༺ The Letter ༻
“What to do… I just believed the contract…”
“Should I look for a part-time job now…”
Coming out from the Starlight mansion, every commoner student muttered with a grim look on their faces.
That is because, they naively believed the contract presented to them when they first arrived at the mansion. Yet, they ended up being excommunicated without any compensation.
They are all outstanding individuals who could proudly enter the esteemed Class A of Sunrise Academy. Yet they were entrapped in this predicament, they had no other options.
It was a time when an unwritten rule of students must first graduate from the Academy before they could work in high-paying jobs or guilds was prevalent in the Empire. Therefore, despite them being students of Class A, all they could do was acquire short-term part-time jobs or hunt evil creatures.
Of course, with their fairly remarkable skill, they could earn money to some extent from those jobs. However, the fact that most of them are the heads of their households couldn’t be neglected.
After allocating their hard-earned money for their family members and paying the ridiculous amount of tax under the Imperial taxation laws, what remained wasn’t even sufficient to feed the chicken.
Yet, they somehow managed to survive over the years by various odd jobs. But now that they had spent a considerable amount of time at the Starlight family with no compensation, they encountered a fatal financial predicament.
“…Hey you guys. We still have hope!”
Among the children engulfed by the grim atmosphere, a female student stepped forward and spoke.
“According to this contract, if an employee is unilaterally fired before finishing the work duration stated in the contract, they will be compensated.”
“Hey, we all know about that though?”
But a male student who had a crestfallen look on his face for a while interjected with a sigh.
“That contract is worthless. From the start, the people involved with creating the contract are the aristocrats.”
“So you wanted to go to Frey and argue with him again? I would gladly follow suit if I didn’t risk getting caught and turned into a toy just like Lulu.”
Only after hearing the assertion did reality dawn on the female student. She then plopped down on the ground and began to shed tears.
“If I can’t purchase the medicine for this month… my younger brother’s life will be in danger…”
It was a bleak and pitiful situation for a student to be unable to purchase medicine for their younger sibling because they lacked the capital to spend indiscriminately like nobles do on any given day.
Yet the students who watched the scene unfold averted their gazes.
No matter how kind-hearted they were, they were also in a predicament with either a sick family member or no money to eat.
They are so impoverished that they combine their efforts so that they can gather sufficient funds to purchase a single textbook to be shared amongst them. They couldn’t aid the crying student in front of them.
“…Guys… I have decided.”
The female student who had been crying for what seemed to be an eternity while receiving inevitable ignorance from the people around eventually spoke with a determined expression on her face.
“I… will return to the Starlight mansion.”
The male student who reminded her of reality responded with a bewildered expression.
“Is there any use in returning? Frey will annul the contract regardless. Even if he provides you with compensation, you will be reduced to a plaything..”
“If becoming a plaything will save my brother, I’m willing to become one.”
The look of determination in that student’s eyes isn’t something a girl her age should have.
“Wa-Wait! You can’t do that!”
Among the commoners who were observing her, Ferloche suddenly rushed forth.
“I will help you! I will be able to cure him with holy power! Let’s go now! If we go now..”
“But your treatment is expensive.”
Ferloche looked lost after she heard those words, then with a dark expression, the girl brought up her story.
“If you want to receive a blessing or treatment from the Saintess, you need to pay some charge to the church. It is a known fact to everyone here.”
After stating the obvious, she scanned her vicinity, and the students all nodded their heads silently.
“Ho-How is that possible? I have always provided treatment for free?”
For Ferloche who had never received any compensation and always treated people for free while she gained a sense of accomplishment, such responses weren’t within her range of expectations.
“By any chance, is there an impostor going around impersonating me?!”
And so, she came up with the most logical reason she could think of.
For Ferloche, who ordinarily would only tilt her head with a questioning look on her face in this kind of situation, this is already a huge improvement.
But those commoner students only stared wordlessly at Ferloche.
If that remark was made by Frey or any other nobles, they would probably scorn or laugh inwardly.
However, they are all well aware of Ferloche’s usual attitudes toward them and what her personality is like.
Therefore, even though the commoners knew what the truth was, none of them dared to speak up.
Because in case things go awry and the church retaliates, then their hard-pressed life would be over.
“Right. It must be an impostor roaming about.”
“Yes, that must be it! Then, do you know who it is?”
Someone stepped forward to converse with Ferloche.
“If you tell me who the impostor is,the church and I will immediately…”
“It is the church.”
Among the gazes full of anxious and worried looks from the students directed to him, Alice, the commoner representative, began to explain the truth to Ferloche.
“To be exact, it is not an impostor. It should be described as daylight robbery.”
Hearing those words, Ferloche displayed a confused expression. On the other hand some of the students silently nodded their heads.
Because they recalled awful memories they had experienced and would like to avoid experiencing them again.
“If you provide treatment or a blessing to someone for free, then a few days later a debtee from the church will find them.”
“Yes, they receive the payment from your treatment and blessing.”
Ferloche who heard that then began to mumble nonsense.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe they have been doing it even as early as now… as expected, the church is…”
“No-Nothing! Anyway! I understand what you are talking about! I will settle it with the church today!”
