The commoner faction was a powerful group that opposed the elitists, and our first contact with their leader– Libert, had failed.
I sighed as I watched him leave.
I’d like to think that we’ll have plenty of opportunities to fix this, but even if there’s a three year discrepancy, I can’t be optimistic when a similar event to what happens in the game had just occurred.
We needed to make contact with Libert again as soon as possible.
The problem now is how to solve this misunderstanding.
Libert had a strong distrust of the nobility because of a certain event from his past. For that reason, he was even wary of heroine during their first contact in the game, and that’s why it was such a struggle to capture him.
By the way, the reason why the real Alicia was able to earn his trust was probably because she was younger than she was in the original work. Her innocence and immaturity really shone through, so he didn’t see her as a threat.
It was something that my lady and I could never imitate.
However, if we go about this the wrong way we’ll just inspire more wariness. It’d be difficult to meet with him openly, but we still needed our intentions to be made as obvious as possible.
With that in mind, it would be best to have my lady write a letter to explain the situation.
While thinking that, I continued to watch my lady as she danced with one of the followers.
Her platinum blonde hair seemed to shine in this lighting, and her face framed by that hair was smiling, but it was the fake expression of the daughter of a Marquis.
…she seemed to be really irritated.
Perhaps they made a pass on her during the dance.
“Lady Sophia is really good at dancing, huh?”
“Eh? Oh, uh… that’s right.”
I was surprised by the unexpected voice that popped up.
Speaking of which, I totally forgot that Alicia was still here.
It slipped my mind because of everything that just happened, but the fact that she was here three years earlier than she was supposed to be was quite unusual as well.
“By the way, why did you enroll in the school, Lady Alicia?”
“Fufu~ are you curious?”
She traced her finger along the edge of her mouth and tilted her head. It was a cute gesture suitable for the heroine, but I involuntarily felt my cheeks twitch at the sight.
That reaction alone gave me the answer.
“It’s because I thought I could meet you again.”
AHHHHHHHHHH!!! So it’s that after all!
That line was supposed to be said during the moment when the second prince and Alicia were dancing together, after they’re already locked into the happy end.
But why was she saying that to me?!
Certainly, I was the one that saved Alicia at that time instead of the second prince. So it wasn’t hard to tell that the one she currently favoured wasn’t him, but myself.
But even if I had taken the prince’s position, that shouldn’t have been enough of a reason for her to enter three years early.
And that’s even ignoring the fact that she asked me for a dance within the first few seconds of us meeting again. The heroine was only supposed to dance with someone after she’s been locked into their route.
What was with this situation?!
“Cyril, I’ll give up for now, but please dance with me again someday.”
Fitting of the game’s heroine, Alicia was absolutely adorable.
It’s not that I wasn’t happy to hear such passionate words from her, but I was a commoner while she was a noble. On top of that, I had vowed to make Lady Sophia happy.
No matter what happened, I would never forsake my lady.
“My apologies, but I can’t respond to your request, Lady Alicia.”
“That’s… but why?”
Despite my clear refusal, Alicia wasn’t giving up. Just like her game counterpart, she was optimistic and strong willed, but my will was stronger.
“I’m only a commoner. Dancing under that brilliant spotlight with a noble isn’t suitable for someone like myself, so I can’t meet your needs.”
“But I heard that according to the school’s policies, one’s status didn’t matter here.”
“…that’s true, but no matter where I am, I will always be my lady’s butler first and foremost. I don’t intend to ever abandon that role.”
“Geez~ Isn’t it fine if its only for a dance?”
“It’s not. I’m sorry.”
It’d be counterproductive to sympathise with her here, so despite the guilt I felt, I took an attitude that I never would’ve taken under normal circumstances.
Alicia was puffing her cheeks in a pout, but then she suddenly started to smile mischievously.
“I understand. If you’re going to say that much, then I won’t force you. Instead, please teach me how to dance next time.”
“I’m not good at dancing, so please instruct me. It’s perfectly normal for servants to give pointers to help the nobility’s growth, no?”
“…if there’s an opportunity to do so.”
Essentially, she was asking if I could work as her educator, and while it was my job to fulfill my guests requests, this was something I’d be troubled answering.
That’s why I said, “if there’s an opportunity to do so” as a vague refusal that wouldn’t cause offense–
“Really?! Then it’s a promise, Cyril!”
–but my subtleties didn’t get through to the pure and innocent girl. I wanted to correct her misconception, but with her hands over her chest, Alicia then smiled at me like a maiden in love.
