I found a weakness in the One-Flash.
Certainly, it’s an amazing sword-style, but it’s almost impossible to hold back while using it.
It’s a sword style specifically designed to kill your opponents.
It is possible to hold back, but if you’re facing an opponent even slightly stronger than yourself- then you’d have no choice other than to kill them.
The One-Flash was a very specialized school.
Up until now, I never had to worry about such things because I’ve only been fighting with pirates.
What a weakness.
“It’s a style I can’t really use while I’m studying abroad.”
I was aiming to be an evil lord, but that was only in my own territory.
While I was still in another’s domain, I tried to keep my attitude in check.
Or rather, I couldn’t.
Even if I went on a rampage in the Viscount’s territory, I’d still be overpowered in the end.
The strength of an individual didn’t really matter here.
Well- I still hated to lose.
With that said-
“Liam, we’re the ones in charge of taking care of the garden this afternoon.”
-Kurt, who had just been ridiculing me, was acting strangely familiar all of a sudden.
He had changed into work clothes and had the necessary tools prepared.
“-well, I guess this is fine.”
It was a problem that I wasn’t really communicating with my own roommate.
This was fine, but recently, I couldn’t help but feel like the girls were looking at me with scary eyes.
It wasn’t just boys who came to train at the Viscount house.
Girls also came here to train as apprentices- they were entrusted to other families to complete their bridal training before they got married.
With the Razel house being a popular place to study, there were many such girls.
But the eyes they turned towards me and Kurt have been scary as of late.
I often heard them muttering, “It’s Kurt and Liam” or “No, it’s Liam and Kurt” etc.
What the hell was that?
Sometimes, depending on which name was called out first, they’d start fighting amongst themselves. What this just a custom of this universe, or something unique to the Razel house? -The intergalactic empire was just too broad to understand everything.
When thinking about common sense in general, there are many instances of common sense only made sense to the local populace.
In order to correct such misunderstandings, is that not one of the reasons why you’d send someone to another house to train in the first place?
The possibilities were endless.
“Liam, if we don’t hurry up, then the instructor knight will be angry with us again.”
“That old man is too hot-headed.”
He was quite the short-tempered leader.
I didn’t dislike it though.
Half a year has already passed since we’ve begun training.
◇ ◇ ◇
“You know~ I don’t really have a need to seriously train~”
Peter, who was holding a wooden sword while sitting in a chair, didn’t move even though it was currently time to exercise.
“In fact, I already have my swordsmanship license for the Arend-school, so there’s no real point in training any further.”
A woman in sportswear chided Peter, who put out excuses as to why he couldn’t move,
“Peter, you have to move your body properly.”
The woman was [Katerina Sera Razel].
She was Randolph’s daughter and the person who he wanted to become Peter’s bride.
Peter also favoured Katerina- a beautiful girl that had blue eyes and her blonde hair tied into a ponytail.
“Rina, I’d still be strong even if I didn’t train. I mean, in my territory I was unbeatable.”
Katerina -Rina turned doubtful eyes towards Peter, who didn’t look very strong.
“If that’s true, then show me how you fight.”
“A man of true strength never fights except for truly important battles.”
Rina was fed up with Peter, who kept making constant excuses.
Outside of the training hall, the sons and daughters of nobility that had come here to study were maintaining the garden.
Peter cast a condescending gaze towards them,
“I don’t like them, poverty stricken nobles should just quietly do their work instead of coming to school.”
Rina frowned as she gave an explanation,
“Certainly, they not be the children of powerful houses, but they’re better than you, Peter, a man who doesn’t even bother to move.”
“They’re nothing. If I fought them seriously, they wouldn’t even last a moment.”
From the surroundings, the girls who had come for training brought over prepared towels and drinks for the men they fancied.
For them, the training hall doubled as a meeting place.
However, none of them spared a glance towards the children maintaining the garden outside.
◇ ◇ ◇
While Liam was troubled by how easy training was.
Tia, who had gone to a university in the imperial capital, was suddenly approached by a student.
He was a man of the Razel house.
“Are you Christiana? The lord you serve is actually studying at my family’s house right now, did you know?”
