“Kurt-sama, here’s the report of the tax collection for this year.” (Klaus)
“Thanks for your work. Leave it over there.” (Kurt)
“As you wish.” (Klaus)
The harvesting season has finally arrived this year as well.
A fixed tax, paid with the wheat, harvested from the fields in the territory, is taken and Klaus, who is the village headman of the main village, calculates the amount. The collected wheat is stored in a warehouse next to the mansion.
The gathered wheat is also a precious income of cash.
After selling it to the merchant group, that comes from the Margrave Breithilde territory by crossing the mountain range, they carry it back home at great troubles.
Even if they sell it, I hear that they will be given a little extra so that they get slightly more than the original market price.
Given that this is a farm village in the sticks, I can’t understand something like the price for wheat changing minutely with the market price every day.
I might disqualify myself as heir of the feudal lord, but there is no way to actually learn about these things here.
『(If it’s Wendelin-sama, I feel that he won’t have such troubles though…)』 (Klaus)
Klaus, who came to hand in the tax collection report just now, previously leaked those words in a whisper.
Did you really express these words unconsciously?
Or did you let me hear them on purpose?
I really can’t let my guard down around that man.
Even my old man told me 『Don’t trust Klaus』.
It’s even dubious whether this tax collection report has been calculated accurately.
Klaus, with his social position as village headman of the main village, uses the situation of having been entrusted with all the taxation duty by father.
There is even the possibility that he puts the part he pilfered into his own pocket.
『The other headmen of the two remaining villages are also checking it. Therefore there is no chance for him to do that.』 (Artur)
That’s what father says, but as father meaninglessly increased the younger half-brothers and half-sisters by taking a young mistress, who was provided by Klaus, he is in no place to say that.
It’s always the same with father.
He sent soldiers as ordered by the previous Margrave Breithilde and the majority of them didn’t come back driving us into a critical situation due to the ratio of adult men in the territory’s population.
Moreover, he didn’t even complain about it.
He was busy cultivating new land for the sake of the succeeding Margrave Breithilde, who occasionally sends a merchant group as if he is completely looking down on us being nothing more than beggars.
The product of such rural territory, that can be sold in the Margrave Breithilde territory, is nothing but wheat.
Although being nobles, we are smeared with soil just like pioneers. All our money has been steadily saved like that.
The funds for paying out my younger brothers below the third son, Paul, vanished due to my wedding expenses.
To be precise, a little is remaining.
But, the existence called noble keeps funds in reserve for the worst case.
Even poor nobles like us do this, so to speak.
And father made changes immediately after my wedding.
『I’m already getting old. The parts, I will leave to you, will increase.』 (Artur)
Until then father had unconditionally seized the power as head of the Baumeister household.
But there is no particular reason for me to complain about this matter.
It’s necessary to have the absolute authority as family head for the sake of surviving in such inconvenient remote place that has absolutely nothing.
It’s also for the unity of the fief’s population.
I guess there won’t be any quarrels over the inheritance as it is basically set in stone that the eldest son will succeed, huh?
There are reasons why father didn’t entrust too much work to me for many years.
First is the existence of the second son, Hermann.
That guy has more physical strength than me. He is a popular man who occasionally leads the training of the fief’s population.
His appearance is scary, but his popularity with the fief’s populations stems from him being an amusing guy, if you talk with him.
In the noble household of a small territory a child’s popularity would rise highly if it excelled at leading a small group and was proficient at martial arts such as swordsmanship.
If it’s ability to the degree of Hermann, his existence is that of a dime a dozen in the entire kingdom, even so he is far better than me.
That was the reason why he would become a threat to the succession of the eldest son.
『Hermann, I will send you to the Junior Commander household as husband.』 (Artur)
Hermann didn’t say anything else.
Even if he somewhat has confidence in his physical strength, he was aware himself that he doesn’t have the significant abilities as feudal lord. (T/N: At least he is aware of it, you are not…)
And the next problem was the existence of the fifth son, Erich.
Although he was excelling at archery, he was below me in swordsmanship, which is a noble’s preference.
Nevertheless, that guy was smart.
At the age of around 15 years, he caused a certain uproar.
No, I guess it was father and Klaus who caused it?
What do you think happened as Father looked at the tax collection report Klaus brought?
Father showed the document to Erich, who was by chance at his side.
Erich, who examined the papers for a moment, pointed out several calculation errors at various places in the document.
