Erhart was in Lorphys’ royal palace.
The sun high in shy sky, the one across the small round table in the courtyard was a woman with long, violet hair, a certain Princess Annerinne.
(Don’t screw with me. Don’t screw with me! Why? Why did he push the damn princess onto me!? We aren’t a match at all! It’s true I asked him! I asked him if there was any way to resolve my harem problems! I did, but what’s with this resolution!?)
Free Knight Erhart..
While an adventurer, he held the status of knight. He had been granted a number of privileges, and when on the move, he didn’t have to pay any toll. On top of that, as a knight, he didn’t have to listen to the orders of nobles.
If anyone could order him around, it would only be Lyle, who gave him the status in the first place. And if Erhart spotted injustice in any land, he was granted the authority to report it to the empire, and to deal with it on the spot.
A system quite fitting of Lyle, the adventurer turned emperor… that’s what it meant to be a free knight, anyone would believe.
And in all truth, it was a system that directed some envy and irritation at Erhart. Lyle had wanted a reason to hold audiences with Erhart from time to time, so he had given him considerable authority.
Rather than any nobles of questionable standing, Erhart held many more rights and priveledges.
But even to Erhart, come a few years after the formation of the empire, a certain problem resurfaced. Women problems.
The women in his party had begun to reach the later years of marriageable age, and he had to choose just what he was going to do.
So Erhart had consulted with Lyle on the matter. No, to be more precise, Lyle had heard he was troubled, and called him over to the capital.
And after getting some alcohol into his system, he urged Erhart to speak. Using the reason that his friend had come to visit, Lyle who didn’t have to return to the inner palace that day was terribly lively.
As he observed that, Erhart spoke of his troubles with marriage.
Thinking of his party members was the job of the party’s leader Erhart. It was also his own problem, so he turned to Lyle without expecting anything great.
An influential adventurer from everyone’s eyes.
With outstanding ability, and surrounded by beautiful women. There were many who envied him. From the point of view of the one in question, he wanted to cast away his problem-ridden Free Knight status.
As a Free Knight, all the troublesome requests were pushed onto him. What’s more, in all the villages and towns he stopped by, they would recommend him to take their daughters as wives by all means.
He had to fortify his own standing, he thought…
“You’re a strong one, aren’t you? I heard you took down a Land Dragon with ease.”
… The joyful woman Annerinne was a royal princess. The country called Lorphys still faced a pressing matter that there was no one to represent the state.
One of the larger reasons lay in that Annerinne had refused to take the throne. While she had been enthusiastic about Lyle a little while back, at this point, rather than Lyle who was busy with governmental work, Erhart’s rumors were the ones spreading far and wide and garnering her interests.
“No, that is because of my comrades. As long as everyone fulfills their own role, we’ll be able to win against whatever comes before us. It wasn’t by my power alone.”
Erhart sipped his tea with a cool look on his face, but his insides were filled with impatience.
(No matter how you think of it, our statuses are in different fields! What’s more, that bastard Lyle… he’s pushing his troubles onto me again! I never should have consulted with him! Goddessdammit!)
Erhart lamented his own lack of judgement, but he was before a princess. What’s more, Lorphys was a member of the four-nation alliance that had supported Lyle from its early days. While there was a problem that she continued to stay in her princess status forever, her status was worlds apart from Erhart’s.
“Your modesty is also wonderful. The way you carry yourself… I think it’s simply marvelous.”
The way he carried himself… no matter how friendly he was with Emperor Lyle, he still had to drill etiquette into his body for public places, or so Baldoir had said and taught him.
“You think too highly of me. Even I know how unsightly I…”
There, in the space they enjoyed their tea, a single man barged in.
“Pardon my intrusion! Annerinne-sama, it’s been a while.”
He was the prince of a small nation. A country once about as small as Lorphys, but as he was a second son, the prince had wished to be married off.
Annerinne’s expression clouded. As Lyle had avoided a marriage with Annerinne, he was a man with whom diplomatic talks had proceeded. Of course, they were just assertively trying to build a market for themselves, and that didn’t change the fact that Lorphys had its aim set on a big-shot like Lyle.
The prince looked at Erhart and scoffed.
“Hmm, with the status of a mere adventurer, you approach the princess… don’t get stuck up just because you’re the emperor’s friend.”
Don’t lay a hand on Annerinne, or so the prince’s behavior seemed to say. Erhart thought.
