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Chapter 151 – The Young Lady Named Sophie Linier ~ Miscalculation of Gerald Forsius~
The sound of steady footsteps echoed around Gerald.
That sound made him furrow his eyebrows in discomfort.
For Gerald, who had been trained since childhood, it was easy for him to walk while completely concealing the sound of his footsteps.
However, in this place alone, the sound of contact with the ground still echoed.
He had touched it before to check what kind of material it was made of, but the color and the shape seemed to be the same as any other stone, which made this place seem more eerie and made him reluctant to come to this place.
Said place—the library within “The King’s Sword”—was a peculiar building even in the kingdom. It had a long history and was said to have existed before the royal palace was built.
Its exterior was a circular structure, which was rare for the Orlando Kingdom, where most buildings were square or rectangular.
The atrium up on the third floor widened the view and gave a feeling of openness, but it was still a closed building with few windows and a single door, fewer than expected for one of its size.
The footsteps didn’t echo in the place where the brown carpet was laid, but on the places without carpet, the stone floor made sounds regardless of how careful he tried to step. There were a number of furnishings that were unnecessarily luxurious for students there. Be it the size of the building, the thickness of the wall, or the location of the bookshelves.
All of them felt unnatural to Gerald.
Perhaps it was because it was a building that was constructed during the era which was more savage than it was now? There were times Gerald felt there was some sort of different atmosphere only when he was inside the building.
His foolishness to be trapped by such an irrational idea seemed to highlight his immaturity, which made Gerald grind his teeth bitterly.
He had felt the place was dominated by such unexplainable feelings and foolish thoughts when he was still a student. Because of that, Gerald didn’t want to visit this library unless he had no other choice.
Ever since I became a paladin, I thought I wouldn’t need to visit this place anymore. I never thought the day I had to was already here.
But unlike him, it was a place that was liked by the person he was searching for.
It was especially the case since said person spent a lot of time in this place.
Gerald received two orders at the same time.
The first one was the order from the first prince.
It was to be the person in charge of escorting the purple star. That was, protecting Sophie Linier, the daughter of a baron family.
And the other one was—
“Hey. Since we couldn’t find him despite searching this much, don’t you think he isn’t here anymore for the day?”
A drowsy voice came from behind him.
“Evert. You didn’t have to come.”
Gerald turned around and curtly said so.
People of the same generation were usually frightened by and stiffened at Gerald’s emotionless voice.
But the person whom Gerald talked to wasn’t scared, on the contrary, he seemed to be having fun.
“It’s a mission that Gerald Forsius couldn’t do, you know? Of course I wanted to see it up close.”
The man who flipped his wavy, flax-colored hair and laughed happily spoke lightly, which was rare for a black star.
His name was Evert Orion. Although he hailed from a count family and was proficient enough in swordsmanship that he earned one black star, he had an unrestrained personality and had a reputation for being a philanderer despite actually having a fiancée. He was the complete opposite of Gerald and seemed to be the type of person who would have a hard time getting along with Gerald, but surprisingly, they were friends ever since their enrollment in “The King’s Sword.”
“We already searched everywhere in the building, so there’s nowhere else to look. Since it’s come to this, should we just strip the carpet and see if he is underneath?”
It was totally a joking tone in the situation.
His dark blue eyes were narrowed into an arch, and every time he laughed, the mole under his eye also moved up and down. Gerald turned his eyes to blame the man with a unique sex appeal and charm, but the person in question pretended to not notice anything.
Gerald sighed and started walking as he had no time to deal with his bad friend.
Gerald was impatient inwardly.
If the other order couldn’t be fulfilled, he wouldn’t be allowed to return to his original role.
Although Gerald had a small emotional range, he couldn’t stay calm this time around in the end.
I need to do something about it in the near future.
Gerald was aware that the other order was consuming his time, and he couldn’t escort the purple star properly because of that.
However, they were at “The King’s Sword.”
It was true that Gerald let his guard down because he thought there shouldn’t be any problem in a short period of time.
Yet he got pointed out by his father, which made Gerald keenly aware of his naïve outlook.
