Before the end of the time announced by Butler John, all the vassal lords had already been seated.
Even if someone didn't tell me, the atmosphere became tense and everyone was looking at me quietly.
I also looked at their faces one by one without saying anything.
They are the people who currently lead the great family Lombardy.
I was now seeing a scene that only my grandfather saw a few days ago.
I spoke in a joke-like tone. "Looking at you all like this, everyone seems unfamiliar. It's like I'm looking at the people I've never seen before."
Everyone laughed lightheartedly as the tension that had settled down in the meeting room disappeared at my words.
"All of the people sitting here are the people I've seen since I was very young."
"And meet a bit more often." Lord Bray added.
"That's right. And so will be in the future. The vassal lords will have to listen to the commands given by a person who you've all seen grown and now has become the new Family Head. I also have to do arduous tasks sometimes, like how the rest of my family does since my childhood."
Again, the meeting room was quiet.
"But knowing those times, you still trusted me. I will repay this family by making it greater if you continue trusting me and follow me from now on."
None of the family vassals even blinked an eye. Everyone was looking at me with their own passion and commitment.
Those gazes came to me as a promise. With the promises from the vassals doing their utmost to assist me in the future.
What more do I need?
After a short nod which meant that I had received their promises well, I said, "Let's start the meeting."
The vassal lords took turns reporting each family's situation and making plans. As the meeting progressed, I could feel the consideration of my grandfather.
I didn't expect you to have it all organized like this.
The major businesses of each family were all settled that I didn't have to work hard to grasp the current situation of the family.
Each vassal was now awaiting orders from the new Head. As if a chapter of the book has ended and all I have to do was to write my story after that.
After today's work, I have to go and massage my shoulders.
Wouldn't my grandfather be waiting for the report of my first day as the Family Head?
However, the meeting was longer than usual. We're having the meeting of the first week, so everyone was prepared and had signs of impatience.
And at the end of the meeting, I coughed softly and brought it up. "Ahem. I have something to tell you."
"Please do tell, Madam."
Clerivan, who was organizing the paper he had taken notes on during the meeting, implored me to speak.
"This is rather personal, but as long as I'm the Family Head, I couldn't make it completely private. So I think the vassals should be aware."
Whoa, I'm nervous.
As such, the opinions of the vassals were important. Without trust, I might not be able to work as the Head of Lombardy.
I breathed out for the last time and said.
Why isn't everyone responding? The vassals were strangely quiet.
Looking at the faces of the vassals sitting in their seats comfortably as if there's nothing new, I said. "Does everyone know already?"
"I saw you today wearing a new ring, so I guessed it is the case."
Lord Herring asked to confirm. "It's the Second Prince, isn't it?"
"Would there be anyone else who dares to propose a marriage to the Family Head other than him?"
They talk among themselves, and after coming to a conclusion, they stared at me.
Their eyes were saying 'So what?'
Now, I'm the one who's embarrassed here.
"Don't you have....any opposition?"
It is a combination of Lombardy and the Imperial Family. Nobles tend to oppose the union of the two most powerful families. The vassals are nobles, so I have prepared my heart to hear some disagreement even inside Lombardy.
Lord Klang Devon lifted his brows and tilted his head when he looked at Lord Bilkay next to him.
Then Lord Bilkay said, who is a little calmer than Lord Devon. "Madam can do whatever you want since you're the Head of Lombardy."
All the other vassals nodded their heads at his words.
"No, if you don't like it, you can just say it."
Because I want to hear the honest opinions of the vassals.
But Klang Devon frowned and asked me. "Are there any nobles who are opposed to it?"
Klang Devon, who was originally large and had strong facial features, was looking quite dreadful when he wore such a frown.
At the same time, the atmosphere of the other vassals became brutal.
"Who are they? Who dares to oppose?" Lord Herringa growled.
"Since old times, if Lombardy and the Imperial Family got closer even if it's just a little bit, there are people who'll have seizures. Somehow, they are afraid that Lombardy's power is getting too big."
"Indeed, as if Lombardy was aiming for the Imperial throne!"
Perhaps their grievances have accumulated that everyone else nodded and sympathized for Lombardy.
"To be honest, why would Lombardy covet such a thing?"
"If we were going to get drunk on power, we'd have done it a long time ago."
Lombardy's meeting room exploded from all over the place.
Then Clerivan, who was sitting still and listening to the commotion, called me. The blue eyes behind the glasses were especially cold today.
"There are many ways to keep the nobles off the side of the opposition."
Then Bray, who is in charge of Lombardy Bank next to him, quickly commented.
"There are more than one or two families who are overdue on their loan interest. Do you want me to put pressure on them? Just write down the names of the family you're against and we'll take care of it."
"And our scholarship foundation..."
"If you raise the prices of agricultural products, they won't be able to say a word."
Ah, these guys are really...
I raised my hand, thinking that if I leave them alone, I'll be in big trouble, and said, "It hasn't even been announced yet, so don't worry too much. I'm going to announce it after Perez gets to be appointed as the Crown Prince. Moreover, it has been kept under His Majesty's edict, so no one can go against it."
"The Imperial edict of His Majesty the Emperor..." One of the vassals murmured.
And after a few seconds, cheers burst out here and there.
"As expected of Madam!"
"This is great!"
