Chapter Seventeen: This Isn’t Waku Academy! Or Wait… Maybe it is!
With his arms crossed and his right index finger tapping on his left hand, the black-haired boy gazed at the others with a dissatisfied expression. His short haircut, combined with his status as the eldest son of the Imperial Guards Captain, gave him the appearance of being athletic and energetic.
“I came because Father asked, but I had no idea I’d be witness to such a stupid skit.”
Despite his appearance, the atmosphere surrounding Reinhard at the moment was one of discontent. Alice had gotten the idea from the game that Reinhard was an athletic, good-natured guy, but such characteristics weren’t visible at the present.
“I-I’m sorry, Reinhard. Alice, let me introduce you. This is Reinhard. Reinhard Batter. He’s the eldest son of Earl Batter, the kingdom’s Imperial Guards’ Captain. Reinhard, this is Alice Salvato. Duke Salvato’s only daughter. These are Lady Liliana and Miss Mary. They are the daughters of the families of Viscount Swarov and Baron Melloways, both of which are devoted to the Salvatos.
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sir Reinhard. As Sir Zeke said, I am Alice Salvato.”
“I am Liliana.”
“You may call me Mary.”
Following Alice, both Liliana and Mary lifted the edges of their skirts and bowed their heads. While they were doing this, Alice heard a sneer from above.
“I’m Reinhard Batter. Father instructed me to come here and study with you.”
“We have heard, Sir Reinhard.”
“To be honest, I find this rather irritating. Regardless, I’ll accompany you.”
Reinhard said, turning his gaze to the side.
Huh? What’s the deal with his haughty attitude? Simply looking at him makes me irritated…
“You have quite the nerve…”
Mary, don’t! Your veins are showing! Calm yourself down!!!
“Yes? Should I smash them?”
“Smash what?! No, leave it. You can’t! And don’t make that scary face!”
It will be bad if Reinhard sees Mary’s face like this!
With that in mind, Alice quickly turned her gaze towards Reinhard.
“Is that true?! Sir Reinhard, you’re quite strong! To think that you would be able to go toe in toe with the knights at your age!”
“Hmph. Despite the fact that they are knights, they are still new recruits. It’s nothing amazing.”
“You’re being modest. I’ve always wanted to witness a knight’s prowess at least once. Would you mind showing me?”
“I-If you say so! I’m only doing it this once, okay!”
Huh? Lili? When did she go to Sir Reinhard? Could she have perhaps taken a liking to him?
“That’s not likely Lady Alice. She’s only acting to conceal my killing intent.”
“Would you please stop reading my mind?! And what do you mean by acting?”
“Being cute is a weapon as well, Lady Alice. One of a maid’s talents is the ability to utilize that weapon to get near to your opponents and acquire any information you need. And with Lady Lili’s beauty, this won’t be hard at all.”
“A honey trap? Is that really something a maid needs?!”
“It’s pointless to cause unnecessary bloodshed. However, if you’d like to purge this enemy, Lady Alice, then I would gladly do so.”
“Calling him an enemy is a bit.”
“But he is an enemy.”
“It’s true that his attitude was a bit rude but…”
True, I was annoyed as well, but at the end of the day, he’s just a seven-year-old. It’s reasonable that he was furious after being forced to go somewhere unfamiliar and then ignored after witnessing such a farce. You don’t need to be so angry at him, Mary.
“That’s not why I’m angry about.”
“I wouldn’t normally be on guard just because of someone’s nasty attitude. This time, though, the individual is the son of the Imperial Guards’ Captain. He’s also a member of Sir Alen’s faction, which is antagonistic to His Highness Zeke’s faction.”
“That may be the case but…”
But still, calling him an enemy is a bit… Isn’t it a bit much?
“His attitude reveals everything.”
“I get that his attitude was a bit rude but…”
“Despite his irritation, he is still an Earl’s son. Ignoring the fact that he’s only seven years old, he should have already received that education.”
“The means of hiding your dissatisfaction with things by employing fake smiles, flattery, and whatever else is necessary. To put it simply, the way to live in this society. First and foremost, he had Sir Zeke, a person in a higher status than himself, introduce him, and then he introduced himself after you, Lady Alice, another person in a higher position than himself.”