As Ferloche huffed and puffed while she tried to head toward the church, Aris shook his head from side to side and spoke.
“Even with the Saint coming forward, it will only be quiet for a while.If anything they will only do it more secretly and demand even greater compensation. And I will probably get kidnapped for the crime of telling you the truth.”
In response to those words, Ferloche only groaned, unable to reply.
“Hehe, thank you for your concern.”
That female student then hugged Ferloche and shortly thereafter spoke in a trembling voice.
“Don’t worry about me. Whatever Frey is going to do… He won’t possibly kill me right?”
Her declaration was accompanied by fear due to the rumors about the horse carriage that traveled back and forth from the Starlight mansion carrying bodies.
Yet, the girl who helplessly desired to save her younger brother, attempted to hide her fear. With a smile on her face, she headed back toward Frey’s mansion.
“Please wait just for a moment.”
Kania appeared from amidst the crowd and stopped the girl.
“I don’t think there is any reason for you to come back and work in our mansion again.”
“What do you mean by that?”
The female student whose expression became relaxed at Kania’s words, tilted her head while Kania answered her with a smile on her face.
“Because all of you here will be offered compensation.”
With Kania’s words resonating amongst the students, they suddenly became aware of the compensation statement.
“Wh-What are all these?”
“Tell me, this is not a silver coin but a gold coin right?”
The commoner students who received the compensation statement without much expectation widened their eyes when they noticed the exorbitant amount of money printed on the sheet of paper.
“It is the compensation from your unfair dismissal plus the combined expense from your resignation.”
When Kania again calmly spoke to those commoner students, their expressions began to harden.
Usually in a situation like this, they should have been happy. Yet the sudden compensation they won’t be able to touch in their lives was suddenly sprung upon them, not to mention it was paid by Frey, who was widely known as a villain. So rather than being happy, doubts, anxiety, and fear preceded their happiness.
“How-How did it become like this?”
In response, the male student who reminded the female student of harsh reality previously inquired in a trembling voice.
“I have never seen an aristocrat who properly kept their contract with the commoners… this isn’t a trap, right?”
“It really is a trap, but this wasn’t a trap directed at all of you.”
The male student who had become accustomed to suffering contract fraud expressed his doubt with a look of suspicion, then Kania spoke with a smirk.
“Of course, this is a trap I laid out for Frey.”
To the students who tilted their heads at her words, Kania began explaining.
“The contract you signed before is based on the regulations made by the official head of the Starlight family, Lord Abraham.”
“Yes, legally… it is a rule that can’t be broken even with magic.”
After saying that, Kania waved the contract paper and a light magic circle then formed.
“Lord Abraham who values employees’ trust has set up various legal devices and magic spells in the contracts done with the employees.”
“Yes, even if it is Frey, he had no choice but to compensate you with that amount.”
Expressions of puzzlement appeared on the commoners’ faces in response to those words.
That is because, at the point where Kania’s words ended, the realization dawned on them that this exorbitant sum of money had become theirs.
“Wait, Kania… don’t say that you have already planned all of this?”
At that moment, Irina who had been keeping a close look, naturally intervened.
“What? What do you mean by that?”
“On the first day, you are the one who clothed us in the maid and attendant clothes and gave the contract. And you are also the one who told us not to ever show the contract to Frey.”
In response to those words, the students then began to focus their attention on Kania.
“And today… you are also the one who emphasized the word ‘dismissal’ from Frey’s answer and invoked the magic on the contract. Considering all of this, you…”
When Irina, who utilized her acting skills to the limit blurted out her last words, Kania sighed. She then spoke to the students who had been staring at her with bewildered looks on their faces.
“I just wanted to see you all happy.”
The commoner students sighed at those words.
“I didn’t do anything major in particular, you all don’t need to make such expression…”
“Ka-Kania! Thank you…”
Kania was looking at the students and calmly talking. She began to display an awkward expression when the female student who needed to buy medicine to save her younger brother, hugged her and burst into tears.
“Thanks to you… my brother… hiks…”
Nevertheless, as the female student muttered in her cries, Kania patted her with a slightly dark expression on her face.
“But… Kania. Will you really be alright?”
A student who watched Kania’s shift in expression enquired about her.
“If Frey knew you gave us such a large sum of money, he wouldn’t let it slide…”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Kania answered that student with a bitter look on her face.
“I have made up my mind.”
The commoner students who were staring at Kania, soon lowered their heads with solemn expressions. Kania had a red handprint engraved onto her cheeks and she kept rubbing her abdomen that must be experiencing unbearable pain.
Kania smiled at them and bowed her head.
For whatever reason, the commoners wanted to aid that figure who looked dismal, but they realized it was only a vain dream.
The Starlight mansion behind Kania, was too large a foe for them to face.
As they left the mansion, they only kept bowing their heads to Kania.
Kania gazed blankly at the commoners who were used to acting subserviently and only known to act as such, then felt a presence beside her and averted her gaze away.
“Kania… will you really be alright?”
“Yes, I’ll be fine.”
There stood Ferloche with a worried look on her face.
