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“So, I’m supposed to take care of you, but is that alright? If you don’t like it…” (Yuri)
“Please take care of me.” (Beaure)
She was obedient. It was accepted normally.
‘Is it alright?’
“Aah… yeah. That’s fine, then.” (Yuri)
‘If I were of her age, I would feel normally anxious. Will it be really alright? What will happen to me from now on? I probably don’t have to think too much if I am 13 years old.’
“You know, I’m a student, so you don’t have to take care of my surroundings. You’re not working as a maid.” (Yuri)
“Is that so?” (Beaure)
“Plus, it’s easy. Are you having regrets or something?” (Yuri)
“I was told that I wasn’t suitable in doing it…” (Beaure)
‘That is… She was bullied huh…’
“For your information, I’ve been told that you’re not suitable for that job.” (Yuri)
“That’s because I broke a plate.” (Beaure)
“To tell the truth, I felt down when I was serving yesterday, and ruined the food.” (Beaure)
She said it while hesitating.
‘Is she having slow reflexes or just a clumsy girl?’
“Did you get hit because of that?” (Yuri)
‘In that case, it’s a problem.’
“They didn’t raise their hand, but they were angry.” (Beaure)
‘As expected, she is feeling down. Hmm.’
‘When I combined the information, it seems that was her fault after all… There’s no mistake that she’s not suitable for a maid.’
“I don’t know whether I can help, but I’ll do my best.” (Beaure)
‘It seems she’s in good spirits.’
‘Hmmm, what should I say? What kind of words should I convey?’
“I want you to be honest. For me, failure as a maid doesn’t matter. Rather, I would be happier if you told me without hiding your failures. There are many talented people, but it’s hard to find someone you can trust. You…” (Yuri)
‘I wonder how I should encourage her.’
“Don’t hide failures, be honest and sincere. That’s also a talent.” (Yuri)
“Alright. Let’s go.” (Yuri)
Recently, when I walked around the city, I began to see beggars.
According to the talks, most of these beggars seemed to be refugees from the Kilghina kingdom. Even though the borders in Shanti countries, there were no cultural differences, so even if they were refugees, there was no feeling of grim resolve, but in terms of finding job, it looked grim for them.
Jobs were lost due to excessive supply of labor.
The Shaalta Kingdom was a country where the Shanti weren’t fools. So, if the perished in the old times, they would perish in the end. In other words, the people had objectives so to speak.
If the country was destroyed, people would run to the Shaalta Kingdom instead of the neighboring country. It had always been the idea of the wise refugees. In addition, the Shaalta Kingdom had always accepted refugees.
In spite of the fact that these refugees were in the royal capital, the heads of the five Generals households, who were the owner of local provinces, had actively accepted refugees.
However, to begin with, the Shaalta Kingdom land wasn’t particularly fertile. As expected, there was a limit. At present, no matter how many people were in the country, they couldn’t live in the northern side since it was an extreme cold region. Thus, there weren’t surplus of land where people could live.
In particular, the southern province of the Hou Household was already in a state where there was a limit to labor-intensive farming methods.
When I heard the story, there would be more or less such a situation every time a country perished. As expected, the scale of refugees seemed to be different when the neighboring country was destroyed. It seemed that the current population influx was also historically amazing.
It was alright if they came here, but there weren’t necessary jobs available.
So far, the situation had been suppressed to the point where no death from starvation had occurred, but what would happen in the future?
I walked into Cuffe’s place of living. Although this was a semi-residential area, there were many shops on the first floor of multi-story houses. Since it was daytime of the holiday, there were a lot of people in the street.
Then, an old man, who was looking around restlessly near the alley, entered the alley. He somehow caught in the eye.
‘I wonder if he’s trying to pickpocket or something.’
“You… do you have a wallet?” (Yuri)
“Aah, yes.” (Beaure)
“Don’t bring it out. Be careful so that you don’t get pickpocketed.” (Yuri)
She had a very troubled face, and looked at me with upturned eyes.
‘Doesn’t she know about pickpockets?’
