Airhead Egoistic Girl
The day after I parted ways with the Millard family, I came to the village of Toto to greet Count Hartwig.
I had already cut my ties with the Millard family. It might seem a bit, no, considerably misguided to give him a tour of Toto Village, but the fact was that this village had a strong connection with the Sagami trading firm. If it made Count Hartwig-dono and his family happy, perhaps it might be a good thing.
I lightly greeted the villagers of Toto Village who had gathered as usual, and headed for the inn where Count Hartwig’s group was staying.
“That’s Master Grey.”
A man with black hair and a beard came wobbling out of the inn, and when he saw me, he straightened his posture. Judging by the smell of alcohol that I could smell even from here, and the red face that was all done up, he must have drunk a lot.
He was Blay, a direct subordinate of Count Hartwig, and was also a veteran guard. In the past, he didn’t even eat food, let alone drink, during his escort. It was unthinkable for him to be in such a drunken state.
All groups of security guards of Toto’s village were stronger than the subordinates of Count Hartwig’s.
Perhaps he had foreseen the majority and hence given his subordinates holiday.
“You don’t have to force yourself. Is count Hartwig-dono here?”
“Yes. He has a shogi match from the early morning. He is enjoying it to a full extent.”
There wasn’t much to see in Toto. Yet, the number of nobles and wealthy merchants visiting the village was increasing every day. Therefore, I’d suggested that we build a facility for games such as chess, mahjong, and Othello as a form of entertainment.
Specifically, a tournament-style game would be held every day, and participants would pay a fee to play the game. The winner would get a gift certificate that could be used to buy products in Toto Village, eat at restaurants, stay at lodges, etc. Popular products such as watches and eyeglasses in Toto Village were usually reserved by appointment, and it was not uncommon to wait for several months. As for lodgings, they were usually booked months in advance.
In this regard, if we left a surplus of products for the winner, the winner would surely enjoy the profit on the spot. In addition, the Sagami trading firm did not have to spend much money on the raw materials for the watches and glasses. It was truly two birds with one stone.
This attempt was a great success, and even though it had only been a few weeks, wealthy merchants and aristocrats were rushing to participate in the event, and the quota was being filled within minutes every day, which was an odd phenomenon.
“Count-dono, what is he doing enjoying alone?”
Even though the visit this time to Toto village was also for spending time with his wife and daughter.
“Well, lady and ojou-sama are each having their fill of shopping and hot springs.”
Well, I guess it was fine as long as they were having fun.
“I hope you lead the way.”
He saluted and guided me on the way.
A huge blond man with scars all over his body came staggering out of the building of a facility dedicated to games, commonly known as a game store.
That person had lost again, huh.
Count Hartwig was like a child who was obsessed with strategy games, but he had an unfortunate tendency to be extremely weak at them.
“Lord Grey, I have lost again.”
I didn’t know how to react when he monologued with such a pitiful expression on his face, as if it was the end of the world.
“People have their strong and weak points, Count-dono.”
“Master, that’s not comforting at all.”
I shrugged my shoulders at Blay’s helpful advice and went straight to the best restaurant in the village.
Although spring had already arrived, the weather was still considerably chill.
Hot pot is best on these days.
As we were poking at the shabu-shabu, Count Hartwig started the conversation.
“I have already settled the affair with the Millard family. Miss Stella is free to go.”
For now, my biggest fear was gone. The rest was just an added bonus.
“I’m grateful. And then what will happen with Zeuk and the others?”
“Leave those guys’ disposal to me.”
“Is that so.”
Then there was no reason for me to interfere. I wasn’t interested in the life or death of those scum, even if it destroyed my relationship with the Count. Honestly any way was fine and besides, they would be dealt by that Demon Count. Perhaps it would have been better if they were dead.
Count Hartwig-dono stared at me for a while with a mysterious face.
I asked his purpose.
The Count took a deep breath.
“Lord Grey, you know everything about martial arts, magic, business, and farming, but you are oblivious to the simplest and most obvious things.”
He said something incomprehensible.
“The simplest of things? What’s that?”
“The so-called family’s bond.”
To me, the only family in the Millard household was my sister Aqua and the servants. And family with that puppeteer stepmother? Just thinking about it made me disgusted.
“No matter how much Lord deny, a family will remain a family.”
“Count-dono, I have already explained the relationship between me and my stepmother. They are irredeemable scums.”
“I also agree with that. That lady is truly disgusting. Last night, I explained to the entire Millard family that she had told those idiots to go to the Millard house to attack and try to kill Lord Grey. How do you think the lady reacted?”
“Most likely she lashed out and said you guys are bandits and so on?”
“In general, that’s right.”
It must have been very humiliating. Blay’s face contorted into disgust.
“I’m sorry for making you do something unpleasant.”
