Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 170

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Regressor of the Fallen family

Just ten or so days ago, the MacLaine estate posted an announcement seeking management personnel throughout all its castles. Yet before even a month— the prescribed hiring period— had elapsed, the MacLaine Town’s government office was swarming with applicants.

“Now, now. Please form a line, a line!”

“My god, everyone who wants to become a manager, please maintain some order… Ah, come on!”

“Hey there! If you keep cutting the line, it’ll be a mark against you during the interview!”

Despite the advertisement specifying a recruitment of thirty individuals, the count of applicants on that day alone had surpassed three hundred. As around a dozen soldiers sweated bullets trying to control the crowd.

All of which had to be interviewed and vetted by Dwayne, Lupen and Ferran, whose faces already looked considerably wearied.

A real-time scene of the MacLaine manor’s chubby trio forced into a diet.

Eventually, Ferran, his cheeks already half their former size, tossed the documents he was carrying.

“Oh, why is there so much! We can’t even get to our own work!”

“Quiet, Ferran. It’s not just you who’s having a tough time!”

“But still—”

“All of you, shut it.”

With dark circles under his eyes that reached his jawline, Dwayne suppressed the commotion among his subordinates with an ominous voice.

His hair and beard, untouched for days, were so wild that one wouldn’t know where to begin sorting them out, adding an even more frightening aura to his presence.

Lupen shrank his neck and went back to scanning the resumes.

“Damn it. They’re all nobles.”

A good number of the applicants were riffraff, sure, but there were also plenty with decent experience. The issue was that most of these seemingly qualified individuals turned out to be aristocrats bearing titles.

It did not matter if they were untitled nobles or petty barons without succession rights; as a commoner himself, it would only mean more people for him to serve if they were to be admitted as managers.

‘How on Earth did the people from the Kallia estate know to come before we even made our announcements? This is maddening.’

For some reason, lower managers from a fallen grand estate had flocked en masse.

Already fraught with internal conflict, the stress from this discord—and not just from the fatigue of continuous interviews—was almost unbearable.

Dwayne may have been inscrutable, but at least Ferran shared a similar expression.

Though they heaved sighs, not much else would change.

After all, the final decision was not theirs to make.

“Send all the managers coming from a grand estate background on to the second round of interviews. The lord will judge them as necessary.”

“Dwayne, sir, does that mean we’ll end up having to serve these managers…?”

“Enough. Isn’t the estate’s business more important than ours?”

“Dwayne— no, brother! Then what about us…?!”

“Keep it down. Everyone can hear us outside. And well, the lord will surely take good care of us.”

Dwayne’s voice remained calm as he chided them, but Lupen still looked dissatisfied.

“No, but still—”

“After the war ends and the rewards are paid, we’ll have enough to live on for a lifetime, Lupen. Let’s not be too greedy.”

“Ha… Ah, my lord, you truly are a loyal subject. I am just narrow-minded.”

“I, too, am pained, you fool.”

“Enough, it’s just me. I’m the bad one. Only me.”

At Lupen’s grumbling, Ferran chimed in.

“You lose weight when you’re stressed. You might as well just sleep it off.”

“Shut up, Ferran! You pig! What are you stuffing your face with now—”

“Enough! Both of you stop!!”

Lupen and Ferran continued to bicker but fell in line with Dwayne’s decision.

The furry financial administrator, serving the MacLaine estate for nearly two decades, looked at the applicants waiting outside with a bitter expression.

‘Our estate must be doing that well. Yeah, let’s think positively.’

But somehow, that sight didn’t bring him as much joy as it should have.

* * *

“How are the preparations for the harvest season in Theseron Castle?”

“I’ve laid them on your desk, Administrator.”

“What about the Town barrier construction?”

“The documents are on the right side of your desk.”

“And next, umm…”

“It was concerning the road construction from Theseron to Sylvan and Vipros. It’s still being organized. I’ll have it ready for you by tomorrow morning.”

“Take your time with it, Fabian… sir.”

“It’s nothing, Dwayne sir. I must show the abilities that the lord has chosen me for.”

Dwayne, unlike the thin and young Administrator Fabian, could only nod in response to his words.

It wasn’t wrong at all.

