Chapter 3-7 : Recovery And Request Ⅰ
「Ah, I just remembered. Sarasa-san, Erin-san said she wanted to talk with you when things have settled down.」(Lorea)
「Erin-san? I wonder what she wants to talk to me about.」(Sarasa)
Apparently, Lorea-chan came across Erin-san when she was walking in the village a few days ago.
Unlike me, who always works in my workshop, Lorea-chan sometimes walks around the village to buy food ingredients and do other stuff, so it’s natural that people often ask her to pass their messages to me.
Erin-san is the village mayor’s daughter, so I feel like this is going to be somewhat troublesome.
「Sh, She probably just wanted to thank you again because you made this village more prosperous with your Cooling Hat idea.」(Lorea)
Perhaps Lorea-chan noticed my gloomy expression when I was thinking, so she said that to me, but…
「If she just wanted to thank me, she didn’t have to wait until things had settled down, right? My store is always open even though I’d been busy taking care of Iris-san and Kate-san these past few days, so she could have visited anytime.」(Sarasa)
「Now that you mentioned it…」(Lorea)
「Erin-san is a very capable person especially when it comes to managing things and making good decisions. I will say she is way more capable than the village mayor. I even feel like she has the capability to run a larger villageー No, a large town.」(Sarasa)
「Yeah. You know, the head of this village is her father, but in reality, Erin-san is the one in charge of managing this village.」(Lorea)
「I knew it. Hahh… I hope it won’t be a big deal…」(Sarasa)
「Well, she will probably come soon. You can think again after you hear what she wants.」(Lorea)
Lorea-chan’s right. I can’t enjoy her delicious meal if I think too much.
I took a deep breath and started eating my lunch before Iris-san and Kate-san devoured all of the food on the table.
◇ ◇ ◇
In the early morning of the next day, Iris-san and I were practicing sword fighting in the front yard.
I would say I’m better than Iris-san in terms of sword techniques but her physical strength is greater than mine. However, I have a great advantage when it comes to actual fights because I can use body strengthening. Moreover, I have the high-quality sword I got from Master and I can use magic whenever I want, but of course I’m not using magic now because we’re just practicing.
「You’re wide open!」(Sarasa)
I swung my sword upward but Iris-san didn’t block it firmly. As a result, her sword slipped out of her hand and fell to the ground.
Iris-san then stopped moving for a moment and let out a sigh.
「Hahh… Looks like I will never beat you.」(Iris)
「Hmm, your muscle strength has really weakened. Your movements were not that quick either. If you were in perfect condition, I don’t think your sword would have slipped out of your hand.」(Sarasa)
Actually, Iris-san’s swordsmanship is not bad at all. However, I was the number one student in the swordsmanship class at the alchemist school, so I think it will take her years before she can beat me.
Still, even though I’m quite strong, let alone my master, I couldn’t beat my swordsmanship teacher who was a knight.
I can definitely defeat bandits and thieves easily but I guess I can’t defeat a knight who trains hard every day.
When I was at school, there was a fighting tournament that was held in the royal capital from time to time, but I had never joined that competition even though the prize money was very attractive. The reason was because a lot of knights joined the competition. I didn’t want to risk my health and ended up taking a break from school.
After all, there’s no point in saving money if I can’t graduate and become an alchemist.
「I hope I can get back to work in a few days…」(Iris)
「You’re still young, you’re gonna be fine. But I have a potion to recover weakened muscle if you want.」(Sarasa)
「Thank you, but… no. I don’t want to spend any more money. More importantly, Kate, how are you feeling?」(Iris)
Iris-san asked Kate-san who was running around the front yard while shooting arrows at a tree as target practice.
「Not so good. I can’t pull my bow as quickly as usual…」(Kate)
They had been having a hard time sleeping and hardly eating for a few days, so it’s only natural if they became weak.
However, I’m surprised that they can start training right after recovering.
「I think it’s better if you don’t train too hard today.」(Sarasa)
「You’re right. Mock-fighting against me may not be a practice for you, but…」(Iris)
「You don’t have to worry about that. In the first place, I’m an alchemist, so I don’t need to be good at sword-fighting.」(Sarasa)
「Yeah, but I can’t win against you even though I’m a swordswoman.」(Iris)
「W-Well… Do your best! I know you can surpass me one day. I’m cheering for you!」(Sarasa)
「Store Owner-dono, I’m not that depressed, okay? Anyway, I’m counting on you as my swordsmanship instructor for a while.」(Iris)
「I don’t think I’m good enough to become an instructor, but… Oh, well. Come!」(Sarasa)
After that, we practiced for a couple of hours and went to have breakfast together.
