The rain that had been falling for a long time has finally stopped. The sky is still covered with thick clouds, but it's been a long time since I've been able to walk without an umbrella.
Ginette is cheerful, saying, 'I should do my laundry while I can.
Yes, she is cheerful.
'Well, if it's a stomachache, it'll go away after a day's sleep.
'......, isn't it?
Ginette let out a sigh for the second time as I pulled a cart full of leftover food.
Yesterday, Bertina had gone on a binge at our house and overeaten, and this morning she hadn't shown up to eat, saying she was sick to her stomach.
The children's faces are gloomy, Ginette is depressed, the foodstuff I brought with me was left over in large quantities,......, and I wish people would realize how much trouble they are causing.
I'm still a little upset about my stomach, too. I'm sure the sisters are quite upset.
Estella, walking a little ahead of me, rubs her stomach.
Of course she is.
She's eaten my bread, naan, pizza, okonomiyaki, tortillas, and a lot of popcorn since this morning. ...... You're eating too many carbs.
'You all need to fatten up.
'No disrespect to the lady, Yashiro.
'You should be boned.
'I don't want a unique figure like that!
Estella bared her fangs, while Jeannette let out a sigh.
'If I could, I'd stay by your side and take care of you. ......'
Jeannette's concern was reaching a serious level.
However, there is nothing that Jeannette can do even if she is by her side. All she can do is to wait quietly for the mucous membrane of her stomach to return to normal after digesting too much food.
In fact, if Jeannette were here, she might make some delicious porridge and give it to him in large quantities, which might have the opposite effect.
'Excuse me, Mr. Magda. Today, I'd like to leave the store in your hands. ......'
Oh, come on!
Don't make unreasonable demands on Magda!It's impossible, of course!
This guy is like a dandelion in sashimi. It's a thing for a few fans to love and enjoy. You can't have sashimi with only dandelions, right?
'...... Manager, that's impossible.
Magda knows this, and refuses to accept it.
'...... I've been told by the hunting guild to accompany you to check the hunting grounds when the rain stops.'
'Is that so?'
That's new to me.
I wish you would have told me that beforehand.
'Well then, why don't we just take the day off?
What are you talking about?
You're telling me to close the Sunken Pavilion, which doesn't even have many customers, for no reason!
What's a poor person with nothing but time on her hands to do?
'...... I don't want to ............ take a day off. I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one who's had it.
'Well said, Jeannette!I admire your spirit of not letting the vine escape!I admire it!
'No, I didn't mean it like that!
'Jeannette. Don't take anything Yashiro says seriously.
'Oh, ...... you're kidding. Thank goodness.'
'No, ...... probably isn't a joke. ......'
Estella gives me a suspicious look.
Yes. I mean it, but what?
But with Jeannette in such a state, it could be a problem for business. ...... I can't help it.
When I looked ahead while pulling the heavy cart, I found the person I was looking for at the right time.
I'll take care of Bertina. I'll take care of Bertina for you.
'Are you sure?
Ginette looked at me as if she was convinced that if I wanted to, Bertina's stomach ache would instantly go away. ...... Don't get your hopes up too high.
But well, the point is, it's a stomachache. If you treat it right, and you treat it right, you'll be fine tomorrow.
And I've just figured out how to do that.
I approached the person I had found earlier, Mo'amat, who was crouched in the field working.
'Hmm?Oh, Yashiro. Donating to the church again today?You've been working hard.
'It's Jeannette who's doing all the hard work, and I'm just getting involved.
'Oh, dear!Oh, that's terrible, Yashiro-san!
What is it, Jeannette? Did you think I liked helping out with the donations to the church?
You're not a good judge of character, are you?
I'm just a concierge keeping an eye on things so we can cut down on waste, okay?
So, what's up today?I'm sorry, but I have to tend to the fields, so I don't have that much time.
Mormat's face was troubled, but it was understandable.
Due to the continuous heavy rains, the field is soaked and some parts are submerged in water.
This will probably cause root rot and wipe out the plants.
They must want to take care of it immediately and prepare for the next rain.
In that case, let's make this quick.
'Do you have any radishes?
Radishes are rich in a digestive enzyme called diastase.
Since it is destroyed by heat, you can take it properly by eating it raw or grated radish.
