Chapter 46: Sophia Philinover (1)

If you’re going to do it, do it right.

This was Milton’s resolution as he prepared for the banquet. If you think about it, this was the first banquet since Milton became the Head of the Forrest Family. It was necessary to hold a banquet if you considered the amount of funds that were recently invested in Forrest Territory. 

Milton built an annex on the Manor grounds for the banquet and made sure the lobby of the banquet hall was luxuriously decorated. He also hired famous musicians and chefs from the Capital at an exorbitant price. In an aristocratic society, luxury was sometimes a necessary political expenditure. Milton wanted to take this chance and throw the largest banquet ever held in the Southern region and remind the nobles that Forrest Territory had reached its golden age.

On the day of the banquet, the invited guests trickled into Forrest Manor one by one. On the surface, the banquet was for those who had invested in the development of the port, but the invitation also had in a small print, ‘family members are welcomed.’ In other words, if you have a daughter, bring them. Nobles who had awareness would quickly understand what that meant. 

Milton Forrest was currently the number one bachelor amongst the nobles in the Southern Region. Many nobles brought their daughters with them to the Forrest Territory. Viscount Cullever was amongst them and he hoped to marry his daughter to Milton. While he may only be a Viscount, his territory was quite large and he felt that his daughter, Flora’s, beauty didn’t lose to the ladies in the Capital.  Cullever believed that with these qualifications, marriage was possible. However, when he arrived at Forrest Territory, his confidence diminished.

“Father, is this truly Forrest Territory?”

His daughter asked while looking around with surprised eyes and Viscount Cullever, just as shocked, replied.  

“It is indeed. I’ve passed by it once in my youth, but it’s changed a lot since then.”

The nobles who had arrived at Forrest Territory were all shocked at the changes. It was no longer the Forrest Territory of their memories. As the population increased and money circulated, more buildings were built until eventually, Forrest Territory became the size of a city. A large road wide enough for two carriages to pass side by side was built and with that road as the center, smaller streets were built perpendicularly, with clearly distinct residential and commercial districts.  Since having the streets like a maze would be a security concern, Milton had spent a lot of time on the placement of the roads. 

“The road is clean and very nicely paved. And all the residents are neatly dressed.”

“Oh, Father! There’s a shop that specializes in accessories. I only saw the store in the Capital…could we please drop by?”

Looking at his pleading daughter who wanted to go shopping, Viscount Cullever momentarily frowned before changing his mind.

“We still have some time, so it should be alright. Come back quickly.”

He thought it’d be better if Count Forrest saw his daughter beautifully adorned. 

“Truly Father?”

At her father’s permission, his daughter’s face blossomed with a smile.

“I’ll give you some money, so pick something that you like and then go back to our rooms. I have somewhere to go, but I’ll be back soon.”

“Yes. Thank you, Father!”

After dropping his daughter off at the shop, he directed his coachman to take him somewhere else. 

“Take me to where the port is being developed.”

“Yes, My Lord.”

While it wasn’t a large amount, Viscount Cullever had invested in Forrest Territory’s port development. After seeing how the Forrest Territory had developed, he was now curious about the port and wanted to see it with his own eyes. Although it took a while to get to the port, once he saw it, Viscount Cullever was amazed. 

“Ho… This is a full-fledged port.”

When Viscount Cullever had seen the blueprints for the port, he had thought it was quite large. He also believed that once it was developed, the location of it would be great for commerce. But after seeing it with his own eyes, he felt it was even better than what he had imagined. 

“The opening of the port is wide enough for multiple ships to enter. And if the city under construction back there is used as a commercial district, then…”

Seeing is believing. Viscount Cullever greatly admired Count Forrest’s developing port. 

‘Once this port is completed, without a doubt, it will become the best trade center in the Southern Region. Then Count Forrest’s benefits would be…’

Just thinking about it was dizzying. Viscount Cullever saw others who had thought similarly to him.

“Oh, isn’t it Viscount Cullever?”

“Can’t be, Viscount Carbon? Viscount Ramis? And even Baron Jackson? What are you all doing here?”

“Hahaha… Aren’t we all investors of this port? Since we came to the banquet, we thought to come and see it for ourselves.”

“Is that so. I too came for that exact reason. The location of the port isn’t all that bad.”

All the nobles gathered here acted dignified with each other, but they were all thinking the same thing. They had all been surprised at the development of Forrest Territory and wanted to see how the port they had invested in was coming along. 

Now, everyone had the same thought. 

‘Is Forrest Territory becoming the core of the Southern Region?’

‘If the Southern Region changes, then at the forefront will be Count Forrest.’

They were the Southern nobles who had been subtly discriminated against by the Capital. But that wasn’t because the Southern Region was bad, but because the Southern nobles had never united as one. The Capital nobles treated them as country bumpkins who only knew how to farm in the South. However, about 40 percent of the food production in Lester Kingdom came from the South. The South had many minor nobles who had divided the region amongst them and with no one to lead them, they could only do as the Capital ordered. It’s not that the Southern nobles didn’t know their problem, but that they couldn’t do anything about it. But recently, the House of Forrest was getting stronger and was bringing the Southern nobles together economically. It was the focal point that many Southern nobles had been waiting for for many years. 

