Regressor of the Fallen Family (Novel) Chapter 28 - 29 - 30

Note: The Novel Will Be Corrected Until Chapter 105, After That Chapter It Will Be All MTL

C28 - 29 - 30

Chapter 28: The Main Force and the Head of the Clan, Patrick McLean, Arrive at Teslon Castle

It was two days later that the main force of the McLean clan and the head of the family, Patrick McLean, arrived at Teslon Castle. Upon his arrival, Patrick immediately heard about the ‘matters’ Logan had taken care of and called him over without delay.

“…Harmon committed suicide?”

His tone was laced with disbelief, as if he had heard something utterly preposterous. Yet, Logan looked brazenly at his father.

“Yes. It seems he was overwhelmed with despair.”

“Did you kill him?”

On the defensive.

“…No.”

Seeing his son’s eyes wandering off distantly, Patrick let out a long sigh.

“Haah… And of course, his sons all happen to die in a duel with you?”

“They challenged me to a duel for insulting me without knowing their place.”

Had the dead ones, who pleaded in a voice begging for noble treatment, heard this, they would have turned in their graves.

“Is this an issue for a Force user against a commoner?”

“Honor has nothing to do with the Force.”

“Uggh… Logan, you can tell me the truth.”

After groans as if suppressing a tumult of thoughts and a long sigh, Patrick looked at the changed expression in his son’s eyes, and Logan calmly revealed the real reason.

“Yes. I killed them on purpose.”

“Why?”

“The Teslon territory must once again fall under our McLean control. I did not wish to keep the bloodline alive and leave room for discord.”

“Didn’t you ever think about keeping them alive and using them as subjects?”

“Yes.”

Patrick frowned for a moment at Logan’s terse reply. However, he did not admonish or rage as he had done before. Through the recent war, he had clearly come to realize that his eldest son had grown out of his reach and was of age to have his own thoughts.

‘His methods might be excessive, but he must have had his reasons.’

The change in his thoughts was truly inconceivable compared to a few days ago. Despite the cold shoulder and the disregard, the son who protected the family was worthy of such trust.

Now there were more pressing matters at hand than to brood over such ‘trivial’ problems.

“Haah…”

A long sigh was all that could replace the words of disappointment unspoken.

“Alright, I understand. Go inside. Any other matters?”

“I have gathered all the valuables, including jewelry, in one place. As for other matters, I have instructed Teslon’s administrators to prepare a report.”

“The administrators?”

“Twelve in total; I didn’t bother with the administrative managers that we might need.”

“…Good, well done.”

The conqueror and his son, the leaders of the invasion, entered the great hall of Teslon Castle to review their accomplishments.

* * * The McLean’s forces returned to their home castle a mere week after the war had begun. The actual war had ended in just one day, so the time taken to travel to and from Teslon territory was effectively the entire duration of the conflict.

Nevertheless, the territory’s people cheered for the returning soldiers as if hailing war heroes who had come back after several years.

“Long live the McLean family!”

“Long live Patrick McLean!”

Endless cheers arose from people embracing their safely returned heads of families or sons, tears of joy streaming down their faces.

Given that the war had started from a place of despair, the taste of victory was all the sweeter.

Amongst these cheers, a dissonant cry of celebration reached Logan’s ears.

“Long live Lord Logan!”

Startled by the unexpected cheers, Logan waved his hand in surprise.

‘It’s only been a few days…’

He was a little taken aback by the rapid changes, but rumors had already spread far and wide.

Lord Logan had made the greatest contribution in the war.

Initially, many didn’t believe it, but the testimonies from their returning families only amplified the rumors.

The bad talk that had built up around Logan gradually faded away, replaced by accolades that even he found embarrassing.

Genius insight and astonishing martial might – a talent unmatched in the world.

Past rumors about his eccentric behavior were now understood as quirks of a misunderstood genius, and the rumors of his former misdeeds were absurdly repackaged as Logan having acted to hide his own brilliance.

During the triumphant parade, Logan’s face turned red as he heard these ridiculously fabricated praises.

“Brother, how does it feel? Everyone is praising you!”

“Praise, what nonsense, my face feels like it’s on fire. You should moderate too, Ronnie.”

His words were sincere. After all, the credits he gained were based almost solely on his knowledge of the future.

To have all of them attributed to his innate talent made even someone as thick-skinned as him slightly embarrassed.

