“Yo, long time no see. Boy.” (Burkhart)
It’s the second day since I have arrived in the royal capital. Yesterday I was ennobled by His Majesty for slaying an ancient dragon. For today, the marriage of Erich-nii-san had been arranged to be held at the Brandt household.
No, formally Erich-nii-san already is part of the Brandt family.
As for marriage in this world, only the two concerned persons go to the church. There they receive a permit if the marriage has been accepted by the priest. Excepted from this procedure are royalty and important nobles.
After that, they have to only submit the permit to the governmental office.
Therefore, today’s event should be called a marriage announcement party where the newly married couple introduces themselves to society.
As a matter of fact, Erich-nii-san and Miriam-gishi-san1 have met here three years ago.
Rüdiger-san had observed the way Erich-nii-san, who passed the exam for junior government officials at the age of 17, fulfilled his duty for approximately 2 years. He then judged that he could leave his only daughter in brother’s hands without having to worry. I hear that it took this long to lay a firm groundwork.
The reason Rüdiger-san worried was the power struggles between members of nobility and the envy of the other relatives of the family.
Since there was no other heir to the Brandt family, besides their only daughter, there was no other choice except that the man who would marry her was to be adopted into the family and succeed it.
As that news spread, a mob aiming for the peerage and governmental office, namely the relatives and the self-proclaimed relatives of relatives, such as Viscount Mongérard2 (T/N: >> Monjiera <<), approached the parents. Thus there also were many in the society who blamed Rüdiger-san with words like 『Even though you already have such a Groom candidate …』.
For example, even if that candidate was completely useless, that didn’t have to apply to the person recommending them.
Therefore, if one were suddenly to speak of that person as no good, then it would worsen the relationship with their mentor. There was no other way but to listen to their arguments for the time being since those approaching the parents were apparently quite important.
Being in dire distress by the appeals, it might have been close to how it felt for politicians in my previous life.
In such situation Rüdiger-san chose Erich-nii-san.
Naturally, there were quite a lot people who didn’t find this amusing.
Dealing with these troublesome interferences took time which caused the official marriage to be delayed.
『Although now those complaining about it have diminished for the most part.』 (Rüdiger-san)
Going by Rüdiger-san’s words, I play a big role in this too for having received the Twin Dragon medal for slaying a dragon and procuring a rank of associate baron.
Beforehand Erich-nii-san was thoroughly criticized with words such as 『Lowly person such as the fifth son of a poor peasant knight』, but now it was 『He is the elder brother of the hero who slayed the dragon, then he has to be a wonderful muko-dono3』. It seems many people changed their opinion into this direction now.
Although it is a detestable story, I decided to consider it a good thing that I was able to provide back-up for Erich-nii-san.
『Even if it was by chance, it would have been fine to not forcibly butt in on the case of Miriam-jou’s4 groom … Though I5 think it was still fortunate.』
『Our’s is a fine knight peerage household.』
『In the case of such things as an associate barons’s household, it is likely they are involved with Finance Minister Rückner.』
『Even if you forcibly send in others besides Erich, that cool gentlemanly dragon-slaying hero will get mad if the marriage is cancelled.』
『Considering the circumstances, he mustn’t get angry, otherwise it would become unbearable here.』
Those were the honest thoughts of Viscount Mongérard who had approached the parents.
He visited the Brandt household the day before the ceremony. For some reason I ended up having to listen to Rüdiger-san’s complaints.
With 『Don’t think it’s somebody else’s problem, it could very well have been yours, Sir Baumesiter』 he gave me a moral sermon lowering my spirit at the same time.
The final word on the selection of the groom technically lies with Rüdiger-san as the current head of the Brandt household. But, depending on the circumstances, there have been more and more cases occurring where a groom is forcibly pushed upon the parents.
This time they could breathe a sigh of relief and joy as fortunately it did not happen.
“Today is the ideal weather for a party.” (Burkhart)
“In Burkhart-san’s case, rather than the weather your motivation lies with getting drunk on sake…” (Wendelin)
“To reach the point to say such things, Associate Baron-dono…” (Burkhart)
The party would be held in the garden of the Brandt family estate with approximately 300 invitees.
This number of people seems to be the standard for lower-ranking nobles on such occasion.
The invited included relatives, friends, superiors, and colleagues from one’s workplace.
