Another new chapter, I do plan to translate more often to improve our pace, specially now that I’m getting more sleep than before, but still with that said, I won’t give my word. I don’t want to break another promise after all.
Anyway, happy reading!
Akuyaku Reijou ni Koi Wo Shite – Chapter 11:
“Devising a Method of Defeating a Rival”
What Rion understood after comparing the different information he obtained from the maids was that the scheme to make Erwin the Windhill’s successor had more supporters among the vassal families than just Viscount Austin
The worst news of all was that the plot was also backed by the House Aqusmea.
One couldn’t deny other houses’ say in this matter. The three families acted as the support of the royals. Together they constituted the strength of the kingdom.
The succession of a Marquess was never a purely internal issue, which is why having House Gran Flamm influence the outcome was nothing unusual.
At the same time the judgment of the royal family would also be influenced by the opinions of the other marquess houses.
If the House Aqusmea had a problem with the Windhill’s successor, the king could not brush it off. He had to look into the reasons and if he found something really undesirable, he would make his position clear to the House Windhill indirectly.
No matter how doting the parents were, could their pledge of loyalty allow for ignoring the opinion of the royal family? For Rion, that was still an open question. After all, Marquess Windhill was the one to put Vincent in his current place while placing great value on relations with other Houses.
Judging by the situation it was likely the preparations to have Erwin to replace Vincent were already in place.
With this turn of events, rather than focusing on building up Vincent’s reputation, Rion was cornered into obtaining information in order to defend against the opposition’s offensive.
Although a mere valet like Rion could do almost nothing in this situation, he still didn’t want to give up and do nothing. To him Vincent was a benefactor. Furthermore, he was among the few people to truly think that Vincent was suitable material for a lord of the marquess house.
Rion was constantly racking his brain thinking about what to do with the current deadlock of a situation but no matter how much he tried, he could formulate no excellent plans.
That’s why he decided to just observe the surroundings to try and find inspiration.
「Ain, are you aiming for the boss’ position?」
「Eh? N-no, that’s absurd. There’s no way I would aim for leader’s position.」
Being asked such a thing it was obvious a person would tremble. Ain, who found himself on thin ice, was seriously flustered.
「Ah, I didn’t mean it that way.」
「…Then, what did that mean?」
「If there is someone who’s aiming to become a boss and his value is even higher than that of the boss himself, what should the boss do in that situation?」
「He should kill him shouldn’t he? After all dead people can’t aim for anything.」
「I guess it really leads to that…」
It’s not as though Rion came to terms with assassination, he just expected to get these kinds of answers when asking. There would be no mistake when it came to the scoundrels of the slums.
However, that solution was not completely wrong either. It was true, those who died could never succeed anything.
The reason why Rion has yet to implement this plan was because there was another self in Rion who thought of the consequences. If the rival threatening the position was suddenly assassinated, Vincent’s innocence would be doubted as a matter of course. His reputation was certain to fall to the absolute lowest point.
That doubt would also mean that even after his succession, only troubles would await. House Windhill’s influence might also be damaged by such action.
Rion didn’t want for any of this to happen.
「If killing him is not an option, what should he do?」
As expected, Ain’s answers would amount to illegal acts.
「…..If he doesn’t listen? Rather, obviously he won’t, this is a person aiming for the boss’ position.」
「That’s right, isn’t it…. I will threaten him using a weaknesses that will make him give up on the position of the boss.」
「…If there’s none?」
「Ah no, all human have at least one.」
「Hypothetically speaking, if there’s none?」
「He’s a troublesome opponent, isn’t he?… If there’s none, then make one. If he’s a man then lead him into a female’s honey trap and make him completely fall to ruin with gambling.」
Ain’s answers always led to cruel outcomes. But even so, he was not completely wrong. If it was about crushing a person down, lip service wouldn’t do.
「Thanks. It’s a good reference.」
「No problem. So who is th–」
「It seems the preparations are already done.」
「Oh, I see. Then, enter.」
Obtaining Rion’s permission, Ain called people waiting outside the room. A group of females wearing dresses in different colors entered. They were courtesans..
The main reason why Rion came to the slums was this. He brought clothes that Ariel outgrew, that were about to be disposed, for them to wear.
