My third year of elementary school was at it’s end.
And the mobile knight tournament was about to begin.
It was a really popular event that would even be broadcasted.
Since even the upper-class gathered to watch the matches, there was no doubt about the scale of how much attention it drew.
Inside of the hangar– I was standing in front of Avid.
Marie was holding my helmet in her hands.
“To be able to watch Lord Liam’s battle up close, I can’t help but tremble in anticipation!”
“You’re really that excited?”
“Yes! This Marie here is truly lucky to be able to do so!”
It was cute seeing her cheeks flush as she flattered me, but I wasn’t really looking for that kind of response.
Then another girl passed by me.
It was Rosetta.
She was wearing a pilot suit that really showed off the curves of her body.
The eyes of the boys naturally gathered on her.
She had a large chest and a well-defined behind.
And yet nothing looked off-balance.
While the rest of the boys unabashedly stared at her chest, I kept my poker face.
I called out to her,
“Hey Rosetta, are you participating as well?”
If her glare could freeze, I’d be frozen solid.
By now the story of me trying to get us engaged had probably reached her, so I’m sure that she despises me right now.
“Aren’t you being a bit cold? I want us to get along better, Rosetta.”
“I’m not interested.”
As Rosetta walked away, Marie was expressionless.
She was surely thinking about how Rosetta was taking an unforgivable attitude towards me.
This was because she was a yes-man who always agreed with whatever I said– or should I say yes-woman? Well in short, she was that kind of person.
But right now I wanted a woman like Rosetta.
I wanted to see the surrender of the girl who always glared at me with sharp eyes.
To see her face distorted in humiliation would surely be an amusing sight.
“Marie, who am I fighting against in the first round?”
I had Marie check.
The reason I didn’t look into it beforehand was because of my position as her superior.
All such miscellaneous matters could be handled by my subordinates.
For I am their ruler.
When Marie whispered that with a complex expression, I smiled,
“How lucky, don’t you think so too, Marie?”
In the very first round, I could beat down that proud woman.
I hope you don’t surrender too soon, Rosetta.
“Yes. Lord Liam, you truly are a person blessed with luck.”
Marie replied to my joke with a serious response.
–As I thought, this didn’t satisfy me.
◇ ◇ ◇
The auditorium was located far away from the tournament venue.
Afterall, battles between mobile knights were dangerous.
Since the audience could be put in danger, it was normal to watch the fights through holographic images and large monitors.
The matches were being broadcasted throughout the entire Empire.
For a nobleman, this was a small show, but at the same time– an important chance.
They’d be able to confirm with their own eyes which heirs showed potential and grew strongly, while also seeing which ones had been given the wrong upbringing and should be avoided.
In that sense, Derrick was seen as an abomination among the nobility.
In the two times that he’s acquired the title of champion, he had done so through threatening his opponents, winning without any personal merit at all.
The nobles thought there wouldn’t be any decent matches while he was around.
From the spectator seats– Kurt was watching Derrick’s match.
“What a terrible fight.”
While Wallace was betting on Derrick’s victory.
It was because he was sure that he’d win.
Even though Liam was participating and couldn’t see him, Kurt was wondering if that was okay.
“It’s a luxury aircraft, but from which weapon factory? From what I can see… maybe it’s a new model from the third one?”
Derrick’s aircraft was a state-of-the-art mobile knight.
It was a model that hasn’t even been used in the imperial army yet.
Sitting next to the two who were talking was Nias, the representative from the Seventh Weapons Factory invited by Liam.
There were stakeholders sitting around them.
In the audience seats, there were representatives from the various factories who had come to show off their new machines.
“It’s an aircraft from the First Weapons Factory. It’s a model built by taking the combined technology from the other factories available to them since they’re based on the imperial capital.”
It was a bitter-sounding explanation that sounded like it had a grudge behind it.
Kurt whispered while amazed,
“I-is that so? Can Liam win?”
Despite Derrick’s lack of skill, the new model’s overwhelming performance was still something to be amazed at.
“‘Can he win?’ It won’t even be a match, I’m just worried…”
At that moment, her expression turned serious.
At the end of her line of sight were the representatives of the First Weapons Factory.
They were also being glared at by the other representatives.
“…if it’ll be a decent fight, that is.”
For the weapon factories, this tournament was a great opportunity to show off their aircrafts and products while boosting sales.
Nias expected Liam to do the same thing for herself that Derrick did for the First Weapons Factory’s new model. She was just worried if it would end too quickly.
Wallace looked at the holographic image and shook his head,
“Now that’s just plain terrible.”
Liam was going to participate in the next match, but before that, Rosetta entered with a training model from the elementary school.
Her aircraft looked liked it was hastily repaired, barely one step away from falling apart.
