Chapter 34 ─ Surprise Mission
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New chapter dear readers.

Actually, it took me a while to upload it because I finally managed to update the drivers on my potato and I can run the Nier Automata game and appreciate the perfection of the one who gave me the meme of Ixion waifu.

So you know what happens if I don't post for a while.

I can't think of anything to meme, so I upload fanservice of Rose who hasn't given that for a while: https://chan.sankakucomplex.com/es/post/show/31916683

After rushing to his office, Calvin found Diethard standing looking at the picture of the former king of the principality.

Diethard saw him and prostrated himself to greet him.

"It is a pleasure to see you healthy my king."

"Enough of the formalities. Tell me, did you manage to find out anything?"

Diethard smiled in a very ghoulish manner.

"I did."     

November was progressing normally until one day...

"Go to the palace?"

Rei, Rose and Eli were in a room at the academy drinking tea.

A maid from the academy came to report that Rei was wanted by a palace official.

Rose took the message as Rei was lying on a couch.

After we got rid of Bertram, it seems the Bartolt family filed a complaint.

Someone in the palace threatened them, was what the knight who released Rei from interrogation told us.

Rose came and I told Rei the message.

He looked at Eli who was also surprised.

"I can't know the reason why they are calling you."

"In that case, let's go over there."

Rei said after standing up and stretching his arms to the sky.

Rose and Eli approached him and he activated his ability.

"Teleportation."

In less than a blink of an eye we appeared in the center of the ministers' room.

There, several men were arguing, startled to see us suddenly appear.

"E-Eli?"

We heard a voice, we all turned to look and saw the king, Eli's father in surprise.

Eli hadn't seen his father in quite a while, she ran to greet him.

"Otou-samaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

Seeing a cute princess greet her father was heartwarming.

"You're Reidel-kun right?"

Suddenly, a man similar to Isaac, but with a beard and hair like a Japanese office guy approached us.

Rose answered in Rei's place.

"Yes. This person is Reidel Redblade. You are?"

"Nice to meet you at last. I'm Nigel Ashton, ah, Isaac's father."

"It's nice to meet you too."

Rose's manners were perfect, you could hardly think she was a servant.

Nigel suggested we follow him.

"I'm so sorry about this, but please escort me to a separate room."

Rose looked at Rei waiting for his approval and he simply nodded.

Eli stayed with his father giving him his affection that she couldn't do in months.

We entered a room designed for important visitors.

"Have a seat, I'll get tea."

They sat down as Nigel walked out.

Rose asked Rei quietly.

"What do you think it is? The palace calling you must be something big."

At which Rei just dug his finger into his nose before answering.

"It must be nothing."

After a while of waiting.

Nigel arrived with a tea set.

He poured one for each of them and before taking a pour he revealed the reason for being here.

"I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but something serious has happened just now."

"What is it?"

Rose asked intrigued, Nigel answered her as he pulled out a map.

"A few days ago we learned that some villages belonging to the borders of the Kingdom have been attacked."

"The culprits we assume are bandits."

"But... it's possible they're not and it's just them doing their own thing."

"Them?"

"The principality."

Rose was surprised, I was too.

(The principality is on the move, eh?)

(It's still too early for Calvin to attack. He must gather a vast army like in the game to attack us.)

Nigel continued.

"These villages are affiliated with the Kingdom since they were suffering under corrupt nobles and after the Harrisburg affair like Catley, we were able to get rid of them."

"For that reason, we thought, who was responsible for solving such a problem?"

Rose was the one who answered.

"Duke Redblade."

"Exactly. The Duke."

Nigel looked at Rei.

"That's why we wanted to ask the duke, who solved two problems. He can take care of this one."

Rose showed her anger when she heard how the palace wanted to order Rei to get rid of his enemies.

"I'm sorry to tell you this. But he is currently not capable of doing that."

"Even if he has eliminated the Six Fingers and the Bartolt's eighth son?"

Rose knew she couldn't argue in the face of that.

She didn't want Rei to be in danger.

"I understand."

Rei spoke out of nowhere.

"They want to try to have me as their dog. It won't work, I live by myself and no one else."

"I'll go solve this problem just for this."

Rei pointed to the map, there it could be seen that one of the attacked places was in duchy territory.

"Those wretches attacked my territory, I will not forgive them."

"I will find them and annihilate them."

Nigel nodded.

"Perfect. I will inform His Majesty the king now. Your reward will be decided when you return."

Nigel left.

Rose turned to look at Rei with a slightly sad look on her face.

"Why do you want to cry?"

Rei's insensitive one asked.

She answered by turning her face away from him.

"You'll do something dangerous again."

Rei hugged her and whispered in her long ear.

"I won't. This time it will be different. I just plan to scare them so they won't screw around anymore."

"Besides, I won't go alone."

"You're not going alone?"

Rose asked curiously.

Me too.

"Rei. What do you mean by that?"

"You'll see."

He smiled as he said that.

"So... why are we here?"

