| Around the time their life at the academy greeted its end, the graduates began cleaning up the rooms they had used for five years.
There were second and third-year graduates as well, and around this time, the school dorms would be a busy mess. There were students who'd call forth servants from their houses, and others who would hound up underclassmen to clean.
Similarly, Rudel had begun to clean up his luggage that had grown from when he first came.
He had few belongings when he first came, but over the course of five years, he had added on more.
"This book is... I'll keep it."
The book he took in his hands was a child-geared picture book introducing the dragoons. It was something Rudel had given to Sakuya, and something he had left in his room. Rudel had read it as a child, imagining his own form in the future, and after that, it had become a memento he had given to Sakuya.
Apart from that, there were other pieces of memorabilia around.
The sword he had used from his youth, while it was broken, he still had it carefully preserved. He had tried to throw it away, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. So without any way to use it, he was troubled over what to do.
"Hah, it's grown to a surprising amount. My clothes are the same, there's no way I..."
While Rudel's belongings were on the scarce side, as he didn't know the situation of other students, he felt like he had a lot. Luecke was mulling over his mountains of books, while Eunius was troubled to deal with all the presents he never got around to giving to girls.
The largest problem was Aleist.
It was certain he would have at least five engagements, and the girls had handed over many a gift from their houses. Things worthy of Aleist, and Fina had also sent loads of presents under the pretense of celebration.
Fina had aimed for this time, conducting harassment under the name of celebrating his instatement to the defenders.
She picked the bulkiest things she could find and sent them to trouble him. But because of that, there were whispers of rumors that Fina was gunning for Aleist.
It was a disaster for Aleist, but after she self-destructed, Fina had grown quite docile as of late. She had realized herself that she was lacking in composure.
But a princess all the same, Aileen remained with her composure in tatters.
As Rudel and Aleist both left the academy, the palace grew fearful that the power balance between its forces would crumble. The names white and black knight held special meaning in Courtois.
For that sake, Fritz was transferred to the three-year course and forcefully inaugurated as royal guard captain. It was a result of Aileen and her followers concluding it would be too late for Fritz to become captain a whole two years later.
Having come so far, Aileen could no longer ignore the defenders Fina had set up.
Rudel had become a dragoon, but Aleist's name was still on the list of Aileen's engagement candidates. If he raised some achievements in the defenders, then that would be used as a reason to proceed talks right to marriage.
To Aileen, she was considerably cornered.
But it was quite like Aileen to not look and feel fear from a war potential perspective.
Gazing out the classroom window, Fina muttered. If she muttered Rudel's name so lovingly, the rumors would go and spread on their own.
In truth, it had become well known that her love for Aleist had awakened, and once it spread to the palace, there was no taking it back. The queen made a ruckus over it, hastening a marriage between Aleist and Fina.
"Didn't she just say Rudel-sama?"
"Eh? But Fina-sama and Aleist-sama are..."
"By the gods, a love triangle!"
In the classroom, her peers were making a ruckus. A majority of them were nobles, but there were some commoners among them, eavesdropping with intrigue.
(Tsk, it really is unpleasant that such strange rumors are spreading. If I become a rumor with Aleist, there really won't be any return. In the worst case, mother will forcefully have me marry Aleist, and push master onto my sister. To think my sister who hasn't gone to any troubles would be the greatest wall to my fluffadise.)
While Fina was vexed within, in the first place, Aileen was always a demi-human hater. The moment Fina's patience ran out, they were fated to clash someday.
In the documents prepared with her textbooks, the defenders and royal guard... the names of the recruits to each knight brigade were listed.
(Five high knights this year, and nine dragoons... there's no helping it for the dragoons, but it looks like the high knights are about to be crushed. I wanted to crush them before that black hair entered! The border is the same as always...)
The high knights put up a resistance, and she wasn't able to dismantle them as she wanted. From Fina's point of view, it wasn't anything too important, so she instantly changed her train of thought.
She had investigated whoever intrigued her and paid especial attention to the movements of the royal guard. Choosing Aileen over her, many young nobles had already infiltrated her faction.
