Blacksmith Volume 3 Chapter 2
Almost immediately after I arrived home, a person jumped out of the front door .
Running towards me in tears while shouting “Kururi~!” was my father, Toral Helan .
I made my decision in an instant .
Don’t misunderstand, there was absolutely no ‘tearful reunion’ mood coming from me, his son .
There was no point in going through the trouble of processing the situation, there wasn’t even any tears .
Just like when Nobi**-kun came back from school . That is to say, whether I become a giant blue cat from Dora*mon or not!
Hey! Who the hell is only two heads tall?!
“Long time no see, Father . 1”
“You’re back home safe! Father2 is really happy about this, you know!”
The moment we were reunited he annoyingly embraced me, but I was somehow able to put up with it . Still hugging me, he lifted me up and started to rub my back . Hey, don’t do this with a runny nose, everyone can see it .
Once he was satisfied, he was finally able to calm himself down, so I took that opportunity to introduce the two people I brought with me .
“These two are Vaine and Iris . They’re my friends from school,and I invited them to spend their summer vacation here in the Helan Territory . ”
“Well, I’m glad to see them here . ” Father welcomed the two of them with open arms .
Honestly, I was a bit worried that he wouldn’t be okay with them coming over, but it looks like my worries were for nought .
With a laugh that went “Hohoho~” Father closed in on the two, turning his sight towards Vaine .
I didn’t like how he seemed to overpower them with his excessiveness, though . He probably gave off an excessively large impression because he was a Dora*mon-type of person .
Finishing his look-over of Vaine, he turned towards Iris with a huff .
“Oh my~ Would you look at this . I have to say, you are very beautiful, is your relationship with Kururi by any chance like this?” Father grinned while making a gesture with his hands .
What with this father? I’ve known him for years now, and I still haven’t found a decent side to him yet .
Iris put on a wry smile and refused, going “No, no . ”
Before he could make his first impression any worse, I pulled father over and whispered,
“Try your best not to be rude to her, she has a good chance of becoming the future queen . ”
“By the way, the other one is actually the son of the Kingdom’s Knight Commander . ”
As I told Father this, he turned his face towards Iris in shock before listening again, only to turn towards Vaine in shock for the second time in our conversation .
Maybe his stomach started to hurt because he crouched down while holding it .
“Are you okay Dad2?”
“Kururi, your Dad here might not be able to take this . Recently I’ve been getting stomach pains due to stress, I’ll die if I have to face anymore . ”
“You’re exaggerating, but if you really need help I don’t mind working now that I’ve returned . ”
“Please do so, I have my hands full as it is . I’m at my limit, so I’d really appreciate it if you took care of everything Kururi . ”
“Everything… well, I already completed most of the work so there shouldn’t be too much left… I think . ”
Despite my father’s tone, I accepted .
I’d welcome any chance to have sole dominion over the territory, though Father seems to have misunderstood my intentions, and cried tears of gratefulness in response .
Apparently ever since I left, there seemed to have been a growing pile of problems with the Helan Territory .
No matter, there was still a great deal of development left to be done before it reached my ideal .
While the towns seem to have flourished from my innovations, the abrupt prosperity of the territory seems to have come with its own set of problems that needed to be dealt with .
Yet Father wasn’t able to resolve them, leading to much discontent among the populace .
Supposedly both Father and the citizens were hoping that I’d take over once I returned .
Or at least, something like that .
“Understood . You can enter the hot springs and relax for a bit, Dad . Leave everything else to me . ”
“Kururi, your Dad here is leaving for the summer resort, so I’m giving you permission to use the mansion as you wish . ”
Apparently, he seems to have been getting stomach pains from quite a while ago, so he had already completed his arrangements to leave for a vacation once I returned, even preparing a horse-drawn carriage in advance .
How excited was he to run away? If anything he’s light-footed, I’ll give him that .
Yay~ more work for me!
It can’t be helped . All of these problems emerged due to my actions, and you reap what you sow .
The Helan Territory was supposed to be a quiet place, but with the recent developments, that’s completely changed . Of course, my father would’ve been burdened when suddenly governing a territory that was completely different than what he was used to .
Of course, I’m just as inexperienced as he was to governing but I’m going to work harder than my father to quell the people’s anxiety about the future .
Well, it’s already been decided that I’m the one that’s supposed to fix these problems, so I might as well get started .
“Iris, I’ve already guaranteed you a job for the summer, but I still haven’t decided where you’ll work . I’ll tell you later but for now, you should choose a room that you like and unpack . ”
“Okay . ”
After Iris agreed with me about finding a room, we decided it would be best if we organised our luggage .
“How about you Vaine? What do you want to do?”
“Don’t worry, you don’t need to think about where to put me . Leave any jobs that involve heavy lifting to me . ”
“That would be a great help, thanks . ”
I had immediately gained two capable subordinates, it’s very reassuring to know that I won’t be doing everything myself .
* * *
To the servants who were working in the manor, I inquired about the issues we were currently facing .