◇ ◇ ◇
As expected, Erin-san came to visit in the afternoon.
Because there was no drawing room in my house, I suggested having a talk in the dining hall while having lunch together.
Since I haven’t had many guests, only customers, I don’t have any plans to build a drawing room.
By the way, Erin-san asked Iris-san and Kate-san to come along, so the only one who stayed to watch over the store was Lorea-chan.
There’s no doubt that Erin-san was aiming for the day after Iris-san and Kate-san recovered because not only did she want to talk with me but she wanted to talk with them as well.
「Sarasa-san, Iris-san, Kate-san, thank you for sparing your time for me.」(Erin)
「We don’t mind. So, what do you want to talk about?」(Sarasa)
「Actually, it’s a little hard for me to say, but… I have a job for the three of you.」(Erin)
「A job…? Since Iris-san and Kate-san are also included, this job is not related to alchemy, is it?」(Sarasa)
「No, it’s not. Actually, I have asked Andre-san and his party members, and they said they would accept it if you guys accept it.」(Erin)
So she also asked Andre-san, Gil-san and Gray-san who are the most capable Collectors in this village.
I have a feeling that this is gonna be a troublesome job…
「Honestly, I have a bad feeling about this…」(Sarasa)
「Oh, please don’t say that. Can you at least listen to my explanation first?」(Erin)
I feel like it would be more difficult for me to refuse if I listen to her about the job, but…
「Store Owner-san, Erin-san is the village mayor’s daughter, right? This is probably an important job that can affect the lives of the villagers here.」(Kate)
Kate-san cut in when I made a reluctant look.
「Eh? Is that so…?」(Sarasa)
I changed my expression and looked at Erin-san with a serious face.
Erin-san nodded with a troubled face.
I see. Looks like this is more serious than I thought…
「Alright then. I’m listening.」(Sarasa)
According to Erin-san, her father, the village mayor, has received a letter from the feudal lord as a response regarding the Hellfire Grizzly Frenzy that happened a while ago.
Thanks to the cooperation of the villagers and Collectors, we managed to survive without major damage, but we still don’t know the exact reason why the bears went on a rampage.
I said that it was most likely because they didn’t eat enough flame stones, but that was just an assumption. Therefore, we still need to do an investigation to find out the cause as a measure to prevent it from happening again in the future.
After the incident, the village mayor reported the situation to the feudal lord and asked him to send his soldiers to at least do the investigation since they did nothing when this village was attacked.
However, the feudal lord’s response was very disappointing.
In the letter he sent to the village mayor, he said, “We’re not going to do the stupid investigation. More importantly, since no one died, you have to pay the full amount for your taxes as usual.”
Let alone giving money as a token of sympathy, he doesn’t even want to dispatch his soldiers to do the investigation.
Moreover, he also said, “I heard your villagers made a lot of profit from selling Hellfire Grizzly materials. If that’s true, I will increase your village tax!”
When Erin-san was done talking, Iris-san slammed her hands to the table.
「Screw that lord! Store Owner-dono fought bravely and ended up bedridden for a few days for this village’s sake!」(Iris)
「I, Iris-san, actually, it was my fault. I lacked stamina, that’s whyー」(Sarasa)
「But still! That lord, the one who was supposed to protect this village, didn’t even give a damn! Moreover, he demands more tax money! What the hell is he thinking!?」(Iris)
While Iris-san expressed her anger, Erin-san sighed with a face that showed her resignation.
「There’s only one thing that person is enthusiastic about… and that is money… Hahhh… I wish we had a better feudal lord…」(Erin)
「Come to think of it, I don’t know anything about this region’s feudal lord.」(Sarasa)
「Yok Village, The town of South Strugg, and the other villages and towns in this region are ruled by Baronet Kirk. I heard that he’s good at making money. 」(Erin)
「Hah! But he’s never used his money for his own people, right!? There’s no point in being a wealthy ruler then!」(Iris)
Baronet Kirk, huh?
If Erin-san is true, then he probably only cares about the big towns that can bring him a big income like South Strugg. Therefore, he doesn’t care about our village because it’s only a small village.
He didn’t think that sending his precious soldiers to the Great Sea of Trees to do the investigation for the sake of this village was worth the risk. That forest is dangerous after all.
「Alright. Now I understand that Baronet Kirk is a useless lord who doesn’t care about this village. So, what do you want us to do? Well, I already have a guess though.」(Sarasa)
「That means I don’t have to say this but… I want you to do the investigation.」(Erin)
「I knew it…」(Sarasa)