Once Zola left the room, only father and I were left.
“That woman had us prepare a ship just for this occasion. Then we also had to make arrangements for her stay, I feel reluctant in having to think about the costs. Father, why did you marry her?”
Since she normally lives in the royal capital, we have to make necessary preparations when she comes here.
There's the costs of the airship service, but we also have to deal with the preparations for her lodging room and her meal arrangements. We also have to cover her traveling expenses.
My father is weak-kneed.
There are reasons for that being the case.
“Don't be angry. This marriage was absolutely necessary. My marriage with Zola lets us be treated suitably as a baron household. There's no choice in the matter.”
Father must be thinking that he should be thankful for his wife coming over to this isolated island from a remote region. It seems that daughters of n.o.bles from afar like to find partners of cities that they yearn to live in.
There are some oddb.a.l.l.s among them, but those kinds of women have to compete against each other.
I believe that father got married because of what it meant to be married to Zola.
That alone makes her an important marriage partner. If a baron household doesn't take an appropriate bride, then they're declaring that they're not a household of that rank. They'll be made light of by other n.o.bles, and some will attack them──it would start a war on the household.
In any case, they'd be unable to get along with other households as well as not being treated as barons.
It's a case of ostracism.
“So, how are you going to prepare the money?”
I asked for confirmation, but I could already guess from father's bitter expression.
“To be honest, it will be tough. Our house is already in debt. Any further than this and we won't be able to recover. Even so, why did she bring up this talk all of the sudden?”
Father was also curious about it.
“…Why didn't she bring up a conversation about this with my older brother?”
Father tilted his head after hearing what I said.
“Even for Nicks, there would still be too big of an age gap, but…it's certainly strange. It seems that she doesn't want you to enter an academy.”
I was holding a conversation here at home, but I was wondering if things were going alright on the other side.
However, the answer was beyond my imagination.
It was a week later──I was in the storehouse at home.
I was retrieving some weapons that were being stored.
Since the weapons are the property of the parents, my father gets angry if I use them without permission. However, n.o.body here is going to stop me right now.
There was an old-style rifle, the type that can only hold five magazines.
It was the most suitable object, so I took it to disa.s.semble for maintenance.
I placed a decorated sword on the table and checked to see whether or not it was usable. I also gathered up other important tools.
My father looked at me doing this with unease.
“H, hey, what do you plan on doing?”
When I read a letter from my brother a while ago, I decided to resolve myself.
I've been thinking carefully about how to use my game knowledge to earn money, but now I've realized that it's easier said than done.
“I need to make money at any cost before I get sold off to some perverted old woman! I don't want that to happen, not at all!”
My mother was getting teary-eyed while behind my father.
It seems the house that I'm potentially being sold off to is one with a bad reputation.
There's this forest of ladies, I believe? It's gathering held with men that are slaves, making it fine to treat them in any way, according to what those old women said.
It seems that the treatment of the slaves is even worse than that of sub-race servants.
They're a pack that enjoy using men and then crushing them.
They're the worst.
Furthermore, there are rumors that old women of high n.o.ble status gather there, and even that men who aren't of use are sent to the battlefield to die. They're probably thinking that it's better off to dispose of them through deaths in battle.
What's cruel…is that Zola is one of the people involved in it.
Not one of the people that gather there, but one of the women that are thinking about making a profit by selling off us spares of the eldest son.
They're a group that no decent person wants to get involved with, and even other fellow females would back away from.
There's a reason why she didn't mention the elder brother in her talks and why she's been trying to prevent further talks about me going to the academy in the royal capital. They'll gather together young men like me that don't know anything, and have their way with them. That's how the forest of ladies works.
They'll mutually make schemes for those that aren't students at the academy, so at any rate, it seems that entry to an academy works against them. Due to that, Zola had been putting forth a marriage proposal before I could enter an academy.
“Why does a mob have to get involved with perverts like them! I'd rather have a more calm life without any mountains or valleys!”
My mother was worried about what I said.
“I don't understand what Leon is saying.”
“I don't understand either. What is he planning on doing, taking out that weapon? Don't tell me that he's planning on marching into the royal capital? D, don't do that!”
Looking at me maintaining the weapon, father made a worried face.
I do want to march there and wreak havoc, but that's impossible for my current self.
Even if I march into there, I'm going to get apprehended since the demi-human servants near the n.o.ble women have been forged to become strong, so approaching them is not a simple matter.
“…Being an adventurer is the best option for getting money.”
Both of my parents exchanged glances when hearing my words.
In this world, an adventurer is a recognized occupation. One could say that it's an occupation that has to be recognized.
At any rate, n.o.bles can be traced back to being descendants of adventurers.
In this game's setting, n.o.bles are people that obtained land by discovering it as adventurers. Adventurers that earned numerous fortunes from their adventures became n.o.bles.
So, that's the game-like excuse for why n.o.bles need to be adventurers when they're at the academy.
This lets dungeons give the protagonist a way to raise love meters, but I can use them here to save my own hide.
My father shakes his head.
“Stop this. Going to a dungeon alone won't do anything, and it will take time before you can get money.”
My mother was the same.
“T, that's right. Besides, it's hard to find a floating island now. You won't be able to earn money.”
When floating islands where people can live or floating islands with resources are discovered, they become property of adventurers. If one feels inclined to, they can potentially own that territory independently, but…there's no suitable islands remaining around this continent.
There shouldn't be any left, but I know of one.
“Sorry, I've decided on it. I'm going.”
If I was alone, then running away would be fine, but my younger brother Colin is still nine years old.
