The Entrance Ceremony
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There was the entrance ceremony today.
I rode a carriage together with my parents just like yesterday. But, we were going through a different path from yesterday.
“Why are we taking different road?” (Yuri)
“…What are you saying? The entrance ceremony will be held at the royal castle.” (Rock)
I had never heard that.
“Will the Queen be there at the royal castle?” (Yuri)
“Of course. That’s because the students of the Academy will stand behind the future of Shaalta.” (Rook)
‘Hmm. Well, even in Japan, the prime minister comes to the entrance ceremony of the National Defense Academy. Maybe, that’s the way it is.’
‘Not only there is an entrance ceremony today, there will be a boarding ceremony in the afternoon. The students who live nearby may go from their home, but since there are enough beds available for each student, all students enter the dormitory. It seems free to use the dormitory or not.’
I was already so depressed, and I felt like skipping school even before entering it.
“Are you sighing again?” (Rook)
Rook said that in a surprised tone. Did he hear that?
“I’m sorry.” (Yuri)
“No… However, it is surprising. For you not to like it that much I definitely thought that you would be so excited to go to the royal capital.” (Rook)
“It’s lonely to be away from the family, you know.” (Yuri)
‘I really love Rook and Suzuya, so I do think so. My parents in Japan weren’t like them, so this is the first time I’ve ever tasted the warmth of parents.’
“Besides, I don’t know if I can make friends.” (Yuri)
‘I don’t think I can get along well with the brats of same age. Even when I was at this age, I didn’t have many friends, and after school graduation, the ties would be broken.’
“It would be easy for Yuri to make one or two friends. You made friends with Syamu-chan, right?” (Rook)
‘Well, that’s because Syamu is a genius. Since she is smart enough, I may have the pleasure to teach her too. Plus, I can get along well since we respect each other. However, there are probably no children like her.’
“Is that so…?” (Yuri)
As I was still reluctant…
“Yuri, I know that you are lonely, but this is something you have to do.” (Suzuya)
…I heard Suzuya’s voice.
“Yes, Okaa-san.” (Yuri)
I replied encouragingly.
“Do your best. Uh… do your…” (Suzuya)
Suzuya suddenly began to shed tears.
“Do-do your best… hiik.” (Suzuya)
“Su-suzuya? It’s not like he is saying goodbye.” (Rook)
Rook made such a follow up.
“B-but… I will never see him again very soon…” (Suzuya)
‘Is it shocking enough to cry? I mean for not able to see the son…’
“Well, that’s true, but it’s not like I’m being held captive. So, if you want to see me, we can meet… I can accompany you to the royal capital.” (Rook)
“Of course. Is that right, Yuri?” (Rook)
Rook looked at me.
“That’s right, Okaa-san. I’m lonely if I can meet you, Okaa-san. I’m sure I’ll be able to ride an Eagle King alone in a bit later, so we can meet from this place, you know?” (Yuri)
“Th-that’s great… Yuri, if things getting tough, you can always come home. You don’t have to bear with it…” (Suzuya)
‘Kuhh… So gentle. I’m going to shed tears soon.’
“Yes. If things get tough, I will return to Okaa-san.” (Yuri)
“I’m glad… Sorry, I’m not a good Okaa-san.” (Suzuya)
‘There is no way you are not a good Okaa-san.’
“There is no such a thing. That’s because I love you, Okaa-san.” (Yuri)
When I entered the island where the royal castle was, we went through the main street. Then, the carriage stopped in front of the castle.
Since the island itself was a castle, there were no walls around the castle. Normally, there would be a castle after going through residential area. I had such feeling.
In Japan, there would be a defensive topography like districts until people get to the castle keep, but here, it wasn’t like that. When I closely looked at the castle, the location of the windows could be reached by putting the hands if they were adults. Sculptures were installed at the lower position, and if that was used as a foothold, it seems to be easy to climb the outer wall.
The main gate, which currently opened, was beautiful in appearance, but it wasn’t reinforced with iron plates and tacks.
‘The enemies don’t have to come with full forces if it’s like this, isn’t it? It feels like anyone can enter from everywhere.’
‘This place is more like a palace than a castle. If you are tall in a palace like this, the livability is getting worse and more inconvenient. Usually, a palace prioritizes on livability over defense, so it has square and flat shape.’
‘I wonder if this is design to serve as a landmark. The building is certainly beautiful, and it is also a symbol of the capital city. Hence its prospects were successful.’
We went inside the castle. It felt like we were shogunate vassals entering the Edo Castle.
When we passed through the big gate, we were stopped by beautiful Onee-chan who wore simple formal attire.
“Excuse me. Is everyone from the Hou’s Household?” (??)
Rook replied so.
