It was the day after the duel and I was inside my room within the boys’ dorms.
I sat on top of my bed.
“I didn’t intend to break it. But, Luxon said that it would be dangerous unless I dismantled it, and anybody would pull the trigger if they were told that Greg could die in front of them. Anyone who wouldn’t pull it would be inhuman. Yet, everyone looks at me with disgust for pulling the trigger. Did I do something wrong? Is this my burden to carry alone?”
While I was grumbling to Luxon, I was looking at the people who would be participating in the ceremony, my parents, my brother Nicks, and my sister who no longer had ties to the viscount household.
My sister’s cat-eared exclusive servant, Meole, was standing by outside the room.
There were guests outside of my family as well, making the relatively spacious room feel cramped.
Anjie looked at me with a troubled expression.
“You’ve been like that since yesterday. Not a good image for a baron. You at least changed into your ceremonial suit, though.”
An apologetic Livia had already talked about my circumstances to my family.
“Leon, a lot of people have been condemning you about yesterday’s duel.”
Everyone had been telling me that I had crossed a line. My mentor was the only one who didn’t criticize me. Being the extraordinary gentleman he was, he kindly said “You must have had some reason for doing it,” to me.
I couldn’t stop my tears in face of my mentor’s kindness.
“Ah~, your tearing up. Look, your ceremonial suit will get stained with tears, so go put a towel to your eyes.”
Clarice was also here for some reason.
It seemed the reason for that was somehow related to the Atlee household. She had spoken about her reason, but at that time I was zoning out and had ignored whatever she said.
In addition, standing there while folding her arms was the queen──no wait, it was Deirdre.
Why was she here?
“How pathetic. The great ambition of the one who fought against the principality is nowhere to be seen.”
“What kind of guy are you?! Can you not hold a dignified appearance just for today?! Also, there have been an increasing number of girls who I don’t know about. What in the world have you gotten yourself into?”
My father, who wore a knight’s ceremonial uniform that didn’t match with his bearded appearance, scolded me while troubled about the group of women. It seemed that he couldn’t help but feel confused about why there were so many wealthy girls in my room.
“Who knows? I’d like to ask that question myself.”
My mother was wearing a dress that she normally wouldn’t wear. It seemed that she felt bothered by all of the prestigious girls.
“R, right. You’re about to receive a medal. You’ll be the star of the show today, so you should be more firm. B, by the way, what are you to these people here?”
Deirdre answered while rolling her hair around her hand.
“He’s the first man who laid his abuse towards me.”
I immediately denied it. What was with this easily charmed upperclassman, and why did she seem so delighted?
“Stop phrasing it so weirdly. Also, why are you all glaring at me? I don’t have any strange hobbies.”
I pulled myself together and sighed.
“Why do I even have to wear a specific suit for today’s ceremony anyways? Wouldn’t my uniform be enough?”
Today’s ceremony only involved handing out congratulatory medals to the students who participated in the battle with the principality.
I was told that the whole school was gathering in the morning to publicly acknowledge them.
So, why were my parents here?
When I made an expression of bewilderment, my brother looked at me with an exhausted face.
“Did you, by any chance, not hear what they said?”
When I nodded my head, Anjie glared at me. She was pretty scary.
Or rather, she had been maintaining a frightening glint in her eyes ever since Deirdre spoke.
Did I do something?
“Oh──I explained it to you yesterday, but did you not listen to it all?”
Livia stood up for me to the angry Anjie.
“Wait. Leon’s hurt. He really planned on losing against his Highness and the others, but ended up winning. So──please forgive him!”
When Livia said that, Anjie once again explained the situation to me.
Thank you for the help, Livia──I’ll get you an amazing necklace for a present. It was supposed to be yours from the start, though. Though, what reason should I come up with to give it to her?
While I pondered about such things, she spoke.
“You were the one who had accomplished the most, Leon.”
“Huh? That’s supposed to be Chris, right?”
Anjie didn’t understand what I was saying.
“It’s true that Chris drove away the Black Knight──at least that’s what people were led to believe, but you were the one who seized her Highness Hertrude, Leon. You also plundered the enemy nation’s new airships and armor. Presenting them to the royal palace was a grand feat. You also saved the students and sailors. Looking at it as a whole, both you and Chris were extraordinary. So you’ll be awarded a genuine medal.”
Livia looked glad.
“You rushed to rescue Anjie by yourself! The people of the duke household praised you for being a knight among knights!”
Huh, that happened? I had those kinds of achievements? What?! Wait a minute!! I never heard about that!
I couldn’t believe what Clarice then said.
