“…Are you all right, Milady?”
Sebastian and Sei are both entrusted to handle the fief’s and Conglomerate’s affairs respectively. Tanya is now in the middle of investigating the Church as well as keeping an eye on the royal capital’s movement, while Ryle and Dida are working together to strengthen public order within the fief. Moneda is busy traveling back and forth between the bank and the merchant guild, and Rehme is lending Sebastian a helping hand with his tasks. Therefore, amongst the servants who see me on a regular basis, the only one available to pay me a visit at the moment is Merida.
As she entered the room, I raised my lowering eyebrows.
“…Am I looking all right to you?”
Putting on an exaggerated expression, I retorted with a sarcastic smile.
“Forgive my rudeness. The way I see it, you should take as much break as possible, Milady. Here, please have some chocolate and tea.”
I took a bar of chocolate. Yum, this was quite delicious. The effect soon spread over my head.
“Tell me, Merida. I wonder, aren’t you receiving various job offers from other places too?”
“I guess that’s true, given the fact that I am supervising the whole teashop line of the Conglomerate.”
Merida burst into laughter. It was quite refreshing to see such cheerfulness these days.
“Weren’t there places with extraordinary terms as well?”
Merida had her eyes widened as if being surprised by my inquiry… nevertheless, she smiled again.
“…Right now, I couldn’t care less about how others wish to have me. It is all thanks to Milady that I was able to come this far. That is why I have no interest in any other places.”
“Besides, I don’t really want to see Milady getting crushed at this point.”
She broadly grinned.
“…I will try my hardest to meet your expectation.”
The preparation was almost completed, though we still lacked one final piece. Nevertheless, I will not go easy on the opponents this time, never will I. I will cut off their escape completely and drive them to the wall. Otherwise, they will take advantage of it and strike at me afterwards. For the sake of that piece.
“…Pardon the intrusion, Milady.”
As I was lost in deep thought, I did not realize that Merida had taken her leave, and before long, another character has turned up in her place.
Despite myself, I cried out by the appearance of the unexpected character.
“W-Why are you here…?”
“To lend you a hand.”
“To lend me a hand, you say? You should have known our current situation better than any else, yet you still decided to come regardless of that?”
Although it is reasonable should one decide to keep their distances from a proclaimed sinner, for him to come here was simply unbelievable. It is on the same level as helping a criminal in Japan’s common sense.
In reality, a lot of people are leaving the Conglomerate, and even though I have withdrawn from the fief’s bureaucracy, letters of protest asking me to give up the position of fief’s acting lord are still coming everyday.
“Yes, certainly. Hence I was thinking if I am able to lend you a helping hand though.”
“But, to lend a hand to a sinner? For all one knows, the Church of Darryl would even set their eyes on you. For you to purposely take such a risk… it just doesn’t make any sense at all!”
Isn’t this because of my fatigue or so… though I was calmer at the time with Merida, my tone with Dean was regrettably more aggressive. Though I realized it immediately, I couldn’t stop the words from leaving my mouth.
“It does make sense though. Haven’t I told you before? I have already belonged to you, Milady. If you cannot depend on me at such times, when would I ever be reliable to you?”
Hearing Dean’s blatantly obvious response, I was at lost for words in an instant.
“Furthermore, not only can you depend on me, but I also have what you are seeking right now.”
I was speechless as he quickly handed over that and gave the following words. Don’t tell me, he had managed to secure the final piece, and moreover, to bring it here at long last. It was not even the feeling of surprise that crossed my mind, I was just deeply moved by the action.
“…So, what is your strategy, Milady?”
He was grinning deviously. Already knowing what my course of action would be, and yet still asking me about it, what an evil man he is.
“It is as you have expected… Furthermore, thanks to these that you managed to collect for me, all the pieces have started to fall in place.”
“That is a relief… And so, when will the opening ceremony be?”
“You certainly are well-informed… Geez, how did you know about that?”
“I just happened to hear about it along the road. It has become quite a topic of interest at the royal capital.”