Hokuou Kizoku to Moukinzuma no Yukiguni Karigurashi — 36

Chapter 36: Aina and Emmerich
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife

Today the women in the village are making linen. Sieg too went out early to help.
Meanwhile, I am going to gather the kids in the village and weed the farming fields. Since the women can’t take time to care for the children, I volunteered for it.

Since I told them to gather at the Spirit stone, I headed there.

“Ah, my lord~ Good morning~”
“Good, mor, ning!”

There are seven children in total. They are children from the age of 5 to 8, who can’t help in making linen.
However, there was one child that stood out. What’s this big one doing……

“……Erm, why are you here, Aina?”
“Mum went to make linen.”
“I-I see.”

The feeling of disharmony came from Aina who was sixteen years old.
She said that she was told by her mother to go to the fields.

Aina’s mother, I wonder if she got healthier. I heard that she couldn’t even move her body well after losing her husband.

“But honestly, I am grateful. I did think that I’d like another person to do this with.”
“It’s not like I came for you.”

Though she acted coldly, she went along while holding a small child’s hand. She seemed to be quite friendly with them, since they followed her quite well.
I also talked to the other children, and then started moving to the fields.

……But then, I was called out to on the way.

“My lord, can you take my child too?”

The lady who approached had a toddler that just started walking. The toddler won’t be able to help in farming.

“S-Sorry, both parents are sick.”
“Haa, is that so.”

On busy days like these, the people at home are supposed to look after the children.
However, if both of them are not feeling well, they can’t help but leave it to someone else.

“Alright. Please prepare three towels, two kuksas and a cloth for carrying the child on my back.”
“Thank you!”

I held the child as I waited for her to bring the requested goods.
This child here was gentle, and did not cry even with a stranger like me held him. When I lifted him up high, he giggled happily.

While carrying the child on my back, I headed to the fields.
On the way, Teoporon met up with us. As soon as they saw the big man with the bear hat, the children approached. The aloof white bear warrior was unexpectedly popular with children.

When I passed through the fortress’s corridor, I got an energetic greeting from the reception desk.

“Good morning, my lord!!”

Strangely, the soldiers at the fortress were in very good shape these days.
There were idling away on alcohol, but recently I can’t smell alcohol on them. Also, they do their guard duties diligently, and their behaviour is like a proper soldier.

About two months ago, a new captain came here after getting demoted. Maybe it might be thanks to him, but I don’t know.
I passed through while tilting my head in wonder.

“Have a safe trip, my lord!!”
“I’m just going to the fields.”
“To take work into your hands, you’re incredible, sir!”

This might be the right behaviour, but since I knew how depraved they were, it felt out of place.
Well, it’s a good thing. I decided to leave it alone.

“Tell the lookout to alert us if any beasts approach.”
“Yes, sir, gladly——!”

The receptionist swiftly stood up and showed me a neat salute.

Outside the fortress, a vast expanse of fields unfolded before us.
The villagers take turns doing work. The vegetables that were planted during the thawing season were growing well. Although we can’t any great harvests since the soil isn’t good here.

Used to doing this, the children moved in between the furrows and picked out unnecessary plants at a great rate.
I told them to advance while collecting the weed in a basket. The collected weed will be dried and used as fertiliser for the next year.

Since I was taking care of a toddler, I, well, didn’t work. It’s dangerous to take one’s eyes off children this age, so my eyes were always on the child.
Left without many choices, I just strolled around the area and blew grass whistles to pass time.

Around noon, Ruruporon and Miruporon brought lunch.
I gathered everyone and made them wash their hands at the pond.

“My lord~ is it clean now?”
“Ah, there’s still dirt under our nails. One more time.”

I properly checked if their hands were clean. Since it would make children sick if they ate with dirty hands, I inspected them strictly.

Ruruporon prepared meatball in cream soup and rye bread.
The meatballs were brought in a large pot, an abundant amount. The children got their portion in their own kuksas that they brought from home.

Since rye bread was too heavy for a toddler, I put it in the soup and waited for it to soften. He looked hungry, almost looking as if he wanted to fall into the bowl. “A bit, wait a little bit~” I said as I waited for the bread to soften.

“My lord, did you eat yet?”

As I fed the toddler, Aina came over.

“No, not yet.”
“I’ll take over for you, go eat.”
“How about you, Aina?”
“I ate already.”
“Okay. Thank you.”

I passed the bowl and the spoon to her and sat the toddler on my lap next to Aina. Then I went and got my portion of meatballs and bread.

Having finished his meal, the toddler started dosing, so I carried him on my back and tied him tightly with a cloth.

I was waiting for this moment.
I resolved to work hard in the afternoon.

“Ah, Aina.”
“A letter arrived from Emmerich.”
“W-Whaddya say!?”

Because the toddler might awake from sudden loud noises, I warned Aina.

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner.”
“I forgot.”
“Sorry, I didn’t think that you were looking forward to Emmerich’s letters that much.”
“H-Haa!? As if I looked forward to those!”

Aina and Emmerich are exchanging letters in secret. Those letters are delivered through my house.
Though the rate was a bit strange, with Emmerich sending three while Aina wrote only one.

“That person, he’s really strange.”
“Yeah, really. Once, he picked a flower and pressed it into a bookmark and sent it to me.”
I wonder who it was that came asking for the name of that pressed flower?
Of course, it was a foreign one, so I had no way of knowing.

Rather, I remember getting an indescribable feeling from imagining Emmerich squatting down and picking flowers or pressing flowers.

As to why a relatively affluent man is giving such gifts, it’s the result of my advice that gifts that aren’t too expensive are better. Who could have imagined that he would give things that did not cost a penny.

It wasn’t only the pressed flower bookmark that Emmerich sent.

“He even sent a letter on some thick paper with a picture.”

I think I saw her seriously eyeing the picture of the beautiful white castle, but maybe that person just resembled her.

Postcards are rare here, but in other countries it’s quite common. I, too, when I first saw it being sold as a souvenir, I remember going ‘heh~’ in awe.

“What’s more, he even sent a shellfish he picked up on the beach, you know!?”

On Aina’s wrist, there was a bracelet made from rose pink shellfish. She made it from his gift. She defnintely seemed to like it.

Whatever she said, it seemed that they liked each other, so I ended up feeling delighted.
Realising that I was being smug, Aina acted dishonestly as if to hide her feelings.

“He’s really strange!”
“I~ see~”

Though she said that Emmerich is strange, to others, it doesn’t sound like that.
When I replied light-heartedly to her, I was glared at.

“By the way, he said that he’s coming over soon. Wasn’t that written on your letter?”
“Haa!? What’s that!?”
“Eh, no?”

Because I had cloth around me from carrying a toddler, it took a little time to reach the inner pocket.
In front of me, Aina was being visibly impatient.

“What does it say?”
“It says that a dog he’s raising at home gave birth.”

Emmerich, how disappointing.

I ended up getting worried about their future. It was a very disappointing story of such a day.

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tsun tsun dere tsun dere tsun tsun~

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