“…if it’s only as a butler, then I’ll accept your request.”
As long as she agreed to keep things professional, I would help her– I answered that with a sigh.
Shortly after, Alicia was then called out by a young lady who seemed to be her classmate, and left.
Taking her place instead was Lady Sophia– who had just returned after finishing the dance, but she looked exhausted.
“My lady, thank you for all your hard work.”
“…thanks, Cyril. That was really tiring.”
Without fixing her expression, my lady said that she wanted to sit down somewhere. Answering her request, I moved her to the break room that was rented out to the students.
A maid on standby then presented her with a wet towel. After receiving it, my lady then began to clean off her sweat, wiping her hands in particular extra thoroughly. Apparently, she really hated dancing with the followers.
“By the way, what happened with Libert’s response?”
“Please forgive me.”
I bowed down and confessed that Libert misunderstood her actions as her holding commoners in disdain. My lady opened her eyes wide when she heard that.
“Even though you were the one taking care of it, he still made that judgement?”
“I’m sorry for not meeting your expectations.”
“No, you don’t need to apologise. Libert’s decision is the unexpected factor here. Cyril, to me you’re– ah.”
She seems to have realised that other people don’t perceive me the same way she does.
“I’m sorry, Cyril. I made the wrong choice.”
“It’s okay. You dealt with the situation well enough, my lady.”
If I were to judge her on how she acted as the daughter of a Marquis, there were definitely points she needed to reflect on. However, considering that she was still just a twelve year old girl, she was doing exceptionally well.
How many fully grown noble ladies could handle that situation perfectly? When considering that, my lady had done far more than enough.
But even so–
“Thanks Cyril, but don’t patronise me. Let me apologise properly, it’s because of my actions that you ended up having unpleasant thoughts towards me.”
“I could never think of you in such a way. If you’re going to go that far, then let me apologise as well.”
I would accept whatever scornful words she’d say towards me. Keeping that in mind, I bowed down in regret over the fact that she was forced into a situation where she had to dance with people she didn’t want to.
“…Cyril, you’re not at fault for this situation at all. I’m the same. To protect you from their ire, dancing with a disgusting person is nothing to me.”
It’s not that I wasn’t happy, but a butler being protected by the mistress he served was putting the cart before the horse. While I made a troubled face, Lady Sophia continued talking in a quiet tone.
“I told you, didn’t I? Instead of keeping you at a distance, I would rather turn the gods themselves into my enemies. Whether it’s the commoner faction or the elitists, if they ever become the reason for your misery, then it’s only a matter of stamping them out.”
I was making a surprised expression, but Lady Sophia started to ponder about something with her finger on her lips.
“That’s it. If we do that, then we won’t be bothered by factional conflicts anymore, and there won’t be anyone else to stand in our way either. It’s not a bad idea.”
“…are you serious about what you’re talking about?”
“If I said I was… would you follow me?”
Her amethyst eyes seemed to be staring into my soul, so I inadvertently swallowed my saliva.
Crush the second prince and drive Libert into ruin.
It wasn’t impossible if it were my lady.
“If that is what you desire, then I will support you to the fullest extent, my lady.”
Lady Sophia covered her mouth with her hand and opened her eyes wide. However, a smile could be seen spilling out from the gaps between the fingers concealing her face.
“…thanks, Cyril. I was just kidding though, so don’t worry.”
“Yes, my lady.”
I suddenly found myself laughing at her expected answer.
It wouldn’t be difficult to eliminate the second prince and Libert. It was also feasible to suppress all who rebelled against her and create a school without conflict that my lady completely controlled.
But that’s something only the villainous daughter would do.
As she was now, my lady didn’t want that either. This was just us letting out the discontent that’s accumulated about the commoner faction and the elitists through complaints.
Our words might be a bit extreme, but it was necessary to release our stress.
“We’ve lost track of the conversation, so let’s begin discussions about what we have to do from now on.”
“Understood. In the near future… not only will we have to clear up Sir Libert’s misunderstanding, but we’ll also have to quell the discontent that arises from your own faction, my lady.”
“I understand the part about Libert, but my faction’s discontent?”
“Yes. My lady it’s because you took actions that could be seen as currying favour with the elitists, despite the fact that your faction is built upon people who secretly support the commoners.”
It was only implied, but even if they supported the commoners, they haven’t declared that they were hostile to the elitists either. They didn’t want to make waves, so that’s why there’s a possibility the girls in my lady’s faction might begin to scheme against her.
