The Head Maid
While Liam was training, there was movement in the Banfield house.
“Brian, you’ve grown old since I last saw you.”
“You’re one to talk.”
Brian had invited over a woman who was familiar with manners and conduct.
Previously employed in the imperial palace, she was a woman he met during the Banfield house’s golden years.
She had the elite position of head maid, the leader of all the girls.
Now that she had retired, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were holding that position.
She was a person who had grown up watching over the empire until she had finally become an old woman.
Brian had invited her over because he wanted her to bring the etiquette of the Empire’s higher-class into Liam’s residence.
They were skills that could be applied anywhere, which was necessary for the future.
After all, they were going to let the children of nobility study here as a pretense to build connections with other houses.
Behavior and manners needed to be taught strictly.
“Except for Lord Alistair, your masters were fools.”
“I admit this.”
Alistair was Liam’s great-grandfather.
It was thanks to him that the Banfield house had once risen to power.
“But when I saw the mansion I understood. The little boy you call Liam doesn’t seem to be one.”
“You’re as harsh as ever, but Lord Liam is no fool.”
“That’s for me to decide. No matter how much you boast about your ability to fight pirates, that alone won’t be enough.”
Brian asked the woman,
“So what’s your decision? Will you accept?”
The woman laughed,
“I didn’t have high expectations, and only came here to see your face- but I’ve changed my mind. Bring all the ladies to me, I’ll train them myself.”
The woman’s countenance had changed, and looking at their new head maid, Brian started to smile.
“I’ll leave them to you. When the girls arrive, it’s reassuring to know you’ll be here.”
“Within the next decade I’ll turn your house into one suitable for accepting the children of other families. You can leave the house’s internal affairs to me, but I’m not helping with anything else.”
It was Liam’s job to prepare the facilities and other preparations necessary to accommodate the noble children.
-or it was supposed to be, but Amagi was taking care of everything.
“I’m fine with that.”
In response to Brian’s reply, the head maid made an interested expression,
“For you to make such a face, that Liam must be quite talented. It’s a pity I can’t meet him while he’s studying abroad.”
“It’s already been a year, just two more and he’ll return.”
“Where did you send him?”
“We sent him to Viscount Razel’s house.”
Upon hearing that, the head maid showed noticeable discomfort,
“You chose the Razel house, a place whose acceptance of children is more akin to that of a business, rather than a friend welcoming a guest. I heard they were quite popular, but they aren’t a house I’d recommend. Weren’t there any other options?”
“Unfortunately, there was no such thing. The house’s current state doesn’t have any decent connections we can rely on.”
The head maid replied,
“Well, the Razel house changes their reception depending on the individual. If they consider a child profitable, then they’ll be put into a relaxed course that barely does any training. In those cases, another house would’ve been better to enroll into before elementary school.”
By focusing on entertaining the child instead of disciplining them, there were rare cases of children actually leaving the training worse than how they were beforehand.
Because she had worked in the imperial capital, she had access to various information about such cases.
“Are they really that horrible? They didn’t seem to have that bad of a reputation...”
“The side that actually got trained probably spread that image, but the imperial capital doesn’t see them in a very good light. If I had known earlier, I would’ve introduced you to-”
The head maid’s expression was full of regret.
Brian’s face was already blue as he hurriedly went to call Liam.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Lord Liam, how is living over there like?”
“How’s it like? Uh... normal? Since there isn’t any paperwork, I guess it’s easy enough?”
“E-easy?! —N-no, other than that, did they do anything else to you?”
“Did they do anything to me? Sorry, I actually need to go, it’s almost time for work.”
“Oh, please wait for one moment! What is ‘work’, exactly?!”
“Well, we moved a bunch of heavy equipment to their natural satellites, and now we’re actually doing some mining jobs for them.”
Brian’s face was blue.
Was it so strange?
Kurt, who was currently wearing a spacesuit called out to me,
“Liam, it’s about time we got going!”
“I’m coming! Brian, don’t worry- I’m practically a master in manipulating heavy equipment now.”
Although Brian was trying to say something, I ended the call because it was time for us to clock in.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Lord Liam! Wait! No! This is wrong! Mining jobs on moons and other satellites aren’t tasks to be done by the head of a house!”
