Volume 1 part1 epilogue
Summer vacation was slowly nearing its end.
However, I was worried due to Vince not coming to get in touch with me.
I suppose that the work of the royal court was something that took time?
“I'm getting tired. I wish it would get done soon.”
When I was going out to the field to work, my older brother Nicks complained to me.
“You're being really carefree. If you get careless, you're going to get executed. If it ended at just that, it would be fine, though I can't help but worry that I and everyone else would get wrapped up in it as well.”
Colin, the fourth son, didn't understand.
“Brother, he defeated five opponents in a duel, right? Isn't that amazing?”
My older brother yelled.
“He won against opponents he shouldn't have fought! Colin, this matter isn't unrelated to you either!”
I was tired from working since morning, so I stretched.
In a location slightly away, Anjie was being taught field work by Livia.
The maids were watching while uneasy.
When they tried to a.s.sist her, Anjie stopped them, not letting them give even a single hand.
“So you do this here, and──eek! What is this meandering creature?!”
“Anjie, that's an earthworm.”
“Earthworm? I've heard of them before, but…eek! Livia, is it okay if it touches your hand?!”
“This little thing doesn't do much. Come now, continue on.”
Colin pulled on my arm.
“Brother, which one are you marrying?”
I shook my head in response to Colin's question.
Making a move on Livia or Anjie? C'mon now.
Livia was the honor student and a commoner right now, but would be a saint in the future.
Anjie was the daughter of a duke.
I couldn't do any tomfoolery like trying to make a move on people out of my reach.
“Look, Colin. They're an honor student and the daughter of a duke household. They're too far away from my strike zone, marriage is impossible.”
“What does strike zone mean?”
My older brother said “Here we go again,” and resumed his work.
“The honor student girl is a commoner and it would be difficult to marry her. The daughter of the duke household has too high of a social position, so I wouldn't suit well with her. Understand?”
“Hmm, I don't!”
“Ha ha ha, how honest of you, Colin. Alright, get back to work.”
I did like them, but in terms of my strike zone──both of them would be an out for me. They weren't even remotely close to that strike zone.
I could already picture the ball.
Livia would be like the ball bouncing before it reached the mitt, and Anjie would be like a wild pitch that was too high.
Even if I wanted to swing the bat, I couldn't.
Darn…I liked how they looked too.
Leaving that aside, now was the time to act for the future.
Well, there weren't any changes regarding the situation at the duke household, so all I could do was wait.
I didn't think that anything bad would happen, but…I did prepare a mountain of white gold. It should definitely be fine.
…If not, I would be in trouble.
Also, there was one more person working on the fields.
“My nails are dirty. My hands hurt.”
The one complaining was Jenna, the second daughter.
I told my parents about her placing the bomb onto my armor, and there were other circ.u.mstances too, so she spent the summer vacation working like this. I was thinking that something more than field work ought to have been done for her lending a hand in the a.s.sa.s.sination attempt of her brother. Well, I suppose that I also should consider the fact that she was half-threatened by a gang that the prince's foster brother ordered around, but──I thought that the standards of this world were strange for letting her punishment be something boys like us normally do.
“You were able to be pardoned with this light of a punishment. You should be thankful.”
“If you didn't cause a problem, I wouldn't have had to set a bomb.”
Well, I suppose she was right. So I also forgave her. To tell the truth, it really didn't do much damage.
“I don't want to work in the field~.”
I had a thought when seeing my sister complain.
This world of an otome game really is cruel.
It was the day after.
An airs.h.i.+p from the duke family arrived at the household.
It seemed they came to pick up Anjie, but a government official from the royal capital took the opportunity to ride as well.
It seemed that the matter regarding me had been decided.
I was surprised that a very high ranking individual amongst he government officials came.
Feudal lord n.o.bles are grouped by a hierarchy, but royal court n.o.bles, who held no territory and followed the king, were sorted into cla.s.ses.
Feudal lords could also be a part of it, but they only accepted barons or greater, those that could meet with the king.
The king was placed at the top-most position, so the crown prince was placed at second. Royalty were below the second rank, and the substantial government officials that took the next top-three ranks were the cabinet ministers.
Going all the way down to below the sixth rank were those who had the privilege to meet the king. Many feudal lords were appointed to these ranks.
Feudal lords who were barons and above were automatically granted this rank, and I suppose the cla.s.ses within the royal court were things like chief clerk, section chief, or other things like that.
Well, such cla.s.ses existed. There were also royal court n.o.bles who held a rank, but explaining such circ.u.mstances was a pain. Or rather, I didn't know it very well since it didn't concern me.
However, the government official that came was of the fifth rank──someone that was a higher rank than even my father.
Due to that, my father got nervous.
