༺ Cleaning Up ༻
“I’ve been unconscious for a week?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
I thought the Ordeal of the System would last for months, when in reality, it lasted no more than a week.
Still, I’m glad that in the real world time didn’t flow at the same rate as within the Ordeal.
“But… how did you know I’d wake up?”
“Young Master’s comatose state dissipated at dawn, so I was prepared in advance.”
When I woke up, I was curious about the secret of the birthday party and questioned Kania about it, yet she responded as if it were insignificant.
As expected, Kania is as capable as always
“By the way, this cake is…”
“It is the cake I specifically pre-ordered. Do you like it?”
“…I really like it.”
A pleasant feeling materialized in my heart as I stared at the silver and black-haired cats romping on the cake.
It would have been ideal if we all gathered and had the birthday party together just like in that dream, but it was close to impossible so I had to be content with just Kania and Irina keeping me company.
“Uh… Young Master, would you like to blow out the candle?”
“Huh, a magic candle?”
I was thinking of such an item, but before I knew it Kania placed the candle on the cake and lit it. Noticing the subtle feel of aura from the candle, it seemed to be an advanced item with a scent that calms the mind and body if you blew it out.
As I inhaled the subtle scent emitted by the blown out candle, a scene of leisurely laying down in a vast meadow materialized in my head.
“Thank you, the two of you.”
While I closed my eyes with that image in my mind, I gave my sincere thanks to Kania and Irina.
“If it weren’t for you guys it would have been difficult for me. If you two weren’t present, I would be eating the cake all alone now.”
Having said that, I picked up the knife placed on my side and swiftly sliced the cake into bite-sized pieces.
“…Thank you, Young Master.”
Soon after, as I distributed servings of cake, Kania expressed her poised thanks while Irina thanked me with a flushed face.
‘…I’m glad that wasn’t the case.’
As I watched the two women eat, I couldn’t help but reminisce about meeting them in the Ordeal.
Was it the moment when Kania was consumed by guilt for failing to save me every time and her desire to destroy the world, where she would burst into tears as soon as she saw me.
Or was it Irina, who had been deranged to the extent that Arianne could not recognize her anymore, where at the moment she saw me her eyes would become clear and she would shed tears.
“Young Master? What is wrong?”
“Frey, are you okay?”
Thinking of such images inevitably made me frown. Thanks to that, Kania and Irina questioned me with an evident look of concern on their faces.
“N..No. It is just… I remembered some things from the Ordeal.”
I tried to say it as if it was nothing, yet Irina’s face paled again in response.
“Fr-Frey… How was the Ordeal? Was it really difficult for you?”
“It wasn’t difficult at all. It’s just…”
“…The way you were talking in your sleep was quite a sight to behold.”
I spoke with a soft voice to calm Irina down, but Kania, who stood by the side with an expressionless face interrupted me.
“Young Master, what happened?”
“Of course, if you don’t want to recall, you don’t need to talk about it. It’s just…”
Kania briefly stared at Irina before sighing and replying.
“Then what is the reason you keep saying you want to get out of here, it’s the worst, please don’t be like that… all those grim statements you uttered as you slept?”
“The Ordeal… turns out it was something so dreadful. I didn’t even know that… I’m…”
I was wondering how I’d respond to Irina who was muttering something while on the verge of tears. Thankfully, Kania who was silently observing this situation intervened.
“Irina, let’s stop there.”
“I understand your concern. But today is Young Master’s birthday. So let’s talk about this bleak story later.”
Irina nodded silently after hearing those words, she soon took my hand and spoke.
“… It’s been hard for you, Frey.”
For some reason, Kania coldly stared at me, so I answered with a mumble. I bit a piece of cake that had been cut into several slices in front of me.
“Ah, it’s sweet. As expected, sweet things are the tastiest. Serena was right…”
“Young Master, your birthday party will be held in a few days.”
As I enjoyed the cake so sweet, capable of even charming Serena, Kania declared a shocking piece of news.
“Young Master, are you alright?”
