𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟔: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐚𝐧 𝐄𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐚𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧
The academic year at the Magic Academy begins in the cold, cold winter.
The new students, full of freshness, were all bundled up in cold-weather gear, their puffed-up figures looking like baby birds.
I was watching this scene from a window in the corridor on the third floor as they passed through the school gate.
(This year, the children of the Astral family are enrolling. The daughter of the Gardiral family, a key figure in the frontier, is also coming.)
As I imagine the prestigious magical families one after another, I take in each new student.
Last year, I couldn’t be sure that any of the people were suitable to be a queen. I have two more years of school life. During that time, I might have new insights if I deepen my friendships. . .
The other party doesn’t have to be a classmate. I wonder if there’s a chance that I could have a good encounter with someone who enrolled today.
Family background isn’t very important. What’s important is the potential to be a queen――and more than that, whether I find them desirable as a person. And the minimum requirement is to be blessed with magical power. That was the condition imposed by the royal family. Marry a person who has the magical power suitable to support this country and can use that power correctly. That was the duty I had to fulfill during these three years of school life as the crown prince.
About two months after the new students enrolled, when the buds of the cherry trees, a gift from an eastern country to the Magic Academy as a sign of friendship, began to sprout, something unusual happened.
(I haven’t been followed around much lately.)
I was less surrounded by young ladies who were eyeing the future queen title. Even though it was so annoying last year.
For a while after the number of ladies around me started to decrease, I thought it was better to have this much calm so I could slowly search for a bride, but as more time passed, it seemed that the ladies were losing interest in me.
No, if I call out to them for some reason, they might still be interested, as they blush and squeal. To be precise, I should assume that they have found a subject of interest that is even bigger than me.
The change wasn’t just with the young ladies. A smart friend I know well has been spacing out more lately. The male students were noticeably spacing out. All the students attending the Magic Academy were supposed to be diligent.
The change started to be noticeable after this year’s new students enrolled.
When I carefully observed the entire school, I noticed that the first-year boys were the most spaced out. It’s not just because they’re new students.
(. . .There might be a user of charm magic among the new students.)
That’s what I speculated. If so, it makes sense that the first-year students, who would have the most interaction, are the most spaced out.
Charm magic is a forbidden magic that is sealed in the State Temple. It is strictly managed, and people should not be able to learn the technique.
However, there are people in the world who can use certain magic for some reason from birth. There are families among the nobility who can handle special magic inherited through bloodlines, which might be similar. There are confirmed cases where descendants who can use magic that their ancestors used to be able to use are born.
Charm magic is supposed to be a magic that allows the user to control people at will, but as far as I can see from the students’ behavior, they are not being controlled to do anything.
(If so, the user is likely using the power unconsciously.)
Just scattering charm magic around, making the targets’ consciousness scattered. That’s all for now. It’s a big nuisance that it’s making the promising young people spaced out, but there’s no actual harm. The fact that even the same sex is affected by the charm magic suggests that the user is quite powerful.
I still don’t know who the user is. While keeping an eye on my surroundings, I decided to watch the situation a little longer.
The practitioner of the charm magic was quickly found. After all, she was noticeable because she was always causing some kind of trouble in the academy, surrounded by victims of her charm magic.
A girl with light peach-colored hair, looking around nervously for an escape route. I leaned out from the shadows and began to observe.
. . .I see, so it’s her.
I narrowed my eyes. If asked what I meant by “I see,” it would be her appearance.
Charm magic is easily influenced by the charm of the user. The strength of the magic power itself certainly affects the strength of the magic, but even if the magic power is weak, the charm magic is more likely to take effect if the person has positive feelings towards the practitioner.
Her long, soft-looking, light peach-colored hair, large round violet eyes, long eyelashes, small lips, and white cheeks were slightly flushed.
To put it simply, she was a cute girl. Even I thought “she’s cute” at first glance.
With this appearance, I could understand why she was spreading charm magic all over the academy. Even if she was of the same sex, they would think “she’s cute.” If they were made to think “she’s cute” even a little, they would become victims of the threat of charm magic. Even jealousy like “What, just because she’s a little cute!” is out the moment “cute” flashes in your mind.
