Brian, who was a butler for the Banfield family, lamented in his heart as he looked over the mansion.
The mansion that the former Banfield Count renovated was quite unique and wacky, conservatively speaking.
Unreservedly speaking, it was in bad taste.
Whenever visitors arrived, their faces would wince and they’d avoid topics that had to do with the mansion.
There were many of them who had a hard time holding in their laughter.
The hallways winded around inefficiently, almost akin to a maze.
It wasn’t uncommon for newcomers to lose their way.
As Brian walked down the corridor, he could overhear some servants chatting in hushed voices.
They came from a young man and woman, respectively.
The young man was actually the gardener, but it seemed he left his work to a machine today.
He was talking to an unconventional maid whose uniform included a mini-skirt rather than a normal one.
“Isn’t it fine?”
“But if we’re found out, we’ll get into a lot of trouble.”
“Its okay, there are some rooms that aren’t in use anymore we can go to.”
The man grabbed the maid’s shoulders and pulled her away somewhere.
Even if Brian did run into them, he wouldn’t greet them.
While hiring these employees, their appearance had taken precedent over the necessary skills and character needed for their jobs.
“For things to fall this far…”
Things were different in the past.
When Brian first started serving the Banfield family, the house was orderly and the servants were serious.
All of this is because Liam’s grandfather had destroyed the territory.
He had oppressed the people, and the house’s finances were poorly allocated.
When the debt swelled, he pushed it all off onto his son Cliff and ran away to the imperial capital.
These thoughts depressed Brian as he thought about the Count House’s former glory.
Shaking it off, he straightened his spine and approached the office door.
He tentatively touched the electronic device mounted on the wall.
“My lord? It’s Brian.”
A voice came out from the device in response.
“–You may enter.”
It was an irritated voice that didn’t match its young inflection.
As the door opened and Brian entered the office, he could see Liam, who had Amagi by his side as he worked.
The desk was made for a fully grown man, but the chair was built for a child.
Liam’s countenance showcased one of a boy who was doing their best to hold in their complaints.
Next to Liam, Amagi was acting as his secretary as she supported him.
“My lord, can I get you anything?”
When Liam stood up from his chair, he joined his hands behind his back.
Despite his young age, it looks like he was doing a splendid job.
“…Brian, I have never left the house before, did you know that?”
“Ah, yes. Even the rehabilitation exercises we had you do a few days ago were done inside the mansion.”
There was no need to go outside.
He was hoping that Liam wouldn’t notice.
-What would he think once he realized that the house he lived in was built in such bad taste?
“Don’t you think that this house is too terrible?”
Brian wanted to agree, but as a butler who served the family he couldn’t bad mouth the predecessor’s tastes.
“I think it’s a very creative build.”
“Don’t patronize me!”
Liam exclaimed furiously as he stomped the ground with his small body.
He sent a look towards Amagi, where she nodded before bringing up a projection on the various renovations and buildings created by both Cliff’s generation and his grandfather.
Houses, villas and many buildings were projected around Brian.
Irrefutably, it was a horrendous sight.
“Are they stupid? Are they STUPID?! Why would they build all these in such strange shapes?! They’re only making the buildings harder to live in!”
All of them were bad houses.
Some of them were given to relatives.
However, there weren’t any relatives who knew about the Banfield house’s financial situation because all of them had already fled to the imperial capital.
The fact that Liam was only five-years-old, yet was already the lord of the territory was no problem either, as none of his relatives opposed it.
–because there were no such relatives living in the territory in the first place.
As for the knights, many of their successors left to serve other houses, or have completely abandoned the territory all together with the last generation.
It’s the people who were left that managed the territory now.
The military was more of a militia run by the populace as well.
If Liam didn’t have any vassals around him, then he couldn’t rely or delegate duties to them.
(We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. Fleeing to the city, and forcing all their problems onto a child… If this was still Lord Alistair’s era, there’s no way things like this would’ve happened.)
Liam made a declaration before Brian.
“Take them all down, this mansion as well. I’ll prepare a residence suitable for myself.”
Brian started to panic.
“W-wait, where do you plan to live in the meantime then?”
Liam looked a little sad.
“It doesn’t matter, anywhere will do.”
Amagi followed up perfectly just when Brian was feeling troubled.
“Master, please be patient and wait for us to set up a new residence first.”
“Why should I?”
“If we really are going to demolish them all, we should do it bit by bit to reduce maintenance costs, and in the meantime we’ll prepare a suitable house for you, Master. Until then, why don’t we first build a small house with the bare minimum of required utilities. How about that?”
Prepare a house for a minimalist before building a luxurious residence.
Brian couldn’t help but relax at the proposal.
(Is this better than shouldering another new debt? No, wouldn’t there still be deficits from the dismantling costs?)
Liam stopped to think for a little, before accepting Amagi’s plan.
“True, I should take the time to build my house carefully. Taking that into consideration, do we have enough money to spare?”
Amagi then started to talk about their upcoming plans.
