Reasons for Fighting
Ten years have already pa.s.sed since I've recovered my memories.
When this otome game, which had a frivolous setting that was full of inconsistencies, became real, it made me boil in anger at this unsightly world as the days pa.s.sed.
Well, I can't help but be angry.
Though this is another world, a game world, there's my livelihood that I have to deal with.
Though I'm a n.o.ble, I'm a n.o.ble that's poor and in the countryside. Since I generally do farm work at home, I can help around still.
I've forged my body through farm work, making my expression look more tough than how I was before in my previous world.
Black eyes, black irises, and fifteen years old.
My face isn't prominently beautiful, but I don't think it's something unsightly either.
However, this world is the unconventional world of an otome game.
Guys with good looks are commonplace all around.
I suppose that I'm one of the many others out there, the mobs.
My brother, who I believe I'm on good terms with, is in the mainland kingdom's academy within the continent, and is living in their dorms.
That cramped room that I was using with my brother before is now being occupied by my younger brother that's under six years old──”Colin,” the fourth son, together with me.
I'm reading a letter sent by my brother.
He wrote “Finding a marriage partner is tough,” in the letter.
In this otome game world…it's considered an issue if a man can't find a marriage partner by the time he leaves the academy, and men that can't find one by the time they're twenty are considered defective goods.
This is particularly harsh for n.o.ble boys. Commoners might be forgiven, but n.o.ble boys that can't find a partner by age twenty are given the cold shoulder.
This world is unthinkably tough for guys.
I can only pray that my brother finds a marriage partner soon as I read this letter in my cramped room.
To make matters worse, not being married will have an effect on finding a job or being successful in life.
Many of them will be forced to be expelled from their family in the future, even for second or third sons of n.o.bles. When the eldest son can't succeed the lineage, there will be a replacement in his place, and the eldest son will no longer need to give birth to a child that will be the successor.
In that case, our occupations will already be predetermined.
Mainly soldiers or government officials. The more novel ones become doctors or something like that. At any rate, it's good to aim for an occupation that benefits the country and citizens. Anything other than that, and the cold shoulder will be given.
Then, the guys who can't marry are treated as servants for armies or government jobs. They can't hope for a successful career, nor will they be entrusted to any important tasks.
In any case, their social reputation will plummet.
This is a world where marriage is very important for men.
“At any rate, this is truly a tough world.”
Wars, skirmishes, sky pirates, monsters…there's lots of conflict in the world, making the death rate of knights and soldiers high. There are a lot of children in my family, but the reason for that is because many of them will die.
It's the job of the men to fight. To make matters worse, the central figure of the family is not going to change any time soon, so I have to work. Despite that, The females are the ones that hold authority…
The men fight with their lives on the line and easily die, yet our treatment is extremely poor.
“This world is too kind towards women.”
I'm sensing that this world is distorted because of the setting for this game.
This place is quite splendid for women. Even more so for n.o.bles that are barons and above.
“Perhaps it's because the capture targets are all rich dudes from good families?”
I want to cry if women dominate over men because of a game-like reason.
Why did I reincarnate into this world? Not a day pa.s.ses by without this thought in mind. No wait, there's some. There's quite a few. In the first place, since my life is busy each day, I often forget about this.
It's been ten years since I've gained my memories…I've gotten used to this.
Inside the room, Colin was lying down on the bed sleeping.
He had an innocent face.
People like us that aren't successor are just spares, to put it bluntly.
When entering a game-like academy, we'll only amount to mobs in the background.
We'll be like the many others that only serve a supporting role.
At best, we'd get to say a word or two during the game.
Mob A or B, that's our position.
I never even heard of the Baltfault baron family or anything like that within the game in the first place.
“A mob…that's what I seem to be.”
I don't want to admit it, but I'm the kind of person that faces reality. To begin with, I'm not the type of person that's br.i.m.m.i.n.g with ambition to do something big and get ahead in life. If I'm a mob, then so be it.
Apart from that, I'm going to enter the academy starting next year.
One of the few advantages to this world is that n.o.bles are able to enroll in an academy.
I feel a bit complicated when thinking about how this is the result of the game's setting becoming real, but I'm grateful that I can become a government official or military personnel.
This is a precious opportunity to get outside this territory.
Besides, I can look for a marriage partner while at an academy.
If I don't leave this territory, then what awaits me is a forced marriage after some marriage talks taking place.
It'd be a little better if I got someone in the same generation as me, or even someone twenty years old, but it's no joke if I'm the leftover-husband of a thirty or forty year old.
“When I think about it like that, I really am thankful for being able to enter an academy.”
Looking at my little brother Colin peacefully sleeping, I breathed a sigh of relief.
“…M, marriage interview? What do you mean by that?”
It was after breakfast.
I lost my composure as I was called in father's office──or rather, his workroom.
The reason is that the wife, “Zola Fia Baultfault,” was sitting down on the sofa and brought up the talk about a marriage interview.
My father, sitting on the chair he normally uses, was making an unpleasant face.
As I received personal background doc.u.ments showing the photograph of a marriage interview partner and other various things, I had no choice but to be stunned.
Father was making a troubled face, but after looking at Zola's face, he turned towards me.
“Zola brought up a marriage proposal. It seems that her acquaintance is looking for a leftover-husband.”
Zola complained as she drank an especially expensive tea in our house by saying “Cheap articles don't suit my tongue.”
I raise my objections in disapproval.
“No, this isn't right!”
The reason for my protest was because this is a cruel choice for a partner.
This partner seems to be a daughter of a baron household──but it's written in these background doc.u.ments that she's over fifty years old, she's gone through marriage seven times.