Thanks to that, I choked with the cake stuck in my throat. Kania handed me the glass of water beside me.
“Kania, didn’t you say to stop talking about the bleak story?”
“Ah? Didn’t the Young Master always like birthday parties?”
Kania asked with a perplexed look after the water had soothed my cough.
“So you don’t know. I very much despise birthday parties.”
“There is no one there who sincerely congratulates you, a party full of people who despise me or want to use me, who could enjoy like that?”
Kania bowed her head quietly when she heard his reasoning.
Well indeed, at the previous iteration I’ve always habitually smiled happily and acted debauched at every birthday party… anyone would have believe that I liked birthday parties.
– Knock Knock.
“I came to clean…”
I was reminiscing about the past when someone came and knocked on the door.
After calling her name, Lulu, who opened the door in her maid uniform, turned pale and began to tremble at the sight of my conscious body.
“Come back later.”
“Ah, Yes… Yes.”
I coldly uttered those words to kick that poor woman out of the room. I spoke again with a sigh.
“I guess you did well with the instructions I gave you.”
“Yes, I didn’t encounter any problems.”
“Right, just how it should be. I’m glad.”
Hearing what Kania said, I promptly laid back again on the bed with a satisfied smile on my face before Kania continued with her debriefing.
“Following Young Master’s plan, the servants who have been removed from the mansion during the academy holidays will receive pay equivalent to when they work during vacation time. As of today, the commoner students hired as temporary servants will be dismissed and will receive immense compensation.”
“Then, all that’s left for me to do is to pretend that I have been wronged.”
“Yes, that’s right,”
As Kania had said, from the start I had been devising a plan to give the commoner students some money.
According to the results of the background survey I instructed Kania to do, half of the commoner students were suffering from poverty, resulting in their inability to eat properly.
A quarter of those students couldn’t treat their ailing younger sibling or parent because they lacked the capital.
That wasn’t all. Most of the commoner students couldn’t afford Sunrise Academy’s expensive textbooks. They saved money little by little and read the books in turns.
It is also common for them to be unable to afford the cost to join the field trip in the second semester. Every lunch break, they force themselves to fill their stomach with tasteless food from the academy’s cafeteria.
That is how they have been living. They followed my orders and endured the humiliation that came as performing the duties of maids and servants during this exam.
Meanwhile, the academy’s class A is exempted from paying tuition.
The Sunrise academy is brimming with corruption but the class A tuition exemption is a tradition that has persisted for 1000 years. It is something even the Dean is incapable of eradicating.
That is to say, unless it is a tradition with extensive history, everything has been dismantled by the dean.
In conclusion, the commoner students are desperately in need of financial support.
However, the current grim reality of the Sunrise Empire is that there is not even a single law, institution, or organization that provides financial support for the commoners.
“Kania, the ‘Servant Welfare Policies’ that my father created are still valid right?”
“That is correct.”
I smiled subtly upon hearing that answer.
My father, who usually was very interested in the welfare of the servants, created rather complicated but nevertheless effective policies.
Among those policies, I will be using the policy regarding employees’ vacations and dismissal.
“…Kania, how was your special exam?”
“To minimize the aftermath of the incident this time, The Imperial Court canceled it. Thanks to that, the number of students in Class A will remain the same.”
I was worried Clana would massacre all the commoners besides me upon arriving at the scene of the accident. Fortunately, the test was canceled due to the attack on the mansion approximately a week ago.
Then again, maybe when she failed to eliminate me she’d at least put the ‘the commander can decide who’d be eliminated’ rule into place to keep me in check.
“Good, everything is proceeding as planned. I’ll also have to start acting as planned.”
Having said that, I got up and stretched my body before heading towards the door.
“The commoner students are still present in the mansion, correct?”
“Yes, that’s correct. The news of the special exam cancellation will be announced today, so the commoners are still waiting within the mansion.”
“What alibi did you fabricate for me?”
“Yes, the commoner students think the Young Master disdained the special exam rules and departed for an overseas holiday. They also know today is the day of your return.”
