I finally left the evening party and met up with Earl Terejia in a horse-drawn carriage, and immediately consulted him about setting up a knight order. Claudia was too embarrassed about having forgotten her promise to her father that she didn’t join our discussion and was riding on another carriage instead, and Bellway was here instead to have another person in the discussion.
“What’s this. You forgot this issue about Claudia-dono? A mistake due to inexperience.”
After I explained the situation to Earl Terejia, he seemed surprised for a moment, then his expression became very strict. Although I did expect his disappointment, I’m still a bit embarrassed that I caused him to be disappointed in me.
“Yes, my apologies.”
“Eliza. Taking care of nobles from other families is a serious responsibility. It’s important to know each person’s circumstances. Remember it well.”
“I’ll deeply engrave it into my mind. ……Sorry for the inconvenience, Earl. Bellway, my apologies.”
Honestly, even if the Earl didn’t tell me, I know that I’ve made a huge blunder. Claudia had promised her father that if she wasn’t able to become a knight by the age of 20, that she would return home and get married to whoever he wishes, and she’s 19 right now. I definitely do recall her telling me this before when I met her a few years ago. And yet, I still managed to forget it.
I could feel the blood draining from my face so I lowered my head, and this time I noticed that Bellway seemed surprised as well. Well, come to think of it, we’ve had our disagreements. And now, I’ve gone and done something so unreliable. Of course he would be surprised as well, I started feeling even more down.
Bellway uttered my name with a slightly bitter tone of voice. I couldn’t help but raise my head again as a conditioned reflex. Now I’m deeply regretting the rift between us, the harsh things I’ve said to him before and how I’ve hurt him with my words.
I’ve never apologized even once to him in the last three years. And honestly, even now, I don’t know how I should go about it.
A momentary silence fell upon us. Maybe Earl Terejia wanted to stop the awkwardness, he picked up the conversation again.
“Please raise your head. Anyways, we have to make a plan for establishing a knight order immediately.”
“While I can apply for the establishment of a knight order for you, have you thought about the reason you’ll give for needing one?”
“Yes. I’ll say that they’re for protecting and being in charge of the new citizens, to help them get adjusted.”
For personal knight orders, they are required to have a meaning to their existence and have actual work to do. The military’s role is to maintain order and defend the territory, but they can’t be in charge of the new citizens. The soldiers in the army are also recruited from ordinary citizens, so their social status is equal to that of commoners.
However, being knighted by a noble for their personal knight order will raise the rank and social status of the knight as well as confer noble status. Meaning, knighting someone is a noble’s way of giving people promotions, and it also allows knights to help do work that only nobles are allowed to do. Only nobles with a rank of earl or higher can create knight orders though, so Earl Terejia will have to lend me his assistance.
“To create a knight order, you need to have at least two qualified knights, though.”
“Claudia and…… Teomer Terit from the Shiru tribe, is who I was considering.”
The Earl seemed a little lost at who Teomer was, but I really couldn’t think of anyone else as a candidate so I said Teo’s name in the end, and as expected, the Earl’s expression turned strict.
“Teomer, eh. ……But, it’ll be for the best if you don’t use a foreigner to help create your knight order.”
“As I expected, it was like that.”
“The House of Lords probably wouldn’t approve of it.”
Teomer is a new citizen himself, and the knight order’s establishment is meant to protect and take charge of the new citizens. Well, he can be added as a later member with no problems, but it seems that if he’s used as a founding member, my application for a knight order probably won’t get approved.
“……Then, how about myself?”
Although a person can’t be both a knight and the same person that the knights are sworn to serve, technically speaking this knight order will be created to serve Earl Terejia, so on paper there should be no problem if I become a knight as well. Usually the domain lord will become the master of their own knight order, but since my rank isn’t high enough, I have to use the Earl’s name and higher rank.
