I was in the dungeon.
Once the jailer temporarily excused himself, I began recalling the guests who have visited so far.
They were pretty much the bad kind of people to be around. They said things like how they’d give me money if I told them how to operate Partner, that I should join their group, or other things like that. At any rate, they were harsh people.
Many of them threatened to kill me if I didn’t do what they said.
Luxon was amazed as well.
[I suppose you can’t do anything about the suspicious nobles offering to spare your life in exchange for Partner and Arroganz, can you?]
“I suppose not. Many of them are just lying and would kill me as soon as I transfer them over.”
They’ve confiscated Partner and Arroganz, but are troubled since they can’t operate them.
They’ve been asking me how to operate them, and I’ve been questioning their intentions.
[It seems that they attempted a disassembly, but gave up midway. It’s sad how cruelly they’re treating Partner. Master, how about we lay waste to this kingdom?]
[Then, let’s restrict the ruling class──]
Arroganz is in a container that can’t be tampered with.
They’ve invaded Partner’s interior quite a bit, but it’s impossible for them to dismantle the important parts.
[Master, is the reason that you won’t abandon the kingdom related to Anjelica, Olivia──and Milaine as well? I believe that Clarice and Deirdre are also on your mind, but do you want to protect the kingdom because they’re part of the ruling class? I would recommend an internal reform.]
Is it thinking that I want to protect the kingdom because there are women I favor?
Needless to say, that’s not the case and I don’t plan on an internal reform either.
“You really think I want to protect the kingdom?”
[Am I wrong?]
Speaking truthfully, I wouldn’t care if the kingdom was destroyed.
The reason why I want it intact for now is because the citizens will be in deep water without a country.
Without a ruler, they’ll be in trouble.
“I have no interest in the management of a nation. If I were to destroy the country, the ones who would be in trouble are the people who live there. That’s not something a guy would do unless he really wanted to.”
[Are you sure about that? In the event that Milaine and the duke’s faction fails, you will be executed, Master. Of course, I won’t let that happen. However, why aren’t you taking any initiative?]
“──If the country discards me, then I will just flee.”
Fortunately, the kingdom has a hold over Hertrude and the magic flute.
They won’t lose unless those conditions are taken away.
There will probably be some damage in the process, but that’s what it means to be a kingdom.
[Then, why don’t you take action for the sake of the people?]
“Nobody wants me to.”
In this world, war is not about gathering citizens and handing weapons to them.
In order to turn citizens into soldiers, a sufficient education is needed.
Due to the existence of airships, it’s difficult to recruit ordinary citizens.
There are indeed some feudal lords who are tyrannical enough to force that into happening, but the Holfault Kingdom is relatively friendly to its people.
This is the only kind part of that otome game’s setting.
As a result, there are few citizens who are dissatisfied.
Knights and soldiers having to be the pawns of war and the troubles of finding marriage are part of the ruling class’ struggles.
There’s dissatisfaction just about everywhere, but the most dissatisfied ones are the baron and viscount nobles that I have to put up with──what a disgusting world.
Simply put, even if there was a revolt, the citizens wouldn’t join.
After all, they’re satisfied with the status quo, so I would be the scoundrel here if I were to act violently.
“Despite how things may seem, I’m still a knight.”
[By knight, you mean an existence who sucks up to women and is convenient to the nation?]
“Idiot. ──I meant the kind of knight that protects the citizens.”
[Is that how they appear as?]
“I’m fine with appearances and superficiality. It’s better than being controlled by a schoolgirl and having to work myself to the bone for the kingdom. Besides, Livia would be happy to hear me say that.”
Anjie would make a bit of a troubled face though.
[Quite the weak determination you have. I was even a bit touched, but now that’s gone to waste.]
“What are you expecting of me? Or rather, what do you want me to do?”
Actually, I’m quite surprised that it was touched by that conversation.
[I’m hoping that we can destroy the new humans together.]
──I don’t know what kind of reaction I should make to that.
Now then, I’ve been in jail for a while, but──yet another visitor came today.
“How pathetic, Viscount Baltfault.”
Beyond the iron bars, Jilk stood in front of me while shaking his head.
“Did you come to the dungeon to make snide remarks? It seems that you have some free time as well.”
When I said that, Jilk threw out his chest, as if I said something unthinkable.
“I came here at the request of Marie. It seems that she wants to help you.”
“Marie? What kind of trap is this?”
“How rude. What kind of attitude is that? I took great pains to come here and help you.”
Jilk spoke to me.