『That is, me of all people. Albeit being young, Erich-sama is excellent.』 (Klaus)
Apparently the calculation errors themselves weren’t something considerable.
Only a little too much tax was taken and thus it was returned to several families.
Klaus, having his mistakes pointed out, honestly apologized and returned the excess amount.
Was this series of uproars something arbitrarily caused by Klaus?
Was father involved in it as well?
The me back then didn’t find a conclusion.
Even so, if such rumors gradually spread in the territory, such conjectures would become possible, too.
『If we aspire to systematically enlarge the territory, wouldn’t it be better to have Erich as next family head then?』
Without a doubt such rumor should have been circulated by Klaus.
But if I unskillfully pursued that, it’s not unlikely that by poking at the thicket a snake would appear.
Besides, there wasn’t any definite evidence that Klaus spread such rumors either.
Neither father nor me can find such discrepancies by reading the tax collection reports.
But, it somehow felt strange seeing Klaus’ attitude when handing in the report to father, who showed it to Erich who was able to do something like calculation.
The mistakes themselves weren’t a big deal.
Klaus even honestly apologized and returned excessively taken tax right away. (T/N: Redundancy is nice…)
And yet it’s not like he was scolded harshly for it either.
In the end, Klaus probably only gloated as he was able to confirm Erich’s ability.
He really is a man I don’t like at all.
For a while after that I was cautious of Erich.
Wasn’t he trying to become the next family head by currying favors with father?
But that needless worry ended when Erich himself declared that he would go to the capital to take the exam for becoming a junior government official.
My younger brother Erich had a good intellect, was skilled with the bow, had a nice face and was popular with the women of the territory.
Frankly, those were facts I didn’t like at all.
And then a perfect guy appeared.
It was the eighth son, Wendelin.
He was born at a time when father nearly became 40 years old with mother being only one year younger than him. (T/N: The author uses here hajikakikko (恥かきっ子) which is, as far as I understood, a mockery that elder people still have sexual relations. Unfortunately there is no real way to express that one in English unless I change the entire sentence, thus the note here.)
Given our financial situation, even excluding the younger brothers born by the mistress, I wasn’t able to do anything but sigh.
If you considered the age difference, it wouldn’t even be strange for my younger brother to be my son.
Me and the other younger brothers ended up being perplexed how to deal with that eighth son, who was gradually becoming big.
Actually, my concern was somewhere else.
After Wendelin crossed the age of 3 years, following father’s and mother’s order, he was raised as obedient child, who didn’t hinder the work of the adults.
Every day he secluded himself in father’s library and apparently read books, but it wasn’t something I often racked my brain over.
Even father almost never put his hands on the books in the library. The only one else was Erich, who could read sufficiently after the age of 5 years.
Something like a library is only built by nobles for appearances. There is absolutely no necessity to force oneself to read anything.
Such was Wendelin. But after that guy was close to seven years old, I felt as if his state had changed.
According to Erich’s information, he seemed to confine himself in the library while saying 『I want to use magic』.
Certainly, the library has books related to magic. There is also a crystal ball for appraisal of magic.
For the sake of discovering the few magicians, the kingdom distributes those crystal balls to nobles and churches cheaply.
Me as well as the other younger brothers were naturally appraised as children, I heard from father.
If I had the gift, my life might also have changed, but you can’t expect such too good to be true story to exist in this world either.
In addition, it’s the duty of the feudal lord to appraise all the fief’s population during their childhood.
Since it will become clear once you hold the crystal ball in the hands, it isn’t much of work.
The result was that only one person, who has aptitude for magic, exists in the main village.
But, it looks like his mana is very scarce.
The farmer Adam can only release a small fire spark a few times per day.
Although the family might view this as convenient for igniting the stove right away, I wonder if it is really fine to call him a magician?
Even Adam himself was ashamed and said 『As expected, that is…』.
『Kurt, somehow it looks like Wendelin has a talent for magic.』
Although he was a small child, he made an effort by earnestly practicing aiming to be a magician.
Even if he didn’t have the talent, it would be a pleasant sight to see a small child bravely practicing aiming for that goal.
I, who thought like that, told father the shocking truth.
『To what degree?』 (Artur)
『At present, not a bit…』 (Kurt)
However, this possibility gradually displayed a large increase.
