“I’ll kill you! I’ll definitely kill you!”
Naturally, we were all in the King’s throne room and had just learned that Eliana was pregnant with my baby. I was confused at first, but I did figure out when and how pretty quickly. Rather than panicked, I felt a sense of relief.
“Calm down! You’ve already made your point.” Elaya sighed.
“Is… this really okay?”
The King had been restrained by some kind of petrification spell. He was frozen from the neck down. His entire face was red, and it was still scary because every time he tried to move, there were cracking noises. If he broke out, I’d definitely lose my head again. However, most of my focus was on the blushing Eliana.
“So, it was Eliana after all… that makes me really happy.”
She blushed even more, but she didn’t seem to get what I meant. If it hadn’t been the princess, it would have been a certain queen, and that was a problem I had shoved deep down and seemingly ignored. I was going to kill Octius if I ever had the chance. He actually allowed me to believe things happened that shouldn’t have happened. In the end, those things happened with the princess, who was worried over me.
This gave me a complicated feeling. It was unintended that I got her pregnant. That was the second accidental pregnancy in my life. If I kept getting girls accidentally pregnant, it would be bad. I was going to end up a scummy guy like my father. I definitely couldn’t be like him.
“I will take responsibility,” I said, my fist tightening. “Eliana.”
“Ah! D-Deek… it’s too soon!”
I reached out and grabbed her hand. “Eliana, I want you…
“Squeak? Ah, she passed out!” I just managed to catch her before she fell to the ground.
“Of course she passed out!” Prince Aberis snorted. “You were proposing to her!”
“Huh? I’m not ready for marriage!” I cried out. “I was just saying I wanted to keep the baby!”
“That wasn’t even in question!”
“R-really? I thought it’d be bad if she had a baby out of wedlock though…”
“That’s why we thought you were proposing!”
“I already said I’m not ready for that level of commitment.”
“You bastard! Get your hands off my daughter! You did this and that, and you don’t even want to marry her? I’ll destroy you!”
“To think, Master would sleep with his own stepdaughter… how bold.” Elaya said, not helping the situation at all.
“Ahhhh….” The King started freaking out, trying to break out of his bonds.
Elaya sighed and petrified his head with a wave of her hand. The loudest thing in the room was finally silenced. Elaya was actually really terrifying. I was glad that I didn’t have to fight her directly.
“C-can he breathe like that?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Wait, he might die, right?”
“We’ll just resurrect him again.” The Prince waved his hand.
“You guys are too casual with murder!” I cried out.
“Good, that settles the issues with Eliana and the baby and you as the father.”
“Have those issues really been settled though?” I asked, feeling a headache coming along.
Eliana was unconscious in my arms, and the King was petrified. That sounded like the exact opposite of settling. Meanwhile, Prince Edward, now set to become King Edward, was handling all of this surprisingly well. I was expecting him to freak out a bit more.
“Deek Deekson…” He suddenly said, a serious expression on his face, which since sitting on the throne, gave him a very noble air.
“Y-yes!” I stood up straighter.
“You are more of man’s man than I had ever thought. You not only had aims for my sister, but you took my mother too. I’m not sure if I should kill you or respect you.”
“However, I’ve already accepted you as my brother, so naturally you and my sister are something I fully endorse. If you marry her, then we will be brothers in every sense of the word. She clearly loves you, so I only see this as a matter of time.”
“However, I cannot condone you having my mother!” His face grew enraged.
“Oh, nonsense…” Elaya broke in, stopping him from continuing. “You know as well as I do that I’m only a piece of your mother. Even resurrected, I wasn’t a pure spirit, but a spectral monster deformed by a curse. Although I was given a body, that doesn’t stop the fact that I am not the same woman I used to be. Although I see you as my son, and I am glad you see me as your mother, I am free to choose my own life, yes?”
“No buts! I will be with my Master in the future. It is the choice I made, so please don’t try to get in the way.”
“R-right…” He took a breath. “Very well, in that case, it’s all resolved.”
“Just like that!”
Was Prince Edward actually a momma’s boy? It took only two sentences from her to completely topple his previous attitude. He didn’t even have anger on his face anymore.
“I’ve already gotten the votes needed to promote you.” He continued on as if ignoring my comments. “You are now Count Deek Deekson. Your salary has increased to one thousand gold a month. I will award you another eight Knight tokens. You can also select one item from our treasury. I also meant to tell you, but that life insurance is not needed. As a high noble, we will resurrect you. That’s why you woke up in the castle the last time you were here.
