CHAPTER 205 – KALDIA’S BUDDING SPRING, PART 1
Snow thawed early for this year’s winter.
The heaviest snowfall finished before we entered the last month of the year, and the already fallen snow began melting. The ice covering the western lakes had already become thin enough for us to restart fishing ahead of schedule.
In this season, I can take the afternoons to slightly relax after taking care of the seasonal trivial domain lord work.
When I entered noble school, I distributed part of my work as the domain lord, so now I’m finally able to take things a little slower. …Well, after returning to noble school again, I’m going to need to study for my classes, so my free time will disappear quite easily.
Nevertheless, it’s all thanks to Oscar that work has been continuing at such high efficiency, as he was able to allocate every task without any needless waste.
There’s also the remaining work from Earl Terejia on continuing to improve the quality of life in Kaldia domain as the domain lord’s work. However, Oscar’s quite skilled at sorting out all the work.
Most importantly, Oscar worked together with the Ar Xia Church’s bishops that I hired several years ago to teach the young soldiers in training in the Kaldia army that were still children so that they could eventually help me with document work in the future.
Even if these children wouldn’t be able to read difficult sentences, as long as they knew basic math and the necessary vocabulary, the number of people who would be capable of doing deskwork in the military would increase dramatically. Besides, if any of them are forced to retire from the army in the future due to injuries, they’d have a job to fall back on.
I was slowly beginning to try and solve the problem of the personnel shortage in Kaldia. While this spring vacation was rather slow and relaxing, I could still feel the changes happening within my domain.
Tira and the others told me to relax as well and took me out of the mansion. I was completely wrapped in the Shiru tribe’s anti-winter clothing as I stepped out into the garden which still had leftover snow. This newly constructed domain lord’s mansion had a much larger garden than the one at the Mansion of Golden Hills. The space was used exclusively for the two draconis.
A young girl was sitting in the corner of the garden and seemed like she was trying to hide herself as she was trembling. This was the former disposable Rindarl child soldier I brought back to my domain, the magic user Mefuri who still had many mysteries surrounding her.
“Why are you in such a place…”
Although the snow has stopped, it was still technically the end of winter and snow remained on the ground. The temperature outside was certainly not suitable for having fun outdoors.
“Because Eliza-sama and Claudia-sama were both busy with work. I came here to see the draconis.”
Mefuri seemed troubled by the fact that she was discovered outside of the room. I didn’t know what to say in response, and could only look at her face that was reddened due to the cold.
Ever since I brought Mefuri back with me, she had remained this way. She would only talk to me, Claudia, and the two draconis Rashiok and Vedwoka, while avoiding all contact with everyone else.
In addition to Mefuri, Vanita and the other former child slave soldiers of Rindarl were also now under my guardianship and living together in my mansion. I could understand that she most likely didn’t want to see them. She had brought it on herself however, and I couldn’t help her.
While I did give Mefuri a private room of her own, whenever Claudia or I wasn’t around her, she would always come out to the garden to be away from others.
I would have preferred for her to remain indoors and not shiver outside in the cold like this, but considering her past as well as her mental condition, there was no way I could just force her to stay in her room.
“Before you catch a cold, let’s go back into the mansion.”
In the end, this was all I could say. However, this time Mefuri looked up at me with her murky eyes as she laughed thinly and shook her head.
“Only if I can stay in Eliza-sama’s room. I’ll even endure it if there’s other children around.”
“…Mefuri, please listen to what I have to say. I still don’t intend to make you one of my close aides yet as you’re too young, but even so, nor can I just ignore a child that keeps running away from the mansion to shiver outside in the cold.”
Mefuri began pouting as she continued to look up at me.
“You seem to be troubled, Eliza-sama.”
That comment from Mefuri seemed to contain joy for some reason, which caused me to reflexively furrow my eyebrows.
“You don’t want to go back to your room. If staying there is no good, how about going to the village? And, you should dress a bit warmer. How about having Athrun go together with you?”
“Warmer clothes, are you talking about the Artolan style?”
Mefuri was the one who furrowed her eyebrows this time at hearing what I suggested. It seemed that she didn’t have a good impression of the Shiru tribe and the Artolan people.
I didn’t know where Mefuri was from out of the four dukedoms that made up the Rindarl Union, but all four dukedoms had a bad relationship with the former Artolas Kingdom. Since they were at war with Artolas just over a decade ago and wiped the entire kingdom from the map, perhaps the relationship between Artolas and Rindarl could be said to be even worse than that of Arxia and Densel. As someone who was probably born around that time, Mefuri was likely raised by someone that gave her negative feelings towards Artolas.
“This style is much warmer than the cloaks typically worn by commoners in Kaldia. That’s why in the last few years, we’ve begun to produce them for everyone. Ah, there are some differences in the patterns used, though.”
But as I went on about this topic, Mefuri’s expression of obvious prejudice became even stronger.
“…No. I don’t need it. Nor will I go to the village. I’ll just return to my room after all.”
After glaring in disappointment at the Shiru clothing I was wearing for several seconds, Mefuri stood up and said that as she ran off back to the mansion.
As I watched her back disappear, I thought to myself that I shouldn’t leave her alone too much. Whether it was because of my methods that were basically brainwashing, or her own dark past, Mefuri was too unstable. It was far too dangerous for someone who had powers beyond human understanding to be unstable.
Just as I was deep in my thoughts thinking about what to do, something jolted me when it touched me on the cheek and gave me quite a shock.
“……Oh, what. It’s you, Vedwoka. You surprised me.”
Before I realized it, she had come up beside me and was nuzzling me with her cold nose. Rashiok had arrived as well, and we all seemed to be getting along well with each other as they stood with me in the middle.
“Just what should I do,” I muttered to myself. Rashiok could only respond by nuzzling my face as well.
While stroking his cold and smooth scales, I could only sigh to myself.