“For the time being, please wait here. I’ll soon get you out of the dungeon.”
Does he even have that kind of authority? At any rate, why is Marie helping me?
Though I had many thoughts, the question I spoke was──
“How are you going to help me?”
“Despite everything, my house still consists of nobles of the royal court. I have many connections.”
“That’s not your own power, but the power of your household, isn’t it?”
“What of it? Anyways, please sit tight and wait here.”
Jilk left the dungeon as he said that, but──after a while, he came back quite battered.
His hair was disheveled and it seemed as if he had been in a fight.
“T, this isn’t right. They wouldn’t listen to me and told me to reflect on my actions!”
That’s because you’re always up to no good.
In the end, Jilk left the dungeon with hunched shoulders.
What a useless guy.
The next to visit was──Greg.
He was even more battered than Jilk. His clothes were torn and his face showed signs of being beaten up, perhaps from a fight.
“──I’m sorry. When I asked my household to free you, I got into a fight with my father.”
It seems that he relied on his household in an attempt to free me, but he failed after getting into a quarrel with his father.
“Did Marie ask you too?”
“She did. Moreover, I’m personally indebted to you. So I wanted to help you, but my father beat me up and nothing happened.”
I’ve got mixed feelings, but I’m glad that he tried to help.
“Go apologize to your dad. You guys cause too much trouble.”
Greg stared straight at me.
“Something the matter?”
“Baltfault──you’re the last person I’d want to hear that from.”
I was a fool for thinking that this jerk had some good in him.
The next guest was──Brad.
Unlike the last two, his uniform wasn’t in a mess and it didn’t seem like he got into a fight.
However, he was fiddling with his hair while──seeming slightly uneasy.
“Are you here to help me as well?”
Since he didn’t speak despite how much time had passed, I decided to initiate the conversation.
Upon which, Brad spoke while his eyes were darting.
“T, that was the plan, but──I can’t get in contact with my parents.”
“Did something happen?”
“My family wasn’t in the Field residence within the royal capital. Due to that──”
He told me that despite wanting to help me, the family he depended on wasn’t there.
“I understand, so stop looking like you’re going to cry.”
“I, I’m not crying!”
What is it that these guys want to do?
Then, the fourth member of the five idiots, Chris, entered the dungeon.
“──Did you turn to your household in an attempt to help me as well?”
When I asked that to Chris upon his immediate arrival, he made a face of astonishment.
“Y, you know that? I didn’t even say anything yet.”
Is he making fun of me? Or is it that he’s just stupid?
“Like it or not, I know that you guys have been coming here since this morning and have all failed so far.”
“Everyone’s been here too? In that case, at least one person should succeed. I──failed. I’m sorry, Baltfault.”
Chris was depressed, but as for me──
“Before you feel down, why don’t you take care of your injuries first? What did you even do to get all beaten up like that?”
Greg’s state had been miserable, but Chris’ was even worse.
Even the lenses of his glasses were broken.
“When I tried asking my father for help, he chased me around with a wooden sword.”
“It seems you’ve got it rough too.”
“Come to think of it, I couldn’t really expect much from my father in the political field to begin with.”
Perhaps having calmed down, Chris began to complain after getting beaten up by his father.
──Why did this guy come to the dungeon?
“Though he’s called a master swordsman, my father holds the position of a swordsmanship instructor. Since he has no major political position, I figured that it would tough having him to help you.”
“I, Is that so?”
“He dismissed the many reasons I gave to him, and when I then said ‘Can’t you do it?’ to him, I ended up like this.”
That would anger my father too if I did that.
Perhaps he wanted to pick a fight with his household?
“If it’s impossible for him, I wish he would have just told me that.”
“Did you tell him to help me with that attitude? In the first place, I’m uncertain about why you would want to help me.”
I wonder if his father is also frustrated with his political position?
If he struck a nerve with his father due to that, that would explain it.
──Then came the last idiot.
Julian appeared in front of me, but I spoke before he could open his mouth.
“W, why?! I didn’t say anything yet!”
I told the baffled Julian that I already knew the situation without him needing to spell it out for me.
“I can already tell after seeing your cheek. You didn’t succeed in your attempt to help me, did you?”
Julian’s mood visibly worsened.
“It’s as you say. I asked my mother to get you out of the dungeon.”
There was a visible handprint on Julian’s cheek, perhaps from being slapped.
It’s quite a feat for him to make Milaine mad.
Actually, now I want to know what he did.
“And that was enough for her to slap you?”