Although being a child, he went hunting and gathering with a calm face in the forest in our back yard where even wolves, bears and wild boars live.
Every day he came back holding a precious helmeted guinea fowl.
In addition he brought back edible wild plants like yam, wild strawberries, mountain grapes, and medicinal plants that would become medicine.
Furthermore, at the time of my wedding, he even successfully hunted a large amount of prey together with Erich.
No matter Erich’s mastery in archery, this much prey wasn’t normal.
Since father noticed that as well, he probably assumed that Erich and Wendelin deceived us.
And, after Erich left the house, father gave Wendelin the freedom to do whatever he likes.
That guy practiced his swordsmanship in the early morning and after finishing breakfast, he put on a dirty wind-breaking mantle and went out somewhere by himself with a *dangle dangle*
No, I guessed he left to practice his magic as father said.
Just where the hell was that guy going and what the heck was he doing there?
Although I even considered at some point to question him, that was stopped by father.
『Wendelin has the potential to become plenty independent with his ability in magic. Let that kid do as he pleases until he leaves the house.』 (Artur)
『That’s a waste! I don’t know what magic he can use, but wouldn’t it be good if he used it for the development of the territory?』 (Kurt)
You should think like that if you are a normal person.
Father immediately denied my opinion.
Furthermore while looking at me with eyes filled with pity.
『Will you be able to handle Wendelin? What kind of joke is that?』 (Artur)
Father continued his speech.
『For example, assuming that Wendelin decides to contribute to the territory with his magic by establishing such things as irrigation channels and roads in newly cultivated land and exterminating ferocious, dangerous animals. Then we won’t have any problem with leaving all the collecting and hunting to Wendelin soon. If the fief’s population can eat a large quantity of meat, they shouldn’t complain about the increased farm work either.』 (Artur)
If the fief’s inhabitants could fill their bellies with meat, the labor could be focused on cultivating of profitable wheat for selling it to the merchant group.
If he could use even more magic, he would also be able to develop plots of land.
If we left the foundation of cultivating new land to Wendelin, it would be alright if we left only the finishing touches to the fief’s inhabitants.
The more I heard about it, the more I felt like it was a very great idea.
『The fief’s population will probably think following: if Wendelin becomes the next family head, this territory will be secure as well. It’s not like there will be a place for you there, but even so, you still won’t mind it?』 (Artur)
『That is…』 (Kurt)
『It has been a long time since war disappeared in this country. Therefore the kingdom recommends to have the eldest son inherit the noble’s household in the desire to have stable territories. But, that’s not definitely set in stone either.』 (Artur)
At the time the eldest son is too incompetent or when the children from second son downwards are very excellent, for example.
You can’t say it’s absolute because there are many other factors involved, but cases of an eldest son’s succession failing exist.
『How about it?』 (Artur)
I couldn’t answer anything.
Given that I’m the heir, my future is safe.
While I pitied the younger brothers, who had to leave the house to go somewhere else, I was relieved since it was an annoyance for them to stay here.
Even so, this situation became completely reversed.
If Wendelin, who could use magic, became the next family head, I would be driven out from here.
Although there was the possibility to stay, I would have to bow my head and recognize my younger brother, who would be close to 20 years younger than me, as family head.
Would I be able to deal with such situation?
『Wendelin is also studying diligently. Just like Erich he is able to read, write and calculate.』 (Artur)
Within my mind the sense of impeding danger revived due to the words Erich heard from father continuously.
Which reminds me, Erich was the only one who called out to Wendelin normally.
Even now they were corresponding by letters and I confirmed that they exchanged birthday presents as well.
『If it was Erich, he wouldn’t have something like jealousy for Wendelin becoming the next family head. Wendelin would treat Erich well. Besides, Erich has adequate ability. In reverse, even if Erich became the next family head, it wouldn’t be a problem for Wendelin either. Erich would treat Wendelin well, I think.』 (Artur)
There would be no room for me to enter this relationship.
My sole advantage was that I was born as the eldest son.
Apart from that, someone like me was unnecessary.
Or rather, an elder brother, who was 20 years older, as retainer would be difficult to use, therefore they would expect me to leave.
『You have to understand, Kurt. You want Wendelin to leave the house peacefully. You have no choice but to govern the territory faultlessly by yourself.』 (Artur)
Even I understood that much.
But, father’s speech revealed his feeling of pity towards me to the degree that anyone would realize it.
