Regressor of the Fallen Family (Novel) Chapter 166

C166

While some celebrated and others lamented, the long discussion came to an end. Logan looked tired as he managed the noisy crowd.

"Whew. Much time has passed, let's quickly deal with the simpler issues. First, Master Clayton, how much more funding do you require for the tower of magic?"

"For starters, the issue of the tower's expenses and recruiting apprentices pales in comparison to the cost of the research..."

"Yes, I understand the necessity of that research. Please tell me the amount you need. I will support you, no matter what it is."

Without mentioning specific conditions, Logan approved the request generously.

Clayton's face brightened at the promise that seemed to grant everything he desired.

"However, I will make certain to check how the money is spent. Through Dwayne, we will audit the procurement of materials and expenses rigorously, so please state the necessary amount within reasonable bounds."

Logan drew a clear line.

The line between being taken advantage of and making an investment.

Clayton then realized the excitement on his face and let out a wry laugh.

It was amusing how disappointed he was in himself.

'Since when did I have such an abundance of funds?'

And, if providing proper evidence allowed for any needed support, there was no reason to hesitate.

"Understood, Your Grace. For now, a sum of ten million gold should suffice."

Ten million gold.

The tremendous amount casually stated silenced the crowd for a moment, but then...

"Fine. Dwayne, we can manage that amount, can't we?"

"...Yes, it will be tight, though."

"Then that settles it. Sir Clayton, does this solve the research issue for the time being?"

"Indeed, my lord. Thank you, Prince."

"Not at all. Please endeavor further. The day your research succeeds, you will receive rewards far exceeding all your efforts."

"Rewards? This is already more than enough!"

"Excuse me?"

"The chance to realize the dream of our school in real-time is reward enough for me. I will strive even harder to be more helpful to the territory."

They exchanged pleasantries with smiles, yet within those courteous words lay the significance of the research Clayton was conducting.

Most of the retainers noticed and their eyes brightened, but none dared to probe into what Logan chose not to disclose.



"Next on our agenda is the workshop for which... hm, bringing in the dwarven artisans should solve the issue, and the workshop's budget is sufficient, so I'll entrust that to Philip who has experience with the trades. Philip, you won't have any issues, right?"

Expecting a positive response, Logan posed the question.

And yet...

"I think it may be better to postpone it for now."

The young man with grey eyes expressed his concerns with a troubled look.

"Why is that?"

Hamar stared at Philip, while Damian next to him tugged at Philip's sleeve.

Unfazed, Philip began to explain his thoughts.

"The largest... uh, human market in Harun City has been one of the main stages of the civil war. With the market currently paralyzed, trying to acquire dwarven artisans might mean their already expensive prices could increase tenfold, or even more. Now is not the right time."

"And when would be?"

"Within one or two months at the earliest, three months at the latest, the market will flood with supply which should considerably lower the artisans' value. It would be far better for the territory to wait and then acquire... bring them over."

Even Hamar, who instinctively frowned at the talk of supply and acquisitions, nodded at Philip's explanation.

'Philip, as always, is sharp when it comes to money.'

Logan also couldn't help but smile, putting aside thoughts to revert him back from administrative duties to his main profession soon.

"Yes, Philip. That was a very sound suggestion. Hamar, please be patient. You understand my intention?"

"Huh. Of course, my lord."

As the matter of the workshop was settled, Logan turned to Heinke.

"The knighthood matter my father mentioned should be discussed with Sir Heinke. Please speak frankly on your thoughts."

"...Your Highness. As I have already told the lord, I am considering retirement."

"What? Why would you say that!"

Padrick raised his voice in dismay, but Heinke's expression remained unchanged.

"I do not believe it proper for someone looking to retire to speak on matters regarding the knighthood."

"Hmm, always such a person..."

Logan let out a sigh.

"Sir. The family fully understands your situation and is grateful beyond words for your sacrifice and loyalty. However, Sir Heinke, the family needs your experience right now. Could you possibly lend your assistance a while longer?"

