Everything is ready for Alice to join the school. All that’s left is for me to surprise her at the fourth term students’ graduation party.
I’ve been trying to avoid showing my face at the school but I’ll have to in order to attend the party. As long as I just appear to be a graduate, it should be fine for the students to see Alice and me together.
Well, the Marquis of Gramp will also be attending, so it’s not like I could avoid attending anyway.
That’s why, as I was looking for Alice at the party, I was found by the Marquis of Gramp.
“It’s been a while, Leon. Has it been since last year’s graduation party?”
“That sounds about right. How have you been lately?”
“Because of the technologies you’ve provided, we no longer have to deal with any food shortages. In fact, this year we even have a surplus of food. I’m even able to sleep peacefully at night thanks to everything you’ve done.”
“You’re exaggerating, but I’m glad that everything seems to have worked out for you and your people, Marquis of Gramp.”
“Oi, didn’t I tell you just Crane is fine?”
“I call you Leon even though I’m so indebted to you. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable for you to still use titles. Though, our difference in age is quite a lot. I don’t know if dropping my title makes you feel uncomfortable.”
“Well, it is a bit strange. You certainly are older, but I feel like we’ve become a lot closer. Moreover, I don’t want to act ignorant to my surroundings.”
“Ha, that sounds like something you’d say.”
The Marquis’ problems were solved with the technology we provided. The public believes that the Marquis is offering support to us in order to create this technology.
Crane’s political power has gone up due to this. Though, I don’t know if he has gotten big headed with this newfound political standing.
“That’s right, Leon, I had a favour to ask of you.”
— Maybe he doesn’t think that way.
“What is it? As long as it doesn’t involve Claire, I’ll listen.”
“Hmm, that’s rather disappointing. If I knew you were so talented I may have tried to partner up with you earlier.”
“Even if you try to flatter me I won’t change my mind on that.”
“I’m just joking. I didn’t mean to make you angry. I just wanted to see if it was possible for you to accept more students from my territory next term.”
“I think we could manage somehow if I talk with Claire, but…..Why bother asking me about this?”
I think we’re already accepting enough of his people as it is, but it’s not like we ever decided on a maximum number of his people we would take every term. But it seems that the prospective student he is talking about aren’t commoners from his territory but it is the daughter of one of his acquaintances.
“If that’s the case, I’ll talk with Claire about it.”
Even though I was off to the side of the main party it wasn’t hard to find Claire. I could see her at the centre of the party, surrounded by a large group of people.
Who’s around her…they look like nobles and other authority figures from the surrounding districts. We’ll be receiving their students next term but I wonder why they’re at this graduation party.
I think Claire just noticed me — She bowed to the surrounding people and quickly walked over to me. She grabbed my arm and started walking away from the party.
“Come with me right now.”
I didn’t really understand what was happening, but I followed after her anyway. She took me to a corner of the room, far away from the rest of the party.
“Now then, otouto-kun, did you have something you wanted to tell me?”
“I do, but…is everything okay?”
“Everything is fine. Those people were trying to convince me to marry into their family.”
I see. So, she used me as an excuse to get away from them.
“But, is it really okay to just leave them all like that? They’re all nobility or high ranking officials. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to build some close relationships with them?”
“It’s fine. I’ve already spoken with anybody that we may find useful. Especially those that spoke well of you; I remember their faces and names clearly.”
How important is it to her that these people like the person she likes?
“I’m in charge of the Grances territory, but that is only to a certain extent. Otouto-kun, you are the face of the Grances family. Anyone that doesn’t respect you, or doesn’t have any connections we can use, isn’t worth my time.”
“A-Ah~, I see. That makes sense.”
T-That was close. It’s nice to hear, but doesn’t Claire like me too much —
“Fufu~, I bet you’re wondering how much I must love you if I’m willing to ignore people just because they don’t like you.”
I’ve been exposed!!
N-No, wait. I need to calm down. Claire doesn’t have the ability to read my feelings like Sophia. I should be able to deceive if her if I just act dumb.
“Why would I be thinking that?”
“It’s written all over your face.”
“Just kidding. I knew you’d misunderstand my words and be thinking about that.”
Once again, she was just messing with me.
Damn it. After all, Claire is also a tough opponent. I used to think she was cute when she did this.
Now I feel like, even though I have the experience from my previous life, this teenage girl can still manipulate me so easily.
“So, otouto-kun, what business did you have with your onee-chan? You’ll be attending school soon. Have you prepared yourself?”
“Eh? Didn’t I tell you I wouldn’t be going to school.”
“..oh, otouto-kun, have you still not talked with Alice?”
“I haven’t yet….”
“Well, if you’re willing to go, we can add one or two new students at any time.”
“Oh, sure. Ah, that reminds me.”
When did I start to feel this way about Claire? Her long, platinum blonde hair hung loosely past her shoulders and her sweet smell filled my nose.
Claire will be sixteen-years-old this year. She’s become much more mature over the years and, because of that, she’s become more beautiful and popular. It makes sense that there would be so many people trying to arrange a marriage with her.
When I first met her, I just didn’t want her to be forced into a marriage she didn’t want, but now I feel different. I don’t want anyone else to have her.
…wait, what am I even thinking about now? I don’t want to hand her over to anyone? When did I become such a siscon? Uwaa, I want to erase my memories of the last several seconds.
“Ha!? A-Ah, it’s nothing.”
“Nothing…wasn’t there something about accepting more students?”
“There was something I wanted to talk about. To tell you the truth, a little while ago –”
I told Claire that Crane wanted to enrol another student here.
“Hee~…so, it’s the daughter of someone he knows?”
“That does worry me a little. I feel like Crane will be able to gain even more power and influence.”
“Even back when we spoke with him about Patrick, I felt like he’s all about business.”
“Then, it was probably hard for him to ask you for a favour.”
I wonder. He didn’t really appear to be hesitant when he asked me.
“Well, disregarding what happened with Patrick — If you were to ask Crane for the same thing, he’d listen. Don’t you think so?”
“Well…this is just what I think, but considering how much we’ve given him, it would only make sense that he’d at least consider it.”
The Marquis of Gramp does owe us a great deal.
“Well, there is another possibility.”
“Either the girl herself or her sisters, if she has any, could be young and pretty.”
I was suspicious that Crane was a lolicon.
No, it wasn’t just a suspicion. For instance, I would never feel safe leaving Sophia in the same room as him.
“Whatever the case, it seems interesting. I’ll look into it some later.”
“…interesting? I guess so.”