The head maid moved to support Brian, whose call was suddenly cut off and was about to fall over in regret.
“Get a hold of yourself!”
“B-but, for all the resources and funds we supplied, this treatment is far too harsh. P-protest. If I protest this quickly enough, then we can improve the viscount house’s treatment of him.”
But the head maid refuted him,
“I wouldn’t recommend doing that.”
“Why?! There’s no way I can allow this sort of treatment!”
“No, this might actually be a blessing in disguise. We’ll hear more details from him later, but it’s good for him to learn about that kind of life. Besides, I was quite impressed with how he was able to put up with such a treatment without complaining. From that alone, I’ve risen my evaluation of him to someone who’s better than the average man.”
Brian was wiping his tears.
“To treat my precious Lord Liam like that, I’ll never forgive them.”
“I agree, but learning something while they’re studying abroad also depends on the individual themselves. This might actually be a good environment for that child.”
Seeing how much fun Liam was having was Brian’s only silver lining in this situation.
But that was a different matter.
This didn’t mean that he would forget this grudge against the viscount house.
The head maid started laughing,
“What an interesting boy. I like him- so I’ll help you out with taking care of this issue.”
◇ ◇ ◇
While piloting the heavy mining equipment, I couldn’t help but be frustrated with the large, immobile spacesuits they made us use.
“It’s hot in here, and the suit is totally outdated.”
As I complained, Kurt, who was there working with me, replied,
“Yeah, this sure is a poor working environment.”
I didn’t really think it was that bad though.
The work environments in my previous life were worse.
So I wasn’t that sympathetic.
“It also smells.”
We cut the rock with heavy equipment that was far from humanoid.
Then, we transported and dumped the cuts into a machine created for recovering the resources.
Such a life has been going on for three months now.
“Damn, are the people on the surface partying right now?”
There were only a few ‘parties’ we were allowed to participate in.
They were carried out once a month to teach us etiquette, but all the foods and drinks were removed.
Conversely, the people that had been given preferential treatment could stay on the surface and enjoy real parties whenever they wanted.
“I think this is better, I’m not very good with parties.”
Unlike myself, Kurt seemed to be an introverted-type evil lord.
I also liked my time alone, but parties were fun.
The luxurious meals and drinks that I could consume with my people’s tax money were delicious.
“Isn’t it fine since you’re a noble now? Just enjoy them. If you keep acting like this, then you’ll be troubled once you finally get to go to a bucket party.”
“I don’t think a house of my status can participate in a bucket party in the first place.”
Bucket parties had a certain formula to them.
They were really complex.
Both the sponsor who organised it, and the participants invited needed a certain skill set to participate.
I also wanted to try hosting a bucket party one day.
While we were talking, the day’s work had just about come to a close.
As I got up, the head knight who was supervising us called out to me,
“Liam, you’re exceptionally skilled at handling heavy equipment. If you ever run into money problems, I’ll happily give you a job.”
After telling me such a joke, I decided to play along with him,
“If that time comes, I’ll be counting on you. I was originally supposed to be a count, so please promise me good working conditions. Three meals a day and ample time for naps is required.”
“All right, I’ll think about it, but be prepared for low-wages.”
“That’s a off-putting.”
After saying such a joke, I returned to the ship.
◇ ◇ ◇
On the roof of the viscount’s mansion.
The guide who was confirming Liam’s current situation was perplexed.
“Why is he having fun?! He should be dissatisfied with this treatment!”
The money and supplies Liam had piled up had become the seeds of success for others.
And yet Liam looked like he was enjoying himself despite the fact that he was being treated worse than how he was originally supposed to be.
This was not the ideal situation for the guide.
Liam’s happiness wasn’t his happiness.
In fact, his heart was actually in pain because of it.
His limbs had grown numb as well.
“At my current strength, I can’t do anything, but I still need to somehow push Liam into despair.”
The situation wasn’t improving at all.
The guide continued to ponder about his next move- he had lost the majority of his power, so his options were limited.
“Are there any cards I can play? Anything will-”
That’s when Peter entered into his field of view.
Even though this was the viscount’s residence, he was behaving as if he owned the place.
“Okay, let’s use him against Liam... nevermind. There’s no way he could win.”
