Chapter 3-22 : The White Knight’s True Identity Ⅱ

 

「Adebert-san, can I see the debt contract you signed with Baronet Kirk?」(Sarasa)

「Ah, I didn’t bring it but I remember the content.」(Adelbert)

「There’s something I want to confirm, so can you tell me the content of the contract?」(Sarasa)

「Alright. First, the amount of money I borrowed from Baronet Kirk isーー」(Adelbert)

After that, Adelbert-san told me the content of the contract.

I was impressed that he remembered all the details and was able to answer my questions.

After listening to him, I nodded and looked at him.

「I see… Adelbert-san, this could be illegal…」(Sarasa)

「Illegal…? What do you mean?」(Adelbert)

Adelbert-san was surprised. Looks like he didn’t expect at all that the contract would be illegal.

「I mean some of the conditions in the contract are probably against the law. Did you know that there are some regulations on lending and borrowing money between fellow aristocrats?」(Sarasa)

「Regulations? I had no idea… Katerina, how about you?」(Adelbert)

「I didn’t know either… As you know, I’m not originally from this country.」(Katerina)

Katerina-san shook her head apologetically at Adelbert-san.

「Ah, I forgot about that. I’m sorry.」(Adelbert)

「Please don’t apologize to me. I’m able to live in this country thanks to you, Adelbert-sama.」(Katerina)

So Katerina-san is not from this country…

I don’t know anything about Katerina-san’s circumstances, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the matter we’re talking about right now.

「Store Owner-dono, I don’t know about those regulations either. Can you tell us in detail?」(Iris)

「Basically, there are some restrictions when an aristocrat lends money to another aristocrat. It’s not well known because it’s not related to commoners at all, so not many people know about it.」(Sarasa)

In this country, when an aristocrat lends money to another aristocrat, there’s a limit on how much interest you can charge to the borrower.

In addition, there are some other restrictions such as what kind of things you can use as collateral and how long the repayment deadline is.

The reason why this rule exists is that the king doesn’t want any aristocrats to act superior to other aristocrats just because they lend them money because it will damage the authority of the king.

Of course, there are factions and hierarchical relationships among aristocrats but the king wants to reduce it as much as possible.

「I see… This is Walter’s fault for not knowing. Adelbert-sama, let me apologize to you on his behalf.」(Katerina)

「No, you don’t have to. Even I, an aristocrat myself, had no idea about such regulations.」(Adelbert)

Katerina-san bowed apologetically at Adelbert-san, but then Adelbert-san shook his head.

「Umm… It’s not my place to ask but may I know who Walter is?」(Sarasa)

「Walter is my husband and Kate-chan’s father. We are working for the Lotze Family. He is currently helping Iris’ mother, Diana-sama, manage our territory while Adelbert-sama and I are gone. Managing the Lotze Family’s debt is also his job but he doesn’t seem to know about the regulations.」(Katerina)

「I see. Normally, servants of aristocratic families don’t have the opportunity to learn about it, so it can’t be helped.」(Sarasa)

「But, Store Owner-dono, where did you learn about the regulations? Even my father didn’t know that.」(Iris)

「I learned it at the alchemist training school. That school is run by the country, so we learned various things other than alchemy.」(Sarasa)

「Hee… It must be hard to learn a lot of things in a limited amount of time.」(Iris)

「Well, yeah. However, many students forget about things that have nothing to do with alchemy the moment they pass the test. Therefore, not all alchemists have this knowledge. They learned it, but they barely remember it.」(Sarasa)

I’m pretty sure there are many people who forget what they learned at school after they graduated.

「I see… Let’s get back to the topic. What happens if you find out that the contract is not in accordance with the regulations?」(Iris)

「Then, we will recalculate everything. For example, if the interest that is charged to you is higher than the regulation, then depending on how much you paid for the interest, there are three different possibilities: your debt will be reduced, your debt will be considered paid off, or you can even get your money back if you paid too much without knowing.」(Sarasa)

「Really!?」(Iris)

Iris-san looked so happy, but then I raised my hand, telling her not to be happy just yet.