Grate daikon when you are hungry.
The next day after a heavy meal, the proprietress would serve me grated daikon.
It is also rich in dietary fiber and good for relieving constipation.
If I gave Bertina some grated radish, her stomach would gradually settle down.
'I'm sorry. All the crops in the field have been ruined.
'What about ............?
'The rain lasted longer than we expected. ...... We harvested most of the vegetables early, but the radishes and cabbages were still too early to harvest. So I thought I'd stick it out until the last minute, but ...... I misjudged it. ...... It all went bad.
What the hell?
That's a big blow!
So, what, we can't get radishes?
I've been hoping to get some. ...... I don't know of any other good way to do this.
...... But wait,............
'No, you can't!You can't have a rotten food when you're sick in bed with a stomach ache.
I'm kidding, I'm kidding. .............
'Then it's no use. Ginette, just give up. You'll get better in your sleep.'
'......Uh............ is that all you got?'
'No. Then let's go home.
If we stay here too long, Ginette might offer to help Mormat.
'Well, wait and see, Yashiro.
Estella stopped me as I started to walk away.
'You said this earlier, didn't you?I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results.
............ Gee. No way, this guy ......
'I'm not a doctor. There's nothing you can do when you don't have radishes.
'But you said it yourself. 'I'll take care of Bertina.'
d*mn, I spoke out of turn. ...... Maybe it's because I've been so lax lately.
I'm not sure what to say.You've done all you can, and there's nothing more you can do .......'
'No, there's still a lot we can do.'
Estella grinned wickedly.
'What are you going to make me do?'
'I'm going to ask you to fetch some herbs.
What's with all the RPG quests?
Are you going to give me a key to some ruins in return?
'Where's that herb, ......'
You're not going to tell me to leave the city and search around in the forest for magical beasts, or to climb up a rocky mountain where dragons nest, are you?
'Where is it, the apothecary?
'There's an apothecary across the street, can you get me some medicine for my stomach?
'............ A treat?
'Oh, you mean that. Well, that's about it. ......'
Suddenly I heard a huge metallic sound, and my heart skipped a beat.
I looked over to see Mo-Mat tripping over the farm tools spread out at his feet and falling on his butt.
...... What the hell is he doing?
But there's something wrong with him.
'K, the apothecary is ............ not ...... Regina Englind?'
'No, don't do that!I'm not going to say anything bad, Jashiro!Stay away from him!
'Oh, hey, what's ......? Is he that bad?'
'There's nothing dangerous about ......, he's a demon messenger.'
A demon messenger,......?
'Regina is a woman who came from the outside like Yashiro,......, but she's a weird one anyway, and she tries to make people drink strange powdered things that don't seem to work on the body. You can get a lot more information on this at .......
You can't just kick him out if he's that dangerous.
'You can't!He's a demon messenger!
'Does a demon messenger use ...... magic or something?
'I don't know ......, but probably something like that.'
Mormat's forehead was covered in beads of sweat.
It's not that I don't like it, but it's just that I don't like it.
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What the hell?
The Judgment of the Spirits doesn't work on ......?
'Is that true?
'No, that's just what I heard!
'What did you hear about it?I want to know more about it!
This is great information.
If there is a way to nullify the Judgment of the Spirits, then you can scam ...... all you want!
That Regina girl, I think I need to check her out.
I've heard that story.I've heard that .......'
Mormat prefaced his remarks with a reminder and then began to tell me what he knew about Regina.
'A guy had a fever that wouldn't go away, and he had no choice but to go to Regina, and they tried to give him something that was obviously dangerous. And he said, "That stuff can't be good for fever!If you lie to me, I'll have you judged by the Spirit God! And--'
Mormat's throat gurgled.
Then, a chill ran down his spine, and he ...... shivered.
'Then Regina said, ...... 'Try it, ...... I'll never turn into a frog. .......'
She clearly declared that the Judgment of the Spirits would not work. ......
'Is that for real?I'm not bluffing.
'He said that it didn't look like he was lying at all. Look at the atmosphere and the way he talks.'
It's interesting to see what he says and does backed up by his absolute confidence,.............
'Estella. Where is this apothecary?
'Are you going?
'Yeah. I'm sure you can.
'Because I'm interested in how to neutralize the Judgment of Spirits, and since I can't say ......--'
'--'Cause I'm worried about Bertina.'
