| Having safely become fourth years, Rudel and co were having a discussion over their futures in the academy cafeteria. Surrounding a round table, Luecke, Eunius and Izumi... alongside their usual members, Aleist was there as well.
As lunch had already gone by, there were few people at the cafeteria. In such a situation, Aleist mumbled some complaints as he ate the cakes lining the table.
"Why'd you have to call me? Originally, I wanted to have this badass reunion sort of thing going at the tournament. And Millia's been distant from me ever since Valentine's Day... hah."
"Valentine? Was that chocolate distribution thing you were doing some sort of festival?"
Luecke sipped his tea, ignoring all of Aleist's complaints as he bit onto the unfamiliar term Valentine's Day.
"That thing he did around the end of the third year? As I recall, Rudel and Izumi made chocolate together and exchanged them... so what sort of festival is it?"
Eunius also ignored Aleist's complaints, requesting an explanation on Valentine's Day.
"... Not telling."
Aleist averted his eyes from the two of them in an attempt to put up a slight resistance.
"You apparently give chocolates to the person you like. Aleist and his friends were putting their all into making chocolate, and when I got curious and asked, that's what he said... I also gave some to Izumi."
Rudel answered quite calmly.
(Normally, the girl's supposed to give to a guy... why did we have to make chocolates so seriously, I wonder. By the time I noticed it, the girls had gathered and snatched them all, so I couldn't give Millia anything. Should I teach him about white day while I'm at it?)
Aleist's feeble resistance was meaningless before Rudel. Listening to Rudel's words, Aleist hesitated over whether to tell him the truth or not.
But that conversation was interrupted by Luecke as he started into the main issue.
"Well that doesn't really matter. The problem is how we're going to spend our remaining two years. Me and Rudel, and that muscle-head over there have some freedom, but what about you two?"
"Once I get my knight qualifications, I plan to take on the high knight qualification test."
Izumi lowered her eye level a little as she answered Luecke's question. Right, the way things were going, Izumi and Rudel would graduate the academy and part in two years time. Thinking of it that way, Izumi felt a little lonely.
On the other side, Aleist smiled as he thought over how he was going to enjoy his remaining two years. At the same time, he recalled how he was supposed to spend this time going by the game.
(As I recall... the mid-game has the highest level of freedom. You can make friends with the kids who enroll around this time. Since you've just about completed capturing the other girls, after all. But if you don't do various things during this time period, things go to hell after you graduate. The war event becomes a hard fight, and...!?)
Aleist's face suddenly turned pale as he stood from his seat. Seeing that, the other four turned wondering what was going on, but without noticing them, Aleist started to mutter again before raising his voice.
"A-at this rate, it'll be terrible... i-in that case, I have no choice but to do it!"
"I don't know what you're trying to do, but that's the spirit, Aleist."
Oblivious, Rudel cheered him on.
"I'm going to the temple in the borderland. There, I have to class change from magic swordsman into an advanced class."
"I-I see... well, good luck with that."
As Aleist confidently threw out the words class change and advanced job, Eunius had no idea what to say, so he gave a vague answer. Luecke rubbed his inner eyes as he closed his eyelids in thought.
(At times, I can't understand Aleist at all. To change from a magic swordsman into something, he has to go to the outer reaches? ... it's no good, I don't get it. Is he getting his hands on some new technique? Or is there some hermit in the mountains over there?)
Izumi didn't know what to say either, so for now she tried asking Rudel. Perhaps it was a special custom not found in the orient, and with that on her mind, she turned to Rudel... only to find his eyes sparkling as he looked at Aleist.
"Can you become strong if you go to the borderland?"
"Of course. Five years ago, I myself went to become a magic swordsman, so there's no doubt about it."
Seeing Aleist clearly declare it, Rudel gave some serious thought.
Rudel himself understood it, the way things were going he was closing in on his limit. He hasn't been negligent in his daily training. But Luecke, Eunius and Aleist in the academy... after fighting them, he realized he really didn't have any talent.
In such a situation, taking on a challenge in the pursuit of strength didn't sound bad.
"... Then I'm going too."
"Oy, get a grip on yourself!"
"Don't be hasty! It's just Aleist's usual sickness."
Paying no heed to Izumi and the other's attempts to stop him, Rudel decided on a trip to the borderlands with Aleist.
The Gaia Empire. It was a country given no real detail in-game, a land that existed for the sole purpose of making a hero out of the protagonist. In a room of that empire, a certain individual had called Mies, who had failed in her mission and divulged national secrets. The special skill of the Licorise House's Mies, or rather her in-game skill 'Successful Flight' didn't allow her to avoid responsibility, and she was receiving disciplinary action.
Her actions were used as a reason to cut down the Licorise House's power in the political world. All that remained of the house were the experiment documents and results of the monster enhancement plans they been tasked with developing for the express purpose of ruining themselves...
The person who called out Mies appeared in the room she waited.
"I'm sorry to have kept you waiting."
His age was perhaps in his early twenties. Long, curling silver hair draped over his loosely-worn clothes of high-class make, a man entered the room to give Mies a polite bow. He was tall in stature, and from his trained body and the way he moved, he gave off an air that he wasn't your average joe.
"No, it is no issue to me, your majesty."
"Don't be like that. Call me Askewell or Al or whatever you like. From here on out, you're going to become my precious collaborator, after all."
Askewell Gaia... the empire's third prince, and the commander of the imperial army. A smile on his face, Askewell urged Mies to take a seat as he read through the documents he had received beforehand. His expression turned serious as could be.
"Are the contents written here to be taken as fact?"
Mies told Askewell the truth. As she did, Askewell's initial strained expression eventually turned to a smile.
"Wonderful. So it is possible to take perfect command of powerful soldiers... I cannot comprehend why the higher-ups would ever reject such a plan."
On those words, Mies feared the prince just a little. But she told herself this was a necessary measure to regain the Licorise House's authority.
"The method isn't perfect. And it could not put up a decent fight against a dragon."
"No problem. Courtois isn't able to maintain so many dragons. Furthermore... if you can enhance ogres and orcs in large numbers and make soldiers of them, it is the Courtois soldiers who won't be able to put up a decent fight."
Honestly, Mies was dim when it came to military affairs. But thinking she had to say something, she tried to joke around by bringing up the necessary food supply to maintain an ogre.
"While it may be easier than rearing a dragon, an enhanced ogre eats more than your common soldier. You should prepare yourself for twice the food expenditure."
Hearing that, Prince Askewall's smile didn't change. But Mies grew afraid of that smile.
"I told you it isn't a problem. There's plenty of food to be found where we're going."
"You cannot comprehend? Or could it be you're purposely trying not to... so be it. I'm talking humans. If we invade, we'll have plenty on our hands. And even if they face defeat, what we lose are not people of the empire. We lose only monsters."
Askewell spoke to Mies' confusion.
"I'll prepare you a research lab. First off, you are to prepare twenty enhanced ogres. I've secured a place for you to experiment... and worry not, a monster attacking humans is only a natural occurrence. Whether they be enhanced or not, monsters are monsters... there is no need for it to weigh on your mind."
This was Askewell Gaia, the last boss of the game.