1-3 (Marquis Erakis)
Three years have passed since Kurono Hisamitsu was adopted by Baron Crawford, a nobleman from the southern territory, and became Chrono.
In his first year, he learned the language, customs and minimal self-defense technique under his adopted father, In the second year and third year he entered the military academy at the imperial city to learn how to be an excellent commander but, he was surprised at how bad he is at it.
Furthermore, his competitors are those who learned fencing and etiquette since childhood.
Chrono who had no experience in martial arts, and lacked the experience of doing any sports can’t compete with them.
The result of that, Chrono realized and came to hate the people with ‘stature’ for the duration of his academy life.
That’s why Chrono was sure that he would just become someone mediocre who managed a territory at the border and grow old.
‘And yet, why did this happen?’, Chrono wondered.
Inside his room within Marquis Erakis residence, Chrono contemplated his current situation.
On the bed was naked Chrono, and also a nude Leila who were sleeping peacefully next to him.
Last night, Leila came to Chrono’s room.
Because Leila is a soldier, she should not be allowed inside the residence, unable to tell her to leave Chrono allowed her in.
Having said that, he can’t push her down like how people say ‘when petticoats woo, breeks come speed’ either. <TLN: ‘When the girls show interest, the boys come running’> <ED: Also a scotland proverb… is what I was told.>
In silence, both Chrono and Leila sat on the bed, and without him noticing, the distance between them had become closer.
After both Chrono and Leila gazed at each other, out of instinct, he ended up kissing her.
The moment he kissed her, his chain of reason broke, he ended up pushing Leila down.
“Hnn?, you can sleep a little bit more.”
Leila nodded and snuggled against Chrono like a puppy.
“Raise your head a little.”
Chrono put his arm under Leila’s head.
“Let your head down again.”
Leila hesitated for a while, then she lowered her head and using Chrono’s hand as the pillow.
“Emm, do you feel bothered?”
“If I had to say it then, I feel surprised, I guess?”
When Chrono played with her sharp ear, Leila narrowed her eyes looking comfortable.
“To tell you the truth, this is my first time…”
Remembering what had happened last night, Chrono felt like he was going to faint due to embarrassment.
“Emm, I… ‘my love is only for you’…”
Chrono interrupted Leila’s words who looked like about to burst into tears.
“I will believe in those words.”
“Ah, I, I was, being done this gently… This is the first time for me…”
This time he interrupted Leila’s words with a kiss.
Although Leila’s past was something that can’t be helped, he can not help it either, for getting annoyed when she spoke of another man other than himself.
Chrono then separated their lips.
“… One more time, may I?”
“Y-Yes… Please, love me as much as you want.”
“I’ll be gentle…”
When Chrono was about to enjoy Leila’s body once again, the door was opened at the worst possible time.
Turned his back slowly, he saw the one standing there, it was Tyria.
“Chrono, you’re la…te?”
An unpleasant silence continued for a while…
“W-What are you doing! You had brought a half-elf to bed! Don’t you have any pride as a nobleman of the empire?! Ha, don’t tell me, it was that half-elf’s fault, she was the one who seduced you isn’t it?!”
‘Why was she able to discern Leila as a half-elf just from the first glance?’ That was what inside Chrono’s mind when Tyria screamed at him in anger.
“It’s a hundred years too early for a half-elf like you to enter the room of the empire’s noble! Get out from there!”
Chrono then stroked Leila’s head who was about to faint in front of Tyria. Then he began to leave the bed.
Of course, without covering his body.
“Ch-Chrono?! Y-You bastard! H-How dare you showing me that thing! I-It’s lèse-majesté you know?!”
“… Tyria. It was me who brought her here, and it was a consensual relationship between man and woman.”
Chrono attempted persuasion while rocking the elephant dangling between his crotch.
“Like I said, why did you turn that thing to me?!”
“About having pride as a nobleman of the empire, just because she is a half-elf does not mean my pride as a nobleman is being tarnished you know?”
Chrono kept talking while he rocked his elephant up and down, making Tyria surrender.
“Khu… Chrono! Come to my office, now!”
Chrono stood in guts pose while stared at the back of Tyria who ran away.
