Volume 1 - Chapter 25 - Epilogue
Epilogue: Engagement and the Future of Arnold
The festival ended without a hitch.
After my closing speech, the fief’s people surrounded me as soon as I stepped down from the platform, bombarding me with one question after another.
The questions ranged from the concrete vision of our territory’s management, the recipe for the pastry, to whether or not I plan to marry.
I intend to look closely at everyone’s lives with my own eyes by visiting every village in turns soon. Leaving the cleaning up to the servants, I’m going back to the mansion together with Tina. There’s still my promise to talk with Margrave Fernande after the festival, after all.
As I turn to the guest room, Margrave Fernande and Faruno, as well as Father, are already there, drinking tea. Tina stays behind me, standing with the other servants.
“Hello there, Kurt-kun. That was a wonderfully passionate speech. You’ve clearly conveyed your future vision to us. Oh, well, even before knowing in our heads, I think our stomachs have already understood anyway.”
“Margrave Fernande, receiving your words makes me incredibly happy. I believed that, more than a thousand words, I could convey my thoughts better in that way.”
“Indeed it was. Because, just by using the ingredients one can find in this territory, you could treat everyone with the pastries that even us nobles couldn’t eat. There’s no way we wouldn’t believe in your words about making this fief into a land where you could enjoy sweets.”
The margrave has already grasped my intentions firmly. As I thought, this man is amazing. When that thought dawned on me, Faruno starts to speak.
“Kurt-sama, this will probably turn into a longer talk. Please, have a seat. It’s fine, right, Father?”
“Of course it’s fine. Take a seat, Kurt-kun.”
Since Margrave Fernande has nodded, I obey his words and take a seat. Meanwhile, black tea was served in front of me.
“Your succession as the next family head is a joyous occasion. However, what are you planning to do from now on?”
“I think it is important to discuss this with my father, but in the mean time, I wish to return to my village and act as my father’s assistant. As I have spoken before on the stage, I’m going to experiment with some new inventions in my village, then spread it to other villages if it works.”
It won’t be good if I suddenly tell all of the villages to implement a new method and it fails. Moreover, it’s more than just giving them some materials, we also need to consider an exchange of village personnel. We need to send people who have the skill drilled into them to other villages, and in exchange, there should be personnel from other villages who come to study the necessary skills for a year. By doing so, the efficiency rate should increase.
“For me, I only have now to start experimenting on new things. If I want to manage all of the villages at a large scale, now is the only time I have to experiment at my own my pace.”
“Yes, that’s good thinking. You still have to try out new things. At least, while Sir Arnold is still fit, you can do your experiments for the sake of connecting to a better future. Sir Arnold, what do you think?”
Being asked by Margrave Fernande, Father ponders only for a second before speaking.
“I agree with that plan. In order to make the Arnold fief wealthy, it’s more beneficial to let Kurt do whatever he wants, for now. I’d like to slowly teach him the duties of a feudal lord in the mean time.”
“Thank you very much. Margrave Fernande. Father, as well. I will show you that I can exceed your expectations.”
Being approved by the two of them means I can make my moves as I like. The rest relies on my own skills.
“Kurt-kun, do your best.” The margrave sends me his smile.
“Kurt, I have great expectations. Don’t spare any effort.” Father bluntly says so, but I can see more than hope in his eyes as he looks at me.
“Thank you very much.”
I sipped my tea. This should conclude the talk today, right? As that came to my mind, Margrave Fernande coughs once to clear his throat.
“In any case, this is a change of the topic, but I heard Kurt-kun had turned 15 now. You’ve already reached the age when marriage is no longer out of the question. I’m sure you knew as well that nobles are recommended to marry when we are 17.”
Nobles in this world marry early at the age of 15, while 17 is a suitable age. If they don’t marry in their teenage years, they will get cold looks.
I’m 15 now. Soon enough, I’ll come to the age where I must move forward. Yet, I absolutely have nothing to worry about in that department.
“That is indeed the case. Soon, I must stabilize my position.”
“Now, I have a proposal for that matter…” The margrave looks in Faruno’s direction. “How about marrying my daughter, Faruno?”
“Margrave’s daughter with me, the heir of this baronetcy?” Without thinking twice, I asked back.
I’ve predicted something like this, but this talk is that crazy. The social status of a margraviate and a baronet are vastly different. If we put that in the modern society’s perspective, they have the difference between a vice CEO and a field senior officer.
“That is correct. I wish for it to happen. If we only look at your present self, frankly, you cannot be compared to my daughter.”
I inwardly nod in agreement. The daughter of an aristocrat is a tool for political marriage, in order to create a secure bond with another household.
As the third daughter, just from the fact that Faruno is the margrave’s daughter, she has an immeasurable value. Even if the card is dealt wrongly, it’s impossible to use her to forge a bond for a baronet and their family.
“You are a man who dreams big. I suggested this because it wasn’t a bad investment to recruit you early. Moreover, this girl has already responded positively.”
“Yes, I have already been charmed by Kurt-sama! I don’t know anyone who is as intelligent and energetic as you. Kurt-sama, would you please join in an engagement with me?” Faruno smiles bashfully.
