Two days have passed since the New Year, and as planned, Ronald-san, who is both the coachman of the Count Atmiras's household and Diana's father, came to the settlement for an inspection that also included the collection of reports.
"Wow, there are more buildings here than last time, and it's really starting to look like a settlement," Ronald-san said, expressing his thoughts after looking around the settlement. Then he continued, "As expected from a dwarf, no, in this case, should I say 'as expected from a Sincere Dwarf'?"
"Huh? Ronald-san, do you know know about Ronim-san?"
"What? What are you talking about? When I say 'Sincere Dwarf,' it means that in noble circles--Ah!"
Then Ronald-san suddenly remembered something.
"That's right, young--uhh, Master Neil didn't really look into those kinds of things himself, did he?"
Although Ronald-san tried to call me "young master," he remembered Diana's presence behind me and corrected himself to "Master Neil."
"Master Neil, you should find a way to get information other than being told by the servants. Otherwise, other nobles may take advantage of your ignorance and give you false information, and by the time you realize it, it will be too late," Ronald-san said.
"I'm aware of that, but..." I replied.
It's not that I don't understand how important information is for living in an aristocratic society.
I used to live in an information society, and in that sense I understand the importance of information better than any other aristocrat.
However, I do not actively seek out such information because I would have to have contact with other nobles to obtain it
Since the information is exchanged among the nobles, the quickest and the surest way to obtain such information is to ask them.
But I am not confident that I can get along with other nobles, let alone fool them and get information from them.
Therefore, I continue to avoid contact with other nobles, and the current situation is the result of that.
"By the way, I've always wondered, how does Ronald-san gather that kind of information, even though you're just a coachman serving the nobles?" I asked.
I had always felt uncomfortable with the fact that Ronald-san, who was in the service of a nobleman but only in his position as a official, was very knowledgeable about the gossip among the noblemen, and I decided to ask him about the reason why.
"Well, I'm just actively getting information from various sources. For example, when there is a meeting of nobles, all the nobles gather in a carriage at someone's mansion, so naturally, the gentlemen hired by the nobles also gather there," Ronald-san explained.
"I see, so when employers gather, the drivers exchange information too," I said.
"Well, to be frank, it's just to pass the time until the master returns. I often travel around with my Lord as a servant, so I hear stories from many people wherever we go. Thanks to that, I know a lot of things," Ronald said.
"Really...what? So if I get information from Ronald-san, who seems to know a lot, then the problem will be solved, right?" I asked.
"Master Neil, I'm a coachman, not a spy. And even if I am well-informed, there is a limit to the information I can get. Most of the information exchanged among nobles is something that anyone can easily obtain if they're a noble, and it's usually old information," Ronald-san replied.
So if I want in-depth and up-to-date information, I need to communicate directly with the nobles, huh?
It seems that in order to make it as a noble in this country, it is inevitable to have relationships with other nobles.
"Oh, by the way, this is a sudden change of subject, but Ronald-san has seen many cities as a coachman, right?" I asked.
"Yes, but what about it?" Ronald-san asked.
"I'd like to ask you a question. From your perspective as someone who has seen many cities, what do you think is currently lacking the most in this settlement?" I asked.
"What's lacking?" Ronald-san wondered.
"Yes, I'm wondering what we should do next to attract people here, and I'd like to know what is most lacking from the viewpoint of a person from the outside," I replied.
"I see," Ronald-san said.
As I have said many times before, there are so many things missing in this settlement.
So I asked Ronald-san if there was something that he could think of from a different point of view from ours, something that would make people want to come to the settlement.
But Ronald-san gave me an answer that sent a chill down my spine, "What this settlement is lacking the most is undoubtedly a brothel."
"Ronald-san?" a voice called out his name.
The chilling voice coming from behind me makes not only Ronald-san, who has called him by name, but also myself, shudder.
When I fearfully turned around, I saw Diana smiling at me.
"I-It's not like I'm saying this because I like women or anything! I'm saying this because I really think that's what's missing the most in this settlement!" Ronald-san defended himself.
"Is that true?" Diana asked.
"Of course! How dare you doubt your father?!" Ronald-san responded mercilessly.
Ronald-san is inconsolable at his daughter's merciless reply.
This is a self-inflicted wound, and I can't defend it, but Ronald-san's idea itself is not so bad.
Of the three human needs, the desire for sleep and appetite can be satisfied, but there was no way to satisfy the sexual desire in this settlement.