“There are people who pull out a wallet from someone else’s pocket.” (Yuri)
Bureau held down her pocket. It was the pocket on the side and it was the easiest to put the wallet in and out of the coat. On the other hand, it was the easiest place to aim for the pickpocket.
‘Are you putting it there…?’
“Yes, do that. The people who just come out of the countryside are easy to be targeted.” (Yuri)
‘Well, if she holds the pocket outright, she won’t be aimed. It’s a good idea to be wary of suspicious people like this, but it’s usually a waste of time. If you just pay attention to the front, you’ll be bumped from behind and your wallet will be stolen.’
While thinking about such a thing, I passed the alley.
‘Look, there’s nothing.’
When I thought that at that time, the feet moved. A kick loaded with my weight was hit at the lower abdomen of the man who hit me from behind.
While kicking, I noticed my action a moment late. I suddenly dashed from the back of the alley and kicked the old man who hit me. Before I thought anything, my body was moving.
I pulled the dagger in my pocket out of its sheath. Taking a fighting pose taught at the Academy with one hand and loosely held dagger, I watched the old man whom I added another kick to his lower abdomen.
The old man fell while holding his stomach.
When I confirmed that he had been incapacitated, I put off the order of precedence. I looked at the back alley.
There were a couple of bad-looking men who were about to attack, but when they looked this old man failed at attacking me, their feet stopped.
“They are kidnappers!!!” (Yuri)
When I let out a loud voice, the men disappeared to the back alley. They probably thought the situation was bad.
All that remained was an idiot who had been abandoned. While he stood the pain, I put weight on his crotch. I gave a kick like a soccer ball, and kicked his head.
“Ughh!!!” (Old Man)
“You won’t feel pain forever.” (Yuri)
I put my knees on the old man’s chest and held my whole weight down. I grabbed his dirty hair, pulled his head, bare his neck and put my dagger there.
“That’s because you’ll die if you move.” (Yuri)
When I said that, the old man tensely straightened his body. Looking closer, this old man didn’t seem to be making a living doing rough matters.
“Beaure, keep an eye on the people around you. Let me know if any of these guys come by.” (Yuri)
People were starting to gather because of my loud voice.
“Well, do you know who I am?” (Yuri)
“I-I don’t know.” (Old Man)
“Well, you were aiming at me.” (Yuri)
His head was sweating since I didn’t sound angry and harsh.
This guy had no weapon. From that, I understood that he didn’t intend to kill me. However, it was obvious that he was going to sweep away.
This guy was merely taking the starting role. When he picked me up and brought me to the back alley, I thought that the guys who had just escaped wanted to hold my mouth, and abducted me.
‘What would happen if they kidnap me? Why would they do that?’
‘If you’re going to target me, I can only think of the Witch households.’
‘I’m holding this guy and the people are gathering. The police would come soon.’
‘However, the police of the royal capital are deeply corrupted by the Witches households. Even if this guy talks because of the police’s beating… it would be impossible for things to come to light. To make matters worse, it’s possible for this guy to be abandoned if he is detained for a few days.’
“Let me tell you, I’m the heir of great noble family. I can’t be guilty of killing you. I won’t kill you if you tell me. If you don’t tell me, I will kill you. Who hired you?” (Yuri)
“No-no one.” (Old Man)
“You really want to die, huh?” (Yuri)
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I pressed the dagger lightly against his neck. It was only a tradition dagger of the General households, but it was so sharp that it could sink in the flesh if I pressed too much.
“N-no, I’m not. I attacked because you were well dressed.” (Old Man0
“You’re lying.” (Yuri)
“It’s the truth. I’m a refugee from Kilghina.” (Old Man)
‘…It is quite conceivable that this kind of people going to kidnap people and ask for ransom. Certainly, I came out with clothes from the second residence, so I am well dressed.
“You dare to lie like that.” (Yuri)
‘Even if it’s considered enough, it’s only one of the possibilities. The chance of being unrelated to the Witch household has only increased by a few percent.’