Sig asked as he was brought from the academy along with an interesting group of people to the palace.

Those people were...

"Come on, come on. Let's hear what the duke has to say." (Alfred)

"If Rei sent for us. It's because it must be something big." (Oliver)

"My body still hurts a little, I'd appreciate it if it's something quick." (Isaac)

"I don't see the princess. She must be somewhere else." (Nadine)

"The princess is with their majesties talking." (Emma)

"... W-What am I doing in the palace?" (Zoey)

"That's what I'd like to know. Why me?" (Sasha)

"..." (Fionn)

Rei brought not only all our acquaintances from the academy, but also all the characters from the game.

What was he planning?

The door suddenly opened and Eli walked in.

"I made it, I got permission!"

Sig asked her.

"What are you talking about Eli?"

At which she replied.

"Okaa-sama allowed me to go with you only if a captain accompanies us."

"Go? Go where?"

It was there that Rei revealed his reason for being here.

"Huhh. I wish I had more encouragement to say this so I'll use as much as I can to say it."

"All of us will embark on the mission to eliminate the bandits, aka possible soldiers of the principality, so they can stop screwing around once and for all."

At that moment, everyone did the same in unison.

"What did you saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!"

Prince Sig came running over to Rei and grabbed him by the shoulders.

"Hey! What's this about going to get rid of bandits who might be the principality, hey!"

"I ask the same thing! Why do you wish to involve the princess?"

Nadine looked angrier than Sig. In fact, her eyes were bloodshot.

Rei answered her after pulling her away from his face.

"It's not that I want to take her, she offered herself. Even Rose said so."

Nadine turned to look at Rose who smiled at her.

"Unlike before where he was willing to do it all by himself, this time he asked for help."

"Asked for help? You mean this is his way of asking for help?"

"He's not the most expressive person in the world. But it's enough for me if he stops wanting to be alone."

Rose's smile was all wifely, Nadine sighed.

"Well. You might say I owe you one for lightening my load before the final showdown."

"Emma, will you go?"

Nadine and Rose turned to look at Emma who was wiping Eli's mouth which was covered in food crumbs.

"I'll go wherever the princess is going."

"I'll go too, I can't leave Eli alone."

"Sig, I don't think that was something she would wonder about. What's more, them letting the crown prince go in and of itself is kind of crazy."

Alfred commented after wanting to see the fun in the situation.

Oliver and Isaac always agree, only he was missing.

Fionn was just like Rei in a depressed mode, his confidence that he always radiated was gone.

I imagine Rei brought him in to support him in some way and get him through this... although he has never had a conversation with him.

Rose rallied everyone with her voice.

"Since you all agreed I'd like to tell you that the outing will be on the weekend."

"If we don't find anything in those three days, we'll be back Monday morning."

"There is still the wait to find out which captain will send the palace with us."

(Wait Rose, do you take Fionn's silence as acceptance?)

◇◇◇

They all gladly agreed to go find the bandits and stop them once and for all.

But why did Fionn agree?

This happened after Bertram's.

Fionn was in his bed when Rose came to visit him.

They didn't know each other, but Rose watched the duel and of all the students, Fionn was the most qualified to be at the forefront.

"Hi. I'd like to talk to you about something."

"..."

Fionn didn't respond.

"You see, we are planning to go on a search for a possible enemy, I observed your talent and would like to ask you to go with us. Of course, we'll pay you so you don't have to worry about money if you accept."

"What's more. My Master is a rich man, the sum of money is no problem."

"Even that wouldn't do."

"I... lost."

"That day I lost in a match and then I lost the chance to enter the royal knights. My future as a knight is ruined."

"It doesn't need to be that way."

Rose explained to him.

"The complaint was according to Oliver's father, your actions."

"That is, for not working as a team to defeat a strong opponent and even fouling a fellow knight who might be in a similar situation."

"That was the reason for the rejection. So if you join us that day, you will gain the teamwork you failed to achieve and even help your country."

Fionn's eyes widened at hearing that.

"I... I can have a chance again..."

A smile etched itself on his face.

This encouraged him a little to keep going.

◇◇◇

Returning to the instant where everyone was conversing about exploration, a mysterious figure was watching them.

The day of exploration arrived.

We arrived at the edge between civilization and the forest.

Everyone was changed into camping clothes, it is true that we are going to the forest and they are not expert soldiers, was that clothing necessary?

Eli is the most striking, her clothes are pink. She looks like a huge marshmallow.

I said to Rei.

"Hey, are you really going to take Eli? I feel like even her clothes might glow if it gets dark."

"She wanted to go, she said she doesn't want to leave Rose."

They have become very close.

"I understand. By the way, that captain really delays."

"I know. We've been here for almost an hour."

Everyone else was getting impatient as well.

I noticed Alfred pointed off in the distance.

"Look, someone's coming."

In the distance we noticed a horse approaching.

No, it was two horses.

Two men were riding them, one of them was a stranger and the other was...

"Captain Bret?!"

They all said in surprise.

