The Monster of the Northernmost Territory～Wealth and Military Strength of A Country that Begins in Debt Trap～ - Chapter 1
- The Monster of the Northernmost Territory～Wealth and Military Strength of A Country that Begins in Debt Trap～
- Chapter 1 - Frontier Territory Inheritance
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
It has been 50 years since the discovery of a ruin in the forests of Godolzak in the Cerdo region. From the ruin, numerous relics have been uncovered. These are invaluable pieces of artifacts that cannot be produced in the present day.
Among them, there are relics that will significantly elevate the country’s war potential. In the past, there were even individuals who established their own countries through the power of relics. And such relics were the subject of contention between the Kingdom of Quaid and the Kingdom of Jabal.
The Cerdo region was a part of the eastern side of Kingdom of Quaid and shared a border with the Kingdom of Jabal. When the ruin was discovered in the Cerdo region, the Kingdom of Jabal started an invasion.
Even if that meant sparking a war, they sought to seize the relics. Before the neighboring countries obtain the relics, they wanted to snatch it away from them. It was perhaps the ultimate defensive sentiment that prompted the war.
It was one sweltering summer day when there was movement between the armies of the Kingdom of Quaid and the Kingdom of Jabal. The battle, which occurred near the town of Karg, was the bloodiest in recent years with nearly 40,000 soldiers on both sides clashing with one another.
Initially, the two sides engaged in a back-and-forth struggle, but the Kingdom of Quaid’s southern aristocratic force was progressively pushed back. Although the southern aristocratic army made an endeavor to regroup, the forces of the Kingdom of Jabal refused to allow them to do so.
Gradually, the southern aristocratic army lost its formation, and in the end, they were devoured like the entrails of a herbivore gnawed by the jaws of a lion.
From there, a portion of the Kingdom of Jabal’s army stormed into the aristocratic army of the Northern Kingdom of Quaid. As a result of this aggression, the northern aristocratic army sustained severe casualties.
Despite the fact that the northern aristocratic army inflicted more devastation than the southern aristocratic army, the Kingdom of Jabal retreated when the Kingdom of Quaid’s knights destroyed the opposing Kingdom of Jabal army’s core.
Notwithstanding this, given the excellent conduct of the Kingdom of Jabal’s army’s rearguard forces, the follow-up pursuit failed to inflict as much damage as desired.
Thus concluded the War of Karg.
Since the war took place near the town of Karg in the Cerdo region, it has been referred to as the “War of Karg,” but due to the number of battles that have been carried out here in the past, this time the battle was called the “Sixth War of Karg”.
In the Sixth War of Karg, the Kingdom of Quaid emerged to be victorious. It was judged that the Kingdom of Quaid prevailed because the Kingdom of Jabal’s army withdrew first.
However, in terms of the extent of damage, the Kingdom of Quaid’s army suffered substantially more. In particular, the casualties of the northern aristocratic army were horrendous. With many heads of aristocratic households fallen, there was no place to bask in the victorious atmosphere of the war.
After the Sixth War of Karg, it took roughly two months for the Kingdom of Quaid to finalize its postwar arrangements. The reason for this was the high number of deaths in the northern aristocratic army.
Furthermore, many claimed that the southern aristocratic army was to blame for the high casualties of the northern aristocratic army.
According to the king, the southern aristocrats were not at fault in this matter, and he issued an order to the southern aristocrats to offer monetary compensation to them. Of course, the country also presented the money as compensation, but the northern aristocrats were not convinced by this. Nonetheless, a settlement of the matter had been reached.
In the northernmost part of the Kingdom of Quaid lay a region called Dedel Territory. Being the northernmost region, it would experience the freezing cold during the winter while the summer would not be as hot as it would be. It was not a relatively productive territory.
As the sun was setting on the horizon, a young boy was gazing at it. In his eyes, there was a wavering sensation that could be interpreted as either sorrow or agitation. This was because the boy’s father, Beck, had perished in the Sixth War of Karg.
