Chapter 23

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      “What?!” Bloom, who was still angry at the irresponsible former knight commander, felt bewildered.
However–when the governor was on the brink of death from overwork and the administrative minister was useless–leaving the knight commander position open would create much more work.
Ayra simply could not leave the knight commander position open, and so, the young lord used the fief’s official seal for the very first time to authorize Bloom’s promotion.

     Bloom’s face immediately turned pale upon hearing the seal slam down and he hurriedly kneeled.
“My lord! I wasn’t even the original deputy commander!”

     “What do you mean you weren’t the ‘original deputy commander?'”

     Ayra listened to Bloom’s explanation.
As it turned out, the original knight commander had been dead for a while.
He had died while on escort duty on the day of the carriage accident.
As a result, the previous deputy–the runaway commander–had become the head of the unit, leaving the position of deputy knight commander empty.
Sir Bloom had temporarily assumed that role.

     “Besides, I’m originally from Axion…” 1

     “Ah, so it feels awkward because you’re an outsider.
I understand that.
All the more reason for you to be the knight commander.”

     “What?”

     Perhaps Bloom had refused because he was originally from Axion, or perhaps he was being humble.
Either way, Ayra didn’t have the leisure to listen to his excuses and forced the proxy appointment letter–the power to act in the Lord’s stead–into the knight’s hand.  3 state.
Work Efficiency has increased by 20%!]

 

     Berserk? Honestly, this is a real person–not a game character–and the system’s using words like Berserk? Arya had felt this for a long time, but this Pebble was a little acerbic in its judgement and evaluation of people.
As soon as Ayra thought that, another notification window popped up.

[Tip.
Solar’s current lord is a maniacal magic enthusiast.]

      “What do you mean by ‘maniacal magic enthusiast?’ Compared to me, there’re so many more pervs in the Labyrinth.” Ayra pressed Pebble flat until it beeped.

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      The next urgent order of business after drafting a plan to pay back the 300 cells of interest was to restore the wall that had crumbled within a day’s time.
Restoring it to its original state would take money, time, and manpower; however, the fief was currently in a bad state.
It would be extremely fatal if foreign enemies raided or the territory suffered magic attacks in their current situation.

     For now, Ayra ordered the soldiers to erect a wooden picket fence in place of the collapsed walls.
The seriously injured citizens or those that had nowhere to go were housed within the castle–at least until they were able to move around again.

     The day passed in the blink of an eye as Ayra took care of the duties that befell upon him on behalf of the infirm governor and the incompetent administrative minister.
One precious day out of the week he had left was gone just like that.
Thankfully, the governor seemed to have recovered some energy after taking a day’s worth of deep rest; Ginas came to find Ayra in his study.

     “I apologize.
I’ll gladly receive any punishment you deem fit to bestow on me for my daring, absurd words.” Ginas said calmly as he knelt down on his knees.
It seemed that he’d belatedly returned to his senses now that he was no longer in an overworked state.

     Ginas’s face grew paler as he recalled how he had suspected Ayra of murdering the previous lord and his family–amongst other things–in a fit of insanity.
Though Ayra was reluctant, he generously decided to forgive the governor.
In fact, under the current circumstances, he had no choice but to forgive Ginas.
“If you’re truly repentant, then help me from now on.
We need to pay back the 300 cells of interest at any cost—and I have just the plan for that.”

     At those words, Ginas raised his bowed head.
He nodded with tightly clenched lips and a dark expression on his face.
It was as if he wanted to say, ‘That’s impossible and ridiculous–this estate is already doomed.’ A faint gleam returned to his grey eyes that had gone hazy from exhaustion.
“Thank you for your forgiveness, my Lord.

 

[Hess Ru Ginas’s affection has increased by 1.]

[Current Affection: 4]

 

     Seriously? I’ve forgiven you and your affection’s only increased by 1? Why are you and Bloom so extreme?

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     In any case, this young governor was about 10 times more competent and useful than the administrative minister and 5 times more so than the knight commander.

     When Ginas heard that Ayra had sent a soldier to get a lay of the situation, he roughly rubbed at his shadowed eyes, as if his fatigue had not yet been fully relieved.
“Certainly, one could contact the merchant via carrier pigeons or winter hawks in Dallum Gorge village.
If you take the goods carried by the merchant and sell them, it’d be easy to earn 300 cells.
However, sending soldiers is futile.
I had already hired two fleet-footed mercenaries a few days ago, but they have yet to return.”

     The governor’s tone was filled with skepticism and negativity.
Ayra tapped his desk with his finger.
If he sold some of the magic tolls he had stored in the Labyrinth, he could probably pay the 300 cells; the problem, however, was that he’d travelled to this territory in a hurry.
Shinje had also taken away the magic tool that would allow for one to travel to and fro from the labyrinth instantaneously… As expected, time was the limiting problem.

