The Imperial Capital’s University.
Although it was called a university, it was actually a collection of several of them.
There was an innumerable number of students enrolled, and a corresponding number of facilities to match.
Depending on one’s electives, students who’ve enrolled at the same time may never actually meet each other.
Walking around the campus of such a place– was Rosetta.
Her long blonde hair was set into its usual ringlets.
Although such a hairstyle would usually stand out, this was the national university of the imperial capital.
Because there were people who hailed from various planets here, there was an abundance of individuals with conspicuous hairstyles and clothes.
Akin to a costume competition, it was a spectacle that reminded one of a school’s cultural festival.
Surrounding Rosetta were multiple noble girls hailing from Liam’s domain.
They were the daughters of aristocratic families that called the Banfield house their patron. To describe their position in simple terms, they were the daughters of Liam’s henchmen.
Their job was to wait on Rosetta while she pursued her studies at the university.
Great nobles often enrolled with their followers, so it wasn’t an unusual sight.
“Lady Rosetta, what should we have for lunch today?”
“How about cafeteria food?”
“We can’t eat in such a place, can we?”
“Isn’t it fine? It’ll become a nice memory of our university life.”
As they had this conversation while walking, the girls were getting increasingly noisy.
But Rosetta didn’t even spare them a glance.
She understood their feelings.
“Eating at the cafeteria should be fine every once in a while, so why don’t we pay it a visit?”
When Rosetta gave her opinion, the two happily agreed.
That’s when a serious-looking girl that wore glasses called out to her.
“Lady Rosetta, their goal is to–”
Various students gathered at the school cafeteria.
Some of them were those that took classes here, while others were visitors from other institutes.
But they were all there to pick up women.
Many of them were aristocrats who had hidden their identity while they went out to ‘play around.’
To partake in debauchery– they just wanted to enjoy their free time to the fullest.
And in all honesty, a part of Rosetta’s entourage wanted to find some boys to fool around with as well.
“Are you sure about this?”
“I’ll allow it as long as they don’t go overboard. Some of them don’t even have fiancés yet, so I’m trying to take that into consideration.”
“H-however, this might screw up their pre-marital negotiations.”
“It’s not that unusual to partake in things like this, and I’ve heard that many people actually forge strong friendships in these places. As long as they take this seriously, I won’t get in their way.”
Though having come from humble origins, Rosetta couldn’t help but feel a little worried seeing all these people live their lives without restraint in the city.
With that said, keeping too tight of a leash on the girls would be detrimental as well, so this was a chance for them to get a bit more experience on how to deal with people.
That’s why Rosetta wouldn’t interfere.
They just had to make sure they would take responsibility for their choices.
And when Rosetta and her colleagues arrived at the cafeteria, they actually spotted Liam there.
“Ah, Darling’s here.”
Her cheeks flushing red, Rosetta began to approach him– but after seeing that Liam was in the middle of a serious conversation with Wallace, she decided not to disturb them.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Liam, I wasn’t playing around yesterday, I just got back late.”
Now sporting a fresh bump on his head, Wallace went on to make excuses to me.
“You’re saying this even though I’ve heard that you go out drinking with bad company everyday? Using the money that I gave you? You’re even taking such an impertinent attitude towards me.”
“Aren’t you the one being unreasonable here? Yeah, I usually use your money, but in any case, I really wasn’t out playing around yesterday.”
“…did something happen?”
With how frivolous Wallace is, something must’ve happened for him to return so late without playing around.
Now that I think about it, he did seem kind of off this morning.
He looked like he was painfully languishing over something.
“A-actually… my family contacted me.”
“Your family? Like Cedric?”
Cedric used to be one of the disposable spare-princes that was in a similar situation to Wallace.
But now he was enlisted in the army as a Major General.
“I wish. No, the ones that contacted me were my eldest and second-eldest siblings. Do you understand what that means?”
He was testing my patience.
I was starting to get angry here.
“Don’t patronize me, just get to the point already.”
“…okay. In short, my brothers want to recruit you into their factions, so they requested me to work as their mediator. I hate this. I’ve been trying to escape from the battle for the throne this entire time, but now I’m suddenly involved again.”
Wallace has always been reluctant to partake in the court battles.
This was because his life was easily forfeit if he made the wrong choice.
There were thousands of individuals holding rights to succeed the throne, all of which would do anything to kick their competitors down if they had the chance.
Such individuals fought, crushed, and killed each other.
“They contacted you to get to me? You mean like how the prince third in line did so recently?”
