A fleet of battleships moving through space.
Aligned in formation, they created a beautiful line of light that seemed to cut through the darkness.
The rooms of the flagship were so luxurious that it was surprising.
Sitting by my side were the commander-in-chief and the admiral, as well as the person I had taken into my protective custody.
“Lord Liam, it looks like you’ve completed your training safely.”
“This was only the start. A few years from now, I’ll have to leave again to study abroad in the imperial capital. I might be gone for decades.”
Kurt didn’t seem to be able to calm down.
And Tia suddenly started acting as my personal aide.
Was it that? Because she messed up during the pick-up, was she trying to earn more points now to make up for it?
I didn’t hate that kind of behavior.
“Lord Liam, of the university or the military academy, which one are you going to enroll?”
Tia asked, so I parched my throat with a drink before answering,
“-Either or. They’re pretty much the same thing. The degrees we strive to earn there are just more ways to kill time.”
Kurt looked like he was seriously pondering this,
“I think it’s more important than that. My father told me that after you graduate from the academy, you’ll be conscripted to work for the military for the time. He told me that I should aim to form connections while I could.”
Does he plan to work hard to be liked by his superiors?
As always, this guy has it tough.
“Considering our positions, we’d probably be assigned to rear-line duty anyway.”
“I’d prefer a more active role if possible. Liam, are you going to return to governing your territory after your training is complete?”
Most of the youths who have finished their training apparently spend it living freely until they turn about two hundred years old.
After that, I heard that they’d start preparing for the change of ownership that would allow them to succeed in their family’s house as it’s new lord.
But I had already succeeded my house as count.
“I think I might take it easy for a while.”
If I became an official, I’d be able to cover up my evil deeds as long as I had the right connections.
Though the same could be said for high-ranking military personnel.
If something ever happened, I’d just ask them for help, and then whatever I wanted to cover-up would disappear.
Either could be said to be the correct choice for connections- so which should I choose?
Since I want to play around while I’m studying abroad in the imperial capital, I should probably become an official.
Do I need to prepare some bribes?
While I pondered this, we had arrived in an area of space that allowed warp travel.
The admiral had their own fleet to take charge of, so they left the room, leaving the commander-in-chief behind.
“Lord Liam, for the pirate hunt in Baron Exner’s territory, it’s been reported that the enemy numbers around three thousand ships.”
“I see, I hope they have a lot of treasure.”
Kurt had an uneasy expression on his face.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to transfer over your thirty percent properly.”
“I’m not worried about that. Liam, aren’t you afraid? The other party won’t just be pirates, but hired mercenaries as well.”
This guy needs to relax a little.
Serious evil lords may exist, but this guy is overdoing it a little.
“Remember this phrase! ‘Pirates are just living wallets.’ They’re nothing but great people who collect goods and money for me to relieve them of once I’m done cleaning them up.”
Kurt still looked uneasy, but I had the guide on my side.
You could say that I had his divine protection.
My second life has been really lucky so far thanks to him.
No matter what I did, I always seemed to succeed.
“Even so, there’s still three thousand of them...”
The debris generated from the battle could be converted into valuable resources that could be sold for big profits– is what I’d like to say.
But the pirate fleets seem to have been growing weaker recently, not having much treasure saved up.
Tia then fixed her posture and asked me to leave this to her,
“Lord Liam, please entrust this battle to this Tia here.”
“Don’t interrupt us, and that’s my decision to make.”
“P-please forgive me.”
Watching Tia, who immediately backed off and knelt before me, I couldn’t help but think she looked like a dog.
After the talks continued on for a while, the commander-in-chief got a call,
“Enemy forces have been spotted enroute to intercept us. They number around twenty thousand strong.”
“Enemy forces? Is it pirates?”
“What is it?”
“...we’ve confirmed ships that bear the crest of a noble house among them.”
◇ ◇ ◇
When we arrived at the bridge, both sides were already facing each other.
The holographic image that displayed the current state of the battlefield showed that the enemy was spreading out as if to swallow us.
In contrast, we were taking a formation that was in the shape of a sphere.
“Do they intended to entrap us before attacking?”
Kurt started whispering to me,
“They’re trying to surround us, it’s a good strategy that takes advantage of their superior numbers.”
Looking at that I-
“Okay, let’s attack them.”
“Liam, wait! It’s not a good idea to go on the offensive now! The other party was waiting for us!”
The commander-in-chief started giving out orders, while ignoring Kurt’s outburst.
“All ships prepare for an assault.”