“I’ll be going to meet Tyria now. Leila can act as usual. You may say to the others that we have a relationship between man and woman. However, don’t get ahead of yourself and become arrogant around your colleagues alright?”
“Of course, Chrono-sama…”
Chrono then quickly changed his clothes and left the room.
Tyria waited for Chrono in the office at the top floor of Erakis residence with a sullen face.
“So, what business do you want to talk with me?”
“… You, it seems like you have become quite bold before I noticed it huh? If it were somebody else, I would sentence you to death. T-To think you would show me that thing!”
Tyria said those words with her cheek dyed red.
“The successor of Marquis Erakis has been decided.”
Tyria grinned like some wicked royalty.
“The successor would be you, Chrono…”
“What about the territory of Baron Crawford?”
“No problem. Baron Crawford should be able to continue his activity for a while, and if some emergency happens, then we can appoint a substitute official.”
‘Are you going to include this territory into your faction?’ Chrono gazed at Tyria with such question, while she replied by nodded her head.
The current Emperor of Cepheus Empire had two daughters born from his legal wife, while a young man was born from his concubine.
Tyria was the legitimate successor to the throne, but there seemed to exist faction which favored the prince to succeed the throne.
No one knew how much power the anti-Tyria faction had, but Tyria wanted to keep as much allies as possible.
Something like this was a bothersome talk for Chrono.
Chrono felt like he was driven away from the peaceful life on the border that he had dreamed.
However, although late, she did came with reinforcement, and Tyria also had dealt with the matter of his subordinates well…
“How is it, Chrono?”
“I understand… So, how much budget can you give me?”
Tyria replied him flatly.
“… Did I hear it wrong? Oi, Princess… Since you told me to succeed Marquis Erakis territory, I want you to accommodate me some funds…”
“Like I said, there was none… Anyhow, I did give Chrono a marquis territory on my own accord. That is why I could not organize a special budget for you, and I cannot lend any money from the national treasury either. However, since the military budget is paid monthly, you can relax about that…”
“That means… I have to rely on Marquis Erakis saved money?”
“Because I had to pay a huge amount of severance payment to his former employee, there was no money left inside his safe…”
*GAN*, Chrono took a huge shock as if being hit by a blunt weapon.
“Then, how am I going to manage the territory without any money?”
“Don’t you feel ashamed as a noble of the empire to be worried about money all the time? In fact, you should live proudly as a nobleman…”
“If I can live by eating haze then I would certainly want to live proudly. Well, for now, I need to arrange the budget myself…”
Chrono breathed out a sigh and left the office.
“General, where should I put this statue?”
“I would like to arrange them for easy viewing…”
*Hai~*, His adjutant then move the statue in the hall.
“Is this the last?”
“Yes, this statue is the last item inside the treasure room…”
“Even so, he did collect a lot of these things…”
Saying those words, Chrono looked around the hall that was filled with statues, works of art, and magic items.
Life-sized nude statues that the adjutant had carried, some work of arts such as pot, paintings that seemed to have a high value, historical weapons that seemed to have a high amount of magical powers, and other magical items.
“Sorry everyone, to have all of you do this type of menial work”
Chrono said those words toward his subordinates.
There are eight of his subordinates helped him, including his adjutant. Two werewolves with one possessed white fur and another one possessed grey fur, a lion with golden mane, one Lizardman, one Minotaur, one dwarf, and the last one was Leila.
Each one of them was captain of a hundred men(a centurion)… While Leila is currently a captain of fifty men(temporary), her men consist of elves that had survived from the previous war.
“General, what are we going to do with all of this?”
“I want you all to keep it secret until the official announcement but, well I will rule Marquis Erakis territory…”
*Oooh~*, the eight men raised their voice.
“That being said, I didn’t get any budget to rule… That is why I decided to sell most of Marquis Erakis property.”
*Ooh~*, The eight men raised their voices as if they were discouraged.
“I understand even without you telling me. Of course, I want to be a noble that everyone can boast about. However, without money, I won’t be able to pay salaries and other necessities…”
*Ponpon*, Chrono’s adjutant patted his shoulder as if comforting him.
“With that being the case, I would like to make inventory first. Leila!”
Chrono gave Leila a sheet of paper, ink, and a feathered pen.
