In the academy, it’s forbidden to make calls without permission beforehand.
Even if you were only receiving a report from your territory, you were forced to use a room specifically designed for the calls.
And so, right now I was talking to Amagi in the communication room but–
“…the debt collectors are pressuring us to pay up?”
“Yes. Because our financial situation has deteriorated, they want to quickly collect what they can.”
“I’m struggling financially? Me of all people?”
I didn’t understand.
Did something happen back home?
“Has a problem occurred in the territory?”
“No, it’s developing at a steady pace. It might not be as fast as it used to be, but there haven’t been any complications. Even the pioneer planet’s development has stabilised.”
Amagi paused for a moment before answering, “It still hasn’t been confirmed, but it seems like the Berkley family has been moving behind the scenes. Apparently, they have a lot of connections with companies in the financial industry.”
There was a man who picked a fight with me back during my time at the elementary school.
He tried to kill me during the mobile knight tournament, but I ended up killing him instead.
However, that seems to have pissed off his relatives.
“The Berkley family has many connections and are very troublesome. The majority of them may only be Barons, but Serena says that we should still stay vigilant.”
“So you’re telling me a group of Barons is picking a fight with a Count like myself? Even as an annoyance, no matter how many small fish gather together, they’re still only small fish in the end.”
Though it was impossible to know all the connections each noble house had.
After killing Derrick, it was only natural for the rest of his relatives in the Berkley family to become hostile towards me.
However, for things to have developed this far was unexpected.
“Let’s just repay the entire debt in bulk. Can we sell the rare metals we have stored to Thomas?”
It was annoying having to convert everything into cash, but if they wanted me to pay it all off at once, then I’ll comply.
However, I wouldn’t forgive their insolence in treating me this way.
“I’ve talked to him about it, but there’s too much for him to convert. Therefore, we still haven’t prepared the funds. The collectors have expressed that they’d be willing to take the rare metals instead for less than half the market price, but I’d like to know your opinion on this, Master.”
“They said they’d buy my resources cheaply?”
There are many things that I hated.
On that list, debt collectors were among the worst of them.
In my previous life, they had thoroughly tormented me.
Although it wasn’t even my own debt, I absolutely abhorred the collectors who tortured me so.
Even in this universe, it was my parents and grandparents who made the huge debts.
I was going to pay it all back in due time, but I wasn’t going to forgive them if they tried to force it.
“It feels like I’d lose if I sold it to them. If they’re going to be bought cheaply anyway, then I’d rather sell my rare metals to the Empire.”
“Even though the Empire would buy them at an even worse price? Are you sure about this?”
“It’s better than helping the debt collectors make money.”
Besides, I could prepare as many rare metals as I wanted.
In the first place, all of my financial problems were technically artificial.
This was all because of the ‘Alchemy Box’ that the guide provided for me, which was an amazing tool that could create rare metals even from garbage.
“They’re the ones who started this fight. Let’s start pressuring the Berkley family in retaliation.”
“You mean to start an economic war?”
“It’s fine, my victory is assured.”
It was impossible for them to compete with me while I had the alchemy box.
“We’ll start applying pressure with a reasonable range. Now then, how’s your life at the military academy? Have you gotten sick or injured? Are you staying healthy?”
“’Compared to Master’s One-Flash training, what they put me through here is nothing’– can’t actually be said, but I haven’t had any problems. Or rather, my biggest concern is probably how there isn’t anything for me to learn here.”
“There’s nothing for you to learn?”
“To be honest, one of the upperclassmen picked a fight with me, but I was actually able to beat him in a simulated battle. I wish you were there to see it Amagi.”
Despite telling her about my brilliant victory against Dolph, she didn’t seem very pleased with me.
“…Master, didn’t all of that happen because you were acting conceited?”
“It’s only natural for evil lords to be arrogant. Though, I can’t deny I wanted to beat down the fool who was brandishing his sense of justice. It makes me want to laugh thinking about how someone of that level was the valedictorian.”
Luckily, the academy didn’t really seem to care.
As I broke into a grin, Amagi began to chastise me,
“I don’t want to see you constantly getting into fights with the other cadets. Master, you should focus more on your studies instead.”
…today’s Amagi sure was harsh.
“You know, you’re the only one who I’d allow to take that attitude towards me, right? If it were anyone else, I would’ve already had their head by now.”
“I’m just telling you what you need to hear, Master. You can always take my head whenever you wish.”
Take Amagi’s head? That’s something that should never be said, not even as a joke.
I raised my hands in surrender.
“Okay, I’ll try to follow your advice. Please don’t be angry with me.”
“I’m not angry.”
“–by the way, umm… how’s Rosetta doing?”
Rosetta was a troublesome girl who said she’d even follow me to the military academy. Was she behaving herself at the mansion?
She happily called me “Darling!” when we’re together, and I didn’t really know how I should treat her.
As a candidate for my future harem, she was definitely beautiful enough… but something felt wrong when I thought about that.
“Lady Rosetta is currently going through strict training under the head maid’s tutelage. There have been talks to have her begin studies at another house, but we’re having difficulty finding one considering our current situation with the Berkley family.”
“So it’s the Berkley family again?”
I always heard their name wherever I went.
In the Empire, that seemed to be a surname as common as ‘Tanaka’.
“Well… I’ll leave the details to you.”
“Just leave it to me.”
After the call ended, I stood up from my chair and stretched.
“Now then, just like what Amagi told me, should I try taking classes a little more seriously?”
