Akuyaku Reijou ni Koi Wo Shite – Chapter 17 –
“Action, Action, Action”
After resolving himself to a future course of action, Rion’s everyday life had become even busier as the number of things that he had to do expanded noticeably.
First of them was to put more effort into his self-training. With his last resort being the assassination of Maria, it was necessary for him to have the strength to make it a reality.
After all, Maria’s talent in magic was something recognized not only by the Academy alone. On top of that, her talent being something that surpassed anyone in the Academy was also a recognized fact. Furthermore, she seemed to have an aptitude for swordsmanship too. Although her fencing skills couldn’t be said to be as good as her magic, they were still enough to place her name in the Academy’s top 10.
She was the protagonist that would fight the devil. Not only she was enjoying the blessings of being the main character, Rion was able to understand that she was strictly training herself as well.
He might possibly have to face that Maria. He understood that it was impossible to defeat her with his current meager prowess. And though it was still doubtful whether he would be able to pull it off after going to such lengths in training himself, it was not like he could just watch and do nothing.
So now, his weekday’s training was not limited to the period before dawn but also expanded to the time when people were waking up. He also started to train himself during the time people went to sleep and stayed up quite late. Some of his sleeping time was now shaved off by the new training regimen.
Furthermore, his practice sessions were not limited to weekdays anymore.
He even did them early in the morning during weekends. He would go to a place where demonic beasts appear and accumulate combat experience. Was this recklessness or would this training method, with enough effort, make him even stronger? Rion was not entirely sure.
However, the time remaining to take action was not even a year. So rather than worrying, he would rather act. And more training was the first thing that came to his mind.
While that continued he has also spent his time on other various projects.
In the Academy, his main priority was expanding his personal network of connections. He targeted both the noble female students that were jealous about Maria’s close relations with big Houses and the prince and the commoner ones that were jealous that she got to mingle with aristocracy despite being one of them.
Although he was not aiming for something like an Anti-Maria alliance, he wanted to make an information network where he could get ahold of any rumors about her that would be advantageous for him to know and have the ability to contradict any gossip damaging Ariel or Vincent.
This was considerably hard to create. It was not like anyone who bore animosity towards Maria would do, on the contrary, those whose hate for her was so strong that they would act on it openly had to be rejected.
Any action, likely a rather reckless one, taken by them that was favorable to Ariel was certain to be linked to Ariel and impact her reputation. It was something to be avoided at all cost to prevent the denunciation event from happening.
Rion believed in Ariel and he had faith that she would never move to torment Maria, like the rival character in the game, did. He was certain that the event was based on false charges.
Furthermore, Rion was also preparing another trick.
This time, it was a plan that did not involve the Royal Academy but the dark side of Rion, the Flay Syndicate in the slums.
(EN: this is actually Anachronistic Stew, according to Chief Editor, organized crime as we know it developed during the 19th century. Just look up Assasin’s Creed: Syndicate)
「Who sponsored the contract?」
「It was possible to follow the representative. It was viscount House Lyle.」
Ain was the person answering Rion’s questions. In Rion’s absence, he was managing the syndicate operations in the slums.
「Anyone in particular?」
「Hard to say, boss. The contact works for the House’s majordomo, but that doesn’t say much. The contract though seems to favor one person in particular..」
「Lady of the House does not forgive, eh? Buying death for all lovers of her husband..」
「Viscount House Lyle… Something to keep in mind..」
「Boss, is it good to spy on employers like that?」
「It’s fine if we’re not exposed, so just don’t go too far.」
「Do we choose to stop then?」
「No. Information is power. Knowledge of circumstances around the contract can be our shield if we just accept the jobs blind one day we’ll end up getting framed into something that will destroy the group.」
Well, this was also an excuse. For him, it would really be a trump card, but one to use not for the sake of the syndicate, but when something happens to Ariel.
That event would probably escalate into a situation where not just the students would get involved. Rion knew that the fate of the rival characters in such games tended to end up like that. With that being the case, even if it was just a little bit, he had to gather strength in order to save Ariel if that was to happen. It didn’t matter if he did that by blackmail.
