I was in the back of the academy’s building.
I found Livia sitting in the corner, trying to hide, so I approached her and raised my voice.
“You seem gloomy.”
Livia raised her head and cried.
“Leon, I don’t know what I should do.”
Livia said so with a painful smile, and so I sat next to her. I had also visited Anjie, who had injuries on her face, but she said that she wanted me to go to where Livia was. She showed a very lonely facial expression.
“I’m not that good at comforting others. Even so, is it fine if I at least try?”
When she shook her head, I said “Is that so?”
“Leon. Am I Anjie’s friend? Do you think we’re friends?”
Were they friends, and would they still be friends after this? I was troubled on how to reply to such a question. Honestly, I had expected something like this to happen.
“Which do you want, a soft and gentle lie or the bittersweet truth?”
“──I want the bittersweet truth.”
If it were me, I would have wanted the gentle lie, but this girl was strong. As expected of the almighty protagonist. No, I suppose it would be more accurate to claim that it was as expected of Livia.
“Perfect. I’ve prepared a sweet, warm drink. It has just the right amount of sweetness for hearing a bittersweet truth.”
“You really are a curious person, aren’t you Leon?”
She made a complicated smile. Well, I was a human who had lived through another life, after all.
Once I handed over the beverage and Livia started drinking it, I began telling her about this bittersweet truth.
“It’s exceedingly difficult to answer that. In the first place, you two come from entirely different backgrounds and you have no points in common. Honestly speaking, the relationship between you two had been going a little too smoothly up until now. It wouldn’t go well if a farmer, who been working with a hoe, claimed that he would start fighting with a sword tomorrow, right? It’s the same thing as that.”
Their family backgrounds varied, and all kinds of things between them differed too greatly.
There were exceptions, but even so, a majority of the factors still worked against them.
Livia was shedding tears.
“I was happy that I finally had a friend of the same gender at this academy, but it seems that it won’t work out between us. I would be a nuisance if I were by Anjie’s side. Even today, Anjie had been harshly criticized because of me. I was even told that Anjie doesn’t even see me as a person──”
Livia was crying.
Did I have a clever speech to give?
One would be mistaken to think that I did. Something like that was the job of Julian and the others. Originally, they were the ones who were supposed to comfort Livia.
──So, I decided that I would comfort her in my own way.
“I know. Don’t you think that Anjie’s been holding various thoughts deep down? Since her followers had decreased and she was put into a weaker position after the duel, perhaps she sees you and I as replacements to those followers. It’s as you said, Livia. Anjie doesn’t treat us as humans.”
When I said as such with a foolish grin, Livia looked at me in anger.
“Anjie’s not that kind of person!”
──If she already knew that, then I suppose that there wasn’t any problem.
“In that case, aren’t you guys fine? You know it yourself.”
Perhaps realizing what I was saying, Livia was taken aback and then looked downward.
She looked at me with an embarrassed face.
“You really are mischievous, Leon.”
“My bad. I don’t know how to comfort people. Generally, when I try to look cool and comfort a girl, I end up making a fool out of myself.”
I had tried imitating the likes of Julian or Jilk.
Rather than being impressed, the other party would snicker. I was confident that I would get laughed at.
Something was off. I felt like I was missing something.
Perhaps it was the aura of an ikemen? It really was my face, wasn’t it? Ugh, having good looks really did give an advantage.
While thinking about such things, just a bit of Livia’s smile returned to her.
“I, I’ll try talking with Anjie just once more.”
I nodded my head.
That evening, Livia heard a knock when she was in her room.
When Livia opened the door, she saw Cara.
“Do you have a moment?”
Livia was nervous towards Cara, who was smiling.
“Oh, um, I do.”
“To be honest, I want you to participate in the suppression of the sky pirates as well. It seems that you have excellent scores within the advanced class. Would you be able to help?”
“W, well, there’s something I should say about that. Making that request through such a sneaky method was──”
Cara made a strong slam on the edge of the door.
The noise startled Livia, and when she went silent, she noticed that there was a girl in the back who was giggling.
The girl spoke on behalf of Cara.
