It was the autumn of my first year.
Unfortunately, long-term leave of elementary school only lasted half a year, and was only available to those who were in their fourth year onwards.
For this reason, there were no long-term holidays for freshmen.
However, since classes were easy, I wasn’t troubled.
In fact, we were just watching a large holographic video for today’s lesson.
The three-dimensional image showcased the humanoid figures of mobile knights.
Robots donned in full-body western-styled armour were doing battle.
“They look powerful and interesting, but their movements are too slow.”
The first years in the auditorium were cheering, but I didn’t find it amusing at all.
Unfortunately, sitting beside me was my first underling– Wallace, who had just lost a bet with an upperclassman and was currently holding his head.
“I LOST EVERYTHING!!!”
This guy was an idiot.
By the way, I’ve been giving him an allowance every month.
It couldn’t be helped because I was his patron.
I didn’t really mind too much because it was a small amount, but I wasn’t pleased with his use of it.
“You sure are stupid, Wallace. This is because you only bet on the big and unexpected upsets.”
Kurt was laughing.
He was a smart guy who aimed for reasonable, smaller wins.
“I just wanted the reverse my losses with one bet. If I won even once, I’d break even.”
“So you bet everything that you had?”
“Don’t say it out loud! Ahh… all of my savings are gone…”
My underling directed his gaze my way, but I didn’t have any reason to give him more money to spend.
As I ignored him, Kurt spoke up while the next match started,
“There sure are a lot of people participating with their custom mobile knights.”
Starting from their third year, students were allowed to compete in mobile knight tournaments.
Most of them participated with training machines rented from the schools, but particularly rich individuals could bring in their custom mobile knight.
Wallace furrowed his brow as he looked at the contestants using their personal aircrafts.
“It’s just plain dirty to overwhelm others by abusing the difference in performance. Not many can afford a custom mobile knight, not even I have one.”
Even though he used to be a prince, apparently the only mobile knights he’s ever piloted were the training models.
“…so it’s possible to participate with your own custom machine?”
Looking at these boring matches, I thought it’d be fun if I could trample these guys using Avid– it was an idea that I believed would make this mundane school life a little more interesting.
◇ ◇ ◇
The tournament was over.
The champion seemed to be a baron from the frontier named Derrick.
Apparently the children of a Count house were also participating, but it looks like he was a follower of meritocracy and disregarded status during battle.
But that was convenient for me.
With an overwhelming difference in strength, it’d be nice to see such a powerful individual bend the knee.
Even so, despite being the winner, Derrick didn’t look very strong.
Well, this was probably the most you could get out of an elementary school anyway.
I activated my terminal and started a call that projected an image into the air.
–the person I had called was Nias.
Her eyes opened wide as she listened to my request.
“Lord Liam, are you serious?”
“Naturally. Is Avid still undergoing maintenance?”
“Maintenance is over and Avid’s been transported to storage. However, your request to strengthen it is unreasonable. In the first place, that’s something extremely difficult to accomplish. It’d be easier to just rebuild the entire thing from scratch.”
“Do it anyways, I’ll pay you.”
Nias was a really annoying person who cried for me to buy battleships every time we met, but she still refused my request.
“This isn’t a money issue. No matter how much you give us, no more upgrades are possible. We’d need an exorbitant amount of rare metals and materials in order to do so.”
“Rare metals like orichalcum?”
They were staple materials in a fantasy universe.
However, they were scarce and difficult to secure.
But even if it was inefficient, it’d still be possible to collect them if I put out the funds.
“Orichalcum, adamantium, mythril– all of them are necessary. In addition to that, an elite staff team would be needed. As a long-term investment, the total costs would be higher than buying a small fleet.”
In the first place, you’d have to spend an exorbitant amount just to process the rare metals.
It’d be much more efficient to buy a fleet considering the amount of materials, money, and human resources required.
But this was a man’s romance that was more important than efficiency.
“I have the money, so I’ll prepare everything.”
“It’s still an unreasonable request. In the first place, why are you so particular about Avid? Why don’t you just buy a new model instead?”
“I don’t want to because I like Avid. The mainstream aircrafts of today are too fragile and I don’t feel safe using them.”