Suddenly bringing up the circumstances of her employer, Tia was troubled as to how to deal with the person who approached her.
(I don’t really want to interact with anyone of the Razel house, but there’s also Lord Liam’s current position as someone studying in their territory to consider. Should I just make something up here?)
It was a frivolous-looking man.
If they had been raised in a strict house, continuing their studies at one of the imperial capital’s universities was the equivalent of being given vacation time to play around.
With that said, there were still some children that still took things seriously after arriving, but the majority didn’t.
With their newfound sense of freedom and many other factors, there were many people who jumped straight into the leisure life.
This man was one of them.
“Er, yes, I know. You were a son of the Razel house, correct?”
“Yep, that’s the one. Your lord is currently being taken care of by my father. If you’re okay with it, let’s exchange contact information. We’ll probably have many reasons to talk to each other from now on.”
Tia couldn’t help but be amazed at what he was saying.
(Are you seriously trying to flirt with a knight affiliated with another house? You’re nothing but a brat who doesn’t know the implications of the actions you’re doing. Depending on how I react, I could end up damaging Lord Liam’s reputation. I have to avoid that at all costs.)
The other party had called out to her with ulterior motives.
Although she intended to reject them, she still thought he was foolish for trying to use their houses as an excuse to build a relationship.
“No, I’m fine, thanks.”
Responding with a smile, Tia walked away.
(Dealing with these things is so troublesome.)
◇ ◇ ◇
The residence of the Razel house.
I was talking to Kurt in our room.
The content of our conversation was-
“You don’t know how to run your territory?”
“Oh, yeah, something like that. We’re kind of upstarts. It’s really cool that we’ve received territory, but it’s also a bit troubling.”
A bunch of land was suddenly pushed onto them.
They were grateful, but the Exners who had never ruled over anything before were perplexed.
“I just don’t know how much taxes I should take and how to treat my people.”
How you were supposed to handle the populace differed from planet to planet.
To figure out such a thing required lots of time and effort.
Conversely, even if you were managing it properly, they’d undoubtedly find something to be dissatisfied with.
There were even cases of people revolting, creating such a big deal that the empire themselves had to step in.
What about my case? If they started to complain, all I had to do was send out my private army to suppress them.
I hate people who go against me.
I’m kind to those who obey me, but there’s no need to treat others the same way.
“You’re overthinking it, just squeeze out what you can from them.”
“No, even if I wanted to do that I can’t. They’ve already been practically squeezed dry.”
Squeezed dry? Did they already wring them out for all they were worth?
I guess he’s actually a pretty evil guy.
But for the Exner Baron house to also want to squeeze out more taxes- this has potential.
As a fellow evil lord, should I give him some advice?
Connections are important after all.
“Let me tell you what’s important. Before you wring out a rag, you soak it in water, right? You can’t squeeze anything out of a dry rag.”
“-of course not. Liam, what are you saying?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Before you squeeze them, help your people grow a bit first. The more you invest into them, the more money they’ll earn, and the more they develop, the more likely they’ll turn into something that you can actually squeeze out. Investments are important.”
“Even I know that much, but that’s not exactly an easy thing to do.”
“Just do it! Lighten up on the taxes for a bit and invest into them. If you leave them alone, they’ll eventually start developing things themselves. Just endure it for a bit, and then you’ll be able to squeeze as much as you want out of them once they’re rich! Ah, but make sure to maintain your military separately.”
Some nobles were afraid of rebellion and didn’t develop their territory too much.
They only allowed those who were useful to them to get an education, leaving their domain in practically a medieval environment.
—my parents were like that.
If you were a noble in debt, then you had even more reasons why you shouldn’t invest in the territory.
But it’s only possible to bleed them dry once they were rich.
“Those words have a lot of weight considering your original state as a lord, Liam.”
“I’m an expert when it comes to wringing out my people.”
As your senior evil lord, I’ll give you as much advice as you need.
So make sure to pay me back if something ever happens.
◇ ◇ ◇
While listening to Liam, Kurt was thinking,
(Yes, the first thing I need to do is to enrich the lives of the people who’ve been bled dry.)
The territory father received was already in a bad state.
