“So, I’m asking just in case, do you have 300 cell?” Ayra asked
Just a while ago, I gave all I owned to a merchant to sell, but he hasn’t returned yet.”
Unable to believe the reality of this situation, Ayra gently closed his eyes.
When he opened them again, he saw the principal debt written on the letter–10,000 cells.
Wondering what the borrowed money could have been used for and feeling like he’s grabbing at straws, Ayra asked Ginas, “What did Father use the borrowed 10,000 cells on?”
“I was also curious and spent many nights searching for the reason… He invested it all and lost everything.” Ginas smiled broadly.
It felt like he had gone briefly insane; Ayra also wanted to do the same.
While the young lord looked at the debt reminder silently, Ginas rose from his seat.
“If you have no more questions, I’ll leave to get some sleep now.”
“Since there’s nothing more I can do, I’d like to at least get some sleep.”
It looked as if the young governor would collapse if he stayed awake a minute longer; when Ginas turned around, he actually stumbled and collapsed.
“… He’s simply overworked.
With enough sleep, rest, and food, he’ll be fine.” Upon hearing news that the young governor had collapsed, the doctor rushed over and politely delivered his diagnosis to the young lord.
Ayra sighed deeply and closed the door, leaving behind Ginas who was still twisting and turning while unconscious.
When he received a notification that the Territory Management window had been updated, Ayra stood in the middle of the hallway and opened the aforementioned window.
A few new items were added…
That is, information on the debt was added…
Territory Name: Solar
Lord: Solar Xing Ayra
Area: 2,300 Genta
Population: 156,335 people
Debt: 10,300 Cell (Monthly interest 50 cell)
Special Note: There are 233 days left till ruin.
Laconic Review: “How about emigrating to a neighboring fief before this land’s ruin? I recommend Bolney or Sobleche!”
+Additional Function Upgrade: The territory needs to be developed.
The one-line laconic review was just too mean; Ayra pressed flat on Pebble until it made squeaking noises.
Then, with a worried expression, the young lord asked the attendant that just walked through the door “Botello, did you know about this?”
“…Yes, my lord.
The previous lord had gotten drunk one day and confessed it all to me.” The area around the eyes of the old and faithful attendant flushed red and his voice faltered.
“On the day of that terrible carriage accident… The lord was on his way to Prataris to arrange a political marriage with the eldest son of that family in order to muster up some money.
However, I only knew that we were in some sort of debt and not the gravity of the situation.”
Botello muttered his apologies, hurriedly turned his head, and wiped away his tears with a handkerchief.
Perhaps the old man wasn’t feeling well either–his face paled, and cold sweat ran down his back.
It wouldn’t do for the chief attendant to collapse, so Ayra deliberately removed Botello from duty on the pretext of taking care of Ginas.
Ayra, left with no other choice, returned to the study.
He sighed–it felt like the ground crumbling away beneath him.
After calming himself, he began reading the documents Ginas had been straining over for days, overworking himself.
Problems that were invisible when he had roughly read through earlier were now coming to light.
Originally, Solar was a peaceful land, even if the territory didn’t have much to its name.
Rather, one could say that the land was so peaceful because it had so little.
Other territories would fight every few years, starting wars that would last more than 10 years in order to take over some wide plain or mine.
On the other hand, territories didn’t have much to gain from sending soldiers to Solar, so the people of this land had known peace for a long time.
But for some reason, since two years ago, Sobleche and Bolney have begun shown their ambition to subsume Solar.
The two territories who grab and hold traders that aimed to enter the territory, alleging that the people that were caught were robbers, or spent money to steal competent retainers–even those deep within Solar’s employ.
In the end, the reason his father, the former lord, had to borrow money was an extension of these aggressions.
He boldly invested the borrowed money out of desperation and inability to watch his citizens starve to death.
His gamble-like investment completely failed.
Thanks to that, this territory had garnered 10,000 cells of debt; furthermore, an earthquake had collapsed part of Solar’s walls that had been crucial in protecting this land.
“Haha…” Ayra laughed mindlessly before returning to his senses.
A resounding slap rang through the room as he clapped his cheeks with both hands.
If he gave in to resignation now, this fief would truly be divided and conquered.
Moreover, he had less than a week left to raise enough currency to cover the debt’s interest.
“First off, I’ll need to pay interest.”
