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“If so, I leave the money here, so please think about it slowly with another cup of tea. I’m going to go soon.” (Yuri)
As Yuri left after saying that, Lily Amian counted the silver coins placed on the table. There were quite a lot. It was about twice as much as the charge when she calculated roughly.
It would have been fine to keep the balance, but Lily called the waitress and ordered additional tea and sweets.
“I’ve accepted your order. I’ll bring it right away.” (Waitress)
The waitress, who took the order, left the private room.
Then, she thought what Yuri said.
‘He is right.’
That was what she thought.
Lily Amian was born in a small gorge on the back of a mountain, surrounded by a river. That canyon was called the Yana Canyon in local language. The small canyon was the land where Lily was born and raised. It was the territory of Amian Household.
The feudal lord was Amian’s father, and since he was a lord, he was also a noble. However, the Amian Household was a family who lacked of responsibilities.
There were a lot of such people in small Knight households that gathered underneath the five General households. They didn’t have knights and were only listed on the lowest rank of the General households’ vassals, but they didn’t send troops. To be exact, there was an obligation to dispatch soldiers, but since they didn’t hold any rank in the Knights’ military system, they didn’t have to dispatch.
Most of them were ‘wanderer nobles’ and there was no mistake that they were Knights households, but they were especially called ‘depositor households’ and distinguished from the common Knight households. The head of the family might be a woman. In the event of an emergency, a fixed number of soldiers were drafted from within the territory, and the soldiers were assigned to the General households.
The Amian Household, where Lily was born, used to be a Great Witch household in the country of Teana long time ago. As a customary case of the Great Witch households, it was possible to trace the family tree to the Great Kingdom, but this didn’t mean anything.
Teana was a country in which the royal family and the Witch households were particularly deeply intertwined in history. The king was named after the name Kwada Chartres, but the royal family and the twelve households which claimed to be the ‘Witches in the Witch Households’ were related by blood, and they were like a large family. The Amian Household was one of them. One of them was still in the Kingdom of Shaalta, but the other ten had already been destroyed.
However, such a thing was no longer the tradition of the household. Only the knowledge remained was in the history books in the large library.
It had no effect on reality. In any case, Lily’s ancestors came to the Kingdom of Shaalta. They abandoned their homeland when Teana was about to perish.
The Witch households wouldn’t help if another country was destroyed, and the former Witch households had come for help.
The Witch households gained their income from the economy and government. They earned money by abusing the authority of the positions given by known big merchants or by the royal family. Of course, the Witch households with such a family business had a strong sense of territory. Even if the other country was destroyed, and the country’s Witch households seek refuge, the treatment was harsh. Things like offering an accommodation for a night, sharing concessions, and providing basic necessities absolutely wouldn’t happen.
Therefore, the Amian Household abandoned their past livelihoods, and relied on the Knight household, the Noza Household, and offered the gold bars they had brought when they barely escaping alive, and asked them to be a depositor household.
The depositor households were exempted from working as knights.
In that case, the depositor households only need to be dedicated to territorial management, but it couldn’t be said that they could live peacefully while having no soldiers. In exchange for military service, the depositor households must pay money to the General household in the form of a deposit by adding it to the general tax revenue.
On top of that, the payment was high, and the Amian Household had little or no income from their territory. Although it wasn’t a deficit when considering the income and expenditure, the income of the household was an insignificant amount.
Even if it was an insignificant amount, that amount was unstable every year. If the bad harvest continued and the crops weren’t good, it would affect the tax revenue. If the revenue was low, the tax given to the Noza Household would be reduced in proportionally. However, the amount of the deposit was fixed every year, and this didn’t change. In some cases, it was necessary to give more than the revenue of the territory.
It was a too modest life for the depositor household as they need to save as much money of their insignificant income in preparation for the year of deficit. There were also times when they had to cultivate the field by themselves.
Under such circumstances, the depositor households were called as the ‘small change of the General households’.
Even if they entered the school of Knights to obtain a noble rank, the majority of them wouldn’t be able to pay the deposit over time, and all the assets they had would be taken up and disappeared. Even if they went to the school of Knights with the money they saved, if they weren’t graduated as a Knight, they would remain as a depositor household. So, unless a highly talented boy was born, they couldn’t be reborn as a true Knight, and the deposit paid would be a loss.
