Good morning, everyone! It's me, your beloved and most adorable Lady Felicia again. How are you all doing? Did you miss me? I'm sure you did! But don't worry, after three side stories, I'm finally here again. Yay me!
Why aren't any of you clapping? Clap, now! Anyone not clapping at my appearance will be dumped into the Mrun River. You! I see you're not clapping. How dare you! But I'll let it go for now, hmph!
Why? Because I'm in a good mood.
It is now spring and the whole valley is covered in flowers. Yes, flowers! I don't know if it's anything I did - no, it's definitely something I did - but this year, the whole barony is covered in flowers.
Blue, red, yellow, white and even purple! On the roof, in front of houses, along the paved road and even on the mountains! The whole barony is a flower garden! Even when you hide in your house, you can still smell the fragrance of flowers. This calls for a flower festival. Come to think of it, let's do just that!
The moment I went out this morning, I was greeted by the sight of a beautiful white horse. Its reins tied to the fence of the flower patch in front of my house. It was chomping on the petals and leaves of my beautiful flowers.
"Pest-Sul, why is this horse eating my flower garden?
"Sorry, big sis. A messenger from the House of Melstad arrived earlier with the horse in tow. He's off to have breakfast at Felicious. He told me he'd be right back. He also told me that the horse is Melstad property and it is not to be harmed."
I gave Sul a glare. In exchange for me not making a fuss about her being mother's pet kitten, it was agreed that she would be employed as our maid-in-training. She was placed under Suin's supervision, though her primary duty was taking care of my flower garden.
I did try to bully her a bit by making her wear cat ears and a cat tail, which I had the tailors sew quickly at double pay. She took it in stride though and never complained. This cursed object's positivity and optimism is so terrifyingly bright. Of course the cat ears and tail only made her more adorable in mother’s eyes. Mother is so weird.
So in all appearances, she became Cat Maid Sul. That was the only way I would agree to her becoming our household maid. Besides, Fariha was still weak from her recent birth, so having Sul around would most definitely help Suin with the housework. It won't be a problem even once Fariha returns to work. Unlike before, we can now afford to hire three maids, we can even afford to hire ten more maids now, but let's not go that far. We can't afford nine more babies because father can't control his urges. If Suin weren't a former assassin, father would've probably had a baby with her too.
Anyway, let's deal with the immediate issue.
"You!" I gave the horse a glare.
The horse ignored me.
The horse continued to ignore me.
"If you do not stop eating my flowers, I will turn you into horse stew."
Still ignoring me.
"Have it your way," I said as I came close to the horse but before I could grab its reins, it turned around and kicked me with its hind legs.
If not because of my Tea Party, a pair of high strength steel bracers blued to perfection, I would've broken some bones at least.
Just look at the bracer on my arms. It is steel and yet it is dented! Sure, the dent is shallow and not very noticeable but it's a dent nonetheless. Is this someone's attempt at assassination?
If this is a Melstad's horse, are they trying to kill me? Could it be that I'm a threat now and my own relatives are trying to do me in? If so, say it to my face you ungrateful cousins! Or maybe ungrateful uncles or aunts. Don't make me regret bringing you home from Lytis!
I took out my gun, the Mark VII Double Barrelled Boomstick and aimed it at the horse.
"Apologize or I make a hole in your eye," I said to the horse.
"Waaaaiiiitttt!!!!" a loud voice cried from the main road leading to town proper.
I looked at the direction the voice came from and saw a man on horseback galloping in my direction.
"Please, my lady," the man said once he dismounted, "Please do not kill the horse, it's a present from Master Feras Meruin Melstad, my lady."
He handed me a letter. Written in flowery words with the smell of roses and metaphors that I found hard to understand, I skimmed through it and then tore it to pieces.
What is this garbage?
"Ah... my lady..." the servant looked at the pieces of paper on the ground.
This is why I don't like you, you know? If you want to say something, just freaking say it! Don't go with such a roundabout way about it.
"So basically, this is a gift for me from that idiot, right?"
