༺ Rich Hero ༻
“…Time passed by so quickly.”
The extended break had come to a close and the new semester was starting the next day.
“Kania, what’s for lunch?”
I was handling some business at the mansion’s office room pondering over these thoughts, when hunger suddenly struck. So, I just asked Kania the question.
“Today’s lunch is barbeque.”
“I see, sounds delici— huh?”
I instinctively answered with a compliment, but then realized the voice didn’t belong to Kania. I turned my head and asked,
“I will be handling lunch and dinner today. Kania needs some rest too.”
“Okay, I see.”
I nodded quietly at Irina’s words. She had returned to the mansion yesterday. Soon, I asked her with a puzzled look,
“Where have you been, Irina?”
“Just training a bit.”
“You were training? Couldn’t you have done that here…”
“I’m training to use my black mana.”
Saying that, she stretched out her hand and emitted black mana. Irina was truly a prodigy for being able to effortlessly use black magic just by having some black mana within her.
As I watched her, I thought to myself, “Irina has something she wants to ask me.”
At that moment, Irina opened her mouth with a serious expression and said,
“If you encounter something dangerous in the future… Please use this scroll.”
“Yeah, like when… your identity is discovered.”
Saying that, she produced a scroll adorned with various magic circles and handed it to me..
“If you use this scroll when that time comes, it can protect you.”
Irina’s face looked determined. She left the room before I could even say anything.
“What is this?”
I was left staring at the scroll in my hand, unsure of its purpose. I put it in my chest pocket, thinking,
‘Well, since it is something from Irina, it wouldn’t be anything dangerous.’
Soon after, with my mind still on that scroll, I took a sip of the coffee on the desk. I pushed all the documents aside and got up from my seat.
With the cup of coffee in my hand, I went to open the door. As I opened the door, I heard a frightened scream from below.
I had to lower my gaze considerably to find out who it was. It turned out to be one of the children that I had rescued from the street market.
“What are you doing here? I gave you to Lulu.”
“Ah, Th, That… I wanted to notify Ms. Lulu to have lunch…”
“Yes, go then.”
It seemed like she was still afraid of me, since she broke out in cold sweat in the middle of our conversation. I gave her an indifferent reply and walked past her. The girl had a complete blank look on her face. As I descended the stairs, the girl tried to talk to me once again,
“Lo-Lord Frey, thank you for treating my younger broth…”
“Treating your younger brother? I know nothing about that.”
The girl tried to give me her thanks. In an instant, I coldly cut off her words. This caused her face to scrunch up in confusion.
“Bu-But… My brother was admitted to the hospital today…”
“I have no knowledge of that. You are nothing more than pets that belong to Lulu. I have no interest in you.”
I continued to speak to her in a cold voice. But as I descended the stairs, I quietly added some words.
“That’s why you should thank Lulu for wishing those dirty things like you two can become something cute.”
Although I said that, I couldn’t stop myself from making a smile.
It was me who had sent the seriously ill boy for treatment on the account of Lulu’s request.
I talk about it often, but doing a good deed is indeed quite enjoyable.
Lulu and her maid greeted Frey, who was already seated at the dining table with a look of arrogance.
“Lulu, come sit by my lap.”
Frey, who was staring at them, beckoned her in a gentle voice.
Blushing, Lulu obeyed and took a seat on Frey’s lap. The maids hesitantly reached out to grab some food with their hands, but Lulu quickly added,
“You can use a knife and fork.”
However, this mistake caused the maids’ faces to pale and they repeatedly bowed their heads in fear.
“We-we were wrong! Please have mercy.”
“I’m sorry… I’m very sorry.”
The maids, who were referred to as “pets” by their owners, were used to being locked up in dark storage rooms or prisons and fed only inedible waste.
Using utensils was a luxury they were not accustomed to.
They had subconsciously tried to pick up the food using their bare hands.
“Please just once, please forgive us just for this once…”
Realizing their mistake, the maids looked at Frey and begged him for forgiveness with fear visible in their eyes.
They were so afraid they would receive the same violence they often suffered over the years. After the end of their continuous education, it is basically the first time they dined with Frey, yet they already made a mistake.
“Lulu, try this. It’s hard to come by.”
It would be reasonable for Frey to whip them and throw punches at them. But instead of doing any of that, Frey was busy feeding food to Lulu, who was sitting on his lap.
“Good. What a good girl.”
Lulu ate the food, blushing, and with a smile on his face, Frey then turned to her and said,
“By the way, Lulu…you are taking good care of your pets, right?”
“Good. As I promised last time, they are all yours. So you must be responsible and take good care of them, okay?”
