“Oh yeah, Tsar’s training ends tomorrow, right?”
I walked silently while shivering, and Kamil suddenly diverted the topic, probably to distract me. Tomorrow came early. I was thrown into the newly constructed base at the end of summer, and tomorrow, my training will end. It went by quickly when I thought back on it.
“That’s right. Winter came a little earlier this year, but four months have already passed. Time flies.”
“The people in the mansion are looking forward to your return, Tsar. The chef, Nathan, said he’ll prepare boiled eggs and surape for dinner on the day you return.”
He smiled gently, and I refused his words in my mind, that’s ridiculous. The people at the mansion and a chef who came from this fief wouldn’t be waiting for my return. They didn’t threaten my life, but we have been avoiding each other for a long time.
“… That’s rich. Surape aside, eggs are expensive, aren’t they?”
Surape was a bouillon vegetable soup, but the vegetables and the meat used in the soup weren’t produced in this fief, so it was considered as a luxury meal. Unfortunately, all the main industries are dying out because of my father. Also, eggs are a luxury ingredient in the first place and were served for celebrations. It was also considered lucky in Jugfena, and was served for dinner in Descending Festivals.
If he really made those dishes for my return, then it would be because Earl Thelesia ordered him to. The chef wouldn’t have willingly decided this on his own.
“This year, Claira village bought some chickens from Heznite fief. If they succeed in breeding the chickens, then I think we’ll be able to eat more boiled eggs from next year.”
“Oh, I remember now.”
Until now, Kaldia relied on importing eggs from other fiefs, but this year, we bought eggs to resume animal farms. This meant that the citizens had leeway to shift their attention to something other than growing wheat.
… I’m surprised that Kamil knew about this. I received information because I’m the feudal lord, but I wonder if he also gets information because he’s my attendant. Kamil is surprisingly well-informed; he knows about the other soldier’s schedules and about things happening in the fief. He seems sociable and good at gaining people’s trust, so he might have heard information from different people.
“And, it’s almost your birthday, right Tsar? Your birthday is in spring, but isn’t it normal to celebrate a little with a meal? At least, that’s what Nathan and the maids said they were going to do. They also said they did this every year.”
Kamil laughed mischievously. I looked up in amazement, and a muscular hand, for a boy, came down and gently stroked my head.
“Ah, Rashiok is…”
The excited baby draconis started running on the snow, and the warmth of his hand went away.
Emotions suddenly pierced at my chest. He said people were waiting for my return, and that they will be celebrating my birthday. I was confused by the euphoria that I was feeling, and was a little embarrassed by the tears that were flowing down. I linked my hands together and placed it on my head to cover my tears.
“… Tsar? Why did you suddenly start praying?”
Kamil, who had gone ahead, thought my actions were strange. The pose I took was a light prayer in this kingdom.
“I just heard that there will be chickens in this fief. It’s not strange, right?”
“Well, that’s true. Were you a religious person, Tsar?”
I lightly shrugged and answered Kamil’s suspicions. Praying, a gesture used to give thanks to the gods. I just used that to give thanks to those around me. That’s all. They acted foolishly soft towards a child who had sinned. I feel saved by them, and I am the one who is a hopeless fool.
“… Well, whatever. Leave your eccentric behaviour at that. Rashiok is getting further away, so let’s go.”
Kamil didn’t question my behaviour any further. Kamil beckoned me, and I followed him after I wiped my tears away.
“What do you mean eccentric behaviour? You’re rude.”
I had only stopped to pray for a few seconds, but Rashiok had already run a few metres away. We quickly chased after him. Rashiok is smart and will come home at the appropriate time, even if he gets lost, but we will definitely receive a lecture from Earl Thelesia.
Rashiok didn’t care that we were desperately chasing after him, and started tumbling after a while. He stuffed his nose into the snow and started sniffing for something. He must have found something because he looked at the dubious us and began yelping. Then, he started digging at the snow vigorously.
“What’s going on?”