◇ ◇ ◇
The next day’s class taught the basics of fleet warfare.
I had learned about this already in the education capsule, but after hearing the instructor’s lesson– I could feel myself break out into a cold sweat.
Standing on the platform, the instructor indifferently spoke about modern warfare.
“As the scale of fleet battles increase, the time they tend to last increase as well. This is because the side who’s more patient tends to have the advantage, making aggressive tactics something to avoid due to the risk they pose.”
The holographic image reproduced a fleet battle and explained the truth to us in an easy-to-understand manner.
“While the quality of the ships and the skill of the crews used are other factors to consider, it would be risky to charge at an opponent of the same level indiscriminately. Careful preparations are necessary.”
The instructor added on,
“Modern assault tactics are usually used when pursuing a fleet that has already lost and is currently retreating. I pray that there is no one among you hoping to rush into enemy lines like a hero.”
The other cadets were laughing.
But I wasn’t.
After all, assault tactics could be considered the Banfield house’s signature winning move.
Even if they worked until now, that was only because our opponents were pirates.
I asked the instructor a question,
“Instructor, how much of a strength difference would you need for aggressive maneuvers to become viable?”
“Oh, cadet Liam? How surprising, I didn’t think there was anything left for me to teach you. Let’s see… I think you’d need at least four times the enemy force in that scenario.”
Quadruple the amount.
If that was the truth, then the Banfield house would be screwed if the enemy was even ten-thousand strong.
Our ships were built for aggressive maneuvers, and our soldiers had gone through assault-oriented training.
I’ve completely messed up in how I organised them.
“Four times… four times?”
While I was in deep thought, Wallace called out to me,
“…it’s nothing. I’ve just been thinking about bolstering my army.”
It was necessary to immediately change our military policies and increase our numbers.
Even an evil lord would feel anxiety when their army wasn’t up to par.
I wanted to trample over others from a safe position, not a risky one.
“Armaments… If I’m talking about those then–”
I guess I’ll have to get in contact with the weapon factories soon.
I also need to call Amagi again.
Even if I change the policies now, it would take several years at the earliest for them to show any effect.
But considering how I’ll have to change everything we’ve built up so far, there’s no doubt it’d take even longer.
Damn it! –I messed up.
Looking back at all of our aggressive battles so far, I’ve been careless.
Now that I think about it, I even was losing against Dolph at the beginning of our battle because of my aggressiveness.
But luckily, I was a man who could respond to changes immediately.
Let’s spin this in a positive light and say I was fortunate to notice it this early, before anything had actually happened.
“For the time being, I’ll aim to double my forces to sixty thousand ships. No, shouldn’t I triple them to a total of ninety thousand?”
Listening to my mutterings, Wallace went, “Eh? You really need that many?” in surprise.
Of course I did.
My army should never run from a fight.
That’s because one’s military power was the symbol of what it meant to be an evil lord.
Anyone would grow silent as long as you had a powerful army.
No, I’d force them into submission.
A strong military was the embodiment of the power of violence.
That’s why I’ll never retreat.
Ah, that reminds me!
Amagi was right, I shouldn’t grow conceited while I’m here!
Right now I didn’t have the military power to guarantee my safety, but I could still change this.
“I’m suddenly feeling really motivated.”
Watching my serious expression, Wallace looked like he didn’t know what to say,
“I-is that so? Well… I guess I’m happy for you? D-do your best!”
Yes, as my underling, I’ll do my best for you as well!
◇ ◇ ◇
After hearing the report in his office, Cashmiro dropped his cigar.
“W-what did you say?”
The son who gave the report through a call didn’t even try to hide how upset he was.
“The Banfield house sold all of the rare metals they had stored to the Empire, and after auctioning them off, they paid off their debts in full with cash.”
Their plan to cut the power of the Banfield house only ended up with their front company losing credibility.
“In any case just keep pressuring them! If we leave that brat alone, the Berkley family will be looked down on!”
When the call ended, Cashmiro held his head.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. Weren’t they just a poor noble house?”
He didn’t think they had that much room to move economically.
(To choose to stay in debt despite having the capital to pay it off… did they change where they allocated their funds? I thought they were just some upstarts developing on the frontier, but they’re surprisingly troublesome.)
Now that things had gotten this far, there was no choice but to match them until they gave up.
If they backed off first, others would begin to question the Berkley family’s power.
There was no point in any of this unless they won.
Yes– there were quite a few troubles that came once you started a fight with a high-noble.
“We have elixirs though. With those, we can earn a large sum of money in an instant. Even if they had a lot of rare metals, it’s the Banfield house that’ll fall first.”
Although there was the demerit of how they had to destroy planets in order to make them, elixirs were always in high demand.
Cashmiro thought that Liam would definitely surrender given time.
“Nevertheless, this economic war is still a failure. We’ve sustained too much damage on this side.”
Their front company lost credibility and trust.
While it’s connection to their Berkley family was exposed.
If he knew this was going to happen, then he would’ve started the fight in a different way.
“…we can’t afford to lose to that brat anymore.”
Their fight would only grow in intensity from here on– or it was supposed to.
Brian(´・ω・) “Lord Liam often says he’s going to ‘make a harem’, but if he is, then all of us vassals wish he’d hurry up make one already. We wouldn’t have to worry anymore then. While Amagi is a special case, it’s painful how he still hasn’t laid his hands on Lady Rosetta at all. How Lord Liam is always lying to us about how he’s going to make a harem is… painful.”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com