If we had better transportation to the city, people could seek satisfaction there, but unfortunately, we're on a remote place.
Some people may be able to satisfy themselves alone, but there are others who can't, so we need something in this settlement to fulfill their sexual needs.
"The development of the brothels and the territory are inseparable. Human sexual desire can't be underestimated. If the brothels are profitable, then the money that enters the territory increases, and more importantly, it helps keep the city (town) safe. In the past, there were cases where a lord who was blinded by money imposed heavy taxes and expelled the brothels at the behest of his wife who disliked them, and as a result, sexual crimes increased and the security worsened, leading to other crimes. It is said that it is better to build a brothel than to hire a hundred guards for maintaining security," Ronald-san explained.
Listening to him, I thought he had a point. But most of the people who will be the customers are not.
I mean, in this undeveloped land where there are hardly any customers, who would want to work as a prostitute if I opened a brothel here?
Undoubtedly, it would be far more profitable to work in a brothel in a city than to work as a prostitute in an undeveloped land.
The only other option would be to buy slaves to work in the brothel, but I didn't want to do that.
"Are there any ways to find people who are willing to work in a brothel?" I asked.
"The quickest way is to buy slaves, but you don't want to use slaves, do you?" Ronald-san read my mind and gave me a wry smile.
I wondered if he was thinking of any other way.
"Well, voluntary prostitutes who are willing to work in this undeveloped land... Oh, I might know some people who would be willing to do it," Ronald-san said suddenly.
"What? Do you have someone in mind?" I asked curiously.
"I don't know for sure, but I have an idea who might be willing to work for you. There aren't many of them, but they don't have a fixed shop in the city and travel around in carriages, so they might come to the settlements if you invite them," Ronald-san explained.
"What? They work as prostitutes while traveling? Would those people be willing to settle down in an undeveloped land?" I asked, surprised.
"It's not like they enjoy traveling. They just have a hard time getting along with people who have already settled in the city and are traveling because of that. When I met them before, they said they wanted to settle down somewhere. It's worth talking to them," Ronald-san said with a nod.
As expected of Ronald-san, even though it was in the past, it seems like he didn't engage in womanizing for no reason and his connections in that area are still strong.
"Well then, Ronald-san, I'm sorry to ask, but could you try to talk to those people when you're able to contact them?" I asked.
"Of course. Fortunately, I believe they're currently in the southern part of the Empire around this time...let me see, where did I put it...ah, here it is," Ronald-san replied as he rummaged through his pockets and pulled out a folded piece of paper.
"Ronald-san, what is that?" I inquired.
"It's a schedule. I received it the third time we met, and it says they'll be in this city at this time," Ronald-san explained.
"The third time?" Diana reacted sharply to the words.
"Hold on, I didn't mean it in that way! We only met three times, that's all. We didn't engage in any other activities, so don't give me that scary look!" Ronald-san hastily explained.
Diana kept staring at Ronald-san with half-open eyes even though he hurriedly explained himself.
With tears welling up in his eyes, Ronald-san checked the contents of the paper.
"Uh, this time of year... they seem to be in Totomi," he said.
"Totomi? It's not too far from the settlement, is it?" I asked.
Totomi is a city located further east from Denar in the northeast direction from the pioneer settlements, and although it would take less than a day by carriage for a one-way trip, a round-trip trip would take more than a day.
"However, it's just a schedule, so I can't say for sure if they're really in Totomi at the moment. According to the schedule for next week, they are going to move to Denar, but we can't wait for that, so we have no choice but to go to Totomi now," Ronald-san replied.
"Is it okay if you don't deliver the report to my father directly?" I asked.
"It will take days to get to Count Atmiras' territory. Even if I waste a day in Totomi, I can get back in the same number of days as usual if I drive faster than usual," Ronald-san reassured me.
"I'm sorry for making you do this," I apologized to Ronald-san.
Normally, I would have asked him to take it easy when it was possible, but since this was an important matter concerning the future of the settlement, I needed to ask him to take care of it as soon as possible.
While asking Ronald-san for help, I asked him a question that had been bothering me.
"By the way, you mentioned something about foreigners. Are those people from another country?" I asked.
"No, that's not it... or maybe it is?" Ronald-san replied vaguely.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
When I threw such words at Ronald-san, who spoke ambiguously, he dropped a shocking remark.
"Actually, those people are outsiders who came to this world about five years ago."
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