༺ Partner ༻
“What do I do? Should I just really accept the sponsorship?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Do you really want to sleep with those pot-bellied aristocrats?”
At a café near the academy, all the students of Class A were huddled together and were conversing with one another.
“Eh, I’m not sure about the Imperial Family, but the ones chosen by the Church can’t be…”
“Stupid. The people chosen by the Church are even worse. They’re the kind of people who will absolve your sins for a price… … Ah Saintess. I’m not talking about the Saintess.”
The students, who were discussing the sponsors, gave Ferloche a sympathetic smile as she listened to their conversation with fear etched on her face.
“Is-Is that so!”
Then Ferloche, who had been silent until then, straightened her back with an eased expression.
“Then… what do we do now?”
“That is what I’m saying. If this continues, we’ll have no choice but to leave the Academy.”
The commoners patted Ferloche on the back, treating her as their mascot. They soon sighed and began discussing their next course of action.
“Or should we rob a bank? The money will be divided equally…”
“Don’t say something crazy.”
One student attempted to crack a joke, but another student in a somber mood put an end to it with a stern voice, causing the atmosphere to become even more glum.
“Should we try to ask the Imperial Princess for help?”
“Even if we do that, she doesn’t have much money to spare. She already compensated us for the attack on the Starlight mansion last time. Of course, most of us have already spent that money.”
“Then, what about Professor Isolet?”
“She wants to help as well, but this is not an amount that can be covered by a professor’s salary.”
“Then maybe the Saintess…”
As all the children’s eyes focused on her, Ferloche bowed her head and cried out.
“I’m sorry! I have no money!”
“Bu-But, I’ll find a way to get the money for you guys, even if I have to fight against the church!”
Ferloche had declared that with determination, but the commoners only shook their heads.
They doubted Ferloche’s ability to extort money from the Church, and even if she succeeded and they got the money, the Church would likely not let it be.
“Irina, could you try reaching out to your old teacher…”
“That old woman went senile. I haven’t heard from her since I tried to contact her last time.”
Even Arianne, who had asked Irina with a bit of hope, dropped her head in disappointment as she heard Irina’s reply. The atmosphere was gradually starting to become solemn.
“There is only one solution.”
When Kania spoke with a low voice in that atmosphere, the eyes of everyone there started to shine.
It was because it was Kania who had spoken. She had suffered terrible torture from Frey during the holiday for their sake, and her face still bore the bruises.
“Look.. at this.”
“What is this?”
“It is a contract suggested by Frey.”
The mention of Frey caused all the students to freeze.
“If you sign that contract, Frey would become your sponsor.”
“So you want us to become Frey’s slaves?”
“It offers more favorable conditions than what you have now.”
Saying that she continued to speak with a quivering voice.
“Just swear your allegiance, don’t rebel, and… once in a month ‘meet’ with him.”
“…So your Young Master is trying to buy the right to hold us once a month?”
One of the students, shaken by Kania’s words, asked with a shuddering tone. Kania responded quietly.
“The meetings Frey suggested have the least number of conditions compared to the other offers you have received. The others stated ‘when needed’ as a requirement, correct?”
“I apologize, but it’s the best solution I can offer. I am truly sorry.”
Even Kania, whom they trusted, spoke with a bowed head. One by one, the female students began to fall into despair.
“Do I have to choose between signing a contract with Frey or leaving the Academy?”
“Wh-What kind of solution is this…”
“So, basically, if we don’t want to be kicked out onto the streets as beggars, we have to sell our bodies to Frey?”
A student let out a scoff and reached for the contract with her hands. The other students just stared at her.
“When I received the compensation money from Frey, I could buy meat and bring it home for the first time in my life.”
The girl who eventually held the contract continued speaking with a trembling voice.
“The only family I have is my little brother. Do you know what he said as he ate that meat?”
“He said, ‘Sister is the best in the world.’”
With gritted teeth, she continued speaking.
“I promised. I promised my brother I would succeed and become the best.”
Among the solemn kids, she grabbed a pen and finished her words.
“I will do anything for my family.”
Saying so, the girl tightly closed her eyes. With a trembling hand, she tried to write her name on the contract that had been drawn with magic spells.
“I heard your speech.”
Suddenly somebody came up from behind and took away her contract. She turned back with a flustered look on her face.
“Wh-Who? You… Huh?”
Eventually, she cautiously stared at the person, who appeared blurry to her eyes. When she saw Aris standing quietly behind that person, she tilted her head in confusion.
