Chapter 47: Aina’s Activity Report
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
Dear Emmerich David,
Autumn is growing deeper every day here. Are you well?
Here in these remote lands, it snowed for the first time just yesterday. The white carpet over the ground accents the autumn foliage.
The hunting season is starting soon, and the village is getting busy, so I am getting anxious. Because the men of the village become rougher once the hunting season starts.
I hope for the warm seasons to come quickly.
Also, I want to meet Emmerich-san quickly.
Aina Salonen Bergholm.
I continued to rewrite the letter over and over again.
‘When spring comes, I will be able to meet Emmerich-san again, so I will endure with that as encouragement.’ I changed the final sentence to that. I then put the letter in the envelope and sealed it with candle wax.
The wooden box dad had made is full of letters from that man.
It is my treasure box. For a long time, I had only cherished the box so it used to not have anything.
I put that box into the drawer.
The house I am in right now is the he will be living in. Ritzhard-oniichan lent me the keys, and let me live here.
I also checked on the tablecloth, the curtains and the sitting mats.
Before I realised it, the room was getting further away from the appearance of a man’s house, but I continued anyway thinking that they can be removed if he doesn’t like them.
In the early morning, once my secret work is over, I go home and start working.
I remove the snow from the roof before the sun rises, prepare breakfast, wash the clothes with cold water, clean the house, prepare lunch, make handicrafts, go shopping if there’s not enough ingredients, then prepare dinner.
After dad passed away and mum fell ill, I did the same work every day.
However, in that daily life, a change came.
I met Emmerich David.
He was a foreigner that did not know the infamy of the Bergholm family.
Our family is hated terribly.
There’s the arrogant attitude and the hate for others. Full of disdain, swatting away helping hands.
It’s just keeping true to the teachings of the Spirit, but that earned the ire of the villagers that were trying to abandon old ideas.
But then, he approached and talked to me, not knowing that I was in that family.
When I first met him, I thought that he was a weird person, but I soon learned of his character through letters.
The soldier Emmerich was, well, a strange person.
He’s living in harsh conditions, but the things written on his letters are only those of peace. He writes of the snacks he had that day, of his dog, of the flower he’s been raising.
They were such trivial letters, but before I knew it, I was looking forward to them.
I noticed that they were the only things decorating the otherwise fruitless life here.
His frequent letters were my only source of joy.
While I was spending time like that, a joyful news came.
It was that he was coming over to visit on a holiday.
I read the letter over and over again. I was so happy that I decided to take it with me back home to read it again.
Jubilant, I did not check the surroundings and went out of the house, but soon let out a shriek of surprise.
The family hunting dog was here.
And needless to say, grandpa came out of the bushes.
“You!! You were being strangely buoyant recently, so this was it!!”
Grandpa grabbed my arm and took the key from my hand.
He opened the door, but of course there was no one inside.
“Is there anyone living here!?”
“No, no one’s living here yet!”
Thankfully, grandpa does not know that this house is Ritz-oniichan’s. If I stay silent and endure the whole thing, everything will pass without trouble.
For a few days after that, I kept silent to grandfather’s interrogations. I was scolded everyday, and I was sometimes even slapped, but I’m also a member of the Bergholm family. As if I tell him everything.
However, the damage was done in other places.
Mum’s condition, which had been recovering recently, worsened again because of grandpa’s moodiness. Grandma too, who was listening from her room, did not open her mouth.
To hide the bruises on my cheek and under my eye, I worked with a cloth bandaged around my head.
A kid in the village saw my face when I was on my to shop for goods, but the kid pretended to have not seen me.
That was normal. The only people who talked to me were Ritz-oniichan or Sieglinde-san. To not get found out by those two kind people, I shopped quickly.
The mood in the house was the worst. Grandpa did not even go out on his hunts to keep watch on me.
Finally, one day, having run out of patience, grandpa went out of the house with a gun, saying that he will ambush the man.
Tomorrow, Emmerich is coming to the village. If he waits out by the house, it’ll be found out.
I chased after grandpa who was striding to that house and shouted for him to stop, but of course he didn’t listen.
