Spoiler: Chapter 17 CHAPTER 17 - NEEDS After that incident with Sir Frederick, I started to practice in my goddess form with him, as I didn’t want to accidentally hurt someone else again. I needed to understand my abilities. That is of course, after he took a week’s break, because he was so sore. When I told my friends that I had accidentally injured Sir Frederick, they acted as if they had long expected it. Confused I asked them why they thought I would injure someone in training. However, I was left stunned when they started to list out my record of injuries,I have inflicted during training. To them, it was only a matter of time that something like this would happen. So, now not only do I have to get to know my abilities better. But I also had to stay in control as most of the time when I injure someone, it is because I fall into this trance. First, I have a virtually indestructible form, now I have a killer mode. If I wasn’t careful, I may accidentally do something I would regret for the rest of my life. That itself being eternal. However, no sooner had I started practising my abilities with Sir Frederick, the academy was having its first-trimester break that would last for two weeks. Most students would be returning to their homes for the break, this was the same for the instructors and professors. While I live in the capital that the academy was, since I had started attending the academy, I had only gone home and visited my family once. So, I was also going back home for the break. The same was true for my friends. On the last day when Professor Ian was dismissing us for the last time this trimester, he made sure we didn’t get into any trouble. Considering how his punishments were often long and excruciatingly boring and with how he always finds out if you’ve done something wrong, we all listened like good children. At the villa, my friends and I were packing a few things up to take with us, but we left the majority here because we would be back in a few weeks anyway. Anna was the first to finish up, so she was also the first to leave, followed by Catrina, Hilda, Lyn, Chandra, Dorothy, and Louise. Louise and I were the last to leave because we had been requested by some of the instructors to help lock the armoury to our training ground. I had waited for Louise to leave, before going myself, as Erika was going around the villa checking if all the fires had been put out. Different to how we came to the academy by carriage, Erika and I hopped onto a horse each and rode back to the palaces. I had only just found out recently when Erika discovered a thief who had broken into the villa, but Erika was not a normal royal maid. She was a highly skilled combat maid that was also a knight. While she wasn’t in any knight order, she was still very capable. This was the reason why I didn’t have a royal knight following me around. I had also thought it was because I didn’t need one but apparently, I already had a knight with me. When I jokingly called Her Dame Erika, she stopped me as she felt that it was weird for me to call her that as I had called her by name my whole life. I respected her opinion and stopped calling her that. As a knight, Erika would still be a noble when either of her siblings takes over her family title, while it wasn’t a hereditary title and a low-rank one as well it would still make her fit to attend exclusive noble events, where she could continue to guard me. Returning to the palace the first thing I did was not to put my things away at the lily palace but to the main palace specifically to find Ingrid. After greeting Claude and Ingrid, I started asking Ingrid how much I had in funds that she was managing for me. Hearing the number, I was disappointed as I wanted to start an organisation that would help orphans and young children in poor families following through with my promise with Sir Frederick. I had only a thousand gold coins while this may sound a lot it was not enough to feed all the orphans and young children in poor families for more than a few months. If I was going to help them only to stop a few months later, I might as well not give them hope to start with. However, I quickly recovered when Ingrid clarified that this was only a portion of my funds as she had opted to invest in and buy out various successful start-ups and enterprises that were making money and using their profits to invest in more business. Virtually all the jewellery and luxury shops that nobles and wealthy merchants often visited were under my name. They now brought in a combined total of six hundred gold a week. Ingrid had been doing more than a good job with managing my funds as I was only receiving ten gold a month which I had rarely ever touched. She explained that this business took a long time to get up and running but they were lucrative when they started operating. She even publicly advertised that these businesses were under my ownership. Without my knowledge, I was apparently a very popular business owner as my name was synonymous with quality. As she had been doing an excellent job, I asked that she continued to help to manage my funds before I had the time or found someone else to do it. I also asked her to set aside six hundred gold each month so that I could start saving to fund the organisation I was planning. I didn’t know where to start with creating this organisation, but I didn’t want to bother Ingrid as she was already helping to manage the funds. Unsure of what to do after receiving a hundred gold from Ingrid, I returned to