Chapter 3-20 : Unexpected Visitors Ⅲ
「Fortunately, we finally found someone who is willing to lend us money not long ago, but… There’s a condition…」(Katerina)
While saying that, for some reason, Katerina-san turned her gaze to Iris-san.
「I see… The condition is… I have to marry him, right…?」(Iris)
Iris-san talked as if she knew what was coming. After she said that, Adelbert-san and Katerina-san nodded silently.
「Iris has to marry him…? Are you kidding me!? Did Madam even agree with that!?」(Kate)
「No, Madam is against it. She said, “I can’t sell my daughter for money!” Of course, I’m also against it, but…」(Katerina)
「We are aristocrats. The first thing we need to think about is the welfare of the people in our territory. We must leave personal considerations aside if necessary.」(Adelbert)
When Adelbert-san said that to Iris-san with a stern look, Iris-san nodded as if she had given up.
「You’re right, Father… I knew that you would marry me to someone sooner or later. Besides, it’s for the sake of our people, so it can’t be helped…」(Iris)
「Iris, do you really mean it!? You’re going to marry someone you don’t know! Are you okay with that!?」(Kate)
「I’m a daughter of a noble. Marrying someone you don’t love is a common thing in aristocratic society.」(Iris)
While saying that, Iris-san smiled at Kate-san, but her expression looked somewhat painful.
「But!! Iris, I…! I don’t want you toー」(Kate)
「Kate, you know I don’t want to marry either. But this is my duty as a daughter.」(Iris)
「But, Father. I haven’t paid off my debt to Store Owner-dono, so I’m afraid I have to stay here for a while before I can go with you.」(Iris)
「Y-Yeah! That’s right! Adelbert-sama, we can’t leave before we pay off our debt!」(Kate)
「You don’t need to worry about that. I’ve heard that you owe money to Sarasa-dono, so before we left home, I collected as much money as I could get. I’m sure this is enough to pay off your debt.」(Adelbert)
Saying that, Adelbert-san took out a leather pouch from his pocket and put it on the table.
Kate-san picked up the pouch, opened it, and held it upside down, pouring all the coins inside on the table.
After she counted the money, she looked at Adelbert-san with a smirk.
「Adelbert-sama, this is not even enough to pay half of our debt.」(Kate)
「Wh, What!? No way! What kind of medical treatment costs so much money!? Don’t tell me… Sarasa-dono, you…!」(Adelbert)
Adelbert-san glared at me. Does he think that I scammed them?
「U, Umm… Actually…」(Sarasa)
「Father, it’s not like what you think! It’s all my fault, so stop glaring at Store Owner-dono like that! You’re being rude!」(Iris)
Iris-san stood up from her chair and yelled at her father to defend me.
「Iris… I don’t know what kind of medical treatment she gave you, but it’s just too expensive!」(Adelbert)
「No, it’s not expensive at all. I even think that it’s too cheap.」(Iris)
「H, Huhh? How can you say that…?」(Adelbert)
Adelbert-san looked very confused while Iris-san looked hesitant to explain, but after thinking for a moment, she gave up and explained why the treatment cost was very expensive.
「Father, actually… A while ago, I almost died while I was working in the forest. My stomach was torn open, my right arm was ripped off, and I had poison running through my body…」(Iris)
「Y, You almost died!? Why didn’t you tell me!!?」(Adelbert)
Adelbert-san stood up and yelled at Iris-san. His voice was so loud that it made Katerina-san who was sitting next to him startled.
Iris-san exhaled to keep herself calm and continued talking.
「I didn’t want to make you worry, so I didn’t say anything about it in the letter. Besides, I had recovered when I sent you the letter, so I didn’t think explaining it was necessary.」(Iris)
「….You said that your arm was ripped off, but how can you move your arm normally now?」(Adelbert)
「It’s all thanks to Store Owner-dono. She healed my arm completely. Not only that, she also healed my injured stomach and removed the poison from my body. If she didn’t come to this village, I would have died at that time. Even if someone else saved me and I managed to survive, I wouldn’t have my right arm now.」(Iris)
「Seeing Iris’ terrible condition, I almost gave up at that time, but as soon as I brought her here, Store Owner-san immediately treated her without thinking twice even though she would use some very precious potions.」(Kate)
After listening to them, Adelbert-san’s harsh expression began to loosen.