Seeing the movements of the enemy force, it really was the end.
(So that house is no good either. That house is joining my sister too? Oy, oy, that's quite a number.)
Unable to stop her laughter within, Fina planned to use this opportunity and largely chip away at the nobles' power. If blood was going to flow regardless, she might as well use it to its fullest.
That was Fina Courtois.
It was something that had been decided from the moment her sister Aileen had chosen to prioritize her personal matters over the country. But Aileen was strangely blessed with luck. To Fina, that was a major problem.
The formation of the royal guard was the same, it was almost as if she was loved by the heavens.
(Well, it's impossible I'll ever see a heaven outside my fluffadise. But even so... why does my sister have such a large faction? There's no way I'd ever side with her. The risk is too great. Could it be there's someone backing her? ... Hah, no way, no way.)
The fact that she had a large backer called the plot was something even Fina had no way of knowing.
"A graduation party? We're having one this year too?"
In the boys' dorm dining hall, Rudel and the usual members were having a meal. That day was a rare one where Aleist was at the same table, participating in the conversation.
"That's right! This time, we're the lead roles, right? Then there's no point if we don't enjoy ourselves."
Eunius was delighted. While his academics were abysmal, he somehow managed to maintain the bare minimum grades up to graduation. He was delighted to finally be freed from the books.
"Even if you say to enjoy it, you know. Food and live performances... what else is there? If the academy puts too much money into it, the palace will get noisy."
From a financial standpoint, they wouldn't be able to do anything too large-scale, said Luecke. Aleist finished his desert before joining in.
"A party, eh... like a masquerade?"
As Aleist spoke of a masquerade, Eunius bit on. Perhaps Rudel didn't have any interest as he sipped his drink.
"No, well, you attend the party in disguise. How should I put it, like a costume or... something you wouldn't usually where. You can wear a large stuffed animal? No, I think that's a little different."
While he explained it, Aleist was unable to convey a clear image.
"What you don't usually where? Will the men wear dresses or something? That sounds a bit sickening."
On Luecke's impression, Eunius made a smile.
"Now that sounds interesting."
"What you don't usually wear..."
As the three of them sighed, Eunius burst into laughter. Imagining a man wearing a dress in public, he grew just a little sick.
"Idiot, it's best to have a lot of ideas, right? It's just a thought, it's not like they'll actually take it up, so let's spice things up and submit some interesting requests. It seems the other folks are submitting requests to the academy, after all."
Knowing it would be held again this year, the students were submitting requests to the academy. There were many noble students with ample party experience, and they put in many requests.
"Sure enough... right! Then I want a beauty contest!!"
Aleist jumped on board Eunius' cajolery, taking out something to write with and listing his ideas. The three who didn't know what a beauty contest was sought the contents from Aleist.
"What sort of this is that? Well, if it's beauty, it probably has something to do with the girls..."
As Luecke thought, Aleist explained with a smile. These sort of pre-school-festival events, in his past life, they were things he couldn't take part in even if he wanted to.
"Among the girls participating in the contest, you choose the most beautiful one. It's better to have more participants, and we can have active students take part as well. Hey, it's just a request... so let's put in a swimsuit judging."
"Beauty? Then Izumi has my vote! No, wait. Beauty... can Sakuya participate? If she can, then that'll be a hard choice."
Rudel showed some interest, and as expected, it had to do with Izumi. From how he asserted of Sakuya's beauty, it meant that to Rudel, Izumi was just about as precious to him as a dragon.
But the three men didn't notice that.
"No, that's not happening."
"Rudel, a dragon is..."
"You want a dragon to wear a swimsuit? Yeah, no."
Once Aleist got the idea together, Luecke was next. Recalling the previous party, he remembered how Aleist had caused a ruckus.
Aleist, who had nonchalantly accumulated romance events, had no insufficiency of these sort of topics.
"Last year was interesting. You know, when Aleist was assaulted by a woman. In that case, should we hold a confession in the hall?"
"... How long are you going to drag on that joke on?"