“He probably found some food or something. He sometimes digs at soil when we go hunting, and there were lisolsThe kanji is mole, and katakana is lisol..”
Kamil raised his voice in hysteria. Of course, he would. Lisols aren’t moles like in my previous life, but a type of large lizard that lives underground. Their bodies can be used for food, and fairly expensive leather armour can be made from their skins.
“Oh yeah, you weren’t there at that time because you had things to do. I missed out on two lisols because of that.”
“They got away? What a waste!”
“How am I supposed to catch a lizard that’s larger than me? I can’t even stab it with a spear with my strength.”
“Well, that’s true, but…”
We reached the place where Rashiok was digging while arguing. I put on leather gloves and pushed my hands into the snow without hesitation. Kamil watched as I did this and said in amazement, “I can’t believe a noble girl is digging in the snow…” but it’s already too late to say something like that now. How many nobles in Arxia would eat weeds?
Having two people and a draconis dig made it faster. We saw soil after a few minutes, and it took a few more minutes to dig the frozen dirt. My gloves touched the scales of the hibernating lisol.
“I found it.”
We dug around the lisol so we could see it fully, and checked our prey. It was short and stout, and a little bigger than me, and was sleeping as if it were dead.
“It’s huge… Is it as big as 12 erens?”
“Let’s dig it up after we kill it.”
Kamil said as he pulled out his sword from his waist and stabbed the lisol accurately in the neck. I looked up at him in amazement. The lisol’s existence vanished from my head.
It was actually quite different to aim at the place where the sword had stabbed because swords are bulky. If you move it slowly, then the tip of the sword will shake, and if you move it fast, then the weight will throw the trajectory off. I was surprised to see that Kamil could do it so easily. Even Gunter didn’t have that kind of mastery.
“Ah… It went surprisingly well.”
Kamil grinned when he noticed my gaze. I see, that’s obviously a lie.
… He probably doesn’t want me to ask about it. I was assaulted with the same strange carelessness from before, and let him lie to me.
“You killed it without damaging the skin too much. I hope you can always kill it like you do now.”
“… If it were this easy, then everyone wouldn’t go through the trouble of swinging their swords every day.”
“That’s true too.”
Kamil’s tone held agitation and relief. I pretended not to notice. Having our shoddy lies overlooked helped both of us. I don’t ask unnecessary things and don’t say anything. I don’t care about his circumstances.
And this is probably the same for Kamil, because circumstances from a remote area didn’t matter to him.
The base that Earl Thelesia had financed had a large bath built-in as well.
The construction of the bath was simple; two kinds of water tanks lined up on three sides of the walls, and they were filled with either hot water or cold water. The water came from the pond, which benefited me greatly, and the heat source came from the mansion’s and barrack’s kitchen stoves. The interior was hot with steam that rose from the hot water, and I probably could call this a steam bath.
A washbasin and hand pail was used for bathing. Adjust the water’s temperature with the hand pails, and use that to wash. Lavender was used in the water tank to disinfect the fresh wounds and bruises of the soldiers, and for sterilising the water.
Squires tended to be covered in vomit and excreta every day, so they took a bath here twice a day. I’m the youngest in the army and have no physical strength, so of course I came here a lot too.
“I also have to bid farewell to this bath today…”
It’s my last night at the barracks. I wiped my neck with a cloth soaked in warm water and remembered the things that happened in these four months. The training was hard, I was nervous because I didn’t want to agitate the soldiers, there wasn’t that much food, so it was harsh, but I quite like living in the barracks.
The image of a girl surrounded by more dishes than she could possibly eat rose in the corner of my mind. This girl was ‘Eliza Kaldia’, a game character I saw in my past memories. Eliza’s hair was neatly done up, she wore a gorgeous dress and elegantly smacked her lips at the luxurious dishes in front of her. She didn’t bear a slight resemblance to me, who had her hair in a ponytail while wearing a simple squire robe, and ate things like lizards and snakes.