"I'm not sure who is the idiot you're referring to, my lady, but yes, this is a gift from Master Feras.
"I see, then I can do whatever I want with it, right?"
"Good!" I said as I raised my gun again.
He knelt on the ground with his forehead touching the dirt. "Please, my lady. If it's known that master's gift was shot dead within a minute of being received, I will be in a very bad position, my lady. Please have mercy on me."
"Tch!" I walked up towards the sickly pale horse, while watching out for its hind legs. I stood in front of the horse, between it and the fence its rein was tied to. My gun hung low in my hand.
"Thank you very much for your consideration, my lady. I'm sure this will go a long towards maintaining a good relation between the houses of Melstad and Metrune, my lady."
I could see the horse smirk.
I patted the soft white fur of the sickly pale horse as I said, "Certainly, I wouldn't want to cause any friction between us and grandfather and I look forward to continued good relations with the House of Melstad. Of course, I wouldn't dream of hurting such a beautiful equine."
The horse neighed a laugh.
Then I pressed the nozzle of the gun at the horse's throat. "Did you seriously expect me to say that, you dumb horse? AH?"
Startled, the horse attempted to pull back, but with the rein tied to the fence, it couldn't go far. I just pressed the barrel even deeper into its throat.
"Would you like me to prepare it for dinner, my lady?" Lili asked suddenly.
"Oh no need. No need at all. You hear that, you stupid horse? Lili offers to prepare you for dinner. But I'm thinking of roasting you myself. Your hind legs look delicious. Bet you regret kicking me just now, huh?"
The horse breathed hard as it pulled even harder in an attempt to get away.
"You think I won't kill you, is that so? You think I'm afraid of grandpa, don't you? Well, tough luck. I can’t give a damn! Become nutrient for my body, dumb horse!"
Right before I was about to press the trigger, I felt something give away behind me. The fence came flying when the sickly pale horse pulled even harder, hitting me in the back. The wooden fence broke into pieces against my back, releasing the reins, which ended up tangling at my feet.
"Gyaaah!!! Stop you damned horse meat!" I cried as the horse carried me away by my feet with Lili chasing after me.
"Huff huff, stupid horse. Making me dirty so early in the morning."
"Huff huff, what an agile horse. It could avoid my thrown knives so easily. I offer no excuse for my failure, my lady."
"Huff huff. You tried your best. Next time I see that stupid horse, I'm definitely putting a bullet into it. What's with you these days, though? It's like you're in a daze these days."
"I'm sorry, my lady. It's nothing, please don't worry about it. So what's the plan now, my lady?"
"Same as we do every day. Let's go visit the school."
"At least we're not far from the school."
We arrived at the school just as our single full-time school teacher, Ms. Collie opened the door to admit the students into the classroom. Unlike formal schools in my former world, schools in this world are not mandatory and even discouraged in certain parts of the region. In my old world there was a saying that "An uneducated populace is easier to cow, easier to control, and easier to enslave." Perhaps that is why education is not a big thing here.
I don't really care about enslaving people through withholding education. I need my population educated so that I can make them do even more things for me. There are plenty of ways to enslave people. Keeping them dumb is a short-sighted person's folly. Like every noble of the land, of course I want complete obedience from my populace, but I don't have to be a dick about it.
True, an uneducated workforce is easier to control, but an educated workforce is more useful when controlled. You can quote me on that.
The school was actually one of the two workshops on my small strip of land. It was a little bigger than three peasant houses placed next to each other. At full use, the first floor of the workshop could comfortably seat 60 children in one class, though it could fit 100 children at the same time if comfort weren't a concern. The second floor was added a week after class started and classes there focused on teaching practical skills such as medicine refining, sewing and woodworking.
With the sudden increase in population after the trip to Lytis, we had a lot of people with no home and no jobs. I asked the original peasants of the barony to allow the homeless newcomers a place to stay in their homes while we built the new boarding house out of bricks and concrete.