The tricks that Rion was stuffing up his sleeves were not limited to this.
「How’s the other business?」
「Too early to say. We probably got a mark we can exploit…」
「Aha… And how’s the search for a powerful backer?」
「We’ve got some grunts from provost, useful in a way, but worthless for that purpose.」
「Yeah, even a captain wouldn’t be enough.」
An aristocrat with influence comparable to the marquess houses. That was the kind of connection Rion desired. Someone, who in exchange for bribes and favors would save them when the time came.
「To be honest, boss, it’s hard.」
「The potential backers look for profit, but there’s hardly any to be made in here. Unless you’re in urgent need of making someone vanish.」
「So we’re just not attractive enough?」
「For them, we’re just a bunch of thugs from the slums.」
「Then we need to expand, we gotta turn into something they can’t ignore.」
And just like that Rion formulated another massive goal. For petty criminals like Ain, who lived their whole life in the slums, his ambitions were too huge.
But although he, and the other henchmen, thought so, they also found it fun to have a life goal like that.
「How much longer until we’re in full control of the slum?」
「Not long, boss.」
「I was going to mention that later. See, the majority of Gordon’s group wants to join us now. 」
「’Cause the standard of life in our zone is better and they wanna have some of that too.」
「Is that a ploy to take over from inside?」
「I thought about it, but… Nah, not possible.」
「If they remove you, boss, won’t everything just go back to shit? After all, you’re why the changes happened.」
「…Too much ass kissing.」
「Heh, a pure fact this. We all just done as we’ve been told. If boss, wasn’t boss, life here would never get so good.」
「…Alright, enough. You make me feel sick with all that sweetness.」
If Ain was to be asked, this side of Rion was one of his charms. Going from being terribly scary when angered to showing his subordinates demeanor not befitting his age.
(TN*: Ain is gay for Rion. PR:not gay, just Paedophile)
Not only was he reliable, Rion was also someone who would somehow want to do something for the people around him.
Without realizing it himself, Rion had garnered a lot of popularity within his subordinates and the dwellers of the slum.
The reason why the other influential organizations there decided to join their syndicate was thanks to that reputation. People saw him not just a mere child, but possibly the slum’s ray of hope.
「So how to proceed?」
「If you feel there are no problems, then go ahead. We’ll be able to pull off larger things with everyone gathered under our lead.」
「Will do, boss. I’ll pass the news.」
「Until I come back, all the problems with this are on your head. Just make that lot understand that there’ll be no changes for the better before we get a grip on their zones.」
「Understood. Will do that. But I’ll have to spend some time there. They need to get familiar with our faces.」
「Perfect. All yours then.」
Ain knew that Rion would not just wait for an opportunity but after hearing the reports on the state of their new acquisitions, he would think about what they should do for the people living there until the day he came back.
He was certain that once they were aware of that side of Rion, any malcontents would vanish and all of them would soon follow Rion from the depths of their heart.
After all, to Ain and his folks, Rion was that kind of existence.
Although Rion’s days turned busy, it was not as if he was disregarding his job as a valet to Vincent. He was merely using the free time between the tasks to undertake various projects.
But even if that was the case…
「….Rion, Why don’t you go and rest a bit?」
Rion, who was accompanying Vincent in his studies, was frantically fighting drowsiness, something that was never a problem before and he found it hard to believe he was struggling with this now.
「…My apologies, sir, where have we stopped last time?」
「Don’t change the subject, please. My study sessions are progressing favorably, so you don’t need to be here. Go and rest.」
「Sir, that would be absolutely unacceptable.」
Rion had no inclination to accept Vincent’s proposal. He felt that he became who he was exactly because he was Vincent’s valet.
「I kept my counsel thus far to let you act as you wished, but I can stay silent no longer. Working at the cost of your health will not be tolerated, do you understand that?」
「…Crystal clear, sir.」
「I know and I can see that you cherish the well-being of me and my sister, but you need to accept you are important to us as well. Please act with that in mind. 」
「Never forget that, Rion.」
「I shall etch that in my heart.」
If Rion was to be asked, Vincent was truly a gentle lord. Although he tended to be selfish at times, but that was only pointed at the foolish servants who offended him.
