Returning home, Black──err, Julian, was being scolded by Milaine.
Milaine, who was in her office handling documents, held up her hand and spoke to Julian in a disinterested manner.
“You want to earn fame by suppressing sky pirates? Julian, you don’t understand your position. You currently don’t have the war assets to deploy a single airship──no, not even a single suit of armor. You don’t have the authority to mobilize the soldiers of the kingdom. You plan on suppressing sky pirates under such conditions? That’s not even a funny joke.”
Julian recoiled from her argument, and frantically tried to go against it.
He was thinking that perhaps if he was able to convince Milaine, she could lend him some of her assets.
In that case, he would also have been able to assist Greg and Brad.
“But Mother! Isn’t the suppression of sky pirates the duty of us nobles?”
“It’s the duty of people who are suited for the job. Julian, can you do better than the knights or soldiers who regularly suppress sky pirates? There are cases where boys from the academy are able to accomplish the absurd, but do you realize the amount of vocal opposition there is from it?”
Boys did their best to appeal to girls.
Knowing that, their upperclassmen knights and soldiers couldn’t firmly stop them.
In some cases, lenient knights helped their underclassmen in accomplishing meritorious deeds.
Everyone desperately wanted to get married.
Milaine was well aware of those circumstances.
“I understand the situation of boys, though. You should give the opportunity of suppressing sky pirates to other boys. Since this is a matter of a semi-baron household’s territory, we will dispatch the general troops after obtaining permission. During that time, we’ll also ask for people from the academy who are interested in──”
It seemed that she was dealing with the sky pirates by letting the boys accomplish what they wanted while not interfering with the general troops.
When working, Milaine hid her usual impression of naivety.
She seemed like a different person than usual, even for Julian.
(Grr! I won’t be able to help those two at this rate!)
Thereupon, someone’s voice resounded in the front of the office.
Once a guard got approval from Milaine, Jilk entered the room.
His breathing was a bit discomposed.
Milaine squinted her eyes.
Milaine listening to Jilk while turning towards her documents and moving her hands.
Jilk took a deep breath while concerned about Julian.
“──Milaine, it seems that Baron Baltfault has departed on an airship to suppress sky pirates. Greg and Brad are also there with him.”
When hearing Jilk’s report, Julian soon looked at Milaine.
He was a bit angry while thinking about how she seemed to have sent Jilk here for just a small report.
──Unlike just a bit ago, Milaine wasn’t in her work mode, but her usual motherly self.
Actually, she was a bit different from usual.
Julian was bothered by the fact that her cheeks were just a tad bit red.
(Motheeer! Come to your senses. Just what part of Baltfault are you drawn to?! No, wait. I can use this!)
Julian tried to persuade Milaine.
“Mother! We should send reinforcements right away! Please leave the fleet to me. You’ll see that those sky pirates will soon be dealt with!”
Milaine returned from her blushed, relaxed expression back to her serious one once responding to Julian.
“Julian, you don’t have any experience commanding a fleet, do you? You shouldn’t, you’ll get in the way. Also, do you understand that you have to take the knights and soldiers into consideration as well? Jilk, is that information true?”
Jilk elaborated on the credibility of the information towards Milaine, who had returned to her work mode.
“Indeed. I have already confirmed it. It seems that he has gotten involved with the Olfery earl household, something which my expectations──”
“Please convey just the information.”
After being criticized, Jilk straightened himself and continued.
“An airship from the Redgrave duke household has also departed to chase after Partner, the airship heading towards the semi-baron home in question. This information comes from a reliable source.”
When hearing that the Redgrave duke household was taking action, Julian looked at Milaine.
Milaine thought for a bit.
“Reinforcements are not necessary. This is a good opportunity to know the strength of Baron Baltfault. Is he as strong as a knight, and can he fight against a sky pirate? Since a duke household sent an airship, it’s likely that it’s for reinforcements, but it does seem a little rash. Considering the current position of a duke──”
“Mother! Please let me go as well. Why is Baltfault fine, but I’m not?!”
Milaine resumed working.
She let out a sigh.
“──I can’t let you go precisely because you don’t understand why.”
We were in one of Partner’s rooms.
It was a recreational room.
Tables were lined up, giving off a casino-like aura.
Billiards, darts, and the like were there, making it an ideal place to kill time.
In this room, Brad, Greg, and I were playing cards.
Of course, we were gambling.
In contrast to my composed smile, the two had displeased expressions while glaring at their cards.
“What’s it gonna be? Are you in or out?”
“Wait! Let me think this through a little longer!”
I managed to earn a reasonable amount of money from these two. Perhaps these two had earned quite a bit from the school festival.
This money that they painstakingly earned would fall into my hands.
“Ready to give up? I’ll let you off easy if you withdraw here.”
Knowing that they were irritated, I spoke in a way that would further agitate them.
There was sweat on Brad’s forehead.
