Chapter 133: Messenger From the South
「I’m a Marquess from the Malt Kingdom, Babon Mulney.」
「I’m Aegir Hardlett……a Count from Goldonia.」
I just stated my name, but Nonna kept nudging my side to continue, so I gave him my court rank as well.
「I’m his wife, Nonna Hardlett.」
She pinches the hem of her dress, lifting it slightly and curtsies politely. The marquess nods while glancing around at her breasts. How dare this perverted bastard do that.
This guy called Marquess Mulney looks like a middle-aged man you would find anywhere. He doesn’t appear to have a twisted personality nor does he look particularly sharp. Aside from the high-class clothing he’s wearing, there is nothing which makes him stand out as a marquess. There are conceited and detestable nobles from Goldonia too, but all of them have a sort of presence about them.
「He is above you in terms of rank, but there is a difference between our home nations too. Don’t be rude, but don’t be too far forward.」
Following Nonna’s advice, I treat him as my equal and shake his hand confidently.
「Umu, same to you……ow, ow……」
Don’t get hurt just from a little handshake like this.
He is invited to sit on the luxurious sofa located in the reception room while tea is also served. After the both of us enjoy tea and snacks in a relaxed manner, the issue is brought forth without a moment’s delay. How troublesome.
「So what is the issue this time?」
「Umu, I came to deepen the friendly relations between my Malt Kingdom and Goldonia.」
I unconsciously responded with ‘then go to the capital’.
「Haah, unfortunately, I am not a diplomat of Goldonia. Do I look like someone with that power?」
Mulney quickly glances at the piece of paper he has in his hands. It doesn’t look like he is taking notes or anything.
「Then at the least, I want to be in friendly relations with you in exchange.」
So I’m a substitute option? I should really beat this guy up.
「I don’t see where this is going. You show up so suddenly, demanding for friendly relations with Goldonia and with me. Could you tell me what your objective is?」
He once again turns to his stack of papers in his hand, flipping through the pages.
Oh, Casie is peeking from the ceiling. Maybe she can try to see what is written on those sheets of paper.
（Hmm, there are some bullet points written. It looks very hard to read. I’ve stayed up late since yesterday, so I’m going to sleep noww.）
She swiftly retracts her head and disappears. And then Mulney clears his throat.
「Our country desires peace with the neighboring countries. I don’t intend to interfere with your business, but I do want to establish a peace treaty and trade agreement with you first. Seeing as how your borders have been widened, creating a friendly relationship with you would act like a peaceful bridge between both our nations, would you not agree?」
He prattles on and on about diplomacy.
「Your nation and mine are not in any particular conflict with each other, and it’s not like you rely on the kingdom to conduct trade, so if you are so inclined, we can set that up depending on the conditions.」
I would be fine with trading if it generates profit, but the peace treaty is a problem, although it might be better to avoid proactively seeking fights due to the battle with Tristan causing more casualties than expected. Besides, I can just bind this peace contract for the sake of agreeing and do as I please to trespass if I deem it necessary.
「Ooh, is that so?! Then……」
The man flips through his papers again and nods greatly.
「Then, I ask you to drop by Biado[1. Nat: or maybe beard?], the capital city of our Malt Kingdom, and meet Her Majesty Celestina. If you do, things will proceed quicker.」
Nonna looks at the paper as if telling me not to answer immediately and accept his proposal. Ah, is that how things are?
「Haah, that is an honor but I serve the Goldonia royalty and I believe stepping foot into another country so easily would not please His Majesty the King. Would you allow me some time?」
「That won’t be a problem. Then, please let me know whenever it is possible for you.」
This guy is conversing with me while desperately referring to his papers too.
「By the way……I have heard about an extremely delicious meat you can taste in Rafen.」
「……Sebastian, prepare for a banquet.」
「As you wish.」
「Ooh! I am grateful! In return, I will bring the best alcohol from my motherland. It’s the most suitable one to have alongside meat.」
This guy doesn’t seem to be sarcastic nor does he seem like a particularly bad person, but he doesn’t look like a person of power, for better or for worse. I’m getting more doubtful of whether he truly is a marquess, but it should be fine to let him enjoy a meal.
I’m slightly looking forward to the alcohol he’ll be bringing too.
In the end, it was decided in our discussion that I would drop by their capital city, Biado, to confirm our non-aggression with the Kingdom of Mlat and talk about future trade and peace agreements.
