All eyes were suddenly focused on me. My heart was beating annoyingly fast to the point of being painful.
The first voice that spoke up was from Marquis Rittergau. He didn’t hide the harsh tone of his voice. His attitude seemed so threatening, but I had to deal with my own fear.
“If it should be necessary, then my Kaldia domain can accept the refugees, as I just said.”
I said it even more directly than earlier. After all, it would be Kaldia that’s the most likely to be forced to accept them anyways. If I said that we’d accept them ahead of time, then I can get more favorable terms.
Marquis Rittergau didn’t respond, and only looked at me in anticipation. I felt stifled by the pressure, and heavy silence fell again.
I counted to well above ten in my mind. During this entire time, Marquis Rittergau and I stared fixedly at each other. – And then, finally, the low whisper of the nobles stirred the air of the conference hall.
“- We should return to the main agenda now.”
“Y, yes. Well then, Viscountess Kaldia has nominated herself as a candidate for accepting the refugees……”
With my speaking up at that timing, it seems to have beneficial for moving things along in the House of Lords. There had been almost no chance of any of the inland domains accepting the refugees, and I had put forth a practical proposal.
Although the northern nobles complained of concerns about Rindarl again, they were silenced by the priests talking about how the kingdom was founded with the precepts of accepting everyone in the Xia religious sects and the uproar it would cause if we didn’t take in the refugees. In the first place, the Densel Dukedom had already virtually been Arxia’s enemy already, so going to war with them wouldn’t be that big of a surprise to our kingdom.
The border domain lords had already started a little on making military preparations, and at this rate the southeastern domain lords will probably go on full military alert status and receive the others’ cooperation.
“Well then, starting next month, the Artolas refugees shall be moved to Viscountess Kaldia’s domain in groups of fifty. Food supplies shall be provided by the Henznaut domain as well as the various lords in the Greenfield region, Margrave Genas shall provide twenty tents, and any more necessary shall be loaned by the Freche domain, Ruktoferd domain, and the Royal Army. We’ll be counting on everyone.”
In the end, other than the northern domains, most of the closer domains agreed to give some kind of support for the refugees. On top of that, quite a large amount of funds would be provided for us from the national treasury as well as the church.
The southeastern nobles, mostly the inland nobles among them, since this would probably stimulate their own economies, had rather cheerful expressions, but in return the northern nobles who were outnumbered and had lost their cause were glaring at them resentfully. It’ll be better if this wound isn’t too deep and we can all cooperate later, is what I hoped.
“Did the House of Lords meeting go well, Riliza-dono?”
“It’s Eliza, Claudia-dono……”
Even though I was so exhausted after returning from the House of Lords, the first voice that greeted me upon returning was so carefree, someone with an unbelievable energetic voice. Outside the door of Earl Terejia’s accommodations in the royal capital, this girl was spinning a spear about cheerfully. She was a real beauty, and her long golden hair was sparkling in the sunlight.
Even though I’ve corrected her so many times, she would always get my name wrong no matter how many times we spoke. At seeing the dazzling smile across her face, I felt as if it was adding insult to injury for my tired body and mind.
“Oh, I do apologize. It’s just, I’m really bad with people’s names……”
“Yes, I know that very well.”
“Oh, okay. But anyways, did things go well at the House of Lords?”
Oh, okay, her answers were so casual, she seemed to always have no worries whatsoever. It’s piling up even more on me! It’s certain that her energeticness has caused my spirit to suffer even more damage in hit points.
This girl’s name is Claudia Rolentsor, she’s from that prestigious military family. She’s the other companion that’s staying in Kaldia with me alongside Elise Sherstok.
Probably due to how she was raised, she’s been trained fully to become a knight and is doing it for real despite the rarity of it for women, while it had been rather difficult for me. Honestly speaking, it had been really tiring. By the way, this girl believes in doing everything fairly with the ideals of justice, believes in absolute integrity, and if it wasn’t for how annoying her personality was, I could say that she’s actually a really good person.
