Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 61

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Chapter 61

“Everything is going well, I see.”

“Yes.”

Responding to his father’s contented smile, Logan answered with a confident expression.

“Good. How about the soldiers’ training?”

“Excluding those drafted for public order, we are continuing with high-intensity training. Additionally, we have identified about 300 soldiers with special talents and are training them intensely, without deployment.”

“…Are we to understand that there’s enough potential among these 300 to become knights?”

“Yes. At least, that’s what I believe.”

Dwayne, who had little interest in knight training, simply clapped his hands with a slightly surprised expression, but Heinckel couldn’t hide a look of incredulity as he listened to the conversation between father and son.

Under the assumption that the soldiers were faithfully following their training, even if one scoured through the military for ten years like a madman, only about one in a hundred would awaken to their Force and qualify as a knight.

Simple calculations implied that among 1,500 soldiers, only about fifteen were likely to become knights.

Yet Logan spoke nonchalantly of a number twenty times greater, which was absurd to Heinckel.

However, his lord nodded in response with a smile, despite the implausibility of such an answer.

“…If you say so, it must be so.”

No matter how well the family fared, it seemed almost delusional to Heinckel.

While he had much to say, he could not bring himself to speak and instead repeatedly opened and closed his mouth in silence.

But the heir apparent did not stop there.

“We will maintain our current training system and plan to reinforce our soldiers annually. We will also bolster our cavalry and arms every year.”

“My lord! That’s…”

“No, why?! I am strictly against such a waste of money in these peaceful times!”

Before Heinckel could object, Dwayne, who had been smiling, suddenly flared up.

‘Mithril. It’s a repeat of the Mithril case. Overspending is a habit. It must be stopped!’

While Heinckel looked on bewilderedly, fortunately, this time even the lord furrowed his brow.

“…Are you planning for war?”

“Sometimes we must do things we do not wish to, like war. That’s what I have learned.”

But I never taught you that.

Patrick forcefully swallowed the words that had risen to his throat.

Instead, he pointed out the harsh reality with an icy voice.

“Our family is in a period of growth. Excessive military expansion could be seen as provocation by neighboring families.”

“That’s correct. Wise words, my lord.”

Heinckel nodded at those words, and Dwayne gave Logan thumbs up as if to show agreement.

Yet,

“Whether we provoke them or not, we’re bound to be provoked.”

Logan’s bizarre statement bewildered everyone.

“What?”

“McLaine Town has begun operating in earnest and the wasteland has been turned into plains. Sylvan and Feretta, both regions with excessive taxation, have many farmers deserting. Will those greedy wretches sit by idly?”

“…Do you think they will attack?”

“Yes.”

Logan’s confident response was immediately met with rebuttal.

“Whether Sylvan or Feretta, they do not take us lightly! With our current military strength alone, we can easily handle one of their territorys.”

“Your Highness, if you are not informed, those scoundrels are too busy keeping each other in check. They cannot attack without a proper cause!”

Heinckel and Dwayne had points of their own.

Already committed to a plan, Logan could not retreat.

“Are you saying that if the two territorys combine their power, they can easily defeat us?”

“No, no, that’s how it used to be. We have those weapons now…”

“They don’t know that. And we have more than enough causes already.”

“What?”

As Logan mentioned a cause, which can be crucial in a war among nobles, everyone’s gaze turned towards him.

“We’ve taken in quite a lot of refugees. How many of them do you think come from Feretta or Sylvan? If I were them, it seems like a good excuse.”

The room’s atmosphere chilled swiftly as everyone suddenly became aware of the fact they had overlooked in the development of their territory.

“If you anticipated such a thing, you should’ve blocked it!”

Despite Dwayne shouting, Logan remained cool.

“Why block it? Especially when we’re short on labor anyway.”

“But that could be a pretext for war… Your Highness, don’t tell me…?”

“…You wanted war from the start?”

As Dwayne’s face paled, Patrick asked sternly.

“We will eventually have to confront our adversaries. If they arrogantly give us an excuse, it would be convenient.”

Logan, with his eyes cast deeply down, did not deny it.

“Your Highness!!”

“How could this…”

“Haah…”

The atmosphere in the office grew icy as they looked at Logan as if he were a madman.

Heinckel and Dwayne, unable to speak their curses aloud, expressed their frustrations with contorted expressions, while Patrick made his displeasure known more directly.

“If you had such thoughts, you should have discussed it ahead of time!”