Apparently, the populace had been requesting aid in the form of letters that they would send here almost on a daily basis, they recommended I try reading those .
This seems to be the system that they’ve always used for complaints, but I never heard anything about this from Father ever before, so they must’ve only started using it recently .
From the letters that they gave me, I picked up the one with the oldest date and read it .
There were various things written there, but if I were to summarise it then its main points revolved around how the recent economic boom in the territory caused a flood of new immigrants to move in, inflating the population drastically . Causing problems such as:
There aren’t enough homes for all the new people, we’re over capacity . The majority of the immigrants were people who were living in poverty in their old territories, so everyone is poor . With all the new inhabitants settling on the outskirts of the towns, public security has deteriorated .
Some of the problems seem to have sprouted because of that person’sincompetence .
Not all of these were problems that I caused .
The development of the territory itself is something to rejoice, but if I want to be able to live a stable life in the future, I need to work hard now .
After reading through the letters, I came to realise just how many problems our residents had . Though, this in itself could be seen as a problem too .
At the very least, it looks like we were able to give a few of the immigrants jobs as servants here in the mansion .
From what I see, the area where we could employ the most people right now would be in the service industry, we don’t have enough manpower to run it, and there’s bound to be a lot of nice people who came here .
We also seem to be in need of farmers, so I’ll try to increase the number of workers there .
There’s also the problem of housing, I’ll need to build enough for all of them to live in . This’ll cost a lot of money, but I should be able to get it back through taxes eventually, the land itself is mine after all .
Construction work will also need workers, so I guess I’ll be able to solve the employment problem quicker than I thought .
This isn’t the time for me to be worried, I need to take action .
I immediately went to the house safe and peeked inside .
The territory is rich so we received a lot of profit, and it’s all mine!
He who is in charge of the treasury has the right to use the treasury .
I can’t be helped, the citizens of my domain are in trouble .
After psyching myself up, and lightly apologising to father in my mind, I stretched my hand towards the money…
“Kururi, there’s a visitor for you . ”
Slamming the treasury door shut, I left to meet with Vaine, who was waiting with the visitor outside .
“It’s been a long time, Kururi-sama . ”
Raising my voice in surprise at the unexpected visitor, I rushed over .
How nostalgic, he seems just as gallant as I remember him .
“I heard that you had returned, so I decided to pay a visit . ”
“I’m glad that you did, it’s good to see you . ”
“I couldn’t agree more, but unfortunately we’ll have to catch up later, we have pressing matters at hand . Ever since the summer resort reformations had started, I started creating management reports on the project . The reports included accounting documents, the number of visitors we’ve been receiving, their feedback, requests, and the number of people we currently have employed . ”
“Prepared as always I see . I’m impressed, there’s no one in the territory who could replace you, Lotson . ”
“Of course . ”
While admiring Lotson’s work, I decided I should use this chance to get his counselling .
“Here, come on in . ”
Lotson, who was carrying the documents entered with my invitation .
After bringing him to the treasury, I resumed our conversation .
“Now that I’m in charge of these funds, I think I’ll need your help with managing it . I’m in a dire situation where I need to build a vast amount of houses for our new residents while keeping them simple enough that they don’t overwhelm our budget . As you can see, this is all that we can afford . Not to mention we also need to hire workers to build everything, but before I do any of this, I want to hear your opinion first . ”
“To have already transferred all assets to you… I can wholeheartedly say that everyone living in the territory will be happy about this decision . If you truly want my opinion, I believe this is the time where you’re supposed to be generous with the funds . I can’t help but feel that the majority of these complaints were made because of the resident’s dissatisfaction towards the current head and his inexperience . ”
“I agree . It’s only natural that I use the funds for the people if I’m the one that’s governing them . ”
“The only problem is that you’ll be selling the houses that are built cheaper than what they’re worth . Even after you’ve collected the payment, your current funds are bound to be split . Taking this route will surely lessen the people dissatisfaction, but you’ll be left broke . If the current head was only a little bit wiser at managing the region then… I’m sorry, please forgive me, I spoke out of turn . ”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it . ‘A lord that looks after his people’, right? Let’s go with that plan . First things first, we need manpower, and lots of it if we’re going to follow through with this . ”
“Leave the gathering, and hiring of people to me . ”
“But Lotson, aren’t you already busy with managing the villa?”
“It might be a little selfish of me, but I’m going to leave the management of the household to my brother for the time being . He’s received the same training that I have, so I don’t he’ll cause any problems, so you don’t have worry about that . ”
“If it’s your brother, then there shouldn’t be any problems . Okay Lotson-san, I guess I’ll let you help me out here . I’ll leave the gathering of manpower, and the calculations of how much they should be paid to you . ”
“Understood, I will begin immediately . ”
With quick movements, Lotson left back down the road he came .
I’m sure he’ll manage .
“Hmm… what should I do now?”
Before I knew it, Iris was standing there beside me . It looks like she listening in on our talk from a while ago, but remained silent .
“Vaine and I will be ready to work whenever you need us, so let’s get along, okay?”
