That day, Harold received a letter. After checking the sender’s name, it turned out to be from Yuno.
‘Why would she send me a letter?’ Harold tilted his head, remembering the exchange that took place between them when he informed them he was entering the Knights.
The current management and representation of LP farming was still on track when he left, but they still had to send progress reports to Harold regularly. So far, there didn’t seem to be any problems because he always had the chance to check things in person, but that’s changed ever since he joined the Knights.
Instead, he went with the suggestion of switching to written reports to check on their status. Harold didn’t really like this method, but it was an annoyance that he’d have to accept.
Though for the sender’s name, they were supposed to use one that wouldn’t raise suspicion on his relationship with the Sumeragi House, due to an event that will happen in the future.
Tasuku was aware that Harold meant to discard his engagement with Erika later on. If this were to be exposed, the Sumeragi House would be put under a lot of scrutinies, so considerations like this were made to keep his engagement with Erika hidden.
The letter with Yuno’s name on it probably wasn’t Tasuku’s idea, because this would only confirm the connection between him and the Sumeragi. Well, his engagement with Erika had already been leaked to Cody.
Though this wasn’t Tasuku’s fault, from the beginning it was impossible to perfectly conceal this information, because there was no way his father, Hayden would keep quiet about it.
As he recalled such a father, Harold opened the envelope with a sigh.
The five parchments included inside displayed the profits gained from the LP farming method, all the contents and the numbers, such as business scales were completely written in minute detail. In addition to this, Harold realised that there was one more thing he needed to look out for, comrades.
Unfortunately, the current Harold had no real expertise in management. The anticipation of this fact was another reason why he had ceded his position so early on to Tasuku, this way nobody would come for his opinion on matters he wasn’t sure of.
Though to only send back a blank letter with the words “Do as you like,” written on it would be too irresponsible as the founder of LP farming.
It goes without saying that Tasuku was doing a great job so far, but it wouldn’t be good to settle in that mindset.
Right now instead of making a profit, they needed to slowly spread it out to other nobles to gain apathy rather than hostility.
For now LP farming is ‘being developed’ by the Sumeragi House, but is offering support to the Stokes House. The two houses have a monopoly on the technique, but their revenue in comparison to what they could be earning is average.
It’s that sort of thing.
If they disclosed the technique by gradually selling it, instead of announcing it upfront to all the aristocracy in the Chamber of Commerce, they’ll reduce the risk of more trouble developing later on.
That said, one should take care to not become a shallow wit. Watch over what markets begin to develop while keeping track of the timing on how often the techniques were spread to the other nobles, etc. All of these were things Harold was confident in leaving to Tasuku.
Though there was no way he was going to just spoon feed them this advice.
After thinking things through on what kind of stance he wanted to take on this, Harold immediately took up his pen.
As his pen silently ran over the parchment, his roommates tottered to the back of the room wobbly, while leaking out groans akin to zombies.
Every day, since they asked for his guidance, Issac and the others, worked hard in continuous mock battles against Harold. Needless to say, it was Harold’s landslide victory every time. He didn’t even break a sweat clashing swords at close speeds. While on the other hand, Isaac and the others had become ragged on a daily basis. Their suffering didn’t end even after they lost because they were forced to fight until their strength was completely exhausted. Falling down on his bed, Isaac turned his face towards Harold, who was currently sitting at a desk.
“Harold-kun, can you give me a second please?”
“I’ve been entrusted with a message from Captain Cody, ‘Tomorrow, after you finish your morning training come to my room.’ he said, and that’s all…”
Once Isaac had finished saying what he needed to, he immediately fell asleep, his breathing steady. There wasn’t even any time to reply.
Tomorrow will probably be when they announce how he passed their test. This was something that one was only supposed to receive after being here for a great deal of time, so when this gets out, along with his already infamous reputation, he’d receive even more scorn than before.
Little did he know it, but the reality that was waiting for Harold was even harsher than what he imagined.
The next morning, he was called out to by Cody and the rest of the squad, so he couldn’t help but feel like something bad was going to happen.
“What a coincidence! Good morning Harold-kun, how’s your mood this fine day?”
This was truly the worst, this group taking such showy actions towards him so early in the morning? Just what did he do to trigger a flag like this?
In retrospect, maybe completing the exam they gave him was the flag to cause this ominous event in the first place.
“Let’s finish this quickly then. Harold-kun, you have been officially assigned to my squad, so let’s get along from now onwards, ‘kay~”
Harold could almost hear something snap in his head. Out of all the squads that he could’ve been selected to join, it just had to be the one that he wished not to be in the most.
His mind was instantly flooded with depression as Robinson and the others added their greetings as well.
“I’ll be counting on you from now on Harold!”
Shido went ahead and nudged Harold’s shoulder against his own.
Robinson and Irene chimed in unison, both welcoming him.
“It’s encouraging to know that you’ll be in the same squad as us, Harold-kun.”
“But we’re the seniors here so make sure to drop that attitude and respect us a bit more, okay?”
It would be a lie to say that he wasn’t happy with this reaction. For the him that’s always shunned due to the provocations that are always spoken against his will, normal contact with other people was a precious thing.