Also, the Brandt family was closely related to Viscount Mongérard’ parents and thus they were invited as well. From the same faction as those parents, several nobles of not less than intermediate rank were invited as well.
In case the person themselves cannot attend, they are sending their eldest son as their representative. Apparently this was the case for half of the invitees.
One hour before the party would begin, the madam of the Brandt family and the maids working at the mansion were humming with activity inside in order to prepare everything. I started a conversation with Burkhart-san at the established venue in the garden.
This reminds me, the margrave of Breithilde was pleased with the character of Erich-nii-san as a civil officer, just as I was. Burkhart-san seems to be partaking in the party as his representative.
“It’s been a long time after just 2 days?” (Wendelin)
“Don’t mind the minor details. But, for you to be ennobled as an associate baron, huh?” (Burkhart)
“I was the one most surprised by this development.” (Wendelin)
“That means the achievements you obtained were just this valuable.” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san arbitrarily nodded his head by himself while agreeing with a “un un.”
“Even though Burkhart-san had distinguished himself in that situation, too …” (Wendelin)
“Look, I was just an extra, don’t you agree?” (Burkhart)
“And yet you accepted 10% percent of the reward for the magic core and the bones of the ancient dragon.” (Wendelin)
Burkhart-san protected the magic airship so it wouldn’t sink. Counting this as my achievement was extremely unfair and as result I was struck heavily.
Besides, Artur-san advised His Majesty that it would be appropriate for Burkhart-san to receive 10% of the reward. His Majesty assumed this stance, too.
Thus, Burkhart-san was to receive 150 platinum coins.
“For that reason, it is 150 platinum coins. Don’t you think half would more appropriate?” (Wendelin)
“I already am 48 years old. As funds to pay for alcohol at old age that is more than plenty, don’t you think? And besides that … I have my own fortune as well, you know?” (Burkhart)
With these words Burkhart-san told me the amount of money he had amassed as his own fortune. I wasn’t able to hide my astonishment at the excessive amount.
“In my time as adventurer our party racked in quite the impressive income.” (Burkhart)
As result of Artur-san’s stubbornness, Burkhart-san, who is an elite magician, went as far as slaying a fire drake.
Given that, I certainly believe he has earned enough income in the end.
Furthermore, my master also joined their party under the pretext of newcomer training for a period of time.
Because of that, that party must have undoubtedly possessed an earth-shattering battle power.
“The other members of the party walked off in order to serve suitable nobles as they started their second life. Therefore, I have no complaints with my share.” (Burkhart)
While talking about this, Burkhart-san received the bag with the 150 platinum coins from me and casually tossed it into the magical bag.
“I received good drinking money.” (Burkhart)
“Do you intend to buy something like a sake brewery?” (Wendelin)
“Then it would turn out to always be the same kind of sake, no?” (Burkhart)
While having such a chat, the time for the party to start was steadily drawing near.
A table was placed in the garden of the mansion with many splendid dishes and alcoholic drinks lined up on top of it.
As one would expect from a noble’s party to celebrate the announcement of a marriage, but since they invited close relatives, who also are nobles of intermediate rank, it was natural.
“Being a noble is a serious matter.” (Wendelin)
“What noble would be stingy on important ceremonial occasions in family relationships? Such person would be seen as a fool.” (Burkhart)
Usually they lead a modest life earnestly saving money to use it when the time has come where it counts, but proper conduct as noble has to be protected after all.
Generally nobles below intermediate rank had to keep up appearance in such manner.
“Who you invite is important as well.” (Burkhart)
Following Burkhart-san’s gaze, there was a pile of celebratory gifts in the room connected to the garden where he had placed five celebratory gifts earlier himself.
As one would expect, there were no bags with money in it. Primarily there were various articles that could be well used by the couple in their daily life, and there were more things such as clothes and jewellery.
Certainly, if the children of relatives are invited, the parents can’t attend empty-handed either. Also, bringing cheap congratulatory gifts would be a reason for embarrassment as well. There might be quite a few hardships in regards to facet of money.
It is decided by the reputation of their long-lasting customs. Additionally it is accompanied by the attempts to match the expenses for the gifts as much as possible.
“However, he’s not here…” (Burkhart)
“Who is not here?” (Wendelin)
“It will become a big problem if that guy is not here.” (Burkhart)
As I was tilting my head in puzzlement in regards to Burkhart-san’s remark, Erich-nii-san appeared after having changed into his uniform.
