The palace of the imperial capital.
Rosetta, who had come to train here as an apprentice, looked up at the sky from the hallway’s window.
The blue sky of the imperial capital was just an artificial image, but it was still clear and beautiful.
“…are you doing alright, Darling?”
Serena had chosen her original workplace as Rosetta’s destination for training.
If she completed her education here, no one would be able to belittle her.
Many aristocratic daughters had come here as apprentices as well, so the majority of the maids were actually of noble origin.
The plan was for Rosetta to spend at least three years in this place.
Since Serena told her that her bridal training should be done completely in the imperial capital, she was unable to return to the Banfield house’s territory for the time being.
That’s when some girls dressed in maid attire approached her.
“Oh, what’s the heiress of the Claudia house doing in a place like this?”
The leader of the group was the daughter of a Marquis house.
While the children in her entourage were both daughters of Viscount houses.
However, even if these girls would’ve been treated as princesses back in their home territories, they were only maids here.
“I’m currently on break.”
As a graduate from the elementary school, the sight of Rosetta- who had the appearance of a highschool student, getting into a quarrel with girls who looked like junior-high students, was quite the spectacle to see.
“–aren’t you embarrassed to be starting your training at your age?”
When the leader of the girls said so, the two lackeys at her sides laughed in agreement.
Of the children who were currently undergoing training, most of them had just recently come of age.
It was rare to see someone start at Rosetta’s time.
“There are various circumstances behind this, so if you could overlook this, I’d really appreciate it.”
“What’s with that attitude? Don’t act like you have dignity, you should just keep your head down like you used to.”
The leader was probably there when Rosetta was humiliated at one of the palace’s parties.
She wanted to ridicule her just like she did back then.
“…certainly, I might be apprenticing as a maid at the moment, but I’m still Lord Liam’s fiancée. I can’t allow myself to take such a shameful attitude anymore.”
At that response, the leader of the children made a dissatisfied expression.
“Liam, huh? He seems to have become famous recently, but in the end, isn’t he just a nobleman from the sticks? Sounds like he’s a suitable partner for someone like yourself. Oh, and I know the truth, isn’t he currently fighting with the Berkley family right now?”
The Pirate Nobles– he was currently in conflict with a group considered dangerous even among the aristocracy.
“What are you saying?”
“Do you really think he can win against the Berkley family? As an affiliate, you’re probably in danger right now as well.”
Done with this conversation, Rosetta tried to leave as the girls burst into laughter.
“So you’re going to run away? As expected of the infamous Claudia Ducal household. Because you have no dignity, you can’t even stand up for yourself.”
After having her noble pride mocked, Rosetta bit her lip in frustration.
(Bear with it. I can’t lose myself here for Darling’s sake.)
As Rosetta tried to return to work, a silver-haired woman approached her.
It was Serena’s granddaughter, [Cattleya].
Although she was wearing a stylish maid outfit, her actual position was that of one that governed over a large number of servants.
She was also Rosetta’s educator while she was here for training.
“So it’s you three again?”
As Rosetta bowed, Cattleya sent a judgmental look towards the children who had caused trouble the previous day as well, scattering them.
“And here I thought they were learning to not brandish their status here.”
After being pampered like princesses growing up, they still hadn’t discarded the habits they had developed in their homes.
They seemed to misunderstand that the power of their parent’s houses was their own.
“I’ll try to stop them if I see it happening– but Rosetta, this is something you need to resolve yourself.”
After hearing Cattleya’s warning, Rosetta couldn’t help but feel confused.
“Try to think about how to deal with this on your own. If you can’t even solve something of this level, only hardships will be waiting for you in the future. –Moreover, try to do this as a maid.”
Contemplating Cattleya’s words, Rosetta began mulling over how to deal with the girls.
(…is this a test?)
There were actually several ways to silence them.
By borrowing Liam’s power, she could solve this situation in an instant, while even getting a bit of revenge in.
But would a solution like that really be suitable for a Duchess?
(I can’t borrow Darling’s strength for this. If I did that, then I’d be no different from them. There’s also no point in attacking a child who hasn’t even graduated from the elementary school.)
A high-school student taking revenge on junior-highschool students– even if there was a reason behind it, this wasn’t an option considering how it’d appear to the public.
If Rosetta did this, Liam’s reputation would be damaged.
(In that case, the method I choose needs to be as fair and honourable as Darling is! I need to do this in a way everyone will acknowledge as a maid!)
The positive Rosetta decided to give it her all as a servant.
◇ ◇ ◇
The Banfield estate.
In the mansion where both Liam and Rosetta were gone, Brian was lonely.
The number of sighs he made increased throughout his break.
Serena couldn’t help but be surprised at his condition.
“That’s quite the awful expression you’re making there.”
“…this place feels empty now that the energetic Lady Rosetta is gone, and Lord Liam is still away at the academy as well. All the ‘fire’ in the mansion seems to have disappeared.”
“But the quiet is nice in its own way. Once things get busy, you’ll end up missing these days, you know?”
Brian was worried about Rosetta.
He also worried about Liam, but he knew that he could overcome any problem that arose on his own.
But Rosetta was different.
“I wonder if Lady Rosetta is okay?”
“I left her in the care of my granddaughter, [Cattleya], so she should be fine.”
Catteya– Serena’s granddaughter was a very good child.
Serena knew Rosetta would be safe if she was watching over her.
“I’m just worried that she might be bullied by the other apprentices. Girls going through their training sometimes go to extreme lengths.”
As someone who has served the Banfield house for many years, Brian has also seen the bitter fights between women.
That’s why he was worried.
“…this is also something that Lady Rosetta needs to learn about. This can be considered as part of her training as well.”
