Here you go: the fourth chapter of the week!
Please note that this chapter is still unedited.
Lorist left Silowas for The Northlands along with the Dinas. The young aunt of the Dina sisters, Dilianna, had already become Lorist's concubine. As for Arriotoli, the elder Dina sister, she was prideful, maintaining her relationship with Lorist as lovers while also training hard to become the first female knight of the Dina house.
As for her sister, the second mistress of the Dina house, she had expanded her horizons after meeting Lorist. As she enjoyed Lorist's treatment and hospitality, she grew intimate with him and even flirted with him often, sometimes seeming envious of what her aunt was doing as well. She did express that she did not mind being Lorist's concubine, much to her elder sister's displeasure. It seemed like it would not take long before she fell to Lorist's 'demonic grasps'.
Lorist had the Dinas move into Firmrock Castle, solving the problem of him having to spend his nights alone. Since Arriotoli wanted to become a knight, Lorist helped her reorganize her training routine and content. Within a year and a half or so, she would definitely achieve her ambitions.
As for her brother, the heir of the Dina house, he already had a training plan prepared for him at the young age of eleven. Given the early death of the late Baron Dina when the boy was only two, and the subsequent passing of her mother from grief, the child grew to have a rather weak constitution as an indirect consequence of his parents' absence. Lorist decided that he would first work on mending the boy's physique before sending him off a year later to the Nico Academy, which would be launched by Telesti soon. He would continue his studies there for the next three years as he matures before having his battleforce awakened and beginning his knight training course.
Lorist felt substantially more relaxed upon returning to The Northlands. Even though the weird situation at the Andinaq kingdom did worry him, being isolated from the kingdom made him feel a kind of relief. He could finally decide the fate of his house on his own terms. The next course of action for him was to consider carefully the next action he would take.
Lorist did not wish to launch another military campaign right away. After all, the forces of the house had just been expanded and would still require a little more time to be up to proper shape for combat. Additionally, many household knights had taken a vacation to break through to the gold rank, not to mention the refugees recruited from the Andinaq kingdom would require time to be settled down. That was the reason for Lorist's decision to stay put for the next two years within the dominion. On one hand, he could observe the changing situation outside, on the other, he could use the opportunity to sneak in some of Furybear's agents into the four central duchies, given that the Norton house had almost no way of gaining information from there.
The 100 thousand plus refugees brought over from the Andinaq kingdom had departed for the western part of The Northlands where a new settlement was being prepared. It was called the Greatriver settlement. Like Salus and Redriver Valley, Greatriver would also have eight knight manors built there.
At the end of the 11th month, Count kenmays, Baron Felim and Baron Shazin once again came to Firmrock Castle. While the main reason was the distribution of dividends from the salt merchant committee, the other was for them to spend winter at the castle together to improve the relationship of the four houses.
Count Kenmays looked at the three beauties from the Dina house with drool dripping down the side of his mouth, thinking that while his number of maidservants far surpassed that of Lorist, their quality was vastly inferior. He also managed to get Lorist to abide by his word to bring him to Morante. Baron Felim and Baron Shazin were both interested in making the trip as well, so Lorist decided that he would bring them there during the 5th month next year to expand their horizons.
During that time, Howard came crying to Lorist. The reason was that his fiancee Katrina, the 17-year-old daughter of Baron Felim, had failed her battleforce awakening, causing her to be in a rather sour mood during her visit to Firmrock Castle with her father. In the end, Howard had no choice but to seek Lorist for help on the matter.
Lorist laughed out loud and invited Baron Feilm and his daughter to his study. After giving Katrina a pulse reading, Lorist told them that the reason for her failed attempt was from a cold she had suffered when she was young, the effects of which still remained, with traces of 'cold' energy still within her blood. As long as she goes through some simple reconditioning, she would be fine. He also mentioned that if the baron did not mind, he should leave Katrina at Firmrock Castle and said that he was confident that she would be able to successfully awaken her battleforce in another half year. Filled with joy, Baron Felim placed his daughter in Lorist's care. Lorist drafted an eating routine and some herbal medicine prescriptions and left the rest of the matter to Howard.