She has children too, but all of them are older than me.
Zola sets down her cup in a slightly violent manner, and then glares at me.
I could tell that she was irritated.
“This is something you would normally be indebted to me for. She's a daughter of n.o.bles from the royal court, and their family has a long history of serving the royal family. What are you dissatisfied about?”
What am I dissatisfied about? On the contrary, it'd be stupid to think that there's anything I'm satisfied about. No wait, perhaps she may really be stupid. In the first place, what kind of daughter is fifty years old?!
“Why are you bringing up talks about marriage when I haven't even entered an academy yet?”
It's an unspoken rule that n.o.bles basically marry after graduation. I suppose that's due to the game's setting, but at any rate, it's a rule.
That's probably because half of the n.o.bles don't graduate from an academy.
The exception to that is a marriage for political reasons. Or perhaps there's some other reason out there for marrying early. Nevertheless, most are pretty much limited to just engagements.
Bringing up talks about marriage does not apply as an exception.
This partner is called a daughter of a baron household, but she doesn't hold any of the heritage. More precisely, she's a nephew of the main household, making her only a relative.
Furthermore, this marriage with me would be her eighth…it's obvious that this marriage talk can only mean danger.
Zola got angry, and her tone of voice grew stronger.
“I can still allow the second son to enter an academy. However, there's no meaning in sending the third son to one. Even if there were no entrance fees, there would still be other things that need money spent on them.”
I glare at Zola as father apologizes.
“I'm sorry that this is happening to you. However, the reality is that our household has little money. There are still ways of making money regardless of whether or not you've entered an academy.”
Father glanced at Zola from time to time. No matter what they say, I'm definitely not going to comply.
Zola reclined on the sofa.
“Even if you graduate from the academy, you won't find work. The right choice is to marry for the sake of the family. Be grateful that you can peacefully go through marriage. I also made preparations for you to work as a soldier. Do your best.”
That's when I noticed it.
…This person is planning to have me die in a battle.
n.o.bles. This is the same for soldiers, but when they die in a fight for the sake of the country, their family will be paid compensation.
For soldiers, payments happen en ma.s.se, but the case is a little different for n.o.bles.
They will be given an honor for fighting on behalf of the country, and to make matters worse, their compensation is given annually.
The only thing I can hear from Zola's marriage talk is the money she wants from my death and her subsequent honor from it. All the husbands of this partner so far have been written down on this background doc.u.ment as “honored by death in battle.”
Far from trying to hide it, it's as if it was written down as a boast.
“No. I refuse.”
Zola pounded on the table and stood up in response to my refusal.
“Silence! This is my view on lowly third sons like you! If you're a boy, then work for the family!”
This Zola woman…basically lives in the kingdom's capital, the “royal capital.” Unlike feudal lord n.o.bles, she comes from royal court n.o.bles that receive work from the royal palace.
Since she doesn't want to leave the royal capital, father has to make arrangements for her residence and also send her money for living expenses.
We send money her way even though our income in the household is considerably tough, and yet this is the att.i.tude she begets. However, father will gain a bad reputation if he cuts off ties with this woman.
If he casts Zola away at this point, her family won't play nicely──and our status will suffer damage.
He can't divorce her for that reason.
I rack my brain trying to figure out a way to break through this dilemma.
Then I remember.
I have the knowledge of this game──knowledge of this world.
I'm getting tired of this usual lifestyle at age fifteen, and I haven't tried anything out in particular, but…isn't now the time to use my knowledge of this game to the best of my ability?!
There's no future for me if I don't do my best!
“…So there's no problem if we have money?”
Zola laughed scornfully towards my words.
“Oh? That's quite the att.i.tude for a good-for-nothing that can't earn money.”
If you want find one of the few people to say that to, then take a look in the mirror.
I did not want to be called a good-for-nothing by Zola, a parasite on the Baltfault household that indulges herself in the royal capital.
“It's rude to refuse talks about formal matchmakings. Please stop this if you're thinking that earning enough to cover the entrance fees will work.”
Not knowing what I was talking about, father made his complaint towards my words.
However, father doesn't go with a strong att.i.tude.
“You're still young, Leon. Doing something like that so hastily is──”
“Silence! Men over twenty won't find a partner no matter what! You don't thank me for finding you a partner so quickly, and now you're being picky by making complaints…this is why I hate brats from the countryside.”
Quite absurd of you to blame everything on the countryside.
When I was about to raise a complaint, father intervened.
“Think about the feelings of this child. He can't help but refuse when his marriage is with a woman that's in her fifties. The age difference is almost forty years.”
I'd be the leftover-husband of a woman that has children older than me.
It's natural that I would hate it. Even for a world where women dominate over men, this marriage talk, which she had decided as something unrefusable, is something that treads on peculiar territory.
A family where my is wife nearly forty years older than me and even her children are older than me…it gives me the chills just thinking about it.
My father breathed a sigh.
“…If he can prepare money, it's fine to revoke these talks about marriage, right?”
Zola sat down in a violent manner and crossed her legs as she looked down at us.
“Oh? This is the first time I've heard about you having the resources to do so. I'd prefer you use it to increase the amount of money you send me.”
I'm not going to make false a.s.sumptions by saying that all women in this world are like this person. However, looking at this woman makes me feel disgust.
The image of women, particularly n.o.ble women, in this world is the worst.
Father held a hand to his head.
He then cast his eyes downward and spoke something as if he was squeezing it out of himself.
“Give me some time. I'll find a way to arrange something.”
Seeing father looking discouraged while doing the unreasonable for my sake gave me a strong sense of guilt.
This really is a cruel world.
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