Chapter 45: Duke Palan (4)

Once the three-way conference was over, Fuhrer Bahasten privately met with someone. 

“I did as you said, but… is it really alright to do it like this?”

In front of Fuhrer Bahasten was a young man in his mid-to-late 20s who looked frail, but the sharpness of his eyes belayed his weak image. Hiding his vicious nature, the young man politely knelt in front of Fuhrer Bahasten. 

“It will be alright, Your Excellency. After all, our priority is to repair the damages done to our own country. It would be too much for us to handle if we tried to take a piece of the Strabus Kingdom. 

“That’s true… but what a pity. I can’t even have a taste before giving up the whole thing.”

While Fuhrer Bahasten may have said he had no regrets to the others, truthfully, he was regretting that he had to give the Strabus Kingdom. The young man spoke to the regretful Bahasten.

“The Strabus Kingdom cannot collapse right now, Sir.”

“Huh? Truly? Even though the Allied Forces of the Republics are overwhelmingly victorious in the current war?”

“Strabus Kingdom isn’t a country that would collapse just because they lost one battle, Sir. Not to mention, the other countries will soon send in support.”

“That is true. What you said makes sense.”

“Yes, and that’s why right now it’s time to take a step back. Before trying to subjugate the kingdom, we need to first unite the Republics, Sir.”

“Then, if you’re certain, we’ll do as you say.”

Fuhrer Bahasten seemed to greatly trust the young man in front of him. That’s because Bahasten knew how great he was. After all, the strategy that had turned the crisis of the Hildes Republic into an opportunity came from him. The other two Fuhrers thought the strategy was the masterpiece of the Hildes Republic’s Chief of Staffs strategizing countless nights, but the reality was, it hadn’t been them.

‘From A to Z, all the plans came from this friend’s head.’

Starting with persuading Fuhrer Bahasten, everything until now was this young man’s brainchild. 

“I completely trust you, Siegfried. I’ll lend you my name, so let loose your abilities.”

His name was Siegfried and he was the Executive Secretary directly under the Fuhrer

Currently, not a lot of people knew his name.

However…

“Thank you, Your Excellency.”

In the future, there will be few who didn’t know his name on the continent.

* * *

If there are places that have greatly changed, then there will also be places that have changed a bit. 

Milton, who had become a Count at the Capital, returned to his estate and slowly carried out his decisions. To begin with, he did as Max wanted and increased the administrative bureaucracy. By doing so, Max’s ability to handle internal affairs improved and he began to complete even the tasks that he hadn’t been able to before due to the lack of time and manpower. And to the efficient Max, Milton shared his plans in his head and began to carry them out step by step. 

First, Milton started developing the mine by hiring a skilled miner to find him a vein within his mine. When Milton had originally shared his plan to develop the mine, Max and the other vassals had opposed him. This was because they believed it was a gamble. After all, searching for a vein took a lot of money and manpower and you either found one or you gave up. But Milton knew there was a vein hiding within his territory and forcefully pushed for a mine to be developed. Contrary to the vassals’ worries, a vein was found relatively quickly. Although it was a low-value copper vein, it was still better than nothing. Once the news of the copper vein spread, the surrounding territories were instantly interested in Forrest Territory. The lords of those territories all thought the same — as long as there was a vein, it was the same as having free money for the next 50 years. But, the lords weren’t eager to fight against Forrest Territory anytime soon. They were all afraid of going against Forrest Territory’s military strength that had won after three territories in battle. 

So, instead of trying to conquer Forrest Territory, there were lords who wanted to invest. 

All the lords, from the Southern Region to the lords at the very top, wanted to invest in Forrest Manor’s development. Milton decided to accept their investments, not for the mines, but for port development. For the lords who had wanted to invest and benefit from the mines, Milton wanting to use the investments for port development was very unexpected. Half of the investors rejected Milton’s proposal, but the other half agreed after careful consideration. After all, the Forrest Territory had the military power to fully protect the repeatedly expanded territory and the mine was expected to be financially profitable.  People with enough awareness knew that Forrest Territory was the most promising territory in the Southern Region.  Those who realized that it wouldn’t hurt to invest in Forrest Territory itself, not to mention the possibility of success with the port development, boldly invested. These investments allowed Milton to smoothly start developing the port. Once the port was developed and the investors were given the right to use it, trade would naturally happen. 

Mine development and port development. Both of these would create a lot of jobs. Milton judged that Forrest Territory wouldn’t have enough manpower to fill those positions, and so he implemented a policy of absorbing the wandering migrants and those in the surrounding areas. They were given jobs at the mine and the port while young men became soldiers of the estate. The Forrest Territory grew rapidly day by day while becoming stronger step by step and developed so much until it was hard to remember what it was like originally. 

Territory - Forrest Territory.

Population-89,521 people.

Funds-56,054 gold.

Main products-wheat, barley, oats, wood, fur, wool, horse, cheese.

Developable-Copper mine (in development), port (in development).

Military power-35 knights, 110 apprentices, 800 cavalry, 4,000 infantry, 1,000 archers.

“I’m pleased.”