I don't want to see my younger brother being sold off to perverts.
Sympathizing with my resolve, my father opened his mouth.
“Is there anything you need?”
I didn't hesitate to tell my father what I needed to gather. It's a little unreasonable to force this on him, but this is a critical moment that determines either my life or my death.
If I don't do anything, I'll end up as a plaything for a perverted old woman. There's a possibility that I might die doing about I'm about to do, but I'm going to take my chances.
“Something like a ship would work. An airship. After that, I need some bullets. A specially-made kind.”
My father tilted his head.
“What in the world are you planning to do? Are you challenging a dungeon somewhere? In that case, a pa.s.senger ship should be fine.”
“It's somewhere where pa.s.senger ships don't go.”
I a.s.semble the rifle.
Rifles are a bit odd in a world of swords and magic, but this is a world where airships exchange gunfire using cannons. Rifles are a normal thing here.
When I pulled the trigger, the rifle operated, and a metallic click sounded.
I was able to keep living somehow after reincarnating into this world. Since I was satisfied with my life day after day, I didn't do anything special.
However, as expected, even mobs have to give something up.
I'm going to have to decline a life of being a plaything.
That's why I'm going to fight.
I'll show them all the willpower of a mob.
“I understand. I'll prepare them as soon as possible. However, you absolutely must come back. If you can't promise me that, then I won't do it.”
I intend to return, but I know that things are going to progress into a life and death situation.
So, I told a lie.
“…I'll definitely return.”
I want to protect my life, save my brother's life, and while I'm at it, outwit Zola. One day, I'll get revenge on that wench who tried to sell me.
While my heart harbored such a strong feeling, I resumed my departure preparations.
“This is the first time worked this seriously.”
Though this is an otome game world, it's still a game world.
It's not just once or twice that I thought about using knowledge of the game to be unparalleled.
However, my motivation for it disappears with the exhaustion of my every day life.
I eat a simple meal. My father trains me in the morning, and I do farmwork afterwards.
It becomes dark by the time it's over, and studying awaits me once I get back home.
In this world, barons from a remote and isolated island are poor.
Basically, many are poor compared to others in the cities of the mainland, but become even poorer because of women like Zola.
Rank ascension──there are many fathers who complained about how they used to be wealthy as semi-barons before they got promoted.
Naturally, there are rich barons too, and also affluent baron households that have wealth at an absurd level compared their previous generation.
As far as our home is concerned, if we remained at the scope of semi-barons, then the contributions we need to give would be suitably low, and we wouldn't have to deal with a high-cla.s.s wife like Zola, so our spending would reduce.
…Things really were peaceful when we hadn't ascended in rank.
Heading to the edge of the floating island, I readied the bolt action rifle and pointed the trigger at a very odd flying-fish thing I found.
The existences called monsters are evil beings of the world within this frivolous setting. Since they're evil, I don't feel a sense of repulsion in killing them to the point that it actually feels refreshing.
I suppose the fact that they vanish when you kill them is one of the reasons for that.
It's better to kill these things since they'll rush to attack a human if they find one.
However, what's gained by killing them is not visible to the eye, “Experience Points.”
“d.a.m.n it! It dodged.”
I soon loaded the next bullet into the rifle, set it up, and took a careful aim.
My opponent noticed me and was coming this way.
It's about one meter in size.
Normally, having the target come closer is better for shooting, but if it dodges and it turns into a close quarter combat, I'll die in the worst case scenario. Monsters are too dangerous of an opponent when they're alive.
I can fight because of this rifle.
However, bullets aren't free.
It'll be expensive if I just blow shot after shot.
The approaching monster opened its large mouth and tried to bite at me. There were sharp teeth along its mouth, and it was frightening to look at.
“If I run away from just this much…then my life will be done for!”
Until now, I had been thinking about trying to earn experience someday. I would become an adventurer, discover an island, and explore it. I would earn money──Right, I would do it “someday.”
I had been thinking about it, but never did it until now.
However, with this current situation where I'm already short on time and I can't run away either, I was finally being pressed to move forward.
When I pulled the trigger, the bullet entered the monster's mouth and pierced through its back.
Losing its vigor, it then finally dropped down before me.
Looking at its condition, it had been engulfed in a black smoke and vanished before its descent reached the seawater.
“…Did I get experience points from this?”
I took a look at my left hand, but I didn't feel any sensation of the sort. Perhaps the game and reality really are different?
However, not gaining experience points is not a reason to stop. I needed to sharpen my shooting skills anyways.
Leaving the rifle aside, I won't be able to reach my destination without getting a boat, the kind that flies in the air, and the knowledge of operating it.
What I had been thinking about doing it someday was retrieving a cheat-cla.s.s item, as it would be called in game terms. Among the paid content, if I acquire this thing, then negotiations would go by quickly.
I had also been pondering about the possibility that it isn't there.
Originally, it's an item, a treasure that the protagonist is supposed to obtain, among other such things, but my life is at stake here. This is a disservice to the protagonist, but I need to get that thing above all else.
I hold the rifle in both of my hands.
“I'll have to sacrifice the protagonist for the sake of my happiness. It'll be fine. According to my calculations, I'll be in the same grade as the protagonist. I'll return the favor someday to make up for it.”
I had feelings of guilt, but an even stronger desire to not get sold off to a perverted old woman.
This is a crisis of my chast.i.ty.
“Is this how a woman being sent off to a perverted middle-aged man feels? d.a.m.n it! What's with this world?”
I have little time available.
“It should have went for it sooner.”
I looked for monsters in the surroundings while in regret.
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