Nias narrowed her eyes,
“That aircraft is at it’s limits. The pilot is in danger.”
“Yeah, this is dangerous for her… Oh, Liam’s here!”
But when Liam appeared, his expression immediately changed to an excited one.
Wallace, who was sitting next to him commented, “…don’t you like Liam a little too much?”
◇ ◇ ◇
I dropped into the match venue in Avid.
Even if it was only a venue built for the tournament, it was a wasteland compared to the area of the planet the elementary school was based on.
There was nothing around.
If I were to compare the distance to something of my previous life, the school and the spectator seats would be in Japan, but the match venues would be held in Australia all the way across the ocean.
“I can’t really compare it to the rest of the Empire because the scale is too different.”
The space within the cockpit was wide.
They must have used space magic, because my seat was floating in the middle of it all.
The luxuriously built cockpit was very comfortable.
In front of me was a rather old aircraft.
It’s pilot was Rosetta.
She tried to say something to me at the beginning of the match, but I couldn’t hear her.
On the monitor projected into the air, the other person’s cockpit was visible.
Rosetta was leaning forward with a raised face, glaring at me.
–I was thrilled.
Squished inside of a narrow cockpit seat, she was directing all of her hostility my way.
The aircraft I was piloting was Avid.
Not only was there an overwhelming difference between our machines, my evaluations in martial training were far above hers.
I’d like to express my full respect for her spirit that still hadn’t broken yet, even though this was a match that she had lost from the beginning.
Well, let’s see how long it’ll take for her to give in.
I’ve already made enough preparations.
“Rosetta, no one will blame you if you surrender.”
She answered my cheap provocation,
“I said shut up! Do you really think its impossible for you to lose?! If it’s a real battle, then even I have a chance to win!”
–she was trying so hard to fight the odds that I couldn’t help but find her cute.
I was really impressed with the strength of her spirit that actually made her believe she had a chance despite the hopeless situation.
“Or so you say, but reality only smiles upon the strong. If you accept your loss and bow down to me, I’ll make sure treat you gently.”
“Like hell I will!”
As soon as the start of the match was announced, Rosetta charged.
The figure of her approaching me with her poor maneuvering skills was laughable.
◇ ◇ ◇
In her heart, Rosetta knew that she couldn’t win against the aircraft in front of her.
It was completely different from the rented mobile knight she was piloting.
As her aircraft stepped in and swung it’s sword, the machine in front of her– Avid, easily avoided it with a light gait in spite of its size.
Liam didn’t even draw Avid’s weapon.
She moved the older model that didn’t have very good auto-assist functions to slash at Avid.
But Avid calmly dodged her without kicking up any earth at all.
Despite being such a large aircraft, no sounds or vibrations resounded whenever it moved.
“How much money did you spend to make such a thing?!”
She wanted to cry.
But she held herself back.
At the very least, she wanted to land a single hit on it, but that’s when Avid caught the blade.
To have a large mobile knight reproduce such delicate movements would usually result in its hands being destroyed.
But Avid didn’t break.
On the contrary– it was the sword that shattered.
“It’s as if that blade was made of glass.”
The quality of it was certainly bad, but it still wouldn’t break that easily.
“…don’t look down on me! Especially not someone like you!”
Rosetta was jealous of Liam.
Stronger than anything, he was the embodiment of what the ideal noble was supposed to be.
She yearned for that figure full of confidence.
–but when she looked at herself in comparison, she couldn’t help but feel frustrated.
Losing herself, she jumped forward in a tackle– but then Avid pulled out it’s sword.
It was a special kind of blade called a ‘Katana’.
Immediately afterwards, the monitor that displayed the current status of each of the aircraft’s parts flashed red.
All of its limbs were cut off.
Suddenly losing its support, the main body fell to the ground after flipping onto its back.
The insides of the cockpit shook violently.
And when she thought it was finally over, Avid had stepped on her.
Looking up at Avid from the inside of the cockpit, Rosetta had to face reality.
(…I knew I couldn’t reach him.)
Her spirit was completely shattered.
She finally broke down in tears and laughed,
Avid lifted up what was left of the airframe, and dexterously pried open the cockpit.
Liam then opened up his own cockpit and stepped out, directly looking down at her.
(Do you want me to apologise and prostrate before you? If I subserviently started flattering you, it’d be nice if you could give me some money. You broke the aircraft I rented afterall, it’s going to be difficult for me to pay it off…)
As she thought so, she erased her smile and wiped her tears,
(…I’ve had enough, the Claudia house should be destroyed with my generation. I can’t allow my child to live out the same fate. This is the only way for me to rebel.)
Tightening her face, she started to glare at Liam.
“That’s quite the ungraceful figure you have there, Rosetta.”
He was laughing.