It felt like everyone was going to get up and give a standing ovation.
It's a bit absurd but I can't help smiling because of how grateful I was feeling.
From the seat right next to me, I heard Clerivan's proud voice.
"What did I say?" He smirked, looking at the nearby vassals.
"Trust and follow."
After the noisier-than-expected meeting.
In the afternoon there was a knock on the door of my office.
"Come in, Dr. Estira."
"Congratulations again, Madam."
Estira, carrying a visit bag, bowed her head deeply before me.
"I know that I already told you so many times throughout the banquet but."
"I know, so thank you."
We met as Estira, the little timid medical student, and I, the seven-year-old child. And now have faced each other as a renowned family doctor and the Head of Lombardy.
"From now on, I will work with all my heart as the Family Head's doctor. So if you have any discomfort or if you feel any pain, no matter what time it is, please call me."
Estira smiled warmly as she came up to me and said. "Then, excuse me for a moment. I'll do a check-up on Madam."
She was doing a medical examination on me. It was much more detailed than I thought, and it was a thorough one, examining me from head to toe.
After such a long time.
Estira had some paper in her hand that contained my diagnosis.
"You're very healthy. But working hard can hurt your body quickly. So exercise, eat healthy food, and most importantly, sleep. Madam will have no problem in the future as long as you follow my advice."
Then she began to tidy up her visit bag.
"Dr. Estira, are you busy today?"
"No, do you feel uncomfortable anywhere?"
"No, I have to leave the mansion for a while today. I thought it would be nice to take you with me."
"...Yes. Okay, Madam."
Estira seemed a little puzzled, but she didn't ask me any further questions. She just seemed to think I might have a reason.
The vassal lords a while ago, and now Estira. I could see that everyone trusted me completely.
I should do better.
With that commitment, Estira and I got into the carriage.
Lombardy's carriage quickly left the mansion and drove through the city of Lombardy.
I asked Estira looking out of the window. "I heard you picked one more disciple this time?"
"Yes, we have ten more people in total." Estira, who responded politely, suddenly sat upright and said.
"It's all thanks to Lombardy's support. This has allowed many people to study medicine so they can take care of more people."
Just as Dr. O'Malley did in the past, Estira had several assistants and disciples.
The ones she had taken in had gone through a kind of itinerary student system that began after becoming Lombardy's family doctor. All accommodation and meals are provided, and a fairly high salary was also granted.
It was an unconventional treatment that did not have any other conditions other than treating the people of Lombardy first.
Not long ago, after graduating, she returned to her hometown to open her first public medical office.
"If there are many who study hard and will be able to find a cure for more diseases, it will be an advantage for Lombardy."
After a while, I felt the carriage slowing down. The door opened and we set foot on a vast plain outside the Lombardy territory.
The carriage stopped at a place where there was nothing but empty land after harvesting produces.
"Madam, why are we here...?" Estira asked me carefully.
I pointed right in the middle of the plain and said, "That's the place."
"From tomorrow, we will build a hospital there."
Estira covered her mouth with both hands in surprise.
"I promised you, didn't I? That I'll make your dream come true."
A very long time ago, I made her a promise under the condition of making Melcon Medicine, an antidote for the poison that weakened Perez.
"It'll be a place where even the needy can come over and get treatment. I'm going to build it so big that nurses and doctors alike and all kinds of practitioners can gather and provide medical treatment together."
It was an empty field with nothing yet, but it was already clear.
"There will be an office and a dormitory for doctors over there. And this is where the patients from far away places will stay."
I looked back at Estira and asked. "What do you think?"
Estira was looking at me with eyes full of tears. And she slowly knelt on her knees on the spot.
"Thank you. Thank you, Madam."
I also slowly bent my knees to meet Estira's eye level.
"I was able to come this far because Estira saved my father's life."
"Uh... Madam Firentia..."
"Now, Estira and her disciples can save more lives here. Then more people will remember Lombardy's name. It's not a loss for me either."
Estira's tears didn't stop despite the light words I said.
After a while, Estira calmed down a little.
I approached, grabbing her by her shoulder and helping her up.
"It's a land with nothing yet, but do you want to take a tour?"
Estira wiped away her tears with her sleeves and nodded eagerly.
So we walked along the plains for a long time and were planning for the 'Lombardy Hospital' until the sun settled.
* * *
Tomorrow was the inauguration day of Perez's appointment as the Crown Prince.
Already two days ago, Head Migente Ivan from the North arrived in the Imperial City.
He was walking with a limp, but he looked very lively.
"Oh, here they come." I said as I quickly came out at the front door when I saw the carriage coming into the Lombardy mansion.
An endlessly huge procession with a series of Knights on their horses and carriages was led by a very large and glorious carriage that was pulled by four white elegant horses.
"As expected of the East."
"Is that Eastern silk that's piled up like a mountain in the back?"
The twins, who were escorting me and standing by my side, whispered among themselves and whistled low.
The carriage stopped in front of me after the huffing of the horses that must have run a long way.
Suddenly, the carriage door opened and the man with a very gorgeous appearance got off first.
Then followed by a woman.
A woman with ravenous brown hair and blue eyes in a bright and colorful dress particular to the East.
As soon as she saw me, she smiled with delight.
I greeted her with a smile on my face as well.
"Welcome home, Laranne."
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