The nobles lived lavish lives even at a time like winter, unlike the commoners who mostly stayed in their houses, doing nothing but eating and sleeping. Thanks to a variety of magic beast furs, the forces of the Norton house were properly prepared to venture around in the cold weather. Lorist brought his three allies on a sled and traveled to the wastelands for a hunting trip. They ended up returning with a whole bunch of magic beasts, mostly carnivores that had took the initiative to attack their party, relinquishing the need to search for hunting targets on the snowfield.
By the time they returned to the dominion from the wastelands, it was already the 2nd month of the new year, and the rainy season was upon them. Following the rainy season was the winter harvests, so the three allies of the Nortons returned to their own dominions and would only return after overseeing their winter harvests. They would then head to Northsea and sail towards Morante to experience it for themselves.
During the 3rd month, Lorist received two pieces of good news: Irina, who was living at Maplewoods Bastide, gave birth to a son, whereas Telesti, who was staying at Nico Academy that was situated at the borders of Wildnorth Town and Bladedge Mountains, had given birth to another daughter. The latter had named the child Nico Freycia, bearing the family name of her mother, much to Lorist's displeasure.
In the 4th month, Howard sent over good news from Firmrock Castle, mentioning that his fiancee Katrina had successfully awakened her battleforce. Howard was completely overjoyed and brought Katrina to Maplewoods Bastide with him to see the newborn child of Irina.
On the 24th day of the 5th month, the three allied families and the three Dina women all went to Northsea. It was on that day when Lorist started his journey there to meet up with them. After that, all of them boarded a brand new merchant vessel bearing the same name as the port city and sailed towards Morante.
Northsea was a brand new large-class, long-distance merchant vessel. The only difference between it and other common ships of that class was that it was designed to transport people, with emphasis on providing a speedy and comfortable journey instead of transporting more cargo. She had received the best features possessed by traditional merchant ships while also having a luxuriously decorated inner cabin. Lorist was prepared to have a few more similar ships built so that he could use them as ferries from Silowas to Northsea.
After boarding the Northsea, Lorist was successively bedded by the three Dinas. Dilianna wanted to give birth to Lorist's child as soon as possible so that she can have a decent standing in the house. Arriotoli on the other hand was rather irritated at the fact that Lorist's only concubine, Irina, had given birth to two of his sons that were both drafted into the family registry of the Nortons. There was no doubt that the mother and sons had rather high statuses in the house. Even if Lorist were to take an official wife, that concubine could rely on her two sons to maintain her status. Even though Arriotoli's wish was to become the first female knight of the Dina house, that did not stop her from venting her frustrations on Lorist in bed.
As for Fennazali, the second Dina mistress, all she wished for was for her to be able to keep living her current life. She did not have any lofty ambitions, wanting only to live a good and comfortable life, and becoming Lorist's woman was one of the easiest methods to achieve that. Thus, she laid with Lorist, albeit shyly, during her first time. As her aunt Dilianna was there to help her, she did not suffer much during her first experience and smoothly became Lorist's lover as she had wished.
Arriotoli did not have much thoughts about her younger sister's decisions. After one of their tiring rounds of bedsport, she warned Lorist not to treat her sister ill in any way. Lorist merely snickered and said, "Rather than looking out for your sister, you should worry about yourself. I haven't had enough yet."
The Dina mistress retorted stubbornly, "Hmph, bring it on!", before she took on 'Demon Lord Lorist' alone and ended up turning into putty after the whole affair, causing her to have to rest for two whole days in bed.
When the ship passed Sidgler Province of the Madras duchy, Count Kenmays eyed the Platinum Beach enviously. That was the only famous tourist spot along the Cursed Coast of the former Krissen Empire. Nowadays, travel there had been forbidden by the decree of Duke Madras, which was a huge waste of potential in the count's eyes.
Count Kenmays scrutinized the beach like he would a family heirloom. Platinum Beach was the widest beach at the empire with its sands fine as grain and white as jade. When sunlight covers the beach, it would give off a sparkling sheen, which was probably the origin of the place's name.. The seas over there were the deepest blue, with lots of priceless and rare fish and corals at shallow waters. It was the number one spot for a retreat for centuries when the empire still existed.
However, Duke Madras betrayed the empire and occupied that place for himself. For decades, Platinum Beach had been sealed off apart from the few occasions when the duke came over for a trip. Count Kenmays said with regret that it was a shame that Duke Madras did not have any business sense. If Platinum Beach was in the control of the Kenmays house, he would definitely develop it into a tourist spot that would easily earn its weight in gold back.