“It has been a while, Burkhart-san.” (Erich)
“Yes. My lord has grieved over the fact that he couldn’t attend himself.” (Burkhart)
“It can’t be helped. He is the margrave of Breithilde after all.” (Erich)
“Maa, it’s also to keep the balance as to not get too close to the Brandt household.” (Burkhart)
That’s correct. This time the Brandt household’s side holds the leading part in this marriage ceremony. If the margrave, who has a fairly close friendship with the son-in-law, were to attend as quest, it would influence the balance badly.
Although I could understand it, I actually feel like there are too many bothersome issues with all the requirements of nobles.
“By the way… weren’t there any congratulatory gifts delivered by the Baumeister household’s side?” (Burkhart)
“Well, yes, actually I urged them many times over in letters, but…” (Erich)
“Oi oi, is that really true? If this matter became known to my lord…” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san who usually had an easygoing attitude, currently wore a very anxious facial expression.
“Ano, what’s this about?” (Wendelin)
“Erich’s and your father didn’t send any dowry.” (Burkhart)
In the case of marriage between fellow nobles, the bride’s family pays betrothal money to the family that accepted her as bride. The bride also brings furniture and clothes and such things, which are necessary for the life of a married couple, as dowry from her home.
The estimation of the betrothal money is generally decided by both parties depending on the pedigree of the families. Explaining the smaller details now would be troublesome, so I will leave them out. (T/N: He says after 30 chapters of smaller details, kkthx)
Also, in the case of the groom being adopted into the family of the bride, like Erich-nii-san, the family accepting the groom relieves the family of the groom of its duty to provide a dowry. Of course, it was still a common custom for the groom’s family to send congratulatory gifts as a return favor.
However, it seems the congratulatory gifts from the Baumeister household, that should have been sent, had not yet arrived for some reason.
“Very crude, isn’t it?” (Wendelin)
“Obviously. Such rude behavior cannot be excused.” (Burkhart)
Erich-nii-san’s reputation will also suffer a great blow. The attitude Burkhart-san displayed was totally understandable. After all it would even affect the closely related margrave of Breithilde’s reputation in a large manner in the end.
However, up until now, the Baumeister family wasn’t able to read the situation nor were they able to properly judge it.
Should I say “as one would expect” in regards to the kingdom’s southernmost isolated poor noble’s household?
“It’s probably because it is far away, such things as goods probably won’t reach?” (Wendelin)
“No, that’s not possible.” (Burkhart)
There are cases where bulky goods from distant places won’t be delivered, so usually someone from the relatives brings along money, jewels and such, it seems.
The likelihood of father himself coming is rather low. Normally one of the siblings (with the exception of Erich-nii-san6), who isn’t independent yet, would come to deliver the gifts.
Normally that is. As of yet no one has arrived here.
“I am troubled by this.” (Erich)
Certainly, such situation was totally unexpected. However, Erich-nii-san didn’t feel compelled to voice his guess.
Besides, while the Baumeister household is ordinary and also poor peerage, they surely wouldn’t be frugal with money on such official occasion.
What the heck has happened?
As I was pondering over this situation, a pair of young men approached our location.
They were the Baumeister’s third son Paul and the fourth son Helmut who were both invited by Erich-nii-san.
Both of them had already resigned from their succession rights for the Baumeister household. They now work as guards in the royal capital.
Their age was respectively 26 years old and 24 years old. Both were still single.
If they had a wife, it would have been only natural to attend together with her.
“Congratulations to your marriage, Erich.”(Paul)
“Thank you very much, Paul-nii-san, Helmut-nii-san.” (Erich)
I had hardly ever spoken with those two elder bothers. Although they congratulated Erich-nii-san, somehow their facial expressions didn’t match the celebratory occasion.
“Is something wrong, elder brothers?” (Wendelin)
“Wendelin, huh? To tell you the truth, the reason is slightly embarrassing…” (Paul)
“Currently you are the hot topic of the royal capital. We came to hear about it even if it is blown out of proportion.” (Helmut)
Honestly, because I haven’t had a proper talk with them yet, their calling out to me cause some uneasiness, though It doesn’t seem that my two elder brothers harbored particular reservations towards me.