“…that’s true. It seems I’ve been taking things too lightly. I understand, if you’re willing to say that much, then I’ll make sure to talk to my friends about it.”
“That would be for the best.”
“The troubles regarding my faction are easy enough to solve, so the real problem here is Libert’s response. Is it really impossible for me to just meet him right now?”
“Yes, it would be far too conspicuous for you to move yourself, my lady.”
Libert had already left, and had probably returned to the courtyard venue.
Even a servant like myself has been investigated. If my lady ventured to the courtyard area herself, that action alone might antagonise the elitists.
“So you’ll get into contact with him, Cyril?”
“Yes, please leave it to me… but as expected, I’ll only stand out if I do it today. I’ll try to look for an opportunity at a later date, so could you prepare a letter for me to deliver, my lady?”
“Understood. I’ll get it ready immediately after I return to my room.”
Things were a bit cumbersome, but they weren’t at a level we couldn’t handle. So let’s overcome this pinch and avoid the end where my lady and I are executed.
“Now, let’s move onto the main topic.”
“…the main topic?”
We just finished talking about what measures to take against our problems with the commoner faction, and we should be fine with the elitists because my lady just danced with them… was there anything else?
“Weren’t you talking with Alicia just a little while ago?”
“Eh? No, that’s… we were just speaking about how amazing your dancing was, my lady.”
Before taking measures to avoid the execution end, it seems it was necessary to escape the end where I was the only one buried first.
In any case, the party was now finished.
Although I ran into a bit of trouble of my lady falling into darkness, when I honestly explained to her what I was conversing with Alicia about, I was able to calm her down.
Truly, sincerity was important in just about everything.
Anyways, tomorrow’s morning closing party would double as an evaluation meeting before we began cleaning up the venue. That’s why when I entered the classroom, I was welcomed with great cheers for the hard work I put in yesterday.
Over the past month, I got closer to the people who were assigned to my group, and they all seemed to be in a cheerful mood. It was probably because yesterday’s venue was positively received and garnered a great reputation.
On the other hand, the courtyard group– including Raymond, seemed to have dark clouds hanging overhead.
“What happened yesterday?”
Being the person I sent to assist the other group, when I asked Luke about it he told me that they were constantly compared to the main venue, and received a considerably low evaluation in disappointment.
So when it came to the courtyard group– that is, they seem to have garnered the hostility the commoner faction held towards the nobility.
Their problems were then solved by Luke– who had entered the scene to help, but they now seemed to be rumoured as the inferior bunch who undeservedly enrolled into class A.
If I listened carefully… I could hear their voices even now.
“–damn it, this is all your fault! I was supposed to enter into the service of a famous house as an A-class elite, but now my plans have been ruined because of you!”
Suddenly, one of my classmates started to unexpectedly curse at Raymond.
“Uh, that’s… m-my bad.”
Undoubtedly the person feeling the worst after all of this, Raymond expressed his apologies while exacerbating his regret. However, that just resulted in others jumping in as well.
“Your apology means nothing! Things ended up this way because you’re unreliable! All you did was one-sidedly bark orders at us, so that’s why everything is such a wreck!”
“That’s right, how are you going to take responsibility for this?!”
The students who set up with Raymond started to put the blame on him one after another.
But Raymond didn’t speak back. There’s no doubt he felt more responsible for this than anyone. So while bearing tears in his eyes, he silently endured it all with tight fists.
However, their criticism seemed endless.
Unable to endure it, Raymond fled from the classroom, but instead of quieting down, they continued to criticise the individual who wasn’t even there anymore.
“That’s enough! Are you all children?!”
I was the one who yelled out while standing up from my desk. Luke and the others who worked with me over the past month were looking at me with surprised faces.
It was probably because this was the first time they’ve ever seen me angry.
“You all chose to set up the courtyard together with Raymond, but when you failed, it was only his fault alone?! Do you seriously think that?!”
“Raymond was also in the wrong here, but this can’t all be blamed on one person. The evaluation you received is a reflection of all of you.”
If things were really as they said, where one person was completely responsible for both success or failure, and everything anyone else did was considered to have made no contribution at all, then any accolades they received would’ve solely gone to that one person as well.
But there’s no one who would accept such a stupid thing.
Our group was only successful because we all worked together.
–as I rattled on, I realised that I had lost my temper.
The first thing I yelled out was a question if they were children, but they really were only twelve year old kids. It was an inappropriate reason to get mad at them, and the immature way I shouted at them was no different.
I took a deep breath and calmed myself.