“I will name the property, I want you to write them…”
Leila looked puzzled and called Chrono.
“What is it?”
“General, Leila cannot write letters.”
Chrono turned his gaze toward his adjutant, and his adjutant awkwardly averted his gaze.
“I’m sorry that I could not help…”
Chrono received the writing instrument back from Leila and begun to make the inventory list himself.
“First, nude statue… second is vase.”
Vase, vase, vase, painting, vase… that person collected so many vases, just what was he going to do with all of these?!
“… number 20 is, ah, a poleaxe(?)”
“Chrono-sama, this poleaxe has been imbued with magic.”
After seeing Chrono titled his head looked confused, Leila said those words proudly.
“What kind of effect does it has?”
“I’m very sorry, but I’m unable to know that far…”
*Hnn*, Chrono stared at the poleaxe.
The poleaxe length was a little less than 3 meters.
The handle was made using metal, it reminded Chrono of the Kiyomizu temple’s iron staff he saw during his school trip.
“Mino-san, can you use it?”
“Well, if it’s only this much…”
Chrono’s adjutant lifted the pole ax easily.
“Alright, I give Mino-san that pole ax then…”
“General, are you serious?”
“If you can use it as a weapon then, it would be better to make you use it, no?”
‘And if I sold the weapon, it would be tracked by someone else too.’, Thinking that Chrono gazed at his adjutant who trembled due to the deep emotion with composed eyes.
“Next… Glass? No, is this a crystal?”
“That was an item that can be used to talk with someone from far away.”
When Chrono picked up the transparent sphere crystal from the wooden box, Leila immediately told him such information.
There are over twenty transparent crystal orbs inside the wooden box.
“What about the effective distance?”
“If I’m not wrong… If we limit it only within Hachel, then we can use it anywhere…”
Thinking this could be used to communicate with his subordinates. Chrono handed the orbs to his subordinates.
“Pass it around so that we can communicate… Next.”
Chrono took a bow and looked at it carefully.
Apparently, this bow was made by using several materials.
“That is composite bow. It is a bow that can shoot arrows for a great amount of distance, but the method for manufacturing it is being kept secret.”
It was Dwarf centurion who answered him.
It seemed to be the standard for Dwarfs who lived within Cepheus Empire to join the military after they had acquired the skills as craftsman.
“Can you mass-produce it?”
“… If I have the workshop.”
“I will raise the funds to build the workshop, you immediately establish a mass production system for it.”
For the time being, Chrono handed over the composite bow to the Dwarf.
“Another vase, vase, painting, painting, a palm-sized nude image… Some fifty swords.”
“They don’t seem to hold any magical powers.”
“Even I don’t think it was something that can be used for battles.”
“So, if we sold these, how much will we get?”
*Hnn*, Chrono groaned together with Leila and the Dwarf.
“Chrono-sama, we’re not merchants.”
“We do not know the reasonable prices for items, it would be bad to sell them when we don’t know the fair price. Let’s think about the selling price later, we should complete the inventory list first.”
Vase, vase, vase, plate, plate, painting… a hammer with hidden magical power that would be used by Lizardman… A large sword imbued with magical power that would be used by Lion-man… sculpture, sculpture… Two swords imbued with magical powers to be used by the werewolves… A sword with an imperial crest on it… Some jewelry that needed to be stored back into the treasury, weapons and armors that might have some use are also being stored back….
“Two hundred vase and jars, three hundred plates, fifty paintings, ten sculptures, fifty naked statues, in total 610… That’s a lot…”
When Chrono finished making the inventory list, the sun was about to sink into the horizon.
The Pics firm was a large business that had branch offices throughout the Cepheus Empire.
Nicolas was a senior who managed the branch office within Marquis Erakis, but his skill as a merchant was lacking.
Nicolas himself thought that he could not expect any further advancement in his career, although he was able to climb up to the present position, he spent more time in such a position compared to other people.
In short, the branch office within Marquis Erakis was like an exiled place for people like Nicolas.
Nevertheless, Nicolas continued to seriously do business without compromise.
He did not discriminate against anyone, he also took care of apprentice members properly.
It was evening when a young noble man accompanied by a half-elf came to his office.