Therefore, the depositor households, which had survived for a long time, had a family business that could earn a large amount of income apart from the territory business without exception such as processing bones of wild life, manufacturing furniture, or blacksmithing.
In the case of the Amian Household, it was a mechanical production business.
It was Lily’s great grandfather who began producing machines. He was skillful in manual labor and liked mechanical clocks. When he got the tool by pawning his noble rank, he began to make wall clocks.
A large wall clock with Teana traditional carvings and dry out and glow black on the entire surface, quickly became popular. When the facilities were prepared, he succeeded in producing a small pocket watch and the household became rich.
After the death of the great grandfather, his father took over the business, and the mechanical industry had become the major source of income for the Amian Household.
Lily was born as the daughter of his father and was taught the family business from an early age. There were the mechanics of machine and the metalwork. For this reason, she became proficient in woodworking.
Then, when she was ten years old, she was finally admitted to the school of Liberal Arts.
Lily was the first child of the Amian Household who entered the school of Liberal Arts since coming to the Kingdom of Shaalta. Because of the high tuition fees, the academy was something that the depositor households could enrolled in. When Lily entered the dormitory, there were only two heirs of the depositor households.
Lily was enrolled in the school of Liberal Arts to study political science related to territorial management and taxation. Moreover, graduating from the school of Liberal Arts would raise the status as the feudal lord.
The Amian Household was able to send the daughter to the academy, but they still couldn’t afford it. Unlike the Witch households, they couldn’t afford to give pocket money to the daughter. So, when Lily entered the academy, she obtained the pocket money by maintaining the pocket watches of the dormitory students.
For Lily, it wasn’t money to play, but the money needed to live.
At the Silver Birch Dormitory, appearance was also important. For example, school uniforms would need to be replaced if worn for years. No matter how careful she took care of it, it was hard to stop being worn out and faded. If she wore the same clothes or wearing a cheap or poorly-made uniforms, she would be a laughing stock. In order to prevent that, Lily needed money.
Students generally had a high-class pocket watch, whose price was more than ten gold coins were looked with envy in the dormitory. The pocket watch was a high-class accessory rather than an instrument to know the time for them.
However, a pocket watch was an instrument that required regular maintenance. She didn’t run out of work since a pocket watch needed to be maintained once every two to three years. It was necessary to lubricate, disassemble and polish the parts.
However, the job of maintaining pocket watches came into halt since she was flooded with Yuri’s orders. Yuri’s orders were much more profitable.
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As Lily turned aside, Syamu was poking the steamed milk tea in front of her. She was most likely thinking about the task given.
Lily knew that in Syamu’s head, complex thoughts beyond human knowledge were being carried out. At first glance, this child, who seemed to be always absent-minded, demonstrated superhuman abilities in certain areas. She was a gifted child who Yuri brought up under his personal care.
But unfortunately, the superhuman abilities weren’t as helpful at all in the curriculum of the school of Liberal Arts. Because of that, Syamu’s reputation in the dormitory was like an eccentric young girl. That was a bit lower than the average.
‘…I wonder what I can do for this girl.’
Lily had that thought.
Yuri didn’t seem to be aware of him but he was a celebrity.
A handsome boy with jet black hair, and speaking how strong he was in a fight, it was also said that his brain was superior compared to the top Liberal Arts student. There was a mysterious rumor that the mother was a farmer, and Lily also heard that he was a best friend of Her Highness Carol.
Even in the writing community, he quickly took the leading role.
If he was famous, rumors would come in.
This was a well-known story about him. As soon as he entered the academy, he was immersed in the Kura language course just after it was available, and continued to learn as one of the most enthusiastic students. Along with the ancient Shan language advanced conversation, he acquired credit of the Kura language which was said to be difficult to obtain. He also continued to attend the lectures for some reason.
Normally, it wasn’t a subject that interest young children. Yuri was also popular among the Kuran, even if they were good or bad.
A ship was good. Lily was able to understand the logic that if she went out into the open ocean, she would be able to escape from the hands of the Kuran. The country might perish. She also understood the sense of crisis.