There was no greater humiliation than that.
My mind was boiling with feelings of anger beyond my gratitude towards father.
『(Father, your view is correct. It’s quite the sound argument as well.)』 (Kurt)
But, my emotional side was different.
I’m a person having some pride as well even if it’s only fragments.
『(Hermann was adopted into the Junior Commander household, the younger brothers, who were born to the mistress, have no rights of succession to begin with. Except those, all men left the house. Is that the reason for the transfer of authority…?)』 (Kurt)
Father said that it was because of his age.
This might be the truth, but from now on the authority of feudal lord would slowly shift to me.
I guessed, as time passed, the matter of me becoming the next family head would change into an established fact.
Because it’s a fief in the countryside, I probably shouldn’t be able to officially inherit the title until father dies.
Nevertheless, until then I will become the real feudal lord.
That seemed to be the plan.
『Understood, father.』 (Kurt)
『You are you and your younger brothers are your younger brothers.』 (Artur)
『Yes (Younger brothers, huh… ?)』 (Kurt)
To be precise, since it was probably only Erich and Wendelin, father deliberately rephrased it to younger brothers.
I guess father planned to be considerate of me.
But, even that was nothing else but further cause for rage for me.
『(As father has said, I will grasp the authority of feudal lord ahead of time, huh? Father, you became weak. As it is, he will become senile and turn into a nuisance with the peculiar affection of elder people.)』 (Kurt)
It was intolerable to show signs of having Wendelin and Erich succeed for the sake of the fief’s population after all.
A noble’s child, who became middle-aged, to be disinherited with his family, there was no way I could lead a decent life if I set out into the world.
『I will strive hard as next family head of the Baumeister household’s main family.』 (Kurt)
With these circumstances I gradually took over the work as feudal lord from father.
However, there were many and various problems.
First there was the deeply rooted distrust by the fief’s population toward the Baumeister household due to losing family in the dispatch of troops a few years ago.
They didn’t show their dissatisfaction on the surface and were participating in the cultivation of new land.
Or rather, I wondered what father had been thinking?
The capital for the reclamation of new land was a kickback as consolation money, paid by Margrave Breithilde, for the fief’s inhabitants, who were killed in action during the expedition.
Normally it was reasonable to be exonerated because the workers decreased in our territory.
With 『There is no meaning to our current territory if we don’t produce any results』 father didn’t accept any measures of reduction and exemption at all.
Thanks to that, the reclamation was advancing slightly faster than planned.
But, he didn’t seem to plan returning the kickback money afterwards.
When I asked him whether he would return it, father’s face turned bright red in fury.
『You idiot! The money to be returned doesn’t exist. If our family found itself in a dilemma, what would you do!? This place is in the sticks! You can’t rely on neither the central government nor our patron! The only thing you can rely on is money!』 (Artur)
I didn’t say anything due to his excessively threatening attitude.
Besides, I can agree with that statement myself as well.
It’s definitely only money you can rely on as noble in such remote place.
Next was the confrontation between the main village and the other two villages. (T/N: This “next” is related to the problems in the territory…. 15 lines back or so…)
This problem was something stemming from the old days.
The main village proclaims itself as 『We are definitely the native-born!』. The remaining two villages oppose this with 『How vain. Weren’t your ancestors originally inhabitants of the slums? What kind of difference is there to us, who are people like the unwanted fifth son of a farmer?』
Moreover there is the existence of the main village’s headman, Klaus, you regularly don’t know what he is scheming.
That guy is an excellent village headman that doesn’t show any gaps in front of me.
However, what is he planning behind the scenes?
Since I’m dealing with only such guys, my stress accumulated.
『I was asked by Wendelin-sama whether I want to exchange soy beans for a helmeted guinea fowl.』
『What!? Isn’t that an awfully advantageous exchange rate?』
It was my younger brother Wendelin with whom I had decided a mutual non-interference upon my father’s order.
I completely didn’t understand what he was doing during the day.
I even considered whether to follow him once, but I ceased from doing that since it wasn’t something the next family head should be doing.
When I told this father, he said to me 『I guess it’s magic training. Don’t disturb Wendelin’s independence』.
It was a just reasoning, but that guy occasionally did things that irritated me.
First, he began to exchange the prey he hunted himself with the fief’s population.
I didn’t understand for what in the world he wanted to use it, but it was stuff like exchanging soy beans for helmeted guinea fowls and soy beans for wild board and wild rabbits.
