Was this a case of returning favors with spite?
I was at the academy, where classes were going to resume tomorrow.
After being able to come back in time and returning to my room within the boys’ dorms, I clutched a letter sent from the royal palace.
“Brad, Greg──I see, did they hate me that much?”
The grip I held with my trembling hand created a crease in the letter.
It said that I had been allowed to be “promoted to the lower fifth rank”.
My upper sixth rank within the royal court had risen one step further and upgraded to the lower fifth rank.
The suppression of the sky pirates had been credited to Brad and Greg, so that couldn’t be the reason. There was also no way that it could be because of me helping them reconcile with their households. ──I couldn’t believe it.
“Who’s the person pulling the strings here? I, I can’t allow this to happen. Why am I in the lower fifth rank? My father is in the lower sixth rank, so what’s going to happen now that I’m two steps above him?!”
Was being promoted something to be delighted about?
Incorrect. At the very least, I wasn’t delighted by it.
Being promoted meant new responsibilities that corresponded with it.
I had wanted to confine myself within my territory and live carefree, but I didn’t know what to do now that I had been promoted.
With a high enough royal court rank, one would get summoned many times.
I didn’t want to get involved with the royal palace, so I had assisted those two. Now I was being promoted without even knowing.
Normally, one would have to build up more achievements before being promoted by the royal palace. With rigorous checks on territory size, the royal palace was strict when it came to raising someone’s rank.
While I was resentful of this unreasonable treatment, Luxon swerved to my behind and peeked at the letter.
[I never thought you would get promoted. You’re really good at moving outside of my expectations, Master.]
“What do you mean by that?! I didn’t think I would get promoted either! There wasn’t anything to promote me for at all! There’s going to be a whole bunch of people who want to know how I got promoted!”
In the first place, it was very difficult to get promoted to the sixth or fifth rank. It was impossible to get promoted by suppressing sky pirates just once.
It was necessary to perform large achievements, like doing massive deeds on the battlefield or serving for many years.
So why was I promoted?! Other people should have been promoted instead!
While I was making a clamor by myself, I heard a knocking sound.
When I opened the door, a staff member of the boys’ dorms stood there while nervous. The staff member was a woman, and she bowed her head in front of me.
“Baron Baltfault. A L, letter and a gift have arrived.”
“A Letter and a gift?”
“R, right. We can’t deliver them to your room, so they’ve been arranged outside.”
Once the staff member led the way to the gift, there stood an air bike.
It was quite the extravagant, large air bike.
I soon understood that it was an expensive one.
The air bike seemed to be more expensive than armor, and the letter was sent from the “Atlee family.”
I took out the letter and read it.
When I screamed, the nearby staff member’s shoulders trembled.
The contents written inside the letter were an apology.
The letter was sent from the Atlee family, Clarice’s household, and was an apology concerning what happened at the school festival, along with a word of thanks for returning their daughter’s liveliness to her. It seems that was what the air bike was for.
Since boys yearned for air bikes, at least a little bit, they made for pleasant gifts.
However, the problem was what came after that.
“No way. This can’t be real. Does, does everyone hate me that much?”
Seeing that I was crying, the staff member bowed her head, said something, and then fled the scene.
Tears dropped onto the letter, smudging the words on it.
There was more to the letter.
‘Since we were told that you wanted to wait for a while before being promoted, a promotion from the lower fifth rank to the upper fifth rank awaits you upon graduation.’
──That was what it said.
The Atlee family was an earl household of the royal court.
The family held distinguished people, such as ministers, and had a high royal court ranking. Perhaps their daughter felt a sense of gratitude towards me and said that I should be promoted. Just the air bike would have been fine, though!
“Why?! Why are people trying to promote me?! This is bizarre! Don’t they know that I’m mortified by all of this?! How could they do such cruel things? I’m only human!”
A floating Luxon inserted a cord into the air bike.
[This engine is different from the air bike you used at the school festival. The parts were carefully crafted, and it’s quite superb.]
“What are you doing?”
[I’m modifying and taking control over it.]
It looked like it was doing something cruel to the air bike. Luxon looked like a villain.