“If I had discussed it, would you not have opposed it?”

Their scorn was renewed at the brazen reply.

Patrick also clutched his throbbing head at the sudden headache as if he had given his authority away too soon.

Caught in self-reproach and a deep sigh, there was a sudden commotion.

“Lord!”

A servant burst in through the door.

“Delegates from Sylvan and Feretta have arrived! They say they have matters to discuss regarding the escaped serfs…”

The news came with an eerily natural timing, freezing the room even further.

“Well, it has already begun. Shall we discuss what to do next?”

A smile spread across Logan’s face.

* * *

“Oh! Is it Sir Reihart?”

“That’s right. And you must be Sir Hamill?”

“It is an honor to meet you. To be entrusted with such an important role at your young age, you must be quite capable.”

“Not at all. I was merely fortunate. It is an honor for me as well to meet someone so influential from the Sylvan territory.”

Each escorted by three knights and fifteen servants, both delegations had a similar composition, meeting the minimum standards for protocol.

Considering they were essentially envoys sent to threaten, the pitiable size could have been disconcerting, yet there was not a hint of worry on the middle-aged faces of Reihart and Hamill as they exchanged greetings.

“Please take the time to enjoy our hospitality.”

“Surely you wouldn’t rudely turn a blind eye.”

“Ahahaha. If they have any decency, of course not. And we’ve already sent missives ahead.”

Their slightly elated demeanor was matched by the relaxed expressions of the knights accompanying them.

However, on the following day, when they passed Teslon Castle and slowly entered the old wastes, they involuntarily halted in their tracks.

“Indeed…?”

“All green… It looks like wheat sprouts…”

“This is incredible.”

Their utterances of astonishment were apt, for every field within sight burst with vibrant greenery.

For those who remembered its former state, the transformation was particularly shocking.

‘The once barren, dusty wasteland has changed so.’

Now, the only yellow in view was a distant rampart-like structure…

“Eh, Hamill. What is that in the distance?”

“Earthworks… It seems. My. To have built such a massive earthwork unseen.”

Those who heard murmured in surprise as they looked towards the earthen wall.

“Is that a castle?”

“No, how could such a large fortification be erected silently like this…?”

The procession continued eastward in silence, only to be further astounded upon nearing the village.

“Dozens of horsemen… Farmers are clearing the path. What’s that big road there…?”

As the farmhands swiftly made way for the approaching riders, a sight of a great cobblestone road connecting east and west came into view.

“An actual road…”

The paved road, wide enough to span 5 meters, cut through the green fields and stretched straight towards the earthworks.

The extent of what lay before them was beyond their wildest imaginations, and by the time they reached the earthwork (if it could be called that) after half a day’s ride, they were at a loss for words.

“Halt!”

“Who are you, and where have you come from?”

While the entrance to the earthwork at the end of the road was no more than a 3-meter-tall mud wall, not particularly spacious or grand, it drew the envoys’ attention not just because of its modesty.

“Soldiers… Not knights. The lack of emblems on the armor suggests as much.”

“Yes. But for regular soldiers to be equipped like this, McLaine really must be making money.”

Half-plate mail, greaves, gauntlets, with swords at their waists and spears in hand.

The soldiers were outfitted with gear that would be credible on any knight, a staggering revelation reflecting the scale of this massive earthen fortification.

Caught off guard, they failed to respond to the soldiers’ inquiry, causing a hint of confusion among the ranks.

Then, a flame-emblazoned knight, signaling inside, approached.

“Knight Digrom of McLaine. Please state your business, visitors.”

Their eyes followed the knight’s gaze to the banners behind Hamill and Reihart.

A flame with crossed longswords and a flying falcon on a banner, unique insignia representing a noble’s procession, and they hesitated to outright intimidate them.

While they would be unable to stop an envoy with six knights among a meager force even if they wished.

‘Such a vast construction, yet the earthwork’s gate is garrisoned by only a knight and five soldiers?’

Considering the scale of the fort, Reihart felt absurd for ever being tense.

“The military strength must be…”

Sharing the sentiment, Hamill smirked. Catching his eye, Reihart interrupted before idle talk ensued.

“That charade won’t do.”

Weak forces and rich territorys were irresistibly attractive neighbors.

“Sylvan Viscountcy and Feretta Viscountcy envoys, we bear a message for Baron McLaine.”

So they began cautiously, seeking to gauge the reaction.

Yet, the knight’s face showed no signs of softening despite Reihart’s smooth words.

