01 – Reward
One summer afternoon, when the dizzying whirlwind that was the Combat Technique Tournament was over, and the tumult was starting to die down.
I visited the Count’s mansion and he greeted me with a smile.
“For participating and winning in the tournament. As well as that other incident. You did well on every account. Surely you will accept?”
“Ah… I am grateful, but…”
The last part.
He didn’t say it specifically, but when it came to those ‘butterflies,’ I could hardly agree that I handled it well.
Yes, the people that killed Iria’s older brother, Seto Orlando—Noir Papillon, the group of assassins, were destroyed.
But it was not by my hand, nor the Count’s.
A mysterious third part known as the Holy Grail of Dawn.
“It’s true that not everything went as I had hoped.”
The Count said quietly. But then he shook his head.
“However, as a nobleman of the empire, the destruction of a dangerous organization is a good result.”
“But…it was only…”
“Even if it wasn’t you who did it. Besides, now Iria can focus on other things other than revenge. You brought back information about what happened. That is enough.”
The count paused thoughtfully for a moment.
“By the way, the matter with Viscount Fobius. It went even better than I imagined.”
“…I heard that Ms. Aize is now completely free from him.”
“Aye. Apparently, there was a great misunderstanding.”
“That you were the ‘good person’ Aize was talking about.”
“The mystery fighter who came out to the tournament for love. And he had tried to force your lover into an engagement. How terrible. He is probably crying and shaking in his bed as we speak.”
Hehe. The Count could barely hold back his laughter.
He didn’t mean…
“Was that your plan from the beginning?”
As I glared at him, the Count raised his hands with a ‘now, now.’
“You can think of the reward as compensation for that as well. Besides, such rumors will not last for too long.”
“Rumors last 75 days…I suppose.”
“Hmm. An amusing saying. Though, two and a half months is rather long.”
Now that I thought about it, it was quite long.
Well, it was true that it had caused a lot of trouble. Ever since the tournament, there would be reporters trying to get into the academy.
If he was paying me for that, then it made sense.
“Yes. Mr. Yukito, please accept this.”
I was handed a check.
But when I took it and saw the numbers… Hey, wait. One, ten, hundred…
Perhaps I had read it wrong? I counted carefully, but there was no mistaking it.
The currency here was very similar to that of Japan. 30 million yen. Uh…how many years of puffed corn was that?
“Ah, it includes the tournament prize as well. That was 10 million, and the rest is from me.”
Da-damn… I was starting to sweat.
I had never seen such numbers before…
“You cannot stay in the hotel forever. Why don’t you take the opportunity to buy a house?”
The Count said with a smile.
“I could write you a recommendation. Though, I doubt anyone will treat you badly. You are sort of a hero in the old capital now.”
“I’m no hero…”
Still, my own home, huh?
Hmm… I probably could do that. What should I do…
It was my dream to have a home.
And so I went along with it, and was soon sent away by limousine, and ended up in a real estate office.
The woman at the front desk looked at me and opened her mouth…and froze.
What the hell? Were my clothes really that bad…?
“Ar-are-are-are-are you…Mr. Yukito!?”
She got up to her feet and screamed.
The others in the back turned their heads towards us in alarm. Hey, wait. I didn’t do anything.
“I-I-I was watching you during the tournament! You were amazing!”
“The way you knocked down and instant killed them, regardless of size! I thought that I was watching a movie! Oh, could I get your signature…”
The woman was bonked on the head with some rolled up paper.
A rather large man was the culprit. He wore a clean suit and looked like your typical salesman.
“What are you doing to our customer? …I’m terribly sorry. I hope she hasn’t bothered you too much…”
The man made her bow, but I assured them that it was fine. And they both looked relieved.
After that, I was taken to a different room…a room to talk business.
Also, I did give her an autograph. …I could not bear the sad look on her face. Well, I had never signed an autograph before, and so I just scribbled my name without thinking. Still, she jumped for joy while the manager sighed.
“So, you are here today in order to search for a house?”
“Yes. I’m currently living in a hotel, but would like a proper house to live in…”
“I see. To rent? Or perhaps to buy? You could also buy land and have it built… Regardless, I can explain the process to you.”
“Yes, that would be helpful.”
And so in easy to understand language, and in a pleasant tone, the manager explained to me everything that I needed to know about real estate in the old capital.
Regardless, it was not much different from how it was in my past life.
“However, you have a recommendation from the Count. And so we would definitely agree that you should buy a house.”
“…Why is that?”
“He owns lands and several properties already. And these cannot be sold without permission. To be precise, as it will be in the form of a grant, there are essentially tax exemptions included. It is quite a bargain.”
He said with a smile.
“So, to be more specific. What kind of house are you interested in?”
He said with that perfect salesman smile. And so without any resistance, I started to think about what kind of house I wanted to live in.