“I-I’m not lying.” (Old Man)
“If you’re a refugee from Kilghina, say the name of Jacoba’s only daughter.” (Yuri)
‘There should be Kilghinan who doesn’t know Jacoba’s name. Jacoba is Jacoba Tuni Chartres, the current Queen of Kilghina. On the other hand, there are few Shaaltan who know this name.’
‘People wouldn’t know the name of her daughter unless they are intellectual elite from the Academy or a trader like Harol.’
“It’s Telor-sama.” (Old Man)
I withdrew the dagger. Even if I was targeted, the Witch households wouldn’t use the refugees. There were many good-natured subordinates.
“Do you believe me?” (Old Man)
“I will believe you for the time being.” (Yuri)
“Haa.” (Old Man)
He let out a sigh of relief.
‘What a fool.’
“You idiot. You tried to kidnap a noble. From now on, you’ll be hanged by me.” (Yuri)
“Ugh…!” (Old Man)
He might know the meaning since he started to struggle under my knees. If he wasn’t a servant of Witch household, the police would just arrested him and worked normally. Since he was trying to abduct a noble, he would be hanged to death.
“Are you trying to escape?” (Yuri)
When I grabbed the dagger and put it in front of his face, he stopped struggling.
“Idiot. If you’re afraid of dying, you wouldn’t try to kidnap people.” (Yuri)
“…It’s because my family is hungry.” (Old Man)
‘What’s with this guy. This is the first time I’ve heard a family is hungry. It can’t be helped if the family is hungry.’
‘Goodness. This guy was probably got used by those who ran away because of his good nature.’
“You’ll die if you keep doing like this from now on. If you die, your family will eat nothing, or eat something even worse. What an idiot.” (Yuri)
“…Guh, uhuhu… how…” (Old Man)
‘Aah. An adult man has started crying.’
“I can’t do anything. I don’t have a job.” (Old Man)
“If you don’t have a job, are you going to commit crime then?” (Yuri)
“I won’t.” (Old Man)
“What are you doing in Kilghina?” (Yuri)
“I’m a carpenter.” (Old Man)
‘Carpenter, huh. I was thinking the time is just right, isn’t it?’
I sighed and lifted my knees from the man’s body.
“Go to the water mill on the southern side of the river. It is at the upstream part of it. If you are a day laborer, I’ll give you a job.” (Yuri)
“Will you overlook this?” (Old Man)
“I’m giving you a chance to work. If you still commit wrongdoing, it is better to kill you. If you do the same thing next time, I’ll kill you on the spot.” (Yuri)
‘There must be a room for sympathy even for this man. I can give his family a chance to rehabilitate at least once.’
“Go away.” (Yuri)
The old man turned around, and ran away. He, then, disappeared.
‘I haven’t gone to the watermill for a while now, so shall I go there today?’
I thought Cuffe was out, but surprisingly, he stayed at home.
“Cuffe, I’m going to disturb you.” (Yuri)
I opened the door and entered the house of another person whom I knew without permission.
“Yuri, what’s the matter?” (Cuffe)
He slept on the sofa as usual.
“Don’t ask me that question. Why the door isn’t locked?” (Yuri)
‘I mean, seriously. I was surprised to see it unlocked.’
“It’s probably because I’m here in front of the door.” (Cuffe)
“Just now, I was about to be kidnapped.” (Yuri)
Cuff jumped off from the sofa.
“Are you alright?” (Cuffe)
‘I won’t be here if I’m not.’
“Fortunately, I’m perfectly fine. I was able to repel them.” (Yuri)
“Was it the Witches?” (Cuffe)
“No, it was the refugees.” (Yuri)
“Then, it’s fine.” (Cuffe)
Cuffe sat down on the sofa again, and he looked relieved.
“It’s not fine. Lock your house where there is a crowd of people.” (Yuri)
‘He’s too careless.’
“I want to lock it, but it’s broken.” (Cuffe)
‘Is it broken? No wonder the door is always unlocked. In that case, you should put a latch from the inside.’
“More importantly, who is that girl?” (Cuffe)
Cuffe looked at Beaure.
“Aah, I was wondering whether I could hire her. She’s Beaure.” (Yuri)
“Please take care of me.” (Beaure)
Beaure bowed politely.