Even though his father was not a competent man, he was nevertheless a father who cherished his family. Despite his unreliability, the boy did not loathe his father. As he reminisced about his father, he let himself be swept away by the sea breeze.
“It has been 15 years since I was born into this world. Little did I expect that I would have to be independent this soon.”
He, Rodney Elias Forbus, was the heir to a knight household family that reigned over the frontier Dedel territory of the Kingdom of Quaid. Since his family was not affluent, it was evident that he would encounter hardships should he inherit the property.
He wondered himself if he was adept at managing a territory, but no answer was forthcoming. Even though he lacked confidence in his ability, Rodney knew that should he refuse to accept the inheritance and flee, his 13-year-old sister would have to be groomed to maintain the household. That would be beyond unfair to his younger sister. Therefore, he understood that he had to take over responsibility for the family.
“I guess I have to do it.”
As the blazing crimson sun set over the horizon, he vowed to accomplish it with his fists clenched.
A knighthood would be the lowest rank of aristocracy in the Kingdom of Quaid. As the lowest of the nobility, the population of the territory they govern would also be fairly minimal.
Even so, when war erupted, they would accompany their squires to the battlefields. If things went poorly, they would have to engage in general construction work (road construction, flood control, etc.) under orders from the royal family.
Even his father had gone off to war with the neighboring kingdom of Jabal, only to never return. From his father, he inherited the Dedel territory as well as the governance of a small village.
He returned to his house with heavy steps. It was not a mansion but simply a house.
Unbeknownst to Rodney, the Forbus family’s finances were in dire straits. They could never afford to acquire such a breathtaking building like a mansion.
“Master Rodney. Welcome home.”
Upon entering the house, he was greeted by Rithy, the sole servant in the house.
Rithy, who was about the age of his grandmother, had been working at the house as a maid since her husband had passed away in the war when Rodney’s grandfather was still alive.
“I’m home. Where are my mother and Emilia?”
“They’re in ma’am’s room.”
The interior of the house was dark. This was not only attributed to the scarcity of oil and the minimal amount of lamps and candles, but it was also partially because his father had been killed in the war, and the air was solemn with a sense of foreboding.
After knocking on the door of his mother’s room and announcing his return over the door, his sister, Emilia, came out.
“Welcome home, big brother.”
“I’m home. How’s mother doing?”
Emilia was a lively younger sister who would accompany the boys in sword training, but even she had a melancholy expression on her face at the moment.
“She just fell asleep.”
“I see. You should get some rest too, Emilia.”
Emilia wrapped her arms around him. Her body was trembling slightly. It was clear that she had been suppressing her grief. When he embraced Emilia tightly and stroked her head, it made her wail.
“It’s fine to cry. I will protect Emilia.”
He caressed her head until she settled down.
Their grown-up mother was the first to collapse when they learned of their father’s death in battle. Although it was reasonable for her to be sad, she was even more distraught than the child Emilia. She was far too undependable. Therefore, Rodney felt that he had to be firm.
At night, once Emilia had gone to bed, Rodney went into his father’s workroom. This would be Rodney’s workroom from now on. While the room was not very spacious, the bookshelves were brimming with books that had been accumulated by the consecutive heads of the family. To Rodney, it appeared as if it was overflowing with the history of the Forbus family.
A book was expensive, and not everyone could afford to buy one. That was why he did not recollect his father ever purchasing books for him. Even so, the bookshelves in his workroom were lined with books. These alone would be a considerable asset, but he would not dream of selling them.
On the opposite shelf, there was a Forbus family ledger. He took it in his palm and began flipping through it.
“I expected this, but we’re indeed in the red…”
In autumn, grain would be collected from the farmers in the form of cash, and in spring, a capitation tax would be levied from the villagers and a mercantile transaction tax from the merchants. Since the land was remote, no tariffs were collected as tariffs would have prevented people from coming and departing.