Now, bricks and mortar are well known in this time period. Many castles and buildings were already made with fired mudbricks and mortar, alongside other materials such as limestone and granite. What they didn't have, was concrete. With the mountainous landscape of Mruna and the shortage of timber, building out of bricks and concrete was significantly cheaper and sturdier. Without a need to import wood, the boarding house was made almost entirely of concrete and hollow bricks, making construction a lot faster than if it had been single blocks of limestone or similar. If you must know, the boarding house was built based on French Baroque architecture since it was meant to be an inn after we have given every newcomer a home. I probably went overboard with the scale again. though. It had become as big as a small fort.
I really should learn to tone things down.
The sudden increase in population prompted the barony-wide policy of planting flowers at each home. It was following my fears that the sudden population boom would cause squalor and disease. I knew enough about the Black Death and I didn't plan to start it here. I know at a population of 800 adults, it wasn’t big enough for Black Death to come knocking, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful. Every home got a small amount of seeds for them to grow mint bushes in front of their homes. They could also grow other plants from cuttings they got from the wilds, but some with a little bit more money could choose to buy already rooted cuttings from me, for a small fee (lol).
Yup, some of our people have money now. With the increase in population and industry, Mruna is seeing the rise of the first middle class citizens right now. With more people than space, we're also seeing the former serfs merge their dwellings into one large multi-storey housing block. That's right, Mruna is getting its first apartment blocks too.
Of course, that was all following my suggestion, modeled after the large five-storey boarding house which also housed my Felicious Ride-Through Restaurant. Don't worry, I was aware of the risks involved with early apartments, so I formed a group in charge of inspecting the safety of the apartments every month, headed by me, the Chief Building Inspector.
Any plans to build an apartment block have to first be drawn on a piece of paper. Since most people can't read or write, they had to pay those who can read and write to prepare their documents, which prompted the formation of the Copywriter's Hall, headed by a formerly imprisoned scholar from Lytis. Then they would send it to me for approval to start building. Most of the earlier plans were denied as they did not specify worker safety precautions, materials used and effect on neighbourhood traffic. The placement of drainage and sewage pipes had to be included too, although they couldn't understand why those were extremely important to being approved.
The very first proposal was only a single-page paper with a rough sketch of a three-storey building with the words "This is good." I stamped 'denied' all over the page until it was almost completely black. Thankfully, after I gave a basic guideline of what to draw and what to write, the proposals after that were more acceptable. It did require a bit of urban replanning though, and some families had to be relocated to new homes to allow expansion of roads in order to avoid the inevitable heavy traffic in the town's center.
During construction, as Chief Building Inspector, I had to do actual inspections to ensure that the building methods and precautions were safe for builders and eventual tenants. After that, they had to purchase additional flowers for each floor of their apartments, and they had to purchase them from me, the barony's Botanical Director. After that, they had to register their building to me, the City Planner and if I deemed their building to be unsafe for habitation, they wouldn't be allowed to rent it out to anyone.
So with all these new stuff, can you see why I want an educated population so that I won't have to do everything myself? Sure I have my friends, but they all have other things to do. I have plans for them, being urban development officials isn’t one of them.
"How was yesterday, Ms. Collie?" I asked when I entered turned the corner at the new school. Like many educated people here, Ms. Collie was from Lytis and one of the imprisoned captives thrown out my way. In Lytis, she was imprisoned for obstructing civil officials, at least according to her when she applied for the job of school teacher.
"Oh my lady, good morning. Everything was as usual. Some of the children are still struggling with reading and writing, but that's to be expected. It's only been a few weeks since they started school after all."
"I see. Is there anything you need?"
"Nothing urgent, but if it's possible, can I get twenty more writing slates, my lady? I think we miscalculated the number of children in town."
"Alright, I'll have it delivered this evening."
"Thank you my lady."
"What about the adult class in the evening? Any problem with that?"
"Nothing I can't handle, my lady."
"Very well, if there's any problem with the school, you know where to find me."
"Certainly, my lady."
