“I, Lloyd Frontera, the son of Arcos Frontera, would like to say something as the heir of this territory.”

 

Lloyd’s voice echoes throughout the training ground.
Before he knew it, everyone’s gaze was focused on him.

 

Some farmers gulped down their saliva; some woodcutter clenched their fists unconsciously; some brewer also had their lips twitching.

 

This situation was something no one had ever imagined. 

 

Sir Neumann, a senior knight of the territory, was defeated.
He was trampled on not by a knight, but by Lloyd, the Lord’s son who they thought was nothing but a rascal.

 

That alone was quite shocking.

 

However, that wasn’t the end.
Lloyd continued to attack even after the duel ended.

 

The baron, who couldn’t stand it, angrily ordered Lloyd to stop.
But Lloyd then replied proudly.
He said Sir Neumann had betrayed the territory and his master.
Everyone doubted their ears.

 

However, the baron’s complexion turned pale after reading the letter which they didn’t know what it was.
He sat down helplessly, as if his legs were jelly.
Then, he gave Sir Neumann a devastating look.
Thanks to that, everyone was able to grasp the general situation, albeit roughly.

 

‘Does this mean Young Master Lloyd is telling the truth?’

 

It seemed likely, judging from the baron’s reaction.
Then, from now on, what will happen to Sir Neumann?

 

All of the fief resident’s eyes who gathered on the training ground were drawn towards Lloyd.
They waited for a declaration to come out from his mouth. 

 

 

Lloyd also felt their gaze. 

 

‘It’s important from now on.’

 

How much preparation did he make to create this situation? He had compiled every content he remembered from the [Iron-Blooded Knight] novel.

 

Thus, he had considered the current state of the territory plus the relationships and the feelings of the characters he knew.
He also anticipated changes from the novel’s contents that resulted from his actions. 

 

In other words, he made this situation by speculating almost dozens of scenarios one by one.
Of course, among them, there was the baron’s reaction which could be seen right now.

 

‘If I make a too harsh proposal here, it’ll backfire.’

 

The baron is a kind man.
A soft-hearted person.
No matter how much Sir Neumann betrayed him, he won’t think of taking a cold-blooded disposition all of a sudden.

 

So, what if I openly suggest harsh measures? It occurred to me that there would be a high risk of the baron showing his disapproval.

 

‘Now is the time to bait him.’

 

I could only express my opinion anyway.
The decision maker is still the baron.
So, I have to bait the baron first.
Only then could I get the result I wanted.

 

Lloyd cleared his throat. 

 

“You must be very concerned.
Yes, so am I.
Sir Neumann had been in our territory for a long time and in the meantime, he had made a lot of contributions.”

 

“Hmm.
Do speak more.”

 

He must’ve wondered because unexpectedly, I was defending Sir Neumann.

 

The baron tilted his head and Lloyd continued, “Of course, Sir Neumann’s role in this incident is shocking.
He turned his back to the Lord and caused great harm to the territory.”

 

“In other words, are you trying to say that there are both merits and demerits, is that it?”

 

“That’s right.”

 

Fortunately, it worked well.
The baron is a kind man, but not a dull man.

 

“Then his meritorious deeds are for naught.
Are you asking me to take Sir Neumann’s every deed into account and deal with this?”

 

“Yes.
That’s correct.”

 

“Well, from the way you speak, it seems that you have a separate way of punishment in mind.”

 

“Of course I have.”

 

Lloyd smirked.
Just like uprooting a bull’s horn in one go, I told him the punishment method I had thought of in advance.

 

“Let’s drop a ‘rat’ on his head.”

 

“….
A rat?”

 

“That’s correct.”

 

Then, Lloyd continued.

 

“I’ll drop a rat on Sir Neumann’s head.
If he’s not hurt at all, why don’t we give him a chance to reflect upon his mistake?”

 

“An opportunity for him to reflect….”

 

“I think it would be appropriate to demote him to the rank of a regular soldier.”

 

“Do you mean that he should repent his past mistake and prove his loyalty by serving as a regular soldier?”

 

“That’s correct.”

 

“….”

 

The baron fell silent.
Unconsciously, the baroness clasped her hands.

 

The rest of the territory’s residents turned to the person next to them and broke the silence.
Whispering and muttering to each other.

 

“Hey, what does that mean?”

 

“They said they’re dropping a rat?”

 

“Right? That’s what you heard too, right?”

 

“Yes.
They said they’d drop the rat on Sir Neumann’s head.”

 

“Is that the punishment? Is that all?”

