Unlike last time, the atmosphere felt like an actual tea ceremony.
“Hmm, so you received an invitation by the heir of an earl household from a remote region.”
“Right. He said it wouldn't be bad for him to talk with an honor student and then invited me. However, everyone said that wasn't acceptable and they refused me…”
I enjoyed the fragrance of the tea while popping a sweet into my mouth.
When I offered the protagonist some, she held back at first, but then nervously took them.
A smile returned to her sad face when eating the sweets.
Unlike the girls from before, she ate them in delight. I'm glad that I had prepared tea and sweets now.
The protagonist was then a bit perplexed when looking at the tea.
“T, this is expensive tea, isn't it? Is it okay for me to drink this?”
She's quite the shy and modest girl…who was the idiot that called her a sly protagonist again? Isn't she a pretty good person?
“This a lot for just one person, so it helps that you're drinking some of it. All things considered, it seems things have been tough for you.”
I don't intend to get deeply involved, but I wanted to know who she's been a.s.sociating with. It wouldn't be bad to know what kind of actions the protagonist will take hereafter.
…In addition, there are also some things I'm uneasy about.
“…I was pleased at being invited, and I was looking forward to it, but it seems there really is no hope for me.”
She made a sorrowful laugh.
That earl from abroad──the one hosting that tea ceremony is probably “Brad Fou Field.”
A rich narcissist with long purple hair, and owns a vast amount of land, even for a feudal lord n.o.ble. His household is of a large scale, and he's one of those prestigious n.o.bles.
He's not someone that will get along with households like mine.
Brad is the type of person that strategizes before moving ahead. He could be called an advisor, the kind of person that would command an army because of his intellect.
I thought of him as a narcissistic guy whose forte is magic.
Though he has a specialty in magic, he's useless in martial arts, and I believe he has a complex over that.
Feudal lord n.o.bles have a strong tendency to boast about their martial arts abilities, more so than about magic──like how knights boast about being able to manage well with however amount of armor they wear.
Brad pays attention to this as a descendant of feudal lord n.o.bles, so he has a complex about his martial arts and physicality, causing a provocation to anger him.
To put it briefly, this guy is bothersome.
No wait, thinking about it carefully, all the capture target boys are bothersome guys.
The gloomy protagonist, “Olivia,” cast her eyes downwards.
“It's really would've been better if I didn't come here, right? I'm trying my hardest to persevere, but I can barely make my way through what's around me…I don't know why I was enrolled here.”
Come to think of it, in the beginning, her status was low and the academy part was difficult.
Julian and the other guys are then supposed to follower her, but the Olivia right now was alone.
…It seems a little odd for her to be alone at this point in time. Even if people are ignoring her, she's supposed to get involved with Julian and not be by herself.
Could it be that reality really is different from the game?
I didn't know about how uninvolved she was until now since my choices for cla.s.ses were different from hers. I thought that she was doing well.
Even if it wasn't Julius, there would no problem if she had gotten close with one of the others.
Judging from what she's said, it seems she's been alone for nearly a month.
That's a more miserable situation than mine.
An academy life without a marriage partner, let alone a friend, is far too lonely.
Well, from the standpoint of the boys from the advanced cla.s.s, she's not an eligible marriage partner. Her social status is too low. Us boys, who are frantically searching for a marriage partner, wouldn't have the spare time to a.s.sociate with her.
The capture target characters, who already have fiances, can get involved with the protagonist since they do have the free time.
In addition, from the standpoint of the girls, they wouldn't understand why someone like her is going to the same academy as them. She's someone they can't allow…so they think about forcing her between a rock and a hard place.
However, something's a bit off.
It's already May, so she's supposed to have encountered the capture target characters. There was also a coercion event as well. That's when I remembered it, I remembered Marie.
The ominous smiling countenance of Marie.
Perhaps uneasy after seeing me pondering in silence, Olivia became fl.u.s.tered. Maybe she's blaming herself for something she thinks she did wrong.
I wish that those other selfish girls would take notes from this G.o.ddess here.
Who was the jerk that said this protagonist was sly? I'll knock them off their feet.
“I was just thinking for a bit. Well, since this is the first time we've had an honor student at this academy, it'll get a bit rough sometimes, so don't be too hard on yourself.”
