“So, will onii-chan take responsibility or do I have to make you take responsibility?”
Even if she repeats the question, the two options are unreasonable. Still, even if it was an accident, I can’t refuse her. It was my fault that I saw her changing clothes.
“Mu~, muu~………I’ll take responsibility, but what does Sophia plan on making me do?”
“How about making Sophia your bride?”
“No, even if you ask that….”
“….You…don’t want to?”
Sophia’s face is distorted by sorrow. I don’t know what to do after seeing her suddenly become depressed like this.
“To Leon onii-chan, Sophia is just an unnecessary child?”
“You’re definitely not an unnecessary child.”
“That’s definitely the truth.”
“Then, if you had to give up Claire onee-chan or Sophia, what would you do, Leon onii-chan?”
….Ah, so she overheard us after all. Perhaps, she was worried that we might give her away just like that?
“That was just a hypothetical situation. No matter what happens, I wouldn’t give either of you up.”
There is a definite possibility the Marquis may want one or even both of them. And there would probably be no room for negotiation with him. But, just because there’s no room for negotiation doesn’t mean I’d give either of them to him.
I would never give Sophia to him.
“Then, you won’t hand over Sophia?”
“Yes, I would never hand you over to them.”
“Then, you’ll make Sophia your bride?”
“Yes, I’ll make you my bride — Oi!”
“….Muu, that’s disappointing. It was so close too.”
Wait a minute. Sophia stuck her tongue out at me, when did she become so devilish? Who was the one that taught the innocent Sophia such devilish tricks?
“Hey, Sophia. Didn’t you tell me you had been learning a lot from Alice?”
“Yes, she taught me a lot. Why?”
“Does that mean….she taught you stuff like what you did a little earlier?”
“Yep, that’s right. When Sophia tries her best, Alice onee-chan seems to be very happy.”
“I knew it was that girl!!!”
I’ll need to call her to the back of the school later! (TN: This just means to call Alice behind the school building for a fight.)
…..Wait? So, was Sophia just acting like she was depressed? She heard the conversation between Claire and I and thought she could take advantage of the situation?
“Hey, Sophia, are you okay?”
“I’m not okay. I was really embarrassed.”
“Please, just forget about that already!”
“Mu….Then, what did you want to talk about?”
“Everything that’s happened with Patrick. You felt you were responsible for him before, right? I was thinking you might be feeling depressed after hearing what Claire and I said.”
“Were you worried about me?”
“Well, I know you heard our conversation earlier and then saw you running away.”
“That……Yes, I was surprised after hearing that.”
“If that’s the case —”
I tried to continue, thinking Sophia really was depressed. However, Sophia just shook her head and interrupted my words.
“I was surprised and definitely in shock. I also thought about killing Patrick if he were to cause trouble because of Sophia.”
Uwaaaaa, as expected! I’m glad I came to see her so quickly…..huh?
“You thought about killing him? That means you don’t think that way now?”
“Alice onee-chan said, ‘Sophia-chan can’t be doing things like that. You must not do things that Leon doesn’t like.’ ”
Oh, that Alice. She was actually taking care of Sophia mentally.
Maybe we don’t actually need to go behind the school building.
“As your sister-in-law, Sophia needs to cajole Leon onii-chan.” (TN: Cajole here is supposed to have a double meaning. Alice means seduce, Sophia takes that to mean she should support Leon.)
After all, we do need to go behind the school!
Seriously, that Alice. She’s been too much to handle recently. She may be doing it because she’s worried about Sophia, but she’s been overdoing it recently.
“Leon onii-chan, will you also take Sophia with you to meet the Marquis of Gramp?”
“Eh, why are you asking that so suddenly?”
“I’m supposed to cajole you. Alice onee-chan said it was best to be useful to Leon onii-chan.”
Let’s not point out her mistake. Well, it’s good that Sophia is going to try her best, so there’s no reason for me to deny her.
“So, I’ve been trying to think of what I can do to help Leon onii-chan.”
“And you want to go see the Marquis? Don’t tell me you plan on sacrificing yourself?”
If that were the case, there’s no chance I’d take her with us. But, Sophia just slowly shook her head.
“Sophia only has one thing — my ability.”
“….Your ability to read a person’s mind.”