“Guys, this person wants to offer a contract to all of you.”
Alice said while looking at the girl and the other students sitting at the desk. The female students frowned in unison.
They thought that whoever offered the contract would most likely demand something in return. It wouldn’t make a difference either way.
“I only have one thing to ask of you.”
Rubbing his hands, the mysterious person wearing a robe continued,
“Please gather at this location at this time every week and give me a report on your recent news”
“The person who harassed you, a sick family member or friend, complaints about the poor quality of food, and other similar issues.”
However, the words of the mysterious person seemed utterly ridiculous.
“You can also report rumors or any inconvenience you may have faced as a commoner in the Academy.”
“And, of course, I would like to request a one-on-one meal with each of you, but there will be no physical contact, I assure you.”
As soon as the mysterious person finished his words and settled down, one of the students immediately stood up and expressed their disbelief,
“D-Do you think we’ll believe that? We all know that contracts are never favorable to commoners. You’re just planning to use money as a way to threaten us later, right?”
“The contract can be drawn using magic spells.”
“It could still be forged to some extent. I have experienced this several times before.”
The other students began to look at the person in the black robe with suspicion.
“All right, then I will give you the down payment in advance.”
But, when he smirked and threw an enormous amount of gold coins on the table, all of the students fell into shock.
“I will only show you how much gold coins will be given to you based on your accomplishment in the future on the scroll of the contract you agree with. What do you think? Are you interested in signing a contract with me?”
“Just so you know, the male students have completed their contracts.”
Soon after, when the person in the black robe asked in a low voice, the female students unknowingly began to nod their heads as if they had been possessed by ghosts.
Even Ferloche, who had already received a promise of sponsorship from the church, nodded her head in agreement.
The mysterious person looked around at the dazed female students, grinned and asked a question.
“…Who wants to have a meal with me?”
“So in other words, the conclusion is…. Lady Isolet is more fit to be the Deputy Commander of the Imperial Knights rather than a professor at the Academy. That is what I’m saying.”
“I already said this once but I don’t want to join the damned Imperial Knights.”
“What if you became an instructor for the Holy Knights? The youngest holy knight, whom we are very proud of, respects you greatly,”
“I appreciate the honor, but I don’t want to be part of a corrupt group that absolves sins with money.”
Isolet, who had been summoned in the middle of her conversation with Frey, was simultaneously receiving job offers from both the Imperial Family and the Church.
“How long are you going to keep thinking so highly of yourself like that? Shouldn’t the position of Deputy Commander be enough for you?”?
“Our church can give you the position of the Head of the Honorary Knights. I don’t think you have any other choice.”
“I’ve already said that I’m content as a professor at the Academy.”
As she continued to refuse repeatedly, the servant and the priest tried to intimidate her.
“Up until this point, my behavior with you has been favorable, but if you keep on being like this, it seems like I can’t give you any more face.”
“It is a piece of cake to remove you from the position of a professor. However, if the Bywalker family intervenes, the outcome would certainly be unknown. But isn’t the relationship between you and your family in an estranged state?”
Exhausted from the continuous conversation, Isolet buried her head in the desk with her messy hair.
“Marquis, there is urgent news.”
The Marquis, who was trying to convince Isolet to join him, was initially looking at Isolet with a smirk on his face. However, as he listened to his subordinate’s report, his mood quickly turned sour.
It was because he had almost tired his mind brainstorming and firmly believed he would be able to pull Isolet into his side if he put in a little more work.
“All the students of Class A have been signed.”
However, as he listened to the rest of his subordinate’s words, the Marquis shouted abruptly and rose from his seat.
“Look at that. What we’re doing is the will of the sun. Even the Sunrise Royal Family is following our lead…”
“Priest, we failed to obtain the students of Class A.”
“What nonsense are you saying right now?”
Only then did they realize that both of them were in the same boat. The priest, who was giving advice with a gentle expression, stood next to the Marquis.
“So the students choose neither the Imperial Family nor the Church, but instead a third party?”
“No, how can this happen?”
They both each asked their subordinate with raised voices and frustrated looks on their faces.
“The reason is simple.”
Someone entered the room and started talking.
“I bribed them with money..”
The Marquis and the Priest carefully stared at the man in the black robe who had entered.
Soon, they opened their mouths at the same time.
“Are you challenging the Imperial Family’s authority?”
“It seems like you are unafraid of the Sun God?”
