“You said, there was something serious to discuss with me…… But, what is it about?”
Frieda asked, with a hint of confusion to her usual cheerful expression as she put down a tray with five teacups on the table.
We were currently in Frieda’s dorm room.
Not much had changed since the first time I visited her room. It looked just like an average room you’d find anywhere in the Empire.
There were no religious motifs, altars or ritualistic tools to be seen.
In this world, where following the Spirit Church was considered incredibly common, it was even more unnatural for the room to not have anything that was related to it.
“I apologize for suddenly pushing this onto you. There is something we would like to ask from you.”
“Non, non, all beautiful people are welcome here! Claire, Rei, Philine, I am very happy you came! And Lily! You too!”
“T-Thank you very much.”
The people that were gathered in Frieda’s room right now were Claire-sama, Philine, Lily-sama, and myself.
It was very likely that our discussion would end up including various complex religious topics, but it was unavoidable.
As for the reason behind that, we’ll get to that little by little.
“Well, let’s have tea first. This is the tea from my hometown. But, I hope it suits your tastes……”
Frieda handed each of the cups out.
The tea in front of us had a mysterious color and a sweet aroma to it.
It was a bit similar to black tea, but the scent didn’t bring anything to mind.
Perhaps this was flavored tea.
“Oh my, this is delicious.”
“I agree. It has a bit of a mysterious taste.”
It seemed like it was well-received among Claire-sama and the others.
For the time being, I detoxified the tea and gave it a taste myself.
Ah, it really was delicious.
“It looks like you all like it. Do you want some sweets with that too?”
“I think we’re good. Thank you very much, though.”
The expression on Frieda’s face looked like she wanted to continue offering us more of her hospitality.
Although, I wasn’t sure whether she was being genuine about it or not.
“I think we should get started. Philine-sama?”
Claire-sama, who had been leading the conversation up until now, passed the baton onto Philine.
Philine looked a bit nervous and took a deep breath before speaking.
“Frieda, there’s something we’d like to ask of you.”
“Please, you can ask anything from me! If it is from a beautiful girl like you, anything is welcome!”
Frieda, on the other hand, seemed as energetic as always.
With that kind of grin on her face, it was difficult to imagine that she was hiding a completely different side of her underneath it.
“In regards to the connection that you have with your people in Merica, I would like――”
The sound of a sharp, metallic clang rang out.
In that instant, Philine had a horrified look on her face.
There was a blade that was only a few centimeters away from her neck that stopped a different blade from swinging in.
The one who tried to swing her blade at Philine was none other than Frieda, who still had a grin on her face. Meanwhile, the person that stopped the blade from connecting was Lily-sama.
I didn’t think our discussions were going to be peaceful by any means, but I hadn’t expected her to try to slash at us immediately.
“F-Frieda-san, please listen to what we have to say first.”
“…… I refuse!”
When Frieda twisted her short sword, she parried Lily-sama’s dagger and once again, tried to take a swing at Philine.
For a moment, Lily-sama had lost her balance, but she immediately regained her footing and defended Philine with the dagger in her other hand.
With all of her might, she managed to fend Frieda off and managed to create an opening for a moment.
That being said, we were indoors.
The room wasn’t that spacious to begin with, so there was no telling when Frieda might attack again.
Both Claire-sama and I braced ourselves for war.
“……. Why do you know about that?”
Without letting her guard down, Frieda, who was still gripping onto her short sword, asked with an unchanging smile on her face.
Although her behavior changed all of a sudden, her facial expression remained the same, which made me feel a bit……. no, quite scared.
“Did someone betray me? Tell me who it was!”
There was a glint from Frieda’s blade as she prepared to lunge in again.
She really wasn’t lying when she said that she was skilled in melee combat, and if it were me in this situation, I would’ve been defeated in an instant.
Even Claire-sama would only barely be able to get away.
For Lily-sama, who could fight back while intentionally trying not to hurt her, it was a testament to just how strong she was.
It really was a good idea to have invited her here today.
“Frieda, please listen to me! I want to become your strength!”
