Volume 6 Chapter 11. The Battleship, Decapitated
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Although I’ve been assigned to work at the palace, it’s so huge here that it feels like I’m checking in at a regular company instead.
As I arrive at the excessively luxurious lobby of the building, I’m greeted by the sight of many newcomers wearing brand new suits.
Some of the civil officers here are aristocrats like me, who didn’t have to take any exams to walk this elite path.
The others are bona fide bureaucrats that climbed to their position after going through intense competition.
Thanks to the caste system, these ordinary bureaucrats are at our beck and call.
Hurray for the aristocracy!
The bureaucrats gathered in the lobby begin to buzz just as I enter the room.
I assumed for a second that it’s because of me, a rather renowned aristocrat, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
I look back and catch sight of a man in red suit, surrounded by some men in black, coming towards our general direction.
Is that a white muffler around his shoulder?
Based on his demeanor, and the reactions of those around him, it’s safe to say that he’s not a commoner.
He’s probably an aristocrat and a legitimate heir to his household.
He appears to be around 100 years older than me, but there’s nothing strange about that since we’re allowed a bit of leeway. As long as we finish our aristocratic training before turning 200 years old.
In other words, it’s not unusual to be trained together with people from previous generations. This can be considered an opportunity to become acquainted with other families.
The man in the red suit ignores my presence and walks past me.
As I watch his back, I start regretting not bringing any subordinates of my own.
“Damn it. Someone should’ve told me that we’re allowed to bring subordinates with us. I would’ve prepared twice the number as that man.”
I have subordinates lurking in the shadows, but I haven’t brought along anyone that can be put in the limelight like that man in the red suit.
Since today’s the first day, I thought people would think I came with a babysitter if I brought along an escort.
Someone calls out to me as I’m wallowing in this sense of defeat.
“It’s an honor to meet the famous Count Banfield.”
The person that speaks to me seems to be the child of an aristocrat based on the pretentious looking pants that he has on.
Not only that, he’s wearing a suit that accentuates his sex appeal and makes him look like a club host.
Based on the gazes that the women around him are giving, they clearly have a good impression of him.
On the other hand, the women look at me and quickly look away in fear.
I’m fine with others being afraid of me, but why are we being treated this differently?
“State your business.”
With a set of smooth movements, the man gives me a deep bow.
Even his gestures are pretentious.
“My name is [Marion Sera Olgren]. Have you heard of Viscount Olgren’s household?”
I comb through the names of aristocratic households within my memory and eventually remember learning about Viscount Olgren through the education capsule a long time ago.
Viscount Olgren’s household should be a branch family of Margrave Olgren, which protects the borders of the Empire.
Essentially, Viscount Olgren is Margrave Olgren’s subordinate related to him by blood.
The official records state that the Viscount is a direct vassal of the Empire, but locally he’s the subordinate of the powerful Margrave.
His position is like that of the Baron who was under me before I crushed him.
“The one whose territory borders Gudwar’s?”
“I’m relieved to hear that you’ve heard of our name.”
He has short silver hair, purple eyes, and a long bang. My first impression of Marion is that he’s a cheeky kid with drooping eyes that’s surrounded by a strange sex appeal.
“What business do you have with me, and where’s your master?”
You don’t have what it takes to speak with me.
At least have your master with you if you wish to speak to me.
Catching my hint, Marion lets out a small laugh.
“Unfortunately, the sons and daughters of the Margrave already received their training some time ago. Thanks to that, I’m here by myself, ready to serve the palace alone.”
“Were you not called back because you didn’t graduate from a military academy?”
Growing up, Marion probably attended preschool. Then entered the Imperial University, where he decided to walk the path of a civil officer.
I’m assuming that he’s around eighty or so, which makes him my junior.
“You’ve really hit me where it hurts. Right now’s a dangerous time for my family and the main branch. I wanted to help out as well, but they apparently don’t need a kid with zero military experience.”
It’s clear now as to why he decided to approach me.