And though he had been really self-centered before, now that side of him disappeared completely.
As he noticed Rion’s serious approach to receiving and following up on his selfish requests, Vincent became happy and his selfishness disappeared because he didn’t want to put his valet through such hardships any longer.
Rion wasn’t aware of that. For him, rather than a selfish lord, Vincent was always a considerate person.
But because the people in Vincent’s surroundings were not trying to properly understand Vincent as Rion did, their assessment about him never changed.
Rion couldn’t stand that.
And now the same thing was happening in the Academy. Students’ and staff’s evaluation of Vincent was not improving either. Even though the malicious rumors about him spread very easily, no one was talking about how Vincent was now.
Rion wanted to do something about that.
「Honestly, just go to bed already. You’re barely keeping awake.」
「That’s not true, sir, I was just pondering on a certain problem.」
「…That’s enough excuses. Rest. That’s an order.」
「…As you command.」
Since this time Vincent’s words were accompanied by an order, Rion was compelled to follow. All the more, since this command was a result of Vincent’s kindness.
Standing up from his seat, Rion headed towards the room next door that was his to use.
While leaving he heard Vincent say from behind.
「Don’t try to face all your troubles alone. I don’t mind sharing some of the burdens you carry.」
「…I thank you for kind words, sir.」
Vincent’s gentleness nearly made Rion involuntarily shed tears. But even so, he had no plans to stop taking it all upon himself.
It was also likely that Vincent wouldn’t believe the astounding truth that this was a world from a game. And even if he did, Rion didn’t expect any action that Vincent would take to head into a good direction.
Vincent was one of the characters in the game. Just like in the case of the protagonist where an unknown force compelled events to twist in her favor, Rion thought that other characters were prisoners of similar influences.
He thought that only irregular existences, not included in the game, were capable of taking actions that would alter the plot.
He had no way to determine if that idea was correct, but since he was uncertain, he felt he had no choice but to take the course of action that he thought was right.
This was tremendously harsh on his mental health. Because this was a game world, altering the course of the story meant changing the world itself. It was outrageous for someone of his station to attempt that.
And there was also the nagging doubt of whether changing the course of the story was even possible in the first place? Facing this question as he tried to attempt that very thing, Rion was being overwhelmed by pressure.
But when talking about Rion, one had to remember that he could probably divide the strain within himself and he didn’t fear something like dying. It was fine to say that he didn’t even feel like his life was worth anything.
Part of the pressure he was feeling came from the worry about how it would affect his relationship with Ariel in the future.
He was strained by the thought of how badly would their life be impacted if he ever failed while carrying their future on his shoulders.
Rion, going to his room to rest as ordered, was flooded by dark thoughts as those.
While Rion was struggling with his worries, this world’s protagonist also had various things on her mind.
Although compared to Rion’s, Maria’s problems seemed rather less significant.
「Sigh, I’m not feeling enough reaction, did I overdo it?」
She was speaking to herself as she read her notebook. The page she had it opened on had the names of her capture targets written. Not all the possible ones from the game but the ones she designated for herself in this world.
Below each of them, she wrote their lineage, personality, and abilities. At the very bottom of each entry, she listed what she thought was the key to capturing them. The records for the characters of the game had relevant information from the game itself while the non-game characters information was just her wild guesses.
(I need to reduce by half… No, since new students come soon, I need to pick a third of the people from the list)
The number of names written in her notebook was roughly around twenty. With so many male students approaching her, there was no way for her to get no response from that guy.
(So who should I keep… Arnold and Lancelot are a must. Marcus is alright, so is Julius… And now that I think about it, no one else really matters, huh?)
The names she listed were all characters in the game. Which meant that the ones she successfully set a flag with were mostly game characters. To Maria, this fact was quite shocking.
(Hmph… Even though I’m so beautiful.)
Maria honestly thought that her outward appearance in this world was rather excellent. Well, to be fair, that was to be expected. She was a protagonist after all.
