The True Protagonist
──I feel like hitting my recent-past self.
I showed off by telling Olivia that I could help teach her things, but I didn’t actually check her level of comprehension.
l mean, she didn’t say that she had trouble keeping up with the material around her!
“I don’t understand it past this point. It has to do with magic, so apart from ordinary spells, magic utilizing art rites could also be applied, and──”
It was just us two holding a study group in the library.
In the beginning, I thought that it was going to be a study session with a girl in the midst of a bittersweet youth, but now I was breaking into a cold sweat while surprised at the extent of Olivia’s knowledge.
In other words, Olivia’s intelligent.
“Y, yeah, wouldn’t it be like that?”
I’ve somehow managed to make it through using both knowledge I’ve studied up until now and from the game.
However, the intelligent Olivia nodded along to my vague words while seeming impressed.
“Right! The textbook isn’t right, there really is a mistake, isn’t there? I thought it was strange for some reason. I felt something off about the explanation on how using magic is supposed to feel. I’m glad I asked you, Leon.”
What to do…this child began pointing out mistakes in the textbook.
“N, not everything has an error. I think the textbook is important still.”
“I agree. About twenty percent of it feels off, but on the other hand, I agree with eighty percent of it.”
When I looked at Olivia’s textbook, it had signs of extensive use. Could it be that this girl has already finished reading through it? An amount worth one school term? It’s still June!
Yet she managed to do it even though some of the nobles have given up on the textbook after having a hard time on it?!
I’ve been studying in accordance to what we’ll be tested on, but I can hardly say I understood its contents. In the first place, the score I got on magic was seventy points.
While praying that the time would go by soon, the two of us continued our study group.
Then, our arranged time had passed.
“I, it’s already time to wrap things up?”
“Seems so. It all went by in the blink of an eye, didn’t it?”
Olivia looked delighted.
For me, time seemed to go by at an immensely slow rate.
“Um, can I ask for your help during the next time off?”
Seeing her upturned eyes while making the request, I wanted to reply with “Yes!” as someone of the male sex. However, I don’t really want to do it that much.
Searching for some excuse to bail out, I remembered an important matter in the academy. Right, marriage! I came to this academy for marriage…! I can’t really say that I came here to study, given the strangeness of this world.
“S, sorry, I need to make preparations for a tea ceremony during my next time off.”
Olivia got flustered and apologized.
“N, no need to apologize, I was the one that asked, after all. R, right. You’re busy as well, Leon.”
Yeah, I sure am busy.
I felt bad towards Olivia, who held her textbook and notes while looking lonely, but I can’t forget my original purpose here.
I have to find a bride that I can maintain a businesslike relationship with.
In the first place, I rank low within the class’ caste.
I’ve been frantically making requests for a good partner, a girl with a kind and nice personality, within the higher ranks. Though there are girls who are kind and nice, those girls don’t approach people like me since they’re aiming to rise up in terms of their household and their future.
Aah, what a cruel world this is. No wait, wasn’t it like this in my previous world?
Olivia thanked me with a smile while looking into my eyes.
“Leon, thank you for today.”
Her eyes sparkled while she smiled, but it was directed towards me, a guy who had lied in order to get out of the situation. This girl gave a genuine word of thanks.
I felt shameful from the embarrassment.
Even though I lived longer than Olivia in my previous life, I had to lie and pretend that I could help with her studies for the sake of my tiny pride…I felt ashamed of myself.
I was in my room within the boys’ dorms.
I called over my friends Daniel and Raymond, and then we snacked on sweets and drinks. They’re not the kind of sweets that would be offered to girls, but the fried, greasy kind.
Considering that there are carbonated drinks, it seems like this world is in a pre-modern era, approaching towards being modern.
Thinking about it like that, there’s also the matter of uniforms. Is it just a matter of course since it’s an otome game?
Daniel was eating some french fries.
“Did you hear? Two of the rich people have already established marriage plans. Furthermore, they were people that were kind to even us, Milly and Jessica…I’m way too envious.”
Raymond pretended to be calm in front of the depressed Daniel. However, it was obvious that he was feeling down and could cry at any time.
It was inevitable since Raymond had taken a liking to Milly.
“It’s obvious that they would go for nice households rather than ours. It was a lost cause from the start…well, I’m happy as long as Milly is happy.”
The two were in low spirits after what they said.
The rich group made a display of all their merits, and took the offensive in asking girls for marriage.
They made speedy engagements that left no gaps.
Even the rich were frantic.
Milly and Jessica were the ideal partners for the boys, or rather, the finest ones, so now the rich guys are scrambling for the next best girls. It’s difficult for people like us to get in contact with them. Inevitably, the girls that guys like us will get involved with…will be the cruel ones.
If one was from an earl household or above, an outstandingly prestigious family, or a rich household, then the story would be different. Those guys will already have a partner decided.
