Arc 2, Crescent Moon
“What do you think is the primary problem faced by my fief of Meissen?”
As he laid in the thick bedding woven out of feathers and became comfortable playing with his partner’s large fingers, the seventeenth Lord of Meissen, the Duke Ernst Gille Farson Rintz Kleber, asked this question.
“The primary… I am not too sure of this myself, but would it be, money?”
Ernst’s partner, the Dunbertian named Ganche, answered while slightly tilting his head.
“It’s true that the fief of Meissen suffers greatly from financial difficulties. However, I don’t believe that is its most dire problem.”
Ernst grasped the man’s muscular arm and thought over this answer whilst guiding that arm toward the center of his legs.
Those thick fingers promptly inserted inside of him, and as Ernst let out a sweet pant, he opened his mouth to explore his developing thoughts.
“Do you know how many people reside in Meissen?”
“And the number of militia?”
“It has 157 people.”
This immediate reply came from within the bedding.
“That’s right. The number of militia under the captain’s command amounts to 157 people. The population of Meissen, including the militia, is 695 people. Now then, are these numbers reasonable…”
Ernst felt his small manhood become captured in the hot, sticky heat of the man’s mouth.
“Of the 695 people, about 150 of them have developed Kleber’s disease. Of the remaining 550 people, 100 of them are children who are unable to work, and 80 of them are elderly. Of the remaining 370 people, 157 of them are in the militia.”
“…That means, a third of the adults who aren’t suffering from disease have joined the militia? I feel like that’s a very high number…”
Ganche poked his head out from the covers, his thick fingers still inside of Ernst.
“That’s right. It’s a very high number. Yet, we can’t say that it’s an unnecessarily high one.”
Ernst stroked the man’s brown hair.
“The Kingdom mandates that Meissen must have a militia of 200 troops.”
“That’s… an impossible number, isn’t it?”
“It’s an unjustifiable number when you take Meissen’s circumstances into account. However, by no means has the Kingdom set this demand down for no reason. The justification for it lies in the fact that our neighbor, the Lux Kingdom’s fief of Caprix, has a militia of 300 people.”
The two fingers that Ganche had been massaging him with stopped their movements.
“Ngh… move. It’s not as if those 300 soldiers are attacking right now.”
When Ernst felt those fingers begin moving again, he pressed a kiss to the man’s muscular arm.
“The fief of Caprix has a population of 1200, and the fief of Rintz has a population of 1000. In the past, Meissen once had a population of 1100 people. At that time, the number of patients with Kleber’s disease was 100 people. It had more citizens than it does now, and fewer people afflicted with disease.”
He reached out his slender arm to grasp his partner’s thick manhood. It was already hard and hot enough.
“…Let’s stop talking. Ganche… Put this in me.”
As Ernst arched his back, Ganche sucked on the nubs on his thin chest. Ernst was lifted onto his partner’s muscular stomach, and that beloved part of his breached Ernst’s small rear.
It wasn’t so easy for Ernst to rid himself of the things that the royal palace had imprinted in him for 60 years. He operated by exact times as if an actual clock had been built into his body.
After eating breakfast, Ernst promptly entered his office and shut himself away in there until lunch. He read the documents on Meissen that had been given to him when he had first taken up his post, analyzing them.
After lunch, he walked around the mansion. The enormous estate had just the right amount of space for exercising after lunch. Though he should actually be walking around outside, Ernst still wasn’t used to walking in the snow, so he had quickly given up on that.
When he approached the usual corridor, Ernst looked down to watch the militia’s training. When Ganche noticed him, a smile lit up his face. The surrounding militia troops also became aware of him and sketched out clumsy salutes.
Ernst raised his thin arm, gesturing for them to not pay him any mind and continue.
As he watched them resume their training once more, he felt slightly relieved.
Compared to how helpless they had been when Ernst had first come into office, these troops had become incredibly robust, Ernst thought.
“For how many villages is this estate within a child’s walking distance?”
Ernst asked the head butler.
“For how many…? I think, if the child is about 10 years old, there are around three. If the snow was a little shallower, then that might be possible for about one more.”
“Humm. And along with that, there is also the town that is closest to the estate, so there are three villages and one town.”
“That, what is this for?”