The documents were impeccably organized, the work was done quickly, and there was nothing to fault in their content.

‘Was he from Douglas?’

Dwayne finally realized the announcements initially intended for the internal MacLaine estate had somehow spread unknown to the top brass, to the capital, and across the kingdom.

Thanks to that, the MacLaine estate had easily obtained the much-needed managerial manpower, yet Dwayne could not rejoice at the situation.

The biggest reason was that among the applicants, the two who received the highest evaluations—Fabian and the middle-aged gentleman, Lockman—turned out to be petty barons.

In other words,

‘Damn it. I have to show deference to my subordinates now.’

At least they showed decorum toward him, but what troubled him more…

“Ah, I have corrected a few errors in the document you reviewed before. Please, I ask for your approval again.”

“Errors?”

“There were minor mistakes in the budget calculation. If verified with the Rohiter method of cross-validation…”

…was the fact that they could fluently discuss theories he hardly understood and apply them to their tasks. Watching them do so filled him with self-doubt.

That persistent sense of inadequacy day after day.

After much thought, Dwayne finally came to a decision.

Bang!

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Dwayne, sir?”

“Where are you going?!”

Ignoring the voices calling after him, Dwayne’s steps were brisk, yet oddly they seemed heavy.

Bang.

“Here are the documents for approval, Your Highness.”

“Just leave them. You are getting faster, aren’t you?”

Observing the angle of the sun outside the window, Logan chuckled as he looked up at Dwayne.

“Yes. Most of the newly hired managers are doing their part well. Especially Mr. Fabian and Mr. Lockman, they perform even better than me.”

“Oh? Is that so?”

Logan cocked his head in response to Dwayne’s words, and his expression stiffened slightly.

But he did not forget what he had to say; his feelings and work were separate matters.

“Yes. They are truly exceptional. As we continue to hire more managers, I suspect the volume of documents for Your Highness to review will significantly decrease.”

“Oh, good news. I need to normalize operations and keep my hands free as much as possible. Alright, you’ve done well. You may leave now.”

“But Your Highness.”

“Hmm?”

Sensing a shift in the atmosphere, Logan looked at Dwayne with a puzzled expression.

“That’s why I wanted to tell you, um…”

“What is it? No need to hesitate. Just say it.”

“I… I would like to quit my job.”

“Huh? You’ve been through a lot recently. Take a few days off then. For your holiday…”

“Not a holiday, Your Highness. I want to retire.”

“…What?”

Caught off guard by the unexpected statement, Logan gazed at Dwayne blankly.

“Why so suddenly? Did I do something to upset you?”

“Nothing, Your Highness.”

“Then why?”

“I feel that my presence is no longer necessary here.”

“What nonsense. What do you mean?”

“When I heard that Sir Heinke was retiring, I began to think. Perhaps I should step down too.”

“Heinkel is now serving as a training consultant after retiring. You know that, don’t you?”

“That’s irrelevant. I’ve just reached my limits.”

“Your limits?”

“The newly employed managers are handling the work better than I did. It’s inefficient for the organization to have a commoner like me as their superior.”

“Ah…”

Logan couldn’t respond immediately to Dwayne’s firm assertion.

Despite his fatigue-stricken face, it was clear that wasn’t the reason, as Dwayne seemed very determined.

“Ah… this is driving me mad.”

“I’m sorry, Your Highness.”

“No, I apologize. I had no idea you felt this way. Just give me a moment. Let’s think it over together.”

“Your Highness…”

Rising from his seat, Logan paced back and forth, deep in thought about this sudden turn of events.

Then, a while later, just as the shadow on Dwayne’s tired face seemed to deepen a little more,

“Alright. Let’s make you a noble then! That should fix it!”

Logan blurted out a preposterous solution.

“…Excuse me?”

Dwayne’s otherwise expressionless face visibly crumbled in disbelief.

.…Could I become a noble if I just wanted to?

He felt a sudden disorientation in his common sense.

And the Grand Duke before him was taking things even further.

“Come to think of it, both my father and I have been rather thoughtless. War isn’t fought by knights and soldiers alone. We failed to honor the civilian officials who firmly stood behind us with titles. It’s a serious oversight.”

It sounded like he could confer a barony right away, and Dwayne barely regained his composure.

