After the initial talk with the Dauphin, I spent the morning in my office sorting through the paperwork. Although the Anheim documents are at a level where all I have to do is sign them, I read through them carefully.
The review of the Count’s deputies was originally to make sure that the work had not become a mere skeleton. I, as the leader of the project, cannot afford to do a lousy job of it, so I will make sure that it is done properly.
“Your Excellency, Viscount Wackenroeder is here to see you.”
Okay. Send him to the parlor.
What is miscalculated or even unexpected is that there are so many visitors. Some of them want to take over my debts, while others want to establish a friendly relationship with me, so I can’t begrudge them that. I realize that when I was a deputy count, my father used to take care of all the troublesome things.
One of them asked me if I would marry his daughter in exchange for covering his debt, and I politely declined.
At any rate, I’ll do such chores in the morning and leave work before noon. I’m on the run before I can get any bothersome invitations to join them for lunch. I’m an independent viscount now, with no lands and a floating position, so I guess you could say I’m in a good position in that sense.
Back at Zehrfeldt’s house, I went over some of the arrangements that had been made. Since I had only planned to deal with the aftermath today, I had given all of Neurath, Schunzel, and Frensen the day off, so I had to assign a substitute guard or something.
The number of staff in the Count’s household is not so small that we are short because we had to leave two people on leave, but it is an urgent job, so I consulted with Norbert about the rotation. Also, the female knight who caused us trouble in the past has agreed to accompany us again this time.
The main purpose is to shop for Lily, but this time I need to show her that I’m not a recluse running away from my debts, so I’m going to the store instead of calling her to come to the Count’s house. I can’t stay by her side the whole time she’s shopping.
Lily, too, rarely took a long vacation, according to her story. She’s so serious.
Most of her salary was saved, and she went with Tirulla to buy a good handkerchief and embroidery threads. Even though the Count’s family provides her with writing materials for her studies, it would be nice if she could use them for herself.
So today is a good day for sightseeing in King’s Landing. You’ll have to put up with the fact that you’ll be escorted.
“Okay, that’s it. Please put it in place.”
We check everything and take a rest. Mazel and her family will join Laura and Grandpa Uwe in the afternoon before leaving, so Mazel and Lily can have some family time together.
I’m going to have a light meal too. I don’t mind if it’s not a gourmet meal if I’m in the military for a long time. I wonder what it’s like to be an aristocrat. I’m not going to splurge, so I’ll take it as a yes.
“Good evening, Viscount Zehrfeldt.”
“Thank you, Mr. Erich.”
I was walking down the corridor, feeling relaxed, when Erich stopped me. We talked for a few minutes. I thanked him about the temple, and he smiled and said it was no trouble at all. He is a handsome man.
“We will be leaving this afternoon, and I apologize for the inconvenience to the Viscount.”
No, thank you.
I don’t know, but I naturally use honorifics when I’m with Erich. It doesn’t bother me so I don’t mind.
“The viscount will be shopping this afternoon.”
“I’m not sure what I should look like, though.”
I’m not so much bothered as troubled by the fact that Feri was so open and honest with me. I don’t feel bad about being liked by a pretty girl, but it’s hard to choose a facial expression.
“I don’t think you have to think too hard about it.”
“I’m not so sure.”
I don’t mean to be difficult, but Erich said something unexpected to me.
“It’s supposed to be a mutual thing.”
“Mistress Lily does not see the viscount as an aristocrat, but as Sir Werner himself. How about the viscount?
When you said that, it made a lot of sense to me. I see. So Lily was seen as the “sister of the brave” too. Probably since the time of the village of Aarea. Count Bitgeft, the church, or even the state, for that matter. It must be hard for him to be seen as an accessory to his brother Mazel.
What about me? I am aware that I am Mazel’s sister, but at least I don’t see her in terms of power or reward. You could even say that we were in a similar position, as I had always ignored the engagement that was offered to me in terms of being the son of a count. Well, in terms of aristocratic duty, I was worse.
“Is that a favor?”
“Whatever the level, it’s certainly a favor.”
I’ll take that as a yes.
A wry smile came to my face. Yes, well, that much makes sense. I look away from Erich, who has the face of a clergyman looking at a youngster.
“I’ll take the time to face it, for now.
Yes, that would be better.
For now, let’s not think about anything else today and just go out with each other.
But still, I feel that he can’t win against Erich in a different sense from my father and General Seifert.
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