Father! Make him a vassal!
I said as I barged into my father's room.
My father seemed to be in the middle of writing a letter.
He continued to write, undisturbed by the sudden intruder.
And when he had finished writing, he turned his attention to us.
"You're talking about this Marka, aren't you?
'No. Making a Marka a vassal is a folly I've never heard of. Get him out of here.
My father let out a sigh and said that. The expression on his face told me not to play dumb when he was busy.
I guess it's still too much to ask.
But I'm not going to snap at this point.
''He, Rietz Muesse, has a high talent, and it would be a great loss not to have this one on retainer.
'.........Look, Ars, the Marka are vastly inferior to us Samafors. There is no such thing as talent.
This was the prevailing perception of the Marka people by those living in Samafors.
All in all, the Marka were perceived to be a distinctly inferior race.
I've never compared them, so I can't know exactly, but it's hard to imagine that there's actually that much of a difference between them when there's something as brilliant as the Leets.
'Malchus, I don't know about the whole, but this Rietz is definitely heaven's chosen genius. If you have any doubts, I suggest you test your abilities once.
My father listens to me and thinks for a moment.
''Well how do you know it's resourceful?''
I know what I know.
You certainly saw through Millet's archery prowess.
'Yes, as it was then, my intuition tells me that he has an exceptional talent.
My father looks straight into my eyes.
It was a sharp look that felt intimidating, but I stared back at him, unfazed.
Then I looked into Reetz's eyes as well.
Maybe it's because he's had a tough life, but he doesn't seem to be pushed by my father's eyes either.
'If you're going to go that far, you could at least hire him as a miscellaneous soldier if you tested him and found him to be talented.
Okay, I got a permit.
It doesn't matter if he's a skeleton man.
My father is a meritocrat, after all.
I'm sure Rietz would make a good warrior, so he'll eventually rise to the occasion.
Even if he doesn't, he'll be fine if I let him rise to the occasion when I take over the house.
''The test is a simple one. You will have a mock battle with me here, and if you win, I will consider you a pass.
I am upset when I am told what the test is about.
My father's current martial value is 94 and his leets are 70.
The marginal number is 90 for leets, so he still has a chance to win if he grows up to be a full grown man, but it will be difficult to do so now.
''Um, father. He is only fourteen years old. It would be very difficult to win against someone as young as my father.
You've got talent, right?
There is, but your father has a natural talent for warfare. When Rietz is fully grown, he'll be a good match for you, but I know that's not the case now.
"I don't fight for real. I will handicap you.
I don't know how much of a handicap we'll be at, but then we might still have a chance to win.
I don't think we'll get any more concessions, so we'll have to drink.
I nodded that's fine.
''Then the place to fight is the training grounds.
My father got up and started walking towards the parade ground.
Rietz and I followed.
As we were walking.
'Well, Mr. Ars, why did you decide to make me your vassal? Sympathy?
Rietz asked with a worried look on his face.
'If it was for a reason, I would have made it clear to your father earlier. 'Didn't you hear me?'
'You're telling me I'm talented? But that's not really my thing...
You're good at fighting, aren't you?
''Yeah, yeah. I've been praised quite a bit for my fighting skills, but there's nothing else for me to do.
"You are not only a skilled fighter, but a leader, a wise man, a politician, you have it all.
'No, I didn't know I had one of those...'
I just haven't had a chance to make the most of it. You will serve House Loebent and use it to its fullest potential.
Rietz looks a little unreasonable.
Is he unhappy?
Come to think of it, I hadn't asked him if he wanted to be a vassal, I had brought him here.
I was so preoccupied with wanting to make him a vassal that I forgot to ask him the obvious. This is not good.
''You don't want to be a vassal of the Rovent family? Then I'll tell your father to stop, right now.
'Oh, no, I'm glad to hear that you're going to be a vassal, and I think it's the best thing I've ever heard, but I was wondering what such a swell story it is. I've been persecuted everywhere I've gone for being a Marka.
'I'm not trying to trick you. And I have not yet decided to become a vassal. The tests your father will set for you will be tough. Well, I'm sure you'll pass it.
Reetz seemed to brace himself a bit when I told him that.
It wasn't that he didn't want to be a vassal anyway, so that was good.
After a short walk, we arrived at the parade ground.