Chapter 118 – Majolica – Part four

The next day, we head to a weapons and armor shop just as we planned, to get our equipment in order.

It’s important to strike a good balance between tough equipment that will keep you safe, but also doesn’t restrict your movements.
If it’s so heavy that just wearing it makes you tired, it defeats the whole purpose.

Mia listens to what Sera and Hikari have to say very intently while looking for things she can try.
She’s getting a feel for how comfortable various things are, and how well she can move in them.
We can also ask to adjust the size, so that’s what we do.

Mia looks like she has mixed feelings when she sees me pay for everything with a few gold coins, but this is actually an investment.
We’re going to be making this money back.

And it’s not like her equipment was actually that expensive.

“Master, I’m hungry.”

Is it that time already, Hikari? I guess shopping (?) with girls takes a long time.
Part of it is because equipment for girls tends to focus not only on functionality, but also on the visual aspect.
Most equipment for guys is more boorish, although there’s also stuff that looks cool.

“Is there anything you want in particular?”


I follow Hikari’s eyes, and see a stall grilling meat on skewers.
The nice smell of burning sauce is being carried this way by the wind.

I ask for four, one for each person, and Hikari immediately digs into it and stuffs her cheeks.

I also take a bite.
It’s a little hard, but once I start biting into it and the flavor starts spreading, it’s good.
This is amplified by the sauce and the meat juices mixing in my mouth.
Sera looks like she’s enjoying it too, but Mia takes one bite and stops moving.

“What’s wrong?”

I ask, and Mia realizes she stopped.
She slowly takes another bite, and then notices that Hikari’s mouth is dirty with sauce and wipes it.

I see that, but then turn to where she was looking before, while being careful not to let her see me doing it.

I see a shabbily dressed girl.
No, there’s another, smaller kid in her arms.
They have disheveled hair, and their faces are dirty.

Mia is still glancing that way.

“Something on your mind?”

I ask Mia, but she doesn’t say anything.
Hikari looks like she hasn’t had enough, so I give her some money and ask her to buy something else.
She grabs Sera and Mia by their hands, and pulls them as she charges the other stalls.

“Hey, old man…”

“Hn? Do you want more?”

“Sorry, no.
Is that sort of thing common around here?”

I ask while looking at the kids that have been staring at me from behind cover.

“I guess.
I feel like it’s been getting worse in the past few years.
The feudal lord has been building orphanages, but it feels like it’s not enough.
Even if they get built, there’s no one to run them.
A lot of people gather here because of the dungeon, but a lot of people die too.
That’s probably what happened to their parents.”

I’m told it’s even more noticeable if I walk through the backstreets.
Some work as carriers in the dungeon, but only a fraction of them manage to find such work.

“So what should be done about those two?”

Asks Mia, who is standing behind me all of a sudden.
Hikari and Sera aren’t here, so I guess she returned on her own.

“There’s nothing that can be done.
We’re not wealthy enough to take them in or support them.
All we can do is see if the feudal lord or nobles do something about it.”

Even if he gave them leftovers, it’s not like he can do that every single day.
And once they get a taste for it, they’ll be here asking for more all the time.

It sounds like he feels guilty, even though it’s not really his fault.
I sense that he wishes he could help.

I guess Mia is picking up on that too, because she apologizes for her harsh tone earlier.

“What do you want to do, Mia?”


I’m sure she wants to help.
It’s clear as day, but she knows she can’t help everyone on her own.
Even if she did something for the two in front of us, there are many more in the same situation.

Mia bites her lip hard out of frustration.
It looks like it hurts.

“What’s wrong, master?”

Hikari and Sera are back too.
It looks like they bought soup.
Both have bowls in her hands, with steam rising from them.

I take one from each, and turn to Mia.

“Mia, what do you want to do?”

“I want to reach out to them if I can.”

“…Then take these.”

I hand her the soup and tell her to go.

Hikari looks confused, and then notices the two girls.
Sera also notices them, but doesn’t say anything.
It’s not like she doesn’t feel anything, it’s probably more like she’s holding her tongue because she’s a slave.

“Are you sure about that, young man?”

“I don’t know, but I can’t pretend I don’t see them.
And it’s fine, it’s just two.”

“I thought you were going to say ‘just leave it to me’ or something like that.”

“I’m just a poor merchant.
Oh, and give me two more.”

I ask for two more skewers, and he says these ones are on the house.
Who are you to talk, old man?

I turn around to see Hikari bringing one girl… Along with another little girl.

“I can give you a job.
Do you want to work? If you do, I can provide you with a place to live and hot meals.”

I feel shady, like I’m about to kidnap them or something.
Like I’m luring them with the meat in the skewers.
They look wary, maybe because I look extra suspicious with the mask on.

They look back and forth between Mia and the skewers, and after Mia smiles, they hesitantly take the meat.

They immediately dig into them and eat them frantically.
It actually looks kind of dangerous, like they’re going to start choking at any moment.

“So, what do you intend to do, master?”

Asks Sera.

“Rent a house and have them take care of it… Can they do it?”

They’re smaller than Hikari.

“Depends on if they’re up for it.
They’re struggling to survive, so I’m sure they’ll give it their all towards anything.”

I look at Sera, and she gets embarrassed and turns away for some reason.
Is she speaking from experience?


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