Two weeks passed and it was now the end of January.
I was now heading to Claire’s office to talk with her. Originally this room was created for me, but now it had become Claire’s office in name and in use.
When I entered her office, Tina welcomed me.
“Hey, Tina. Are you doing well? Claire isn’t overworking you?”
“Leon-sama, hello. I’m always so busy, but Claire is nice to me.”
“That’s good to hear. Just make sure Claire doesn’t take advantage of you.”
“— You know I can hear you, right?”
I could hear Claire’s voice coming from the back of the room. I headed in that direction with a wry smile on my face.
“Welcome, otouto-kun. What did you need today?”
There were many papers stacked on her desk. I know she wants to challenge herself, but I’m worried she may be overdoing it.
Although Claire is acting as the head of the family, she will only be turning sixteen at the end of this year….Well, I can’t really say anything about that considering I passed on the role of head of the family to her.
“Ah, sorry. I was just overwhelmed by all of these papers.”
“Oh, that’s the list of applicants that wish to enter Muhle Academy next term.”
“……….Eh? All of this?”
That’s impossible. If you were to bind them all together, they would be thicker than a dictionary.
“There are applicants from the nobles of Rizelheim that want their farmers to enrol here. In total, there are 400 applicants. There are also many merchants that wish to send their children here. That will add on another 100 applicants.
“So 500 people in total……Can we accept that many?”
We can use graduates as teachers, so we should have plenty of teachers. However, the land we use for practical training and the dorms we have for the students can’t hold that many people. As I thought, 500 is just too many.
“If we really tried, we could maybe accept 450. However, we have to accept the set amount of students from the Marquis of Gramp, so we can only accept 300 students from outside our territory.”
“We need to immediately cut 200 of the 500 people……..Even if we were to accept them next year, I bet they’d be displeased.”
“No, we need to cut 200 of the applicants from 400. We have to accept the 100 children from the merchants.”
“We can’t cut them at all……..? Shouldn’t it just be a first come first served basis?”
Forcing the children of the merchants to wait a year may be hard for them to accept, but I feel like that can’t be helped; there were people that applied before them. After I said that, Claire just stared at me.
“It’s your fault, otouto-kun.”
“The majority of the applicants came from Wells advertising in the capital. You did tell him to do that, right?”
Ah~, I did tell him something like that when I was in Rizelheim.
Did he really recruit 100 people? Then, I certainly can’t refuse them. Well, I could, but it would probably be better if I didn’t.
“Is it okay to cut the number of applicants from the nobles by half?”
“I don’t think it’s okay. Right now, we’re negotiating with each noble and we will send some of our graduates to each territory so we don’t have to reduce the total number of students.”
I apologized to Claire and started looking through the list. The list was sorted by the names of the lords from the country and among them was the Rodwell family.
Of course, I don’t mind being involved with the Rodwell family, but I don’t really want to offer the Rodwell family any technology directly. When I made the deal with the Marquis of Gramp, his people only enrolled as students at our school.
Claire already seemed really busy. All I did was increase her workload by getting more students to enrol here….
There’s no way I can ask her to help me with Alice.
…..It can’t be helped. I’ll just have to talk with her about it another day.
“Claire, is there anything I can do to help?”
“Hm? Thanks, but I’m okay for now.”
“Alright…..Then, tell me if there is anything I can ever do for you.”
I say this and turn to leave her office.
“Ah, wait otouto-kun. Didn’t you need something from me?”
“No, you don’t need to worry about it.”
“Hm~? Ah, is it like that?”
What is she saying? Claire stopped working, stood up from her desk, and walked over to me — she then wrapped her arms around my neck.
I had no time to resist — she pulled me close to her.
She pulled my neck down towards her, causing me to lose my balance — I tried to catch myself but lost my footing.
There was nothing else I could do and we both fell to the ground. Claire landed on top of me.
“What are you doing? That’s dangerous.”
“I-I should be asking you what you were doing, Claire!”
I tried to quickly move away from her but her body was pressed up against me.
Claire will be 16 this year and she’s growing a lot. This is bad. The feeling of Claire’s chest pressed up against me is too much.
“Hya~n………H-hey, don’t move around so much.”
The moment I tried to move away from her, Claire let out a slight moan. And so, I was unable to move.
“Fufu~, did you think I wouldn’t notice. Otouto-kun is so cute.”
“No…umm, what are you saying?”
“You clearly had something you wanted to ask me. Please, tell me already.”
“N-No, I don’t think I can ask you in this situation.”
“I wonder what you mean by that. Is it because we’re so close? Or is it because you’re starting to think of me as a woman?”
“It’s both! This is embarrassing, so please let me go already!”
I could easily push her off, but I don’t want to do that to Claire. Or maybe it’s because of this sweet smell and soft feeling that I don’t want to.
“Okay…if I tell you, will you release me?”
“…I understand. I’ll let you go, so tell me already.”
Claire finally released me, but…does she look a little lonely?
No, no, no. It’s just my imagination.
“Otouto-kun? Why are you making such a strange face?”
“Is that so?”
“Don’t worry about it. More importantly, is this really a good time to ask you for something?”
“It’s a request from my dear otouto-kun. It will take priority over everything else.”
“I’m glad to hear that….”
I really don’t want to ask anything unreasonable of her when she seems so busy.
“I can tell something is bothering you. I certainly am busy, but I’m not so busy that I’d choose to ignore you. After all, I’m trying my hardest for you.”
Oh, I wonder what this feeling is. Claire is only about half my age when I add the years from my previous life, but I feel like I can rely on her entirely.
I feel like I depend on her too much….
Anyway, I ended up talking with her about enrolling Alice in school.
“You want Alice to become a student at the school?”
“Yeah. Do you think that will be a problem?”
“No, it shouldn’t be too hard. I just don’t understand why you want her to do that. It’s not like she needs to take any classes.”
“Just because I want her to become a student, doesn’t mean I want her to study.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know that Alice and I have memories from our previous lives, right?”
I told her about how Alice, when she was Saya, always wanted to attend school.
“So, otouto-kun wants to grant her wish from her previous life…and only Alice will be going to school, not you?”
“…I won’t be.”
To be honest, school life with Alice sounds really fun.
However, I am the Earl of Grances. No matter how hard I try, it would be impossible for me to completely hide my identity while attending school.
If I were to be with her, Alice would not be able to enjoy school life as a normal girl. That’s why I’m choosing not to go so I can support Alice.
“……Well, if that’s what you’ve decided I’m not going to interfere.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing~ I thought otouto-kun knew everything, but you clearly don’t understand the heart of a woman. I’m sure you’ll hear the line, ‘Leon is insensitive,’ sometime soon.”
“What are you trying to say!?”
What? What am I missing?
“A-Anyway, will you make the preparations so she can enrol in the school?”
“Of course, I will. I’ll get everything ready so she can attend school.”
“Thank you, Claire.”
I can’t wait to tell Alice…though, I’d like to be able to surprise her…the graduation party for the fourth term students will be held soon.
We can attend that together and I can surprise her there.