LTBE: Chapter 121: Parting Gift

The following day after bestowing the position of ‘proxy fief lord’ to Roel, Carter departed from the Holy Capital.

In a war, the rations always move before any soldier or steed. While logistics operations were less risky in nature, it was of vital importance to ensure that nothing went wrong. It was not a joke when people said that war was a battle of resources.

With the outbreak of war with the deviants, under the clauses of the defense agreement, each human country would have to increase the number of troops they had stationed on the eastern border of the human territories. Therefore, there would be a huge increase in the burden of supplies, be it clothes, food, horse fodder, and more. This meant that the logistics would have to greatly upscale their operations in order to keep up with needs.

However, increasing the amount of supplies delivered wasn’t as easy as it sounded.

For one, most of the previous supply routes that were used in previous outbreaks of war had already been worn down by decades of neglect, which meant that the human countries would have to repair them. On top of that, these routes were incredibly long as they connected the various countries together, so repairings were definitely not easy.

Still, at least this was much better than having to build the supply routes from scratch.

In any case, the heavy task of rebuilding the routes fell into the hands of the Logistics Department, and as the officer-in-charge there, Carter was expected to inspect the situation personally and make accurate onsite decisions.

That was also the reason why he was amongst the first to leave.

Early in the morning, after waving Carter goodbye, Roel looked at the departing backs of his father and his soldiers and sighed deeply.

While he had discussed the matter of managing the fiefdom with Carter many times before, he had never really thought of becoming the proxy fief lord. There was a huge difference between taking over a single department and taking over the entire company at once. Just the overwhelming amount of work that was about to be shoved in his hands will be more than enough to leave him with a splitting headache.

On the bright side, Carter had at least moved quickly to handle any legal hurdles with the decision. Yesterday night, he quickly drafted up a letter of attorney to entrust his rights as the fief lord into Roel’s hands and sent it right into the royal palace to have them officialize it. With this, Roel would have the power of the law on his side when he took over as the proxy fief lord.

After Carter left, Roel and Alicia also began making preparations to return to the Ascart Fiefdom. Thinking about it, it was pretty incredible how they had stayed in the Holy Capital for almost three months now, ever since Nora’s birthday banquet, yet the Ascart Fiefdom was still operating perfectly fine despite being without its lord.

As expected of the Ascart Fiefdom! Generations of fief lords shirking their duties must have taught them independence!

Looking at it from this perspective, Roel suddenly felt that he might not be as busy as he thought he would be. On the contrary, it might end up being quite an idle job even.

For the whole day, Roel and Alicia spent their time thinking what they should bring back with them. The Holy Capital was the most commercially developed city in the Saint Mesit Theocracy, so there were plenty of goods here which one wouldn’t be able to acquire elsewhere.

Usually, nobles were expected to bid close friends farewell, sometimes even paying them a visit. However, in view that Roel and Alicia were still young, they were spared from that formality. All they did was to dispatch a messenger over to the royal palace to inform them of the matter.

However, right before noon, the messenger returned, and he wasn’t alone. He came with a huge army of guards and a royal carriage.

Fine, I sort of knew that this would happen…

Roel wasn’t surprised at all, but Alicia’s face puffed up in displeasure. That being said, she was aware that paying a visit to someone who was leaving was an act of friendliness, so she could still tolerate the vixen’s visit, even if just barely.

“Are the two of you really intending on leaving tomorrow?”

In the reception room, Nora sat together with the two Ascart siblings and sighed out her lamentations.

She was definitely going to miss Roel greatly once he returned to the Ascart Fiefdom, but other than him, she felt that she would miss Alicia too. She was actually quite interested in Alicia, since the younger girl was one of the few peers who left her feeling threatened. If possible, she would love to continue competing with Alicia.

Losing both her lover and her rival at once would mean that her life would return to its usual dull and boring state, and this was honestly a hard pill for Nora to swallow. Even so, she knew how important a fief was to a noble, so she wouldn’t be so immature as to try to detain them in the Holy Capital.

… Though a huge part of it was actually because Nora didn’t know how the Ascart House ‘managed’ its fiefdom.

She couldn’t have imagined that there would be a fief lord in the world who would actually entrust the complete management of his fiefdom into the hands of his subordinates. Otherwise, she might have just tried to keep the two of them here at the Holy Capital for another two months to accompany her.

“You should have already heard of the matter that cropped up in the military, right?”

“You mean the matter concerning the deviants? Yes, I have heard of it from my father. Uncle Carter should have already set off by now, right?”

“Yes, he left early in the morning. I’m the proxy fief lord now, so I’ll need to return to my fiefdom as soon as possible to take over my father’s duties.”

Nora expressed her understanding of Roel’s concerns, but after shooting a glance at Alicia, she unhesitatingly made her demand.

“You can return to the Ascart Fiefdom, but you’ll have to write letters to me.”

“Write letters?”

“That’s right. Now that I’m your protector, it’s only right for you to keep me up to date with your circumstances. Hmm, let me think about it… Let’s go with one letter per week then,” proposed Nora with a smile.

Her suggestion immediately incurred Alicia’s discontentment.

“Your Highness, putting aside the fact that letters contribute very little to protecting Lord Brother, don’t you think that a frequency of once a week is far too often? Lord Brother will be busy with his work as the proxy fief lord, and I don’t think that it would be appropriate to heap more work on his shoulders.”

“Oh… Is writing letters to me a chore? This is the first time that I’m requesting this of someone. Roel, are you averse to the idea?”

