Rosetta was at her limits.
Just like how both her grandmother and mother had broken, Rosetta was slowly being worn down by her time at elementary school.
“I… I just… wanted to escape from this miserable life…”
She wanted a way out of this endless hell.
But reality was ruthless.
Everyday she was reminded of the difference between herself and her peers.
By the time her second year was about to end, the backs of her classmates were no longer in sight.
She didn’t understand anything that went on in class.
During martial arts practice, she wasn’t able to even lay a finger on the girls that were smaller than her.
And no matter how hard she worked, nothing ever changed.
She was even becoming doubtful of whether or not she was human like everyone else.
She collapsed on her bed.
“I don’t want this anymore… If I had known I’d feel this miserable, it would’ve been better if I was never born.”
She remembered the sad faces of her mother and grandmother when they sent her off to elementary school.
They were really painful expressions.
Even though the two of them had no choice but to send her, they told Rosetta, “It’s okay to give up.”
But Rosetta couldn’t accept that.
She didn’t want to because it felt like she was admitting her loss.
However, after coming to elementary school, she learned that she didn’t have any chance of winning at all, she had lost from the beginning.
Rosetta’s spirit was broken.
If she had any before she came here, it was already shattered.
◇ ◇ ◇
The faculty office of the elementary school.
The teachers were having a meeting.
“As for Claudia’s case…”
Professor John, who was being questioned, had a hard time responding,
“She’s going through a difficult time right now. If possible, try to be nice to her.”
At the elementary school, Rosetta wasn’t being bullied as harshly as she normally would be.
However, there was still her past history to consider.
And above all else was the fact that she was clearly at a different level than the other students.
It wasn’t a problem of character, but a simple matter of financial strength and status.
There wasn’t anyone to blame for the situation.
Or rather, they knew that she was trying her best.
Therefore, they tried their best to treat her delicately.
They couldn’t be angry with her.
It wasn’t her fault.
But Rosetta seemed to perceive it as neglect.
Another teacher jumped in,
“Why don’t we let her rest for a while? Take some time off of school?”
Professor John shook his head,
“The monitoring officials will start to complain. The situation is more complicated than that.”
Those who had kept watch over the Claudia house for millennia were merciless.
They were always thinking about how they could further break their spirits.
Such people had been gathered together to do so to this day.
Whenever the teachers tried to let Rosetta catch a break, the monitoring officials would start to complain,
‘Are you going against the orders of the late Emperor?’
Such a threat couldn’t be refuted by mere teachers.
So they were prohibited from lending a hand.
“Is there any way we can help her?”
They couldn’t do anything.
Then suddenly another teacher burst into the faculty office.
“We have a problem!”
Professor John turned his head,
“It’s about the next mobile knight tournament! Derrick is entering, but so is Liam!”
The teachers stood up after hearing that,
“–let’s cancel the event immediately.”
Liam was going to kill Derrick.
Although he was usually calm and mature, Liam was famous for being merciless when it came to pirates.
Problems would surely arise if Liam and Derrick fought in mobile knights.
“Let’s ask Liam if he can avoid participating this time. Otherwise…”
However, the teacher who brought in the news shook his head,
“Derrick himself expressed his desire for him to enter. If we didn’t allow it, he said we’d incur his wrath.”
Professor John immediately went to report to his superior,
“Just what is he thinking?”
◇ ◇ ◇
It was the prime minister who received the report from the elementary school.
“…hmm, this is interesting. Should I leave this alone?”
And the subordinate who brought the report to him was– Tia.
She was specifically assigned to work for the prime minister as an official.
“Lord Liam will be pleased with this development.”
While looking at the smiling Tia, the prime minister invited her to officially become his subordinate.
This was evidence of how capable he thought Tia was,
“Christiana, have you ever considered becoming an official vassal of the Empire?”
Tia responded immediately,
“I never have.”
Hearing that, the prime minister withdrew,
“That’s a shame. Personally, I want as many talented subordinates as possible.”
“My only master is Lord Liam.”
