Welp, this is really late. The fever I had turned out to be a flu but I’m fine now. We have decided to change the Uztein to Austin.
Well then, with all that said, enjoy~
Akuyaku Reijou ni Koi wo Shite – Chapter 10:
“Something like a “summer vacation” doesn’t concern valets.”
With the first semester ending as if in a blink of an eye, the summer break has arrived.
Rion came back to the mansion a little later than Vincent. Tidying things up in the dorm and borrowing books he wanted to read, while on holiday, being one of the many reasons for the delay.
However, that was just for appearance’s sake, in reality, he just wanted a little more free time to deal with certain matters.
Matters not related to the Academy, but to the slums.
「What’s the situation?」
「We managed to absorb several smaller players. However, the problem is that the opponent was aware of our plan and did the same thing, so the balance of power is yet to change.」
「This “opponent” being?」
「It’s Gordon’s bastards.」
「Oh, there was him too, huh? That guy.」
Even Rion knew him by the name. Gordon was the leader of a major group, who was controlling a separate territory when he was still residing in the slums. His gang was among the one of the few who were proficient in direct conflicts. Now, his opponent was going to be Rion’s organization.
「Because their strength is roughly the same as ours, no side dares to make a move.」
「But, if we dealt with him, we would gain total control in one fell swoop, huh?」
「How about a direct assault?」
「We might be able to win, but we would likely suffer too much damage. That would create an opportunity for the other bastards.」
It looked like there was another influential gang that Rion didn’t know about.
「Bastards from the Courtesan Quarter next to the slum area. It’s them.」
「So just looking at the situation inside the slums alone is not good enough. What if that Gordon was taken care of?」
「… I wonder… He has a second and third-in-command after all.」
The subordinate answered after being lost in thought for a bit. It was not very encouraging.
「So they might fall into chaos for some time, but a new leader emerging fast is guaranteed, huh?」
「Then doing things by force is no good. Looks like we must crush them with economic strength, huh?」
「What is that?」
The scoundrels of the slums didn’t know concepts like “economic strength”.
「Erm… Outdoing them.」
Rion answered after finding a word that fit well as an equivalent. This happened often in conversations with them.
「Yeah. But how do we do it?」
「I will think of something. What are your sources of income?」
「Gambling, prostitution, loans, black market, tasks you don’t talk about to others. Well… It’s killing.」
Upon hearing the words Rion’s mind was greatly perplexed. Although he was already aware of that, being told straight in his face still shocked him.
「Is something wrong?」
「The person inside me was just a little bit surprised.」
「What are you saying now? Isn’t boss also from this area?」
「Like I said, the person inside me… Let’s leave it at that. What is the most lucrative business, loans?」
「Erm… Well, trying to borrow money in this place is the last resort for people. So it’s not very good. Also, although the interest rate is higher than elsewhere, repayment collection is…」
「In that case, what’s better?」
「Gambling is stable.」
Gambling was rigged to make the house win and the man was saying that it was stable. However, it was done by other organizations as well. So something was needed in order to surpass them.
「Well then, should we improve the overall quality of service?」
「Se… Seh… What is it??」
( *EN: He tries to pronounce the unfamiliar word “services” )
「Because improving the profits instantly seems unlikely, we just have to make gamblers think that our gambling hall is better than others.」
「Oh, but how do we do that?」
「With trivial things, like offering those who come to gamble a cup of tea or some snacks. We should have beautiful girls… Ah, prostitutes even, to offer entertainment too. I want to make those who win spend more money.」
The businesses of this world were yet to invent extra services. Just those trivial ideas already brought admiration of his subordinates.
「That being the case, we should do something about the prostitutes. Make their appearance neat, and give them proper attire.」
You couldn’t say that the quality of the women selling their bodies in the slums was good by any standards. That being the case they would not do as service.
「That’s right, isn’t it? If that’s the case, then those who cross-dress like boss are bett… I apologize.」
Under Rion’s glare, the panicking man visibly shrunk.
