Chapter 174 – 15-year-old Inglis and the Two Leading Actresses (27)

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Author: Hayaken Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3203 characters
Translator: Mab English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1467 words
Editor(s): Hydra

The place they dropped Alina off was an antique shop in the back alley a few passages away from Nock Avenue. Nock Avenue was the neighborhood with the most shops in the Capital. The Royal Grand Theatre, the place Inglis and her friends would perform, was also facing this avenue. The avenue was brilliant, but, as there was light, there was also shadow lurking behind it.

Apparently, Alina was made to do menial work in her owner’s store whilst she lived there. When she came back, the first thing the man who seemed to be the store owner said to her was an angry shout.

「Where the heck you wander off to, leaving your work unattended, damn brat!」

Without even a pause, a slap was aimed at her.

Plop!

Before it reached Alina, Inglis already held the hand at the wrist.

「Would you please stop?」
「Kgh……?!」
「We are the ones who brought Alina with us, and we’re sorry about it. If there’s punishment involved, please give it to us.」
「……Tsk. Looking at your uniform, you two missus are Knight Academy students, huh? I don’t get any intention to be resented by future Knights.」

The man clicked his tongue, but conceded. This must be the reason why Alina seemed to hesitate for a moment when she was invited by Rafinha. However, her interest in the Flygear won over her, and she feared that the next opportunity wouldn’t come, so she decided to get on the Flygear. Inglis and Rafinha might have pushed her to a corner.

「……I already am resenting you.」

Rafinha stared dagger at the man. The fact that she didn’t say something to the line of “Human Trafficking is disgusting!” and started cursing might prove that she still had some bits of composure. She must’ve taken Alina’s position into account, as making a scene here wouldn’t do her any good.

「Pardon, mister owner. May I talk with you for a minute?」
「What? Make it fast, please.」
「Before that, can Alina get inside?」
「Sure. Hurry up, get in and hit the sack! Tomorrow starts early!」
「Y-, yes! Thank you for today. Good night!!」

Saying that, Alina walked into the building. Deeper in the building, Inglis saw a group of children around her age curiously watching from a distance. Were they in the same circumstance as Alina?

Inglis could also see the young boys who called the Star Princess unit as tacky and lame amongst them. It seemed like Inglis and Rafinha ran into these kids when they were out running errands or something.

「Ah! Wait, Alina!」

As though she just recalled something, Rafinha stopped Alina in her track.

「What’s wrong, big sis?」
「Well, you see…」

She produced a ticket for the play that would be held tomorrow at the Royal Grand Theatre. Count Weissmall had given some to Inglis and Rafinha. Even after giving it to Marquis Willford and both of her parents, they still had some leftovers.

「There is a play starting tomorrow at the Royal Grand Theatre. The Knight Academy is helping out with it, and we two are going to be on stage. Wanna come and watch us?」
「Eeh……?! You two will show up? Woow!!」

Alina’s eyes lit up, but before Rafinha could give her the ticket, the man took it and returned it to her.

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「She won’t be needing that.」
「……What’s with you?! What’s wrong with giving rest for a day or two!」

The man sighed.

「I know that damn well already.」

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ticket for the play, the same kind of ticket Rafinha was about to give Alina. There were a few more tickets in his hands. Must be for the other children as well.

「Ah! Those are…」
「Told you, she won’t be needing that. Please give it to other people who wants it.」
「I’m sorry…」

Rafinha shrunk back.

「Come on you brats! Time to get to your rooms and sleep! You hear me?!」

The man shouted, and the children scattered at once.

「Good luck, big sisters! I’m looking forward to it!」

Lastly, Alina left with a few words.

「……So? What was it that you want to talk about?」
「No, it was nothing. I’m sorry.」

Inglis initially wanted to ask him how much money she would need to take Alina away. Or, in other words, the price she would have to pay to buy Alina’s freedom, but… She felt that it was too early for that.

「……Then I’ll be the one talking.」
「What is it?」
「I get it, I bought these brats from their villages and made them work. But look, they either lost the place they belonged to, or had been sold off by their parents. If I didn’t buy them, it’d be no wonder if they were killed to reduce the amount of mouth to feed. Killed by a Magic Stone Beast or killed by poverty, they’d end up dead all the same, right? Well, I won’t expect students of the Knight Academy, daughters of some high-nosed nobles to ever imagine it happening to you two, but I want you missus to understand at least that, please.」

In short, an act of necessary evil. How one would see it differ from person to person. They could just accept it and nod their head, and they could say it was an evil act nonetheless.

「Thank you very much for your valuable input.」

As for Inglis, naturally, she ignored it. Anything that wasn’t a fight, she would just stick with what Rafinha’s take was.

Doctrine, advocacy, virtue, evil, Inglis need not any of these. All she needed was a strong enemy, a good meal, a pretty dress, and always being by Rafinha’s side.

「……Thank you.」

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Rafinha looked discontent, but she seemed to have swallowed her words and didn’t say anything more.

「Then, let’s get back, Rani.」
「Yeah. Let’s…」

They once again hopped onto the Star Princess unit.

「……HAaaah~ I don’t know what is what anymore!」

Once they were alone, Rafinha heaved out a deep sigh.

「You’re right. Oh, the worries of youth.」

It might be depressing for Rafinha, but Inglis really welcomed what had happened today. She was sure it would lead to Rafinha’s personal growth.

「It feels different from the youth I have in mind, you know…」
「Reality is a harsh and ruthless place. For the time being, why don’t we refresh our mood and give our all tomorrow? We need to make Alina happy, don’t we? My mother, the Marquis, and Aunt Irina will be watching too.」
「Yeah, you’re right!」

As Inglis slowly elevated the Star Princess up until they reached the height of the buildings’ roofs, she heard voices coming from below.

「No way……Are you saying we should abandon him, Diego, Sir……!?」
「That’s not it! We only need to accomplish our goal, that’s all. Nothing more, nothing less. 」
「Still!」
「Then, I ask you, are you going to let this chance slip by? Why do you think we came here? The time we have is limited.」

Inglis recognized one of the two voices. It was a soft and elegant voice of a young man she had been hearing lately.

「I-, is that……Ian?」

Rafinha seemed to notice him.

「…It is.」
「I wonder if he’s renting a room around here? Oh, is that why he asked to be the one to give away the tickets?」
「Maybe.」

Seeing that the Royal Grand Theatre was just a stone’s throw away, Inglis wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case, but… the person he was talking to was a rather large man with short, chestnut-colored hair with a rough atmosphere. It wasn’t the cold season yet, and there he was, dressed so stuffy Inglis could hardly make out anything from his neck under.

「But, if we talked to him, I’m sure he will understand!」
「That’s dangerous. I can’t agree.」
「Kg……!」
「Don’t get upset now of all time. Harden your heart.」
「I already have since a long time ago! Ever since that day, I have always been!」
「Then there’s nothing else to talk further.」

After saying that, the man left the place.

「……Wh-, what are they talking about……I couldn’t hear them well, but it sounded like a fight. Is it about the play?」
「Eavesdropping is bad, you know?」
「But it doesn’t seem to be something trivial, you know? Will it be okay?」
「……Well, let’s get back home for now.」

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Inglis turned the bow of the Star Princess unit towards the Knight Academy’s dormitory.

The next day, the day of the play arrived.



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