On the date the Marquis had requested we meet with him we arrived at his gate.
By the way, the knights we had accompanying us brought the bandits back to our territory. The only one that remained was Elsa.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Leon-sama. Welcome to the house of the Marquis of Gramp. My name is Joseph; I am the Gramp family’s steward.”
A steward greeted us at the door and guided us inside to the drawing room. Our Escort, Elsa, waited in another room.
“The Lord of the House will arrive soon. Please, take a seat and wait for a moment.”
I sat in the middle of the seat with Claire and Sophia on either side of me. However, Tina and Alice remained standing.
“And who are these ojou-samas?”
Hmm? Why are they both looking at me….Ah, right.
“Joseph-san, those two are commoners.”
I could see Joseph’s eyes open in surprise.
“They have their reasons for being here, but are they not allowed to be here?”
“……I’m very sorry. There’s no problem if they’re companions of Leon-sama. Please, sit down.”
After hearing this, Alice and Tina took a seat. Immediately after, refreshments were brought out by the maids.
“Now then, I’ll get the Lord of the House. Please relax until then.”
Joseph says this and bows before leaving the room.
I wonder if he’s telling us to relax now because once the Lord of the House gets here we won’t be able to relax. No, I’m probably just thinking too much about it.
Well, I still need to remain cautious.
I grabbed my tea while thinking about this. Then, I could feel someone tap me on the shoulder. I looked over to see Claire drinking her black tea.
….Hmm? It wasn’t Claire……Then who tapped my on the shoulder……..Was it a ghost?
I could see Alice just beyond Claire. She was tapping on her shoulder.
…….Ah, the sensory sharing. It’s been so long since we’ve used it for anything other than training with spirit magic.
“Do you need something?”
When I asked this, Alice answered in a whisper. Apparently, she thinks there is someone watching us. It’s most likely due to her enhanced perception that she can tell…..but who is it?
“It may be the Marquis of Gramp. It’s not unusual to try to observe the other party before negotiations.”
— And Claire added this.
I see. It seems the Marquis is just acting in a normal manner.
If it’s like that, maybe it will be easier to deal with the Marquis than it was with Patrick. As I was thinking this, the Marquis of Gramp appeared before us.
Claire’s former fiancé. I was curious to see what he looked like. He actually looks pretty decent. His appearance kind of reminds me of a cool uncle.
Anyway, we stood and greeted him.
“I’m sorry I’ve kept you waiting. I am the head of the Gramp family, Crane.”
“It’s nothing to worry about Marquis of Gramp-sama. I am Leon Grances, the head of the Grances family.”
“You can speak comfortable. No need to worry about honorifics.”
“….Alright. Then, Marquis of Gramp.”
After all, speaking casually is impossible. I’ll just speak politely with him.
“It’s been a long time, Marquis of Gramp-sama.”
“Ah, Claire. We haven’t met for quite some time. Have you become more beautiful since we last met?”
“You’re as charming as always.”
…….Why do I feel so weird? Hearing Claire talk like a proper lady is strange.
Maybe once I’ve heard it more, I’ll get used to it.
“Anyway, Leon, who are these ojou-samas?”
“Ah, sorry for not introducing them. First is Sophia, who has become my adopted sister.”
After my introduction, Sophia lifted the edge of her dress and curtsied.
“Sophia…So this is the girl Patrick is obsessed with?”
“Yes. Sophia was born to the Sfir family.”
“I see. She’s definitely cute. I can understand why Patrick has become infatuated with her.”
No, that’s not okay. Patrick is sixteen, but Sophia is only nine. That’s how I feel, but…..the Marquis is 31 years old and wanted to marry thirteen-year-old Claire.
“Next is Alistair. She works as a teacher at the school in our territory.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Marquis of Gramp-sama.”
Alice lifted the hem of her skirt and curtsied. The way Alice was dressed reminded me of a modern day Japanese girl.
Alice is older than Claire and Sophia and is giving off a more mature charm, but…..the Marquis seemed to show no reaction.
“Ho~u, I’ve heard the school you created is incredibly advanced, but……I didn’t know the elves were involved. Impressive.”