With just putting them on, the women’s aura turned rather high class.
Because those were clothes of a lady from an aristocratic family, each piece was quite expensive on its own. It was evident that the courtesans themselves lost to their dresses.
「…Isn’t it a bit..」
「It really is. Even I can tell.」
「I know right? So, we can’t use this.」
「Ah no… If we made it a little more…」
「A little more?」
「They’ll be taking it off anyway, so let’s just remove the gaudy bits. If you like, should they just wear the ones with the most transparent fabrics?」
Rion imagined Ain’s idea in his head. A girl who is wearing a see-through dress on her bare body.
「…Isn’t that too lascivious?」
「They’re prostitutes, that much is to be expected.」
「Well, you’re right. Is there anyone who can adjust the dresses?」
「We’ll have them do it.」
「Well then, make it so. It would be even better if they could make multiple dresses from one.」
「Understood. Well then, with this the clothing part is done.」
Announcing the end of the issue of their clothing, the courtesans were ordered to leave the room but they did not.
Rion understood their intentions in just one glance. Each and every one of them headed towards him and tried to appeal to him acting coquettish. Their aim was to make the boss think better of them
They were not successful of course. The girls couldn’t know that Rion felt repulsed by suggestive advances by women.
Not even catching his gaze they caused him to knit his eyebrows and when they realized that, the women regretfully left the room.
Relieved with the prostitutes gone Rion let out a light sigh. That showed just how much of a burden the girls’ attitude was for Rion.
「Confirm how much time will it take to finish making the dresses.」
「The building has improved more than I imagined. Maintain that. Frequently wash the towels you use, always practice hygiene.」
The towels were also something the Windhill manor has disposed off. Though it was already garbage for the aristocratic estate, in slums that kind of quality was first-class.
「Understood. I have already secured the person in charge of that.」
「Well, of course, When they were told that the people who’ll do the cleaning and laundry would be rewarded with money, many volunteered.」
「Did you pick the best?」
「Well yeah, I picked an unusually diligent guy for this neighborhood.」
「That’s good. How about the water-heater?」
「It would take a bit more time. But…, Ah never mind…..」
「What is it? If there’s something you are bothered about, spill it.」
「….That, isn’t that too luxurious? For them to even use a hot bath.」
It was indeed luxurious. Washing the body with hot water. There was no one to experience such thing in the slums if one excluded the fallen nobility. Actually it was also the same with the main street of the city.
However, Rion considered this extravagance an extra service in itself. Besides, the water heater also had another purpose.
「If we secure the spot and person to boil the water for a hot bath, it won’t be luxurious anymore. Also, there will be refuse you will have to burn, so that it won’t rot.」
「Decreasing the amount of garbage and disinfecting the water will be purely beneficial if you put aside labor involved. However, make sure never to cause a fire.」
In light of Rion’s memories of the other world, the situation of the slum area was horrible. It was a place that would be considered uninhabitable to people. He thought of this plans as a way of coming to terms with the situation. At the place of the hot bath one could use garbage as a source of fire.
「Understood. I will excavate another hole on the site and pave the surroundings. With this, the fire should not escape.」
「That’s right. It will be troublesome work but somehow keep it up.」
「We have no problem with that.」
「Is that the case?」
「If they receive money for it, won’t it be a problem to the applicant…」
「They’re jobless after all.」
The usual way of getting money in exchange for hard labor was not as good as this. And other activities carry the risk of getting caught by the city watch, even if not life threatening.
So for the dwellers of the slum, Rion’s job offers were delicious opportunities.
「After that, it’s the service training, huh? How is that going?」
「If you were to ask me, it’s considerably good.」
「What did the person teaching them say?」
「All the members must pass. But a lot of courtesans dislike it for being troublesome.」
「…So the problem is the willingness. We don’t have the time to wait for everyone of them to pass. Differentiate the income of those who pass and those who don’t. Ah, rather, let’s designate their salaries by using a rankings list.」
「Let’s make a ranking board based on their popularity and display it on the reception desk.」
Was there something like a picture? If only those existed, we could line them up as well, thought the part, that was Ryou. That existence was still a minor and although its ideas were crude, for the the people of the slum they were new and original.