(. . .That’s right, she is. . . the only daughter of one of the leading trading companies in the country, the Flawless Trading Company)
Her name is Claudia. I heard that her father, who adores his daughter, bought the title of Baron with money to enroll her in this academy as a noble’s daughter. The Flawless Trading Company is a trading company that made a name for itself in one generation under her father.
He was a man who was said to be a mediocre merchant until then, but apparently, after his daughter was born, big deals started to come together one after another, and he rose to the top.
(No way, could it be)
The daughter, in other words, this girl with light peach-colored hair, Claudia. There is a possibility that he was gaining customers through her charm magic.
Neither the merchant father nor the daughter Claudia would be aware of this.
Charm magic itself is considered a taboo magic. However, even so, this father-daughter case cannot be held accountable for a crime. There is no evidence, and even if they were blessed with the opportunity to gain customers thanks to the daughter’s charm magic, the skill to not let those customers escape and develop a small trading company into one of the leading large-scale trading companies should be seen as something the father originally had.
I decided to observe this freshman, Claudia, for a while.
It was a daily occurrence for Claudia to be swept up in her charm magic and get involved in trouble. She was called out to a deserted place and approached, then a man’s fiancé appeared and for some reason, the fiancés fought over Claudia, or she was suddenly confessed to in the hallway and surrounded by a crowd saying “me too, me too.”
I felt so sorry for her that I couldn’t help but lend a hand.
Claudia, who had lost her escape route by pushing people into the hallway. While hiding in the shadows using the magic of “Invisibility,” I used wind magic to suddenly create a strong wind in the hallway, creating a gap. The wind blew away the wall of people surrounding Claudia, creating a single escape route.
Claudia’s reaction was quick. As soon as she sensed that the attention was off her, she kicked the floor and ran. As I watched with interest to see how she would escape, Claudia jumped out of the hallway window.
She landed lightly on the ground from the second floor, her long, light peach-colored hair and the skirt of her uniform fluttering. She must have used body strengthening magic. As soon as she landed casually, she disappeared somewhere. Judging from her quick decision and lack of hesitation, she must be used to running away like this.
(. . .Impressive!)
I held back a laugh and sent praise in my heart. The brilliance of her actions was somehow exhilarating. The victims of the charm magic who lost sight of Claudia in an instant were looking around in confusion, calling her name. With the caster gone from the scene, the influence of the charm magic faded and they all returned to their daily school life, tilting their heads in confusion.
I didn’t expect her to jump out of the window and run away. I thought she would somehow escape through the gap I made in the wall of people in the hallway, but she managed to escape much more brilliantly than I imagined.
(She must have just enrolled in the academy. Being a commoner, she would have had almost no opportunity to learn magic until now. It’s only been a few months since she enrolled. Yet, she can enhance her own body to the point where she can land safely from that height, which shows a good sense of skill.)
Perhaps it’s a skill she acquired from being chased around every day. I wonder when she came up with the idea of jumping out of the window.
The sight of her light peach-colored hair falling with the early-blooming cherry blossom petals was strangely burned into my eyes.
It was a moment when I suddenly became interested in her, more than just as a practitioner of charm magic.
『”𝘈𝘸𝘦𝘣𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴.𝘤𝘰𝘮” – 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘢 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦, 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦, 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘶𝘭𝘨𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 “𝘥𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘶𝘱𝘥𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴” 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘰 “𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴”.』
“――Iris! I’m breaking off our engagement! And. . . I hereby declare that I will form a new engagement with this Baron’s daughter, Claudia!”
At the regular school assembly, Gordon, the student council president and the eldest son of the Duke family, declared loudly using a magic microphone.
(What a foolish thing to do.)
Gordon Timis. . . The marriage between the Duke Timis family and Iris Naviria was heavily politically motivated. The Marquis Naviria has a traditional family lineage, but they have been struggling with water shortages for many years. On the other hand, the Duke Timis family has a rich water source and has been providing water to the Marquis Naviria’s territory for a long time.
