Episode 92

Changes Over Two Years (2)
2 weeks ago
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After the kingdom fell.

The princess of the fallen kingdom made every effort to revive it.

But the reason it ultimately became ‘a handful’ was that there were hardly any who joined or cooperated with her and the knights.

‘Most of the people were on the side of the empire.’

Being a second-class citizen of the empire was better than being a citizen of Nostrum.

There were various reasons for this, and if one were to analyze these reasons statistically, many factors would be evenly matched, but one of the three biggest factors I would cite was ‘the convenience brought about by magical engineering.’

‘Compared to the empire, the kingdom is practically the countryside.’

The empire had plumbing, and in homes, turning a tap brought hot water, and pressing a button made the magic stone fluorescent lamps start to sparkle.

What about the kingdom?

‘Only the powerful could enjoy a similar quality of life to that of the empire.’

The kingdom could also solve these aspects with the power of magic.

A magician could warm a room or heat water with fire magic without the need for magic stones.

Yes.

In the empire, thanks to the development of magical engineering and technology, 80% of the imperial citizens enjoyed the convenience of magical engineering.

‘Unless you have a magician employed at your house or magic installed in your mansion, you need to gather firewood.’

Only 0.8% of the kingdom enjoyed this convenience.

Like the Gibraltar mansion, which employed magicians to install semi-permanent magic due to its long history.

Or like Morgania, who had the immense power to bring magicians wherever they went.

Or wealthy merchant classes who could afford to hire magicians or buy magic-filled scrolls and magic stones.

The disparity in quality of life between nobles and commoners in the kingdom was so significant that one might wonder if even 0.8% was an overestimation.

‘Once the conveniences enjoyed by the nobles become part of everyday life, one can no longer consider living as a citizen of the kingdom.’

Instead of chopping wood, earning a bit more to install a boiler allowed for the convenient use of hot water.

‘Once you’ve experienced it, you’d pay extra to have it, even if it was only provided at the cost of public supply.’

Though somewhat expensive, by spending about ⅕ of one’s salary on a magical fridge and replacing the magic stone, food could be kept cool.

-Once the commoners tasted the superior magical engineering technology of the empire, they could never return to their previous lives!

Even the people living in the Gibraltar Margravate openly talked about the comforts of the empire before me.

‘I was the same.’

That’s why everyone was afraid.

‘If Nostrum is revived, they’ll want to burn all traces of imperial culture, making us live primitively again.’

They feared losing this convenience if the kingdom was revived.

It took less than 10 years for the people of the kingdom to fully consider themselves imperial citizens.

What about now?

Unlike before, what if the kingdom didn’t immediately fall to the empire after a month of war, but instead started with Serene and slowly opened up?

‘It’ll seep in slowly.’

The culture of the empire would slowly permeate the land of Nostrum.

‘Convenience is something that can only become addictive.’

Now that Serene had opened and the gates had been unlocked.

‘Even the empire is pouring capital into it as if giving it away.’

And with the current crown prince, Hapsburg, actively engaging in exchanges between the two nations.

‘To adopt advanced imperial culture and abandon the kingdom.’

The imperialization of the kingdom.

The gradual improvement of the kingdom’s living culture was an inevitable destiny as long as humans sought a convenient life.

‘The empire probably never thought that Gibraltar would absorb the culture of the empire faster than Serene.’

Currently.

Gibraltar was absorbing all sorts of imperial culture even faster than Serene, where the harbor had recently opened.

The most representative example is right here.

“Wow.”

After about a year of construction, the new Gibraltar mansion was finally completed.

“Just amazing.”

Though the official completion was still two weeks away, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of the white mansion sprawling over the green meadows.

“Such a waste of money.”


Morning.

I had to come to the new mansion, which had just been furnished and equipped for living, rather than the old Gibraltar Margrave’s castle, known for its long history and tradition.

“Have you been here, Father?”

“Charlotte is here.”

“…Is this a study?”

“No. It’s an office.”

“I doubt even the royal palace of Nostrum would be this spacious.”

“It has to be bigger than Nostrum.”

Father spread his arms in the reception room, which was spacious enough to host a large party.

“I made a reception room larger than the one in the royal palace. This alone could be seen as a challenge to the king’s authority.”

“Of course.”

