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Chapter 10 – Curtain Call
Due to the sudden death of my father Bayer, whose condition was supposed to have improved because of a good doctor, I ended up as a count of Fentz county. Well, it wasn’t that sudden, I guess. It felt like he didn’t have much time left on him, anyway.
Fentz county held the second largest population within Deal duchy, just after Deal county, but it couldn’t be said it was a prosperous land. In the first place, it was considered the worst county that Duke Klaus had in his possession.
…I didn’t have much respect for my father. Well, since my previous life parents’ did their duty properly, combined with the fact that Bayer clearly favored Wagner and was cold to the rest of his children, it couldn’t be helped. But I would have liked him to live on for another four years at least, for my sake.
The only salvation was that his money was divided into three equal parts and inherited by each of us. If I compared it to the Japanese yen, it would be like I suddenly received 100 million yen all of a sudden. But Wagner and Alfred also received similar amounts, so there wasn’t much difference.
If there were a difference, it would be the inheritance of the standing army. Among the 1,000-person standing army of my late father, I only received 200 recruits: 100 cavalrymen and 100 longbowmen. If I added my 100 slave soldiers, it meant I had 300 men, but this was only the scale of the initial armed force. On the other hand, Wagner’s standing army was already nearly 1,000 men. He received 400 veterans as part of his inheritance, so the difference felt painful.
Then, just a month after our father’s funeral, Wagner declared war on Alfred. To be more precise, Alfred declared war, but Wagner provoked him to fight in the first place. I guess his justification was to “rebel against Wagner’s tyranny.”
Wagner pressured Alfred to hand over his territory. This left Alfred with two choices: agree willingly, lose his county and cease to be a count, or start a rebellion. At this rate, their hostility would be directed at me once their war was over. There was a reason why they didn’t go for me first.
The second son, Alfred, inherited 400 men out of our father’s standing army of 1,000. Moreover, he found a gold mine in his territory, so his forces kept growing day by day. If Wagner chose to pick a fight against me first, it was easy to imagine that Alfred would attack him from behind while he was distracted.
Alfred was targeted first because he was quite a capable and lucky person. It was fortunate for me, as it allowed me the time to visit the Schult family. After all, Alfred made use of the money he inherited from our father and the money generated from his gold mine to contract multiple mercenary groups, securing 2,000 men just from the mercenaries alone.
Moreover, the construction of the fortress had been underway for some time, so the castle walls were also extended. I doubt the war between Wagner and Alfred could be concluded in a short time. Both of them were in possession of multiple counties, and they were rather capable people, so it was possible their war would last for three years. It was a war without compromise since an aristocratic war over succession was all or nothing.
…That said, I couldn’t rest easy. Fentz county was once part of the Deal duchy. There, David Reuter, who had three counties, began to prepare his justification to declare war against the emperor, while Joachim Hars prepared a justification to declare war on the pope of the Knut religion.
Although I didn’t do anything tyrannical, I was still not of age, so they could easily come up with a justification, and once they did, they would invade me. There really was no grace.
It would only delay things by half a year at most, or if they were quick, they would declare war three months later. So, I went to Schult duchy before then. It was a long ten-day trip with a carriage for a one-way trip… I think we covered 50km a day, but since it still took me ten days, it was really far off.
If I got a chance, I would have liked to stop by the imperial capital Erhart, but I doubted that I had time for that. I didn’t get attacked by demons or thieves along the way, so there was nothing noteworthy to speak of. I brought 15 slave soldiers with me, all of whom had the high-level self-regeneration characteristic and combat abilities, so the escort was perfect. I thought that even if a bandit group were to attack, they could easily repel them away.
That said, the security of the Carling Empire wasn’t that bad. Things got rough whenever a vassal duke and a count changed generations, but at the end of it, the capable person would earn all the previous generation’s territory and restore them. As a result, there wasn’t much war against the empire itself since they were so busy with their own battles.
However, when the imperial family changed generations, the remote lords would make use of the chance and declare independence, rendering the empire into a warring state. If we considered the nation under this century’s scale, this era could be considered a warring state. The security just happened to be good right now since the reign of the current Emperor Paulus IV was long and stable, but there was a high chance that it would turn into a warring state eventually.
Since I was bored during the carriage ride, I made use of the time to think over the information I was going to hand Duke Schult. I would be meeting Linde-san’s father, the current duke, but depending on the circumstances, the engagement might be called off, or it would end in marriage since neither of us had another partner candidate lined up. It was an important matter since whether I could form an alliance with Duke Schult depended on this.
…I hoped Linde-san didn’t look bad.
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