A large building located on the grounds of the school. In a grand hall that wouldn’t be possible to construct in this world. There are currently four hundred and ten people that will be new students of Muhle Academy starting this term.
However, since I really didn’t expect to have so many students, we were not able to gather enough chairs for everyone. After all, the first year we only had seventeen students and the second year it only increased to thirty students. It increased to sixty from there, then 100, and now it’s over 450 students in total.
I’m sorry everyone but you’ll have to stay standing for this.
By the way, almost all of the fifth term students will be enrolling as normal students straight away. There’s no need for them to go through any preparatory courses. That’s not to say that the literacy rate of commoners is near 100%.
Originally, about half of them would first need to learn basic knowledge.
However, as a result of sending out above-average students to the surrounding Lords, most new students have already learned the basics.
And so, most new students seem ready to learn. It’s quite different compared to the first term students that were sold as slaves and the second term students that had various misunderstandings about me.
“Isn’t this amazing?”
I could hear a voice coming from the side of me. I turned to see a girl I didn’t recognize staring at me. She’s maybe a little younger than I am and she has red eyes and red hair. This girl looks a little exotic.
“Hey, isn’t this amazing?”
“It really is amazing. I didn’t expect there to be so many people.”
I noticed that she was talking to me and quickly answered her. Immediately afterwards, the girl blinked in surprise and then laughed.
“No, that’s not what I meant. I was talking about the technology in this city, including this building.”
“Eh?……A-Ah, I see.”
That’s right. A normal person would be amazed at the technology in this city. My mistake.
I need to be more careful. I don’t want the other students to know I’m a noble or, more importantly, to know that I’m Leon. If that were to happen my ordinary school life with Alice would end.
I have to be careful around everyone.
“Nii-san, are you –”
Her sharp eyes appear to see right through me.
“You must have been living in this city before enrolling. I understand how you feel.”
“I was also attracted to the charm of this city. I’ve been living in Muhle for about two weeks now, so I’ve started to get used to all the amazing things here.”
“…ah, right. I feel the same way!”
It’s pretty lucky for me that she misunderstood my words. At that moment, the girl’s eyes narrowed.
“I see. I don’t know why you’re hiding it but you’re a noble, right?”
“Fwa!? W-W-W-What are you saying!?”
“Nii-san, you’re reaction is just too honest. You also looked too happy when you thought I misunderstood your words.”
Was her misunderstanding me a trap? I guess it can’t be helped now.
“Am I that easy to see through?”
“Well, the atmosphere you give off is pretty unique, nii-san. See, look at that girl over there. Doesn’t she give off kind of an elegant aura?”
She points to another girl with bright, golden semi-long hair.
Her skin is glossy and her hair looks soft and fluffy. Her appearance is also rather elegant — isn’t that Sophia?
Why is Sophia at the entrance ceremony?
…is she pretending to be enrolling this year?
There shouldn’t be any students that would recognize her, so it should be fine. Well…I guess this will help her make new friends.
“There’s also that girl in the back. Doesn’t she give off a calm and gentle aura?”
I turned to look at this girl but didn’t recognize her.
She had bluish silver hair and large purple eyes. She definitely looks elegant as well. Similar to Sophia, her breasts are rather big for her age.
She stands out just as much as Sophia. I don’t really know her, but I can tell she is a proper lady.
“I get what you’re saying. So what are you going to do?”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”
“My name’s Akane. I am the daughter of the Cloud Company, Akane. Nice to meet you, nii-san.”
“Eh? Ah…My name is Leo. It’s nice to meet you.”
The way she talks I’m likely to get caught up in her pace if I’m not careful. More importantly, she said she wouldn’t tell anyone.
“You don’t need to be worried about anything. As long as we get along it’s fine.”
“Is that so?”
“Why do you look so surprised? You’re so mean. Do I really look that evil?”
“Eh? Sorry, well….”
I looked over Akane once again.
She’s probably slightly younger than me. It’s probably more suitable for her, considering her age, but she’s completely flat-chested. She looks rather exotic and I think she’d look nice in a kimono. And, her chest is flat.
“…why do I feel like you’re thinking about something rude?”
“It’s just your imagination.”
…well, her appearance is fitting for her age and she has a distinctive accent.
Her dialect, to me, is a mix of Kansai and Kyoto dialect. This world obviously doesn’t have those dialects but that’s just what it reminds me of.
“Nii-san, how long are you going to keep staring at me? Am I really that suspicious to you? I’ll need a minute, I didn’t realize I was such a suspicious person. I’m a little shocked.”
“Ah, sorry. You’re not suspicious. I’ve just never been around someone like you before.”
“Huh? Is that so? Well, I think it would be beneficial for us both if we got along.”
“Beneficial to us both?”
“Ah, sorry. I’m thinking about it with the mind of a merchant. First, we should be able to trust each other.”
“…so you mean?”
