School of the One-Flash
Someone with the atmosphere of an old man had arrived.
At the end of the wacky mansion’s garden, the old man- my new teacher Master Yasushi1 was sitting in front of me.
He was a bearded man wearing a shabby kimono.
He looked like a ronin, but somehow the atmosphere about him was different.
He was probably someone who had mastered ‘true’ martial arts.
Slowly and quietly the master called my name.
Maybe noticing how I was shaking, master started to smile.
“You don’t have to be so tense. First, I guess I’ll explain some things about my style.”
Master showed me his katana.
Swords were something that were used in this universe, so it’d be better to learn how to use it if I can.
There wasn’t anything special about it, but I could really feel the atmosphere of a master around him. I could tell, he was a great choice for an instructor.
“Sir Liam, this is my school’s only secret technique, so don’t show or use it recklessly. With that said, I still need to show you the benefits of studying under me, so this is a special case. If possible, I’d appreciate it if you were the only one to witness it.”
This is great.
I didn’t think that I’d be shown a secret technique so soon.
Standing behind me, Amagi sent a suspicious look towards Master.
“Unacceptable, that would be a breach of safety protocols.”
But Master didn’t break his expression.
“In that case, I will have to decline this job request.”
I immediately gave the order to Amagi.
“Amagi, I’ll permit it.”
Frowning, and with a look that showed she was a little hesitant-
“...please call me for help if something happens.”
Said this and left.
Once it was just the two of us, Master took out some logs he had prepared beforehand.
He handed them over to me.
“Are you going to cut this?”
“You bet, just place them anywhere you wish, Sir Liam. Preferably, somewhere farther than my sword’s length.”
Once I decided where I wanted them, Master told me to just stick them into the ground.
After the logs were set, Master began to ready his stance from a distance his sword couldn’t possibly reach.
The blade was still sheathed.
“Sir Liam, the ‘Flash’ is a secret technique that combines both the powers of martial arts and magic power. This one technique is enough. If you can master this, then all you need to practice from then on would be the basics.”
I was breathless in the atmosphere surrounding Master.
“This is a technique that must never be seen. The moment that someone is able to see it, it loses all meaning. This is the secret behind the ‘Flash.’”
Having said that, Master pressed his thumb against the hilt of his sword and pushed it out of its sheath slightly, making a clear snapping sound.
His right arm didn’t even move to draw it.
If I didn’t know any better, than I would’ve thought he didn’t do anything at all but-
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
-All the logs were cleaved and fell to the ground.
The cuts were so beautiful, its as if they were cut with a completely different blade.
There’s no way that the blade could reach this far, was the technique something akin to a sword draw?2
Master exhaled a loud breath and turned towards me while I was puzzled.
“This is the secret technique, ‘Flash.’”
“How did you cut them?”
To my astonished self, Master displayed his sword to me again and lightly shook it.
Another log was sliced in two, one of the extra ones that I didn’t set up, but the thing was, it was behind Master this time.
“You’ll understand as you undergo the process of learning it. Only through rigorous self-discipline can someone learn the answer. With that said, I’ll ask you, do you want to learn the Flash?”
I quickly nodded my head.
Fantasy universes are amazing! I never would’ve thought in my wildest dreams that there were skills like this!
◇ ◇ ◇
Several years have passed since that day.
Liam is ten years old now.
Everyday, he continued to train in the basics Yasushi taught him.
Yasushi was watching him from a distance.
“Children sure do learn things quickly... Now then, what should I do for our next lesson?”
He not only taught the basics of the sword, but also the basics of spearmanship, hand-to-hand combat, knives, and many other things.
In the first place, Yasushi didn’t have a lot that he could teach anyways.
Even while he was teaching Liam, there were even times when he couldn’t even pass on the basics clearly.
Yasushi was resting in the shade of a tree as he looked towards the new mansion.
The old weird-looking mansion was demolished, and a rather simple mansion was built in its stead.
“The Banfields are said to have a terrible taste in architecture, but that kid seems to have rather humble preferences.”
Yasushi didn’t think that he was treated that badly, but compared to the other nobles he had seen, Liam was terribly frugal.
Even today he was desperately practicing the basics.
