The Little Duchess' Home Tutor (Novel) - V2 C27
Volume 2 Segment 5
Chapter 27 – The Old Oath
“…Your Majesty, we mustn’t make a move. Naturally, we, Ruphelias, are also a part of the Royal Family’s Great Wings. It is also our desire to turn all our forces to the East and exterminate the rebels. However——”
“I understand, Leo. I always honor your loyalty.”
“…My deepest apologies.”
The young man with beautiful lime green hair and the bearing of an aristocrat——His Duchy Leo Ruphelia-dono, one of the four Archdukes of the Kingdom and the ruler of the Western region bordering the Demon Lord’s territory, bowed his head deeply on his chair.
His ears were slightly slender and long, coupled with his overwhelmingly good looks and limbs so dainty and thin, you would think he was a woman.
Looking at his face, it was easy to believe the story that the founder of the Ruphelia Duchy was an elf. He didn’t even look a hundred years old.
…However, that’s not what’s important.
We escaped from the Royal Capital and fled to the west not to hear an apology.
I looked at my father’s glum expression.
“Father. If so, we should have the Royal Chivalric Order head to the Royal Capital instead!”
“…Don’t ask the impossible, Sherryl. Eight of the Twelve Chivalric Orders are stationed on the Great Wall of the Blood River. The remaining four are our strategic reserves in case the Demon Lord’s army restarted its invasion. If we mobilize them, it’s Duke Ruphelia who will have to bear the tremendous burden of their absence. If this happens, what will the local residents think…? It is inevitable that some of the populace will think that us, Wainwrights, have abandoned the West in order to cover our own house. The trust between our household and the Four Dukes that we have built up over the past two years with the elves, the dwarves, and the giants could collapse. We need time.”
“What are we supposed to do then?!”
“——P-, personally, I am with His Majesty and the Duke.”
My elder brother——His Royal Highness the First Prince John, who usually wouldn’t interject at such occasions, suddenly expressed his opinion. Seated next to him was Gerhard Gardner, the Chief Royal Court Magician.
He spun his words in a faltering manner.
“I-, if we move our troops too much without knowing the situation in the North and the South, we might l-, lose the war. W-, we must assess the situation first.”
“…What do you think, Rodd-dono?”
I posed a question to the white-robed elven man with his arms folded and his eyes staring into god knows where——The man known as the Great Magus and had fought in the Demon Lord War.
He was about to open his mouth, not bothering to turn his eyes to us——then, it happened.
With a loud bang, the heavy double doors to the conference room were pounded. The Duke barked.
“Who dares?! You are in the presence of His Majesty!!”
“——It’s me, Leo.”
“! This voice…open the door!”
It was a calm, yet powerful female voice. At the Duke’s order, the soldiers on either side of the doors opened them.
A beautiful woman in military attire with straight, back and long light green hair entered, as did an exhausted-looking beastfolk man. They looked to be in their fifties.
The beastfolk man’s body was dirty and bloodied. Very much not a common sight.
John-aniue trembled, while Gerhard’s eyes narrowed slightly in discomfort. The Duke spoke in a loud voice.
“Esteemed Grandmother. Why would you bring in such an unclean personage here?”
“It has been a while, Your Majesty. Letitia Ruphelia, at your service.”
“…Umu. It sure has been, Letie. And he——is he not a wolfkin?”
“Yes. He is a messenger who managed to flee from the Eastern Capital. He has just arrived.”
She was said to be the strongest swordswoman in the history of the Dukes of Ruphelia, and was said to have served in the Demon Lord War and achieved glorious results.
I heard she retired a long time ago…
The Duke asked in frustration.
“…It is wonderful that you managed to escape from the Eastern Capital and came all the way here. However, my army——”
“I have a message from our leader, Chief Ougi, to His Highness the Duke of Ruphelia.”
Stepping forward, the man pulled a tattered black cloth from his pocket.
…Is that blood?