It was a youth that had not yet reach 20 years old. He had a big scar, extended from his forehead to his cheek; looked at his body build, it must be the result of war. He seemed to have lost his right eye since he closed his right eyelid.
The half-elf woman seemed to be older than 20 years old. However, it was dangerous to judge her by appearance alone, since she had the blood of elf, she should be able to live two to five times longer compared to humans.
Although she had a good style, she wore poor clothes, and her body seemed to be a little lack in nutrition.
A nobleman with his mistress, or a prostitute he bought for playing.
“Pardon my rudeness, do you have any business with me?”
“I want to buy some clothes for this girl.”
The young nobleman declared bluntly, and Nicolas received his request with smile on his face.
“Well then, how about these clothes?”
Nicolas offered a deep blue skirt that almost looked like black, a beige tunic, and a vest with the same color as the skirt.
“Can she try it on?”
“Of course, please head toward the fitting room. Vel, please guide the customer.”
Nicolas called an apprentice member named Vel and asked the person to guide the half-elf woman.
“How much is it?”
“Yes, everything would be five gold coins.”
Nicolas thought that the young man would haggle the price down, but surprisingly he handed over the money plainly.
Despite being blunt, he seemed to be a good young man.
“… The shopkeeper, can you do some consultation?”
“Well, the truth is… I was ordered to sell some art objects from certain noble. But I don’t know the market prices for the items.”
*Hahan*, Nicolas realized the reason why the young man paid the money without haggling the price.
Perhaps, this young man is the subordinate of Marquis Erakis.
“If you do not mind with me, then you can consult with me.”
Passing one hour, Nicolas had begun to regret taking the young man consultation.
Because he asked for the price of more than 600 items, and he was planning to sell the item by tomorrow.
The next day, Nicolas left the store to his trusted subordinate, and together with the apprentice, Vel went to Marquis Erakis residence.
After they came out from the carriage, Vel began to speak suddenly.
“Branch manager, branch manager!”
“What is it?”
“I won’t be killed right?” <TLN: Oho, Vel is a girl it seems…> <ED: I was fooled..>
“Ha?” Nicolas raised a stupid voice unable to understand Vel words.
“B-Because we already told them the real price, they might think I don’t have any use anymore!”
“That is impossible duh…”
Together with his subordinates who carried a box filled with gold coins they entered the residence. But when they arrived at the hall, he saw a lot of demi-humans and humans.
Demi-humans standing surrounding the hall, while inside the hall, there was a lot of human from powerful merchants firm.
“I- I wonder if there’s something going to happen? That stand, it was not for executing someone right?”
“Keep silent for a bit…”
After a while, the young man from yesterday appeared.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Chrono Crawford. Although I was late to introduce myself, I was tasked to govern the marquis Erakis territory.”
The young man named Chrono spook.
“I intend to sell the property left behind by Marquis Erakis to fund future activities. The method that we will use is something you guys should be familiar with… And that is an auction!”
Nicolas looked at Chrono in amazement.
Most likely, Chrono had contacted merchants other than Nicolas.
Although he could sell the items to merchant with the highest price offer, Chrono seemed wanting to raise the price more by using bidding method.
Even if the item ended up unsold, Chrono already knew the real price of the items, thus it was impossible to get the item with dirt cheap price.
“First, the nude statue made by sculptor from the free-city-state group in the north! Start with 400 gold coins!”
“Next, vase made 100 years ago!”
At first, the bidding went calmly, but gradually the atmosphere became heated, whether or not because Chrono was good at flattery or because a lot of merchants trying to sell some favor, a lot of the item bid prices exceed Nicolas expectation.
The bidding went on for two days, forced Nicolas to stay at the Marquis’ residence.
Although going out was permitted, conversation between merchants was prohibited, to avoid any price rigging.
“We can’t buy most of them…”
“Well, it can’t be helped…”
Hearing Vel words, Nicolas answered without power.
There was still money left, this was because Nicolas was not aggressive during the bidding.
Nicolas was only able to buy 60 items, such as vase and plates.
The sculptures and paintings that can be sold at higher prices have been bought by other merchants.
“Are you people from the Pics firm?”
“Yes, what is it?”
Nicolas was called when he was about to get into the carriage.
“Chrono-sama called you…”
“Do you know what this all about?”