The guide immediately gave up after seeing Peter.
“How do I do it?! How do I make you unhappy, Liam?!”
The guide wallowed in his regret and started shedding tears.
◇ ◇ ◇
—while I was doing more mining work the next day.
It was at such a time.
“What’s that? A flickering white light?”
I saw a white light on the monitor.
The instruments weren’t giving off any response, so were they just malfunctioning?
That’s what I thought-but then I hit something.
I was a bit worried, but when I went to check it out, there was a pendant there.
At first I thought it was just garbage.
But after having picked it up, I took quite a liking to it.
“I guess mining jobs aren’t so bad.”
Being the profession that excavated gold gave it high points in my eyes.
After putting the pendant into my pocket, I resumed my work.
◇ ◇ ◇
The university of the imperial capital.
Gathered inside of Tia’s room was a group of her friends who were also participating in the university life.
University students studying abroad from the Banfield house’s territory had gathered together for a party.
Tia picked up her terminal, and after reading the message, she exhaled a sigh.
“What’s wrong, Tia?”
One of her friends called out to her.
She was a comrade who had survived that living hell as well.
“The Banfield house’s fleets seem to be growing more active in their pirate hunting.”
To Liam’s private army, pirates were nothing more than living wallets for them to hunt down.
Sometimes, they’d even receive dispatch requests from the neighboring lord’s territories.
The message contained another story of their successes.
“Which fleet was it?”
“The first fleet. They recently received a super-class battleship from Lord Liam, so they’re full of energy and motivation at the moment.”
The admiral who acquired a new high-spec battleship was overjoyed.
Because Tia understood those feelings herself, she wasn’t complaining.
The reason why she sighed was-
“I hope I can become a knight soon, I want to go out and decimate some pirates too...”
All those who were participating in the party were those who experienced that hellish lifestyle.
There were a few that had been imprisoned by other pirates, but everyone felt the same.
Her friend spoke with a smile,
“I understand, I totally understand Tia! But for now, let’s do our best to earn our knight qualifications. We still have a lot of things we need to prepare before Lord Liam arrives.”
“Yes, I know. It’s just... I want to experience the feeling of killing pirates with my own hands.”
He had given them their new bodies- their new lives.
Everything they were now was because of Liam.
That was everyone’s common understanding.
The insides of the room were decorated wall-to-wall with floating images of Liam.
The house party surrounded by an innumerable number of holographic images was being held under such circumstances.
◇ ◇ ◇
The Razel house’s mansion.
“Yeah, my father built his career through military exploits while piloting a mobile knight. So among the mobile knight pilots, he’s a bit of a celebrity.”
While talking with Kurt inside our room, the conversation eventually turned towards fanatics.
Since he built up popularity as a knight, it seems like many officials had come and offered to work under him.
Conversely, I was troubled by the fact that I always seemed to be understaffed.
I didn’t have enough people yet considering the scale of my house.
“What’s the problem with that?”
“It’s a big problem!”
Kurt yelled at me with an intense fervor,
“While my father isn’t exactly ugly, he’s not that handsome.”
Bringing up an image, what was shown was that of a bitter-looking man in his thirties.
Certainly not celebrity material.
“Even though it’s like that, there’s a photobook that’s been released for some time now.”
“Because my dad had already put in his signature on the document, I made a mistake. At the time I was annoyed with all the paperwork I had to do, and just gave my signature without reading the contents of it.”
It looks like he signed documents without looking at the contents if he deemed them to be unimportant.
It wasn’t like I’d be spending any money, so I gave my subordinates the okay, and signed the documents for my own photobook to be released.
My everyday life was recorded, and there were even edited videos in there too- it was my subordinates who bought them.
Apparently, it sold quite well in my territory.
A profit that I couldn’t laugh at was made, and it looks like the baron was selling the same goods at an equally fast rate.
Kurt was talking about the sales while crying,
“–and that’s why your confiding in me right now?”
Kurt’s shoulders suddenly dropped.
In his case, wasn’t it selling because he was quite a beautiful for a guy? That’s what I thought, but I didn’t say it out loud because I knew he’d get angry.
With that said, I couldn’t really understand the thought process of a person who’d buy the catalogue of an old man.
—fanatics are scary.
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