“Reinhardt, what the hell happened?”
Olivia didn’t seem to understand the situation in which I suddenly received a sponsorship from the Merchant Guild’s master after talking about this and that.
“He seemed to know you, and you also looked like you knew something… I don’t even know what’s what anymore.”
Olivia’s pupils were shaking so much that it was like they were affected by an earthquake. Owen and I hadn’t let anything definitive slip.
We’d suddenly had a question and answer session and made a deal while indirectly referring to things only we knew about.
What was the value that I only had while attending Temple and why did Owen want to buy me?
“It’s basically as you saw. What else do you want me to tell you?”
When I cut the conversation short, Olivia pretended to cry. In the end, I wandered around the sponsor meeting for quite some time, but the reason I got sponsored wasn’t because of the Magic Research Society but because of the Rotary gang’s ongoing business.
I didn’t expect the guild master to show such interest in me, so I actually got caught.
However, there was a problem…
He eventually promised me a sponsorship, but I had no idea what I would have to give him in return. No matter how much money we received, it would never be enough, so the more, the better, but the Merchant Guild’s master was a bit special. There seemed to be no one else willing to sponsor me.
“You need more, don’t you?”
Olivia seemed to have read my thoughts from my expression.
“Well, you never know how much I’ll actually be able to get, the more the better.”
“Hmm… Okay. I knew it would be like that, after all…”
Olivia seemed to have something in mind as well.
Knowing that it would be difficult for me to get a sponsorship, she brought me to that sponsorship meeting, so it looked like she’d made some plans as well.
The incident with the Merchant Guild’s master was an exception, so what did Olivia plan?
Owen sat alone again, and we decided to eat as well, sitting at a secluded table. There were many eyes that conveyed the desire toward Olivia, but no one dared to approach her because they knew that she was like an iron wall.
While Olivia was deeply immersed in her thoughts, someone approached the two of us.
Mr. Epinhauser walked towards our secluded table, approaching me.
Olivia and I got up from our seats because we both knew who was standing next to him.
“We greet the leader of the First Imperial Knights Division, Shanapell. Dame Saviolin Turner.”
There was a knight with a sword-like posture wearing the robes of the Imperial Knights standing next to him.
Looking at her calm but sharp expression, I froze up at her gaze.
However, she certainly looked young. I was pretty sure that she was a lot older than Mr. Epinhauser, though.
Of course, I made a setting that those who reached the level of a superhuman or higher would age slower or even become younger.
If one were to use terms from martial arts novels, the phenomenon would be called ‘rejuvenation’. Saviolin Turner had reached that level.
That was why someone who was about to turn 60 looked like someone in their first year in Temple.
That felt incredibly weird.
“I’m Reinhardt, 11 of the Temple Royal Class’s first year.”
“I’m Olivia Lanze, 0 of Temple Royal Class’s fifth year.”
Olivia was number 0?
I was weirdly surprised.
When I thought about it, she was supposed to be in her sixth year, but she ended up staying in the fifth year because of her situation, so there would have been a need to give her a new number.
Usually, she would have gotten the lowest rank, but considering her talent, they couldn’t do that, so that was probably why they’d given her the previously nonexistent number 0, which was even above Number 1 of the fifth year.
Regardless of that, Saviolin Turner simply looked at me calmly.
“You’re the Empire’s future?”
What did Mr. Epinhauser tell her?!
Contrary to what was said, his expression didn’t seem to change in the slightest.
Mr. Epinhauser had actually told her with a straight face that I was the future of the Empire.
I thought I was about to go crazy for various reasons.
* * *
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
* * *
The leader of the Knights of Shanapell. The Empire’s greatest knight…
She held out her hand to me and shook mine. It was a strong, rough hand.
The strongest knight of the Empire and the protector of the Imperial Family, Saviolin Turner.
All other talented people seemed insignificant before Ellen Artorius, but the woman before me was also a real monster.
She was also the continent’s strongest in melee combat.