“The fact that I don’t plan on telling anyone you’re a noble and the fact that I want us to be friends are unrelated.”
I guess she isn’t a bad girl. Also, having an interesting girl like this be my friend should lead to a rather fun school life.
It also should help if there are more people that know my secret. That way they can help hide it.
“Akane, let’s have a good year together.”
“Same to you, nii-san.”
I spoke with Akane for the rest of the entrance ceremony. While doing so, I was able to understand a little more about her personal life.
Apparently, Akane comes from a merchant family — the Cloud Company.
They transport national specialities all across the country. However, recently it seems sales have declined and luxury goods that are sold exclusively to the nobility are no longer selling at all.
This is fairly obvious but to a merchant family like hers, being able to sell the highest quality products is crucial to them obtaining power and financial success.
In other words, high ranking nobles and rich people all want the products created in Muhle.
So, if you want to do business with nobles, you must sell products made in Muhle. The only problem is that the products made in Muhle are produced rather slowly, so merchants that aren’t connected can’t trade.
— So that’s what she said.
…somehow, I feel sorry.
I can’t apologize because I’m not ‘Leon the Earl’ right now, so I’m only able to apologize in my mind…that’s right. Everything I do affects so many people in this country in many ways.
I need to think about things differently and change how we do things to help more people.
“…umm, well, that seems hard for you.”
“It really is terrible. If we can’t keep up with the times we can’t continue to trade, so that’s why I decided to come to this school. I’ll be able to learn new business tricks and form some personal connections here.”
“Uwaa, that surprised me. Why are you suddenly yelling my name?”
“I was touched by your way of thinking, Akane! I have a newfound respect for you!”
“Y-Yeah? T-That’s nice.”
Akane doesn’t really understand what I mean.
Well, basically I like people that work hard — it has nothing to do with her being a girl. This is also why I did so much to help out Crane when we first started working together.
I’m not planning on giving her any more support than I gave him. I want to help her because she’s my friend from school.
“By the way, nii-san. You’re trying to hide your identity, right? Don’t you think you should talk less proper?”
“I don’t do it intentionally. Thank you for trying to help me hide my identity.”
“Well…you do plan on telling everyone eventually, right?”
“Well, I think I’ll probably reveal it by graduation.”
Even if I want to remain friends with the people I meet here, I’ll have to eventually speak with merchants as the Earl.
Akane placed her finger against her cheek and nodded.
“I think I get what you’re doing, nii-san. Rather than trying to just hide your identity, I think you want to attend this school as a normal student.”
“…wow, you’re really good at reading people.”
“Even if I don’t look it, I am the daughter of a merchant. I take pride in my observational skills.”
Akane proudly puffed out her chest.
It’s nice seeing her so proud of her father. I envy her just a little because I lost my father early on in this life and in my previous life.
…still, I have Milli and everyone else.
“I do think it’s the right idea for you to hide your identity while going to this school.”
“Is that because people tend to avoid the nobility? I’ve heard that everyone here is treated equally.”
“I’ve also heard rumours that some nobles are disowned by their families if they’re expelled from this school. There’s also a general distrust for nobles among the commoners.”
“I see. Well, certainly….”
If they act like Patrick they’ll be kicked out.
In other words, it means that there have been other nobles that have gone too far and were forced to withdraw or were expelled.
That does seem pretty inevitable based on the nobles I’ve met.
“I don’t think I’m superior to anyone else.”
“I’d like that to be true, but I can’t know that considering this is the first time we met.”
“Is that so?”
Still, I’m afraid that most nobles that want to attend this school are similar to Patrick.
I can understand why she wouldn’t so easily trust me.
“Well, there is another reason to avoid the nobility.”
“Well, most students that have come here have parents or lords that expect great things from them. Look at all of their faces. They all have a burden that they carry.”
I turned to look at the many students gathered here.
Sophia and the other girl that Akane pointed out earlier looked relaxed, but every other student looked very tense.
Hundreds of students that carried the expectations of their lords and parents.
They’re all here because they’re expected to graduate next year and bring back the technologies of this school. Do they want to avoid relations between the nobility?
It sounds rather childish to say that Alice and I are here to enjoy school life. I thought I wanted to have a fun year with everyone but I wonder if I should rethink that.
“…eh, hmm? Akane, you’re talking to me.”
“That’s because you’re not like the normal nobility that I’d dislike, nii-san. On top of that, my goal is to form connections and trade partnerships with people.”
In other words, Akane could probably be friends with Sophia and Alice. She doesn’t seem like a bad person and she looks reliable, but… she does seem to be a little calculating.
I’m afraid of what she’d be able to understand after seeing the relationship between Alice, Sophia, and I.
Well, I shouldn’t be afraid. I do want to form relationships with other families. Mainly in a business sense.
Well, I have the next year to decide on all of this — while thinking this, Claire appeared on stage. Welcoming the new students to the school.