The student dormitory of the first school building.
There were three men on the roof.
“How is it?”
“No problems here.”
“It looks like we can safely end this tonight.”
The men were having such a conversation.
Then suddenly, a large man clad in black appeared from the shadows.
His arms were unusually long in comparison to the rest of his body.
An eerie mask adorned his face.
The men drew their weapons,
“W-what the hell?!”
The large man greeted them with his arms spread,
“Good evening, it sure is a nice night tonight, isn’t it?”
Immediately after, more individuals with the same appearance of the large man appeared at the men’s backs, slitting their throats with knives– leaving only one of them alive.
The large man laughed with vigor,
“Please accept my apologies for disturbing your work. Now then…”
The boy’s dormitory that Liam resided in.
After the large man disappeared from the roof by sinking into the shadows, he materialised inside of Liam’s room.
Liam was sleeping in his bed.
The large man reached out to Liam and… pulled the blanket back up over him.
Liam cracked his eyes open slightly.
“…Kukuri, why’s it so noisy?”
Having woken up Liam, Kukuri immediately dropped to his knee and deeply bowed to him.
“Please forgive me, Lord Liam. A dog had wandered into the building, and I was busy chasing it away.”
“A dog? …if it’s just a dog, return it to its owner.”
Kukuri accepted Liam’s order.
“As you command.”
Kukuri disappeared as he sunk into the floor, gathering his subordinates as he rematerialised outside.
He turned to the surviving man on the roof.
“Now then, who’s your owner?”
The frightened man didn’t answer him and just continued to tremble.
But when he looked into Kukuri’s eyes— he suddenly began to speak with a hollow expression.
“…Lord Derrick sent me here. I was ordered to abduct Liam and torture him.”
Hearing that, Kukuri’s men immediately pulled out their knives.
But Kukuri stopped them.
“Wait. Lord Liam ordered us to deliver him to his owner. If we chop him up too finely, then he won’t be recognisable anymore.”
As he started to darkly laugh, his subordinates joined in as well.
The man who regained his sanity broke out in cold sweat.
They were an eerie group.
And what was with that magic? Even though he himself was an assassin, he had never seen magic like that before in his life.
“Just who are you people?”
Kukuri raised his head and answered him,
“Who are we? Hmm… a clan that should’ve been destroyed, or should I say a clan that’s been revived from the past? Well, that story has nothing to do with you. We’re returning you to your owner. You’ll make a splendid decoration.”
Kukuri’s large arm extended towards the man.
“N-no, STAY AWAYYYY!!!!”
Kukuri whispered towards the screaming man,
“You tried to lay your hands on Lord Liam. That transgression alone is enough to warrant the death of both you and your master.”
◇ ◇ ◇
The student dormitory in the second school building.
Derrick woke up to the scream of his servant and got up while grasping his head.
“Shut up already. My head hurts because of a hangover. Why are you shouti—”
When he looked around the room, the people he sent to kidnap Liam were there.
However, they had been turned into indescribably eerie objects.
It was so terrible that even Derrick couldn’t bear to look at them.
He couldn’t understand why something like that was in his room.
“H-hurry and clean it up!”
His hangover was instantly blown away and his heart started beating faster.
(J-just when? When did he get into my room?)
The security of the student dormitories were strict.
Even though he himself carried out a plan to abduct and torture Liam, security was still very tight.
He had even hired some skilled knights to personally guard him.
And yet, before anyone had noticed, this object created in such bad taste was placed in his room– Derrick couldn’t help but feel how unusual this situation was.
The knight’s who entered the room after listening to Derrick’s cry were stunned, while the servants who entered were vomiting.
“Lord Derrick, are you okay?!”
“D-do I look okay?! Someone infiltrated into my room! M-more importantly, clean that up already!”
“No, rather than that, we should contact the staff of the elementary schoo–”
“Y-you idiot! These are the people we sent to abduct Liam! They aren’t supposed to be in the school. If this gets out, various troubles will come for me.”
Derrick knew that he was in hot water after considering the situation.
In the first place, the majestic figure of the bodies displayed in his room— this was without a doubt Liam’s work.
They were a message that said, “I can kill you whenever I want.”
Derrick grasped at his head.
(Damn it! The fleet I gathered was annihilated, my older brother’s are blaming me for the failure— and most of all, I lost ‘that’. At this rate I’ll lose my position within the family.)