At the time when I still was at my family’s home, the timing to speak with them was difficult due to our big age gap.
And in regards to these two, a certain worry does exist.
“To be honest, this letter has arrived from home.” (Paul)
Erich-nii-san began to read the letter which was taken out by the third son Paul.
Although there was a tense air as he looked at it for a little while, he breathed a sigh before long.
“I am troubled.” (Erich)
Erich-nii-san let me read the letter, too. The content written within was outrageous.
To summarize it: They really didn’t consider Erich-nii-san to be adopted into a family of an equivalent knight peerage household. (ED: Yeah, he married up compared to them!) Furthermore, all the money they had saved up until now was almost completely used for the eldest son Kurt’s marriage in the end. Honestly speaking, they had no money to spend on him.
Moreover, there would have been no one available to transport congratulatory money to the royal capital either.
Therefore, they left the loaning of money to “you”, is what was written there.
Written in the appendix was that they had paid “their” reserve funds for independence (T/N: see earlier chapters) in the first place and thus had no further money to spend on “them”. Thus, “them” loaning out the money would be the expected way in this situation. It was a considerably irritating letter.
Besides, the pages were strangely filled with only hiragana and katakana thus was quite difficult to read.
Judging from the handwriting, most likely it was written by the eldest son Kurt.
By the way, regarding the “you” in the letter, I was told Paul and Helmut were meant by that.
“Absurd and beyond the limit!” (Wendelin)
Towards the excessively irresponsible contents of the letter, I was unable to be anything else but just shocked.
To begin with, the salaries my elder brothers received for their work as guards are at most trivial amounts.
It was annually 3 ~ 4 gold coins. This amount of money would be sufficient to live an ordinary life in the countryside, but the costs of living in a big metropolis like the royal capital forced them to just barely scrape by with what they had.
Moreover, the funds for their own marriages were included in that.
To loan out money as congratulatory gift was impossible in the first place.
“Kurt-nii-san and father, what do they expect from someone like us who are just regular members of the guard troops in the royal capital?” (Helmut)
“No clue.” (Erich)
Furthermore it had to be mentioned that my elder brothers had left our home as they came of age on the condition of resigning their rights of succession. Worrying about the money, they had only received the nominal reserve funds for self-support from father.
In other words, they already cut their relations to the family. To pay out money for the sake of the Baumeister household was completely unnecessary for them.
“They likely spent too much money on Kurt-aniki’s marriage.” (Wendelin)
Accordingly, Erich-nii-san being adopted into the family of a bride was a totally unforeseen event for them.
There was no money to pay out.
“By the way, you received reserve funds on the condition of resigning from the succession rights, too, Erich-nii-san, isn’t that right? Therefore, we can stop thinking about this matter with this, no?” (Wendelin)
“No, such reason won’t apply in this case.” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san immediately rejected my thoughts.
“In case of a marriage between noble families without the succession on the line, there is no particular need to send congratulatory gifts. However, Erich will become the next head of the Brandt household. So to speak, the household will be transferred to him. Usually, even if one has to take up a loan, they will send a congratulatory gift by all means.” (Burkhart)
“Didn’t the margrave-sama of Breithilde refuse that loan?” (Wendelin)
“Certainly not! If they had asked him, he would have absolutely lent them the money. If the Baumeaister household can’t send any congratulatory gifts because he didn’t loan them the necessary money, the lord would also lose face.” (Burkhart)
“I see.” (Wendelin)
Even though there were many people who agreed with Burkhart-san’s opinion, this talk had nothing to do with the current situation.
Instead of blaming the stupid conduct of the Baumeister household, time could be spent on better endeavors.
At any rate, it was necessary to get those five congratulatory gifts so that Erich-nii-san’s reputation wouldn’t plummet for not receiving any congratulatory gifts from his home.
“Ano, I will put out the money.” (Wendelin)
“That’s a good idea. By luck, the boy has the money.” (Burkhart)
“Please tell me the estimated amount required. And also about the goods, too, okay?” (Wendelin)
Before entering the prep school, I had trained my magic in the savage lands and at the sea while at the same time hunting, gathering and producing various commodities. If there was something among those items that could be used, it would be a simple retrieval from the magical bag.
If there isn’t, I can call upon Artur-san’s help, too.
In that person’s case, it could be expected that the appropriate goods for congratulatory gifts could be gathered right away.