But Logan couldn’t help but smile with genuine satisfaction for a reason of his own.

“I always knew you would accomplish great things, Lord Logan!”

From a soldier to a personal attendant, Rick.

“It’s as if Lord Logan himself claimed victory!”

The head of the knightly order, Heinckel, who was usually so laconic.

“That’s right! Lord Logan! This victory belongs to you!”

None of the knights nearby refuted the overly enthusiastic praise.

A life of being pointed at and chased away in his previous life, and his once collapsed family.

The two pains from his past were resolved.

His heart felt lighter, and restraining the pride that naturally swelled appeared challenging.

“Calm down, stay composed. The future is even more…”

Even as he tried to reassure himself, the delighted smile on Logan’s face was beyond his control.

“Show everyone who truly earned the greatest merit in this war!”

“Wow!”

At the shout of one of the knights, the others flocked toward Logan.

Then the celebratory tossing began.

“Long live Lord Logan!”

“Hooray!”

Cheers echoed to the sky, and amidst the pleasant gaze of the territory’s people, a delighted, unrestrained laugh burst from Logan.

“Hahahahaha!”

* * * After the boisterous welcoming ceremony had concluded, the key figures of the territory gathered in the meeting room.

Heinckel alone represented the knights in place of the five commanders left to temporarily manage the Teslon territory.

Dwayne, the financial officer among the five administrators, was also in attendance.

Then there were the people of the McLean family.

Excluding Merrian with her dismal expression, everyone in the upbeat atmosphere listened as Patrick proclaimed.

“Let us now begin honoring those who contributed to the campaign. Dwayne.”

“Yes. I will report the outcomes.”

Dwayne reported the spoils of war with a poised voice.

The remaining funds of the Teslon territory amounted to 4.32 million gold, about 1 million gold’s worth of jewelry, and grains worth an estimated 300,000 gold.

Not to mention Teslon Castle and the territory, nearly 500 hectares (5 km²) of plains.

This was the massive tangible gain the McLean family had procured from the war.

“That’s all.”

“Woah!”

Cheers erupted as Dwayne finished speaking.

“It seems the Teslon family had much more money than we had anticipated.”

With satisfaction at Dwayne’s additional remarks, Patrick continued calmly.

“Everyone has worked hard. Now, let’s decide on the rewards.”

First, the merits of the knights were discussed.

Since they were the clan’s primary force, rewarding them was expected.

However, what was surprising was that even the administrative officers who didn’t participate in the battle received some compensation.

This was to foster a sense of unity among the clan members, but also as a preemptive reward for the enormous post-war administrative work they would undertake.

Nevertheless, none of these rewards compared to the gains they had secured.

Although Heinckel’s reward of 50,000 gold seemed considerably large, the total rewards for everyone did not exceed 500,000 gold.

Considering the resources expended during the war and the future expenditures, this was a small sum.

War consumes resources; it does not create them.

Considering the budget required for Teslon Castle alone, they might be short of funds until the autumn harvest or maybe even until next year.

At least everyone gathered there recognized this.

Once those ‘minor’ rewards were settled, the actual purpose of the meeting unfolded.

“Everyone here is aware that this war was not won by the strength of the knights or me, but by the strength of another.”

Despite the absence of any direct mention, everyone’s gaze shifted to one person.

The eyes of Heinckel and others who had been on the battlefield were full of goodwill, while the looks from the managers who stayed behind still harbored doubt.

‘Really? Did that lord actually change the course of the war?’

Despite the obvious distrust, the atmosphere did not allow for argument.

Complicated gazes fixed on Logan, while he himself appeared unfazed.

His mind was preoccupied with something he planned to do after the meeting.

But even he was taken aback by the next words from Patrick.

“The greatest contributor to this war, the first in merit, is no one else but my son Logan. I would like to bestow upon him a reward of 300,000 gold.”

It may have seemed small, but it was an enormous sum, comparable to the entire knightly order’s reward.

Given the current situation of the McLean family, it was a massive expenditure.

“Moreover, as the primary heir of the McLean family, recognizing his legitimate lineage and merits, I hereby declare Logan McLean as the official successor to the family!”

The conversation then unexpectedly turned to matters of succession.

Caught off guard by the sudden announcement, the individuals in the meeting room showed various reactions.

“Lord Logan! Congratulations.”

While Heinckel sent out applause with a radiant face, the administrators looked around at each other, emotions mixed.

