Chapter 60: The Unfortunate People of House Wattin
Volume 2 — The Honeymoon of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
Father-in-law said that the ranch he started for fun after he retired was a small one, but for a country bumpkin like me it was plenty big.
In the fenced field, there are sheep, horses, cows, goats. There are pigs in the large hut and there are chickens in the small hut.
“First, let us start with cleaning.”
I was to clean the pigsty. The pigs go out strolling once a day, and cleaning is done in the meanwhile.
A large dog is guiding them. It’s barking towards the easygoing pigs to move them.
Cleaning involves collecting the hay and replacing them with new ones. I am also to clean the feeders.
Father-in-law showed me an example, so I understood the feeling, so I asked him to leave it to me.
I thought I would be fine because I was used to taking care of reindeers and chickens, but the smell in the pigsty was beyond my imaginations. I didn’t think I could endure it, so I tied a handkerchief around my mouth and nose before I continued working.
When I was almost finished, I heard a dog barking.
When I opened the gate, there were many pigs waiting with a dog at the lead.
“Can you wait a bit more?”
I asked them to wait then quickly finished up.
After that, there was more work and more work to do. There were about ten people working on the ranch. He was doing this as a hobby, so he decided to not get too many people.
“Iyaa, you really helped out a lot.”
“No, I’m still a bit slow.”
Father-in-law and I rested alongside each other. We were covered with dirt, but everyone was like that here so I didn’t care that much.
I washed only my hands and sipped warm milk.
Unlike reindeer milk, cow milk did not taste strong and went down the throat easily. The flavour was thick, and the scent was soft.
“It feels good to have something this tasty after working hard.”
“I’m glad you say that.”
All the dairy products they have at home are from this ranch. There’s also sausage, ham and smoked meat. Most of them are not sold, but used by family members and servants.
After the short break, it was time to feed the animals. While taking care to not stare into the pigs who were rushing over with great vigour, I put in feed in the feeders that I just cleaned.
Today’s work is finished! I didn’t do much work, but my stomach shamelessly growled.
“Now, let us go back. Are you hungry? Ah, before that, we should take a bath first.”
On the wagon back, there were fresh milk, chunks of meat, and cheese wrapped in cloth. I sat down somewhere while father-in-law drove the horse.
The day was already almost over. The cold breeze brushed my cheeks, but it felt softer compared to the breeze back home.
Where I lived, the leaves all disappeared in winter, but here there was more green than white.
The fir trees surrounding the ranch are supposedly evergreens, trees which do not have their leaves fall.
“Since I see it all the time, it is not that interesting for me, but I see that it is interesting for someone from the snow country.”
“Well. The trees back home all shed their leaves before winter.”
“I see. By the way, there is a song.”
“Right. Celebrating Christmas.”
Father-in-law seemed to remember it well. He sang the song while humming some parts. Though he said that it’s a song for Christmas, it was totally a song for the evergreen fir tress.
After we arrived, we delivered the goods to the servants in the kitchen and went straight to the bath.
“Ritzhard-kun, you can go first.”
“No no, father-in-law, you should go first!”
“No, I cannot go in before the person of honour today.”
“I didn’t do much today!”
“Everything is alright. Just go in first.”
“I’ll be fine with just some water in a barrel!”
“What are you talking about. You will catch a cold then.”
We kept telling each other to go in first, so in the end we went in together.
In the count’s mansion, there’s a special bath for people who came back covered in dirt from the ranch.
“Now now, shall I wipe your back?”
“I am doing this out of gratitude. There is nothing to worry about.”
“N-No! Father-in-law! It’s alright. I’ll just receive your feelings!! I can wash by myself!”
“Hey, you don’t have to hesitate.”
The first bath I took with father-in-law was awkward in another sense.
I returned to my room without drying my hair properly. I undid my hair which was tied up carelessly and started drying it with a towel.
We are having dinner soon, so I am wearing clean clothes. I also have to make sure my hair is clean.
While I was drying my hair, there was a knock on the door.
“Ah, come in~”
When I answered half-heartedly, the door opened. Sieglinde came in.
“Huh, what is it?”
“No, I just wanted to see you.”
I moved the chair in the centre and offered her a seat.
“Sorry about this.”
“No, it’s alright.”
I didn’t want to show her me letting my hair down, so I always came out after fully drying my hair, but today because there was father-in-law I more or less ran away from the bathroom.
“It’s the first time seeing your hair untied.”
It’s like a sad wet dog so I didn’t want to show her though.
“Shall I dry it for you?”
The towel was taken from my hand.
Sieg moved behind me and dried my hair with smooth movements.
After she dried it, she tied my hair.
“Should I have tied it tighter?”
“No. It’s tied well.”
“I see. That’s a relief.”
Sieg said that she played with dolls with her niece in case this might happen.
“What should I say, I feel like I’m dying.”
“What do you mean?”
“I can’t do anything for this kind and cute Sieg.”
I can’t touch Sieg that much because she has morning sickness. So I could only gently caress her hand.
I had been off Sieg for a month, so just touching her energises me.
Until dinner was ready, the two of us spent the time quietly.
Unexpectedly, dinner was held at a small table for eight people. Sieg’s parents and two of her unmarried brothers, in total six people.
This was because father-in-law thought that dining with too many people would make it hard to talk together.
“Today was a really good day. Work went well thanks to Ritzhard-kun.”
“Sorry, we made you work the day you arrived.”
I felt much obliged from father-in-law and mother-in-law’s kind words. I wasn’t used to receiving praise, so I could only put on a shallow smile.
My brothers-in-law were being criticised by father-in-law, “Help at least a bit.” To that, they humbly retorted, “We do not need to help with a ranch that is run as a hobby.”
“Even so, it is a relief. Sieg was getting rough…… I mean, getting lonely.”
“Brother, that is,”
“It is better now, a little bit.”
My brothers-in-law talked about Sieg.
“Sieglinde sometimes become ferocious…… I mean, tomboyish.”
“But that’s her cute part!”
Suddenly, my brother-in-law’s expression stiffened and he dropped the glass he had in his hand.
“A-Are you alright!?”
“A, aa. Sorry about that.”
After reviving from his stiff state, he said that without meeting my gaze.
“Ah, so that is why.”
The brother-in-law who is a year older than Sieg, sitting diagonally across from me, spoke up.
“Sieglinde can sometimes be overbearing…… I mean, she is sometimes strong-willed, how are you doing?”
“But her words are correct, so,”
“How much is he train…!! Gefu!!”
He suddenly looked down at his foot and looked to be in pain. I wonder what happened. Sieg, sitting across from him, also looked at him worriedly.
“Sieglinde, how nice that Ritzhard is a magnanimous man.”
With father-in-law’s mysterious words, the conversation was over.