「What should we do with those lists?」
「Offer the customers to pick from them. Of course, that option will carry an extra charge.」
「….I will think of how to do it.」
The idea was fine. However, there was also the problem of how the most unpopular courtesan would gather customers. Fine tuning the details would be for Ain and the others to think about.
「If preparations are finished, we can finally start. Just like with the renovation, we need a person to spread the news by word of mouth.」
「Understood. However, before that…」
「What is it?」
「It would be more advisable to do something about the quality of the women. Even if we manage to spread the good word over a period of time, if the customers think of that reputation as a lie, then it won’t be…」
「Aren’t we doing all this for that to not happen?」
「Ah no, this is not about the discipline, but about the appearance.」
「….Are they still not good enough?」
For some reason, Rion was poor when it came to judging people’s looks. Although he could do slightly better with Ryou’s point of view, he chose not to use it. Mainly because he hated judging people by the appearance.
「Compared to boss, all of them are…」
(TN*: This guy really likes cross-dressed Rion)
Rion’s gaze immediately turned icy. He hated hearing that.
「…By doing something about it, you meant?」
「Figuring out a way to obtain new women of a good quality.」
「Yes? What is that? That scou-something?」
「Upon seeing a beautiful woman, you would approach them and ask “won’t you become a courtesan?”… Never mind, we can’t do that anyway.」
「Then, snatching targets out of other shops…. Is no good either, right? This is not the time to aggravate the situation after all.」
「Then, what should we do?」
「If you allow me to use money, then I will be able to procure them the usual way.」
「Is that so? You can procure them as usual, huh? Incidentally, how do you do it?」
「One is buying them from houses with financial problems, purchasing those who are about to become slaves.」
「….So it’s really that… It seems expensive.」
Forcefully cramming Ryou’s morality back into a corner of his mind, Rion continued the conversation.
「In a way. Well in regards to the quality, wouldn’t it be enough for it to be so-so at the start?」
「The customers wouldn’t expect that much from the slum courtesans. One of the reasons for visiting is the low price anyway.」
「Then if it’s so-so, you think the assessment of those who expected nothing rise, don’t you?」
「Alright. Permission granted.」
Rion completely forgot his main objective and began seriously working as a boss of his organization in the slums.
The first and foremost reason why Rion came to seize the reins of power in the slums was to prevent any possible inconvenience to Vincent. If the local gangs knew that he was working at a marquess estate and on top of that even working for the heir, they were certain to come after him as a good source of money.
There was also the possibility that Rion’s origins as an orphan from the slums becoming public knowledge would damage Vincent’s reputation. So in summary, his takeover was to defend both of them from multiple risks.
However if that only was the case, then when he was to display his power he should carefully control it. After all, there was also another reason why Rion strove to expand his own sphere of influence.
It was to build up public opinion. The slum residents were intended to be the base for that.
It was a considerably outrageous plan. But even so, if the possibility of pulling it off existed, there would be no way that Rion would not try it.
The things he could do by himself, didn’t add up to much. So he clung to the thought that even if it contradicted his other activities, as long as there was at least a minuscule chance of success, no matter how difficult the scheme he had to try and make it happen.
And so, he once again took an independent action searching for a clue to break this deadlock in the Windhill’s succession fight.
The Marquess owned a mansion of vast size in the capital.
It was not just a estate befitting a family of that rank to reside in. There also was a chivalric order stationed on site to guard them, along with the numerous servants and their dependents living there and numerous buildings located within the boundaries.
Some of the area was covered with abundant vegetation and thickly growing trees and although calling it a forest would be an exaggeration, that wood glade was wide enough to make such an impression on people.
Rion was currently heading towards that area which made it unthinkable that one was still in the capital when being surrounded by so many tall trees.
Although there was a carefully maintained path that reminded it wasn’t really a natural forest, at the moment, he was heading to a place away from it’s course.
It was a place people came to only once a year, where even the grasses grown tall, reinforcing the natural ambiance.
Rion’s objective was not a stroll to admire mother nature. He wanted to explore the building at the end of it.
Before long, he could finally see it behind the trees and it was an even larger than he expected.
Crossing the courtyard in order to check its exterior out, he also planned to go around to opposite side but…
A sudden voice inquiring about the intruder was raised. It seemed there was a person hidden in the shadow of a tree that he failed to notice.
