Chapter 90 - Next Step
This world was alive on its own with its unique laws. There was no point in trying to consider the standards from her world. Ella’s concern that these people wouldn’t know about the importance of hygiene was her arrogance. She was embarrassed that because this world resembled medieval times with its hierarchy, she thought it was obviously less developed.
“I was a fool.”
Her acceptance made the way she viewed this world change. She saw women coming out of the bakery. They looked tired, but they didn’t look unhappy. The giant bread and other food ingredients in their hands seemed to add to their happiness. Then she realized there were no beggars, which was common for slums. Beggars were present even at the Seoul train station, but none of them were here. Then another piece of information appeared in her mind.
‘With Marquis Tuchizen’s idea, slums are owned by the emperor. Large scale constructions were done to it.’
This meant that every building she saw was owned by the royal family. The people living here were required to pay the least amount of maintenance fees to live in those houses. This also meant that all the citizens registered to the city could find a place to live.
“A house. I didn’t even imagine this.” She had tried so hard after leaving the dormitory while she was studying abroad. She knew the meaning of having a house, so she was genuinely surprised.
Ella got off the horse to look around at the town at the same eye level as others. This was a slum, but it was very different from the ones on earth. People here had happiness. If no one had taught her that this was the slums, she would never have imagined it was one.
‘If this is the slums, then how well do the middle-class people live? What about commoners?’
Ella’s question was answered right away by Luciella’s knowledge. Aside from a small number of nobles, most people were classified as commoners, and a few of them lived with fortunes enough to consider them as middle class. The world had a system of monarchs, but there were no farming slaves here. It was a fascinating world.
It seemed to maintain an unfair hierarchical society, but those who lived here were happy. This society also didn’t let them stay in the same class. If people wanted to progress and ascend, they could, so they didn’t consider their state as misfortune.
“How could this work?” It was hard to understand how this worked, but such a society was maintained for over 3,000 years.
‘Is this because of the royal family and the three marquis? Or is it a weird reality of this world?’
Even after the Great Confusion, society didn’t change. The continent where one empire used to rule had gotten two more of them. The world became even more stable after that. It was said that the magicians changed after that. The interesting history lesson met with reality and turned into an even stranger story.
‘How can this actually work?’
It seemed her question couldn’t be easily answered. How could a world exist where it made the right decisions and moved in the right direction? Ella left that question in her mind behind and began to follow the ladies, who were heading in a particular direction.
A few of them glanced back at her but returned back to their work. The place she arrived at by following them was the public well. Many women gathered by the well to do their laundry or trade things.
“Lily, come here. These are the shoes that Margaret wore when she asked Charles out. Before her, Laura wore them when she asked Jack out. You know both of them are married, right? Don’t you need these beautiful shoes as well?” said a middle-aged woman, who was showing a pair of shoes to a young woman named Lily.
Then the woman continued, “I heard Robin called you out to the park by the lake this weekend. You can’t go out to see him with those linen shoes. I’ll give them to you for half price. Just for you.”
Lily blushed at the mention of her date that the entire town knew about. She thought about it while tapping on her linen shoes, then gave 10 pennies to the woman and took the shoes.
Similar things were happening all over the open area. Some brought tablecloths they made themselves, and some came out with vegetables that they grew. The positive energies from these people made Ella feel good as well. That happy energy pulled her in, but then people’s eyes turned to her. They seemed to become nervous as a noble lady appeared.
Ella, who walked up to the well while gathering such attention, became embarrassed and looked around awkwardly. She then saw piles of laundry and remembered about the drought, looked into the well, and wondered, ‘Has it decreased, or has it always been like that?’
She couldn’t find the answer as she did not know what the water level was originally in the well. Ella frowned as she realized her mistake. That’s when someone among those who were glancing at Ella, who appeared out of nowhere and was looking down into the well, approached her.
“Is there any problem with the well, my lady?”
“Oh, no. I learned some things about a well. It’s different when you see it with your own eyes instead of reading about it, so I was just looking at it,” Ella softly responded as she made a kind smile with a soft voice,
The woman smiled in relief. At that moment, someone who stood behind her came in front of her and asked, “My! My lady! What are you doing all the way out here?”
Ella didn’t recognize her right away but soon remembered who she was. She was one of the servants working at her estate. ‘Her name was…’
“Molly?” Ella asked.
“Do you know my name?” Molly’s face brightened up when Ella remembered her name. People who knew she worked at the Constance household even let out their astonishment.
“Do you live here?” asked Ella. She never heard that one of the servants working at her estate lives in the slums.
Managing servants who lived outside the estate was an important matter. That’s why the estate helped those who lived in the slums so they could move out. If the servant couldn’t move out, then it was deemed that the servant was a problem and fired. So then, why was this woman here?
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