“Friedrich, Anna, Elsa, Cayenne, Flora, Irene, Hilde, and Laura are all sleeping so peacefully. Yep, it’s a sight for sore eyes.”
It’s a magnificent view. More than 20 cribs are set up in a big room of the Baumeister mansion. Elise, Haruka, and the wives of my retainers, whom we had hired as wet nurses, are looking after the sleeping babies. It ended up turning into a baby park, but even afterwards, this place is scheduled to become a nursery school and then a primary school.
Because this world doesn’t have something like primary schools, you can say it’s going to count as elementary education, I suppose. By having my retainers’ children live together with my children, they’ll become loyal subjects of the Baumeister House. I can see why it’s been done like this in the history of Earth as well. I mean, you can’t expect a newcomer to loyally serve his lord all of a sudden.
Since they’re going to learn together as childhood friends while growing up in a group from early childhood, it’s only natural to appoint trusted friends as important retainers, granted they are capable of doing their job properly, over an outsider whose family background is unknown, even if they might be capable.
Elise and the other women feed the babies, who start crying in a chain reaction, with their mother’s milk, resulting in them immediately falling back into a peaceful slumber as soon as their tummies are full.
Watching their sleeping faces, I feel my heart being wrapped up by a peaceful, warm feeling.
“Babies are wonderful. They seem to cleanse your mind and heart.”
“Milord, I am sorry to spoil your pleasure, but unfortunately it is time for your job as an adult.”
“I know, I know…”
Once a noble family gives birth to a child, the nobles with ties to them will send celebratory gifts. If you receive such gifts, it’s only good manners to send a letter of thanks, and of course, you must later send gifts to those noble families once they give birth to children.
That said, it’d be wrong to not first grasp who sent what and write a letter of thanks in accordance. Because it looks like such letters use various rules such as how to phrase the text, beginning the letter with seasonal greetings, and many more, my brain is on the verge of bursting.
As a matter of fact, I got a business writing certificate after being ordered by my senior boss during my company employee days to take that course, but it’s not really of much use here. Since it was second and not first grade…I simply forgot about it, I guess…
Given that my wives are busy with nursing, it’s my duty to take care of this task while at the same time handling the public works.
“Still, why are there so many of them?”
“Wouldn’t that be because they want to strengthen their ties with the Baumeister House and show off those ties to their surroundings?” Roderich answers while looking at me with an expression as if asking me why I’m asking something so obvious.
“I guess you’ve got a point…”
A huge mountain of celebratory gifts has been piled up in the room next to the baby park. Because of the sheer amount, it looks like it could collapse any moment.
“Wow, isn’t it awesome that you’ve got so many?”
“It means I have to write a large number of letters and later on also send gifts to them if babies are born at their place, though…”
It’s not all sunshine as Erw thinks it is. Nobles earn a lot of money, but at the same time, a lot of that money is spent as well. Among all the expenses, the costs for socializing should rank pretty high. Even in my previous life, it was normal custom to return gifts if you received congratulatory gifts or funeral offerings, but the gifts of nobles are on a different scale altogether when it comes to price…
It’d be impolite if you don’t precisely evaluate the value of the gift you received and later send something of equal value, so looking up all this stuff makes it all much more of a chore.
『There’s somewhat many of them. Leave it to me』
I’ve decided to entrust the task of looking up the prices for the gifts to Arterio-san who brought his own gift over some time ago. According to him, this seems the kind of job an exclusive purveyor handles.
『I suppose settling things by resolutely calling the gift exchanging off is impossible?』
『That’d unreasonable as it’d cause many people to lose their jobs』
Since the people making and selling the gifts would be out of work if you abolished this custom, it’s indispensable for this custom to keep going, Arterio-san further explained to me.
“Some are even from noble houses I’ve never heard of…Roderich, do you know them?”
“I know some of them, by name at least, and others are unknown to me as well. I’ll have the crest official check their families.”
If we don’t do that, it’ll be troublesome since writing a letter of thanks will be kinda difficult.
“Margrave Breithilde, Cardinal Hohenheim, and Minister Rückner should be set with this.”
Since I know them anyway, I don’t expect to run into any issues with writing a letter of thanks to them.
There are all kinds of small rules for the letters, and on top of that, all of them have to be written by hand, so it’s going to be lots of trouble.
“I want to cry here…doesn’t some pen capable of writing letters for me in my handwriting exist? I’d even fork over 100 million cents for such a pen…”
Even then it’d be very cheap, if only it releases me from all the letter writing.