Just as humans differentiated between higher and lower based on physical stature, the difference in rank among monarchs and nobles was often marked by the height or size of their castles.

“The construction magicians came from Morgania, so there shouldn’t be a big problem…”

“Let the rumors spread a bit early. It’s just the Gibraltar family using their wealth to build a villa.”

“It’s the largest and most luxurious villa in the kingdom. If this were a resort…”

How much would it cost?

Since it’s beyond the gorge, at least one million per night—

No.

It would have to be one million per person to stay.

“Someone’s monthly salary could become the daily room rate here.”

“Just that?”

“…I apologize. Should I say annual salary?”

“Of course. How much wealth was spent?”

There probably hasn’t been a bigger expenditure in Father’s life.

‘No.’

…It’s obvious, though.

Even if one wasn’t known for being incorruptible, the amount of money spent on building such a mansion made it clear that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime expense.

“Having built it, it seems no different from the fortresses built on islands secretly bought by the high-ranking officials of the empire that often appear in imperial newspapers for corruption, Father.”

“But you seem very satisfied, Son.”

“Yes.”

To be honest,

“It feels like flying.”

It was too good.

“I may not know about other aspects, but the exterior alone is awe-inspiring.”

“The construction magicians groaned when they saw the rough design of the blueprint.”

“But it turned out well, didn’t it?”

“Yes. I didn’t know you had a talent for this.”

“A beautiful house is good to live in.”

Considering it’s a design that’s at least a decade ahead of various luxury villas in the empire,

“If it weren’t for the ongoing results from the orphanage research facility, I’d want to move in here right away.”

“You’re quite materialistic.”

“Preferring a larger room over a small one is natural, isn’t it?”

“Right. Nobility can’t resist a new house, a new room.”

A mansion fitting for the imperial royal family to spend their summer vacation swimming in an indoor pool and enjoying horseback riding by the southern sea.

What’s called a mansion, but in the empire, it’s usually referred to as a ‘resort.’

“How much did you spend?”

“A thousand.”

Father was extremely proud.

“A thousand thalers?”

“Ah, a hundred billion gold.”

I felt a twinge in the back of my head.

“…Well, considering its condition, that seems about right.”

“In fact, I spent more, but it seemed better to just cut off the zeroes.”

Although it was technically the second mansion of the Gibraltar Margravate, it was undeniably a mansion of unparalleled luxury.

“It’s been 500 years since we built a new house, so shouldn’t we spend that much?”

“That’s true.”

A villa newly built after 500 years.

Employing a large number of magicians for fast and efficient construction was practically like buying time with money.

‘Is a hundred billion cheap for building a new house after 500 years?’

It’s unclear.

‘How much did I spend on the palace again?’

Having lived so diligently over the past 5 years, unless I was in a state of unconsciousness induced by White Silver, I could hardly remember.

‘At that time, I just stamped the approval.’

Not being someone who remembered every number on every document like Naria, too many things happened over the past five years and more to recall.

“Why? What do you not like? I even requested architectural plans from Iperia.”

“No, just.”

Even when I was the Margrave, I didn’t build it this luxuriously—

‘I did, didn’t I.’

I did spend a lot of money building a palace for Astasia, who had to stay in Gibraltar for an extended period.

“Father. Are you passing this on to me?”

“If that’s the case, you’d have to be the Margrave.”

“Suddenly, I feel like ousting Noir and showing my qualifications as a master.”

“Oh?”

“…Just kidding. That’s how attractive this mansion is. I can’t even make a joke. Really.”

There’s no point in complaining about the budget that’s already been approved and executed.

“Then, Father. The most important thing.”

As long as the part that I considered most important was well-made, I wouldn’t care if it were a ruin or a haunted house.

“How is Mother’s room?”

“Follow me. It’ll be good sightseeing for you as well.”

Father personally pointed inside the building and led me.

Following behind my father, I couldn’t help but marvel at the splendid corridor, and Father seemed quite satisfied as well.

“Father.”

“Why.”

“Did you happen to sleep here?”

“…….”

“If it’s a palace for Mother, the Margrave should sleep in the Margrave’s castle.”

“Charlotte’s bed is where I sleep.”

Father pointed forward brazenly, lifting his head high.

“Look. Something that no one dares to enter.”