“You’ll help, right? Commoner?”
She was the daughter of an earl household, and she had many wounds on her face. She smiled and demanded Livia’s compliance.
“If you don’t help, misfortune will come your way. Sorrow will also befall upon that Baltfault jerk, the stuck-up Anjelica, and your family.”
When she said that, Livia hung her head and clenched her fist.
“You’ll meet Cara tomorrow. Make your choice then, you dullard.”
The earl daughter threatened Cara as well.
“Do your job as well, or your household will be in trouble.”
Cara was a bit frightened.
This was the first time Livia met a girl who had driven her into this far of a corner. Livia spoke up to the girl, who was abusing the power of her household to do as she pleased.
“I, I don’t think you should do something like this.”
Despite the earl daughter glaring at her, Livia continued.
“Both Leon and Anjie are very strong people. E, even with your threats, those two will──”
When hearing that, the earl daughter laughed loudly. Her hands were over her stomach.
“Huh, what? Do you really think those two are your friends?”
“I, I do!”
When Livia talked back, the earl daughter grabbed her by the hair and dragged Livia’s face closer to hers.
“Nobles have no such things as friends. Anjie knows that the most. You’re just her pet who’s there to alleviate her heartbreak. Do you not comprehend that?”
“Y, you’re wrong!”
“I’m not. When a noble is on a decline, the people around them will soon separate from that person. It’s not an uncommon for friends to betray others. This is Anjelica we’re talking about. You know it yourself just from seeing her, don’t you? Her strength comes from her distrust of everyone and everything. To her, you’re not human. She treats you kindly because you’re her pet.”
“I am not a pet. I am a human! Those two are my important──”
“You know nothing. Just what can you do for those two?”
Livia was quickly flustered in response to the earl daughter’s words.
That had to do with Livia’s distress.
She wondered if she would always be protected by those two, and if there was something she could do for them.
“Baltfault is more or less a noble credited with deeds. Anjelica is a natural-born pompous lady with assets and power. Are you really equal to those two? Friendship is amongst equals, right?”
Livia’s gaze wavered.
“Can’t talk back, can you? In the end, you’re not friends. No matter how much you try to gloss over it, everyone sees you as a pet to those two.”
This was her first experience confronting the earl daughter alone. Normally, Leon would protect her. However, Leon wasn’t here. Anjie wasn’t here either.
“Ah, I get it! Since you have that cute appearance, couldn’t it be that he’s after your body? Baltfault shouldn’t be qualified as noble if he’s going after a commoner due to his unpopularity. How pathetic~.”
“You’re wrong! Leon isn’t that kind of──”
“That’s how men are. Try tempting them by taking off a bit of your clothes. They’ll soon jump at you. Quite shameless, all things considered. You’ve made a mistake by not only entering the academy, but also thinking that you can stand alongside us. It seems some tough discipline is necessary for you.”
Livia was thrusted away, and while she was rolling on the floor, a few girls entered the scene from behind the earl daughter.
They began laying waste to the room.
“S, stop it! Stop this!”
The earl daughter grinned.
“What a dump this room is. Roughing it up a bit would suit it just right.”
A teacher, who had been patrolling around the women’s dormitory, had arrived at a troubled Livia’s room.
“Teacher, please help. These people──”
However, when the earl daughter looked at the teacher with a smirk, the teacher walked away as if there was nothing to see.
“Do you understand now? You aren’t equal to us──commoner.”
Livia was shocked at how even the teachers had abandoned her.
When she sat down where she was and sobbed, the people around her began to laugh.
“You made her cry.”
“So this is what commoners amount to.”
“And she thought that she was at the same level as us, she doesn’t know her place.”
The earl daughter left the door, accompanied by Cara.
“Well then, I’m off.”
The other girls also left while ridiculing Livia. Once Livia closed the door, she sat there, at her wits’ end.
A sobbing Livia pondered the merits of being close with Leon, namely being under his protection.
The disadvantage was that her opportunities to grow in strength would be nearly gone because she was being protected by Leon.
Threatened by earl daughter, Livia decided to participate in the suppression of the sky pirates.