Chapter 47.5 – After the Banquet
It was a dark and small room.
The room had undergone the minimum amount of repairs; nevertheless, sights of damage could be seen here and there, which was clearly due to people inhabiting this place.
Starting from Dante, the party of disciples from the city of Nazioni were designated to a house.
Everyone’s rooms were extremely confined.
The light coming from a kindled fireplace slightly illuminated the corners of the room.
Franko and Dante sat around the fireplace.
– Dante, I brought some food. Won’t you eat?
– Ah, thanks.
Franko filled his mouth with the wine.
The abundant fragrance of grapes and the faint sweetness mixed with bitterness unfolded inside his mouth.
This year’s summer was hot.
Still, the taste coming from the grapes was quite concentrated.
Receiving his plate, Dante began to eat in silence.
– ……It’s delicious, isn’t it?
– It’s a splendid food. To think that a taste like this could be acquired depending on the maker’s skill even though the raw materials aren’t much different in themselves.
– I thought that the soup’s astringency was much stronger, and therefore would be similarly bitter, but…
– Being able to eat such cooking makes you want to stay here instead of going to other villages for an inspection.
– Even though you would always be treated to a feast, isn’t your stomach content?
– I ride on a horse every day, so there’s no time for me to gain weight.
Franko’s body, which was twice as big as that of an average person, would probably require a proportional amount of nutrients.
The dishes that he brought disappeared one after another inside his mouth, and soon after, the plates became clean.
Franko observed Dante’s appearance with his calm eyes.
– Dante, you lost your temper, didn’t you?
– I’m sorry for that.
Dante’s head lowered slightly.
The impudent attitude he showed during the banquet was an uncommon thing to happen.
Considering that, he’s quite a miserable guy. – Franko thought.
Dante certainly wasn’t a fool.
If he was given a hint, he would obediently follow. That’s why he was quite an adult.
Franko concluded that the reason why he behaved like that during the banquet was due to his personality, which he had shaped in his surroundings.
Dante was the third son born from the relationship between Nazioni’s ruler and his concubine.
However, what made Dante unhappy was that his father, Nazioni, actually loved his mother instead of him.
Soon after Dante’s birth, his mother died from puerperal fever, and Nazioni lost interest in his son.
He had older brothers, who were next in succession.
As well as Dante, his older brothers possessed a monstrous strength, however, unlike Dante, they received a minimum amount of discipline which made them less likely to cause any trouble.
On the other hand, Dante, who was released free, continued to make pranks in order to catch his parent’s attention as he was reaching the state of puberty.
Nevertheless, oppositely, his actions made him be kept at a distance.
Abusing his status as the ruler’s son, he wouldn’t quit pretending to be other people’s boss.
As a result, he was treated as a nuisance, making him unable to stay in the city.
Dante had lots of flaws, still, Franko couldn’t bring himself to dislike Dante as he didn’t feel any malice coming from the man.
Dante’s habit of snapping at others was just like that of a dog.
Unless he receives proper discipline, he will continue to snap at others.
– Hey, Franko.
– If I manage to produce a result in this village, you will honestly recommend me as the next successor, won’t you?
– That would be so. I promise you that.
– Understood, I believe you.
– In that case, tomorrow you’re going to properly apologize for your actions.
– Yeah, losing my temper was unintentional. I wonder if apologizing will do….
Under normal circumstances, it wouldn’t be possible for Dante’s succession to come.
However, if someone like Franko, who administrated internal affairs single-handedly as the tax collector, was to strongly recommend Dante, the power balance would greatly shift.
That’s because, if it hadn’t been for Franko, their territory would never have been established.
The Nazioni clan was known to excel in physical build and display a strength that was second to none on the battlefield; however, there was a problem in the fact that they weren’t acquainted with business.
Well, it should be fine if he tries to strive at least – he thought.
There are a lot of problems in Dante’s way of dealing with things that makes negotiations not go as smooth as he wishes.
If he fails, he will squander the chance of gaining cooperation. On the other hand, if he succeeds, he will be able to yield results and make himself advance easily once he becomes the next ruler.
At the same time, Dante’s brothers, who saw him as a thorn in their side, sent him to the village so as to create a pretext to drive him away. Even if they would fail to do so, his brothers were self-confident in walking around problems without sustaining any damage.
– That attitude of yours will be no good if you want to gain any achievements here. That’s why, you have to learn how to show respect. Besides, we went through the troubles to find a place like this where nobody knows of your reputation in the city. It may be difficult to make the first impression, but do your best, okay?
– Yeah. Since you’re the only one who called out to me with the intention of helping, I’ll answer to your expectation.
– Well, don’t force yourself. It’s fine if you progress step by step.
Still, how much Dante will manage to learn from Eiji remained a greatly doubtful question.
There was a need to give some warning to the other 4 people as well.
Franko drank his ale slowly.
The banquet was probably still ongoing.
Were they able to melt into the company? – While considering asking them about that later, Franko proceeded to eat his food.
Since then, quite some time had passed, and Katharina returned.
Only Katharina received a separate house under the pretext of being a girl.
It was a countermeasure against deliberately creating any type of turmoil.
