Chapter 13 - To 'Depths' of Allies

It was a few days before the Marquess’ two private soldiers met with Cecilio.

Bertine and the five civil officers were sitting around a table with a map spread out.

“Is there a district in which Marquess Juan would like to be located?”

“No. I am new to any of the districts, so not particularly. How about a place where you’re all uncomfortable? If there’s any, I will be there. Since I must prove myself now.”

Turns out the civil servants did have a place they didn’t wish to be in charge of if they could help it.

It was a district known as ‘the deepest part of the Allies’. It was located much further south than the capital, a district ruled by seven tribes. Among the seven chiefs, the chief in charge of the Bilba district was a stubborn man.

What to do? The civil officers exchanged glances with each other.

I mean, she offered. The leader of the five civil officers was feeling torn. But it’ll be bad if she can’t carry out His Excellency’s instructions...

“The ‘Depths’ district was where the most stubborn and troublesome chiefs are clumped together. It’ll be even harder for you since you are not from this country, Miss Juan.”

“I understand. Let me take care of that district. And please call me Bertine.”

“Right. ...Then I’ll leave it to you. But if you don’t think you can make it, contact me. I’ll be going around the chiefs of the district to the east of it. Each of us will be traveling tomorrow. Miss Bertine, so you need any escorts?”

“No, I know someone who can be my bodyguard. You don’t need to make any arrangements.”

Upstairs of Bertine's store, "Ursula".

“What? Me? You want me to accompany you to the ‘Depths’ district?”

“Is that no good, Evans? Do you think I should ask a real escort to guard me?”

“No, it’s not a no. I can ask for a day off from my menial job in the trading company. And it's a waste of money to spend money on escorts. I’ll help. It’s just that...”

After stuttering for a few moments, Evans came clean.

“I’m born and raised at Bilba. I left after arguing with my father that I won’t come back until I make a name for myself. So meeting him now will be pretty lame.”

“Bilba district is a quite large place, no? Maybe you won’t run into your father?”

“Ahh... Hmm."

Evans remained vague, but Bertine decided, “Then I’ll ask you to escort me,” and the next morning, Bertine departed with Evans and Dorothee.

‘The ‘Depths’ of all places. They’re making her go to the most troublesome districts, aren’t they?’

Evans’ concern remained unspoken.

The carriage trip went smoothly, and tomorrow they would finally arrive at Bilba district, the deepest part of the Allies. Compared to Bertine, who was pumped to see what the most stubborn person was like, Evans’ complexion was dull.

“What’s wrong, Evans? Don’t worry, we won’t go to your parents’ house.”

“I’ll tell you the truth now, Miss Bell. Since there’s no point in hiding it now. We can’t not go to my parent’s house. My father is the chief who holds Bilba district together.”


“So, Bilba’s chief is my dad......”

“Then that’s convenient, no? You can help me convince him.”

Evans scratched his head and moaned, “Ggghhh...”

“Perhaps it’ll be the other way around. My father won’t be happy when I, who abandoned my position as the next chief and left for the capital, returned home without any accomplishment. I’ll wait near my parents’ house and kill time. Is that okay? I’ll sleep in the carriage at night.”

Bertine chuckled at the big man's timid suggestion and expression.

“If you really don't want to meet them, that’s fine. So where should I meet you?"

She asked.

“I'll be waiting for you under that big zelkova tree up ahead.”


Thus, Bertine, who had parted ways with Evans on the way, headed for Evans' parents' house.

When she arrived at Evans' parents' house,

“My husband, Bruno, is lying in bed. How may I help you?"

A woman, probably Evans’ father, came out to meet them with a troubled look.

“I have a letter from His Excellency Cecilio. His Excellency desires that the selling price of wheat in this country be no less than seven large pieces of silver per wagon."

“...I see. Please wait a moment."

With that said, the woman withdrew into the house and returned a short time later.

“Please come in."

Bruno, the chief of the Bilba district, was in bed.

“I am Bruno, Chief of the Bilba district. Where do you come from? You're not from the Allies, are you? And you’re a woman. Why did you bring His Excellency's message?"

