Even If You Call It Foolish
Immediately after I awoke, I got in contact with Zelphy.
We met at the same café as before, and there, I requested that she accept Lockworde-san’s job.
“Did you perhaps hit your head? To aid the former heiress of a noble household in opposin’ bandits, of all things. Call me impressed, but I won’t say it’s a good decision.”
Zelphy-san looked at me, quite amazed.
In her head, she was probably thinking something like, ‘no wonder this one was kicked out of his household.’ But that was fine for now.
She ordered some confectioneries and ate them up quite neatly. I see. I bet she was raised quite nicely. It was just as Novem said.
(She really is like a knight. Her fighting style is one thing, and I guess this is her father’s influence.)
“This is my decision. In the worst case, I don’t mind if Zelphy-san decides to leave us. I’ll tell Hawkins-san on my own.”
Hearing that, she sighed, as she turned her eyes to Novem.
“I thought you were smarter than that, Novem.”
“It’s something Lyle-sama decided for himself. Also…”
“Lyle-sama said he was capable of doing it, so there’s no problem.”
It did feel like Novem’s trust towards me was much too high, but still, I have a fighting chance here.
The ancestors also acknowledged that.
“… The current Lockwarde house has fallen, so you won’t get anything like a reward. You saw milady’s attire, right? Also, the current head’s no good. Their predecessors were quite diligent, and they were splendid nobles who held the rank of Viscount at the imperial capital, though.”
So the Lockwarde house was declining.
But the one being rewarded weren’t the Lockwardes. I get the feeling we were the ones paying here.
And the one we’d receive reimbursement from was Dalien’s feudal lord.
“I don’t mind. We’ll be the one paying the reward here.”
“Hah? Wait a sec’. Just what do you guys think you’re sayin’? If you really hit your head, I know quite a good doctor.”
I gave a bitter smile, as I continued to ask her.
“Then I’d rather you introduce us to someone with information instead. Someone knowledgeable on the bandit troupe, as well as Dalien’s lord.”
“I understand the bandits, but the lord?”
It looked like Zelphy-san was making a troubled face, but in truth, her eyes had narrowed.
(It looks like it was just as the ancestors… the Third and Fifth, predicted.)
I said it with a smile. Deep down, I knew there was a chance of failure, but you couldn’t show that to your opposition.
Be self-confident. Otherwise, no one would follow you.
“Well, we’ll win, you know. Also, this is my area of expertise. Right. Can I add on another request?”
I added on a lie like that.
In truth, I’d never decently fought a human before. The only experience of fighting I have was from the ancestors in the Jewel.
“… What could it be?”
“Don’t worry, this one’s a simply job. It’s just I think it’s one you’ll be able to do well. I want to put in a request to Zelphy-san who’s so trusted by the guild.”
Gradually, everything transpired just as my ancestors anticipated.
We came to the mansion Dalien’s feudal lord lived in.
From an information dealer Zelphy-san introduced us to, we got to know the sort of person he was.
And, we learned the present state of the city known as Dalien.
Fitting of the word reliable, 【Ventra Rodornia】 was probably thought of as a splendid lord.
With the territory this close to the capital, he carried the risk of serfs immigrating to the larger city if he handled his situation poorly.
Minding his land’s growth, he was able to compete with the nearby capital.
It was the Rodornia family that had made Dalien bigger and bigger over a large amount of time.
I straightened the collar of the shirt I purchased.
“It’s been a while since I last wore something like this… for some reason, it feels longer than has actually passed.”
“It suits you, Lyle-sama.”
Novem was also clad in clothes suited for the daughter of a Baron House… no, I won’t say it was that much, but she was wearing a lovely dress. Of course, perhaps it was due to the person herself that it achieved such an effect.
(It’s been like that since back then, but Novem sure has that atmosphere to her.)
I’m not wearing my usual traveler’s clothes either. From a tailor in Dalien, they were high class… hand-me-downs.
We used the majority of the money we had earned, but of course, there was a reason to this.
The Sixth, who was in charge of today, let out a voice from the Jewel.
『Okay, there’s no problem with your appearance. Now, Lyle… are you prepared to make a fool of yourself?』
I touch the Jewel to indicate my affirmation.
『Perfect! Then shall we go… it’s time for the foolish son kicked out of his house to have a meeting with the Lord of Dalien.』
As the Sixth said that, I looked towards the wary gatekeeper.
Rather than wary, he seemed to be concluding that we were the children of some noble or another as he looked at our clothing.