Dwayne cautiously interjected.

“Lord, perhaps the decision on a successor should be more carefully considered…”

“Ah, come now. You’re saying that because you didn’t see the young lord on the battlefield.”

“No, even so, based on just one aspect…”

As Dwayne and Heinckel, representing the knights, started to raise their voices against each other.

“Excuse me, but I would like to decline the discussion about the successor for now.”

The calm-faced main party threw in his piece.

“…What?”

“Did I hear wrongly?”

“Did he just decline the succession…?”

Repeating these confused whispers, Patrick, his expression stiffened slightly, asked again.

“Why? Surely you don’t still hold a grudge over the previous events?”

He couldn’t help but recall the happenings just before the war at Logan’s coming-of-age ceremony (?).

However, amidst the puzzlement of the lords who were clueless about the reason, Logan shook his head calmly.

“It’s not for that reason.”

“Then?”

“As I mentioned before, the McLean line is a family of warriors, and my brother Ronian, with his genius in martial arts, suits the role of successor far better than I do.”

“Brother?!”

Ronian exclaimed, and Merrian, who had been downcast, looked up sharply.

However, the majority of the listeners seemed incredulous at Logan’s words.

One must consider how many knights Logan had killed in this war. Among them was even a superior knight.

Even if that knight had been injured, for someone to have taken a superior knight’s life at the mere age of twenty, if not a genius, then who was?

Regardless of how it might have changed the expressions of his listeners, Logan continued unperturbed.

“Ronian became a Force user at just fourteen years old. That’s a full five years ahead of me. No one knows what achievements he may reach by the time he comes of age.”

“You’re saying if that happens, mere strength would not be enough for one to become the head of a family, Logan.”

‘No. It will.’

As his father gave the predictable response, Logan inwardly smirked.

If Ronian were to become recognized as the youngest Aura user on the continent, as in his previous life, any downside would be irrelevant.

Of course, the immediate reason was not that but something else entirely.

‘I don’t need to be a successor.’

More precisely, it was more advantageous not to be tied down as a successor.

The minute he assumed a title, people would pay more attention to his safety, and the so-called successor training, wrapped up in papers and documents, would waste plenty of his time.

If possible, he would have liked to establish Ronian as the successor immediately, but that was not feasible yet.

“At least as a brother, I want to give my sibling a chance. I request that the successor selection be postponed until Ronian comes of age, five years from now.”

Thus, this was the best Logan could do at the moment.

“Brother…”

He avoided looking at Ronian’s troubled expression or his stepmother’s face.

Fortunately, his response seemed to impress his father and the lords.

“Indeed…”

“To think, the young lord has changed…”

“Impressive…”

Even the administrators, once skeptical while discussing meritorious deeds, gazed at Logan with admiration following his remarks.

Heinckel, in particular, nodded his head with a look of immense pride.

Moved by that warm atmosphere, Patrick responded with a smile.

“…Your thoughts aren’t bad. I will accept your will and postpone the decision on a successor for five years, until after Ronian’s coming of age.”

“Thank you. And…”

Before the smile could fade away, Logan dropped another bombshell.

“I would also like to decline the reward.”

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Chapter 29

“…What?”

At Logan’s words, everyone was startled once again.

Logan’s image had changed drastically due to the recent war, but the majority of those present remembered his behavior during the past broken engagement incident.

Logan’s reputation for loving money had not changed.

“I don’t mean to say I won’t take the reward. I just mean I won’t take it in money.”

Upon hearing that, everyone nodded as if they expected such a statement, but they were once again astonished by his next request.

“Instead of money, I would like to request land.”

“…Are you saying you want to create private land within the territory?”

The expression of Patrick, who had been infinitely amiable, stiffened slightly.

However, Logan remained unfazed.

“Yes.”

“Heavens…”

With a deep sigh from Patrick, the administrators protested vehemently.

“That’s preposterous! Private land within our territory?”

“No matter how great the young lord’s achievements are, granting land is unheard of. In this small territory…”

“That sort of thing would only have been possible in the days of the old earldom…”

Some even invoked taboo words, receiving scowls from the others.

Yet, even if it was a conversation that would have been disregarded as worthless in the past, Patrick calmed the assembly first.

“Let’s just ask for now. Why do you suddenly want land?”

Feeling anew the change in his reputation, Logan smiled and continued his explanation.