“I would like to borrow this child for a bit.” (Woman)
‘??? What? Is this a kidnap? By this woman…’
Since she didn’t ask for Rook, he was frowning and seemed to have suspicions.
“Will it be alright for me to explain?” (Woman)
When the beautiful Onee-chan brought her mouth closer to Rook’s ear, she whispered something. As for affair, the gentle eyes of Suzuya became severe.
“Eh, really?” (Rook)
“Yes. So…” (Woman)
“I got it. Yuri, follow this person.” (Rook)
‘??? I’m really being kidnapped, is it?’
“It’s fine, so hurry up. Either way, the seats for parents and students are separated. This person will guide you there.” (Rook)
“Hmm, I understand…” (Yuri)
As I was told that, I had no choice but to follow her.
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We walked down a hallway that was separated from the crowd and there was nobody there. I was worried because they didn’t tell me anything.
Then, I enter a room that I didn’t really know. It was a room like a guest room for distinguished families.
This room was just as impressive as our mansion guest room. The sofa, carpet, hanging pictures, and everything else were first class goods.
“Well then, please excuse me.” (Woman)
As the Onee-san finished guiding me, she left the room.
There were two females and a male inside. They were a couple or something as the male and female were an Obaa-chan and an Ojii-chan. The other female was the blonde girl that I saw in the final examination yesterday.
“You are Yuri Hou, right?” (??)
“Yes, I am.” (Yuri)
“Please have a seat.” (??)
The Obaa-san said so.
‘What’s with her? Is she someone important to tell me that? Aah, she may be a teacher of the Academy.’
I walked down and sat on the sofa so that I didn’t offend her.
“I am Izabo Marmaset, the dean of the school of Liberal Arts.” (Izabo)
“I am Rabelo Rube, the dean of the school of Knights.” (Rabelo)
‘I see. Marmaset is the name of the Seven Great Witches leader, while Rube was the biggest household of Five General Braves.’
Rube’s social standing was similar to the Hou Household, but since their territory was directly next to Kilghina, it gave the impression that it was a hot land of topic now. If Kilghina collapsed, the next think to be overrun was the land of Rube.
I knew it because I studied the chief of the twelve households for the exam, but Izabo and Rabelo weren’t the chief. They might be a brother and a sister or relatives of their chief. It looked like the director of the school of Liberal Arts was a person from the Marmaset Household.
“My name is Yuri Hou.” (Yuri)
I gave my name for the time being.
“I’m Carol Full Chartres.” (Carol)
The girl nearby gave her name.
‘…Eh? Chartres is the family name of the Syantilla royal family. Of course, if she identifies herself without permission, she will be punished.’
‘And if the middle name, Full, is used, that will be the family name of this country’s royal family. Heh, is she the princess of the country?’
The word ‘Full’ means four in the ancient Shan language. There were twelve girls from the last Queen of the Shantilla Great Empire (for real?). Three of them died in battle, and the remaining nine survived. They each made a country, and became nine countries after the collapse of the Empire.
These nine girls put the order of the birth in their middle name, and made it the surname of the royal family of each country. In other words, the royal family of Shaalta is the blood family of the fourth princess.
The next door Kilghina called herself Tuni Chartres, who is the twelfth princess. For her to say Full Chartres, this child is the queen next successor since there is a rule to change the family name of the side family.
‘Is this for real?’
“Yuri, Carol, you both are the top students. You will have a special role at the entrance ceremony.” (Izabo)
The old woman began to say something that I didn’t understand.
I was astounded.
‘Why do I have to do such a bothersome thing? The entrance ceremony alone is already troublesome.’
“There is still about an hour before the start of the ceremony. In the meantime, you will do some light practice. There are many things you can do but remember, don’t be rude and say something unnecessary.” (Izabo)
“Please wait. I understand if this is about Her Highness, but why am I a top student?” (Yuri)
‘I wonder is it because my bloodline or something?’
“It is due to your result.” (Rabelo)
I was informed that by the Jii-san. I gave up. I couldn’t help with the result.
It wasn’t strange if I achieved the top stop if I score a near perfect score on such questions. Even if it was too late to regret now, I should have done it moderately. Since it was too late to regret, I gave up.
“But then, if Her Highness is the top student, then, I should be the runner up.” (Yuri)
This princess came to the examination hall. It was the hall for the school of Knights.
If so, it would be funny to have two top students.
‘Maybe, we both have same score?’
“Carol is the top student of the school of Liberal Arts.” (Izabo)
‘Eh? But, she took the test of school of Knights right? Does that mean she took both exams? I think that there is no slip in the academy.’