“Good job. Tell every one of them to gather on the first floor.”
I uttered those words and went outside before something materialized in my field of view.
I was about to do something important, but that annoying system window just had to interrupt me so I outright skipped it. I could only sigh when I realized that I skipped the word ‘Second Reward’.
‘I have to check it out later.’
The System’s rewards and abilities are indeed helpful, but lately, I’ve been getting so annoyed whenever I see that spiteful System.
If the reward proves to be something useless, in the future, besides using it for point investment, I won’t even spare a single glance at the System.
“Ex-excuse me… can I enter now…”
“You too, follow me.”
I left the room with that thought in mind. Once outside of the room, I grabbed Lulu’s hands, who was shaking in anxiety, and dragged her with me.
“Where… Where are we going?”
“Shut up and follow me.”
When I dragged the bewildered Lulu down to the first floor, there were already some commoners gathered. They stared at me with hostility in their eyes.
I’m the Empire’s greatest villain, one who is believed to have sexually harassed female students. They believe that I put them in danger while I nonchalantly went abroad on vacation. Such glares couldn’t be helped.
“…I have some news to tell all of you.”
Once all the students gathered in the first floor lobby, I calmly accepted their glares and began my speech.
“The special exam was canceled. Our class will remain the same next semester.”
The commoner students’ faces brightened when they heard my words.
Again, is there anything more pleasing for those who are struggling in poverty aside from the news that they excommunicated from class A?
“That being said… all of you get out of my house.”
But as they heard my next words, the cold expressions on their faces returned as if it never left.
“What are you doing? Not leaving?”
I spoke to them with a dumbfounded expression before finally raising my voice and speaking with a scowl.
“What? Don’t tell me, you worked hoping to earn compensation? I fed you and provided you a bed to sleep, it seems you really have no conscience?”
“But… before we came here it was clear that the contract…”
As a student hesitantly stepped in, I raised my voice to respond.
“Contract? What contract?!”
“That… on the first day when we came to the mansion, we signed a contract…”
“And so what contract do you speak of?!!”
When I burst out in anger, the student that spoke up began to break out in a cold sweat.
“Young Master. I will explain the situation regarding the contract.”
At that point, Kania silently gave me a look and stepped in.
“On the first day when the students arrived, I presented them with a contract.”
“According to the employment policies established by the Lord of this mansion and also the former family’s head Abraham Raon Starlight…”
“Kania, are you kidding me right now?”
I approached Kania while emitting a chaotic aura and spoke.
“The head of the family is me now. That is to say, my words are the rules and the law. Why did my father’s regulations suddenly come to mind?”
“Young Master you are the Provisional Lord…”
Kania’s face jerked to the side with that slap.
Silence prevailed in the first-floor lobby.
“Didn’t I advise you to know your place?”
Kania, with her face red with my handprint plastered on it, quietly bowed her head and apologized.
The commoner students who witnessed that sight glared at me scornfully.
On the surface, they seemed to be maintaining their facial expressions. Yet, since I’m used to receiving immense attention, it is clear to me what lurks in the depths of their hearts.
“Contract or whatever it is are unnecessary. Leave my house at once.”
“But Young Master, the regulations created by Lord Abraham are under the jurisdiction of Imperial Law and are subject to magical constraint.”
“And you are going to keep them? My birthday party is coming soon.”
I dumbfoundedly uttered those words to Kania who stood there awkwardly. I attempted to ignore the scornful gazes aimed at me as I spoke.
“I don’t know if the special exam is currently in progress, but now that the exam is canceled, I will hold my birthday party at my house. Managing a mansion’s servants who can neither cook nor clean, what do you think will become of my public image?”
“But the Young Master’s birthday party won’t be held at this mansion, it will be held at a separate venue…”
“You should also know that every year I hold a separate birthday party with those secret friends of mine in this mansion.”
The commoners looked stiff when they heard the information. Well, that was because they have only heard about me having secret friends from rumors and not from my own lips.