Her white skin was dyed deep red from the alcohol, and was seen even in the dark.
Judging from her appearance, she was quite pleased.
Once Franko noticed Katharina, he called out to her.
– Welcome back. Was the banquet enjoyable?
– Franko-san. Yes, Master Eiji, as well as his wife, Tanya-san, treated me well. It seems that we will be able to get along from now on.
– I’m glad to hear that. You could say that it was worth it to bring you with me.
– I’m truly grateful for that.
– What? You only happened to do what I was wishing for.
Seeing how Katharina bowed down vigorously, Franko raised up his hands as if holding her back.
It seemed that she would always bow down if there was nobody minding her.
It wasn’t something to be thanked to such an extent.
Right now, she hasn’t managed to produce any results yet, but once she has acquired new skills, she intended to return Franko’s favor manifold.
If Dante’s forte was pushing things, then Katharina’s was using a frontal attack.
Her personality, which was full of exceptional curiosity, zealousness, and energy toward new skills, should certainly be the factor in becoming a desirable type of laborer.
Since she had been the fastest in establishing new interactions, it didn’t seem that there would be any confusion in her eyes.
The only worry Franko had was whether she could settle down like that in Siena, Nevertheless, his anxiety seemed to be needless, or so he thought.
This time, the people that were chosen to be brought to Siena were the ones that couldn’t deny his request and had various circumstances to go back.
There was no doubt that Katharina showed an unusual curiosity for smithing, but it wasn’t strong enough to make her want to stay in Siena.
– Katharina, I have a small request for you.
– What it is? I intend to do the utmost, since you have already granted me the wish.
– It isn’t anything big. I want you to look after Dante. Of course, you might find it unmanageable.
– Yeah. That guy has caused nothing but problems today.
Franko understood that there was a slight concern appearing on her face.
Her complexion turned pale at once.
Katharina would always express her feelings vigorously and with all her might, still, her personality wasn’t a strong willed one.
She was probably not on good terms with the violent Dante.
No, the ones who could probably talk back to him in this village were the tribal chief, Bona, and the woman called Jane.
While Franko was wandering in his thoughts, Katharina seemed to be worried.
Tightening her expression, she bowed down.
– Understood. I, Katharina, will support him with all my power!
– No, it should be fine not to exaggerate. Just do as much as you can.
– Yes, I’ll do as much as I can and support him with all my power!
– Ah, yeah… please do so…..fuhaha.
Good grief, she’s indeed a girl with changeable attitude.
Franko tried to suppress his gushing joy.
Despite him trying to indicate with his eyes that nothing happened, he couldn’t suppress his laugh. A suspicious expression appeared on Katharina’s face.
Till now, he has been observing many people through his duty of collecting taxes.
Even if one was to work similarly hard, there still was a distinction between the successful type of people and those who had no hope of getting ahead.
Katharina was certainly the successful type as she possessed a natural charm to attract people.
One would want to support her unconsciously.
Looks like I can look forward to the situation from now on – Franko thought.
– You guys are late.
– Ah, Franko-sama.
– I apologize.
It seemed that the remaining 3 men were thoroughly drunk.
Siena’s alcohol was far more delicious than those they would usually drink. On top of that, they made people get drunk easier.
If one was to drink it at the same pace as usual, it couldn’t be helped for that person to drink themselves unconscious.
However, the early spring night was chilly.
Being made to wait, Franko wanted to complain.
– Then, how was it? Did you manage to get along?
– Erm, about that…
– We’re still working hard on that.
– Well, please do your best.
All these men were the ones who couldn’t afford to pay their taxes.
Instead of talking, they were sent on an errand to this village; therefore, they had to obey.
These type of people were the easiest human resources to be used.
– You guys understand your job, right?
– No failures will be accepted.
– We will engrave that on our hearts.
– I see, then go.
Bowing down repeatedly, the men entered their house as if running away. Seeing that, Franko sighed with his nose.
If Katharina was a naturally born laborer, then those guys were good-for-nothing ones.
They wouldn’t try to work positively, and would only complain, double as much as a usual person.
Saying that, they also didn’t have the guts to throw everything away and degrade themselves into thieves.
However, because of that, there was another use for them.
At least, let’s try to exploit them – is what he thought.
Franko watched the scenery of Siena during the night.
Only the surroundings of the tribal chief’s house were illuminated by the fire.
Right now, in front of him, in the darkness, there was the newly built barn, watermill, and the workshop.
– …..This village is developing way too fast.
As soon as he noticed, these words came out from his mouth.
One after another, brand new things were developed while overshadowing this period’s common knowledge.
Seeing how people’s lives become abundant thanks to the introduction of new technologies was a delightful thing.
However, the truth is that one couldn’t overlook the development occurring in a single village.
That’s because it can greatly impact the power balance.
Should we steal their technology? Make them promulgate it? Or perhaps, force it to become obsolete?
There were many available counterplans.
Nevertheless, it was still too early to take action.
The reason why Franko brought Dante and Katharina was because he couldn’t leave the thing as it is.
If this proves to be unsuccessful, we will probably have to take more forceful measures.
While predicting various future possibilities, Franko thought.
——- There’s a need to be prepared.