Chapter 3: Life of a Debtor (3)

Thomas’ house that Milton visited personally was better than a commoner’s but wasn’t all that luxurious either. His life would have been a bit more glamorous if he was corrupt and taking bribes.

“Right, being timid and incapable isn’t a sin.”

If Thomas had been a trashy individual, Milton would not have hesitated to deal with him strictly and taken off his head. However, Thomas had worked sincerely for quite a while and contributed to the territory in his role as the Administrator, so he couldn’t punish him in such a manner.

Strictly speaking, the previous Lord was more responsible for the debt that landed the territory in a dire situation. Therefore, Milton had his heart set on forgiving Thomas prior to coming over to this place. To be honest, the work for the territory was also severely backlogged without an Administrator.

Upon entering the house, he found Thomas having a meal with a young man.

“Huh? M… My Lord.”

Thomas stopped eating and immediately got up to bow in front of his Lord.

“G… greetings M… My Lord.”

Then the young man having a meal with Thomas also got up and bowed to Milton.

“Greetings, My Lord.”

“Raise your heads,” Milton commanded and the two men did so.

Milton eyed over the young man next to Thomas before asking, “Who’s this?”

“Sir, this kid is my son.”

“My name is Max.”

Thomas’ son, Max, politely introduced himself.

From his tanned face to his wide shoulders, anyone could see that Max was a stereotypical country boy. Except, his dignified appearance in front of his Lord was worthy of high praise.

Compared to his son, Thomas was antsy as he paid attention to Milton’s gaze.

“My Lord. Why did you come to my humble ….”

“To your humble what?”

“Huh? H… humble abode?”

‘He really is timid, huh.’ Milton let out a sigh.

One of the traits of a timid person was that they don’t speak with certainty, but rather have a tendency to trail off quietly. Due to their habit of insuring themselves against saying the wrong thing that people didn’t want to hear, they never speak decisively and always talk in maybes.

‘I saw this a lot with new hires in the company that lost their confidence.’

This made things difficult. When a timid person loses their confidence, they become overly careful, which many times would backfire and cause accidents to stack up instead.

Administrator Thomas wasn’t all that capable in the first place. If one were to look at his specs...

[Thomas]

Administrator LV.6

Strength – 08 Command – 30

Intellect – 55 Politics – 59

Loyalty – 82

Special Trait – Vigilance

Vigilance LV.5: Reduce the number of accidents when taking care of tasks. Able to safely take care of work they’re used to, but have a hard time learning the ropes for new tasks.

‘A failed character.’

If this was a character in a game, he would be a failed character to the point that one would contemplate the amount of time wastefully invested in raising them. The reason why he was able to take care of the administrative work for House Forrest’s territory so far was because the work was not anything grand.

Milton had originally sought his way here to reinstate Thomas as Administrator and give him work to do. However, looking at Thomas’ ability once again gave him some misgivings about whether reinstating him was the right choice.

‘Still, there is only one person who can perform the administrative work, so there’s not much room for choice… unless?’

Thinking of the possibility, Milton looked at the young man next to Thomas, Max. Occupations in this world were frequently passed down from their parents. Then that young man should have also had some training being an Administrator. Reaching that line of thought, Milton immediately confirmed the abilities of the young man named Max.

[Max]

Administrator LV.2

Strength – 17 Command – 28

Intellect – 71 Politics – 75

Loyalty – 52

Special Trait – Improvise [1], Agriculture.

Improvise LV.4: Even in the face of unforeseen circumstances, react to them with the best possible method.

Agriculture LV.6: A deep understanding of farming. Increases the amount of produce from the farm land. Reduce the effects of drought and flooding to a minimum.

‘Good, he’s a talent.’

Confirming Max’s ability was like welcoming sweet rain during a drought for Milton. As expected, Thomas had been educating his son to become an Administrator. And beyond what was expected was how competent Thomas’ son actually was.

Milton had planned on making this young man Thomas’ assistant if the young man was able to read and write. After checking Max’s ability, however, it seemed like Thomas should be assisting Max instead. What was especially surprising was that Thomas’ Administrator level was 6 and Max’s Administrator level was 2. Even though Max had a lower level, his current ability was much higher. This meant Max had the potential for a huge amount of growth in the future.

‘I need to grab him no matter what if his ability is this good at only level 2.’

Thinking this far, Milton made a strict expression as he spoke to Thomas, “Administrator Thomas, do you really know what wrong you’ve done?”

“Yes. That is…. I delayed a report I needed to have made earlier.”

“Correct. The debt of the House is something my late father took on and can’t be helped. But knowing about the debt and not reporting it to me who was to inherit the territory is your fault. As a result, our territory is facing a crisis that’s been unheard of.”

“I’m sorry. I’ve committed a sin worthy of death,” Thomas bowed his head and earnestly apologized.

Meanwhile, Max let out a deep sigh while he watched his father, Thomas, next to him. Even Max thought that his father had no way to refuse any punishment the Lord meted out.

At that moment….

“However, looking at your contributions while you served my predecessor for several decades as the Administrator for our territory, I will forgive you this once.”

“Th… Thank you, My Lord.”

A person would feel largely indebted when picked up after first being thrown down a pit. This was more so for a timid person like Thomas. And indeed at this very moment, Thomas’ loyalty rose from 82 to 88.

Milton had this thought while watching Thomas, ‘Is he the type whose loyalty goes up when becoming indebted? In that case…’

“Thinking about it, it may have been too much to ask for you to take on the entirety of the administrative work for our territory so far.”

“Not at all, My Lord. Your subordinate is not struggling at all.”

Thomas shook his head while saying that wasn’t the case, but Milton also shook his head as he responded.

“No. There’s a limit to what you can do alone as a person. I will have to find a young person to act as your assistant for administrative work.”

