(TL note: from time to time I need help posting chapters. See this Novelupdates forum topic.)
“……I see, I understand your situation now. I have several things I would like to say about what you just told me.”
I finally cut into Cornell’s story with a gloomy tone of voice, so Cornell and Feria were looking at me with surprise on their faces. I just made a decision to use this type of atmosphere……
“I’ve investigated various things about Lady Feria’s engagement. There’s still a few things I haven’t checked yet, but allow me to come to a preliminary conclusion based on what I currently know. Canceling the engagement between the Ogren and Rogshia families will be basically impossible.”
An expression of dissatisfaction started distorting Cornell’s face. Since explaining everything to him would be troublesome, I looked in Oscar’s direction. He nodded to me as he adopted a strict expression strikingly similar to Earl Terejia’s, and he began a detailed explanation in my place.
“The engagement between the Ogren and Rogshia families involves a debt owed by the Rogshia family. About 15 years ago, the Ogren and Rogshia families began a deep relationship with each other when the Rogshia domain started a new business. At that time, the Ogren family made a loan as the beginning capital for the business. Also, the loan amount was so large, that the law required the two families become relatives through marriage as collateral, so the engagement between the son and daughter of the two houses was decided upon.”
This happened right around the time that Ista Ogren and Feria Rogshia were born. Viscount Ogren’s wife happened to be from the Greenfield region, and was a childhood friend of Feria’s mother.
“I shall skim over the details, but suffice it to say that the business ended up in failure. In order to recoup their losses, both families took on further debts, and only in the last five years have they finally begun making a profit. However, the money that the Rogshias borrowed from the Ogrens, was in turn loaned to the Ogrens by the Nordsturms, the guardian family for the Ogrens. Well, simply speaking, the Ogrens were a middle man.”
“Such a thing…… My father, has debts?”
“Yes, indeed. Because of this reason, breaking the engagement will not be legally possible until the debt of the Rogshia and Ogren families is reduced to 3 million arcs or less. If the engagement is broken, it will result in bankruptcy, loss of noble status, confiscation of ruling rights, and the domain itself will be subject to acquisition by others.”
As Oscar calmly continued his summary, Feria’s face was growing paler and paler. I can tell that she’s despairing.
The relations between various domains and the legal benefits of noble marriage should all be topics covered as part of a noble’s education, did she really never learn any of this I wonder. Well, it probably has to do with her spoiled upbringing, although I can’t say with absolute certainty.
Conversely, Cornell’s expression was a sharp contrast to Feria’s, as he appeared to be thinking deeply about the situation. Well, since he’s Earl Freche’s son, I think just his wedding dowry alone will be around 5 million arcs simply for getting married. He’s probably considering the power of his family to intervene in this situation.
“……This is all of the information I have on hand. Since I’m not directly involved in this situation, this is all that I could find out.”
When I spoke up again, Cornell appeared to stop thinking, and met my gaze directly again.
Not a bad expression, in my opinion. He’s able to face reality, and deal with a difficult situation without resorting to useless protesting. Should I say that this is expected of a border domain noble’s son? Honestly speaking though, I’ve always been living in an abnormal situation, and doubting everyone around me, it would have been nice if I had a more normal life like his instead.
“How much is the debt owed by the Rogshia family?”
“I don’t know the exact amount. Taking into consideration the increasing interest rate after five years, I believe that it will be in the realm of 15 million arcs.”
“15 million arcs……”
Well, it’s only an estimate, so in truth it may be more or less than this amount. It’s that information about loans can only be viewed by the lender and debtor, or those with a certificate of permit issued by the Ministry of Finance. There’s also some debts and donations that aren’t related to the Ministry of Finance, but that’s a story for another day.
Cornell was furrowing his eyebrows deeply. 15 million arcs is an amount that can purchase a small domain. There’s no way that a student like him can come up with the funds so easily.
“That’s 10 years of my salary. Quite an amount!”
Claudia who had been silent up to this point, chimed in with an incredulous tone of voice. Now that Claudia and Oscar have become knights, their salaries are paid for by Earl Terejia’s personal savings and Kaldia’s tax revenue. Their salaries are about 1.5 million arcs a year.
The knight orders managed directly by the kingdom pay out a higher salary than private knight orders. The knight order with the highest status in the kingdom, the Royal Bodyguards knight order, has an annual salary of about 3.5 million arcs. The border knights are paid about 3 million arcs per year, and if they rise in rank through promotions, the salary will increase.
By the way, knights are among the highest paid for nobles. Their annual income is higher than the average baron.
Silence fell in the room. Oscar whispered something to Claudia, and left the room.
I just realized that the light outside is beginning to dim. Should I have some snacks prepared for these two guests of mine? At any rate, they won’t be returning to the school any time soon tonight.
“……There’s something I would like to ask.”
Although he looked like he was having difficulty finding a solution, Cornell finally spoke up again. Feria pulled on his sleeve anxiously, but he kept looking directly at me while ignoring her. When I asked him what he wanted to know, Cornell seemed hesitant, yet he was still able to speak in a firm tone of voice.
“Lord Kaldia, what would you like to do about the Ogren and Rogshia family’s engagement? I would like to hear your true feelings.”
Such a foolish question. ……Claudia next to me appeared to be stifling her laughter. I wonder if something about that question tickled the chivalric spirit within her.
“Asking about my true feelings, I don’t think a question like this is something to be asking other nobles.”
After I said that with a sigh, Claudia was now making laughing sounds from the back of her throat like a cat. How noisy. In order to get rid of this annoying laughter, I think I’m going to have to answer his question, however reluctantly.
“……Honestly speaking, I couldn’t care either way about the engagement being broken or not. My domain gains nothing either way. However, due to the large debt, if the engagement is broken, it’ll set off a chain reaction leading to downfall and ruin. There’s nothing I can do about that.”
I don’t think it’s necessary to tell them about Diferis and the terrorists, so I’ll just talk about other things in the current situation.
“……I’ve never heard of a single successful incident where a noble son was able to properly go through the procedures and break off an engagement.”
Maybe his prodding touched a sensitive spot in me, I answered him rather bluntly. Everyone in the room dropped their shoulders sharply. If Kamil had been in the room right now, I’m sure I would have heard him whispering to me “you sure aren’t honest.”