Grandpa called me over and opened the door with the key.
When he opened the door, coincidentally, there was a silhouette of a person.
“IS IT YOUUUUU!!”
There was my incensed grandpa and the surprised Ritz-oniichan.
“Grandpa, stop! The lord is not involved in this!”
“Ei, let go!”
The gunstock I was holding down hit my cheek, so I collapsed there.
Unfaltered by the gun pointed at him, Ritz-oniichan pushed away grandpa and rushed over here.
At that moment, a gunfire rang out.
The bullet grazed Ritz-oniichan’s arm and headed for the ground.
“……It’s been a while since I was called like that.”
Even though he was bleeding, he had the leisure to murmur that.
He was being so carefree even in such a dire situation so I was bewildered for a moment. However, I soon realised that he was grazed by a bullet so I quickly tied a handkerchief over the wound to stop the bleeding.
Grandpa was standing absentmindedly while still having the gun pointing over here.
He probably didn’t mean to actually shoot someone. Though it might look as though he is expressionless to others, as family I could tell that he was shaken up.
Ritz-oniichan looked at my face and frowned. Then I remembered that I had bruises on my face.
My grandfather was holding a gun and I had bruises. He probably realised what was going on from that.
“Bergholm-san, can you hear me out?”
“I’ll be taking Aina for a night.”
“I won’t let you do that!”
“My wife will take care of her, so please rest easy.”
Grandpa learned then that the lord had married.
Ritz-oniichan told grandpa that they will talk more the next day, and then took me away.
The next day.
It was morning of the day when Emmerich was coming.
I spent the night at the lord’s mansion crying in front of Sieglinde-san.
I had bruises on my face in addition to the eyes swollen from tears.
“W-What should I do, Emmerich’s, coming, today.”
“Don’t cry, it will better with a warm towel.”
Sieglinde-san used her time to wipe my face with a warm towel, and put on makeup to hide the bruises as much as possible. She lent me Ritz-oniichan’s mum’s clothes. The skirt was a little short, but she told me that young women these days wore knee-length colts so it would be fine.
A while later, a guest visited the mansion.
It was Emmerich.
The moment I saw him, I lunged into his arms.
I thought that I won’t be able to see him again.
I had makeup on, yet I cried so much that my face became a mess.
Emmerich hugged me without saying anything.
After I calmed down, we all sat down together and told Emmerich everything.
“This time, I think you should reveal everything to your family.”
Ritz-oniichan said that, but both grandpa and grandma are very stubborn. They won’t forgive.
“What do you want to do, Aina?”
I have no idea.
I was being delusional, just wanting to forget everything and live happily with Emmerich.
However, I can’t abandon my family.
“If I’m forced to choose between Emmerich or family, I have to choose family.”
The teaching of the Spirit, cherish your family, was rooted deeply within me. I could not accept only myself being happy.
After I said that, tears rolled down my cheek again.
I wiped my tears, thinking that it was not convincing at this rate, but the tears did not know when to stop.
“Aina, it’s alright. Let’s go talk to them. I’ll persuade your grandfather.”
Ritz-oniichan said that, but I couldn’t see the talk going well.
A few hours later.
At the place of the talk, there was grandpa, mum, who was looking pale, Ritz-oniichan, Sieglinde-san and Emmerich.
Grandpa didn’t have his gun with him. I felt relieved at that.
Ritz-oniichan mediated and told grandpa about Emmerich, but grandpa maintained his disapproving stance.
“So you were instigated by a foreigner!! You are being deceived!!”
“Bergholm-san, it’s different. Emmerich is planning to move in here.”
“As if an outsider can ever survive these lands!! For example, your parents left this village!!”
Because he was attacked in a sensitive spot, Ritz-oniichan was at a loss for words.
Grandpa grabbed Emmerich’s arm and tried to force him up.
“The next time you step into this house, I’ll shoot!!”
“You stay still!!”
I clung to him to stop him, but he raised a hand, aiming at me.
However, he couldn’t swing that hand down.
Emmerich had grabbed that hand.
He hid me behind him.