Upon hearing Philine pleading so earnestly, Frieda stopped in her tracks.
When she saw that, Philine’s face brightened up for a moment before quickly clouding over again.
“You want to…… become my strength……?”
The smile disappeared from Frieda’s face.
Or rather, she was still smiling on the outside.
She was barely smiling, but seeing how the atmosphere around her changed, you could hardly even call it a smile.
“You, the Imperial Princess of the very nation that destroyed my country, are saying that you want to become my strength……? What kind of a joke is that?”
There was an aura of hatred floating around her.
It seemed that all of her pent up hatred was flowing out of the smile that was on her face.
“I won’t let you live now that you know my secret. I will kill you all here.”
Frieda prepared her short sword once again.
“Frieda. Are you really going to let your hatred consume you so much that you’d be willing to give up an opportunity to rebuild your native country?”
When she heard my words, Frieda looked skeptical.
“Rebuild my country……?”
“That’s right. Philine-sama’s goal is to change the Empire’s foreign policies, so if you help her, she is willing to offer you the opportunity to restore your nation.”
Frieda wasn’t entirely out of her combat mode, but looking at her face, it seemed like a sense of reason had returned to her.
“Do you think I’m so easy to deceive?”
“We aren’t trying to deceive you nor are we lying to you. Philine-sama is serious about this, you know?”
“If you are serious, then I have to question your sanity. Philine is the daughter of that Dorothea, after all?”
“Please listen to what I have to say, Frieda……. No, Friedelinde Ul Merica!”
When Philine referred to her by her true name, Frieda’s face froze.
Most likely, she assumed that while we’d found out about her being a citizen of Merica, she had kept her identity hidden well.
After all, her true identity was something that only a few of her comrades knew about.
“No way…… Who betrayed me……?”
“Nobody betrayed you. You’ve heard of the rumors about how there were girls from the revolution too, right? That Claire and Rei have precognitive abilities.”
“…… There’s no way……”
“In that case, would you rather suspect that there’s a traitor among your comrades then?”
Frieda’s eyes shook.
Philine continued to press her.
“I am planning on rebelling against my mother.”
“If we can get my mother to abdicate the throne, we can change this nation. From being a nation that emphasizes the idea of the law of the jungle to a nation where nobody will have to cry anymore.”
“Do you think you can accomplish that……?”
Frieda asked mockingly.
Although there was a bit of self-deprecation in her voice as well.
Or perhaps that was her being sarcastic, considering we hadn’t even accomplished much yet.
“I can’t do this by myself. However, Frieda, we can make this happen with your help.”
“Please lend me your strength.”
Philine appealed to her sincerely.
However, Frieda’s attitude looked like she still had not made up her mind quite yet.
“I can’t believe in you just from your words alone.”
“That’s what we thought, so we brought something with us. Lily?”
Prompted by Claire-sama, Lily-sama took out something that looked like a letter and laid it on the floor.
“T-This is a secret letter from the Spirit Church.”
“Please take a look at it.”
Frieda looked a little bit hesitant, but it only lasted for a few seconds.
She reached out towards the letter, picked it up and examined it.
“This is…… an authentic pledge from a cardinal……!”
In the secret letter, the Church vouched for Philine’s authenticity.
As I mentioned before, in this world, swearing on the name of God was something that gets taken very seriously.
This was something that applied to even ordinary people, so you could only imagine just what sort of implication it has when it’s coming from a cardinal.
Of course, the cardinal that wrote this approval was none other than Yuu-sama.
After we decided that we wanted to recruit the anti-government rebellious forces, we asked Yuu-sama for it.
She was surprised at first, and Misha was initially against it, but in the end, we managed to convince them.
Those two were people of the Church, but above all, they were citizens of Bauer.
“Hey, Frieda. Could you please listen to what I have to say?”
Philine stared straight into Frieda’s eyes.
Frieda looked right back at her as if she was carefully searching for something, but eventually, she heaved a huge sigh and said,
“Okay. I’ll hear you out. Choose your words carefully so they don’t become your last, alright?”
After saying so, Frieda lowered her blade.