He then took another step forward, raised the cloth high above his head, and shouted in a hoarse, withered voice.
“Fulfill Your Oath!”
“!!!!!!! D-, don’t tell me…Grandmother?”
“Fufu, fufufu, fufufufu… Some things just refuse to die. Who would’ve thought…that this old soldier could fulfill her oath before her death!”
The beautiful woman’s eyes were filled with tears that started to run down her cheeks.
Staggering up from his chair, the Duke approached the beastfolk man.
One of the Four Archduke of the Kingdom, Leo Ruphelia, was reverently kneeling and hanging his head to the beastfolk man.
A serene, but not one to conceal the passion, voice emanated from him.
“——…I hear and I obey. We, Ruphelia, shall fulfill our oath.”
“Wha?! D-, Duke. Y-, you mustn’t…”
“Your Majesty, I leave the West in the care of the Royal Chivalric Order.”
“…Leo. Don’t tell me, is that cloth——?”
The Duke, now filled with the zeal to fight, nodded his head and pounded his chest with his fist.
He stood up and had the messenger sit down in a chair.
“——We, the people of the West, were so eager to achieve victory in the final stages of the Demon Lord War that we, along with the Algrens, made a fool of ourselves and…brought humanity to the brink of defeat. It was the Leinsters and the Howards who saved the day in that uphill battle…and the Hero at the time, too. However, the one who played the most active role was the Beastfolk Brigade led by the Shooting Star. They were the heroes who defended the banks of the Blood River to their end, who bought time for the entire Human army to retreat, and were annihilated because of it!!! …We, the people of the West, retell their heroic deeds as bedtime stories. And, at the end, our ancestors gnashed their teeth and wept, and swore in their hearts that we shall repay their kindness…when the time comes.”
“And this Old Oath you spoke of?”
“And oath the then Duke of Ruphelia and Duke of Algren to the leader of the Beastfolk Brigade, the Shooting Star. Duke Ruphelia at the time took a piece of the Beastfolk Brigade’s blood-stained military flag and vowed upon it, ‘Shall you present us this cloth, our aid is at your disposal.’ As for the Algrens, you must have known it already, Your Highness the Princess. They provided the Beastfolk a home in the Eastern Capital. What does Ougi want, Messenger? Is it the liberation of the Eastern Capital?”
Rodd-dono snapped his fingers as he explained.
The messenger’s wounds were visibly sealed, and his life returned to him. He then shook his head.
“Hou. What is it, then?”
“…Apparently, one of our tribe members was captured by the Algrens and taken off to an island in the Northeast. The Chief was informed of it by the Giant Tree… And we need your help to save him. Please, save him, please!!!”
“I-, impossible! Y-, you brought up such an important bargaining chip to s-, save just one person?!”
“…Control yourself, John. Tell us that person’s name.”
Somehow, I was sure I already knew the name that would be uttered.
‘I can’t be a hero. I am not like Lidya or Hero-sama. All I can do is stand by and watch.”
That idiot. That huge idiot.
You really are…
“His name is Allen. He doesn’t have beast ears or a tail…a humankin. But, but…there’s no doubt, he’s a member of us, wolfkins. He’s part of our family. Please, save him! Please!”
That evening. From the spires of the Great Wall along the Blood River, a green light flashed toward the other side of the river.
——It was a signal to the Demon Lord’s army.
After 200 years of confrontation, there was bound to be some communication across the borders.
Had there been anyone there who wasn’t born in the West and had the ability to read signals, their eyes would have been wide open.
‘We will now go to fulfill our Oath to the Shooting Star. If you wish to attack, be our guest.’
Ruphelia’s military flag was fluttering in the darkness. There dwelled a fighting spirit so high it might as well pierce the heavens.
LIghts went on in the fortress of the Demon Lord’s army, and a huge magical reaction was observed.
——Soon, a blood-colored light blinked from the tip of the opposing fortress tower.
‘We are happy to hear that. Please do tell us the details later. May you fulfill your Oaths safely.’