I already knew who came to see me.
Harriet’s father, Grand Duke Saint-Owan.
Was that gentleman so impatient as to come to Temple immediately the next day?
Mr. Epinhauser said that I could decide whether I agreed to meet that person or not, as they weren’t my parents, but I wasn’t someone brave enough to actually refuse to meet someone like the Grand Duke.
I’m weak against the strong, after all.
I went to the main lobby of Temple’s Royal Class’ dormitory. Mr. Epinhauser took me to a visitation room and disappeared. He said that this was a visitation room, but it was completely unlike what I knew from my time in the army. It was just a colorful reception room.
“Are you Reinhardt?”
He was a middle-aged gentleman wearing a black suit, a black fedora, a gray cane, and a stylish beard. Rather than a wizard, he just looked like an ordinary, neat aristocrat.
“It is an honor to meet you, Grand Duke.”
I didn’t know the proper etiquette used for greeting nobles, so I just went with that.
I sat across from the Grand Duke. He didn’t even have to make a single gesture for a tea cup to float towards me, and it was slowly filling up with black tea as well.
No matter how I looked at it, magic sure was convenient.
He didn’t say anything else to me, so I was just sitting there while he stared at me. Was he thinking that he was gracious enough to even let me sit across from him like that?
“I heard it was you who instructed Harriet. Is that correct?”
He was blunt and came right to the point. It was rather rude, but it was a good thing for me.
Because he was such a powerful person, I didn’t want to deal with him for an extended amount of time. He was rather dry but not overly aggressive.
I thought he’d absolutely hate me, but he didn’t show any signs of that. Till now, that is.
“Why did you do that?”
“She said that she didn’t want to take a leave of absence, so I just gave her my opinion on what would be the best course of action to take to achieve just that.”
“Harriet asked you to help her herself?”
Of course, I did tell Harriet that I didn’t want her to take a leave of absence either, but in the end, it was her who asked me how she would be able to avoid taking one, so I didn’t lie.
“Hmm… I see. This case has been concluded without any further damage as well, so it wouldn’t be harmful to keep Harriet in Temple, is what I’m thinking.”
There was Bertus’ request as well, so this couldn’t be easily ignored. Grand Duke Saint-Owan seemed to have given up on forcing Harriet to take a leave of absence.
But why did he want to see me? Was he just curious about the person’s identity who dared to manipulate his daughter?
“But Harriet wouldn’t do something like that.”
At my question, the Grand Duke just looked at me.
“Harriet would never ask a child of such a lowly background like you for their opinion.”
Grand Duke Saint-Owan stared at me after he finished what he wanted to say.
Why was he acting up all of a sudden?
“That might be true, but she did ask me.”
“Hmm… Reinhardt, I’m not trying to insult you for your humble origins.”
Grand Duke Saint-Owan placed his cane on his thighs and clasped both of his hands.
“Harriet wouldn’t want to talk to someone of a humble background. So, of course, Harriet wouldn’t have wanted to speak to you, based on your origins… Alas… She actually asked for your advice, and even accepted it.”
Harriet was someone that didn’t want to mingle with commoners, because she thought they were dirty. She came to have such an opinion because she lived intoxicated by some sense of superiority she felt. So she tended to despise anyone that she didn’t seem fit to be around her.
“So, does Harriet like you or something? Or do you like her?”
“I-I don’t know about her, but that wouldn’t be the case for me!”
What was he doing now?!
“You don’t like her? How does that make sense? Do you perhaps have some problems with your eyesight…?”
‘How could you not take a liking to my daughter!’, that was how the Grand Duke was looking at me. He sure was startled.
What was with that guy’s sudden change?
He was just someone completely crazy for his daughter, after all!.
“D-Dad! W-What are you talking abooooout!”
Harriet, whose face was tomato red, barged into the reception room.
Having obviously eavesdropped from outside, her face was completely shriveled up. She then pointed towards the door.
“G-Get out! You, get out! Wait there!”
“Wait! Wait just a moment! Please wait, Reinhardt! Let’s talk more!”
“Y-You’re loud! Dad, please be quiet!”
I left the reception room, leaving behind the Grand Duke, the continent’s strongest wizard, and his daughter.
