the-greatest-estate-designer (NOVEL) - chapter 7
The Barony of Frontera. An ordinary rural area in the corner of the Loracian Continent.
The barony’s troop size was beyond small. No, it was so small that it was shabby. In total, there were only 5 knights and 100 soldiers. Even then, those men’s capabilities were like a chaotic vigilante corps. That was the status of Baron Frontera’s forces, as mentioned in the ‘Iron-Blooded Knight’ novel.
“…. However from this day onward, you all will be reborn as elites in this field.”
It was a sunny morning. The perfect weather to start the construction. Highlighted by the sunlight, Lloyd looked back at the 80 soldiers who gathered by the river and said.
“Here, I need you to diligently scoop and transport these.”
His hand pointed to one side of the river. There was an awful lot of clay. Originally, the clay was buried beneath the ground.
‘However, I managed to dig it all up. Thanks to Ppodong.’
This dawn, I went here secretly. In just 30 minutes, I made Ppodong transform and created a large-scale clay excavation site. When morning came, I brought 80 soldiers from the territory here. The purpose was to transport clay from the excavation site to the construction site. I looked around at the soldiers.
“You must be wondering what all of this is about. You wondered why I mobilized you for this kind of work, didn’t you?”
“But, this is how the military is supposed to be. What’s the point of an army? Of course it’s to work and work.”
The Republic of Korea’s army was like that. Combat training to defend the country? That one was important too, however, the reality was a little bit different.
‘Constructing a drainage ditch in the military encampment, what to construct today, and what else to build tomorrow. Every time I had a break, I spent it by working and working. So, my military life had gone by just like that.’
I felt as if I was always summoned by the squadron administrator when I was in the military. This was the reason. He wanted the soldiers here to experience that too.
Just to bully them? No, that’s not it.
‘It’s physical training through labor.’
Clay is heavy. What if you walk around with a sack full of clay to transport it? Not only the lower body, but also the core of the abdomen, shoulders, back, as well as forearm muscles will be trained. While at it, improving your endurance was a bonus.
‘This so-called labor builds up muscles.’
Thinking so, Lloyd said.
“Anyway, today, for the revival of this territory, we will be doing the first small but precious shoveling activity. It’ll be used for the fief residents’ ondol room construction project. That means you’ll be transporting the clay from here to the construction site.”
“…. Yes, Young Master.”
Several soldiers reluctantly responded. Lloyd snickered.
“Okay, so let’s start with stretching.”
“Do you want to get hurt while working? If you excessively move the materials while having a stiff body, your back could’ve given out and your knees could’ve been sprained. In that case, you’re the one who would be at loss. Do you get it? This is why you need to warm up.”
“….” “Follow me. One, two.”
“O, one… two…”
“Your voice is too small. Make sure you repeat after me and do the movements. One, two!”
“O… one, two!”
Lloyd was slowly warming up his body in front of the soldiers. At first, some soldiers were dumbfounded. But when Lloyd frowned, everyone started to move quickly.
He was known as a notorious scoundrel. At this moment, it was time for his usual notoriety which had accumulated for so long to shine.
‘If you get hurt because you don’t warm up your body, there’s no point in training.’
While at a construction site, stretching is more important than you think. The ground usually was uneven all over or littered with dangerous things everywhere. Like most construction sites, the condition would be poor. What if you move heavy stuff in a place like that with a stiff body? The probability of safety accidents occurring will increase. Lloyd’s heart wanted to prevent such a thing from happening anyhow. ‘I don’t even have money to pay for the treatment. We could save money by preventing it. This is why I’ve to shout out these stupid slogans with all of my heart.’ After finished stretching, he assembled the soldiers in a circle and raised his hand.
“Follow me. Hands up.”
The soldiers looked around and intuitively raised their hands. Lloyd shouted, leading the chant.
“I like wearing safety helmets!”
Tak tak! He hit his helmet with his palm. Soldiers repeated the safety slogan and copied the movements.
“Ah, I like… wearing safety helmets!”
“Well done. I like wearing safety gloves!”
“I like wearing safety gloves!”
“I really like wearing safety shoes!”
“I really like!”
At first glance, it was a kindergarten-level childish slogan and inspection process. In fact, when Lloyd was working part-time in South Korea, he also used to think like that every morning. But, now that he looked back on it, maybe this inspection process had helped him finish his part-time job safely. That was what he thought. This was why, after completing his inspection, he didn’t forget to inform the soldier about safety protocols for the last time.
“Don’t forget the safety rules! If you think you’re going to forget, you should take a look at this.”
He picked up the sign he had made beforehand and planted it on the ground. On the sign, words were thriftily written.
