| A room of the girls' dorm only nobles greater than the great houses could use; Fina, the room's owner hugged her knees on the bed as she silently mumbled to herself. Ever since Rudel's petting had been sealed, her fluffy life suddenly took a distance from her ideals.
At this point, only her best friend, the white cat tribe's Mii ever came to her room the play. Black cat Ness said Rudel was her only master, and wouldn't let Fina pet her. She also enjoyed Ness' cold attitude, and she had no complaints, but she had begun to yearn for the heavenly times she experienced when Rudel was here.
"That accursed black hair... if only she wasn't there, I'd be walking the path of fluffy conquest right around now!"
As Fina continued mumbling expressionlessly, her guard captain Sophina watched, drawing back within.
(What should we do. Both of this country's princesses are done for. One of them's obsessed with a commoner, while the other is definitely not paying the slightest attention to the country. We've only got two of them... we've only got two princesses, dammit!)
"That's right! I'll just kill her and take master for my own!"
"P-princess! You can't. Rudel-sama loves Izumi dearly."
Mii tried to soothe her, but Fina took out the knife tucked away in her desk. It was a poisoned knife she had once asked Mii to purchase for her.
"T-that's no good, princess!"
"Don't stop me, Mii. This is something I have no choice but to do!"
"Give it a rest, princess!"
Mii gently tried to talk her out of it, but her guard Sophina was cold.
"Why're you trying put on the good girl act? Looking at my master like a maiden in love at your age! Just notice it already!! If you want to flirt with master, your only choice is to assist me in constructing master's harem! If we do, then I can do this and that to Mii and Ness and... crap, I'm drooling. Anyhow! If you help me, I'll choose you as one of the mistresses, so lend me your hand!"
As Fina expressionlessly emphasized it, everyone present stepped back. Sophina imagined such a future in her head...
"B-but there are some things you just don't do!"
"You considered it, didn't you? You got your body hot as you imagined _______ master, you ____!"
She had hit the nail on the head, and Sophina had no words to return. But her mouth was too foul for a princess. She tried to caution her when everyone in the room suddenly collapsed, a black fog enveloping them.
"H-huh? What was I... wait, princess!"
Once Sophina regained consciousness, she found Fina collapsed on the floor showing the whites of her eyes. Gripping the toy knife she thought was poisoned in her hands, black hairrrr... she muttered in her sleep as she lay. Sophina found her a bit scary, but she had confirmed the princess' safety.
"Thank god. She's just unconscious. But I'd better take her to the infirmary... eh!?"
Her relief from confirming Fina's safety was quite the transient thing... Fina suddenly leapt to her feet.
"Huh? What was I trying to do?"
"P-princess, are you alright?"
Similarily, Mii regained consciousness as well. And Mii looked at the knife Fina held in her hands before bursting into tears and apologizing.
"I-I'm sorry, princess! That knife is a fake. I-I... didn't know where they sold a knife laced with poison, and I ended up giving you the toy knife the shop person pushed onto me!"
The high knights checked everything going in, so it was impossible to bring any hazardous material. They had already confirmed that toy knife and the high knights were well aware of it. The only one who didn't know was Fina. But seeing Mii crying and apologizing, Fina spoke.
"It's alright, Mii. I'm sorry for making you go through such painful memories... I asked the impossible of you and made you cry."
(How cute, how cute... as punishment, I won't let you sleep tonight. You'll be purring from dusk to dawn!!!)
Having forgotten about Izumi, Fina moved just as her desires willed it.
"Princess! Before that, let's go to the infirmary!"
(And the psychiatrist while we're at it.)
Outside the princess' room, a black shadow crept up from the floor only to hide in the shadows of the corridor. Noticing something was amiss in the room, the high knights outside had entered, so they never noticed.
'T-those were some feelings so pitch black it was even repulsive. But with this, I've built up some power... Rudel, just you wait. This time, I'll kill you and return the story to its proper path... erk, I feel sick. This mix of fluff and lust is churning up my stomach!'