-I’m so embarrassed! Why did you have to come here?! Why did you ask him that?!
-N-No… Sweetie. What I meant was…
-I don’t care! Get out! Don’t stay here any longer! I told you not to come!
-I just wanted to know who you like as your father…!
-Aaaaaaaah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Don’t say anything anymore! Just don’t! Ah! Ah!
I could hear Harriet’s screaming from inside the room and Grand Duke Saint-Owan just stuttering, not knowing what to do.
…I was quite the fool worrying about getting harmed, I guess.
She grew up under such a father, so it was no wonder that she turned out the way she did.
-I hate you, dad! I absolutely hate you! You’re so annoying!
-N-No! I just did this all for your…!
-I don’t caaaaare!
Like that, I also got to know how Harriet was usually talking with her father.
If she was behaving like that, it was quite obvious that she read from a script, huh?
I didn’t want to be involved with either of these two anymore, so I ran away.
Fortunately, the Grand Duke didn’t look for me afterward, thanks to Harriet’s admonishment.
Of course, I wasn’t actually sure if Harriet kicked out the Grand Duke or not, but after some time, she came knocking on my door, her face completely red.
“I-It wasn’t me! You know, right?”
As soon as she saw me, she shouted that.
“What are you talking about?”
I believed she was talking about the thing her father asked me. Whether I liked her or not. That was why her face was so red, and she was all fidgety.
It made me want to tease her even more, you know?
“Huh…? You don’t like me?”
When I threw a fastball, that girl’s face went even redder.
“I-I! W-Why would I like you…? I don’t even like your looks! D-Don’t talk any nonsense! Why would I like a lowly beggar like you? Don’t be ridiculous!”
Harriet was stomping her feet as if she didn’t even want to imagine something like that.
“Or not. Why are you getting so angry? You seem like a person that’s about to stab someone.”
After I said that, I closed the door with a smile.
-Hey! Hey! Reinhardt! Open the door!
-Clang, Clang, Clang, Clang!
-I won’t stab you! I really won’t stab you! Open the door, you jerk!
I didn’t open the door, fearing for my own life.
After Harriet went away, exhausted from her rampaging, I sat down in front of my desk.
I currently had 6130 achievement points. If I made one more talent bloom I would have 4000 points remaining. If my assumption that the points required to get talents doubled every time I bought one was right, then I had enough to add 2 more talents at the moment.
However, going by my past experiences, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to leave some points in case of an emergency. If I used the Revise function in such cases, I might get myself out of a crisis. Spending too much at the moment, seemed to be a bad choice.
After thinking about what kind of talent I should develop next, I narrowed it down.
This decision would also decide my future path.
[Magic Sensitivity – 2000 Points]
[Magic Manipulation – 2000 Points]
These two talents were required to become a master in the field of combat, and were also necessary talents for a wizard.
They were the basis for everything having to do with magic power.
In the wizard’s case, they were necessary to evoke magic and move magic power, and in the case of combat masters, they were necessary to strengthen their body using magic power.
Anyway, both were talents with multiple uses, so it would be far better to have them than not. Since I had Ellen training me in swordsmanship, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to buy a talent in that area.
Both were necessary talents, but I needed Magic Sensitivity first. It was a type of talent that contributed to the growth of one’s magic power, and at my current level, it was more important to increase my magic power pool than being able to manipulate it.
[You have spent 2000 Achievement Points.]
With that, I had two talents.
Self-Suggestion and Magic Sensitivity.
My remaining points were 4130. As I expected, it would take me 4000 points to get my third talent.
I refrained from hastily spending my remaining points. In the first place, Magic Manipulation wasn’t something that they taught yet, so acquiring it beforehand would be useless.
I decided to postpone the decision whether I should get a third talent or not until after the midterm exams.
Of course, I had no reason at all to do well in the exams.
However, there was no reason for me to get bad results in most classes either.
If I really were to focus on the midterm exams, I’d only do so for achievement points, not to get good grades.
[Reach the Top 10 in the midterm exams – 3000 Points]
The challenge related to the midterm exams that I saw when I last checked was still there. This wasn’t talking about just within my class, no, it meant that I had to reach the Top 10 of the whole first grade of Temple’s high school section, which had about 10.000 students. Even if I was smarter than most of the kids, this was obviously something very difficult to do.