(This guy… could it be he like princess Annerinne? Huh? Then isn’t this my big chance!?)
Wanting to hand off this ticking time bomb of a woman at once, Erhart stood from his seat.
“It does seem there has been a blunder on my part. Then I shall take my leave. I beg your pardon.”
As he clenched his fist inside, the prince spoke to him.
“It seems you do know your place. Make sure to keep quiet henceforth.”
His high-and-mighty attitude irritated Erhart.
But when he thought of how he could push Annerinne onto him with this, it even made him want to break into a skip. It’s not as if there was any problem with her appearance.
She simply had a strong tendency to dream. Erhart didn’t quite want that sort. What’s more, their statuses were too far apart, and their sense of values too far off.
(Well, this should be fine.)
He thought as he left the stage. He decided he would go off and complain to Lyle.
The imperial capital.
As Erhart was called out, he went to complain to Lyle.
“Bastard! You tried to push a bomb of a woman onto me!”
Lyle was in his office, letting a small girl sit on his lap.
“Dude, why is your timing so off? What’s more, it had to be today, in this timeslot… I guess men who’ve got it really are different.”
The once-pure Lyle was nowhere to be found. What was there was the form of a tired father playing with his two-year-old daughter on the office’s sofa.
Seeing the child, Erhart restrained himself a bit as he spoke.
“Well, I did manage to avoid it. Anyways, you told me there was a marriage interview in Lorphys, so there I went, and the one who came out was the royal princess! Of course I’d be surprised!”
Perhaps tired, Lyle held the hands of his daughter as he tried to keep her entertained.
“That sounds nice. Well, she just told me to let her meet the man she got interested in lately, and she never told me to let her marry him, so it doesn’t really matter to me.”
Irritated at Lyle’s lack of surprise, Erhart turned a glance to the little girl on his lap.
“By the way, why is there a small child here? And wait, who’s child is it?”
Lyle looked at Erhart with a straight face.
“… My child.”
“I know that! I’m asking who the mother is! Rather, I get the feeling I’ve seen her somewhere before…”
There, the small girl spoke to Erhart in fumbly words.
“Mewienn. Mwy mommy’s name is Mewieeeeenn. Hmm?”
Lyle averted his eyes from Erhart, covered up his daughter’s eyes, and held her tight. Erhart collapsed at the knees.
“I-I see… it’s natural for Marianne-san to have a child. Right… natural… I-I’m glad she… looks happy… UWAAAAAAH!!”
Seeing the daughter of his first love, a complicated feeling filled his soul. He stood and ran straight out of the office.
Lyle saw off his back as he let out a sigh.
“Why did he have to come at that pinpoint time? Ah, look, she’s come to get you.”
A Valkyrie had come for the girl.
“Princess! Now, return with this Unit Ninety Nine! When I noticed you had disappeared, I thought my heart would stop. Not that I have a heart.”
From how she joked around, it seems she still had some leisure. As his daughter left him, she took the Valkyrie’s hand and left the office.
She had sneaked out of the inner palace and come to Lyle’s place. To Erhart, it was the worst possible time.
In that office that everyone had left, Lyle looked up at the ceiling.
“Now then, what shall I do… Erhart, this isn’t as simple a problem as you think. Do you think he’s noticed yet?”
As he had arbitrarily barged into the office and left on his own, Lyle had been unable to tell him something important. But Lyle soon stood and stretched out his arms.
“Well, so be it. It’ll work out one way or another.”
Sixth Generation Head (ヽ´ω`): “Lyle’s drifting further and further away. I guess this is fate. Harems really should be kept to dreams. I can see his heart withering away.”
Fifth Generation Head ( ゜д゜): “I get you’re trying to look cool, but yours was your own fault. Lyle’s, well… I guess we hold responsibility for around half of it? But in your case you were completely to blame. Chosing nothing but landmine women!”
Sixth Generation Head’s Wives:
( ゜言゜): “Father-in-law, did you say something about us?”
( ゜言゜): “I never even dreamed my husband was thinking of making a harem. You should praise the fact that I didn’t erase the other two from existence.”
( ゜言゜): “Keep your convenient dreams for when you’re asleep. Now come and face reality, Fiennes.”
Sixth Generation Head (｀；ω；´): “Goddessdammit! Everone else’s evaluations rose at the end, but I’m just left aside… someone save me!!”