The shadow fled the girls' dorm in pain. Born from Cattleya, taken up by Lilim, and even now that black mist was gathering up hatred to try and kill Rudel. Due to the fact it had only gathered hate from women, it was starting to take on the shape and voice of a girl, and even now it hated him.
Around that time, Rudel was in the infirmary. He was paying Vargas a visit. The graduation ceremony and parties over, in this short time where the fifth years could take it easy, Vargas was hospitalized. Traces of a blow to the face alongside bandages wrapped around his body left him as quite a pitiful sight.
"You get injured quite often, Vargas."
"Not as much as you."
After the party ended, Vargas received an attack from the other boys. There were various reasons. His marriage to the Arses House servant Basyle had been decided, and on top of that, his appointment to the knight brigade of the Three Lord's Halbades House had been finalized.
Not only did he make a wife of the beautiful older-sister-like Basyle all the boys looked up to, he had been promoted to a level a commoner could only dream of. While it was an employment with his abilities taken into account, normally, he would have to build up some experience first. A few teachers took part in the attack as well.
"More importantly, hear me out! Your shield's finally been completed! Luecke's bringing it over right now, so I just can't wait,"
"Hah!? I didn't hear anything about that!"
"It was my request."
Sitting next to Vargas' bed, Basyle smiled as she answered. Basyle had already given Rudel her gift sword. It was a fine piece using exceedingly valuable materials, and Rudel had rejoiced and felt bad and made merry some more.
As Vargas' face flushed, Luecke entered the sick room. But his hands were empty.
"Mh, so Rudel's here."
"Yeah, I wanted to see the completed shield. I heard it was something amazing."
Hearing that, I know, right? Right? Said Luecke as he happily beckoned in the servants outside the sick room. Thereupon... three servants brought in a full set of armor alongside a large shield.
"W-wait a second. Isn't that armor?"
As Vargas spoke up, Luecke made a face as if to say, 'what're you talking about?' as he answered.
"Of course it is. A set of armor from my Halbades House's official knight brigade, and a special magic insignia shield I drafted up myself. It's an amazing piece... just listen to this, it makes use of five special metals to make for a light and sturdy finish! It cost a bit of a pretty penny, but it was worth it."
Hearing that, Rudel spoke.
"Huh? So you used five after all? Didn't you say five would go over your budget last time?"
"There was no helping it back then. I planned to hire him personally, but ever since father's interest was piqued, we've decided to take him on as an official knight. Because of that, our funding's increased, and we've even got around to modifying the armor."
Haring Rudel and Luecke's conversation, Basyle and Vargas' smiles stiffened up. The monetary sum that gradually came out was on another level. The two of them were finally starting to understand Rudel really was a high ranking noble. And at that moment, Eunius raced into the sickroom.
"Hey, no one told me! Why is Vargas entering that beansprout knight brigade at Luecke's place!?"
As Eunius burst into the room out of breath, Luecke coldly shot him down.
"While you lot were sitting back on your trophies, my house has been gathering worthy personnel for our knight brigade. And your place's muscle-headed knights don't need any talent."
"Bastard, you really are a detestable welp! Shall we settle the score here and now?"
While their mouths were smiling, their eyes were completely serious. Basyle and Vargas sent eyes asking for salvation to Rudel as he smiled over Luecke and Eunius.
"I hope you two find happiness."
But the message didn't get across. He blessed them with an extremely nice smile, making it so they couldn't say anymore. But to the two of them, a goddess of salvation did indeed descend.
"What are you doing in the infirmary? You're troubling everyone, so you'd better stop. Rudel, don't just watch, you have to stop them."
As a fed-up Izumi entered the infirmary, Rudel quickly reacted and apologized. There, the two of them reluctantly stopped their fight. Vargas and Basyle were relieved, but in the sickroom's entrance, a familiar individual was glaring at Izumi.
"W-when you're just black haiiirrrr!!!"
"What are you doing, princess!? Hurry up and get yourself examined!"
Looking at Fina's expressionless face, Vargas and Basyle prayed for Izumi's happiness.