Volume 1 Gratitude
The Imperial Capital’s palace.
It was too big to accurately pinpoint where inside exactly.
For the palace of the Empire is said to be bigger than even a major city in and of itself.
The minister’s office was located in such a place.
There, a grey-haired old man continued working on his electronic paperwork as another man drew closer to him in anger.
That other man was Cliff, Liam’s father.
“What is the meaning of this?! Why won’t you allow our appeal for a reassignment to go through?!”
As most aristocrats retain their youthful bodies by slowing down the aging process, that meant that those of them that did have elderly appearances had truly lived for a long time.
The man who Cliff was complaining to was a man who had served the royal family for many generations and is said to know all of the Empire like the back of his hand.
“...the reassignment process has already been completed once before, and we don’t see any reason to repeal it.”
Cliff had already discarded the eloquence and manners of a noble, and was starting to lose his temper.
“That boy brought an android into the palace, and has broken the taboos of noble society. Do you want the Banfield house to bear this shame?!”
As the prime minister continued to process his electronic documents, he could feel a bitter taste rising in his mouth.
His hands which were working so fervently had stopped,
“So you’re telling me that Sir Liam, the nobleman who defeated a pirate fleet that terrorized our space is an embarrassment? The Empire doesn’t have any laws against keeping an android close by. That’s nothing more than one of society’s tendencies.”
“And I’m saying that it’s precisely because of those tendencies that this is a problem! Your Excellency, please reconsider!”
The prime minister smiled.
Maybe Cliff thought that his point had finally gotten through, as he smiled back,
But his expression turned pale immediately after.
“Sir Liam has fulfilled the duty of paying the taxes that the Banfield house has neglected. He is a wonderful citizen that contributes to the Empire, so we have great expectations for him. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“W-well if that’s the problem, then everything should be fine as long as we pay the taxes once we’re reinstated, right?”
At Cliff’s query, the minister suddenly burst into laughter,
“It’s precisely because you never did so before that we can’t trust you. That’s the biggest difference between you and that child in the first place! As for which one of you is more beneficial for the Empire, even someone like you should understand the obvious choice here.”
Cliff scowled and tried to rebuttal, but the minister wouldn’t allow it,
“Now I’d behave if I were you. You do want to live a peaceful life in the imperial capital after all, don’t you?”
With that statement Cliff quickly left the office with a somewhat panicked step. From the minister’s tone, he understood that if he did anything to Liam, then they’d surely dispose of him.
The minister watched Cliff’s receding back and frowned,
“There’s been a boom in low-ranking nobility lately... I still can’t believe that such a prodigy was born from someone like that.”
Liam was someone who had completely revitalized a desolate land.
In addition to that, he was able to defeat an overwhelming quantity of pirates while outnumbered.
A genius of politics and governmental affairs, a master of martial skills and war, as well as a highly honourable and loved individual amongst his people. A superior lord of the frontier had appeared; a being that both greatly troubled the minister as much as he celebrated it,
Because one day he might turn those sharpened fangs towards the Empire.
He didn’t think they would lose, but it was a nasty thought all the same.
But the story was different if he was obedient.
A lord who firmly pays taxes and follows orders would be greatly welcomed by the minister.
“There’s no way we’d replace him with someone as incompetent as that. Let’s get that little boy– Liam, to work for the Empire.”
He brought out a certain electronic document.
It was a document that pertained to the rewards of the pirate subjugation.
Liam had actually declined the remuneration.
To be precise, the form requested that the compensation would be used to pay-off the overdue taxes instead.
At the same time, it also appealed for the rights to be able to purchase flagship-class battleships at the Empire’s factories.
Neither request could hurt the Empire.
Or rather, both could only benefit them.
Instead of paying out a reward, they were going to buy weapons from Empire-run facilities.
It was a very lucrative proposal that wouldn’t hinder their finances.
“Even though the android gave its all to support their master, the true parents abandoned their child in pursuit of their own selfish desires... This is a sad time to live in...”