Hearing those words, the man in the black robe smirked and told Isolet, who had been foolishly looking at him,
“Professor, you can go out for a while.”
“Wh-Who are you…”
“I request this of you. I have something to discuss with these people.”
Isolet, who was exhausted from hours of listening to threats and persuasion, nodded her head quietly and left the room. She felt that the man in the black robe was familiar in some way.
When Isolet left the room, the man in the black robe sat in front of the two people, raised his legs on the desk, and started to yawn.
“Do you think you’ll get away unscathed after doing all of this?”
The Marquis frowned and asked. The man, however, burst out laughing and then answered.
“The one who will get hurt is not me but all of you.”
“If the Imperial Family and the Church find out that the talent they were going to secure was taken by someone of unknown origin even after dispatching a marquis and a priest… Do you think they’ll be pleased?”
The Marquis let out a scornful laugh and said,
“Do you think you cannot be tracked? I guarantee that in a few days you’ll be caught. If you can still keep your cool then…”
“Even the Emperor of the Back Alley, Count Justiano, handed over the alley market to me willingly. Do you really think someone like you can stop me?”
However, when the man in the black robe answered the marquis’s threat calmly, the faces of the two people began to crack.
“So the culprit of the news that shocked the Empire this morning, was you?”
“Correct. Would you be more convinced if I showed you this?”
Saying that, the man in the black robe took out a certificate signed by Count Justiano from his chest pocket and brandished it in front of them. Their faces became increasingly horrified as they saw that..
“Ah, right. It seems like you have been using discernment and distinction magic for a while now?”
“It is all useless. Be it the Magic Tower Master or the Pope, none of them will discover my true identity.”
The man in black then produced the highest-grade distinction scroll from his chest and activated it, causing the two men’s faces to turn blue with fear.
“In other words, you are all damned.”
The man in black laughed mockingly as he cornered them. He spoke in a low voice to the two men, who were now shaking with fear.
“Because if you go back like this, it will be the end of you.”
“It-It won’t be. I…”
“Stop making excuses. Do you think someone like me wouldn’t know your personal information? You two planned and carried out the entire operation this time, so you must accept responsibility for this failure.”
The two men couldn’t argue with the man’s words and finally bowed their heads in defeat.
“So, starting from now…”
Frey, wearing the black robe, smiled with satisfaction as he saw the both of them like that.
“…It will be a competition to see who impresses me more.”
He put down his legs from the table, rested his chin on his hand, and whispered quietly.
“It’s simple. In front of your eyes, there is a person who holds all the coins in the form of student of class A, right?”
“Right, if one of you can win me over. I will save your life.”
Saying so, Frey rubbed his hands and finished speaking.
“Um, where can I find a kind person to donate to my Charity Foundation?”
The two men had a foreboding feeling as they watched him.
Even if you must step on shit, you need to step on it properly.
It seems like today was really a satisfying day.
The Heavens were finally rewarding me for my hard work with unexpected luck, causing the commoner students to cry.
Isolet thanked me with a bright smile that she sometimes gave me in the past.
Even the Marquis and Priest tried to put up a good front in front of me by promising to make a large donation to my charity foundation.
Of course, I plan to continue using these two bastards to drain resources from the Imperial Family and the Church.
From now on, it was imperative that I targeted the Imperial Family and Church for resources.
In addition to that, I also told them to provide me with the intel of all the sponsors, including the trashy bastard who had touched that female student’s hand earlier.
These bastards’ generosity should be highly appreciated, and when I meet them as Frey, I would make sure to give them a succubus as a gift.
I was walking down the school’s hallway, lost in thought when I heard someone calling me from behind. I turned my head to see who it was.
“What? It’s Ferloche.”
Ferloche was walking towards me with her signature blank expression. I tilted my head and asked,
“What do you need?”
“There is something I need to tell you!”
Then soon, folding her arms and speaking with a serious look on her face, she said.
“From today, we are partners!”
“Oh, is that so? I get… what?”
I was ready to dismiss her statement with a quick reply, but I was so taken aback by her words that I doubted my own ears and asked for clarification.
“I said we will be partners during the second semester!”
Hearing her words again, I was left puzzled by Ferloche’s mysterious announcement.
“I’m sure you know the rights that come with being each other’s partners!”
The concept of ‘Partners’ was a unique system in Dark Tale Fantasy 2. If chosen, various interactions would occur during the second semester.
It was a very important aspect of the game.
But according to prophecy, Ferloche and I could not be partners due to the game’s structure.
…Is it a bug?
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