After that, the marquess ate and drank to his content before happily returning home. I asked Nonna if this was how nobles negotiated, but judging from her complicated expression, it doesn’t seem so. It isn’t regrettable though since I could exchange the meat of the black beast for the alcohol he’ll bring. The alcohol from the dwarves is tasty but quite strong and would knock you out if too much is consumed.
「Well, it’s fortunate that nothing much happened.」
Celia and Nonna mutter, feeling somewhat relieved. It’s not like something would happen just from meeting guests. Just because Leopolt and Adolph aren’t here, it doesn’t mean I can’t do anything either.
Moreover, he is in reality closer to a messenger. His personality doesn’t seem too bad either, so it’s all about keeping him happy. At the very least, it didn’t feel like he talked about anything someone with the rank of marquess would talk about.
「I’ll need to let Leopolt and Adolph think about it too……and I also have to inform the capital.」
「Of course. If you secretly leave to another nation, His Majesty would believe you intend to betray him.」
I pat Nonna’s head and fondle her breasts after she has given me such sound advice.
「Geez! You can’t be doing this in the living room.」
Aah, my boobs are running away.
「If it’s in the bedroom though, you can play with them or suck on them as much as you like.」
The maid waiting behind Nonna turns red. What an innocent girl.
「That reminds me, I haven’t seen that maid anywhere. The one from the beginning……」
That girl who was among the people immigrating to Rafen, the one who gave me her virginity and was hired as a maid in the mansion, who has often worked hard by my side and by my wives.
「That maid was fired by Rita-san.」
「Why? She was a hard worker though.」
Firing her was way to harsh.
「……she was properly given her wages. Don’t you have an idea why?」
「I don’t remember a single instance where I said to fire her.」
Nonna glares at me with pouty eyes.
「That girl got pregnant! Her belly was starting to get bigger, so we sent her back to the city! You really don’t remember anything!?」
「Aah, I see.」
That’s extremely plausible, I’ve pushed this devoted maid down many times after getting aroused after all. Because it was always so sudden, we often had sex without preparing contraception.
「That girl didn’t reveal whose seed it was, but I couldn’t think how it could be anyone else but Aegir-sama. So she was treated specially.」
「Is that so, thanks then.」
Nonna puffs up her cheeks and rests her head on my lap. There, there, I’ll give you that one-on-one time you rarely get tonight. I’ll give some alcohol to Casie at dinner time since she likes to peep. If I give that ghost alcohol, she won’t wake up until noon the next day.
「You girls will have to wait until some other day.」
Melissa and the other girls peek out halfway. Hey Leah, don’t just pull my thing like that.
A Few Days Later
「「You promised something unnecessary again……」」
The first thing Adolph and Leopolt said to me when they came back with the soldiers was this. They truly are a boring bunch.
「It’s fine, besides we don’t really have anything planned right now.」
「So in trading, do you know what their specialty product is and what it is they need? Do you know the difference in price? Do you know if there are any tariffs? Are the roads safe?」
「We can do all that stuff later.」
「And who’s going to do that?」
There’s no one else but you. Even if you ask me to, I wouldn’t understand it.
「If necessary, we planned to attack the Malt Kingdom too, but the inspection with regards to that would take time as well.」
Next is Leopolt.
「That is certainly true, but our soldiers suffered heavy losses this time. The ceasefire between Magrado will end a little past autumn. We should not be planning anything at this time.」
「Yes, yes, it’s my fault. Say or do whatever you want to me.」
Tristan speaks quite offhandedly. It appears he rode in the wagon since he can’t ride on horses nor does he have the stamina to walk on foot. He was brought along against his will so he feels slightly upset.
「Our first priority now is to reinforce our military strength, so closing our options of securing capital is not a wise choice.」
Leopolt ignores Tristan’s rude remark and continues.
「Claire mentioned how the iron mine is proceeding smoothly as well, so things should be fine! More importantly, I want to know the results of the patrol, so summarize it roughly.」
Celia chimes in beside me.
The two heave a sigh and dismiss the soldiers, bustling about while bringing out materials. Tristan coops himself in the back of a wagon as if nothing was of concern to him. I’ll have Irijina drag him out later. One of the rooms in the building will be made into his residence, since he’ll definitely hole himself up if given an isolated place.
After that, Irijina literally picked Tristan up by the collar and dragged him into what became a report meeting.
「It’s the first time since turning 21 that I got to experience how slaves feel when they get sold……」
「You get your own room in the mansion, so what are you going on about slaves for?」
Myla rebuffs Tristan’s complaints. I chose a relatively larger room for him but we couldn’t fit in all the books he brought from home, so the book storage room got expanded. Celia is usually the first one to bark at him, but it appears the reason she’s acting all obedient is because of the books.