As for the test to become a knight, more important than combat capability is knight etiquette, that is to say, knowledge of how to behave similar to and around nobles. That’s why nobles themselves are always the most common to become knights. Also, there’s no restrictions on gender or age. I think that I should be able to pass it as well.
Well, that’s what I thought, but this time Bellway shook his head with furrowed eyebrows as he shot down my plan.
“It’s forbidden for there to be any sort of master-servant relationship between a guardian and his ward.”
“……Ahh, that’s probably true.”
I suppose that even my idea wasn’t a blind spot in the rules after all. Since Earl Terejia is still my guardian right now, I won’t be able to become his knight.
But in that case, I don’t have any ideas about any other qualified candidates. What should I do…… Should I ask Bellway who’s very experienced in serving nobles to do it? Although he’s not nobility himself, he’s completely accustomed to being around nobility. And since he was qualified to become the Earl’s secretary, he’s probably still the distant relative of some noble family, just not closely related enough to have noble status, this seems to be likely.
I kept glancing at Bellway while thinking this idea over, but the more I thought about it, the more unlikely I felt it was that Bellway would become a knight. If he had wanted noble status in the first place, he would have joined as a knight long ago, instead of remaining as a commoner and becoming the Earl’s secretary. So, he probably wouldn’t be interested and his combat capabilities are questionable.
Once again, I lamented the lack of educated people in Kaldia. Right now we’re still focused on just raising the basic quality of life in Kaldia to get closer to the average in Arxia, and I have no resources to use on cultivating future useful personnel. I don’t have any idea right now, either.
“……I have someone that might work.”
Even though he still had a strict expression, this time the Earl offered up a suggestion.
“You have someone in mind?”
It was so unexpected to hear the Earl having a candidate, that I couldn’t help but lose control over my expression and my mouth was wide agape for a moment. The Earl nodded to me in return, and this time he asked me a question in turn.
“Yep. I only have one candidate, but he’s still a candidate. He’s someone that’s not related to Kaldia at all though, is that okay with you?”
A person that’s not related to Kaldia at all, eh…… Well, since the knight order is technically Earl Terejia’s, the members don’t need to be related to Kaldia, it’s okay if they’re related to him as well. But since the reason for my knight order’s existence is to protect and take charge of the new citizens, I need to judge for myself what kind of person this candidate is.
“Then, who do you have in mind?”
“My grandnephew. He’s the grandson of my half-sister who was born from a concubine, so he’s a Terejia without noble status. You should have met him once before.”
I was very confused at him saying I should have met him before. Other than Marquis Rittergau, I don’t recall ever being introduced to any of Earl Terejia’s relatives before.
“……I’m very sorry, but when and where was I introduced to him before, I’m afraid that I can’t recall.”
“No, he was never introduced to you. You should have met him at Fort Jugfena.”
“At Fort Jugfena……?”
I’d met so many people at Fort Jugfena, was one of the Earl’s relatives among them? However, when I thought back to my days at Fort Jugfena, I still couldn’t remember who he was.
“He was the one riding on the red-winged draconis.”
When he mentioned this, I instantly remembered. When Claudia and Kamil had arrived at Fort Jugfena and saved me, there had been two draconis, and there was a person I didn’t know who was riding together with Claudia. (TL note: Chapter 51, there was a character that was described, but never introduced or mentioned again until now.)
I recall that he was a young man who looked quite similar to Earl Terejia if the Earl was younger. I had originally planned on asking about who he was, but then I lost myself sleeping for an entire month and ended up forgetting about it.
“His name is Oscar Terejia, and he’s nineteen years old just like Claudia. Right now he’s an apprentice to Earl Einsbark’s eldest son, but since he’s still a Terejia despite not having noble status, he hasn’t been allowed to go on the front lines in the Jugfena knight order. He’s burning for an opportunity to prove himself.”
“I see, got it.”
“Would you like to meet him officially?”
“Of course. I’m deeply grateful to you for introducing him to me.”