It certainly would be useful in negotiations. We’d be able to know everything the other person is thinking. That way we’d know what they want and what they would be willing to give up.
“I thought you couldn’t use your ability anymore?”
“Recently, I’ve been able to read people’s feelings again. I’m still afraid to read people’s minds though.”
Sophia’s abilities would be a great help, but……The reason I’m going to meet with the Marquis is to protect Sophia and everyone else. I can’t burden Sophia here.
“I’m happy you want to help, but you don’t need to push yourself.”
“No, I want to work hard. If it’s for Leon onii-chan, I think I can overcome the trauma that caused me to lose my ability.”
….I see. Sophia want’s to work hard as well.
Okay. It should be fine since this is an official meeting. I don’t think the Marquis will try to use any force. Even if he does I can protect her to some extent……but will she be okay mentally?
“……Alright, if Alice is okay with it, we’ll take you with.”
“Yep. As long as Alice agrees.”
I feel a little embarrassed leaving the decision entirely up to Alice, but I’m not calm enough to make such a big decision right now. If Alice is also okay with it, then I believe it really is okay for Sophia to come with.
“Alright! Then, I’ll go get permission!”
Sophia says this and immediately tries to run out of the room. I panicked and quickly grabbed her arm.
“Wait a second. You don’t need to be in a hurry. We’re not planning on leaving anytime soon.”
“Is that so?”
“The deadline he gave us is two months from now. In the meantime, we plan on gathering as much information as possible before meeting with him. Besides, there are still many problems in the Grances territory. So our main concern now is fixing these problems.”
“Problems…..What’s going on? The food shortage was fixed by bringing in food, right?”
“Yeah, that’s been taken care of, but Patrick seems to be spreading rumors throughout the territory.”
“….Bad rumors? What kind of rumors is he spreading?”
“I guess it’s about the reason I’ve gathered children here. I used the excuse that I wanted to teach them here to cover my true intentions. He said the real reason I’ve gathered girls here — is a more suspicious reason.”
“….That person, he really is just disgusting.”
Uwaa, Sophia’s look of disgust is amazing. Maybe if Sophia were to stare at Patrick with those eyes, he would just collapse under the pressure and not be able to recover.
“That’s why the children’s parents that have heard these rumors are worried and want their children back.”
“Eh, but…..Everyone’s parents are just misunderstanding the real reason Leon onii-chan gathered everyone here.”
“Well, that’s true. I really did gather everyone here to teach them. But, if they really believe I have them here for other reasons, it only makes sense that they’d be reacting this way.”
— And so, I explained the full situation to Sophia.
I was kind of vague with the details of the rumor earlier, but the rumors are honestly pretty terrible. They’re bad enough that some people would rather sell their children into slavery than have them stay here.
“Didn’t you explain your side though? You’re not doing anything bad. Couldn’t you just clear everything up if you talked with them properly?”
I even received a report from an incident that happened in one village, where the villagers would throw stones at the knights escorting the graduates through the village. It’s good that the knights tolerated it. If they had handled it poorly there could have been a riot.
“Then, can we just arrest the people spreading these rumors?”
“I wish it were that easy. How do you think the people would respond to the Earl arresting people spreading these rumors? To them, it would seem like I was just trying to silence these people speaking the truth.”
“I see…..to the people from the villages, onii-chan would appear to be the bad guy.”
It seems the knights are trying to correct these misunderstandings, but they haven’t made much progress so far. Things can’t be allowed to go on like this.
In the worst case scenario, the students would have to be returned to their villages before any riots start. At the very least, this would clear up the parents’ misunderstandings.
This would lead to massive delays in the classes. So, it’s something I absolutely want to avoid.
“Hmm, that’s troublesome. I wish you could go speak with everyone. If they were to meet with you, I’m sure they’d be able to tell you’re not a bad person.”
“….Eh? A-Aaaaahh! That’s it! That’s a great idea, Sophia!”
“E-eh? What is it?”
“The parents of the students just need to come here.”
I can show them this town and they can meet with the students.
Patrick was not shown the majority of the town, but if I show the parents all of the advancements in this town, they’d have to understand that I’m truly trying to teach the students.
Farmers can’t afford to go on a trip for one or two weeks, but it should be fine if we cover the cost of travel and other expenses. Alright, this can work! It will work!
“—- Let’s invite everyone’s parents here!”