“Are you Umberto’s son?”
Opening the door of the carriage loaded with children, I glanced at the boy sitting next to Rona.
“Get off, your father is waiting for you.”
My words brightened the face of the boy, who seemed to be only twelve years old.
But soon it got dark again, and I tilted my head at an angle.
“Why do you look like that?”
“I haven’t received my wages from the Count yet. He’ll end up talking more for no reason.”
“……Don’t worry about that. I promise you I’ll support you as the Grand Duchess.”
He seemed worried that his younger siblings would lack food when he returned to a poor family.
“Ollie, did you say your name is Ollie?”
“Let Ollie and Manuel get Dante’s education. He’ll be useful as an administrator. Find suitable jobs for other children.”
As I commanded Rona, I recalled Katan’s tight budget and my private property that is starting to run out.
‘I’m gonna have to sell the magic stone a little more inflated than I used to sell at the Cardinale.’
It is the magic stone that I couldn’t use because there is no people from the Mage Empire, so it was expensive to call.
I couldn’t believe what I was saying, and with Ollie, who opened his rabbit eyes, in front of the wheat fields of Umberto and his daughter Selina.
Ollie spotted them and started running downhill to them.
Perhaps they were waiting for us, but Umberto’s family gathered in front of the field and pulled out their necks.
Umberto, who hugged Ollie at once, put his nose in the child’s neck.
His words were buried in the wheat field and could not be heard properly, but I gently raised the corners of y lips at the warm sight.
The fresh smell of unripe wheat is fragnant.
“Thank you very much, madam!”
I shrugged at Selina’s words with a teary face.
“If you are grateful, try to convince the farmers to use the red soil.”
“……I’ve tried it anyway. My field isn’t as big as my father’s.”
I opened my eyes wide to her answer.
‘I thought she was worried that the field would be ruined.’
“Did it work?”
I was nervous waiting for Selina’s answer.
“Well, I mean……”
Is my artificial red soil I made practical enough to be used in real fields?
Although I developed it, dealing with crops and soil is not my area.
I have nothing to say even though farmers don’t believe in my red soil.
I held Selina’s hand, thanking her for using artificial red soil at the risk of damaging the field.
That is when Selina replied with a bright look on her face.
“It’s so amazing, madam red soil. Not only green wheat in the middle, but also Hail rice in the South sprouted!”
“Is that really true?”
“Yes, it hasn’t fully germinated in the water yet, but take a look.”
As Selina led, I am able to find a cute bud of rice on the field, as she said.
“Hail rice is difficult to sow, so I know it’s only eaten by nobles in the South, but I can’t believe it.”
I bit my lips to control my heart trembled at Selina’s murmuring.
‘I can’t believe it’s a real success.…’
It felt strange to see her happy face.
Come to think of it, I’ve never used alchemy to help anyone.
“Madam’s alchemy, I think it’s amazing!”
Celine smiled brightly and hugged me.
Although not as blamed as monster hunters, the alchemist is treated as inferior in the Raspechia Empire, where the powerful ruled the center.
George and my father used my alchemy to plot all sorts of plots, but they ignored me.
I didn’t know what to do with the proud feelings and joy I felt for the first time in my life.
As soon as the relief of bringing Ollie safely overlapped, tears welled up in my eyes.
‘If George sees it, he will be very upset.’
I was a person who never cried.
When I didn’t show any tears at his words that he would make Ibelina as Empress, I bit my tongue saying that I am a woman with an iron heart.
I can’t believe I’m crying over this.
The bridge of my nose turned red, and I was swallowing tears in Selina’s arms when someone grabbed my shoulder.
I raised my head in surprise at the big, hard arms, which were distinctly different from Selina.
A sweet scent like winter wind tickled my nose.
“Why are you crying so sadly?”
Joseph looked at me with a hardened face.
I didn’t answer until his long fingers wiped my tear-stained cheeks.
“I-I’m glad. The red soil I made is effective.”
“Is that so?”
Joseph looked over the field as if surprised by my words.
Selina’s face turned red wonderfully, pointing to the seedling board using red soil and the Hail rice that succeeded in sowing.
“Your Highness, this is Southern Hail rice. It is famous for sowing only in red soil in the South.”
At Selina’s excited explanation, he turned to me and muttered briefly.
‘I’ve made something strange for nothing.’
When I came to my senses, I quickly escaped Joseph’s arms and nodded.
“I want to distribute artificial soil to the farmers of Katan. The population of farmers is not yet large, but if we show them that farming is possible, there will be people who start.”
The reason why Katan is poor is because most of the landowners live by hunting.
Working for a day and living for a day, it was impossible for them to live on their property, and they could not have taxed poor landowners.
Well, I don’t know if I squeeze it like my father.
“I will tell Dante that the red soil you made has been proven.”
“Yes, thank you.”
Smiling casually at Joseph’s words, I blushed again at his deep gaze at my smiling face.
‘Why is he looking at me like that again?’
Is there something on my face, or did I look stupid because I liked it so much?
* * *
“Then how many workers do we have to hire to help your wife develop red soil?”
Dante raised his voice and called out him who had los his minds when he remembered to help Rita develop the red soil.
“I asked madam how many workers to hire for her.”
“Well, that’s a good idea.”
Joseph nodded belatedly and agreed with Dante.
He thinks differently while discussing his opinion with Dante. It had never happened.
“What are you thinking?”
But Dante’s question struck him as daydreaming
Joseph sighed as he recalled Rita’s bright smile.
I wasn’t something she made up like she usually does when she dealing with herself, of course she is a beautiful person who he couldn’t take his eyes of her, but it was a smile that is genuinely happy.
‘She is a person who laughed like that.’
It’s been over two months since they got married, and it’s my first time seeing my wife smile.
‘What a terrible husband.’
Even though the marriage is only means to set Rita free, I’m still her husband.
No matter how much it was a marriage to free Rita, he was still her husband.
Joseph blamed himself and washed his face dry.
“Do you have any concerns?”
The curious Dante tilted his head.
“What month is it now?”
“It’s just the first day into August.”
At Dante’s answer, Joseph’s long fingers rubbed his long wrinkled forehead.
“And yet, is it this cold?”
“……Are you cold? Do you want more firewood in the room?”
“Not my room. Pay special attention to my wife’s room temperature.”
“I think it’s still warm, do you mean more?”
“Yes, shouldn’t it be enough to make winter feel like summer?”
“Ah, yes, well……”
Dante nodded aesthetically at Joseph’s stubbornness.
Although he noticed the butler’s dissatisfaction, Joseph was very dry because he thought that Katan’s life might be too much for Rita.
I was always worried when I thought of her body like dry firewood.
Katan is too cold land for Rita, who was born and raised in the South.
‘She said she hated the cold when we were young.’
‘The Count must have put me in a dungeon because of my bad hand.’
‘But, no matter what, you’re only eleven years old!’
The day when the emperor’s last command for me to head to Katan immediately fell when since the monsters at Cardinale were subjugated.
I couldn’t meet Rita after all.
‘I hate the basement. It’s so cold.’
Little Rita used to tremble, referring to prisons that would never have been used for an average young girl.
‘I can’t make her shiver in cold again because of me.’
Joseph, who recalled her shoulder shaking as if trying to hold back tears, clenched his fist.
Seeing her cry made me feel like my heart was pounding.
“……I don’t want to see my wife suffer.”
“Well, isn’t it?”
Joseph nodded at Dante’s response, interpreting his unfamiliar feelings as such.