「We can have idle chat later. First is Leopolt. How is our military force looking forward to autumn?」
「If there is no financial restriction, the veteran soldiers from the previous war will be prioritized in being called back, and 3000 highly skilled soldiers can be gathered rather quickly. Any more than that and they will need to be trained, which will multiply the amount of time and cost required by several times.」
Fumu, if we have 3000 regular soldiers, the total would amass to around 5 or 6000 including the bow cavalry. During the time we clashed with Magrado previously, we used the kingdom’s soldiers so I don’t think we could gather much more in such a short amount of time.
「Then please gather the expected 3000 immediately. And then……there is no rush, but let’s make our target around 10,000.」
Even if gather 10,000 immediately, we wouldn’t be able to pay their salaries, so it will have to be aligned with the development of the city.
「Then let’s do this. Give the applicants two silver every month and have them undergo training every week. They will be free to do as they please on the other days, but will be called back during war time.」
「I see, that will make it so the army doesn’t take away human capital unnecessarily.」
Adolph doesn’t seem to have any objections either.
Two silver a month may not be able to support them for the entire month, but if you think about it as payment for a week’s worth of work, it’s a good opportunity to earn some money. If they are trained on a regular basis, it makes a huge difference in time and effort saved compared to how much time and effort is required to train complete amateurs. If the men gather around the villages near Rafen, it is possible to strengthen the band of vigilantes as well.
「Alright, let’s go with that.」
「Then I will take the appropriate amount of funds.」
「It can’t be helped.」
This is quite the interesting plan.
「And about that iron pipe……」
「You mean the cannon.」
「How is the production of cannons coming along?」
「A number of them have been created but there are many failed products that explode when tested, so there are currently only 4 which can be used. In addition, the range and accuracy of our cannons are considerably lower than the one which was sent to us previously from the Federation.」
I guess it won’t be that easy.
「But there is meaning in continuing production. Our biggest flaw is our lack of siege capabilities. This will prove useful if it allows us to subjugate others.」
「I guess so, then please continue it.」
The military talks are now over. Tristan is asking Celia what a ‘cannon’ is on the side. After Celia explains with some hand gestures, he nods once and goes back to staring blankly at something.
I thought military talks were over, but Myla suddenly raised her voice.
「Rafen’s population has increased to the point it can be called a legitimate urban city. But with that, the public morals are deteriorating here and there.」
「Is that so? It’s pretty calm here though.」
「……It might not make a large difference on the surface, but there are reports about underground illegal slave trading and crime organizations.」
Adolph adds to the conversation. I see, crime grows more rampant as the city grows larger. The public order in Goldonia’s capital isn’t bad either, but there will be some scoundrels who appear from time to time like last time.
「It will take much more time when those villains take root within the city. Thus, we need an organization to deal with them before that happens!」
「We already have guards. I think they’re doing a fine job.」
「The guards’ duties are protecting the city from bandits and monsters and settling any kind of turmoil within the city. They aren’t really hunting down those guys hiding underground……also, smart villains won’t oppose the guards, but make them their allies.」
「Bribery, is it?」
Of course any organization foolish enough to openly oppose the guards or myself will instantly get eradicated. That’s why it’s natural for the villains to try and win them over.
「The guards’ actions are left to the captains leading them, so they’re really nothing but an impressive group of vigilantes. Their actions cannot be monitored at all times either……so if the captain has been bought off, the villains would be able to act freely.」
「I don’t want to imagine that, but what would you do assuming that’s the case?」
Myla puffs out her chest. That move causes her breasts to bounce slightly. They’re actually quite big.
「Let me take direct command of a group of soldiers as the force for public order, separate from the guards. They won’t deal with everyday security or monster extermination, but will handle the search and annihilation of villainous persons and organizations and the elimination of any fools who dare to violate the law.」
She said this kind of thing before as well.
「Being too strict isn’t a good thing though.」
A city without alcohol or sexual appeal is boring.
「At this rate, even Rafen would experience things like kidnapping, especially children!!」
I’m weak to arguments like this, but I guess Myla isn’t one to accept bribes either and if she goes too far I can always take care of it.
「Alright, I’ll let you handle it. But you must distinguish between the trash and the unlawful. I’ll remove you from the position if you go overboard.」
「Yessir! Leave it to me!」
And so marks the establishment of Myla’s public order force in Rafen. The group will have 50 people, and will act independently from the guards, dealing only with any illegal activity within the city. They are not as equipped as the army, but unlike the leather armor, swords and spears the guards have, they possess iron armor and shields, bowguns and even light cavalry, which should make any scoundrels crawling about the city unable to put up a fight.