“Nothing like that exists. Since we have also hired a new retainer who knows the rules and etiquettes about writing letters like these, I will have him write up a master text. Then you just need to transcribe it, milord.”
“Even that alone is already a major pain in the ass…would it be wrong to get that retainer to write those letters on my behalf?”
“Yes, it would be wrong. If someone were to find out about it, you would be harshly criticized by the nobles for looking down on them.”
It sounds like it’s forbidden to have others write letters to nobles on your behalf. In the end, I spent a full week writing letters of thanks in the mornings and doing public work in the afternoons.
“The most bothersome work for nobles is writing letters. I’ve had my share of hardships with that part as well.”
“Therese, you don’t have the special skill of being able to copy my handwriting by chance, do you?”
“It pains me to tell thou, but no. Also, I’m busy taking care of Flora. I could come up with the content of the letters, but thou have a retainer for that, right?”
Therese had become something similar to my unofficial mistress, but she’s nursing the babies together with Elise and the others without anyone minding it.
“Can’t it be somehow handled with magic? Lisa, do you know of any spells like that?”
“If it’s writing that uses exactly identical handwriting, you could use the spell 『Copy』, but…”
It looks like there are records of magicians using spells to create copies of text by making magic move the pen. It’s something I hear of for the first time, but as might be expected, a veteran like Lisa knows that kind of magic as well.
“…since it’s an exact copy, you can’t use it as a letter of thanks…”
The annoying part is the need to slightly alter the text to match the noble you’re sending the letter to. Given that high-ranking nobles find it a chore to always come up with the proper text, they have retainers handling this part for them. Usually those retainers are involved with drawing up documents to be used for the ruling of the territory and such, but this also gives each high-ranking noble an individual, identifiable literary style.
Even at times when sending documents and reports to the Kingdom, you have to follow certain rules in regards to the literary style and form when dealing with the government. This makes those retainers experts who are capable of writing the necessary texts while being aware of all these rules. You can easily call them sophisticated technocrats because the government won’t even deal with you, if you use different literary rules and forms.
Of course they receive a high wage, so poor nobles have to handle it somehow by learning all these things themselves.
“Indeed, if it got exposed that thou sent out a completely identical text after just changing the name, it’d become a huge disgrace for the family. That part is also the same in the Empire.”
“What the hell!?”
“It’s something unthinkable for my place. I mean, my old man and bro don’t ever send letters to other nobles anyway. Hubby, my family sent us some maroimo as a present, so let’s steam them. I’m hungry!”
“Oh, something sweet? Great idea!”
“Right? I’m going to steam them right away.”
In the end I somehow managed to write all the letters of thanks, but the best presents we’ve got from among all the congratulatory gifts were the maroimo from Katia’s home and the 『Assorted Set of Seasonal Ingredients』 from Duke Mizuho.
“Uh-huh, it’s a nice view. Eight babies all at once, huh?”
Once the whole gift ordeal came to an end, we were next visited by people wanting to see the babies’ faces.
“Your Majesty, it was not really necessary for you to personally visit…”
What caused the biggest uproar was His Majesty visiting Baulburg while bringing along His Highness the Crown Prince, Doushi, Minister Rückner, Minister Edgar, and Margrave Breithilde. After suddenly contacting me through the MHCD to inform me that they’d come over, the group teleported to Baulburg with a magician provided by Minister Edgar.
The big shots all enter the baby park in groups, and break out in smiles of relief as soon as they spot my children. But, I do understand: These adults are scheming something stupid again.
No matter how high-ranking the noble, it’s common sense for them to personally visit the royal palace to present their heir to His Majesty.
“Elise, it’s a pleasure to see that you gave birth to a healthy-looking heir.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty.”
“He does resemble Earl Baumeister.”
His Majesty congratulates Elise first.
“Your Majesty, I assume your schedule must be full…”
“Oh, now that you mention it. But as a matter of fact, I have a little request for you, Earl Baumeister.”
“What might it be?”
I became speechless after hearing the details of His Majesty’s request.
“Well, I could have expected as much, but still…” I lamented at the absurdity of this world as I was in no position to decline the request.
Once His Majesty stated his wish, he returned to the royal palace through the magician’s 『Teleport』 together with the other ministers, resulting in only Margrave Breithilde remaining behind to console me.
“Why assign a fiancé to a baby who was just born?”
“I also feel that it’s a bit overhasty, it’s not like it’s unusual either. Since it’s going to be a marriage between nobility and royalty, the patriarchs usually decide on their own accord.”
