The chaos in Vichy is continuing, but for some strange reason Tohno Earldom, which included Fokalore, was calm to a degree that one wouldn’t be able to think that there’s a war going on in the neighbouring country. That is, except for the city at the border, Rhone.
Besides the soldiers of Orsongrande, who are controlling the national border, the soldiers of Fokalore, who have been stationed there to govern the territory, their families and some merchants, no one lives in Rhone where all inhabitants died before.
That’s the reason why this town was chosen. It’s easy to manage and close to the border while being filled with empty houses where refugees that escaped from the turmoil in Vichy can live.
Upon the suggestion and appeal of Orsongrande’s Prime Minister Adol out of worry over the royal treasury, it was decided to entrust the care of the refugees to Hifumi who is governing the area. In all honesty, it’s no stretch to say that Orsongrande’s financial situation is in a dire strait due to the continuous battles. It didn’t have the monetary leeway to support refugees with especially as it’s unknown by how much their numbers will grow.
Accordingly it resulted in Orsongrande’s government discreetly pushing it onto Hifumi, but Caim, who manages the operational business of Tohno Earldom all by himself instead of Hifumi, readily decided to take responsibility for the matter at hand.
“It will be fine to take them in as residents and not as refugees on this occasion. It will also be possible to resolve the shortage in human resources. If we provide them a place to stay, they likely won’t complain even about some slightly harsh jobs. If we consider it as procurement of cheap slaves, there won’t be any issues regarding the expenses either.” (Caim)
Caim’s idea immediately got Hifumi’s authorization.
For that reason the number of people in Rhone is now increasing rapidly.
It’s necessary for the refugees to get examined by Orsongrande’s border guard and to furthermore receive a check-up by Fokalore’s soldiers, but as long as they aren’t overly suspicious or have a bad attitude, they will be given permission to enter Rhone.
For the people, who ran away from the demons and reinforced soldiers in fear while sleeping outdoors for many days, the treatment of being legitimately assigned a house and being even offered work was better than the life in their villages or cities until now.
Not that much time passed since all the houses became deserted. Thus, even if they have to do the repairs by themselves, the amount of bothersome damage to the houses is little.
Once they registered things such as their full name, age and career by properly filing a report, they were even able to obtain a temporary support in food and daily commodities. The information about their career was to confirm whether there are any dubious parts, but it will also serve as reference to assign jobs to them.
I wonder from where the rumours are originating? Factoring in the reality that the war situation isn’t good, the number of refugees flowing into Rhone is increasing day by day.
As they apparently absolutely forgot who it was that weakened their own country, many of those people are praising the feudal lord Hifumi who is also the Knight of the Slender Sword. Because a theatre troupe, which visited several places inside Orsongrande such as the royal capital, performed the highly popular play 『Knight of the Slender Sword』 for a prolonged time in Rhone for little money, the refugee’s enthusiasm knew no bounds.
“… To even call a theatre troupe, I believe that to actually be over the top.”
“If you got any complaints, take them up to the expressionless bastard in Fokalore.”
The temporary town hall set up in Rhone. In one of its rooms Doelgar and Miyukare continued a thorny dispute without taking their eyes off the documents and without raising their voices.
This is a daily occurrence in the civil official’s room in Fokalore. Even Brokra and at times Paryu will grumble about something while continuing their work. As it’s a spectacle that can be observed especially well when their workload reaches a peak, Paryu, who was currently working in the same room together with those two, didn’t pay any heed to their quarrel.
By the way, since Caim is the type to do his work silently and moreover doesn’t care about the way others work, he doesn’t participate in the quarrelling and speaking to himself nor does he caution others about it.
“In the first place, why do I have to be sent to the border? It would have been probably fine if we had left it to each of the commanding officers.”
“If you say that, it applies to me as well. Even in regards to picking out craftsmen and apprentices, it would probably finish quickly if each of the trade guilds sent someone over.”
In reality, for the soldiers who had received only training related to combat, it’s difficult to negotiate with Orsongrande, no matter whether they obtained a commanding officer rank, and they also hold no right to make any decisions. Even in regards to trade; Doelgar is carrying out the regulation of the guilds. Because the scramble for personnel is a daily struggle, this is a task that has to be done by personnel who holds the power of the state.