When I wasn’t visiting the places of importance, I would normally be working in my workshop just a stone's throw away from the school. Since the stuff I kept in the school had to be moved, they were all moved to my workshop. So now my workshop and its surrounding looks more like a junkyard than a workshop, which sucks. I'll be happy when the school building is completed. It will be called Mruna's Naval Academy, a large school facing the Mrun River with plenty of space for recreation and for students from all levels, from primary to secondary to college. The only compulsory level will be primary school, though.
Have I mentioned that I'm also the school's principal? No? Well, I also teach sometimes, but Ms. Collie had a problem with me aiming my gun at naughty children, so she only allowed me to help out occasionally. I admit that was out of line, but they wouldn't listen otherwise! So now my only duty as principal is to acquire supplies for the school and set up the curriculum. Once a week, I teach metallurgy and chemistry but since only the blacksmith's boys and a few boys from Lytis are at that level, my involvement with the lessons is minimal.
After checking out the school, I walked back to the town. There, in the center of town was the newly formed Adventurers’ Guild. Yes, Adventurers’ Guild. Annexed from the house of the former village chief, it was created to provide jobs for those without. Here, I and anyone who needs things done can post jobs for those looking for one.
You see, after I came back from Lytis with a bunch of people, we had a terrible problem with unemployment. There were too many people and too few jobs. I tried my best to give some of them jobs at my place, but the only things that actually needed workers were the farm and the tin mine. That still left me with almost 200 people with no jobs and no homes. Ever since I cut down all the trees behind the port, father had been very protective of the rest of the trees, so it wasn't like I could tell the jobless people to cut down the trees to make more farms. If I left the situation the way it was, soon I'd see a spike in crime and the rise of slums. I didn't want that to happen, so the Adventurers’ Guild was the answer I came up with.
Most commonly, the local residents would be looking for help in the fields. They would pay the Adventurers’ Guild the wages plus service charge specified and then given a token of payment. Anyone looking for work can request the job, and if the guild feels they're suitable for the job, they would be given a job token. Once the task is completed, the employer would hand the worker their payment token and the worker would return to the Adventurers’ Guild to claim their payments. Sometimes the employers would give exceptional workers some gifts like a basket of harvest or some tips. That is fine with us, the Adventurers’ Guild neither approves or reproves such acts.
Eventually, the employers will end up with a favourite worker and will employ them outside of the Adventurers’ Guild's services. That's fine with me. The reason I created the Adventurers’ Guild was to provide jobs for those who couldn't find them in the first place.
"Good morning, Gonne," I greeted as I poked my head through the main doorway.
Gonne was talking to a disgruntled-looking man who was arguing about something. At my greeting, the man took off his hat and they bowed at the same time. I noticed the man was one of the men we brought home from Lytis. So likely he was looking for work.
"Good morning, my lady," Gonne greeted back, "If you will give me a few minutes, my lady, I'll serve you shortly."
"No problem, take your time." I could tell that Gonne was in some kind of trouble, but I chose to let him handle it himself. As assistant guildmaster, he should learn how to handle things by himself. I couldn’t be around to handle problems every time.
I looked up at the five foot long and three foot tall notice board, noticing that the Adventurers’ Guild idea was a huge success. While most of the job postings were for farming or construction, some others were for acquiring items, such as deer hide or herbs. Due to the multipurpose nature of the Adventurers’ Guild, there were so many job postings that the whole notice board was full of job offers pinned by thumbtacks. Some job postings were even posted on top of existing job postings. I should deliver a new notice board tomorrow.
Before you ask, yes, I ‘invented’ thumbtacks as well. Otherwise we’d have a bunch of nails on the board that could turn the notice board into a murder weapon. I’d rather not have ‘killed with a notice board’ as one of the causes of death in Mruna.
I took an empty form for job posting and filled it in, specifying that I was looking for another carpenter. Ever since father had forbidden me from cutting trees indiscriminately, we had been having a serious issue with lacking timber. I had my ships import timber from places as far as Rotenheim, but we still have a shortage of it. So I've been careful with hiring too many carpenters for fear of running out of timber. It still didn't solve the problem of lacking wood, though.
