Regressor of the Fallen Family chapter 8

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“This little brat… he throws a fit even when praised.”

Grinding his teeth internally, Dwayne managed to maintain a smile on his face.

The crucial discussion was about to begin, and there was no way he could let one comment ruin it.

“The recent hardships of the family make the sum of 3 million gold akin to a much-needed rain after a drought. Thanks to your lordship’s ingenuity, the family can finally take a deep breath.”

He practically wanted to say, ‘Well done. Now hand over that money…’ but instead, he spoke politely, wrapping his true intentions in a facade of adult composure.

“Why do you say the family can breathe easy? It’s my money, isn’t it? Didn’t you hear what my father said yesterday?”

The thoughtless comment of the spoiled brat left Dwayne feeling dizzy once more.

‘I can’t believe it’s really happening…’

Though his face twitched as if it might cramp up, now was not the time.

Dwayne struggled to control his expression. Twenty years as McLaine’s Financial Officer meant he was well practiced in maintaining a servile expression.

‘I need to cajole him gently… very gently…’

However, before he could even speak, his subordinates started creating a commotion.

“Impossible, my lord!”

“You’d spend all that money by yourself?!”

“What blasphemy!”

The young lord’s complexion turned icy in an instant.

“What are you doing! How dare you! Get out, all of you!”

Dwayne, with a face possibly more rigid than Logan’s, was the first to shout angrily.

The officials looked as though they had bitten into something distasteful, but upon realizing their mistake, they quickly turned away with the look of defeated soldiers.

‘Dwayne, let’s start with the food situation.’

‘No, it’s the management of the walls.’

‘The equipment of the soldiers…’

Their hopeful gazes locked onto Dwayne, their last bastion.

‘I’ll give it my all.’

Left alone, Dwayne locked the door to his room with a resolved expression and bid them farewell.

“Ha ha ha. My lord, my subordinates have been quite rude. They are not usually so senseless, but given the dire straits of the family… Ha ha.”

“Is the family really in such dire straits?”

‘There we go!’

Though mindless, his subordinates had yielded an unexpected result.

Suppressing the strength in his fist, Dwayne opened his mouth with a slightly sad expression.

“You may not be aware, but we owe 3 million gold to Coopers Bank. The interest alone each year is…”

“150,000 gold.”

“…You knew?”

“Yeah. I heard it yesterday at Coopers, after depositing the 3 million gold.”

Dwayne once again gulped down his saliva upon seeing the deposit slip casually waving in the profligate’s hand.

“Then this simplifies matters. With the interest payment due, repaying that amount would ease the family’s woes for many years to come…”

“It’s the harvest season, isn’t it? Paying the interest should be doable, right? And the maturity date can be extended automatically.”

‘…How does he know so much? Even the head of the family isn’t familiar with the banking details…’

Dwayne was momentarily flustered but quickly composed himself. That wasn’t the matter at hand.

“Ha ha. Managing a territory always involves expenses, and our funds are always tight. If you could just help out a bit…”

Dwayne’s original plan was to get his hands on the entire 3 million gold, but now his ambitions had been significantly lowered without even his own realization.

“Are you asking me to contribute to the territory’s management funds?”

“Yes, exactly that!”

It seemed as if his persuasion had worked!

Just as Dwayne was on the verge of rejoicing internally,

“Sorry, but no.”

The calm voice shattered his elation as if he had been soaring to heaven only to be dragged back down.

“Why not?!”

Dwayne roared without realizing.

The chilling glare of the young lord made him shrink back momentarily, but he gritted his teeth for the good of the family. He could not let the fortune of 3 million gold scatter meaninglessly into the air.

“Why? I thought you were standing up against the lord’s opposition for the sake of the territory?!”

“That’s right, I am.”

“See? That’s… What?”

“I will use this money for the good of the family. But certainly not for something as fleeting as immediate management funds. We have to think more long-term.”

Though unexpected, this answer did not soothe the anguish raging within the officer.

‘What do you know to be making such decisions! Just leave it to me!’

Dwayne forcefully suppressed the truth rising to his throat and caught his breath.

“Long-term…?”

“Yes. Say I use the money now to resolve the debt. How much would the condition of the territory change?”

“Well… With a larger budget, the financial operations would be more comfortable for at least a few years. It buys us some breathing room.”

“A chuckle.”