Saviolin Turner had been Mr. Epinhauser’s senior when they’d attended Temple.
“I don’t doubt your eyes, but I’m not really sure.”
“He is still a first-year.”
That damn nickname, “The Empire’s future”.
Only Mr. Epinhauser thought of me like that. It seemed like Saviolin Turner made a full estimate of me as she shook my hand.
Even if she was the continent’s strongest, wasn’t she ignoring me too much even though I was right in front of her?
That was it. She was the strongest.
Anyway, it still felt kind of weird that Saviolin Turner, wearing a somewhat mischievous face, spoke casually to Mr. Epinhauser, who seemed older than her.
In reality, she was a far-off senior to him. Sometimes, what one could see wasn’t everything.
“I think, if you want to call someone the Empire’s future, it would be this one.”
Saviolin Turner looked towards Olivia Lanze.
Olivia greeted her, but she looked at her with slight wariness.
It seemed like they’d come across each other before.
Olivia becoming the future of the Empire? I wasn’t sure.
She might or she might not have.
In the original, Olivia Lanze just quietly disappeared outside of the main story, but was she actually stronger than Ellen and Ludwig in the second half of the novel?
As she looked at Olivia with a stiff expression, Saviolin Turner started to speak.
“My offer is still valid. Olivia.”
“If you don’t want to join the Knights Templar, you can join Shanapell.”
The future of the Empire…
Saviolin Turner put a lot more weight on Olivia Lanze. She couldn’t help but do so. She had a lot more going on for herself than me, after all.
Olivia seemed to have gotten an offer to join the first Division of the Imperial Knights already.
Apparently, she’d refused it. Olivia looked at Saviolin Turner silently.
She somehow looked determined.
“How much can you give me?”
Saviolin furrowed her eyebrows slightly when she heard those words.
…Then she looked at me.
“Oh. That’s how it is.”
That was the first time we officially greeted her, but she seemed to know that Olivia and I were going around trying to get donations.
It felt like my brain stopped working.
“If you promise to join us, I’m willing to give you up to 10,000 platinum coins.”
Ten thousand platinum coins…
A million gold coins.
If we converted it to won, it would be one trillion.
Superhumans were like tactical weapons.
She was already treated as that kind of asymmetric weapon.
Did that mean that Olivia had already reached that level, or did she think she would reach it in the near future?
“That’s how much we can invest in the Empire’s future.”
Looking at the price they were willing to pay for Olivia, she was being treated as more important than a fighter jet in modern times.
Only then did I realize that I had no idea how valuable Olivia actually was.
If one just saw the one trillion won, one would think of it as an incredibly large amount, but if one looked at it with the knowledge that it was the money used to buy the continent’s next strongest fighter, someone that was on the same level as a high-quality tactical weapon that couldn’t be stopped, wasn’t it actually rather cheap?
If such a superhuman decided to work for some organization inside of the Empire and not directly under the Empire, that alone was a problem. From the Empire’s point of view, it was something they had to prevent, no matter what.
I realized why Olivia Lanze acted as if everything was going to be solved as long as we attended the sponsorship meeting, even though she knew that it would be difficult for me to get a sponsorship.
She already knew who would buy her for the most.
“Yes, that should be enou—”
“Wait. Wait a sec.”
However, I grabbed Olivia Lanze’s wrist.
“What do you think you’re doing now?”
Olivia lowered her eyes as if she already knew that I would act like that.
” I knew you would act like this… that’s why I didn’t want you to come along.”
I’d realized that she was strangely reluctant to take me with her, so that was the reason.
I dragged Olivia out of the room the sponsorship meeting was held in without looking back a single time. I didn’t care what Mr. Epinhauser or the best knight of the Empire thought.
“Did you tell me that you wanted to go alone because of this?”
Olivia couldn’t even look me in the eyes, keeping her head down. She spoke without looking at me.
“Why do you… I… There’s nothing I really want to do after my graduation, anyway, and they’ll give me a lot of money. I don’t even know what to do with all that money, and you, coincidentally, are in need of money, Reinhardt. That’s just how it is.”