“Wend, I am sorry…” (Erich)
“We are too, all because of the Baumeister household. As a household’s head, doesn’t nii-san think it’s strange to not congratulate?” (Paul)
Erich-nii-san is the brother I have the closest relationship with, but this doesn’t just finish as Erich-nii-san’s problem.
It will turn into a huge blow to the honor and reputation of close relatives to the margrave of Breithilde as well. The future of the remaining two elder brothers will be severely influenced by this, too.
In this time’s matrimony Erich-nii-san will become a member of the Brandt family. The lower-ranking nobles working at the governmental office involved in financial affairs, their superiors, the close relatives and the nobles of intermediate rank in the same faction within the upper echelons, all of them will have a connection to him.
Since it seems like it will become impossible for my other brothers, unlike Erich-nii-san, to be adopted into noble households as well, it might be possible that they can only be adopted into the households of branch families or of retainers.
“Or more precisely, there is a chance to tie connections to the central government, no?” (Erwin)
Up until now, having kept quiet about the overwhelming degree of stupidity of my family, Erwin leaked his thoughts absent-mindedly.
“Ah, the knight peerage household of Erwin-bou is low-grade, too, huh?” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san agreed to Erwin’s assessment with an understanding expression.
“Um, you can easily establish normal relations by socializing here. If something then goes wrong, wouldn’t you, as a noble, be able to request the central government as intermediary?” (Erwin)
On rare occasions the central government appealed to the small countryside feudal lords to solve troubles, too.
However, because the requests for such assistance from the central government were so numerous, one had to wait in a queue for a long time before their own turn would come up.
Even when, at last, one’s turn came around for their petition to be processed, it often happened that they were rejected with simple words such as 『It’s impossible』.
Therefore, the central government made the relatives of low-ranked state-employed nobles, who were bound by marriage connections, socialize with each other.
In the case that such a relative requested some assistance from the central government, they entrust it to the other close relatives of the lower-ranked state-employed nobles and the intermediate-ranked nobles of the same faction.
Indeed, you can’t stress enough how important personal connections are.
Naturally, to maintain these relationships, it takes a small amount of expenses, too. As the nobles are by nature stingy, I think these costs are a problem.
“That only applies, if you consider normal nobles though, however, the Baumeister household is somewhat of an exception.” (Burkhart)
“What do you mean by that?” (Erwin)
“They have a staggering preposition to be hikikomoris over there.” (Burkhart)
Even though Burkhart-san answers Erwin’s question, it also seems to succinctly points out the reason why the Baumeister household doesn’t flourish either.
The founder was a poor second son of a knight peerage household who never once able to hold a governmental office in the royal capital. Hating these circumstances, he apparently headed to the south.
He reclaimed uninhibited and undeveloped soil, eventually founding a village there. He then received the kingdom’s recognition granting him that area as his own territory.
The hardships were not ordinary in the least. However, for a second son and downward, this method was their best chance to attain the status of a feudal lord.
Crossing the mountain range and reaching the basin where he founded the village, the founder discovered just the right plot of land.
The area was separated from other fiefs by mountain ranges in the northern and western part, while to the east and south there was a vast track of undeveloped land spreading all the way to the sea. Just speaking of the extent, the size of the area equaled a middle-sized nation.
There were no neighbors either, so it was also convenient that he hadn’t to worry about pointless conflicts over territory and concessions.
The founder, who identified this place as his stronghold, used his family’s connection to invite the poor people living in the capital to immigrate there and personally worked diligently cultivating new land until they were covered in mud.
And that’s what happened more than 100 years ago, with the fourth generation being father, who is the current feudal lord.
By the way, I only knew this because had checked on the family tree in the past.
“However, they spent 100 years and the population is currently around 800 people. There are three villages, right? Is that a lot? Or is it few?”
“Considering it is a knight peerage, you could call that a lot. Additionally, they seem to have recruited immigrants.”
In that case the financial affairs should have a much better state, if the bitter expedition to the Demon Forest didn’t happen.
“This problem originated with the head of the Baumeister household by neglecting to keep close relationships, I suppose. Maa, at least he hasn’t had to frequently meet someone this way though.” (Burkhart)
Because close relations are required, it couldn’t be helped that he had to rely on the one closest to his territory, the margrave of Breithilde. But, since the territory is physically separated by the mountain range, too many connections aren’t possible either.