I collapsed to my knees and looked at the air bike.
“Alright. Let’s go on a trip. Let’s embark on an adventure towards some unknown country.”
[You have classes starting tomorrow, so that’s impossible.]
“Right. Damn iiiit!”
Why did I have to suffer through so much? There were so many other people who actually wanted to be promoted!
I didn’t want to be promoted, though!
Coming back from his household, Chris had a tired face.
Chris, who had been nearly severed from the family, was summoned in order to deal with some procedures and for them to lecture him.
Chris was told to never show his face at the household again, and although he was prepared for that to happen, it was still very intense for him, causing him to be exhausted.
(That Baltfault guy, why is he sitting down like that?)
When he returned to the boys’ dorms, he saw Leon feebly sitting there, not speaking.
When he returned to his room, a letter was there.
When he picked up the letter from the floor, he saw that it was from Marie.
With a grin, Chris adjusted his glasses and read the letter.
“Marie went to a dungeon during the holiday? I, is she okay?”
The letter wrote that when he came back, they should meet up, so Chris hurriedly straightened his outfit and rushed out of his room in order to find Marie.
The letter said that there was something she wanted to show him.
Chris, forgetting about what happened back home, went to meet Marie.
It was the next day.
I slumped over on my desk with a look of despair.
During break time, Daniel and Raymond approached.
“You look terrible.”
“How about cheering up a bit?”
Perhaps with the rumors already spreading, Brad and Greg, who successfully suppressed sky pirates, had gotten popular with the girls. There was not an ounce of praise directed towards me, though.
Olivia and Anjie hadn’t gotten in touch with me, so there was no female presence around.
“I didn’t want to get promoted.”
Daniel understood and made a worrying smile.
“I know how you feel. Things get tough when your rank is high. Your rank is at the level where you would have people under your guardianship, have retainers, and gather a fleet to command as a feudal lord.”
Having a high rank demanded a corresponding amount of work.
As Daniel had said, when barons reach around the lower sixth rank, it was suggested for them to send out airships, even just one, during war. However, it was mandatory for ranks above that.
Those of higher ranks had an obligation to dispatch appropriate war potential.
There were many nobles who despised this and didn’t want to be promoted.
On the other end of the spectrum, nobles who aimed for promotion flaunted themselves by accumulating airships.
Raymond turned his attention towards some nearby girls.
The girls who looked at me seemed to have very complex facial expressions.
“Though, if it’s certain that you’re going to be in the upper fifth rank, you won’t have trouble getting married, right?”
I suppose he had a point. That was the reason we were in the academy.
“Aah, right. You’re definitely, right. Though, the whole matter’s troublesome.”
“There will be field trips at some point, and when those happen, there might even be some girls who will get in touch with you. I envy you.”
If any girl got in touch with me at this point, they were the kind of girl who was basically saying “I’m only here because of your status.”
No wait, I was mistaken. Those were the only kinds of girls at this academy.
Daniel seemed disheartened.
“So it seems I’ll be in a different group from you guys. How unfortunate.”
The academy had a field trip each year.
The three grades traveled in unison, but there were three different destinations. The destinations rotated each year, with Daniel, Raymond, and I having different ones.
The students in the whole school were divided into three groups, each enjoying their own field trip.
In the game, the protagonist went to the same destination as the capture target they were aiming for, giving them a chance to earn favorability. In addition, there existed items that could only be retrieved in that location.
My destination was a floating island which contained an item that piqued my interest.
“Expect some souvenirs.”
When I said that, the two replied with “We’ll look forward to them,” while smiling.
This was my everyday life that wouldn’t change.
I thought of it as very valuable due to my previous life. In my past world, I didn’t notice how luxurious this kind of thing was.
Raymond looked at me.
“Leon, let’s talk about those two people who were on your airship. Why don’t you apologize and reconcile already?”
“Why are you making me out to be the bad guy?”
Daniel was surprised.
“Well, weren’t you the cause of the trouble, Leon?”
Raymond agreed. It seemed that I needed to have a thorough talk with these two about what kind of person they saw me as.