“If I were to give my opinion, your setup was actually pretty good. It was bad luck that various misfortunes fell your way, but there should be those out there who understand your circumstances.”
For example, the teachers.
If it were the faculty that had seen the setup every year, they should have an average standard built up for comparison. If so, then they would never think that the courtyard was poorly done.
That’s what I told them, but my classmates’ reactions weren’t that good.
“You… still think our setup was good, despite us being enemies?”
“I don’t remember ever considering you enemies in the first place.”
Professor Tristan fanned the flames of competition to help encourage the students’ growth. While I was only using the situation to protect my lady’s honour and have my ability recognised.
I never considered them foes I wanted to kick down from the beginning.
“I’ll say it again. Your setup was created at a level appropriate for the A-class. Even if people said a lot of things now, those are only temporary evaluations. They can be easily overturned next time.”
“Do you really think that?”
“It’s definitely possible. Eventually we’ll have to compete with the other classes, so isn’t now the time to come together so we can show off difference between us and those that look down on us?”
They should’ve learned a lot from this project, and if we all moved together, I’m sure we could put out the best results possible.
The moment they heard my words, they could tell that I wasn’t pitying them, and when they understood that they could still fix things, their expressions softened.
I hammered the final nail in at that moment.
“–however, you shouldn’t blame others for your own failures. That’s a problem that comes before your ability as servants.”
“Y-yeah. That’s my bad…”
“I’m not the person you should be apologising to.”
The individual they needed to make amends with was Raymond. I told them to make up with him once he returned, and left the classroom to look for him– by the way, professor Tristan was there waiting outside in the hallway.
“…professor? Were you eavesdropping?”
“Don’t say it like its a bad thing. I was just waiting for the perfect moment to step in, but you seem to have already said most of the things I was planning to.”
“My apologies, but weren’t you the one who involved me first, professor?”
“I am. That’s why I was going to give you the credit for everything once it was all finished.”
While he might have a bit of a foul mouth, professor Tristan was a good guy. He truly wanted to see his students’ growth. So instead of entering the dispute as an arbitrator, he silently watched over me as I handled the situation so that I could reap the benefits of being the one that did so.
There were many problems with his way of doing things, but at his core he was really a kind person.
“Hey, follow up on Raymond too, okay? He went that way.”
Professor Tristan made a gentle expression on his masculine face and pointed towards the direction Raymond left.
Sent by professor Tristan, I searched around for a while, and in a corner of the courtyard– I found Raymond hugging his knees in a part of the venue that wasn’t cleaned up yet.
“So there you are.”
“…why are you here? Did you come to laugh at me?”
“No, I’m just here to pick you up.”
“Pick me up? What are you saying? Just laugh already, isn’t it hilarious? I acted against you and ungracefully lost, didn’t you hear what the others said?”
“But you were the only one that didn’t run away from your responsibilities.”
Even while being verbally abused by his peers, he didn’t say anything back. In the end, he couldn’t take it and ran away, but he never denied that it wasn’t his fault.
“…you really are the person they told me you were.”
“They told you I was?”
“A guy in the same group explained to me that you weren’t a bad guy, so I asked around to find out why you got such a low score on the dance performance.”
He probably learned that fifty-one wasn’t my original score. If so, then he must’ve realised the hidden meanings in professor Tristan referencing my grade to urge on the confrontation.
As I pondered that, Raymond suddenly bowed to me.
“So… I’m sorry.”
“What are you apologising for?”
“Everything. I was in the wrong for picking a fight with you, and I was the one who didn’t ask about the situation and ridiculed you about your dance score. There was also the incident about the class representative as well so… I’m sorry!”
He didn’t raise his head, but actually lowered it further.
“If you’ve realised all of that, then use that knowledge to improve yourself instead. There’s no need to apologise.”
While it was true that he was the one who brashly moved on incomplete information, I was the one who didn’t dismiss the teacher’s ‘suspicions’ of me, so I was partly responsible for what had happened to him.
Of course, when he first picked a fight with me at the exam venue, I thought he was really troublesome, but the matter regarding the class conflict was a result I wanted, so there’s nothing for him to apologise to me about there.
For him to admit his fault like this, I didn’t think Raymond is really that bad of a guy. So with his previous apology, I was fine with letting everything be water under the bridge.
“Can you forgive me?”
“Consider yourself forgiven, but in return, can you tell me one thing?”
“Even with the courtyard venue as it is, it’s obvious how talented you are. After graduating, you could easily find yourself in the service of a famous house. What are you so impatient about?”