At the end of a rather spacious corridor, knights clad in Gibraltar knight uniforms were diligently swinging their swords towards the wall.

“Hyahh!!”

Led by Sir Carlos, several knights took turns swinging their swords at the firmly closed iron door.

“How is it?”

“Even the high-ranking knights can’t use their strength against it.”

But this was no ordinary iron.

“It’s a defensive barrier against assassination attempts. We spent 30 billion on ordering it from the Mage
Guild, so naturally, it has to be effective.”

“Is it installed only in the bedroom? In all directions?”

“Yes. Essentially, we’ve placed the room inside a cubic barrier.”

Though it appeared to be gray iron, in reality, an incredibly strong defensive magic barrier was positioned over the iron door.

“It would be good if the master could come and confirm it, but…”

“There is someone here who is comparable to the master.”

“Oh.”

Father looked at me seriously.

“If it’s a master, it’s a master. There’s no such thing as a ‘sub-master.’ That would be an insult to Dame Mente.”

“Is that so?”

I apologized to Dame Mente (43 years old), who was staring up at me from behind, below my waist-

“I’m sorry, Master.”

“…That’s enough if you understand.”

“How did you, Dame Mente, penetrate the barrier of Mother’s bedroom?”

“No. I couldn’t. Considering how much magic stone the Margrave has invested in it. It might even be stronger than the Gibraltar Gorge.”

“This isn’t just what I want, Dame.”

Father shrugged his shoulders lightly, then reached out to pat mine.

“Having this allows Grey to go on ‘expeditions’ more often, and going on expeditions will lay the foundation for you to surpass the barriers.”

“Ugh…”

“Don’t be hasty. It’s just one step forward, but if you misstep, you might never be able to climb back up.”

Dame Mente nodded briefly to Father’s serious advice.

“Then, Grey. Will you be departing now?”

“No. Since I’ve come all this way, I should at least say hello.”

“Right.”

As Father stepped forward, revealing his presence, the knights who were swinging their swords at the magical barrier stepped aside and took their positions.

“Loyalty!”

For whom was this loyalty?

It’s been a long-standing motto of Gibraltar, but now, that loyalty was certainly not directed towards Nostrum.

“For the kingdom.”

Only a few knew.

“That’s enough for the check. Open the door.”

Knock, knock-knock.

“Charlotte.”

As Father knocked, the mana rippling over the iron door began to slowly fade away.

The door slid “sideways,” retreating into the walls.

The door’s thickness was nearly 10 cm.

Beyond the heavy iron door, which appeared difficult to open with ordinary human strength, there was a spacious room where Mother was.

“Is, is this really okay?”

“Of course.”

Around Mother’s neck, a red necklace sparkled.

“You must be in the safest place, so we can also step out with peace of mind.”

“Father should stay in Gibraltar.”

“I can’t always just be by Charlotte’s side. There are other family members to protect besides you.”
Father pointed to a cradle next to Mother.

“Father. And Mother.”

Well.

To put it simply.

“Are you going to have children every time the year changes?”

“…….”

The love between the couple was still ongoing, and ‘two more’ had arrived.

Twins.

One was named Marin, and the other was named Saphira.

‘I should increase the items from the Iperia Outlet.’

The empire has developed and was selling somewhat expensive but healthy contraceptives, so as not to indiscriminately have children like the kingdom.

Even after having six children, their bodies had not deteriorated but rather had become healthier. I was not sure if they would consider contraception based on what I said.

“…Then I will depart as soon as I’m ready.”

“Alright. Dame Mente? Please take good care of Grey.”

“I will do my best.”

Dame Mente grinned and lightly rubbed her fingertips together.

“For the sake of your passionate love.”

“…….”

White Silver, an unexpected effect.

Even if it led to a ‘berserk’ state through mucosal absorption, for a master-level entity capable of controlling it, it’s merely a drug that accelerated blood circulation.

A side effect, yet this side effect proved to be beneficial in another form for someone.

‘It’s really good for men, but there’s no way to explain that.’

At 15, I simply smiled.

“Indeed. For the sake of your love.”

I lightly flicked the sword fastened at my waist with my hand.

“I will promptly embark on an expedition with the [Shadow Knights] to hunt vampires in the contaminated zone.”

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