Logan let out a derisive laugh at Dwayne’s response, which was exactly as he had expected.

“And after that?”

“…Excuse me?”

“We’ll just end up in debt again, right? We have no special products or anything like that. It’s a vicious cycle.”

“Ahem. That’s…”

“I’m trying to break that vicious cycle. So I’ll use the money according to my plans.”

‘Ah, is this really the great lord I knew? That degenerate?’

Were these signs of a deeper side to the lord? For once, Dwayne was at a loss for words, having been faced with such a calm analysis of the fundamental problem.

Regardless, there was one thing he needed to confirm.

“Ahem, then, if you plan to use it for the good of the family, may I inquire about your plans?”

Dwayne asked, circling around the question with all the finesse he could muster.

“You don’t need to know.”

Ugh.

That one phrase pushed Dwayne’s patience to its limit.

‘All this talk of the family is rubbish. This brat is just mocking me. It has to be.’

“You…”

Just as Dwayne was about to lose his composure and erupt in anger,

“I will show the results through action.”

The unwavering red eyes forced Dwayne to cling once more to the thin threads of his rationale.

“… Somehow, I will save it. No matter what it takes.”

It was as if these vague mumblings weren’t meant for Dwayne, yet Logan’s eyes, deeply sunken by determination, seemed to betray an intense longing.

‘What’s going on…?’

That gaze seemed far more desperate than that of Dwayne, who was worried about his own suffocating immediate monthly budget.

‘Why?’

What could possibly make the noble son, who just came into a fortune, appear so anxious?

‘Different…’

The look in his eyes when pointing out the fundamental problems of the territory, it was as if this was not the Logan he knew.

Observing Dwayne’s conflicted expression, Logan let out a bitter laugh.

Although Dwayne had come with the intent to milk him for money, he was recognized by all as a loyal servant of the McLaine family.

Logan felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness once more at having even more things he couldn’t share with such a person.

However, there was no time to be lost in such emotions.

‘Now that it’s come to this, I’ll have to entrust this task to Dwayne. Give him some money too…’

The idea that came to him on the spur of the moment seemed impromptu, but not a bad one. And with that thought, it became his words.

“Ah. With this in mind, I do have a request for Dwayne. For the good of the family.”

“… What is your request?”

“If you comply, I could also contribute a bit to the territory’s management funds.”

Gulp.

“Please, speak.”

“Could you gather some mercenaries under the family’s name?”

“…Mercenaries, you say?”

“Yes. Uh… they don’t necessarily have to be A-grade since they’re quite costly. Just any mercenaries capable of riding horses. Ah, perhaps C-rank would be suitable. Over 300 C-rank mercenaries capable of horseback riding. Did you get that?”

Dwayne’s expression changed drastically with the specifics and the number mentioned.

“Three hundred C-rank mercenaries?”

Mercenaries were hired soldiers, fodder soldiers gathered temporarily to bolster forces in urgent situations like war.

E and D-rank mercenaries were often only good enough for errands, serving simply to pad out the numbers during war.

Starting from C-rank, however, they were considered genuine mercenaries, each taking on the role of a proper soldier. Trained and with enough strength and experience to stand their ground in battle.

Moreover, as they lived and thrived on the sword, they tended to be rough and difficult to control.

Having such a substantial number of these individuals – not one or two but over 300 – was not a matter the McLaine Barony could dismiss without concern.

Thus, Dwayne had to ask for the reason.

“Why do you need so many mercenaries, my lord? And so many at that?”

Unable to tell the truth – that since he couldn’t command the family’s forces as he wished, he needed his own force to command – Logan used a plausible excuse he had already thought up.

“I’m thinking of going monster hunting.”

“Excuse me?”

“To hone my real-world experience. It’ll also help with the security of the territory.”

“…Are you serious?”

Obviously, it was a bluff.

‘It’s easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. Once I’ve gathered the mercenaries…’

Despite his true intentions, Logan’s expression remained brazen.

“If I make personal requests, gathering hundreds will be difficult. Even if possible, it would take too long. That’s why I want Dwayne to gather them under the family’s name.”

It was clearly the fastest way to get what he wanted.

“Indeed, that makes sense, but…”

While the logic was sound, Dwayne wasn’t convinced.

Perhaps it was to be expected. Despite the term ‘mercenary,’ bringing a different force inside the territory is a matter that requires the lord’s approval, regardless of the reason.