If I remember correctly, he was… His Highness Cleo?
“It’s different. Cleo requested a direct meeting with you. In this case, my brothers wanted to recruit you into their factions through me.”
I couldn’t understand this.
“In other words, they’re requesting you to bend the knee and swear fealty to them. If you accept one of their invitations, then you’ll have to make sure to prepare the souvenirs and donations necessary for the occasion.”
This kind of pissed me off.
They’re calling me out and ordering me to genuflect before them.
Usually, I don’t mind sending out bribes to build good will with my superiors– but in this case, the request the third prince sent asking for a formal meeting felt far better to accept than the others.
“They’re looking down on me…”
“Of course they are. My brothers are the two candidates with the highest chance of becoming the next Emperor.”
It was only natural that they’d have this arrogance.
“Hmm? Wait… so you’re saying that they both have a great deal of power?”
A disturbing thought passed through my mind.
The hint about my ‘true enemy’ that the guide told me about before.
I already held a fair amount of suspicions towards the current Emperor.
Being the most powerful individual in the country, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to be the one pulling the Berkley Family’s strings.
However, these new revelations show there’s more than one possible candidate for the position.
“It’s because my brothers both have a vast number of nobles working under them. In that sense, they’re quite the imposing individuals. Not that my other siblings are completely powerless, but those two stand out from the rest.”
“…is that so?”
Taking that into consideration, they weren’t people worth swearing myself to.
There’s a chance one of them was behind the Berkley Family’s actions.
If I accepted their invitations too rashly, there was a possibility they’d betray me.
Or rather, this was an enemy the guide himself had to warn me about!
They were dangerous.
“Wallace, let them know– I refuse.”
“Ehhh?! Liam, what are you saying?! They’re the first and second princes!”
“So what? They’re my enemies.”
It’s highly likely that the Berkley Family was being manipulated by someone in the shadows.
The Emperor or the princes who are struggling against each other for the right of succession are no good– but there is one person who approached me that meets my needs.
“Wallace, if what you’re saying is true, then isn’t the third prince currently without any decent backing?”
I’ve heard stories about the third prince.
A prince with almost no claim to his inheritance and without any nobles supporting him.
In other words, a powerless prince.
But that’s exactly why–
“Cleo doesn’t have any decent backers, this has already been confirmed. Even the house that his mother is from has abandoned him.”
“How about his character?”
“His personality? W-well… he’s my cute little brother, or should I say pitiful? Even though he’s in a position where even I have sympathy for him, he’s actually quite strong-willed.”
“That has a lot of weight coming from you.”
“Of the three princes, Cleo is undoubtedly the most humane of them. Well, that could also be because of how young he is, so he isn’t quite aware of the ways of the world. He’s both serious and kind, but I don’t know what the future has in store for him.”
–he’s no threat to me.
It’s highly unlikely that he was the one manipulating the Berkley Family since he doesn’t have any power of his own.
He’s the least risky choice of the lot.
The Emperor and the two princes– if my true enemy is among them, then choosing any of their factions is dangerous.
Not to mention the ill-will that I’d receive as a newcomer late to the party.
“He’s definitely the best. Cleo is the one I’ll meet with. Send him a message to prepare for my arrival.”
As I said that while drinking my coffee, Wallace was trembling.
“Eh? Are you serious?”
“Obviously. Why wouldn’t I be? Let it be publicly known– that I’m seriously supporting His Highness Cleo.”
I’ve already built up enough power for my subordinates to take care of most of the grunt work.
As for the two princes who are may potentially be my enemies– I can’t let either of them become emperor.
It would be pretty interesting to become Cleo’s backer, and have the ruler of a nation dancing to my strings.
That really gives off the feeling of an evil lord.
“Looks like things are getting fun.”
When I said that, Wallace began shaking his head in exasperation.
“You’re the only one having fun with this.”
Let’s join the battle for the throne!
My victory was practically guaranteed.
I’m pretty strong, both personally and financially.
Two of the Empire’s princes are nothing to me!
Not to mention, I have a powerful guardian angel watching over me.
As long as I have the guide on my side, I’m invincible!
◇ ◇ ◇
A planet far, far away from the Empire’s imperial capital.
All the way over in another intergalactic nation.
The guide was currently looking over a metropolitan city from the roof of a building.
“I’ve been doing things wrong until now.”
Reflecting over his past, the guide was currently gathering negative emotions from other planets a great distance away from Liam.
As a result of this, he had a revelation.
“It was my mistake to get involved with Liam. With how he is now, there’s no way for me to deal with him at the moment.”
