T/N: Maybe I should have translated Marquis Philip as Marquis Philippe instead. Since we already have a Philip haha.
The faces of the ash-haired boy and the brown-haired boy fell when they saw Chris approaching. The ash-haired boy, Henry, was the second son of a Count and the brown-haired boy, Steve, was the third son of a Marquis. They had fought with Chris not too long ago, so they didn’t want to have to go out of their way to greet each other.
Steve held a huge grudge against Chris. Although it had been refreshing to watch the arrogant Damian get suspended, Steve had been disgraced at the disciplinary hearing before the punishment was handed down.
Actually, Damian had been quiet but Chris had actively tried to defend Damian, testifying to the number of times that Steve and Henry had come to look for Damian’s trouble.
Steve believed that Damian had tattle to Chris, who was volunteering every detail.
Steve’s elder brother was a member of the Council in charge of their first disciplinary hearing. Thanks to that, Steve and Henry were able to receive light punishments. And later on, Steve was called out separately by his brother and criticized heartlessly.
[I am not asking a lot from you. I only ask that you do not disgrace our family, is that so difficult? What kind of low-grade act is this? You’re not even a child. I am scolding you because my face is heated from embarrassment.]
He was very displeased because Steve had chosen a cheap method like that of a vulgar street rat, not because Steve had harassed Damian. Steve was sick of his elder brother acting every time like he was trying to teach his pathetic little brother. His elder brother wasn’t even that much older than himself. But because his brother had helped him, he couldn’t reply back and could only hang his head while his face burned.
“Been a while.” (Chris)
“…It has been a while, Sir. Philip.” (Steve)
Steve sourly accepted the greeting. He didn’t want to greet Chris but ignoring someone who had greeted you first was an immature, undignified behavior, so he was forced to act polite.
Chris chuckled inside. The reason he rarely ever hung out with other noble children was because he didn’t like their pretentious imitation of adults. Once they made their debut in the social circle, they only talked to each other with honorifics, never addressed each other by their actual names and made sure to always add the title ‘Sir’ to their family names.
Only knights or title-holding nobles could use the address ‘Sir’ in an official occasion, but among the nobles, there was a fixed practice of adding ‘Sir’ to the family name when they referred to each other.
But it was too much for children who were not even of adult age to be calling each other ‘Sir/Lady’. The adults referred to children who hadn’t yet come of age as ‘Mr./Miss’, even if they had debuted into high society. Therefore, it was more reasonable for the kids to call him ‘Mr Philip’, than ‘Sir Philip’.
Chris swept a glance over the gathered group. There were faces he recognized and faces he didn’t. They were likely all children from families ranked Count and beyond. Chris didn’t like this sort of thing either. The kids were already only hanging around with people who matched their standards.
Chris thought the privilege of being young was the freedom to get along with all sorts of people and not care about status. Just because your father was a Count, didn’t mean that all of your father’s children would become Counts. Non-successors were not likely to get titles and there was no guarantee that a Count’s daughter would become a Countess.
When Chris was around ten-years-old, his mother was pregnant with his younger brother and suffered from severe depression. Due to this, the atmosphere at home was dark and the busy Marquis didn’t have time to take care of his young son. So he left Chris with his grandparents for a year.
Chris’ grandfather was a Count, but it would be more accurate to call him a wealthy merchant that headed many businesses. Chris followed his grandfather to journey across many national borders. He saw and experienced so many things and realized that the world was vast. It became an important opportunity that shaped Chris’ values.
“If you go by Sir Philip then…are you the esteemed son of Marquis Philip?”
The young ladies showed a great deal of interest in Chris. Since he was a Marquis’ son, even if he wasn’t the successor, he would at least be titled a Count, so if they were looking to be a Countess in the future, conquering Chris was a good method.
Chris politely greeted the lady as he had been taught, even though he could completely see through her.
“That is correct, Lady…”
“Winsor. Audrey Winsor. Count Winsor is my father.”
“Lady Winsor. I am glad to meet my academy classmates at such an occasion and I have something urgent to talk to my classmates about, so can you forgive me for having to put off our greetings for later?”
“Oh my. You are attending the Academy too. As a matter of fact, I was just listening to stories about the academy. I will gladly excuse myself and allow you gentlemen to discuss in-depth.”