Let’s follow the safety regulations on-site.
Without a safety helmet, you could get brain death and which could perhaps make you a little bit smarter.
If you doing your work in a hurry as if you’re pressed on time, you’d become a patient with a little bit of time remaining.
You’re tired of using safety shoes?
Yes, just so you know that your big toe is ready to achieve three stages of separation you’d barely manage.
Do you think these are all lies?
Then ignore the advice and ascend to heaven along with a handful of dioxins.
You think it’s someone else’s story, right? hahahaha.
The soldiers were speechless. Everyone carefully touched their safety equipment without realizing it.
“Good. Let’s get started when you’re ready. Group one will shovel the clay and put it in a sack. Group 2 will carry the sacks. Do it!”
The transportation work had begun. The soldiers’ movements were quick, perhaps it was due to the intense mental education I gave just now. I was delighted to see it.
‘They’re soldiers who belong to the territory, so they’re relatively obedient. I’m glad I succeeded in convincing the baron.’
Out of the blue, I remembered the events that happened 2 hours ago in the morning.
“So, you want to mobilize the soldiers?”
It was the baron’s voice, inquiring. The voice was filled with curiosity. Did it include curiosity, doubt, and bewilderment? While casually continuing his breakfast, Lloyd answered.
“I have something to do.”
“What do you have to do to mobilize 80 soldiers?”
Lloyd, who had swallowed the bread, wiped his hands on the napkin. Taking out the documents I had prepared in advance, I held them out to the baron.
“This is a business plan.”
“Let’s take a look at it.”
Thanks to Ppodong last night, I was confident I could start a full-fledged construction project. So, I wrote a business plan all night long.
‘This business absolutely needs the baron’s cooperation.’
After all, this was a construction business within the territory. Therefore, the baron’s permission as the owner of this territory was a must. The same was true in terms of economics.
‘It costs money to hire separate workers.’
Labor costs, or a daily wage. It was a must-paid expense at all construction sites. However, what if the baron mobilized his private soldiers for construction?
You can get it for free without having to pay anything. After all, they were soldiers who were hired and paid by the baron.
“With this, we can save a lot of money.”
“What if there are complaints among the soldiers?”
“We can give a little bonus called a special allowance.”
“Hmmm, but ondol construction….”
“I’m sure you’ve heard Javier’s explanation last night.”
“Yes, I did. The bizarre yet new heating system by heating up the stones on the floor. But, why?”
“Are you asking what my intention is?”
The baron’s gaze on my way was filled with questions. Fortunately, it wasn’t as cold as it used to be.
‘Maybe it’s because I kicked out the debtors yesterday and gave him a sack of money.’
That allowed the baron to afford this month’s interest. His gaze this way was naturally bound to be warmer. Lloyd said.
“I wanted to raise money through the residents.”
“Yes. Money to pay off the debt.”
“At first, I was going to collect money by implementing special taxes, etc. But, that’s….”
“There’s going to be a lot of backlash.”
“Yes, that’s why. I came up with a legitimate way to do it to get as little backlash as possible.”
“So, what you came up with is the ondol construction business?”
“Yes, I will make money and the fief residents will be able to spend a warmer winter by paying a moderate amount of money. It’s a win-win situation for each other.”
“But, something like this….”
The baron’s suspicious gaze turned my way.
“Where did you learn this?”
“Are you talking about the ondol?”
“Yes, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Yet, where did you learn to do this?”
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”
Lloyd nodded. At times like this, you have to be more brazen. He continued his words.
“It’s just something I’ve been vaguely thinking about since long ago. Stones don’t cool down well once heated. So, what if we put flat stones on the floor and heat it somehow with a hot heat source down there?”
“But this time I got the opportunity to actually make it into reality, and it was better than I thought. It’s warmer than I expected.”
“The one you made for the tavern owner?”
“So your idea is to develop it into a business?”
Llyod nodded his head as it was obvious. Actually, he was absolutely confident. However, the baron’s eyes which looked over here still had some suspicions that hadn’t disappeared.
“That’s right. You have thought of a good plan. This plan was very meticulous to the point of impressing me. To the point where I wondered if you really have this talent. However, you know…”
The baron questioned me, full of suspicion.
“Can I believe your intentions?”
“I mean, can I trust you?”
“I don’t know what you mean….”
“You didn’t mean to say that you have forgotten what you did two years ago, did you?”
Two years ago. That was a part that never came out in the ‘Iron-Blooded Knight’ novel. Now, it was better to not answer any confusing questions. So, Lloyd waited silently. Fortunately, the baron opened his mouth first.