Lulu quickly nodded in agreement. With a satisfied look, Frey then glanced at the maids and said.
“What’s the matter with you all? Why aren’t you eating?”
The maids, encouraged by Frey’s words, finally started to eat with utensils.
“I have something to tell you all. Listen to this as you eat your food.”
The maids had been learning from Lulu for weeks and were now proficient in using knives and forks while eating, but even so, they were frozen in their seats as they heard Frey’s words.
They wondered if Frey was finally going to reveal his true colors and if Lulu was truly on his side.
The happy times they had experienced in the past few weeks seemed like a fleeting moment as they feared that their nightmare was about to begin again.
“Starting tomorrow, you are all going to live in Sunrise Academy.”
The maids’ thoughts had been wandering but as they heard the words coming out of Frey’s lips, they unintentionally exclaimed.
“Lulu will return to the academy tomorrow, so it will be embarrassing if you don’t follow her as her pets.”
“Bu-but… we don’t know how to write…”
“Is that my problem? You’ll have to figure that out yourselves..”
One of the girls had timidly spoken up, but Frey cut her words off quickly. Frey then got up from his seat, placed Lulu on a chair, and said.
“Enjoy your food.”
“Wh-Where are you going?”
“Lulu, remember what I said about how a pet should behave?”
“I-I will eat well…”
“Good, you need to do just that. Then, take care.”
Saying that, Frey left the dining table. All the maid’s eyes then immediately fell on Lulu.
“Ah, that… so…”
Lulu dumbly looked at the maids who were all staring at her with slight fear in their eyes. She glanced at Kania, who was looking at her intently.
“This doesn’t mean that you are enrolled at the Sunrise Academy… you are going to work there as commoner maids.”
“Yes, Lord Frey ordered you all to be put in the academy without exception.”
Then, Kania changed her expression in an instant and began to explain.
“It’s fortunate that Lord Frey has no interest in any of you. If he did, you would probably be in the basement.”
The maids’ faces turned pale at the mention of the basement. Kania then continued in a gentle voice.
“But since you were given to Lulu as gifts from Lord Frey, you are considered a ‘thing,’ which I can use to turn the situation around.”
“Turn the situation around? ”
”Yes, in fact, the person who recommended that you should go to the Academy… is me.”
At Kania’s announcement, the maids were left speechless and looked at her with shocked expressions.
“Lord Frey has no interest in you for now, but if you keep staying in this mansion, you can be a target at any time.”
In front of them, Kania calmly lifted her garment.
It revealed numerous scars and handprints on her body.
There were bright red scars and handprints, especially apparent in the sensitive areas of her body.
“This just happened recently…”
Kania revealed sorrowfully, pointing to a handprint on her neck with a sad smile.
“All of you have suffered enough. I can’t let you go through this all this pain as well. So, it is better to send you all to the Academy rather than keep you here..”
“Bu-But… Frey will also be in the academy. Isn’t all just the same then?”
As soon as Kania was done, one of the maids asked her that question. Tapping the dining table with her finger, she responded,
“The Academy will be safer. There will be a lot of eyes on him at the Academy, so whenever the Young Master feels like doing that, he will leave the academy and visit the mansion’s cellar.”
“And, the reason why I’m sending all of you to the Academy is not just to protect you from the Young Master.”
The maids looked confused, but Kania continued after she got up from her seat,
“Please learn how to read and write while you work as maids in the academy. You can be officially admitted to the academy if you learn all the letters.”
“Yes. Well, then… Enjoy your food.”
Kania left the puzzled maids behind and ascended the stairs with a smile on her face.
Just as she was about to reach the top, a girl stood up from her seat and thanked her.
Then, after all of them glanced around for a while, they all simultaneously got up from their seats and also thanked her.
Seeing this, Kania let out a sigh. Then with her distinct mechanical expression back on her face, she began walking towards the hallway.
With every step that she took, the scars on her body gradually vanished.
– Knock Knock
The horrible scars that had been on her body emitted black smoke and almost all of them disappeared. Reaching the entrance of Frey’s room, Kania began to knock on Frey’s door gently.
“Did you hear their gratitude?”
“They are thanking you, Kania.”
“I’m just following the Young Master’s orders. Didn’t you know that as well?”
Kania said as she stepped into Frey’s room. She began to talk with her foolish Young Master.
“By the way, Kania, does it hurt?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Didn’t I leave bruises all over your body? It still hasn’t disappeared, so you must be badly hurt.”
“It’s okay, I must endure it so that you can avoid any penalties,”
Frey nodded his head as he heard Kania’s words, but with a worried look, he continued.
“As a warlock, can’t you make a bruise? I thought you could do that before…”
“It’s easy to make scars, but bruises are a bit more difficult.”
