Editor: Thor’s Stone
The next day, I departed via carriage toward the castle in order to attend an audience with the king. Of course, since the king himself was the one who summoned me, Hermann has already made all the arrangements for today’s castle visit. Fortunately, it seems Hermann was also going to join me in attending an audience with His Majesty.
We stopped the carriage in front of the castle gate. Dalshim, who was in the coachman’s seat, brought out my official coat of arms and showed it to the guards. We were then allowed to proceed inside.
Our carriage advanced and passed by the castle guards who were lined up on both sides of the gate. Some of the soldiers on duty apparently were familiar with me, and they were all smiles the moment they found out I was the one on board.
Phew. What a relief. In the worst case, I was prepared for everything to be a trap designed to lure and dispose of me, but judging from the reaction of the soldiers, it probably wasn’t the case.
The carriage stopped right in front of the castle entrance. We found Hermann waiting for us as promised.
“Good morning, Hermann.”
“Good morning, Your Excellency.”
“Are we entering through here today? We aren’t going to use the rear entrance?”
“Absolutely not, Your Excellency! It is unthinkable for the Lord Protector to enter the castle through the rear entrance.”
I see. So it depends on the status of the person in question huh. Well, it’s not like they can afford to station that many men to constantly watch over both entrances, so I suppose this is only natural.
I proceeded to enter through the main door that was reverently opened by the castle chamberlains.
I’ve already gotten a quick look at it a few days ago, but this area really was quite flashy. There were large paintings and golden armor sets on prominent display and the overall design of the front hall looked pretty gaudy. Will the sword that would be made from the dragon fang I offered up be displayed here as well, I wonder.
We proceeded through the castle with the guidance of the chamberlains. It looks like we were going to be making use of the audience hall as well today.
The king still hasn’t arrived when we entered the audience hall, and knights who were probably this country’s royal guards were lined up in two neat rows. It looks like no other nobles were attending today’s audience.
I and Hermann knelt in front of the central seat on one knee as we waited for the king’s arrival. Before long, the king and the prime minister finally made their entrance. We quickly bowed our heads low.
“I permit you to raise your heads and address me directly. ……Well met, Baron Corinth. I am glad that you could come.”
“Yes. I will answer your summons without fail at any time, Your Majesty.”
“I heard that your crackdown on the bandits was successfully completed yesterday.”
“Yes. I believe that we have finally managed to wipe out the bandits and criminal elements plaguing the royal capital, Your Majesty.”
Well, I believe there were still quite a number of criminals lurking around the capital though. I wonder if it’s really okay to claim that we’ve cleaned them all up.
“How many bandits have you managed to capture, Lord Corinth?”
“About 803 people altogether, Your Majesty.”
“Excellent. Splendid work, Lord Corinth.”
“It is all thanks to Your Majesty’s foresight and grace in allowing Sir Bahr to work with me.”
This was the truth. Things wouldn’t have gone so smoothly without the full cooperation of the Royal Capital Defense Force and Sir Bahr.
“I certainly did hear that you and your soldiers also performed wonderfully. Excellent work, Hermann.”
“I am unworthy of such praise. But just as Lord Corinth said, this is mostly because of your benevolence and wisdom, Your Majesty. Right now, the royal capital is filled with songs of praise for you.”
“I see. This simply means that it was well worth troubling Lord Corinth with this matter. Lord Corinth, what kind of reward do you wish for?”
Should I just ask for money? Nah, I probably should decline humbly this time.
“I am Your Majesty’s loyal vassal. It is my pleasure to enact Your Majesty’s will. I need no reward whatsoever.”
“Lord Corinth, pay those things no mind. There is no need to hold back. Go ahead and tell me what you desire.”
“……I shall humbly state my request then. Would you please allow me to recruit citizens for my territory from this royal capital once it has been sufficiently developed?”
I wouldn’t mind recruiting citizens from other places, but it seems things would be less troublesome to recruit some from the capital since this place had a pretty large population in the first place.
“……You truly have no ounce of greed in your bones, Lord Corinth. Very well. I shall issue a proclamation under my name once your territory has been sufficiently developed.”
“My greatest thanks, Your Majesty.”
“I have heard that you will be bringing some orphans and craftsmen with you. ……If possible, I would be gladdened if you gave priority to recruiting from orphans and the poor.”
“Yes. I have been intending to do so from the beginning.”
“I see. However, giving out only such a reward will not do. This involves my dignity as the king as well. Though a paltry sum, I implore you to at least accept a cash reward of 5 million Guineas.”
“Yes! My greatest thanks for your generosity.”
I’ll be getting 5 million Guineas for capturing 800 or so men. That means the reward would be roughly 6,250 Guineas per head. You can say this amount was pretty reasonable since the average reward for capturing a bandit was 5,000 Guineas.
“In addition, I will continue to entrust you the title of Lord Protector.”
Hou. I brought the Lord Protector shield for today’s audience because I thought I would have to return it after this, but it looks like I can continue to keep it.
“Your Majesty! Are you saying you are going to officially appoint Baron Corinth as our kingdom’s Lord Protector!?”
The prime minister, Marquis Villis Burke, who has been eerily silent since the beginning of today’s audience, finally opened his mouth. It looks like the king was also surprised by his sudden outburst. Well, he was the prime minister after all. I guess he’s allowed some leeway to interject and question the king’s words.
“Prime Minister, wasn’t it you who pushed for Lord Corinth’s appointment as Lord Protector in the first place? I do believe Lord Corinth has more than proven himself capable of undertaking the responsibilities of a Lord Protector. Is there any problem with my thinking?”
Apparently, the king’s intent to officially appoint me as Lord Protector was a spontaneous thing.
“……That may very well be true, but there are only a total of three Lord Protector seats available. I am merely worried this may hinder future national affairs.”
“I see. Well then, Lord Corinth’s authority will only last until the appointment of another two Lord Protectors, and the range of said authority will continue to be limited to the subjugation of bandits and criminal elements within our borders. With this, there are no longer any problems, correct?”
“……Y-Yes, I believe so, Your Majesty.”
Heh. He sounds pretty reluctant. This guy really was lying through his teeth when he said he held me in high regard huh.
“Now then, Lord Corinth. Please continue your efforts for the wellbeing of this kingdom’s citizens.”
“Yes, I shall do my utmost, Your Majesty.”
The king was younger than me, but it looks like he was a pretty fine man in his own right. Working for the benefit of the people does not conflict with our own goals. There’s no problem, I suppose.
With this, it seems the royal audience was finally over. We really just discussed my reward huh.
The king and prime minister finally left the chamber, and I and Hermann stood up from our kneeling position.
“It looks like you didn’t get any reward yourself huh, Hermann.”
“The royal order was not given to me after all. It is only natural. And in any case, I and the defense force soldiers have already received plenty of benefits from you, Your Excellency. You shared part of the loot to us after all.”
Hermann said so with a satisfied smile on his face. I left the matter of dividing the loot among the defense force soldiers to Hermann, but it seems they divided it according to rank.
And of course, with that, Hermann’s share would definitely not be lacking. Anyway, judging from the attitude of the soldiers, it doesn’t seem like Hermann and the high-ranking officers pocketed a lion’s share of the loot for themselves, so I suppose it’s fine.
“The loot will be fully converted to cash in about two to three days. We will let you know immediately once it’s all settled.”
There’s already an estimate of the total profit, but I don’t dare to ask about the amount. Let’s just look forward to it.
I parted with Hermann at the castle and left via carriage.