Chapter 17 “Three Hundred Gold Coins”
At dawn, the old butler Hill personally arrived at the study with the breakfast trolley. As he pushed the door open, he found the family’s young master standing on the bookcase ladder, entranced by a thick work on astrology in his hands.
Apparently the young master hadn’t slept, and even though he looked a little weak, his spirit was still lively. He just seemed a bit dirty…… Don’t tell me he was rolling about in those ledgers last night?
He also removed a dagger from the wall and placed it on the desk…… Oh dear, that’s an ancestral antique.
The old butler sighed, immediately summoning people to help the young master freshen up.
Du Wei stretched after eating breakfast: “Did you find a place for the people that came with me from the capital last night?”
“Of course, they’re at the back of the castle. In accordance with family administration, your guardsmen have all been folded into the castle guardsmen…… Excuse my presumptuousness, respected young master. You seem to have recruited a knight on the way, and a female knight at that. Originally I wanted to arrange a place for the knight within the castle, but she refused…… Since you also brought a prisoner. As I didn’t know how that captive had offended you, I arranged for a cell in the dungeon. Last night that female knight and her retinue stayed in the dungeon room.”
“Very good.” Du Wei exhaled: “Then is there anything I need to do during the day…… Continuing reading these accounts? I think that in order to finish these I would need at least three or four days…… That’s just too boring. Hill, I have to find something to do.”
Three or four days? It would be good if you did it in ten.
The old butler swallowed such words and kept his face deferential: “Yes. You are the master here. Everyone in the castle is your servant. Here, your will is law. As for the accounts, there’s no need to finish them immediately. These are all last year’s accounts anyway. I actually think that if you hereafter can find a bit of time, it would be more effective to choose a couple of places in the clan estates to inspect than to read these musty old accounts.”
Raising an eyebrow, Du Wei smiled: ”A good suggestion, Hill, what a good suggestion! Then what should I do today? Here…… is there any planned events?”
“Eh……” The old butler had a difficult expression: “Here, you see, is a lot less busy than the imperial capital. Even the closest town requires a day for a round trip on horseback. There are no particular activities to pass the time here in the castle, but the surroundings are pretty good. If you’re interested you can take a ride, or bring your cavalrymen to hunt in the woods. Even if there isn’t much prey in this season, just going out is a good option.”
Du Wei nodded and sipped his black tea, when abruptly his mind stirred: “That captive I brought back…… Would there be any problems? I mean, do I have the authority to……”
“The authority to enforce the law? My heavens…… Young master, this is the Rowling Plains! The whole plain belongs to the Rowling clan! As long as you don’t rebel against the Empire, the Rowling family’s wishes are law here! And at present, you are the most senior member of the family in this castle.”
“Good.” As Du Wei stood, a maid at the side came forward with a long fur coat to dress him. With only a glance, Du Wei shook his head at this piece of fur made from some unknown animal: “It’s warm today, no need for this…… Oh, Hill, I want two attendants at my side, I like using people I’m familiar with…… Let Marde handle it, I like his company. As for the others, you said the twenty cavalrymen I brought from the capital had been folded into the castle guard? That’s fine, I’ll find some time to go look in on them today, and inspect the castle soldiers while I’m there. Uhh…… One last thing, as a child I was instructed by a well-known scholar, Mr. Rosia, under his tutelage I gained some interest in astrology. While I stay at the castle I will use the room at the top floor of the white tower.”
“White tower…… Top floor……” The old butler mouth fell open, his expression difficult: “This…… Young master, I’m afraid you don’t know that in the clan there has always been a prohibition, besides the clan head, nobody is allowed to climb the white tower.”
“Eh?” Du Wei’s eyes brightened: “Really?”
He wasn’t the slightest bit rejected, on the contrary, he’s even excited…… Yeah, if it was prohibited then presumably there should be something of Samel’s left inside? Perhaps he could still discover something.
As for…… not being allowed in? If it wasn’t allowed, then couldn’t he sneak inside?
“Good, then there are a few things I would like you to get for me.” Du Wei stopped talking and picked up a goose feather pen from the table, swiftly scribbling down a few things on the piece of paper.
These were all the things he had determined necessary to study astrology.
Didn’t researching the stars require at least a telescope? And the best astronomy telescope at that. But something like that didn’t seem to exist in this world, so he would have to build it himself.