Thomas’ expression changed to delight as he heard Milton’s words. Getting an assistant for oneself was the same as saying they would get a direct subordinate. Who would dislike that? However, Milton wasn’t quite done.

“Except, in the current state of the territory, it’ll be too much strain to gather individuals using money. Hmm… what to do?”

Milton looked over at Thomas while saying so.

“…….”

However, Thomas just stared blankly at Milton as if asking what was the matter.

‘He’s really dense.’

Milton finally spoke more straightforwardly, “Do you have anyone you would recommend? A young person that can read, write, do basic accounting, and knows of our territory’s circumstances?”

“That kind of young person… doesn’t exist in our territory, I think.”

Ugh!

Milton felt a twinge of anger at Thomas’ words.

‘I can’t help cop him out if he can’t even get my drift. How are we so incompatible?’ [2]

Milton finally decided to say it outright.

“How about your son? Would he not be of help if he knows how to read and write?”

“Ah... Yes. My son Max can read and write. He also helps me with my work usually.”

“Is that so. Your name is Max, right?”

“Yes, My Lord.”

“I will officially appoint you as an Administrative Assistant of our territory. Help your father with his tasks and take care of the work. Will you accept?”

“I will act as per your command, My Lord,” Max replied to Milton with an evident hint of excitement in his voice. To so readily accept this role without denial was an indication that he wanted to flex the extent of his abilities.

‘A person with both the talent and the drive - even better.’

When Milton checked Max’s status pane again, the latter's loyalty had risen from 52 to 65.

***

Milton fell into a dilemma. Even though he found a talented individual to fill in Thomas’ inadequacy, it didn’t mean the debt of 8,500 gold would just go away. Money was needed to pay off the debt… No matter how hard he racked his brains, there didn’t seem to be a way to pay off the debt immediately.

“Since things have already come so far, should I take all the wealth I can and fly-by-night?”

Park Moonsoo’s ego said to do so, but Milton’s ego could not bear to have his House and their land, passed down from generation to generation, come to an end by his hands. It meant the debt needed to be paid, but it was impossible to repay it currently.

However….

Just one. Even if the debt couldn’t be repaid, there was a way to hold it off temporarily.

“Is that the only way after all? Damn it,” Milton cursed. It was a method that he had thought up previously. However, it was something he really didn’t want to resort to, so it had been left as the final option. But since there was no alternative, it seemed to be the only method that could be used.

“There’s no other way,” Milton let out a deep sigh before taking out a sheet of paper to write up a document. The following was written at the top of the document: Enlistment Application.

This was the only viable method Milton could think of.

***

To briefly explain the state of affairs of this continent, the feudalist system of a centralized king surrounded by nobles had been in place for a long time. However, the discontent of the commoners grew as the nobles continued to get special treatment. Finally, the spark of revolution was started in a small northern country.

These people started their uprising and insisted on abolishing the class-based system, and revolting for fair and equal opportunities for everyone. The first rebellion started to spread widely and surprisingly destroyed a country. The first republic on the continent had been born.

They advocated the idea of a fair world without higher or lower titles, and they called themselves Republicans. It was to be expected but the surrounding kingdoms didn’t acknowledge the Republic.

The king ruled over the country and was the center. The nobles ran the country in a ruling hierarchy. That was the universal and correct way of thinking in this world.

The surrounding kingdoms considered the Republic to be heresy and attacked them. For a newly established republic, it was too merciless of an attack. The Republic fell in less than three months and the kingdoms thought the problem had been resolved.

However, they were wrong to think that way. The Republic might have fallen, but the Republicans and their affiliates had not disappeared. Those who survived spread out into the surrounding kingdoms and fiercely struggled over a long period of time.

People acting with righteousness in their hearts are strong. Despite the harsh persecution and punishment, their numbers kept increasing. For the commoners and slaves in the lowest tier of the class system, the words ‘an equal world’ were blindingly brilliant to behold. A rebellion eventually rose again. Occurring simultaneously in many places, the rebellion was enough to destroy the northern Empire of Carcelona at the time.

Before long, three republic countries were created in the north - The Hildess Republic, the Hanovirtue Republic, and the Kobrook Republic. These three Republics completely conquered the northern continent and now insisted on Republicanism for the entire continent and the abolition of the identity system.

Naturally, this caused the entire continent to be wary, and all kingdoms officially identified the Republics as the enemy. Furthermore, they were vigilant against republicans seeping into their country, and passed out harsh and cruel punishment reminiscent of a witch hunt if a republican was discovered. The countries of the central region continued an endless war with the republic, so the republic’s forces could not head south.

The powerful Strabus Kingdom was the main representative of all the countries in the central region keeping the republic’s entry to the south in check. Purely from the perspective of manpower and omitting the only empire in the continent, the Andrews empire, The Strabus Kingdom honestly had the strongest military force. It was natural for the surrounding countries to be wary of such a strong military force, but the Strabus Kingdom was in a special situation.

Since the Strabus Kingdom bordered the northern republic countries, the other countries of the continent were able to be safe. If the Strabus Kingdom were to be pushed back, the southern kingdoms will need to deal with the Republics themselves. Therefore, far from keeping the Strabus Kingdom’s military strength in check, the other kingdoms of the continent instead gave them military support to stand up to the Republic powers.


1. The Korean word here is 임기응변, and means to take on any unexpected circumstances and address or resolve it. “Play it by ear” is the closest term that fits, but “Improvise” was the best single word that seemed to fit.

2. This passage was originally: ‘아니 낙하산을 태워주려고 해도 쿵짝이 맞아야지. 손발이 이렇게 안 맞을 수가 있나?’ This has about 2-3 phrases that have no equivalent in English. I have just translated the essential meaning from the passage.

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