「I apologize for startling you. I only came here to explore places I haven’t seen yet.」
He answered with a phrase he had prepared beforehand with a composed mask on his face, while taking a step forward.
He saw a female figure sitting next to a table in a garden. She looked like a refined lady having tea.
Although his exterior didn’t show it, in his mind he was strongly reflecting on the failure to notice all that.
「….May I know who you are?」
The tone of the lady suddenly changed.
「Madam, I am employed as a valet in the manor.」
(PN: In the raws, Rion already named himself here but it is weird that Julia once again asked Rion for his name in the next page as Editor pointed out. Magical flying away memories)
「…Why are you here?」
「I was taking a stroll in the glade.」
「Taking a stroll?」
「I wanted to roam around the areas of the estate grounds I haven’t explored yet, so I have made free time for it and here I am.」
「….Just because of that, you stumbled upon this place?」
「…Hard to believe, isn’t it? Madam, your suspicion is reasonable. It was due to being curious why was this place being avoided by people and being stared at coldly by the passersby. Also other people are still working, so I took the opportunity.」
He acted out the words prepared beforehand.
「I see. What is your name?」
「It’s Rion, madam.」
「What is the work you do?」
「I employed as Vincent-sama’s personal valet.」
「Oh, is that the case? That’s… Unfortunate. How should I say this, won’t you be scolded?」
She tilted her head a little with an innocent smile. Although she looked considerably older than Rion, one would normally see her gestures as lovely. As long as it was just a normal person.
「No, madam. Besides, all work has its own hardships.」
「You are diligent, are you not? Do you perhaps know who I am?」
「Madam, I apologize. I do not.」
「There’s no need to humble yourself that much.」
「That may be so, however in my judgement you are not an employee.」
「Why do you think so?」
「There is no servant in here that would enjoy a tea in the garden.」
「…Ah, indeed, However, Rion-kun is wandering aimlessly during the day as well even though he is just a servant.」
「…That’s right, isn’t it.」
Her attitude was truly getting over-familiar. It was the first time that Rion was treated in such a way.
「Sit beside me. I will prepare more tea.」
「I have to refuse. I am fine as I am.」
「But I want you to keep me company for a conversation. I’m bored all alone after all…」
This time she showed a downcast, melancholic expression. No longer charming, the woman’s aura turned lonesome.
「Madam, I can listen to you while remaining upright.」
「It would be difficult for me to talk that way. Please, sit beside me.」
「…..As you wish.」
「That too, can’t you talk in a more relaxed way?」
「…I shall try.」
「If you like, take a drink. Because you just walked this far, you must be thirsty, no?」
Saying that, the woman offered the cup she drank from not long ago. As far as Rion knew, it was a gesture somewhat removed from common sense.
「I am fine.」
「It’s because I have drank from it, isn’t it? As I thought, I should prepare more tea.」
「No, I’m fine.」
「Jeez, well then, this is an order. Drink tea with me.」
「…If you really insist, then I shall prepare it.」
「You’re going to prepare it?」
「I am a valet after all.」
「…I wonder if it’s really something a valet usually does?」
Normal valets didn’t. Rion was doing it so that the maids didn’t have to approach Vincent.
「Is it fine for me to enter the house in order to prepare the utensils and hot water?」
「…That’s a good question, isn’t it? It’s something that should be entrusted to a maid.」
「Are there none here?」
「I am living alone so that no one would intrude on me during moments likes this.」
「I apologize for being rude.」
「It’s fine. It’s seldom that I can converse with someone from the main residence after all.」
Again, the woman’s face flashed solitude.
The ambiance changed again impacting the mood. Again, a normal person thrown off by such a change would feel attracted to her and her aura.
「Have you ever met Erwin before?」
「I have not.」
「With that way of addressing Erwin-sama, is it possible that madam is Erwin-sama’s mother?」
Rion asked, but he already knew who he was dealing with from the very start. It was the Lord’s former concubine, Julia. He purposely came here to see her.