「Will it be alright? It’ll really get quiet if those guys aren’t around to make noise.」
Tristan seems to be thinking about something.
「Well, I’ll be counting on you for a variety of things, Adolph.」
「Please don’t say that. There might be another civil official but I’m the one who’s doing the bulk of the work.」
It seems Tristan’s complaining is contagious.
「Eeh, first let’s start with the most basic thing. The total population of the new territory is 140,000 and 15,000, excluding the soldiers, are living in Rafen. We haven’t circled around to all the villages in the new territory so it might fluctuate in the future, but this is a rough picture of the situation now.」
「140,000? ……that’s quite a lot.」
「It isn’t just the eastern part of the remote regions, but the territory encompasses up to the central part now. The problem is the difference in environment between the new territory and Rafen’s surroundings. The governors will be changed, but ever since Rafen underwent concentrated development, it became exceptionally easy to live there. That’s why the movement of the people within the territory……」
「Aah, you can go with whatever you thought of in regards to that and deal with it as you see fit.」
「……Well, that’s fine. So this year’s spring head tax revenue and the confiscation of illegal funds have finally been gathered.」
He pulls out documents of some sort. This guy creates documents earnestly and keeps them safe forever. I think it would be better to throw them in the furnace if he’s already finished reading though.
City Population: 30,000
1 gold per head – total of 30,000 gold
Rural Population: 110,000 (of which 30,000 in pioneer villages are exempt)
2 silver per head – total of 16,000 gold
Confiscated money: 14,000 gold (total after returning a portion to the people)
Grand total: 60,000 gold
The reason the tax for the rural area is lower compared to the city is because of where the tax is applied after it’s collected. Unlike the city walls and guards required to keep the city residents safe, the peasants in the rural areas have to form vigilante groups to prepare for bandits or monsters.
「60,000 is an incredible amount.」
That reminds me, I’ve never had trouble with money as far as I can remember. Perhaps I’m unexpectedly loved by the money gods.
「And here are the expenses.」
Donation to the Kingdom: 5,000 gold
Various Expenses: 15,000 gold
Myla and Celia raise their voices.
「What is that!? There’s no way that will be overlooked!!」
It certainly is pretty bad, and while I don’t think Adolph is someone who would embezzle funds, it isn’t something a feudal lord would be happy about. Adolph sighs.
「I thought so, I knew Hardlett-sama wouldn’t like this so I stopped……but I wonder if this is okay.」
A signal is given to the servant and a wheelbarrow full of documents are brought forward.
「That’s enough. I get it.」
I turn my eyes away prematurely, but Celia takes it upon herself to investigate, practically clinging to those papers. I think it’s a wasted effort though.
The expenses include things like wages for the tax collectors and guards, detailed maintenance of roads, repairs to the mansion and many other things. To be honest, there are many things I can’t verify, but I’m the one who told Adolph not to go in the red, so I shouldn’t be doubting him for every little thing. If anything, the responsibility is mine.
「Mu-! What is this!?」
It appears Celia, who strained her eyes to check those documents, discovered something. It was written there that a payment to the Flitch company……to Claire has been made. No, don’t make a retort about that.
「400 gold……this isn’t normal! Aegir-sama didn’t authorize something like that! Is this not embezzlement!?」
「I will gladly tell you about it.」
「I don’t want to hear it.」
I turn away, but Adolph starts talking with a serious face regardless. Celia……you pointed out something unnecessarily.
「Here’s the breakdown: A ruby ring, a pearl-decorated ornament, an expensive round table made of wood only grown in the Federation……all these things which cannot be obtained in this city have been requested of Claire-san to bring here.」
「Why don’t you ask her to confirm it for you? And she might also tell you where it is right now.」
「……No thanks. I’m sorry.」
「I’ll tell you while I’m at it. In the first place……」
Adolph’s complaints continue endlessly, though Celia runs away somewhere in the middle of it.
「I’ll go warn Nonna-san then.」
What a good excuse she thought of.
「More importantly, we should be talking about future issues. We don’t have enough governors, right?」
「Yes, I have tried searching but ability alone is not enough to determine suitability. We are looking for obedient personnel.」
The governors will be working in places where it’s hard to keep an eye on them, so they can commit as many injustices as they want. We are unable to repeatedly patrol so it is more preferred to seek a person obedient to me rather than one who is only capable at the job. The governors we fired this time aren’t all a bunch of incompetents after all.
