Chapter 20 – A Noble’s Life Plan
“There was someone looking to request a meeting with Theodore-san earlier.”
Just as we arrived at the Adventurer’s Guild to convert our loot into money, Heather called out to us and said that.
…What could it be? I can’t imagine it has to do with having been involved with Snakebite’s group. The Adventurer’s Guild forbade us from talking about it, and she came to tell me that it was better to not be involved with them.
“I was told to have you wait in the Guild for a bit, so please wait in a room inside.”
“…Who in the world is it?”
“It’s Lady Ashley.”
Heather smiled at my confusion.
“I’ll go calculate and prepare the reward money for the case involving Snakebite during your meeting.”
When we passed the Guild counter and entered one of the rooms inside, Ashley was there.
After yelling out our names, Ashley stood up from the couch and smiled at us.
“Ashley-sama, how is your body?”
“Yes, my condition has been well, compared to before. I just arrived in Termuilles a little earlier.”
Ashley exchanged a smile with Grace. The two of us had opened up our hearts to her during our stay at her home.
Ashley didn’t show any repulsion after listening about Grace’s Dhampir state, and it appeared that Grace was also considering Ashley’s position.
“It hasn’t been long enough to say, ‘It’s been awhile.’ Are you tired from your long trip?”
“No. I came here in a Dragon Cage that belongs to the Adventurer’s Guild.”
The Guild’s Dragon Cages…what came into my mind was Beline’s chuckling smile…but assuming things, without listening to Ashley’s reason for coming to Termuilles first, was a bit rash of me.
By the way, Dragon Cages were a form of transportation where tamed, flying dragons, with one or two heads, carried around cages.
Other than those, there were also Dragon Carriages, which were pulled by Land Dragons. They were capable of transporting and moving larger quantities of items much more quickly than horses. Perhaps you could say that the reason I came here using a horse carriage was because it wasn’t worth it to use valuable Dragons on an illegitimate child who had left the house.
Perhaps Ashley had concluded that reducing the burden of travelling by reducing travel time via flying dragons, instead of journeying with horses or land dragons, would be better for her body.
“Well, you surprised me. Why are you here?”
“I’ve also decided to study at Termuilles. I couldn’t contact Theodore-sama on such short notice, but Beline-san was there to take a message for me at the Guild.”
Aah. As I thought, she planned to live here?
“I have something to discuss with Theodore-sama. If you’re fine with it, and if it’s possible for you to do, will you take up a request I’ve arranged?”
It’s normally impossible to arrange requests with beginner Adventurers though…
“This is about continuing the Circulation Refining healing, right?”
“Understood. Let’s work out the details later.”
…Speaking of the burden on her body, it would become rather large if the Circulation were to change.
To preserve Ashley’s physical condition, it needed to be supported by Circulation Refinement.
Without a doubt, her message was…that Kennel had approved of the situation where a noble man and woman, who weren’t betrothed to each other, could frequently converse together. The one who drew that picture was probably Beline, though.
However, what to say about it…instead of being deceived by her…I think Kennel was bought by Beline. It was probably a plan to realize the amount of support I was giving to Ashley.
Ashley didn’t know anything, and as for Beline’s interference going this far, I think she planned to entrust it to our judgement later on. She wouldn’t try to injure Ashley’s future position, and it was up to me to decide the location for her healing after all.
This discretion wasn’t evil of Beline…rather, it was her bad personality.
After speaking about it objectively, I had no right to an inheritance, since I was an illegitimate child. Unless Katherine and her children were like that, I think it was normal for that to belong to Byron’s guardians, who were at the Count’s house.
Although I didn’t want to say that my way of speaking was arrogant, to the degree of suffering a loss from leaving the house, if a blood relative didn’t have the right to inherit, then it would be because that person was not a man of talent in regards to the house. The development of a situation where they had to be expelled was, in itself, a failure of the Count’s house.
That was why things like my future had originally been decided. Even my marriage partner might have been someone who would be beneficial to the Count’s house, and would have been decided by Dad.
Katherine had harassed me due to her jealousy towards Mom, and the idiot brothers had joined in on that. I was sick of that, so I left the Count’s house. In short, my future became a blank slate because of the discord with my family.
Even though I hadn’t done anything yet, I disliked talking about my future plans…but if Beline were to speak with me about how I would be viewed, she would evaluate that moving to Termuilles meant that I would probably make a name for myself.
Ten years of age. Around this time, the topic of heirs and superiority would be common at a Noble’s house…it was normal…to have multiple concubines as candidates for the main wife, and for one’s personal possessions to be solidified.
If I were to say it, based on Kagehisa’s senses, there was some separation, but in a situation where he acted on his own…I didn’t think that Beline and Kennel’s thoughts lacked logic. In reality, even Byron was like this.
Beline had been skillful here; she hadn’t verbally promised anything, while mediating the connection between Ashley and myself.
No matter what my future and my relationship with Ashley would be like…Kennel’s responsibilities of managing the Shirn territory, the relations between the Baron and the Guild, Ashley’s noble education and health maintenance, the connection between fellow nobles, and the healing magic that I would provide, would still be there. As for my future, it would be left up to fate…Later on, if I were to add something, it would be Beline’s exploits…and not losing money anywhere.