 

“Umm.
I don’t know the reason, but perhaps?”

 

Some farmers shrugged their shoulders.
Some woodcutters tilted their heads.

 

It didn’t make any sense.

 

“Is there anyone who would get hurt just by getting a rat dropped on your head?”

 

“Well, I think it might be possible.”

 

“How could that be?”

 

“If you’re afraid of rats, you could scream after getting startled then fall down while running around, right?” 

 

“….
But Sir Neumann wouldn’t do that, would he?”

 

“No matter what?”

 

“That’s right.
Because he’s a knight.”

 

The housewives also whispered and chattered loudly with their friends who were next to them.
They made guesses and tried to rack their brains.
However, no matter how much they thought about it, it was unlikely that Sir Neumann would be hurt by such punishment. 

 

In other words, everyone interpreted Lloyd’s suggestion in this way,

 

 

“He’s going to forgive Sir Neumann, isn’t he? Right, Javier?”

 

“I think so too.”

 

Sir Bayern, who was beside him, inquired.
At the question, Javier nodded.

 

“Perhaps, he decided that this punishment is enough.”

 

“The Young Master Lloyd?”

 

“Yes, that’s correct.” Javier continued, “Sir Neumann had already been humiliated enough in front of everyone.
And, even if he were to be forgiven like this, his humiliation wouldn’t end just yet.”

 

“I suppose so.
He’ll be deprived of his rank as a knight and have to serve as a regular soldier.”

 

“Yes.
That in itself would be a disgrace.
It’s just…”

 

“Just what?”

 

“There’s something odd.”

 

“Something odd?”

 

“Lloyd-nim’s suggestion.
Personally, it’s a bit surprising.”

 

Sir Bayern turned his head to look at me, as if asking what I meant by that.

 

After a short pause, Javier said, “It’s too moderate.
Too excessively benevolent.
That’s why it doesn’t suit Lloyd-nim.
I think he’s… No, he’s not that great of a person.”

 

Honestly, it was like that.
Lloyd Frontera was the one I escorted.
That human being, whom I’ve watched from the side, was not the type of a man who wouldn’t hold grudges.

 

‘That fellow is quite terrible.
He’s thorough, tenacious, and cheap.’

 

He’s not a bad guy.
Though, he’s also not a good-hearted guy.

 

There’s a side of him that’s incredibly petty.
He would never ever do anything that would make him lose money. 

 

In a nutshell, he’s a thoroughly clever man.
That was Javier’s most candid assessment of Lloyd recently. 

 

‘It can’t be helped.’

 

One day, that man changed dramatically.

 

He stopped making trouble every day.
Instead, he became incredibly petty.
He meticulously pocketed the construction payments he got from the fief residents.
When he realized he was short a few coins, he ran over to get them even if he was eating dinner.

 

‘In addition to that, the lullaby service? He has me at his beck and call completely with that odd thing.’

 

A parade of weird academic terms every night.
Thanks to that, I could sleep soundly.

 

At first, I was happy, as if I had conquered the whole world.
However, I had to realize it wasn’t as sweet as I thought.

 

‘Because the price is too expensive.’

 

Several times a day, I had to hear threats and whatnots from that human being. 

 

“If you don’t teach me swordsmanship, I’ll stop the lullaby service.”

 

“You know that we both are the copyright holders of Asrahan Core Technique, right? If you don’t acknowledge it, I’ll stop the lullaby service.”

 

“Oh, I’m a little thirsty.
But you know what? I’ll extend the lullaby service for you by one day.”

 

….
It went like that.

 

He abused his power that way.
It felt like I was being more gullible day by day.

 

I can’t escape from his evil scheme.
No, I don’t dare to escape.
All because his lullaby service is so effective!

 

‘….
Sigh.
The more I think about it, the worse it gets.
Besides, would a man as thorough as him forgive Sir Neumann for betraying the territory and going against him like this? Nonsense.
I don’t know what he was like in the past when he was a drunkard.
But, the recent him won’t forgive his opponent so easily.’

 

Surely, there must be something else.
That human being certainly had been hiding vicious schemes.
Thinking so, Javier looked at Lloyd with his eyes wide open.

 

Of course, Javier was the only one who got suspicious about Lloyd in this training ground.
The rest of the people were different.
Everyone was amazed at Lloyd’s unexpected generosity.
Amongst them, Baron Frontera got surprised the most.

 

 

‘That’s right.
You’ve made a moderate judgment on your own, Lloyd.’

 

The baron nodded internally.
It was unexpected.
Thus, he was delighted.