I guess I'll just import more timber from Renus. Hopefully grandpa will agree to sell more timber. He's been making a lot of fuss about timber ever since I told him I didn't have the resources to build another Lollipop Class ship for him. He offered to give me the timber for free if I would build the ship for him for free. I told him, "Hell no!" Even with the free timber there were still many other things that needed to be spent on, such as wages, steel and the five ballistae he expected me to include as part of the deal.
Seemingly done with the other man, Gonne greeted me. "Good day, my lady. I'm sorry that I can't have our daily meeting today, since I have to go out to settle a dispute. My sister Monne is in the office though, if you'd be fine with that."
"It's fine, go ahead. I'll speak with Monne," I said as I made a dismissive wave before putting up the newly filled form onto the notice board.
Monne is Gonne's older sister and Somme's younger sister. Both Somme and Gonne taught her reading and writing themselves in order to improve their own skills. She is an efficient clerk and handles the guild's accounts fairly well. The only reason why I didn't appoint her as first assistant was because she was very shy and timid. If she becomes first assistant, all these burly, muscly men looking for work will just pressure her with their demands. Unlike Serin, who is equally shy but has no problem spilling blood, Monne has no stomach for violence or blood.
Unlike Gonne, whose job is more front desk, Monne's job is more in the guild archives. Here, only registered 'adventurers' may take up jobs. There is a one-time five copper fee for registration and issuing of a 'guild card', but this can be paid through pay deductions over 2-3 jobs if the applicant can't pay it for whatever reason. These guild cards function as identification cards, where we record the jobs they've taken, the amount they've been paid as well as any commendations or comments by their employers. They will then be assigned a Competency Rank and a Trustworthiness rank.
Being 'competent' doesn't mean they can kill dragons (even if they exist), it just means that they're competent in what they do, for example, farming, fighting, administration or the like. Trustworthiness is determined by how many jobs they've completed versus the jobs they've abandoned and their general attitude towards work and their employers. The ranks range from Unranked U for newbies to A for very accomplished ones. F rank would be given for those who consistently failed every job.
From Monne, I found out that the Adventurers’ Guild was too successful and we've been having more jobs than workers and that unless we have more workers, the requests will just keep stacking up. She also informed me that some of the workers have been getting more rowdy lately and this might cause a problem in the future. I told her I would think of something. I wonder if I may have to lower the age restriction or bring in more peasants from elsewhere. Currently, only children older than 12 could be hired through the Adventurers’ Guild, though there was nothing stopping anyone from hiring kids younger than 12 on their own.
I walked out of the Adventurers’ Guild when I heard the sound of wooden bells tolling in the distance. From the street to my right, a tall banner with the 'Rod of Asclepius' symbol was raised high as the team of spear sentries marched quickly with their baggage, a wounded man lying on a stretcher. This was a team of spear sentries, fulfilling their mission as paramedics in times of need while still maintaining their duties as Mruna's police force.
With the increase in population, there was also a rise in crime. Therefore, I had Merisa arrange for regular patrols, with watch posts in several key spots around the town in addition to previously built guard towers all over the barony. While they still patrolled in full gear, they had switched from war armaments to urban police armaments, retaining everything except the long spear and supply packs. What they carried now were six-foot long staffs in place of long spears and linen cloths along with first aid kits. Apart from being policemen, they also functioned as paramedics. The long staffs and linen cloths could be turned into stretchers easily where the injured could be transferred to the local medical center.
Unlike my previous world's medical centers, the medical centers in this world use herbs instead of drugs. This is something that I can't show any superior knowledge in. Although there are many plants that are similar to my previous world, most plants are really foreign, likely due to different evolutionary paths. For example, we have a rubber bush here, just like in my previous world, but this world's rubber bush is like a thin, tiny rubber tree that grows fast and to extract the rubber, you have to uproot the whole tree, debark it and smash the inside with a hammer. The resulting slurry is the rubber or latex with plant fibre mixed in. Same case with medicinal herbs here, they are somewhat different from what I had back in my previous world. That's why having Serin and Lili learn about it was essential. Although we've had village medicus for generations, the medical center itself was only built last winter following the arrival of all the medici that came with our return from Lytis.