“I am aware that the territory still needs a lot of money. Use that money for the territory, I’ll take one of the mountains in the western wastelands to develop.”

“The wastelands? A wild mountain?”

“Yes. Just one of the mountains near the border with the Thessalon territory, along the river will suffice.”

To every direction, the desolate MacLaine territory was the most useless, second only to the south with its abundance of monsters.

Although called a mountain, it was a barren land so desolate that even finding a few trees was a challenge.

“…Why that place?”

“What’s there?”

“What could possibly be there.”

“But why…?”

The administrators were naturally bewildered, and Patrick was no different.

“You want to develop that land?”

“Who knows? Maybe there’s gold buried deep in the ground.”

Logan’s off-the-wall comment left everyone looking at him in incredulity.

“The royal family has already developed all the gold mines… never mind, you just want that land, is that it?”

Frayed by the conversation, the lord of the house grasped his head and Logan readily nodded.

“Yes.”

At that response, the vassals shook their heads disapprovingly.

To them, it was merely another incomprehensible act of the young lord.

Everyone gathered began to think similarly.

After all, if it’s useless land, letting the young lord have it and saving the budget wasn’t a bad idea.

“Fine. Grant the wild mountain to Logan… Dwayne, bring the map. Show me precisely where… Hmm, yes, we’ll grant this mountain as private property.”

Thanks to this, the opposition disappeared, and permission was granted all too easily.

‘It’s done!’

Logan clenched his fist secretly under the conference room table.

‘This land is far more important than the mere 300,000 gold.’

His heart raced with elation at having overcome the hurdle of the provincial war, and pride swelled his soul, but he couldn’t afford to rest on his laurels.

‘Nine years from now.’

The thought alone was suffocating, recalling the calamity that would strike.

A noble house on the fringes of the kingdom, and he, merely one of its sons, had to become the pivotal factor in repelling the imperial invasion.

And there were also the internal calamities of the kingdom yet to come.

‘There’s still a long way to go.’

Both he and his house had many mountains left to climb.

This decision, too, was meant to proactively overcome those disasters.

‘It’s better for me to have it than the house if we’re to respond effectively in the future.’

The meeting soon ended, and Logan had obtained everything he desired.

* * * Having left the conference room, Logan immediately confronted another burden that had been weighing on his mind for a long time.

And, as always, this burden turned its edge on him.

“What in the world are you thinking?”

“Mother!”

“What kind of scheme is this! Others may be fooled, but do you think you can deceive your own mother?!”

Even Lorraine’s remonstrations couldn’t stop the new mother from yelling, her eyes bloodshot and complexion pale, now deserving pity.

“Mother! Please!! Brother, I’m sorry. My mother is heartbroken over the matters of the maternal family right now…”

“It’s okay, Lorraine. It’s alright.”

Logan smiled gently at his flustered brother, then turned back to the new mother.

Regardless of longstanding grudges, she was now no more than a powerless matriarch.

No longer could she pose any threat or interruption to him.

And precisely because of this, the timing was right to amend this twisted relationship.

‘Maybe now is the time for a sincere apology rather than excuses.’

While Logan was not without reservation, he was undaunted.

He took a deep breath, sorted his thoughts, and spoke calmly.

“Mother. I understand that the behavior I have shown over the years does not inspire trust. The actions I took, wrapped up in jealousy and an inferiority complex, I regret them profoundly.”

“See, Lorraine! He admits it himself! Everything was his doing…”

“Mother! Please, stop!”

Lorraine clutched at Merian’s waist with a sorrowful gaze.

“Brother, mother is not herself right now. Now is not the time for such conversations…”

“Just listen, Lorraine MacLaine. Truth is, you’re the one I truly owe an apology.”

“Yes…?”

“I’ve apologized since my return, but I never told you for what. Even decades of regret couldn’t overcome my cowardice.”

“…Brother?”

Facing words incomprehensible to Lorraine, whose expression became vacant.

“But you knew it, Lorraine. You’re no fool.”

And the outright confession that followed made Lorraine’s face harden like stone.

“For the past few years, I despised you.”

Marian was speechless, and Lorraine paled at the unembellished revelation.

Logan could only smile bitterly at that sight.

“By hating you, I tried to evade my own failings. Now, I sincerely regret that pathetic period, Lorraine.”

Logan forced himself to look directly into his brother’s eyes.