「Adelbert-san, as far as I’ve heard from you, the contract is likely against the regulation. However, I’m not an expert in this matter. Besides, Baronet Kirk might have thought of something so that he could avoid the law.」(Sarasa)

Adelbert-san only told me the information about what he was aware of regarding the contract, and I don’t think it’s reliable enough because there are sometimes traps set by the other party in this kind of fraud.

Therefore, we need an expert who specializes in debt-related matters and illegal debt settlement.

「An expert, huh…? Do you think we can find one in the royal capital?」(Adelbert)

「I heard from my master that many people make money from settling aristocrats’ debt-related matters in the royal capital. They visit aristocrats who seem to be troubled because of debt and offer their services. However, it’s very hard to find them nowadays…」(Sarasa)

「Is it because it’s the kind of job that incurs grudges from evil aristocrats?」(Kate)

Kate-san is sharp as always.

「Yup. For evil aristocrats, who want to make money by taking advantage of other aristocrats, those experts are a nuisance. However, there are still experts who handle mediation between aristocrats comprehensively. I think those people can also handle debt-related matters. Well, I don’t know if they will be willing to do it or not though.」(Sarasa)

It depends on those people and the content of the contract, so I’m not sure if they will help.

「But, Sarasa-dono, I don’t think we have time to find an expert who can help us. Even if we can find one, we still need to wait before the mediation results come out, right?」(Adelbert)

「Yeah, you’re right…」(Sarasa)

Until the results come out, the contract between Baronet Kirk and Adelbert-san is valid, and based on the contract, Baronet Kirk can take action to punish Adelbert-san for not paying off his debt even if Adelbert-san can pay it off in the future.

「So whether we can find an expert or not, we still need money to pay off the debt, huh…?」(Iris)

「At first, I was thinking that if all the people in our family work together to earn money, perhaps we can pay off the debt, but it seems impossible…」(Katerina)

Iris-san and Katerina-san sighed at the same time.

Well, sixty-five million reas is not a small number after all. Moreover, they also have to pay the interest.

「By the way, Iris-san, how many people are in your family?」(Sarasa)

「Umm….」(Iris)

When I asked that, not only Iris-san, but Adelbert-san and the other members also awkwardly turned their gaze away for some reason.

「The only family that serves us is the Starven Family, right…?」(Iris)

「Yes, and the only adults in my family are me, my wife, and Iris, while the only adults in the Starven Family are Katerina, her husband, and Kate… We don’t have many people who can work.」(Adelbert)

「I, I see…」(Sarasa)

In other words, there are only six adults in the Lotze Family?

No matter how hard they try, I don’t think they can earn enough money to pay the debt with ordinary jobs.

「Kate and I have siblings. I have two little sisters and Kate has a little brother, but they are still too young to work.」(Iris)

「Hee… You never told me you have siblings.」(Sarasa)

「Ahaha… I’m sorry I rarely talk about myself.」(Iris)

「It’s okay. So… Adelbert-san, do you know someone other than Hou Baal who can lend you money?」(Sarasa)

「No… Moreover, the money I showed you earlier is all I have right now…」(Adelbert)

Saying that, Adelbert-san looked down. He looked confused and frustrated at the same time.

「Perhaps, I should return my lordship…」(Adelbert)

「Father, why are you saying that…!?」(Iris)

Adelbert-san slowly shook his head at Iris-san.

「Iris, we’re in debt because of my incompetence as a lord. As long as I’m not able to pay off the debt, I have no other choice.」(Adelbert)

「Father…」(Iris)

「「Adelbert-sama…」」(Kate & Katerina)

Umm… Are we at a funeral or something…? They look so gloomy…

「Adelbert-san, that’s not a good ideaー No, that’s a very, very bad idea. Even if you return your lordship, you’ll still have to pay off the debt. Moreover, if you lose your lordship, it will be harder for you to solve this problem. 」(Sarasa)

If he is no longer a lord, he will not be able to solve this problem with mediation since the regulation applies only to aristocrats.

「Y, You’re right… Why did I even think about that…? I’m sorry, I’m not thinking straight. But… I don’t know what I should do…」(Adelbert)

Seeing her father’s desperate face, Iris-san frowned and turned her gaze to me.

「Store Owner-dono… Umm… It’s hard for me to ask, but… Do you think your master will lend us money…?」(Iris)

 

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