“Oh, so it was possible for the honour student to make such an expression?! I know your true nature! Even if I lost the match, I will never give in to you! If you’re going to kill me, then kill me already! You won’t find anyone willing to bow down to you here! I’m a Claudia– Rosetta Ceret Claudia!”
If you chose to participate in the tournament, you’ll be told beforehand that you’ll be doing so at the risk of death.
Even if a fatality did occur, it’d be treated as an accident.
Many people used this as a chance to eliminate the heirs of hostile houses.
Right now Liam had complete authority over whether Rosetta was going to die or not.
Even so, she was still able to show such strength because she didn’t care anymore.
(Mother… Grandmother… please forgive me. We don’t have any other paths left. This is the only way for us to be saved. Even so… I wished that our lives were a little bit happier.)
She didn’t want anything luxurious.
To marry a man she loved and live a modest life together with him– that’s all Rosetta needed to be happy, she didn’t have to be a winner in life.
However, that was something that was completely out of her reach.
(–if there’s a next life, I’d like it if my dream of becoming a bride would come true. I always wanted to try wearing a wedding dress…)
The treatment of her house and the harassment of the supervisors had gotten to her– Rosetta had finally given up.
And in response to her cry– Liam laughed.
◇ ◇ ◇
Rosetta, you truly are the greatest of gems.
I’d like to thank you for letting me hear a ‘kill me’ line in real life.
In my previous life, I had a junior who would talk about how great ‘kill me’ lines were with fervent enthusiasm.
But now I also understood the greatness of ‘kill me’ lines.
I couldn’t help but take my hat off towards your spirit that never broke.
–but it was all for nought.
“Lord Liam, I did it! This Brian here was able to persuade them!”
“Well done Brian, your timing is impeccable.”
Brian gave me a report at the most opportune moment.
This is probably because of the good deeds I do everyday.
Or should I say evil deeds?
The guide had probably done some things behind the scenes.
Next time I see him, I need to make sure to bow my head towards him.
I really needed to express how grateful I was to him, but how could I ever thank him enough?
“–Rosetta, I have some good news for you.”
I felt myself inexplicably smile at Rosetta’s firm bearing,
“Our engagement has been officially decided. Your mother, the Duchess has accepted it.”
Seeing Rosetta’s stunned expression, I really felt like I won.
–it was the painful expression of someone who just been betrayed by the family they believed in!
“Let’s get formally engaged during our fourth-year’s long vacation. Eventually, you’ll succeed as your house’s head, and then… your status will become mine.”
Rosetta was trembling.
She must be vexed.
The family she trusted had given in to me, and she had also lost her house’s Ducal status.
–I felt this pain in my previous life as well.
It wasn’t just about how I lost my family. What really hurt was the betrayal.
So I could understand her suffering.
But even so, I will break her. That’s right, I wasn’t on the side of those who had things taken from them anymore.
I was on the side that took things away.
“I even got permission from the Empire. Aren’t you glad? No matter how much you deny it, your family has already accepted me. The house that you could go home to doesn’t exist anymore. Your hometown broke out in celebration at this news.”
Her voice wouldn’t come out. Her family had been taken hostage, and she had lost her hometown, she was a wreck.
“Rejoice Rosetta– for you will be my wife.”
She was crying.
Her tears spilled as she said something, but I couldn’t hear it.
I wonder if I was seen this way in my previous life?
My chest hurt a little, but that was only because I was remembering the past, not out of guilt.
I contacted Marie,
“Marie, keep an eye on Rosetta. If anything happens, take care of it.”
When I gave my order, she rejoiced like a loyal dog,
“Yes! Please leave everything to this Marie here!”
I turned my back on the crying Rosetta and returned to the cockpit.
“Now then, who am I facing next?”
◇ ◇ ◇
The one-sided match was over.
Wallace had a complicated expression on his face when he saw Rosetta cry.
“I don’t know what he said, but to make her break down like that– Liam is a demon.”
He tried speaking to to Kurt, but he seemed to be excited over something else.
“Liam’s stronger than he used to be. No, maybe it’s the aircraft that changed?”
The conversation between Liam and Rosetta couldn’t be heard by the audience.
And now the next match was about to start.
However, Nias noticed something unusual,
“There’s static on the projection?”
While small, the interference was gradually getting worse.
Then suddenly, several aircrafts could be seen approaching Liam’s Avid.
“Aren’t those… the new aircraft models from the First Weapons Factory?”
Although their appearance had changed, Nias could tell what they really were.
Wallace stood up,
“T-this isn’t good! This is how Derrick’s going to kill Liam!”
Wallace’s face had gone pale at the sight, but the video was suddenly cut off.
Brian(´; ω ; ｀) “Even though the guide wasn’t involved, to see so many unfortunate events naturally occur around Lord Liam… is painful.”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com