“Lorraine, my brother. I apologize now, however late it is. I was truly sorry.”

The new mother’s eyes widened with astonishment, and Lorraine was too flustered to even look properly.

Just speaking the words brought a surge of emotion that had been held back for decades.

Having returned to the past and overcoming one crisis of the house, Logan finally mustered the courage to apologize sincerely.

‘One cannot cover wrongdoing with right doing. Logan MacLaine, you’re still immature.’

Despite feeling relieved, he couldn’t help but laugh self-mockingly.

“It’s okay, Brother.”

His brother, who had seemed stiff for a moment, soon smiled brightly.

“I was fine even back then.”

“What?”

Those were words Logan had never imagined in this life or the last.

“If I did well, I believed one day you would return as the brother I knew. And you have… Haha.”

Laughing at the sight of his smiling brother, Logan could only emit a hollow laugh.

Why had he hesitated for so long over something so simple?

While still facing the distrustful gaze of his new mother, Logan stated as if making a vow.

“Mother. If I had intended to harm Lorraine, there were plenty of opportunities even during this war.”

“Such…”

“Instead, you saved my life, Brother.”

“…My intentions towards Lorraine are sincere. I genuinely wish for Lorraine to become the successor.”

“What? Brother, that’s…”

“I know it’s too much to ask for your belief right now. So please, just watch. See how I act.”

The new mother did not respond, but for Logan, that was enough.

* * * Despite the completion of the award distribution, the leadership of the MacLaine family had no rest, busy with post-war matters. The most important issue was the conversion of the captured knightly prisoners of war and soldiers. The soldiers needed little persuasion, but the knights took time.

The society had an implicit understanding of a knight’s duty, the most crucial of which was loyalty.

Abandoning the sovereign you serve and swearing fealty to another was like branding oneself a traitor.

It impeded social ascension within the nobility and shackled one’s status.

Nevertheless, there was some room for persuasion, given that it was the same kingdom and king they served, merely switching allegiance to their liege.

Though it was like willfully turning a blind eye, such reasoning was very important to individual knights. Without such justification, they would have to choose between death or infamy.

‘They’ll all convert because there is a pretext, even if the monthly pay is lower.’

Knights are human too, and Haman Thessalon was by no means considered a good lord. Of course, time was needed for some who’d put up a fight for the sake of pride.

From Logan’s point of view, he couldn’t comprehend why, but some people emphasized such matters.

Apart from that, there were other issues to deal with, such as administrative processes between Thessalon and MacLaine territories, military deployment for maintaining order, taxes, and issues with domain income.

All these remaining problems were not easy to resolve in a short time.

Yet Logan, who currently held no official position, was meanwhile calmly seeking his own path amid the chaos.

‘That’s why being a successor would be unfavorable. I would’ve been tied down without rest.’

It was troubling enough to overcome one of life’s hurdles; there was no room to wallow in paperwork.

‘Moreover, now is not the time for that.’

A flame flickered in Logan’s eyes, which appeared tranquil.

He had barely crossed over a small wave, but the torrential waves about to crash over the domain and country were just beginning.

The final obstacle was the invasion by the empire, which would destroy the country itself, but a calamity a year later, next winter, was the starting point of the country’s decline.

The sudden, unanticipated death of the current king, Samuel von Grindia.

Although royal power had weakened, the king was the legitimate ruler of the kingdom.

His abrupt and untimely death plunged the entire kingdom into a profound shock. Admittedly, the psychological impact on the citizens wasn’t particularly significant.

However, the war that started in Grang, the capital, due to the king’s sudden death and the civil war that broke out among the various claimants to the throne shook the kingdom for the next three years, significantly undermining its military power.

The invasion by the empire began before that power could be restored.

It was essentially the primary cause of the nation’s downfall.

The neutral MacLaine territory might have been able to lie low and avoid the turmoil.

They could have enjoyed tales of the many heroes and villains born from the civil war, merely lowering their heads as if seated in an auditorium.

‘But I can’t just throw away that opportunity.’

Logan aimed to actively expand his house’s influence during the chaos.

As quickly as possible, he planned to regain the former earldom’s territory and recapture the lordship of the southwest region.

Moreover, he hoped to become the card that would end the drawn-out civil war – or seek even greater ambition.

Snap.

‘Focus. I’ve just overcome a challenge. It’s fortunate that I can even contemplate this.’

