The moment Ryouma’s name was dropped, Elia reacted. Though no words left her lips, a look of shock surfaced on her, the kind of look one made when someone they knew well was mentioned.
Reinhart and Elize reacted slower than Elia, but they wore an understanding expression.
“So you’ve heard of him already. I thought as much.” [Reinhart]
“Word of your duchy having troubles has reached me too. It would have been a different story were it some other territory, but this is the territory where my friend, my younger sister, and my niece lives that we’re talking about. So I sent someone to one of the cities at the center of that storm, and had him regularly report to me.” [Erias]
“And that’s when you heard about Ryouma-kun.” [Reinhart]
“He’s been making waves. All the rumors in town revolve around this boy named Ryouma. And by coincidence, the person I sent chose his laundromat for lodging and employment to cover his travel expenses. His last report mentioned that he’s presently working as his escort.” [Erias]
“He’s that near?” [Reinhart]
When Reinhart heard that a spy was beside Ryouma, he thought of Hyuzu’s group.
But the next information dumbfounded him.
“What’s interesting is that boy apparently found out that my man has been spying for me, and intentionally placed him by his side.” [Erias]
“I, I beg your pardon?” [Reinhart]
For a moment, Reinhart doubted his ears and had to ask the king to repeat himself. In response, Erias happily gave a brief account of the events that led to Yurdum becoming Ryouma’s escort.
“So, Ryouma-kun brushed aside the opposition of those around him?” [Reinhart]
“Seems so. As for the specifics, I’m sure your men will report them to you soon. But I have to say, even if he knows that that the person I sent means him no harm, he sure is daring to place a complete stranger beside him. And just when I was wondering what he was scheming, he started talking in detail about the situation in Gimuru in front of my spy, and got him to report to me.” [Erias]
“Ryouma-san, what have you been doing?” [Elia]
When Elia muttered that, her parents agreed with her in their mind.
“It wasn’t a bad move, though. I’m the king, someone much higher than any of the nobles trying to attack you, the duke, and also someone partial toward you. Knowing that, he sent the information to me.
He tried to take advantage of me, the king, by cooperating with someone who appeared to be one of my own, a laudable attitude. And considering that me making a big deal out of this would be causing needless friction with you, the duke, there was no way that I would find fault with him for it. He thought it through well. Very well.
Such boldness! I love it! He’s even bolder than adults! Why didn’t you tell me such an interesting guy was around!?” [Erias]
“Because we figured you’d say that.” [Reinhart]
“He’s a good kid, but he does some crazy things sometimes…” [Elize]
Reinhart and Elize tried to imagine what would happen if Ryouma and this free-spirited king were to meet, but they couldn’t. Regardless, they were confident nothing good would come of it.
“Nothing good would come out of meeting? That’s why you didn’t tell me about him? Is that really all?” [Erias]
“What other reason could there be? I’ve been dragged around by you ever since. It’s been really difficult.” [Reinhart]
“…Hmm, whatever. I want to meet him, but I don’t have time right now, so I’ll just tell you this, make sure to keep him under control.” [Erias]
When Erias said that, he didn’t have a whiff of that joking air he normally had about him.
“I’m not the only one who’s learned about the existence of Ryouma Takebayashi and the ability he’s shown because of this incident. Anyone quick-eared would have already heard about him regardless if they were noble or commoner. If you’re going to protect him, make sure that you keep him under your control.
He’s a bit dicey, that one. He may have acted to protect you and the town, but his actions and his ability to execute isn’t anything like that of a child’s. Power used rashly could greatly affect those around him.
If that boy were to move on his own and something were to happen, if the only victim is himself, then he’d be merely reaping what he sowed.
If you were to be affected, I personally wouldn’t be happy, but as long as the damage is limited to you, I can still forgive him.
But if, as unlikely as it is, that boy were ever to become an existence that would harm this country, then I will no longer be able to forgive him. As the king—”
—I will have no choice but to order his execution.
An unwavering will and resolve befitting that of the king accompanied him when he said that. Reinhart and Elize were long used to him switching modes quickly like this, but even they couldn’t help but twitch when he said that.
“I think it’ll be fine.” [Elia]
And yet, in that strained atmosphere, Elia’s peaceful voice resounded, and the adults turned to her in surprise.