Though both of them understand that, they keep complaining about it, but this time Paryu, who was in the same room, was unable to ignore it.
“… Doelgar-san, Miyukare-san, are you telling me to handle the documents here all by myself…?” (Paryu)
Once the two, who had complained until now, turn their looks at Paryu, they see her exhausted expression with only her eyes gleaming with a glare.
She’s the one in charge of the family register. If the number of people in the territory increases, it becomes inevitable for additional work to visit her. Performing an investigation of all the people who crossed the border, and deciding on an appropriate handling for them after confirming all kinds of information is part of her post. As a matter of fact, the majority of staff members, who were made to follow those three, are her subordinates, but even then they are the busiest as well.
They had even lost the time to complain. At the moment she was fed up with the problem of several bundles of documents being brought in every 10 minutes, she apparently got mad at her two seniors who started to talk about abandoning their work.
“No, this is just a joke to vent a bit. Each of us is busy. That’s why we need at least this much freedom of mind, right?” (Doelgar)
“I-I didn’t particularly plan to really abandon my work? I just tried to complain a bit since I have to always associate with filthy men.” (Miyukare)
In front of the two who were trying to justify their conduct in panic, Paryu swapped an armful of document bundles from the pile of documents lying on her desk towards them.
“Doelgar-san, if you have freedom of mind, I leave this to you. It’s the part of the people related to commerce and industry who registered to have work experience among the residents who have completely drawn-up official papers after entering the country. I intended to sort them according to their type of industry, but… since you have leeway, there won’t be any problem, right?” (Paryu)
“… Yes.” (Doelgar)
“Miyukare-san, this is the part among the documents about those, who reported to have been civilians in military employ in the past, I considered it necessary for them to receive a secondary check. Since there are plenty of women included here, please check them as the one in charge of military affairs.” (Paryu)
“… Got it.” (Miyukare)
“I will go to pick up the documents at the border”, saying that, Paryu left the room. Immediately following that Doelgar and Miyukare spit out the air in their lungs and dropped their tensed shoulders.
“It’s the first time for me to feel frightened by a girl who’s more than 10 years younger than me.”
“… Aren’t you 20?”
“I’m younger than Caim.”
Due to Miyukare opening her eyes widely in surprise while unable to speak, Doelgar cursed with a brief comment and started to fight against the documents which had increased by more than twice.
The ones struggling hard in front of documents aren’t just the civil officials who are on official business in Rhone.
“Alysssama, even if you groan, that doesn’t make you progress through the textbook.” (Caim)
Being cautioned by Caim, Alyssa pursed her lips which had a pen in-between them.
“Why do I have to do this?” (Alyssa)
“As noble it’s a necessary study to stand on your own as feudal lord. Alysssama, you have to lead us for the residents, who are continuing to increase even now, as next head of the Earl household.” (Caim)
The smoothly explained details were ones even Alyssa had already agreed on.
At the time when she was told the gist of her being accepted as adopted daughter by Hifumi, Alyssa rejected it as it was far too sudden, but decided to accept it in the end as she was beginning to become vaguely aware of the fact that the emotions she felt at the time when she headed to Horant were reliance towards a senior rather than love towards a man.
Once it was decided that Alyssa will inherit the Earl household, Caim piled up his own textbooks which he prepared immediately and Brokra arranged for as many noble-like items as possible. Now they are looking for a private tutor to teach her the necessary etiquette for a noble lady.
There hasn’t been an official announcement to the residents about Alyssa becoming the heir, but those related to the territory’s management and the soldiers, who heard about it from the staff, spread the story in less than a day.
Since there are many people among the staff members of the feudal lord’s mansion who don’t know Alyssa well, there have been many bewildered voices. However, since it’s hard to imagine for Hifumi, who is still young, to retire, they were able to accept it with “Isn’t that one of his usual whimsical policies?”
The soldiers were greatly delighted.