It wasn’t that there still weren’t unturned stones that may provide ways to scrounge up 300 cells.
The merchant–the one that was sent with all that the estate owned–was one such avenue to follow.
However, the issue was that the merchant had yet to return.
“The governor has collapsed, and the chief attendant is on the verge of collapse.”
Pressing hard on his temples to stave off the rising headache, Ayra called for one of the ministers in charge of state affairs.
The minister rushed straight to the study as soon as he was called.
Ayra had thought this during that morning banquet so long ago, but today he was struck by how conspicuous the man’s pink hair was.
He was in his late 50s; the fairly elderly man smiled, making an affable impression, and wiped the sweat off his forehead.
Perhaps he had come here after drinking; his face was quite bloated.
“Did you call for me, my lord?” he said.
“That’s right… Sir Lan Graphney.” Ayra, after confirming his name and surname through the stat window, called out the man’s name half a beat slowly.
The administrator grinned broadly, showing all of his bright teeth.
“Please, call me Graphney.”
“Mm, Sir Graphney.
According to the governor, he sent off a merchant a few days ago; where exactly was he sent? Could we still get in touch with that merchant?” Ayra asked while busily searching through the documents.
A while had passed but the young lord heard no response.
When Ayra looked up, Graphney looked puzzled.
“Why do you look as if you don’t know anything? You’re an administrative executive, right?”
“Uh, y-yes! Of course.
I’m an administrative minister.
Uh, mm, I don’t know exactly, but wouldn’t the governor have been the one to send the merchant out?”
Listening to his peerlessly stupid answer, Ayra realized that the minister may have had a great hand in Ginas overworking himself.
The man did not send off the merchant under Ginas’s direction; he wasn’t reporting to the governor.
Rather, while Graphney was lax in his work, Ginas had directly instructed the merchant and conducted all the post-processing.
“…In anycase, there’s no way to reach the merchant right now, correct?” Ayra asked.
“Yes, yes, that’s probably correct.
They’ll come back eventually.”
“Are you saying he came or not? How would one contact a merchant? Are there any magic communication tools here?”
No, Ayra thought, even in the Labyrinth, a magic communication tool was rare and precious–often used by well established mages or Great Lords.
There was no way this place would have something like that.
If they had such a tool, it would have immediately been sold to pay off the debt.
Graphney replied with a bright expression that didn’t suit his age, “Well, I guess you would send a messenger bird or a soldier.
If you wait, I’m sure he’ll come back one day, haha.”
Ayra could tell from his answer that this minister knew nothing and would be of no help.
You can go now.”
“What? No–there must be much you don’t know, I should be by your side to help you…”
Instead of responding further, Ayra lifted the Pebble that was sticking to his knees and loafing around.
When he blew on the Pebble, the artificial spirit flapped its small hands and floated away like a soap bubble riding on the wind.
Frightened by that sight, the administrative minister screeched, hurriedly drew a holy prayer sign with his fingers, and fled, almost stumbling and crawling, from the study.
Afterwards, with Pebble atop his head, Ayra searched for specific documents regarding the trader, but he was unsuccessful.
First, it was clear that it would be difficult to contact him now.
Ginas wouldn’t have suffered from such severe stress, losing so much weight, otherwise.
After brief contemplation, he called for the Knight commander this time.
He wanted to send a soldier to confirm the trader’s status.
However, for some reason, the knight commander did not arrive; instead, Bloom, the vice commander, came.
“Why have you arrived instead of the knight commander?” Ayra asked.
Bloom opened his mouth as if to say something before aborting that though; he soon took something out of his arms and handed it over.
This all felt somehow ominous; Ayra slowly reached out his hand. Was this a letter…? The envelope rustled as Ayra took out its contents.
Bloom, in an angry cold voice, said, “This is the commander’s resignation letter.”
“The knight commander has dared to abandon his duties–this morning, he left this resignation letter.”
Wow! The knight commander… Was this an estate where someone could run away without saying a word to their Lord?!
Reading the resignation letter, it seems that the knight commander felt overworked, paid too little for his time, and felt that his home fief had no prospects.
Was Solar’s dark future the problem? Or was it the knight commander?
Stress slowly rising, Ayra ripped up the letter.
“Then, from today Sir Bloom will be the knight commander.
You’ve been promoted to the next level.”
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