 

‘I thought you would always be an impregnable child who runs wild without realizing how scary the world actually is.’

 

No.
Now that I look at him, I was wrong.

 

My son, Lloyd, had grown into a praiseworthy man in no time.

 

‘This is great.
Now it makes sense.
I wondered why you were having a dispute with Sir Neumann, the senior knight of this territory.
It seems that you already knew of Sir Neumann’s betrayal ever since.’

 

This must’ve been why he deliberately created a conflict with Sir Neumann.
You must’ve intentionally proposed to have a duel.
To punish Sir Neumann severely in front of everyone.

 

‘Yes, it must’ve been to punish him and alert everyone else.
At the same time, you’ve shown your wisdom to seek realistic benefits for the territory by showing generosity at this moment, in contrast to everyone’s expectations.’

 

The more I thought about it, the more remarkable it was.

 

Even though he’s a traitor, Sir Neumann is a valuable human resource.

 

‘Hiring a knight of that level is not easy.’

 

This land was a rural area on the periphery, all the way to the end.
The outskirts were avoided by a tantalizing number of knights.
Especially knights who were on the verge of becoming Sword Expert.

 

‘Enacting discipline in the territory through harsh punishment.
At the same time, it also gives the traitor room for self-reflection and rehabilitation by giving them unexpected generosity and opportunities.
Thus, we could make the most out of this without abandoning the traitor’s ability.
It’s really great.’

 

Sir Neumann must’ve also felt something about this.
He would be moved by the generous decision that saved him.
He would sincerely reflect on his past mistakes and become more loyal to the fief. 

 

The baron felt his heart soar.

 

‘I can’t believe my son thought of this.’

 

What a wide range of knowledge and calculation.
The more I thought about it, the prouder I got that it felt like I’m going to burst into tears. 

 

The baron nodded whilst struggling to press down his joy by crinkling his nose.

 

“Good.
Lloyd, I accept your suggestion.
Sir Neumann? What do you think? Are you willing to accept the opportunity Lloyd had proposed?”

 

“….
Yes! I’m willing!”

 

Sir Neumann, who had been drooping all this time, nodded his head.
Although he was badly beaten and in tatters, his ears were still open.
Naturally, he heard Lloyd’s suggestion to the baron. 

 

 

For Sir Neumann, it was a suggestion that would benefit him.

 

‘You’re just going to drop a rat on my head? If I don’t get hurt, you’re going to forgive me? If the condition is like this, I’ll certainly accept it!’

 

I’ll get forgiven If I manage to get through this.
And then what?

 

‘What do you mean by self-reflection? Demotion to a regular soldier? What nonsense.’

 

I don’t have the slightest intention of being disgraced like that

 

‘I’m going to leave this awful land right away.
Then, I’ll avenge myself.’

 

Grrtk!

 

I gnashed my teeth secretly so it won’t get noticed.
With a look of remorse and regret, I spoke to the baron in a quivering voice.

 

“I’ll prove it right away.
I beg your pardon.
Please give me a chance to accept Young Master Lloyd’s wise suggestion.”

 

“Good.” The baron nodded.

 

“Lloyd, is there any rat ready to be dropped on Sir Neumann’s head?”

 

“Yes, I knew this would happen, so I prepared it in advance.”

 

“That’s a relief.
Then, proceed.”

 

“I understand.”

 

At last, the baron granted his permission.
Sir Neumann’s lips curled up.
A wicked smile also bloomed on Lloyd’s lips.

 

“Look, Sir Neumann? Did you just smile? Feeling happy?”

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Well, that’s right.
Congratulations.
Do you think this is a good chance to beg for forgiveness?”

 

“What… does that mean?”

 

Sir Neumann tilted his head.
This situation was pleasant, but something felt wrong. 

 

Why is that human being smiling so happily? I wonder why that smile felt so cold.

 

“What do you think it means?”

 

Lloyd’s smile became more wicked.
Before I knew it, there was a small hamster in his hand.
On his other hand, there was a red sunflower seed.
Only Sir Neumann, who was nearby, saw it.

 

“That means, the best way for you to beg for forgiveness is to remember that there’s none.”

 

“….
Pardon?”

 

The moment Sir Neuman asked back, feeling uneasy, Crunch! The hamster munched on the red sunflower seed.

 

Lloyd threw the hamster to the air and retreated.
And….

 

Boom!

 

“Ppodong! Crush him!”

 

“Ppo-dong!”

 

“…..!”

 

A giant hamster, approximately 10 meters in length, fell down on Sir Neumann with his whole body.

 

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