Chapter 182 The Purpose of Viscount Hedmar
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
On the night when my father and the others left the settlement, I received an invitation from Viscount Hedmar, saying that he wanted to talk. Although I had expected it, it seems that he has no intention of hiding the fact that he approached me on the same day my father returned.
I should have declined the invitation without a proper reason, but I couldn’t refuse it without a valid excuse. So, I headed to the reception room with Lucena-san.
Normally, Diana would be in this position, but in times like this, I thought it would be better to have Lucena-san, who is more experienced as a mother, accompany me rather than Diana.
”Master Neil, Viscount Hedmar is not someone who seeks profit at the expense of others. He only takes what he can before the relationship deteriorates and withdraws. That is the survival strategy Viscount Hedmar, who is inferior in military power and authority, has devised in the noble society.
Therefore, if you confront him with a strong attitude, he will back down quietly, but if you show a weak attitude, he will take advantage of you to the fullest. He is the head of the family, and you are the heir, so please approach him with a firm attitude.”
”Even if you say to approach him with a firm attitude… It’s easier said than done.”
”Yes, I will handle it well.”
I easily succumbed to the silent pressure from Lucena-san. She is indeed Diana’s mother, and just her presence alone is overwhelming. I always shrink in her presence.
She has more dignity than any ordinary noble and her words carry an undeniable power. It must be the presence she has gained from years of serving my father.
My stomach is already churning, but I knew that if I were to mention my stomachache, I would only be met with cold stares, so I suppress it and manage to arrive at the reception room.
When Lucena-san turned her gaze towards me, I gave her a reassuring look, and she knocked on the door of the reception room.
”Lord Viscount, Master Neil has arrived.”
”Oh, please come in.”
After the exchange through the door, Lucena-san opened the door, and I stepped into the reception room. There were two people in the reception room, Viscount Hedmar and his wife.
I had thought that it was only Viscount Hedmar, so I was suspicious in my heart, but I sat down on the sofa opposite him without showing any signs of it.
”I apologize for imposing at such a late hour. Was it already time for bed?”
”No, I was just about to take a bath, so it was perfect timing before changing into my nightwear.”
I subtly hinted that there were still things I needed to do and wanted to finish quickly, but Viscount Hedmar only responded with a smile and said, “That’s good then.” It’s not good, I have a feeling this conversation is going to drag on.
”However, I apologize for intruding at such a busy time. I had been thinking that I should pay my respects someday, but as I get older, my back doesn’t cooperate. When I heard that Count Atmiras was heading to the settlement, I thought it was a good opportunity to accompany him… I didn’t know it was your birthday, so I couldn’t prepare a gift, and I’m embarrassed.”
”Oh, no, just receiving your congratulatory words is more than enough.”
He should has given a gift on my birthday, in other words, he wanted to show that he’ in a higher position, and I was already finding this exchange difficult. I’m really not good at this kind of probing between nobles, where one word can have two or three meanings and can be used to intimidate the other person.
”Besides, we are both busy, aren’t we? The number of people passing through Viscount Hedmar’s territory to go to the settlement has also increased, so there must be some problems, right?”
”There have been some problems, but there is no need to worry.”
”I see, I was worried, so I feel relieved now that one burden has been lifted.”
In conversations between nobles, it is important not to show weakness, but it’s not as simple as just being aggressive. A weak attitude gives the other person an opportunity, while a strong attitude has the potential to create friction between the parties.
The nobles value their reputation. Being assertive towards others is equivalent to being looked down upon, and in order to avoid being looked down upon, one has no choice but to be assertive themselves.
This ultimately leads to arguments and worsens the relationship between families. That’s why I told Lucena-san not to attack aggressively, but to approach with a firm attitude without being too submissive.
It was very difficult to find the delicate balance of being neither too assertive nor too submissive, but leaning more towards assertiveness. Instead of being in this halfway state, it would be mentally easier to lean towards one side, but I can’t afford to do that.
So, I quickly move on to the main topic in order to end the conversation.
”By the way, you mentioned that you have something to talk to me about.”
”Oh, yes. Actually, there’s something I want to ask Neil-dono.”
”A request, you say?”
”It’s understandable that you find it strange. It’s rare for a noble to ask another noble for a favor, creating a debt-like situation. We couldn’t handle it on our own, so I want you to lend us your help.”
”What is the content of this request?”
”Well, it’s not an elf. What I want is for Neil-dono to be an intermediary with the representative of the sincere dwarves.”
”Huh? The representative of the sincere dwarves?”
”Neil-dono might not know, but we actually have a former friendship with the representative of the sincere dwarves. We were estranged when we became nobles. I’ve been sending letters trying to communicate, but they seem to be discarded without being read, and I’m at a loss without any means of contact.”
”So, your goal is to reconcile with the representative of the sincere dwarves?”
”Yes, we were cut off, but for us, he is the only trusted friend. For a suspicious imperial noble, such an existence is invaluable, and I believe Neil-dono can understand that.”
Indeed, a trustworthy partner for an imperial noble is quite valuable, and I can understand the desire to find such a person. However, when I heard this story, a certain phrase from my father came to mind.
’The requested content may not be the true purpose. It’s a common tactic to hide the true purpose with a false one and achieve the true purpose without others realizing it.’
This time, Lord Hedmar asked for mediation with Ronim-san, but I don’t know if that is truly Lord Hedmar’s goal. There might be a hidden true purpose behind it.
So, I decided to ask a question, considering the possibility that came to mind during my conversation with my father.
”Could it be that Zora is the real purpose?”
When my father told me that there might be a hidden purpose behind the trio coming to the settlement, Zora came to mind. The timing of Zora’s arrival at the settlement was almost the same as the timing of the trio’s arrival.
They were meticulously gathering information about the settlement, not just limited to crops, but also about buildings and people. I thought that behind the purpose of investigating the secrets of the settlement, there might be hidden surveillance by Zora.
”Oh, so has Ronim spoke about it?”
”I didn’t expect a denial. I thought you would deny knowing such a person.”
”What’s the point of denying it now? If Ronim spoke, it would be meaningless.”
Lord Hedmar responded to my question without changing his expression, calmly stating the facts.
”That’s not everything, but I did consider Zora as well.”
”Is it because she’s your daughter?”
”Well… even if we as parents showered her with words full of love, would you believe it?”
”…I want to believe.”
I don’t want to think that there’s a hidden meaning behind a parent’s words for their child, but since the other party is an imperial noble, doubts inevitably arise. In response to my naive answer, Lord Hedmar gave a small bitter smile.
”I know I’m still a sixteen-year-old novice, so I understand that I’m naive.”
”So, how will you judge?”
There is a possibility that Ronim-san will get angry and the conversation will no longer be possible once I bring up this topic. There was also a fear that this could create a crack in the relationship I have built with the sincere dwarf.
However, after much deliberation and hesitation, I decided to mediate between Lord Hedmar and Ronim-san, pretending to be unaware.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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