The Marquis wanted some time to confirm the information we had given him so the discussion was temporarily put on hold.
Tina wanted to speak with the Marquis of Gramp. Alice also left to prepare her negotiation materials.
That’s why only Sophia, Claire, and myself were left in the room.
“But….was it okay to let Tina go by herself?”
“She doesn’t have to stay with us.”
No, it’s more of a question of if it’s okay to let a little girl be alone with a lolicon like the Marquis….but it’s quite difficult to say something like that.
As I was thinking this, Sophia began pulling on my sleeve.
“She’ll be fine, Leon onii-chan.”
Tina will be fine? How would she know that….
“Did you use your ability?”
“I only read his emotions.”
“I see….Tina is safe, but Sophia what about you? Are you still worried?”
“To be honest, I’m still a little scared.”
Maybe it would be best to involve Sophia as little as possible. As I was about to say something, Sophia shook her head.
“Sophia wants to work hard for onii-chan. So, let Sophia help you.”
“…..I understand. If that’s what you want. Just don’t overdo it.”
“Thank you, Leon onii-chan!”
Sophia jumps up and hugs me. After that, we talked about the discussion we just had with the Marquis and if he was lying at all. We decided that Sophia would pull on my sleeve whenever the Marquis was lying.
Shortly afterward, Tina returned.
“Welcome back. How did it go?”
“He asked about Patrick and the school. I answered honestly……that was good, right?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. So what about the Marquis?”
“He was talking with someone about Patrick. I heard he’ll be returning shortly. I’m going to go help Alice.”
“Hmm, I see. Alright, go ahead.”
Tina left and we waited a few more minutes before the Marquis returned to resume our discussion.
“Well, in regards to Patrick’s behaviour. I’ve been able to confirm that what you said about Patrick spreading rumours about you isn’t a lie.”
“Ah, you are definitely the victim here. Let me first apologize to you.”
The Marquis of Gramp slightly lowered his head to us.
“Is that so? Does that mean this matter has been decided?”
“Although you aren’t at fault here I can’t do that. That idiot has been spreading rumours that you have dishonored his family. If I don’t hold someone responsible for this I’ll lose the respect of my men.”
Uwaa, that was pretty straightforward. Although it may be a good sign that he’s being honest, that’s no reason for us to take responsibility for this.
“That has nothing to do with us.”
“Hmm, it is true that you embarrassed Patrick, right?”
“Well…..that is true, but why should we take responsibility for Patrick’s actions?”
“I’d be grateful if you would. I think you know already, but the Rodwell family is a branch family of my own. I can’t just entirely ignore his complaints.”
— And Sophia tugged on my sleeve. Was that a lie? But…..what part is a lie? The Rodwell family is a branch family, right?
…….Hmm, I’ll need to dig a little more.
“So, how exactly do you want us to take responsibility for this?”
“Apologize to the Rodwell family and offer Sophia to Patrick.”
“That’s out of the question.”
“Then, allow Claire to become my bride and that will be enough.”
“That’s also impossible. She is necessary to keep the Grances territory functioning properly.”
“That is impossible, this is impossible. Do you think these are reasonable responses?”
What is with these unreasonable demands? Did he never plan on negotiating with us?
Thinking that I looked at the Marquis of Gramp’s face. However, he didn’t look angry. Rather, his expression seemed to be changing rapidly.
…….Is it something else?
“Are there no other options?”
“If that’s the case…..I’ll take control of the school. I can clear things up with the Rodwell family afterward.”
“Yes. Isn’t that the reason you brought the teacher and the student with you? To advertise how successful the school is.”
“…..You’re interested in the school?”
“I didn’t believe the rumours at first, but after seeing the wonderful clothing I’ve become very interested.”
Hmm…..Offering him the school isn’t the worst option.
However, I have no plans of giving up the school currently.
I thought he was doing this to protect the honor of the Rodwell family, but…..maybe the lie from earlier was about ‘because the Rodwell family is a branch family, he has to do something.’
Should I dig a little deeper?
“That reminds me, on the way here we encountered a group of bandits.”
“A group of bandits?”
“Yes. They appeared to be a group of farmers that had to resort to thievery due to repeated bad harvests.”
“….I see. So, did you kill them all?”
“Are you concerned about whether they’re alive or not?”
“Of course not. I don’t care about the life of a bandit.”
Sophia again pulled on my sleeve. That was also a lie.
“We took all of the captured bandits back to our territory to work as slaves. There’s no problem with that, right?”
“That’s fine. They’re no longer people of my territory. Now, they’re nothing but bandits. You’re fine to do as you please.”
“I see. Thank you……Ah, by the way, they may be slaves, but we have no intention of treating them poorly.”
He listened intently but didn’t seem to be relieved.
That lie from earlier, is he maybe worried about the farmers? After taxing them and causing them to lose their way of living, was he actually concerned about their futures?
I can’t be sure. For now, I’ll summarize everything I’ve learned.
First of all, for several years now, the harvests have been poor in the Marquis of Gramp’s territory. After unreasonably collecting the taxes of one village, he seemed worried about their futures. In addition, there seems to be some reason he can’t cut ties with the Rodwell family. Ah, and the Marquis of Gramp is a lolicon.
……Maybe the Marquis’ territory is facing financial difficulties?
“Hmm…..There is a tin mine in the Rodwell family, right? Despite the high demand for bronze in your territory, there doesn’t seem to be much available.”
“…..What are you trying to say?”
“No, I was just wondering if it’s something you were interested in.”
“Well, of course, I have interests in it. But, with such a trivial amount of revenue brought in by that mine, it really isn’t much of a concern.”
At that moment, Sophia didn’t pull on my sleeve.
Hmm……..That wasn’t a lie? I thought he had a vested interest in the Rodwell family’s tin mine and that’s why he was trying to keep them on his side. Was that just my misunderstanding?
I guess he has another reason. At that time, Claire began to speak.
“Marquis of Gramp-sama, just now you said the revenue from the mine is trivial. That may be the case, but to the Gramp family that revenue would be indispensable.”
……Ah, so that’s how it is. The revenue may be trivial as a whole, but due to the Gramp family’s financial situation, it is indispensable.
As expected of Claire. After all, she has been managing the Grances territory.
“Are you trying to say that our territory is in a poor financial state? That’s absolutely ridiculous. As if that could ever be the case.”
This time, Sophia pulled on my sleeve.
There’s no doubt now. Due to the repeated food shortages, the Gramp family is running low on money. They’ve been forced to raise the taxes of some villages in order to buy food for the rest of their people.
That’s a relief — I was worried he was trying to trick me, but he just doesn’t want to appear weak.
In any case, he’s not trying to protect the Rodwell family, just their mine.
That actually makes the negotiations a lot easier. I just need to convince him it’s more profitable to ally with the Grances family over the Rodwell family.
There are many ways we can make a huge profit. And I never had any plans to monopolize these new technologies. So, there’s nothing wrong with giving priority to the Gramp family.
In other words, I should have more than enough material to make the Marquis of Gramp our ally.
“Thank you, Sophia and Claire. Thanks to you two, I’ve found a way of solving this.”
*ku ku ku* Prepare yourself, Patrick. You caused me a lot of trouble, but, with this, I’ll be able to destroy the relationship between the Rodwell and Gramp families.
I’ll make sure you regret laying a hand on my students!
“Uwaa…..Leon onii-chan’s heart is black……”
After hearing Sophia’s comment, I returned to my senses.