“…I’m sorry for having you come here in this manner, Minae-san.”
“N-Not at all! Well… I was just doing what I am supposed to, Fief Lord-sama…”
In front of me was Minae-san, who was displaying an extremely grateful attitude to my presence… That’s right, I summoned her to my place as soon as the excommunication was pronounced. This was a preliminary arrangement to suppress the upcoming outburst of dissatisfaction among the fief’s citizens.
At first Minae-san was surprised, for she didn’t know that I am the daughter of Duke Armelia up until then. Moreover, when she learnt about the current situation from our exchanges thus far, her attitude became even more obliged. It was our fault… she thought. Foreseeing how this would turn out, I must have been quite a mean character to explain everything to her in this manner.
“I will be frank about the reason I called you here… I would like to ask you for a favor.”
“Y-Yes. What is it? I would gladly fulfill it as long as it is within my capabilities!”
“I may have to remind you of a certain bitter incident not so long ago. How should I put it…? I would like you to spread a story about the sold church. You see… it is sort of exaggerated. To say, the plot is: the place where the holy church was located – though used to be where we lived – was unfortunately sold to some bastards involved with human trafficking. We were threatened to leave and subjected to continual harassment. When Iris got wind of the situation, she arrested those bastards and relocated the tattered church – due to the harassment – to another location, then found us a new home. The new church was not opened yet though, but rumors said that there will be a grandiose opening ceremony soon. At that time, Iris will also make her appearance there.”
Hearing the content of my favor, Minae tilted her head in puzzlement.
“You want me to spread such a story?”
“That’s right. You probably will attract a lot of unwanted attention… no, eight to nine out of ten it would surely be. You will receive plenty of hostile and suspicious gazes, too. Even so, I want you to spread this to as many people as you can.”
“If that is the case, then yes of course! I will do lots and lots of talking from now on, and make sure that it will be heard and talked about in every corner of the fief’s capital!”
Few days have passed since I asked Minae-san for the favor. The rumor has been spreading so wildly, to the point that no one isn’t being aware of it. Needless to say, not everything was good news – there were some skepticism and further rumors, and the original story was twisted with many variations through gossiping. Nevertheless, the main point was conveyed successfully. Plus, many people have shown interest in the opening ceremony of the new church.
As I was recalling of what happened thus far, my mind returned to the reality.
“You have my deepest gratitude, Minae. Just so you know, I am not the actual lord, just the acting lord of the fief.”
“I-Is that so…?”
“Please also keep my identity a secret from the children. If they start to call me Lady Iris when I come to play with them… somehow, I feel like there are distances between us and that will make me sad.”
“You will take your time to visit us again?!”
“Certainly. I am looking forward to seeing the children’s recital. Plus, I have yet given new picture books or telling them new fairy-tales, you know?”
“…Thank you very much, Lady Iris. The children are waiting for your appearance with joy.”
“I am happy to hear that… Therefore, let’s finish the business quickly.”
Having said so, I got off the horse carriage.
Today is the celebration of the completion as well as the opening ceremony of the new church. To ensure my participation go off without a hitch, Ryle and Dida – who were busy doing their tasks in various places – and Tanya are accompanying me as bodyguards at the moment.
In front of my eyes is the newly constructed towering church. Though it is supposed to be a sacred place, it gives off the atmosphere of a demon king’s castle where heroes head for… such is an exaggerated way I use to describe the building.
Well then, first of all, in order to settle the heart of the fief’s citizens, I should march into there.