There was also the feudal lord’s side until now. That suppressed the degree of enthusiasm towards Alyssa more or less. But now they were excited that they should mainly guard her even in exchange for their lives, not with the attitude towards a superior officer as until now but from now on towards the heir.
Setting aside such reactions of her environment, the person herself was simply happy about being able to become Hifumi’s family, but because the predecessor Hifumi was too far apart from a noble-like life, the idea that he had become a noble didn’t reach him at all.
The next day after she consented to become his adopted daughter, she was heading towards Hifumi’s office while racking her brain over an Alysstypical important matter of whether she should call Hifumi father and whether Origa will get mad if she calls her mother, but on the way she was caught by Caim and forced to study.
And there’s one more woman in the same room at her wit’s end in front of a textbook. It’s the one-eared rabbit beastman Viine.
On the day they returned while bringing her along, she was introduced to the staff members with the new title “Secretary” added. Right now she’s in the middle of systematically getting the documents prepared by the civil officials and staff members driven into her head for the sake of understanding the circumstances of the current Tohno Earldom and the knowledge necessary to support Hifumi’s work.
“It looks like my head’s going to explode…”
It’s documents filled with earnest schematic entries and content after such things as the population’s movements, the changes of industrial structures and the composition of the army were entrusted to Fokalore by Hifumi.
As they had apparently no feelings of avoiding her, the staff members reaction was that of very deep curiosity towards the beastman Viine as the person who was brought along by Hifumi and as someone unusual. Especially the female staff members are harbouring slightly dirty interest wondering whether they will be able to hear about Hifumi’s private life in a delicious manner.
As result of that, they drew up more-than-necessary, finely-detailed documents in high spirits at the time when they were ordered to present the territory’s documents of each department to Viine. Under the pretext of explaining those, staff members continuously visited Viine for few hours at start while changing places with each other.
Since she couldn’t concentrate in that situation, Caim had her move to the study room of Alyssa whom he is supervising.
No matter how much interest they might have; in front of Caim, who asks 「Your business?」 while directly looking at them with no expression, there were no staff members that were bold enough to try starting an idle chat round.
Thanks to that, it resulted in Viine being able to study with Alyssa’s groans as BGM inside the room with a feeling of tension hanging in the air due to the continuous monitoring.
“Please don’t hold back and ask me if there are any parts you don’t understand.” (Caim)
Though she gave him an answer, Viine’s first impression of Caim was her considering him scary. Even though she was sending fleeting glances at Caim, far from asking a question, she hesitated to even call out to him.
At the time she was restlessly grasping a document tightly, the civil official Brokra knocked and entered the room.
“Excuse me. Alysssama, since I was able to arrange for a private tutor, the time for education will start from the day after tomorrow.” (Brokra)
“… I want to train outside with everyone.” (Alyssa)
“That’s not allowed.” (Caim)
Not Brokra but Caim flatly comments with an indifferent voice.
“If I study while keeping sitting for such long time, my butt will get sore!” (Alyssa)
“Please endure it for a while. Since there’s also dancing in the general education course, you will have the chance to move your body.” (Brokra)
“That’s not the problem here”, Alyssa objects with teary eyes. Due to that, Caim repetitively explains just how important education and studying is for the bearings of a feudal lord in a dispassionate manner.
Due to the indifferent persuasion that seems to even tire out Viine who is just listening from the side, Alyssa threw the towel, 50% out of weakness, and returned to transcribing the textbook after saying “Got it.”
Viine, who saw Alyssa’s great efforts in Horant with her own eyes, wondered that such a strong person was talked down with words to a degree that she couldn’t even refute at all resulting in her having even more difficulty in dealing with Caim.
Because Brokra discovered her look searching for help by chance, she tried to resolve it by receiving Viine’s question, but the rabbit beastman, who will otherwise stay eternally afraid of Caim, might get locked up in the room without graduating the secretary curriculum.
However, since it developed into an endless clash of opinions regarding Viine’s education between Caim and Brokra, the pressure felt by Viine only increased.
“Is this the staff room here?” (Hifumi)
Hifumi, who came to see the situation of Alyssa and Viine, muttered that comment after hearing the dispute and ran away without entering the room.