“What brings the two viscountcies…”

“A missive has already been sent. We must speak to the baron for details…”

“A lowly knight dares to block an envoy! Will you be responsible for any consequences?”

Tch.

Reihart, hoping to glean some insights through gentle persuasion, clicked his tongue at Hamill’s hasty outburst.

There was no basis for him to intervene.

With a slight grimace, the knight stepped back.

“Follow me, I shall guide you.”

Hamill’s arrogance, seeking defiance, met Reihart’s gaze, but there was no need to incite trouble. They followed without protest.

Passing the humble gate, they entered a scene unfamiliar to Reihart.

Houses and novel establishments, evenly spaced along massive crossroads, captivated their attention despite a slight odor.

While not as elegant as renowned cities, it had a unique, raw charm.

Most notably,

“Kahaha, try and catch me!”

“Darn it! You’re it this time!”

“I’ve been it twice already, your turn!”

“Kids, these are high-grade guests. Stay away from there!”

The people’s brightly lit faces lacked any shadowy corners.

The vibrancy uncommon in Sylvan Viscountcy captivated Reihart.

It was as though they seemed unusually clean.

‘Marvelous.’

Some sights did jar the eye.

Residents ducking away at the sight of their banners were likely runaways from their territorys.

Yet their choice made sense; this place seemed genuinely better.

‘It’s certainly worth seizing.’

Reihart swallowed a laugh as he probed the leading knight discreetly.

“An impressive place, Knight Digrom. It seems superior to many castles.”

“Oh? Ah… Indeed.”

Different from Hamill’s brusque manner, Digrom offered a faint smile at Reihart’s courtly approach.

“Whoever conceived such an idea, it’s a splendid endeavor.”

Intending to buoy his mood with praise, Reihart received an unexpected response.

“All credit to our Young Lord.”

“What?”

“Our Young Lord conceived the town and managed the wasteland’s transformation.”

“Huh…”

McLaine’s Young Lord, barely in his twenties, surely?

Shocked, he asked more questions, receiving similar replies.

“Our Young Lord is brilliant, valorous, leading the region’s progress…”

‘Enough. This flattery…’

Annoyed by the endless praise, Reihart had had his fill.

The sycophant’s vigor matched his own experience under a tyrant; yet Reihart refrained from such obsequious conduct out of sight.

He resigned himself to silently observing, seeking more accurate information.

Meanwhile, Hamill’s arrogance interrupted the tour.

“That smell! What’s with these ditches? Why endure such…”

They crossed paths with a narrow channel carrying wastewater while exploring.

Dissonant within the tidy village, but not to Reihart.

“Sewer system?!”

Recognizing its purpose was a moment of clarity.

“Ah, you know of it. Yes, it’s also our Young Lord’s initiative.”

While Hamill feigned interest, the knight’s tone brimmed with pride.

Reihart heard it differently, though.

“Truly exceptional.”

“Yes, indeed. The Young Lord is exceptional.”

‘No, you boastful—get ahead in life… Tsk tsk.’

The Young Lord couldn’t have devised such a thing.

Reihart had never engaged in such bootlicking, not even out of his lord’s sight.

He lamented the knight’s fervent allegiance but accepted the excellence of the town’s systems.

Most Granadia Kingdom castles were ancient establishments, complicating the retrofit of sewer systems from the empire’s major cities over the past century.

Even the aware nobility, reluctant to spend wealth, shunned these advancements.

Hence, many strongholds were filthy and reeked.

Acquainted with administrative studies from the academy, Reihart longed to integrate a wastewater management system above all else.

Despite knowing the benefits, many nobles refrained from investing in it due to the cost. Hence, most castles ended up with sewage-filled surroundings emitting foul odors.

Reihart, who had studied administration at the academy, wanted to introduce sewage facilities as one of the first things. Of course, the lord, burdened with overall costs, rejected it outright.

“There’s a saying that cities with sewage systems have significantly lower rates of diseases and epidemics.”

But to have such advanced facilities applied to this massive celestial body.

“Well, it’s confirmed now.”

McLaine had undoubtedly earned money from somewhere. The vast plains, the celestial body enclosing the town, and the sewage system. There was not even a speck of profit to be made immediately, only pouring out money.

“In that case…”

As Reihart contemplated with a relaxed mind, he realized that the road penetrating McLaine Town was coming to an end. As soon as they passed through the east gate, the old fortress, McLaine Castle, appeared in the distance.

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