“As if I would withdraw here! I’ll win this next one. It’s impossible for you to keep winning this game. I’ll definitely be the victor!”
I had been winning against the two, but I was obviously swindling them.
Otherwise, it would have been impossible for me to keep winning.
I was just collecting their passenger fees. Besides, these guys ought to have studied more about society. I was teaching them the cruelty of the world before they would end up in pain from being cheated.
The two hadn’t noticed that how kind I was in doing this for them.
“I’ll win this round!”
The two had faces of determination as they placed down their cards.
Greg had a triumphant face.
How many times did he think he would win using the same predictable strategy?
“How about this?!”
Brad was also confident. It would certainly seem like he would win if looking at his hand.
“This one’s my win!”
I made a brief sigh while slowly showing my cards.
My hand was the stronger one, causing the other two to go pale while slumping onto the table.
“My bad. I win again.”
Greg was at his wits’ end.
“Unbelievable! This has to be a sham!”
He was right. However, it was their fault for not realizing it.
Brad’s scratched his hair and made a scream.
“To think that I had lost so many times! This is impossible!”
I gathered the cards while speaking to the two.
“You guys are really stupid.”
The two glared at me, but no longer played, perhaps due to their wallets being empty.
Once I put away the cards, an exhausted Greg spoke to Brad.
“Hey, what kind of girl was your ex-fiancee?”
Brad answered while glancing at his desolate wallet.
“She was an unusual type of girl.”
Brad spoke while seeming displeased for some reason.
She certainly was unusual.
She was already quite extreme for a girl of the academy.
She bought a ton of slaves and jaunted around with them in a flashy manner.
While many noble girls of earl households and above were calm, some were showy and horsed around, so it was inevitable that she would stand out.
Come to think of it, she was the one who trampled on my head at the cafe, wasn’t she?
“I had only seen her a few times prior our engagement being decided, though. Even at the academy, I can count the number of times I’ve spoken with her. It’s nice that we didn’t fight like what happened with his Highness or Jilk, though. It was a typical marriage of convenience. I know that she’s gaudy and likes to mess about, but I don’t know about things like her personality of hobbies.”
“I’ve heard rumors. Doesn’t she belong to an infamous household? Why would you get engaged with her? I don’t see any benefits.”
It seemed that Greg didn’t know Brad’s ex-fiancee that well since he was unfamiliar with aristocratic talks.
“I was engaged to her because there were indeed benefits.”
I prepared some tea while listening to them talk.
Brad began explaining the situation.
“The Olfery earl household had been usurped, you see. It seemed that the former head of the family was a merchant. They wondered if by marrying the Field household, they could take some of their blood lineage for themselves.”
Greg made a displeased face.
In the Holfault Kingdom where adventurers became nobles, nobles were naturally the descents of outstanding adventurers.
Rising up in status would happen to someone like me, who found success as an adventurer.
Either way, one was valued based on the achievements of adventurers.
There were also cases who one was promoted through their work on the battlefield, and there were many other ways that people became nobles.
There were also many who rose very rapidly, but nevertheless as a result of success.
It could be said that they were fairly evaluated.
However, this kingdom also had exceptions.
One of which was the household of Brad’s ex-fiancee.
The household was originally that of barons, but after merchants forcibly took it over, it rose into an earl household.
That earned the resentment of the kingdom’s nobles. Even if one performed meritorious deeds, it was expected that they wouldn’t become a noble if they weren’t successful as an adventurer. Even so, they managed to slip through the eyes of law and became nobles through making use of a legal gray zone.
After that, it seemed that they had gotten involved with various wicked deeds.
Even though they were hated, they had allies. There was supposed to be some kind of faction involved as well, but I wasn’t sure on the details since I had little interest in things like the affairs of the kingdom or its factions.
However, the problem with the earl household was its heir.
The previous head was a merchant who became a noble.
It was nice that the former head’s son was able to succeed the household, but neither the current head nor the earl daughter had descended from nobles.
Brad’s engagement with her happened due to the circumstances requiring the blood lineage of a noble family. By having Brad, they would be able to gradually introduce noble blood.
I was unable to comprehend why they wanted to be promoted so badly that they would go so far.
It seemed that Greg recalled something.
“Principality. A household active in the diplomacy with a principality!”
Brad was amazed and said “You realized that just now?”
“My house is entrusted with handling a principality on the national border. After talks of diplomatic relations concluded, the earl household requested us to consider marriage negotiations. At the time, my father accepted because he didn’t think it would go through.”
“You made quite the fuss when it ended up happening. You were saying that you shan’t be afraid of that ‘Black Knight.'”
“In the end, my engagement had been officially decided.”
The Field margrave household was the forefront of the Principality of Fanoss.
There was a nasty knight called the “Black Knight” who was very strong and caused serious damage whenever appearing in a war.
They could not refuse the request of the earl household, who settled matters with diplomacy, and it seemed that Brad ended up having to marry into the problematic earl household.