The minister went and complained for a little while, before continuing his work.
◇ ◇ ◇
The suite room of one of the capital’s luxury hotels.
In any case, we were staying in a very expensive room, and I was currently laying down on Amagi’s lap on top of the bed.
“...I’m tired. I just can’t understand what I can’t understand. Just what is a party?”
As I had participated in parties everyday, I had to seriously reconsider my definition of what parties were.
There were many parties of various forms.
I had eaten creatures I had never seen before, and was perplexed by the surprises I could never have expected.
What surprised me the most though was the bucket party. Not a mask party, a bucket party.
It was beyond anything I could’ve imagined.
I really had no idea as to how someone could have thought of such an idea.
The bucket had opened up endless possibilities for me.
As a side note, the lap pillow felt really nice.
That’s when Amagi spoke up,
“It’s almost time for you to become an adult, and with that I’ve been in your service for more than forty years.”
“Yes, even though it’s been a long time, it all passed by in an instant.”
It was a very long amount of time in comparison to my previous life.
And yet it felt so short.
“...Master, I don’t think I should be by your side anymore.”
Amagi continued to explain as I confusedly raised my head,
“The Empire has a strong sense of repulsion against androids. Master’s reputation has already been damaged by me. If you need someone to stay by your side, then a human woman would be better.”
After being told such a thing, I could feel my anger flaring up,
“Is that supposed to be a joke?”
I suddenly recalled memories about my previous life’s wife.
“This is for Master’s sake.”
I remembered the woman who said that she loved me, yet still abandoned me so easily.
I remembered the image of that woman and her new man laughing at me– and the hatred I felt at that time which was strong enough to kill.
“...so you’re abandoning me too. Are you really going to throw me away?! Is it really that repulsing to stay by my side?! I see, so not even androids can stand my presence!”
After I stood up and started to yell, Amagi went on to shake her head,
“That’s not true, the time that I’ve spent with Master has undoubtedly been the happiest time in my life, but I have to leave. I’ll make sure to prepare a successor, so from now on-”
Who cares about that?!
Are you really leaving me for something as stupid as that?!
“Don’t screw with me! You should just follow my orders! That’s right, this is an order! Stay by my side! Don’t go against what androids were supposed to be built for!”
Amagi softly responded,
“...if that is your command, then I will follow.”
“I should’ve said this from the beginning. You... don’t ever abandon me.”
As I started to cry, Amagi came close and hugged my head.
“I guess it can’t be helped.”
If you think about it, we’ve been together for almost half a century now.
She’s been with me longer than my previous life’s wife.
“It’s always been just the two of us.”
“...but wasn’t Brian always there too?”
No- that’s true, but don’t mention Brian’s name here.
I see Brian in a totally different light.
He’s more like a grandpa, or a butler to me.
Now that I think about it, I think I’ve known Brian the longest out of anyone.
“Well, I’ll make sure to serve you for as long as possible.”
“Yes, that’s fine.”
–I should’ve said all this at the very beginning.
But why did Amagi’s smile look just the slightest bit sad?
◇ ◇ ◇
In the territory of the Banfield house.
The newly established hospital was a place that was both well-equipped and well-staffed.
Tia, who had woken up in such a place, felt quite strange as she lay on her bed.
The surroundings were different from what she was used to.
Her body also felt strange.
No, it felt quite nostalgic actually.
She could feel her limbs again, almost as if this were all a dream.
A few moments later the door suddenly opened, so she tensed up, but it was a male doctor wearing a white coat that entered.
—it wasn’t the rearing officer.
“So you’re awake?”
The male doctor’s eyes that were looking at Tia showed no disgust at all.
“Umm, just where is this? I’d-”
Her voice sounded different than usual.
It was her voice. The voice that she lost had returned.
What she just said was in the tone of her own voice!
A nurse standing behind the male doctor looked over at Tia.
She brought over a hand mirror that showed Tia’s reflection.
