(Patreon) Bachelor Chapter 49

Index

XLIX

Richard wished Geran Oulbriph had continued on being vague in his words rather than saying what he had just said, but he hadn’t. Upon hearing what he said, Richard realized this was his plan the whole time. He had been talking about how all Noxians needed to contribute to prevent the collapse of their society. He had been talking about various ways that could be done, and Richard was willing to bet Geran wasn’t doing any of those things himself. Finally he came to the few sentences that revealed his actual intent. “Of course, everyone must do their part, especially those of us who are nobles. This of course includes marrying and having children. I propose that all those who are fertile and of marriageable age should be matched with partners of suitable station.”

On the surface, that proposal sounded reasonable. However, Richard now knew why he had such a smug grin. As he listened to the murmurs of both approval and disapproval, Richard was just trying to think of a way to inject some sense into this whole situation. Richard already knew there weren’t that many unmarried nobles. In a practical sense, the number who were remaining getting married and having children would do basically nothing to affect the situation the Noxians were facing. It was also fairly easy to recognize the ultimate intention of Gerald, which was to get himself married to Elena. Richard couldn’t really grasp why he would want that though. Of course, she was attractive, smart, and had a powerful family… but several of those would work against him because she didn’t like him. If he somehow managed to marry her, she could make his life a living hell. She wasn’t the kind of person to just go along with a situation she didn’t like. Of course, Elena would be unhappy too, but he wouldn’t care about that, only about the consequences to himself, and those seemed like they would be much greater. Perhaps he didn’t care about that as much as the theoretical power though.

Richard didn’t care to ask him. His brain was working overtime on a plan for how he could speak. Certainly, the opposition would eventually be given a chance to speak, but by that point too many minds might be swayed by this stupid plan. Besides, Richard would never be given a chance to speak. Him being here was already as far as that would go. Except… there was one possibility. He had noticed it and then immediately ignored it, because it seemed like a silly idea. Now, however, he couldn’t stop thinking about it, not with his physical brain, nor the part of him that was energy. All of him cared about this. Richard quickly looked some things up, though the specifics weren’t that easy to find so it took more than a few minutes. However, Geran didn’t look like he was going to shut up any time soon, so there wasn’t too much rush. Richard couldn’t help but mutter and curse under his breath as he thought. “I need… but how would I get that…”

He wasn’t too surprised when his father caught his eye and raised an eyebrow, but Richard just shook his head. His father probably wouldn’t be able to help here, even if he could hear him muttering from a dozen seats away. Richard thought for a moment, and decided it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask his father, though he would have some trouble explaining exactly what he needed, and that might be the end of it. However, before he could ask, Hiroshi showed up next to him. “Hey. You look like you have a plan. Anything I can do to help?”

Richard almost shook his head, then a lightbulb went off. “Actually… do you remember when we first met?”

“Of course.”

“I mean… umm… like, the date? I didn’t keep track of that, but it matters for something.”

“I do, actually.”

“Great. Now there is a slight flaw in my plan, because I just realized the information we need is a week’s travel away, and even if I had a friend who was a ninja, I suppose they would have trouble acquiring some security tapes related to the incident where we first met, given that distance.”

“Nah. Gimme like five minutes.”

“Seriously? Umm…”

“Maybe a bit more, but it’s not like I have to go there in person, you know? Computers exist. Just to be clear, you want video footage of that time Jerkface slapped you?” Richard nodded. “I can get that. Just need to leave this room for full access to the internet.”

Hiroshi scurried off, and Richard sighed. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the all he needed. He looked over at Elena, who was having an intense whispered discussion with her parents and brother. The anger was obvious on their faces and in their postures. Richard managed to get lucky, and got Carl’s attention, waving him over.

“This isn’t a great time,” Carl said, “But you have a serious look. What do you need?”

“I need to make some very quick, but possibly unreasonable requests, and you seem like the guy who is most likely to entertain them. What I want is access to that video equipment-” Richard pointed to the display behind Geran. “To show a clip that is necessary for what I need to do.”

“Sure, that can be done. It will be a huge breach of protocol, but if it leads to Geran getting slapped in the face, which I think it will…”

Richard paused and stared for a moment, then continued. “How did you know?”

“Know what?” Carl tilted his head, “Anything else you need?”

Richard shook his head to clear it, “Oh, well. I need a doctor here asap, preferably one capable of treating Noxian poison and doing a fertility test, if possible.”

“So… any doctor? Not a problem. The Royal Doctor is always on call and can be here any time. Err, is it an emergency? I don’t see anyone…”

“No, it’s not an emergency, but it might be useful to have them around.”

“Okay. Make sure this is worth it. I don’t mind getting in a little trouble if it is. Heck, I wouldn’t mind getting in a lot of trouble if it’s worthwhile.”

As Carl went off, Richard went to look for Jot. “So, on a scale of one to ten, how ready would you say I am to fight someone with a weapon?”

Jot shrugged. “You with a weapon? Them with a weapon? Well, if they’re trained with any weapon, I would highly advise against it, whether you also have one or not.”

“I was afraid of that. That really only leaves one option…” Richard got a pensive look on his face. “Look, I’m going to do something stupid, and if it goes poorly, I’d like you to not follow up with something stupid of your own. Not that I can stop you.”

Jot nodded. “I don’t do stupid things. Nothing done for friends is stupid. To make things easier though, why don’t you just succeed?”

“You… nevermind, I get your point. I’m going to do something.”

Richard had a few minutes of unpleasant waiting until Hiroshi came back, and then a few more minutes coordinating Carl and Hiroshi. Upon being told that they were ready, Richard thanked them, then walked toward the front of the auditorium. As he passed by people, Jot and his father just nodded. Hiroshi and Carl gave awkward smiles. Elena just looked confused as she saw Richard heading toward the front, but her outstretched hand and gestures didn’t stop him. Richard kept walking, not heading for any of the various groups of Noxians scattered around the auditorium. He didn’t even slow as he stepped up onto the center stage, though there were gasps, and then shouting as he did so. His stride didn’t slow, and he kept walking toward Geran who was saying something Richard didn’t bother to take the time to have translated. Then, two steps from Geran, he pulled off the glove he was suddenly glad to have on his right hand, and took a final step closer. With both momentum from his movement and force from his arm, he slapped Geran across the face, violently turning his head to the side. “I accept your challenge.”

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