“Ah… My deepest apologies. I’m sorry for intruding in your conversation.” [Elia]
“I don’t mind. More importantly, why do you think it’ll be fine?” [Erias]
“It just slipped out, but…” [Elia]
As Elia thought, she enumerated the reasons one after another.
“Ryouma-san is certainly an eccentric. He would start something weird suddenly, and even though he knows a lot, he sometimes lacks common sense. But Ryouma-san is a gentle person.
From time to time, his consideration would work in a weird direction, and would overdo it sometimes too, but… When we were together, Ryouma-san was always helping me and those around me in his own way.
Ryouma-san knows so many things that I don’t know. He’s good at magic, but even without magic, he’s strong, yet he’s never once boasted about it nor tried to use it to get others to do as he wants. If anything, he’s always used his knowledge and powers for the sake of others.” [Elia]
“The reports I’ve received have certainly mentioned that he has a tendency toward that.” [Erias]
As her uncle nodded, Elia continued.
“I don’t have much experience with people compared to you or my father or my mother, but I’ve met a lot people since enrolling in school this year, and I’ve come to learn that there are people who, regardless of status, try to suppress others by relying on their uncommon ideas or their position, and people who look down on others just because they’re a little better at some specific skill.
But Ryouma-san isn’t like that. He’s lacking a bit in common sense, but that’s because he hasn’t interacted with society in a long time. He’ll listen when spoken to, and I’m sure he’ll change if he sees the need. He’ll apologize too when he does something wrong. That’s why Ryouma-san is someone who’ll understand when spoken to.
And until now, he’d always consult father or an adult near him before doing anything. Right, mother, father?” [Elia]
“That’s true.” [Reinhart]
“He also asked for permission regarding the recent incident. Although it did feel a little like he would go through with it anyway even if we didn’t let him.” [Elize]
“Exactly! And Ryouma-san is always sending me letters and talking about how he met various people who helped him and how fun his day was. A person like that couldn’t possibly cause trouble for the country or to other people. That’s why, umm…” [Elia]
Elia tried to continue, but she had nothing else to say.
Despite that she still tried to say something, and as she gradually grew desperate, her uncle laughed.
“Ha ha ha ha!!! I see. I see…” [Erias]
“Ahh, it’s enough. I understand what you’re trying to say, Elia.” [Erias]
“My cute niece is going so far. Do you share her opinion, Reinhart, Elize?” [Erias]
The two glanced at each other.
“Yes, we’ll watch over him. So it’ll be fine.” [Reinhart]
“Elia just happened to say it ahead of us.” [Elize]
“In that case, I’ll trust you. That boy will stand out from here on, both in a good sense and a bad sense. Be careful not to let some weak noble take him from right under your arms, okay?” [Erias]
Erias got up, and after saying that, patted Elia’s head.
“It was a surprise to see you defend him so desperately, though. Elia, do you trust him that much?” [Erias]
“Huh? But of course. Is there something the matter?” [Elia]
“…Hmm, I guess I’ll meet him once, after all, and then I’ll hit him once.” [Erias]
“Uncle!? Why all of the sudden!?” [Elia]
“Don’t worry. More importantly, do you want to play? Be it cards or board games, we’ve got all sorts here.” [Erias]
“Please don’t change the topic, Uncle!” [Elia]
“It’s fine, no? All that talk about business is finally over! Let’s go play!” [Erias]
And so, Elia and her parents were completely caught up in the pace of the free-spirited king, and after playing several board games, went back to their residence in the royal capital.
As for the overly-doting uncle of a king that kept on avoiding Elia’s questions…
“…Reinhart’s side seems to have secured the majority already, but the opposing side isn’t going to quietly wait either. Especially since the ringleader this time is
As I thought, the one most likely to be attacked is someone close to their family. That Ryouma boy has been making a lot of waves and has been gathering attention as a result… But in that case, how will he overcome this crisis, I wonder… If I’m not mistaken, there’s a high chance he’ll survive this, so…
If he’s that good, then I’ll need to take him by surprise to hit him… Maybe I should hit him while he’s kneeling. How about a drop kick from my throne? …Hmm, will it work?” [Erias]
After Elia and her family went home, a lone uncle had a thick stack of documents in one hand, while seriously coming up with a plan to hit Ryouma.