This world had things like glass, and the craftsmanship for mirrors was very high. With a bit of research he should be able to construct a crude telescope.
Actually…… aigh, in this world there was very little use for telescopes, since its main application was mostly used in the military. But this world had magic! Magicians had a spell known as ‘eagle eye’ that was far better than binoculars.
Oh, magic, magic! It seemed he would have to find a way to learn magic.
Thinking about this, Du Wei immediately stood up: “I should probably take some time to go visit my prisoner in the dungeon today.”
Du Wei left the study and the old butler swiftly followed his instructions of calling for Marde.
This former stable hand’s expression was a bit depressed. After all, on the road he had the pleasurable feeling of ordering twenty cavalrymen as a valet. But at the castle, those soldiers had immediately been folded into the castle guard and stationed outside the castle in the barracks. Now he’s no different from a commander without an army.
The old butler here seemed to be a elder class level person in the Rowling clan, so how would he dare exert any authority? After a gloomy night in his room, Marde was still a bit worried about his future…… The little master didn’t let me wait on him last night; he wouldn’t forget me right?
Therefore, when Marde heard Du Wei’s summon early this morning, he immediately dashed over in his hastily arranged appearance. This disorganized attitude left the punctilious old butler Hill somewhat dissatisfied, but Marde didn’t care. Running into the castle hall, he promptly walked up to Du Wei like he would do nothing but hug his lord and master.
“Eh, milord, I am your faithful servant Marde. Did you have any instructions?”
Du Wei looked helplessly at Marde. In this place it was after all only Marde that could be considered trustworthy. Others…… Yeah, that Rolynn might be at least halfway trustworthy.
Du Wei didn’t worry about immediately going to see that magician, rather his first order was: From today onwards, without his command, nobody was to enter the study!
The old butler complied with this strange order without a word.
First things first, he headed over to the barracks where the men he brought from home was stationed. In the barracks were three hundred Rowling private armsmen, one hundred of which were cavalry. Twenty to a squad, this formed the patrolling units around the castle and Du Wei’s underling made up the sixth squad. After having their gears exchanged for the better, these underlings welcomed Du Wei warmly when noticed of his arrival.
Du Wei had talked it over with Marde on the journey. Stepping forward, Marde selected six cavalrymen to act as private attendants. These individuals were carefully chosen after Marde judged that they were disciplined enough to discharge their duties conscientiously when ordered. Without objection, these individuals gladly exchanged their armor for lighter gears and left the barracks on their horses.
As they left, their colleagues all looked at their departure with envious expressions…… aigh, they are after all at the master’s side. Perhaps if the master took a liking to them they might have a chance for promotion.
It had to be said that leaving the stifling earl’s court behind in the capital for this Rowling clan territory wasn’t all that bad. It might be a pleasant life after all.
At least here Du Wei was the senior, and this kind of noble life was rather invigorating. As he was leaving, a servant immediately brought over a docile horse, its saddle and bridle both made of the most exquisite quality. He had heard that this horse had been personally chosen by Marde in order to curry favor with Du Wei. This former stable hand still had a good eye for horses.
In the morning Du Wei brought the six attendants for two laps in the forest, finally he chose a spot.
At the edge of the forest some distance away from the castle was a brook, a tributary of the Emerald River (Rowling River). The stream was gentle and, on inspecting the surroundings, without any traces of large animals. Du Wei immediately decided to have a log house built here.
This would be his first magic laboratory —— even if he wasn’t a magician right now and still didn’t have the talent for learning magic, Du Wei wasn’t anxious.
There would always be a way.
After taking note of the location, Du Wei again brought the followers to look in all directions.
This young master’s action certainly seemed eccentric.
In the same morning, besides touring the surrounding forest, he went to talk to some castle servants. And the first people he interviewed were actually the groundskeeper and gardener!
Afterwards the young master unfolded a list of items of strange flowers and plants for the groundskeeper and gardener to prepare. This list quickly fell into the hands of the old butler Hill, who immediately followed the instructions without saying anything.
It was only in the evening did Du Wei finally headed down to the dungeon to meet his captive.
After two straight days of torment, presumably that magician had suffered a lot. Should he take a look at whether he wanted to surrender?
Du Wei very confidently brought his people back to the castle, but the first to find him was nevertheless the old butler Hill.
“Young master, regarding those lists you issued today with the things you wanted the servants to procure, I have already dispatched people to see to them.”
“So quickly?” Du Wei was especially pleased.
