No Such Thing as Overkill
A week after Thanksgiving, the halls of the academy were sparse of people in the waning hours of the day .
I, who had received the divine prophecy of the Gods, along with Liselotte and her father Marquis… or, I suppose in this context, General Riefenstahl, accompanied by several of his handpicked men .
“First of all, can we truly confirm that this is the courtyard where this ‘Ancient Witch’ is supposed to manifest itself?”
『This is definitely the place . This courtyard is where it’ll come out, or rather, from the ruins underground where the witch is sealed . 』
Coebayashay responded to the voice of General Riefenstahl… but, of course, Liselotte and her father couldn’t hear her words at all, so I relayed the information .
“According to the prophecy, the ruins that have sealed away the Ancient Witch lie beneath our very feet . There’s no room for doubt . ”
“Then with that being the case, this area is definitely spacious enough to set up a large formation of knights…”
“No, we need to prepare for the possibility that the witch might flee to other parts of the Academy or take a hostage . Shouldn’t we assign some of the soldiers to other parts of the campus to protect the staff and students?”
“The teachers in the school are considered amongst the most distinguished mages in the country, not to mention that the academy’s security members are also very seasoned . We shouldn’t have to divert too many resources…”
Liselotte, General Riefenstahl and I considered discussing matters in detail for quite some time .
As a result, it was eventually decided that the group that would stay in the courtyard would be Art, who according to the Gods was also a so-called ‘capture target’, Baldur, Fabian and, of course, myself . Finne, the girl the Gods called the ‘heroine’, would stand shoulder to shoulder with the ‘villainess’, Liselotte . Along with the characters who were present when the Ancient Witch was cast down in the God’s ‘game’, there are also twelve elite knights who will accompany us, comprising the best of the best the Order has to offer .
『Hey, uh, isn’t this a little overkill…? I mean, I’m pretty sure that Finne is strong enough to solo clear, right…?』
As our battle formation was being settled, Endow sounded a little uneasy as he chimed in .
『There’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to this! Since the Ancient Witch is a creature that feeds on people’s misery and pain to grow stronger, our best bet is to hit it full force and crush it the moment it decides to show up! …Probably? And remember, even in the solo clear route, Rize-tan still gets possessed and Baldur ends up dying as well . It’s absolutely necessary to bring as much strength to the fight as we can so that everyone can survive! …… . Probably?』
Coebayashay was quite passionate in her rebuttal to Endow, but no matter how softly she spoke, that ‘probably’ word she likes to use at times like these cropped up twice . Somehow, I get the feeling that word betrayed the Goddess’ lack of confidence .
『Doesn’t this just feel like bullying at this point…?』
『N-no way! Because, uh, we gave up on Leon, right!? And more importantly… wasn’t the witch the one who bullied Rize-tan first? This witch made the whole country her enemy when she tried to pick on our adorable future Queen, Rize-tan! Yes, that’s it!』
She was right .
I nodded in deep affirmation at Coebayashay’s sage divine mandate .
Suddenly, I heard a name I didn’t expect in the midst of the conversation Liselotte and her father were having and I couldn’t help but interject .
“Wait, Miss Cecilie will be participating as well?”
I thought I must have misheard them, but the two nodded in unison .
“Yes, Cecilie recently passed the advanced chivalric examination with flying colours . She’s still only considered an apprentice knight, just like Baldur, but she’s been included with the twelve selected knights as Fabian’s escort . ”
I couldn’t hide my bewilderment at Liselotte’s words .
The advanced examination was not the regular method of recruiting prospective knights, but instead a series of battles against five different full-fledged knights . If the examinee manages to win a majority of their duels, and the King approves, they’re made an apprentice knight with a view of potentially being fast-tracked into the royal guard once their training is complete .
“But she’s the youngest daughter of the Riefenstahl house, and she’s only just turned 10 years old as well… Just what on earth is my father thinking…?”
