Chapter 5-6 : Planning And Preparation Ⅰ
After seeing Prince Ferik off, I turned around the signboard hanging on the entrance from [OPEN] to [CLOSED] and locked the door.
I then returned to the drawing room and lay down on the sofa.
「Huu~ Haa~ Taa~…」(Sarasa)
I let out meaningless groans, trying to get rid of my mental fatigue.
Soon after, Iris-san and Kate-san entered the room and looked at me apologetically.
「Store Owner-san, you look tired…」(Kate)
「It’s because I AM tired… You guys ran away, so no one helped me dealing with that person…」(Sarasa)
Iris-san and Kate-san looked at each other and smiled wearily.
「We’re sorry, but we thought that we needed to protect the store in case those thugs came back.」(Iris)
「That’s right. Besides, you did well without us as if you’re used to dealing with people with authority.」(Kate)
「Well, nobles sometimes came to my master’s shop when I worked there. However, I was dealing with a member of the royal family this time, so it was different.」(Sarasa)
Fortunately, I learned some manners at school, so I know how to deal with those people.
「I never thought I would get involved with the royal family… I’m grateful to Nord-san for his good intentions but it’s a little bit too much…」(Sarasa)
「I understand, but you can’t just refuse.」(Iris)
「Of course, I can’t! I wouldn’t dare decline a request from a prince who came all the way from the royal capital to this remote village and tell him to go home!」(Sarasa)
He said he would pay me well but I’m still not sure if it will be worth the trouble.
If I made a mistake and failed, my life might be in danger…
「Sarasa-san, I made some hot tea for you.」(Lorea)
While I was thinking about that, feeling a bit restless, Lorea-chan came in with tea and cookies like an angel who came to free me from my anxiety.
I immediately raised my body and grabbed the cup of tea Lorea-chan presented.
As soon as I sipped the tea, the gentle bitterness that spread in my mouth soothed my soul.
「Ahh~… Thank you, Lorea-chan!」(Sarasa)
「You’re welcome~ …By the way, when I saw that person, I thought that he was as handsome as a prince, but I didn’t expect he was really a prince.」(Lorea)
「Certainly, he has a cool, pretty face. Do you like that type of man?」(Sarasa)
「What do you mean?」(Lorea)
「I mean do you want to date a handsome man like him?」(Sarasa)
「Date? No! It’s just… I’ve never seen a handsome man like him, so I’m a bit curious.」(Lorea)
Now that she mentions it, there are many male Collectors staying in this village but none of them are as good-looking as Prince Ferik.
「Iris-san, Kate-san, how about you?」(Sarasa)
「It’s not that I want to date someone like him, but there’s no way a prince would date a commoner like me and Lorea, right? He would likely date a daughter of a noble family like Iris.」(Kate)
「Hey, what do you mean!? Me? Dating a prince? Nope. Not a chance. How about you, Store Owner-dono?」(Iris)
「No way. Just… No way…」(Sarasa)
When I was at school, I remember that female students, especially those from noble families, were longing for marrying a prince. They yelled, “Kyaa! Kyaa!” when they were gossiping about the princes in this kingdom.
They’re totally different from us…
「Talking about Prince Ferik, I feel like there’s something off with him.」(Iris)
「What do you mean?」(Sarasa)
「He’s a prince but why did he come to a remote area like this without an escort? Store Owner-dono, don’t you think it’s weird? Could it be, Prince Ferik is actually a capable fighter so he didn’t need an escort?」(Iris)
「I heard the princes of this kingdom were trained by knights, so I do think Prince Ferik himself can fight. However, I also think that he came with an escort. His escort had probably been waiting for him somewhere else while he was here.」(Sarasa)
That reminds me. I felt like someone was watching us when we moved the unconscious thugs outside. It was probably Prince Ferik’s escort.
Prince Ferik was wearing quite a few protective artifacts under his jacket, so his escort probably thought that there wouldn’t be any problem even though they were away from him.
「Umm… I think it’s too late to say this, but… Sarasa-san, I’m sorry I forgot to serve tea for our guest…」(Lorea)
「Ah, it’s alright. You don’t need to worry about that. Normally, commoners don’t serve tea or snacks when nobles visit their house.」(Sarasa)
「Is that so?」(Lorea)
「Most nobles don’t want to eat or drink something, especially from commoners because they don’t know what’s in it. Usually, their attendant will prepare drinks or food for them. Well, you can serve tea if you want but you can’t blame them if they don’t even want to touch your tea. It’s rare but if a noble got food poisoned after drinking or eating tea or snacks you served, you would definitely be punished.」(Sarasa)
「I see… Dealing with nobles seems like a pain…」(Lorea)
While muttering that, Lorea-chan glanced at Iris-san for some reason.
Iris-san, who noticed Lorea-chan’s gaze, blinked a few times and then shook her head.
「No, no. My family is different, okay? We’re different. I’m different. Look. It’s not something to brag about but I bet I’m the only daughter of a noble in this country who works as a Collector to pay off her family’s debt.」(Iris)
「That’s indeed not something to brag about…」(Kate)
「Right? Besides, I didn’t know that there was such a custom in the aristocratic society in this kingdom.」(Iris)
「It’s because you didn’t have the opportunity to learn about it…」(Kate)
「Ah, you’re right. We left the house before I could learn things about aristocratic society. Leave that aside, anyway, now that Store Owner-dono has accepted Prince Ferik’s request, we have to do our best to help her.」(Iris)
「You’re right. Store Owner-san, you said you can’t fail no matter what. Is everything going to be alright?」(Kate)
「Well, I’m just going to do this job seriously as usual. However, collecting Misanon Roots won’t be easy. After all, they usually grow in snowy mountains.」(Sarasa)
I had experienced collecting materials during the winter when I was at school, so I know it won’t be easy.
Aside from Misanon Roots, I’m planning to collect materials that are easy to find during winter while trying to get used to moving in the snowy mountain and then making the Hair Growth Agent before spring.
「I have experience collecting materials in a snowy mountain during training at school, but Iris-san, Kate-san, how about you?」(Sarasa)
「Once again, it’s not something to brag about but I’ve never climbed a snowy mountain!」(Iris)
「The territory that the Lotze Family governs has no snowy mountain after all. By the way, we need to prepare certain equipment to climb a snowy mountain, right?」(Kate)
「Yup. And the quality of the equipment can affect our survival rate, so we need to be careful. Moreover, we need to prepare other things too.」(Sarasa)
「I see… I bet it will be costly…」(Iris)
「Sure it will…」(Sarasa)
I have two hundred gold coins I got from Prince Ferik as the advance payment.
It should be enough, but honestly, I still feel a bit worried…