「I have an idea for finding governors. Please take a look at this.」
The replies to the correspondence sent to the Kingdom are spread out in front of me, though they are not official documents and are sent from Erich and Kenneth.
Kenneth’s letter contains details regarding me and the Malt Kingdom.
“Goldonia does not really stress the importance of diplomatic relations between small nations such as the Malt Kingdom. Do as you wish – Agree to a peace treaty, make a personal visit as a feudal lord – I won’t interfere. But when the Kingdom[2. Nat: referring to Goldonia] also moves on its own schedule, prioritize that. That’s it.”
-is what was written.
And the letter from Erich is the most essential this time.
The main objective for the state-run educational facility created to train army commanders is to nurture soldiers but it seems they will also be educating domestic affairs in order to cause a stir among the traditional nobles occupying the government official and civil servant positions.
However, the ones currently holding the positions are not going to accept the new recruits so easily, and unlike soldiers, most civil servants don’t die until they reach old age so there will rarely be a shortage of personnel. Any slight openings will be filled by handing the position to one of their blood relatives or one of their servants, so even if new recruits get educated, there will be no place for them to work.
「Is he asking for the graduates to be dispatched here?」
「Rather than fooling around, they’ll think of it as gaining prestige, and we’ll all eventually be under the same flag in the capital’s eyes, so they won’t do anything dishonorable here. And not to mention, unless they are from a noble house, they won’t have any ties of obligation.」
「I see……That is one reason. You’ve given this some thought, Hardlett-sama.」
If Adolph wasn’t working for me, he’ll be in the dungeons for sure.
I heard from Erich that they don’t have anywhere to work, that’s all.
「There’s still time before the first graduates arrive. You can manage somehow until then.」
「If it’s limited to my village and my house, I can act as the governor.」
Shut up Tristan, you won’t leave Rafen.
The meeting ends after I throw the remainder of work to the unhappy Adolph. Well, I have a rough idea about how things are now. The Kingdom has given permission too, so why not go to the Malt Kingdom.
I’m really curious about Her Majesty Celestina. From the name alone, I can only imagine her as a pretty but arrogant queen. The alcohol was tasty too, so I wonder if she’ll invite me to her sleeping quarters.
「……Lord Hardlett, why is your crotch bulging out?」
Myla’s cold voice brings me back to reality. I realize that there is no one else in the office besides her. They probably went off to complete their respective jobs. If I listen carefully, I can hear Celia and Nonna quarreling. I would just get caught up in it if I go out now, so I’ll stay here for a bit.
I loosen the front of my pants and take out my erect cock.
「Please don’t take it out so suddenly!」
「I want to taste you.」
「……though I’m reluctant, you won’t be able to leave the room with this hard thing, and it’ll create misunderstandings.」
Myla removes her underwear from her long skirt and gets on top of me as I’m seated on the chair. The both of us moan slightly as my meat rod sinks into her. She must have been quite wet, seeing how easily my member slipped inside. I’ll inject plenty of sperm into her.
Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 22 years old. Spring.
Status: Goldonia Kingdom Count. Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area. King of the Mountains. Friend of the Dwarves.
Citizens: 140,000. Central City Rafen: 15,000 (new population)
Troops Commanded: 2300
Assets: 50,700 gold (Tax Revenue +40,000) (Army Rewards & Bereavement Provisions -3000) Loan: 20 000 gold
Weapons: Dual Crater (large sword), Dwarf’s Spear, High-grade Steel One-handed Sword
Family: Nonna (wife), Carla (concubine), Mel (concubine), Kuu (lover), Ruu (lover), Mireille (lover), Leah (Self-declared Sex Slave), Casie (ghost), Miti (lover), Alma, Kroll (non-virgin), Melissa (lover), Maria (lover), Rita (head maid), Catherine (lover), Yoguri (rehabilitating), Pipi (follower), Sebastian (butler), Dorothea (lover, in the capital)
Children: Sue, Miu, Ekaterina (daughter), Antonio, Claude, Gilbard (son), Rose (foster daughter)
Subordinates: Celia (adjutant), Irijina (commander), Luna (commander), Ruby (Luna’s follower and lover), Myla (peace officer), Leopolt (staff officer), Adolph (domestic affairs official), Gido (escort), Tristan (Temporary Follower), Claire & Laurie (official merchant), Schwartz (horse), Lilian (actress)
Sexual Partners: 120, children who have been born: 11