The merry-making ended yesterday.
Today is the time I attended an official business as a noble.
Though I said it’s an ‘official business’ it’s not some kind of meeting.
“I shall appoint all of you as knights.”
“We are deeply grateful for Your Majesty’s generosity.
Once again, allow us to swear our loyalty to the crown and to this country.”
Today is the knights’ appointment ceremony.
The ceremony is held on the day the first king rose to the throne… something similar to the foundation day in my previous world.
It’s just a holiday for the commoners, but for nobles like me, it’s a day when we all must attend this ceremony.
Some promising commoners might also attend the ceremony, but there are usually only 1 commoner family that attended.
This time there’s some exception though.
I heard there was a plan to postpone the ceremony because of the battle to retake the fortress, but the battle ended before the ceremony started so in the end, the postponement didn’t happen.
I don’t know if it’s better for the ceremony to be postponed or not.
His Highness the Crown Prince is standing beside His Majesty, and Father is standing beside His Highness.
Well, this is a ceremony so it falls under Father’s jurisdiction.
As for me, since I just became a vice count I’m still just observing the ceremony but next year I might also need to aid Father.
“I thought that they’re going to be appointed one by one.”
“Well, that’s how a knight appointment ceremony is depicted in the story.”
In many story books, the usual scene of a knight being appointed is depicted as a person kneeling and then the king will put a sword over his shoulder to appoint him or her as a knight.
But in reality, the knight appointment ceremony is more of a graduation ceremony for the apprentice knights.
That’s why the kingdom might need to appoint tens of people at once.
The procedure might differ depending on countries but generally, the appointment ceremony is done in bulk.
Plus the sword used in the appointment ceremony like this is also not light.
If the king used the sword to appoint dozens of knights in succession, his hands might fall off.
That’s why the king only needs to put the sword on a representative’s soldiers, while the rest of graduating apprentice knights only need to kneel behind the representative.
I remember that in my past life, the ritual of the king putting a sword on a knight’s shoulder dated back to the late mediaeval age when knights had become obsolete.
The reason this kind of ritual existed is so the obsolete knights can have a taste of the remnant of their prestige through theatrical performance.
Since the knights have yet to become obsolete in this world, for this kind of ritual to exist in this world means that the creator of this world created it pretty half-baked.
“Along with our comrade, our shield companions, we swore by our swords to dedicate our loyalty to our king.”
After the representative declared the oath, the other apprentice followed suit.
Then, the place is filled with applause.
I and Mazell also applauded.
Then, Mazell asked me with a low voice, “What are shield companions”
“The knights that were appointed in the same ceremony as you are called shield companions.”
I guess it’s similar to the sakura of the same period in my past life.
If the sword in the oath symbolised the vertical relationship between the knights and the royal family, then the shield symbolised the horizontal cooperation relationship between knights.
From now on, the relationship between those knights will be as close as the relationship between brothers.
(Note: this is a phrase that come from a japanese military song, it means ‘comrade from the same military school’)
The role of shield companions isn’t included in the official job description of the knights.
Their role is like an informal social security system.
For example, if a knight that died in a battle left a widow and/or orphans, then the shield companions will all support their daily livelihood and their orphans’ education.
The one most benefited by this system is the kingdom since the kingdom doesn’t need to pay the dead knights pension…ahem!
As such, in this kingdom ‘a knight and a noble’ , ‘a noble but not a knight’ and ‘a knight but not a noble’ are all possible.
Since a student can’t become a knight, I’m one of ‘a noble but not a knight’ so I don’t have shield companions.
Mazell also says he doesn’t have intention to become a knight, while I’m already a noble.
It will be hard for me if I want to become an apprentice knight now.
That’s why now I just need to focus on being noble by amassing my own connection.
When a commoner becomes a noble, he faces a lot of trouble.
He doesn’t have any connection with other nobles, he needs to learn the troublesome manner, and he also needs to deal with the jealousy from other nobles.
‘Commoner becomes a noble and then he lives happily ever after’ is something that only existed in a fairytale.
By the way, there’s been a talk for the kingdom to confer a peerage to Mazell for his achievement in defeating Dreax, but His Highness stopped the talk.
Publicly, His Highness stopped the talk by saying ‘he’s still a student’ but in reality since I was conferred a peerage as a student, it shouldn’t be a problem for Mazell too.
If Mazell came from a noble house, I’m sure the kingdom would give him a peerage.
The real reason is, according to His Highness, ‘If he got a peerage then next he will get an engagement, and many more’ in other words, it was because His Highness feared that many things would end up tying Mazell.
His Highness asked me to ‘I hope you convey this well to Mazell-kun’ but Mazell himself didn’t want to become a noble so he was happy to not receive any peerage.
Back then, didn’t you say that I’m the only person who will complain when he gets a peerage Looks like you also do!
There’s going to be a banquet party with the newly appointed knights as the main characters.
As the son of the Minister of Ceremonies, I’m going to work as the aide of the head staff of the banquet so I doubt there are going to be many instances where I need to show my face in the banquet.