If I were to compare my request to my previous life, it’d be like demanding someone to renovate a classic car to have the same performance of a new one.
It’d be like telling that person to install a new navigation system and convert it into an electric, all while adding a variety of new functions— of course they’d ridicule such a request.
If that’s how it was going to be, it’d be way easier just to buy a new car.
But this was a matter of taste.
I wasn’t going to compromise on this.
“I’ll send you a list, so please contact us once you gather the necessary materials and budget. Also, you need to prepare a test pilot.”
“A test pilot?”
“Yes, someone that has skills equivalent to yourself– no, someone who could at least pilot Avid. If you can clear all these conditions, then we’ll accept the responsibility of Avid’s renovation.”
She was taking an attitude that said, ‘because that’s impossible, just buy a new model already.’
This girl, did she seriously forget all the times that I’ve left her crying pathetically?
But that’s okay, if that’s how she was going to be, then I was going to take this seriously.
“…you promise, right?”
“Of course. Please contact us once you’re ready. Well, I’d prefer it if you just gave up and bought the newer models and battleships instead though.”
I disconnected us and immediately called home.
Amagi was displayed on the projection.
Just that sight alone made me feel like I was going to have a great day today.
“What is it, Master?”
“Amagi, gather everything on this list I’m sending you as soon as possible. Any rare metals we can’t gather can be supplied using ‘that’. Once collected, deliver it all to the Seventh Weapons Factory.”
When Amagi checked the list, she told me we were missing a few materials.
But they were all things we could obtain with money.
“Are you sure about this?”
“Of course. Once I return to the territory, I can always prepare more.”
“…if they’re just renovating Avid, then the amount of materials listed here is abnormal.”
“Is Nias really trying to overcharge me? Well, send it anyways so that she won’t be able to make excuses. I’m looking forward to hearing about what kind of face she makes.”
“Also, send Marie to the Seventh Weapons Factory.”
She was a knight I saved during my rampage in Baron Exner’s territory.
I’ve been told that she’s somewhat useful.
“You mean [Marie Sera Marian]?”
“Yes, has she been discharged from the hospital yet?”
◇ ◇ ◇
—A few months later.
Nias was trembling as she stood in front of an enormous pile of materials delivered to the Seventh Weapons Factory.
“…no way. He actually gathered them.”
A woman with long straight silver hair that had a purple tint to it was standing behind the mass of rare metals delivered from the Banfield house.
Her uniform was purple, but the arm guards and heels she wore were black.
There was a sharp and strong glint to her purple eyes.
She had clear white skin, and wore fresh purple lipstick.
Her body was slender, and she had a well-shaped chest.
Hanging from her waist were two sword handles that had extendable blades.
She was one of Liam’s knight candidates [Marie Sera Marian].
“Marie Marian, reporting for duty as the test pilot for the renovated Avid. I’m looking forward to working with you, Technology Captain.”
“Huh? N-no, that’s–”
In front of the confused Nias, Marie had placed her hands on her cheeks and started to squirm shyly.
“This is the first mission Lord Liam has appointed me to accomplish. I’ll do anything to make sure this is a success.”
The tall and cool woman was acting like a young maiden.
(Or rather… who are you?)
Nias has been in and out of Liam’s mansion many times, but she had never seen a knight like Marie before.
That’s when the craftsman behind Nias spoke up.
He was a very old and strong craftsman.
“Marie? Marie Marian? I remember hearing that name somewhere before…”
But he couldn’t remember.
Nias didn’t think Liam would actually clear her conditions.
Then there was Marie.
Nias was suspicious if she could actually control Avid.
She was too slim and beautiful to be a knight.
Rather than a knight, she looked more like a model or an actress.
“Hey, can you really control an unassisted aircraft? There aren’t many people in modern times that can control mobile knights without auto-assistance, you know?”
Marie smiled when she heard that,
“In my time, the knight’s who needed auto-assist functions were half-assed. I understand that Avid is a difficult aircraft to pilot, but you don’t need to worry. I never used those functions in the first place.”
She was so ecstatic that her cheeks flushed while saying, “Lord Liam is leaving his personal machine in my care… I’ve never been so happy.”
(What the hell is with this person?)
Nias couldn’t help but think that there were many strange people among Liam’s knights.