「…Well, that’s how it is. Let’s raise the quality a bit and have them bring the customers in. We also have to clean the place… And manners must also be taught, huh?」
「We need a key characteristic to differentiate us from others… We need a capable person, huh? From fallen nobles… Or is there any kind of place with excellent young ladies that have come to ruin? We’ll have those kinds of people teach etiquette.」
「I will try searching.」
「Conducting repairs on the buildings and cleaning up the roads is a must. Calculate the necessary expenses for that.」
Because the subject of the conversation was getting wider, the man was perplexed. This was the same as usual too.
His subordinates were always surprised by his ideas that came from Ryou’s memories of the other world. Moreover, whenever he thought up of something, it would be followed by a bunch of other things.
For his subordinates implementation of all that was quite difficult.
「However, wasting money is not good. The things that you are able to do, you should do them yourselves.」
「I should make you guys learn etiquette as well. A set of manners that you can use when dealing with customers.」
「I’m serious. Let’s stop with the “because it’s cheap, the quality is poor” mindset. Work harder so that you can achieve fine quality even if it’s cheap.」
「Do it seriously. At the very least, it’s better than risking each other’s life right?」
「Think of other things until my next arrival. I will also think of something, I will see if I can provide the other things.」
「Understood. I will convey that to the others.」
「Well then, I’m leaving it to you.」
With this, after quite some time, the domain under Rion would be tinged with liveliness and not resemble a shanty town any longer. Little by little the neighbourhood would improve and the ones living in it would change.
The dwellers of the slum, for the first time in their lives, began feeling hope for the future. That was certain to change the area altogether.
After concluding his businesses in the slums, Rion had finally returned to the Windhill manor. Since it was merely the return of a valet, Rion, there was nothing really special about it. He entered the grounds through the staff’s door and went straight towards his room.
He planned to inform Vincent of his return tomorrow morning. For today, he just wanted to take a breather…
Having entered his room, his body immediately went rigid. That was because Ariel was sitting on his bed.
「…You are late, are you not?」
「Ah, yes milady. Things took more time than expected.」
「I see. Hurry up and take it off.」
「Ah, that’s right, isn’t it? It’s not necessary here.」
While inside the mansion, there was no need to hide his heterochromia. Rion took off his eye-patch as ordered.
「That’s fine already, take a sit in front of me.」
As usual, an expression that won’t let you argue or refuse. Rion went down in front of Ariel on his knees. While he looked up towards the girl she put her hands on his cheeks.
「Stay still… As I thought, beautiful. Rion’s eyes are really beautiful.」
Saying so, Ariel was staring intently into Rion’s eyes. For him, the eyes looking at him were even more beautiful.
「How many women have been seduced by those eyes?」
「Don’t play a fool. I listened carefully when onii-sama talked about it. You seduced indiscriminately , whether it be the retainer maids or the female students, right?」
「No milady, I did no such thing.」
「You are lying, aren’t you?」
Ariel’s hands, that were gently holding his cheeks until now, began tapping them lightly.
「…It is not a l-」
「Still trying to lie?」
Those hands were starting to gain strength. The tapping sounds made way for loud slaps.
「It’s not… A l-lie… I-It hurts. Please, milady, stop it.」
「I refuse, I won’t let you lie to me.」
「R-rather, than, seducing it was…」
「You plan to continue on lying?」
「I-It was gathering, i-information.」
「It’s similar to what I did in the mansion before. I was thinking of gathering information.」
「That…! How many women did you do it with!?」
「I didn’t! I never made that kind of a relationship in there! I’m telling the truth!」
「It is the truth.」
「I see. In that case, I’ll forgive you.」
「Thank you very much milady.」
Although he was being hit due to false accusations, and even though this was not a moment to be grateful, Rion didn’t mind it.
「…But, why did you do such things?」
Rion told Ariel about the things that had happened in the Academy.
That he had done so to raise Vincent’s reputation, only to see it get worse for some reason. That to stop this trend and make his master’s reputation go back to the better path he needed to gather intelligence. That to achieve it he decided to widen his connections within the maids and the female students, and so on.
Ariel was making a difficult face while intently listening to the story.
「I am very sorry for not being able to carry out my duties properly.」
「…No. We’re just starting. There should be plenty of opportunities for redemption.」
「…Have you met him?」
Rion felt that Ariel was acting differently from usual. The flow of the conversation has changed, and it was hard for him to catch up.