Although they have maintained friendly relations in recent years, these two territories have a history of bloody conflicts over water. Among the elderly people living in the Duke Timis territory, who are deeply knowledgeable about past history, there was strong opposition to giving our precious water to the Naviria.
That’s why a marriage proposal was arranged between the Duke Timis family and the Marquis Naviria family. The Marquis Naviria’s territory does not have the blessing of water, but they own a large mine and promised to transfer some of the ownership to the Duke Timis family when they get married.
It was a marriage with many advantages for the Duke Timis territory. Fortunately, these two had a good compatibility and had built a good relationship since they were young. That’s why the marriage proposal was arranged. They were supposed to be the strong bond that would unite the two territories.
I can’t just let this go. I need to follow up. I need to think about how to act from now on.
Iris, who was told by Gordon that their engagement was broken off, was arguing with him in a clear and resonant voice.
“You, what are you saying. . . I, this, would never harass the most adorable Miss Claudia in the whole world! There’s no way I would!!!”
. . .Iris was also broken.
(Even if I try to mediate between these two, first of all, I have to do something about that charm magic girl.)
I picture the pink-haired girl who had disappeared from the chaotic auditorium at some point.
One semester, and after a short spring break, one month. Now the season was about to turn to early summer.
『”𝙰𝚠𝚎𝚋𝚜𝚝𝚘𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚜.𝚌𝚘𝚖” – 𝙳𝚒𝚜𝚌𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚊 𝚌𝚊𝚙𝚝𝚒𝚟𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚕𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎, 𝚙𝚊𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚊𝚍𝚟𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚞𝚛𝚎, 𝚠𝚑𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚌𝚊𝚗 𝚒𝚗𝚍𝚞𝚕𝚐𝚎 𝚒𝚗 𝚊 𝚌𝚘𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚜𝚕𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚗𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚕𝚜 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 “𝚍𝚊𝚒𝚕𝚢 𝚞𝚙𝚍𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚜” 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚎𝚡𝚌𝚕𝚞𝚜𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚊𝚌𝚌𝚎𝚜𝚜 𝚝𝚘 “𝚊𝚍𝚟𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚎𝚍 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚙𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜”.』
A few days later, I continued to watch the situation.
It’s certain that she’s a threat. But how should I attack? If by any chance her charm magic is powerful, I need to think about how to attack.
Normally, if you’re chased around that much, you’d be in trouble. Despite that, Claudia seemed carefree. She’s being pursued and running away, so she should be in trouble――but she seemed strangely unaware of her own charm magic.
Despite enchanting the entire school and being loved by everyone, ironically, it seemed that no one in the school knew much about Claudia. What kind of person is Claudia? I thought I would take appropriate action if I knew more about her.
Day after day, Claudia was being pursued, caught up in battles, and surrounded in the same way. The place she usually ran to was the bushes in the courtyard set up between the school buildings. She would hide in the bushes, and when she saw that the crisis had passed, she would start moving to her destination quietly. It was a very brave sight.
(But why doesn’t this girl question her own situation? Why doesn’t she take action to change her circumstances?)
I couldn’t help but wonder. Was she really just carefree, or did she enjoy being fawned over by those around him?
That being said, I was only observing her casually for a few days. It was a few days after the grand declaration of engagement annulment at the school assembly. That day, I was also hiding in the shadows, watching Claudia.
And then, while hiding in the bushes, I saw Claudia’s profile as she sadly watched the female students in the gazebo.
I was taken aback by her expression.
(Because of this girl, I can’t find a bride, the political marriages of the domestic nobility are in chaos, and. . .)
Claudia, she herself is in trouble.
Then, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t help. If I can somehow deal with her charm magic, it would be like killing three birds with one stone.
What was I thinking, leisurely observing the situation? I should have reached out to her right away.
Claudia was a lonely girl, being tossed around by her charm magic that she was not aware of.
(――This girl! She’s a carefree person to the core! No, in other words, he’s easy-going! That’s it, isn’t it?!)
And then, despite my determination, Claudia never responded to my letters, and I ended up wasting days, which frustrated me. At that time, I didn’t know that I would be taken aback by Claudia’s generosity, which I would come to know closely later on.