Why do you think that the first friend you made at Temple would make a good friend?
1. Nice to his subordinates.
2. Would be able to hide me,
So, becoming Bertus’ subordinate wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but I was still scared. It did have advantages, but wouldn’t it look like I’m a double agent? Was he going to treat me like a subordinate in the first place? It would be hard to keep that going for a long time.
If he were to place me under his wing, wouldn’t he be the first and only member of the Imperial Family to ever make a Demon Prince their subordinate?
Anyway, Bertus seemed to want to maintain a close relationship with me in our future Temple life.
Of course, I knew Bertus.
He was a talented guy. Whether they were commoners, nobles or royalty, if they had the ability, he would have serious interest in them.
It didn’t matter what kind of person they were, as long as they proved to be useful. That was the type of person he was.
Bertus sat on the terrace railing this time. It was on the first floor, so one could go outside from it.
He talked with his back to me.
“Do you love the Empire?”
That wasn’t a lie. I really did love it. This was the best place to live on the whole continent after all.
“Why do you love it?”
He didn’t like obvious answers.
“Because of money.”
Bertus turned his head to look at me. He’d find out if we continued to be like this anyway, but I had to be a little more honest here.
“There’s no reason not to love a place that allows a helpless beggar to live in a palace like this just because there’s something strange about him.”
It wasn’t even on the level of not having any background, kid.
“I’m from the streets.”
I was a beggar!
Bertus opened his mouth slightly as if he had never imagined something like that. That made it clear that this guy didn’t run a background check on me. Bertus didn’t say anything for a moment, perhaps bewildered or perplexed, he nodded blankly as if he came back to his senses.
“Ah, right….Yes…. I know what you mean.”
I had been wandering around the streets.
“If you dislike me for being a beggar, it can’t be helped.”
He was fine with commoners, but what about beggars? We weren’t just a Prince and a Pauper, we were the Imperial Prince and a Beggar.
“No. I prefer it that way.”
However, Bertus gave me an unexpected answer. I couldn’t believe it. He preferred it?
“Because there’s a strong basis for loyalty.”
Not only did I get to live in this place just because I had some form of talent, but it was also possible for me to hold a conversation with the Prince like this.
He seemed to think that one could take my loyalty to the Empire for granted then. Yeah, that certainly was a convincing statement. As if he found it funny that I put it as being loyal because of money, Bertus chuckled.
“I don’t know what kind of light hanging out with a beggar would shine on you. Well, my origins aren’t exactly a secret or anything.”
I told Bertus another point I thought might be a problem. Surely it wouldn’t paint a good picture and my origins would spread someday.
However, Bertus cut me off.
“Reinhardt, do you know about ants?”
“Did you know that they have a hierarchy in ant society?”
“Like queen ant, worker ant and so on?”
“Yes. Like that.”
Bertus was staring outside, as if he was peering through the darkness. Why was he talking about ants out of nowhere?
“Queen ants, worker ants, soldier ants and so on, there might be even more complicated systems, or none at all, but I don’t know about that.”
“What about it?”
Were you proud of not knowing that?
“What do I know about classes among ants.”
Bertus said coldly.
“Beggars, commoners, nobles, princes, dukes, counts, barons. Why would I care about that?”
That was the type of guy Bertus was.
“They look all the same below me, Reinhardt.”
Bertus laughed grimly.
“So, whether Heinrich von Schwarz criticized me or you criticized me.”
He had pretty intuitive logic.
“It would be all the same to me.”
All were equal below him.
Whether it was a soldier ant or the lowest of those ants trying to criticize him, he wouldn’t care either way. He put it in quite the dog-like way, but in the end it meant he didn’t care what I was.
He told me not to worry about that and not to be too nervous about these things.
“The core message is great, but the way you put was quite intense.”
Look at that twisted bastard.
“That’s what power is, Reinhardt.”
“Those who have it, have the freedom to be snobbish.”
His choice of words were rather radical. Isn’t it nice being treated comfortably?
The powerful have the freedom to be snobbish.
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“However you don’t have that kind of power and yet you are the way you are”
As for Bertus, he seemed interested in me because I was acting frivolous even though I didn’t have any power at all. Because of that, some people judged me to be some mysterious person in the end.
“You’re a beggar and yet you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. Your eloquence isn’t normally found in someone born in poverty.”
“There are all sorts of people in this world.”
Bertus looked at me. It was as if he was trying to peer through me.
“Okay, let’s find out what you are really hiding.”
He seemed convinced that a beggar wouldn’t be capable of that. He’d treat me as a friend, but Bertus was obviously suspicious of me. However, one couldn’t just manipulate my origins.
That said, I didn’t even try acting like a stupid beggar.
I wasn’t all that disappointed, as it was an inevitable result.
In the end, Bertus wouldn’t fully trust my background or rather the lack thereof.