These differences are valuable. I want to erase as many similarities as possible between the remnants of the abominable ‘Eliza’ and ‘I’. That Eliza wouldn’t even have to eat something like a snake until she died. I felt satisfied when I thought that, and a little relief and even pride.
“I wish there was a bath in the mansion. It would be better if everyone can take baths. The citizens will be cleaner. Oh yes, Tsar, make a bathhouse in the village when you start working as the Viscount.”
Kamil came over to wash my hair, and I replied vaguely, “I’ll think about it.” I don’t know how much it would cost, and I don’t know the finances of the fief, so I couldn’t estimate a budget for it.
I squeezed the hem of my robe, which had become heavy with water, and it was satisfying. The robe was woven thickly so that it wouldn’t be transparent and was nothing but inconvenient, but I couldn’t bathe in the nude. No one, including Earl Thelesia, cared that I, a noble girl, was bathing with the commoner soldiers. However, it wasn’t normal for him to throw me into the barracks where only men resided, so he can’t complain.
“I don’t think it would be difficult if you base if off the bath in Paktushuki.”
“How am I supposed to use that as a reference? Only you know about that place, and you don’t even remember it well.”
The place that Kamil had just mentioned was a kingdom far to the south. I wonder just exactly how many people in Arxia even know the name Paktushuki. Even Mareshan doesn’t know about that place, even though she’s very knowledgeable. The only reason why I learnt this name was because Kamil taught me it.
“You have a point… My father was from there, so he taught me a lot about the place.”
While laughing loudly, Kamil suddenly poured a pail of warm water on me. A large amount of water splashed on my face, and when I glared at him, he stared back with a feminine and teasing glance as if he hadn’t done anything. This bastard, he’s playing dumb. Even though he just poured water on me with the pail, now you’ve done it! I childishly returned the favour by throwing all the water from the washbasin at him.
“Son of a bitch. Using your washbasin isn’t fair!”
“So what? You started it, Tsar.”
“You’re the one who splashed me first!”
I started cussing without hesitation in the army, and our shouting and shrieking only lasted for a few seconds. A merciless fist descended from above, and I saw stars in front of my eyes.
“You’re annoying, you stupid brats!”
The first belonged to Gunter who had come into the bath without me realising. A vein was popping out of his forehead, and his irritated voice was low. Gunter is a leader despite being so young, and had an imposing aura to go along with his status… He, he was absolutely terrifying.
“This raggedy brat thinks she can return to her stupid noble life tomorrow. Don’t get too happy. I’ll still be in charge of your training from tomorrow on as well.”
Training… what did he say? I involuntarily looked at Gunter with a shocked, idiotic expression.
From tomorrow on as well. I wonder if this means he’s going to be my official martial arts instructor. But, I heard from Earl Thelesia that I will be learning fencing with a rapier since it was befitting for nobles. Kamil had been frightened a moment ago, but he said in a carefree voice, “Eh, really?”
“Oi, what’s with that face?”
“Gunter-san, can you use swordsmanship for nobles?”
“Hah? Is that sort of thing even useful? … Ah, someone will be called from the royal capital to teach you pretty swordsmanship.”
So that means… On top of having to endure Guther’s gruelling training, I’m also going to have a ceremonial swordsmanship practice as well? I became a bit dejected, and Gunter even threatened me, “Don’t you dare make a fool of yourself and throw up in front of whatever weakling noble shows up from the royal capital.”
His expression, is like, um… a Nio Guardian? From my previous life’s memories, which were fading more and more with each passing day, I suddenly remembered those intense Buddhist statues for some reason. What’s more, way too clearly.
When I glanced around with fear, my eyes met with Kamil, who had fallen into a similar state. It seemed ridiculously amusing that we had been arguing about water before and now ended up like this. Kamil also felt the same. We couldn’t hold in our laughter and burst out laughing.
“Why’re you laughing about, you two stupid brats?! I told you two to shut up!”
Gunter punched both of us again.
|↑1||The kanji is mole, and katakana is lisol.|