Helmeted guinea fowls are valuable since it is quite difficult to hunt them. Because wild boars and wild rabbits are plump animals, they seem to be popular with the fief’s population and they have pelts as well.
Therefore it looked like the fief’s inhabitants were properly deciding whose turn it would be next to do an exchange with him.
I thought if he was a shrewd brat, he would flatter the population with his social standing and leave the house.
『Father, tell Wendelin to stop it.』 (Kurt)
『I think it would be better if you stopped.』 (Artur)
Father, who didn’t want to command me anymore as much as possible, stated his opinion with a half-hearted objection.
『It’s a problem if Wendelin distributes his game for free. However, it’s impossible to complain about an exchange. Besides, once Wendelin leaves, it will be the end of those transactions.』 (Artur)
Once I let father speak, there apparently wasn’t any weird aspect to the exchange rate.
Although there was a somewhat minor fluctuation, it was at least slightly cheaper than the exchange market price in Breitburg.
Besides, the soy bean in the spaces between the fields, is nothing but fodder for livestock and thus isn’t subject of taxation either.
If I complained and told him to stop, it would naturally cause dissatisfaction among the fief’s population.
『The fief’s inhabitants were told that Wendelin will soon leave the territory. They also do understand that these transactions have a deadline.』 (Artur)
Furthermore, those transactions were a kind of amusement as well.
For the fief’s population, who can’t buy goods nowhere but from the merchant group coming only three times a year, there are only few opportunities to enjoy purchasing goods even though they barter for them. It would be foolish of me to stop that as next feudal lord.
For a thing of this level it was necessary to occasionally show tolerance by pretending to not know about it and leave it alone.
Certainly, after Wendelin left the territory, the commotion would settle down.
No, it hadn’t even become a commotion to begin with.
It was to the degree of the fief’s population showing regret over losing the chance to exchange soy beans with helmeted guinea fowls.
In addition, there was also the case with my wife.
My wife, whom I married from another fief, was mailing a letter back home once a year.
She requested the merchant group, including a commission, to bring it to the guild in Breitburg.
It was once a year because the price is high for mail service since it is such remote place.
No matter how much she is the wife of the next feudal lord, it is necessary to continue living modestly everyday in preparation of the worst case.
Although I think that’s pitiful, I thought this is also her fate for marrying into such territory.
Even so, it looked like Wendelin once again did something uncalled-for.
『Father. About sister-in-law-san’s letters, you won’t mind even if she sends them out three times a year, will you?』 (Wendelin)
Wendelin, who lost the person who understands him in Erich, was apparently often talking with my wife now.
It’s not like I was particularly doubting the relationship of those two as seriously alarming.
That was because someone like Wendelin was still a child.
My wife, born outside of the territory, has a far higher educational standard than me.
What’s so enjoyable?
I guess it’s a truth that Wendelin, who read difficult books since his childhood, was a suitable conversation partner.
During such conversations, he got to know about the matter of my wife not being able to send her letters more than once a year. It appears that he voiced his opinion to father.
Since the expenses were a problem, it was inevitable to limit it to once a year, even for me.
Furthermore, to not talk about this matter to me but to father was pretentious.
Moreover, father even agreed with Wendelin’s view.
『Your wife came to such a remote place that hasn’t anything decent for amusement. Let’s at least not care about sending letters regularly.』 (Artur)
It happened while gradually handing over the authority to me, but father still was the feudal lord.
If being told like this, there wasn’t any means for me to refuse either.
Given that my wife was moderately pleased as well, I was obliged to approve of it.
That moderation in joy probably took me into consideration.
The expenses were the most crucial, but even so, father somehow managed to pay for it.
Since father is the feudal lord, he puts aside his own freely usable money as he usually can’t use it at all.
At first I thought he took the money out of there, but later on I got to know that Wendelin provided the money and became angry all the more.
It seems he secretly passed father stuff like rare medicinal plants, which weren’t too bulky, to converge these into money with the merchant group.
『I will go to the adventurer’s prep school in Breitburg.』 (Wendelin)
A few years passed and at last it became the time for Wendelin to leave the house.
Despite the plans being after him becoming an adult, that guy’s enrollment in a school in Breitburg was accepted under beneficial conditions with him being 12 years old.
With this, the biggest nuisance would finally disappear.