“Ah, yeah . ”
I’ll probably place Vaine along with the construction workers, but where should I put Iris? I’d rather not make her do any heavy work like that .
“I’m thinking of making you sort documents and complete contract work, Iris . ”
“Those things people need to sign before they buy a house?”
“Yeah, that . In the near future, we’re going to be flooded with work like that, and it’s a fairly complicated job, but if I leave it with you I know I’ll have some peace of mind . ”
“Understood, leave it to me . ” Iris rolled up her sleeves as she said so, motivated .
* * *
The next day the immigrants were gathered .
There were more than a hundred of them, and many of them were craftsmen as well .
I’ll have to give Lotson-san a raise the next time I see him .
Yesterday we spread the information about how we’d need workers, and now they’ve gathered today at the construction site .
Though some of them are just here to see what the commotion is about instead of work .
Iris begins the reception once enough people had gathered .
My family is the only one safe from the unprecedented changes, but we’ve been receiving requests for new houses from almost all the new immigrants that settled here .
Allocating land, issuing each individual’s rights and having them sign contracts .
Iris’ document processing ability was truly remarkable . I would’ve asked Lotson to help as well, but some problems had arisen that he had to take care of .
The actual construction work done by Vaine and our hundred new workers had finally begun, albeit slowly .
I as the lord of this region wasn’t slacking off and was taking action . The citizens who saw that were inspired, and by the end of the day we had many volunteers join us . Whenever a new house was built, everyone cheered in rejoice .
It was hot, their souls burned like the summer heat in joy .
Our summer vacation is two months long, and after devoting an entire month to work, the initial problem was finally resolved .
It was truly challenging, oh how I wished to relax and enjoy my summer rather than work during that month .
Unbeknownst to me, this was a summer that would be forever remembered as the “Aine3 Miracle . ”
‘Aine3’ is the name of the land, honoured by the people as a place where they resolved one of their greatest concerns . A story truly based off of thanks .
Thanks to the help I received from Lotson-san, Iris, and Vaine, I was able to cut down my workload by a large margin .
We can finally say that our biggest problems are now behind us .
Now it’s time for us to enjoy a real summer vacation .
“Lotson, apart from the reward, consider this a bonus for your efforts . ”
Stored in a small bag, was a small but generous bonus, which I handed over to him .
“Something like this… isn’t it wasted me?”
Lotson was serious as he said that . He truly is a man firm with his beliefs, I know how much this money would do for him due to his family being quite large, and I still had to push him to accept it .
“Kururi-sama, as long as you’re governing this territory, I know that it will be at peace, but if you ever need help, I will be glad to oblige . ”
“Oh, I definitely will . ”
“Now then, I believe it’s about time I take my leave . ”
Lotson was going to leave on his own accord again . To that somewhat bitter man, I couldn’t help but think his back looked cool .
“Please wait one moment!” as he was leaving, Lostson was called out to by Iris .
Her eyes were somewhat… moist for some reason .
While biting her lips, Iris squeezed out a few words .
“Lotson-san, will I ever see you again?”
Eh?! What the hell is this?! For some reason, I could feel cold sweat running down my back .
“Of course, anytime that Kururi or his friends need me, I’ll come running . ”
“That not what I… no, nevermind . Then, I-I’ll see you again sometime . ”
“Indeed, now then . ”
To Lotson who had left without another word, Iris stared at his shrinking back .
Isn’t this a downright romantic scene that’s spread in before me?!
What the hell is this?!
“Uh, Iris . Here’s your reward for all your hard work . ”
“Thanks . ”
I thought that she’d be jumping for joy by now, but she doesn’t seem to have any interest in it at all .
Without even checking the contents, she continued to stare in the direction Lotson-san had left .
“…here’s Vaine’s share . ”
“No, I don’t need any pay . ”
‘Oh, okay’-like hell I’ll say something like that!!
I really really want you to take this Vaine . All your hard work saved me after all .
“Take it . You worked really hard after all Vaine,” I forcefully passed him his pay .
“Anyways, Iris could she be…”
“I don’t know,” Vaine sent me instructions through his gaze, telling me to check in on Iris .
Turning towards her, I called out Iris in a somewhat shaky voice “E-excuse me but,”
“Yes?” Iris answered without moving her gaze .
“Is there something wrong?”
“I… This is the first time I’ve ever felt this way . ”
Eh?! Ehh?! EEEEEEEHHHHHH???!!!
“Umm, can you tell me what kind of feeling that is?”
“For some reason, my heart is pounding . This is the first time in my life I’ve ever met someone that attentive,”
That’s nice, but can you please not continue those words? Judging by their momentum… I mean, certainly, Lotson is a nice guy but…
With Iris’ current state, which had her covering her heart with both her hands, her expression equivalent to one in a daze, and her flushed cheeks…
Hey, wait a second… isn’t this love?!
Did she really fall in love with Lotson?!
Is this really okay?! Lotson doesn’t even appear in the game!! He’s even more of a side-character than I am! Are you really okay Iris-san?! Are you?! Oh the humanity!!!