'That's very kind of you, Yashiro.'
Estella narrows her eyes.
She definitely doesn't believe what I'm saying. But she doesn't seem to blame me for that.
...... What the hell is this guy up to?
What's he trying to do, get me to meet this pharmacist?
Oh well. ......
What I need right now is information.
I want whatever information I can get my hands on, whether it's spurious or urban legend.
I'll take you up on your offer.
'Oh, hey, ...... Yashiro. Are you sure you want to go?'
Mormat asks me with a worried look on his face.
It's a strange feeling to be worried by a crocodile face. In Japan, having a crocodile by your side is a more dangerous situation.
'For medicine, why don't you ask the Medicine Man's Guild?It's a bit pricey, but it's safer, right?
'The Apothecary's Guild?
'It's a guild of apothecaries all over Allbloom. A lot of people buy their medicines from there.'
Estella explains it to me carefully.
When she talks like this, she doesn't really like the person she's talking to.
'It's just that the price of the medicine is too high for ordinary people to afford.
Come to think of it, when he bought the medicine chest from the hunting guild, he paid in gold.
I guess medicine is expensive after all.
'So, this Regina is different?
'She said she didn't like the way the medicine guild was doing things, so she created another guild.'
'Is that possible?I thought the church controlled it so that there wouldn't be any competing guilds?''
'Not as long as they don't compete.'
'But you're selling medicine, right?
'They didn't see it as a problem because the way the medicine is made is so different.'
The way the medicine is made.
To summarize Estella's story, the Apothecary Guild uses safe herbs grown in the herb farm jointly managed by the Church and the Apothecary Guild to make medicines using traditional recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Regina, on the other hand, is said to be making medicines from questionable herbs that have not been tested for safety. They also seem to have their own unique manufacturing method.
The Pharmacists Guild, with its absolute security, fame, and achievements due to its joint operation with the Church, and Regina, who appears on a whim and makes suspicious medicines from unidentified herbs and magical beasts. Taking all of this into consideration, the Church has decided that the two guilds will not compete with each other, and has allowed the establishment of the new guild.
In fact, it might be said that the Church quarantined Regina to prevent her from joining the Pharmacists' Guild.
'Now, she is the only one in her guild. Naturally, it doesn't exist outside of the Forty-Two Wards. It's a community-based apothecary.
In other words, it's small-scale, right?
'And it's the only apothecary in District 42.
'Isn't there a branch of the Apothecary Guild in District Forty-two?'
'Because many of the residents of District Forty-two are poor. ......'
'You mean the medicines are so expensive that not many people are willing to buy them?'
'Yes. And if it's not good for business, the merchants won't stay there.
Estella's brow wrinkles.
Maybe that's the reason why Estella hates the Apothecary Guild.
She likes the 42nd district for some reason, right?
In other words, Estella's goal is this.
She wants to use me to prove that Regina's medicine is safe and effective.
However, it is Bertina who will be the test subject. ......
From what I've heard about Mormat, even meeting her in person seems dangerous.
I'd use her if I could. But I'm afraid to try it myself. ...... So it's me.
Son of a b*tc*. ...... You've done it.
But that's okay.
I've got an interest in that Regina myself.
'Good. I'll play right into your hands, Estella.'
'I don't like the idea of a ruse. I'm just giving you information.'
'Oh, um, Yashiro-san, ......!
Ginette, who had been listening to the conversation in silence, spoke up as if she couldn't stand it.
With an anxious expression, she slowly opened her mouth, as if squeezing out words that were difficult to say.
'Is that ...... okay, is that ...... okay?
'Leave it to me. It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out of your time and money.
'No, no!It's not that. ............ Yashiro-san is ......'
You can't see the face of Ginette, who has turned her head down.
But with her hands clasped tightly together, it's not hard to imagine what kind of face she's making.
'......If anything should happen to Yashiro-san, ............ I will ......'.
I'm sure Ginette has heard at least one rumor about Regina.
She may have had the impression that she was a bad wizard.
However, in my opinion, the "Judgment of the Spirits," which turns into a frog as soon as a lie is pointed out, is a bad magic. I'm not sure what to make of it.
'Well, I'll be very careful, so don't worry about it.
