52-Episode 52: Receive

Rumail tells me that you have a gift for interpreting people's talents. I'm sure you'll be able to find a way to make the most of your time in the city. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do the same for you, but in the meantime, let me test you to see if you really have that kind of power.

 The fact that it's my appraisal-related request doesn't seem to make me do anything strange. If that's the case, I don't know why you're going out of your way to talk to me, but I don't know why.

''I understand, but.......what do I need to do?''
'Right. I'd like to hear a little more about your powers first. Then we'll change the way we try them.

 I explained the appraisal.

'Leadership, military prowess, intelligence, political ability and aptitude can be measured... well, more than you can imagine. The test is simple. All you have to do is appraise me and Robinson's abilities and pass it on. I think I know more about Robinson than anyone else, and I know more about myself than I should, of course. If you're right for both of us, you can trust me. If there's something wrong with you, don't be shy about telling me, you've got to be honest about it.

 It's certainly a simple method. Then it would be no problem.

 Since it would be difficult to understand even if I told you the specific numbers that came out during the appraisal, I told you the results of the appraisal by saying good or normal.

''...I see.......it seems that you do indeed have the ability to see people's abilities.''

 The Clan seemed to agree.

'Then let's get right to it, shall we?
Yes, sir.
'Don't get so defensive. You're paying people off and talking to them, so you're feeling uneasy. You're not trying to talk about something embarrassing, so you feel safe.

 His anxiety was evident in his attitude.

''Have you taken a look at the abilities of the nobles who were at the party today?''

 I think I was expecting to be asked a favor, but I didn't expect it because he asked me a question.

'Yes, just in case,'

 I couldn't read the intent of the question, but I answered honestly.

'What did you think?'
'How.........well. I thought there were a lot of excellent people there.
'Did you really think that? Did you feel like you were missing something?
Not enough?

 I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel it at all.
 It's true that I was excellent, but no one outside of the clan was able to jump through the hoops. It was true that I was disappointed because I thought that there might be someone more outstanding and amazing, so I was disappointed. If you think about it, most of the aristocrats didn't build their positions through hereditary succession and upward mobility, so it's not surprising that no one jumped out of the woodwork so easily and was so great.
 I replied honestly that I felt a little bit.

'I suppose so. Certainly, there are not many incompetents among our men, but there are also not many good ones. But there are also few good ones. Not only the chiefs of the countryside, but also the vassals who follow them, there are few who are famous. As for my immediate vassals, except for Robinson, none of them are very good.

 The Clan doesn't have as much precision as my appraisal, but I guess they can determine a person's abilities to some extent.
 And I also found out why I went to the trouble of paying people off. Because if I called the nobles insufficient, they would be repulsed.

'The main problem is that we don't have anyone to be a military strategist. I myself am no more than an ordinary man in terms of brains, and Robinson, though he is a smart man, has little experience of working as a military strategist. On the other hand, on Basamark's side, there is Remus, a wise general who has been a close friend of my father's and a longtime supporter of Meesian, and Basamark himself is also very smart. He has never been able to win in his studies for a long time. Basamark's right hand man, Thomas, also has an extraordinary brain. Anyway, compared to our side, Basamark's side has more wise men. It's a good thing that you're able to get the best out of them. If that's the case, the one with the best people will win and the one without will lose.''
In other words, you think you're going to lose if you keep things the way they are?

 The Clan nodded.

'So, I ask you, you have made a number of vassals competent in your abilities. Would you be willing to recommend to me someone who should be a military strategist?
A recommendation? That's a bit...

 A recommendation, in other words, is to recommend my vassals to become the Clan's men. I can't do that.

''Well, I know you don't want to lose your best people. I'll make you a deal. From now on, you are invited to join the council.
A military council...?
'Oh, I'm gathering a group of powerful nobles for a military council, and you could bring someone who would be a military strategist to join us.
'Um, is it okay for an inexperienced person like me to participate in such a place?'
I'm sure there will be some resistance. But I'll talk them into it. It will depend on whether or not you participate in the war council and your plan is adopted. Whether or not the plan will be adopted depends on the council. If I tell them a good plan, they'll all agree. I'm good enough to judge whether it's a good idea or a bad one.
'I have another concern, maybe the Marcas will join us, but is there any chance of anything special being said about that?'

 If we were to drink this story, it would be Rietz and Roselle who would take them.
 But Rietz, who is a Malka, is the target of discrimination. Will they really listen to me?

'I see. 'So one of the men who should be a military strategist is a Markan? Certainly there will be those who will look at him in a discriminatory light, but as I said before, it is important to know what he said. If I give you a definite idea, no one will complain about it, and if they do, they will be in the minority. Then I can silence them.

 But join the military council?
 Is it okay that we have to rely on children like me?
 I don't want to be on the losing side.

 I doubt if they will ever be able to win even with my help.
 It's true that both Riets and Roselle are highly intelligent.
 But while Reetz has no problem with this, Roselle has a problem.

 He's still a kid. Moreover, his intelligence has stopped growing recently, and he has only grown by one for several years. He is currently at 90.

 He is studying every day and seems to be getting smarter by the day, but it still doesn't go up. Perhaps the status of intelligence is a numerical value of how well you can think of strategies that are useful in battle.
 Roselle probably has an overwhelming lack of practical experience, so it is sluggishly growing.
 Therefore, using it out of the blue would be extremely problematic.

 If it was just Leet's alone, I don't know if he could really win.
 Because three names were mentioned earlier as wise men. Leez is an all-rounder, not an intelligence specialist. As expected, there is a good chance that he will not have a good minute.

 I don't want to follow the one who can't win, but I'm not sure that betraying him is possible either.
 Can he manage to convince the Canale County Mayor? Is it difficult for me to side with Basamark alone, at least as it stands? I wonder if I can contact the Basamark side's senior ministers by some means and inform them of my intentions. But even so, I have a feeling that it would be difficult for an unnamed nobleman like me to inform the enemy.

''Ars, I know you have a lot to think about after hearing this story.

 The Clan said that as if they could see right through me.
 'Do they know that I tried to betray them?

'In a situation like this, you have to give a price. If your warlord's exploits lead to a victory over Basamark, I'll make you Mayor of Canale County.

 I'm surprised by that statement. I'm the head of Canale County?

How is that possible? And what about Master Lemayre?
'He'll make a county leader of a much larger county. 'Canale isn't a very desirable fiefdom, partly because of its proximity to the state line and other reasons,' The Pyles have been Canale County Mayor for about five generations now, so I'm sure they'll have a lot of affection for it, but they can't complain when they get a better fiefdom.

 If you're active, county manager....
 You mean he'll be a lord with a castle.
 To be honest, Randolph is not a bad land, but there are inevitably limits. As it is now, it's impossible to get out of a weak lord who can be easily destroyed by a single person above him.
 Becoming the head of Canale County is a very big deal.

 It is true that there is a risk of losing in a battle.
 However, informing the Basamark side is also a risky move.

 'Okay, I've decided.

I understand. I'll accept the offer.