Derrick’s standing within the Berkley family had significantly dropped after his fleet was destroyed.
He had even earned the ire of his brothers, nothing was going his way.
And most importantly was the fact that he lost ‘that’.
At this rate, Derrick’s family was going to kill him.
“Damn it, DAMN IT!!! Why the hell did he have a fortress-class?!”
In the place where his fleet was sent, a fortress-class spacecraft carrier was waiting for them.
He couldn’t understand why he’d deploy a spacecraft carrier, which was rare even among the imperial army and high-nobles, on a mere pioneer planet.
If he knew there was such a monster of a carrier there, Derrick wouldn’t have even considered attacking.
“No, I still have a chance to save face. I need to get rid of Liam with my own hands.”
Derrick was already in his fourth year of elementary school.
Liam was a sophomore.
If he didn’t get rid of him before he graduated, his brothers would start to move.
Once that happened, there’d be no more excuses.
“…that’s it, the tournament. If I kill Liam there, my position will still stand. He’s definitely going to participate, exposing himself to the dangers of the matches.”
It was only an elementary school event, but danger was only natural for an event that involved mobile knights.
–you couldn’t participate in the tournament unless you were prepared for death.
He would crush Liam during such an event.
Derrick would use every resource he had available to hunt him down.
He had decided so.
◇ ◇ ◇
Recently, things have been quite noisy around me.
Just last night, a dog had accidentally strayed into the dormitory.
I used to own a dog in my previous life, so I hope it got safely returned to its owner.
As a side note, my large-bodied escort Kukuri– isn’t his name a little too cute for his appearance?
I rated him highly though because he understood that I had a soft spot for dogs.
Just like Marie, he was one of the petrified people that I saved in Baron Exner’s territory, making him one of the greatest returns I had gotten from helping out over there.
In anycase, I was now in my second year of elementary school.
The contents of the lessons weren’t that different from last year.
I was tired of them.
So instead, I was actively thinking about how to break Rosetta in earnest.
The source of her pride seemed to be in her title as part of a famous duke household.
In reality she was poor, but her status was the real thing.
As Wallace said, apparently her house had been suffering for thousands of years because of the orders of a past emperor.
Despite that, she had a refined feeling about her.
As a possessor of the Claudia house’s spirit of steel that didn’t allow them to yield to their cruel fate– it’d be interesting to break her down.
“But it doesn’t look like it’ll be that easy.”
Considering how this was a matter of pride, this wasn’t a problem I could solve using money.
I didn’t think it would be that easy to make that strong gaze of hers collapse.
Even if I flaunted my status as a Count, she didn’t seem to care.
Or rather, wasn’t that only natural for a prideful young lady?
“Now, how can I break her?”
I wanted to make an arrogant lady kneel before me as I stepped on her head.
That was the perfect image of an evil lord.
As I entered the classroom, Wallace approached and pulled me aside.
“Why the hell are you so happy right now?”
“Well, I’m having fun.”
I was looking forward to having such a proud young lady surrender to me.
“I seriously can’t understand you, Liam.”
He was usually a timid guy, but I guess he was no longer afraid of holding back his tongue now that I wasn’t giving him anymore money.
There was also yesterday’s incident as well.
We were only half-way through the month, but he didn’t plan out his spending and had already used up all of his allowance.
Was this guy even aware that he was my underling?
Wasn’t he just treating me like a convenient wallet?
I wanted him to be at least a little helpful, but so far he’s been pretty useless.
“What is it? Are you going to increase my allowance?”
I held my head as I asked my inquiry,
“I want to know how to raise my status. Preferably a way that would use the least amount of time as possible.”
Wallace started to ponder my question with his arms crossed.
Then he seemed to have thought of something,
“The quickest way would be to just buy it.”
“So I can buy status from the palace? How much does it cost?”
“No matter how much you offer, the palace wouldn’t sell it. You need to buy it off of another noble house.”
Wallace went on to explain that there were many houses that only held their status in name only.
One example being the former Banfield house.
The thing is, status wasn’t that easy of a thing to release.
First of all, the house had to have enough money to buy said status.
The head of the bought house would then pass their title to their son or daughter, who would then be married off to the buyer, thus giving them the right to inherit it.
However, there was a catch.
Houses in such situations were normally in enormous debt.
