1

“Thankfully, we managed to keep ourselves safe in the skirmish, though it left us with no option but to defeat all our assailants. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced they shared traits with the undead who attacked Leone,” reflected Liselotte.

Inglis nodded in agreement, lending credibility to the suspicion. “It’s a likely scenario,” she said.

Leone chimed in, a hint of concern in her voice. “So, it wasn’t just an isolated incident involving me, but Duke Althea was targeted as well?”

Rafinha, puzzled, asked, “I remember you mentioning how rare undead encounters are, Glis. Then why are they suddenly appearing everywhere?”

Inglis pondered for a moment before responding, “It’s possible that the actual target wasn’t Duke Althea but Liselotte.”

This revelation left Liselotte startled. “Me? Why would they target me?”

Inglis shared her insights, “There seems to be a common link between Leone and Liselotte’s situations. Both of you have gained significant recognition for your roles in the battle against Prisma.”

The group looked at her curiously, prompting Inglis to explain further. “Indeed. Both of you are now widely known for your achievements in that battle. I never believed that someone from Arlman would target Leone and Mr. Leon at this point. If there were any intentions of such a nature, they would have acted much sooner. This leads me to believe that if Liselotte encountered undead assailants similar to those who attacked Leone, it’s likely due to the fame both of you have garnered from the Prisma Battle. It also suggests that the real target in Liselotte’s case wasn’t Duke Althea, but Liselotte herself, due to her rising prominence.”

“That does seem like a plausible explanation,” conceded Liselotte.

Leone added, “If what you’re saying is true, then these attacks are linked to our involvement in the Prisma Battle.”

Rafinha, looking concerned, inquired, “What about us, Glis? Were we targeted too?”

Inglis speculated, “Perhaps the assassins also came our way and we just didn’t notice. That, or maybe they planned to invade us by playing a part as our suitors.” Reflecting on their time in Ymir, Inglis realized there were no obvious signs of such an intrusion, suggesting that the latter scenario was more likely.

Rafinha half-joked, “Maybe they saw your amazing fight with Mr. Jill and were too intimidated to approach.”

Or perhaps the assassins failed to recognize Inglis and Rafinha due to their unexpected youthful transformation.

Inglis smirked at the thought. “I would have welcomed their participation in the duel with Lord Jill.”

Rafinha laughed, “That’s unlikely. If anything, I’d feel sorry for the undead in that scenario.”

Inglis concluded with a serious tone, “Regardless, we need to stay vigilant. It’s highly probable that an undead might already be in our midst.”

Their conversation was interrupted as Arles approached, her expression grave with concern. “Excuse me, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but did I just hear you mention undead? Have there been sightings recently?”

Rafinha confirmed her suspicions. “Yes, Professor Arles. Both Leone and Liselotte encountered undead assailants during the vacation.”

“Wh-, where was it…?!” Arles exclaimed in alarm.

“It happened to me back at home in Arlman…!” Leone added.

“I met them here in the capital…!” Liselotte chimed in.

Inglis, turning to Arles, questioned, “Professor, do you know someone who can control undead?”

A troubled look crossed Arles’ face as she replied, “I-, I do…! Ross…”

Her gaze shifted to Rochefort, who stood beside her.

“Yeah, it’s got to be him,” Rochefort affirmed, his expression grave.

“Him…?” Inglis probed further.

Rochefort explained, “Name’s Maxwell. He’s on the same rank as I was. The Venefian army did infiltrate Charalia amidst the Prisma invasion, but…my unit wasn’t alone.”1

Inglis’ eyes lit up with excitement. “Ooh…! So you’re saying we have a Venefian General on the loose who wields an Artifact that can produce undead…?! By all means, I wish to meet him!”

Rafinha intervened, “Hey, Glis! Don’t get giddy! This is a crisis!”

“A-, ahaha…” Leone chuckled nervously.

“As always, she’s cute on the outside, but…” Liselotte remarked, sharing a knowing look with Leone.

“I, uh, I’ve never seen anyone like this…” Arles added, her expression a mix of amusement and disbelief.

All three, Leone, Liselotte, and Arles, smiled bitterly at the contrast between Inglis’ childlike appearance and her fearless demeanor.

Rochefort continued, his gaze intense. “I thought he already retreated to Venefique after our defeat and the defeat of Prisma, but it seems he’s still hiding somewhere in Charalia… And I don’t know the whereabouts of my former subordinates either.”

“I figured they’d fled since they couldn’t live here in Charalia, but…they might have been turned into undead by him,” he added, his voice steady yet carrying an underlying fury.

Leone, alarmed, interjected, “And-, and the undead who attacked me in Arlman were…?!”

Rochefort responded gravely, “…possibly, yes. However, rest assured. Dealing with the challenges that come our way is only to be expected. If anyone is to blame, it is Maxwell as well as me for my inability to protect my men from his claws.” His calm demeanor was a stark contrast to the thick bloodlust emanating from him.

Arles, concerned, murmured, “Ross…”

“Instructor Rochefort…” Rafinha said softly, sensing the depth of his emotions and the complexity of the situation.

Inglis, intrigued, asked, “Could you give us a description of General Maxwell, just in case?”

“Aah, you’re right…” Their conversation was interrupted by a loud, authoritative voice echoing through the cafeteria. “Everyone! It is time for the school assembly! Hurry up and gather in the auditorium! Prince Wayne and Special Envoy Theodore will be giving the opening address…!” It was instructor Margus who announced.

“Prince Wayne and Special Envoy Theodore…? Did I hear that right?” Rafinha questioned, a look of surprise crossing her face.

“Weird, we haven’t heard of it either…” Arles remarked, puzzled.

“It must be something important,” Inglis deduced, her expression turning thoughtful.

Rochefort, ever the professional, urged them, “Ladies, we can talk later. As long as I’m a teacher and you’re students, we must obey the schedule.”

Despite his rugged past, Rochefort’s dedication to his new role as a teacher was evident, surprising those who knew of his former life as a general.

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