“Even though they don’t speak our language, you’re willing to accept them into your domain, I truly admire Eliza-dono’s dauntlessness. Giving a helping hand to the weak without any pretension, such a wonderful just cause!”
“Um, rather than that, Claudia-dono, why would you happen to be here?”
Claudia welcomed me with an expression saying as if she belonged here, but when we had left the Kaldia domain two days ago, she should have remained back at the mansion. It takes two days for a horse-drawn carriage to get here, so why is she here?
“It’s because Elise-dono wrote a letter to you. I rode all the way here to deliver it to you.”
As Claudia absentmindedly made that statement, I felt the pain in my head increasing. What does it mean that she rode all the way here, a distance that takes a horse-drawn carriage two full days. I don’t understand her. Even including my previous life, it’s my first time dealing with someone that’s so difficult to comprehend. I have no idea on how to handle her.
“Well then, Eliza-dono, you’re probably tired from constantly sitting down in the horse-drawn carriage and at the House of Lords. I’ll loan you a spear, how about we loosen up your body with some spear practice?”
It seems that she was concerned for me, but what’s with her proposal, I have no intention of exhausting myself into an early grave. As Claudia followed me to the garden in high spirits, no, uhh, she didn’t seem to hear my rejections.
As a last resort, I looked at Earl Terejia to ask him for help, but he was just as tired as I was, and he only nodded as if to say to do my best.
……There’s no helping it. I’ll just have to play along with Claudia for a little bit.
Earl Terejia’s garden here was covered with stone pavement rather than grass. That Claudia found her way here, I wonder if that means she also knew the earl from before. Because the ground is made of stone, don’t swing your spear with full force here at me! But for some reason, when I said that to her, she smiled so happily, and nodded ambiguously at me.
“Eluza-dono is six years old now. I’m ten years older than you! I’ve just started learning the spear recently, so I hope to live up to Terejia ojii-san’s and your expectations.”
“I’m not Eluza, it’s Eliza. I’ve heard that the Rolentsor family starts teaching the sword at the age of three, so why is that you’re only learning the spear now?”
I wonder if something is fun about all this, Claudia’s smile didn’t slip at all, as she wound cloth strips around her hands. Since she has a custom-made spear for her, and there’s no leather binding on her spear handle, it seems that she has to do this in order to prevent her hands from slipping.
“No, me and my older brothers started learning the sword at the age of two. I only started learning the spear after I turned seven.”
She started learning the sword at the age of two, this answer made my cheeks twitch involuntarily. As expected of the Rolentsor noble family skilled in martial and military matters.
I warmed up for a few minutes according to Claudia’s instructions, maybe it was actually good for refreshing my body, my body definitely felt a bit lighter. I’ve been so busy lately, so I haven’t had much time to practice the spear, so this might actually be good.
But anyways, Claudia appears to be even more skilled with the spear than I expected. This is the first time I’ve actually practiced the spear together with her, although I had heard about her prowess from the soldiers after she came to the mansion, her family has really knightly behavior and that they’re skilled in all sorts of martial arts is what I had figured. However, her skills with a spear, no matter how I look at it, seem to exceed even my teacher Gunther’s level.
“How are they, my spear skills?”
“They seem to be better than my teacher’s.”
“Gunther, eh. Maybe my family’s style is just too strong. If it’s alright with Eliza-dono, we can fight together!”
While cleaning up after, Claudia still showed no signs of fatigue and was laughing happily. As expected, she’s an incomprehensible person. Whether it’s spear practice, or letting her stay in the mansion with me, I couldn’t refuse her either. Well, she nodded, and suddenly changed her expression.
“I was wondering what to do if you had refused me. Since Terejia ojii-san had requested that I practice the spear with Eliza-dono, I’ve been trying my best on fulfilling my promise!”
Could it be, could it really be that he had been the cause of my spear practice just now. I was dumbfounded by Claudia’s completely unexpected remark, and this time I completely lost all of my energy.