He wants to receive support from powerful aristocrats, or at least request reinforcements.
He’ll probably try to get close to influential figures during this period of training so that he can request their help.
“Sorry, but I’m busy at the moment.”
“You’re quite cold, aren’t you? Our workplace is the same, so I’m looking forward to getting along with you, Liam-senpai.”
The friendly smile on his face reminds me of his young age, and it offers a stark contrast to the strange sex appeal surrounding him that is unbefitting of his age.
The women around us seem to be very interested in Marion.
“Apparently his family are Viscounts!”
“The prestigious branch family of the Olgren’s!”
“Things are looking quite amazing this year as well!”
The department that I belong to, which is almost this entire building, is a gathering place for the elite.
Talented bureaucrats and powerful aristocrats come here for their training.
For an aristocrat, being here means being recognized as excellent by the Empire.
This must be the result of never missing out on offering gifts to the higher-ups.
Let’s continue to get along with the Chancellor.
I start walking, and Marion follows a few steps diagonally behind me while playing with his long bangs.
“As expected of a popular workplace. It’s like an aristocratic trade fair. The person over there is from a Count family.”
“I’m currently a Count.”
“Oh, and that person over there has connections to a Marquis. I’d love to be acquainted with him.”
“I’m an up-and-coming Duke.”
Being surrounded by all these famous aristocrats makes me sick.
I try to compete with them by bringing up my own titles, but it feels somewhat meaningless to do so.
Marion laughs at my behavior.
“I take it that Liam-senpai hates losing?”
“It’s because I don’t think I’m lacking compared to them. They’re not even the heirs to their households, right? They’re nothing special.”
Aristocrats, and their associates, that have been secretly listening to our conversation turn towards me with stern expressions on their faces.
Marion intentionally gives an exaggerated shrug before saying my name out loud.
“Only someone like Liam-senpai can get away with saying that here. I expected no less from Count Banfield.”
I guess he’s trying to be considerate towards our surroundings.
Most of the aristocratic onlookers turn their eyes away from us after hearing my name.
The idiots that haven’t heard of me continue to glare at us.
I glare back at those few idiots, and the people around them drag them away in a hurry.
“You’re quite tactful.”
Marion becomes slightly flustered by my praise.
“Anyone in my position would’ve done the same. Oh, but is it alright for a Count to move around without anyone accompanying him? Shouldn’t you at least have a few people following you around?”
Rosetta, who’s also out for work, has an entourage following her.
As for me, I don’t need one.
To be more precise… I don’t have one.
Recently, I sent them away for “re-education” to keep them on a tight leash.
Not to mention I executed the Baron who made light of me, and my other subordinates who betrayed me as well.
I threw their kids into a military re-education facility that is well known to be the most brutal out there.
As a result, my entourage is now non-existent.
I thought I’d at least have Wallace beside me, but he’s a member of the royal family now, even if it’s only a thing of the past.
Because of that, he’s been assigned a special post at the palace. Which leaves me with no minions to command.
None within sight at least.
We enter the elevator and I’m left alone with Marion, who leans back on one of the walls. He brings up the topic of my preschool days.
“There’s something that I’m curious about. Is it true that you killed one of your opponents at the mobile knight tournament while you were in preschool? I’ve heard lots of incredible legends about Liam-senpai.”
“Legends? I don’t know about that, but it’s true that I killed a piece of trash named Derrick there.”
Marion expresses surprise towards my nonchalant reply.
I thought a record of that match would be left somewhere, but maybe the instructors hid it.
I suppose it’s because it’s considered a stain on the school’s name.
“Then is it true that you laid siege on the second school building? I heard the second school building became strict after that incident.”
“Don’t know about the second part, but it’s true that we attacked it.”
I was free at the time, so I decided to barge in with Kurt and Wallace.
Those are fond memories from my time at preschool, but Rosetta turned out to be such an easy woman that everything from that time period feels rather bland.
She has no idea how much effort I poured into her.
“I heard Liam-senpai was an excellent student, but it turns out you did a lot of bad things as well.”