“Then if this situation occurs again, should I leave the bruises myself??”
“…Yes, I’m afraid that’s the case.”
Kania looked as if her conscience had been pricked as she confirmed that. She quietly averted her gaze and then noticed an object on Frey’s desk and asked,.
“Young Master this….?”
“Right, it was something made by that damned codger.”
Kania picked it up, curious, and read the attached note:
Robe of Deception EX
If you use this robe, you can perfectly hide your identity.
Your physical abilities and mana will be greatly reduced.
After she read the note attached to the black robe, Kania asked Frey a question with a frown on her face.
“How weak do you become if you wear this robe?”
“I can’t wield a sword properly and can only create a small light using my stellar magic.”
“Then, even with its good concealing ability, it’s not very useful, right?”
Kania said with a disappointed look. But Frey just got up from his seat with a grin.
“Kania, among all the things I have right now, what do you think is the most powerful?”
“Isn’t it your stellar mana?”
But Frey shook his head. After some time in agonizing thought, Kania asked once again,
“Then, by any chance, is it your appearance?”
Frey frowned at the suggestion and Kania quickly apologized,
“My apologies, I don’t know.”
Frey took back the robe from Kania and put it on, and then pulled out a white mask from his chest pocket. Putting it on, he answered,
Kania asked once again, looking at Frey intently. But he was now blurry in her vision. He was playing with a gold coin that glowed with red mana and said,
“A Hero or a Demon King… with enough money you can be anything.”
That night, at a market in a secluded alley somewhere.
“Given that you are familiar with this place, I don’t think you should be so nervous.”
Those were words spoken by Count Justiano, the Emperor and ruler of the back alley.
“By the way, how long are you going to hide yourself?”
He spoke in a low voice to the figure sitting confidently on the couch. The figure was draped in a black robe and wore a white mask.
“You’ve been having quite a few problems because of this gold coin, right?”
The figure responded by taking out a gold coin emitting crimson smoke from the pocket of their robe. The sight of the coin caused Count Justiano to involuntarily clench his fist and struggle to keep his usual composure.
“This fake gold coin, which carries a curse and brings misfortune, has been circulating in your area, correct?”
“Even if they turned a blind eye to other things, fake gold coins cannot escape the notice of the Imperial Family. It will be intriguing to see what happens if they find out”
The Count raised his hand, signaling his men to stand ready, as the figure began to provoke him.
“You would be wise not to do anything foolish. I have already sent a letter to the Imperial Family, you know? If I’m not able to take it back, you will lbe finished.”
“…Who are you?”
Hearing that person speak in such a calm voice, Count Justiano could only grit his teeth and ask him a question.
“You don’t need to know. I came here to give you a suggestion.”
The figure’s arrogance was evident in their voice as they brushed off Count Justiano’s question.
The Count studied the figure with a scrutinizing gaze. He quickly withdrew the signal he had given to his men.
He had understood that it would be too dangerous to confront someone as powerful as this figure. The figure was capable of neutralizing even the most advanced identity verification magic and illusion removal magic.
Moreover, despite having the upper hand, this person had come to offer a suggestion rather than to threaten the Count. His instincts also told him that this person wielded wealth and influence.
“Allow me to be straightforward. Sell me complete ownership of the alley market in the Imperial Capital..”
“What did you say?”
Hearing those words, the count couldn’t help but frown again.
“Do you have enough money for that?”
“I’m not sure if you have the luxury to be picky.”
“Are you asking me to sell the goose that lays the golden eggs for free? That would arouse too much suspicion, and neither of us would be safe.”
“It seems that the Emperor of the back alley is quite timid.”
“Being an emperor or a ruler is a coveted position. In my case, the number of people who wanted it was quite high.”
The Count stroked his beard calmly and continued.
“You should be aware that I have men and authority in every corner of the market alley. Without my support, even if you were to possess the ownership, it would be of no use.”
“I will sell it at the original price. I have already given up so much.”
The masked individual sighed and placed a magic contract on the desk.
“Place your hand on it and have a look.”
The count put his hand on the contract with a dubious expression, but soon, a grin formed on his face and he asked,
“You punk. Seriously, who are you?”
“You don’t need to know.”
“Will we not be working together again in the future?”
After seeing the abundant number of gold coins in front of his eyes, the Count’s attitude was now more agreeable.. At his question, the masked individual quietly smiled and said.
“I will pay you in a lump sum.”
The next morning, with the transaction complete, the ownership of the alley market in the imperial capital was transferred to an unknown individual.
It was the start of Frey’s shadowy identity, soon to be known as the “Hero of Money” among the people.
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