＃When I returned, my family was ruined (23)
“Heh heh. “I can’t drink tea because I don’t have any.”
“Then let’s have a drink.”
Ethan put leaves and hot water in a teacup and handed it to Frexian.
He politely accepted the teacup.
After enjoying a cup of tea, I looked at the old man and asked.
“What have you been doing so far?”
“I was running a small farm.”
“yes. I was doing it as a pastime, but it turned out to be more worth doing than I thought.”
The person who handled the duchy’s affairs like a monster in a state of runaway in his previous life is now a farm owner.
The gap was truly enormous.
Meanwhile, Frexian, who was staring at Ethan, had tears in his eyes.
“I can’t believe that the Grand Duke has grown up to be so dignified… This old man was truly touched.”
“It’s because my sister takes good care of me. “Anyway, are you willing to return to administrative position again?”
“This Barony of Kargath is virtually a hotbed of corruption. So, I plan to replace a lot of bureaucrats.”
“…There will be a lot of empty seats.”
“I would feel reassured if you could fill that position.”
“As long as this old man can be of help to the Archduke, I will do so.”
“No, Grand Duke. As someone who lived off the rust in the duchy, it was just something I had to do. The lack of talent will also be resolved in the near future.”
He was the center of the family until he fell. There were many officials who missed him as he showed bold judgment and excellent leadership even at a young age.
As news spreads that he has spread his wings, former officials who have been hiding like him will begin to appear one by one.
‘I’ll have to help you as much as I can.’
Frexian made a strong decision in his heart.
“Oh. “Your Majesty.”
“Is there anything you want to say?”
“I have a child I was raising. Would it be possible for you to bring that child to Naeseong as well?”
“Did you have any children?”
“haha. no. “There is only one child that I happened to meet and reap.”
have a child
It was something that had never happened in my previous life.
Previously, after his wife passed away, he did not remarry and lived all day wrestling with documents.
“What is the child’s name?”
“This is Lawrence.”
It was a familiar name.
Ethan quickly recalled his memory.
‘Could it be that Lawrence?’
He was a person I had encountered several times in the past during the war with the Yongin tribe.
Despite the limitations of his status as a commoner, he was a strategist who made a name for himself solely through his talent.
‘It was an unusual trick.’
He was a person who worked for the cause of stopping the Yongin tribe, but also tried to somehow reduce sacrifices in the process.
Considering that usually a strategist treats soldiers like chess pieces instead of seeing them as people, it could be said to be a rather unusual way of thinking.
If I had to express it, I would have to say that he is a warm-hearted tactful person.
He was a person who continued to be active and then completely disappeared after a battle called the Battle of the Erian Plains.
‘I never thought that name would appear here.’
Ethan’s interest was piqued.
I’ve never met him up close. I only saw it a couple of times from afar and passed by.
Still, I vaguely remembered the face.
If you meet him in person, you will be able to confirm for sure whether the child is the real Lawrence or not.
“Where is that farm?”
“It’s about a day’s walk away.”
It was a distance that could be reached in a day on foot or in about three hours by carriage.
“yes? Are you thinking of visiting the farm in person? “It’s a very shabby place for an archduke to go to…”
“Perhaps the villa where I’ve been sleeping for the past ten years is much more shabby than the farm you mentioned.”
“We move by carriage.”
I went out of the office with him.
After getting into the carriage, we headed in the direction he gave us. So we arrived at the farm located within the village.
“haha. It was difficult to buy a large property with the money I had saved. Still, I am making a living in my own way.”
In the past, he was promoted to chief administrative officer some time after Ethan had ascended to the throne as duke.
‘Before, I was probably holding a mid-level executive position.’
Although the salaries received by family officials were not insufficient, it was not enough to purchase a large manor.
Well, the fact that it was small was actually what I expected from Ethan’s standards.
By general standards, it would be considered a reasonably sized farm. Together with him, we headed towards the house provided on the farm.
I made eye contact with the short-haired child standing in front of the door.
The child’s appearance was just as I remembered. Short bobbed hair and a grave-looking face. And even small ones.
It was exactly the same as my past memories.
But there’s one difference….
In my memories, Lawrence had black hair.
Maybe I dyed my hair black in my past life.
Lawrence, who was looking at Ethan, tilted his head.
“Master, who is this?”
“You are the Archduke who sang so much.”
“Your Majesty…are you?”
At Frexian’s words, Lawrence began to look intently at Ethan’s face.
That too for a while.
The guy bowed his head.
“What do you mean by gratitude?”
“For avenging my younger brother.”
“Did you have any grudge against the Baron?”
“My younger brother starved to death because of high taxes.”
Even though he was saying thank you, it was a very calm tone. Ethan’s eyes sparkled with interest as he looked into Lawrence’s eyes.
‘It’s a miasma.’