As he reviewed the ledger concerning the loans, a headache arose from the sheer amount of money involved. Even simply repaying the interest alone cost a fortune, not to mention the fact that the expenditures were higher than the tax revenues. Without a thorough check, the amount of the debt would be quite substantial.
“How would I operate a territory…?”
Since he was an aristocrat, he was educated at least in reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, before he could learn how to administer a territory, his father passed away.
A deep sigh escaped his lips as he proceeded to search through the desk drawer. There should be a key to unlock the drawer, even though there shouldn’t be anything significant within it. He sought the key, only to realize it was nowhere in sight. Just when he thought it was unlikely he would be able to open it tonight, he spotted his father’s cherished urn.
“It couldn’t be.”
By the light of the lamp, he peeked into the urn, and there it was.
“Oh come on, how could it be placed in such an obvious spot?”
He inserted the key into the keyhole of the drawer and was met with the sound of it clicking open. When he pulled the drawer open, he discovered a book lying inside.
Although the bookshelves were stacked with books, this single book could still be stored there. Yet, only this particular book was kept in a drawer. Moreover, the drawer was locked.
He wondered how valuable the book was as he picked it up, but there was no description on the front cover. Even the spine of the book lacked a description, and it had a black cover. Suspecting that it might be a diary, he opened the cover.
When the book emitted a dazzling light, it forced Rodney to shield his eyes with his palms. That light encompassed the whole room, and Rodney fainted, suffering from a dreadful headache.
As someone shook him, his consciousness was lifted from a deep slumber. Rithy was the one who jolted Rodney awake as he was lying prone at the desk.
“Master Rodney. It’s already morning.”
Assuming that Rodney was still half asleep, Rithy called out to him once more.
“It’s already autumn, you’ll catch a cold if you sleep here.”
“Eh, uh, yeah…”
He stared at his desk, pondering what had transpired last night. There, he realized that the book was missing and verified it with Rithy.
“Do you have any idea where the book on my desk is?”
“Book? I didn’t touch it.”
Rithy, who has been working in this house since before Rodney was born, never lied to him even once. Despite searching beneath the desk and in the drawer, the book was nowhere to be discovered.
“Please go wash your face. Your breakfast is ready.”
“…Got it. I’m coming.”
He exited the room after Rithy, convinced it was all a dream.
His mind began to clear as he washed his face with water from the well just outside the back door. Then a strange feeling dawned on him, and he put his hand on the edge of the well.
Rodney encountered visions of a large edifice he had never laid his eyes on before as well as an automobile driving without a horse in tow. Those were buildings dozens of stories high, and what were called automobiles powered by engines and motors.
In this remote knight-errantry that Rodney was to reign over, such things cannot be found. He had been to the royal capital twice, but this wasn’t even a scene in the royal capital.
Although the royal capital was a much larger city than the knight territory, there were still no buildings tens of stories high or automobiles. As these scenes played in his mind, he suddenly had an epiphany.
“Is this… my memory from my past life?”
Rodney’s former life recollections were from a different universe than this one. These remembrances were whirling around in his head. While he could not recall the names of his parents, siblings, or friends from his previous life, he still remembered the culture and the education he had received.
Even though Rodney’s memories of his previous life resurfaced, his former life’s personality did not show up. This appeared to be nothing more than a recollection of his former existence with no discernible personality.
He was sweating profusely all over his body as he composed himself and assessed his situation as if he had just undergone a rigorous workout. Perspiration dripped from his greasy emerald green hair and left a round mark on the ground.
“Master Rodney. Your mother and Lady Emilia are waiting for you… what has happened to you!?”
Rithy hurried up to Rodney after sighting him standing there drenched in sweat.
“I’m fine. I was just taking a bath.”
“You’ll catch a cold if you take a cold shower in such temperatures. Please hurry up and get dressed.”
As if being spanked, Rodney headed back to his room to change his clothes.
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