‘Somehow, that face looks scary.’
“Stop bringing a girl you hooked in. Those who do that will mostly ruin themselves.” (Cuffe)
‘What’s wrong with this guy? Does he think that I’m some kind masochist brat?’
“Beaure is my cousin.” (Yuri)
He suddenly raised his voice very loud.
“Cousin… does that mean she is a daughter of a Knight? What are you thinking?” (Cuffe)
“She’s a cousin from my mother’s side. My mother’s family is a farmer in the countryside.” (Yuri)
“Aah… is that so?” (Cuffe)
I never talked about family circumstances, so I thought it was necessary to explain from scratch, but it seemed to me that he knew.
“I… I see. Are you going to give her my job?” (Cuffe)
“For the time being, I want her to become your private secretary.” (Yuri)
“Well, what do you mean? I’m not saying I don’t like the idea.” (Cuffe)
‘As expected, he’s reluctant.’
“I will do my best.” (Beaure)
Beaure bowed down.
“…Where’s she going to live from now?” (Cuffe)
‘She’s staying in my second residence, but there are so many things happening that make it difficult for her to stay here. I thought about the room below here, but it seems there is a crowd of people there. As expected, I can’t let a 13 year old girl to stay alone in a place where kidnappers are roaming around. I guess I have to bring her back to the residence.’
“Well then, shall I move somewhere?” (Cuffe)
He said that easily.
“Are you going to move somewhere?” (Yuri)
“Yes. No matter how many times I ask the landlord, the locksmith won’t come to fix the lock. There are rumors that I’m making money these days, so I can’t even sleep well.” (Cuffe)
‘That’s why it’s not strange if a burglar comes in.’
“Then, it will be fine if you can rent something like a storehouse. Of course, it’s my family storehouse.” (Yuri)
“That helps. I don’t have any money anyway.” (Cuffe)
‘I haven’t decided on the salary of Cuffe yet. Cuffe is unpaid. Of course, the business revolves around him, so the gold coins and the like are directly in his hands, but it’s admirable that he hasn’t touched it.’
“How about your salary?” (Yuri)
I went inside and sat down on the chair.
“My father has found out about my business, so I will officially establish it as the Hou Associates.” (Yuri)
“The Hou Associates, is it? Is it not Hou trading company or something, right?” (Cuffe)
Cuffe seemed to be happy.
‘It must be because it’s going official.’
“Since we are producing something, it would be weird to call it a trading company.” (Yuri)
“Well, you’re right.” (Cuffe)
‘In general, a trading company is a group of people who sell something that someone else has made and make a profit from it. Basically, the producer is an individual or each craftsman, and each craftsman has a horizontal relationship in the guild. I don’t intend to connect with anything.’
‘If I’m going to be independent and do all the work without relying on others, so the name ‘Associates’ would be appropriate.’
“With that, we’re going to talk about your pay.” (Yuri)
“Will you finally give me a commission?” (Cuffe)
Cuffe stressed the commission part. I didn’t forget.
“Cuffe Ornette. I’m going to appoint you as the chief executive officer (CEO).”
“I am the CEO?” (Cuffe)
He didn’t look dissatisfied.
“Yes, you will work for me.” (Yuri)
He bowed to show his respect.
“Then, what are you going to be?” (Cuffe)
“I’ll be the chairman. I’ll be supervising the company. The CEO is the head of the business.” (Yuri)
“What? Am I not doing that until now?” (Cuffe)
“No. From now on, there will be cases where executive officers who are responsible for the company’s management are appointed to the board. The executive officers will be a member of the board of directors. All of them, in principle, will be paid by a commission or a performance-related reward.” (Yuri)
“Do you plan to increase the number of executive officers?” (Cuffe)
“I don’t plan to increase that much. Once the company gets bigger, I want to increase the number of manufacturing development departments. The person in charge is of course an executive. We will have them present their accomplishment and development direction at the board meeting.” (Yuri)
“Ooh, that’s good. It’s not bad.” (Cuffe)
Cuffe was laughing and grinning as if he had a lot in mind.
It seemed he was convinced.
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