"Huff... so sleepy..."
"Master Neil, we have a visitor today, please don't make such a disgraceful appearance in front of others."
"Who do you think is to blame for my lack of sleep?"
"What did you say?"
As for why I'm having trouble sleeping, the explanation goes back to yesterday when I was shopping for alchemy equipment.
I had spent most of the money by the time Diana came to check on me.
I could have returned the equipment since I had not used it yet, but it would have been bad manners for an aristocrat to unilaterally return something he had decided to buy.
And Diana, who was more concerned about my appearance than I was, only stopped me softly and did not say anything more at that moment, but I was able to come to my senses because I was scared by her soft response.
After loading the purchased equipment on the wagon, we left the city for a while, and then it was hell from there.
Diana never stopped lecturing me for a few hours until we arrived at the settlement, and I became a machine that only shook its head.
I thought I was relieved to be released after coming back and breathed a sigh of relief, but Diana gave me a death sentence saying, "I'll tell you the rest later".
It seemed that she did not have enough to say, but she was not going to give me a sermon until I left my work at the settlement behind.
I hoped that she would just concentrate on her work and forget about the sermon, but she didn't, and after we had both finished our work for the day, i.e. at bedtime, Diana came to my bedroom and started to continue the sermon.
In the end, no matter how much sermonizing she did, Diana was not satisfied, and decided to let it go this time because it would be a problem for tomorrow if she continued.
Well, that's why I'm so sleep-deprived, and I wonder what she meant by "I'm done with the sermon because it's going to be a problem tomorrow" before.
However, seeing Diana working earlier than me with a nonchalant expression on her face, I hurry up to prepare my documents, thinking that for Diana, this is just the limit of what she can do without causing any problems.
Usually there is little work to be done during the daytime, but today was a rare time when I had to prepare the necessary documents for the harvest hoe people who were coming to buy the crops.
As I thought so, I hear a knocking sound at the door of the office and a slave woman enters the office.
I still can't remember her name because I entrusted Diana with the management of human resources, but I think her name was Mira?
"E-excuse me for interrupting your work! There's a visitor here..."
I reflexively look out the window and check the position of the sun.
The direction of the shadow indicates that the sun has not yet risen, and it is not early in the morning nor before noon.
Considering the distance between the city and the settlement, they would have to leave early in the morning to arrive at the settlement by this time, but they are very early.
"Master Neil, I will take care of the visitors, so Master Neil should prepare the documents."
"Okay, I'm sorry, but I'm counting on you."
No matter how much they want to buy the crops, they cannot deliver them if the documents are not ready.
Anyway, I push down my drowsiness and work on the paperwork with all my might.
I wonder how long I have been concentrating on the paperwork, but just as I reach the climax of the paperwork, I hear the knocking on the door of the office again, and when I ask them to come in, the door opens and Mira-san, who has just arrived earlier, appears.
"E-excuse me for interrupting your work. There is a visitor..."
"What's wrong with Diana? I thought Diana was handling them."
"No, Diana-sama told me to tell Master Neil."
What's going on? Is something wrong?
Mira is too nervous to talk to me in detail, and I have no choice but to put off the paperwork, which will be completed in a few minutes, and go to see her.
"Where is Diana?"
"Huh? Diana-sama's in the reception room with a visitor, that's not it."
"What do you mean?"
"Uh, no, I mean..."
Uh, I don't understand.
I can't remember ever doing anything to frighten her this much.
Not that I had anything to do with Mira directly, but I think she was one of the women whom brought by Diana naked.
It was also Diana who stripped them naked, and it was Diana who forced them to give their consent, but considering the fact that it was all for my sake, I guess Mira-san is afraid of me, too.
Well, it can't be helped, since ordinary citizens think that it's a loss to get involved with an aristocrat.
"Diana will tell me the details. You can leave now."
"I understand... Then, Excuse me..."
I leave Mira-san in front of the office and walk quickly to the parlor, knock on the door of the parlor, and call out through the door.
"Diana, it's Neil."
Diana's muffled voice is heard from behind the door, and a moment later the door opens and Diana emerges.
"Can I help you?"
"Well, Mira-san told me that I had a visitor, but I'm not quite sure what she meant, so I came to ask her―"
As I replied to Diana, I was at a loss for words for a moment when I saw the visitors through the open door.
There were three people sitting on the sofa in the parlor, all of whom looked familiar to me, but none of them was who I had imagined.
"Hello, young mas― Master Neil, have you finished your work yet?"
"No, not yet, I mean..."
I shift my gaze away from Ronald-san and call out the name of someone I know sitting next to me.
"Mei, you're here too?"
"Hmm? Yes, Neil, is it wrong for me to come?"
"I didn't say that."
There was Meisy Novak, daughter of the Duke Novak and a genuine researcher who often helps me with my experiments because she finds them so interesting.
Every time I start some experiment, she hears about it from nowhere and helps me without my permission, but she is a very smart person and there are many things I could not have completed without her help.
The item box, the alchemical fertilizer, and most of the things that people call my inventions are the work of her.
"I thought you'd come around at some point, but you're here sooner than I expected.
"Well, without you, my experiments have been tedious and boring, and the work that comes above and beyond the experiments has been uninteresting, such as the silver smelting process. So I ran away."
"Poor Duke's daughter"
I pity her father, Duke Novak, who has to clean up Mei's mess.
Mei is a person who only cares about her research and does not care about her nobility or her appearance, and that is why she and I got along so well that we can talk to each other on a casual basis, but Mei's freedom sometimes worries even me.
"Just out of curiosity, did you just come to see me? Or..."
"Sure, I'll be staying with you for a while."
She didn't come all the way down here just to see me, and she seems to be planning to stay here in the settlement.
Well, it's a good thing that Mei is here, because I can make progress in what I'm trying to do, but that aside, I turn my eyes to the last one, a familiar face.
"Uhh, Narsht-san, it's been a while."
"...Yes, Master Neil, it's been a while."
Some of you may have recognized the name Narsht, but this person was the former head chef of the Count Atmiras family who made Narsh Sauce, which is a fake Chaliapin Sauce.
His name became famous after he made the Narsht sauce, and he should have moved to a better position with a noble family, but why is he here?
"Why are you here, Narsht-san?"
"Well, that's the thing."
I was puzzled because I really didn't know the reason for Narsht-san, but Diana interrupted me.
"Let's talk about that later, please. Master Neil, please take care of the harvest hoe."
"What? Oh, don't tell me that Mira-san was talking about the visitors earlier, the harvest hoe people?"
It seems that the first visitor was Ronald-san and the others, and the second visitor was the people from the harvest hoe.
I see, that's what I meant when I thought the conversation was strangely out of sync with what was going on.
"Then I don't have time to talk about it here. I'm sorry, please talk to me later!"
I said, and hurriedly left the parlor to go deal with the harvest hoe people who were probably waiting for me.
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