Rebirth of the Villainess Wife - Chapter 09
—“First of all, would you be kind enough to show me the fields?”
When I said this to the village chief, Telos, he nodded, but seemed a little lost.
“That’s fine, but.. there is a possibility of soil contamination. And there is a compost heap nearby, so it might be uncomfortable..”
I gave my advice, or rather, my concern.
He probably thinks that I, the selfish duchess, would complain if I went to such a place.
But I am a person who, in the past, was even willing to get covered in horse poo in the stables to escape my pursuers.
What’s wrong with a bit of compost?
The smell of the soil is not a problem, and I wear only used clothes, thinking that it is rather natural to get dirty.
It is also something that is easy to move in for riding, and I would rather seem like I am dressed as a man now.
Well, from the point of view of the villagers in these villages, they probably think that the nobleman is dressed like that for some unusual hobby..
In the Duke of Farenth’s territory, this area is an agricultural area, so it can’t be helped.
I say to Telos.
“I don’t mind.. but I know you’re worried, so I swear here that I won’t complain or punish the villagers, no matter how dirty I get. Even these clothes may look expensive from your point of view, but I have worn them so that I don’t have to get dirty.”
“..So that’s how it was! In that case..I understand. Then, please come this way.”
Telos’ eyes widened in surprise, but he certainly understood that this outfit was functional for ease of movement, so he nodded deeply and began to lead the way.
“This is.. terrible.”
“..I’m sorry for the current condition.. We, too, are trying to restore the area as fast as possible, but we’re suffering from animal damage day after day, and we can’t keep up..”
It was no surprise that Telos said this in a disappointed tone.
The place we were taken to was a vast field on the outskirts of the village, but it had been sadly destroyed here and there.
It seemed that a lot of the crops were almost ready to be harvested, but most of the fruit had been ripped off or eaten away.
Whether or not the animals did this, there is no doubt that it was done by some kind of creature.
Fences of about one meter in length were set up in each section of the field, but they seemed to have been destroyed.
I say to Telos.
“There’s nothing to apologise for, because it wasn’t the villagers’ fault. But.. it’s more than we expected from the stones. From the report, you were expecting a 50 per cent drop in the harvest.. but with this, you must be prepared for a 90 per cent drop from the previous year, right?”
“Yes. When I raised the report, we still had more than half of the crop left, so I thought we could manage..”
“I’ll make sure I tell my husband. I cannot promise anything, as I said, but I will make sure that some kind of allowance is clawed back. Tell the villagers not to worry.”
I patted him on the shoulder to encourage him, and as I said this, Telos looked at me with a look in his eyes, as if he hadn’t expected to be told something, then his shoulders shook and he began to cry.
“That, I didn’t expect you to say that.. the truth is, I was worried… We have a large stockpile from last year, so I know we won’t starve, but.. if there is even the slightest outbreak of disease in this state, a small village like this will soon perish.. even the children, even the weak ones, who are not well nourished, will die one after another.. One by one, they might die..”
“The Duke of Farens would never abandon his subjects in their time of need. Besides, I will do what I can.. And from what I can see, the crops in this village look pretty tasty.”
With my knees on the ground, I pick up a handful of soil from the field.
The soil is still alive, although it has been ravaged.
The moist soil was rich in nutrients and reminded me of the original richness of the fields in this village.
“Madam, you’re going to get your hands dirty.”
Walter said this from behind me, not really out of concern for that, but probably to make Telos listen.
Mainly, my reply.
“I don’t mind. And I like tinkering with the soil.”
“Was it Hidari-sama?”
Walter, the quintessential Walther, seemed to have no information on this and tilted his head.
He probably heard a lot about me from Clément, but he has no way of knowing about my soil tinkering, because that’s what I used to do.
Well, the soil tinkering I was doing was basically based on mass production of illegal drugs and other efforts in that direction, so it’s not praiseworthy.
But Telos didn’t seem to feel that way.
“Oh my God! Lady Elaine is tinkering with the soil..? No way.. no, it seems true that you know about the goodness of soil, and I don’t doubt it, but..”
“When I’m at my parents’ house, sort of. Eventually, I’d like to have at least a small vegetable garden in the courtyard of the house. I’d even like you to send me some soil and compost from around here. It’s hard to get such good quality soil in the city of the capital.”
I didn’t really do this at all when I was at my parents’ house, but there was no other way to say it.
I’ll ask Amalia to talk me out of it later.
Telos seemed thrilled by my words.
“Of course then! But I’m not sure if this village will still be here by then..”
He nodded strongly, but quickly returned to his anxious expression.
I smile and tell him.
“I’m going to put that anxiety to rest now, so lighten up. Anyway, so much for the field inspection. Now I’d like you to.. show me around the village. If possible, I would like to talk to some of the villagers, but would you please choose those who are less intimidating? I would appreciate it if you have about five people of different ages, including children.”
“I’ll gather them right away. But.. children?”
“Yes. Because with adults, they might be too attentive to me.”
“..That’s certainly true, too. But..”
“It’s okay. I’ll let it slide, no matter how rude they are. If you want, I can write you a letter first, though, right?”
When I say this jokingly, Telos seems to have gradually come to understand my character.
With a much calmer smile than at first.
“..That won’t be necessary. I believe you. Then, please come this way..”
With these words, he began to walk away.