A Weakness Found
I went to a hangar in order to participate in the airbike race.
Carrying a helmet, I conversed with Luxon, who was attached to an airbike.
[It’s quite unreasonable for you to do this just because you don’t want to anger a duke that happens to support you. How about getting one of Anjelica’s fine followers to do it? Is this really a position suitable for a mob?]
I normally made snide comments towards how I was a mob.
In reality, I was no more than a boy in the academy with nothing worth noting.
I wasn’t overwhelmingly beautiful like how Julian or the others were, and was an ordinary person with black hair and dark irises.
However, I didn’t hate how I was.
So what if I was ordinary? Wasn’t that splendid? I loved how I was.
“I’d love it if I had a position a bit more in the background. I’m afraid of becoming one of the villainess’ followers. Anyways, how about we begin?”
Luxon inserted a cord coming from its spherical body into the airbike. It seemed that it was modifying the airbike, but it kind of looked like we were up to no good.
[They said ten minutes is more than enough for you. It seems that you’re the victim of harassment. It’s like they’re trying to set you up for some kind of engine trouble.]
“Don’t those guys hate me a little too much?”
It was as if all of the students in the school turned into my enemy after the duel.
[There’s no doubt that the students in the whole school hate you. You should take care of the two that you’re on good terms with right now. Perhaps I should call them your friends, that is if you don’t see them as members of the opposite sex.]
“Friends of the opposite sex, you say.”
[You should look after them since they’re valuable friends who aren’t boys, Master.]
As I was speaking with Luxon in a low voice, I thought about those two.
They were people who normally wouldn’t be friends, the protagonist and the villainess. I didn’t think that it would have been a simple matter for them to become close.
However, the two strangely became close friends.
“I’m fine if nothing happens between us, though. The best result would be if there are no trials and tribulations for me to encounter. Especially with those two.”
[Don’t you have anything you feel towards them?]
“Basically, those two──”
When I was speaking, a third-year upperclassman arrived.
He was tall, had short hair, and held a stern figure. It seemed that the upperclassman had trained his body for a long time. He had quite the thick neck. Of the top candidates, he was the boy who was most popular in the bets.
“Are you Jilk’s substitute?”
The upperclassman was calling out to me, but I didn’t feel much hostility.
“Oh, aren’t you the one who’s the cream of the crop among the top candidates? Do you have some business with me? I’m a bit busy at the moment, so could we save it for later? I’m having some trouble with this engine.”
While I was speaking, Luxon hid itself behind my back.
The one I was speaking with was Clarice’s follower.
It felt like the third-year upperclassman was loosening his guard around me.
“So you do understand the situation you’re in? In that case, I didn’t need to come here and give you a warning. Nevertheless, to think that the shovel guy would substitute for Jilk. I have mixed feelings.”
Shovel guy. I suppose I was called that since I had mistakenly pulled out a shovel during the duel.
“Tell me about this warning.”
The upperclassman made a bit of a self-deprecating smile, and then made a serious expression.
“Let me apologize in advance. I don’t hold any grudge against you, but I’m going to go all out and thwart you in the next race.”
Wasn’t that an upright declaration of war?! There was no point in trying to apologize. I hated pain.
“Do you have some kind of special circumstance going on? Did Clarice threaten you?”
“That’s not it!”
The upperclassman took offense at my joke, but soon apologized with “My bad.”
He then cleared his throat and talked to me about Clarice’s and his own circumstances.
“My family consists of nobles from the lowest seats of the royal court. Without our court rank, I wouldn’t be the heir to anything.”
The upperclassman was someone from the regular class who was one of Clarice’s followers.
It seemed that he was indebted to her.
“My lady is also kind to me. She recognized my talent in airbikes and supported me. It’s thanks to her that I’ll likely get ahead in employment after graduation.”
The upperclassman placed his hand gently on his airbike, seeming happy, yet sad.
“She’s a kind person. We admire her. The other girls are cruel, and I’ve heard complaints coming from the followers of other ladies, making us glad that we’re with her.”
I remained silent, and the upperclassman spoke about his past.
“My lady’s household has an airbike race location. I could use it freely, so I didn’t have any problems with practicing. That Jilk guy also used that spot before their engagement was even decided. The lady prepared a coach for him, and even gifted him an airbike. She supported him with a smile. It was pleasant, but frustrating at the same time. And yet, that Jilk brat swiftly told her one day that he would break up their engagement. Even when my lady tried to see him in order to persuade him otherwise, he absolutely would not meet her.”
