Chapter 2-1 : Prologue
「This is… terrible…」(Sarasa)
Several days later, the pain in my muscles had gone and I’m now finally able to move around.
I went outside and looked at my house.
Un. This is really terrible…
Now I can see the forest behind my house from the kitchen because the wooden walls surrounding the backyard have been destroyed.
However, it’s not as messed up as before because Iris-san and the others have cleaned it up.
「Store Owner-dono, we’ve cleaned up a little, but we don’t know what to do with the herbs…」(Iris)
「No, it’s okay. Thank you, Iris-san」(Sarasa)
Iris-san, who is checking the condition of the house with me, apologized to me.
This is my house in the first place, so it’s my job to clean it up.
I’m really grateful to her, so she shouldn’t apologize to me.
「If there’s anything we can do to help, please tell us. You lent us rooms after all.」(Kate)
「Thank you, Kate-san. But, I don’t know where we should start from. Any idea?」(Sarasa)
And then, Lorea-chan raised her hand.
「Sarasa-san, let’s make a kitchen! I think this is a good opportunity.」(Lorea)
「You mean we will start from repairing the kitchen first?」(Sarasa)
「No, we’re gonna make a new kitchen! You haven’t been able to cook because there’s a problem with your kitchen, right? So we’re gonna make one where you can cook comfortably.」(Lorea)
She has a point.
I don’t have a kitchen range or stove.
I always buy my food from the dining hall.
「But I don’t cook much…」(Sarasa)
I think I’ll be fine as long as I can buy food from Diral-san’s place.
Well, maybe I’ll cook if it can save me some money, but I don’t think it will be that different because Diral-san’s food is quite cheap.
「But when the Collectors come back, Diral-san’s place will be crowded again, right? You once told me that it was hard to get the food because the place was crowded, didn’t you?」(Lorea)
I can’t deny that…
When I first came to this village, I didn’t have to wait long to get my food, but then it became more and more crowded, and I had to wait longer.
「But, I wonder if the Collectors who ran away will come back to this village.」(Sarasa)
Running away from a monster attack is not wrong.
However, in this village, where almost all of its residents know each other, the stigma of “escaping like a coward” is quite heavy for them to bear.
「They may not come back, but new Collectors may come, right?」(Iris)
「No, hold on. I think some of the Collectors who ran away will come back. Many of them don’t have shame after all.」(Kate)
「Ah, you’re right… Running away, leaving the villagers behind… How pathetic!」(Iris)
「Well, it can’t be helped. They’re Collectors, not knights.」(Kate)
「But they have the power to save other people, yet they ran like cowards!」(Iris)
Kate-san calmed down Iris-san who shouted angrily.
I understand why Iris-san is angry, but I agree with Kate-san.
It’s really difficult to risk your own life for the sake of people who aren’t very close to you.
「Adult men ran away like cowards, while a small girl like Store Owner-dono fought bravely!………….No… she’s an exception…Un…」(Iris)
Iris-san said that loudly at first, but then her tone was down after glancing at me.
「I might be small, but I’m also an adult, you know!?」(Sarasa)
「Y, Yes, I know, of course! A, haha…」(Iris)
If she never saw me as a little girl, she wouldn’t have said that line!
「Maa, maa, Sarasa-san, more importantly, let’s do something about the kitchen. We also have to fix the broken door and the wall around it. You said you don’t cook much. If you don’t use the kitchen, I’ll use it!」(Lorea)
「Lorea-chan…? That means…」(Sarasa)
「Yes! From now on, I’ll make your meals! Besides, I don’t think I deserve the salary you give me if I only work at the store.」(Lorea)
「Hmm… That will help me a lot.」(Sarasa)
I don’t know how good Lorea-chan is at cooking, but since she said that, she must be very confident with her skill.
If she cooks for me, I won’t have to go to the dining hall to get food.
That will save me a lot of trouble.
「Iris-san, Kate-san, if you’re okay with it, I’ll cook for you as well. You both haven’t eaten properly these past few days, right?」(Lorea)
「Eh? N, No, we’re eating properly, un!」(Iris)
「Y, Yeah. For Collectors like us, our bodies are an important asset after all!」(Kate)
The two answered Lorea-chan as if they have no problem with food, but I can tell that they are lying.
They were looking around while making suspicious gestures.
「Oi, you two… I know you’re lying. Tell us the truth!」(Sarasa)
「Hiiiy! I’m sorry!」(Iris)
「Ahaha…. Well… For a few days while you were sick, we only bought cheap bread for meals…」(Kate)
「I knew it.」(Sarasa)
They seem to be trying to save money because they owe me a huge debt.
「Alright, I understand! We will make a kitchen! From now on, I want all of us to eat together every single day!」(Sarasa)
「ーOf course, Iris-san, Kate-san, you have to pay for the food. But don’t worry, I’ll make it super cheap for you! As Kate-san said, your body is an important asset. If you get sick and can’t work, you won’t be able to make money, right?」(Sarasa)
「That would be great, but…」(Iris)
「Store Owner-san, are you sure?」(Kate)
「Of course! Ah, Lorea-chan, you don’t need to pay for the food since you’re the chef.」(Sarasa)
「Eh? But I don’t mind if you cut my salary to pay for my food.」(Lorea)
「There’s no way I can do that. Cooking is not in your job description, so I should pay you more for this, but…」(Sarasa)
「I know. You don’t want me to pay you more, right? Well, anyway, we’ll eat our meal together from now on! This is my order as the landlord! Do you guys understand?」(Sarasa)