「Have you met the Crown Prince?」
「Ah. Not really, it’s was more like catching a glimpse of him.」
「I see. What do you think?」
「…His aura is so calm that it’s unthinkable that he is of the same generation. That’s about it. I only saw him from afar after all.」
「Milady, have you not meet him?」
Now, Ariel and the Crown Prince were betrothed. Though there should have been many opportunities for them to meet, basing on how Ariel talked, it didn’t feel that way.
「… Only during the engagement ceremony.」
「It’s a political marriage after all. The Crown Prince doesn’t think much of me, you know?」
「Even though it’s just a political marriage, if enough chance meetings were arranged, surely he would come to grow fond of you. If it’s Ariel-sama then that’s certain.」
「If the meetings have accumulated, huh?」
Even with Rion’s words of encouragement, Ariel’s facial expression didn’t change. Thinking that it was due to the shock that her relationship with the Crown Prince was not going well, Rion’s feelings had turned gloomy as well.
「It’s the first time I’ve been separated from Rion for so long ever since we met.」
「That’s right, isn’t it?」
「It has only been roughly two years since you arrived here. Is this long or short? I wonder.」
「I think that what determines whether that is long or short is not the amount of time spent together, but how it was spent.」
「Oh, indeed. What does Rion think?」
「…I consider that span of time irreplaceable. I expect the same of the time from now on.」
「Milady… Did the separation perhaps make you lonely?」
Completely taken by surprise of Rion’s question, Ariel couldn’t say anything. Her body turned stiff and her face flushed bright red.
「It’s the first time since birth that you have been separated from your beloved brother so, I think that’s inevitable.」
「… That’s right.」
「Why not take advantage of the holiday? 」
「Right, I will do that.」
While grinning and smiling, Ariel has again put her hands on Rion’s cheeks.
This time, she didn’t hold back from the start. Accompanied by loud sounds, they began to swell.
「In this one month, I will tease you as with all my might.」
「Eh? Ah– i-it hurts!」
After that, Ariel continued smacking Rion until his face turned red.
Despite returning to the mansion after a long absence, Rion’s life did not change. He continued his studies and training every day.
He was forging his body in pre-dawn darkness and taking tutorial classes under the pretext of “aiding Ariel and Vincent”. Occasionally, he was practicing dance and etiquette as well as swordsmanship.
When it was time for magic training Rion didn’t participate. Although that made Ariel displeased, unusually, Rion stood firm in his refusal.
Apart from that, he would be practicing letters and self-studying using the books he borrowed from the library of the Academy. Finally, there was one of his few secrets that only Vincent and Ariel knew of. The projects involving the slum area.
Valet-like works were yet to come but, that was the same as usual.
Rion always thought he was really blessed. Although the treatment from people other than Ariel and Vincent was unchanging, for Rion those kinds of things didn’t matter.
He had already gotten used to it. It has always been the same, ever since he became old enough to be aware of his surroundings.
The only part of life in the mansion that Rion was unhappy with was the night time.
On the bed, inside the dim lit room, one could barely see white skin. There, a pair of legs stretched out to embrace Rion.
While in that position Rion’s body was moving slowly. Matching those movements heavy breathing of a woman could be heard in the room.
Finally, with a final loud gasp, she hugged Rion’s body with all her might. Right after that, her strength left her completely. Exhaling deeply the woman stared blankly at nothing in particular.
No matter how he looked at it who it was, for Rion, such a thing was only vile.
「…That was great.」
After some time, the woman, who for a while looked like a listless corpse, spoke .
「Even though you’re just a kid…. To bring so much pleasure.」
「…Is that so?」
「I wouldn’t know about such things.」
After returning to the mansion, Rion was swarmed by the maids who were waiting for this opportunity. This one was one of those he created a relationship with way back before leaving for the Academy.
Delaying them for days with all kinds of reasons, he was accompanying them one at a time. But even so, the women he had such ties to numbered five. This turned the situation into having one visitor nearly every night.
Although at first, he thought it couldn’t be helped, the maids’ desire didn’t subside and continued unquenched day after day.