“We’re a bit under, so I recommend that we reorganize the military forces at the main base-”
“Reorganize the military?”
Lords and nobles were allowed to have their own personal armies.
Liam had only just started working recently and wasn’t familiar with the territory.
Amagi then presented the data to Liam’s admiration.
“We have thirty thousand space battleships?”
Amagi looked up from the data,
“We do, but the occupancy rate for them is less than twenty percent.”
Out of the thirty thousand ships, there were no more than six thousand in active duty.
In addition, they were all old outdated models. They were no more than thirty thousand paper-mache tigers, they looked scary but that was it.
“You can leave it as it is, but we only need a minimum of three thousand ships, so let’s cut into military funding. Our upkeep expenses will be reduced by several magnitudes if we do.”
“Is that enough for the territory? I am the ruler of an entire galaxy, you know?”
When you think about things on a galactic scale, would even the full force of thirty thousand be enough?
Brian knew the answer to that question and in truth-
…its difficult to say,
“My lord, we certainly have the administrative rights to an entire galaxy, but we can barely manage this one planet and its resources alone. We simply don’t have enough personnel.”
“Understood, then we’ll take a disarmament policy for the time being.”
Although the territory under his dominion was wide, there were only a few locations that were actually managed by him.
“Now, let’s begin the restructuring right away, it looks like we have some hope in securing a budget.”
“Stop making that face.”
After being told that, Brian couldn’t help but panic a little.
It was quite concerning that Liam seemed to easily take to the opinions of an AI.
“Please wait one moment! My lord, its customary in the Empire to at least have a force equivalent to ten thousand ships! If we break down the military that much we might get invaded by our neighboring lords! This is a very dangerous venture!”
Liam looked troubled, so Amagi gave her opinion as well,
“Their militaries are quite old fashioned as well, so the neighboring lords only have their fleets for the sake of showmanship. Well, I imagine they’d go on the attack if we started reinforcing ourselves with new arms from the Empire.”
One-tenth of our current forces was enough.
But it’s still true that the neighboring lords were dangerous, so this was a gamble.
This opinion needed to be heard.
Even without the lords, there were still many dangerous individuals in the universe.
Such as space pirates.
“My lord, it’s important to have a fleet! Please reconsider!”
But Liam rejected the plea,
“I don’t need paper-mache tigers, what I need is an army that can actually fight. Amagi, we’re proceeding with the reorganization.”
Amagi then described the future plans in detail.
“We’ll do our best to re-educate and re-train our current forces. After that, I recommend that we slowly build up and expand the military in accordance to our financial situation.”
Liam seemed satisfied with that plan.
“Finish up quickly.”
—Brian couldn’t help but think,
(This child’s determination… it reminds me of the Count I once admired.)
Liam’s great grandfather Alistair, was a fine nobleman.
Brian couldn’t help but superimpose that image onto Liam.
His only downside was how he seemed to have a sweet spot for his android.
◇ ◇ ◇
After I stepped out of the capsule I had to go through some physical therapy and tutoring for a while, but when I got to work I was stunned by the territory’s current situation.
“There’s nothing for me to squeeze out of them! They’ve already been squeezed dry!”
This is a universe where science and magic should’ve developed equally.
Yet the lives of the people living in my territory looked worse than those living in modern Japan from my previous life.
This was an intergalactic empire.
Even though we were living in an era where space battleships went to war by firing epic lasers at each other and such, it looked like my territory had been left behind by the times.
If things were like this, it’d be impossible for me to oppress the populace any more than they already have been.
In the first place, this was the Banfield house’s territory, so why was it so desolate?
“How come nobody tried to develop the territory?”
Amagi swiftly provided an answer to my complaints.
“Even if you didn’t do anything, it’ll develop. As the noble who rules over them, the easiest path would be to just let them grow the way they want to. Trying to develop the area yourself is a very difficult thing to do and manage.”
“Can’t you do anything about it as an AI?”
“Master, there’s only so much that I’m capable of, I have limits. At the very least, I’ll be here to assist you whenever possible.”
My predecessors wrung them out to dry and took everything they could without leaving the populace enough resources to sustain and grow the territory themselves.
It seems like they thought it’d be fine as long as they just threw some of them into learning capsules if they wanted knowledge, while throwing manpower to those who were silent.
The oppressed people were just forcibly taught a multitude of things, the majority of which being knowledge that they couldn’t even put into practical use.
There was nowhere for me to mess around with.
As an evil lord, I was already in a crisis!
“This… did my parents just force onto me the ruined territory that they couldn’t save themselves?”
Did the guide lie to me?
That can’t be. I shook my head in denial as Amagi spoke to me softly,
“Master, the Banfield family’s territory is definitely in a bad situation, but there’s nowhere we can go but up from here. If you manage the tax and territory correctly, we can probably rebound in ten to twenty years.”
People have long life expectancy in this era.
In this universe you become an adult once you turn fifty years old.
But even at the age of fifty, what was terrifying is that they could still have the appearance of someone from my previous life in their teenage years.