However, this was the squad that would be wiped out in the future, leaving Cody as the only survivor, but this was an essential part of advancing the original ‘storyline.’
The fact that he had just become a member of said squad, was akin to being sentenced to death. Before he could worry about saving Robinson and the other’s lives, he had to figure out how to save his own.
(Certainly, Cody’s squad is destroyed four years before the start of the game, meaning one year from now. Can that be avoided if the squad changes enough before the event?)
Before Harold could even begin pondering whether or not there was a way to avoid certain death, things had taken a turn for the worse.
“Also, one week from now certain squads are getting five days off to use as we like, and we’re among the squads chosen.”
“Why now of all times?”
“We’re getting a vacation, shouldn’t you be happy about it?”
“It’s because they expect us to go on an expedition afterwards, and since we were chosen to participate in it, they’re giving us a few days to relax. Well, I wonder how much value they place on our talents to choose us.”
The one that had answered his question wasn’t Cody, but Robinson.
“Isn’t it a bit harsh to just throw us into an expedition all of a sudden?”
“It doesn’t seem like too big of an issue considering the location, some place called Blitz Forest.”
The moment he heard Cody speak those words Harold could feel his entire body go rigid.
Blitz Forest, an unexplored land where the mysterious Star Aria race, the ‘Stella’ resided.
The skirmish between the Knights and the Star Aria Tribe in the original game is the battle where Cody loses his entire squad, causing him to leave the Knights as a result.
As to why they had to engage in combat, it’s because soldiers of the enemy disguised themselves as knights, launching surprise attacks on both the Knights and the Star Aria Tribe respectively. Seeing how they were allowed to traverse the forest, the mastermind had taken this as an opportunity to break this trust in the worst possible way, leading to a deep fissure in the relationship between the two races for years to come.
The mastermind of this incident wasn’t the one who had attacked and framed betrayal on both sides, but Justus who had incited that person into doing so in the first place. His goal was to analyse certain traits unique to the Star Aria Tribe and capture a number of them for research during the confusion of the battle.
Robinson and the others died, Cody left the Knights, and Justus was free to advance his research with new test subjects as well. The battle that will take place in Blitz Forest is only related to the game by a single item used in the game’s main story. An intervention, in this case, shouldn’t affect the world’s future by too much, so that’s why Harold didn’t hesitate in wanting to help, but it was a whole other story if there was only this small margin of time left to prepare.
In the meantime, he would have to think this through.
What to do? Participation in the battle was guaranteed at this point, but how was he supposed to react?
Harold’s heart pounded in dread, it might’ve been the first time he’s ever panicked so much since entering the game world.
His head could by no means be considered calm and clear.
He was idly thinking, clinging to any idea that would materialise for a hope of success, that was Harold’s current state of mind.
Yet there were only five days off before the expedition.
Without any clear reason as to why. Harold’s feet seemed to have turned to the direction of the Sumeragi territory.
Harold himself couldn’t answer why this was happening, but he was pretty sure that anyone he could confide with wouldn’t be able to put out a decent answer either.
To end such anguish and just escape there would be a huge load off his mind.
It had been about two months since he last visited the Sumeragi House. Without any warning, a man who belonged at the mansion he was just thinking about had entered the room.
What greeted Harold was an old man, who if he remembered correctly was named Kiryu.
“Well, what do we have here, its Harold-sama. How is your day today? I would love to hear all about it.”
“This is urgent, bring out Tasuku already.”
It may be nothing, but he wished that they had given him a warning before sending someone over.
“The master won’t be able to meet you right now, but will visit at nightfall.”
Almost involuntarily Harold clicked his tongue. Half of it was because they had created this abrupt meeting all of a sudden, but the other half was due to the dissatisfaction of learning the Tasuku was still absent.
Although time passed in the guest room, it was unbearable to have to wait until nightfall before Tasuku’s visit. All he could do was sit, and let his anxiety and frustration slowly rise.
Even telling himself that he’d be able to resolve some things once Tasuku came, still wasn’t enough to stop his negative feelings.
A kind of bloodlust started to build up inside of him as time past, almost impatiently asking him to just leave already, but after looking around, there didn’t seem to be any valid means of doing so.
The sound of someone appearing on the other side of the sliding door caused Harold to grind his teeth a little.
“Please excuse me.”
It was a cool voice that seemed to calm Harold’s heat tinged head.
Suddenly speaking was a girl with gestures so graceful that they seemed increasingly similar to her mother Koyomi, maybe even surpassing her in some places, day by day.
After being in placed in such a desperate situation, Harold didn’t have the energy to be as hard-hearted as usual.
It was more than likely that visiting Harold was one of the things that she hated most in the world, so she was probably only here for business.
To this reply, the sound of a breath being shakily drawn could be heard on the other side of the door. Apparently, his response was a surprise to her.
In a single breath, the door was slid open.
“It has been quite a long time, Harold-sama.”
After sitting down with perfect sitting posture, she politely bowed her head until it touched the floor before raising it up again.
Erika had arrived, dressed in a bright green kimono.
Translated by KuroInfinity.