|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“…For goodness’ sake, it was so nerve-wracking I almost thought there was a hole in my stomach.”
Ms. Christy was seriously clutching her stomach, seemingly recalling something, whilst Luke and I looked at each other, not quite getting what was happening.
“Well, considering that keeps the rivaling factions within the court in check, ultimately it wasn’t all bad, but…I honestly couldn’t tell when the script started and when the honest conversation ended.”
I couldn’t hear what she said in the last part well as she was more mumbling to herself than speaking, but Ms. Christy then turned to Luke. Her eyes were serious and her tone was that of a teacher…teaching her student.
“Her Divine Majesty The God-Emperor’s visit might have helped put an end to the power struggle, ostensibly speaking. There is also a possibility that the talks of your marriage will be canceled, Sir Luke. It is best for you to return to your residence and discuss your future plans with Sir Eilmer.”
“However, the matters with her haven’t…”
Luke looked at Lana, who was hiding behind me, with concern.
“Let me be clear, this is already a familiar matter. It is not your place to interfere, sir Luke. Besides, Your Ma…you have a responsibility that needs to be addressed, sir Luke. I would suppose that once you’re clear of your own issues, you can get involved with ours.”
Luke hesitated for a brief moment, but then reluctantly agreed.
“Very well. Royce, prepare a carriage home.”
Now, until the carriage that Royce prepared for Luke was ready,
“The Grand Founder will temporarily return to her seat until a new emperor is chosen.”
“When The God-Emperor wants to see the strange flower the Grand Founder has been keeping, the Grand Founder said ‘It’s just a weed.’”
Ms. Christy engaged him in irrelevant topics like such, intentionally avoiding the topic of Lana in front of him. By the time it was time for Luke to leave, he said “I’ll be back” and looked at me with renewed dignity.
Now, it is time to get down to business.
“Hm. I have been wondering, Jill, do you have any experience owning a slave?”
“…I have not.”
“Then it is a good opportunity for you to learn. Make sure you educate her properly.”
“What do you mean?”
“Exactly what I mean. Slaves — no, Free Laborer, is it? They are assets the moment they are put on that collar, and you should educate them properly so your assets return in a positive net.”
Those words were so impersonal that for a moment I couldn’t understand what was being said.
“You call her a thing too, Lady Christy?!”
“—She’s a person!”
“That you bought, with seven gold coins no less.”
But I had to, otherwise she… The moment my thoughts reached there, I fell silent. I realized that, in the end, I was just trying to find an excuse to justify myself. It was the fact that I used money to buy Lana.
“You bought that girl. The fact that she is a slave does not go away, not unless you save up enough money to buy her citizenship. Not even if you break the Stigma collar around her neck.”
When Ms. Christy pointed out what I had been secretly planning — destroying the Magic Tool bound on Lana’s neck and setting her free, an alarm went off in my mind.
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“Don’t think of doing anything stupid. That collar, the Stigma collar, is both the symbol of her status as a slave and her insurance. It is a crime to kill a dog that has an owner, but no one can blame you if you kill a stray dog.”
“Then, I’ll give her citizenship…”
“That would require a reasonable amount of money and letters of recommendation from at least three first-class citizens over the age of 20. Also, since you are still a minor, your property is at the discretion of me, your guardian.”
Ms. Christy gave me a pointed look, and Lana hid behind the back of the sofa.
“I will prepare the money myself. The letters too.”
“Suppose you have set her free, then it’s a bye-bye, out of sight out of mind for you? Or are you going to take care of her for the rest of your life? Either way, quite selfish, aren’t you.”
I was about to argue back to Ms. Christy, who seemed to be amused by the way she was cornering me, when Monika, my attendant, raised her hand a little bit.
“…um, may I?”
“Hm? What is it?”
“I have a proposal, or perhaps a way to clarify the relationship between the young lady and Lana.”
“Huh. Speak, don’t hold it back.”
“The young lady seems unused to dealing with slaves, while Lana is clearly unaware of her position. If that is the case, can’t Lana be her attendant apprentice so that her education falls to my hand?”
Our gazes focused on Monika at this unexpected proposal.
“My deepest apologies for interrupting.”
“No, I like the sound of it. Royce, what do you think?”
“I think it is a sound idea. We do need to hire a few more people to work exclusively for the young lady, that proposal might relieve the manpower shortage to some degree. Not to mention, a slave can be paid at a much lower wage.”
Royce sounded much more calculative than I thought. Was this household having a financial crisis?
“I see. That does make sense.” Nodding her head in satisfaction, Ms. Christy’s gaze turned to me and Lana. “So, what do you say? With those conditions, she will work with you while she receives education.”
Of course, I agreed to it without a second thought.
“Very well then, she will be your apprentice attendant. Monika, supervise her properly, and don’t show unnecessary compassion!”
After Monika bowed humbly, I thanked her.
“Thank you, you saved us, Monika.”
“N-, no, your words are wasted on me, young lady.”
“She’s your responsibility. You provide her with her wage and costume yourself.”
The moment my face stiffened, Ms. Christy gave me a musing look.
“Well, I’ll let you sleep together. She’s your slave, after all, you look after her.” She spoke with a smile, then left the room as if saying that the conversation was done and over with.
“Well, we’ve got a lot on our plates already, see?”
She added, as she left the room with Royce behind her.
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“…I guess we are in the red, after all.” Being left in the reception room, I sighed as I contemplated the future.