“It was like this back then. Of course, you didn’t have a grandiose business plan like now. I still clearly remember what you said at that time. You said, ‘Father, this time I made up my mind to really study with all of my heart. So, trust and invest in me.’”
“I was delighted. I thought you had finally come back to your senses. Therefore, I willingly gave you the money from selling the vacation villa. To use it as an entrance fee for the academy. But, you got the money….”
“Squandered. Perfectly, without leaving even a dime. Along with a bunch of scoundrels you’ve been hanging out with for years, getting drunk and throwing a hot, dirty party with the girls.”
…. Oh, really. Lloyd, you sonovbitch.
I swallowed up the curse that was about to emerge.
‘That’s a mess, alright. I didn’t expect him to do that.’
No wonder the baron’s response was lukewarm even with the perfect business plan in front of him. Now that this body had done that much, it’s natural that it’s hard to believe me.
‘Uh, the real Lloyd, you’re such a piece of shit,’
With the high-leveled trolling the former owner of this body did, I was wondering how to resolve this situation. My brain was spinning at the speed of light. Finally, I came up with a clue to the solution. It was thanks to his past, which he had suddenly recalled.
“But come to think about it, I’ve had similar accidents but on a much smaller scale.’
It must’ve been when I was in middle school. At that time, I forgot about the money my mom gave me to pay for school tuition. I remembered playing with my friends in the PC room every evening using it.
‘From LoL, Underwatch, to the War Ground…. It was fun.’
Eventually, I got caught by my mom. I got in a lot of trouble. I had to beg on my hands and feet for forgiveness. In the end, I had made an irrevocable promise so I could be forgiven by my mother.
‘Well, that’s the only way for now.’
Lloyd, who came up with a solution, raised his head. I looked at the baron face to face. I promised, just like when I promised not to go to a PC room anymore to my mom that day, to the baron.
“I’ll quit drinking alcohol.”
“I meant exactly what I said. If you believe me this time, I’ll completely quit drinking.”
The look in the baron’s eyes became strange. He seemed to be asking if I was serious or if this was some kind of new trick. Lloyd didn’t answer. He simply looked back and didn’t avoid the baron’s eyes at all. He remained silent, as if answering with those calm eyes. How much time had passed by? Finally, the baron sighed.
“Is that true?”
I can’t drink well anyway. I don’t really like it. So, I don’t have any lingering feelings about not being able to drink. Therefore, if I gave up drinking and succeeded in gaining the baron’s trust, it would be a benefit, an enormous benefit I reckon. And, finally.
“…. Alright, I get it.”
The baron nodded and returned the business plan.
“I’ll trust you just this once because you’ve said so much. I’ll let my administrator know. In carrying out the business as written on this plan, you’ll be free to use the soldiers of this territory in the future.”
“…. Thank you.”
“This will be the last time I believe you. So, please don’t let me down.”
The baron’s eyes looked at me. Somehow, it seemed more generous than before, or it seemed a little bit sad. At that moment, I felt a little strange because it made me remember my mother’s gaze from the PC room incident in an instant. Lloyd finished his meal in a hurry and left the dining table.
‘…. I went through that process of learning too, but as expected.’
There were still many mountains to climb. At the thought, Lloyd smiled bitterly. While he was momentarily lost in thought, a knight appeared to approach him while protesting.
“…. As you can see, I am an honorable knight. The order to supervise the transportation of this pile of dirt is unacceptable, even if it’s commanded by the Young Master.”
The knight was facing me. He had a mean impression. Of course, Lloyd knew the name of this knight.
The knight was the one he personally appointed as a supervisor to lead the soldiers on-site today. He was one of the five knights of the Frontera Barony. When the baron fell into such a predicament, he was the first person who betrayed him.
‘He calmly stole the baron’s favorite horse and ran away.’
That wasn’t all. Didn’t he even spit on Lloyd’s face when he encountered him while he was fleeing?
‘That was why I entrusted you with this site today.’
I summoned him on purpose and made him lead the soldiers. It was because I expected him to protest in this way. And, he lived up to my expectations. In silence, Lloyd grabbed the shovel. Then he smiled brightly at Sir Ulrich.
“Aha. So you will refuse my orders?”
“I’m not saying I reject it. I’m just asking you to respect my honor as a knight… kuak!”
As soon as Sir Ulrich was about to talk back, the shovel’s head, which was wielded by Lloyd, struck Sir Ulrich’s face fiercely.
‘Certainly, this territory’s constitution needs to be improved at least once.’
Sir Ulrich’s molars were scattered in the air. In the meantime, Lloyd’s eyes coldly glistened.