[“That meant it didn’t matter even if you weren’t there. That’s the judgment Sophie-sama gave to you.”]
The moment he was told that, the face of the girl who appeared quiet yet seemed to contain something unknown inside popped up in his mind.
She had jet-black hair and eyes the color of fresh young leaves. She also had adorable, round cheeks. In general, the girl gave a neat and young impression from her appearance.
But when she opened her mouth, she would spit out words he couldn’t imagine with clear eyes.
There should be a limit to how much a book doesn’t match its cover.
Why did both orders involve people I am not good with?
As he suppressed the words that almost came out of his mouth, he was called out by a firm voice. The one who called him was a student of the black star, Keith Dudley.
“I’m terribly sorry to visit despite your busy schedule, Gerald-sama. There’s something I’d like to consult with you…”
After Gerald graduated, it was Keith who became the de facto organizer of the black star, but because he was easily pushed around as a leader, Keith was quick to lower his head even when he called Gerald.
But that didn’t only apply to Keith, as most students would be afraid and speak with a stiff voice when they saw Gerald.
Even in the academy, the only people who weren’t afraid of Gerald were Evert and a few who stood beside him.
“Y-yes… That’s, regarding Sophie Linier-sama, I have a report about her.”
Considering Keith’s expression and voice, Gerald expected it wasn’t a good report, which made him frown.
“Before, Lars Rydholm made a fuss. Perhaps because he had fellow gold star students around, his mouth became loose. And then, Lars Rydholm told Sophie-sama in the dining hall…”
Ever since Keith called Gerald, Keith had been wondering whether or not to tell Gerald, but he closed his mouth at that point and his gaze wandered around.
When Gerald urged him to go ahead, Keith seemed to gain his resolve and opened his heavy mouth.
“To… Sophie-sama, he insulted her, saying, ‘I guess the baron family didn’t give her enough food since she has such a miserable chest’.”
Gerald’s expression stiffened when Keith reported it all at once.
It was unexpected for Gerald, after all.
In men’s social gatherings such as salons and cafés, it was common for them to exchange insults toward women, but when the other party was the girl of the purple star, the story became different. Ridiculing another party’s physical characteristics couldn’t be settled as a mere joke.
“That’s amazing. As expected, even I wouldn’t say that much.”
In contrast to Gerald, who lost his complexion, Evert squeezed out such words with a bright voice.
“Is it something to be laughed at?!”
In the short and low rebuke, Gerald’s serious anger could be felt, which made Evert immediately make a light apology. However, he put his finger on his lips as if to make fun of it.
“Those gold star fellows seemed to have got their mouths a little loose because the lady is quite cute. Isn’t everything fine if the person in question doesn’t know about it?”
“No, that’s the worst part. Sophie-sama was present back then.”
Keith continued to cover Evert’s words.
Evert, who made that carefree remark since he thought the person in question didn’t actually hear it, now had his mouth hanging open stiffly, and beside him, Gerald had his palm on his forehead, seemingly feeling dizzy.
“Uwah, seriously? Making such an insult toward the purple star… worst case scenario, wouldn’t he get executed?”
Ignoring Evert, who tilted his neck, Gerald rushed to Keith.
“When did it happen? Why didn’t you report it earlier?!”
He couldn’t help but keep his tone low.
Just like Keith, Gerald didn’t receive such a report from Luca Forsell, who also served as Sophie’s escort. Needless to say, there was no such word from Sophie herself as well.
“I’m terribly sorry! Sophie-sama made an order as the purple star to forget both Lars Rydholm and her own remark back then! …My life might be in danger if I was found reporting it.”
Keith’s complexion was terribly bad.
It was as if the scythe of the god of death was placed on his neck.
“Hey, isn’t that great! That means there isn’t a problem, right?”
“Yes… if there were a problem, we would likely be blamed for it instead.”
Contrary to Evert, who felt relieved that a criminal didn’t come into being at “The King’s Sword” from the short time the girl was appointed as the purple star, Keith’s complexion was getting worse.
“What’s wrong with you?”
Evert asked Keith, whose complexion gradually paled, but Keith’s eyes were completely dead.
It was as if he felt the countdown to his own death.
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