Surprisingly, they knew of the benefits of alcohol and had been using base mrugs as disinfectant as soon as they found out about their high alcohol content. So I had to prepare mrugs not just for regular consumption but also for medical use. Due to this, there are simply not enough mrugs for exports and the only exports I had of mrugs were to Daddy Malor and Daddy Soom in Lytis. I had to keep some of the mrugs in reserve after all, since they were also used in warfare as mrug projectiles. Abundance of Lolipops alone consumed at least four barrels a week even without taking part in any battles.
Have I mentioned that Daddy Malor and Daddy Soom were so impressed by The Abundance of Lollipops that they bought the next best thing, the cogs? Not just one, but three cogs and they loved them. They wanted to buy more but I told them the rest were already reserved. They've been pestering me to build more though, and both were willing to pay top price for either The Abundance of Lollipops or a ship of similar make. So for awhile there, I was swimming in gold. The only problem with building more ships was that, I didn't have enough timber!
I'm not joking when I said I was swimming in gold. I did swim in gold, literally. It happened in the vault under the recently built and heavily fortified Mruna Grains Exchange. No, it has nothing to do with trading stocks. It's a very basic grains exchange. People sell the grains they have in excess and buy grains they want at a fixed price. Sure, they can just barter with their neighbours, but at the Grain Exchange, they can sell it for coins without haggling especially if what they have are so common that nobody wants to barter for it. It's the first step towards having a money-driven economy and toward becoming a city. It also functions as the center of the town’s commercial area.
“The town is growing well,” I commented.
“Indeed, my lady. There are a lot more people now and buildings are getting taller,” Lili agreed.
“It’s still too small to become a city, though.”
“It’s only a matter of time, my lady.”
“I suppose you’re right. Let’s go to the grand opening of the new public bathhouse, Lili.”
“Eh? Isn’t it still too early, my lady?”
“It’s fine to take a bath before the grand opening, right? Besides, I can’t attend the grand opening being this dirty.”
“I’ll send a message to Sul and ask her to send a change of clothes, my lady.”
“Very good. Now let’s go take a bath!”
We arrived at the bathhouse around five minutes later. It was a large two-storey building with a single tall chimney in the back, though only the ground floor was used for bathing. It was large enough to comfortably accommodate 300 people at the same time. The bathhouse was built about four blocks away from the town center, halfway between the Adventurers’ Guild and my family’s mansion. Designed with nature in mind, it had two locker areas for keeping personal belongings, a large wash room where a reservoir supplied water to the pipes and an even larger soaking area. There were hot water-filled pools made of smooth, circular large rocks with flowering bushes planted in pots near the hot water pools. It must be said that the soaking area had no roof, because I wanted to see the stars while I soaked at night. Since this wasn’t a residential area, there was no fear of people peeking from the apartments. Despite that, I still had a tall brick wall built around the soaking area to deter prying eyes.
There was no separate bath. Both men and women use the same bath. I couldn’t afford to build separate baths on top of everything I had planned to build. So men and women simply had to bathe at separate times. I’d leave that to the bath manager, a job which my normally lazy mother had volunteered to take up. She couldn’t be here for the opening ceremony, though. For some reason, she had to go see grandpa in Renus.
“Good afternoon, Ella,” I greeted the receptionist in charge of the noon shift. She was sweeping the floor in preparation for the opening ceremony.
She curtsied with one hand on the broom. “Good afternoon, my lady. The opening ceremony won’t start for two more hours, but please have a rest in the lounge upstairs in the meantime. Captain Merisa is there too.”
“No, I’m here for a bath. Is the bath ready for use, Ella?”
“Melle just checked it half an hour ago, my lady. It’s ready if you want to use it.”
“Great! Come on, Lili, let’s take a bath. You too, Ella.”
“Eh? But I’m still working-“
“You’ve been sweeping since yesterday. It won’t accumulate that much dust in just one day. Come on, take a break and let’s take a bath together. Call Melle and Merisa too.”
“Yes my lady.”