「Yes, that’s right.」
「Then I must apologize for my impoliteness so far.」
Saying such, Rion quickly stood up from his seat. Watching it with a lonesome face, Julia asked
「Are you not allowed to speak with concubines?」
「No. I stood up because me sharing a table with madam was impertinent.」
「…You are really diligent, are you not?」
「It’s something to be expected of other valets as well.」
「I think it would’ve been better if Erwin’s valet was like you. You are close in age, you would be a good companion.」
「That would be impossible.」
「Oh, do you dislike the idea of being Erwin’s valet?」
「My feelings are irrelevant, I’m certain the environment wouldn’t permit it.」
「…..You are relied on a lot, are you not?」
The conversation paused for a bit. While trying to keep up the appearance of dialogue Rion was trying to decipher the meaning behind those words.
「Madam, I did not mean it that way, I was trying to say that Erwin-sama’s
entourage would not permit such a thing.」
「Someone like me is nothing next to Erwin-sama, a superior valet with an abundance of experience is a better fit for him.」
Actually, it was sarcasm aimed at Will but Julia didn’t notice that.
「I’m afraid Will-san might not be entirely superior……」
「Is there some kind of problem?」
「…Well it’s not something I would consult with Rion. It’s a personal problem of mine.」
That last remark seemed meaningful but despite being curious what it was about…
「Is that the case. Well then, I’ll forget I heard anything.」
「An unnecessary information might lead to prejudice. Such things are never good.」
Rion ended the conversation suggesting he didn’t care about the story at all.
「Well then, I believe it’s time for me to return.」
「I see… Uhm?」
「Yes. What is it?」
「Though it’s an unreasonable demand to a valet, won’t you come here again sometimes?」
「That, I cannot promise. Currently Vincent-sama is attending the Royal Academy. The only reason why I’m back at the mansion is the school break.」
「Ah, that is right. Well then, It would be fine if it’s just during those breaks. I will always be here after all and I would like to know various things about the main house.」
「….If, like today, I have the time.」
After pretending to think about it, Rion answered back.
「Jeez, you are too diligent. As I thought, I really want you as Erwin’s valet. And if that is impossible, I at least want you to get along with him. Erwin will come to school next year as well so, when that happens, please lend him your strength.」
「Is that so. Madam, although I do not know if he would ever need my assistance, I shall try if it’s something that I can do.」
「That is fine. I’m counting on you.」
Julia stood up, suddenly approached Rion and held his hand with a serious expression on her face. Her blue eyes were staring at him intently.
「If it’s within my means.」
Rion did not show any noticeable reaction to Julia’s behavior.
…And another pause. Rion was observing the woman making such gestures one after another. Although being able to talk with her was an unexpected event, it was an opportunity that he would not let slide.
「Well then, I have to excuse myself.」
「My name is…」
「I know, madam.」
「I see. So that’s why you did not ask.」
「Not at all. Demanding an aristocrat’s name is reckless and rude.」
「Is that really the case?」
「I remember it being a part of a valet’s code of conduct.」
「I see… Is calling a noble by name the same, perhaps?」
「A commoner calling a noble by name would bring discomfort, would it not?」
「That’s right, isn’t it? However, if it’s Rion, I’m fine with it.」
「….I understand. Well then, Julia-sama. Please excuse me.」
「Yeah, see you again.」
Not replying to that, Rion turned and made his way back.
Getting rid of the mask he was keeping up earlier, his expression returned to that he wore when returning from the slums, a fearless face.
Although he was acting the whole time, it was the same with Julia. Rion understood that immediately after meeting her.
He was currently wearing a black eye patch but she immediately accepted that such a suspicious person was serving as a valet. Therefore it was obvious she was already aware of his existence from the very beginning. And yet, she acted as if she didn’t and talked to him while feigning ignorance.
Julia clearly realized the worth of her looks and used them with full awareness of the effects.
Flattery was prominent within the eyes gazing on him, but Rion didn’t miss the odd look filled with disdain and other complicated emotions hidden underneath it all. Because that was something that he had seen numerous times before.
Any remaining sympathy he had for Julia dissipated. Her current situation was what she desired and furthermore she was taking action to realize her ambition.
Rion came to the conclusion that she was an enemy. That being the case, there was now a need to search for her weakness. And when he began to ponder that it looked as though finding one would not prove to be difficult.
Julia was seducing other people and using them. Surely, there was some sort of wickedness existing in there. After all Rion knew everything about it, he was doing the same thing.