And from an unexpected direction, a voice came.
“——Won’t you please stop now?”
Mum, who was staying silent, was glaring at grandfather.
“Father-in-law, have you ever thought of this child’s happiness?”
“I am looking for her marriage partner!”
“Then who’s the candidate?”
“I was always anguished at myself who could not move. I was sorry for causing trouble to Aina.”
Mum looked at me and smiled as if to say that everything was alright.
“Now, let’s live harmoniously with just the three of us, mother-in-law, father-in-law and me.”
“Emmerich-san, can you take Aina away to your country.”
Emmerich looked surprised, but he soon said, “Please leave it to me.”
“What idiotic nonsense are you blabbering!?”
“Father-in-law, you’re too arbitrary!! You’re blocking such a cute granddaughter’s path to happiness!!”
Grandpa tried to push Emmerich away, but he held fast while hiding me behind him.
From my mum’s voice as the signal, Emmerich darted out the house while carrying me.
Grandpa tried to give pursuit, but Sieglinde-san held him down.
Ritz-oniichan followed closely behind.
“Emmerich, go to my house.”
After that, Ritz-oniichan ran back into my home.
A little while after we ran away to the lord’s mansion, Ritz-oniichan and Sieglinde-san came back.
When we gathered in the living room, there was a surprising news.
“Aina, won’t you go to Emmerich’s country.”
In front of me, a passport and a suitcase mum prepared was laid out.
“To be honest, I talked over it with Aina’s mother a while back.”
It seems that Ritz-oniichan predicted that it might come to this.
“As you saw, Aina’s grandfather didn’t listen, did he?”
“Aina, are you afraid of living overseas?”
Sieglinde-san asked, but I was still confused so I couldn’t answer her right away.
“I can’t leave my family behind.”
“It’s alright, so trust your mother and try going once. Right, Emmerich?”
Emmerich was looking at me and nodding.
“I will protect Aina.”
Ultimately, I heeded the adults’ advice and left the village.
The life overseas I was suddenly thrust into was full of surprises.
As for the language, I had been studying in secret with a book I had bought at the gift shop to surprise Emmerich, so it wasn’t too bad.
Moreover, my daily work in a foreign country was the same.
I cooked, cleaned and did the laundry.
Living together was awkward, and was a series of shyness and reservation, but every day was new and fun.
After Emmerich retired from the army, we moved into the countryside. There we raised goats and a cat he brought from the city.
He worked at the village office.
It was modest and quiet, but the joyful days continued.
After a year and a half of living like that, Emmerich told me something.
“Aina-chan. Let’s go back to the village.”
I couldn’t understand him. My eyes opened wide in surprise.
Then, a surprisingly sorrowful voice came out.
“I, was it too hard?”
Emmerich always said that my food was delicious, said that my work was clean, and also thanked me for doing the household chores, so I thought he was content.
However, that might not have been the case.
I was still worried about my family in the village.
“I’m planning on leaving after a month.”
“Are you dropping me back home?”
Emmerich looked puzzled.
“Aina-chan, what are you talking about?”
“What do you mean, what are you talking about!?”
I thought that I was being sent back to the village, but Emmerich was suggesting to permanently move into the village.
What a big misunderstanding.
“No, really? You’ll live with me in the village?”
Emmerich nodded with a smile.
Thus, we went back to the village.
Even after a year and a half, the village had not changed much.
But I was surprised at how my family changed.
Mum was working energetically, and grandma was working outside as well.
In contrast, grandpa had pined away, and apparently even hunting did not go well.
“A-Aina, I’m sorry.”
Surprisingly, grandpa easily approved the marriage.
It seemed that he was constantly harassed by mum.
We started living in the house that Ritz-oniichan lent to us.
I visited my family every day and chatted with mum and grandma who were in much better conditions.
Today, Emmerich went out to hunt boars with grandpa again. As a man from the military, he was good with the gun and had talent for hunting, or so grandpa said.
When I turned around, there stood the man who took care of me from when I was little.
I greeted him with a smile.
Today, the village in the remote lands was at peace again.
Gyahh 2450 words