Milton checked the status window several times a day and smiled each time. The population was close to 90,000 and the funds were over 56,000 gold. Well, more than half of the money was invested, but that was alright. He could finally understand the mindset of business owners in the past life — even debts could become wealth. Either way, it wouldn’t be wrong to say he was THE lord in the countryside. Watching the territory develop day by day was like playing Sims in his free time, so Milton felt happy. 

But, no matter how good of a life you have, it was impossible to be completely worry-free.

Recently, Milton had a very bothersome issue.

“My Lord, the two Elders have come to see you.”

Milton frowned at the chamberlain.

“Again? Damn it. Tell them I’m busy.”

But the chamberlain awkwardly responded, “That’s… um… they’ve already entered the manor, My Lord.”

Milton rubbed his temples and grumbled.

“Damn it. These bastards should just relax and enjoy their old age, why are they bothering me.”

Forrest Territory had a position that couldn’t be found in any other territory, that of an Elder. 

This temporary position had been created by Milton for the vassals who had devoted their entire lives to the territory to be able to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. While they had little power, even the active officials and knights of territory had to respect them. There were only two Elders, Sansen, the former Knight Captain, and Thomas, the former administrator in his estate. Anyways, these two Elders had recently joined forces to pursue one thing. 

But from Milton’s point of view, what they wanted wasn’t a good thing. 

However, there wasn’t a good way to reject them, so Milton had been delaying meeting them. And in response, the Elders had been pushing increasingly aggressively until Milton started to outright avoid them. 

“My Lord, are you there?”

“You must give us an answer today.”

In the end, the two Elders energetically entered Milton’s study.

“I haven’t even said to come in…”

“Weren’t you going to run away, My Lord?”

“You can’t do that, My Lord.”

These two stubborn old men were rude, reckless, and determined. 

The reason was…

“Now. Choose one of these, My Lord.”

“All of them are young ladies who are reputed to be beautiful and wise.”

It was the Milton Forrest Marriage project.

“Hah... I’m going to go crazy.”

Milton sighed as he looked at the dozens of portraits left by the two Elders. The two explained the necessity and importance of marriage without even taking a breath. Seeing Milton’s indifference towards marriage, Sansen cried out for the previous Viscount Forrest saying that it was because of his inadequacy that Milton didn’t want to get married, causing Milton to feel extremely guilty. In the end, Milton was only able to push the two Elders out by saying he would give it some thought. 

“I’m gonna go insane. They’re not even older relatives I have to see during the holidays, so why…”

But if you think about it, the two elders weren’t wrong. Providing an heir was an important duty of a feudal lord. In order to have an heir, it was common to have multiple wives and even a cause for divorce if the wife couldn’t bear a son. Truth be told, Milton should have been married a long time ago. After his father’s death, there were a lot of things that needed his attention, and marriage naturally got delayed. Traditionally, an official offer of marriage would be exchanged, politically motivated conditions discussed and agreed to before marrying a suitable young lady. 

But the problem was that Milton had memories of his past life. Before awakening the memories of the previous life, Milton had no issues with an arranged marriage, but the thought of it was repulsive now. He was very reluctant to marry a woman he had never met in person.

Although Milton was given ladies’ portraits, he knew that they were greatly exaggerated. 

Sometimes, the differences were so great, Milton couldn’t understand how any artist with a conscience could call a painting from imagination a direct portrait. 

‘This world doesn’t even have social media. Why are you photoshopping? Is it a woman’s instinct?’

And the problem wasn’t just the appearance. The biggest problem was their personality.

All the matchmakers said the same thing. She is wise and loving, has a strong sense of justice, a high spirit, and will be obedient to her husband. 

‘What bullshit…’

If there was such a woman, it would be rather frightening. There’s no way you could tell a person’s personality without meeting and talking with them. So how are you supposed to know a person’s personality just from listening to the matchmaker’s lies?

Milton frowned and muttered. 

“This is all because men and women don’t meet each other enough.”

In the Capital, there were many banquets and gatherings for the opposite sex to meet each other. Thanks to this, romance was quite common amongst the Capital’s nobles. Infidelity was also a common side effect. The main point was that there were a lot of opportunities to meet. 

But the country nobilities weren’t able to do that. In particular, the southern region of the country didn’t have enough economic leeway to hold banquets frequently, but also because they were very conservative. 

Women believed it was their duty to quietly marry the man their fathers’ chose, and that happiness was obeying their husband and bearing and raising their children. And for there to be a concept as ‘dating’ in this dark age? Impossible. 

“Should I just pick one of these?”

Milton muttered while looking at the portraits but then shook his head.

The portraits were all beautiful, but that’s why none of them could be trusted. 

‘It’s obviously a voice phishing scam. I can’t fall for it when I can clearly see it’s a scam.’

As Milton was contemplating, a thought came to his mind.

“If there’s no banquet, why don’t I hold on?”

‘How I could not have thought of such an obvious idea?’

Now that he thought about it, it really was simple. Milton had been thinking that he should prepare something for him to meet with those who had recently invested in his port.

Milton immediately called for his chamberlain, “Prepare a banquet and send an invitation to all the investors.”

And so, Milton decided to create his own social event. 

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