He then looked at Iris-san’s right arm and exhaled in relief.
「Store Owner-dono used ridiculously expensive potions to save me, a stranger, without hesitation, so please don’t think bad of her.」(Iris)
「I see… Certainly, potions that can save you from such a terrible condition must be very expensive…」(Adelbert)
While saying that, Adelbert-san touched Iris-san’s arm with an impressed face. He then looked at me and lowered his head.
「Sarasa-dono, forgive me for my rudeness.」(Adelbert)
「No, it’s okay. Please raise your head. It’s only natural that you thought that the cost was ridiculous.」(Sarasa)
Commoners wouldn’t be able to pay for it even if it took them their whole life. If you were told that it was a medical treatment fee without knowing the details, then it’s not weird that you would suspect that you were being fooled.
「Sarasa-dono, thank you for saving my daughter’s life.」(Adelbert)
Adelbert-san raised his head but then lowered it again and thanked me.
「Iris-san was saved also because of Kate-san. If she didn’t bring her here, Iris-san would have died in the forest.」(Sarasa)
「I see. Kate, thank you.」(Adelbert)
「Adelbert-sama, it was the obvious thing for me to do, so you don’t need to thank me.」(Kate)
Despite saying that, Kate-san smirked a little, looking proud of herself.
Seeing her daughter, Katerina-san smiled at Kate-san as if saying, “That’s my daughter!”
「But… Hahh… I thought this would be enough… Since I’m currently in debt, it’s difficult for me to collect more money…」(Adelbert)
Apparently, the money Adelbert-san brought is all he currently has.
It seems difficult for him to collect more money.
「Then, that meansー」(Kate)
For some reason, Kate-san looked somewhat happy that Adelbert-san couldn’t pay off Iris-san’s debt to me.
However, Adelbert-san then looked at me with an apologetic face and asked me.
「Sarasa-dono, I’m sorry if I’m asking too much, but… Can you let Iris go with me? I promise I will pay off her debt to you in the future. Of course, you can charge me interest if you want.」(Adelbert)
I want to answer him but Kate-san’s sharp gaze is bugging me. She is glaring at me as if forcing me to say no to Adelbert-san.
I understand her feelings. Honestly, I don’t want Iris-san to leave either, but I’m sorry, Kate-san. I’m not Iris-san’s parent, so I have no right to decide her future.
「I told Iris-san that she could pay me anytime so I don’t mind, but…」(Sarasa)
「Really? Thank you, Sarasa-dono!」(Adelbert)
Now Kate-san is glaring at me with sharp eyes as if saying, “You traitor!”
Ughh… I’m sorry but I can’t just tell him, “If you can’t pay with money, pay with your daughter instead!” or “Your daughter will work for me until she can pay off her debt!”
Even though I’m an alchemist, I’m not a master-class alchemist like my master, so I can’t be rude to an aristocrat.
「Adelbert-sama, are you sure you want to marry Iris to someone she doesn’t love? She is your beloved daughter, right? Besides, Iris is the heir of the Lotze Family, so if you marry her to someone, that means you will give the inheritance of the family to that person!」(Kate)
Thinking that I couldn’t do anything about it, Kate-san tried to persuade Adelbert-san herself.
「Of course, I’m aware of it. However, my family is just a weak aristocratic family who has a lot of debt. My family almost has no power in this kingdom. I don’t mind giving the inheritance of my family to him. Besides, I don’t think he is a bad person.」(Adelbert)
After Adelbert-san said that with a weak voice, Iris-san looked at Kate-san and smiled with a lonely face.
「Kate, I’m thinking of taking the offer. If I marry a rich person, we won’t need to borrow money if famine occurs again in our territory in the future.」(Iris)
「Kate, I’m sorry…」(Iris)
Seeing Iris-san’s determined eyes, Kate-san gave up and started crying silently. It seems like she really doesn’t want to be separated from Iris-san.
Ahh… Now I feel bad for Kate-san…
「So, Father, what kind of person will I marry?」(Iris)
「He is a young merchant who succeeded his father who died suddenly recently. He is currently running a big business in South Strugg. I’ve met him and I think he is an honest young man. His name is Hou Baal.」(Adelbert)
Eh…? Wait a minute…
I believe I’ve heard that name before…