Tia was grasping at her chest– she looked upset, her breathing was rough, and she started sweating.
Was she okay?
“Liam, we’re in danger! The enemy is going to surround us!”
If I were to describe it as an image, I guess it’d be like wrapping up a ball?
The enemy was moving as if to envelop us.
“Don’t worry about it. We’re used to these kinds of fights. In the first place, a difference in numbers of this scale is meaningless.”
After all, I had the guide. My very own guardian angel protecting me.
◇ ◇ ◇
Inside of his personal space, the guide was having a breakdown.
“Why Liam?! Why did you prepare this many?!”
Under normal circumstances, a fleet consisting of only a few hundred ships should’ve picked Liam up.
Even though the guide was hoping to crush him with a force a hundred times larger than them, over ten thousand ships ended coming instead.
This was impossible.
It couldn’t be true.
“My plan! I squeezed out every last bit of my power for this moment!”
To help out the collaboration between the pirates and the Peetak house, he used up what little power he had left.
It wasn’t possible for him to make a big contribution, but to the combined forces that were actively trying to crush Liam, he wanted to help in any way he could.
That said, although Liam only had half their forces, they still had no chance of victory with these numbers.
Inside the space between dimensions, the guide sat down and started to bury his face into his knees.
“It’s too late. It’s over.”
◇ ◇ ◇
The pirates were panicking.
“What the hell is this?! Why aren’t their formations collapsing?!”
From their experiences so far, most nobles would easily fall in battle after being surrounded.
They could easily win against opponents of equal numbers if the specs of their ships themselves were low.
And this time, they even had the assistance of the Peetak house, which doubled their numbers.
One of the subordinates gave a report,
“Boss! The Peetak house’s forces have collapsed, leaving a hole in our formation that’s vulnerable to a siege!”
The unskilled forces of the Peetak house didn’t just underperform, they had already lost.
Their advantage of numbers was slowly being lost.
“Wait, didn’t they have the latest models of ships?! Hey, start up communications with our allied pirates!”
“The jamming will make it-”
“Just do it!”
The other party they connected to was another pirate fleet of a similar size.
Despite the static-filled video, the boss asked the head of the other fleet for help.
“Hey, we’re sworn brothers, right? I need a little help.”
The other party was slightly amazed,
“What did you do? Are you in a battle right now?”
“I am, but the enemy is strong and we’re at a disadvantage. Can you send some reinforcements? Even just giving us a place to run away to is fine.”
The other party asked for the name of the enemy that the boss was thinking of running away from,
“So what’s the name of the force you’re fighting right now?”
“It’s the Banfield house.”
Hearing that name, the pirate in the video dropped the cigar they were holding in their mouth.
He was shaking.
“Are you sure they called themselves the Banfield house?”
“Yes, that’s right. You see, there was this kid named Liam who started a fight with us.”
The appearance of the pirate in the video was strange.
“What the hell did you do?!”
“W-what’s wrong, brother?”
“Liam of the Banfield house, wasn’t he famous for pirate hunting?! He was the one who beat that Goaz! And you’re telling me you started a war with such a guy?! You’ve got to be kidding me!”
The call suddenly disconnected, and no matter what they did, it didn’t reconnect.
Even after asking other allied pirate fleets, the responses they got were all the same.
The boss stood up.
“...what’s the meaning of this? The Banfield family wasn’t just some declining noble house?”
◇ ◇ ◇
It’s been a few days since the battle began.
As soon as the enemy lines started to collapse, it was easy to cut into their formation from there.
Kurt, who was watching everything from the bridge, was astonished after witnessing the strength of Liam’s forces.
(Isn’t this already at the level of the imperial army?)
Quality of equipment, quality of human resources, and level of individual skill. All of these factors weren’t at the level of a common lord’s private forces.
That’s when a call came from the flagship of the enemy side– the one that bore the crest of the Peetak house.
“This is the flagship Peter II of the Peetak house! We surrender! This is our notice of surrender!”
The other party seemed to be in a panic, having made the call with a great deal of noise in the background.
In contrast, the bridge was quiet.
The voices of the operators could be heard, while the staff members continued to give orders with calm tones.
Tia and the surrounding officers started to glare at the commander of the enemy ship with narrowed eyes.
(This person isn’t strong. He isn’t even at the level of a normal knight. To such a person, will Liam really accept their request?)
The commander-in-chief asked Liam for confirmation,
“Lord Liam, the Peetak house has offered to surrender. It might be true that they collaborated with pirates, but various problems might ensue if we continue to attack them-”
The commander-in-chief thought that the battle was probably going to end here.