I rejoiced within my mind.
To the surroundings it connects to an image of a younger brother who didn’t mingle with them and didn’t even chat with those younger than him.
However, in fact he was nothing more than an enemy who had the potential to steal my place.
Probably father had noticed my true feelings.
If a future dispute could be prevented with this, he would send off Wendelin in relief.
And, with this I was finally able to establish my status as next feudal lord.
Even if Klaus intended to do something, there wouldn’t be any meaning if there was no one to be lifted up as flag bearer.
But, after a few months those guys once again disturbed my mind.
That nice kid, Erich, was to be adopted into the family of a certain knight household as husband after being recognized in the capital and a letter from the person himself came.
If this place was ordinary, there would be a necessity to send congratulatory gifts to the household that would adopt him as husband.
Since he would obtain a household, it was necessary to send a considerably large amount of money.
『Father, it won’t be enough at all.』 (Kurt)
If this place was close to the capital, we would be able to manage somehow.
It’s not required for the congratulatory gifts to only consist of cash and jewels.
It’s no problem even if it’s things like pelts of prey obtained during hunting or wheat, which is the special product of our territory.
However, if you considered the distance to the capital, those were impossible.
If we did something like transporting such bulky goods, the expenses would increase excessively due to the freight rates.
In that case it was better to bring only cash and jewels.
『It can’t be helped. We will borrow it from Margrave Breithilde…』 (Artur)
『What!? Are you sane, father?』 (Kurt)
In the first place that Margrave Breithilde created the cause of our territory’s poverty.
And yet, wouldn’t he exploit us with interest once we took a loan again?
No matter how high-ranking noble the other party was, why such oppression? Why couldn’t we resist it?
『However, that’s a noble’s…』 (Artur)
『Social etiquette? Us, who ignored our relatives and didn’t send back the support money to them, talk about noble’s social etiquette?』 (Kurt)
If we also took the state of poverty to the extreme, it would be something to laugh about in reverse.
We didn’t have something like noble’s social etiquette to begin with, but you wanted to tell me to return to the noble’s social etiquette once again at this point?
How many folks among the capital’s nobles know about us existing?
Something such as bad reputation would only spread in the surroundings if the other party was famous to a certain extent.
With the extent of us not paying for the congratulatory gifts, I wonder, just who would really be troubled?
『It will be an embarrassment for Margrave Breithilde.』 (Artur)
『In that case it is expedient all the more.』 (Kurt)
If he had any complaints, it would be fine, if he came attacking as appropriate for a noble.
Even if he invaded us by crossing the mountains with an army of thousands of soldiers, Margrave Breithilde wouldn’t incur anything but losses by taking a burden upon himself. There was absolutely no way that he would do something like that.
I was convinced of that.
『Besides, he will probably send Erich’s congratulatory gifts without mentioning a word about it.』 (Kurt)
The disgrace of the vassal is also the disgrace of their patron.
The best would be to let that Margrave of that young intelligence faction to send the gifts.
That Margrave seemed to be pleased with Erich, who resembles him, if you listened to the gossip.
Undoubtedly he should be delighted to send those gifts.
『Father, I will tell you clearly. We are close to the least significant nobles in the kingdom. If we don’t do something running counter to human beings to crawl up, our reputation won’t drop any deeper.』 (Kurt)
In order to do that, we needed money.
No matter what anyone said, we would save our money. We wouldn’t spend it on unnecessary expenses.
As long as we have money, we will also be admired and surrounded by nobles resembling the shit of the capital.
This was the truth of this world.
『The letters to Paul and Helmut…』 (Artur)
How pathetic, those two shouldn’t be able to send such money either.
Father, you’ve grown old.
From now on, we will do as I like.
Although it would be worth seeing what Erich and Margrave Breithilde would do after that, the news would be late with this place being in the sticks.
Besides, we would escape from having unnecessary expenses.
With just that it could already be considered a good thing.
I, who thought like that, leaped once again at totally unexpected news.
That Wendelin, on the way to the capital for the sake of attending Erich’s wedding, defeated an undead ancient dragon, who appeared for some reason.
Furthermore, he received a medal of high prestige and was appointed as Associate Baron for his achievement.
This was news that the merchant group brought in, however the fief’s population was very delighted due to this information.
But, that joy was meaningless.
Wendelin ended up founding a new household as noble.
Of course, there was already no reason for him to be concerned with my succession anymore.