Logan shook himself out of his spiraling thoughts by slapping his cheek and turned his thoughts to immediate actions.

‘There’s no use talking about military expansion or inciting a territorial dispute now; I’ll just be told I’ve lost my mind again.’

From Logan’s perspective, it was a time to enhance military forces, but there was no way to convince others of this.

‘So, for now…’

He needed to acquire ‘that’ and take a firm grip on the house’s finances.

Whether to increase military power or recruit talent for combat, no one could object to his management of personal funds.

Now was the time to prepare.

‘If the house refuses a territorial dispute, then I will…’

“What exactly are you up to now?”

As his thoughts spiraled into various possibilities, a voice suddenly shattered Logan’s reverie.

Turning around, Logan saw a dwarf with a blunt expression slowly following him.

At that sight, Logan barely suppressed a chuckle.

“You’ve had enough rest. Time to start working.”

“Worried, that’s what I am, worried. Seeing master laugh like this brings back memories of when… you squeezed out those items from us.”

“Don’t worry. This time, it’s definitely something you’ll enjoy.”

“How do you know what I’d like?”

Despite the dwarf’s retort, Logan’s smile never faded.

Unlike humans, whose preferences differ greatly, the Forgotten Races had common tastes within their kind.

And Logan was certain that what he was about to do would suit the dwarf’s tastes.

“Just come along and see. You won’t be disappointed.”

“And why are we heading towards the prison? Don’t tell me you’re going to lock me up for enjoying myself…”

“Stop with the needless worries, Hamar. I’m on my way to fetch the people who will be working with you.”

“To jail?”

“Yes.”

Hamar looked incredulous, but Logan’s words soon became reality.

In the MacLaine castle dungeon, where the prisoners were held.

In one corner of the sturdy iron cells reserved for knights, there huddled a group of burly middle-aged men, looking unimpressive in terms of strength.

“Oh ho! He actually came! That young master!”

“Wow, it really is him!”

“But what’s that next to him? Not human…”

“A dwarf!”

“What? A dwarf?!”

Their eyes gleamed as they caught sight of Hamar accompanying Logan.

“What’s with those humans?”

These were glances that Hamar had never experienced, even in the slave market.

Their beards alone were enough to make any dwarf’s whiskers bristle.

“They call themselves geologists or mining experts, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re just a bunch of guys obsessed with digging.”

“…Miners? Why miners, all of a sudden?”

“Because I need them.”

“For?”

“I’m planning to develop a mine.”

“Wha!?”

The dwarf was taken aback, and Logan just grinned.

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Chapter 30: The Reason Teslon House Forced a Territory War

In my previous life, the reason why the Teslon family caused a territorial conflict only became clear a year after it had ended. It was at that point the Teslons started exporting gold from their territory, which came from a newly established mine on a mountain originally part of the Macline territory. The Teslons of my previous life built a force surpassing that of an ordinary Earl’s family because of this. That was until Ronian Macline, an Aura user burning with revenge, annihilated their family.

It was not known how Haman Teslon discovered the gold vein in my previous life, and even in this life, Logan could not confirm the process. The only clue was when they captured Teslon castle; they found a group of self-proclaimed mining experts in the dungeons.

“We are innocent! We only extracted gold from the ore brought by Baron Teslon as per our contract, but then that brutal noble locked us up here!”

Regardless of the process, it meant that Haman Teslon had discovered a gold vein, and Logan knew its location. So, what did he need now?

“Just technicians who can set up a mine and extract gold.”

Finding someone with specialized knowledge in mining, not just an ordinary miner, was challenging. However, that difficult task had already been accomplished by Haman Teslon. Logan simply promised them slightly more money than Teslon did, and the contract was quickly settled.

“Let’s go and check it out.”

Without delay, Logan, Hamar, and the five mining experts headed west and rode horseback for half a day. Naturally, their destination was the mountainside that Logan had won as a reward.

“Here, in the middle of this mountain, lies a gold vein. I aim to mine and establish a mine here. How much do you think the estimate for this will be?”

Logan asked nonchalantly as he turned around, and the experts, all wearing incredulous expressions, responded.

“Are you certain there’s a gold vein?”

“Even if there is, we need to know the reserves…”

“The cost will vary depending on the depth of the strata.”

“The location of the tunnels will differ.”

“Depending on the case, the cost might multiply by dozens of times.”