"…My opinion may not be of help."

"Whichever the opinion, our knights, including myself and my father, will greatly respect it."

At those words, the old and battered knight looked up to the high seat with a vacant gaze.

Aware that it may cause sorrow, but still moved by the pitiful eyes and gentle smile of his lord, Heinke sighed deeply, reflecting on his regrets before falling silent in thought.

Under everyone's anticipatory gaze, he voiced his opinion.

"It seems the best answer is to simply roll with it."

"…?"

A brief silence followed in the conference room.

If glances made a sound, this would have been it.

The ebbing anticipation and the encroaching disappointment were palpably prickling his skin.

Amidst the shifting atmosphere of the crowd, what concerned Heinke the most was the astonished look on the face of his lord staring at him.



"It is not about simply rolling with it!"

With an unprecedented voice,

the old knight passionately began his speech.

"The most crucial aspect surely concerns the transmission of our knights’ symbol, the Iron Blood Sword, doesn’t it?"

The crowd's expectation rose again.

"The senior knights can act as instructors to transmit the Iron Blood Sword to the new knights and take the lead in training. This would not only solidify their stance as veteran knights but also aim for unity with the new recruits."

One after another, the retainers nodded in agreement, showing their consensus.

"It would also be a good measure to give special allowances to the senior knights acting as instructors."

With no sign of the earlier gloom, Heinke delivered his views passionately.

Like a blossoming tree in old age.

Unbeknownst to Heinke himself, life seemed to return to his face as he spoke.

Seeing this, a smile spread across Padrick's expression, and

Logan nodded with a smile as well.

"Good suggestion, Heinke. We shall proceed accordingly. Your help has been invaluable."

Heinke's own proposal came without surety of resolution.

Despite that, the prince and future Grand Duke warmly agreed.

With that benevolent encouragement, Heinke allowed a slight smile to grace his face.

'It's going well.'

The knight, loyal to the family for years, had regained his motivation.

Despite injuries and deterioration, the family showed respect for the loyalty offered.

Logan hoped Heinke would serve as an emblem of that commitment, and even without an alternative superior suggestion, trying Heinke's idea was worth it.

And thus, it was appropriate to conclude the meeting.

"Alright! It seems we have all discussed the major points. You've all worked hard through the lengthy meeting. If there are any unstated matters or concerns, please speak now."

A question posed simply to bring the session to a close.

Yet, Logan looked around just in case, and there was someone nervously stirring.

"…Ronian? Do you have something to say?"

Caught by the prince's attention and the gathered gazes, Ronian hesitated before stepping forward.

"Yes, brother. There is an issue I'd like to address."

"Go ahead, speak."

The brother who seldom voiced opinions during family councils had suddenly embarked on a change, a sight that Logan admired. Hence, he gazed at his brother, his eyes shining.

"As our family's stature has risen, we've seen a surge in merchants and commoners flocking to us. Consequently, since the war's end till now, crimes against the territory’s people, such as theft and robbery, have become frequent. If this trend continues, I anticipate the problem will grow substantially."

Ronian's words stirred murmurs among the previously hushed retainers.

"Wasn't it merely post-festival chaos?"

"Looking back, there were concerns indeed."

"I've heard tales of our soldiers' hardship..."

The retainers seemed to resonate with Ronian’s concern.

"The issue of security, then. Assigning more soldiers to patrols and extending patrol hours should..."

"Brother, might I suggest a complete overhaul of the system instead?"

"A total overhaul?"

"Our soldiers are currently rotated among training, guard, duty, deployment, and rest. However, for maintaining security within the territory, I propose establishing dedicated soldiers solely for this purpose. It would benefit the territory if experienced soldiers or retired knights were at the forefront, separate from combat troops."

"Ah, create a dedicated security force?"

Logan's lips curved into a smile.

"Security force... Yes. Establishing a specialized unit solely for maintaining order. Comprising veterans and retired knights as the core would be fitting."