“I don’t mind. I’ve been fighting with the aristocrats for years and that degree of abuse is an everyday occurrence… The only thing I really resent is the fact that they sold Zuke to us as soon as they found out who I was. She even revealed something that I didn’t even ask her about.”
That’s the kind of thing that woman with no shame would do.
“That’s right, they are beyond saving.”
I affirmed, tossing the meat on my mouth.
“Lord is a complete stranger for that lady. But to your father and elder sister, you are family. That’s how I feel.”
A father who let that stepmother do anything as she pleased and an elder sister, Linda, who was a spitting image of her mother, a family? First, Linda was the kind of person who would send me happily to war as a child.
That was an impossible story.
“This is the first time I know that Count-dono likes to joke around.”
“Whatever I say to Lord, I know you will not believe it. But I thought of conveying that at least. When I told them that Lord was attacked by Zeuk and others, Lord Reiss beat them in tears and your elder sister fainted with a deep blue face. For me, I don’t think that was an act of any kind.”
With these words, Count Hartwig forcibly changed the subject and never spoke about the night again.
“Who is it?”
A tall, beautiful woman with knee-length glossy golden hair in a half-updo was looking down at me with a suspicious look on her face and her hands on her hips.
Her tall stature, which was relatively rare for a woman over 170cm, and her tight, thin body looked exquisite in her bright red dress. Judging from her still-young appearance, she must be about fifteen or six years old.
She was probably Count Hartwig’s only daughter, Teresa Hartwig.
“Grey. I’ve been asked by your otou-sama to give you a tour of this village.”
“I’ve heard about it from my mother and father in their letters. My pleasure! Here, take this.”
Suddenly she handed me a cloth bag that she was holding in both hands. She seemed to have bought quite a lot.
『Hyou, she is a splendidly big breast nee-chan, isn’t she!!』
I tried to throw the good for nothing sword in the item box.
『It was a lie, it’s a joke, a joke, don’t get serious!』
He desperately said it, shaking his body.
If you do even a slightly strange thing, I will seal you immediately.
『I will not.』
Teresa was looking at me and the good for nothing sword at my waist with a puzzled look on her face.
“I will guide you.”
I took her hand.
After confirming with her, I also started walking.
Her eyes brightened as she diligently did shopping in the shopping mall, the pride of this Toto village.
“Grey, I’d like to visit the Old Forest.”
She asked for such a troublesome thing. I was happy to build a relationship with her in this short time but it also made her lose all sense of discretion.
“Listen here, I can’t do such a dangerous thing. I am begging you, please be obedient.”
In fact, it wasn’t so dangerous if I was with her, but I didn’t want to deal with this troublesome klutz girl any longer.
Talking about this magnificent, naturally selfish girl, I was sure she would fly in rage, but she brought her face close to my nose, looked into my face, and smiled happily.
“Wh, what is it?”
I stammered uncharacteristically as she stared at me.
“Is Grey worried about me?”
The truth is that I didn’t want to be pulled around here and there by her any more than I already was.
“Worrying about me…..kufufu.”
She smiled creepily, took my right hand, and started walking through the crowd.
She released my hand and started fidgeting bashfully.
“Have you already heard from Otou-sama?”
From the Count? Well, the Count had consulted with me about a new business venture, was that about it?
“Yes, I have heard.”
“Are you going to take it…..?”
Teresa looked down at me with a grim face, as if she had just stepped into enemy territory.
“I have been taken care of by Count so there’s no reason for me to refuse.”
I nodded and at that moment, a crack appeared on her countenance.
“You are accepting it because of Father’s debt of gratitude?”
Teresa tugged at her shapely chin and shook.
“Yes, I will continue to have a good relationship with the Count…….”
I got a slight impact on my face and large drops of tears accumulated on the outer corner of Teresa’s eyes.
[T/N – that’s a kind of confusing sentence. It wasn’t implied directly that he was slapped, in literal meaning it’s “a slight impact on the right cheek and large tears……” without indicating what happened clearly. So for now I can only infer it as him getting slapped according to the next sentence, though even that isn’t much clear, just vague meaning.]
Looking at the figure of Teresa retreating to the inn, for a while I rubbed my right cheek,
Mura, did I just say something wrong to offend her?
I asked the good for nothing sword at my waist what I needed not to ask.
『Master, I think what you just said was disrespectful to her.』
Useless Mura expressed his criticism in a reproachful manner.
“But it’s true.”
He moved his scabbard a few times, as if he was observing me.
『Master, are you going marry that girl?』
And asked this foolish question.
“Why do you ask it, out of the blue? Of course not. And first of all, she is a child, right?”
『Ah, I seemingly understood.』
In a tone of voice full of amazement and pity, the good for nothing sword made a strange conviction and closed his mouth from then on. There was no point in standing here any longer. Letting out a deep breath, I also moved my feet to return to the inn.