“I do not know…”
The half-elf woman replied to him while looked bewildered.
Nicolas was guided by the half-elf woman and entered the office on the third floor.
“Ya, the Pics firm…”
“My name is Nicolas…”
“Nicolas-san, I will head straight to the point…”
Nicolas sat down on the sofa facing Mr.Chrono.
For Nicolas, Chrono looked like a young man that can be found anywhere.
If anything, he seemed to be a good-natured person.
“How is the bidding?”
“Chrono-sama should already know the result, no?”
“Indeed”, Chrono answered with smile on his face.
He was able to earn more than 30,000 gold coins in just two days, after all, it won’t be weird for him to laugh.
Although in the eyes of Nicolas, the items prices should not exceed 20,000 gold coins.
Within his heart, Nicolas cursed himself for being taken by such a young man.
“Is there anything you need from me?”
“About that, what I need is the Pics firm… I thought, Nicolas-san as a worthy merchant.”
“Huh?”, Nicolas leaked a dumb voice.
“Because the way you handle the customers is good…”
Chrono smiled and turned his gaze toward the Half-elf woman standing on his side.
Since the half-elf woman responded with blush on her face, it was not wrong when Nicolas thought of her as his lover.
“Let’s start with the soldiers’ provisions, there are roughly 650 subordinates, how much would that cost?”
“Ah, if it was that, then…”
Nicolas presented the prices while he also explained the price of wheat toward Chrono.
“If it was that amount, how about a five-year contract? When the number of subordinates increases, we shall increase the amount.”
“If that’s the case then… I will lose at the time of bad harvest then?” <TLN: In case you are confused, bad harvest happened, price raised, but the contract price stays… Unless it was stipulated otherwise in the contract.>
Nicolas was almost nodding his head, but he immediately stopped.
‘That was dangerous.’, that was what Nicolas thought.
The atmosphere around Chrono made him felt like a good-natured person, but the young man in front of him turned out to be a strong opponent.
“But when there is a good harvest, you will gain a good profit no?”
“With the current market estimation…”
Nicolas immediately calculated quickly, he thought that if he could stockpile the wheat when a good harvest happened, he could reduce the risk.
“If you can keep the quality and quantity at a certain level, I won’t be picky…”
Chrono added those words as if he knew what Nicolas had thought.
“I understand. By the way, is Chrono-sama really a nobleman?”
“If I can manage a territory like a lazy bastard, then by any means, I want to live like that…”
‘This person is not normal’, that was Nicolas’ impression of him.
“The money from auction sales of 500 items is around 30,500 gold coins… After paying off the unpaid salaries of 6,000 gold coins, 24,500 gold coins left. I wonder if we have some room until the 10th month when the taxes are paid by the people? But, there was also the matter of building a workshop…”
He also needed to find more employees since he cannot do everything by himself.
“… I’m sorry, I can’t be helpful to Chrono-sama…”
“Nn, well, it was only this much anyway…”
‘It can’t be helped’, Chrono answered Leila which causes her to lower her head feeling sad.
‘The future, I wonder how much studying would be useful?’, some thoughts crossed Chrono’s mind.
That was a question that every student ever asked themselves at least once. The answer for that depended on Leila and the demi-humans’ surroundings.
Studying is not necessary if they only going to perform day to day life.
However, if one were to think forward, five years, ten years from now on, minimum knowledge would be necessary.
Thinking that, Chrono immediately resolved himself, he then wrote 26 letters that resembled the alphabet on the paper.
The language grammar used in Cepheus Empire was similar to that of English language, the difference was only the pronunciation of the words.
“… Chrono-sama, you won’t embrace me tonight?”
“Leila, sit down…”
After he stood up, Chrono told Leila to sit on the chair.
“Emm, this is…”
“From tonight, I will teach you how to read, write and do arithmetic. I don’t know if studying would be useful now. But 5 years later, 10 years later… 100 years later, you guys might find reading, writing, and arithmetic to be useful…”
To be honest, he wanted to embrace Leila.
Leila was an attractive woman, and he also wanted to indulge in the pleasure.
If Leila wished for it then all the more reason in wanting to respond accordingly.
However, thinking about Leila’s future can also be considered as a form of love..