Earl Thelesia made a brief counterattack, but the Marquis shook his head slightly. It certainly was impossible to accept all the refugees with an Earl’s personal assets. The House of Lords got noisy again. It wasn’t looking good. Kaldia needed to have the image of being able to take in refugees, so I couldn’t argue anymore.
“… It’ll work out somehow if they don’t all come at once. If Kaldia promises that they will eventually take care of all the refugees, then we can temporarily house them at my fief.”
Timely help slipped in at the last moment. It was Margrave Junas. He was willing to give me some support as long as his supply route doesn’t collapse someday.
“Hmm,” Marquis Rettalgau agreed. His concerns were considerably lightened since I had the support of Junas, one of the kingdom’s most prominent fiefs.
“――― We should go back to the main agenda.”
“Y-yes. Then, Viscountess Kaldia has nominated herself as a candidate for accepting the refugees…”
The Marquis said, and the hall became lively again.
I took a deep breath. My whole body was exhausted because I was too tense.
The inner nobles came up with more realistic ideas one after the other since they were probably not the ones who had to accept the refugees.
The northern nobles complained about their concerns about Rindarl again, but they were forced to remain silent by the high priest who stated that it might cause a significant impact on in the kingdom if we stop accepting our brethren, who we have accepted since the founding of the kingdom. In the first place, Densel Dukedom is Arxia’s hypothetical enemy, so even if war does happen, it wouldn’t cause a big disturbance in Arxia. The border Earls each talked about their military preparations, and they also spoke about the south-eastern feudal lords’ military alert status and cooperation.
“Well then, the Artolas refugees shall be moved to Margrave Junas’s fief in groups of 200, and Viscountess Kaldia’s fief in groups of 50 starting from next month. Food supplies will be provided by Henznite fief as well as the various feudal lords in the Ryunfeld region. Margrave Junas has offered up 20 simple tents, and Freche fief, Luctfeld fief and the Royal Army will lend more tents shall they be necessary. We’ll be counting on everyone.”
In the end, other than the northern fiefs, most of the other fiefs agreed to give some kind of support for the refugees. On top of that, a large number of funds will be provided for us from the national treasury as well as the church.
The south-eastern nobles, especially the inner nobles, will probably stimulate their own economies, and they looked rather cheerful, but in return, the northern nobles who had lost their right to speak were glaring at them resentfully. I hope that they won’t have any ill feelings from this.
“Did the House of Lords meeting go well, Liliza-dono?”
“It’s Eliza, Claudia-dono…”
Even though I was exhausted after returning from the House of Lords, the first voice that greeted me was so carefree, and the residue emotions in me were secretly carried off somewhere. Outside the door of Earl Thelesia’s townhouse where we were staying in the royal capital, this girl was spinning a spear. Her beautiful long golden hair sparkled in the sunlight. She would always get my name wrong no matter how many times we spoke, even though I corrected her every time. Seeing the dazzling smile on her face from the side, I felt as if she was making a further attack on my tired body and mind.
“I’m sorry. I’m just not good at remembering people’s names…”
“Yes, I already know that.”
“Uh, really? Anyhow, things went well at the House of Lords, right?”
“Yes, well,” I answered somewhat sloppily, and she didn’t seem to mind. “That’s great!” She replied in an energetic voice that caused my mind to suffer more damage.
This girl’s name is Claudia Lorenzorell, and she’s the daughter of the most prestigious military family in this kingdom. She’s staying in Kaldia as my playmate alongside Elise. Probably due to how she was raised, she’s unusually chivalrous for a woman and is a little smothering. To tell the truth, she was tiring to be around. However, she believes in fairness, and if she stopped fussing over everything, then she’d be quite a likeable person.
“I truly admire your boldness, since you’re willing to accept them in your fief even though they don’t speak our language. Giving a helping hand to the weak without any motive is such a wonderful cause!”
“Well, leaving that aside, why are you here, Claudia-dono?”
Claudia had welcomed me as if it was natural for her to do so, but when we had left Kaldia fief two days ago, she had remained back at Golden Hill Mansion. It takes two days to get here on a carriage, so why is she here?
“Elise-dono said she wanted to give you flowers. I rode all the way here to deliver it to you.”
