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ーーAs a breeze flew through the sky, it took a letter with itself.
???: “W-wait! Please wait!”
Shouting, the boy raised his hand into the sky, aiming for the floating letter. However, the letter left him behind and flew away, as if flapping wings, with utter grace.
Chasing it down the slope was an elegant faced youth.
His tied purple hair, his clear face, and his bright twinkling yellow eyes, along with glasses on just his left eye, were features characteristic to him. Wearing a well fitting dress of black, it could be safely said that he came from a noble household.
That was also another factor that made his dash down the slope look like there was something wrong.
???: “Kh ~hk……! If only, I had taken a look, at the content…… Ah! Ah ~hk!”
Sitting beside the window in a quiet room, immersed into the world of literature. ーーThat was the kind of scenario befitting the youth, but here he was, looking upwards and shouting.
People in the surroundings wondered what he was doing, as they witnessed the youth fall flat in the middle of the slope. And, where the letter, which was sought after by the youth, had landed was visible.
ーーThe letter hung onto a dragon ferry travelling in the waterway, and went along with it.
After borrowing the power of wind, this time it borrowed the power of water. Rather, it would be more appropriate to say that it borrowed the power of the water dragon, but that was not the issue here.
???: “……Hey you there, are you alright?”
Passing by the fallen down youth, who gave off the impression of being asleep, was a huge man who asked that question. Seeing the lack of response, the passerby looked at his face, sensing that the problem here may be severeーー
???: “ーーDarn it! I cannot just stay fallen at this place!”
Forcefully swinging his long legs, the youth sprang and stood up. At his sudden movement, the passerby was visibly surprised, to whom the youth responded to with a “Kindly excuse me”, bowing gracefully.
???: “Though I have shown you an unpleasant sight, I assure that there is no need to worry. I have been given the responsibility of completing a certain task, and I will surely complete……”
???: “I-Is that so. So then, what should be done?”
By the end of the energetic youth’s words, the passerby pointed towards the waterway.
Where he pointed to, there was visible a swimmer swimming leisurely, a ferry carrying a letter, and a street.
???: “W-Wait! Please wait!”
Changing his expression, the youth continued his chase for the letter.
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ーーReaching the age of 17 this year, was Joshua Juukulius, the younger brother of Julius.
The Juukulius household has been a noble family and had a long history with the kingdom of Lugunica. Traces of the family’s prominence and the outstanding members of the household go back to several generations.
Although there are several noble households who do not do so, in the Juukulius household, being born as a male directly meant that you must become a royal knight. Naturally, the child also received the necessary education for that, following the words 『the correct way of life for achieving elegance』 that have been passed down the generations since ancient times.
However, Joshua’s body betrayed the expectations of his parents, who also held the same belief.
When he merely held the sword in simple playful imitation when he was a child, just that affected his breath, before even receiving any proper training. His education plans were changed, after he got bedridden due to a fever.
ーーAs far as he could remember, he could only see most of his days and time being spent sitting on a bed, reading a tome.
Turning the pages, he looked outside the window, where he could see the garden of his mansion, and his brother practicing the way to uphold the sword.
He was under the same teacher that Joshua was supposed to be under, had received the same education as what Joshua was supposed to receive, and had taken the responsibility upon himself which Joshua was supposed to take. ーーSeeing his figure, young Joshua narrowed his staring yellow eyes.
ーーAt a great distance from him, in the garden, red spheres hung onto the trees.
Joshua: “Hah, hah……”
With both his hands on his knees, Joshua panted hoarsely in a desperate attempt to regain his strength, making an expression as if he was on the verge of death.
It had been a total of five minutes since he had started his pursuit for the floating letterーー and his body had already reached its limit. On top of that, instead of flying, the letter was now on a ferry, distancing itself away from Joshua further and further.
Joshua: “If I, am unable to, get hold of it, again…… it’ll be, quite a, problem.”
Joshua shook his head, as he tasted a bit of blood in his saliva accompanying his immense breathlessness.
The letter was important. He cannot just lose it, and his apologies will not be accepted either.
The content of the letter included instructions that will have a severe impact on the future of someone who may become the ruler of the kingdom. ーーAnd he knew, that person was also waiting for the letter.