“Yeah, that’s all. She was suddenly astonished. What’s even more frightening is that she hit me while holding a blank expression.”
“I can’t imagine her being the kind of person to do that.”
“Perhaps you don’t know this, but my mother is a scary individual. But, just what in the world did I do wrong? You’re a favorite of my mother, so it’s strange that asking for your release would warrant a slap.”
I want to tell him that it was his mother that put me in this dungeon.
However, that’s top-secret.
The fact that Milaine didn’t speak to him about this matter means that he’s definitely not a reliable person.
──That’s kind of pitiful.
Though, I suppose he doesn’t have the most pristine reputation.
It wouldn’t be odd for him to do something absurd, like during that time he cancelled his engagement with Anjie.
“You must have said something strange, didn’t you?”
“I did not! Right from the beginning, she had a complex expression when I requested for your release. So, I thought that I could give her a push and said some things to her.”
“Well, you know that there have been talks of a formal engagement between Marie and me since she became the saint, right?”
In response to this sudden change of topic, I told him that I knew about it.
──I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
“When I told her that it was the request of her potential daughter-in-law, her facial expression turned blank. I had thought that it would be a good opportunity for them to cooperate and get along.”
──That would do it. Her expression would definitely turn blank from that.
Did you think Milaine would be pleased with that?
Are you stupid? Oh wait, he is stupid.
“Go home already.”
“I’ll head back for today. However, I’ll definitely help you, Baltfault.”
I looked at Julian, who left while declaring that with a serious look, and thought about how this must be a pain for Milaine as well.
Luxon, who had hidden itself, reappeared and spoke.
[What is it that they wanted to do?]
“They’re fools, aren’t they?”
[I think of you the same way, Master.]
“Don’t lump me in with them. You’ll make me mad.”
“Pardon me. You’re a greater fool than them.]
“You really do hate me, don’t you?”
[Anyways, it seems that things have gotten troublesome, Master.]
There was a conference room within the royal palace.
Marquis Frampton’s faction had gathered there.
An uneasy noble asked Marquis Frampton a question.
“Marquis, is this really alright? Our information states that the principality has assembled a large fleet accompanied by monsters, does it not? At this rate, the feudal lords who encounter them during their invasion will suffer a miserable──”
──The principality’s troops had begun to move.
Receiving that information, the members had gathered here to talk about measures to take.
“This is indeed earlier than expected, but there’s no problem. Hurry and assemble the kingdom’s troops.”
“Shouldn’t we dispatch units that can quickly take action?”
Marquis Frampton spoke to the noble who imagined that a tragedy was brewing.
“That won’t be necessary.”
“The territories that the principality is invading are the ones that we secretly agreed to give them. If the principality sheathes their sword becomes our ally from this, it’s a small price to pay.”
“H, however, this is a matter beyond our grasp. If we don’t handle this with caution──”
Not only the nobles, but the citizens as well weren’t sure about what would happen.
Despite such conditions, Marquis Frampton responded.
“This is a necessary sacrifice for the sake of unifying the kingdom. You know, we have a new lost item, a ship, with us. Once we finish analyzing it, we can eventually regain the territories we will lose.”
──They made a sacrifice.
“Until the kingdom’s army assembles and arrives, let the principality do what they want. When the time comes for us to fight, the principality should retreat at a convenient moment. With that, the kingdom’s honor will remain untarnished.”
They had already abandoned the feudal lords and didn’t mind the principality.
Another noble informed Marquis Frampton of something.
“Marquis, the temple has stated that they would like the saint to participate in the battle as well.”
“──What a nuisance they are.”
“It seems that the saint has the power to repel demons.”
“The saint’s power? I’ve heard about it, but is it really something we can place our faith in?”
“The temple’s quite confident in it. It seems that they’re not bluffing.”
Marquis Frampton wasn’t very happy about the temple’s participation.
However, the temple gave its conditions.
“If we let the temple take the main lead in this war──they will give up on trying to make his Highness Julian the crown prince.”
After hearing that, Marquis Frampton pondered.
(Does the temple plan on increasing its influence by making the saint’s power known?)
“──We should be prepared in case the principality doesn’t retreat.”
“Indeed. After hearing the rumors of the principality controlling monsters, the soldiers are frightened. If the saint is there, it would increase morale.”
“If we can resolve this issue without any problems, my position will solidify. It isn’t bad to let the temple take the credit for it and have them be indebted to me either.”
While the invaded territories were in trouble, the nobles in the royal palace were excited about the future.