“Your Highness? As far as I know, all the titles bestowed by His Majesty have already been granted out.”

“Ah, it’s fine. If I ask Him, I’m sure one barony would be enough. Surely His Majesty wouldn’t reject my request, right?”

“Your Highness? Misusing power like that could…”

“It’s alright, it’s alright. I’ll take some flak for it. Better I’m criticized than neglecting to take care of loyal subjects.”

“You might not just get criticism. If you manage to alienate yourself from His Majesty because of this…”

“This much is fine. If necessary, I’ll lie prostrate and beg Him.”

Unable to argue further against such resolve, Dwayne ultimately conceded.

Moreover,

‘To go so far for me…’

Watching Logan rush towards the communications room brought an overwhelming surge of emotions that nearly pushed Dwayne to tears.

* * *

Meanwhile, in the capital city of Grand, the noble houses buzzed with a hot topic. Count Kairon Wolves of the Wolves family had resurfaced. One of the border counts who disappeared after the MacLaine battle.

With all other border counts executed, and their families either executed or wanted, the sudden appearance of Kairon Wolves in Grand was notable.

“I shall offer all the hidden wealth of the Wolves’ house. I beg for forgiveness for past wrongs. Please, just spare my life.”

Appearing out of nowhere, Kairon Wolves prostrated himself on the palace courtyard. Soldiers awaited the king’s command as they watched over him, but after more than three days, the palace offered no directive.

And so, left to linger in the palace courtyard without even a sip of water, Kairon Wolves was left to dry up.

In consideration of being a mid-tier Force user, this was harsh treatment.

The king wishes for Kairon Wolves to dry up and die.

Without executing the wanted traitor and leaving him in the palace courtyard indefinitely, rumors soon were regarded as truth, and the Sword Duke, after catching wind of it, made his way to the palace.

It wasn’t good for this new kingdom to have disturbing rumors circulate for long.

‘Kairon. Cleverly played.’

Before stepping into the palace, the Sword Duke reflected on the visage of withered Kairon Wolves he caught a glimpse of.

The war had ended, things were winding down, but not everything was stable yet.

The royal household, in dire need of both power and money at such a time, is presented with an offer from a house that had never fallen from the top three trade organizations for nearly three centuries—they’d surrender their hidden wealth in exchange for sparing a life?

The royal household saw a deal with no downsides.

The suspicious angle, however, couldn’t be helped.

‘If that wealth truly exists, he could’ve simply sought asylum in another country to live…’

Of course, he’d have to worry about assassins from his home country for the rest of his life.

Choosing a modest freedom over a wealthy life of fear, or perhaps…

‘He’s got some other trick up his sleeve. That’s why His Majesty left him there.’

Whatever it was, the Sword Duke’s only task was to convey his thoughts. He’d inquire about the reason His Majesty left him out there for three days.

“Sword Duke, Felix Esperanza greets Your Majesty.”

– Come in.

Creeeak.

Accompanying the familiar voice, the door opened to reveal the king’s face.

The large royal office capable of holding a full assembly with all department heads.

Sitting in the spacious chamber, where only ministers from each department could enter, the king was holding court.

Watching with satisfaction, the Sword Duke’s content expression stiffened as he noticed a small bottle by the king’s side.

‘Alcohol?’

The king’s face flushed, presumably from the alcohol.

An unexpected sight like no other, in broad daylight within the royal palace. The Duke’s eyebrows twitched.

“Ah, Sword Duke. Please, come in.”

“…Yes, Your Majesty. But why drink at this hour?”

“Our stiff king has come to nag, I see. Ha ha. Do not be too stern. This is a kind of consolation wine.”

“Consolation wine…?”

“Let’s call it a ceremonial drink in memory of my dead brothers as well as my past, which felt endlessly suffocating and restrictive.”

“…”

“My entire life swallowed in the shadows of my brothers, struggling… I’ve only just gained freedom, so why not enjoy a little?”

“Your Majesty…”

“Don’t look at me like that. It won’t go on for long. So, Sword Duke, what brings you here before me?”

“Well, that’s…”

Just as the Sword Duke started on his intended topic…

– Your Majesty, the items you requested have been brought.

A booming voice interrupted him from outside the hall.

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