I was an illegitimate child of the Count, but lacked a connection to him. Marital relationships were very pure. As for being a Magician, Beline had thought that Nobles, who were busy being conferred with honors, would surely make appearances. Even if Beline and Kennel weren’t like this, surely others would be. The rice would be bought before the harvest, before I could do something about it.
Seriously…well, he was bought by her. Moreover, it was on the premise of me making a judgement, due to having abandoned Beline’s plans.
Excellent Adventurers who earned achievements in the Labyrinth were conferred with honors so that the Kingdom could rope them in as persons of talent, and there were cases where they were given ranks and territory. There were examples of establishing marital relationships with several wives as well. What Beline was assuming was something along those lines. In short, was she planning for me to have a wife along with someone else? When the talk of concubines was proposed, would I be able to refuse without any on principle?
In other words…Beline had come to me to inquire, in a roundabout way, about what should be done regarding Ashley.
Although Ashley was a Lord, she belonged to the Baron. She was in a somewhat delicate position. If I was in the market for a marriage partner, it wouldn’t be strange for high class nobles to poke their noses into another’s affairs, using brute force.
…I see. So that’s why it was me? Although I didn’t know how Beline viewed my relationship with Grace, she might have a plan after taking that into consideration. Even if it was somehow economical to have multiple wives, I would refuse with the excuse that it was less expensive.
In case I was conferred with honor due to becoming famous in the Labyrinth, surely it wouldn’t end with just one wife…but perhaps I would be approached with marriage proposals. If it was someone who wanted to create a connection with me, but didn’t have an affinity with nor knew anything about me, my answer would be no.
“Grace-san, won’t you teach me the ways of embroidery again?”
“I’ll be happy to, if you’re fine with me. Only when I have plenty of time, though.”
Grace and Ashley seemed to be enjoying themselves with a friendly chat. Although it was an unusually peaceful atmosphere, I didn’t have any choice but to overlook their affairs.
My future and marriage partner, huh? I was an illegitimate child, so I had once believed that my life plan would be decided by Dad…and at the same time, while being independent, I didn’t consider dealing with such things, as a ten year old. I had even been at the bottom of the hierarchy until now, well whatever.
I didn’t need to decide on anything yet, and Dad didn’t necessarily need to come and pick me up if I let the storm blow over. This was naturally out of the question, and I would refuse.
If I were to think about it…rather than taking care to not become famous, I could agree from the start that it was buying rice before the harvest.
Nothing had been decided yet, and perhaps Ashley had considered her future with me, but to think about what the two of us would become was still…unsettling. Certainly…at the present moment, she didn’t have a bad impression of me. Also, speaking of it being a bit too early to become marriage partners…perhaps it was an unacceptable excuse, as a person who was born in a noble family?
Regarding Ashley…well, I got the gist of it.
If I were to simplify it, it meant that the situation was approaching a conclusion where she should accept a marriage proposal. I didn’t have any protectors, so I should firmly decide on my own plans.
Perhaps even Kennel knew of it. He would realize Ashley’s plans sooner or later, if she were to receive a noble’s education at Termuilles. Even if he didn’t realize it, surely this would be implied by him or Beline. That’s why, watching Ashley and me interact on this premise would be related.
Presently, the two of us were recognized as friends, so this story hadn’t begun.
What of Grace? What about Grace’s future?
Although she had said that she would serve me her entire life…If I were to consider lifespans, Grace would live longer.
For example, after I passed away, what would her position in society become? In other words, I was referring to who would seize her Cursed Artifact.
Without abandoning me, who was just recently placed under her care, and besides receiving her, who had followed me to Termuilles, I didn’t want to mention it at all, since I didn’t know what would happen later.
If I were to consider Grace’s future…I think she wanted to establish a position amongst women in society. Although her footing would be solidified by becoming famous at Termuilles, there still wasn’t any certainty in that. That’s why, in order for that…I wonder what would be good?
If I were to think about it…it was Grace, Ashley, and I. If our thoughts about each other were clear, our interests in the means and goals of living here, marriage to solidify footing, and the like would be in agreement. I would say that it was fine to rush things along, without worrying about them later on.
…Bearing the responsibility of supporting the future of the person I like, huh?
To say that I would, or would not do it, was easy. In the first place, I had companions. If I were to run around idly by myself, I would be a complete clown.
If I were to consider the discord between Mom and Katherine, there would be things I would be suspicious of and would agree with on an emotional level…and if I fixated on the future, it would be a problem if something happened to us. I had to think about it carefully. I’m sorry for Dad’s slipup.
“What will you do, Theodore-sama?”
Grace tilted her head after I looked at her.
“Hmm, well, I’ll talk about it after we return. There are various things, like the situation changing and tomorrow’s plans and the like, to consider.”
It was more than just understanding it. I, too, would prepare myself. Even if I left out Ashley’s story.
It wasn’t just for work-related reasons, since she was a servant meant to serve me, and it wasn’t me fawning over myself, since I thought of her as an older sister.
When the time came to separate from that place, it was important to be clear about whether or not it was fine to completely take charge of her life.
I shouldn’t be deceptive if I am considering the importance of Grace’s life. I’ll confirm her answer, since it’s important for people to decide on their own life plans.