『I-it’s pretty amazing that she’s been included in the top 12 knights . 』
『Rizepapa mentioned before that the 12 people he chose were all strong both ‘mentally and physically’, right? Even putting the 12-year-old Fabian-kyun aside, it’s amazing that a 10-year-old is strong enough to be selected… Especially when it comes to being mentally strong . 』
As I stood in stunned silence, Endow and Coebayashay’s words echoed in my ears .
“No, that daughter of mine insisted on taking the exam herself, His Majesty is not at fault . Please accept my deepest apologies for her selfishness on my behalf . However, if that daughter of mine wishes to stay by Fabian’s side, she will inevitably encounter many dangers throughout her life… or, rather, she’s so addicted to fighting that she may well welcome the opportunity to fight any and all challengers . I can guarantee her strength, and should she be killed, this was the path she chose for herself . ”
As I was still digesting the words of the Gods, I finally found my voice again at General Riefenstahl’s cold words .
“But, that’s… Uh, rather, did Miss Cecilie agree to become his fiancée?”
As I was wondering whether or not this decision of hers was spurned out of a desire to protect him for that reason, Liselotte nodded .
“The engagement has almost been finalized, I believe? Fabian is still slightly confused about all this, but Cecilie seems very determined for whatever reason . Apparently, she’s always dreamed of ‘marrying the strongest man in the world’… Honestly, my goodness, just where does she get this romanticism from? What’s more, of course, she’s even saying now that ‘I’ll definitely marry Fabian and protect him for the rest of my life, and if I can’t, I’ll just die’… To be blunt, I never imagined that girl would be so passionate about such a thing, it truly is a surprise . ”
As I stood agape, wondering just what kind of 10-year-old girl would say things like that, said girl’s father, General Riefenstahl, spoke with an exhausted sounding sigh .
“I suppose it’s the curse of parenthood to think that their children will rely on them forever . When they’re born, they’re so tiny and cute, but even though that feels like it only happened yesterday, before we know it they’re already leaving our side… It’s certainly a lonely feeling, but it’s simply the way of things . Although the twins still play in the yard like girls their age, they’re already talking about not letting their younger sister Cecilie get ahead of them… Well, I suppose if you look back at our family history, we’ve always been like this . ”
Shading his eyes with his hand so that only I could see them, the General made a distinct look before letting it drop back down by his side .
『I suppose it’s true that, if you use Rize-tan as a measuring stick, the members of the Riefenstahl family are always passionate and serious . 』
I struggled to suppress a laugh, as Coebayashay’s words coincided perfectly with the hidden eye jerk towards Liselotte that the General had just shown me .
“Liese, now that I think about it, you were about 10 years old when you fell in love with me as well, right?”
Liese stammered at my sudden attack, but the General chimed in with a nod .
“Ah, that’s right, back then Liese was so infatuated with you that if anyone tried to take you away, she probably would have tried to kill them herself and then die . Cecilie is really the spitting image of the cute Liese from back then, truly . I have to say, I was getting quite frustrated by the fact that Liese couldn’t accept that a daughter of mine would show such a similar passion… I’m truly grateful to Your Highness for pointing it out to her . ”
『In the game, she really did turn into a villainess who tried to kill the heroine and died in the process, though!』
『Well, Rize-tan never seriously hurt Finne with her harassment in the game, but the bullying was still quite cruel . It was the sort of game where either the heroine or her rival would end up dead in the end, though . Of course, that was all because of her love for Your Highness . 』
The words of the General, the Play-By-Play Commentator and the Colour Commentator As I listened to all three of them explain just how deep Liselotte’s love went, I was left with a warm feeling in my chest .
“In that case, I’m really thankful that we came to understand each other . Thank you for loving me up until now, Liese . ”
As I took the hand of Liselotte, who had become frozen stiff, and softly placed my lips on it, I looked up to see her mouth twisting painfully as she desperately tried to stammer out a reply .