As soon as the conversation about their area of expertise began, a flurry of opinions emerged. Ultimately, what they all wanted to say was the same:

– How can you be certain there’s a gold vein here, and even if you are, can it produce enough gold to be worth the investment? What’s the basis for your claim?

However, Logan’s answer was simple and disappointing.

“I’m certain. I’ve seen it. Dig no matter what.”

The group of five mining experts, who had been promised more than a thousand gold a month, and the dwarves, who had to roll up their sleeves and work for no pay, simultaneously scowled at this absurd proclamation.

* * *

Because of the need for secrecy, Hamar and the five mining experts—a total of six—had to proceed with the drilling work. Naturally, the stakeholders were not pleased.

“We’re supposed to do the drilling with just six of us?”

“Are you trying to kill us…”

“Even with a dwarf present…”

Moreover, since they were originally not convinced by Logan’s words, the work progressed slowly. However…

Before long, they found a tunnel most likely excavated by Haman Teslon, and the work became shockingly easy, almost as if it were a joke.

In just fifteen days, the small group of miners extracted gold from the ore they unearthed.

After recalculating the potential output, they reached a unanimous decision:

– It’s possible to extract at least 10 tonnes of gold a year; the reserve’s volume is incalculable.

Only upon hearing that news could Logan fully cheer.

“From a tonne of ore, we can extract more than 100 grams of gold. With this level of purity, there’s a high chance of finding larger nuggets deeper in the strata!”

“100 grams from a tonne…? By gram?”

“A mine is considered profitable even with just 30 grams!”

Everything was rated better than expected, but the initial investment turned out to be slightly higher.

“You’ll need a substantial investment to start. You should expect at least 5 million gold.”

The amount included costs for equipment to extract gold from ore, furnaces, manpower to dig the tunnels, supports, as well as transportation equipment.

If it were a territory with many serfs or slaves, they could be put to work to save money. However, given the nature of the Macline territory, where most were free people, they needed to spend more money for the necessary labor.

“Master. The family doesn’t have money right now. Maybe we should reveal the situation to other noble families or merchant associations and receive investments?”

Hamar’s suggestion sounded reasonable to anyone. The mining experts beside him nodded in agreement, but Logan flatly refused.

“Let others dip their spoons in the gold mine on my land? No way!”

“Then what do you plan to do?”

“I have that kind of money.”

“What? Where will you…”

Logging such an amount of money was unheard of for a remote territory like Macline’s.

The incredulity of his listeners was palpable, yet Logan’s expression remained confident—he had something to rely on.

* * *

Click. Whirr.

As the personal vault opened, dazzling jewels greeted their owner with their radiant luminance. An immense collection of jewels in the private quarters of a son of a noble in a remote territory was not fitting.

Logan, looking at those jewels, couldn’t help but let a corner of his mouth rise smugly.

“It’s a good thing I had saved them.”

These jewels were precious metals that Haman Teslon intended to abscond with. Logan had taken them after dealing with Teslon—not for personal gain but for righteous reasons.

Though it was still a mystery why Haman Teslon had amassed so many jewels…

“I’m grateful, though.”

Despite moving nearly 4 million gold worth of jewels, the vast quantity meant it went unnoticed.

“Sigh, still, it’s a shame that I have to use almost all of this.”

On top of those jewels, he would have to invest most of his existing wealth into the mine’s development.

– If you’re willing to grind people down and carve out the tunnels with blood, you might be able to save about 2 million…

Such was the implicit message behind Hamar’s gaze when he said that; Logan naturally rejected the notion with a wave of his hand.

He didn’t desire such a mining development, and there was another crucial reason not to proceed this way.

“Moral and ethical issues aside, I can’t afford to tarnish the reputation for the sake of earning money with regards to the future. The war with the empire is the key issue. It can’t be overcome with just the strength of the nobility.”

Whether he became a small variable or the pivot point, the nation’s full strength had to be harnessed.

That meant it was time to be mindful of public perceptions too.

With that mindset, Logan tasked the disposal of the precious metals and the mine’s development, but…

“For a stable mine development, utmost attention must be paid to safety from the moment the initial tunnels are drilled. Please be patient, as it will take some time.”

According to Hamar, that preparation period alone would take about half a year. Even after that, another half a year would be needed before profitable mining could begin.

‘Yes, it took Teslon a year too. I had anticipated that.’