“If you could resolve their debt and other problems, then the Empire would recognise you taking over their status.”
I started to smile as I heard that,
“So if you had enough money, you can buy status.”
I was in deep thought.
Being a Count didn’t satisfy me.
There were many levels of nobility, the two higher than my own being that of a marquis and duke.
And at a reasonable price, it was possible to buy the ducal status of another house.
I had an idea.
If I stole the status she was so proud of, there’s no doubt that her pride would break.
“In other words, if I take a poor house under my wing– pay off their debts, and take their daughter as a wife, my status will rise?”
“It’ll go up, but considering your current status, your options are pretty limited. Also despite being a little special, do you really think you can take on the complete debt of another house? Rather than spend your money on that, increase my allowa–”
I shut Wallace up by flicking his forehead, and started formulating my plan.
If I just walked up to Rosetta and said, “Give me your status,” then she’d surely glare at me with cold eyes.
Her rebellious attitude was nice, but I wanted to see her expression break down in despair.
To have the daunting realisation that the status she had such pride in was robbed from her– what kind of face would she make?
In my previous life– I could still remember those who laughed at my desperate figure.
But now it was my turn to trample over others and laugh.
I stood up.
“You need to use the washroom?”
At Wallace’s inquiry, I shook my head.
No, don’t stand up too. Why the hell would you want to go to the washroom together?
And even though he was seated a little bit away, Kurt started standing up as well.
Do you guys really want to go to the washroom with your friends that much?
“I’m leaving because I need to call home for a second.”
Inside of the classroom.
There was the figure of Rosetta sitting alone.
The prickly feeling she gave off that repelled her surroundings was good.
I didn’t hate such things.
Even though she wasn’t that smart or athletic, she still worked her hardest.
She had a mindset of steel.
Rosetta– you truly are the best.
◇ ◇ ◇
The imperial palace.
An urgent report had come in from Serena.
“Did something happen?”
“…Lord Liam has decided he wants to get engaged to the daughter of the Claudia house. Negotiations will be starting soon.”
When Serena– the head maid said so, the prime minister opened his eyes wide and shook his head.
“If I didn’t know who he was then I would’ve assumed he’s an idiot, but I can’t help but feel like we’re being relieved of a heavy burden.”
The cold treatment of the Claudia house was something decided by the ruling Emperor of long ago.
Many aristocrats have felt pity for them since then.
However, there was nothing they could do to help.
The infamous Claudia Ducal household was swimming in debt.
“Brian has already begun talks with their house. I’m not sure if there are any ulterior motives behind this, but if they reach a decision, will the palace be okay with this?”
“There’s no reason to refuse them.”
The Claudia house, who had been suffering for a long time, didn’t seem to believe the Banfield house.
But they didn’t know if they would ever have this chance again.
They were bound to break eventually.
“I’ll start talking to the people on my side about this.”
“You’re not going to stop it?”
“Don’t you know their situation? I think the Claudia house has suffered enough.”
“I know, but–”
“Right now the virtuous nobles have their eyes on the Banfield house. There are rumours spreading that they’re about to get into a conflict with the Berkley family. ”
The prime minister smiled.
The Claudia house was a difficult family to help with too little of a reward for doing so.
‘To extend a helping hand towards such a house had no merit for Liam’– couldn’t be said.
‘Liam had saved the Claudia house which had been treated so coldly.’
Those who heard such a thing would understand how noble he truly was.
The prime minister had high expectations for Liam, who was going to seriously oppose the Berkley family.
“We’ve left them alone for too long, it’s about time to get rid of them.”
“Then the palace recognises this union?”
“Naturally. Even if it’s not enough, hopefully this absolves even a little bit of the Empire’s guilt. Also, having a powerful Count that supports the Empire rise to the position of Duke is always welcome. The Empire as of now is a little too corrupt. I want to clean out it’s filth.”
The head maid didn’t seem convinced, but she accepted the prime minister’s decision.
“Then I’ll tell Lord Liam that he’s received permission from the palace.”
“I’ll leave it to you.”
When the call ended, the prime minister started laughing,
“Count- no, Duke, I’m looking forward to seeing your future.”
Brian (´・ω・｀) “When bringing up an offer of engagement to another house, it’s painful to be told, ‘we won’t be deceived!’”
Brian (´；ω；｀) “It’s also painful to have our debt increase again.”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com