In addition, two more midterm exam related challenges had been added after the challenges were updated.
[Cheat during the midterm exams and get caught – 500 Points]
[Get the lowest rank in the midterm exam – 1000 Points]
If I were to rank last among 10.000 people, I’d get a thousand points.
I’d automatically get the lowest rank after I got caught cheating, so I’d get 1.500 Points.
Both were very easy to do. If I were to purposely try to get 0 points, there was literally nothing that could go wrong. It was overwhelmingly easier than getting into the Top 10.
That punk was doing this on purpose, wasn’t he?
I’ll show you.
I’ll get to 10th place.
That evening. In the dining room.
My evening training had ended, but I was still eating some late-night snacks with Ellen as always.
Today’s menu was fried rice.
Ellen made it.
Kids like her were supposed to be good at cooking after all, right? She didn’t even need my advice anymore and can pretty much make everything on her own, right?
After some time, my cooking won’t even be able to compare to hers anymore, right?
“…You said, you wouldn’t study.”
“There are some things people just ought to do.”
When I told her that I would study until the midterm exams and would take a break from training, Ellen just nodded while shoving some fried rice into her mouth. My goal was to get into the Top 10 of the integrated exams. The individual professor’s subjects didn’t count to that particular ranking.
So, the only things I needed to study were what we learned during the common classes.
“I think you’ll do well in your studies.”
“…What’s with that so suddenly?”
Did she just give me a compliment without a shred of hesitation? That caught me off guard.
Then Ellen told me calmly something pretty surprising.
“Yes, you are smart.”
I really didn’t know what was going through that girl’s head. What was with this? Of course, I might think that way because of the words she was usually using with me.
“Oh… Thank you.”
Well, yeah. It did feel pretty good.
I also felt like I already lost after getting happy by being praised by a high schooler for being smart.
Also, she was probably a lot smarter than me as well.
“Hey, would you like studying with me then?”
Of course, Ellen would refuse my request of mooching off her intelligence.
Anyway, I had a new short-term goal.
Cramming, that is.
Even if they were just first year high school students, was it even possible for me to beat 10.000 students and make it to the Top 10?
I’d see the answer to that question next Monday and Thursday during our common classes. The other professor’s classes would also hold their midterm evaluation next week, but I didn’t pay that much attention to those.
I could study on my own, and was pretty confident that I would reach a high rank. However, I had to get the best results, not just pretty good ones.
How did the midterm exams go in the original again?
It was one of the parts that were supposed to showcase Ludwig’s tremendous improvement.
Wasn’t there that common old-fashioned main character trope? The energetic protagonist with a strong sense of justice, who was pretty much an idiot.
So even though Ludwig studied really hard, he would still end up at the bottom of the rankings. Of course, after he studied together with a certain guy named Louis Ankton of Class B, his grades gradually improved.
As far as brains goes, Louis Ankton was the smartest one of the Royal Class’ first years.
Of course, that guy was highly selfish on Top of being a nerd. He also was someone quick to run away. He wasn’t a bad guy, but he was the type of guy I would have loved to give 100 finger flicks to, because he was just so annoying. In fact, it was probably that same Louis Ankton who went to tattle to the teacher about Cayer’s and my fight in the changing room on my first day in Temple.
Only after Ludwig helped and took care of that guy would he open his heart to others and help out. It should have been right when they got into 2nd grade.
Ellen had no intention of studying at all, while I was trying my hardest to get myself to rank 10 if possible.
That was the conclusion.
I called out to Louis Ankton, who was on his way back after the common classes.
“Who else is there other than you, huh?”
I approached Louis, who was shivering out of some form of fear, and placed my arm on his shoulder.
“I have a question for you.”
“Erm… Huuh? W-What do you want to ask?”
If I were to study with that punk, my chances of getting into the Top 10 would be very high. The fact that I, who was pretty much infamous among the first years, spoke to him made Louis’ complexion grow very pale.
“Hey, am I hitting you? Why are you acting like that?”
As I laughed loudly, his complexion grew even paler.
The delinquent route was actually surprisingly good.