And yet to maintain their forces and fulfill certain contributions they were obligated to- the Exner Baron house had squeezed their territory for what little they had left.
They knew it’d be better to reduce taxes, but things weren’t that simple.
To the people they had practically bled dry, they couldn’t help but apologise.
“It costs money to build-up forces. It’s impossible for us to do any more than this. Maintenance costs are another problem.”
Having heard that, Liam started to frown as he laid down on his bed.
“Reduce the number. What’s important is the quality and skill of your forces. Rather than keeping dozens of old, obsolete vessels, you should try to buy several of the newer generation models.”
“Numbers are important, and it costs money to do that too. We can’t take any more from the people.”
“So you really squeezed them dry...”
Liam had an impressed expression on his face as he said that.
“Then borrow the money. As long as you pay the lenders back, they’ll happily give you it. Oh, but make sure you keep the repayment deadlines, my house struggled with that before.”
Kurt was speechless at Liam who suddenly started talking about such things.
“Without credit, there’s a limit to what we can borrow. We’re still upstarts, so we don’t have anything to give as collateral.”
Liam started muttering,
“If that’s how it is... then I’ll talk to my Echigoya.”
“What’s an Echigoya?”
Kurt was honestly happy to have come to the viscount house for training.
After all, a strange but reliable friend was found here.
(Even though Liam has a bad mouth, saying that he’s squeezing out his people and such, he’s actually doing his best for them.)
Though, that was just a misunderstanding.
◇ ◇ ◇
The Henfrey company was suddenly contacted by Liam.
“Hmm... this is troubling.”
After being asked by his subordinate, Thomas responded that he had just received a loan application.
“Did the Banfield house ask for it?”
“No, it was a baron house. The upstart Exner house is applying for it, but I can’t refuse them because they were referred here by Lord Liam.”
If it was just the Exner house asking, then there’s no way he’d lend this much of a fortune.
But when Liam’s name was involved, things were different.
“If the Count is backing them, shouldn’t it be okay to lend them a hand?”
“It’s not that, I’m more worried about another issue.”
He had made a vast amount of capital in Liam’s territory, so it’s not like he couldn’t.
Besides, he was indebted to Liam, so when asked, he’d make sure to put in the utmost effort.
“These kinds of stories spread quickly. Many nobles will start applying for loans after this with no intention to pay us back.”
“Ahh, so that’s the problem.”
‘Since you lent money to Baron Exner, you can lend some to us too, right?’
People with that kind of attitude would start harassing them, with absolutely no intention to pay anything back.
The Henfrey company has recently risen in power.
Along with Liam’s backing, they were quite despised among the aristocracy.
“I can’t refuse if Lord Liam is asking though. Make preparations to contact Baron Exner as soon as possible.”
◇ ◇ ◇
My evil Echigoya merc- no, Henfrey Chamber of Commerce was currently introducing themselves to Kurt’s parents.
I was happy to know that my circle of villainous contacts was spreading.
“If we build a good relationship here, we’ll be able to help each other out in times of need.”
I was currently on my way to throw away the trash that came from the garden maintenance.
A voice could be heard from behind the building.
It was Katerina- the daughter of the viscount house was there.
Hiding in the building’s shadow, she was flirting with a man.
“N-no, what if somebody finds us?”
“It’ll be fine as long as we’re quiet.”
Certainly, there were rumours that Katerina was going to marry the rich and influential Peter.
However, the man there wasn’t Peter.
My heart went cold at the sight.
She was cheating- just like my wife from my previous life.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Peter, who was going to be marrying such a woman.
Well, I haven’t talked to Peter though. I tried to avoid him because I didn’t really want to build a connection with his house.
I heard that Peter came from a righteous house that governed their people with virtue.
There’s no way I could get along with such a guy.
As someone who strove for something in a completely opposite direction than myself, I had to avoid him.
“Still... poor Peter.”
At the same time, I couldn’t help but lament how much of a b*tch1 Katerina was.
I still had work to do, so I left that place and pretended that I didn’t see anything.
In my thoughts,
(I knew it, there’s no point in living virtuously. Even a serious person like Peter had his girl taken from him.)
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