BBYW Vol. 1 Chapter 3
Chapter 3 – The Prodigal Son Moves in the Shadows
【POV: Margrave Maxwell】
“…is Dyn still in bed?”
“Yes…he had quite a long night, after all.”
So replied the Maxwell house steward, a troubled tone in his voice.
I pressed my fingers against my temples, trying to subdue the migraine I felt coming.
My name is Dietrich Maxwell, a margrave in charge of the provinces on the eastern border of the Lamperouge kingdom.
Nobles ruling over territories located on the border have much to be worried about. We must be ready at all times for enemy invasions, as well as prevent any foreign ruffians from entering the country or domestic criminals from crossing the borders.
My house of Maxwell is also the leader of the alliance of nobles of the eastern provinces. We have the duty to act as a mediator in case of disputes between noble families, as well as negotiate on behalf of local nobles with the royal house or central nobles.
My gravest concern as of late, however, is the attitude of my own son, Dyngir Maxwell.
“He’s been at it every night since he returned…the two years spent in the academy did nothing to mend his womanizing habits, then…”
One month ago, my son’s engagement with the young lady of the Nommes house was forcefully broken by the crown prince, thus he returned to his home province.
I thought that such an event would have brought him down, but had to quickly retract my concerns. Ever since that day, he started taking the female servants he used to frolic with in the past and engaged in indescribable debauchery every night.
“My lord, I do not know what to say…it’s all my daughter’s fault.”
The house steward bowed deeply.
“No, it’s not your fault…I have to apologize to you instead.”
“No, my lord…”
The house steward looked conflicted.
My son had several mistresses, but the “first lady”, for lack of a better term, was the house steward’s daughter, Eliza.
How would a father feel when his only daughter, raised with love and care, ended up sleeping with his master’s son? I was honestly terrified to know, so I never asked.
“Young master Dyngir is…how can I put it, he has heroic traits about him. He cannot be satisfied with a single woman, I suppose.”
“Heroes are amorous, as the proverb says…it does sound nice if you put it like that, but…”
“…as a father, it is an endless source of concern…”
“Indeed…if he was unskilled, I would have gladly disowned him.”
I furrowed my brow and let out a deep sigh.
My son, Dyngir, was what you would call a prodigal son. If you asked me if he was an incompetent idiot, however, I would have to firmly shake my head.
Dyngir showed traits of excellence ever since his infancy. He was an incredibly quick learner in terms of politics, economy, strategy, everything. His martial instructor even said that he had an incredible talent for fighting.
He was very popular among the vassals: the children of other nobles regarded him with respect and affection as a big brother.
Five years ago, he participated in his first battle, a small skirmish with one of our neighboring countries — in which he managed to lead a small battalion to ambush the enemy and even take the enemy commander’s head.
Genius, prodigy, hero that will go down in history — even without my parental bias, I believed such words were meant for him.
The only thing such a formidable son could not resist was the opposite gender.
Dyngir had his awakening at the age of thirteen, by bonding with Eliza, the house steward’s daughter. Ever since then, he had become obsessed with women.
Starting from Eliza, Dyngir has laid his hands on most if not all female servants in the residence. I could not help but feel terrible whenever I saw them.
I honestly wanted to scold him, but all the money Dyngir used on women came from his own pocket.
He used the money I gave him as an allowance to start a small business with other nobles: in five years, the profits from the diplomatic trade doubled.
(Being so successful is what makes him so awful…I have no basis to scold him…)
“If only he could get rid of his lust for women, I could let him take over without a single worry…”
“Lord Dyngir’s talents are exceptional, after all…incidentally, he appears to have established new transactions with friends he met in the academy.”
“…I see, so even if he looks like he’s always playing around, he made new connections too…at least he understands what the duties of a noble are…”
“Yes, indeed, though he also visited the pleasure district once a week, so it is also true that he was playing around.”
I lost count of how many times I had sighed already. Dejected, I slumped down on the table.
Having a foolish son would definitely be a problem, but an excessively skilled one was troublesome too. Especially if he was skillful and foolish at the same time…
“Well, that’s still…with some effort…with great effort, we can overlook that…instead, do you know what happened to the daughter of Baron Nommes after that?”