Twelve days later, Northsea arrived at Silowas. Lorist brought his three friends to survey the Firmrock Legion that was stationed at the island and also organized a grand banquet. Count Kenmays, being an adept businessman from a family with a long-running background in the field, quickly grasped the importance of Silowas. He told Lorist that with both The Northlands and Silowas, the Norton house was definitely on its path to prosperity. However, the Kenmayses were located at the eastern part of The Northlands, so they would not be able to take part in trade through the ocean, which would no doubt be one of the post profitable activities to engage in during a time of peace.
Lorist brought Count Kenmays to Jillin Harbor for a survey trip and expressed his intention to develop it into a trading hub that could allow for the expansion of trade routes to the Redlis kingdom and the center of the Andinaq kingdom.
Baron Fenston was a little at loss at how to deal with Lorist, as he was a noble that had been excommunicated by the kingdom. While he did not know exactly how he should receive Lorist, he would definitely not dare to chase him away. In the end, the baron struck a compromise and received Lorist as he would a noble from the Union, complete with throwing a customary welcoming banquet and praising Lorist's notion of developing the harbor into a trading hub, expressing his complete support.
However, the baron did not call the shots when it came to Jillin Harbor. The second royal defense legion still remained there, led by a noble of the kingdom, who was also a gold-ranked knight that had witnessed Lorist kill Viscount Aslan right in front of the second highness and defeat the arrogant blademaster in the process. He had also heard about Count Aslan's defeat and death, so he chose to feign ignorance about Lorist's presence at the harbor. As long as the Norton house did not occupy the place, he would be willing to shut an eye or two.
After staying at Jillin Harbor for two days, Lorist returned to Silowas. Just before he was going to leave for Morante, a messenger from the Andinaq kingdom hurried to Silowas. That messenger was sent by Marquis Reid, carrying a letter that stated that if Lorist was willing, he could take Queen Carey as his wife and be made prince consort, which would also come with the enfeoffment of Jillin Harbor. Through that method, Lorist would be able to once again be included in the ranks of the nobles of the Andinaq kingdom.
While Lorist was tempted by the offer of Jillin Harbor, he was not the least bit interested in Queen Carey. The queen was beautiful, no doubt, but Lorist's memories of her whorish behavior was not the least bit fond. Perhaps, most nobles would be more than proud to be married to a queen, and perhaps even tolerant or ignorant or who the queen sleeps with, but there was no way in hell Lorist would be willing to take a wife like her. Being partly influenced by the ideals of his past life, he would not be willing to be on the side of the cuckolded.
Even though Arriotoli and her aunt Dilianna had participated in the paradise gathering a number of times and had no doubt had sexual relations with several men before, they were rather frank about it and stopped going to those gatherings after getting to know Lorist. Not only that, they returned to their home and waited patiently for him for two whole years. Based only on that, Lorist felt that they were much cleaner than Queen Carey. There was also the fact that they were only his concubines, not his actual wife.
Lorist still recalled hearing a rumor about the queen during his attendance of the banquet organized by Baron Fenston. It was said that she frequently laid with her ministers and based her decisions on the policies of the kingdom on those interactions. Rumor has it that she listened to the minister that pleased her the best in bed. That was probably the main reason male aphrodisiacs were rising in price at the imperial capital. Lorist felt that Queen Carey was definitely comparable to the queen of the Iblia kingdom in their frivolous demeanors.
Shaking his head, Lorist did not even bother to pen a letter of refusal to the offer and instructed the messenger to be sent back to the ferry. After that, he left for Morante on Northsea with his three allies and the three Dinas.
Lorist felt quite safe traveling to the Union right now as he did not feel any threat from the kingdom. The main reason for that was the current queen's signing of the peace treaty with the kingdom. Other than that, he was no longer considered an Andinaq noble, but a rogue one. Additionally, his house had already achieved peace with the Chikdors, so there was no need for any unnecessary conflict to arise. Had it not been for those facts, Lorist would not have risked bringing those three country bumpkins with him to the big city.
On the 11th day of the 7th month of Year 1775, Lorist once again set foot on Morante. It has already been ten years since his departure from the great city after receiving the summons from his household.