I tried my best not to grin. My urging for them to bathe together with me had nothing to do with taking a break. I actually just wanted to see them naked. Apart from Merisa, both Ella and Melle were beautiful and well-stacked. Merisa was pretty too, but she was more cool than beautiful and although she had a respectable pair, she wasn’t stacked like the other two. Guess I still like women after all.
Oh, not good, I’m letting out a drool.
Together with Lili, I walked into the locker room as Ella went upstairs to call for Merisa and Melle to join us. While taking off my own dress, I eyed Lili’s lean body. Unlike me, Lili had already started having a nice beginning of a pair of hills on her chest. With her tight, slim body, growing breasts and butt and pretty face, she was starting to look like a junior idol from my previous world.
Don’t misunderstand. Although we have similar faces and bodies, I wasn’t trying to praise myself through praising her. I just sincerely like her. As a friend, of course.
“Please don’t stare too much, my lady,” Lili said while attempting to hide her breasts and crotch with the linen towel that was provided free by the bathhouse inside the locker.
“Eh? Was I staring?” I asked, though I already knew that I was indeed staring.
“Mm,” Lili mumbled as she looked sideways.
“Sorry, let’s go have a wash, okay?” I said as I took her hand and lead her to the wash area.
We washed each other tenderly in the wash area, with the fragrant soap made from several kinds of flower oils. She looked embarrassed as I washed her and it looked like she tried to avoid moaning, judging from the way she bit her lips while making small sounds in her throat. The she washed me in exchange and it felt so good that I wanted to lie on the wooden bench by the corner while she rubbed my back until I fell asleep.
My eyes were drawn to the wooden sliding door as it opened, revealing the three beauties in their naked splendour. Unlike the other two, Merisa who led them into the wash room apparently had no idea that the towel was supposed to hide her private parts. Thus she placed it on her shoulder the way a man would have done in my previous life and confidently walked bare-naked into the washroom, proudly revealing every part of her body for my eyes to capture in all its splendour.
“My lady, you’re drooling,” Lili said as she wiped my drool with her own towel.
Boobs, butts, blushing faces. Uhehehehe. Yes! This is what being a man should be like. Mature women are the best after all.
Except I’m a girl now, damn it! What am I going to do with this frustration?
“What are you doing? Catch it properly!” I yelled as Merisa was kicked away into one of the hot water pools.
“You pervert horse, taste my poison needles!” Lili cried as she threw three steel darts at the rampaging horse.
“Eeyaa!!!” Ella screamed when one of steel darts barely missed her naked breasts.
“Don’t let the dumb horse loose!” I commanded while running back to the locker room. I needed to grab my gun and shoot the dumb horse in the eye.
You’re wondering what’s happening?
It happened after washing our bodies, you see. We entered the soaking area together afterwards, but instead of relaxing in the hot pools, we saw the same white horse that made me dirty this morning soaking inside one of the tubs. Of course, I told everyone to catch the dumb horse. Nobody bathes in my hot water bathhouse before me!
And so after grabbing my gun, and running back to the soaking area still stark naked, I fired a shot. “BANG!” It missed the horse but managed to make it freeze on the spot. Merisa and Melle then took the opportunity to bring it down by tying its legs with their towels, causing the horse to fall to its side when it struggled.
“Huff, huff. Got you now, you dumb horse. Have anything to say before I put a bullet in your eye?”
The horse neighed.
“Ha? You were just bathing? How dare a dirty perverted horse bathe with me in my hot water pool. Go find yourself a river if you want to bathe so much.”
It neighed again.
“You’re saying you’re not a pervert because you’re a mare? Merisa, check it.”
“Check if it’s really a mare, Merisa.”
Looking confused, it took Merisa a moment to understand the order, as expected of the captain of the spear sentries. She cautiously touched the horse’s privates while watching its legs. The horse neighed as its privates were felt up.
“Shut up and take it quietly, you damned horse. Do you really want a bullet in your brain?”
“She’s a mare, my lady,” Merisa confirmed
“I see, so you’re not a perverted stallion after all.”
The horse nodded enthusiastically.