There was no sign of him directing a weapon at us.
I approached him and declared my intent.
“I’m Lyle Walt. I made an appointment with the Lord, can you please obtain confirmation?”
There, the guard’s eyes opened a little.
(As I thought, he knows. Zelphy-san also knew, so there’s no doubt about it.)
“Please wait here for a moment. I will receive confirmation momentarily.”
After saying that, the gatekeeper started to exchange words with the soldiers inside the gates.
Both Novem and I continued to direct a smile at him.
After a while, not a soldier, but a man wearing a suit came out to meet us. Looking at that, I understood that the meeting was possible.
“Lyle Walt-sama, correct? Ventra-sama will see you. But at present, he is occupied, so please wait within the estate for a while.”
I nodded towards the polite treatment.
“Yes, I do not mind. I am actually sorry on my side for having to pay a visit all of a sudden. The Lord of Dalien is being tolerant of us.”
Novem silently gave a bow.
“Then, this way…”
Under his guidance, we entered the mansion.
Compared to the scale of the territory’s advancement, the mansion felt small.
『It’s just as I thought.』
As the Sixth said that, I felt relief at the fact that everything was going according to plan.
According to the information dealer, the Lord was a sociable-looking short and plump man in his forties. His reputation among the populace was at a level where they were relatively satisfied.
Meaning to the people, he was ranked as a good Lord.
Apparently, while he looked nice, he also seemed a little unreliable.
A lord that has a slight unreliable side… that was the information I received. But mine and the ancestors’ opinions on the matter were different.
『The gatekeeper and the suited employee were truly loyal. I won’t compliment them too much, but their treatment of us was tender. Reliable, and a Lord that’s expanded his territory on this scale. There’s no doubt he’s an excellent lord! Quite perfect!』
The Sixth sounded happy.
It was about that, but I felt a little depressed in that regard.
The reason being, reliable and excellent… a lord even loved by the people.
『He must’ve played his hand a lot to advance the territory! On top of being shorthanded, he’s got a personality where he can’t slacken his rule! Great! There’s plenty of gaps to take advantage of!』
The lively Sixth Generation understood the problem at hand.
There was remarkable growth, and it was an environment where a lot of jobs were circulating around adventurers. But, while liked by the people, he neglected a Bandit Brigade.
I was sure there was a reason. That was why we looked into it.
In high spirits, the ancestors examined the information we had on hand: The Lord’s character and the problems of the land. Also, the current situation.
『Two labyrinths manifested within the territory, and for that sake, he dispatched his personal soldiers and knights. He’s taking great efforts for a village on his outskirts… yep! A splendid lord!』
(Even if you praise him that much, we’re going to be stabbing at those points when negotiations start…)
I had suspected whether or not he was tied to the bandits themselves, but it looked like someone put their hands into the information circulating, so that line disappeared.
(Since we came to Dalien, I was suspicious because there weren’t any bandits acting up, though.)
If they were directly connected to the Lord, we were just going to negotiate with him and have him return it.
We were told to wait in a room of the mansion, so Novem and I sat on the sofa as we sipped tea.
(Now then, here, I should play the part of a pitiful noble boy who was banished from his family.)
I get the feeling I’m not too far off the mark anyways, but here, my acting will prove important. Also, I’ll be putting your Walt name to good use.
I’ve received the ancestors’ permission, so there was no problem… was what I’d like to think.
『Hahaha! It’s getting interesting, Lyle!』
The Sixth Generation’s high tension caused me to draw back a little.
Having completed his work or not, the Lord appeared before us after about an hour had passed.
He was looking straight at my eyes.
“I, Lyle Walt, have been driven from my territory, but I will definitely reclaim it and restore it to the glory it once held! Concerning the matter, I’d like to obtain Ventra-sama’s aid.”
The former heir of the provincial noble Walt House.
That was his current evaluation of me.
I’ve determined that the information that had reached Dalien wasn’t too detailed.
At the same time, using the chance, I thought I would lock that evaluation of me as a person in place.
『A foolish brat where there was no helping it if you got kicked out… a dreamer works too. A noble that only speaks of dreams is fitting of you right now, Lyle.』
That was the Fifth Generation’s opinion.
Naturally, some of the other ancestors were opposed.
But right now, I’m in a situation where it wasn’t strange for someone to come to me and try to use me.
The ancestors also felt the relay of information had gotten much faster when compared to their eras.
For that sake, to protect myself, I’ll use the opportunity to set my place in the world in stone.