He didn’t tell me to come under him, nor did I say that I would go under him.
“But it is true that I don’t have any abilities. So is there anything about me that you’re interested in so much that you want to get closer to me?”
“Those talents as meager as a rat are useless as of now. That’s not to say that a physical scanner could explain everything about a human being.”
After Bertus revealed his true face, he didn’t pretend to be kind in front of me anymore. Talents as meager as little rats. Bertus was criticizing the Royal Class students for being useless.
He seemed to think that it was foolish to only believe in what that physical scanner showed. He was focused on indicators that that thing couldn’t show.
“I’d prefer someone who could use his head a little better a hundred times over some measly talent. Of course, someone with a good head on their shoulders punching people left and right is rather problematic. Well, as that was how you used to live, I can understand your behavior to some extent.”
Bertus chuckled. It seemed like he judged me as someone who was smart and had good judgement, but as soon as someone started to argue with me I would use my fist first. Since I was a beggar, he seemed to think that that was why I acted like that.
I wasn’t actually a beggar….
“Well, what I wanted to say stays the same, in the end. Try to hold in your temper.”
We came back to the beginning and he ended up saying the same thing.
“I’ll try, but only if those brats can be communicated with.”
“Well, yeah. That’s all for now.”
Bertus came down form the terrace railing and stood in front of me.
“When I’m sure you’re mine, let’s talk about some more important things then.”
The time for Bertus to trust me.
The time for me to trust Bertus.
That time hadn’t come yet.
But Bertus did recognize my worth, which is why he threw out the bait first. Something like “Don’t forget who recognized your value first”.
I knew without even thinking about it who came first.
I became friends with Bertus. No, we weren’t quite friends yet. Anyway, even if I hadn’t quite gained the Imperial Prince’s favor yet, it did seem like he saw me in a positive light. I seemed to have been judged as a useful guy.
There weren’t any visible effects of that. He wasn’t acting too friendly. Of course, we would talk casually, regardless of whether other people saw us or not. There were probably some rumors floating about by now, that the Imperial Prince was kind even so some crazy asshole.
Classes on Friday included Divinity, Alchemy and Synthesis.
Divinity studies were for those gifted with divine powers, so the only ones taking the class were Erich and Ashir from Class B. The rest were all regular class students who wanted to be priest or paladins.
Of course, I understood what they were trying to teach, but I couldn’t sense divine power at all. Using divine power as a Demon, would seem pretty funny, wouldn’t it?
Everyone who majored in Magic would study Alchemy as well. Unlike magic classes, Alchemy seemed quite doable. It was a fun class because it was a practical one.
General Martial Arts.
I almost fell behind while trying to understand it.
In the end, this was close to P.E. Part 2.
Fortunately no one, except Ludwig, even dared to make eye contact with me. It seemed like the rumor that I was a total nut job went around the Class A and B kids.
When Erich saw me today in Divinity Studies, he seemed to avoid me and that man named Ashir who was also majoring in Divinity from Class B, immediately turned his head as fast as lightening after he made eye contact with me once.
I wasn’t a bully, just some psycho they wanted to avoid.
And the truth behind that rumor of me having some mysterious background still didn’t seem to have spread yet.
Did Bertus want the misunderstandings to be resolved on their own?
It was true that I was an ill-tempered person, but I was also talentless. So if a strong guy came along, I was confident that that person, beating me up would set things right, but it seemed like those types of people were avoiding me because of that misunderstanding.
Children and their imagination….
As a rule, Royal Class students had to live in the dormitory. Of course, since most of the Temple students came from far away countries, most of them lived in Temple, but there were also some Temple students that lived in Gardium, so there were some cases of students commuting to school.
Of course, Temple was huge, so one had to get up very early to leave the school and go outside.
Among the members of the Royal Class, those who had a mansion in Gardium often went home on the weekends. There were no compulsory activities during the weekend. Everyone was free to study, play or do whatever they wanted.
I could stay in the dormitory, but I’d just be alone anyway. I had no clue how to awaken my ability.
Well, I’d better let them know how my first week went.
Where would I go?
Of course to the Rotary Gang, the sewer area under the Bronzgate Bridge.
“……So, you’ve been beating up the kids, is what you mean?”
“…so to speak, erm, that’s how it was.”
When I told Loyar about my Temple life, she looked at me. She seemed to think I hadn’t gotten rid of old habits or something. After all, the way I acted kind of felt the same as the original prince, huh?
“No, but it was them who picked the fight. Would I hit the back of the head of someone who was just minding their own business?”
At my plea, Loyar looked at me as if I would do that.
What’s with that guy?
“Do, don’t do this, Your Highness….”
“If you keep looking at me like that, I’ll tell you to show me your stomach.”
“I, I really don’t want to do that, Your Highness….”
She was more straightforward than anyone I knew.