However, her appearance seemed to strongly affect the game characters only and had hardly any impact on others. This was quite unexpected for her.
Maria thought that numerous males would flock to court her, but that didn’t happen at all.
And that wasn’t by chance
After all, in this world, particularly in the noble society, that kind of direct approach was something seen as disgraceful. If a noble wanted to court a female, he would be indirect while trying to gauge the feelings of the opposite gender, closing their distance accordingly.
It was also important to remember that only a few aristocrats were permitted to love freely, in that world, this was a common state of affairs.
Maria didn’t know about any of that. And it was not the only thing that she was ignorant about.
The common sense and customs of this world were never introduced in the game at all.
Although it was certainly in part due to a crude work of the developers, that was not the only reason. *Ryou initially thought that this game was only an otome game, but actually, that was not the case.
(TN: We have decided to change this one from Flay into Ryou as we suspect author error on this part. Flay is the least of them three to try to figure things out about otome games.)
The real genre of this world was a simulation / role-playing game hybrid.
The name of the game itself was Elemental Party.
The game was divided into two parts. The Royal Academy was the part where you grew stronger with your comrades, while the second part was where the comrades that she gathered would spearhead an army fighting against the Devil. Because the latter was actually more important, the party gathering prelude was just an extra which one could enjoy many times.
There were various people available to be invited and exclusive events linked to who the player chose That was the reason why the trivial details of the story setting were omitted.
Well, to be honest, that still was cutting corners. Overall the content was rather underwhelming and instead of gaining popularity, it ended up as a shitty game that was barely known.
Maria was currently going through the first half part of this flimsy offering. However, this wasn’t a game anymore where events would trigger one after another according to the route that she chose, this was an actual world where the surroundings would change according to her actions.
(PR: Hey Readers, it looks like Maria will start to redeem herself from this point.
TN: I don’t think we’re about to go there yet, this Arc is long so I’m guessing it would be around the second half.)
Maria fumbling like this also was an action.
(As long as I have the four of them, nobody else would make a difference.)
The strength of a marquess House member and the royal family was astounding. In addition to this, Maria. being a protagonist. was going to be the main battle character of the future war party too. Other people could only serve as support characters or bait. Having any of them fight would be completely ineffective. Because of that, the second part of the game always played out the same way and the first half didn’t have any replayability.
(So, do I just play how I like now? Should be fine I guess. And I think that unlike the start, it is fine to approach them closer now.)
Maria circled the name of the targets that she has chosen. Arnold, Lancelot, Marcus, a descendant of knights from class A, Julius, a wind attribute user who specializes in support magic, and lastly Bruce, an earth attribute user who specializes in defense. Lastly, although his abilities were still unknown, Maria highlighted Rion’s name.
「The way Rion carries himself is really suspicious and it makes me quite intrigued. There’s also his looks and his black hair… His magic must be strong. There’s no way he’s not a hidden character.」
The hidden character were those whose appearance was triggered by a certain pattern of events. They were all special with abilities comparable to the protagonist.
At least that’s how『Elemental Party』 handled this concept. This feature should have guaranteed the game’s replayability, but because the appearance of those hidden NPC’s depended on excessively obscure patterns of actions and because of the game’s unpopularity, there were only a few players who ever saw this feature in action, resulting in it being considered something of a myth. It was a huge blunder by the developers.
(Anyway, that woman will join the Academy soon, so the main show is about to start. Gotta get fired up and give it my all.)
The new students were about to enter the Academy. Many of them were crucial characters that Maria was waiting for. Ariel was one of those.
Ariel in the game would be a catalyst for many events. For Maria, her absence as a rival character would make things hard.
HnM Translations’ Corner
Second chapter of the week, so welp there goes another revelation of the Kamui(author). Yep, Maria still needs a reality check. Oh, I’m not ahead anymore, you can take my comments less seriously now. Anyway, the next chapter would probably be next week, I’ll probably take a rest for 1-2 days, then go back to translating again afterwards.
Anyway, I’d like to give my special thanks to Kai.
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