He did not believe in something like hope, but in what was spoken in jest was the undeniable strength in the tone. The letter surely held sincere, heartfelt feelings.
ーーFor a year and a half now, Joshua had been working with his master, Anastasia.
Not just her being a royal candidate, but even ties to the supreme council that she represented. Being able to help someone like her with housekeeping was an honour for him. However, the stimulus for fascination and joy for Joshua, was stepping into the outside, unfamiliar world.
Unlike when reading books, he could feel the true essence of the reality that was this worldーー and had witnessed the scene of a person’s life transforming with his own eyes in the Chamber of Commerce.
And, in those scenes, the person was somewhat having the exact the same expression always.
The heartbreaking belief of the young Joshua, was that this was an expression of sincerity.
Henceforth, no matter how discomfiting the other party was, they would not tolerate such an attitude. Moreover, using your own mistake to cause harm to the opposing party was simply unspeakable.
Joshua: “So, if the letter gets away now……”
???: “ーーMister! Please, take this!”
Joshua tried to lift his eyes and head with his further strengthened determination. What was in front of him was the letter he swore to chase till the edge of the world.
Eyes widened, hands shivering, Joshua held the letter. He was not dreaming. It really was there.
Joshua: “Ah, ah, a~h.”
???: “Very well! If this made you happy then my spirits have also been uplifted, that is!”
Joshua: “Yes, yes! Thank you very much! If I was to lose it, I would…… I would, be unable to face anyone in future!”
???: “Then I am truly glad! It is an honour I could be of help!”
Hugging the letter to his chest, Joshua bowed his head. A smiling young boy stood in front of Joshua.
With soft, pink hair, and two cute large, round eyes. Perhaps around ten years of age. Despite his youth, he was well-dressed in robes, and though his nature and disposition was unknown, he gave off a friendly aura.
This young boy had recovered the letter. He could be called nothing but impressive.
Joshua: “By the way, how you did you come to understand that this letter belonged to me?”
???: “I saw mister dashing down the street shouting about the letter with his hand raised to catch it, that is! That is why, I realised that I must not let it go.”
Joshua: “You are right, this letter is indeed important…… And I was running behind it, though I was not fast.”
He had been running slowly due to his heavy breathing, feeling sincere embarrassment when the young boy said that he was “dashing”.
???: “Afterwards I hurriedly called out to the master of the ferry. I asked for it politely, and I was able to receive the letter, so I was simply fortunate!”
Joshua: “……No, that is simply your modesty. I am truly grateful.”
The young boy had a modest attitude, and he was quick to point out how what he did was not his feat.
Regardless, Joshua wanted to truly show gratitude to him for his help.
Joshua: “However, I must thank you for this……”
He had nothing on himself right now, but he was just heading to the inn. However, taking the young boy that far with himself would not be good either.
Joshua: “If there is something I can help you with, then please ask anything.”
???: “Ah, then……”
On Joshua’s suggestion, the boy blushed in embarrassment.
And, hesitating for a moment, said.
???: “The truth is I, seem to have lost my way. As embarrassing as it is, I am currently a vagrant child, that is!”
And, explaining his position, provided the perfect opportunity for Joshua to pay back his favour.
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Walking down the street was the unusual and perfectly matching pair of the young boy named Schult and Joshua.
Schult: “ーーThat’s why, I am trying my hardest to serve the one who showed the grace of taking me in! I am working hard, just so that I am not crushed by my debt to them!”
Joshua: “That is really splendid! It’s truly splendid, Schult-kun!”
Schult: “Y-Y-Yes, thank you very much for such words.”
Schult turned his head downwards and smiled at Joshua’s praise. Seeing him, Joshua was sincerely awestruck.
He was surely a well-natured young boy. From what he said now, it could be said that he had not been brought up in a favourable environment. However, fatefully encountering someone, he was now striving to accept the happiness and fortune he was blessed with at face value.
That was somewhat not like Joshua.
Joshua: “……It seems Schult-kun highly respects that person.”
Schult: “Of course, that is! So much so that respect is an understatement, that is! Ah, but, I truly do respect Al-sama and Yae-sama too. Heinkel-san, I am unsure about him……”
He was usually smiling like a flower, but now he made a difficult face. Shaking his head and doing away with his tired expression, Schult glanced at Joshua.