“Yuri is the top student of the school of Knights, while Carol is the top student of the school of Liberal Arts. That’s it. And for the sake of your academic life, ask questions only when you are told to. Or you will be scold in the school of Knights.” (Rabelo)
Moreover, I was reprimand. This wasn’t a situation where I could ask more questions.
Then, I was brought to another room. A female teacher came in and handed a script.
“Please memorize it.” (Teacher)
It was said overbearingly.
‘Damn it. To be imposed such a hardship before entering the school that I don’t want to enter… Is this a punishment game!? I haven’t done anything wrong.’
“I have memorized it.” (Carol)
Carol returned the script in less than five minutes.
‘That’s amazing. How good is your memory?
Then, she took a closer look at me…
…that proud-sounded small voice was heard.
‘What? Do you think that’s cute? Don’t be so proud of it.’
‘I’m reading it slowly and carefully. I’m not good at remembering, anyway. Uhmm…’
“We will this Academy anew… swear with our pride… learn the way of the soul as a Knight, decisive… while waiting for the day to lend our spear to Her Majesty, we swear to work hard.” (Yuri)
I read it aloud in a low voice.
‘No matter how I look at it, it is a long speech.’
‘I spent almost ten minutes to memorize it. This long speech…. it would be stupid to ask me to remember one hour before the debut moment. What’s going on with the educational institution of this country? Is it a common sense here?’
“I think I’ll be fine.” (Yuri)
I returned the script.
“Yes. Then, let’s get started. I will explain the procedure.” (Teacher)
‘It has finally started. Is there not much time left?’
“When you are called to sword as representative students, you two get up from the chair, and head over to the platform. Yuri-kun will be on the left, while Carol-san will be on the right side of the platform. Please come out at the same time. First, stand up and bow to Her Majesty the Queen. Then, stop in front of the stairs to climb to the platform. After that, turn back and bow toward the audiences. Next, ascend to the platform, and when you come in front of the Queen, Yuri-kun needs to do the top salute. Carol-san understands about this, but please salute for the family. Then, at the same time of getting up, Yuri-kun will read the oath first. Once both of you finished reading the oath, the Queen will extend her hand to Yuri-kun. So, stand on one knee, take the hand, and kiss it lightly. When you are done, stand up and return to your seat. You have to bow to the audience when you get off the platform.” (Teacher)
‘Wha… This is going to be mind-boggling.’
“Now, let’s get started. I will play the role of the Queen, so you both sit over there.” (Teacher)
I couldn’t help but to shiver due to the unbearable degree of difficulty of the punishment game.
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“Hmmph, it’s not a big deal for you, isn’t it?” (Carol)
When the rehearsal was over, the princess started to spit her poison immediately.
‘What is this… that’s scary.’
The rehearsal ended, and I was going to return to the meeting place. We were told to return to the guest room. At this moment, there are only two of us at this hallway. I don’t get it. I don’t know if I’m going to be ‘poisoned’.
‘Did something bad happen?’
“That’s right. I know not more than that.” (Yuri)
‘That is true. This is simply a dreg. Well, let’s just be satisfied by saying that.’
“What!? The way you talked that… Are you making fun of me!?” (Carol)
‘Eh? Why she is like that?’
I wasn’t able to give a response.
‘Tsk, sorry, isn’t this ridiculous? Are you mistaking me for other person??’
“Don’t get carried away just because you got better result than me.” (Carol)
‘Eh? Ah, come to think of it, she took the exam for the school of Knights.’
‘Is that it? What the hell is going on?’
“Come to think of it, why did you go to the school of Knights’ exam?” (Yuri)
Carol suddenly made a elated face.
‘You’re making that face just because I ask you, huh…’
“I will graduate from both the school of Knights and the school of Liberal Arts. I was going to be the top student of both schools.” (Carol)
‘Eh, can you do that? There aren’t only young people in both schools, but that will generally take twenty years to complete. That is like going to Liberal Arts college and Science college at the same time.’
“Oh… that’s amazing. Well, by all means, please do your best.” (Yuri)
She was shocked.
“You don’t have to tell me that. I will do my best anyway!” (Carol)
‘She seems working hard. Well, I don’t have such vigor, and I’m probably won’t graduate. Please do your best by yourself.’
“Is that so?” (Yuri)
“You have a low ambition. Be more proud!” (Carol)
‘Even if you told me to be proud, I…’
“I have no intention of doing much.” (Yuri)
‘You don’t have to make that dumbfounded expression that looked like in a drawing…’
“I didn’t want to enroll if I could. If I knew that there is a system like being top student, I would give it to you. Please excuse me.” (Yuri)
When I lowered my head and lifted up my head, my face was slapped by an impact that produced a pant sound. At that moment, my cheek became hot.
‘Eh, I got slapped?’
