Chapter 04: A Tense Carriage Ride and House Wattin
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
It’s been three days since I met with Sieg. Today I was to visit her family home.
As the whole ordeal was decided in a hurry, I had nothing but a wooden figurine of a polar bear, but since I had nothing else I decided take that along as a gift. It was originally at the village store, but since it didn’t sell I retrieved it. I was planning to give it to my friend or something.
At the coach station, an exceptionally excellent carriage pulled by four horses awaited.
Since I heard that the coat of arms of House Wattin had yellow and black stripes with a crown-like streak, I was sure that the carriage in front of me was today’s ride.
The coach driver then saw this bumpkin and descended from his seat, and said, “You are expected, sir.” Since he opened the door so courteously, I ended up blurting out a sorry.
“G, good morning, my lady!”
Sitting with her legs crossed, Sieg greeted me crisply. Because my heart wasn’t ready for some reason, I spoke respectfully.
It’s the second time I’m with an older woman, but I’m not yet used it. I sat askew from, a strained expression on my face.
I was agonising over how I should spend the next three hours, but I seem to have forgotten that I had quite the easy personality. As soon as the carriage started moving, we started talking.
The topic was about the frontier we were going to live in, Lappland.
There were some history and customs we needed to go over.
In the harsh environment, the people have worshipped the spirit from a long time ago. However, not many believe in the spirit today. Although young people still pay their respects, they try to not learn bad habits.
That bad habit is ‘not helping others so that one can survive in this harsh environment.’
Because of this word of the spirit, the villagers only rely on themselves and their families, and rarely interact with others.
Though there is such a custom, the villagers become festive when a child is born.
A new life is said to be a precious blessing from the spirit.
When a child is born, the villagers bring good food to that house praying that the child will grow healthy.
There are many young people thinking, ‘aren’t these two teachings of the spirit contradictory?’ but it could not be helped since it was an ancient tradition.
Also, there is another amazing thing regarding the spirits.
It’s the family of a martial race that my parents brought ten years ago.
I don’t even know where they are from. I can’t communicate well with them, but they still work as servants at my house.
Apparently, they lost their homeland so went into exile, but my parents convinced them to come to the frontier.
They also worshipped the spirit. Though of course it was a different spirit.
Once, I tried my best to learn their language and culture, but to no avail.
They did not use language very much to communicate.
They express themselves through gestures. Pounding their chests, holding up fingers, and so on. It took a few years to understand those gestures. However, they only conveyed simple things, so I couldn’t form complex sentences.
I kept talking about such stories during the ride.
Thankfully, Sieg listened carefully without looking displeased.
Suddenly, she stared at me, so I wondered what it was.
“Ah, I was just wondering if you braided the hair yourself.”
When I affirmed it, I received praise.
“Well, this is also a part of spirit worship, should I say.”
From ancient times, they said that there is a mysterious power in the hair. By keeping it long, it supposedly protected people from disasters.
Well, there is that teaching, but it’s unexpectedly warm when you wrap it around your neck.
“Have you tried growing your hair?”
“Come to think of it, I never tried it.”
So I recommended that she try growing out her hair, to which she laughed refreshingly, saying that it might be a good idea.
While we were chatting like this, the three hours passed quickly.
The region of Thüringen which House Wattin ruled was a serene place overflowing with greenery. The trees that surrounded the city was dyed white in snow, creating a beautiful scenery.
After walking down the lane for a while, I saw a large mansion. The mansion of House Wattin.
Sieg said that she was returning after five years. The servants also looked happy to see her.
While we were waiting in the drawing room, one of the doors opened with great force. A boy in his mid-teens entered the room.
Upon seeing Sieg, the boy was then all smiles.
But what came out of his mouth was baffling.
“Hey, granny! Is it really true that you’re marrying?”
When I turned to Sieg out of worry, her eyes had the usual raptor-like glint.
Fortunately, it didn’t seem like anything too bad.
“Claus, you are in front of a guest. Sit down……”
“Just what sort of rich person marries this old maid.”
“Claus, behave yourself……”
“It’s that right? The guy’s remarrying or like fifty years old.”
“Claus, sit down.”
“Huh, wait, by marriage partner did you mean this girly-haired guy here!?”
“I told you to sit.”
“Why, bro. Were you threatened into…… Uwah!?”
The boy’s body leaned forward, and in an instant he went face down onto the ground.
It’s because he ignored Sieg.
Thankfully, there was a soft rug on the ground, so I don’t think the impact was too bad, but Sieg proceeded to suppress the boy with one knee and twisted his arm up.
“Ow, it’s bending, it’s going to bend, ouch, ouch!!”
“It’s not bent yet.”
“Ow, it’s going to bend!!”
Hearing the boy’s pleas, Sieg let him go.
Still lying face down, he grumbled.
“M, meathead hag……”
“Shall we talk in a private room, Claus.”
“Just follow me,” said Sieg as she dragged the boy away.
Few minutes later.
“—Hello, pleased to meet you. Claus von Wattin, at your service.”
“…… H, hi.”
“I spoke thoughtlessly a while ago. I apologize.”
“…… It’s okay.”
The boy was reeducated within minutes.
He is Sieg’s older brother’s son. Apparently, he visited his grandparents’ house because he was on vacation.
While I was having small talk with Claus, I was notified that Sieg’s parents will arrive soon.
As he left, Claus looked at me awkwardly.
“I was very rude. I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright. Don’t worry.”
The boy bowed deeply and left the room. During the conversation, he looked a little frightened of Sieg, so I was worried about what kind of education he received in the private room.
“I apologise, my nephew Claus has been rude.”
Sieg apologised for her nephew’s actions.
“There was a period where he lived in the city, so I think his behaviour is partly my fault.”
“It’s okay. Don’t mind it.”
She seemed close with her nephew.
Sieg still looked apologetic, but then her parents came in so she stopped apologising for the moment.
I was nervous about this meeting, but it turned out that Sieg’s parents were very kind-hearted.
They understood my situation and did not oppose the marriage.
Also, thankfully, they gladly accepted the polar bear figurine.
The meeting was unexpectedly uneventful. I was scared that I might be hit by her father, but everything was well.
“Then, may I head there two months later?”
“I’d like to say, ‘you’re welcome anytime,’ but I think it would be best if you came during early spring.”
“Well, if I am to live there, the seasons don’t matter that much.”
“…… Well, that is true.”
I remembered being told by a previous fiancée that this was not a place for people to live.
Still, I did not wish to force it on her.
If she says that she can’t live there, I’ll give up cleanly.
“What is it?”
Thus it was decided that Sieg will come two months later.
My time at the Wattins’ mansion passed quickly.
“Then, see you in two months’ time.”
Saying farewell, Sieg offered her hand for a handshake.
Since it was the third time already, I ended up getting cautious.
I wanted to get back at her a little, feeling mischievous.
“I’m looking forward to our next meeting, ojou-san (fräulein).
Holding both her hands tightly, I kissed her on the cheek and got on the carriage before she could voice a complaint.
From the window, I could see Sieg dazed, pressing her hand against her cheek.
I waved my hand in farewell.
I returned home as I looked forward to the time after two months.