“The instructors stayed silent because of my outstanding grades.”
“… Liam-senpai’s quite the interesting person.”
Marion observes me as if he’s appraising a product.
“I’m not interested in being an interesting person. Give up if you’re thinking of asking for support for the Olgren Family.”
“Can’t you give it a bit of consideration?”
“As I said, I’m busy.”
I really ambusy. I don’t have the time to get myself involved with the Olgren Family.
We step out as the elevator arrives at our destination.
The newcomers of this season seem to be gathered here.
Some of these newcomers have passed the exams and entered through legitimate means.
There are also those who used connections and bribes to enter through the back door.
Of course, there’s also us aristocrats who are winners from birth.
We’re at a courtyard where the entrance ceremony is being held, but it feels more like a party venue.
Preparations for a reception seem to be well underway. From the looks of it, today will be more like a banquet.
As expected of the Empire!
It seems like we won’t have to do actual work and go through formal briefings on Day 1.
The man in the red suit, that ignored me at the lobby earlier, has surrounded himself with other aristocrats and is chatting away.
Seeing my arrival, he raises the left side of his mouth and smirks.
One of his subordinates approaches me.
“That I am.”
“Lord Randy wishes to say hello, if you will.”
Marion, who’s standing diagonally behind me, helps me out in a whisper.
“He hails from the house of Marquis [Lengrand]. His name is [Randy Sera Lengrand], he’s heir of the Marquis household. He’s also the cousin of His Highness Cleo.”
His Highness Cleo’s mother is from the Lengrand Family.
In other words, the Lengrand Family who should’ve backed His Highness Cleo.
Yet the one who’s actually backing him is me.
“He’s asking a mere subordinate to greet the future Duke? Have your master come here himself.”
Looking clearly upset, the man in black turns around to face Randy.
The people around us are watching while holding their breaths.
Randy, who failed to outlast me, eventually walks up to where I’m standing.
“Excuse my manners, Count Banfield. As the prince’s cousin, I was curious about the person that His Highness Cleo is indebted to. I’m happy to finally meet you like this.”
The Lengrand’s have refused to support Cleo up to this point, thinking that he didn’t have what it takes to be an Emperor. Yet he’s saying all this with a straight face.
Well, I would’ve said something along those lines if I was in his shoes.
“Please rest assured. I’ll make sure that he’s safe and sound.”
I flash a smile at him.
Randy also returns a smile… but with hostility mixed in.
When someone gets to my level, it becomes easy for them to see through what others are thinking, especially if the opponent is someone as weak as him.
Randy presents me with a glass that he receives from his subordinate.
“From now on, the Lengrand Family will also give Cleo our full support. Until now, there was a misunderstanding between us that made it difficult for us to support him. It must have been difficult for Count Banfield as well.”
Now that Cleo has a chance of seizing the throne, they’ve come to regret their earlier decisions.
It’s understandable, I’d regret it as well if I were them.
But I won’t hand him over.
“It was no problem at all. His Highness Cleo’s faction is very well organized after all. The addition of the Lengrand Family will surely be a great boon for us. Let’s work hard together towards our goals.”
There’s a catch though: you will be under me!
After a toast with Randy, I down the drink.
The house of Cleo’s mother has finally come into the picture.
….as I thought it would.
Brian (´；ω；｀): “Lord Liam has a kouhai now! This Brian is so glad that Lord Liam grew up to be such a splendid man. What’s more, Lord Liam’s childhood has been recorded in a book! It’ll be released on July 25th, and things are looking better than the web novel!”
Wakagi-chan (゜∀゜): “You’re ten years too early to advertise before me! Wakagi-chan will now…”
Brian (´；ω；｀) r鹵~＜≪巛;゜Д゜): “…. Nugyaaa!!”
Brian (´・ω・｀): “Evil has been vanquished.”
TN: NGL, this chapter was extremely hard to translate, so please don’t bash me if I made a mistake in the translation somewhere.