“If you don’t mind, would you like me to stay at Frey’s mansion? As the saint, I could protect you so that he won’t be able to hurt you…”
“…No. It’s alright.”
Kania, who first looked at Ferloche with a gentle gaze, replied with a stony face upon hearing Ferloche’s words.
“Then, goodbye. Ferloche.”
“Yes? Al… Alright. Goodbye.”
Ferloche who was unknowingly overwhelmed by Kania’s aura tilted her head for a moment and soon stepped out of the mansion.
“…It’s time for you to leave too, right?”
“Me? Why me?”
Kania who watched that scene then spoke with a cold expression on her face to Irina who stood blankly beside her.
“Then, you are going to stay here for the duration of your vacation?”
“Yes of course. To pay off my debt to Frey, even staying by his side every hour won’t be enough.”
Kania, who was frowning at Irina’s reply, spoke in an irritated tone.
“It’s enough with just me alone. I have been serving Young Master since I was little…”
“But you, why are you continuing to stroke your belly? You can stop acting now, right?”
After hearing Irina’s childish inquiries, Kania blushed and shut her mouth.
That is because she was reluctant to tell the truth that because she often turned into a cat lately, her belly became sensitive and got stimulated because of Frey’s kick before.
“Anyway, to conclude…”
“Wh…what is she doing?”
Irina interjected before Kania could finish her thought. Her expression stiffened as she gazed back at the Starlight mansion that Irina was pointing at with her facing growing pale.
At that moment Kania doubted her eyes.
That’s because, in the window of Frey’s room, Lulu was sitting in a daze.
“Stop, stop her! We need to stop her!”
“Calm down. That’s the second floor, even if she falls it won’t kill her.”
“Ah, that’s right.”
Kania quietly reprimanded Irina who was trembling and making a fuss. She then proceeded back towards the mansion, leaving behind Irina who was now scratching her head in confusion. But then…
Suddenly Lulu drew a small knife from her chest pocket and directed it at her arm. This time, both Kania’s and Irina’s expressions become one of fright.
“We really need to stop her.”
In that moment, Kania prepared to cast black magic and the bewildered Irina attempted to produce a barrier using wind magic. ,
“Ah, that was close.”
Frey appeared behind the window and knocked Lulu unconscious by hitting the back of her neck.
“…We are lucky the Young Master was present.”
The two who were watching the scene nervously began to mutter in a relieved voice as they saw the limp Lulu being dragged back inside the room.
“So what should we do with her?”
“I don’t know. Should we tie her up?”
“Can’t you brainwash her with black magic?”
“It is the magic that could only be performed by corrupt black warlocks.”
The two girls whose looks suddenly became cold, unknowingly began to think about how to deal with the nuisance who was dragged back into the room.
Putting aside the fact that they were only able to have a civil conversation for the time being, the exchange continued for a great deal of time.
“Phew… That was close.”
Without Lulu’s knowledge, I entered the room to see what she was doing. I immediately knocked her unconscious once I saw her directing a knife towards her arm. .
Perhaps, once Kania returns, we will need to perform an examination on Lulu’s body.
I was thinking of such matters when the system window materialized in front of my eyes. Did it feel bad because I ignored it for a long time? The content of the message was quite urgent.
I can’t just ignore the system forever, so I capitulated and checked the reward, but then a strange-looking jade pendant fell into my hand.
“Right, it should have been this much.”
Rosinante, the creator of the ornamental box I got from the auction house in the past.
According to the prophetic book, he is a craftsman so skilled his name was etched in the Empire’s history books.
And just like most of those masters, he is very difficult to please.
Therefore, it is said that requesting something from him is as challenging as picking a star in the sky. Thankfully, if you show him this jade pendant, he could probably invent a star-picking machine for you.
With that thought in mind, I carefully placed the jade pendant in my desk drawer. My lips curled up into a smile when I noticed a white bird flying outside my window.
Yet, I quickly realized that the bird that came to sit on the windowsill wasn’t the white bird I had been anticipating, but a homing pigeon.
“What kind of letter…”
For a moment, I stared at the pigeon with doubts in my mind. After a short period of time, I noticed the royal seal on the letter and urgently grabbed it.
“Clana sent me a letter?”
I was taken aback when I found Clana’s name engraved on the envelope. I opened the letter with a slight tremble in my heart.
“Ah, is that all?”
I expected all myriad of situations, yet I instantly muttered with a dispirited expression upon realizing the contents of the letter.
“…I also need to secretly pay attention to the attack of the slave market.”
The confidential situation in Clana’s words is the attack on the slave market.
Well, one of the Princesses of the Cloud Kingdom who was planning to enroll at Sunrise academy in the following year will end up being captured in this slave market… It is understandable that the security is so thorough.
“All I have to do is free the slaves while earning the disdain of the Princess. It is nothing.”
It is unfortunate that I’ll have to garner hatred from her, a sub-heroine, but I have no choice. It is all for the end goal of clearing the main quest.
While thinking of such things, I tried to put the letter in the drawer. I froze up as I noticed a very small note written at the very bottom of the letter.
“And what is it this time…”
As expected, nothing in the world seems to go as planned.
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