“You might say that, but Margrave Breihilde, you also…”
“We’re equal on that part, aren’t we? You’re going to marry my cute Philine once she becomes an adult, after all.”
“Ugh! That’s unfair!”
“It’s because you’re special, Earl Baumeister. Once you learn that the children and their descendants are going to definitely become magicians, it’s only natural to wish to marry into your family.”
For now it’s been decided that Elise’s son and heir, Friedrich, is going to marry royalty as his first wife. It looks like the fiancée is set to be the Crown Prince’s daughter who was just born recently. Even though the birth of a child in the family of the crown prince should have usually caused a huge uproar, I haven’t even heard any rumors about it. Is it maybe because it’s a girl?
Friedrich got an older wife without having to patiently search for a good spouse. Then again, they aren’t that far apart since she’s just 1 year old right now.
“Friedrich’s wife is going to be a royal princess, huh…?”
“We’re talking about His Majesty here, so she’ll receive proper education. It’d be a tragedy if she wouldn’t be able to give birth to any children after the marriage because she’s hated by her husband…”
If it’s a normal marriage between nobility and royalty, it’s enough as long as it serves as a tie between the two houses. However, since she won’t be able to give birth to any magicians if she doesn’t sleep with Friedrich, the royal family wouldn’t send over a girl who’s going to garner Friedrich’s dislike, Margrave Breithilde explains.
“Ina is so shaken that you can actually only pity her…”
“Well, if you consider the mother’s social status, it’d usually be impossible…”
My eldest daughter Anna has been set to become the first wife of the crown prince’s eldest son. In other words, she’s going to be the wife of the future crown prince. Her spouse-to-be seems to be three years as of yet, but with things having suddenly taken such a turn, Ina looks completely lost.
“So His Highness actually had a son?”
“Milord, most of the nobles ask the same for some reason, but yes, he has.”
Because of his duty as house manager, Roderich knew about the crown prince’s heir. This means the succession line is set for the Kingdom, but I wonder what to think about parent and child lacking presence so much?
“It’s impossible when considering the mother’s social status, though.”
“If the father is you, Earl Baumeister, it’s possible…”
Since I don’t have a daughter that was born by my first wife, Elise, the daughters born by my mistresses and other wives are going to be turned into pieces for political marriages. However, it seems to be a custom for the girls to be formally adopted by the first wife before that.
“The girl of a commoner’s wife as the first wife of the future king is clearly abnormal…”
If you consider the merit of the royal family being able to obtain magicians with that, it means it’s not a problem to ignore an issue of such a level, huh?
“You can say the same for us as well.”
My second daughter, Luise’s Elsa, is going to become the first wife of Margrave Breithilde’s heir. It looks like there was another fiancée, but that had been called off. It’s something that appears to happen often, but I’d hate it if we earned the resentment of nobles who had their engagement revoked because of us.
“There’s a little difference in age, but please don’t worry since our family will cherish her.”
Margrave Breithilde isn’t a bad guy, and if you consider the benefit of my daughter giving birth to a magician, I’d like to trust him that his family won’t mistreat her.
“Or rather, it’s not like we’re some auction market, you know…”
Katharina’s Cayenne, my second son, is going to marry a girl from Minister Rückner’s family as his first wife since he’s going to become the next Associate Baron Waigel. My fourth-born daughter, Wilma’s Irene, is going to marry the son of Minister Edgar’s heir, and Katia’s Hilde, my fifth-born daughter, is going to become the first wife of the heir’s son of the Earl Armstrong House. And lastly, Lisa’s daughter, my sixth-born, is set to marry the son of Doushi’s eldest son.
I had no room to intervene in this as His Majesty and his retinue decided for it to be so all by themselves. On top of that, it was a done deal in less than ten minutes. My pitiable children’s marriage was decided just like the auction sale of a thoroughbred’s foals.
“Sorry, my dear daughters. You can come back home anytime if you hate the family you’re marrying into.” I speak to the cribs with my daughters while shedding tears.
“Dear, they don’t understand you yet. For now we should focus on letting them grow up healthily without worrying about such things.” Elise gently addresses me so as to console me.
I’m really grateful for her kindness right now.
“Ugh…Katharina, Lisa, I’ll have you start with the children’s magic training as soon as possible. All so that they can blow away their husbands if they hate them.”
