༺ Always Watch Your Mouth ༻
“From now on, I will put a special mark on everyone.”
Isolet, who was looking at us while we were still trying to recover from the earlier shock, tore a magic scroll in half.
The ashen mana emanating from the torn scroll penetrated everyone’s body and vanished.
“This mark can only be damaged by special weapons that will be distributed after class. If you take more than a certain amount of damage, the mark will disappear and immediately be reported to me.”
When I heard her words, I examined my body with stellar mana, and really could feel a mark on my body.
“Those whose mark disappears can no longer continue the exam, and the team will lose when their respective commander’s mark disappears. Does everyone understand up to this point?”
When everyone quietly nodded, Isolet continued speaking in a serious tone.
“Then I’ll explain the rules for elimination.”
The rules she explained were quite simple.
Most of the winning team’s members would be exempted from being demoted to class B, while most of the losing team’s members would be relegated to class B.
However, according to Isolet’s rules, the commander of each team had virtually unlimited powers.
First, the commander of the winning team was given the right to select some of the people who would be removed from Class A.
Because the people who could be chosen included members of both the opposing and their own teams, those who failed to contribute or those who interfered could be forcefully demoted to Class B.
And the commander of the defeated team could choose one member from their team to remain in Class A.
In other words, in theory, one should never defy a commander with such enormous authority…
“I’m not going to protect you, Frey.”
But I guess I was wrong. Someone had already stepped forth and was trying to challenge my authority.
“Instead of protecting you… I’d rather get demoted to Class B.”
Ferloche was glaring daggers at me in the midst of the crowd of commoners.
She could have entered the academy as an aristocrat at any time, but she stated that a Saintess is merely an agent of God, not a noble. It hurt my heart to see her glare at me with that kind of expression.
“Pipe down, will you? If you get demoted to Class B, won’t the Sun God Church be in chaos?”
I tried to continue speaking with a smirk, but Ferloche spoke to me coldly, with a resentful look on her face.
“If you keep acting like this… it can’t be helped.”
“What can’t be helped?”
In the end, I had no choice but to use the last resort I had planned in case things went wrong within the first 10 minutes of the special exam.
“I’m going to surrender to Clana now.”
Ferloche became dumbfounded when she heard my words.
“Wait, hold on! Lord Frey!”
“Uhhh… please wait…”
The commoners, however, who realized the meaning of my words, began clinging to me desperately.
“U-Uh… Why is everyone doing that?”
Seeing this, Ferloche asked with a bewildered expression, and I replied with a wink.
“If I surrender to Clana now… a good portion of the people here will be forcefully demoted to Class B.”
“And, as far as I know, most of the commoners in Class A are barely attending the academy through a special scholarship, aren’t they?”
When I said that with a sly smile on my face, the commoners who had been clinging to me bowed their heads and tightly bit their lips.
“Hold on a second! But… if that happens, Her Highness Clana will ensure you also get demoted to Class B? So calm down and—”
Ferloche hastily warned me.
“So what if I get demoted to Class B. Do you think I care about that stuff?”
“I’m the Provisional Lord of the Starlight Ducal Family that wields the most power among the Three Ducal Households in the Empire. Do you think anything will change even if I get demoted to Class B?”
“Well then… Are you really going to surrender!?”
I smiled as I looked at the screaming Ferloche, then started walking towards the exit of the classroom.
“It’s alright, Ferloche. I’m not interested in demoting you to Class B. I need to focus on kicking as many of these lowlifes out of here as possible.”
“Then I’ll surrender to Clana. See ya.”
As soon as I said that and opened the door to the exit, Ferloche hastily grabbed my arm.
“I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
Ferloche immediately knelt in front of me, her voice quivering, and the commoners who were watching the scene quietly turned their heads away and clenched their fists.
‘…Phew, that’s a relief.’
I sat down, heaving a sigh of relief on the inside and spoke with a condescending look on my face.
“So, where are we going to set up our base?”
As Isolet mentioned, both teams had to decide on a base to live in during the special exam.
Due to the frequent incidents nowadays, students were only permitted to leave the academy in order to gain real world experience.
“Uh… Since it’s a test that will continue throughout vacation… Why don’t we just hide Lord Frey somewhere?”
Eventually, a female student raised her hand and voiced her opinion, and following her lead, other commoner students also began to chime in.
“…Yes, that’s a good idea. So, where should I hide?”
When I asked them nonchalantly, I noticed that the girl who had initially suggested that idea was staring at me as she cautiously put forth another suggestion.
“Uh… how about hiding in the woods…”
My brows furrowed because I didn’t want to go near the woods for a while due to the recent adversities I had to face back in the Ashen Forest and the woods near my home. Meanwhile, the female student took a step back with a frightened expression on her face.
“The inn we run…”
As I kept refusing their opinions for a long time, everyone eventually stopped talking and instead began staring at me coldly.
