Author: alyalia

Luize’s strength was more formidable than Edward had imagined, making it difficult for him to easily free his hand from her grip. It was to be expected, given her skills as a superior swordswoman. However, Edward was surprised not just by the strength of Luize’s grip but also by his own relief at realizing her hand would not easily let go.


Edward looked at their clasped hands with a puzzled expression, noticing how prominently Luize’s knuckles stood out due to the force of her grip. It was odd to find comfort in such a small hand, no matter how strong it might be.


After a long look, Edward said in a low voice, “…I can’t feel my hand anymore.”


Ah.” Luize quickly released his hand.


As the emperor again raised his hand to quiet the audience, he looked down with an arrogant gaze at Edward and Luize. “Recently, there have been strange occurrences around Perils, which have deeply concerned me. However, now that Grand Duke Lindeman has successfully returned from his journey around Perils and with Benny, whose swordsmanship skills are no less remarkable, I feel reassured.”


Edward’s expression hardened at the emperor’s implications.


“Therefore, I wish for the tournament’s winner, Benny, and Grand Duke Lindeman to investigate these anomalies and find a solution. What do you say?”


The emperor’s question was more of a command than a question. This whole setup was meant to suppress Edward, but it didn’t quite fit with Benny, the tournament’s winner.


Regardless of their strength, Benny was neither a member of the imperial knights dedicated to serving the empire nor a swordsman with any notable record beyond this tournament victory.


This was a predicament. It seemed problematic that Luize had been linked with Lindeman and the Kazer family, a house that had served the Grand Duke Lindeman for generations.  If the emperor knew Benny was under Edward’s jurisdiction, he likely wouldn’t have tried to win Benny over. Even if the emperor conducted a background check, creating a new identity for a branch family member within Edward’s territory, especially one from the Kazer family, would be easy.


Regardless of the emperor’s intent to keep Edward in check, reaching out to the tournament winner to this extent seemed foolish. To push the tournament winner to such an extent, after winning under the empire’s name, was an insult to the winner.


Edward hurriedly opened his mouth. “I, Edward E. von Lindeman, will heed the imperial command, but…”


“I, Benny, also will heed His Majesty’s command,” Luize answered clearly and calmly.


Edward looked surprised at Luize’s profile. He couldn’t see her expression under the mask, but her bright purple eyes seemed slightly amused.


Watching them, the Emperor smiled as if pleased, “Good. I won’t forget your loyalty to the empire.”


Edward murmured under his breath disapprovingly, “It’s not right, Miss Luize. Perils is too dangerous. If you retract now, the emperor will understand.”


“It’s okay, Edward.” Luize replied lightly, then excitedly added, “For me, it’s just a trip home with Edward and Maxion.”


Edward’s eyes widened as he looked at her, then closed his mouth firmly. Her gaze held a certain confidence.


Thus, the swordsmanship tournament came to an end.


* * *

Luize, Edward, and Maxion sat together in the parlor of the Duchy Lindeman for the first time in a while. Maxion explained the situation in a calm voice, revealing secrets he had kept hidden. The conversation naturally shifted from Luize’s origins to Lensia’s death and the time Maxion and Luize had spent together in a cabin near Perils.


“So it was like that. I thought Maxion seemed unusually secretive lately.”


“My apologies.”


“I’ll let it go this time, but frequent occurrences like this could become problematic, Maxion.”


“Yes, I’ll correct it.”


Edward’s gaze shifted to Luize sitting in front of him. She looked back at him nervously.


“It turns out we all shared the same master. Although I suppose I wasn’t much of a disciple, having learned too little in such a short time.”


“I had no idea Edward made such a promise with my mother.”


“Regardless, it’s fortunate the sword has returned to where it belongs.”


Luize smiled faintly, nodding in agreement as Edward curled his lips in his usual manner.


“Does the count know Miss Luize is from Perils and Lensia’s daughter?”


“He knows my original surname but probably doesn’t know about my mother. She wanted me to live without being exposed as the child of the Dragon Slayer Lensia. It seems I’ve kept quite a few secrets from Reiad.” Luize spoke with a hint of bitterness.


Edward knew Lensia had never officially married but had a husband and child. She often mentioned having other family members, although it wasn’t recorded in documents. And to think that child was Luize.


“I can’t help it, but I want my daughter to live freely if possible.”


Remembering Lensia’s words, Edward looked at Luize. The freedom she desired was likely a life unentangled with the imperial family, presumably excluding a husband like Reiad. Edward smiled wryly, wondering how all the things she sought to avoid had unfolded exactly for Luize.


“I’m sorry, Miss Luize. If you wish to keep it a secret, I’ll do my best to conceal it for you.”


“Thank you. Thanks to you, I was able to get through the tournament safely. I caused a situation without thinking about how to resolve it.” Luize sighed with relief.


“Do you dislike the count finding out?”


“Yes. Regardless of whether my relationship with Reiad is good or bad, if we divorce, I’d have to return to Perils. I don’t want that. That doesn’t mean I’ll just sit back, though… I plan to bring up our relationship seriously for discussion.”


“…Why do you think you have to return?”


“Yes? Because the cabin in Perils is all I own.”


“May I ask what you plan to do with the tournament prize money?”


Ah.” Luize’s eyes widened as if she just realized.


“As you know, my house has quite a few rooms. As Miss Luize’s lover, I can certainly provide excellent after-service.”


“That’s okay. Could I possibly receive the prize money here?”


“…You’re decisive. I’ll make arrangements.”


“Thank you. How much was it again?”


Watching Luize ponder, Edward let out a hollow laugh. “You really had no interest in the prize money. It’s enough to buy a decent mansion in the capital and still have leftovers.”


“Have I become that wealthy?”




Luize blinked in disbelief. After a brief silence, she murmured with a flushed face, “I’ll have to buy a pretty house when I return from the expedition.”


Edward’s expression turned solemn as he watched her. “Miss Luize doesn’t need to join the expedition. I’ll replace you with one of my knights who was originally supposed to accompany me. We can change his appearance just like at the award ceremony. Benny will be declared dead during the expedition, and I’ll launder the funds to return them under Miss Luize’s name.”




“I can’t put Miss Luize in danger. As a friend, a lover, and a disciple, I can’t take you to such a place. If something happens near Perils, there’s a high probability that you will end up there. The emperor knows this yet still sends us. Didn’t Miss Luize just say you didn’t want to return to Perils?”


“That’s because I didn’t want to be left there alone. I’ve been thinking about visiting since it’s been over two years since I left. I’d be happy if I could return with the two of you. No one knows that place better than I do, so I can be of help. And the danger would likely fall more on Edward and the other knights, right?” Luize showed the sword she received as the tournament prize.


“… You’re right. My Teacher is too strong to worry about. The burden is on us not to become a burden.”




“But we still have a bigger problem.”




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