What came out of Bruno’s mouth were all harsh words as he looked at Bertine with sharp eyes under dark eyebrows. Bertine, restraining herself from flinching in fear, replied with a smile.

“Nice to meet you. My name is Bertine, and I moved from Saint-Leuhan Kingdom to the Allies. I’m here to confirm the details of the contract so that the selling price of wheat won’t fall below the minimum price set by His Excellency.”

Then Bruno, with a bitter look on his face spat.

“Ha! They’re sending someone from the empire’s remora to Bilba, the deepest part of the country!? What is His Excellency Cecilio thinking? I won’t accept anyone looking down on Bilba like this!”

He raised his voice.

And soon after, he moaned in pain, “Ugh.”

“Dear, you shouldn’t shout. It hurts, doesn't it?"

“Um, are you ill? If so, I can speak to Mister Bruno’s representative...”

“I just hurt my back a little! I’m not sick! Just sleep it off and I’ll be fine!”

Bertine decided to go along with him, even though she thought he was hurting because he was yelling so much.

“I see that you’re feeling unwell. Then please lie back and listen to me. His Excellency is concerned that the wheat trade with the empire will drain more money than necessary from our country. Even if we win the war, it’ll hinder the rebuilding of the country.”

“And? Why did they send you?”

Bertine answered, choosing her words carefully as she wondered how much to say.

“There are two reasons. One is that I’m fluent in both the imperial and official Allies languages. We are short on staff right now. The other is that I love this country, but if I want to stay I need to be useful to it. Um, I'm sorry to change the subject, but I know that Mister Bruno is Evans' father."

Evans' name had a dramatic effect.

“Do you know Evans?!?”

“Yes. I came with him to the neighborhood today, but he’s waiting nearby, saying he can’t go home until he accomplished something.”

“Dear, please. Forgive our son already.”

The wife clinging to Bruno with a sad look on her face.

“Where!? Where is he?”

“If you'd like to see him, I can call him."

“Please! I owe him an apology!"

Bertine simply replied, "Then I’ll call him immediately," and headed for the meeting place.

Evans, who was taking a nap under a big tree, complained, "Eh...? I told you I didn't want to go," but once Bertine told him that his father was injured and bedridden, he rushed to get into the carriage with her.

“Dad! What’s wrong! Are you hurt!?”

“Evans! You’re finally back! I’m sorry I told you to leave without listening to anything you said. You’ll never know how worried I was after you left the house with nothing but a few coins. My injuries will heal with sleep. When I found out you’re alive, I...”

Bertine spectated the heated, loud conversation between parent and child with a wry smile.

Evans then told his family how he was robbed in Ebott, and how Bertine saved her. Then Bruno's attitude changed.

“You took care of my son. And yet I was very rude to you earlier. If your task is to make us obey the minimum price of wheat, then I’ll follow your words. Thank you for helping my sickly son.”

“Sickly...? No, it’s not a big deal. Thank you very much!”

Bruno had been selling his wheat for five large silver coins per wagon, following what the middleman offered, but he promised to change it to seven next time.

And that's not all.

He promised to contact the six remaining chiefs in the deepest area about this immediately.

“So you don’t have to leave. Take a rest here and wait for the chiefs to respond.”

Bertine wondered if she could really do that, and Bruno answered.

“Everyone around here is especially faithful to our traditions. We have a long-standing tradition that, 'when your people take care of you, you pay them back double. You gave my penniless, sickly son a roof and fed him warm meals. I’ll return that in double.”

“Ehhh? That’s a bit of exaggeration...” And what does he mean sickly?

Six messengers were immediately set up to find the other chiefs in the deepest part of the city. Their task was to get a single stroke of approval.

“May I take a tour around the area until I hear back from them? It's the first place I've visited this place in my life, so I’ve been looking forward to exploring the place.”

When Bertine said this, Bruno’s wife, Cassandra, and Evans offered to show her around the neighborhood.

“Thank you. Then I’ll take your offer.”

And in this exploration, Bertine would discover another charm that fascinated her about the country.

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