“You don’t actually want to join them, do you?”
Olivia would have received many offers here and there, but she would have refused all of them. However, when she heard that I needed money, she suddenly tried to sell herself to the Knights of Shanapell.
…And wanted to funnel the money to me.
“Why do you do this? Because I saved your life once? If that’s what that is, you already paid me back enough. Why are you trying to risk the rest of that life like that just for something like this?”
“It’s… it’s just because it’s something I can do for you.”
Olivia looked at me with great difficulty. Her eyes were shaking.
“This… this is the only way of living I know.”
The look in her eyes was that of someone who’d only learned how to sacrifice herself for others while not knowing how to live for herself.
“If I have the opportunity to do something for the person that saved me, then I think I should absolutely do it, so that’s why I did this. It’s not anything bad either.”
I kept thinking that Olivia was a strange person.
However, she really was weird. More bizarre than weird, actually.
She was someone who cared and worked harder for others than herself. She had been weird for a long time, but no one thought of her as weird.
That was just the kind of person Olivia Lanze was.
That was why no one actually noticed her strangeness, not even me.
Someone who had been raised as the next head of the Knights Templar and a symbol of the future generation of the Five Major Churches couldn’t have grown up normally. I didn’t know what the environment she grew up in was like, but Olivia Lanze had been forced to live for the salvation of others rather than herself and her own desires.
So that was why she became someone like that.
Her faith, which was the root and foundation of all her actions, disappeared, but the way she lived her life remained the same.
Olivia Lanze didn’t know how to live if it wasn’t for others.
In a way, she resembled Ragan Artorius even more than Ellen. No, she was even worse than him.
If she had to die for the world, she was the kind of person who would just do so without hesitation.
There was only one reason why she could act like that…
Olivia looked at me with quivering pupils.
“I don’t have anything I want to do at the moment. I have no direction, and I don’t know what to live for anymore. I can do anything, but if it’s something that could help you, I’d gladly do it. That’s all.”
Olivia Lanze was broken, not as a saint, but as a human being.
She was a saint, and always lived under that ideal, so she lived like a person who met all the requirements of a flawless saint.
However, Olivia Lanze, who could no longer be a saint, had no idea how to live her life like an ordinary person.
10,000 platinum coins was an unimaginable amount of money.
If we received that much money, our research funding issues would clearly be solved.
However, I didn’t want to accept money that Olivia Lanze made by selling her own future.
“That… It’s strange. You live your life for others before yourself. How could you just sacrifice your life like it’s nothing?”
“No, I would understand if I was in danger of dying or something. While the issue of our research funding is important, no matter how much I think about it, this isn’t something you should do just for that.”
That was the real problem.
Olivia shouldn’t go that far for something minor like that.
It was very odd that she was even willing to sell her future for it.
Olivia looked at me with a sad smile on her lips.
“Then, are you going to tell me?”
“How to live for myself… Can you tell me?”
My tongue froze at her words.
“Are you living for yourself?”
“You, too. Even though you don’t know a single thing about magic, you’re running around like this for the sake of the Magic Research Society’s members.”
Olivia’s words stabbed right through my heart.
“What’s the difference between you and me?”
I was working for the future, so I was a bit different from her.
—That was what I wanted to say, but it didn’t leave my mouth.
In the end, both Olivia and I were devoting our time to things that had absolutely nothing to do with our own interests, the only difference was the importance.
“I’m not as good as you are, senior.”
“Yes, I suppose so.”
Olivia looked up at the night sky from where starlight seemed to pour down.
“You and I are equally strange.”
I had absolutely nothing to refute that. Olivia, who had just blankly looked at the night sky, looked at me with slightly red eyes.
“How to live for ourselves… Should we figure that out together?”
Looking into Olivia Lanze’s eyes that looked as if they would burst into tears at any moment, I thought for quite some time about how I should answer her.
There was only one answer I could give her…
“No naughty things.”