In less than two minutes they arrived near us.

The man next to Bret, a guy who is not a character in the game, introduced himself.

"Sorry for the delay, we had to get a few things together as it was suddenly ordered the captain to come."

Sig came out front to speak.

"I understand. We appreciate a captain giving us his help."

"..."

The subordinate waved goodbye to him.

"Well captain, we'll see you Monday if nothing happens."

"..."

There was no response from Bret.

He just stared intently at the front.

It seemed from the beginning he was motivated to work.

Wow, this guy is more competent than I thought.

◇◇◇

Bret was in a bind.

(What am I doing here?)

I remember yesterday afternoon I was drinking at my favorite bar and suddenly my subordinates came screaming.

"Captain, you won't believe it!"

"The palace has selected you to be the escort for the princess and crown prince on a mission! Isn't it great?"

Hearing that, everyone in the bar froze, including Bret himself who dropped his burger from his hands.

He tried to make excuses for not going, but in the end was ignored as they wanted to give him more confidence after what everyone heard happened at the duel.

Bret's popularity was growing, this made his stomach growl for it because of the intestinal pain.

The man accompanying him was the vice-captain, he would be in charge of the squad while Bret was away.

In the end he had no choice but to come along.

He was helped down by his second in command due to the fact that he thought Bret was so excited that he wasn't paying attention to his surroundings.

After handing him his pack and sword, he took his leave.

"That would be all. See you Captain, Your Highnesses, students."

"..."

Now that everyone was gathered, they proceeded to raid inside.

◇◇◇

After they all entered the forest.

A hooded figure was following them from afar.

That figure was Sieghart.

Why was he following them?

That was because of what happened on the very day of Rei's confirmation when they entered the forest.

Sieghart had been summoned by the king, it was night.

The two of them were alone.

"Do you need something your majesty?"

"Sieg, I need a favor."

The king looked at him very serious as he said.

"I want you to be the one to accompany my children on that expedition."

"... Your Majesty, may I say something."

"Sure."

"Thank you. Are you sure about sending them?"

Sieghart's question was valid.

Sending the crown prince and in case something happened to him, sending the princess as well, are things a king and father would not allow.

The king stared at him, after thinking about it for a while he told him the truth.

"Right now, we are in a very severe internal conflict."

"Nick has found indications that both the church and the Bartolt family are making strange moves lately."

Nick was Sasha's father who held the position of finance minister before what happened to Joachim Catley.

He was currently working as a civil servant to regain the trust of others in him.

Sieghart nodded.

"I understand. They are doing their own thing."

"That's not all, the Bartolts are angry about the death of one of their family members. We know we can't deliver the duke's head, but they even with that wouldn't appease them as they are opportunists and look for any excuse to extend their hands."

"Same thing with the church, that boy and some of his companions were baptized. Which apparently pissed them off and they want apologies."

"That doesn't make sense."

"I know. But they still demand financial remuneration."

"That's why..."

The king told Sieghart his reason for sending his sons to Rei.

"This is insurance."

"That is to say. I don't trust my children to be safe at home, but if they are with the duke. I know he'll protect Eli and Sig."

"But even with that, I want to send you for anything, possibly someone is following them, if you can figure out who the perpetrator would be it would serve us well. It never hurts to have an extra pair of hands."

Even if it looks like the king was using his children as bait, he knew his children would be safe, he would send his daughter's fiancé and the strongest man in the country guarding them from the front and rear.

Eliminating the nation's enemies was an important duty for everyone.

Sieghart nodded.

"It is as you say. But I have a suggestion to that plan."

"Say it."

"I would ask that I not be the escort, but someone else. I would be following them from behind, which would make anyone who saw me think I was a spy, that would make them think two things."

"That I am an ally or I am a rival and they would try to eliminate me."

"I see."

The king touched his chin as he analyzed what his faithful knight said.

"That's not a bad idea. In that case, who do you propose I go to?"

"Markus? Rogue? Who?"

Sieghart thought about who to send.

Markus was a man who always analyzed all his surroundings, it was necessary to have him in the capital.

Rogue despite his behavior, was a loyal and trustworthy man.

The other captains also had their obligations as good points in having them in the capital.

But there was one who did not.

One that Sieghart wanted to explore his potential.

"I choose Bret. He's been attracting a lot of attention lately, I consider this an opportunity to observe how worthy he is."

"Are you sure?"

"I offer my life in case something goes wrong."

"... If you're that determined, I can't distrust you."

"After all... I heard that you and he talked."

Sieghart was disconnected from reality for a moment.

"Tell me Sieg, is the reason you don't want to be an escort because of what you said to the duke?"

"I'm sure if you talk to him─"

"It is not necessary your majesty."

Sieghart stopped the king with his hand, shook his head several times, getting his long white hair to sway.

"This is nothing personal. It's work."

"I see. Well... in that case do what you have to do."

"At your command Your Majesty."

Sieghart left the place after turning around.

But in his mind he had that thought.

(So Kate hadn't really told him anything...)

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