Even though the founder was able to live self-sufficiently by being a hikikomori, he became an excessive hikikomori in the end.
“Forcing the previous lord to join the expedition wasn’t agreeable either.” (Burkhart)
Desiring the ingredients for the unusually effective medicine to cure his beloved son and heir from his illness, the previous margrave of Breithilde put a huge strain on the Baumeister household.
“That became the final push onto the road of excessive isolation in the end. Up to that point is all I’ve heard from my lord regarding the current circumstances…” (Burkhart)
“And that’s why they didn’t borrow any money from the margrave of Breithilde?” (Erwin)
Since he remains a hikikomori, there is no particular need for him to have close relations with the central government.
They have no money and they absolutely refuse to borrow money from the margrave of Breithilde.
And even if the reputation of the Baumeister household will plummet because of this case, they don’t really care as there is no punishment for it.
Since there is no violation of the law, the nobles living in the royal capital will immediately forget about the breach of noble manners of the Baumeister household which is located in a remote region at the border.
Given that the margrave of Breithilde is a high ranking person, Baumeister household can extend their thanks for this “forgetfulness” to their lord.
Most likely that’s what they are thinking.
“They could care less about us…” (Paul)
Me, Erwin’s group, Burkhart-san, and my elder brothers.
There were no words left to be said about the attitude of the Baumeister household.
“That’s quite the cruel story!” (Erwin)
“Burkhart-sama, can’t the household of the margrave of Breithilde dispatch a punitive force to the Baumeister household?” (Helmut)
“That’s no reason to dispatch soldiers.” (Burkhart)
However, there is one thing bothering me that I can’t understand.
Nobles treasure their honor and pride above their own life.
Dispatching troops to pass over the mountain range is quite difficult and it is obvious that it will end in failure.
Crossing a mountain is quite different from advancing in the Demon Forest. Upon arriving, they would have to face a defensive force of 800 villagers and the battle would turn into a tragic event.
Assuming they win the battle while sacrificing many lives, the resupply of goods on-site would still be impossible. Thus they would have to rule over occupied territory across the mountains while trying to revive it.
If you were to enact such an Endeavour, the finances of the Breithilde margraviate would hit rock bottom.
“It’s only natural to see such things through.” ( – )
“Well, even an ordinary mind would realize these problems. Also, even small children should have the ability to understand the strange obsession of the eldest inheriting son, if they had seen his response.” (Burkhart)
Given that insular territory, such considerations were conservative.
The eldest inheriting son was only concentrating on keeping up the structure of the feudal lord being at the top of the pyramid. That system was quite cold towards the children and abandons any potential they had.
Even though there was no persecution and abuse, it also was far from giving them the maximum of affection as it considered any further kindness towards the young children as being unnecessary.
Now that it has come to this, the old man within me was troubled, too.
Surely I had distanced myself from my family because of being seen with pity.
“In the case of Erich inheriting, that village would have certainly developed far more for the better. Or, boy, in your case as well.” (Burkhart)
In the case I had become the head of the household, I could have used magic to further the development.
Actually, the village chief Klaus had asked me to just do that.
“Also, if Erich-nii-san had become the head of the household, I would have assisted him.” (Wendelin)
“Rather, the potential of that feels frightening… You seem to get along well with others after all.” (Erich)
I have confidence in my magic skills to some extent, but the ways to govern a territory were mostly unknown to me. You won’t understand such things if you don’t give them a go, though.
Therefore, if Erich-nii-san were to become the feudal lord, I would have been happy to become his vassal.
“Huh? But, magicians mostly appear from ordinary children. Wouldn’t you feel like hiring them?” (Luise)
“That matter is quite easy. That’s because it’s impossible to do so.” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san downright denied Luise’s opinion.
“No matter how many children the boy produces, what do you think it would take to employ magicians at the level of the boy?” (Burkhart)
(ED: Life enslavement to wife’s family by marriage? No thanks!)
“But that’s the price of a family.” (Luise)
“It’s always impossible to make a choice. Luise-jou-chan, if you could hire a magic instructor for cheap money, what do you think would happen? Your parents and siblings would say 『Such salary is no problem for our family』.” (Burkhart)
“Certainly, that is…” (Luise)
Protected by that strong parental love, it would turn into a relationship of exploitation. Such a thing wouldn’t be able to last for long.
