On the first day I had to beat up Cayer.
And on the third day I had to beat up Heinrich von Schwarz. This time, I wasn’t called to see the teacher. If I were called in, I would just testify that he tried to use his ability on his classmate, although it would be a pain.
However, this was different from the time with Cayer.
Cayer was a commoner, Heinrich von Schwarz was the prince of Kernstadt, the first Principality of the Empire. Although he wasn’t its successor, he was still a descendant.
In other words, he was a descendant of the royal family, who had the second highest authority after the Imperial Family. This would be seen a shocking event by anyone, no matter how much they enforced the principle of equality and treated everyone fairly regardless of class.
Rather than criticizing me, it seemed like everyone was avoiding me. They seemed to perceive me as a madman, someone actually crazy. At this point they didn’t see me as just something dirty, rather I turned into a scary existence in their eyes.
No, I mean, should I have let go of that guy who suddenly started arguing with me and tried to use his ability on me just because he couldn’t stand the sight of me sitting still? Should I have actually gotten grilled, huh?
After that, Heinrich would leave his seat as soon as he saw me, as if he saw something dirty. It seemed like he turned around in fury and anger, but he couldn’t raise his hand against me in Temple.
I didn’t want to be seen as a pushover, so I became a nut job.
Because if I didn’t do this, some genuinely strong person might want to pick a fight with me. It would only be a matter of time before that would turn into a bloodbath, right? If that were to happen, I should absolutely get an ability I could actually use.
Would my slow attacks even do anything against someone with a combat talent?
My quiet life had been ruined, by none other than myself. So I had no other choice but take this route. It would be completely useless to pretend to be nice and kind to these people.
And thinking back about it.
I didn’t think that I was ever really nice before. I mean, someone who gets actually mad at some kids in their thirties definitely had some problem with their head, right?
The atmosphere of Class A, which had always been quiet, became even worse because of me.
Did I actually become a type of villain in the story I wrote? I didn’t do this on purpose, you know?
No matter how one looked at it, I was the bad guy here.
An initial villain who had no real power but a bad temper, right?
After Thursday’s common classes, evening.
“Reinhardt, could I talk with you for a second?”
After dinner, Bertus finally called out to me.
After dinner, Bertus took me to a patio tea table. He still had a friendly smile on his lips. On the table was a teapot filled with black tea. He probably prepared this beforehand.
“Do you want some tea?”
Bertus poured the tea gently into my cup. He put milk into his tea, while I just drank it as is. The Prince didn’t seem to have any hostility towards me.
I couldn’t figure out what he thought about me being so casual with him by his expression alone.
I didn’t let my guard down because his expression didn’t tell me anything.
He was an aspiring Swordmaster. Those who picked a fight with me were mostly physically weaker than me. However, the Prince was someone who could step all over me if he so wanted. Both physically and politically.
I wasn’t his match in either of those aspects.
If Bertus tried to impose physical sanctions on me…
How should I respond?
It was the right decision to just become one of those typical strong against the weak and weak against the strong types.
Bertus looked at me with a soft smile.
A friendly attitude that seemed devoid of hostility.
Ludwig was deceived by that attitude. Countless other people were, too.
It was a soft smile that could even deceive me, who shouldn’t be deceived by it.
“They were all asking me to do something about this matter, so I’ve decided to speak on their behalf with you.”
“They are afraid of you.”
He euphemistically said they were scared of me, but in the end they simply didn’t like me.
“Of course, I can understand your behavior to a certain extent. On the first day, Cayer was rather aggressive towards you. Even in the changing room.”
“I’m sure it was also Cayer’s fault for saying that your admission was of fraudulent nature.”
The Imperial Prince.
It wasn’t me, but the Prince who was upset by Cayer’s remarks that undermined Temple’s authority. Did you feel refreshed inwardly after you came to stop the fight?
“I heard that you acted because you were indignant about him insulting Temple, not you personally.”
Whether he heard it from Mr. Epinhauser or through other channels, he knew about my appeal. That’s why Bertus knew I pretended to be a patriot.
“As a student of Temple I have to look at every person fairly. I have no choice but to. Although it is true that my heart is drawn towards such patriotic people.”
What’s with that weird development?
“Reinhardt, I like you very much.”
The storyline got really weird!
My hands would tremble less if he told me that he was going to kill me.
What’s with this? What direction is this going to? Huh?
Bertus heard what I said to Mr. Epinhauser, and was now admiring my patriotism? No, well, it was a matter of course that the Imperial Prince holds strong patriotism.
