My name is Dant.
I was entrusted with the duty of overseeing the North, an area in the north of the Albert territory.
Back in the old days, our family was the noble house that ruled over this region.
However, my father conceded the land to the previous Lord Albert. My father knew from the start that he stood no chance at all, so he surrendered the fortresses without any resistance.
As a result, our family not only survived, my father was also made governor of the land.
And now, I held that responsibility.
After acquiring the North, the Albert territory only continued to expand. Of course, as a governor, I had no choice but to cooperate fully in such endeavors.
“Dant-sama, another village has been left behind by all its villagers.”
“Again? I know the taxes are high, but aren’t there too many deserters? To think entire villages would disappear.”
By order of Lord Albert, I have imposed heavy taxes on the people.
I had expected some to not be able to pay such taxes and escape somewhere else.
But I didn’t expect them to be this many.
After all, even if they flee, there was no guarantee that their destination would offer them a better life. There was even a chance that their life could be worse.
Considering that, I figured majority of the population would rather endure the taxes.
“Sir, a few of our investigators have heard a, ahm, curious story.”
“A curious story?”
“Yes. Apparently, there’s a village in the wasteland to the far north. Moreover, this village is said to have comfortable homes and enough food for each of its citizens. Some even compare it to paradise…”
The story was so shady I reflexively grimaced.
The wasteland north of even this place was completely barren. It was impossible to grow crops of any kind there.
Moreover, monsters would sometimes emerge from the nearby monster-infested forest.
It was no place for people to live.
Not for a lack of trying though. There had been multiple attempts to develop the land, but all resulted in failure.
I dismissed the story at first, but when reports that seemed similar to it arose later on, I began to think there might be some truth to it.
And so, I sent a proper investigation team to the wasteland.
“D-Dant-sama…it’s as…in the wasteland…”
“There’s really a village there?”
“Well, a city, actually…”
◇ ◇ ◇
As winter approached, more and more people from the Albert territory were moving to my village.
Apparently, the village has been in rumors more than I expected it to be.
At the rate we were going, the governor managing the area on behalf of the lord might complain soon.
But then again, developing the wasteland and building a village was exactly what my father, Lord Albert, told me to do, so we should be alright.
“But enough about that… Ahh~ there’s nothing quite like a hot bath in winter.”
A bath had this mysterious power of melting away my stress and worries.
Covering myself with the rising steam and then immersing in the hot water seemed to alleviate fatigue as well. Not that I was too tired each day, but even so.
At present I was in a large house I customized to have an open-air bath.
I can have this much of a luxury, right? I mean, everyone—even the new villagers—are all settled and comfortable now, right? Right?
It was only recently that I upgraded the medium-sized house we were living in into a large house.
In a word, the large house was amazing.
It felt like 20 people could live here. It even had a large courtyard with a pond.
It was in that courtyard where I placed the bath through my Facility Customization.
The cold air made the hot water even better, in my opinion.
All in all, it was wonderful. I did have one complaint though.
“Wow, so nice and spacious.”
“Thanks to this, I’ll be always be able to bathe with Luke-sama.”
My one complaint was that it somehow became a mixed bathing space.
“You two know I built another one for you, right? How about you use that?”
“It doesn’t matter which one we use though, right?”
“In that case, I choose to use the one Luke-sama’s using.”
I already knew it was no use arguing against the two of them…
“Haa…Fine. But don’t come any closer, alright?”
“Hmm? What was that? I didn’t quite hear you.”
“I said don’t come closer, so stop getting closer, will you!? Also, cover yourself with a towel!”
While I was talking like that with the two, a message in my head came.
((Chief, a suspicious group has come to the village.))
((Another group of refugees?))
((No, not this time. One of them’s introducing himself as the governor for the area.))
I was just thinking of them and now they’re here!?
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