And the nobles who had gathered here all thought the same thing. 

‘There are more advantages for those standing in the front of the line than for those standing in the back.’

‘If we’re going to be connected, it would be better to be connected by blood.’

‘My daughter’s looks won’t lose to anyone. Personality… can always be fixed.’

These nobles felt it would be best to have an intimate relationship with the House of Forrest. The nobles who had daughters all felt that Milton went from the number 1 bachelor to the only bachelor they wanted to have as their son-in-law. 

On the day of the banquet, all the invited nobles gathered at the banquet hall. Milton had given the chefs some of his previous life’s recipes asking that the new dishes be served at the banquet. He had given them recipes for macarons and cheesecakes that the ladies would like, and a chicken recipe that all Koreans love. Since Milton wasn’t a professional chef in his previous life and his only knowledge consisted of what he had heard and read before, he wasn’t able to answer all the questions the chefs had. But even so, some of the reproduced dishes were of high quality.

“Ohh… This fried chicken is quite amazing. The spicy sauce cuts the greasy tastes of it very well.”

“I agree. And this minced horse meat is also amazing. Who knew you could eat raw meat like this.”

“I wonder where Count Forrest learned of such dishes.”

“Who knows. He was educated in the Capital when he was young, and he also participated in the war with the Strabus Kingdom, so he must have widespread knowledge.”

“Ho… you’ve investigated the Count, then.”

“Hahaha… Can it even be called an investigation? It’s just information that’s trickled into my ears.”

Food is one of the ways where you can directly experience a culture. When a person encounters food that they have never seen or eaten before, they would feel wonder and admiration. It might just have been food, but the novelty and the uniqueness, along with the recent rise of Milton’s reputation, caused the nobles gathered at the banquet to praise Milton nonstop. 

When the banquet reached its peak, Milton entered. 

And once he appeared…

“Ohh… so he’s Count Forrest?”

“I heard that he was a sword master at a young age.”

“What an admirable person. It’s only been a few years since he inherited the Viscounty, but he’s already done such great things. 

The elderly nobles stared at Milton as though they were looking at a promising young man. And although the young ladies didn’t say anything, their eyes all sparkled as they peeked at him over their fans. Before coming to the banquet, many of the young ladies’ fathers had ordered them to make a connection with Milton, and even the ladies whose fathers didn’t say anything became greedy at the sight of the developed estate and the gorgeous banquet hall.

‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to become the lady of the house to an estate like this?’

‘This would be a hundred times better than to become a mistress of a Capital’s noble.’

‘He’s young, his face looks decent, and since his swordsmanship is also good, then his stamina in bed… oh dear…’

The young ladies were all blushing, but none of them took their eyes off of Milton.

Grabbing everyone’s attention, Milton stood in the middle of the banquet hall with a glass in his hand.

“First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to all the guests who have attended this banquet, causing it to be even brighter.”

At Milton’s polite greeting, all the other nobles nodded their heads. Because Milton had won the territorial battles and absorbed the surrounding territories, many people believed him to be belligerent and arrogant. So, Milton took this opportunity to change his reputation and continued to speak politely.

“Because I inherited the Viscounty at such a young age, I still have many inadequacies. However, with all your help, I was able to start developing the port. In the future, I will do my best to help develop the Southern Region. I hope you will continue to lend me your strength in the future.”

At Milton’s words, the nobles started to clap, one by one.

Clap clap clap clap…

The reason for the nobles clapping was divided into two. Some clapped because he was a competent and polite young man. Others clapped because they understood his hidden meaning and admired him.

‘He’ll try his best to develop the South, so he wants us to help him out.’

‘Huh, is he declaring that he’ll become the chief of the South?’

‘Not only is he capable, he’s also ambitious.’

They judged that Milton had the intention to become the leader of the South in the future.

In fact, there was no territory in the South that could equal Forrest Territory’s current power. One by one, the nobles approached Milton with a smile.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Viscount Myron.”

“A pleasure, Viscount Myron.”

“It’s really amazing that at such a young age, you’ve raised your family’s honor like this.”

“Ah, that’s too much praise, Viscount.”

“No, it’s not enough praise. Ah, this is my daughter, Olivia. Olivia, come greet the Count. Didn’t you say you’ve always wanted to meet him?”

Viscount Myron introduced his daughter and subtly informed Milton that she’s always thought about him. Of course, he wasn’t being a very subtle wingman, but Olivia still smiled as brightly as she could.

“I am Olivia Myron. It is an honor to meet you, Count Forrest.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lady Myron.

She blushed as Milton lightly kissed the back of her hand.

“Please, call me Olivia.”

At that moment, it was like throwing oil into the flames.

‘That fox!’

‘How dare she make a move first!’

The eyes of the surrounding young ladies and their fathers sparked as they pushed their way through to Milton. 

“Count Forrest, I am Viscount Baker. My daughter’s always wanted to…”

“This is my daughter, Rene. She wanted to personally embroider a handkerchief for you…”

Milton calmly dealt with them one by one and continued to host the banquet. 

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