke his engagement three times when it got mentioned.
But it’s also thanks to that…
If Lars still had a fiancée, perhaps he wouldn’t get as close to Sophie as he was now.
If any of his fiancées chose to put up with Lars and continue the engagement, he might have grown into a man who kept stepping all over his quiet fiancée and insisting he wasn’t wrong at all.
Would a man like that be worthy to be the successor of the Rydholm family? Could he say he wasn’t embarrassed of himself as a person?
It’s not that I have bad luck with women. It is I who makes it bad…
With that in mind, he could consider the three broken engagements as meaningful events that would lead him to change himself.
Before Lars met Sophie, he would definitely not think such a thing. But now, he could think that way.
[“—Just like how it only took an instant for a person’s heart to change, it also only took an instant for a person to grow. You should never miss such an opportunity.”]
Lars suddenly recalled his father’s words. His father taught him a lot of things. However, Lars only heard a lot without understanding the meaning of those words all this time.
But if it was now, Lars felt he could understand the meaning of the words said at that time.
That’s right, I could change even more…
Lars thought he would spend his lifetime complaining about his situation. A person couldn’t change immediately, and only a few strong people wouldn’t feel afraid of the change, such was how the weak would think and would choose to rot in the status quo.
It seems I merely missed my opportunity for growth all this time.
When Lars realized that, it made him wonder why he couldn’t understand such a simple thing and couldn’t agree with his father’s words all this time.
Lars’ mouth naturally turned into a smile.
He was sure that person would also smile in this situation.
It would be a graceful smile at its finest.
“I am now regretting how childish I was for the lack of consideration and thoughtfulness back then. Sophie-sama made me aware of such weakness of my stupid self. Her words keep making me learn something new. Why don’t you try to learn something from Sophie-sama’s wisdom as well? If you keep looking down on the other party just because she is a woman and let that prejudice cloud your eyes and mind, you will be the one to lose in the end, you know?”
Just by thinking how Sophie would respond, Lars spoke eloquently.
Hearing that harsh ridicule, Daniel tried to open his mouth out of anger, but one of the black stars that accompanied him grabbed his hand.
“…Oi, let’s go.”
Suddenly, the black stars left, almost as if escaping, which made Lars and Aaron tilt their heads in confusion, and then a person appeared whistling. It was Marcus of the copper star.
“Wasn’t that cool of you, young master?”
Apparently, the people of the black star saw Marcus so they chose to leave.
Even if people of the black star looked down on copper stars as commoners, Marcus’ swordsmanship that earned him two stars possessed comparable strength with Gerald. Moreover, if only stamina was taken into consideration, Marcus’ was greater than Gerald’s.
If they challenged him in combat due to momentum, it was clear they would be defeated by Marcus and they would be the ones who would bear the shame. It was because of such thoughts that they chose to escape.
Lars immediately forgot about the black stars who looked down on him and his face immediately flushed. His expression lacked its earlier might.
“To think I got seen by Marcus-dono…! I just thought about how Sophie-sama would respond in such a situation so I just imitated her. That’s so embarrassing!”
“Aah, so that’s why…”
Marcus thought it was amazing that the Lars he knew actually said such sarcasm toward some black stars, but when he knew Lars was just imitating Sophie, he was immediately convinced.
I’m genuinely impressed by his high ability to learn and absorb things he has seen, but the person he imitated is just… thought Marcus with a wry smile.
“—But really, those fellows of the black star no longer bother with hiding their complaints toward ojou-san.”
It had been more than two weeks since Sophie came to “The King’s Sword.” Not only did the attitude of the black stars not soften, but it was also getting worse day by day.
As expected, they didn’t have the guts to directly attempt something on Sophie herself since she was the person granted the purple star by the first prince. So instead, they chose to hurl their sarcastic remarks toward people who followed Sophie.
“They are black stars, after all. They must have looked down on us gold stars. It seems we are underestimated by them.”
“Hearing your tone, does the same happen to the copper star?”
When Lars asked, Marcus nodded.
“There were some black stars picking fights with our guys as well.”
But, Marcus stopped his words there and then leaked a bigger sigh compared to Aaron earlier.
“Those black stars should at least pick a fight with a decent dude, but of all people, they actually pick a fight with that idiot Conrad… That black star who picked a fight with him must be an idiot as well, I’m sure of that!”
Marcus bluntly said so.
But according to Marcus, the black star said, “So you got baited with money. This is why commoners who lack pride are just troublesome,” which Conrad replied with, “Since it’s toward a significant person to me personally, of course pride is to be abandoned! Pride can’t fill my belly after all!” with a smile. Due to how unexpected the reply was, those sarcastic black stars couldn’t think of anything in response.
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