“My lord wants to choose some children to go to the mansion to become playmates? ……Honestly, I’m a little lost, what’s all this about?”
Teo furrowed his eyebrows as he weaved some ropes on the floor. His face said that he didn’t understand what was going on.
I already talked with Earl Terejia a bit about finding some playmates for Elise, and he had no problems with it, so now I’m asking Teo.
“I suppose it can be a little confusing, but simply speaking, I want some kids to come over to the mansion to be friends with a girl that’s staying there.”
“My lord can’t accompany her? That’s why you need some other children to be her friends?”
It’s exactly as Teo says. If only I could do it myself. However……
“I’m unable to go there very often. Also, there’s someone there that I find meeting awkward……”
As I thought about Ratoka, I felt a bitter taste in my mouth. I put him with Elise because I didn’t have anywhere else to leave him and it was a fact that I needed someone to help take care of Elise, but that still doesn’t change the fact that I myself have stayed far away from Elise.
The main reason for the chasm between us, Ratoka saying I was using him as a substitute for Kamil, is still piercing and hurting my heart even now. Seeing Ratoka again, it felt like my heart was being mangled.
Kamil, my citizens, the nameless gravestone, me…… I can’t explain it well, but I think that Ratoka is currently a living embodiment of my traumas.
He looks so similar to me. He’s a victim of my father’s persecution, which also caused his mother to go insane. Into the emptiness that Kamil left behind, did I really slowly put him there. All of these feelings were gathering up into me and shaping into disgust and guilt.
Even now, I still can’t forget that time when he threw a rock at me.
“……Honestly speaking, I don’t have anyone truly close to me that I can trust now.”
I’ve gone off topic due to my emotions interfering too much with my thoughts. Thinking on how to fix my accidental revealing of my inner self, I decided to change the topic to a plan that Earl Terejia brought up the last time I spoke to him about playmates for Elise.
“What’s this all of a sudden?”
Teo tilted his head. His expression says that he can’t keep up with this sudden change of topic.
“I need more personnel, and right now there’s not even any candidates. Not only is it me, Earl Terejia is also quite isolated as a noble, so I can’t count on him for this either.”
Kamil was the only one being educated to support me in the future, but he’s no longer here. Claudia’s useless at everything other than being a bodyguard, while Mrs. Marshan’s age is too far apart from mine.
“……Ahh, so that’s what it is. Meaning, having some playmates enter the mansion, they’re also candidates for becoming your closest aides in the future.”
Teo managed on his own to infer the connections based on what I said so far. It’s very helpful that he’s so quick to understand.
“Living at the mansion will probably be for the long term. After all, Earl Terejia was the one who came up with this idea to help me find future candidates to assist me.”
Elise needs some playmates to keep her company, and I also need to raise some candidates to become my closest aides in the future, this is two birds with one stone. Well, this isn’t a bad thing for anyone.
With the exception of their battle prowess, objectively speaking my new citizens are still much weaker in other areas than Kaldia’s original inhabitants. Regardless of the fact that my own original citizens aren’t really involved in making decisions in Kaldia, the new citizens will probably strongly feel like newcomers themselves.
However, things will greatly change if they provide several of the lord’s closest aides. The domain lord’s existence still has an incredibly huge influence on the citizens.
“……I have to talk with the other chiefs before I can give you permission. In short, I can allow it as the leader, but you still need to ask the children in question themselves if they want to go to the mansion.”
It’s unavoidable that people will dislike being ordered by their domain lord. After all, I’m asking children to become playmates for a noble guest of mine. It would be easier if I needed some adults to do a job, but since I need children, I’ve decided that it’s better to choose someone that will probably get along well with Elise.
At any rate, they won’t be living at this mansion all the time anyway. When winter’s over, I intend to return to the village under development with the new citizens, and after that it would be nice if I could come back to visit my summer mansion again on occasion if I have the free time.
As for raising close aides, this isn’t something that can be rushed, so there’s no hurry.
“And, who specifically do you have in mind?”
“That was an instant reply.”
“At the tents, she went out of her way to take good care of me. ……Her assistance was incredibly helpful. As she’s both good at taking care of others and explaining things well, I think she’ll be perfect as a noble girl’s playmate.”
She’s been very patient with me who entered their lives so suddenly. And she helped me so much. When I think about it, my chest feels warm, and also a little clogged up.
“Got it. I’ll talk with the other chiefs about this tomorrow.”
“I’ll leave it up to you.”
After our conversation finished, Teo went right back to making his ropes. Since I didn’t have anything else planned and there was only a little time left until dinner, I watched in interest as Teo made ropes as I’ve never seen this process before.
While Kaldia citizens also know how to make ropes, I’ve never seen them during the process. Right now I’m really curious how it’s done.
Several minutes passed in silence as I watched Teo work on his ropes, then he finally turned his attention to me again.
“……What are you doing?”
“Watching you make ropes.”
“Ahh…… How about I teach you how it’s done?”
He didn’t say that being watched made it difficult for him to work. No wait, even if he doesn’t mind, it’s not like I really want to learn or anything.
“For future reference, sure.”
Teo seemed to send me a warm look as he nodded and moved next to me. What exactly is that look supposed to be for?