“Of course, this is Rowling family territory; your wishes are our command. After I received the lists, I immediately dispatched people on fast horses to procure them in the surrounding towns, the items are being delivered as we speak. But there’s a minor issue……”
“I’m afraid you might not have enough money.” The butler replied without batting an eyelash.
“……” Du Wei hadn’t expected that: “Money?”
“It’s like this.” The old butler’s expression was calm, but Du Wei couldn’t help but be annoyed by that expression. It was because he felt the old butler’s expression clearly concealed mirth at his misfortune: “Young master, because you are still a child, the clan head made a decision and issued you a provisional limit. Besides the expenses for your everyday food and clothing, each month you may draw three hundred gold coins from the clan for your own expenses. Only three hundred gold coins each month, this is the specified amount you may use. But if you exceed this, it must be deducted from next month’s sum.”
“……” Du Wei was speechless.
Money? Du Wei hadn’t expected this. As the eldest son of the illustrious earl, he actually has problems with money?
The old butler swiftly fished out a monocle from his breast pocket and placed it over his left eye, then taking out the lists of items Du Wei had handed out today: “Four pieces of top quality crystal, twenty glass mirrors, one smelting furnace, and half a cart of stone coal. With the gardener, you ordered one batch of golden scale flower seeds, one batch of arrow orchid seeds, and further one bottle of Jarohei rugosa pollen…… That’s aside from the set of first rate florist instruments. With the groundskeeper, you purchased two tiger striped broad leaf trees, one hundred clovers, and further……”
The old butler swiftly recounted the lists, then slowly said: “Purchasing these things will altogether cost you approximately four hundred and twenty gold coins. In other words, you have not only spent this month’s quota, you have even withdrawn money from next month’s limit…… Moreover, I have also heard that you plan to construct a log house by a creek in the forest. I have done the calculations and if you plan to construct a simple two floor house, I’m afraid it will require another three hundred gold coins. If you wish for the rooms of the house to be decorated and furnished…… it will be another two hundred gold coins. With these figures, I’m afraid you have already used your money for the next four months.”
Du Wei was speechless.
He has now realized he might have miscalculated!
The illustrious earl’s eldest son was unexpectedly penniless!
But those plants were all necessary. Those were the most basic raw materials for Du Wei’s pharmaceutical studies.
Du Wei looked at the old butler, lowering his face: “Yes? You’re saying that I, father’s oldest son, the supervisor of the clan territories, can only use a trifling three hundred gold coins every month? I didn’t mishear you?”
The old butler’s manners were still very respectful: “Yes, this was all stipulated in a letter by the clan head’s own handwriting. Even though it’s true that the clan’s estate will generate several tens of thousands of gold coins each month, but you must know…… that those are public funds. You still haven’t reached your adulthood, still haven’t obtained your own peerage, still haven’t obtained your own territory, therefore……”
“Therefore I only have an allowance of three hundred gold coins every month, right?” Du Wei’s tone was cold, waving a hand behind him: “Fine, I get it, for the next few months I can’t casually go shopping, right?”
“I’m very sorry; these are the earl’s commands. You can at most only withdraw three months of funds.”
As the old butler saw that this little master was unhappy, he immediately took his leave.
After the old butler left, Du Wei looked at Marde at his side who prudently said: “Young master…… I still have with me the one thousand gold coins you gave me for safekeeping, that the countess gave you before leaving the imperial capital.”
Du Wei sighed: “Aigh, I thought it was strange that mother would stealthily slip me money…… But now I understand…… He-he, it seems that his lordship, my father, is afraid this retard will mess up the clan territories, afraid I will ruin the ancestral estates, so he only nominally made me the supervisor but without letting me use the funds.”
“This…… We can cut down on some expenses. Actually, three hundred gold coins every month is already a lot……” When Marde had said this, he very conscientiously closed his mouth because the little master was thinking.
“…… Fine, since it’s like this, we’ll just have to figure out a way to make some money on our own.” Du Wei immediately got over his brief dissatisfaction…… Anyway, weren’t there a lot of valuables behind that trick door in Samel’s secret passage? If it came down to it, he could just use the money there.
Only…… It seemed that the days he would spend here might not be as free as he had imagined.
“Let’s go, we’ll have a look at the dungeon.” Du Wei waved his hand, calmly saying: “I hope that magician won’t refuse me again today. I’m already in a bad mood!”
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