“To have inspired this much loyalty from a knight as competent as yourself. He truly is something special.”
“Of course he is.”
Tia, who was currently working as an official, was recognised by the prime minister because of her talent.
He was going to invite her as his aide for the next century, so the prime minister was disappointed with her refusal– she would’ve made quite the reliable subordinate.
“–now then, the Banfield house and the Berkley family are going to soon begin fighting in earnest. Are you ready?”
Tia had no doubts about their victory.
“Naturally. I will never question one of Lord Liam’s decisions. Even if he made the wrong choice, I’m sure that we’ll win in the end.”
(She’s reliable, but a little blind.)
Tia gave off a dangerous atmosphere as she stated what she wholeheartedly believed to be the correct answer.
“That’s great. You should rampage without reserve. The Empire will accept whoever the victor is.”
The war between the Banfield house and the Berkley family.
Who would win?
Not even the prime minister knew.
(In terms of scale, it’s the Berkley family’s overwhelming victory, but the Count has always won unfavourable battles. Personally, I’d like to believe that it’s the same case this time as well.)
He was cheering for the Banfield house, but he had to remain neutral as the prime minister.
(In any case, it’s not long until the war starts.)
A war between aristocrats.
First will be the quiet battles.
The fights will begin long before any actual military forces are involved.
Those who would benefit from the Berkley family’s victory will likely support them during the war.
If that was the case, then Liam had no chance.
No matter how strong Liam and his house was, they’d still lose.
(—the question is whether or not those stubborn people will support the Count.)
For him to win, the backing of the inflexible nobles and merchants that opposed the Berkley family were necessary.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Please forgive me!”
It was Brian who was apologising over the monitor.
I listened to the report while rubbing my tired eyes.
“The Claudia house head and her predecessor are suspicious of your intentions, and negotiations regarding the engagement aren’t progressing at all.”
I pondered this while looking at Brian wipe his sweat.
Brian was generally a soft person.
I didn’t think he’d take an attitude that looked down on them while saying, “Accept the engagement, or else.”
If so, does that mean that they refused because they hated me?
The Claudia house’s steel spirit wouldn’t break no matter how far they fell– they’re the best!
“Continue negotiations carefully. Calm words that will slowly allow them to relax are necessary, understood?”
“O-of course. T-the problem is… the Claudia house can’t see any reason why you’d want to have Lady Rosetta as your wife, they think this is a trick.”
‘Even if you fell in love with her at first sight, are you looking down on us with this marriage proposal?! We’re a historical Ducal house!’
—was it something like that?
Oh Claudia house, you truly are entertaining.
“Lord Liam, are you really going to take Lady Rosetta as your spouse?”
Brian had a worried expression on his face.
I guess he was concerned if an evil lord like myself could truly accept the daughter of the Claudia house, who was pretty much the embodiment of a spirit of steel and justice.
They truly were a great house.
They’ve consistently resisted against the wicked emperor’s orders and endured harassment for millennia.
In addition to that, they were a matriarchal house who thought of all men as trash.
To have such a house succumb to me would surely be interesting.
No matter how long it took to do so.
Or rather, I wanted to see how much they could endure before then.
“Brian, are you dissatisfied with my decision?”
Generally, I didn’t allow anyone to complain about things I’ve decided.
But I’ve known Brian longer than anyone.
I’ll forgive it if it’s only a few words of complaint.
“…if I’m speaking objectively, I’m dissatisfied. The debt of the Claudia house is worse than the old Banfield house. There’s little to no reward for building a connection with them.”
But that was a problem I could solve with money.
In fact, Amagi told me that with how smoothly development has been progressing lately, it’d be possible to repay it in no time.
It had to be true because Amagi said so.
“Even so, this is what I decided.”
Brian’s shoulders dropped when I said that, but then he started giving me a wry smile,
“I understand, and personally… this Brian here is cheering for you, Lord Liam.”
The call ended there.
I stood up and stretched.
“Brian has finally learned to understand my feelings. Even though I think he’s misunderstanding something, that’s normal for him.”