“The Atlee household had been vouching for your promotion before as well, but with this event, your merits were acknowledged. Also, Chris’ household had vouched as well. The Field household and Seberg household too had also written a letter of recommendation for you, Leon. Lastly──the Roseblade household as well.”
Deirdre made a loud laughter.
“If you were just all bark and no bite, I would done everything in my power to crush you. However, you carried out your words──just like a genuine knight, and proved yourself as a noble. If we didn’t recognize you, the Roseblade name would lose meaning.”
──Why did they all do this to me?! I wasn’t happy at all!
While I stiffened, Livia spoke to me with a smile.
“You’re amazing, Leon! From today, you’ll be in the ‘lower fourth rank’ as a ‘viscount.’ Rumors have spread about you in the royal capital, and you’re like a hero, Leon.”
I couldn’t comprehend what Livia had said. My mind refused to comprehend.
A, a viscount? A hero? How strange. That was impossible! That shouldn’t have happened!!
My sister was there in the corner of the room, getting smaller and smaller. She was distressed when hearing about me being a viscount. She was probably remembering about the boy she definitely couldn’t marry. She was letting her feelings of resentment show.
I calmed down a bit after seeing my sister like that. Right, now that I had regain my composure, I would be able to cope with most of these things.
“Why? Even though he said he’d get married, he rejected both my friend and me. Wasn’t he a little too cruel to say ‘No, not a chance’?”
As a matter of fact, I was actually acquainted with the upperclassman my sister had a crush on. The place I sold the sky pirates to was the household that both my sister and her friend wanted to get married into.
I heard a lot, but it seemed that there were other partners than my sister and her best friend.
I smiled and spoke as if I didn’t care about my sister.
This would make up for how much a nuisance she had been. As her brother, I will make her apologize for being an awful sister.
In addition, it seemed that my sister had reconciled with her friend.
Apparently, that they reconciled once they both complained about their anger towards the man they had been aiming for.
──Who was it that said a friendship between girls would be short-lived? Their relationship had gotten stronger!
I collapsed onto my bed and lied down.
“This is just a dream. Once I wake up, I’ll be at the beginning of my school life, the school entrance ceremony. Daniel, Raymond, and I will all grumble about how hard it is to get married. My mentor will guide me towards the Way of Tea, I’ll challenge the dungeon in order to buy a new tea set, then I’ll find a modest but kind girl with big breasts, save her when she’s in a pinch, and have her fall in love with me. I’ll safely spend three years with the those breasts, marry her, and then return to my home town. We’ll happily spend our time soaking in hot springs and eating Japanese food. A viscount? You must be mistaking me for someone else.”
Seeing my desires leaking out, my older sister clicked her tongue.
“You really a hopeless man. Just what do you think of women? You’re the worst.”
My older brother was cruel as well.
“In the end, you’re just getting married for her breasts.”
My father also acted cruelly.
“What matters most is her bottom, you know? A round bottom, just like the one your mother──ouch!”
My mother slapped my father, who had ended up saying something extreme. Way to go, do some more to him.
Clarice showed some interest.
“Oh, you have a hot spring? How nice.”
Anjie glared at her.
“What do you mean by that?”
Clarice maintained her composure towards Anjie.
“Oh my, could it be that you’re bothered?”
I thought of Clarice as being a little cute, but Anjie’s glare was staggering, so I averted my eyes.
Deirdre heard about the hot springs.
“So that’s what suits your fancy. I can buy each and every floating island with one for you.”
Livia seemed troubled.
“Huh? Well, but, buying an island is a bit much.”
“The Roseblade household has that much fortune.”
Anjie spoke quietly.
“Oh, you’ll just buy an island? Leon has a relationship with a duke household. Do you not know that, Deirdre?”
“Anjielica, that face of yours──it’s giving me the shivers.”
This person was definitely abnormal.
Anyways, could I not bail out of this ceremony and make everyone go home?
Livia was slightly angry while trying to have me get up.
“Leon, the ceremony is about to begin, so hurry and get going! C’mon, get up.”
Anjie averted her gaze from the two she had been glaring at and turned towards me.
She pulled on my arm, getting me off of the bed with Livia.
“Look, you should go. Your father and older brother will be participating in this ceremony. They both admire you, Leon.”
──This wasn’t how things were supposed to go!
It was the first day of winter break.
A grand ceremony was held at the academy.
The young students were awarded medals for their efforts, beginning with a baron who played an active role in the battle against the principality.
Many schoolboys were recognized as knights, and many girls would be receiving just the medal, but would also get an annuity.
The boys weren’t given an annuity, but that just went to show how severe this world was.