At first Tia looked way because she was scared, but there was a familiar figure projected in it. In terms of age, she looked no older than someone who had just recently reached adulthood.
Long, flaxen hair.
Pink lips and clear white skin.
Green eyes- it was her old face.
“Huh? T-this is?”
Tears suddenly started to flow out as she confusedly gazed at the nostalgic sight.
Her face couldn’t make expressions very well.
Her arms and legs couldn’t move very well either.
The doctor seemed to be relieved.
“We had to rebuild your body from scratch with regenerative therapy, so it took quite a while.”
Tia continued to cry as she listened to the explanation.
“My body... is back to normal?”
The doctor looked a little troubled,
“We used an elixir to turn you back, but you’ll have to go through some tough rehab if you want it work like it used to.”
“An elixir? You used something that precious on me?”
“We used a diluted amount, yes, but it’s not enough. Like I mentioned earlier, you’ll have to go through some tough rehab for a full recovery. It’ll be like rebuilding every muscle in your body from scratch.”
Isn’t this a dream? But even in Tia’s wildest imagination, she thought that this was too good, even for a dream.
Until very recently, she thought that she could only feel such happiness in dreams.
“I’ll do it. I’ll do anything you need me to! I feel like I’m dreaming here...”
As Tia declared so, the doctor began to smile,
“This isn’t a dream, it’s reality. Yeah, definitely reality.”
There were still things to be worried about though.
Tia had just gone through a full-body regeneration treatment, but that wasn’t an operation just anyone could access.
Unlike regenerating a limb, Tia’s condition required specifically designed equipment and an excellent specialist in order to cure.
It was possible to treat, but it was more than likely to say it wasn’t.
After all, only nobles and millionaires could possibly afford elixirs.
That’s how valuable they were.
“W-who paid for my medical treatment?”
The doctor answered her while operating a tablet terminal.
He seemed to be jotting down notes in her medical record.
“Lord Banfield did, or to be more precise, he built this hospital and hired the staff for it.”
Unbelievably, an entire hospital was prepared for her, rather than having her dropped off at a place where the necessary facilities were already built.
The doctor conveyed Liam’s words to her,
“The Count told me to tell you that you’ll have to pay him back eventually, but for now you should focus on your rehabilitation. Many therapy sessions will also be required.”
‘Be sure to return the favour-’ Tia thought of the boy after hearing such words.
“Don’t tell me... was it the child from that time?”
“Now then, listen up,”
After the doctor said that, he proceeded to talk about her upcoming schedule.
◇ ◇ ◇
A year has passed since we left for the imperial capital.
We had finally returned to my territory, where I was currently receiving various reports from Brian in the mansion’s office.
Brian was smiling,
“Lord Liam, the hospital reported that the treatment has been going well.”
“Are they talking about the ones that were being imprisoned by Goaz?”
“Yes. It seems like those who are currently undergoing treatment should finish within the next few years, while those who don’t need it can already start a new life in the area.”
Many of them had lost their hometowns, so they moved to my territory.
A lot of them were beautiful girls, but there were also many artists and those with special skills among them.
If beautiful girls are born from their children in the future, then I’ll be a step closer to my dream of a ‘luxurious feast.’
“That sounds wonderful.”
“It truly is. Many of them wish to express how grateful they are to you, Lord Liam.”
I made the investment thinking that it’d be beneficial for the future, but it looks like I’m already getting some positive results.
Currently, I was inspecting the golden box I held in my hand.
It was the treasure I had taken from Goaz, but I didn’t bring it to the capital. I had kept it in my desk’s drawer, so I was taking my time to look at it now that I was back.
Briam smiled warmly as he looked at me,
“Lord Liam sure does love gold.”
“I adore gold.”
“I’ve been thinking this for a while, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen that box somewhere before...”
Brian suddenly clapped his hands,
“I remember now!”
“What is it? Is it some sort of great treasure?”
“No, I think it’s something else.”
