Due to Earl Terejia’s financial support, the military barracks constructed here had a large bath installed in it as well.
The bath was simple in construction, two types of water tanks were lined up against the walls, and either hot water or regular water would come down from them. The water source was the pond, benefitting me greatly, and its heat source was the kitchen stove. There was plenty of steam rising from the hot water section, so I might even be able to call it a steam bath.
For bathing, we would use a washbasin and a hand pail. Wait until the water in the hand pail is at an appropriate temperature, and then use that to wash my body with. For the sake of injured soldiers with open wounds, lavender has also been put into the water tank, as a way of disinfecting the water.
Since I used to often throw up over myself as a soldier in training, I would usually have to visit this bath twice a day.
“Today’s my final farewell to this bath, eh……”
Today’s the last day of my three months in the barracks. It was a long time, but it also happened in the blink of an eye. I squeezed out the water that was soaking into my bathrobe, making it heavy, in order to help calm myself down. The bathrobe’s thickness was enough so that it wouldn’t be transparent after it got wet, but that also made it somewhat inconvenient. But after all, I can’t let myself be bathing in the buff here. I’m almost six years old and should have nothing to worry about, but this is the original me speaking. It also seems that nobles are supposed to keep up proper appearances at all times.
“If you want to do something that a viscountess should be doing, make a large bath in the village, Charlie.”
While washing my hair, I replied to Kamil’s request halfheartedly with a “I’ll consider it.” I wondered exactly how much it would cost, but since I’m not privy to the financial situation or budget of my domain now, I have no idea how to calculate it out.
“I don’t think it should be all that difficult if you base it off the bath in Pactoshiki.”
“How am I supposed to use that as a reference. On top of only you knowing about that place, just exactly how much about that place do you even remember?”
The place that Kamil had just mentioned was a country far, far to the south. I wonder just exactly how many people in Arxia even know the name Pactoshiki. Because Mrs. Marshan is so knowledgeable about many things, that’s why I learned the name of this place as well from her, but why does Kamil know about a far away obscure place like this.
“Well, you have a point. Because my father was from there, he taught me about it in detail.”
While laughing loudly, Kamil suddenly poured a pail of hot water on me. A large amount of the water splashed on my face, and when I glared at him reflexively, he looked back at me with a feminine seeming face and an innocent expression as if he didn’t do anything. This bastard, he’s feigning ignorance, even though he just splashed water on me, now you’ve done it! Without any maturity at all, I returned the favor by throwing all the water in my own washbasin at him.
“You damned bastard, using your washbasin is unfair!”
“It’s because Charlie started it!”
“The one who started splashing with water was you!”
The shouting and shrieking lasted for only a few seconds. A merciless fist descended on my head from above, and I saw stars in front of my eyes.
“You’re annoying, you stupid brats.”
The fist belonged to Gunther who had come in to bathe without me realizing it. There was a visible vein popping on his forehead, and his irritated voice resounded throughout the bath. As a military leader known for not going easy even on the youngest soldiers, and with an imposing aura to go along with his status…… He, he was, absolutely terrifying.
“This raggedy brat thinking she’s going to be returning to a noble’s life tomorrow, how thickheaded can you be. You better not get soft on me. I’m still going to be in charge of your training tomorrow as well.”
I involuntarily looked at Gunther with a shocked, idiotic expression on my face. From tomorrow as well, I wonder if that means he’s going to officially become my martial arts instructor. But I had heard from Earl Terejia that I would be beginning to learn ceremonial swordsmanship befitting a noble. Kamil next to me, despite the fact that he had been horsing around just a moment ago, somehow seemed to be quite relaxed already as he asked me in a raised voice.
“Oi, what’s with your face.”
“Gunther-san, are you able to use swordsmanship for nobles?”
“Hah? Is that sort of thing even useful? ……Ah, someone seems to have been called from the capital to come teach you pretty swordsmanship.”
So what this means is that…… On top of having to endure Gunther’s grueling training, I’m also going to have a ceremonial swordsmanship instructor. Involuntarily, I became a bit dejected, and Gunther even threatened me with saying “if you dare to make a fool of yourself and throw up in front of whatever weakling noble shows up from the capital, I’ll let you know what death is.”