It was only natural for Liam to accept the surrender.
However, the grudge they’d bear towards the Peetak house wouldn’t be funny at all.
The commander-in-chief was a serious soldier. He couldn’t forgive nobles who acted no different from pirates.
A grinding sound could be heard from Tia’s clenched fists.
Her absolute hatred for pirates could be understood just by looking at her.
That’s when Liam-
“The Peetak house? Hey, do you see the Peetak house anywhere? I don’t see them. All I see in front of us– are pirates.”
Liam started to laugh while giving out orders,
“-they’re just pirates. There’s no reason for the good, respectable, and noble Peetak house to pretend to be criminals. Those are just pirates impersonating a noble family. What reason is there for us to accept their surrender?”
–At that moment, the commander-in-chief fixed the position of his hat.
“Please excuse my mistake, I will continue the attack.”
“Of course you will.”
Liam stood up.
“Now, I’m going to join the assault as well. Tia, you come too.”
Kurt called out to such a Liam,
“Liam! Are you really fine with this?!”
This meant starting a war with the Peetak house, and all houses allied with them.
Despite all that, Liam was laughing,
“Of course I am.”
After saying those words, he took Tia and left the bridge.
The commander-in-chief called out to Kurt after the two disappeared.
“Now that, is our Lord Liam.”
“—real aristocrats sure are amazing. If compared to father and myself, I guess I can understand why they ridicule us as upstarts. ”
They couldn’t make decisions as easily as Liam did.
“What do you mean? Those are just pirates. Lord Kurt, I wholeheartedly believe that you could make the same order.”
Kurt understood everything at that moment.
(‘Even if something is white, it’s black as long as I say it is’— it’s easy to speak such words, but how did Liam learn to do things like this?)
Just as Liam said, the Peetak house was treated no differently from another pirate fleet.
Kurt knew that those words weren’t a joke, and at the same time, the deepness of the resolve behind that order could really be felt.
“I need to grow stronger.”
A tremor seemed to reverberate through Kurt’s body.
Even though it was common sense to not be hostile when possible, Kurt still wanted to fight.
To be precise- Kurt wanted to fight through many opponents as a swordmaster, but looking at Liam, Kurt was convinced that he was the one person that nobody should ever make into an enemy.
“...I was lucky to do this training.”
The training at the Razel house was insufficient.
However, Kurt thought it was worth it to meet Liam and form a friendship with him.
◇ ◇ ◇
The corridor leading to the hangar.
Tia was watching Liam’s back with flushed cheeks.
(Ahh~ Lord Liam truly is noble. Even if the opponent is another aristocrat, he has no qualms with crushing those who associate with pirates with his own hands. I will follow his orders until the day I die.)
Even though Liam knew that the enemy was the Peetak house, he still decided to label them as pirates and have them eradicated– Tia was trembling.
She was trembling in joy.
(As I thought, Lord Liam is my one and only master. I must serve him with all of my being.)
Liam’s back, which was still younger and smaller than herself, looked very large to Tia.
When they arrived at the hanger- the knights were waiting in line to greet them.
To Liam’s personal aircraft- the path leading up to Avid was covered in a red carpet.
Liam called out to everyone.
All the soldiers, knights, and others looked towards him.
“–it’s time for the fun pirate hunt. Everyone, stand by for battle.”
All of them saluted at once, and the knights started boarding their aircrafts.
Liam was laughing.
“Custom-ordered machines are nice, but the mass-produced ones aren’t bad at all. However, don’t get cocky and make sure to come back.”
After Liam boarded Avid, Tia got into her own aircraft.
Avid, which had just exited out into space, dived straight into enemy lines.
“The foolish pirates who claim to be the Peetak house are to be eradicated!”
Wherever Avid passed by, the enemy battleships and mobile knights were annihilated.
(In addition to his noble spirit, his true strength can be seen just by looking at him-)
Tia’s excitement only seemed to rise as she used her sword to stab a nearby enemy.
She pierced straight through the cockpit.
One after another enemies were defeated as she chased after Liam’s back.
Brian( ´?ω?｀) “This Brian knows. Liam misunderstood the Peetak house to actually be a virtuous family, thus making it impossible for them to associate with pirates in his mind. A war between houses was started just from this small misconception. Just thinking about the developments to come makes my stomach lurch in pain.”
Written by Mishima Yomu/Wai (三嶋 与夢)
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