“…So, how long are you all just going to keep staring at me?”
I couldn’t stand the long silence anymore, so I provoked them to speak. However, they only kept staring at me.
“Well, then there’s nothing else I can do…”
Their expressions made me recall the scene from my past life when I was surrounded by an angry mob. As such, I closed my eyes and spoke calmly.
“…All of you, come to my mansion.”
Then there was a long period of silence.
“What do you mean?”
Ferloche inquired in an icy tone after a while.
“It makes me feel bad that you guys are looking at me like that. This is for the team…”
“Are you planning on doing something bad again this time?”
As Ferloche continued to question me despite my excuses, I muttered with a sullen expression on my face.
‘No… even when I try my hardest to win, nobody believes me…’
I was determined to win this special exam.
The special exam was a golden opportunity to get rid of all the rotten nobles.
If my team wins this test, I’ll remove everyone except the nobles who are useful to Clana.
If that happens, I will finally be freed of the nobles who have always followed me around and caused my blood pressure to skyrocket.
Of course, the majority of nobles who could avoid demotion are high-ranking aristocrats with the means to pay bribes. They would almost certainly regard Clana as an enemy and attempt to suppress her influence in the future.
However, there was one problem with this.
If I helped the commoners team win with all my might, rumors that I’m actually a good person who tries to help the commoners may spread.
If that happens, my life will be doomed.
So, in this test, I must bully and irritate the commoners as much as possible while secretly supporting them in order for them to win.
“Frey! Answer me! What are you trying to do!?”
“Shut up, pack up, and come to my mansion. You lot should be honored.”
After I had decided as such, I ignored Ferloche’s grumbling and spoke with a sly smile as the commoners began to hesitate with a reluctant look on their faces.
‘This is… I’m definitely going to earn a lot of false evil points during the vacation.’
Seeing the commoners’ reactions, who were already afraid of what would happen at my house during the vacation, I could already predict that this vacation will offer countless opportunities to reap a lot of points.
“By the way… Where will Clana set her base up?”
“Won’t she be at the Imperial Palace?”
“Uh… that’s insane. It’s the Imperial Palace…”
“Still, if she is hiding in the Imperial Palace… Wouldn’t it be possible for us to see the Imperial Palace?”
A commoner said so with a slightly excited expression while packing his belongings. Because of the special nature of this exam, the Imperial Family issued a decree that everyone would be spared punishment even if one broke into a restricted area.
After all, this…
“Young Master, this is Princess Clana’s trap. So—”
Kania, who was quietly packing her luggage, came to me with a concerned look on her face. I then answered in a low voice.
When I saw Clana’s confused expression earlier, I was puzzled as well.
Because after everything she had gone through, she could easily hide her expression.
But if I locked myself in my room during the vacation and ordered the commoners to defend me, no matter how much she schemed with the elders of the Moonlight Family, it would be very difficult to assassinate me.
But because the Imperial Decree allowed people to legally break into the Duke’s residence… If she had any chance of assassinating me, this exam was it.
She probably went to great lengths to ensure that decree was passed, believing that I would lock myself in my room.
‘Of course, there might other motives as well.’
Not to mention how unusual it was to let a student decide whether or not another student would be demoted from Class A to Class B. No, it was suspicious rather than unusual.
So, considering Clana was behind this… there must be some hidden motive.
I didn’t know how she managed to pass such a decree with her weak influence.
“Kania, when did you say the commander’s location would be announced?”
With that thought in mind, I nonchalantly asked Kania a question.
“It will be a week from now. After a week, the commanders of both sides will be notified at once.”
“… There’s still time then.”
I still had a lot of work to do, and being forcibly tracked down on top of that made my head ache.
But what else could I possibly do? I had no choice but to make the best of the situation now that it had occurred.
As I was about to go outside, someone grabbed my arm.
I turned around and saw Arianne, Irina’s childhood friend, glaring at me.
“Let’s talk for a moment.”
“No, it’s annoying.”
Of course, I didn’t want to associate with Arianne, who was as dangerous as Irina, so I answered firmly and tried to leave.
Arianne, who was grinding her teeth, put up a barrier, trapping me inside as she continued to glare at me.
“It won’t take very long, please.”
Eventually I sighed and turned around, then began heading to the classroom alongside her.
“…What is it? Why is Arianne acting like that?”
“I don’t know. She must be crazy. Someone stop her.”
“Leave her alone, who can stop her anyways?”
The classroom door was wide open, so even the commoners on the outside could see us as they squinted in our direction. We then began talking.
“So, what do you want?”
Arriving at the center of the classroom, I asked a question with an arrogant look on my face.
Of course, I could already picture what she was going to say, but in situations like this, it was better to pretend to be ignorant.
“Please… please return Irina.”
Arianne closed her eyes tightly as she knelt down on the floor and began pleading.