“This… rude guy!!!” (Carol)
There was an appearance of Princess Carol who yelled at me with a bright red face. Princess Carol, who didn’t seem having enough, followed up.
“This… stupid… fool…. uhmm… idiot!” (Carol)
Perhaps, she had finished pouring insults on me, she ran away.
I thought that it was going to cool off because I had a maple mark on my cheek, but since there was no time, I entered the ceremonial hall as it was.
‘Is it already started?’
The venue was a large room which called a banquet hall. Since reputation were pretty much depicted in some books, gorgeous decorations here were elaborated and very beautiful. There were carved geometric patterns on the ceiling, and it was covered with gold leaves. However, the color faded over the years, and it became harmonize to the surrounding.
There were an array of chairs on the decorative stone floor, and an elongated carpet was laid in the middle. The carpet was also special. The left side had a blue color and the right side had a red color. It was dyed in half and half. It was a reminiscent of Baron Ashura. Unlike the Baron, the left side was a man, so I went to the seat on the left. (TLN: Mazinger reference)
I proceeded through the crowded hall and sit in the designated seat. It was the front leftmost seat. I sat down and took a breath.
‘What the hell with that little brat? The person who got bitten didn’t do anything to you.’
“Nice to meet you, Yuri-kun.” (??)
Suddenly, the guy on the right was talking to me.
When I turned to him, it was a pretty boy who was somewhat smaller than me. His fluffy brown hair with bob cut was impressive. He had a cute face that was rather like pampas cat rather than being handsome. He would be a child that seemed to be adored by Shotacon Onee-chan.
‘Who is he?’
“Nice to meet you too.” (Yuri)
I returned the greetings. I wondered how this guy knew my name.
“My name is Myaro Gudanvier.” (Myaro)
‘Gudanvier, is it? It is the name of a household among Seven Great Witches. He is a son of a distinguished family.’
‘However, in the Witch households, the sons are treated like a male Holstein. If I’m not mistaken, I heard that they are useful to some extent, so I wonder about their social status. I mean… the sons of the Great Witch households rarely aim to be the imperial guards, so I heard they wouldn’t come to the school of Knights.’
“…I’m Yuri Hou.” (Yuri)
‘Anyhow, let’s return the greeting.’
Myaro smiled, and…
“What’s with the cheek?” (Myaro)
…seemed to find it funny.
It didn’t sound like he was mocking me, and it didn’t feel unpleasant. It might be his talent to say it in that way.
I involuntarily rubbed my cheek. It was stinging.
‘Well, how am I supposed to say about this?’
“I touched a lady’s bottom when she fell down, so I got knocked down.” (Yuri)
I told a lie firmly.
After all, there weren’t many women who would slap just because being touched by a brat. Although a five fingers mark was obvious, it was strange to tell that I fell off the stairs.
“Is that so? That was a disaster.” (Myaro)
“It happens all the time.” (Yuri)
Since I said it, I was wondering what I said.
‘Is it really happening all the time? In that case, there will be cheeks missing.’
“I see. You’re living an interesting life.” (Myaro)
Myaro was smiling wryly.
He didn’t seem to convince with my lies, but I felt like he was enjoying the conversation. Well, this kind of conversation wasn’t bad at times when there was nothing to talk about.
“It’s not interesting. I’m an ordinary person.” (Yuri)
Since it was boring even if he had a very strange interest, I answered it that way.
“You can’t be an ordinary person if you are the top student, you know.” (Myaro)
Myaro said it with a slightly serious tone.
‘Really? Well, that’s true.’
‘I remember a feeling similar to the inspiration… aah, I see. I try hard to understand. Is that why Carol was angry?’
‘Someone who achieved the top when she worked hard, and yet, my modesty hurt their pride. When I think about it, I wonder what Carol has gone through to be able to solve questions at ten years old.’
‘If you aren’t at the disgrace level when you enter the school, the level of the previous exam is enough. You can continue to study so that you can manage the exam of such an insane level of difficulties. When you look at the person who surpasses you, he is not motivated but still took the exam. It may seem an outrageous anger toward me, but that is enough to get angry.’
‘It’s because the other side is still ten years old.’
“A human with a good head is not unusual to be called extraordinary. Don’t say that precocious human has great talents.” (Myaro)
‘I am a mediocre person who happens to live a bit longer. If I were alive for awhile, I didn’t notice before I got in the way of a human who is living admirably. It was that kind of story. So I am not extraordinary.’
“You’re right. But, I don’t understand. That’s because we’re still very young.” (Yuri)
‘Unfortunately, I am not young, and I know a lot of things. However, I can’t say that.’
So, when I turned my head…
“Keep quiet!” (??)
…there was such a voice, and the entrance ceremony began.
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