196-178 Orphanage (1)

 After lunch and tea time at Aella's store, we headed to the temple.

 I hadn't been able to visit the temple for quite a while because I was trapped in a dungeon, and the enemies I killed were basically just small fish, but there were a good number of them.

 This visit was made in the hope of improving my level a bit.

 As usual, when I entered the temple, which was not very popular, I found Ishka sweeping the floor.

It's been a while. Hello, Mr. Ishka.
Hello, Ishka-san.

 She noticed us as soon as we opened the door and approached us, smiling happily.

 I also smiled and returned the greeting, but my companions gave me a slightly disturbed look.

What about me?

 Haruka's voice was a little stiff as she asked.

 I don't have any ulterior motives.
 I'm just happy to make the acquaintance of a beautiful woman.

 I've known a lot of old men in the past, so it's okay to tilt the scales a little towards the ladies, right?

This is the head priestess of the temple, Miss Isiaka. You're in charge of this temple and the orphanage behind it, right?

"Yes. My name is Ishka and I am in charge of the temple of Lord Adversus in this town. Even though I am the head priest, there are only four other priests.

 He smiled a bit annoyed.

I've never seen another priest, by the way. ......

I've never seen any other priests. I do most of the work in this temple.

The orphanage ....... You're right, taking care of children is a lot of work.

 Natsuki nodded as if to say, "That's true.

 I've heard that it's hard to raise even a few children of your own, and if you have many more than that, you'll have a lot of trouble.
 Some of the children may be older than others, but the age of adulthood is low in this world, and I think they will leave the orphanage by the time they are useful.

 I believe the current number of children is--

You have 23 children, right?
How do you know so much, Nao?

 The one who looked at me suspiciously again was Yuki.
 But before I could give Yuki an excuse, Ishka told her the reason.

She said, "Nao-san, I took you to an orphanage once before, and you made a donation.

"Oh, Nao is doing such charity work?

Yes. I'm sure that you will be blessed by the Lord Adversus.

 Ishka smiles benevolently and clasps her hands together.

 I'm not sure what to make of that, but I'm sure it's a good idea. .......

 I'm not sure if I'm wrong or not, but I've been told by my main deity that ...... I should pay an offering.

I see. ....... I'm sure you're not wrong.
"Well, we're here to pray, aren't we?
Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to disturb you. Please.

 Ishka bowed and left, and we went to the altar.
 As usual, I threw in a large silver coin, closed my eyes and prayed.

Nao is now level 19. He needs 31,920 experience to level up to the next level.

 Okay, that's one up.

 The amount of experience required is increasing, but it's not fixed for each demon, so it's only a guide.

 Basically, the stronger the demon, the more experience you get, but the more times you fight the same demon, the less experience you get.

 This may be because you can read the pattern and it becomes routine.

 On the other hand, you can gain experience more consistently through daily training.

 Perhaps it is because our skills are improving and not becoming routine, or perhaps it is because the mock battles with Toya and the others have a modest effect.

 And it is thanks to God that we can see such results in numerical values.

 Yes, I can see no problem in paying a little offering.

 I nodded my head and opened my eyes, and as if I had been waiting for it, Ishka came up to me, smiled, and opened her mouth.

"Nao-san, if you don't mind, why don't you visit the orphanage again?

 Is this a trend where I'm being asked to make an offering again?

 I don't mind donating a little bit of money, but if I had to donate every time I came to the temple, it would be hard on my wallet.

 I was about to refuse the offer with an innocuous reason, but before I could open my mouth, there was someone who showed interest.

"An orphanage?
Yes. It's behind the temple. Would you like to visit it?

 As if in response to Natsuki's question, Ishka invited others to join her.

 The others seemed to be interested as well, and started to follow Ishka's lead.

 Now I have no choice but to follow behind her.

 It's a good thing I didn't get my arms wrapped around her like I did last time in front of Haruka and the others.

 I don't think I'm ...... a bit disappointed or anything like that.

    I've been to the orphanage a second time.

 The second time I visited the orphanage, the children's voices echoed, unlike the last time.

 A large garden in front of the orphanage. There were many children running around, or playing in the sand in the corner.

 And there were four adults standing watching over the children.