“I’ll do anything you ask. If you tell me to bark like a dog, I’ll bark. If you tell me to crawl on the floor, I’ll crawl.”
Saying that, Arianne began to weep.
“Irina, come here for a moment.”
I looked down at Arianne calmly and beckoned Irina to come, who was standing quietly in the distance amidst the murmuring crowd.
“Do you know her?”
Then, as Irina quietly entered the classroom, I smirked and asked her a question.
Irina lowered her head and responded with a crestfallen expression, as if she had lost a piece of her soul.
“Hey, Irina! What the hell happened to you!?”
Arianne, upon seeing her, grabbed her and began shaking her violently, but Irina avoided Arianne’s gaze and pretended to be confused.
“I’m sorry but…”
After watching the scene for a moment, I grabbed Irina from Arianne and wrapped my arms around her waist.
“… Now that I have Irina, I have no intention of adding more slaves to my collection.”
Having said that, I left the classroom with Irina, leaving Arianne behind in a daze.
“What are you all looking at? Why aren’t you all leaving?”
Eventually, I chased away the commoners who had been watching us and started walking down the hallway with Irina.
“…I think you can take your hands off of her now, Young Master.”
Then, as Kania spoke to me with a cold expression on her face, I got startled and let Irina go while opening my mouth, feeling slightly embarrassed.
“Uh… Kania. I think the Duke’s mansion will be a little noisy for a while. Is that alright?”
After hearing that, Kania sighed for a moment, then answered impassively.
“I’ll do my best.”
Kania looked a little pitiful, so considered buying her a fatigue recovery potion, but suddenly Ferloche appeared behind me.
I was scared she had overheard our conversation, but her annoyed expression made me sigh inwardly in relief.
“What did you do to Irina?”
Upon hearing her words, I sighed, realizing that it would be a long conversation.
I guess I should stock up on fatigue recovery potions as well.
“Young Master, how are you going to complete the ‘Main Quest’ if you bring so many students to the mansion?”
As I was heading to the Duke’s mansion, which had suddenly become our base, Kania asked me a question.
“Yes, because it’s such a big event… I think you’ll have to prepare in advance, but if you have to complete the quest by the end of the vacation…”
“It’s fine. If everything goes according to my plan, I’ll launch a raid when I’m almost done with the exam, so I still have some time to spare.”
After answering her with a relaxed expression, I leaned back on the seat of the carriage and muttered.
“Alright… everything is perfect. Everything is going well for once.”
Up until now, everything has been a series of new variables and accidents.
On the first day of my regression, the Main Heroines suddenly regained their memories… A new system… and memories that I myself didn’t even know existed in the first place.
But for now, everything was within the range of my calculations.
I had already thought of a way to lead the commoners to victory while earning false evil points, and I had already meticulously planned for the next Main Quest, 『Liberation of the Slave Market』 since the previous regression.
Of course, as always, I couldn’t rule out the possibility that a new variable or unexpected situation would arise, but at least, this time around, I was confident that I could adapt to any unexpected situations…
“…Frey, are you really alright?”
While I was immersed in such thoughts, Irina asked about my well-being with a worried expression on her face.
“Can you really handle Arianne?”
Hearing that, I heaved a deep sigh and answered.
Arianne was obviously a good person, but I didn’t know what she would do when she goes crazy.
If she was proficient in offensive magic instead of defensive magic, I probably wouldn’t have the means to deal with her.
When I left the room with Irina earlier, I sensed an immense killing intent.
“Sigh… Well, there’s nothing I can do about it. As long as it’s still within—”
I sighed upon hearing a ruckus outside. A roar echoed from the front of the carriage as it began to slow down.
“…What’s going on?”
As a result, I frowned and carefully looked out the window, where I noticed a man blocking our carriage’s path.
“Get the hell out of the way! Do you know who the person traveling inside is!?”
When the coachman began to swear at the man, the man in front replied in a serious tone.
“I’m here to see Duke Frey Raon Starlight. Please forgive my rudeness, but it was urgent.”
Upon hearing that voice, Kania, Irina, and I, all of us, froze at the same time.
Because the owner of that voice… was the closest aide of the Demon King in the previous timeline.
“…Stay here, I’ll go.”
In fear that Kania or Irina would try to follow me, I hurriedly exited the carriage and approached the man in a suit standing in front of the carriage with a composed expression on his face. I then asked him a question.
“So, what business do you have?”
He then answered with a smile.
“…I think Lord Frey should follow me right now.”
Upon hearing his answer, I quietly grabbed the hilt of my sword and firmed my grip.
“Because if Lord Frey doesn’t come, we can’t start the Executive meeting.”
I started to doubt my ears upon hearing the words that came out of his mouth.
“…Congratulations on becoming the Chief Executive of the Demon King’s Army, Lord Frey.”
I guess for the time being, I would have to watch what came out of my mouth.