—“…Well, welcome to our village.
My Lady… it never occurred to me that a noble person such as yourself would be in such a small village…”
With an extremely dreadful expression, the chief of the village of Seria in the Duke of Farenth’s Ease bowed deeply from his upright position.
“There is no need to behave so ostentatiously.
You must have been very surprised by the sudden visit of someone like me.
You can relax your shoulders and carry on as usual.
Now, sit down on a chair first.”
When I said this, the village chief looked at Walter with a peeking expression, and when he felt Walter nodding behind me, he sat down in his chair, a little relieved.
Because of my status, even though this is the village head’s house, the chair where the chief usually sits, which is the most senior seat, is mine, but the system is such that I have no choice.
If I were to give it up, the village head would be in a bad position, so I have no choice but to accept the situation.
However, being too nervous would not serve the purpose of my coming here, so I tried to be as attentive as possible so that he would be as normal as possible.
The village chief said.
“So, now, if you’ll excuse me….
Once again, I am Telos, the village chief of this village of Seria.”
I am Elaine Farrens, Duchess of Farrens.”
“Of course I know who you are! I attended your wedding two years ago, even though it was from outside the church…”
The wedding of Clément and I took place in Naos, the capital of the dukedom.
From my subjective point of view, it was more than thirty years ago, so my memory is quite distant, but objectively, it was about two years ago, so it must be a fresh event in the memory of the Dukedom’s lords.
Various nobles and influential people were invited to the wedding, as well as village chiefs and others from the territory, which is why Telos was also there.
I remember that the wedding took place in the cathedral of the capital, followed by a parade.
However, only high-ranking nobles, great merchants and others in a significant position were allowed inside the cathedral, so Telos must have been outside.
I’m sorry about that… there was a space problem in the cathedral, so we couldn’t have everyone by any means.
I would have liked to include everyone if I could.”
“No, just those words… I still remember how beautiful Lady Elaine was at that time.
It was a memory that will last a lifetime.”
Telos’s expression seemed to be slightly uplifted, as if he was flattered as well.
It puts me in a slightly better mood, thinking that I’m not a failure either.
“Well, you’re very good.”
“No, no, I’m just being honest.”
“Thank you, I’ll accept it.
Now, by the way, may I quickly tell you about the purpose of my visit?”
When I bring this up after the air has softened to a certain extent, Telos’s expression becomes a little tense.
He wonders what he is going to be told, what kind of unreasonable demands he is going to be asked.
I’m probably a very selfish duchess in the eyes of the people in my domain right now.
I haven’t done anything that would have caused much harm to the people of the territory, but there must be some stories that can be heard in their own way.
And indeed, if it were me before, my behaviour would have been getting worse and worse from here.
But now I have no intention of doing so.
“I’ve been helping the Duke with his work recently, and among the documents I saw just the other day was a report that came up from this village.
Telos’s expression clouded at the ‘report’ part.
He probably understood immediately that it was about the running of this village.
And when the wife of a nobleman tries to meddle in such matters, it is usually not a good thing.
“…You are not thinking of revising the amount of taxation, are you? But in our village, the crops have been hard to harvest recently, and we can’t afford any more…”
I can understand Telos’s concern when he says this quickly.
Feeling sorry, I put my palm out in front of him and said.
“Oh, don’t be so quick to judge.
It’s rather the opposite story.”
And you say…?”
“As for the revision of taxes… it’s not up to me to decide, but if I were to do it, it would be in the form of exemptions and reductions.
My husband is well aware of the declining yields in this village, so there is no need to worry.”
“That’s…! I would be very grateful…”
“I can’t make any promises, so you have to understand that.
But that’s also a side story… the most important thing is the decline in yields, and the reasons for it.”
So this visit is to check that in person?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m going to do.”
“I see… it seems that I was unnecessarily nervous.
However, as I mentioned in my report, the decline in yields is due to beasts such as the forest deer and the demon rat… it is difficult to take drastic measures… even if you see them directly, there is not much we can do…”
The village chief said dubiously.
He seemed to be saying, ‘What is the point of coming to see what we know?’
It is certainly understandable that from his point of view he would want to say that.
But from my point of view, I see something different.
This is not because Telos is incompetent.
Rather, as a village chief he is quite good in the villages around here.
It was just that the quantity and quality of information gathered is different between a duke and a mere villager.
So I nod to Telos’ words and reply.
“Yes, if you are right, there is nothing I can do.
So then I will have to leave early.
And I hope that I am.”
The way I say this, Telos seems to be getting a little uneasy.
He asks me.
“…What exactly is Lady Elaine’s concern?”
“I will tell you that after you show me the fields and the village.”
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