Chapter 1: Life of a Debtor (1)

“Who knew I’d die from overwork,” the young noble who had just turned 20 let out a mirthless laugh.

Park Moonsoo thought he merely fainted but found himself in a funeral hall when he opened his eyes.

It wasn’t his funeral.

It was the funeral of Viscount Sauss Forrest who happened to be Milton Forrest’s father.

Milton Forrest was Park Moon-Su himself with all the memories from his previous life intact. [1].

It was a rather jumbled explanation, but the conclusion was this.

He had no idea how it happened but from Park Moonsoo, who died from overwork, he woke up in the body of Milton Forrest, a noble young master. Milton Forrest had been living his life just fine when one day, all of a sudden, the memories of his past life were awakened. Fortunately, there was no fusion of souls or anything of the sort.

He had his memories as Park Moonsoo and his memories as Milton Forrest, but that was it. It was more accurate to say that the memories of Park Moon-Su had been awakened in the man named Milton Forrest. He was able to recognize that both identities were himself.

After somehow getting through the funeral ceremony, Milton succeeded his father’s role as Viscount Forrest. And after everything had settled down, he could finally catch a breather and have the time to seriously ponder over his life.

“I better wake up to reality now.”

The sudden awakening of his previous life, his father’s funeral, and the succession as Viscount… He was absent-minded for a while as too many things were happening, but it was time to slowly get himself together.

He would have had a difficult time for a while if he only had Milton’s memories, but he was able to stabilize himself after awakening to the memories of Park Moonsoo.

‘Fortunately, there aren’t any difficulties to face after being reborn. There aren’t any threats from demon kings, there are no threats to the world, and I have the status of a noble…’

Milton Forrest grew up as the stereotypical young master of a noble house. He received the education of a noble and went to the capital at the age of fifteen to be admitted to the kingdom academy. Then he went through the training of a knight as was the standard.

The instructors evaluated Milton to have quite the talent for swordsmanship. It was a shame Milton had no desire for it. For a young master of a noble household, the rights of a knight could be compared to a driver’s license in the 21st century. Anyone could easily get it without hassle.

He was the sole inheritor to a noble house in the province. There was no way he would have any strong desires since his future was as good as decided already. Thinking he just had to complete his time at the academy, he neglected, no, he lived a prodigal life in the capital.

Then, he hurried back upon learning of his father’s death and was awakened to Park Moonsoo’s memories during the funeral ceremony. After thinking thus far, Park Moonsoo, no, Milton, came to a conclusion — 'This is a life full of honey.’ [2]

Yes. Milton felt that his life was dripping with honey. He did not realize it previously during his life as Milton Forrest but after getting the viewpoints of Park Moonsoo, he viewed his life as being on easy mode. Being born a noble was a tremendous advantage, considering that this world put great importance on one’s identity and lineage.

Viscount Forrest’s house wouldn’t qualify as being born with a golden spoon, but it was at the very least a bronze spoon. The house didn’t wield much authority, but it wasn’t just a noble house in name either.

He was a typical feudal lord with his own territory, even if it was small. There was rarely any meddling from the kingdom and the territory provided enough to live as long as he didn’t spend too lavishly.

‘More than anything, there’s not much work. All the minor work is taken care of by people under me.’

Milton couldn’t help forming a smile after thinking that way. He had taken everything for granted because he didn’t know any better, but now that he had awakened to the memories of a previous life as Park Moonsoo, he realized how blessed he was in his current life.

‘To continue with my peaceful life, it’s best not to have too much greed and maintain the status quo. I will definitely not take in any debts.’

In his previous life, he had worked to death like livestock for his company due to the noose of his student loans. Thinking about it made him curse automatically.

‘Debts are a scary thing.’

‘Therefore, I will never go into debt.’ Milton firmly vowed.

Firmly, firmly, and firmly….

***

“The debt the previous lord had amounts to 8,500 gold.”

“……”

Milton’s vow was broken within a month of working as the lord.

One day, out of the blue, a person arrived from Charlotte Merchant Company. They immediately presented a debt acknowledgment form claiming Viscount Sauss Forrest had borrowed money before he passed away.

That amount was 8,500 gold. The sum was comparable to 8.5 billion won (₩) [3] according to the knowledge Milton had of South Korea’s economy.