As for Mazell, after promising to meet me tomorrow he returned to the dormitory.
The staffs have their own problems.
The kitchen is especially busy.
After all, it’s going to be an embarrassment for the royal family if there is no food and wine on the tables, so everyone needs to grasp the perfect timing to replace the foods and wines on the table before it is completely empty.
Once in a while, there is going to be someone who feels unwell in the middle of the banquet so we need to think on how to handle them.
We also need to be prepared to answer any question at the banquet.
Everyone is busy, similar to when there’s a wedding reception party at home.
This is Father’s job as the Minister of Ceremonies so it can’t be helped.
Well, it is my job to coordinate the timing of rearrangement of the foods on the banquet’s table as Father’s aide.
The table will end up being empty if we only bring the new food when all the food on the table is taken.
We also need to take the distance between the banquet hall and the kitchen into account as they are quite far from each other.
All in all, I need to grasp the perfect timing to prevent the table from being empty.
I spent the morning attending the ceremony, while I spent the whole afternoon helping with the party and the cleanup.
It’s exhausting but technically this is my original job as my father’s aide, not leading an army.
When the evening came, 2 knights visited me in my room.
Ah… I’m busy.
“I am Cres Gauther Schunzel and he is Volak Birol Neurath.”
“It has been a while, Welner-sama.”
“It has been a while, Sir Cres, Sir Volak.”
I ended up repeating Sir Cres’s greeting.
The Schunzel house and Neurath house are both related to the Zeavert house.
Not closely related to the point I can call them cousins, at most I can call them a distant relative.
That’s why both of them are not strangers to me.
They are older than me though.
“From today on, both of us are assigned to be under Viscount Zeavert.”
“I look forward to working with you.”
So they were both assigned to be my subordinates.
Max, Augen, and Barkey are my father’s subordinates so unlike them, Neurath and Schunzel will be directly under my command.
When I inherit the count title in the future, both of them will probably occupy similar positions to Max and others.
Even though I’m still just a student, as long as I’m a noble, there will be many instances where knights will be put under me.
Since officially viscount is higher ranked than knights and orderlies are even lower ranked than knights.
That’s why I need to change the way I speak accordingly.
I’m sure both Neurath and Schunzel understood that, that’s why none of them complained about the fact that I changed the way I’m speaking with them.
(Note: Welner was talking with a polite Japanese when he first greeted Cres and Volak and changed to casual Japanese after he heard Cres and Volak are appointed as his subordinate.)
“I don’t have any work to give to you both now but there’s something I need to speak to both of you so, probably in two days”
“Then, will it be fine if we come to the mansion the day after tomorrow at the morning”
“I want you to come here, but we will talk in the palace.”
My stomach hurt, again.
It’s kind of nervous to have people older than me as my subordinate.
Though I guess I’m kinda used to it now.
When we start working, I’m sure I will forget the fact that they both are older than me.
I’m glad that at least they are people of my generation, not some 40 years old men.
For now I need to be careful so they don’t die in vain because of my order.
After Neurath and Scunzhel left my room, I continued to sort the information that I have.
Then, a new visitor came to my room.
It’s Frenssen, the butler that accompanied the merchant corps.
I don’t know why he came here.
“The Master has ordered me to be your aide, Welner-sama.
It will be a pleasure to work with you.”
“Huh” Frenssen’s words surprised me
It’s so sudden.
But I understood after I heard the details from Frenssen.
It seems like Father gave me a full-time aide because as someone who entered His Highness’s good grace, Father predicted there are going to be many times I need to move independently in the future.
I’m surprised, but at the same time I’m grateful.
Because I’m sure Father’s prediction will be right and I’m going to have more jobs piled up.
The main reason I’m busy is that I’m doing a job that I don’t have to do, but If I don’t do it I’m afraid that the royal family might kill me.
I’m just a simple coward.
From now on, I’m going to be counting on you.”
“Please take care of me, Welner-sama.”
If my brother is still alive, he and Frenssen will be in the same generation.
He might have been my brother’s aide candidate.
Though if my brother is alive, I’m going to be nothing but spare heir.
If that happens I don’t know if I’m going to have a better life or not.
While thinking about that, I told Frenssen about my business tomorrow and also asked him about a thing that I’ve been curious about.
“Mazell and his companions will be here tomorrow morning, so I want you to also be here.”
“As you wish.”
If he’s here tomorrow, I don’t have to give extra explanation to him.
I don’t need you to do this immediately, but can you investigate Mangold, the deceased Marquis Knap’s son”
“Investigating Sir Mangold”
“He went missing when I was away from the capital.
I want to know what he did before he went missing.”
I’m curious about what kind of people he led to attack the fortress, what kind of equipment he and his people used, and everything that Magold did while he was at the capital so I want Frenssen to investigate it.
I just need to sit and wait for his report.
Tomorrow, I need to exchange information with Mazell and his companions.
T/N: We tried to trim down the infodump a bit to make them into reasonable length, rather than using the skip button.
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