“Ah, no. That’s not what I mean.”

Faced with the dejected princess who looked like her pride had been wounded, Roel hurriedly waved his hands to refute her words. This brought a smile back to her lips, and she turned over to face Alicia once more.

“Miss Alicia, I don’t think that it’s appropriate for you to determine what’s good for Roel even though you’re his younger sister. Who knows? What you dislike might just end up being what he likes the most.”

“Hahaha, Your Highness sure likes to joke around. I can assure you that I know Lord Brother’s preferences better than anyone else in the world. I can tell when someone else is burdening him.”

Looking at this stubborn pair who both refused to back down, Roel lowered his head and tried his best to become as transparent as possible. He couldn’t afford to offend either side, so the only thing he could do was to attempt to meld into the background.

If anyone asked him a question, he would just say that he wasn’t feeling well. If that person continued probing on, he would have no choice but to faint on the spot.

Maybe they sensed Roel’s awkwardness or the presence of the maids in the room had convinced them to hold back a little, but the two of them glared at one another for a while before finally turning away with a cold harrumph.

Seeing this, Roel heaved a sigh of relief.

“It should be one letter per week under normal circumstances, but I’ll allow a letter per fortnight when things get hectic on your side. I would sincerely prefer it if it’s written personally by you.”

“Yes, yes. Of course, I’d personally write any letters that are addressed to you. You need not worry about that.”

With Nora loosening the conditions a little, Roel ended up accepting her demand without any hesitation. Nora nodded in response as a beautiful smile blossomed on her lips.

While the two of them could chat for a short while with one another every week through Ascendwing, these conversations wouldn’t be recorded down and couldn’t be kept. If she wanted to prove to others that they were indeed on close terms with one another, physical evidence would be absolutely necessary.

Indeed. A large part of why Nora was asking Roel for letters was out of pride. No matter how mature she behaved, she was still a young girl who was new to romance. She was sensitive toward the nonchalance of her lover, and she especially hated it whenever others questioned their relationship.

It was already bad enough that there was an Alicia constantly lurking at Roel’s side. She wouldn’t be able to tolerate it if any other complications occurred. In any case, she was delighted to have received a satisfactory response.

As Roel and Alicia were still busy packing their luggage, it wasn’t convenient for Nora to stay too long. So, after chatting for a while, she bade them farewell and left. However, not all of Nora’s entourage left together with her—she left half of her royal guards behind with Roel.

“This is…”

“It’s my gift to you. They are the elite soldiers of the royal family. From now on, they’ll be stationed at the Ascart Fiefdom, and you’ll be their direct superior.”

Roel stared at the well-equipped hundred-man army standing before him with widened eyes. One must know that these were elite soldiers, and even the weakest of them was at Origin Level 5. On a battlefield, they were special forces that could be mobilized for strategic purposes.

Yet, Nora actually gave them to him just like that. This was truly a massive gift of immeasurable value.

“Do you like it?”

“I do, but this is a bit too…”

“If you like it, all you have to do is to say ‘thank you’,” said Nora with a mischievous smile.

When she turned over to look at Roel once more, she was surprised to see a serious look on his face. His expression was so earnest that it left her dazed for a moment.

“Nora, thank you.”

“No, it’s… nothing… I’m your protector after all, so it’s only right that I do this much.”

Faced with Roel’s sincere gratitude, Nora’s face turned a rare shade of deep red.

After bidding each other farewell, Roel stared at the departing royal carriage with a mix of emotions bubbling in his heart.

He had spent barely three months in the Holy Capital, but so many things had happened and changed. Be it himself, Alicia, or Nora, the three of them were very different from how they were before. They had grown a fair bit, and their relationships had also grown intertwined with one another.

Roel turned to look at the hundred elite soldiers standing ready to receive his commands, and he couldn’t help but tremble in excitement. One must know that these hundred elite soldiers belonged not to the Ascart Fiefdom but to Roel himself. They were his personal army, paid for by the royal family. There was no doubt that this was a massive gift.

This military force would be yet another trump card he could rely on once he returned to his fief. If anyone tried to make things difficult for him, all he needed to do was to wave his hand, and his soldiers would ram that person down right away…

As excited as Roel was, he was also well aware that he hadn’t won the respect of these soldiers yet. Considering that they were the elites from the royal family, it was inevitable that they would be a little proud. He would have to find an opportunity to shake them up a bit, so as to truly instill some respect for him.

Feeling the power of the Crown Origin Attribute pulsating within his body, a confident smile emerged on Roel’s lips. All things aside, he was confident in his ability to posture.

“Quick quick, place the spare copies of these documents onto the cart and deliver it to the Ascart House! Is the first cart full? What are you waiting for then? If it’s full, hurry up and set off!”

“Head librarian, are we not going to keep the copies for ourselves? Won’t the royal place raise objections if we were to deliver so many documents over to them?”

“The original versions of the documents are still with us, so we can easily make more copies in the future. As for objections from the royal palace…”

Carmen looked at the vice head librarian who had just raised the question with eyes dripping with disdain, almost as if he was staring at a fool. Just recalling the sight of how Roel and Nora unfurled their wings of light in unison and induced a towering pillar of holy light in the middle of the ceremony was more than enough to answer the question.

“Their only objection would be why we bothered wasting time to seek their permission at all. So, stop wasting time on useless talk and continue filling up the carts. Quick!”

Written by Bells on Cat Ears (猫耳铃铛). Translated by StarveCleric. Edited by Welmar.