Preparation for a talk with a major power
I continued to crush small feudal lords one after another in ours surroundings.
What happens when one of the forces breaks the status quo by rapidly growing in power? It becomes a one-sided battle.
It’s easy to understand if you use numbers.
Suppose the power of the feudal lords fall between the numbers 6 and 8. However, this does not mean that a high number will always win, in general, everyone has the ability to fight against others.
So when a number 7 absorbs an 8 number, it becomes a 15, and then it ceases to exist the possibility that someone can defeat that power completely alone.
If I have to be honest, the second and third time when capturing a territory were easier than when I faced the house of the Viscount Marl.
First, the number of enemy retainers who became allies were increasing. The proportion of retainers fearing our attack were a lot, so they changed to our side easily. But if we were to attack, the enemy ended up being betrayed, easily provoking their destruction.
Even if the enemy was aware of our arrival, even if they purgued their retainers, their strength ended up being weakened, so it also worked in our favor.
In the end, in just half a year I ended up controlling seven counties of the twelve of Fodoneria that Viscount Marl controlled before facing me.
With the amount of territories I control, I find myself in a position where, if I wanted, I could call myself as Count, but to name me as such, I must seek permission from the royal family so I sent money to them.
Reputation is also important. For example, it’s easy for a Count to make a follower obey his orders, but there are feudal lords of the same Count rank that because of their pride wouldn’t twist their hands.
Local feudal lords are in other words, rural aristocrats. No matter where they are, nobles are still nobles, so there are many who place importance on the issue of honor. For that reason, not only true skill is needed but also is necessary to increase your reputation.
I obtained permission to name myself as Count easily from the royal family.
Taking the name of the prefecture, if I wanted I could call myself Count of Fodoneria, but since I don’t completely control the prefecture yet, it’s easier for me to call myself Count of Neville. If I take the name of the prefecture, it will become a stimulus for the remaining forces.
Shortly after becoming Count, I decided to spend my time in maintaining my new territory.
First of all, given that I would like to develop a commercial business centered on Neville, I created tax-free places in various places. Using the same system that was used in my hometown.
We even changed the system in which you had to join the trade association to open a store.
In the words of Oda Nobunaga it seems that this is called「Rakuichi Rakuza」. Although it has a pronunciation as if it were a barbarian spell, the「za」 means trade guild or so it seems.
As a matter of course, a strong backlash was received from the guild, but since the order came from the feudal lord, the project was forcibly pushed forward.
When the Trade Association was created a long time ago it was with the aim of protecting the merchants, but this gradually changed to protecting the personal interests of the organization. As a result, although the number of merchants was growing, the possibility of doing business diminished.
Also, due to the association, the price of the things was set to increase.
With this kind of leverage, the city started to develop. You can also feel that the population of the capital, Neville County, has increased a lot, along with the steadily growth of the tax revenue. The fact that the city develops will also be positive for my state(I think it’s time for us to call ourselves a state, since my territory, the Neville House is the one dictates the laws)
It even reached the point where merchants from distant places moved to our territory. Certainly they believe it will be profitable. For my part, I welcome them with open arms if they plan to spend money in my territory.
I decided to hire financial bureaucrats as the city became wealthy.
「Count, how do you do?」
A werewolf with dog ears was in front of me bowing his head.
A wealthy merchant called Fannelia. Originally, he was an oil-based merchant, but as he grew richer he expanded to different types of items.
「Right, the territory has expanded, and it’s impossible to handle it completely by myself. I will be counting on you」
「Yes. The same to you. Since you have abolished the trade association, it has been easier for me to carry out my business. From now on, the era in which small merchants needed to join the association to do something will be ending」
「I agree. That’s why I hired you. I’m counting on you」
「Yes. I dare say that the port city that faces the river is a place that can be developed even more. Please, allow me to do some research. I believe that the era in which large ships will be used to trade is about to arrive」
「I understand. Depending on how everything progresses, I’ll even take out money to repair the port」
For a time it was necessary to have Fannelia take charge of controlling trade.