It’s like that with Julian’s fiance, Anjelica. Due to that, the boys with the highest rank aren’t frantic about marriage.
Daniel chugged a carbonated drink.
“Damn it! With this, my hopes for the school year are gone! There are only cruel girls now!”
There were a lot of girls who looked down on boys.
“We were unlucky for this first year. There are too many prestigious nobles, starting with his Highness Julian. We just can’t compete with them.”
There were too many boys with unrivaled looks who had come from rich, well-established families, so the people around had looked at us harshly.
We were at too different of a level to be compared, making it difficult for guys like us in the lower ranks to invite a girl.
Julian and the others had the lineage, demeanor, assets, appearances…and above all, a fiance, so they were able to take it easy.
“Anyways, Leon, are things going well on your end? Haven’t you been spending a lot time with the honor student recently? Did you give up on marriage?”
I sipped on some juice while explaining to an uneasy Daniel.
“I haven’t given up. It’s just that I keep sending invitation letters and I keep getting rejected.”
Raymond has a bad mouth, but he seemed to be worried about me.
“Your careless sympathy is going to be your own undoing…If you get too close with the honor student, the girls will be unfriendly towards you. It would be better to keep your distance.”
Rukul, a third year student, had said something similar before.
Marriage with a girl was tough for some of the seniors, so they ended up having to accept some pretty harsh conditions. For example…allowing for lovers outside of the usual demi-human slaves.
It was a humiliating agreement where one would have to look after the wife and her other lovers since she was the one giving birth to the heir. There were many boys who had no choice but to accept such conditions.
Amongst them, some of the boys entered a bigamous relationship, and others have to dish out money for their wife to live in luxury with her lovers. Those were the best circumstances for girls.
According to the girls, they’re the ones who are giving birth to the heirs, so this was natural for them.
My previous world had more upright circumstances.
Daniel asked me a question.
“Leon, your brother is definitely in the regular class, right?”
My older brother, the second son, wanted to enroll in the advanced class as well, but it was impossible to get the large amount of money needed for it after the eldest brother had enrolled.
I wanted us to share the hardship together, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
“The girls in the regular class are upright, so what’s with the ones in the advanced class…?”
The girls in the regular class are relatively decent.
Marriage certainly seems to be tough, but it’s better compared to the advanced class.
The reason for that is because they don’t purchase slaves that serve them.
In fact, the girls that are particularly cruel are the ones in the advanced class──especially the ones from a baron household and above, but still below an earl household. Those above earl households basically aren’t allowed to have slaves. Earl households can go either way and can have trouble deciding on it, but oddly, a lot more weight was placed on the opinions of the girls.
…The partner I’ll have to marry will be right from that particular range.
“When I heard my older brother talk about it…”
“…I wanted to hit him.”
Why are girls in the advanced class this cruel? This being the world of an otome game is the only explanation I can come up with, but I can’t help but be irritated about it.
“It would have been better if I had taken the regular class. If that had happened, then I wouldn’t be going through this hardship.”
Raymond agreed while seeming like he was going to cry.
“Why does marriage have to be so relentless for us?”
What would the two think if I replied by saying that it’s because this is the world of an otome game? Raymond then brought up some rumors within the academy to distract us from our whining.
“Come to think of it, it seems that those surrounding his Highness Julian have become noisy recently.”
I listened to the conversation while sipping my juice and going “Hmm.” To begin with, we’re talking about a realm beyond our reach.
It was an interesting topic of discussion, but one that we’re unrelated to.
Raymond was just telling a story to pass the time, and he didn’t place much importance on credibility.
From my point of view, the people around Julian are normally noisy. Perhaps one of the game’s events occurred? I can only assume so.
Daniel joined in.
“You’re talking about that? That girl…Marie? The kid that seems to have been bullied by a lot by the girls?”
It would be natural for them to hate her since she’s gotten close with the crown prince.
I though as such, but Raymond began to continue on──
“This is a continuation of that rumor, but I heard that the leader of the ones bullying her is his Highness Julian’s fiance──the daughter of a duke household. There’s gossip about his Highness getting enraged after realizing that. There’s quite some credibility to it, so it might be true.”
──I spit out my drink and started coughing violently.
“H, hey, are you alright?”
“Leon, do you know something?”
The two were thinking that perhaps I knew something and wanted to hear it, so I brushed it aside by saying “No, my drink just went down the wrong pipe.”
While wiping my mouth, I also wiped my cold sweat.
The two then cleaned up the table.
However, I have an interest in what Raymond said. Based on what I know about the game’s events, there’s more to the matter of the crown prince getting enraged at his fiance.
Furthermore, I’m close with Olivia.
I haven’t seen her getting intimate with the capture target boys.
Just what the heck was going on?