Of course, I intentionally emphasized that so they could spread the rumors regarding it.
“But Young Master, if you kick them out now… Heugh…!”
“I don’t care, everyone will leave today. I won’t pay any compensation or remuneration… instead take this and scram!”
The commoners began to tremble in rage as I kicked Kania in the belly while glaring frigidly at them.
It appears that many were enraged by my evil deed.
“Kania! Are you alright?”
Sure enough, Ferloche, who had been clenching her teeth, suddenly rushed out to Kania. She began to wholeheartedly pour her holy power into Kania’s body.
“I will heal you…”
“I’m… I’m alright! Saintess!”
“Ah… Ah yes, yes I got it!”
Ferloche, who witnessed Kania’s flustered face, belatedly remembers her identity as a Warlock who is vulnerable to holy power. She hurriedly distanced herself from Kania and shifted her sight towards me.
“Frey! Stop doing these evil-deeds!”
“Yes! We worked so hard! How can you kick us out without paying us! I can’t forgive this unfair deal…”
“…Let’s just leave, Ferloche.”
I was contemplating how to stop the oblivious Ferloche who started to interfere with my plan to give a huge compensation to the commoners when Irina, who was next to Ferloche, began to whisper to her in a hushed tone.
“Kania has a plan. So… let’s just get out of here.”
In the end, Ferloche, who was contemplating Irina’s words, stepped back slowly while glaring at me.
“So Young Master, you are ‘dismissing’ everyone here?”
And at that moment questioned me in a meaningful voice.
“Yes, I dismissed those people.”
“I see. Then I will handle it just as you requested.”
Kania responded with a composed expression on her face and calmly bowed her head, she then looked at those children and spoke.
“Yes, and with that… all of you are dismissed as of this moment in time. For further information please refer to this contract.”
“Just hurry, send them out.”
“You won’t check it, Young Master? The regulations here…”
“I said no. I have not an ounce of interest in any of the policies created by my old-fashioned father.”
“…I understand. Then I will announce it to the commoners.”
After replying to me, Kania proceeded to leave the mansion with the commoners. I raised the corner of my lips and grabbed Lulu’s shoulder, who stood beside me.
“Wait… you shall stay.”
“Your contract will be continued. Come to think of it, it would be very fun if I used you as a toy while playing with my shadow friends.”
Lulu’s expression paled in response to my words while the commoner students began to display their disgusted expressions.
Eventually, Kania muttered those words in a low voice. The commoner students then retracted their gazes from me one by one and departed the mansion.
“Wa-Wait… those words…”
“Don’t be late and come clean my room.”
Upon sending her upstairs, the image of Lulu sobbing bitterly at my side materialized in my head as I was engrossed in my thoughts. .
“…Damn it. What do I do?’
To be honest, claiming Lulu today wasn’t part of the plan.
I also have a lot of matters to take care of. After the commoners who had been unfairly dismissed by me were properly compensated, I thought of doing a thorough background check with Kania’s aid.
Yet after using the ❰Mind Reading skill ❱, I couldn’t set my mind on letting her leave.
“It increased again. I need to pay closer attention.”
The feeling of [Suicidal urge] shouldn’t appear before that incident. I don’t know why it appeared so suddenly. Anyway, I will have to keep a close eye on her from now on.
With that in mind, I inspected the lobby where I played the Slapstick act with Kania. I soon began to secretly smile while I thought of how the commoner students will receive a large compensation.
“Is Frey Raon Starlight present?”
“What is it?”
Someone knocked on the gate and called me. I walked forward with a frown on my face.
“…What’s the matter?”
I opened the gate and asked with an irritated expression.
“It is the Imperial Edict.”
Standing in front of the gate, I couldn’t help but gape in response to what the royal aide said
“It has been decided that Lord Frey’s birthday party will be hosted by the Imperial Family.”
“It is within the Emperor’s consideration for you to spend some quality time with Her Highness, Third Imperial Princess.”
It seems that I do have a shit fate.
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