Trying to comfort himself with the thought, Logan couldn’t help feeling anxious about the money draining away now that the burden of the territorial war had eased.

“Just one year of mining will bring in profits tens of times over. I can’t give up.”

With one full year of proper mining, he could extract at least 10 tonnes of gold. Rough estimates indicated that could be worth about 100 million gold—a staggering sum necessitating the investment.

But he needed funds to supplement the money flowing out until the mine was developed.

‘Ah… if only I could sell that right now…’

He still had another weapon in his possession, the carne of Karok, which remained intact. However, to sell that, he would have to wait until the year after next.

Once the antidote was released in the summer and the carne of Karok became edible, and after the rumors spread, and it expanded, it would take that much time.

From then until the beginning of the civil war, he planned to sell it frantically for six months, and if there was still a shortage, he would even…

“Wait, why do I have to wait?”

As he continued thinking, Logan realized that he might be missing something. The antidote that would be released in the summer had been used countless times during his mercenary days—it was something he could make himself as well. The only problem was that it required a considerable amount of ingredients.

‘Then, if I make it myself…’

A spark of inspiration showed him a new path. It felt as if a bright light shone before his eyes.

* * *

Logan requested strict confidentiality from the five mining experts and Hamar. While Hamar could be trusted, he wasn’t so sure about the mining specialists, so he even made a magical contract for a handsome sum of 50,000 gold. He promised a relatively high wage to the locals he was bringing in for the initial development and decided to provide them with lodgings and food in barracks.

As the money continued to seep away, Logan’s heart grew more restless.

‘What if something goes wrong? Should I just wait for the rumors to spread as in my previous life?’

Whenever such thoughts crept in, he pushed himself.

‘Time won’t solve anything if you just wait for it. Win or lose, I’ll try!’

[We have received simultaneous reports of the outbreak of war and its conclusion. I am relieved to know you are unharmed… Why do you look troubled?]

“It’s nothing. Is there any other news?”

[Your orders are proceeding without any trouble. The carne of Karok is now being collected on a large scale, so you should soon receive a considerable amount.]

Philip’s face, appearing through what seemed like a communication device, was blurry but confident.

“Well, I’ll trust you with that. Also, I have another request.”

[Please, tell me.]

“From now on, purchase the following herbs I tell you and send them to Macline territory. Evening primrose and Plott herb, and also Licky grass. About 500 kg in total with equal proportions will be enough.”

[Excuse me? Why those cheap herbs?]

“Just do it. You’ll know why soon enough.”

[Haah, every time… it’s always vague…]

“Did you get that? Can I cut the communication now?”

[No, could you at least give me a reason instead of being so abrupt?]

“Shut it! I can’t waste expensive magical communication just to explain things. I’ll explain when we meet next.”

[Alright, I understand.]

“Good. If there’s any issue, request communication to this coordinate. I already have the family’s permission, so it should be fine.”

[I suppose your reputation has really improved…]

Click. Static.

“You could at least wait to hear the rest of what I had to say…”

Dwain clicked his tongue as he listened, but Logan remained unfazed.

“There’s no need to listen to obvious things through magical communication that costs 1 gold per second.”

“Heh, Your Highness, you seem to have plenty of money, why be so stingy?”

“Quiet. I’m totally broke right now and quite irritable.”

“Pardon?”

“No matter how much money you have, it’s never enough with an uncertain future.”

“…What?”

Dwain was at a loss for words upon hearing Logan, supposed to be the richest individual in the Macline territory with an estimated fortune of over 1 million gold, speak such a statement.

A week later, the herbs sent by Kyle began to pile up in the storeroom of the southern villa. And without delay, Logan started producing the antidote.

* * *

“What are you making?”

“Quiet. If I tell you to do something, just do it.”

“But shouldn’t you explain the reason before giving orders…?”

“I’m not using any bad drugs like the old days, so don’t worry and just do it. Have I been doing any needless things lately?”

“…That’s true but…”

Those words slightly eased the dumbfounded expression on Rick’s face.

Logan could still feel his concern that he might take the wrong path, and although it brought a wry smile to his face, no one else came to mind who was trustworthy and competent enough for the job.

Together with Rick, Logan ground the three herbs in equal proportions and placed them in wooden barrels. He then filled them up with about half the amount of water, mixed them, and stored them neatly in a dark corner of the warehouse.

Meanwhile, the massive supply that Philip had spoken of entered the Macline territory.

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