With that said, twenty years wasn’t actually a long time in comparison to my lifespan.
“…it’ll only take twenty years?”
“Yes, in twenty years the territory will recover.”
If Amagi says so then it has to be true.
Even if I want to oppress them, there’s no point if the people have nothing for me to take in the first place.
Besides, my body is still young.
I have plenty of time to learn the ropes and make some investments.
There’s no problem as long as I can collect the profits later.
“If we don’t have the necessary budget at the moment, then let’s just invest it all. I’ll reap the profits from them eventually. In any case, Amagi, I want power.”
“You want to increase your forces? If it’s about weapo-”
“No, I’m talking about individual power. My own personal power.”
“You want to train your body?”
“Yes, I want to be strong. Martial arts or anything is fine.”
I’ve already suffered quite a bit from simple violence.
Whenever the repo men came to collect on the debts, I couldn’t help but quake in fear.
Even though I believed that violence was meaningless, I had to acknowledge that power was something necessary in certain situations.
To be able to step on others, I needed strength.
I wanted to have the power to not be afraid of others.
I wanted to be ready in case things get violent.
I wanted to be strong for that reason.
“Master, I don’t believe that’s necessary, but if that’s your wish, then I can gather the minimum materials needed.”
“Rejected, gather for me the best teachers you can find.”
In order to not be robbed of anything ever again.
I wanted power- the power to steal everything from them first.
◇ ◇ ◇
The guide was standing there in a black space.
He set his travel bag down and was grinning while watching a video.
The video shown was that of the woman that Liam had been married to in his previous life. It had only been a few years, and yet she had grown so haggard.
“You’ve been through quite a lot, haven’t you? You’re a complete mess, and your hair is filthy.”
He froze the video on the image of her together with her daughter and two new children.
The guide looked upon the image of the former wife with joy.
All around him were images of people who were just as miserable.
“Oops, I’ve been distracted for too long, I can’t forget about him now. Let’s see, what’s the situation?”
He cocked his head.
There was the reincarnator- Liam, who was now seven years old1 and talking to an android.
He was laughing.
“It’s amazing how something that looks so alive is actually just some manufactured doll. In addition, he hasn’t even realized that by keeping it nearby he’s been compromising his social status. Now this has potential.”
Even though he put him in such a terrible environment, his spirits are still high.
In the video, Liam suddenly declared that he wanted power.
Humans who had been threatened with violence in the past, yet wanted that same power in their next lives- the guide loved people like that.
“I want the power to make sure I never lose anything important to me ever again! It might be a long and difficult path to change, but that’s fine!”
The guide reached out and touched the picture.
Black smoke started to emanate from his body and penetrated into the image.
“I’ll give you this small gift. It’s my motto to always have a good after-sales service ready!”
The personnel needed were ready.
He searched for the man that was going to become Liam’s teacher and forcibly made a connection.
The man was going to be Liam’s master of martial arts anyway, so…
“I hope you have fun, Liam. I’ll make sure I’m there to grab you once everything falls apart.”
The guide then continued to watch Liam with his crescent-like smile.
◇ ◇ ◇
The Banfield House Port.
A man had arrived there.
Wearing a kimono.
He was also wearing a hakama, so his appearance was similar to that of a samurai- no, a ronin.
There was a sword hanging on his waist.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the frontier.”
The man’s name was Yasushi.
He looked a bit vulgar, but he was the man that had come to teach Liam martial arts.
Originally, the master of martial arts Amagi requested for was another man.
However, due to the bad reputation surrounding the Banfield family, the master declined the request.
And passed it off to Yasushi instead.
‘Take this request in my place.’
Yasushi was in the master’s debt, so he accepted- albeit reluctantly.
The master nominated Yasushi to go in his place, and in turn this decided who Liam’s teacher would be.
However- Yasushi had a secret.
While it was true that he had learned many martial arts, he couldn’t use any of them without being hit by dizzy spells.
He was the kind of liar that would say he mastered martial arts, and then show off a couple tricks for an applause while earning a quick buck.
“I’m told my client’s just a brat, so this should be easy enough. Even so, it’s a shame that he ended up with me as his teacher.”
He was going to be his teacher, so he’d at least teach him the basics.
However, secret techniques and such were impossible.
If he’s just some spoiled brat then he’ll get tired of things soon enough. Though it would be nice to have a more moderate kid to boss around.
“Even so, for him to ask for a sword master… he’s probably a strange one.”
Swords were used in this era, but they weren’t that prominent anymore.
They still had a certain popularity, sure, but even then most would choose a western sword style to master instead.
Yasushi had followed the path of the sword for a long time himself.
“Now, I wonder how much money I’ll be able to squeeze out of this kid…”
Anyways, in a nutshell, this man was a faker.
The man who scammed others with tricks was chosen by the guide’s malice to become Liam’s master.
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com
- Yes it wasn’t explicitly said, but since I know some of you won’t get it. Liam spent two years inside the education capsule to learn the knowledge for governing a territory. That’s why he’s seven now.