I couldn’t help but get angry.
It was justified to beat up Jilk for it. I forgave him. Do your best, upperclassman!
However, I hoped that he would let me off.
“In that case, could you overlook me?”
“I’m sorry. I sympathize with you emotionally, but my lady’s orders are absolute. We have to unconditionally follow her orders. We have to by all means, even if it means doing it in exchange for our lives.”
What strong determination.
It was this kind of idolization that made Clarice so popular.
The upperclassman then spoke to me about Clarice’s changes.
“I heard about what happened at the medical office. It’s probably impossible, but I hope that you don’t think badly of my lady. She has changed since the summer vacation. She owns slaves and goes wild with them all night. She was not that kind of person in the past.”
Owning slaves and doing it all night? That’s what a lot of girls did, including my sister.
I wasn’t really surprised, since I was already numbed to it.
──It had finally happened. It seemed that the world of this otome game had seeped into me.
Something like this wasn’t normal! It was frustrating that I thought it was for just a moment.
“If you sympathize, then can’t you cut me some slack?”
The upperclassman smiled.
“So I can’t convince you? It seemed that you weren’t that interested in what I had to say. It’s fine either way. I’m just complaining out loud. You can ignore me.”
While seeing the upperclassman leave, I sat down on the seat of my airbike and put on my helmet. I tightly fixed the strap of the helmet around my chin.
[The airbike’s modification has completed.]
“Is that so?”
[Master, are you still aiming to win even after hearing that?]
“Of course. I’d be wrong of me to, but I had bet a large amount of money on myself.”
When the students heard that I would be substituting for Jilk and that I would be using an airbike prepared by the academy, they were probably thinking that I would lose.
Compared to those who advanced to the finals, it was obvious that I was inferior.
In other words, I was an unlikely winner.
[I don’t think you need money, though. In the first place, since you have me, you wouldn’t be inconvenienced in terms your livelihood, Master.]
What an idiot. That wouldn’t have helped with marriage, though! It really was a useless AI.
In addition, I also just wanted to win. I loved winning. Furthermore──
“I’d like to see the bitter faces of the people who thought I would lose. For that, I’ll win the championship. The bet is on. You can consider this a separate matter.”
[What a nice hobby you have. I’d like to follow your example of having a tough, impudent spirit that doesn’t feel anything about using my power to shamefully win a game.]
Didn’t this thing hate me a little too much?
Now that the race was about to begin, airbikes were hovering in the sky.
The sensation of floating in the air with a bike was refreshing, as long as I didn’t look down. The quality of the ride wasn’t bad either.
The audience was greatly excited to see each airbike rising up.
Among those airbikes, there were some belonging to participants who were surrounding me.
Each of them were openly hostile.
“Yo, we were waiting for you. Today, we’ll repay you for what you did that one time.”
Who was this person?
He seemed to be a second-year student, but I didn’t remember him at all.
When I tried to ignore him, he collided into my airbike.
“Don’t ignore me, first-year scum!”
I laughed scornfully.
“There’s no way I would be able to remember trash like you, though. I’ll tell a certain duke household your name, so give it to me. Hey, tell me your name!”
While touting my close connection with the duke Redgrave household, I politely looked down on the person I was speaking to.
Perhaps that made me a small fry hiding behind a giant. So what? It was pretty fun.
The person clicked his tongue and took a distance from me.
All the participants gathered at the starting point marked by cloth.
There were obstacles installed in various areas of the field.
[As sharp-tongued as ever, I see.]
“I’m actually being serious, so why is trouble coming to me? Good grief.”
[You reap what you sow. In fact, I’ve recently been wondering if you just want to show off. Look, it’s about to start.]
Once I looked ahead of me, there was a referee who shot a rifle into the sky.
With that as a cue, all of the airbikes simultaneously began to run, and I was in the lead──not.
[You’re completely surrounded.]
“God damn!” (TLN: Spoken in English)
[And you said you were a Japanese person in your previous life?]
“I just wanted to try saying it!”
Once the race began, participants surrounded me with their airbikes and launched an attack. They collided into my airbike and kicked it.
What cruel people they were!
“Go to hell, you fiend!”
“I’m swimming in debt because of you!”
“Go crash somewhere!”
I would have liked to have claimed that these voices of resent were just misunderstandings.
“You’re all just paying the consequences of your mistakes, idiots! You all are the ones that can go crash somewhere!”
Luxon was amazed when I kicked back at the schoolboy that had kicked me.
[What a pathetic conversation. It really makes me realize how conflict can only occur amongst people of the same level.]