However, unlike the deeply troubled Dwayne, Logan’s expression was far more relaxed.

‘He can’t refuse.’

If he’s being offered money and a chance to help the territory, the man who had come to plead for financial support can’t afford to refuse.

‘If my father objects, he’ll probably try to persuade him.’

So the fact that Dwayne is even contemplating it now was something Logan expected.

“How much will you provide?”

That was close to an acceptance, and Logan smiled.

“I’ll give you 100,000 gold.”

“Only that…”

“If you don’t like it, nevermind.”

Challenged by Logan’s resolute attitude, Dwayne felt his head throbbing.

“…If the lord refuses, I can’t do anything about it.”

“Then I’ll have to take the money back.”

“It’s for your family.”

“It’s my father’s family, and it’s my money that’s being used.”

The intense exchange of gazes between Logan and Dwayne was brief.

The officer, squeezed by chronic budget constraints, finally bowed his head, and the deal was settled.

* * *

After handing over the hefty sum of 100,000 gold to Dwayne, Logan immediately began to prepare to leave the territory. It hadn’t been long since he returned from his training, but this time he would not be gone for long.

‘At most, one month. That should be enough.’

It was a premeditated and necessary plan of action, but naturally, his surroundings did not understand.

“Lord, are you really leaving?”

“Yes.”

“Why in the world?”

“For various reasons, but if I had to pick one… to make money?”

“Haven’t you already gotten a lot of money!”

“I need much more.”

Rick was dumbfounded, but Logan meant every word.

In a year, a local war will break out, and in ten years, an imperial war will begin. In that maelstrom, to protect the family and survive, what is most needed?

It was not something to think deeply about.

Powerful forces. In other words, an overwhelming power.

And the most necessary thing to acquire that power… was undeniably money.

Whether to increase the number of soldiers, knights, procure equipment, or store food, everything required money.

That’s exactly why Logan needed money.

Far more than he currently had in his possession.

‘Even if I’m not sure about the local war, to stand against the Empire…’

He couldn’t even begin to guess how much money would be needed.

Hence, he was now preparing to leave the territory to build this financial foundation.

“The lord will not allow it.”

Even for a good cause, as Rick pointed out, there was a problem.

Logan had not even completed his coming of age ceremony and was but a young man.

More so in the midst of receiving the family’s cold gaze, there was no way to talk of leaving without hearing an earful.

Rick made a valid point, and Logan acknowledged it.

“That may be the case.”

“That’s… what?”

“That’s why I’m thinking of sneaking out.”

“What?!”

If the flow of history remains unchanged, there’s less than nine months before the local war.

If he had given up on changes from within the family, he needed to bring in change from outside.

‘Thankfully, there’s a lot I can do out there.’

It was strange to only come up with such a thought after the broken engagement had passed.

Logan knew about the events happening outside the territory much better than those within.

‘Because I was banished, wandering from kingdom to kingdom.’

And the information he still had was still infinitely valuable.

If utilized well, the value of the 2.9 million gold he currently held could be maximized.

‘Of course, I need to first prepare for the local war. So as quickly as possible…’

He had to find a way to strengthen his external power and come back.

Naturally, others couldn’t understand his thoughts.

“What are you thinking! Leaving at this moment! What will the lord think…”

Rick illustrated the point, his face a mask of despair.

His master had only just begun to think positively for a few months, but now he was starting trouble again.

This time not just an internal family matter, but an escape attempt.

‘What am I supposed to do!’

So he prostrated himself on the ground.

“If you’re going, please take me with you. Otherwise, absolutely! Absolutely not!”

If Logan caused a problem, Rick had to clean up.

Already in the midst of chaos, Rick felt that he couldn’t cope with his master’s escape.

But Logan seemed unfazed by his valet’s concerns.

“I’ll leave a letter. No one will say anything to you.”

“That’s just what you think!”

“…you’d prefer I write it directly to my father?”

“What, to make him angrier?”

“Of course not!”

If the lord himself condoned Logan’s departure, then it would be a little different.

But the next day,

“What’s all this after making such a fuss and even extorting money?!”

Rick had to face the lord’s flashing fury and was on the verge of wetting himself.

Seeking some fresh air due to the heartbreak of the annulment—will return.

Written by Logan.

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