     “Couldn’t you ask for help from the Mollunka faith?”

     It would be a hundred, no, thousands of times better to owe the Mollunka church than to cede land to Sobleche and Bolney.

     However, at Ayra’s question, Ginas shook his head–his expression even darker than before.
“That won’t work.
Recently, the ruling Solar family and the Mollunka faith have not been on good terms.”

     Ayra recalled Attera te Acht, high priest of the Mollunka faith, whom he had encountered while wandering around the slums.
So there really was a reason behind his strangely relentless glare.

     “Why aren’t we on good terms?”

      “Your ancestral fathers, your forebearers…may have persecuted the Mollunka religion.
Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that the current high priest will be willing to cooperate with us.”

      It was like peeling an onion.
The more Ayra dug, the more issues were revealed.

      A territory lacking in wide, fertile plains and mines; a territory drowning in mountains of debt; a terrority whose ruling family was at odds with the influential Mollunka church.
Not to mention the collapsed walls, runaway knight commander, incompetent administrative minister and last but not least, a rookie lord…

      To add oil to the fire, the territory’s foreseen conclusion was total ruin…

      Ayra could very well understand why Ginas had momentarily lost his mind.
And he now understood why the man had relented and insisted on Ayra succeeding to a permanent position no matter what.
In a desperatesituation like this, where Ginas could only grasp at straws, he couldn’t let the only heir of the family slip through his fingers.

     In addition, Ginas’s opponent was a young and talented wizard who had the ability to return to the Labyrinth within minutes and abandon the estate after seeing this entire mess.

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     With that in mind, Ayra felt somewhat sorry for the governor, who had been struggling to protect this territory alone.
Trying to comfort him, Ayra patted the man’s shoulder a couple of times.
“Alright then, I’ll take a look at the walls for a moment.”

     “Yes, please go ahead,” the governor replied in a helpless voice as he stretched out a hand towards the mountain of documents that waited before him.
Though he seemed to be of sound mind, his tone indicated that his spirit had given up.

As soon as he left the study, Ayra quickly donned his robe and left the castle stealthily.
Though he had become the lord, Ayra did not plan on revealing his identity to those outside the castle for the time being.
It wasn’t that he planned on secretly inspecting the lay of the land….

     He recalled thoughts that he deliberately pushed aside due to business that came with his new position.

     ….Janus Rehzedt.

     The first thing that came to mind weren’t the various bad ending options but rather the violent kiss they had shared.
Ayra accidentally bit his tongue and immediately clenched his teeth afterwards, making a great effort to remind himself that the man was fickle, wild, and dangerous.

     The Janus of that day, was completely different from the man Ayra thought he knew.
He couldn’t find any traces of the ordinary mercenary that had playfully danced with him in the streets, nor any trace of the man who he’d shared alcohol with.
So, for the time being, Ayra was going to approach the man with his identity concealed.

      ‘And, for some reason, something doesn’t feel right.
As Ginas said, I should prepare for the possibility that the soldier won’t return.’

      Furthermore, in order to easily achieve the quest goals, it was best not to expose his identity.
It would be hard to travel around the territory as he pleased if his identity was known.

 

 

TL: More and more problems arise >.<

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Bloom’s affection going up real high though O.O

Axion is another fief/city-state    위임장 = Power of Attorney Letter.
Legally, this document allows one to act in the person’s stead and make decisions that may affect the person.
I thought that the Power of Attorney Letter sounds too jargony, so Proxy appointment letter it is! [/efn_note]

 

     The young lord then cut to the heart of the matter.
“The governor has apparently sent off a merchant; would you perhaps know the routes or methods they may use to return to this territory?”

     In spite of his bewilderment, Bloom answered faithfully.
“I’ve been posted as an escorting guard several times now so I’m familiar with the trade routes.
The fastest route is by horse and takes about a day; it runs through the valley and through the nearby village.
We can keep our ears out for rumors of merchants at the village there, at the exit of the Dallum Gorge.”

     The recently promoted Bloom could even snatch the finance minister’s seat; his advice was ten times more useful than the other man’s.
Ayra smiled happily and patted the knight on the shoulder.
“Great.
Send some soldiers to root out any rumors regarding merchants.
This business is incredibly urgent and important, so I’d like for it to be handled well.”

     Bloom hesitated, looked down at his proxy appointment letter, and soon steeled his determination.
Cradling the precious document, he responded, “Yes, my lord!”

 

[Bloom’s affection value has increased by 12.]

[Current Affection: 78]

 

     ‘Huh, was that really something that would increase the affection stat so much? Well, I suppose a promotion is cause for happiness.
His reaction is a bit burdensome, but I’m grateful…’

     Bloom left the study after expressing his deep gratitude with a full-body bow.
Hoping the knight would return with good news, Ayra released a deep sigh and took a sip of his now cold tea.

     Just then, a notification window popped up, accompanied by the ring of a bell.

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