Erich wouldn’t have anything to do with my succession either since he would succeed the appointed Knight household called Brandt.
Good grief, although it was a story of nobles that had absolutely no relation to them, the fief’s inhabitants were celebrating it.
『(There won’t be even one cent of profit for you lot from that.)』 (Kurt)
That was what I wanted to tell them.
Leaving that aside, it was Wendelin who agitated our fief’s population.
That fellow was really a bad curse.
He did nothing but being a hindrance to me.
It would be best if he died being exploited by the greedy nobles of the central government.
It would be great if he died like that.
I see, those were my true feelings, it seems.
When I confirmed that, I thought I somehow felt unexpectedly refreshed.
『Kurt. We are we. Wendelin is Wendelin.』 (Artur)
Although the old man said this, it would be fine if he already shut up and looked after your grandchildren.
Your time had already ended long ago. (T/N: Lol, the darkness is strong in this one)
However, two and a half years after that, the steady advance of that hateful Wendelin continued.
Together with the Royal Head Magician he defeated the elder dragon race called Great Grande in the monster domain called Palkenia Grasslands and liberated that domain.
He received the medal with high prestige a second time and rose to the peerage, Baron. He became engaged to the granddaughter of an influential person within the church.
In addition to that, he dueled with a duke, purified many mansions filled with evil spirits and became the pupil of the Royal Head Magician with whom he jointly defeated the dragon.
At any rate, the topics about that guy didn’t come to an end.
I had no doubt that he was probably even involved with Margrave Breithilde, who became his patron.
Each time the merchant group came, they brought the newspaper extra distributed in Breitburg, which is written by a company in a humorous way.
The fief’s population, starving for amusement, jumped at that. Accordingly Wendelin’s achievements became well-known.
There was an article about him losing in the first round of a martial arts tournament among the stories in the newspaper, but Wendelin’s fame shouldn’t fall because of that either.
Rather than an absolutely flawless person that is able to do anything, people, who have some weak parts, earn sympathy on the contrary.
In addition, there was a portrait of Wendelin’s fiancée, who is a lass called Elise, and Margrave Breithilde’s retainer’s daughters, who are expected to become his concubines.
The fief’s inhabitants avidly read the news about Wendelin following Margrave Breithilde’s intention. It came to the point that they looked forward to his future.
As the Margrave was doing something detestable, that guy was probably aiming for my removal.
He felt awkward to use his own hands to get rid of me, but there was also the possibility of a great number of the fief’s population to appeal to dad.
At the time these numbers would grow too large, would dad really persist in the succession of the eldest son?
Even if it’s dad, being the feudal lord of a territory albeit small, he is still the family head of a household.
Sometimes it might also be necessary to make a heartless decision.
And, I could expect him to cut me off without a doubt on this occasion.
『No, even a patron shouldn’t be able to expressly meddle with the order of succession in a household to such a degree this easily.』 (Artur)
Father predicted that Margrave Breithilde wasn’t aiming for my removal.
Apart from that, there were other even more effective hands to play.
『There is that vast, untouched Savage Lands.』 (Kurt)
Even including our family, that Savage Lands was left alone as no one was able to develop it.
Our ancestor desired it and requested it from the kingdom. Although the capitals’ officials found it troublesome and neglected that region as there were no problems with our territory, it was possible that it would be allocated to Wendelin.
『It’s more than 100 years since that request. We won’t be able to complain about it even if they confiscate it since we haven’t developed anything there.』 (Artur)
Fortunately Wendelin had money.
He could even hope for the support from his patron, Margrave Breithilde.
Even the church and the greedy nobles of the capital would probably lend him a hand.
It wasn’t like they had no money to spare to help out like us.
『Even if that happens, we will maintain the status quo. There’s no other choice.』 (Artur)
Although father said this, that Savage Lands is our possession.
After more than 100 years of neglecting it, something like carelessly not having developed it, I won’t listen to such an excuse to steal the Savage Lands from us.
『Even if it’s impossible for me, my children, my grandchildren or their children will do it!』 (Kurt)
Even if it took time, the kingdom wanted to steal our hope of the Baumeister household becoming a large noble household once we advanced the reclamation and give it to Wendelin, who had nothing but his talent in magic.
Furthermore, that guy, using his achievements, would not only be accompanied by Erich but also by Helmut and Paul, I heard.