Schult: “Mister must also be having someone he respects. Is there someone like that?”
Joshua: “ーー. Huhu, I awaited that question.”
Schult: “Oh! How cool!”
In front of Schult, who widened his eyes, Joshua raised his face and his pointed his palms forwards. The sun was visible through the gaps between his fingers, making him narrow his eyes and inhale lightly. That was becauseーー,
Joshua: “When you look at the sun, you become unable to see the beautiful wind flowing by. To me, my elder brother was a similarly dazzling existence.”
Schult: “Mister’s brother huh! He really seems to be someone amazing, that is!”
Joshua: “Ha~h, you are right! Nii-sama is truly amazing. He is always working hard, as if he can do anything and will try to do anything. His form, his mindset, he is truly the 『greatest』!”
Schult: “Greatest! He really does seem like someone amazing!”
As Joshua clenched his fist, Schult clapped.
It was not rare for Joshua to talk about his brother, but it was rare for him to hear about his brother. Joshua’s heart experiences an unexpected warmth, as it gets charmed by him.
Joshua’s brother, Julius Juukulius, was unquestionably a person who deserved to be respected.
The will to live was strongly etched onto his soul. He had a habit of underestimating himself, but was able to sincerely and objectively acknowledge his own effort and was fully capable of helping himself.
If nobody tells you that you are an amazing person, you will inevitably stop believing in that.
Henceforth, for Joshua, who was only cheaply imitating Juliusーー,
An incident that happened, that negative incident, and calling back to it, Joshua sealed his lips.
As soon as he heard those words of praise, Joshua stopped his footsteps. The walking Schult looked backwards and glanced at his face. And,
Schult: “ーーIt really seems like mister truly likes that onii-san!”
Schult: “Hearing this about him, even I have gotten excited! If there happens to be a chance, I would love to meet mister’s brother!”
Seeing his smile, he sighed.
Doing away with the conflicting feelings in his heart, Joshua smiled and blankly nodded.
Joshua: “Yes, you are correct. Nii-sama is perfect, so he will surely treat Schult-kun well. If there happens to be an opportunity, then please do.”
Schult replied with “Understood” energetically.
He really wanted to meet his brother. The sight of Schult, who heard the praise of his brother and his desire to meet him, was heartwarming indeed.
Behind his eyes, that observed that soothing sight–
???: “ーーHmm. Though it’s between all this work, something calming.”
An eccentric feeling ran up his spine. They were on a street. With a number of people passing by, with a number of voices sounding by, that voice alone shook up Joshua’s eardrums with a complete lack of constraint.
Regardless of even that, he could immediately make out the fact that those words were directed at him.
Joshua: “ーーSchult-kun, listen to my instructions and dash ahead with all your strength, please.”
Looking back at the street and glancing at the owner of that voice, said Joshua as he patted Schult’s shoulder. Schult was puzzled, but he had no time to explain the details. ーーNo, even he himself did not know any details, including the opponent’s identity.
However, staring at exactly that place among the crowd filled street, the petite youthful boy’s aim was Joshua, and it could be understood at a single look that the boy was not someone harmless.
Joshua: “Here, please take this. Please convey it to my nii-sama or Schult-kun’s master.”
Gently handing over the letter he held, Joshua stepped forward. Schult, who had received that letter, was confused on what he should do. But, before even that,
As per how he was instructed, Schult turned and started running. The little boy did exactly what Joshua told him to, swimming between the crowd of people. Seeing his back, Joshua then turned his head forward. ーーThe one standing on the other side of him was now directly in front of him.
Joshua: “ーーKh ~hk.”
???: “Sorry for the surprise, onii-san. Even we wanted to play around a bit more. The time promised to mama is coming close. At this point, let’s just wrap this up.”
Joshua: “I don’t even have anything to say regarding that……”
A sound was heard. Joshua, who had received those words, unfortunately had no way of stopping the youth. Swordsmanship, magical talent, body handling, everything would be ineffective in his body. However, the safety of the letter, and Schult wasーー,
???: “Well then, deepest apologies, but there’s no time. ーーThank you for the treat!”
Insanity could be felt within that voice, as a shout echoed through the street. Hearing it, above all.
ーーHe unclearly thought whether he had managed to do something even minimally substantial for his 『Greatest』 brother, right before his consciousness left him.