After calmly analyzing Liam’s strength, he had come to the conclusion that he couldn’t deal with him with only the Empire’s resources.
Did that mean he was giving up?
No. Absolutely not.
The guide spread out his hands.
“I need to crush the Empire in its entirety! The swordsmen that Yasushi raised will kill Liam himself, while I take measures to destroy the country he lives in from the outside!”
His plan was to involve other intergalactic nations to kill Liam in the grandest fashion ever.
So what was needed to make that possible?
“First, I’ll sow the seeds of discord in this country– then I’ll set fires to the nations around the Empire, which will eventually turn into blazing infernos that will try to consume it!”
Noticing problems that would eventually show themselves given time, the guide made moves to expedite those problems, making them grow as big as possible.
This wasn’t the only place.
“All the nations adjacent to the Empire will be involved! Let’s throw everything into havoc and chaos!”
Just so he could kill Liam, the guide decided to involve the other intergalactic nations to create the grandest stage ever.
And as for Liam himself–
“I’ll leave you alone for now, Liam. This is your last chance to gather your strength, but don’t forget– I’m definitely going to make you drown in despair!”
The guide made this declaration out loud.
“Liam, from this place where not even your gratitude can reach, I will definitely kill you!”
From a place far, far away– the guide directed his killing intent towards Liam.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Cleo! You’ve received a reply from Count Banfield!”
Lysithea practically burst into the room Cleo was taking a bath in, letter in hand.
She was in such a rush that she ran up to him while he was still soaking himself in the hot water.
Although the few servants there were surprised, they didn’t comment on it due to her still being a princess.
In the middle of a spacious bath, Cleo was staring at his sister in amazement.
“…you know that I’m in the middle of a bath, right?”
“How can you be so calm about this?! Wallace just brought us a letter from Count Banfield!”
As Cleo stood up, his servants quickly covered his body in a hurry.
They wiped it down with towels and brought him a bath gown.
Approaching Lysithea at a steady pace, Cleo told his servants, “that’s enough,” and received the letter while still wet.
(It’s probably just a notice of rejection anyway…)
He then proceeded to coldly cut the seal while under his sister’s excited gaze.
Then he read the letter.
The contents of it were very formal.
Maybe it was because he hasn’t met them yet, but the sender’s personality couldn’t really be seen through what was written.
The greeting however, was short and straight to the point.
It said that a large donation would be immediately sent.
The number listed had more digits than Cleo had ever seen before in his life.
“…that’s quite a lot of money.”
While Cleo still seemed to be in shock, Lysithea began speaking with shining eyes.
“Read it to the end! I’ve already heard the rough outline from Wallace, but Count Banfield said that he’ll give you his full support!”
It was no wonder that Cleo was surprised.
After all, not just the crown prince, but even the second prince had moved to contact Liam.
The two highest ranking princes had both reached out to the currently unaffiliated Count.
This was one of the highest honours.
And yet, he had chosen a decoration that didn’t have any real power at all.
“Does he intend to turn me into his puppet?”
Lysithea broke out into laughter at Cleo’s concerns.
“What are you talking about? Looking at your current situation, no one would be willing to back you just to have you under their thumb.”
“…I guess that’s true, I’m not worth it.”
Though when taking that into consideration, why did Liam choose him?
Cleo couldn’t understand this.
“In any case! You now have a young and powerful noble on your side! And it doesn’t end there! Now the aristocrats that have stayed neutral until now might start gathering under the Banfield name! The creation of your faction is inevitable!”
Cleo’s faction would be formed with the Banfield house at its center.
That meant that he would become a powerful force to be reckoned with.
“…I still can’t understand what he wants from this. He might be a dangerous individual. I’ll make my decision after meeting him in person.”
Seeing Cleo’s attitude, Lysithea finally calmed down.
“T-that might be true– however, isn’t it fine to hope? At least just a little bit?”
One of the servants listening in on their conversation made a slightly panicked expression, unlike the other happy employees.
Brian(*´∀｀) “Are you surprised? Volume 5 will be updated twice a day at 6:00 and 18:00.”
Brian(´；ω；｀) “–seeing such a strange plant appear is painful.”
Kuro(´・ω・｀) “Please ignore Brian. Unfortunately, he’s addressing the Syosetu audience in place of the author, that isn’t a message from me to you… wait.”
*puts on groucho fuzzy nose and glasses
Definitely-NOT-Kuro(*@ω@*) “Ahem… I mean, darn that Kuro. We need to catch that sloth before they escape!”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com