I defended myself from the top, bottom, left, right, and front in order to endure the attacks of the people surrounding me.
“Ouch! Who threw that thing just now?! I hope you’re prepared to come face me!”
In a paid lounge that gave off a high-class aura, there were students who gathered to cheer people on in the race.
“Over there. Give him a larger dent!”
“Aren’t you being a little too meek?!”
Everyone was excitedly cheering for the students that were attacking Leon.
Anjie held her head due to a headache.
“Their dissatisfaction will accumulate, even if we try to stop them. Leon had also said that it was fine for them to let out some steam, but this is crueler than I had imagined.”
Livia had teary eyes.
“I feel bad for Leon. Leon, I know that you didn’t do anything particularly wro──w, well, actually…”
Anjie comforted Livia, who tried to stand up for Leon somehow.
“You don’t have to go that far. He has his faults as well. However, even if it’s just you and me, we can cheer for Leon. Anyways, it’s ironic that those related to Clarice aren’t near.”
Clarice’s followers were attempting to thwart Leon.
However, before those followers could surround him, other boys had gathered around Leon and persistently launched an attack.
Instead of getting near him, Clarice’s followers seemed to be moving indecisively, perhaps in confusion.
Leon had avoided receiving any fatal wounds, but Anjie, who was watching in irritation, was clenching her fist. Thereupon, the daughter of the earl household from the first day of the school festival appeared.
With a smile, she looked beyond the glass, towards the race.
“Your follower really is detestable.”
Anjie objected to the earl daughter, who thought that Leon was her follower.
“Leon isn’t my follower.”
“I don’t care about that. What’s important is that he’s your colleague. Because of you guys, my household has been criticizing me for so long──”
She had called the queen, Milaine, an old lady, and furthermore instigated an incident through her exclusive servants. Due to that, it seemed that the earl daughter was harshly criticized by her family.
Her followers were around her, but her exclusive servants were nowhere to be seen.
Anjie laughed scornfully.
“If you’re looking for something to blame, then how about blaming your own short-sightedness?”
The earl daughter, who seemed like she was about to lunge at Anjie, had a sharp gaze and dark circles around her eyes.
Livia stood in front of her.
“Don’t lay a hand on Anjie!”
When Anjie felt a little reassured by Livia, the girl squinted her eyes.
“Don’t interrupt our conversation, lowly commoner.”
When Livia flinched upon being called a commoner, Anjie stood to protect her this time. When seeing that, the girl made an ill-boding smile.
“You’ve changed, Anjelica. Perhaps you’ve gotten timid from having all of your followers betray you. If it was you from before, you wouldn’t even have cared for commoners. Could it be that you’re clinging onto one in desperation? You’ve changed despite having looked down on commoners like her. Or perhaps it’s that your household is on a decline, so you can only draw close with them.”
Anjie glared at the girl, but soon turned around and looked at Livia.
She tried to resolve the misunderstand, but struggled to get the words out.
“──T, that’s not it. Livia, I..!”
The words couldn’t come out, and feeling ashamed about her former self, she averted her gaze from Livia.
Seeing Anjie’s behavior, Livia broke into tears and ran off.
Anjie tried reaching out towards Livia’s back, but Livia ran out from the lounge.
When Anjie was about to chase after her, her legs halted. She lowered the arm she had reached out with.
(What right do I have to chase after her?)
She stopped and thought about her past.
When it came to being the daughter of a duke household, her life was different from even Leon’s. She had never gone out to a field and it was unlikely that she would get the opportunity to make contact with normal citizens.
What was someone like her thinking, interacting with a commoner?
“Aah~, she ran off. In the end, it seems that even your friends are cold towards you.”
When the earl daughter said that, a vein appeared on Anjie’s forehead and she glared at her.
“──What do you know?”
When seeing the girl laugh, Anjie proceeded to slap her on the cheek, making a sharp sound.
“Y, you actually did it!”
“What about it? Lowly people like you shouldn’t pick a fight with me.”
Pinning down the girl after she tried lunging at her, Anjie pressed her weight onto her, starting a fight between the two.
The lounge, which had gotten excited not too long ago, was now silent.
When the people around tried to intervene, Anjie grabbed the girl by the collar and drove her fist into her cheek.
“What do you know──what do you know about me?! I’ll crush you. I’ll crush you with all I can!”
The girl clutched Anjie’s hair.
“──I said it before, you stubborn jerk! Don’t get carried away for someone from a declining duke household!”
The lounge was in chaos.