『Aren’t they planning to steal my place and my hope for the future with the four of them?』 (Kurt)
That rage became more intense as the days passed.
But, there were also many people, who were thinking well of Wendelin like my wife, who saw him as fine young brother-in-law.
Even my children, after hearing the story from my wife, were innocently telling me 『I want to meet the dragon-slaying hero』.
『(But you know, that Wendelin might steal your future!)』 (Kurt)
My depression continued after Wendelin became an adult.
No, it became a lot worse.
And, at such time an unexpected guest visited.
It had never happened that someone came crossing the mountain range except the merchant group. A single adventurer carrying a letter appeared.
That adventurer introduced himself as messenger of Baron Rückner, who was serving as Head of Financial Auditing in the capital.
“Good gracious, I heard about it as gossip when I carried this letter, but.” (Adventurer)
“That’s right. Just as the rumors state, this is the countryside.” (Kurt)
When I opened the letter, it said that Wendelin, who became an adult, didn’t emerge from a difficult-to-capture underground ruin for a week now.
Given that the two earlier dispatched parties, who acted together, were annihilated, there was a possibility that he had died.
“Died? Wendelin?” (Kurt)
“The possibility is high. Because of that…” (Adventurer)
What was written in the letter continued like this:
Who will really inherit the legacy and peerage of the deceased Baron Baumeister?
“You have this Knight territory. Therefore there’s also the possibility for either of your children to inherit it.” (Letter)
“Is that the truth?” (Kurt)
“Yes, Baron Baumeister is still unmarried. Although he has a fiancée, the haven’t yet married nor is there any child. There are his elder brothers as likewise contenders as well, but do they have a peerage or are there plans for them to get one?” (Adventurer)
Putting Erich aside, Helmut and Paul are garbage who received a peerage by currying favors with Wendelin.
Also, if the children of the three are contenders as well, my children will be at the top of the order if you consider the inheritance order.
If they succeeded the legacy and peerage, it would be possible to advance the reclamation of the Savage Lands.
My future could be being a Baron or even a Viscount.
Even Earl or Margrave isn’t a dream.
“(Luck has finally come my way. Well then…)” (Kurt)
If it was the me until now, I would have probably immediately consulted with father.
But the current me is different.
Moreover, it’s probably because it’s that father.
I imagine the range of what he would say would be about such things as consider the time lag from the capital to here, you mustn’t believe the information source and restrain yourself while talking.
“(I am well aware about such things…)” (Kurt)
Something like Wendelin not having died should be around fifty-fifty or below that, if we talk about chance.
Even far more important than that is him playing an active role in the capital with his exceeding magic.
Enemies of Wendelin, who is the man of the hour in the capital, are clearly existing.
In addition to that, it is at least a single Baron who is holding the official position called Head of Financial Auditing in the capital.
There might be even more of them besides that person.
“(Wendelin’s legacy, the rights for the Savage Lands. At least Baron Rückner doesn’t want to get his teeth into those things…) You don’t say, that Wendelin! If I don’t hurry and confirm the truth!” (Kurt)
“Certainly. However, Kurt-sama is also busy with the governing of the territory. Therefore, please leave this matter to me.” (Adventurer)
“Ooh! It’s an honor to for receiving the help of Baron-sama!” (Kurt)
If you say this much, I will leave it to you.
What will you be able to do as appointed noble of the central government, who usually looks down upon provincial feudal lords while dressing up and being all talk but no bite?
And, at the same time a certain idea occupied my mind.
“(Wendelin has died. If I use his legacy to start working on the reclamation of the Savage Lands…)” (Kurt)
It will also increase my influence as next feudal lord.
Even father should stop looking at me with eyes full of pity.
“(The problem should be what this guy’s master is planning…)” (Kurt)
“Since you will be told the news about Baron Baumeister and the capital regularly from now on…” (Adventurer)
Although you say regularly, at this distance the news will be delayed by more than a month as well.
That was also the sad part about this remote territory, but talking about such matter now after a long time, I always endured it until now.
“(It would be even fine if Baron Rückner was responsible for Wendelin’s assassination. Even if it isn’t such selfish story, I wonder if there isn’t any method to somehow take the money off Wendelin forcibly…)” (Kurt)
Anyway, it is a question of possibility.
When thinking about such matters, my being was far more overwhelmingly excited than the usual governing of the territory and building up stress due to that.