However, even if the country was destroyed, Lily couldn’t imagine the live of living and hiding among the Kuran. The same applied for others, so they didn’t study the Kura language. Lily never wanted to learn.
But Yuri studied that language. That smart boy had been working seriously for five years, so now, he would have mastered it perfectly.
Here was the question. Why did he procure a ship that sailed in the open ocean when he was busy now?
If he was afraid of death, he could just run away. He didn’t have to procure such a ship.
It was rather difficult to think that he could enter the country of Kuran if he didn’t have the talent and didn’t master the language.
If he got caught, he could just run away. He had acquired enough skills to do that.
Lily had met the Kuran. The man named Ether Vino was a bit confused by Lily’s dialect of language, but he was willing to show her his glasses. They weren’t so different from the Shanti.
They didn’t have blond hair like Her Highness Carol, so if she hid the ears, she could end up as a Kuran. The Isus countries, which discriminated the Shanti, didn’t cover the whole world except this peninsula. For Yuri, it seemed difficult to get through one or two countries only.
In other words, if he just wanted to run away, he didn’t have to prepare a ship. So, why did he come up with the idea of procuring a ship?
‘I want to help him too. I want to help not only him, but also my friends and family.’
Lily couldn’t help thinking about it consciously or unconsciously.
This was also why they were careful not to rely on their parents for the source of funds.
There was a limit to the number of people to put on the ship. There was no way it let all people of the Kingdom of Shaalta to escape.
If so, what would happen if Yuri used his household’s money to proceed with his business? The money was tax collected from the people if he traced it, so Yuri and his family should get on the last. That might be the reason.
Yuri wanted the right to choose the people to get onboard freely and without being ashamed of anyone.
‘But Yuri-kun, do you think you can do it?’
Yuri’s closest friends were Her Highness Carol, Dolla and Myaro. Lily knew half of it from the novels written by Piña. Rather, they were all famous. So, even without the novels, they would come to her ears.
Apart from Myaro of the Seventh Witch household, would Her Highness Carol and Dolla wanted to abandon their country in order to survive? Syamu and her family also had no concern about the country, but the head of her household was responsible.
Would they get on Yuri ship? Would Yuri be able to cross the sea and go to the new world after abandoning those who refused to get on his ship?
A person who thought hardly of helping someone would abandon their close friends and run away.
It seemed to Lily as contradictory as the action.
Yuri had a divisive personality who could do that kind of work and accept contradictions without hesitation. It was also possible to think that. But if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be able to take action at the last minute.
After leaving important people, he probably wouldn’t die in the land outside of Shaalta.
“Senpai? Aren’t you going to eat?” (Syamu)
When she noticed, Syamu had finished drinking milk tea and had eaten sweets.
Syamu’s way of thinking was always like this. When she entered her thoughts, she kept thinking hard, and she returned to Lily as if she ran out of fuel at a sudden moment, ate rice, and wrote something.
The fuel might have run out before she knew it. It was often the case when Lily was absorbed about machine tinkering, but just thinking about things, she didn’t run out of fuel.
“You can eat it if you want.” (Lily)
“Are you sure?” (Syamu)
Lily moved the plate filled with sweets in front of Syamu. Syamu began to eat the sweets.
The manner wasn’t particularly good or pretentious, but it felt somehow strange and elegant. Was it because she was born in a noble household?
Watching her made Lily happy.
“Is it delicious?” (Lily)
“Yes, it’s delicious.” (Syamu)
‘When I think about, I won’t be able to drink tea in a fashionable cafe like this when I graduate.’
Suddenly, Lily felt lonely. Of course, there were no shops that served these delicious teas and stylish dishes around Lily’s parents’ home.
It was a repetition of fish, meat, pickled vegetables and cheese day after day. So, the sweetness of honey was just a dream
“I see. Syamu is really happy.” (Lily)
Suddenly, Lily said that. What she thought came out from the mouth about Syamu being happy.
“…? Yes, I’m happy?” (Syamu)
Lily caressed the black hair which resembled Yuri.
“What’s wrong?” (Syamu)
“It’s nothing.” (Lily)
“It’s kind of weird…” (Syamu)
“I wonder if Yuri-kun will also bring me along…” (Lily)
Without saying that to anyone, Lily muttered alone.
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