So he was looking favorably upon me? Because he thought that I was enduring all these insults towards my person, but would punch out as soon as Temple was insulted because I was that much of a patriot?
Bertus was fiddling with his teacup while still wearing a soft smile.
“Still, I think this time you have gone too far. Of course, touching someone of a royal family is far more dangerous than a commoner. I’m not talking about that point though.”
“I believe our dear classmates’ imagination is running a bit wild.”
What did he mean?
Bertus smiled as he looked at the nightly landscape of Temple as if he could see something beyond the horizon.
“There is no way that a man with no talent whatsoever would ever touch the House of Schwarz with nothing to rely on…. That is what they are spreading.”
I began to understand what he meant. ‘Even if he was crazy, he’s so crazy that there has to be something behind him‘, that’s what they thought.
“So…. They think I’m hiding something huge?”
“Correct. It could be a talent or it could be the power of your family….”
If I were them I wouldn’t be able to understand my behavior either, if there wasn’t something like that behind me. They thought there couldn’t be someone out there, not even a madman, who would beat up someone of a royal family out of rage.
“It’s not common, but there are people like that. People who hide their own status and enter Temple as commoners.”
I knew about that. There were students who couldn’t live under their family name or those who had to hide their background for various other reasons, for example they don’t want to get noticed. There were even such cases where they send a young nobleman here as a commoner, hiding his family background, and what he was met with was utter contempt, as such receiving true education.
I was mistaken as someone like that.
“What’s worse, even Heinrich is starting to believe it.”
Recently, Heinrich had been avoiding me, pretending to sleep as soon as he saw me. It wasn’t because he thought I was dirty, but because he truly thought I was scary?
“By the way, how many families are there that aren’t afraid of the Schwarz family?”
Things were going into a completely different direction I expected it to. They thought I had some background that would enable me to punch someone of the Schwarz Royal Family without a care.
If so, wouldn’t there be only one option then?
“I believe the others think you are the hidden son of a Royal Family.”
A child’s imagination was sometimes even beyond an adults understanding. No, what stupid idiot would send their hidden son into an environment with two members of the Imperial Family?
“Of course, I know that’s not true.”
Bertus looked at me as if he wasn’t such a fool to believe in the trivial imaginations of children.
Then he tilted his cup, still having that gentle smile float on his lips.
“So, Reinhardt, let me ask you a question.”
“Is there something you can place your trust in?”
Bertus knew that me being from a Royal Family was nonsense. However he still was curious. About my true background. Even Bertus didn’t seem to believe that I was just some ruthless guy in the end.
However, the nature of my background could never be revealed. As it was on the level of turning the entire human race against me.
I sighed and folded my arms.
“I don’t need some crazy background to punch some fucker who’s trying to walk all over me, now do I?”
I’ll just go with that route.
It was already too late to fix this anyway. I’m sticking with the nut job route. So what if I hung some dog-bastard out to dry?
I also had the Dreadfiend ring, so I could disappear any time I wanted.
Bertus looked at me blankly with a slightly dumbfounded expression.
“Huh…. You mean…. I don’t think it’s…. So, you don’t have something like that?”
“You just did that because you were in a bad mood?”
Bertus, who had been smiling all this time, slightly licked his lips.
“Haha, ha. Hahaha. Hahahaha. Haha!”
Then he suddenly burst into laughter. Bertus laughed for a long time, like a man who lost his mind.
After laughing for a while, Bertus looked at me.
That look chilled my spine. His eyes felt like those of a snake.
This was Bertus true face. Just by looking at him one could feel goosebumps run up one’s back.
He looked at me with those eyes and quietly tilted his teacup.
“In a situation like that, one would usually lie.”
It was a lie.
No, it could be seen as a lie, kind of, right? I did have a certain background. Ah.
It might be a background that exceeded anyone’s imagination though.
“If you told me you had some great background or something, I would have have ignored you in the future.”
Bertus was showing himself to me completely raw. It was completely different from those guys who had been yelling and swearing at me before.
It was indeed a young man’s gaze, but it seemed frozen.
“It was wise of you to answer honestly. Reinhardt.”
He seemed to have expected me to bluff my way out of this situation. I was just pretending to be that kind of person to not get beat up. Did he do a background check on me? Did he already know that I wasn’t actually some big shot, and by saying these things was he trying to find out what kind of person I was?
I shrugged my shoulders.
“I could have lied that there was nothing, though?”
“I don’t know if there really is nothing about you, but you aren’t a nobleman at least.”