 Two men and two women. All of them are young, maybe not much older than us.

 These four are probably the priests that Ishka was talking about.

 I hadn't paid much attention to them last time, but the children ranged in age from junior high school to babies held by female priests.

This is the orphanage: ......

The orphanage takes care of the children until they reach the age of 15. But we don't have much room, so some of them leave as early as 12 years old.

 According to the system, children can live in the orphanage until they reach adulthood, but the subsidy does not increase with the number of orphans, and the more orphans there are, the more difficult it becomes to run the orphanage.

 The more orphans there are, the more difficult it becomes for the orphanage to operate. The children who grow up here understand this, so they strive to become independent as soon as possible, and this leads to them leaving before they reach adulthood.

 Of course, there are some children who stay until they reach adulthood, but those children also have some kind of job and contribute their wages to the orphanage.

It's not easy, is it?

Yes. But this is a good town. But this town is a good one, at least there are not too many orphans on the streets. Some towns have .......

 He slurred his words, and Ishka's face became a little gloomy.

 The only other towns we've seen are Sarstat and Kergu, both of which are in the territory of Viscount Nenus.

 Therefore, the situation of the town is probably not that different, but we can imagine that the situation will change when the ruler changes.

 From the way Diora spoke, it seems that Viscount Nenus is a decent nobleman, but there are probably noblemen who are not decent, and perhaps Ishka has seen a town ruled by such a nobleman.

 Thank the gods for dropping me near a good town.

"Oh, that's you! Hello!

 The first person who noticed us approaching the orphanage and called out to us was the little girl we met last time.

 She seemed to be drawing something on the ground, but then she threw away the tree branch she was holding, stood up and bowed to us.

You are ...... Remy, right? How are you?
Yes! I had a little trouble with my food. But I'm back to normal!

 When I looked at Ishka, she looked a little troubled.

We are affected by the rising price of food. ....... Thanks to Nao's donation, we were able to get through it. ......

Oh. ......

 It seems that the effects of the Kerg fiasco were also felt in these places.

 It seems that the price of food, which had risen gradually before we entered the dungeon, had finally risen to about 1.5 times the price.

 Even though a single family could manage to endure it, an orphanage with a large number of people would be affected by the increase, and as a result, the amount of food they ate was reflected in the price.

I'm fine now, you know? Fortunately, the value of food has returned to normal since yesterday or so, so we've managed to ....... The quality is a bit lower, but ......

 The mayhem in Kergu had stopped about a week ago.

 It took a few days to get from Kerg to Laffan, so the price settled down a few days after the cargo started arriving.

 It seems pretty fast, but the lord may have taken some action.

 However, the orphanage was not completely back to normal because they had to cut back on their reserve fund when the price went up.

"Oniichan, can you give me some more food?


 Remy said unexpectedly, and I turned around to look at Ishka.

 But she did her best to look away.

"Ishka-san, ......?

No, no, I was just explaining that we can eat thanks to Nao. ...... Oh-ho-ho.

 I'm sure you'll be happy to know that I'm not the only one who has a problem with this.

 It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're looking for.

I drop to my knees, look at Remy, and ask, "Remy, what did the Chief Priest say to you?

"Well, he told me to be careful! "Well, he told me to be careful! He said that I could eat a lot of people's food.

 Remy replied with a lisp, tilting his head from side to side as best he could.

 The "something" part is probably a word like "donation" or "support" or something like that.

 At least, it seems that Ishka didn't make him say those words.

"I see. Yeah, I guess so. I'll give you a little bit of food.
"Wow! Yay! --Thank you very much.

 I'm sure you don't understand what I'm talking about when I say "offering", so I pat her on the head and say something like that. Remy-chan was jumping up and down with a happy smile on her face, but then, as if she remembered, she said a few words of thanks and bowed her head.

 --Didn't he say this to you the other day? Are you teaching her that?

 I looked at Ishka again, but I couldn't make eye contact with her.

"Ishka-san, ......?

I'm just trying to teach her to say thank you properly. Yes.

 She waved her hands in the air and denied it, but it seemed suspicious.

 I'm sure you'll be happy to know that I'm not the only one who has a problem with this.