The Walt house didn’t make any movements in regards to my actions.
I also plan to investigate just what they will do as a result of this.
Would they come to finish me off after I’ve risen such a ruckus? Or would they just continue to abandon me?
To learn the reaction of the monster that reigned over the Walt House, Celes, we planned to use this matter to its utmost.
(But, it would be a little troubling for me if they actually start sending assassins.)
According to the others, that problem will be settled with the First’s Skill.
When I thought of the savage-styled founder, there was no helping it if I was doubtful. But, his Skill was truly amazing.
The feudal lord in front of my eyes… Ventra Rodornia, had a slightly cramped face as he looked at me.
『Excellent, Lyle. That’s definitely the face of someone troubled over a complete buffoon! He let down his guard and let it show on his face, gahahahah!!』
It was just as the ecstatic Sixth Generation said.
“L-Lyle-dono, even if you ask for my assistance, I can’t prepare a response to such a sudden petition. Also, I doubt something like that would work. For your sake, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear it, so could you please return for today…”
He wanted to pretend not to hear it. Meaning he wanted it not to have happened.
The Walt House was stationed in a remote region, but it was a legitimate Count House. It boasted military might, and it had connections with the Imperial Capital in the center.
That was what Ventra-san must have been thinking of when he got entangled with an idiot son like me.
『Just like that, Lyle… he’s making a face as if a bomb had been brought within his territory! He definitely looks like he wants to kick you out!』
He was probably thinking of just how to deal with me right now. The vassal standing beside him stood there without displaying any perplexity.
Perhaps he was a guard, but his skills were considerable.
(This pressure he emits just by standing… he’s remarkable.)
The fact that he had a subordinate like that was also a show of his worth.
“That’s right, Ventra-sama… recently, a bandit brigade has moved into an abandoned mine in the area, I heard. I, Lyle, would definitely like to be of use to you, and as such, I request permission to subjugate them.”
“Permission? I received information that you had become an adventurer, though?”
It looks like he investigated me well.
He even investigated about my doings after I arrived in the city.
He was skilled.
“Yes, but considering your position, I thought there was no way you could leave a bandit troupe alone. So, I’d like permission. What’s the problem? In the wake of me defeating them, it’s fine if the credit for the achievement goes to you, Ventra-sama!”
I said that with a smile, and Ventra-san shifted his gaze in unease.
“Please be at peace. I’ve hired a veteran adventurer. I’ve also called out to the guild, so I have numbers as well.”
I continued to reassure him with a smile.
There, Ventra-san’s face went a little pale.
“… It’s a greatly pleasant offer, but as I thought, I’d like it if you leave the matters of the territory to me. This time, let me accept just the sentiment, and…”
『Good. Lyle… now.』
On the Sixth Generation’s signal, I made a slightly regretful face.
“Is that so… then I will be subjugating them this time of my own will. Even like this, I’m a Walt man! A bandit brigade or two is easy enough. Oh, I won’t spread your name, Ventra-sama, so please rest at ease.”
My objective changed.
But Ventra-san’s face became more troubled.
『Even if you’ve been driven out, you’re a person of the esteemed Walt House… I’ll bet he can’t make a decision due to the lack of precise information. At this rate, if you make mincemeat of them, you may be charged for it. Good… this is getting fun!』
“… Lyle-dono, let me be a little blunt here. Even if you attach a former to it, you’re a person who was the heir to a household. I’d like it if you didn’t meddle in excess. If you’re an adventurer for now, then you should be exploring yourself for a means to live as an adventurer. If it’s help in that field, then unskilled as I am, I will lend you my aid. However, I’d appreciate if you didn’t insert yourself into matter pertaining to this territory.”
(Unskilled, is it… I wonder if he means monetary aid. In truth, he really wants to kick me out, though.)
Ventra-san’s side was right on the money. But I have my own reasons, and I have to hunt bandits no matter what.
(I do feel sorry for him.)
“Come to think of it…”
As I was about to say something else, perhaps because he was irritated I had avoided answering to him, his eyebrows twitched.
“What could it be?”
“No, it just seems that this bandit troupe is acting quite active. While straddling two territories, they stuck themselves to Dalien. They must have amassed quite a treasury for themselves… they must be plenty troubling to the lord that let them escape.”
“… I’ll bet.”
His expression didn’t change, but I understood that I was annoying him.
『If you bring in the surrounding lords, it’ll be a considerable pain. And because of his diminished forces, his defense is thin.』
They don’t seem to be too smart of a group, but even though they had extended themselves over the territory to make a killing, the Feudal Lord couldn’t put hands on them.