Is he not interested in her because she’s an elf? Or….Impossible! Is he not interested because she’s sixteen and that’s too old!?
….I need to stop. This line of thinking will just end badly.
If I combine the age from her previous life, that would mean she’s 31……..Rather, if I think about my age, I’d be 38….
……Right, it’s best if I just avoid thinking about age.
“Finally, this is Tina. I brought her as a representative of the students.”
“I-It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Marquis of Gramp-sama.”
Tina shows a slightly nervous expression and gently lifts the hem of her skirt. She looks incredibly overwhelmed with the situation. Just lifting the hem of her short skirt is dangerous.
From my perspective it almost appears to be some kind of shame play. (TN: Shame play = S&M)
“Ooh, I heard you were gathering village girls, but this is…..*gokuri*”(TN: Gokuri is Japanese SFX for a gulping sound)
Don’t “gokuri” at that! This creepy middle-aged guy, is he really the Marquis? Isn’t he just a Lolicon!?
“Now everyone is properly introduced. I’m guessing I’ll hear the reason you’ve brought them later…..right, Leon? It seems you’ve made quite the fool out of a member of one of my branch families.”
— The atmosphere surrounding the Marquis suddenly changed. If this were a couple years ago, I’m almost certain I’d be shaking in fear.
Was he acting like a Lolicon earlier to lower my guard?…..The mood has completely changed from just a few seconds ago.
“Hmm, are you just going to glare at me? You’re quite the interesting child. I’ve heard that you couldn’t manage as the head of the family, so Claire has had to manage in your place.”
“I’m still young. It’s only due to the excellent people surrounding me that I’ve been able to manage so far.”
“Haa, well said. However…….well, never mind. There’s no reason we need to remain standing. Please, take a seat.”
The Marquis of Gramp sat first and we all followed shortly after.
“Well then, Leon. I will ask once more, as it is quite important. Why were your intentions? Why did you feel the need to drag my family’s name through the mud?”
“Before I answer, I’d like to know what Patrick claimed to have happened.”
“I see….Alright, I can show you the letter sent by Patrick.”
Immediately after the Marquis said this, the butler named Joseph appeared out of nowhere and handed him a parchment.
The letter claimed Patrick wished to enroll in the same school as Sophia. To do this, he asked a favor of the head of the Grances family in order to enter the school.
However, once he entered the school, he was discriminated against. Eventually this led to acts of violence against him and he was forced to leave the school, humiliated.
“The person from these letters must be a completely different person with the same name. This isn’t the Patrick that attended my school.”
“Fuu~, well, that response is to be expected.”
The Marquis seems amused at my response and laughs slightly.
“……..You knew the contents of his letter weren’t true?”
“He’s an idiot that’s been spoiled his entire life. It’s not surprising that he’d be dramatizing what actually happened.”
Dramatizing……Well, what he said is untrue.
…..But, I’m a little surprised about the Marquis reaction. I thought he’d believe Patrick’s word and threaten us when he thought we were the ones lying.
“So, what was Patrick actually like when he attended your school? I assume that’s why you brought that young lady there.”
“Yes. After he caused many issues at the school, he hit Tina and denied it. Out of anger, I threatened and attacked him. That’s when he left the school with his tail between his legs.”
“…..Is that the truth?”
“That’s what happened with the Patrick I knew. As for the Patrick from those letters, I can’t say.”
“Ah, right. This is unrelated, but it appears that someone has been intentionally spreading terrible rumours about me in my territory.”
“I assume you’ve investigated these rumours yourself. You’re not trying to suggest Patrick is behind them? No matter how stupid he may be, he wouldn’t be that foolish.”
“The rumours are similar to the stories Patrick told when he first enrolled in the school. In addition to this, we managed to capture a few of the people spreading these rumours. After interrogating them, we found the person that hired them to spread these rumours closely resembled Patrick. Of course, there is a chance that they are lying.”
Oh, the Marquis wasn’t expecting Patrick to do something like this? The Marquis silently sat there with a bitter expression on his face.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.