R-Really? Now that I think about it, that’s true but…
“But isn’t it our parents that are the important ones and not us?”
“It is true that in order to create a decent study environment, you may want to build equal connections with individuals in the form of study friends… However, that is something for His Highness to decide. Not Sir Reinhard.”
“Now that you mention it.”
Well, I guess you don’t often see subordinates at company parties go out of their way to break etiquette. I haven’t seen one at least.
“In other words, you should be considerate of such things, however he chose to disregard it. That suggests he doesn’t think the kingdom’s first prince, and the daughter of an esteemed duke’s family, are deserving of it. From the Earl’s point of view, this is the headquarters of the hostile faction, is it not? I find it hard to believe that he would send his son here without telling him anything.”
If I were to describe Reinhard, I’d say he’s a muscle-brain. I just can’t picture him as a character that would bother about such troublesome things…
“He’s probably not thinking about such troublesome things. He’s only seven after all.”
“A clever enemy and a foolish ally are both frightening, but a foolish enemy is the most vexing of them all.”
“But isn’t that the easiest one to deal with?”
“It is. It is but… It’s terrifying to face an opponent who rushes into aristocratic society’s politics, business, and diplomacy without thinking. It’s simple to destroy them, but it’s aggravating to deal with opponents that charge in without thinking.”
“Lady Lili is a clever one. She quickly realized that he was looking down on us and went in to investigate. It is because I understood her intentions that I showed that side of me as well. After all, holding on to such things is detrimental for one’s health.”
“Mary, aren’t you contradicting yourself? You should have also undergone that training that you spoke of.”
“Had I been alone, I would have ignored it, but I chose to see what Lili had up her sleeve. Which, in the end, was beneficial to me.”
Mary said, bowing to Alice.
“Is this really going on…”
This can’t be. I see where Mary’s coming from. The social field within aristocratic society is its own battlefield, and as such, one must have a smart plan… One should not act based on whether or not they like something. Because the royal family, a duke’s family, and an earl’s family are all high-ranking aristocrats, this study session can be thought of as a miniature version of the aristocrats’ social circle, and it’s understandable that different techniques are at play. I understand all that but…
“Did I reincarnate again?”
Waku Academy does not have such serious scenes! It’s nothing more than a shitty game featuring scenes of pretty, hollow characters flirting with each other!!! Where in the devil was this aristocratic class diplomacy when I needed it?!!! If they only included it then Waku Academy could have… Argh… A shitty game, is a shitty game I guess.
Suddenly a pained moan came from behind Alice. She then noticed Mary lift her thumb in approval in front of her and quickly turned around after recalling who was in Mary’s line of sight.
“Oh my. With your strength, Sir Reinhard, it’s funny to imagine you’d say things like ‘One day I’ll become the Imperial Guards’ Captain.’ What a joke.”
Lili, her right arm locked in a lariat position, looked down on the unconscious Reinhard before Alice’s gaze.
What the… Just what in the…
“Lili?! What are you doing?!”
Alice was utterly baffled.
What in the world are you thinking!!!
“Well, he was the one who told me that a girl’s punch would only tickle him and that I was free to hit him, so I did.”
Don’t, ‘so I did’, me! You can take down a wild boar with your bare hands!!! He’ll die! He’s seriously going to die!
“How in the world did it get to that in the first place?!”
“Well, Sir Reinhard started saying things like ‘I’ll prove my strength’ and ‘I’m strong’. After that, one thing led to another, and here we are.”
“You don’t even remember the whole thing!”
She was completely disinterested in him from the start! Now I actually feel bad for Reinhard… Also, why did she perform a lariat on him?! Urgh, I’m done! Zeke’s one thing, but you as well, Lili?! It seems like I need to educate you as well!!! I knew it. To hell with Waku Academy!
“Hitting a gentleman out of nowhere… This type of violent behavior is not appropriate for a lady!”
Alice said, her cold gaze fixated on Lili, who appeared to be somewhat scared.
“This is a perfect example of the ‘Like you’re one to talk’ situation.”
Zeke, you be quiet! Don’t interrupt Mama while she’s teaching!!!