I tell the two, who are excellent magicians, to hasten with the training for the children. I mean, my daughters should simply be able to resolve matters with magic if they get maltreated by the families of their husbands.
“Don’t you think that’s a somewhat questionable behavior for nobility, Wendelin-san?”
“I totally understand your feelings on this, but…”
Katharina and Lisa look at me with astounded expressions.
“So it did turn out as expected…it’s the same for me as well.”
Therese lives together with my wives despite being my unofficial mistress. One could easily imagine that no Kingdom noble would try to set up an engagement with her daughter, but she still held a huge amount of letters in her hands. All of the senders were Empire nobles.
“They sure did well to have learned so quickly about you having born Flora, Therese.”
“Both countries expanded their business connections after agreeing on a peace. I’m fairly certain that they’ve learned of this through merchants.”
“Come on, what are you doing, Alfons…?”
With the Duke Philip House in the lead, many nobles such as the Duke Mizuho House and the Duke Baden House sent letters asking for my third daughter’s hand in marriage. I feel dizzy from just looking at the sheer amount.
“Isn’t your daughter a rather hot iron when it comes to politics in the Empire?”
“It might be a problem if we’re talking about me in person, but Flora isn’t me.”
“Has it been leaked that she’s a magician?”
“No, I think they simply want to form a marriage bond with a Kingdom noble. Wendelin, thou made a name for thineself during the civil war, but thine territory is located far in the south. They might consider thou the perfect party for such ties since thou won’t be able to interfere with politics over in the Empire much. The advantage in business also plays a big role.”
Therese predicts that my genetic heredity of the magician trait shouldn’t have been exposed to the Empire’s side as of yet.
“Though they might think that it’s odd in some way…”
“What? No way!”
“It’s nothing thou will be able to hide for thine entire life. It’ll be clear as soon as people learn that all the children fathered by thou are magicians. If thou hate the idea of having it exposed so much, thou have no choice but to live a life of abstinence from now on.”
“That’s something I’d hate.”
I’m no ascetic monk, so I do have normal, sexual desires.
“Honesty is a wonderful trait, Wendelin.”
“Also, His Majesty emphasized it as well, didn’t he?”
We were told the same by Margrave Breithilde, but His Majesty left after saying at the end, 『Everyone, let alone two or three children, feel free to keep giving birth to Earl Baumeister’s children, be it five or even ten children』. It was a demand for many children at a level you wouldn’t be able to expect in modern Japan where the government worries about the declining birthrate.
“But, this is also His Majesty’s kindness. If someone else were to be king, things could be a lot worse. After all, they might have sent all the royal women of marriageable age over to your place,” Margrave Breithilde explains. “He could push them onto you, telling you to focus on impregnating them without a care whether they’re treated as servants or as simple practice partners since their children wouldn’t have any succession rights anyway.”
“That sounds awful…”
“The royal family is that kind of a place. If it’s just at the level of a marriage with your daughter, you might as well regard it as kindness.”
Seeing how the stability of the Helmut Kingdom guarantees peace for the masses, something at the level of turning me into a studhorse would be a small price to pay for the Kingdom.
“I understand. But, my daughters…”
For their marriages to have been completely decided right after their birth…
“I can relate since I have Philine, but you’ll get angry anyway even if your daughter says that she wants to marry the man she loves.”
“You might have a point there…”
Dad, I want to marry this man.
Yep, I’d definitely feel like beating the guy up. That means Margrave Breithilde also has complicated feelings about handing over Philine in a few years.
“Then again, it’s also a problem if things develop like with my aunt…”
“Ah, I totally forgot about her…”
“Since business has improved recently, she’s become as noisy as a child, telling me that she wants this and that. And yet that woman doesn’t even earn any money herself…”
“Is that so?”
“Looking after that person…it’d also be a pain if she were to be sent back right away…”
For some reason, the latter part of our conversation has turned into Margrave Breithilde’s grumbling.
Either way, you could only call it cynical that our daily lives became peaceful as a result of my newborn children’s fiancés having been decided upon. It was unthinkable that His Majesty and the high-ranking nobles would prattle about my secret to other nobles, and because they’d immediately prevent other nobles drawing close to the Baumeister family even if my special trait got exposed, our peaceful lives are going to be guaranteed by them.
To be honest, I do feel conflicted about how to think of this.
There’s no point in worrying about something that has already been decided.
“Time to put my feelings behind me and move on to do my best as their father!”
