After quite some time had passed, it was finally time for the organizers and host of this party, the archduke’s family, to come out and greet everyone. Because there were so many guests, as an upstart lesser earl, I was fairly far back in the greeting order.
“Greetings and salutations, Your Excellency the Archduke. It is such a great honor to be invited to your son Grays’ birthday party tonight. I would like to take this opportunity to offer a prayer to Misorua for your son Lebrecht-sama as well, and also the entire Dovadain family, for your continued good fortune.”
“I shall gratefully accept, Earl Einsbark.”
“It’s a joyous occasion that you are able to be here tonight for the sake of me and my brothers. We can all relax here tonight, free from the pressures of noble school. I hope that you will enjoy the remaining entertainment planned for tonight.”
The archduke had the same blue eyes as his sons and only briefly responded to me, while Grays took over the rest and lightly gave me a formal prepared greeting as required by etiquette. Eric who was standing a little behind them avoided my gaze and didn’t say anything, and the archduke’s wife sitting next to him also remained silent, while Lebrecht was sitting in the center gave me the impression that he was very uncomfortable being here. Because Eric wasn’t hiding it, it was obvious to see even though this was a public venue that there was some discord within the family.
Even after leaving from where the archduke’s family was sitting, I observed them for a while longer at a distance. As they greeted other nobles, it seems that all of them had some interaction with each other, except for the archduke’s wife, she never spoke to Eric. Even if there was something, she would only nod, and I could tell even at a distance that she had a tense expression.
“-Oh, isn’t this Lord Kaldia, I mean, Earl Einsbark.”
Suddenly a voice interrupted my thoughts and a familiar face entered my sight. It’s Cornell, the youngest son of Margrave Freche. He was escorting his fiancee Feria Rogshia, and happened so see me so he came over to greet me. I was a bit surprised that Margrave Freche’s third son would be invited, but then I noticed some people that looked like Cornell’s two older brothers behind him. I recall that both his brothers should be barons. Which means, since Cornell doesn’t have a title yet, he should be here accompanying them.
“How have you been, Earl Einsbark?”
“……It’s been quite a while, Cornell-dono, Feria-dono. Because it’s easy to get confused with the other members of the Einsbark family, you can just call me Kaldia like before.”
“I see, then I’ll call you Earl Kaldia. I didn’t think that I’d meet you here. I had been wanting to contact you recently.”
“What is it that you wanted?”
If he wanted to contact me, I can only imagine that it must have something to do with their upcoming marriage. But just because of their marriage’s situation, I doubt that Margrave Freche would ask me about it.
“Even in the Freche region, we’re well aware of Earl Kaldia’s achievements on the eastern border. -My father seems to be concerned about the assorted smaller southern countries. He wanted to contact and discuss some things with the Jugfena region domain lords.”
The assorted smaller southern countries…… I tilted my head at the unexpected topic.
Although Kaldia is on the eastern border, so I mostly pay attention to the situation with our eastern neighbors, in truth only the Genas domain separates Kaldia from the southern border as well. Although, the threat from the southern countries is much lesser compared to Rindarl.
The southern countries are too small in size, even if they ally together, they wouldn’t be much of a threat to Arxia. Among those countries, there’s too many new countries appearing as well as old countries being destroyed due to constant infighting, that development is far behind there, and their soldiers, citizens, and resources are all exhausted.
“Is there a country that’s suddenly become powerful, is that why he’s concerned?”
“Ahh. Apparently, Rindarl is intervening in the southern countries’ wars. On Rindarl’s southeast border, some countries have become Rindarl’s vassal states.”
Intervention. It’s something that the isolationist Arxia would never come up with. In the first place, when thinking about national defense, it’s convenient for Arxia if other countries are constantly at war with each other, and it’s more advantageous if the southern countries continue to rise and fall, so there was no reason to intervene in their affairs. Although, in accordance to Arxia’s national laws and religion, Arxia doesn’t do anything to purposefully intensify their conflicts either.
“If you have the spare time, I’d like to hear more details on this right away.”
“Got it. I can leave greeting the archduke to my older brothers, let’s go meet my father.”
“Wait a moment. The person who wanted to talk to me wasn’t you, it was Margrave Freche?”
I’m shocked that Margrave Freche wanted to talk to me personally. I was even slightly impolite, forgetting etiquette in my surprise. But, Cornell nodded affirmatively, saying “father said that would be good for him.”
I don’t know how Margrave Freche would benefit from talking to me, but margraves have their own interests to consider. As long as there’s no disadvantages for me, it won’t hurt me to hear what he has to say.
“……Got it, let’s go.”