However, standing in front of the prepared materials, the soul of the craftswoman inside of her had been ignited.
(Even though I can’t really use these wonderful materials in luxury, with this much I can play around with things I’ve never been able to before, I can get a lot of good data here…)
She realised that she was unconsciously drooling, and wiped her mouth.
“—Let’s get started right away.”
Faithful to her desires, Nias began to strengthen and renovate Avid.
◇ ◇ ◇
The story of Marie becoming one of Liam’s knight candidates began with the elimination of the pirates in Baron Exner’s territory.
Marie was involved with the rebellion in the Empire that occurred two millennia ago and was petrified.
After that, she just waited.
Changing through the hands of many owners, her body was slowly destroyed, while her living consciousness had fallen into despair as she could only wait bit by bit as she fell apart.
‘Marie, this is your punishment’–or so the Emperor had told her.
(Anyone is fine, just kill me already. I don’t want to slowly decay away like this!)
And so Marie was currently in the possession of pirates and was used as an ornamental decoration.
Before she had become a stone statue, Marie had built quite the reputation.
Marie Sera Marian– she was a legendary imperial knight who foolishly rebelled against the Emperor.
…or so the stories went, but in truth, she never rebelled at all.
She never even considered such a thing.
However, the Emperor at the time was a suspicious demon, and in his paranoia had Marie petrified.
They had used magic to keep her consciousness awake, and sold her as a beautiful stone statue.
The pirates had lost, but her days of misery had no end in sight.
Soldiers flooded into the room.
(Once again my owner will change. I wish I could be destroyed already, demolished without leaving even a single spec of dust behind…)
But the soldiers started shouting,
“Hey, over here!”
“It’s just some stone statues.”
“…wait, seriously? T-this room really is filled to the brim with statues!”
The pirate who owned Marie was a man who liked stone statues created from petrifying actual people.
He was a man who had the horrible hobby of petrifying beautiful people, storing them all in the room where Marie was currently being used as a decoration.
The soldiers called more people over and had the statues carefully carried out.
That’s when she met Liam.
“All of these were originally human?”
He was talking to a doctor in front of her.
“Yes. Whether it was by drugs, magic, curses, or one of various other methods, they’ve definitely been petrified.”
The doctor turned to Marie,
“The treatment requires an elixir.”
Elixir, if they didn’t use the all-purpose magic medicine, it’d be impossible to cure her.
In other words, he was pretty much saying it’d be impossible to save her.
Both in the past and present, elixirs were a rare commodity.
(Because it’s impossible, just end it already.)
Marie’s wish was to be shattered by Liam.
“Understood, send them back to my territory and have them treated.”
Then Liam left.
Marie couldn’t understand what he was saying.
However, a short while after, her petrification was dissolved, and regenerative treatment to restore the limbs that were crushed and destroyed was performed.
And after a few years of rehabilitation, she was fully cured– Marie swore from then on she’d become one of Liam’s knights.
◇ ◇ ◇
The Imperial Capital.
Tia, who was currently working as an official, was reviewing Marie’s data from the palace’s records.
Although it was a top secret document, she had obtained it in order to confirm her identity.
“Marie Sera Marian– an imperial knight from nearly two millennia ago.”
Marie’s records were erased.
However, there was still a little bit of information that remained in the older documents.
Marie, who was petrified because of the Emperor’s paranoia, was actually one of the best knights in the Empire at the time.
Her achievements were tremendous, eventually earning her the title of one of the legendary three knights, who at the time had greatly contributed to the Empire.
It looked like she was very capable.
But Tia’s brows started to furrow the more she read,
“A relic from the past is trying to snuggle up to Lord Liam…”
Marie, who was planning to become Liam’s knight, was immediately given work from him because of her original ability.
Her first job was to be the test pilot for Avid, Liam’s personal machine.
For Tia, Marie was her enemy.
And Marie felt the same way about her.
The reason was because Marie was also aiming to become Liam’s head knight.
“…it’s okay. I’ll make sure to let her know who’s truly suitable to be Lord Liam’s head knight.”
Tia closed Marie’s file.
Brian(´・ω・｀) “This strained atmosphere is painful. This Brian here wants the knights to get along better.”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com