Aren’t these pretty angry eyes?
Saying thank you may not be completely false. But it wasn’t completely sincere.
If I had to express it, I would have to say that it is a look that is half true and half false.
“How old are you?”
For a person of seventeen, he was quite small. If I were to meet him face to face without knowing his age, I would have thought he would look like he was around fourteen or five.
“What about your parents?”
“He died like his younger brother.”
For someone talking about the death of a family member, the tone was so calm that it almost felt dry.
The basic tendency itself seemed to have changed significantly from the past.
He is strong-willed and cynical.
Why did his personality completely change? Ethan, looking at Lawrence, realized one thing.
‘I understand why it changed.’
In the past, when the duchy was alive and well.
Excessive tax rates are something I could never even dream of.
But it was different now.
Excessive exploitation that occurred as the past changed. If you had been at the bottom for a long time, not only had you lost your family because of that, it would not have been impossible to understand that your eyes were filled with venom.
Ethan asked, looking at Lawrence with a smile.
“Do you really think it’s grace?”
“So about half?”
“Because the Archduke took away my game.”
“Do you think you would have been able to hunt successfully if you had left the Baron alone?”
“If only I had three more years, I could have done that.”
The eyes were full of confidence.
He was a bold child.
So I liked it more.
‘If raised well, it will be good to use as a long-term horse.’
Hans was a guy who knew how to scratch an itch, but he wasn’t the type who knew how to watch the game.
This is the type that is perfect for deploying as a field agent and then causing trouble among the enemy.
Frexian was a bureaucrat close to the orthodox faction.
‘Lawrence, on the other hand…’
When I saw the poison around his eyes, I thought that if he grew up properly, he could grow into a cruel and cold-hearted type of tactician.
A strategist must have such a tendency to do his job well.
“From now on, Frexians will work in the Barony’s inner castle. He says he wants to take you with him to the inner sanctuary. But to do that, you have to prove your worth first.”
“What do you want?”
The guy was boldly accepting his test.
Ethan said with a grin.
“What do you think my current situation is?”
“It doesn’t look good. “Everyone is an enemy, starting from the king to the surrounding families.”
Lawrence swallowed his saliva as he looked at Ethan.
The archduke’s eyes seemed to see right through him.
That’s why I immediately said my true feelings when asked if I thought it was a favor.
Because it seemed like lying wouldn’t work at all on the archduke in front of me.
It was still the same now.
‘This must be a test.’
If you fail to prove your usefulness here, the Archduke will mercilessly abandon you and leave.
That wasn’t what Lawrence wanted to do.
“Are you planning to kill all of the Baron’s heirs? “I think it would be good to save at least one person.”
“The reason is?”
“There are four.”
Ethan nodded solemnly.
‘Do you already know?’
Lawrence’s heart skipped a beat.
Ethan’s meaningful smile.
Looking at his face, it seemed like he knew more than just four reasons.
Lawrence swallowed his saliva and spoke.
“Even though it is a scarecrow, if you succeed to a collateral blood relative like that, other collateral families will feel relieved in their own way. “It will give the impression that the minimum standards are followed.”
If he were to rule over the baronial territory after eliminating the baron and his children, it would mean that a person without any authority would be occupying the territory without permission. He wasn’t even the head of the family yet.
Taking that into account, erecting a scarecrow was the right procedure.
“Wouldn’t the scarecrow play a significant role when the Grand Duke moves into another collateral family in the future?”
In any case, it would mean that one of the blood relatives would preserve his or her position, so a traitor could come out even when attacking the collateral.
‘Something like a distant successor in the line of succession.’
Even if it was a scarecrow position, there was a possibility that there would be a successor who wanted a seemingly worthy position.
“There are a total of ten clans in the collateral world, and it would be difficult to plant the Grand Duke’s henchmen to rule over the ten families. “Right now, the Archduke will be short of trustworthy talent.”
That is correct.
There is a lot of power, but trustworthy talent is still lacking.
It was obvious that if all the people related to the collateral were wiped out, there would be a severe manpower shortage.
“The final benefit is that by setting up a scarecrow, you will be able to completely block the possibility for collaterals to send other people to intervene in the territory in the future. “There remains someone who has rightful control of the land.”
Did his answer really satisfy the Archduke?
Lawrence looked at Ethan with a calm expression. However, he could not hide the fact that his pupils were fluttering.
“I heard you well.”
Ethan nodded and then looked at Frexian.
“You have a much smarter child than you expected.”
Frexian smiled shyly.
However, the satisfaction rising through the shyness was deeply felt. It was clear that the old man had raised the child as if he were his own.
“…Then can I go with you?”
He wasn’t a pick-me-up, but a proper talent. When I returned, I thought I would have to entrust him with various tasks.
When we came, there were two people, but when we left, the carriage with three people on board started moving towards the inner castle.