“S-seriously! What do you actually think of me!”
Olivia raised her voice at my nonsensical bullshit, her face turning red.
“You reap what you sow, now what?”
“C-come on, I was just joking around! I… I’m! I’m not! I’m not that kind of person!”
“What do you mean by ‘that kind of person’?”
“Arg! I think I now know why the kids hate you!”
Olivia seemed to have gotten genuinely angry and stayed like that for a while.
Since I knew what Olivia’s plan had been, there was no need for us to go return to the banquet hall where the sponsorship meeting was held.
Nevertheless, we still returned to the hall.
If I didn’t apologize after doing something as rude as dragging my senior out of the hall right in front of my homeroom teacher and the strongest knight of the continent, I would be bound to regret it.
Of course, I wasn’t sure if Saviolin Turner and Mr. Epinhauser would forgive me.
“Erm, I’m sorry for that just now.”
Mr. Epinhauser seemed to care little about the whole matter, and Saviolin Turner just stared at me like she’d done when we first met.
However, that look in her eyes made me feel less than human, so I quickly folded.
I didn’t know whether she was angry or not.
Olivia started to mumble as she looked into the stern eyes of the continent’s strongest knight.
“Erm, I really appreciate your offer, but as I thought… I would like to think a bit longer about it…”
“Yes, you still have a lot of time, so take your time thinking about it.”
I didn’t think she knew that Olivia Lanze, who had passed up on every offer, had that sudden change of heart because of me.
Scary. Just how much would it hurt to be hit by the strongest person in the world?
She had her eyes on Olivia Lanze, and she must have gotten the Imperial Family’s permission to spend unbelievable amounts of money to get her.
Even though I was insanely grateful to her, she was usually just a flirty senior who kept clinging to me to the point of being annoying to me. Just how strong was she? It was at least to the extent that she wasn’t surprised by the strongest person on the continent calling her the Empire’s future.
I could clearly feel how Olivia Lanze’s survival was an inflection point in history.
Saviolin Turner stared at me.
“Did you say you need research funds for magic research purposes?”
“I heard you have supernatural powers, so why bother with magic?”
“You can think of it as letting my classmates focus on research, so I’m left in charge of external tasks.”
Saviolin Turner, who had raised her head, looked at Olivia for about three seconds, then looked at me for about three seconds, and kept up that rhythm for a while.
She seemed to think about something very deeply.
That was what the look on her face suggested.
She seemed like a grown-up Ellen.
She was a calm person, but she actually had a cute side to her.
I didn’t think that I could read her properly, but I could guess her thoughts to some extent.
At first, she seemed similar to Mr. Epinhauser, who was completely expressionless, and yet, she was different from him.
‘Olivia previously refused but asked for money as a condition to join us in order to help this kid’s research.’
‘Reinhardt must be very important to Olivia.’
‘But considering that she withdrew her remark after she got dragged out by Reinhardt, she seems to be weak against him.’
‘If I sponsor Reinhardt, who was able to influence Olivia, maybe she’ll have a better opinion of Shanapell.’
‘Wouldn’t sponsoring Reinhardt serve as a means of increasing our influence on Olivia?’
‘Reinhardt would have positive feelings towards Shanapell, and Olivia would surely be affected by that.’
‘Is he, maybe… a genius?’
She was the first person I could read even better than Adelia.
Perhaps because I had gotten accustomed to Ellen, I was able to detect emotional changes just by looking at her eyes and slight expression changes.
Was I slowly treading into the realm of being a mind reader?
Saviolin, who was deeply immersed in her own thoughts, looked at me.
“I’ll sponsor you!”
“Ooh, thank you!”
As expected, even if not everything I read was right, it mostly matched her thoughts.
In the end, because Olivia Lanze was there with me, I was able to get sponsored by the leader of the First Division of the Imperial Knights.
Two of the most influential groups that participated in the sponsorship meeting had promised to sponsor me.
I was a lot more successful than I imagined I would be.
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