Their stronghold was out in the open, but the fact that they were untouched was plenty suspicious in itself. I tried looking up various things about that, and I found something quite unamusing.
(Even so, now’s the time for the bandits. Perhaps they worked their heads a little, or their luck was good…)
Bringing in troops from other territories would serve as an excuse for war.
The lord that left them alone after they’d raged however they wanted must have undergone some painful memories.
(And wait, I think they have someone relatively sharp among them, but it was probably luck.)
If they had done it knowing full well, then they were an enemy to be wary of. But that didn’t seem right.
The ancestors immediately concluded that the enemy wasn’t someone of such high caliber. As I thought, they probably just have experience in the field of defeating enemies.
But the troupe that rampaged over other lands was quiet in Dalien. What would the other lords think?
“You appear to be quite busy. While I, Lyle, may be inadequate, I will aid you in carrying the troubles on your head, Ventra-sama. It wouldn’t be strange if the surrounding territories were to come under a strange misunderstanding, correct?”
As I said that, he let out a sigh.
“Hah… so what do you want? Are you saying that if you moved as pleased in this territory, there would be merit to me? I can only see demerits in that.”
(That’s not the case.)
I continued with a bright smile.
“Please lend me manpower and funds. I’ll show you that I can kick the bandit brigade out splendidly. It’s just that…”
I answered after leaving a pause.
“I will be using my name. Naturally, I will also be taking their amassed wealth. Ventra-sama will be providing manpower and funding.”
I was at an overwhelming advantage with these conditions.
But there was also merit to Ventra-san. The one that eliminated the bandits from his land would be me.
If I defeated them as a simple adventurer, the surrounding lords wouldn’t be able to make a fuss over it.
The mountain of treasure would be transferred to me, so Ventra wouldn’t be placed under suspicion.
『Use the bandits, Dalien’s lord was able to collect the treasure they amassed by breaking into houses of other territories… He doesn’t want them to think along those lines! Problems will arise with his bordering lands!』
I heard the Sixth Generation’s delighted voice again.
“It appears you have a rough estimate of the manpower I currently possess. But if I were to say, my manpower is the very people of this land. There’s no way I could lend them to you.”
“I see. Then that means you are fine with funding part of it? (That’s right. But we already know something like that.)”
I need him to understand the person I’m supposed to be. Right… 『Lyle the Dreamer』. In order to get him to think of me that way, I purposely made the demand.
Lending out soldiers or military authority was something that never usually happened.
“Yes. I’ll present fifty gold coins onto you.”
『Fumu, in today’s standards, does it not sound meager? Lyle, raise the bar. Listen here, business meetings are…』
On the Sixth’s words, I raised my pricing.
“The bandits will be gone, and one of your troubles will be resolved. How does two hundred gold sound?”
On my offer, Ventra-san let out a laugh.
“Ahaha, Lyle-dono… are you not looking down on me too much?”
Saying that, he gave a signal to the retainer by his side with his fingers.
The retainer left the room.
I bet I had offered a lower sum than he had anticipated.
Considering the scale of the city of Dalien, it was an amount he wouldn’t even think of as loose change.
But that was my aim.
『Good, that’s fine as it is. He probably thinks you’re oblivious to the world, and that you haven’t had a proper education on such matters now.』
The Sixth sounded satisfied.
(I just have to act to make the opposition think I’m no good, so if you want to call it easy, it probably is, but… it’s tiring.)
When the retainer returned, his hand was clasped around a leather bag.
Its contents were gold coins, two hundred at that.
“Under your name, you’re going to subjugate the bandits, Lyle-dono. I’ve prepared your funds. However, it’s alright if we remain unconnected, right?”
“Yes! Thank you very much, Ventra-sama!”
『He’s probably under the impression that he’s lost nothing even if we fail. If we succeed, he won’t have conflicts with the neighboring territories, and if we lose, the ticking time bomb known as Lyle will have disappeared from his sight. There’s also the possibility that the bandit brigade would move in that case. Two hundred gold coins is a dirt cheap purchase.』
Novem, who was lined up next to me, simply sat and watched the exchange with a smile.
Ventra-san must think of me as an oblivious idiotic son led around by a woman.
(Now next is…)
『Lyle, next up is gathering personnel!』
While I listened to the Sixth Generation’s ecstatic voice, I smiled and shook hands with Ventra-san, as he smiled back and reminded me not to use his name.