The palace was Serena’s former workplace.
She’s seen how those girls fought, so she knew that those with malicious intent would approach Rosetta.
However, as the future Duchess, it’d be troubling if Rosetta was crushed by something at that level.
“Oh, but if Cattleya’s there, then I can have peace of mind.”
“There are other things to worry about as well, though. Our conflict with the Berkley family seems to have settled down recently, but I can’t help but feel like something terrible is about to happen.”
Even though they were having an economic war just a little while ago, the Berkley family had suddenly gone silent.
Rather than relief, this brought a strange sense of dread.
“Maybe they gave up?”
When Brian said so, Serena assuredly denied it, saying, “that’s impossible”.
“It looks like they’re preparing for war with great vigor. Lord Liam is building up his forces as well. Both sides are preparing to end this all at once.”
“Is that so?! Did Lord Liam increase his increase his forces beforehand because he already predicted this development happening?! This Brian here thought he just wanted to expand his military on a whim!”
Seeing Brian’s feelings about Liam from the side, Serena made a serious expression.
“…there’s no way that’d be the case.”
She muttered a retort under her breath.
(Was it just his intuition that made him build up his forces before the Berkley family got serious? Or was he already expecting all of this to happen? …as always, that child is competent to a frightening degree.)
For Rosetta to become a presence of support for such a Liam, Serena couldn’t help but think there’d be quite the difficult future ahead of her.
◇ ◇ ◇
Tia, who had just graduated from the academy as the valedictorian, was currently a lieutenant.
Normally, one would be doing chores in various departments during their training period by now.
However, Tia was specially exempted from that and was now reorganising the patrol fleets.
Inside her office, she was busy setting up an armada suitable for Liam.
“The forty-ninth to the eighty-ninth patrol fleets seem to have a difference in the number of ships and personnel assigned to them.”
According to the document, each fleet should have about thirty vessels.
But in reality, each one only had about ten.
The number of human resources allocated to them was minimal as well.
“Aren’t these ships already obsolete? We’ll need to dismantle and recycle them… and it doesn’t look like their staff has much skill or motivation either.”
The preliminary survey revealed that more than sixty percent of the soldiers actually wanted to leave the army.
Vocational training would need to be supplied, after which they could reassign them somewhere else.
However, giving soldiers vocational training and arranging new positions for them wasn’t free.
They needed funds.
“The imperial army isn’t willing to reorganise them, the budget they gave us isn’t nearly enough.”
The idea behind this was that it’d be better to just prepare a new fleet instead of fixing the obsolete ones.
There were various reasons, but the main one seemed to be how there was a strong inclination to send as much support to the front lines as possible.
Sending support to the patrol fleets full of low-morale, low-skill, and the oldest equipment instead of the front-lines would be a considerable waste.
First of all was the re-education and re-training necessary for the staff.
To convert them into something useful, an enormous amount of time and money would be required to prepare the courses they needed.
Even then, it’d cost even more resources to equip the soldiers with new equipment afterwards.
And if that wasn’t enough, when Tia finally started restructuring the fleet under Liam’s orders, the dismal quality of the soldiers had surpassed her expectations, giving her a headache.
Tia had all of Liam’s personal funds at her disposal.
The amount available would still have surplus even if a regular fleet was formed.
“I now see why Lord Liam entrusted such a huge budget for me, but why would he go so far?”
Liam only gave this much because he wanted a fleet that he could laze around in.
That was the truth, but–
Tia, who worshiped Liam, read too deeply into it after considering the amount of funds and the current situation.
“If he was going to send this much, then it would’ve been better if he directly used it on the Banfield fleet… no, wait! I see! So that’s what he’s planning! As expected of Lord Liam!”
If he invested into the imperial army, only the Empire would benefit in the end.
For that reason, usually one would invest in their own territory instead.
However, Tia thought ‘Lord Liam must have thought of something!’ and began thinking of things from that viewpoint.
And after pondering it, a justifiable reason did come to her.
“I understand Lord Liam’s aims! This is a strategy to cut down the Berkley family’s future forces while increasing his influence in the imperial army!”
For patrol fleets, it wasn’t uncommon to hear of them deserting their positions to become pirates.
In other words, they were likely to become the future forces of the Berkley family, who were known as the Pirate Nobles.
To reduce such people from appearing, they were going to reform them into a normal fleet in the imperial army.
And no matter who denied it, a fleet formed by Liam would undoubtedly be connected to him.
The military would hold him in a favourable light for fixing one of their problems, and the newly organised fleet would become a trump-card against the Berkley family.
“Even the Banfield house’s forces have a limit to how much they can be increased, so he ingeniously decided to conscript the imperial army itself for our cause!”
Tia read too deeply into a simple budget.
“With funds on this level, we can secure a significant number of allies while maintaining Lord Liam’s military influence for the future! –I can’t let him down here!”
Tia’s motivation was further increased.
Deeply impressed by Liam’s deep insight into future events, Tia became more and more enamoured with him.
“To eradicate the garbage known as the Pirate Nobles, all while purging the Empire of it’s corruption. Lord Liam truly is the embodiment of virtue.”
With cheeks burning red with excitement, Tia spent a minute happily thinking about Liam before returning back to work.
Brian(´・ω・) “It’s painful. The fact that there aren’t that many people who truly understand Lord Liam… is painful.”
Sapling(゜∀。)Wahaha “Oh, tomorrow chapter nine of the comic, ‘The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs’ releases. Please check it out!”
Brian(´；ω；｀) “Seeing the plant modified into a mindless propaganda machine is also painful!”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com
*The Sapling is an afterword-character that appears starting in volume four of the Otome-Mob WN, while Yumeria is it’s elf caretaker.