In addition, Leon Fou Baltfault had risen in rank.
He had received a large promotion to the lower fourth rank.
Leon was the only one in the history of the kingdom to get promoted this much in such a short period of time.
There were reasons for his promotion, but the fight with the principality was the largest factor.
In addition, his promotion had also resulted from the letters of recommendation by numerous prestigious families, beginning with the Field, Seberg, and Arkwright households.
On this day, Leon carved his name into the history of the kingdom.
After the ceremony ended, I loosened up the collar of my knight uniform and fled towards the back of the school building.
The back of the school building was in the shade, and that combined with the weather made it cold.
I was getting a headache from both the party and from my thoughts about what would happen from now on.
“Why did things come to this?”
Luxon, who was by my side, acted the same as ever.
[It would have been better if you hadn’t done anything.]
“The stupidity of those guys has gone beyond my expectations. I’m not getting involved with them again.”
Was it bad to get involved with Julian and the others? At any rate, my heart calmed down while speaking with Luxon.
I was at my wits’ end.
“What does being a viscount mean? What about the lower fourth rank? What in the world am I expected to do?!”
Even if people were expecting a lot from me, there wasn’t much I could do!
As I was wallowing in sadness alone, Livia came to the back of the school building, looking for me.
Come to think of it, this was the place Livia originally occupied when she had been in low spirits before.
“Ah, so you were here, Leon.”
I suddenly became embarrassed since this was the first time we’ve been alone ever since the fight with the principality. Somehow or another, we had been operating with Anjie there as well.
No, we had been deliberately operating as a group of three.
However, I remember what she confessed to when we were alone.
Perhaps remembering the same, Livia’s face turned a little red.
Since Livia had raised her voice, I replied while surprised.
Livia took one deep breath and then made a very wholesome smile.
“Perhaps I may be a bother to you Leon, but what I said back then wasn’t a lie.”
“──You’re not a bother. However, I don’t know what’s the best thing to do.”
Livia made an awkward smile.
“You’ve been avoiding me, haven’t you?”
“I just wasn’t sure on what I should say.”
As I dropped my shoulders, Luxon beside me said something along the lines of [You’re quite pathetic, Master.] I wanted to throw this ball thing.
Livia held onto my hand.
“Please give me your answer someday. I’ll be waiting until then.”
“Now then, let’s go. Everyone’s waiting.”
With Livia leading me by the hand, I was taken out from the shadow of the school building.
It was winter break.
I returned home, looking at the new residence.
The countryside was nice. It felt like the events that transpired in the city were all lies.
This location was tenderly welcoming me.
“Quite the large residence.”
My father, who was embarrassed yet prideful, was very delighted.
“The number of visiting guests have increased. I wanted to greet you to our tidied home, so I had been working hard. I owe it to you.”
My parents had a large amount of money, so they had been sending me a small allowance, but it seemed that most of it went towards rebuilding the residence.
The former residence was──how do I say it? Oh, I got it. Let’s just say that it had only kept up appearances.
My older brother made a complex facial expression when hearing about our rooms from my father.
“Though I won’t be able to come back here that often after graduation, this feels a little nice.”
My older sister, who seemed dissatisfied, broke the serene mood.
“──What about Meole’s room?”
My father was troubled. It seemed that he didn’t think Meole would need a room.
“Huh? We have a room for servants.”
My sister got mad.
“Are you saying that he’ll use the same room as the residence’s servants? Normally, people would prepare exclusive-use rooms. Besides, if you were going to rebuild the residence, then tell me. Since there’s room, I could have brought Meole.”
It seemed that this time Meole was house-watching back at the academy.
“W, well, I wanted to surprise you.”
“You need to pay more attention to people’s needs. Leaving that aside, did you touch my room without permission?”
My sister scolded my father.
My mother stood up for him.
“I was the one that tidied up your room. So don’t worry.”
“No! Why did you touch it without my permission?! If you were going to rebuild the residence, then you should’ve contacted me! Leon could have dropped me off here!”
My brother criticized me.
“You idiot. Stay out of this or you might complicate things.”
“Is it okay if I knock some sense into her?”
“I know how you feel, but control yourself. Look, she’s only angry because she was rejected by a boy.”
I suppose. She gave me a good laugh when I saw her getting rejected along with her best friend, so I decided to turn a blind eye to this matter today.
──I’ll use this topic to poke fun at her for a while.
After watching my sister angrily enter the residence, we placed our hands on our depressed father’s back and made compliments about the mansion.
Coming back to look at the status of the territory after a long time, a lot of development had happened.
At this rate, it seemed that it would make for a splendid baron household in a matter of two years.