His ability will surely catch the eyes of the nobility. If Raymond didn’t earn the ire of my lady, then I might’ve even given him a recommendation to serve the Rosenberg house.
That greedy attitude of his is clearly counterproductive.
“I don’t have the leisure of waiting until graduation.”
“…what do you mean?”
“My father… died in an accident recently.”
What came out of his mouth was a sad truth. The mask of a butler had been peeled off, and the raw Raymond was exposed. He then went on to explain his circumstances over the past year.
His father was a butler in service of a nobleman, and it seems that Raymond and his brothers were also aiming to follow in his footsteps.
However, he had suddenly passed away in an accident.
They did have some savings, but it wasn’t enough to take care of their family over a long period of time. So as a result of discussing things over, they enrolled Raymond into the school.
They could afford tuition for about a year, and in the meantime, he needed to find an employer that he could earn the money for living expenses and the education for his brothers from. So on his small back, he had come here carrying the fate of his family.
“That’s why… I get worked up so easily.”
When I was only twelve years old, all I did was play around without a care in the world. If I was in the same situation as him in my previous life, I’m sure that I would just break down crying in confusion.
“Hey… Cyril. If I voluntarily withdraw from the school, do you think they’ll refund me part of my tuition?”
“I believe that… would be difficult.”
Once you enrolled, the school reserved a spot for the individual in the curriculum. I don’t think the money used would return just because the person in question left.
“I see… well, I guess it can’t be helped. Cyril, once again I’m sorry for all the troubles I’ve caused you.”
Raymond stood up and then walked past me.
“Are you going to give up?”
I called out to his back, but he didn’t stop.
“–are you really okay with this?”
At my second query, Raymond finally stopped, and when he looked back, I was exposed to the surprising sight of his crying face.
“I mean… it can’t be helped, right? I’ve struggled so hard until this point, but I lost to you and was abandoned by all those I’ve worked with until now. What am I supposed to do?”
“In that case, what were you planning to do once you left the school?”
“…I know. I’m going to work somewhere using the knowledge I’ve gathered so far. With that, I might be able to earn enough to feed my family.”
For his family’s sake, he’s really been doing his best until now so–
“Don’t you think it might be a little quick to give up?”
“…what are you saying?”
Raymond was staring at me. His bluish eyes were filled with strong emotions that seemed to be a mix of doubt and expectation.
“Your setup of the courtyard wasn’t bad. Once we start competing with the other classes, your talents will be made clear. Why not at least wait for your next chance?”
“Chances won’t come after everyone saw my unsightly losing figure.”
“No, you’ll definitely get one. I’ll make sure of it. It’s part of my job as the class representative.”
“So you’re… going to help me even though I was so hostile towards you?”
“Didn’t professor Tristan himself say we’re supposed to learn from our mistakes to grow? This might sound arrogant of me, but I thought you would’ve been more frustrated right now.”
I don’t think he suspects me of being a reincarnator, but I’m sure he’s aware of me being an abnormal presence. In that case, he should understand how unlikely it was for me to lose.
In the first place, I needed to show that I had the appropriate skills as my lady’s exclusive butler. What I needed to portray wasn’t the ability to kick people down, nor the strength to overwhelm others.
As I was in a position that managed other employees, I needed to be able to use those around me to their fullest extent. It wouldn’t be appropriate of me as a supervisor to cut off a talented individual over problems of this degree.
“Raymond, I want to be friends with you.”
“…friends? Me and you?”
“Yes, exactly. If you’ll be my friend, then I’ll help you out with finding work over this next year. So–”
I held out my right hand. When he saw that, Raymond opened his eyes wide–
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
— and then he started crying again as his expression broke down.
No matter how strong willed he was, he was still only a twelve year old kid. I laughed thinking that it couldn’t be helped, and put my hand on Raymond’s head.
“Hey, a butler isn’t someone who should reveal their emotions that easily in public, right?”
After I petted Raymond’s head for a little while, he suddenly pulled back from me. Then, after wiping his tears with a handkerchief, he quickly made an expression that said he really wanted to run away.
It looks like he was growing embarrassed over the fact that he cried in front of his classmate.
I pretended not to notice and said that we should return to the classroom.
Once we got back, Raymond began talking with his friends that I intimidated. They were a bit awkward at first, but it seems they were eventually able to settle things.
It took a while, but it looks like I was finally able to unite the class. After things calm down a bit, all I had to do was deal with the problems concerning Libert and the second prince.
The moment I thought so– the prince suddenly entered into the classroom.
Written by Scarlet Rain (緋色の雨)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com