Her eyes that gazed back at me began to swim… but, after a couple of furious blinks, she shot me a harsh glare .
As I held my nerve in the face of her stern stare, I wondered if I had gone a touch too far considering that her father was standing right there, but Liselotte managed to continue .
“Just now… Your Highness, you said ‘up until now’, however… Could I ask you not to make light of my feelings in such a way! Even if Your Highness may one day change his mind, I will love you until the end of my days, not just ‘until now’! No matter what manner of ploys or tricks Your Highness or others may use, it will not matter to me! I will never yield my place by your side!”
『A five-star tsungire performance, Liselotte!』
『Even though she used whatever means she had at her disposal, Rize-tan never used violence or ambushes . The only time she really lashed out with force was when she was possessed by the Ancient Witch . She would always face her foe from the front . 』
Ahh, jeez, I can’t take it .
“…Wha!? Um, what are you… Sto-!?”
Liselotte’s words were too cute, and the live commentary only made it doubly so .
Without a word, I stood up and drew Liselotte into a hug, despite her yelps of confusion .
“Wait just a moment, my father and his guards are… C-could you please calm down!?”
Even though Liselotte sounded like she was about to push me away at any moment, she didn’t resist at all as I heard the General’s voice from behind us .
“Your Highness, I’ll receive this as my cue to take my leave . I’ll proceed to the security station and make arrangements with the head of campus security and my knights . We shall reconvene later!”
As I turned to look at the general, I already saw him turning his cloak and hurrying off with his men as quickly as he could .
“Oh, as a father, you aren’t going to intervene?”
When I called out to him without thinking, the General stopped in his tracks for just a moment as he wheeled around to face me .
“It’s good for the country’s sake that His Highness and my daughter are so close! Besides, I hugged Liese as much as I liked before she was five years old!”
Ahh, now that I mention it, I do recall the General complaining to my father at a banquet a few years ago that although he had four daughters, not one of them had ever said that they wanted to ‘marry papa when they grow up’…
Everyone consoled him with words like ‘just give it up, that’s how daughters are’ and ‘you’ll forget all about it once you have grandchildren to dote over’ .
“Y-Your Highness…! H-hot! It’s much too hot!!”
As Liese began to struggle gently in my arms, there was something in her words that frustrated me, so I spoke out in a way that sliced through her cries .
“‘Sieg . '”
Although that was all I said, Liselotte suddenly stopped moving .
“Hey, Liese, at least when we’re alone… actually, even in public, I want you to call me ‘Sieg’ . ”
I’ve actually asked her to call me by that name time and time again . But, my fiancée constantly refused, saying that it would be too embarrassing to refer to me so informally .
Of course, seeing her get flustered as she refused me was cute as well, but at least when it’s just the two of us, I’d like to see her being a little more honest…
“It’s… embarrassing, and I feel like my heart is going to leap from my chest, so don’t take my hand so suddenly… Sieg . ”
She finally called my name for the first time . It was the first time we had shared words as equals .
Hiding my momentary grin in the crook of her neck, I slowly and reluctantly let her go .
As I began to draw away from Liselotte, that relieved expression of hers made me feel slightly lonely . I was suddenly aware just how cavernous even the slightest distance between us felt . So, I…
Before I left her side completely, I changed the direction and planted a soft kiss on her lips .
“… . Mmmmmphhh!? S-Sieeeg!?”
As I finally drew away, I smiled happily at the immensely adorable Liese, who cried out at me with tears in her eyes .
The only thing on my mind as I laughed whilst she looked at me in bashful anger was that I loved her . I really, really love her .
As soon as the witch chose the girl the Goddess called ‘Our adorable Rize-tan’ as her target, it made bitter enemies of both myself and this entire country . Coebayashay was definitely right about what she said before .
There’s no such thing as overkill . I’ll destroy that thing with every last drop of power I can bring to bear against it .
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