Act 3, Part 2
As the word about what I did to the captives spread, it seems that my adoptive father Ergnade was quite successful in overwhelming and crushing the enemy troops.
After several battles, Arxia was able to capture all the critical strategic locations in the Great Plains and the Bandishia Plateau, and the movements from the Rindarl side stagnated due to the precipitous drop in their soldiers’ morale, as well as worsening public sentiment in their country for support for the war.
But, the Rindarl Union wouldn’t respond to attempts to negotiate a ceasefire or a truce, and the Arxian Kingdom decided to adopt a strategy of primarily defending its own territory without invading the enemy, so just like that, with winter arriving soon, the two countries were locked in a stalemate.
After the successful routing of the enemies by Ergnade and his older brothers, my name was beginning to get famous as well in both Arxia and Rindarl, and the next thing I knew, I was summoned back to a special military meeting held separately from the House of Lords.
Well, I can probably guess at the reason I was summoned, and so I arrived at the royal palace again right on the cusp of winter. For my achievements in battle, I was rewarded with gold, and an official second-tier medal with my family name engraved on it.
The medal was rose red, engraved with the word Einsbark, made from a gemstone that remarkably resembled the blood-red color of my eyes.
……This medal is one given to commoners or lower-ranked nobles for military achievements. In the medal system of this country, this one should be ranked fourth from the top.
Also, the name engraved on this medal given to me says Einsbark.
When I received land for my domain before, it was quite bothersome, but I wonder if Ergnade had something to do with it, like pushing his credit in battle on to me, he seemed suspiciously overjoyed compared to me.
I don’t need to receive a second honorary reward like this, my head felt heavy. It’s not useful at all in preventing my citizens from going hungry, and the only thing it will do is increase the jealousy that other nobles have toward me.
After returning to my mansion, one day in winter, I called Ratoka to my office. He now works as Claudia’s assistant, as well as helping Bellway and Mrs. Marshan run errands.
As always, there was still a strange type of distance between us, apart from occasionally acting as my double, I usually don’t call for him much.
According to Ratoka himself, he’s usually busy…… and since Claudia often chats with him, she says that he’s grown up to look much more like a beautiful girl than I do, so I try not to have him near me. Maybe it’s because he lacked nutrition when he was younger, but even though I’m one year younger, I’m actually much taller than he is, which apparently also hurts his self-esteem.
“You called for me?”
“Yes, I called for you…… Elise. Before we talk, could you straighten your hair, it’s a mess.”
“Ah, it’s because I was just training together with Claudia earlier.”
After he finished fixing his hair, Ratoka once again asked, “what is it?”
Apart from being my body double on occasion, sometimes when I bring him out of the mansion with me, he’s either a maidservant, or a steward, it depends on what the circumstances require. Therefore, we’ve prepared several wigs that can greatly change the impression he gives off, and his long hair was trimmed to shoulder length because it was in the way.
“You know how noble children are required to go to noble school in the royal capital in spring when they turn thirteen?”
“Of course. What about it?”
“The rules there allow for servants to be brought. Well, I should say that it’s a custom for all nobles to do so.”
Ratoka seems to have understood what I meant, he was looking at me with a complex expression. It’s good that he’s so observant.
“Please prepare for when spring comes and I have to go to the royal capital. While I’ll be at noble school for three years, I’ll still probably return to Kaldia quite often, so we don’t need to bring much luggage. As for clothes, please prepare servant clothing, military clothes, and the Kaldia knight order’s clothes.”
“……Understood. Um, who else will be coming with us?”
“Athrun from the Kaldia army, and the children named Tira and Reka from Pioneer village. I don’t think I’ll take anyone else. It’ll be quite inconvenient to take more with me.”
As always, Kaldia lacks human resources. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve become famous lately, immigrants have been slowly trickling in from other domains, I still haven’t decided how I want to help them settle in. There’s a law however that states you must live in a domain for one year to acquire rights as a citizen of that domain, so I won’t be able to consider recruiting from the immigrants until next year at the earliest.
……I believe that my domain has already returned to a similar living standard compared to the other agricultural domains, and even with my lack of personnel, I’m still promoting the development of my domain.
The average lifespan for commoners in this country is in the mid-forties, while nobles typically live to mid-fifties or mid-sixties.
Because the generations change so quickly, I can’t afford to make any plans that are too long-term. I have to do what I can, while I can, so I always have a chronic personnel shortage.