In just three years, Yasushi was already running out of things to teach.
So now he just watched.
“It nice being able to just watch, but that robot comes over to observe him too every now and then. Now, just why does he keep something like that by his side?”
Nobles generally preferred to avoid robots when possible.
This truth only further increased Yasushi’s impression of Liam being a strange person.
“...noble society sure is complicated. Forcing the right to rule over a territory to a little kid.”
It was a dull territory, but at least it was better than how it used to be a few years ago.
Former soldiers and civil servants who had received vocational training were developing the infrastructure of the land.
Development had stagnated in the territory, but the region was slowly becoming more vibrant as the use of tax money and circulation of goods had risen far higher than they were before.
But Yasushi knew the true circumstances behind the Banfield house.
Just because things got a little better, didn’t mean that their huge debt was going to just disappear.
Even if things developed a bit, they’d just be bled accordingly.
“If you look at things that way, maybe it’s just because the kid’s poor.”
Yasushi felt a little sympathetic towards Liam.
But that’s all he felt.
As long as the kid still thought he was teaching him, he’d mooch off of him for as long as possible.
However, there was just one thing that bothered him.
“Still... I know that kid abhors corruption, so if I’m found out won’t I be executed as well?”
◇ ◇ ◇
It’s been a while since I started learning martial arts.
A new mansion had been completed-
“Well, this should be fine, right?”
My first impression of the provisional mansion was that it was enough.
It was definitely big.
Even the ceiling was high. ‘This really is a mansion,’ it gave off that kind of feeling.
It was neither strange nor original, but it wasn’t an inconvenient place to live.
Amagi spoke to me while I was signing documents in my office.
“Master, when do you plan to enter the capsule again?”
“Is it already that time?”
It was time to enter the education capsule again.
Due to time limitations, it wasn’t possible to go through normal schooling that stretched across many years.
So I had to enter it several times before I became an adult.
“When will it be okay for me to enter?”
“You’re free to enter whenever you wish, we’ve already planned ahead for half a year.”
“Understood, then I’ll enter it soon.”
Basically, managing a planet was impossible for an individual.
After all, problems were always occurring on a day-to-day basis.
I couldn’t do this alone.
So I gathered the best officials among the populace and assigned them to manage various regions.
Amagi’s hand stopped after reading over one document.
“Please look at this document.”
It was just a normal document, but there was something strange about its contents.
Looking into it, it turns out that the official that wrote it was doing illegal activities to increase his profits.
“Summon the man who sent this document to me immediately.”
“As you wish.”
Amagi proceeded to contact them, and a few hours later, a man who held considerable power among the officials arrived at the mansion.
◇ ◇ ◇
The tall man dressed in a suit was clearly agitated.
Yet he put on his best smile as he addressed me.
“My lord, I don’t think you understand, but these costs were necessary for my job.”
That’s what he says.
But I’ve already read Amagi’s reports.
Once again, I couldn’t help but marvel at how amazing AI’s were.
“I’ve already confirmed the misappropriation of government funds. We’ve also confirmed various other offenses that you’ve committed.”
I confirmed these after checking out various other documents.
For him to commit so many atrocities and still smile in front of me like they were nothing...
Everything from simple embezzlement, to sending out bribes and corrupting other officials.
But it’s one thing in particular that caught my eye.
He actually hit somebody with a car, but wasn’t held accountable at all.
To the family that protested against him... he erased them.
Moreover, he played around with the man’s wife before throwing her away.
The official continued to make excuses in front of me.
“My lord, don’t believe what the robots say. They’re the beings that destroyed the old civilization and are the enemies of humanity. Please forgive me m’lord. Certainly, I’ve committed a few crimes, but everyone else is doing these things as well, it’s a necessary expenditure needed for me to continue doing my work.”
Before the official that started spouting utter nonsense, I grabbed the sword I had kept nearby.
Amagi tried to stop me.
“Master, don’t do this!”
As I started to unsheathe my blade, the official immediately began to genuflect in front of me.
“That was just a joke, sire! You still need me alive! The only reason why you can still rule over us is thanks to my suppo–”
I drew my sword and bisected the official in half.