Bertus set down his teacup and stroked the rim with his fingers.
“There’s no way that a nobleman wouldn’t know how to hold a teacup.”
The tea wasn’t prepared for no reason.
He looked through me just by observing how I held a teacup and drank the tea.
When I realized that my unconscious actions gave away information about my background, I got goosebumps all over my body.
I was the one who set up this character, but it was hard for me to put into words how this guy was scaring me.
If I bragged about my background he would have just ignored me. But I told him that I wasn’t much. So what?
“You should have bluffed, Reinhardt.”
“Have you ever thought about what Heinrich von Schwarz could do to you?”
I kind of thought about it. Of course, I rushed in with my body first, but I did organize my thoughts later. The price I would have to pay for touching someone of the Royal Family of Kernstadt, the First Principality of the Empire.
However, I knew about Heinrich von Schwarz’s background. I was pretty confident that he wouldn’t be able to hurt me.
“The moment you step out of Temple, you might disappear without any trace for hitting someone from the House of Schwarz. Don’t you worry about that?”
No, I didn’t really. Because something like that would never happen in the first place.
“Then when I told you that Heinrich was afraid of your unknown background, wouldn’t it have been good if you kept these fears alive?”
“Sure would have been.”
“Then why did you tell me the truth? Heinrich is very likely to harm you, and you should feel afraid of that.”
Heinrich was of a Royal Family, rather hostile and joined the Royal Class.
However he was currently more or less in exile.
No one in the Schwarz family looked favorably upon Heinrich. That was why Heinrich’s status was just a shell. In reality, he was just some guy with no power or status.
Therefore, I already knew that there would be no retaliation against me from that family he was practically abandoned by far in the distance.
However, to tell him that I knew about these things would obviously be suspicious.
So why did I deny this misunderstanding that would have kept me safe?
“It wouldn’t have been any good to tell such shallow lies in front of the Imperial Prince.”
It would be better to say that I had foreseen this situation. I judged it to be more dangerous to deceive Bertus in order to keep myself safe from that guy called Heinrich.
That was what I was going for.
At my word, Bertus began to stare at me.
“I could tell Heinrich about this, you know? Wouldn’t that be problematic for you?”
I felt like walking on a thin sheet of ice. Turning Bertus against me would put my life at risk. I decided to use the nut job route, but he wasn’t really picking a fight with me, so there was no reason for me to snap at him.
“I don’t think so.”
“And why is that?”
“You said that when I lied, you would have just ignored me in the future. Then wouldn’t that mean you’d do something if I didn’t?”
My hand was just a dog’s paw after all.
Then, in this situation, Bertus wouldn’t ignore me, but would try to do something.
Maybe he’d offer me a solution.
Maybe he thought something like I wasn’t someone he should ignore.
“And I do think Heinrich wouldn’t be able to touch me, whatever my background, assuming he’s not completely braindead.”
“Why do you think so?”
“No matter inside or outside of Temple, it wouldn’t be normal for a Temple student, and a Royal Class student at that, to suddenly die in the Imperial Capital Gardium.”
“And if I actually were to die, the culprit would be all too clear. A Royal Class student from a commoner background fought with a member of the First Principality’s Royal Family. If someone like that were to die suddenly, it would be very obvious whose knife stabbed him.”
If I died with that timing, it would be obvious who killed me, so, of course, Heinrich would be the prime suspect. Bertus was smiling more and more.
“Wouldn’t it be possible for the Schwarz Royal Family to use their power to cover up this case?”
“Of course, that might happen.”
I looked at Bertus and smiled.
I didn’t know what would happen, but I couldn’t stop now.
“I don’t think our homeland, the Empire, would be swayed just by a Principality. Rather, wouldn’t they be asked to pay for tarnishing Temple’s honor?”
Bertus’ lips began to curl up at the expression ‘homeland’. Was he more patriotic than even Mr. Epinhauser?
Now that I thought about it, my death would be a much bigger deal than I thought. I knew it wouldn’t happen, but I decided to use my confidence in Temple and the Empire as the reason for that belief. Bertus seemed to admire my judgment.
Bertus liked smart guys. He certainly picked up something about me, but it was different from our other classmate’s judgement. Of course, it was because I knew a thing or two about this place’s common sense.
Bertus was grinning as if there was no more need to talk.
“It’s the first time in my life that I came to like a cheeky guy like you so much.”
What? What was with this situation?
“Reinhardt, let’s enjoy our life at Temple together.”
Why was the first person I got close at Temple the villain?