Chapter 24: Won’t Tomorrow Come Quicker?
With so much going on, there was no time to leisurely take two days returning by horse-drawn carriage. Socializing should be something fun and relaxing? Socializing isn’t something so simple for nobles. While riding horses for the entire day and switching them once in a town on our way, I arrived back in the Kaldia domain on the same night in a terribly exhausted state.
Of course, as a child I didn’t have the strength to control my horse for an entire day, so Kamil and Claudia had taken turns riding with me.
“What happened while we were gone?”
On behalf of Earl Terejia, his secretary Bellway had been in charge during our absence. Even after returning there was no time to rest our weary bodies, we had to immediately make large scale preparations for receiving the refugees we agreed to accept, although the earl was the one with the real power, and he immediately headed for the domain lord’s office. Claudia headed for the training grounds, I wonder how it’s possible for her to have all that excess energy……
Bellway reported that everything was the same and not much happened, and that there has been no particularly noticeable change for Elise and Maya who have moved in recently, or for the new nanny that’s now mostly in charge of taking care of Elise.
“Then, about the matter of the ‘ojou-sama……’”
Bellway gingerly began his report about why Elise had found out and written me that postscript. Bellway and the servants call that child “ojou-sama” so that it’s easier to differentiate.
“My deepest apologies. The other day, when I went out, Elise-sama slipped out for a little bit.”
“I know. Elise wrote about that in her letter. Well, I have an affinity for deceiving people. From now on, if Elise ever asks about that child, send her to me. I’ll trick her well.”
As I expected, the main issue was about that child. For information control on the child in the future, I have to be able to control the earl’s secretary Bellway. Since this mansion has relatively few people in it and he’s the one in charge of keeping track of everything, letting Elise find out about her, this is clearly his fault. It’s a mistake that’s rare of him.
As I instructed him about future correspondence, and was about to ask him if there was anything else to report, Bellway suddenly lowered his head deeply for some reason.
“I’m truly, deeply sorry about all this. To have betrayed Eliza-sama’s trust…… No matter how you punish me, I’m prepared for it.”
There was so much passion for his work in his voice. ……As I looked at him bowing his head towards me, I felt it must be hard as well to be the earl’s secretary, and felt something like pity for him.
Since Earl Terejia doesn’t like having more staff than necessary, Bellway actually does more than just secretarial work without complaint. He was often asked to deal with troublesome work, and he’s even lowering his head to a child that’s not even half his size, it must be quite the stressful job.
Taking this into consideration, there’s quite a lot of emotional distance between me and Bellway. It’s also quite surreal to be looking up at someone bowing their head to me.
“……The one putting trust in you, isn’t me but Earl Terejia. There won’t be any punishment from me.”
Asking Bellway to take care of that child while we were gone, was because nobody else in the mansion had been qualified to take charge, and also because he’s already received instructions from the earl on the matter. Although I had indeed been the one to request Bellway on this matter directly, but that’s only because I’m the one taking responsibility for the care of that child. Saying something like he betrayed my expectations, but I had never really relied on him that much in the first place.
As Bellway was lost for words, I confirmed the contents of his report. As if he was protesting my decision to not punish him, Bellway had an expression that almost seemed sad, quite different from his usual steely mask.
Eastern Kaldia is still quite undeveloped, with a large unpopulated lake area. I plan to have the accepted refugees live there.
They’re farmers, just like the people in my domain. Since there is no already established farmland to grant them, as newcomers they’ll have to do irrigation work for their own land. With effort that environment should be inhabitable for people, and it’ll be good for the domain as well since we lack fishermen, and setting the long-term goal as learning how to cultivate rice from other water-rich domains should be attainable as well. This project might continue on until the next generation, but even so Kaldia will be accepting the refugees because I can see future returns.
The most obvious benefit would be the pumpkin. Among the refugees, they have pumpkin seeds with them for negotiating new land to live on. Because I’m worried about changing the ecosystem, I’ve put a limit on the types of new crops that the refugees will be allowed to cultivate, for now I’ll just use the pumpkins as a new crop type that the refugees brought with them.
I was planning to use their potatoes as well, but it seems that because Kaldia has soil with high water content, that it’s not suitable for potatoes. What I remember from my previous life, is that pumpkins seem to be rather nutritious and would make a good crop. Since my domain only plants grain crops, hopefully adding pumpkin crops will help the people’s overall nutrition.
Also, another great benefit would be expanding the labor force. Since people hardly ever move to the Kaldia domain from other domains, it’s hard for us to start big projects due to a lack of labor force. Because the citizens of my domain have their hands full with planting the crops they need to survive, this domain has basically stagnated.
So even though I wanted to do something about the eastern lake areas of my domain, there hasn’t been any progress for several years. It’s because I’ve had to wait for a surplus in the labor force as everyone is currently busy with maintaining their fields.
In that case, since receiving the refugees would mean having a large number of new citizens, I can think of them as a surplus labor force.
There won’t be any disputes with my original citizens since they’ll be living at different locations, and since they speak different languages anyways it’ll be difficult for any types of disputes to arise. Since they can’t communicate, they probably won’t have anything to fight over.
But, their children’s generation will definitely have to learn the Arxian language. I already talked to Earl Terejia about it, that we’ll be needing to teach those that are currently too young to join in the irrigation project. Also in order to incorporate the technique to raise rice as well, their children and grandchildren will absolutely have to speak the Arxian language so that everyone can be unified.
After all, they can’t keep being referred to as refugees forever. After we accept them, their new identity shall be citizens of the Kaldia domain. We should start calling them the new citizens, I’ll talk with the earl about that tomorrow.
As I thought carefully over accepting the refugees, I was interrupted.
“You happen to still be awake?”
The woman who opened the door and entered seemed slightly surprised.
In place of Mrs. Galton who was fired, she’s the new nanny, Mrs. Hortensia. There was no light illuminating the darkness, and I could only hear her sound.
“It won’t be good for your body to stay up much longer.”
“I understand. I’ll go to sleep.”
“That’s good, then. You sometimes forget that you’re still only six years old.”
I was a bit startled at Mrs. Hortensia’s remark. It’s because she was right on the mark.
“Even if you’ve matured early, your body hasn’t kept up with you. You should eat well, sleep well, and exercise well, so that your body doesn’t become weak.”
I understand, was my reply, and Mrs. Hortensia left the room after saying what she wanted to say.
Mrs. Hortensia isn’t as annoying as Mrs. Galton was, but it’s difficult to grasp her personality, and that was my assessment of the new nanny that’s come here to the mansion.