I finally felt my head hurt as Claudia said that indifferently while handing me some wilted flowers. What did she mean when she said she rode here, when it took two days to get here by carriage? I don’t understand what she said. Even including my previous life, this is the first time I’ve met someone hard to understand. I have no idea how to handle her.
“She also wanted me to pass this message to you. ‘I met your distant relative, Elise-sama. I heard from Bellway-sama that she has a weak body as well. I wonder if girls who are named Elise are prone to being sick…’ Apparently, she received those flowers from the other Elise-dono.”
What the fuck is Bellway doing? I asked him to take care of the child who was trapped at the back of the mansion, but I never thought that he would make a mistake and let the Elise, whose name was borrowed, see the child.
Of course, there’s a reason why we invited Elise and gave the child the same name as her. We did it so accurate information wouldn’t be leaked out of the mansion. Only a few people have met Elise, since she has a weak body, and only a few people have met Radka, who is said to reside at the back of the mansion because of her frail body. I don’t want people to find out about her if possible. If two sick Elise’s reside in the mansion at the same time, then others will get confused even if information about them leak out. If the details are fuzzy, then the pieces of information they can get on Radka will mix with those of Elise’s. That’s what I want.
Thus, I can’t let the real ‘Elise’ know about this either. But Elise already found out about that child’s existence. I won’t be able to hide her if people investigate this… It’s a hassle for her to be discovered. Should I speed things up a bit?
The flowers I received while my mind was a mess, smelt similar to Elise’s room. She probably used this flower as decoration a lot because she liked it. I felt a little more relaxed.
“Now, you must be tired from constantly sitting down in the carriage and at the House of Lords. I’ll loan you a spear, so how about we loosen your body with some spear practice?”
… Don’t bother me as soon as I feel relaxed. It seemed like she was concerned for me, but did she want to drive the exhausted me into an early grave with her proposal? Claudia cheerfully dragged me into the garden and didn’t hear my objections at all. I looked at Earl Thelesia for help as a last resort, but he was just as tired as I was, and only nodded placidly as if to say to do my best. No way… Do I have to spar with her, for a bit?
Earl Thelesia’s garden at his townhouse was covered with stone pavement rather than grass. Claude was probably aware of this since she had a close relationship with the Earl. “Swing your spear as much as you like, since there’s no lawn here!” She smiled and cheerfully said, so I nodded ambiguously.
“You’re six right now, aren’t you Elsa-dono? I’m ten years older than you. Old Thelesia must be expecting a lot from you since you’ve already started practising with the spear.”
“It’s Eliza, not Elsa. I’ve heard that the Lorenzorell House start sword practice at the age of three, but do they start spear practice a few years later?”
What’s fun about this? Claude’s smile didn’t slip at all, and she wrapped cloth around her hands. She has a custom-made spear, but it didn’t have leather bindings on the hand, so she had to wrap cloth around her hands to keep the spear from slipping out.
“No, my brothers and I started sword practice at the age of two. I only started spear practice after I turned seven.”
My face twitched when she said that she had started sword practice at the age of two. As expected of the Lorenzorell House, known for their military might.
I warmed up for a few minutes according to Claudia’s instructions, and my body definitely felt a bit lighter. I’ve been so busy lately, so I haven’t had much time to practice the spear, and this might actually be good. I apologised to Claudia in my mind since I felt guilty.
Even so, Claudia was more skilled with the spear that I had expected. This was the first time I’ve actually sparred with her using a spear, but I knew that she spent a lot of time at the barracks since she came to the Golden Hill Mansion, and I figured that she would be skilled at all sorts of martial arts, since she came from the Lorenzorell House and acted knightly. However, her skills with a spear seemed to exceed that of Gunter’s, no matter how I look at it.
“How are they, my spear skills?”
“They’re better than my master’s.”
“Gunter, huh. Maybe my family’s technique is just too strong. If it’s alright with you, then let’s spar again with spears. You can use a sword next time too.”
Claudia still showed no signs of fatigue and was laughing happily while cleaning up. I really don’t understand her. I couldn’t refuse her invitation to spar with spears as long as she stayed in the Golden Hill Mansion. I nodded, and she suddenly changed her expression.
“I was wondering what to do if you had refused me. Old Thelesia asked me to practice with you, so I’ve been wondering how to fulfil that promise!”
Did he actually agree to my spear practice? I was dumbfounded by Claudia’s completely unexpected remark and completely lost all my energy.