Although not a queen bee yet, Lady Winsor seemed to be the leader of the flock, so when she turned around, the other young ladies followed too.
‘Male or female, adult or child, they’re all the same.’
Chris didn’t understand why people liked to hang around in big groups. They weren’t gathered together because they were truly friends, but more like they were coasting along. When many people gathered together, some people would stand out and some people would be excluded.
Just because he was the son of a Marquis, Chris would never be excluded, even if he didn’t say a single thing. Because he didn’t like such shallowness, Chris gradually went less and less to gatherings with his peers. Perhaps, that might be the reason he kept getting interested in Damian, who always moved around the Academy by himself.
“What is the meaning of this?”
Steve’s tone denoted his unhappiness with Chris’ rude actions of doing whatever he wanted and sending all the girls away.
Chris found it ridiculous for someone like Steve to be acting like a gentleman when he had just been involved in a dog fight on the academy’s campus a month ago. Chris gave a lopsided grin.
“So, stories about the academy, huh? Did you tell them about how you rolled and fought on the floor? I bet it would be a very interesting tale.”
Anyone could tell from Chris’ provoking tone that he was trying to pick a fight. Those who didn’t want to get unnecessarily involved in a fight between two Marquis’ sons quietly slipped away. The gathered group dispersed, and the only people left were Chris and Steve who stood opposite of each other, and Henry who stood behind Steve.
Steve’s clenched fists trembled.
“What in the world are you doing?”
Steve didn’t want to have a particularly bad relationship with Chris, a Marquis’ son. He considered Chris to be one of the few people on the same level as him. Steve couldn’t understand why Chris would take the side of a guy with no background at the academy.
“Are you aware that you are a huge coward? But then again, if you were aware, you wouldn’t do such a thing. You started the fight and then dumped the blame on the victim. If you are already doing such a despicable thing, you can’t be the good adult with refined speech that you’re trying so hard to imitate.”
Chris turned to look at Henry.
“Same goes for you too. Let’s act with dignity in the future. OK?”
Henry got angry and came forward.
“Who are you calling a victim? That low-born guy started punching people, not knowing his place. He even made the beast he was carrying run amok. Don’t disrupt order with your ridiculous sympathy.”
Ha. Ha. Ha. Chris gave short exaggerated laughs. Then while massaging his temple with his hand, he deliberately mumbled in a serious manner.
“It’s my mistake for having too much useless sympathy. How can you guys understand the generousness of my heart in doing what I can to aid those pitiful guys?”
Seeing the two boys looking at him like he was crazy, Chris smiled craftily like he was cooking up a scheme.
“You two. Do you know who you provoked?”
At that moment, people began to stir. The gaze of the crowd gathered at one spot and the children who were fascinatedly watching the Marquis sons bicker, got curious and flocked over. Chris felt like he knew why people were acting like this. He threw his arms around the shoulders of both boys and hooked it around their neck so they couldn’t escape.
“What are you doing!”
“Now, now. Come with me. I’ll show you something good.”
It wasn’t that Chris was so strong that the two boys couldn’t shake him off. They were afraid that if they forcefully shook him off, it would draw people’s attention and look like they were fighting, so they had no choice but to follow along. Chris was able to easily drag the two boys because they took appearance and honor so seriously. Chris squeezed and pushed through the crowd and took the two of them to the front.
And just as Chris expected, the talks of the town had appeared. The ducal couple of Taran and Damian. Chris was certain that Damian’s appearance would cause a stir in the social circle. The ducal couple of Taran simply accompanying someone would become a hot topic, talk less of them accompanying a boy who looked like the Duke of Taran. The appearance of the boy was a shock itself.
‘Although, I doubt people are as shocked as these two guys right here.’
With his hands still on the shoulders of the two boys, Chris alternated gazes at both sides. The both of them had gone white and they looked like they had lost their soul. They were stiff like a frog when it meets a snake. Seeing Steve and Henry enveloped in shock and horror, Chris decided to play with them a little more. Dragging them by neck, he approached the Ducal family of Taran.
 English doesn’t have that many respectful titles, so I had to make do. Here, Miss doesn’t have a male equivalent, so we’re stuck with Mr. I might have translated it as Lord/Lady but we’ve been using ‘sir’ so far, no need to change it now.