Blood spurted out and stained the room red.
“...your mouth, close it.”
Amagi started using some kind of spray on me.
The blood stains on me started to bubble up and disappear.
“Master, he’s already dead.”
I looked down at the body, the image of it started to overlap with the adulterer from my previous life.
The man who took everything away from me.
One of his lawyers came and suddenly started spouting accusations, saying that I was in the wrong.
I couldn’t do anything, and was fired from the company I worked at. It was only a cruel life that awaited me from there.
“This is my power, and my right. Trash like you deserved to die! ...I’m pissed now. Amagi, look through the data thoroughly. From here on, all corrupted officials are to be executed!”
I take care of the subordinates that follow me, but I have no mercy for those who try to take advantage of me for their own gain.
I’m the only one who’s allowed to oppress the people of my territory.
“Master, please release your grip.”
Amagi had grabbed onto my hands which were still holding the sword.
I tried to let go, but my fingers wouldn’t move.
“Don’t worry, I’m here for you.”
Gently, one by one she pried my fingers off the sword’s handle.
I was sweating profusely by the time I finally let go.
-Am I feeling guilty for killing someone for the first time? That’s quite pathetic for someone aiming to become an Evil Lord.
Amagi received my sword that was still dripping blood and sheathed it.
“As I thought, I can’t do this alone. It doesn’t need to be at the same level as yourself, but start preparing suitable robots and AI’s that can work management positions.”
I thought as much while looking down at the official’s corpse.
AI’s were more useful than trash like this.
The only problem is the matter regarding reputation.
Brian said that the use of AI’s was something looked down on in the Empire, but that didn’t matter to me.
I was prepared for the consequences.
“How many can we afford?
Amagi answered immediately.
“Well, we do need more personnel to manage the mansion... From a financial standpoint we can afford twelve maid units like myself. After that, if they’re specifically designed to help govern the territory there shouldn’t be any problems as long as we make the necessary preparations.”
“Do what you need to do.”
“I shall begin the arrangements immediately.”
I looked at the official’s body one more time and stuck my tongue out.
“...Amagi is better than you.”
◇ ◇ ◇
Brian was in the new mansion educating the new servants.
They all had scared looks on their faces.
Not too long ago, Liam had executed all the corrupt officials at once.
He purged the territory of its filth.
As a result, there were many rumors flying around about the young lord Liam.
One of them being that he would immediately murder any servant who angered him.
Brian took the time to explain the truth to them.
“Its true that you should watch your behaviour around Lord Liam, but he’s kind to those who work hard. You don’t need to be any more afraid of him than necessary.”
One of the maids anxiously raised her hand.
“What is it?”
“Oh, well... um... I heard Lord Liam calls over servants to serve him in ‘that’ way so, umm...”
The owner of the house lays his hands on the servants.
Such a story was commonplace among the nobility.
Sometimes women would take advantage of these rumors and try to sell themselves into houses.
However, it seems that girls were actually scared and felt anxious whenever they heard stories about Liam.
“Lord Liam is still young, and only keeps Amagi by his side, so there’s no need for you to worry about such things.”
That’s when someone muttered,
“...keeping a robot by his side.”
Brian was keen on those words.
“I will pretend I didn’t hear those words, but please refrain from saying things of the sort from now on.”
Amagi has been the source of many problems for Brian.
That said, he couldn’t help but realize something in these last few years.
Liam trusted Amagi far more than necessary.
It was almost as if he was a spoiled child... and in truth, he was.
Despite his young age, he was quite fierce and determined, but there must still be a part of him that yearned for a mother-figure.
(Lord Liam is quite wise for his age... he should already understand that he’s been abandoned. Lord Cliff, why didn’t you raise him with more love?)
“Amagi is a very special existence for Lord Liam, so take care to not undermine her. If Lord Liam finds out, there’s nothing I’ll be able to do to help you.”
While young, Liam was already feared inside the territory.
(Despite that, the domain is definitely improving. If its Lord Liam, there’s no doubt the Banfield family will be able to regain its former glory.)
However at the same time, he did gain a little popularity for purging the corrupted officials.
Thinking about this, Brian once again swore allegiance to Liam in his heart.
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