"Too bad for you. As long as we're alive, I'm going to tell everyone I meet."
As Eunius said that with a straight face, Rudel inflicted the final blow.
"That confession at the tournament was the same, but that was considerably famous. A confession in the sickroom, and one in a concluded space... ah, I'm talking about the places you seduced your fiancés. Right now, they've become popular landmarks."
"Why do you have to gouge out my heart!!? A majority of them were mistakes and misunderstandings! Even if a graduate, I'll leave my name in some strange way!"
"What are you talking about? You've already left it. The confession spots of Aleist, the god of love have become rumors all over the academy. Or so I heard from Izumi."
He had actualized the harem that was thought to be impossible, and even so, Aleist kept confessing. He was now being called the academy's god of love.
"Your info source is usually Izumi."
If Rudel had heard it from Izumi, Luecke was sure it wasn't mistaken. Izumi was popular among the girls. She had likely heard of the spots from her juniors and went to confirm them. Luecke's guess was on the mark, he wasn't wrong.
The fact Izumi was able to form connections with her junior girls was truly a good thing indeed.
Becoming prefect was a nice opportunity for her to expand her sphere of influence.
"Then let's add on a public confession. Now then, god of love, put it down on the form."
Overdoing things, Eunius had Aleist fill in an entry for public confession. Having come so far, Rudel was the only one who hadn't submitted an idea.
"Do you have any requests, Rudel?"
As Luecke asked for Rudel's request, Rudel made a bit of a troubled face.
"Me? I haven't taken parts in many parties. I don't know what would be good."
"Nothing? Just say whatever. We're just submitting ideas, and it's not like they'll actually use them."
Aleist put out a few ideas, and Rudel selected one from among them.
"The events for this year's graduation party have been decided, so let me relay them."
The staff gathered for a meeting to talk about the graduation party. They felt relief that the fundamental curriculum's class battles had ended without incident.
But there were quite a few problems with the graduation party. It was something that had started last year, and now that young nobles had begun to take notice, the party's contents were a problem.
Starting with food and drink, they got all sorts of requests for high-class goods. What's more, call in some beauties, and have them put on a show, there were quite a few requests coming in.
From among them, there were only a few that were actually possible to actualize. It was the teaching staff's hope that the status of the students who put in the requests would contain the dissatisfaction of the other students.
"It's impossible to assemble high-class foodstuff for all students, so here, we will be stressing the contents of the party itself."
They couldn't' use too much money, but be that as it may, they had to make it fun. That was the challenge.
"Then first off, we recognize the request for the attendees to participate in costume, and next, a swimsuit judging among the female students... that sounds cold. We'll do something with magic. And skipping the public confession, let's look at the king's game."
All of Rudel's group's proposals had gone through. The biggest reason was that they were all plausible on an economic front.
"Is there really no problem with the beauty contest?"
A female teacher spoke in a bit of a harsh tone, but from the point of view of the men, they did have a desire to watch. More than anything, it would be a wasted if they didn't do something to occupy the time.
"Participation isn't obligatory, after all. It's entirely possible we'll have no contestants at all."
Softly evading the female teacher's question, they moved onto the public confession. There were students whose positions made it troublesome to confess or be confessed to, so that would be a problem.
"Public confession... isn't that taking things too far?"
"Yeah, I feel the same. Some might let the drink get to them, but would anyone really confess before several hundred? At most, someone'll do it as a side show."
The male staff member acting as chairman began explaining the final submission.
"Last is the king's game. In this one, we pick a 'king' from among the participants and have all the others select a number. Without knowing those numbers, the king gets to give an order"
"Well, that one's a game, so it shouldn't be a problem."
The headmaster was sure the last game would have far less issue than the first three. Those around were arguing a little about how the beauty contest was going too far.
But from the knowledge Aleist had brought with him, no one had noticed.
The headmaster was greeting the graduation of the generation with so many problem children, and he was overcome with relief and loneliness. Rather than the party, he was happy they were able to safely graduate.
So no one noticed. That the king's game was the most problematic of all...