“Isn’t it? Furthermore, even if it would work at the beginning, I think the boy would escape in the end.” (Burkhart)
To detain me, overwhelming strength would be necessary, too. To lose such a magician due to ineptitude ought to cause voices of dissatisfaction to appear.
“Anyway, it’s not possible to pay the estimated salary, thus it is better not employ such magician to begin with.” (Burkhart)
Then the topic returned to Erich-nii-san becoming the head of the household again. Someone like nii-san will put in great efforts to pay an appropriate salary and thus I can understand that me trying to help out would put a huge strain on him.
In any case, I can easily raise money by myself. Even if I missed out on a successful career through such a small contract, it would still be fine with me.
That said, please don’t ask me to offer such free beneficial services to such a father and Kurt-nii-san!
That is my heartfelt opinion.
“In a summary, for those accumulated reasons the situation is hopeless in regards to the congratulatory gifts. Boy, the only choice is for you to help out here. Afterwards my lord will refund the total amount to you.” (Burkhart)
“I understand.” (Wendelin)
Not returning the money is fine with me too though, but I couldn’t say that because it would impact the honor of margrave-sama of Breithilde and I decided to accept a only a portion of the refunds with the exception of the share of the new Baumeister household head.
“I am sorry, Burkhart-sama.” (Erich)
“We have no money …” (Paul)
“No, in this case it’s the fault of your family’s home being weird… Asking the sons who were already paid out their independence reserve funds to then pay the money for the congratulatory gifts in advance, that’s something you will hardly, if ever, hear about.” (Burkhart)
Although my elder brothers were apologizing to Burkhart-san, it would certainly be unfair to blame them for this whole situation.
Furthermore my elder brothers had already gone to a great extent to buy their own congratulatory gifts for Erich-nii-san’s marriage.
“Eto, how much will be needed to buy the congratulatory gifts?” (Wendelin)
“In the case of a knight peerage household, it would be one gold plate. But it’s common custom to spend half of the gold coins to buy goods for adding them to the gift tables as well.” (Burkhart)
During the party, the invitees would be able to look into open room holding the gifts without even having to say as much.
Also, because both families would be tied together in the end, it was a good idea to blend in local products from their territories as gifts as well.
Isn’t this like placing kombu7 and surume (dried squid) on top of a small offering stand as it happens during the exchange of engagement gifts?8
“Our own home’s local special product, huh?” (Wendelin)
“There’s really no need to think so hard about it though. Typical goods from the region should be fine. If there’s nothing in your magical bag, get Artur to prepare some for you, okay?” (Burkhart)
“Artur-san is a merchant after all, but he didn’t receive an invitation.” (Wendelin)
“Well, that’s only natural. He was able to make some connection to the Brandt household since you are related to them, boy, but it’s not even at the level of them knowing each other’s faces yet. Furthermore…” (Burkhart)
In reality, there were quite a few nobles and merchants wishing to participate in Erich-nii-san’s marriage at the last minute. It went so far that it was necessary to deal with it carefully as to not trigger incidents.
Apparently the main reason for this was me.
“A lot of people are rushing in to have a chance of forming connections with you. However, this is Erich’s marriage party nonetheless, so I also asked Rüdiger-dono to handle these issues to avoid such impolite arguments happening.” (Burkhart)
“That’s quite some work…” (Wendelin)
“Of course. Or perhaps it would be a good idea to have them treat me to sake as fee for their impoliteness.” (Burkhart)
“Sake? I actually do have some.” (Wendelin)
Because I hesitated to place something so dull next to the place adorned with all those congratulatory gifts, I had put the bottles of sake into my magical bag. Now I began to take it out.
Those were the fruits of my reproduction experiments with distillation and fermentation magic. I used such ingredients as strawberries, mountain grapes, sugar, rice, wheat, and so forth.
For the time being I piled up wine, fruit liqueur, rum, shochu9 and ale on the table.
“Hee. You are able to use quite the variety of different types of magic. Let’s see…” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san started to sampling the drinks right away. There was no reason to use odd failed creative works as congratulatory gifts even if they were just fine.
Since I still was a minor, I couldn’t drink sake either.
“Very good flavor. Even if it falls behind the most famous brands of sake, it is sufficiently good enough to drink at home with the evening meal.” (Burkhart)
Although Burkhart-san ended up putting all the bottles I had taken out at the beginning into his magical bag, I still had quite a lot left as there was no space to actually place them all in the open.