“Ah… is that so…” I guess that made sense that they would keep all of their nobles on such a thing. “Wait, does that mean… Lord Reign?”
He nodded. “Unfortunately, he has a great deal of support with the other noble houses, enough that attempting to dispose of him would be an issue. Fortunately, promoting a noble only required a 1/3 vote, whereas disposing of one requires 2/3.”
“Is he truly that powerful?”
“Perhaps… it’s close enough where finding out for certain may cause the royal family to lose power. So, you can understand why I’ve been pushing you to deal with it on your own, never mind the possibility of getting the Imperial Cloud Meadow involved.”
Eliana moved in my grip and finally blushed. “Th-th-the answer is yes!”
“I’ll marry you!”
After her declaration, I was certain that the petrified statue shook for a bit. I was sweating bullets. I had meant it when I said I wasn’t ready. Every serious relationship I had ever been in was with a slave! I promised I’d start power leveling Pervert until babies were impossible. Maybe Harem Master had some skills that could help with that as well.
“Your wedding will have to be postponed,” Prince Aberis declared.
“What? Brother, why?” Her face turned from shock to anger.
He raised his hands defensively. “Think about it, sister. He’s only a Count now. A Count is far too low of a rank to marry a Princess! At lowest, he’d have to be a Marquis!”
“Ah!” Her face grew flustered, and then she looked up at me sadly. “He’s right, my love, your status is too low.”
“In fact,” Prince Aberis snorted, “Your status is insultingly low! I checked your Adventurer’s Rank. You’re an F as an individual and an E as a team. Even my sister here is a rank C!”
“If it got out a rank E rescued our rank S father, Aberis would become a laughing stock across the continent! You must resolve this issue immediately!”
“Yes! You must complete more Adventuring Guild Missions. The embarrassing thing is that you could be an S rank already! There was a mission to defeat Widow’s Dungeon in the Adventuring Guild of Alerith. If you had accepted the mission, you could have gotten the rewards.”
“If you can make it to S rank, I believe I will be able to get you another promotion. As an Earl, you’ll be a higher rank than Lord Reign and in a position to suppress him.”
“Ah… well, that still has the problem of resources. He’s much more stable.”
“I had hoped that you could get the orichalcum mine and use that, but it seems Father had already stripped the dungeon of resources. That would have been a good place to create a second city and secure your place in the wilderness.” The Prince let out a sigh. “I’ll be sending a few advisors with you back to Chalm. I trust you have a means of teleporting there quickly?”
“Ah… yes… yes, I do.”
“Then, please bring them along. They will play some importance in the near future. They will be assessing trade opportunities with Chalm. A Traveling Guild branch must be established in Chalm. Since you are a Count, I’ll be sending you a Blue Mage so that you can open up a means of transport with the nearby cities. We’ll also need to clear out and fix the road between Chalm and the Capital. The area is riddled with Bandits. Since Salicia’s capture, they’ve become even more threatening.”
“That is my next mission for you. Accept missions from the Adventuring Guild to take care of the Bandit threat. We can knock off two birds with a single stone.”
“Ah… should I be capturing them? If I kill them, couldn’t a Dark Priest just bring them back?”
He scratched his chin. “You’re a Count now, Deek. I’m going to let you make the decision on this. Take care of them how you see fit. There is profit in bounties, but there can also be resentment.”
“Isn’t that your way of just hiding your responsibility!”
“Ahem… anyway… it’s time Aberis finally begins to support the west of the Capital. The Northwest was taken over by Lord Reign under the Imperial Cloud, but the Southwest is mostly Bandits and the wilderness. If you can toss out the Bandits and bring structure to the land, you’d be stabilizing Aberis significantly. Any cities you meet along the way will be ruled by lower lords. If you can gain their respect and save their cities from the bandit threat, they will become the army you need.”
So, that was how it was. I needed to increase my strength in Aberis. Although I had gained the full trust and support of the Prince and future king, this wasn’t something the King could just hand me. Even if he did, the power would only be as strong as the King’s word. Rather than strengthen Aberis, it would make it more fragile than ever. However, if I save various territories from their Bandit threat, I would finally start to gain a stable foundation in Aberis. Danger and opportunity came hand in hand.