I changed the topic, as to escape reality for a while.
Baron Nommes was a vassal of house Maxwell: his daughter Selena had been my son’s fiancee.
When I heard that the engagement had been broken by her, I started having cold sweats, thinking that my son’s womanizing habits had been found out…I would have never expected for her to be the unfaithful one, and with the crown prince no less.
Despite looking so timid and meek, she managed to seduce the kingdom’s crown prince of all people…I had to change my opinion of her.
“Baron Nommes appears uncertain on how to punish her too. Her engagement with the…former crown prince was announced in public, after all.”
“Hmm…I don’t know the extent of their relationship, but she could already be pregnant with a child of royal blood…”
“If that happens…it is likely to breed political conflict.”
After the engagement breakup events, crown prince Sullivan was disinherited.
Sullivan was the eldest son, but his mother’s status was relatively low. Without the backup of Duke Rosais, he was unlikely to become king. Having insulted the house of Rosais, such a punishment was inevitable.
Selena’s fate was also most likely sealed. She would end up being used by a faction rebelling against the royal family or disposed of before that. I couldn’t foresee any light in her future.
“If only it all happened behind closed doors, it could have been suppressed somehow. But to expose a delicate problem like the breakup of an engagement in public…I didn’t think of him as such a fool.”
“He was a crown prince, but still a man, after all. When a woman is involved, men become fools…like someone else I know.”
“…is that sarcasm?”
“Of course not, sire.”
I looked silently at the house steward’s eyes, then slowly shook my head.
“…well…it appears that his majesty the king, the baron and I have all raised our children wrong. At least my own fool has decent judgment. I have to be thankful for that, at least.”
I sighed at the same time as the house steward, then the door of my study opened. Only one person in this residence would ever enter the margrave’s study without knocking.
“Morning, old man. I’ve got something to talk about, you’ve got time now, right?”
My skirt-chasing idiot of a son, of course.
The house steward and I looked at each other, our expressions turning sour.
“What? Were you both complaining about me or something?”
“…is there something we should complain about?”
“Not that I know of. I’m as pure and honest as they come.”
“Can you say that about your own body too, young master? Though you have spent a pleasant night apparently, that is very nice.”
“Hey, no sarcasm. I took a bath, mind you.”
Shut up already, idiot…can’t you see the murderous intent in the eyes of the house steward? I wish the daggers he’s throwing would actually stab, honestly…
Such thoughts popped up my mind, but I decided to listen to him for now.
“What business do you have? You haven’t come to help with my work, have you?”
“Work? If you mean the western region’s irrigation, I’ve already sent the workers. Same for the bandits around Zess village, the expedition corps are already on their way. The scouts for the eastern fort are leaving tomorrow morning, so that’s taken care of too. Oh, about the horseback bandits in the territory of Viscount Silfis, I’ve got a plan to leave it all to me. I’ll take care of them in the next few days.”
“….you’re a real fool of a son…”
This excellent side of his makes him all the more despicable. I bet I’m the only father bothered by the skills of his son…
“…anyway, what did you come for then?”
“I’ve got a favor to ask, that’s all. Here.”
My son handed me an envelope. It wasn’t sealed, so I took out the paper inside and read it, finding that its contents were quite bizarre.
“I want you to send that with your name, addressed to his majesty the king.”
“What are you thinking?”
I looked at my son’s face and found a prankster’s smile on his lips. The same face he showed when he brought me the enemy commander’s head in his first battle.
The last eighteen years had taught me, to a painful extent, how that face meant something nasty was approaching.
“The former crown prince and my former fiancee lady are going to have a bit of a bad time. It’s just a prank, nothing more.”
“When I came back, you told me to do what I wanted, right? I’m sticking to your words, old man.”
I scanned the letter again and felt the headache growing stronger.
◯ ◯ ◯
A few days after crown prince Sullivan was disinherited and the commotion settled down…
A letter from Margrave Maxwell was delivered to the royal house of Lamperouge.
It was a very succinct letter:
『I offer heartfelt congratulations for Prince Sullivan’s marriage into the family of Baron Nommes』