His facial expression, what is it like, um…… a Nio Guardian? From my previous life’s memories that were fading more and more with each passing day, I suddenly remembered these Buddhist statues. What’s more, way too clearly.
When I returned to the Mansion of Golden Hills the next morning, Mrs. Galton and Mrs. Marshan flew out to meet me. Was it true that I was made a mockery of as a soldier in training! Basically, an extraordinarily menacing atmosphere quickly closed in on me. In a way, it felt even scarier than Gunther’s face earlier.
“I thought maybe you would be able to finally take a break, but to think that ojou-sama still has to go through such things!”
The two of them did nothing but lament over the life I had in the barracks, making a large fuss and crying over it, and even more regretfully, Earl Terejia who had left the mansion earlier to perform a village inspection returned right at this time. No matter what he said to try and comfort the two of them, they would not calm down, what’s more it was like pouring more fuel onto the fire. How pitiful, how pitiful, they kept repeating this over and over again, but because I myself was satisfied with the results of staying in the barracks, there was quite a large difference in what we thought of it.
“In order to succeed the position of viscountess, I believe that it was necessary for me to learn the proper skills to lead my domain’s troops. Is that so wrong?”
“Ahh ojou-sama, Eliza-sama, what kind of stupid things are you saying. You’re a girl. It’s inconceivable that you should be leading an army. After graduating from school, you should be getting married immediately, and it’ll be fine if you just leave the work of the domain’s lord to him.”
I’m too tired of this to comfort them, so I spoke bluntly and honestly about my feelings.
Although Mrs. Marshan remained silent, Mrs. Galton only got worse and began countering me. Judging by her distressed expression as if she had just heard something incredibly shocking, she was entirely against the idea of women wielding weapons. I knew that the Kaldia domain’s history considered women here to be only accessories for showing off a man’s power, but I didn’t consider that Mrs. Galton, who came here from another region to have the same type of thoughts as well.
“Please calm down, Mrs. Galton. Indeed, while tradition dictates that the lord’s position is succeeded by a man, and war is also considered to be a man’s job, that doesn’t mean that these things have nothing to do with women. And even Mrs. Marshan has been teaching me some of the topics necessary in consideration that I will eventually officially become the Kaldia domain’s lord.”
“……Yes, that’s right. Although taking up arms is usually a man’s job, and women usually assist their husbands and leave running the domain to them, it might not always be a good thing, Mrs. Galton. The responsibilities that have to be carried out do not distinguish between men and women.”
In Arxia, noble children were educated the same without regards to gender, and since it was required for the nobility to be smarter than the commoners, they would eventually be enrolled in school for compulsory education. However, the royal family has also abolished the position of the queen, and indeed society is ruled by men. But even so, it was allowed for women to inherit noble titles associated with domains, and there are female civil officials that serve in the royal palace as well.
Teaching is also not a profession that is open only to men. To Mrs. Marshan, who has worked as a noble school teacher before for the government as well as currently being employed as my governess, she probably found Mrs. Galton’s point of view unacceptable.
“In Greenfield, if a woman works, it’s said to be evidence that the man is worthless!”
“That’s not the case in the royal capital. After all, women aren’t merely men’s accessories.”
“……Since the matter at question is about me, please don’t quarrel. Regardless, isn’t arguing like this considered disgraceful for women?”
While I do think that Mrs. Marshan was finally able to placate Mrs. Galton successfully, I feel a little left out even though it was all about me in the first place. Since Earl Terejia and even his secretary Bellway had left again in order to work on reinforcing the army, if things had gotten any more heated up I wouldn’t have known what to do. Since the two women had been glaring at each other during Mrs. Marshan’s lecture, finally the issue seems to have settled down a bit on the surface.
“I’m not going to argue any more on this matter, but I’ll definitely be having a word with the earl-sama about ojou-sama.”
Although Mrs. Galton still seemed to bear a grudge and had to have the last word, the one who had originally tossed me into the barracks was also the earl in question. I can obviously see that it will be fruitless for her to speak to him, but I couldn’t say that. If the earl personally refutes Mrs. Galton, then she’ll probably have nothing more to say.