"Haha! That's a good idea."

"Why, the second prince is indeed sagacious."

Ronian's suggestion garnered favorable responses from the retainers.

'This lad...'

A security force, though a concept new to Logan, had proved successful in the empire's great cities.

Often unnecessary for smaller territories, hence it hadn't crossed his mind...

But now, Logan chuckled internally.

"That’s an excellent idea. Let's do just that. You shall be in charge of that, Ronian."

"Me?"

"Yes. Since it was your suggestion, take the responsibility for establishing the security force. Initiate it around centers like the twin towns and Bifrost Castle, it seems like a good way to see results."

"...Yes, brother. I’ll do my best."

"Great, I count on you. And moving forward..."

"Yes?"

"Do well."

He grinned.

"Yes, brother."

With that, Logan concluded the meeting that day with an odd smile.



* * *



"Sir Heinke, a word, if I may."

"Your Highness..."

"I heard you refused the offer when my father suggested granting you a territory. Aren't you regretting it? That was an opportunity to establish the Fides barony."

Fides.

An ancient word meaning loyalty and faith, it was the title bestowed to Heinke had he accepted the barony.

"...What would a man without heirs do with his own territory? Once I'm gone, it would only burden the family."

"Why speak of such things when you're well? To live healthily without force... Ah, my apologies."

"Why apologize? It was an injury sustained trying to protect the lord. I take pride in it."

"...Really?"

Logan looked at Heinke bewilderedly.

"I'm well aware of the lord's care and concerns. It was my lack I perceived that led me to refuse. Don't trouble yourself over it."

"We wish to reward your sacrifice in any way possible. Should you desire anything, name it. Both my father and I are willing to do anything for you."

"I know. I understand you want to compensate for what I've lost."

"Then accept our gratitude. Father has felt downcast by your repeated rejections."

Hearing Logan's genuine voice, Heinke broke the short silence.

"When I first met the young lord, he always said one thing."

"What was that?"

"That he would one day restore the glory of the MacLaine past and asked that I join him on that journey."

"...!"

"That young lord's dream inevitably became mine."

"Sir..."

Heinke continued, his voice steady and calm.

"Of course, we were confronted by reality, met with failure, and for a while, I forgot that dream. But it was you, Your Highness, who fulfilled it."

"Only possible thanks to you."

"Hardly. Though I won’t deny my small part, that's why I'm more grateful."

Heinke suddenly bowed, leaving Logan unable to hide his surprise.

"Your Highness, you've made my dream overflow. So, what more could I ask for?"

A tranquil smile settled on Heinke's face, one of utter contentment, devoid of any regret.

It seemed like he could drift away any moment now, and Logan urgently grasped his hand.

"We still need your strength. Not as a knight, but your experience alone has much to offer. Forget the retirement, consider staying for a while longer..."

"Yes, I'll reconsider my retirement."

"…What?"

Easily resolving what Logan had been requested by his father to handle, Logan was left speechless.

"What did you just say...?"

"I thought myself insufficient and powerless, which led me to decide on retirement. But today's meeting reminded me that I still have a role within this family."

"...?"

"As a knight, it may be a stretch, but as a drill instructor for the soldiers, I'm confident. I know Kaisolon is an excellent trainer, but I have my own way to contribute. Appoint me as an advisor for the soldiers. I'll utilize my abilities to their fullest to benefit the family."

"Sir Heinke..."

The man given nobility volunteering to lead soldiers in training baffled Logan.

"I no longer just want to live with a fulfilled dream. I want to dream bigger with the lord and you, Your Highness. Won’t you allow me?"

"Of course, Sir Heinke. Whatever dreams you may have, I promise you will see even grander ones come true."

Logan committed to allowing the loyal knight to dream freely and to see those dreams not only realized but surpassed in scale and splendor.

That was his promise, reaffirmed time and again.

Publicar un comentario

Artículo Anterior Artículo Siguiente

AD1

AD 2

close
close