“My apologies, but there isn’t a single person applying to move into Aria-san’s developing village.”

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“Oh, I guess that makes sense.”

I’ve come to the government office of a nearby town.
I came to hear the results of the request for immigration into the village.

As expected, the resulting number was zero.

I believe it couldn’t be helped.
Our village was rated too poorly.

It was a year before I turned fifteen years old, that I was entrusted with the development of the village by my aunt.

The developing village I was entrusted with, stands in front of the Demon Forest.
There were many difficulties that came with it, mostly because of its location, but I managed to maneuver around them somehow.
That was until a month and a half ago.

Around that time, some of the young people of the village went hunting in the Demon Forest.
Until then, the land near the forest was being cultivated and the village boundaries were expanding, so our guard was low.

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But that was too big to be called a mistake.
A young man dragged a large monster from inside the Demon Forest, along with him.

The men went to defend and protect the village.
However the price they paid was high.

Many of them lost their lives in the battle with the monster.
The women who lost their husbands abandoned the painful developing village and returned to their hometowns.

The bad things still continued.
The young man who pulled the monster into the village escaped with his friends.
At that time, many things such as weapons and food were taken by them.

Only women and children remained in the village.
There was still plenty of food and it may be possible to survive the coming winter, but there were no men to clear the land in spring.

Left with no choice, I tried recruiting helping hands a month ago for the sake of the village.
Since we could provide enough food to survive the winter, we tried recruiting as many male immigrants as we could.

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There were no applications.

Well, that can be expected though, right?
Who in their right mind would move to a village that was just attacked by a monster?
Even if it was repelled, what guarantee was there that it wouldn’t happen again?

This country lacks men as it is, due to the ongoing war.

I thought a miracle would occur if we managed to survive the winter, but that seems unlikely.
The town’s slum was better off than our developing village.

As I drop my shoulders, the lady receptionist starts talking to me.

“W-well, there is still some time until spring.
There might be more applicants when spring arrives.”
“…Yeah.”

To be honest, it is unlikely that an application will come in springtime.
In spring, there is a desperate need of hands to plant crops, and if you enter wild mountains you can easily forage food.

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It’s winter when people have food shortages.
The only time an application could come in was now.

It will soon begin to snow and I won’t be able to move between villages, nor be able to recruit.
Today was my last chance.

“Thank you very much.”
“…Aria-sama.
Please do your best without being discouraged.”
“…”

I bowed deeply to the woman in the office and left.

***

It took about two days to return to our developing village.
I put up a request for an escort, but no one took it.

On top of it being a one way trip, it might snow on their way back and they may become stranded with us.

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However, it was still disappointing to be told, “There couldn’t be more criminals in the frontier than this town, so you don’t really need escorts”.
I want to make the village bigger, and throw it all back at them someday.

“Well, that would be difficult in this state.”

As I walked while muttering such things, I saw the village.

“Huh?”

Someone is standing in front of the village.
I wondered if someone from the village came out to pick me up, but I feel that that’s not the case.
First of all, I know that there was no black-haired child.

(Maybe it’s a person who wants to move into our village)

People from large villages and towns are introduced properly by the government office.
People from small villages though, who couldn’t find food at their previous residence, seem to come directly without going through those formalities.
I unconsciously began racing towards his back.

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