Rion, getting irritated by this, began to treat them more roughly, however, that just brought them more pleasure and their advances showed no signs of stopping.
He felt defiled every day and this made him turn dejected whenever the nighttime arrived.
But even so, what made him carry on was…
「I was designated to attend the tea party held by House Aqusmea.」
…the information that he would obtain.
「…Since when had Erwin-sama established a connection with that House?」
「It seems that it was Viscount Austin who made a move first. I heard that from Will.」
「The vassal family, of their own accord?」
「Even I was surprised. Furthermore, to think Aquasmeas would accept the invitation. If Milady heard of such a thing happening…」
Ignoring Vincent, who was the legitimate heir, and inviting the son of a concubine to a tea party. There’s no way Milady, who was doting on her son, would forgive such a thing.
Everyone residing in the mansion knew that. And despite knowing that, Will still accepted the invitation.
Rion thought that while he was away, the situation in the estate was already turning for the worse and that made his chest hurt.
「Is Erwin-sama delighted by that turn of events?」
「He is. That’s what I think.」
「Is that so…」
That news was not good. It meant that Erwin’s personality was unscrupulous and he had no qualms a thing about disregarding the legitimate heir, even being only a son of a concubine.
「Don’t tell others about this, okay?」
This “Don’t tell others about this okay?” would lead to sleeping together with her more often. If the maid was to be asked, it looked like they were conspiring together, but he had no such thoughts.
「Erwin-sama is holding a grudge, you know?」
「Holding a grudge?」
「Against the lord who separated him from his mother and doesn’t even care enough to rein in Milady, who is treating them harshly.」
「…But I heard her social status was not very high?」
If Rion was to be asked, aside from being separated, Erwin was living a life free of inconvenience being surrounded by personal servants. What was he displeased about?
「That’s right. She was formerly a maid just like me from a family of baronets.」
「A single generation noble… It’s surprising that she was able to become a maid with just that.」
For the maids of the Marquess house, it would be natural to think that their family background was nobility. A baronet was someone who was given a peerage due to achievements, that title could not be inherited. Only the person himself would be given aristocratic treatment.
「That reaction… Rion is yet to meet her, right?」
「I made sure not to approach those who are purposely separated.」
「Well that certainly makes sense with your position. But she was very beautiful, you know? To the point that even fellow women such as me were surprised.」
「So, Marquess had planned to take her from the very beginning?」
「Wrong. Her family had used money and connections in order to ensure she had been hired. It seems her family was a successful merchant house and rumors say that they used a considerable amount of funds in order to make their daughter a maid.」
「…Gaining a foothold by making her a Marquess concubine.」
「Although I can’t say for certain, I think the same. No matter how beautiful she has been, there’s no way Lord would lay his hands on her without a reason.」
The Marquess loves his wife but also fear her at the same time. Those who work inside the mansion acknowledged this as a fact. It was common knowledge to the point that Rion, who only just started working in the mansion, was surprised by the existence of a concubine.
「…It’s fine to think that there’s an ambition behind it, right?」
「Yes, but even if there wasn’t, wouldn’t the result be the same? I also think that, while it’s commendable that Rion is driven by a sense of duty, it would be better to think about the situation a little more carefully.」
「Is that the case?」
「I’d rather not, I’m only allowed to serve here because of Vincent-sama.」
Rion didn’t want to seriously ponder it. Especially because the maid was only enjoying playing with fire and wasn’t really Vincent’s ally.
Probably, if she was to be asked, she would most likely think that Erwin was a more fitting successor. This was why Rion answered in a safe way.
「That is the case, isn’t it.」
「Things, that will happen, will happen, my position only gives me the right to think so much.」
「Well, even if he is disinherited, it should not bring troubles to your life. 」
With each new piece of information obtained, Rion was again reminded that the situation in the mansion was really turning bad.
He had to work not only on the situation in the Royal Academy, but also on the developments at home, or more specifically, throughout the sphere of influence of the House. However, even knowing that, Rion’s position did not allow for such things.
And even if his position did allow it, Rion had only one body. He was reminded of his own limitations.
It was necessary for him to find allies. Someone who would cooperate with him.
What had to be done to find someone like that? In the meantime, Rion thought only of this.