Chapter 1-8 : The Lord’s Room
It was a terrible dinner.
But fortunately, Mylia didn’t have to talk, so she could keep a low profile.
Well, except when she put her bread into her soup.
From the others’ perspective, Mylia was nothing but an absent-minded girl.
After experiencing dinner in this house, she has confirmed that being absent-minded helped her act covertly.
（Alright, let’s act without looking nervous.）
Mylia went to the back of the house, brushed her teeth with her toothbrush grass, and washed her body with cold water in a watering place called a ‘bathroom’.
（Uwaa! So cold! Uhh… I’m sure it’ll be soooo much colder in winter…）
There was a public bath in Hamanulle, but unfortunately, there was no such luxurious and costly facility in the Atwood territory.
In winter, the people here just wipe their body a little with a wet cloth.
After wiping her body, Mylia put on a clean dress, and went to her bed.
Actually, the other family members were still working after dinner.
Only Mylia usually sleeps at this hour.
（Everyone is still working at this hour, right?）
Chloe and Penelope were processing lavender.
Jasmine was knitting. That was all she could do because she had bad eyesight.
Robin and Ella were cutting meat.
Aaron and Alex were preparing for the hunt tomorrow.
（So this is why they say, “there’s no leisure time for the poor”, huh?）
To save money, they limit the use of animal oil for lighting.
Because of that, on days where the moon was shining brightly like today, everyone was working in the workshop in the backyard except for Jasmine.
Mylia remembered Chloe once said, “The smell of animal oil is really strong. It will remain in your nose for a while. Luckily, I’m in charge of processing lavender which smells good, so it’s not that bad for me.”
Because candles are luxury items they can’t buy easily, they don’t have a choice but to use oil from the animals Aaron hunted.
After the oil was extracted from the animals, most of the meat they got would be smoked and sold.
It was one of few products that could be sold to Baron Hansen’s caravan that comes twice a year.
Therefore, they only ate very little meat for dinner.
Aaron thought that if he hunted more, he would get more cash and become wealthier, so he went out to the forest every day.
Well, buying alcohol was his main reason, though.
But unfortunately, because meat could also be obtained in Baron Hansen’s territory, the demand for meat wasn’t that high, so they had no choice but to sell it very cheaply.
But of course, Aaron didn’t care about it as long as he could go hunting everyday.
The land in this village actually was not very good for growing vegetables, so most of the villagers went hunting to be able to eat enough food.
There were still some of them who cultivated the not-so-good soil to grow millet, but still, they had to go hunting if they didn’t want to starve.
Therefore, the time the villagers spent on agriculture was overwhelmingly small.
In this case, as the lord of the land, Aaron should have done something to increase the land that could be cultivated so that his people didn’t starve.
If the amount of arable land could be increased, the number of people would also increase as well as the labor force.
If that happened, the village would prosper.
However, Aaron doesn’t have the capability to do that.
（If only I could do something about that… But, it would be really hard with my position, unfortunately…）
Mylia rolled over on her hard-and-cold bed as she kept thinking.
Speaking about position, she realized once again that she was in a very bad position.
（Marry a poor merchant, huh…）
Somehow, she knew why Aaron wanted to marry her with a poor merchant, not an aristocrat like her sisters.
It was because he just wanted to get rid of his useless daughter who can’t even work as soon as possible.
Thinking about that, Mylia gripped her thin blanket and clenched her teeth.
（Not good… Stay strong, Mylia! For now, I have to make use of my position as a daughter who can’t work in this house. With this position, I can move freely to gather information and find a way to avoid marriage. After that, I’ll find a way to escape from here. But not only that, I should also think about how I will live outside. My main goal is to live a luxurious life where I can eat yakiniku everyday, after all!）
As she thought like that, she gradually became sleepy and eventually fell asleep.
「ーーlia….. Wake up!ーー Mylia…!」
Hearing someone’s voice in her ear, Mylia woke up.
After rubbing her eyes, she saw Chloe’s face in front of her.
「Ssshh…! Don’t speak too loud.」
Mylia covered her mouth and nodded slowly.
Saying that, Chloe stroked Mylia’s head, and then she made a “let’s go” gesture to urge Mylia to get out of her bed.
Mylia shoved her blanket away and gently put her feet on the floor.
「Wait a moment for your eyes to get used to the dark.」
She nodded to Chloe who gave advice with a low voice.
After about a minute, she gradually could see the inside of the room.
There were four beds in the room: two in the back where Penelope and Jasmine were sleeping soundly, and the other two (Mylia’s and Chloe’s) were near the door.
After confirming that Mylia could finally see in the dark, Chloe slowly headed for the door.
The floor squeaked as she moved her leg.
She grabbed the doorknob and twisted it, making a “clack” sound.
She opened the door a little, looked at Mylia, and made a gesture “you go first” by slightly moving her head.
Then, Mylia slowly walked sideways like a crab toward the door.
After Mylia came out of the room, Chloe then slipped out through the gap and slowly closed the door.
「Fiuh…. Are you ready?」
Mylia nodded to Chloe who looked really nervous.
They held hands and walked silently toward Aaron’s study at the end of the hallway.
Aaron should be sleeping with Ella in their private room by this time, so it should be okay.
After reaching the door of the study, Chloe looked into the keyhole to confirm there was nobody inside.
She then took out a tool that looked like a U-shaped wooden earpick and a needle from her pocket.
（Eh? Can she unlock the door with that? Chloe onee-chan’s so cool! She looks like a professional thief in an action movie!）
Chloe inserted the U-shaped wooden tool first, and then the needle into the keyhole.
She then began to move them up and down carefully with a serious look.
「Actually, I’ve been practicing this because I really want to read books in this room. Can you keep it a secret?」
「Un. Chloe onee-chan, you’re amazing!」
Mylia was impressed by Chloe’s cleverness.
She felt like applauding, but she couldn’t.
「Someone might see us, so can you pay attention to the surroundings?」
In the quiet corridor, the only thing that could be heard was the rattling sound of the wooden tool and needle making contact with the keyhole.
As Mylia tried to listen carefully to the surroundings, her whole body was stiffened by impatience and fear while Chloe was still trying to unlock the door.
After a few tens of seconds, suddenly the “clack” sound of a doorknob being twisted echoed through the corridor.
Mylia and Chloe stiffened their whole bodies… because…
The sound was coming from Aaron’s room.
There’s no escape since the study was at the end of the corridor.
（W-W-W-What should we do…!?）
Mylia was frozen.
She couldn’t do anything but hold her breath and stare in the direction of the sound.