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Chapter 12 – Family Head
“Greetings. I am Palmer Klaus, son of Bayer Klaus.”
“I’ve heard about you. The rebellious child of the Klaus family, the master of money-making, and the talentless swordsman. Rumors seem to follow you wherever you go.”
Fontana-san, Linde-san’s father, seemed to have had me investigated. Of course, though he couldn’t exactly show her off, it didn’t change the fact that she was his cute daughter. On its own, being born with albinism was enough for a child to be abandoned by his or her parents in this time period. The fact that Fontana-san still took care of her meant that he was educated and had been allowed more leisure with his wealth.
This person inherited the entire Schult family territory from his grandfather without going through a war of succession. In that regard, he was similar to my father, except that Fontana-san inherited it directly from his grandfather instead of his father.
In other words, Fontana-san’s grandfather had borne a son, Fontana-san’s father. However, that son had passed early, and so, the inheritance went to Fontana-san… What the heck, what kind of luck was that? Anyway, Fontana-san had a lot of uncles, all of whom were eventually murdered.
Naturally, there was no clear proof that Fontana-san was responsible, but his relatives had all fallen one after another in a series of suspicious deaths and circumstances. As a result, it was harder to not be suspicious of Fontana-san. Similarly, the same fate had befallen all his cousins. Perhaps his grandfather had a hand in it? I doubted that he would tell me even if I asked.
Speaking of asking… among the rumors that he heard of, wasn’t that bit about being a talentless swordsman a little too much? It was rather troubling, since it was indeed fact. Ignoring the part that I was a rebellious child, what was that about being a master of money-making? I just thoroughly involved myself in the conflicts of barons and forcefully collected the reward money, so why did I get such a nickname?
“There seems to be a great deal of conflicting accounts, even among those that son-in-law-dono had spread personally.”
“There’s no way that’s the case. I am just a mere count who has decided to confront the Saint Lord Duke Wagner in the future.”
“I see. If that is the case, then it seems troubling to give my child to that kind of person. The engagement is off.”
“Forgive me. I am Palmer Klaus, the economic alchemist and the unparalleled strategist with unparalleled intellect.”
The engagement would be broken if I humbled myself, so I quickly spoke of my baffling monikers one after another. The other party just laughed and said that it was a joke. That was really bad for my heart. I might have been able to handle myself combat-wise, but in terms of my diplomatic ability, I was still lacking. That might be simply due to a lack of knowledge and experience, though.
Fontana-san should be in his forties, but since he looked young, it was hard to think he interacted with my father. He didn’t mention breaking off the engagement after that, but he had said he would dissolve his alliance with the Klaus family. Now that I thought about it, the Schult family should have allied with my brother, Wagner, right about now. Most of my father’s agreements were inherited by my brother, and to add to that, it was in poor taste to have an alliance with the sons who would eventually split apart. As such, this kind of agreement wasn’t something that could be divided.
On the dissolution of the alliance, he had not meant that he would sign an alliance with me instead. There was no way a rich duke with such strong troops would ally with a count that would get ruined at any moment. I guessed that it was enough to not turn him into an enemy.
From there, we spoke of what I knew to raise my worth. After much consideration, I decided to convey the concept of a banking system, pulleys, and promissory notes for the time being. Even if I just gave him the barebone concepts, it was easy to bring it to life and make it successful. But since he didn’t have a full understanding of it, it was hard to demonstrate its true worth.
The pulley was quick and easy to understand. I showed him an example to demonstrate its usefulness, hint at my own potential if I were to be kept alive, and the possibility to ally with me. I had been promised that I would have his support at my declaration of independence… It was just a verbal promise that could have been easily betrayed, but it was a step forward. I didn’t have the audacity to ask for a written contract, and even if I did, it could have been treated as a mere piece of paper when the moment came, and so, held as little weight as a verbal promise.
However, considering that they didn’t hold me captive nor did they try to torture knowledge out of me, I did think the people of the Schult family were good. If it were me, I would have dragged the person to the torture room. If someone who gave me knowledge would deliver the same to other territories, it was my loss.
Either way, if I was caught, the slaves who waited outside with artifacts would have burned the mansion to the ground. I had a stone in my pocket which was connected to the one that the slaves held. If I destroyed mine, it would be reflected on theirs and serve as a signal to begin. Since it ended up like this, it seemed like I wouldn’t put it into practice.
I said my farewell to Linde-san and immediately returned to my territory. It was being targeted in four directions, with all of them stronger than mine. I couldn’t afford to leave it empty for too long. Since the engagement had been confirmed somehow, I could calmly form an alliance with my surroundings… probably.
I hadn’t heard news of being invaded so it should be okay, but I would be troubled if something happened on my way home. That said, I would also be troubled if they didn’t attack at all after I return.1
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