While Ryouma was thinking about his future…
“I suppose that concludes our plans for the day?” [Reinhart]
“Yes, a job well done, my lord.” [Maid 1]
“Will you be eating now? Or perhaps a bath?” [Maid 2]
“Hmm… I don’t know. Elize, you decide.” [Reinhart]
“I want to take my time in the bath, so let’s eat first.” [Elize]
“Understood. Please wait a moment.” [Maid 1]
The maids walked out of the luxurious room that had a calm atmosphere to it and a set of uniform furniture. The duke and his wife, Reinhart and Elize, watched as they left.
“Sigh…” [Reinhart and Elize]
Then they sighed deeply.
The consecutive days of work and receiving of guests had exhausted them.
“Good grief… It’s not like it’s anything new, but this time of the year is really hopeless.” [Reinhart]
“Indeed… It would at least make our lives easier if the people visiting us were not so stiff…” [Elize]
Although they knew that this was a part of their duties, they were still humans. There were times when they too became tired.
With the room all to themselves, they made no effort to conceal their fatigue as they looked at the piles of documents.
“How much of it do you think is true of those requests?” [Reinhart]
“Who knows? …About 70% would be nice.” [Elize]
“…Truly a mountain of troubles.” [Reinhart]
Those were all requests from the nobles they were acquainted with. A ‘request for loan’.
“At the very least, I think this one is suspicious.” [Elize]
“Which one? …Oh, this one? Yeah, it’s obvious he just wants money so he can flaunt his wealth.” [Reinhart]
“How many times does this make it? And yet, this person is still as terrible with handling money as ever .” [Elize]
To the nobles, the coming months are an important period for socializing. During this time, they hold parties every night to deepen their relationships with acquaintances and friends. The nobles invest large sums of money into their preparations to avoid losing face.
The burden on their finances is by no means light, so it’s not uncommon for nobles to live as thrifty as commoners or – in some cases – even thriftier than them during periods outside of this ‘social’ season. Every few years, it’s not uncommon for people to make it in life only to mistake the spending of their money and go bankrupt.
It is also during this socializing season that nobles secretly borrow money from families with stable finances.
“I’d love to just reject this…” [Reinhart]
Reinhart withheld his judgment. There were reasons for why he could not just rip the requests into shreds and throw them into the garbage bin.
“Some are citing defenses against monsters and monster damages as reasons.” [Elize]
“They sure found one annoying excuse to abuse…” [Reinhart]
If they really had suffered damages from monsters or had found their pockets empty due to needing to build infrastructures to protect their citizens, then there was certainly some considerations to be made.
The duke and his wife had to be careful in handing out loans to these people. Especially to nobles subordinated to them.
If they were to handle this poorly, their reputation among the nobles might worsen.
That might later become the cause of evil or the deterioration of relationships.
Although they may have authority befitting that of a duke’s family, it still didn’t benefit them to make trouble needlessly.
What’s more is that monsters have indeed been getting more active throughout the country in recent years.
Because of that it was not so easy to dismiss the claims as mere pretenses. They needed to gather information first and then carefully make their decision.
“Speaking of which, Ryouma should be coming soon.” [Reinhart]
“What is it all of the sudden?” [Elize]
“Didn’t the monsters start increasing 3 years ago? I was just thinking, isn’t that also when he started living at the forest?” [Reinhart]
“Now that you mention it, that does seem to be the case. …That child sure did well to be able to leave his hometown…” [Elize]
“Indeed. And now he plans on going back to that monster den he calls his hometown. I wonder if he’ll be alright. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter that it was originally a monster’s den?” [Reinhart]
“Based on what I’ve heard from the reports, he seems to be doing fine in town. I really don’t think there’s any need for him to expose himself to danger…” [Elize]
“I don’t want to see him doing something so dangerous either, but the one who gets to decide how he wants to live is none other than him. Even if he’s a kid, he’s still a man, and I think he has enough strength to fit the bill.” [Reinhart]
“I know. But I’m still worried. Elia also went to school, so it’s lonely nowadays.” [Elize]
Reinhart wryly smiled.
“It’s alright. Ryouma-kun is doing alright, and he has people who can help him out. Elia was able to make good friends thanks to him too, remember?” [Reinhart]
“…That’s true. I know those children won’t remain children forever, but that still doesn’t change how I feel. In fact, if father-in-law were around, I would love to go out myself.” [Elize]
When Elize said that, the color of Reinhart’s face changed.
“Please don’t. If even you go, I’ll lose my mind. The work is piled up and dad even took Sebasu with him. If he’d just left at least Sebasu here, things might still be fine, but…” [Reinhart]
“Fu fu. Who was it that told him ‘Elia’s left for school already, so it won’t be long before she doesn’t need you anymore’? He flew out like a chicken on fire. I was really shocked.” [Elize]
“He really pulled a fast one on us…” [Reinhart]
As the topic of their conversation shifted to their family, the atmosphere in the room gradually became gentle.
It was then that one of the maids from before came back.
“The food is ready.” [Maid 1]
“Got it. We’ll have them now.” [Reinhart]
“…Did something happen? You both look better than before.” [Maid 1]
“We just managed to calm down after talking idly.” [Reinhart]
“Oh, right… There’s a guest coming in the near future I’d like to accommodate. Please prepare a room for him.” [Elize]
“Very well.” [Maid 1]
“Also, about the thing we were talking about earlier, please make preparations for that as well. I’m sorry. I know it must be tough, but given the season, you will probably have your work cut out for you.” [Elize]
“It’s fine, Madam. You’re dealing with the same thing yourself. And we maids take the concerns of our coworkers seriously.” [Maid 1]
Satisfied with the maid’s strong response, the husband and wife pair were about to walk to the dining room.
“My lord.” [Maid 3]
But then another maid visited them. In her hands was a letter.
“…What is that in your hands?” [Reinhart]
“A letter, my lord. It came just awhile ago.” [Maid 3]
“From who?” [Reinhart]
Reinhart said as he checked the name of the sender on the envelope. A look of surprise flashed on his face.
“Another one.” [Reinhart]
“…Good grief. This is really making me want to see Elia.” [Elize]
“Endure it. For now let us have our meal.” [Reinhart]
Reinbach and their capable butler should have been here helping them, but they were unable to stop them when the former suddenly took their butler and left for their daughter.
The troubles of this husband and wife would continue for some time…