p>My father, who killed his elder brother to take the title of head of the family, was once ridiculed as “Lord of Fresh Blood” because of this anecdote.

After rising to the rank of marquis, my father began to avoid such ugly stories.
That is why he expelled Van, whom he judged to be incompetent.

Then, the answer my father chose was….

“I understand.
I cannot judge whether independence is possible, but let’s set him as the lord of one town and see how it goes.
However, since this is Your Majesty’s proposal, please grant Qibbel, one of the towns in Count Ferdinand’s lands, to Murcia…”

Saying this, my father smiled wryly.

My father easily let go of me, as if he had an idea what His Majesty the King was thinking.

Or perhaps he thought that even if I became independent, he would be able to use me in a convenient way.

Either way, he agreed to let me out of the Marquis’s house.

I felt as if my eyes were darkened by this fact.

Then His Majesty opened his mouth.

“Hmm, Qibbel.
It’s certainly not bad, but don’t leave Sir’s domain for a bit.
That would worry my son.”

“What?  No, no, I don’t think so…”

The father twists his head, unable to gauge the true meaning of His Majesty’s troubled tone.

Then, His Majesty nodded and smiled broadly, as if deliberately coming up with a good idea.

I’ve got a good idea.
Your son, Baron Van, has just established a new village on the edge of the marquisate.
Why don’t you send him there for the time being?  That way, it would be easier for him to go check on you if he gets worried.
You two are almost in the same place.”

He said this as if he was joking.

My father’s smile faltered at that.

“You must be joking….
Putting two people in the same place would not be called independence.
If you want to encourage independence and let them grow, the best environment would be one like Van’s, where a poor village in the middle of nowhere is made strong by its own efforts.”

“Then the town of Qibbel would be inappropriate?  That’s a town on the edge of the Count’s territory, but it’s an important supply center for the defense base.
What is the need to place it in a small but rich place?”

“Well, there is a deputy who is ahead of us, and he should think about how to make the established governance better than before, and increase tax revenues to support growth and….”

That’s funny.
Earlier you said the poorer villages are better, now you say something different.
Then where would it be better?”

His Majesty laughed wickedly at my father, who was slurring his words, and asked him, “Where would you rather be?

Perhaps my father, who had been used by His Majesty, misunderstood the meaning of his words.
He thought he could read the back of His Majesty’s words and give more reasons to take the land of the Count’s domain, but it was not so.

But then, where is His Majesty’s true intention? 

What was he thinking to separate me from the marquis’s family? Surely, he did not propose this because he hates me.

As I watched their exchange with a sickening feeling in my stomach, my father suddenly raised his eyebrows and dropped his eyes to the ground.

Then he quietly opens his mouth.

“…No way, Your Majesty.
I don’t think so, but do you think that Van is more suitable to protect the borderlands than I am…is that what you think…?”

His voice was heavy, as if he was vomiting blood.

I had never seen my father’s voice like that, nor his face twitching with anger.

But His Majesty did not change his attitude at all, laughing and waving one hand.

“Ha ha ha!  That is not true, Marquis Fertio.
I know of no one else who is as skilled in warfare and who has served my kingdom as well as you have.
I simply found the boy Van interesting.
Besides, this story depends on what happens to Scudetto, because if Scudetto is taken and the lands of the kingdom are trampled by the Jiernetta, we will not be able to talk about such things for long.”

His Majesty’s smile faded as he said this, and my father simply bowed his head deeply.

There was no way I could say anything if he put it out there.

I knew it in my head, but the fact that my father had never said a word about keeping me in the Marquis’ family kept swirling around in my head.

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