Since the need to think about our relationship with the large powers of the west side was born.
One of them is from when I defended the fortress to death, the territory of Mineria.
Another is Count Curtis House who has ruled the prefecture of Bruntal for generations. But among them, the biggest city is Mineria, and that’s why it is called, Mineria territory.
Currently, a temporary truce has been reached with Mineria. That’s why using that truce I could strengthen myself so far, but it’s time for them to start noticing me.
Then, a messenger came from their side. It was not full-fledged retainer who came, but a priest. No matter what state you look at, using a priest as a messenger is something that many do.
It has been a long time since the previous messenger came by, so the atmosphere inside the castle was still tense.
Especially Raviara who was staring at the messenger with a face as saying 「What the hell have you come here for?」. However, it may be because the priest was used to such acts that he was completely calm.
「This time I came to congratulate the Viscount for having obtained the rank of Count」
「I see, I’m glad. That my Count-senpai congratulates me makes me happy」
If you suddenly become belligerent, you would only expose what a bumpkin you are. I respond him composed.
「As we speak, Mineria is preparing its soldiers to move north. Therefore, without needing to depend on a truce, Mineria wants to create an even stronger alliance with Neville. So they were wondering if you don’t want to have a discussion between Counts? The place where the discussion will take place will be in a temple that is between the edge of the two countries, what do you think about that?」
I see. Just by listening to the content of the proposal this seems acceptable.
「Alsrod-sama, they may be planning a surprise attack. Please be careful」
Rapidly Raviara called my attention. Even I’m a little anxious about that.
On one hand, the messenger kept a smile on his face. He seems to be quite familiar with this type of situations.
「It is reasonable for you to not trust us. I will leave it at your discretion. It’s just thatー」
「It could also be good for us to form an alliance since we could stop giving importance to the west side. If Mineria is attacked at this moment, it would lose the necessary military force to attack other feudal lords of the east」
I interrupted the other party’s story.
「You saved me the trouble to explain it」
Depending on the situation, they could attack us, this is also that kind of threat.
In terms of national power, Mineria is obviously bigger. Even in land size it is many times bigger than mine, including the number of inhabitants and soldiers. Because they have been able to govern a prefecture for a long time, they have been able to unify their power more than compared to my territory.
In short, the enemy(Or at least this messenger) continues to underestimate me.
Surely they see me as someone who is not worth worrying about and that I could only get the rank of Count for some reason or another.
It seems that Raviara finally understood and made a grim face.
「Have you come with the intention of insulting Neville and Alsrod-sama? We could start the attack from our side, you know?」
「If such a thing happened, we would have no choice but to attack with the allied feudal lords around Neville. I’m sure you probably wouldn’t be able to withstand an attack from all directions」
Gununu, such a face Raviara was doing.
However, such attitude of Raviara served for something. And the attitude of the messenger too.
「I understand. Let me meet with the Count of Mineria」
After deciding the day, the messenger left.
Right after, Raviara told me a lot of things when we were alone.
「Alsrod-sama, why have you accepted such a proposal? Although polite on the surface, the other party was arrogant」
「That’s why it’s okay. If I can give the opposite impression at the meeting, then later the enemy will feel ashamed of having underestimated us. There is worth in getting Mineria closer to us. It’s too early to fight」
「But how will you change the impression of all those who are underestimating you, Alsrod-sama?」
「There are many ways」
「First, we will train the army that we always carry with us. And not physically, but in the leadership aspect」
So far, most of the army looks like a gathering of ordinary soldiers walking around. It looks like a hodgepodge.
But if we get to the point where we can make the movement of the army completely uniform, then the atmosphere will change to something else.
「Is it possible to do such a thing in a short time?」
「I have confidence that I can. Since I’m not the kind of person who makes excuses」
In fact, I have acquired a new special skill.
――Having acquired the rank of Count, the special skill 【Monarch’s Guide】 has been acquired. The concentration and reliability of soldiers who have received an order increases by 50%(1.5 times more) .