“I’m thinking of having the children commute to the estate so they can learn how to write.”
The head butler wasn’t able to hide his annoyance toward Ernst’s words.
“Don’t make that kind of face. I’ll be the one teaching them. Nothing will be any different for you and the others.”
Ernst said this to the head butler with a wry smile.
In the Kingdom of Rintz, the schools which taught reading and writing demanded an immense tuition. Only nobles and affluent merchants were able to attend.
Once could say that this was to make the farmers, the people who lived in the mountains, and the people who lived by rivers, all of those lower classes, have to submit unconditionally to the words of the upper classes.
Much of what they knew was passed on through word of mouth, meaning that they were unable to directly experience the thinking of the original source.
The majority of Meissen’s current population was peasant folk, and Ernst didn’t think that any of them would know how to read. Even the butlers who served in the estate weren’t proficient when it came to handling letters.
And in the first place, Meissen didn’t have a school. Even when one read through the history of Meissen, there was no record of it ever having a school.
Ernst wanted to give them knowledge, and to allow them to think for themselves. He didn’t want to let them make their lives depend on the orders of their lord, and for them to stop and become lost in the absence of a lord.
But, before that could happen, they had to learn letters, Ernst thought.
When they learned letters, they could read books. They could read books that were correct as well as books which were inaccurate.
He wanted them to be able to think not of today, or of tomorrow, but to set their sights on the matters of ten years or a hundred years in the future.
This was the manner in which Meissen could be saved; this was what Ernst wished for.
“Lord Ernst… Are you not tired?”
Ganche’s large hands rubbed Ernst beneath his ears as if to help him relax.
“Even though Lord Ernst spends three days a week teaching the children letters, you already have your hands unbearably full with your duties as lord… And moreover, recently it isn’t just children who call upon you, but adults, as well…”
“Aah, I quite agree. When everyone is motivated, I feel remarkably hopeful.”
“But Lord Ernst. When you meet the people who come to the estate so early, you’re unable to even take your noon meal… And also, there are those people who think of Lord Ernst like a doctor, aren’t there? There are soldiers and villagers who immediately turn to Lord Ernst when something happens to them.”
Primarily, in the Rintz Kingdom, the children would inherit their mothers’ place. If the mother was a farmer, the child would be a farmer; if the mother was a doctor, the child would be a doctor.
Only in extremely rare cases where the parents had signed a contract of partnership would their child be able to take on the standing of either of the parents.
Doctors used medicinal herbs to cure their patients, but the knowledge of how to use those herbs was only passed down between doctors. The doctors picked their own herbs to turn them into medicine.
It was for this reason that, even if the cures were made of weeds that people sometimes trampled over as they walked, the people of this country would even fall into debt to buy them from doctors.
Presently, there were no doctors in Meissen. A hundred years ago, after the death of Ernst’s predecessor, the previous lord, not a single doctor could be found in Meissen after a few days.
When they fell ill, the people here could only hope for their illness to heal on its own. It was perhaps because of the lack of doctors that, over the course of a hundred years, the population of Meissen fell by 400 people.
Once people heard that Ernst was had expertise with medicinal plants, they immediately rushed to the estate as soon as they had even the slightest of conditions. When the soldiers received even the tiniest of scratches, they went to Ernst to have him take a look at it.
Far too many times, Ernst was called out of his day-to-day work in his office by the common people and shaken awake at midnight by the militia soldiers.
These were people who, up until now, had not had even the faintest hopes of seeing a doctor. And unlike doctors, Ernst never demanded any payment when they relied on him, so it wasn’t as if anyone could blame them.
Ernst held Ganche’s worried face between his hands, looking straightforwardly into the man’s copper eyes.
“Ganche, do you know how many people reside in the Rintz Kingdom?”
“About ten million people.”
He pressed a kiss to his lover’s kind lips.
“I was raised to carry the lives of ten million people on my back. How can I be afraid of supporting the seven hundred people of Meissen?”
As if to reassure his beloved partner, Ernst deeply, thoroughly kissed him.
“Yet, if at some point the burden became too much for me to bear, then… At that time, would you support me?”
Rather than answering aloud with a Yes, a thick tongue plunged into Ernst’s mouth.