Chapter 32: Deception Strike
“Excuse me, Duke Moore, if I may.”
As he was walking down the corridor in the academy, a man who seemed like a servant approached William-sama and spoke to him.
“Hm? What is it?”
“The history professor has called for you. Apparently, there is something they want to give you. Originally, it was supposed to be conveyed by my lord, but I was asked to tell you on behalf of the emergency. If it is all right, I will take you to the professor’s location.”
As he spoke, the man politely bowed.
“Oh, I see. Thank you for telling me. But this is a problem. I have business with the linguistics professor later…”
With a troubled look on his face, William-sama was standing next to Finlay, the Crown Prince, and Charlotte, who peeked out from behind William-sama’s shadow.
“Can’t you ask later?”
Charlotte asked the man, who gave a vague smile.
“Well, that is… the professor has business later, so they would like to see you before that. It was okay if it was not Duke Moore himself, so would one of your escort knights be okay?”
The man spoke to William-sama, who looked confused.
I frowned at the man’s words.
“I cannot allow William-sama’s protection to be insufficient. If there are no such concerns, it is up to William-sama’s discretion, but…”
I said that and Finlay, the Crown Prince, spoke up.
“If it’s about an escort, Edward is here. Edward is an excellent knight, so he became the Crown Prince’s escort. It’s out of the question for him to protect us three for a short while.”
Finlay, the Crown Prince, said with a smile.
William-sama was hesitant, but after a short while, he turned to me.
“After all, I cannot ignore the professor’s request… Leah, can you go to the history professor’s office with the person over there?”
Upon receiving those words, I glanced briefly at Edward-san.
Seeing Edward-san nod slightly towards me, I nodded to William-sama.
“As you wish.”
(The linguistics professor’s office is nearby. In addition, the probability of William-sama being attacked in this crowded place is low.)
While I was thinking that, the man who had been watching our conversation approached us.
“In that case, I will guide you.”
There was a smile on the man’s face.
“…This isn’t the direction to the history professor’s office, is it?”
“The item the professor wants to give you is apparently here. We’ll be there soon.”
I expressed my doubt about the direction the man was heading, but he just continued down the corridor as if he didn’t care about my doubts.
When we reached a corner that seemed out of place, the man stopped in front of a certain classroom.
“This is it.”
Following the man who entered the room with a flourish, I also entered the classroom.
As I noticed something strange about the classroom, the sound of the door behind us closing and locking echoed.
Before I had time to be surprised, the lights suddenly turned on.
Several figures with their faces hidden by cloth were writhing in the classroom, and as soon as the lights came on, they attacked all at once.
I received the attack before I could even think.
(Dammit, I’ve been set up…!)
I regret being careless and following a stranger.
(I trusted that it would be safe within the academy. What do they plan to do by separating me from William-sama? I have to quickly reunite with William-sama and protect him…!)
While I was biting my lip, the attackers continued to come one after the other.
I looked around for an escape route while deflecting the enemies’ blows with my spear.
It seems that this classroom is located partially underground, and the windows are in an unusually high place. It is probably out of reach without a ladder.
The entrance that was entered is completely locked. I would like to check if it can be opened from the inside, but it is difficult to approach because there are dozens of armed people who stand blocking the exit.
While all this was happening, I was driven into a corner of the classroom. Seeing the attackers who keep getting up no matter how many times I knock them down makes me feel frustrated.
I hit the enemy’s shin with the handle of my spear and, with my hand on the underside of their leg, twisted it as hard as I could.
The enemy collapsed with an unpleasant feeling of bones breaking.
(Although I didn’t want to if I could help it, I had to take down each person physically and render them incapable of combat)
With the attackers who seemed to be in turmoil at the sight of their fallen companions, I took up my spear again and charged at them.
I wonder how much time has passed.
It feels like only a little time has passed, but it also feels like a long time has passed that makes my head feel distant.
While dodging attacks, I managed to render some of them unable to fight, but I was still outnumbered and overpowered. I was grabbed by many hands and rendered unable to move, and then I was pinned down from behind with my arms crossed behind my back.
I was struck hard in the stomach and vomit spewed out my bile.
Countless blows rained down on my entire body.
When the vomit I spewed out began to mix with blood, a sudden laughter that seemed to belong to a young man echoed across the room. The sound of inappropriate applause and light footsteps approaching came closer.
The ones who had been attacking me retreated in front of me.
Several noble lords and ladies appeared before me, laughing.
“Ahaha! This is truly unsightly!!”
One of the young masters chuckled happily.
“I was surprised when you defeated more than half of the waiting hands in this room, but it’s nothing. The unsightly appearance you are showing now is the result of everything!!”
As I looked at the noble young masters who said this and sneered at me, I swallowed saliva with the taste of blood and opened my mouth.
“…What do you want? Is William-sama unharmed?”
At my words, the young masters made a surprised face and eventually burst out laughing.
“Ahaha! [Is William-sama unharmed]? Tell this guy, it wasn’t His Grace Duke Moore who was targeted, it was you yourself!!”
While I was still stunned, the noble young masters continued to laugh.
“When His Grace Duke Moore was out, we tried to dismiss you as a knight who failed to protect the master because His Grace Duke Moore was injured when you were with him, but it didn’t work due to the mistake of our subordinates. That’s why we resorted to tough measures this time! It’s your fault, because you cling to His Grace Duke Moore and His Grace Duke Moore won’t take the escort knights we recommended!!”
One of the noble young masters kicked my side.
“His Grace Duke Moore is an excellent person. Those around him must be worthy people like him! Guys like you are not worthy of His Grace Duke Moore!!”
The young master says this and stretches my cheek.
At the same time as the sound of impact, my head tilts sharply in the direction where I was slapped.
The young master in front of me grabs my hair and pulls it up, looking at me with a pleased face.
“Ahaha, don’t worry, we won’t kill you… I’ll teach you something good. After everything is over, you’ll have to drink this medicine.”
The young master takes out a bottle with red-purple liquid and smiles slyly.
“This medicine is a drug that makes your memories for a few hours ambiguous. You’ll forget that you even entered this classroom, let alone us being the culprits. You’ll suffer injuries that make you incapable of performing your duties as an escort knight, and be dismissed from the position of escort knight without knowing it. Ahaha!!”
The noble young masters laugh and move away from me.
“We’ll watch from over there in those chairs. See how your body breaks down.”
As the young masters head towards a corner of the classroom, people with their faces hidden by cloth surround me again.
I was stunned as I followed the young masters with unfocused eyes.
(They were trying to injure William-sama to get rid of me… I was trying to protect William-sama, but because of me, William-sama was exposed to danger…)
My dizzy head is confused and my thoughts are not clear.
(Did the scenario change because I was there…? Am I the anomaly in the story…? Was the fact that I overlooked my own existence in the scenario…? Am I…)
The person standing in front of me raises their fist towards me. That fist, illuminated by backlight, burns clearly into my retina.
I just stared blankly at the fist being swung down as if in slow motion.