Olivia nodded while going “I see, you're right,” as she agreed to my advice. Anyways, there's no way that my few brief words will leave a deep impression on her.
I don't have much life experience, and though I was a adult in my previous life, I didn't have to respond to such prideful people back then.
“…Is it okay for me to stay here?”
I immediately replied to her question.
“Hmm? It's fine.”
You're this world's protagonist, after all.
Who you decide to capture has little relation to my life, but…you don't have anyone. None at all. Well, I had wanted you to talk about who you had gotten involved with.
“W, why? I mean, I'm not worthy of being here.”
Though it's a matter of course for me, perhaps it's strange for Olivia. So I gave an explanation using a suitable excuse.
“Well, you see…oh right! Your admission is a decision by the academy and the royal palace! You shouldn't complain about the position you're in, and the other students don't have the right to judge whether or not you're suitable here.”
Olivia blinked repeatedly.
“B, but, the people around──”
“Even if you can't endure it, you shouldn't just drop out. In regards to the people telling you to go away, doing that is impossible since your stay was decided by the higher-ups. So why don't you tell them that if they have a complaint, they can take it up to those higher-ups? I think few people would talk back to that.”
At any rate, the protagonist will surely be protected by the capture target boys.
So it'll be fine.
However, I'm uneasy about the flow of this conversation so far. Is it really okay that she hasn't encountered a single person, or rather, that she hasn't raised any flags yet?
Olivia slowly opened her mouth to speak.
“I…want to study more about magic. However, I'm unfamiliar with stuff like the regulations of an academy or unspoken rules…recently it's been difficult with people causing mischief on things like my textbooks and many other items of mine.”
There are lot of unspoken rules amongst the boys, but it's the same for the girls as well. No wait, the girls would probably have even harsher unspoken rules that are unclear.
Not knowing them would be a big disadvantage in the academy. Come to think of it, in the game, I feel like there was a scene where the protagonist was criticized about such things by the villainess.
At that time, the capture target boys helped her out, but…the Olivia right now has no boys that will a.s.sist her.
I couldn't leave her alone in that bitter state, so I thought about what course of action would be good.
“I don't know the unspoken rules amongst girls either…ah, come to think of it, one person that does comes to mind. That might work somehow.”
The smile on Olivia's delighted face dazzled.
For the sake of Olivia, I decided to call my sister, the second daughter.
I was worried that she wasn't going to prove to be useful. With how much money I've lent to her…I'll have her pay back a bit of the loan she owes me.
She's a woman that will move upon the glimmer of gold.
I'll have her talk even she doesn't want to.
I boiled some tea for my sister.
I seriously wanted to do it sloppily or stuff something nasty into it, but I stopped myself when my mentor's face came to mind. It would hurt my heart doing such things in a tea ceremony.
She's an annoying sister.
Behind her stood a tall slave with cat ears folding his arms.
“It's quite remarkable that you've called for me, stupid brother.”
I laughed scornfully.
“And I admire the reason for why you responded to my call. Alright, quickly teach her the rules amongst the girls.”
I took a seat while telling a worried Olivia not worry.
My sister held her hand over her forehead.
“…I'm fine with teaching that, but what do you have to gain by supporting the honor student?”
I don't have anything to directly gain from it, but Olivia's happiness will help with the future of this country.
There's no harm having her be indebted to me, and above all, this is the least I can do for her since Luxon may have originally been intended to go to her.
“This is why I don't like people who think only in terms of gains and losses. How about having a kinder heart?”
My sister clicked her tongue toward my agitation.
She has that handsome slave, a lover that she was able to purchase, behind her because of me. Seeming to know that as well, she looked at Olivia.
“Within the girls in the cla.s.s…did you greet the most distinguished girl among them?”
Olivia shook her head.
“I don't get close to her.”
“Send a proper letter to her. It's part of the rules to greet her with a present. If there's a large group, ask someone to be the middleman. The ones following her have a fairly important position. Send a letter to those people, and some presents too while you're at it. Aah, make sure to investigate what kind of presents they like.”
I listened to what my sister was saying and had a thought.
“Isn't that just a bribe?!”