“Disregarding those circumstances, are they a good household?”
“Like I said, they’re troublesome. Actually, Wein had shown signs of wanting to cooperate in breaking up the engagement as well. How cunning. I suppose great minds think alike.”
Greg nodded with a quiet expression.
“It’s the same for me. I’ve only met with my fiancee a few times. It wasn’t really a matter of romance.”
It seemed these guys had it rough too. If I recall correctly, Greg’s and Chris’ fiancees never appeared in the game. I wondered what kind of person they were.
As I was listening to their conversation, Luxon made a report to me.
The two couldn’t hear Luxon’s voice.
[Master, it seems someone’s here to greet you.]
There was still some time until we would arrive at our destination.
Yet, I was meeting someone.
[There are sky pirate airships. Two are heading this way.]
I gulped down the tea I made and called out to the two.
“Guys, it’s showtime. Make sure to do your job properly.”
The two looked at me in surprise with their mouths open. Their reactions were improper, as if they didn’t understand what I was saying.
“I’m telling you to prepare because enemies have arrived.”
Greg got up.
“I, I get it!”
Brad got up as well, but both of them were puzzled.
They looked all around their surroundings and seemed restless.
“S, so anyways, what should we do?”
──These guys were unbelievable.
Leaving Brad aside, didn’t Greg have a lot of battle experience?
“I see. For the time being, you guys should be on standby in the ship.”
Greg got angry.
“And just why?!”
“Because you don’t know what to do! Do I need to spell it out for you?!”
I exited the room and gave instructions to Luxon.
The sky pirate airships hoisted black flags with a skull and crossbones marked on them.
An airship captain of the sky pirate group, named “Winged Shark”, whistled when seeing Partner.
“The boss would be happy if we got a hold of this thing.”
His subordinates agreed.
“What a valuable object. Though, are there really only four brats riding it? For something that big?”
“Yeah, three guys and one woman. I’m also doubtful of whether or not that’s true since it’s a lost item. We’ll soon know once we get there and look around.”
“How will we deal with the four?”
“You fool. The three guys are nobles from rich families. We can earn extra by selling them off to to rich hags. We can have a good time with the woman and then throw her away later. She’s a commoner, so we can’t even hold her ransom.”
When the people around heard that, they showed motivation, and the the airship flying next to them began to descend.
They were approaching Partner from above, and were trying to corner it.
The ship’s captain placed his hand on his neck and turned.
“One of them is unthinkably strong, but he’s still just a brat. We’ll have him learn what a real fight is.”
“Right! He’ll learn real soon!”
Sky pirates wearing armor leaped from the ship one after the other.
More than twenty figures in armor tried to jump from the two airships onto Partner.
The armor of this world were like power suits that could fly in the sky.
They were weapons in the shape of humans.
They were one of the common weapons in this world where the ground floated.
“We get to have some fun today thanks to some idiotic brats.”
“Right you are.”
They planned to later hold them down using their airships, and steal Partner while not letting them escape.
The captain thought that this was just work as usual, but something flew out from Partner and approached the armor of the sky pirates.
It was gray, heavy armor──larger than an ordinary one.
“What can just one person do? Even if he’s a little strong, he’s just a brat. Hey, surround him so that──”
Before the captain could issue an order, the armor that came from Partner grasped and destroyed the inferior armor of each sky pirate using its hands.
It threw the destroyed armor towards their airships, and continued to destroy the armor of the surrounding sky pirates barehanded.
It kicked the armor of a sky pirate who was readying a rifle and sent it flying.
Perhaps soon realizing the danger, the captain gave orders to flee.
His perception had allowed him to persist up until today.
“What is that? It’s rising! Risin──”
──However, he was too late this time. The airship shook violently before he could finish speaking.
The captain clutched a nearby handrail and looked at the situation.
“A, a barrage! We’re being fired upon by our prey!”
“Don’t be stupid! We’re right above them!”
In this world, it was fundamentally better to have the high ground. Artillery had poor accuracy, so fights involved large numbers of cannons that had to be lined up on the side of the airships, firing massive cannonballs.
The reason for their massiveness was due to magic.
Magic could generate a barrier and protect an airship.
In order to pierce a barrier and sink an airship, it was necessary for cannonballs to be massive.
The sky pirates were cautious of a barrage, so they assaulted while directly above them.
“How is that big airship able to shoot its cannons at us? In the first place, there are only four people who──”
Something the size of Partner should’ve only operated if thousands of people gathered together.
Due to that, they thought that with only four people, or five if there was a steward, they wouldn’t be able to operate it.
That was common sense in this world.
Even though they knew that it was a lost item, they still thought in terms of common sense.
Partner’s barrage was still violently shaking the airships of the sky pirates.
The captain yelled.
“We surrender! We’re going to surrender! Hurry up and hoist the white flag──”
Judging that they couldn’t escape, he told someone to hang a white flag to surrender.
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