Viscount Forrest’s entire earnings for one year amounted to about 1,000 gold after deducting miscellaneous expenses. Meaning, it would take nine years of earnings without any expenditures to pay off the debt. Of course, that was not possible.

In addition…

“The repayment period is until the beginning of next year.”

“The beginning of next year?”

It was a situation where there was less than a year left for repayment.

The representative from Charlotte Merchant Company was all about business as he continued with what he had to say, “Yes. If we can’t receive over half of the repayment by then, we will seize the territory which was put into the contract as collateral.”

Milton had to calm himself down after watching the representative speak in a business-like tone of voice.

“Wait, wait just a moment,” Milton calmly started the conversation.

“I’ve never heard that my father borrowed any money. I don’t even know why he borrowed the money or what he used it for. Does it make sense to ask me to pay it back thoughtlessly?”

The representative from the company pushed forward a document at Milton’s words, “This is the debt acknowledgment form the previous Forrest Viscount filled out. Please verify the Forrest house’s seal that is stamped here.”

“…Damn it.”

Upon inspection, Milton saw that the stamped seal was the real deal.

A noble house’s seal was made by the royal house through magic, so it was possible to spot counterfeits immediately. Using the seal, Milton was able to verify without doubt the stamp was authentic.

“We also have no knowledge of why the previous Viscount borrowed money nor the purpose of it. However, we lent him an amount befitting the territory he put down as collateral.”

Milton was furious, but his opponent had come perfectly prepared according to the law. The house’s seal was real. There was even the Marquis’ signature as the notary. It was highly likely that the collection would be made even if he sought out asylum in a foreign country. The conclusion was that the debt needed to be paid no matter what.

“Chamberlain! Call forth the Knight Captain and the Administrator immediately. Hurry!”

“Yes, Master.”

Once the representative from Charlotte Merchant Company left, Milton immediately had the chamberlain call upon the servants of the Forrest house. A large house would have many servants of varying specialties, but a household in a province like the Forrest house didn’t have many servants.

First, the Knight Captain. A Knight Captain’s duties included keeping the territory safe, training soldiers, and raising other Knights. Then, there was the Administrator. The Administrator’s duties included collecting tax, distributing the tax money to different needs of the territory, and calculating the tax to be sent to the capital. To add one more person to the list, the Chamberlain had the duties of looking after the personal assets of the lord’s household and managing general employees.

These three people were Milton’s direct subordinates. Once the three were gathered, Milton went straight into interrogating the Administrator as if wanting to eat the Administrator alive.

“The household’s debt is an astounding 8,500 gold. 8,500 gold! Are you telling me you, the Administrator, didn’t know about this!?” Milton loudly questioned.

The Administrator was sweating bullets as he replied, “That is.… I knew the previous lord had left some debt, but I didn’t know of the proper time to tell My Lord about it….”

“The proper time? When is there a proper time for a report!? You need to report these things immediately!”

“That is… I’m sorry. I didn’t want to disturb your state of mind….”

“My state of mind? Go out and die, you bastard!”

Milton got a good feel for the type of person the Administrator was after speaking a few sentences with him. One would run into these people now and then living in society. The kind who knew of a ticking time bomb, but would hide it and not report it to their superiors for fear of getting reprimanded. It was a ticking time bomb that could blow up at any time, but he was too foolish and held onto it the whole time. To put it simply, the Administrator was a useless coward.

Milton’s assessment was accurate. The Administrator of Viscount Forrest’s household had served for quite a long time, but one couldn’t say he was a talented individual even in passing. The former Viscount knew that but still kept him around for a long time. That’s because the administrative work for Viscount Forrest’s household wasn't too difficult and the Administrator never committed any fraud.

To be honest, the guy didn’t have the guts to commit any fraud. One needs intelligence and guts to embezzle some money while managing it. At the very least, a person needs one of the two to even attempt it. In that sense, the household’s Administrator wasn’t talented but was still capable of doing some work.

‘Damn it…’

If only the situation wasn’t so perilous. Whatever the case may be, the bomb had already detonated.


1. The author specifies memories from a previous life and doesn’t say he reincarnated.

2. The Korean passage here is ‘이건 꿀이다’, it’s a modern phrase/slang that I translated almost literally, and denotes something that’s easy or comfortable.

3. 8.5 billion Korean won (₩) is about 7.25 million USD ($)

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