Chapter 23 - Consequences
Including the day of the entrance examination, this is the third day that I’m attending the Royal Academy as a foreign student from the Xan Kingdom. The previous days had been pleasant so far and everything is going according to plan. Except for today, I got this ominous feeling that something unfavorable might happen. Even my dream was turned into a nightmare.
It’s not like we aren’t prepared though. However, even the author, who influences this world, warned about the abomination that is messing with the order of things. That’s why we can’t let our guards down. Because once the enemy knows that it was being targeted, it might just go into hiding. Then catching it would become nearly impossible. The worst is we could be attacked without knowing.
The Shadow Intelligence Guild has been investigating this for a while but still failed to gather even one small clue. In the past, I tried to figure out who is it, though there are so many possibilities because everyone has dark secrets, which made it more troublesome to guess.
Is it Rosie, who is trying to bring down her love rivals for the sake of having the crown princess’s position? Crown Prince Shin, who purposely turned a blind eye for the misdeeds of his lover? King Zeno, who wanted to have the princess in his grasps? Or the other characters in the novel that kept being friendly and do evil deeds until the princess’s reputation suffered?
For some reason, I can’t stop thinking about why do they have to be so focused on one lady, who was just trying her best to live up to the adult’s expectations? Is there something about the princess that I don’t know? Is the author hiding something from me? Will I know it in time? Or will it be too late by then?
All these thoughts have been puzzling inside my head while riding the carriage, I mumbled, “Maybe, I’m just reading too much into things.”
“Your Maje—Sir! We have arrived,” the coachman said.
“Thank you.” I was so focused that I didn’t understand that the coachman almost made a mistake. He opened the door for me and I just naturally stepped out. While walking to the classroom I noticed that there are quite a few more guards in the vicinity. “Is there an event?”
Meanwhile, I arrived inside the classroom and sat in the same spot as yesterday. The difference though is that my classmates who arrived early are somewhat fretting to each other rather than badmouthing me. I could use magic to eavesdrop on their conversations, but my mind was too exhausted for the time being, so I stood up and walked towards a group of three and asked, “What’s up guys?”
“Didn’t you know?! It’s about the forced expedition, they—” the person who has his back pointing at me stopped talking when he saw in his front, the faces of our classmates that became distorted. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Don’t be afraid, just tell me.”
He gulped down and said, “It’s because they selected our batch to suddenly go into an expedition.”
“They said that we are the trash class, and we don’t have enough budget for the future activities. So we need to earn it for ourselves.”
“Who decided this?”
“We also don’t know. This... This is too sudden even for us, and we learned that they will send us next week with the soldiers to the cold north.”
It is indeed too sudden for freshmen like them. Deciding and announcing this will be too hard even with a rush meeting, except if there is someone with authority who pulled the string, then it’s a different matter, or this was planned a long time ago which is a no-brainer, sacrificing new students. “Thank you, guys. Please tell the teacher if she asked about me that I went to take a leak.”
“My pleasure,” the guy with reddish-brown hair said while I was leaving.
“So he was kind of approachable.”
“I think so too, who did say he was short-tempered?”
“Isn’t that you who said he would slap anyone who disturbs him?”
“Well, he was the one who bravely knocked the prince out, right?”
“Doesn’t matter. At least now, we know that he’s reasonable.”
“But, what will happen to us now?” the three went back into the previous topic and went silent.
“I... I want to go home.”
I can still hear them though, but whatever... It occurred to me again that being reincarnated has fun moments. In my previous school life, I don’t even have friends because I don’t really want to talk to them. After learning that I was a successor of a company, everyone started being super friendly with me. So I tried my best not to mingle with them. But now that I experienced this life again, seems it’s not too bad to have some school friends.
“You called, Your Majesty?” Felix said, appearing at my side. We are currently in one corner where people wouldn’t be able to see or hear us.
“Investigate and gather evidence about class F-1 being sent into a forced expedition, and why our spy in the academy didn’t hear a thing about this.”
“As you command, Your Majesty.”
We didn’t expect that a piece of information like this would slip into the back of our hands, even though we planted a spy especially for this. The only reason I could think of is that this deal was made discreetly by a few higher-up individuals.
“Is it because of me?” I mumbled. “I hope not.”
After giving Felix an order, I went back to the classroom. Seeing that everyone already heard the news when I saw their faces were all drawn in disbelief. The teacher might have told them already.
“Done with your business?” the teacher asked.
“Good morning, Ma’am.”
“Ma’am?! Do I look that old?”
“Honorable dear Teacher,” I said, giving my best business smile.
“...Go back to your seat.”
“Thank you, Teacher.”
“As we discussed, the people in authority have decided to send this batch to the cold north expedition,” the teacher said, “so I will teach you guys for this whole week on the things that you will need to learn.”
The cold north expedition. At first, it was only planned for the 3rd year junior students to get some experience before they become seniors. But then, for the first time in the history of the Royal Academy, a batch of freshmen will be admitted. Even though everyone knows that this is like telling these new students to die without proper preparations.
The lecture paused when lunch break arrived, today, I decided to eat in the lower class restaurant instead of the high class one. This restaurant is like a cafeteria where people get a tray, fall in line, get the foods they want to eat, and then paying afterward at the payment counter.
“This looks exciting,” I said, “a hamburger steak, roasted fish, bread and cheese, mixed herbs and veggies, mashed potatoes, rice, cream soup, and some fruits!” I never believe that I would be able to eat this food in this world. It’s like a combination of western, eastern, northern, and southern foods back on earth. There is still much variety of food available, but my stomach might not be able to take them all, so I just took what it seems delicious.
“A total of 2 copper and 5 bronze coin, Sir,” the lady at the counter said.
“This cheap?” I asked.
“Oh, nothing. Here’s my payment Ma’am.”
After paying, I took my food tray and looked for a table to eat my lunch. The place is bustling with people, a mix of commoners and lower-ranked nobles. While looking for a table, I found my three classmates that I talked with this morning. I smiled and walked toward them.
Putting my food tray on their table, I said, “Can I eat with you guys?”
The three looked at me with a troubled smile, they glanced at each other and nodded, “You can, Sir.”
“Please remove the honorifics, it’s Ryu Astre. Just call me Ryu.”
“Is it really alright?”
“Of course,” I insisted.
The guy with the reddish-brown hair said, “It’s a pleasure to be your acquaintance. I’m Roy, the one with the green hair is Gavin, and the blue one is Blake.”
“Same with us Ryu.”
“Acquaintance? Why not friends?”
“Pardon?” the three said.
“Let’s be friends.”
“Then Roy, Gavin, and Blake are now my friends,” I said, smiling. “For now let’s eat before the food gets cold.”
Even having friends by achieving in an intruding way, my heart still tingled with happiness. But of course, I didn’t say it out loud. The four of us started to eat and when I just thought that troubles finally forgot me, a noisy fly suddenly appeared.
“My my my~ would you look at that. Aren’t these people who are lucky enough to be included in the expedition?” a woman’s voice said.
“L-Lady Rosie?” Blake said.
“How did Lady Rosie know?” Gavin said.
“What can we help you with, Lady Rosie?” Roy said.
Right... Now everything is being connected. I wouldn’t be surprised if this bitch and that idiot is the one involved in forcing our batch into this dangerous mission.
“Do these gentlemen want to know the reason and how to avoid being sent into the expedition?” Rosie said, glancing at me, covered her mouth with a folding fan, and raised an eyebrow. It was like giving me a warning, that shunning her invitation yesterday would easily result in a serious matter like this and it is also easy to revoke this arrangement as long as she wants. “Would you like to talk to me now, Sir Ryu?”