It turned into a conversation between them on our residence, but the official was smiling.
“Oh dear, this has been quite the clamor. The duel and the engagement being broken off caused an uproar. I did not overlook the topic of the crown prince being disinherited.”
My father was listening to him while nervous, but the official kept talking as if he didn't notice anything. What to do…these talks about disinheritance made me quite uneasy, but now wasn't the time to cut into the conversation.
Huh? Wait a minute…Julian was disinherited? That was a bit troubling.
“There have been voices within the royal court calling for the Baltfault family to take responsibility, but those were put to an end thanks to the movements of the duke household.”
It seemed that Vince had been working hard.
Thank you, Anjie's papa.
“U, um, as for the treatment of the Baltfault family?”
My father couldn't stop himself from asking.
The government official answered with a smile.
“Rest a.s.sured. You will not be asked to hold liability. Rather, Leon has now been officially recognized as an independent knight. He's currently in school still, but the royal court will carry out the formalities for bestowing him the position. At any rate, a knight has been giving his Highness advice regarding his foolish conduct. They want him to follow the example of other students.”
…My father was relieved, but the situation was becoming all the more ominous.
Going through the rites of becoming a knight before even graduating? I didn't want to hear about such things.
This time I asked a question.
“W, wait one moment. Will I be held liable? Will I have to do something like being stripped of my rank as a baron?!”
“I have not said such things. Although there was some heated discussion, you were officially given the baron rank, Leon. Congratulations.”
Being declared a knight, and then becoming a baron.
…Wasn't this going to make my plans go amiss?
I didn't want to show up at the academy now. I did what I pleased because I didn't think I would go back there!
“All the same, this──”
“Right. All the same, we're not here to talk about this.”
Was he s.h.i.+fting to another topic now? This person was shrewd.
As my eyes were filled with antic.i.p.ation of it being something good for once, a sheet of paper was held out in front of me.
When I was reading it while wondering what it contained, my father screamed “Aaaaack!”. I also wanted to shout like he did.
The official told us the situation with a smile, leaving me in despair.
“Leon has been allowed to 'go above' the sixth rank in the royal court. Congratulations. You've been promoted.”
…I didn't hear anything about being promoted!
They were on the airs.h.i.+p of the duke household.
Livia and Anjie were on the deck while chatting.
“He's being promoted in rank by the royal palace, right? Though, I feel like those kinds of things are irrelevant for feudal lords.”
Livia, not knowing the circ.u.mstances, received a detailed explanation from Anjelica.
“Although there certainly isn't much meaning to it for feudal lords, it means that they were given more recognition than the many others below the sixth rank. In layman's terms, its a matter of giving treatment to those who stand out among the rest.”
“And that's a reward? Leon, isn't pleased with it.”
“It all depends on one's way of thinking. This may be off-topic, but the eighth and ninth ranks are for those who have been knights their whole life. One can enter the seventh rank from heritage, but ascending one rank above that would require many years of loyalty and some large achievements.”
Livia couldn't comprehend it very well.
“By many years of loyalty, do you mean something like ten years?”
“That would be fine for the eighth rank, but for the seventh rank and above, one would have to think about relations not just on the individual level, but also on a household level. It's at the point where parents and their children would have to earnestly work under them for three generations. It would take a century to be promoted from below the sixth rank to above it without accomplis.h.i.+ng any major feats.”
Livia was surprised when hearing that.
“If, if so, it means he gained that much recognition, right?!”
Since he was promoted, Livia was delighted after realizing that Leon wouldn't be given any further punishment.
“That's how it is. Well, from the perspective of the royal palace, there's no harm in giving him a promotion. Leon's not a n.o.ble of the royal court, so they don't need to pay him any annuity. Still, I didn't think that he would be promoted, though.”
The favorable treatment he received was at the level where Anjie started getting suspicious.
There was a bizarre situation in regards to the royal court. There were many cases that made people wonder why they chose the course of action they took. She had no choice but to believe that this was just another one of those cases.
Anjie concluded that there must have been individuals and groups that had something to gain from Julian being disinherited and Leon being promoted.
Livia was unfamiliar with these kinds of things, and didn't understand that well.
“…I really thought that he would be demoted from a baron, though.”
Livia then remembered something.
“Come to think of it, Leon said that he spent the money he gained from the bet!”
“What? In that case…could it have been the power of money? No, but doing such a thing would…hmm.”
The two couldn't answer, so they changed the topic.
“This may be a change of topic, but it seems that Leon is going to go through the rites of being declared a knight before the new school term. Would you able to come?”
Livia was a little embarra.s.sed from being invited.
“B, but, I've never partic.i.p.ated in such things…I don't have an outfit either.”
“Don't worry about the uniform.”
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