Section 5: Eleonora Academy
Whatever amount of displeasure I could muster was piled squarely on Lapris’s head, but she couldn’t understand what she had done to make me so angry.
But since I can’t stay angry forever, I had to move on, and after a quick change of outfits, we were headed to the academy as per Litzreich’s request.
Noelia-san is holding the reins at the coachman’s seat in front, and right now we’re……um, I think this is the sixth gate we’re passing through.
It was completely different from the bustling Sanz Wanz street. As a district reserved solely for the nobility, it was very rare to see anybody walking past us. If anyone had anywhere they needed to go here, they would usually do so while riding in a carriage like we are now.
[Toslin]: “Nevertheless, they’re all talking about us. We stand out.”
A neatly laid cobblestone road without a speck of dust or trash to be found. The occasional streetside trees with thick, lush foliage pass us by.
All the noble mansions are surrounded by huge, long fences completely destroying any kind of ‘neighborly’ notion between their residents.
In a place like this, carriages are a necessity more to keep up appearances and pretensions rather than any utilitarian purpose.
[Rose]: “There is nothing we can do about it. Iris-san is a national hero and regarded as someone very important to the church.”
But even in a noble district as prestigious as this, not a single noble has ten mounted knights protecting the carriage they’re riding in.
Rose-san and I were seen as nobles by the people we passed by because we were traveling by carriage before, but now I’m attracting a whole bunch of attention in another way.
[Toslin]: “Iris is meant to be treated as a marquis-level state guest. I can only imagine how many knights they would’ve insisted on if we weren’t going with her.”
Just as Toslin says, originally there were meant to be a hundred Shirayuri Knights who were to be acting as my guards. I respectfully declined the offer to have a hundred knights following me around wherever I go during my stay in the capital, but it was only thanks to me having Saluena, the others, and the Goddess’s Knights that I was able to talk them down.
Of course after that a couple members of the Goddess’s Knights heard we were leaving and wanted to come along with as well.
Grimm Lanselva-sama and Milius Luotung-sama. The both of them were already mounted up, reins in hand, and waiting by the carriage when we walked out of the castle.
There was no reason to turn them down when they’re already ready to go. I’m meant to be the owner of the Goddess’s Knights, so if some of my knights are coming forward to offer me their protection, it doesn’t make any sense for me to decline.
[Lapris]: “Things could’ve been so much easier if that uncle and auntie hadn’t said nothing during the audience.”
And that brings us back to now and the peaceful trip we’re taking through the noble district with ten of the Goddess’s Knights acting as our escort.
I’m truly grateful for their kindness. However the resulting scene is just so outside my realm of understanding that neither my mind nor my emotions can keep up, and I’ve been left a cast-off empty shell in the meantime.
[Carol]: “I know that uncle was supposed to be the prime minister, but who was that auntie? Was she really someone that great?”
[Rose]: “In this country, the progression of peerage goes from barons, to burgraves, to viscounts, to earls, to marquises, and finally the family members of the king including the dukes and prince. That is to say that a marquis is the most powerful of all the non-royal nobles.”
[Toslin]: “Rose comes from a family of earls, but because they’re also margraves in charge of a large swath of land, they’re treated like a marquis as well.”
[Lapris]: “Then in that case Iris has some bigwigs on her side. Are they good people though?”
[Toslin]: “I wonder. It’s impossible to know what a noble is really thinking. It’s probably for the best that we be careful when around them. It could be that they insisted Iris be treated as a marquis in order to make it harder for her to move.”
[Saluena]: “Were Rosa’s parents there among the gathered nobles?”
[Iris]: “Huh!? Rose-san’s parents!?”
But when Saluena brought up Rose-san’s name, my attention snapped back to the present. And when her parents got mentioned as well, my eyes immediately turned away from the road floating past outside the window and back inside the carriage.
[Rose]: “No, the Auroll earldom is quite far from the capital. My parents would only ever visit once every couple of years as far as I can remember. They have a mansion in the noble district, but nobody should be there at the moment.”
[Carol]: “Eh, a whole house with no one living in it? What a waste!”
[Rose]: “The duty of a margrave is to protect the nation’s border. They would be unable to do their job if they shut themselves away in the capital.”
[Iris]: “H-Hoh……Rose-san’s parents sound like wonderful people.”
I put in my own two cents when I found a gap in the conversation, causing Rose-san to turn to me and smile.
[Rose]: “Yes, indeed they are. It might sound disingenuous coming from someone who left them, but I do think they are good parents with a strong sense of responsibility. They always think about what’s best for the people they rule over.”
Then, why did you leave your house behind?
It’s the question that naturally came to the front of my mind, but I stopped myself since I didn’t think I had the right to ask .
I want to know everything there is to know about Rose-san. But I don’t want to bother Rose-san either.
I absolutely won’t dig into another person’s past just to satisfy my own curiosity.
[Rose]: “…..I’ll tell you about it, someday.”
Were my thoughts that obvious? After a minute passed, Rose-san added that part at the end.
This is assuredly a heavy topic for Rose-san.
That’s why she’s never talked about it until now.
Yet she said that to me. Nobody else, just me.
I’m happy, but if I’m being honest, there’s another part of me that isn’t……I don’t understand my emotions either.
But after hesitating for a moment, I smiled.
[Iris]: “Yes, I’ll be waiting.”
I’m sure Rose-san just doesn’t want me to worry.
But I like what I like, and what makes me happy makes me happy.
I should just be honest with her.
[Rose]: “Look Iris-san. You can see it from here. The school.”
Rose-san pointed out the window with a beaming smile.
The carriage had moved into an open square without my noticing.
I could see a large gate on the other side of the square surrounded by huge fencing all around. Is that the school’s entrance?
[Rose]: “The school was built 500 years ago under the twenty-fifth king, His Majesty Rafmaere, ultimately being finished under the twenty-sixth king, His Majesty Stelvio. It is known as Eleonora Academy. It’s named after Queen Eleonora, King Rafmaere’s wife. Currently there are over three hundred young noble girls learning to act as ladies of the kingdom.”
Noelia-san came to a stop in front of the gate as Rose-san finished her explanation.
[Noelia]: “Everyone will have to descend from the carriage here and walk the rest of the way into the school building. And I’m afraid only those with prior permission may enter the school building, so the escorting knights will have to wait in a separate building for your business to be finished.”
[Milius]: “Okay then Calvafon-sama. We’ll see you when you come back.”
[Iris]: “Yes. Thank you for seeing us all this way.”
Grimm-sama, Milius-sama, and the other eight knights all saw me off as I walked through the gate with Saluena.
A school for aristocratic young ladies, attended by aristocratic young ladies–Eleonora Academy.
A place completely different from the castle, and a world I know nothing about.