Lily palace to put away my things and to continue pondering on the matter. Still unsure of what to do I turned to Erika and ask her what I could do. “You can always head to the poorer districts and ask them what they need. Often the orphanages would also be located in those areas as they have the cheapest land.” Going with Erika’s idea I headed to the poorest district that Erika knew of. There I didn’t find as many people around as I had expected. Erika explained that they were most likely working as Ingrid had started programs that created jobs for the poor and illiterate. While the houses here were not of the best quality it could be seen that they weren’t in a state of disrepair. The children while a bit skinny were also far from being starved. Going up to a group of children that were playing I had a talk with the girl that seemed to be the oldest that was the same age as me and was looking after her siblings. “Hello, no need to be nervous. I just want to ask some questions is that okay with you? After you finish, I’ll even give you some a silver coin.” Being tempted by the silver coin she quickly nodded her head. While a silver coin wasn’t a lot to me, as some who grew up in luxury, Erika had explained that it was a lot for the girl in front of me. For many commoners who worked for the whole day only to get fifty copper coins. It was enough to feed the family for the day but not enough to start saving. This was why families often had both parents and older children that were older than sixteen workings. “My name is Ayra what is your name?” “My name is Alisa.” “Nice to meet you Alisa, are those your siblings playing over there?” “Yes, they are my younger siblings but some of them are my neighbours’ children. They give me a copper a day to look after them why they go to work. While it’s not much I can save it up. If I look after ten children after ten days, I will have a hundred copper coins making a silver coin.” The girl in front of me had a strong grasp of numbers as she could easily do multiplication. While many people could count change, they needed to physically have it in front of them to do so. As many commoners were too poor to hire tutors and there were no schools around here, they remained illiterate and having low numeracy abilities. After that, I continued to ask her many questions. I learnt that this place was, in fact, the poorest location in the capital but because of Ingrid’s efforts into social welfare programs working as cleaners and labourers since she became queen, the district became much better. As a bonus, the roads in and around the capital were amongst the best on the continent. Originally, many of the houses here would often collapse injuring people. They would also go without food for a few days, now they could have two meals a day one in the morning and one in the evening and save up to repair their homes. It seemed like my original plan of food handouts would not work. Handing over the silver coin I owed her, Alisa happily thanked me for the coin. I wanted to go to the orphanage, but I had no idea how to get there so I asked Alisa. She offered to take me there, bringing her group of children along with her we approved at the local orphanage that was ten minutes away by foot. Giving her another silver coin as a reward Alisa cheerfully left with her group of children headed back where they came from. Entering the orphanage, I found a group of children playing and chasing each other. Asking one of them to bring me to the person in charge, they brought me to a middle-aged lady that was in her forties. Having mistaken that I was here to complain about something she quickly apologised without hearing me out. I quickly stopped her and introduced myself as the daughter of a noble family wanting to do some charity in the name of the newly ascended goddess of youth, patron of children. I wasn’t exactly telling a lie when I introduced myself. As a member of the royal family, I was technically still a noble and I was trying to do charity in my own name so no lies there. Finally, understanding what was going on she dismissed the children and brought us to a small parlour. The woman introduced herself as Hazel and was one of the three caretakers of the orphanage. Through her, I understood that Ingrid had completely supported all orphanages around the capital. She had completely taken on her role as queen and sort to better the lives of the poor. I just wish she had told me about this earlier. That way I wouldn’t have made this trip in vain. Though if she had told me I wouldn’t have experienced how the people in the lowest stratum of Kar were doing. What these people need wasn’t handouts but support and opportunity to better their lives. Having finally understood that different situations called for different measures I asked what the orphanage and the young children needed the most in these locations. I found out that monetarily they were fine but what they lacked was education. While some of the children could count none of them could read or write. This was the same for most of the adults. Without education many of them wouldn’t be able to find better-paid jobs like those at trading companies, even working as a labourer it minimum was demonstrating proficiency in numeracy skills. On the way back to the palace I thought of all the things I had learnt today. I had arrived here with the misconception that people here could not survive here without help but left understanding that all they needed was support and opportunities.