There is no reason for me to refuse, if I’m only considering about my future development. Forging a blood tie with Margrave Fernande will have a huge impact. I can obtain various benefits, whether they’re tangible or intangible. However…
“Faruno-sama. Please forgive this humble self and allow this much of rudeness from me. I dare say that for you, the lifestyle in the Arnold fief will be unbearable. There is nothing here, even daily meals need frugality. I have spoken of a life where we can eat pastries in our daily life, but that requires two years or so to happen. In these past few days, you have received the best hospitality in the main village, but for the both of you, it might not feel so. However, it is impossible to provide this for a long time. The daily life here is even harsher, even more so in the settler’s village where I reside in. It’s especially bitter and agonizing.”
I’m telling them an official reason to refuse the engagement. However, Faruno didn’t seem to falter.
“I am prepared. But, you probably wouldn’t believe the words coming from a young lady who is ignorant in the ways of the world like me. If I am dragging your feet, Kurt-sama, it is fine for me to receive your hits inside the house. Father has also accepted it.”
“Just as Faruno said. Even if that happens, I won’t raze the Arnold baronetcy to the ground. The exception would be, if, by any chance, you lay your hands in anger before the marriage. I won’t forgive you if my daughter becomes damaged goods.”
The astonishment grows in me. I have no idea that her resolution reached to that extent.
“In any case, since there’s no misunderstanding between Father and Kurt-sama anymore, the engagement has been safely arranged. Please take care of me from now on, Kurt-sama.”
After that, she holds her hand out for a handshake with a blooming smile as pretty as a flower in her face. I grasp it and accidentally seal the deal.
Tina, being vigilant of Faruno, has her tail’s fur rising up.
It seems that things will get complicated from now on.
I go outside alone with Faruno. She said that she wanted to talk just between the two of us.
“Faruno-sama, I’m–” I swallow the words in my throat back down. Those words are meant to turn her down. Yet, one feudal lord cannot refuse the engagement. I’m not the only one who will bear the burden, even the fief’s people will.
“I understand, Kurt-sama.” Faruno looks at me as if she has understood everything. “Kurt-sama, you think of that servant girl as more than just a servant. It was impossible to refuse your engagement with me due to your position, but you actually wanted to be united with her. Isn’t that correct?”
“…so, I’ve been seen through?”
No way, I didn’t expect that my feelings for Tina could have been seen just like that. If I can speak about my true feelings, I love Tina. I don’t want to betray her, who has been with me through better or worse.
“It’s because I have fallen for you. Of course I can see it…. Not only knowing it, I also used my father’s proposal for myself. It’s true that I have fallen for you, but more than that, if I stay by your side, I thought that I would be able to grow.”
“Yes. Even though I look like this, I have been assisting my father. However, it’s just a duty, doing the same tasks over and over again. Nothing ever changes. If I can go to Kurt-sama’s place, I can start something new. I believe that I’ll be able to do a lot more. I do not wish to be a human being who just ends up as someone else’s accessory.”
I suspected that she wasn’t just a young lady, but for her to think this far….
“I do not want to be misunderstood; it was never my intention to force marriage upon you. I think there is nothing as dull as a marriage without love. It’s only about using each other, having a guilty conscience, and feeling suffocated. Me, I do not wish for that kind of life. I want love in my marriage. That kind of desire probably disqualifies me as a noble’s daughter, though.”
“For you to say all of that while knowing my feelings and Tina’s, are you breaking off the engagement?”
“No, I won’t. Let’s try living together for a year. I will try my best to make you look at me. I won’t become a mere decoration. With my experience as my father’s assistant, I’m sure that I can become Kurt-sama’s support. Then, after a year, Kurt-sama shall decide. Whether you choose to marry me or not, I will not bear the slightest grudge. If I can’t make you to look at me after a year, the engagement will be nullified as per my request. I will be responsible for persuading Father. I won’t let any harm come to you.”
“This talk sounds too convenient for me.”
Yes, it is too beneficial for my part. There is no advantage at all for Faruno.
“Indeed, you’re right. This talk is too advantageous for Kurt-sama. For one year, you will be able to shield yourself from Margrave Fernande; you won’t be harmed for rejecting either. But, you see, even if I am to be turned down in the end, I will return to Fernande with all the things I will have learned from Kurt-sama for one year. This is my resolution.”
Faruno simply smiles. For the first time, I think that she looks “pretty”.
“Then, I will take advantage of your proposal.”
Contrary to what we did before, I’m the one who takes up her hand now. Faruno returns the grasp. With this, we truly seal the deal for our engagement.
By the way I’m still rooting for non-harem route, heh. But anyway, you know that sometimes authors have typos? Yeah, I don’t know if it ever happens in this WN or not, because I can’t differentiate if it’s truly typos or if my understanding of the language isn’t enough. *cries* Oh well, hope you enjoy it anyway.
There are minor and major edits in this chapter. Special thanks to King of the End and Master of Idling~ ❤
A major note about Kurt and his nobility: Apparently, he’s of Baronet-ranked family, not Baron. A baronetcy is the only British hereditary honour that is not a peerage, wiki says. It’s basically being a knight, but the title is hereditary. Plus, it’s not included as nobles. The title-holder is called simply “Sir”, while in Japanese they still use the whole rank behind the family name, hence the mixups.
I’m going to cry and edit the whole volume right now.