◇ ◇ ◇
At that time, a prototype machine was being tested at the Seventh Weapons Factory.
Marie was the one piloting the luxurious prototype.
In emptiness of space– she was flying through the air and debris at full speed.
Nias, who was watching the test from inside a ship, was mesmerised.
“This is nice. Mobile knights built from expensive materials truly are the best.”
The aircraft built using a vast amount of rare metals without worrying about the budget was more of a work of art rather than a prototype.
Marie, who had just finished the test had returned.
“Nias, the reaction speed was a little slow. Did you really think Lord Liam would be satisfied with something of this level?”
And the skill of the test pilot was first-class.
Although there were many problems with her personality, as a test pilot Marie was definitely an ace.
She was a rare pilot who could manipulate such a difficult aircraft as if it were a part of her own body.
Nias answered while operating a tablet.
“I’ll be more careful when it comes to tuning Avid’s reaction speed.”
“Be careful with this child’s adjustment as well. This child will become my personal machine.”
Although it was only a prototype, Marie had taken a liking to it.
“Personally, I’d like to keep it as an experimental machine.”
“If you’re thinking of making the same thing, don’t bother. If you get too greedy, we’ll have to fire you. As a side note, I’d like to have this child repainted white and purple. That’s my personal colour.”
To be able to dye your personal machine a unique colour.
That’s one of the privileges of ace pilots.
But when Nias tried to arrange it–
“Oh Marie, I’m sorry, but I don’t have the permission to do so. That’s already Christiana’s personal colour.”
Marie’s atmosphere changed instantly.
She was speaking politely until now but–
“That minced-meat witch! To use my personal colour without my permission! I’ll turn that shitty woman back into her original form!”
She began bad-mouthing Tia in a vulgar manner.
“Oops, please excuse me. Oh well, I knew she was like that. An embarrassing woman like her, who self-proclaims herself to be the head knight isn’t suitable for Lord Liam. Don’t you agree?”
It wasn’t self-proclaimed, Liam had appointed her as such– Marie just couldn’t accept it.
(I-I wonder how I should answer her? Or rather, when this person learns that Lord Liam is getting engaged, how am I supposed to run away?)
But it wasn’t like she couldn’t tell her.
“More importantly, it looks like Lord Liam found a girl he’s interested in at the elementary school. He’s already declared his intention to get engaged to her and has started negotiations with her house.”
“Is that so! I wonder who it is? Even if you searched the entirety of the Empire, you wouldn’t find a partner suitable for Lord Liam that easily.”
‘To what extent did she put Lord Liam on a pedestal?’–Nias was amazed.
“Well, umm… it’s actually Lady Rosetta of the Claudia Ducal house.”
When she heard that, Marie cried out,
“That’s great! We need to celebrate this right away!”
“Huh? You aren’t angry?”
“Lord Liam is my ideal master afterall. For him to choose a daughter of the Claudia house– this has to be destiny.”
Nias didn’t answer back.
Leaving the excited Marie alone, she started operating the tablet.
Projected on it was the image of Avid being renovated.
It was being upgraded using a mountain of rare metals.
She could feel herself drooling at the sight.
“Ahh~ you’re wonderful. In particular, this line and gimmick here is the best. I’ll make sure to check on you once I get home.”
Nias felt a kind of affection for Avid, who was being renovated with everything the Seventh Weapons Factory had.
–it was something akin to motherhood.
Towards Nias and Marie’s excited states, the other staff looked away.
“Is this all right?”
“Leave them to their delusions.”
“But Nias was talking about Avid as if it were her own child.”
Avid’s renovation was progressing smoothly.
Nias was drooling on her terminal.
“Ahh~ I feel like I’ll go insane just looking at that mythril shine.”
Brian(´・ω・) “Engagement negotiations with the Claudia house are difficult, but this Brian here won’t let Lord Liam down!”
Brian(｀・ω・´) “This Brian here swears it! I’ll do my best for Lord Liam!”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com