I continue performing my work as family head of the Baumeister House, teach Agnes and the other two as their master, and develop my territory. Meanwhile Elise and my other wives take care of the babies and train themselves for the sake of returning as active adventurers. But then again, it’s ultimately just to be ready so that they can return as adventurers at any time since they might end up pregnant in no time again.
And right now I’m trying to assertively participate in the baby care. It’s what was called 『a man who enjoys child rearing』 in my previous life. Since I’m busy as well, the range I can do is limited.
“Friedrich, you’re a good boy.”
I’ve ordered a baby sling, which didn’t exist in this world so far, in the city of Baulburg. It’s not the old type where you carry the child on the back, but the one where you carry the baby in front of you.
Because the craftsman immediately made one for me once I explained the idea behind it, I’m currently using the sling to carry Friedrich around. I rock him while making sounds with a pellet drum I had the same craftsman make for me as well.
“Aww, you’ve got lots of fun, don’t you Friedrich?”
I humor my son in the mansion’s garden while carrying him in the sling that holds his head up.
“Wend, what are you doing?”
“Can’t you tell? I’m playing with Friedrich.”
“Even though you’re a guy?”
The thinking that baby care is a woman’s work is prevalent in this world. It’s especially widespread in the countryside. Erw stares at me playing with Friedrich as if he’s discovered a mysterious life-form.
“Erw, I’m a new noble.”
“Well, you’re an upstart, yeah.”
“And as a new noble I’ll show society a new common sense that it might be fine for men to also take care of babies.”
No matter which world, common sense is something that someone started at some point which then got imitated for a long time by everyone else. In other words, I’ll succeed with this mission if other nobles copy me after seeing me take care of my babies.
“Such a way of thinking existed as well?”
“Erw, Haruka might get a better opinion of you if you take care of Leon, too.”
Women like men who help around the house and with child rearing.
“Okay, then I’ll do it as well…”
Erw tries to head over to the nursery to take care of Leon, but someone stops him from doing that.
The party pooper was Roderich.
“Oooh, Roderich, I’m aiming to be a new type of noble.”
“It is fine without you aiming for something like that. Now listen, milord, you are a personage who draws the attention of society. Even if it might be your own child, for you to personally take care of babies…”
Afterwards I had to listen to Roderich’s sermon for a while. The main gist was about how the patriarch of a noble family is supposed to take care of his babies.
“That’s quite the serious problem…for the change of a new era to be prevented by old customs…”
“You are free to think of it as you wish, but taking care of babies is not supposed to be done by you, milord.”
It looks like this touches upon proper conduct for nobles.
“Roderich, your thinking is so outdated despite us being close in age. Very well, this calls for different opinions.”
I return to the nursery with the strong anticipation that Elise and the others would understand my standpoint. However, I got immediately scolded by Elise.
“Dear, we shall take care of Friedrich’s wellbeing.”
Even though I had the rare chance to finally carry around Friedrich, Elise immediately snatches him away.
“You see, I wanted to go with a new image that Earl Baumeister personally takes care of his own babies…”
“I do not think of this as a good idea.”
Elise completely denies my idea right off the bat. Are there no women in this world who’d feel grateful if men helped them with childcare?
“No good. Childcare is a woman’s job.”
How weird…are there no opinions claiming that men should participate in childcare?
“It’s no good. Childcare is our job.”
It’s not like I’m planning to take away their work or anything like that. I just wanted to help out a bit…
“Wend, once they’ve grown a bit bigger, we can take them out somewhere together.”
“It’s as Luise says. Wend-sama, you’re in the center of public attention at the moment.”
I’m also shot down by Luise and Wilma.
“Wendelin-san, a true noble won’t bother himself with baby care.”
“Hubby, this is how the work between men and women has been divided for eons.”
I haven’t expected to hear much else from Katharina who’s obsessed about nobility, but even Katia tells me off.
“Thou won’t find any noble men taking care of their babies in the Empire either.”
“Female magicians usually hire babysitters because they have the financial leeway. The sorcery guild can introduce you to the servant guild in such cases.”
Therese and Lisa also seem to be against me joining the childcare.
“With this out of the way, Wend-kun, be a good boy and just watch how we handle things.”
In the end, I was even admonished like a little child by Amalie-san. For the women to have such deep-rooted resistance against this concept…it made me realize once more that you have to change the common sense if you’re going to change the world.
“Milord, this baby sling is marvelous. Let us proceed towards mass production right away.”
However, Roderich apparently found a liking with the baby sling I had custom-made for Friedrich, deciding that we’re going to spread it in the Kingdom.