“Don’t raise my expectations so high if you’re just going to drop them. So, what did you remember?”
“I haven’t told you this before, but this Brian here used to be an adventurer.”
Adventurers were those who explored the vastness of the universe.
They were a specialized group that delved into ruins and researched the secrets behind ancient civilizations.
“You were an adventurer?”
“Yes, and at the time, I remember seeing something like that in the data I researched. It’s a replica, but that’s the [Alchemy Box], a device whose means of production was lost in ancient times.”
“Like a dream, it was something that had the ability to create treasure even from garbage. It could transmute anything except for living creatures. Meaning that it even had the ability to create rare metals like mithril, orihalculum, and adamantium.”
“Could it make gold?!”
“Hmm? Ah, yes, of course it could.”
It’d be wonderful if such a device actually existed in this universe.
“I wish it was real.”
“That would be phenomenal, yes. If you obtained something like that, then all our financial problems could be resolved at once.”
“Do you want to try and find the real thing?”
“Lord Liam, you’re currently the head of the Banfield house. Unfortunately, I’ll have to ask you to refrain from the adventurer’s occupation.”
I puffed my cheeks with anger at Brian.
◇ ◇ ◇
It was night.
I was currently looking at the golden box in my room.
“I wish this was real.”
I asked Brian for the data on how to use it.
A magic device that was destroyed in the past. A valuable tool that couldn’t be reproduced because it’s manufacturing technique had been lost.
I’d never be troubled with debt again if I had it.
“For example, if I opened the lid and used it on...”
I opened the box and turned towards one of the wooden practice swords I kept nearby.
I thought it was just a replica, but the box reacted and multiple screens were projected one after another all around me.
Everything was written in an ancient alphabet.
I learned about this language in the education capsule, so I could somehow decipher it.
“Transform? Uhh... this?”
After I chose what item I wanted to transmute, the sword was wrapped in golden particles before it changed colour.
Picking it up, it didn’t have the weight of a wooden sword anymore.
It had the heavy weight of a metal- more specifically, gold.
“You’ve got to be kidding me! This is the real thing?!”
Now that I think about it, Goaz was rich because he possessed a vast quantity of rare metals, not because of his piracy.
So this was the source of his wealth.
“The guide told me that I’d get all of his treasure... was he talking about this?”
I opened up a nearby window and started laughing,
“This is amazing! To give me all this as just a service, you really are a great person! No matter how much I thank you, it’ll never be enough, but I’ll say it again anyways! Because of you, I can finally begin living my life as an evil lord!”
I shouted out “Thank you” from the bottom of my heart.
Every part of my being was grateful to him, and I wanted him to know that!
“I’m sorry Guide, at first I thought you were a really shady person, but I’m only this happy now because of everything that you’ve done for me! I don’t know what to say, and I can’t possibly thank you enough, but I want you to at least hear me say it, so- THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR EVERYTHING!!!”
◇ ◇ ◇
On the other hand...
The guide was being burned by Liam’s heartfelt gratitude towards him.
It was really freaking hot.
He was screaming in pain as if a red-hot iron was branding something onto his chest.
Grasping his chest with both his hands, the guide was suffering unimaginable pain.
He was kicking his legs as he rolled on the ground, crying.
Throwing away his suitcase, he cried out in pain from the gratitude.
“It’s all gone! My power, it’s gone!”
He had lost the small amount of power he had left instead of recovering more.
With things like this, he couldn’t kill Liam even if he tried.
After a while, he clutched his chest and clenched his teeth.
“I won’t forgive you! I’ll never forgive you, Liam. With these hands I’ll knock you down to hell and relish in the pain you suffer for all eternity. You will hate, envy and fear me in that hell, while I stand over and laugh at you.”
The guide slowly rose up.
On a moonlit meadow, the guide swore revenge against Liam.
“Be sure of it! You better believe that I’ll-”
A dog silently hiding in the meadow continued to watch the guide in interest.
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