“You're being noisy. There's no problem as long as it does the trick. Anyways, don't go with plain money or something unrefined. That will make them angry. Tea or sweets from a popular store is a safe bet. This is where mistaking their tastes will cause a ha.s.sle.”
Olivia's hand, which was jotting down notes, stopped.
“T, that much money isn't something I──”
My sister looked over at my face.
“It's fine to have this stupid brother buy them. He's the one that called me over here, so he can do it.”
I panicked when the subject was suddenly brought up.
I felt like it was troubling when the girls had ignored me, but then I was. .h.i.t with a surprise attack.
My sister ignored my reaction and continued speaking.
“If they send a reply back saying that they want to meet you in-person or that they want to return the favor for the present, then you're done. All that's left is to not rub them the wrong way and then you can peacefully graduate.”
Olivia looked at me with eyes that seemed as if she was about to cry.
“It's fine…I'll handle the bills.”
“Thank you. I'll definitely return the favor!”
Seeing Olivia giving a word of thanks made me think about how the other girls around should be as kind as this child here.
Seeing my sister leaning back while eating the sweets made me shake my head. As I let out feelings of irritation, I noticed something from my sister's slave.
That cat-eared b.a.s.t.a.r.d was reaching towards me, so I soon fled from that spot.
I'm not going to do something troublesome like a contest of strength with a beastman.
A few days later, Anjelica called out to Olivia.
Olivia watched in nervousness as Anjelica drank an elegant black tea. Both the cup and its contents were of a higher grade than what Leon had prepared.
Treating it as if it were just a common-cla.s.s item, Anjelica placed her cup down while looking at Olivia with a sharp glare.
“I don't know who gave you the suggestion for it, but I'll praise your greeting. It's the behavior to take when meeting a superior. This isn't a place for people like you. However, bear in mind that I will tolerate you if you stay quiet in the corner.”
Their location was isolated from the outside of the academy, making it slightly mysterious.
There are also peculiar rules about not keeping in close touch with the outside.
A similar kind to the one about making a “greeting,” like what Olivia had done to Anjelica.
It's not particularly necessary, but it is important for making one's academy life smooth.
Olivia has no power nor supporters.
She was in a really weak position within the school.
“U, um, then you'll allow me to stay in the academy?”
In response to Olivia's worries, Anjelica made a bit of a face like she had remembered something.
There were several girls following Anjelica, but they left and now only the two remained.
Upon which, she started speaking in a somewhat gentler tone of voice than just before.
“…You can just nod along, drink your tea, and then return back to your dorm. Just that much and we'll be done. I suppose that this conversation turned more complex after you started asking all these questions.”
She made a slightly tired expression for some reason.
“Did you think I was going to try and drive you out? Honestly speaking, I'm not interested in the matters of an honor student. I don't have the leisure to get involved with you either.”
Anjelica mumbled a few words towards the a worried Olivia.
“You're better than that girl getting close with his Highness the crown prince.”
“U, um, come again?”
“No, it's nothing.”
Anjelica made a slight smile towards Olivia.
It was a sight that made her seem appropriate for her age.
Olivia had an image of Anjelica that held more spirit and was easily agitated. Indeed, Anjelica had broken into a yell a couple of times in the academy.
“Honor student, who was the one that taught you about these greetings? Aah, don't misunderstand, it's not that I harbor ill feelings towards them. I'm just wondering who had supported the honor student that people distance themselves away from. A personal interest.”
The boys are focused on searching for marriage partners and don't have free time while the girls dislike the honor student. She expressed her interest in knowing who would a.s.sist her.
Olivia was a bit worried, but voiced out Leon's name.
She talked about how Leon brought in his older sister.
“The third Baltfault son, is it? He's quite the oddball. Well, he has a good will.”
“You know about him?”
Anjelica made a small smile.
“You don't know? He's a knight from our generation with high hopes placed on him for the future. Actually, I was surprised when I heard that he had earned a baron rank by himself. There's no doubt that he's reached the ideal success as an adventurer. A fascinating person. All things considered, his nature isn't bad. It wouldn't be harmful either to have his Highness the crown prince speak with him.”
Olivia felt a slightly mysterious feeling when she looked at Anjelica saying that while smiling.
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