“Did you use magic for the sake bottle as well?” (Burkhart)
“You, just how many more types of magic are you actually hiding. I am quite jealous.” (Burkhart)
Because a glass bottle had been impossible, I made all the bottles with earthenware.
Rather than calling it a bottle, it was more like an earthenware container to be precise.
To seal the containers I used cork wood which is growing in the Savage Lands10. I also put in a lot of work to shape the containers into practical forms as far as it was possible. The sake didn’t really leaked out more than was acceptable either. But I can guarantee that there was no artistic quality.
Next I took out about 10 earthenware pots filled with salt which I had made in huge amounts as well. Given that I was planning to raise the available amounts for sale in the inland areas around the royal capital, I am sure the people will be glad about this.
I continued with taking out the same amount of earthenware pots again but this time filled with sugar. This was mainly produced in the south and thus the market price for it was slightly high in the capital.
Furthermore, there were bags filled with wheat and rice, and some tanned hides I had processed from the bear and deer pelts I previously received from hunting.
And also, there were the bow and arrows, I had ordered at the shop in Breitburg for Erich-nii-san, placed inside the magical bag.
For the bride I had previously purchased silken clothes in Breitburg as I didn’t really know what was a good gift to present a woman. I also went and gathered agate and jade ores in the Savage Lands.
“I think that’s all of it?” (Wendelin)
“As you became the master of a household now, boy, that is a plenty enough amount for two households.” (Burkhart)
The space designated for the congratulatory gifts appeared to be entirely buried all together at last.
If I didn’t place it on the side of the congratulatory gifts from the groom, the space would have been left empty which would have caused Erich-nii-san to be publicly embarrassed.
“Whatever father and elder brother are doing, doesn’t really matter to us at all…” (Paul)
“If they live as hikikomoris in their territory, they won’t hear about the bad reputation from outside anyway after all…” (Helmut)
Although I haven’t spoken with Paul-nii-san and Helmut-nii-san about this matter either, as one would expect they too ended up judging it as pitiful in the end.
“Sorry, Wendelin.” (Paul)
“No, I hadn’t revealed my congratulatory gifts because I didn’t arrange any. For the time being, I will entrust you with the letter to father demanding him to return the loan.” (Wendelin)
“It might be futile.” (Paul)
“Regard it as formality, just in case it won’t be returned in the end.” (Wendelin)
“That’s a good idea…” (Paul)
With a father causing such unprecedented trouble to the degree of requesting his sons to loan the money for the congratulatory gifts themselves, you could be 100% certain that the money lent in advance won’t be returned anyway.
Still, in order to send a letter pressing my demands, I asked my elder brothers to handle it.
“Wend, I am very sorry.” (Erich)
“Erich-nii-san hasn’t done anything wrong.” (Wendelin)
In the end I took out the amount of money in gold coins and goods as congratulatory gifts covering the portions of two households.
Still, with the inheritance from master I had received in the past, the combined items I laboriously gathered and produced in the Savage Lands since my childhood, and the 1350 platinum coins I received just two days ago from His Majesty, such a degree of expenses wasn’t even worth mentioning to me.
“No, that’s not it…” (Erich)
“What do you mean?” (Wendelin)
I noticed that somehow Erich-nii-san’s apology wasn’t about the issue with the congratulatory gifts. As the ceremony was about to begin, the invitees started to gather.
T/N: Got you duped well with the title, huh? Fuhahaha! … well … it wasn’t me though … as usual xD
1 Gishi means sister-in-law. With the usual way of Japanese adding titles to the end of the name I didn’t want a word like Miriam-sister-in-law-san … 😉
2 Sounds like a French based name.
3 Can mean husband or son-in-law. Well both mean the same but sound stupid with the -dono suffix.
4 Suffix indicating “Miss”
5 Female “I” so don’t ask me who is talking there.
6 Yep, the author really wrote that. Not sure what’s the idea here but, well, you can basically ignore it.
7 Check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombu most of you should know it already though.
8 Some Japanese custom during engagement parties? I have no clue, ain’t my culture. xD
9 Japanese alcoholic beverage distilled from sweet potatoes, rice, etc.
10 The trees needed for the wood of course …