“But that doesn’t make it okay to bathe in a human bath,” I said as I pointed my gun at its head.
The horse neighed a sad tone.
“No matter how much you plead, I won’t be swayed, you know. I won’t have my hot pool be dirtied with mud. In the first place, it’s only for soaking. You were supposed to wash yourself first instead of jumping straight in!”
It neighed an even sadder tone.
“Ha? If I let you live, you’ll be my loyal servant? What nonsense! How do you expect me to trust you after you almost killed me this morning?”
“Ah geez! Stop crying! Fine, I’ll spare your life this time, but if you try to rebel or harm me again, I’ll definitely cut off your legs and roast them in front of your own eyes.”
“Merisa, please untie her legs. As for you, go wait at home. I’ll take you to the river later. On second thought, just go yourself. Ask the other horses if you don’t know the way. How the heck did you get in anyway?”
The horse pointed its head in one direction.
“You broke the back door? You stupid horse! That door was meticulously carved by an artisan! I’m going to work you hard to pay back that door. Now go away before I change my mind and put you out of your misery.”
Peace finally returned after the horse left through the still wide-open back door. I’ll have to ask Melle and Ella to have a temporary door fitted until I can find a replacement. Or maybe I’ll just ask mother to take care of it. Yup, that’s a better idea.
“Say, what does everyone think about a flower festival?” I asked the group as we sat down in one of the hot pools.
“What is a flower festival, my lady?” Melle asked while rubbing hot water into her shoulders.
“Basically, it’s a day off to admire beautiful flowers. Not just that, there will also be performances, food stalls and game stalls set up for everyone to relax and enjoy the food and the atmosphere.”
“Umm... I can’t understand why any would want to admire beautiful flowers, my lady. I do like the idea of food stalls, but I’d have to know the details before I can set up a security detail.”
“What are you saying, Merisa? If you have a girl’s heart, won’t you want to look at pretty things? Beautiful flowers are pretty things.”
“I’m sorry for not having a girl’s heart,” Merisa said while looking down.
“You said game stalls, my lady? What kind of games?” Ella asked as she raised her left hand.
“Many types, for example, fish scooping, mini bow archery, ball throwing and so many more things! Of course, there will be prizes to be won.”
“Oh, that sounds nice. We have Aging Festivals, but there were never any games like that.”
“That’s why this is going to be a first!” I said proudly.
“I’m in, what can I help you with, my lady?” Melle said.
“Me too!” Ella said excitedly.
“If you wish for it, I’ll do anything you wish for, my lady,” Merisa agreed.
“Alright! Everyone agrees. I’ll have to do some planning, then I’ll have to talk to father about it. Expect one by the end of Spring, everyone!”
Of course, I didn’t need to ask Lili. She already agreed to help me as much as possible when I talked about it with her earlier. I love Lili so much!
When we got up and went back to the locker room to dress up for the opening ceremony later, Lili whispered to me, “My lady, were you talking to the horse earlier?”
I looked at her while making a frown. “What are you talking about, Lili?”
“Open the door, Sul,” I said without taking my eyes off the leather-bound book in my hand. I was sitting at the dining table alone after dinner as Lili was with her mother Suin to learn more about various herbs and poisons.
“Yes, big sister Felli,” the cursed object smiled cutely.
It must’ve been my imagination, because I saw her fake cat ears and tail twitched.
“My lady,” a man in a trench coat stepped inside and took off his hat before pressing it against his chest. It was the messenger I sent to father who was in Renus visiting grandpa with mother.
“So you have returned? What did the baron say?” I asked while flipping the page of the book.
BANG! I put a bullet hole in the wooden door behind him, just an inch away from his left ear. “You asshole, who do you think you're saying that to, huh?” I said as I put the book down and walked towards the man with the smoky gun in my right hand.
“No, that was the message, my lady! It was what the baron said!”
“Really?” I asked as I pushed the second barrel of the gun against the forehead of the taller man.
“Yes, that was all he said, my lady! I swear!”
I took off the gun from his head and whispered to myself, “Damn it, father! We need a flower festival!”