Chapter 61

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Joshua learned about Agareth and Icarus’s friendship far sooner than he’d anticipated. It turned out the two of them were already well-known in the Academy. Not in the positive sense, of course. Sometimes, people are more famous for their mistakes than their achievements.

The afternoon after the admission ceremony, everyone was called to the canteen. When Joshua and the other two had arrived, the dining hall was already bustling. It was like an enormous restaurant, brimming with luxurious decorations and expensive foods. The dining hall was designed to accommodate every student in the Academy, allowing cadets from all classes to mingle and socialize.

I would have assigned a different time for each class if I were the manager… This place is luxurious, but God, is it cramped.

The students already in the hall turned to look at the first-year students who’d just arrived.

“Look over there… are Agareth and Icarus a couple?”

“What are they doing, teasing each other? Pfft.”

“You know, I heard they share the same room.”

“Didn’t the Academy do that on purpose? They must have lumped them together because they’re the only two fools who got stuck in freshman year.”

“Are they worried that their stupidity will spread to the other students?”

The students’ shameless laughter made Joshua grimace, but he was starting to understand Icarus’s relationship with Agareth.

The Imperial Academy had six grades; each grade had to pass a promotion exam to move up. Fail twice, and you would be expelled.

I don’t get what they’re talking about. Heaven’s Mind, failing the exam? What the hell happened?

While Joshua was engrossed in his thoughts, three cadets blocked his way. They looked intimidating, but Joshua didn’t notice them at first. The boys wore yellow neckties, indicating that they had just started their sophomore year. According to their grade, the color went from white to yellow to green to blue to red to black.

“What kinda team is this? The illegitimate son of Count Douglas and a commoner!”

Illegitimate son? Joshua grimaced. His life wasn’t getting any easier.

Only two students failed to advance grades. One was a commoner, who was bound to draw attention by virtue of his background; the other was a child born out of an adulterous relationship whose family refused to acknowledge him. Whether Joshua liked it or not, he was stuck with them.

Why was it so much trouble for him to avoid attracting attention?

Damn it… Even if they act like shit, the ones who look good get applauded, and the others get laughed at.

Joshua’s face contorted. He couldn’t pretend he didn’t know anything because he’d already decided to bring Icarus to his side. In other words, he had to put up with the scorn of the people around them.

I don’t care for it; I’ve dealt with plenty of this in my last life. Joshua was not worried about dealing with this in the slightest. Should I just beat the crap out of them?

While Joshua’s thoughts were spiraling out of control, Agarareth responded with a foolish smile. “Don’t you think it’s because we’re friends?”

“Friends? Hah!”

“Two losers sharing a room. Are you two in love?”

The two boys on either side laughed heartily, but the boy in the middle turned his slit-like eyes onto Agareth’s face. “Now, what you just said… that’s not funny, Agareth kun Douglas. Aren’t your parents ashamed to have you as their child?” The thin-eyed boy turned away scornfully. “You’re trash, and you always will be. I’m embarrassed to have been a friend of yours.”

“Isn’t that a little excessive, Young Master Amaru?”

Amaru halted.

“How dare you, idiot?” The boy on the right stepped towards them as Amaru growled. “How dare this worthless peasant show such disrespect to the heir of Sten!?”

Sten? Ah, come to think of it, he looks a lot like his father. They had the same gray hair and narrow eyes.

Count Arie bron Sten was one of only five of the Empire’s Masters. He was known as the Rapier Master and the Conductor of the Battlefield. The way he wielded his narrow rapier was an art form in itself; those who witnessed it are said to be enthralled by its beauty. His opponents claim to see the supernatural in his blade.

The rapier was lighter than the traditional long sword, and widely considered a weapon for women. However, no one who underestimated Count Sten lived to tell the tale. His technique was known as “Alteration”, a style that truly conveys the feeling of change. In his past life, Joshua saw Count Sten and his rapier sweep across the battlefield.

“An insult to my friend is an insult to me! How dare you interrupt him—you ought to be punished!”

What a load of bullshit*!* Icarus bit his lip, managing to stop himself before he yelled something foolish.

The other cadets crowded around them, jostling each other to get a good look.

“What?” Duncan1 sported a twisted smile as he watched Icarus bite his lip. “What’s wrong with what I said?”

“I didn’t say anything that could possibly offend you or your crew! What exactly are you implying?”

“You have no idea?” Duncan’s grin deepened. “You lowly bastard tried to stick his head into other peoples’ business and tried to butt into a conversation you don’t belong to… And this,” Duncan sniffed the air. “You’re breathing the same air as we are. How absurd is that?

“What else would it be but an insult?

“Humans raise cattle to slaughter them for food. That’s what you are to us. How could we not be enraged when our livestock wants to compete with a human?”

“You—!” Icarus’s cool demeanor cracked. The insult to himself and his parents was too much for him.

The mockery of the surrounding students was like salt on his wound:

“Hahahaha.”

“That’s it… To be honest, it’s just too much. We’ve been forced to take classes alongside a commoner since last year—a piece of shit.”

“Did you think you actually became a nobleman because you got adopted by some random baron?”

“I’ve never even heard of the baron who adopted him.

Duncan’s delight grew with every comment.

“Amaru! Isn’t this too far?!” Agareth clenched his teeth. Even his happy-go-lucky attitude couldn’t cope with this situation.

“Before you say that, why don’t you take a good look at yourself? You have a great time together; you even look good together. Is it true? Are you lovers now?”

Agareth’s expression darkened. “Whether you believe it or not… Icarus and I are friends.”

My plan to remain anonymous was utterly flawed. Joshua sighed. It can’t be helped. People are already paying attention to me because I’m next to people who stand out. He would’ve preferred to grab Icarus later if he’d known this would happen.

Joshua was furious, though he didn’t show it. His lifestyle wasn’t any different from the one they were insulting. His life in the stables… They treat people the same way they treat livestock. It wasn’t just Duke Agnus—all the nobility on the continent treated peasants the same. It may be stereotyping, but it was the truth. Aristocrats’ lust for power made them blind to the importance of diversity; they’d trample their subordinates for any advantage they could get.

It feels like I’m interfering in children’s arguments, but… Joshua stepped forward with a smile plastered on his lips. They’re all the same… so I’ll wipe them all out.

As Joshua opened his lips for the first time—

“Prin-Prince?!”

“It’s the Prince!”

“My word, why is he here?”

The back of the audience erupted into noise. A brilliant boy with blonde hair and golden eyes, the iconic features of the Imperial Family, emerged from the other side of the room. As a prince, he had at least three knights wherever he went, even in a place like this.

The golden child approached Joshua and flashed him a dazzling smile. “I see you did it.”

Joshua visibly stiffened, in contrast to the golden-eyed boy’s thrilled expression. The enormous dining hall went dead silent as he arrived.

“Kaiser von Britten,” Joshua muttered.

  1. “The boy on the right”. The author really just dropped his name without an introduction, so we know nothing about him… but you can probably assume his hair is the same color as his eyes. ↩️

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