I don't even know what I should be careful about, but I'll just smile and say so. It'll only make you feel better.
'Well, Mo-Mat, I'm sorry to interrupt.
'Oh, yeah, ......, no problem.'
I thanked Mormat for the information and put my hand on the cart.
'...... Be careful, man.'
I give the worried crocodile a quick wave.
If you look like that, Jeannette's anxiety will be contagious. Don't worry.
I say goodbye to Mormat, and we start walking towards the Sunken Pavilion.
'Is this what you wanted?
I ask Estella, who is approaching next to me as we walk.
But Estella doesn't answer the question, and after a moment of silence, she says something like this.
'I've met Regina before.
Oh, ......, is that so?
'What was your impression of her?
'I don't know. Everything about her is out of the ordinary for me.'
'...... That sounds like a troublesome person.'
'But I'd like to think that ...... he's not a bad person, .............'
You should have at least said 'I think', you know.
I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do it.
'Are you going to listen to me honestly?
'There will be a charge, though.'
'I thought so. Then I guess I've earned my fee this time.'
Estella smiles weakly.
'Is the shortage of medicine really that serious?
'............ Are you able to read people's minds?
Estella looks surprised for a moment, but then she puts on her usual calm face and stares off into the distance.
She walks forward, keeping pace with me.
'The Apothecary's Guild provides medicines to the nobility and the large guilds at a reasonable price, benefiting from their power. On the other hand, they sell medicines to ordinary citizens at exorbitant rates.
'It's up to the guilds to decide the price of their goods. If it's a necessity, there will be demand even if you raise the price a little.
'I don't mind if it's a little ......, as long as it's not too much for the average citizen to afford.
'Is it that expensive?
If the price is beyond the reach of the buying public, the product will naturally fail to sell.
There must be a limit to how much you can raise the price.
But Estella, with a sullen face, denied what I thought was common sense.
'I bet not even 10% of the people in the 42nd district can afford the medicine.
'That's no way to run a business.
'You don't have to make it work. The aristocrats are with us.
So you don't need to sell medicines at low prices, as long as the nobles buy them as needed. ......
If it's connected to the church as well, then I guess the apothecary guild won't go bankrupt.
'The apothecary guild will still be fine ......, but what about those who can't get medicine because of that?
They fall ill because they can't buy medicine. ...... It's a common sight in historical dramas. ......
'If you can see with your own eyes that Regina's medicine is usable, I want to spread her medicine throughout the Forty-Two Wards.
'What if it's useless?
'Then it's status quo.
So it's worth a try, and even if it doesn't work, there's no downside.
'...... Except that I'd be in trouble.
'...... I'm sorry. I've got a reason why I can't move freely.
Rarely does Estella show a sad expression.
This guy has a face like this too.
I'm not going to pry into the ...... reasons why you can't move freely.
It doesn't really matter.
If you can't move, don't move.
'Can I ask you a favor?
'I'll get something in return.
'...... What do you want?
Estella stops and stiffens as if petrified.
'You're asking about the information that ...... has--'
'Well, don't break up the words in confusing places, please!
Estella is approaching, crunching down the muddy road.
Whoa, stop!Mud is flying!
'So, what information do you want?
'Various things. About the guild, about the various permissions...'
'I've already given you all that, haven't I?
'I want to go one step further and ask about the weaknesses of the ...... lords.'
Estella's expression disappears.
This guy with a straight face looks terrifying, but also a bit beautiful.
'...... are you trying to do something to the lord?
'No way. I'm a pacifist, I wouldn't willingly cause a scene, would I?
'Then why do you want to use my lord's weakness?
'It's just a bargaining chip. It's an insurance policy in case you suffer a disadvantage in the future.
'Are you planning to do something against the lord?
'Not at the moment, but I'm not sure what would be against the law in this city.
'I never thought I'd become a criminal for making bread.
'If I ever find myself in a position where I'm being hunted like that, ......'.
I'm going to say this in a serious voice and without any jokes.
It's my life that's at stake.
With a serious face, I tell Estella straight out.
'I want you to stay by my side.
'With you, I feel like I can manage most things.
'What is it?
'.............................. Sounds like a proposal.'
Instantly, Estella's face turns bright red.
Her back slowly bends, her face turns downward, and she cradles her head in her arms as if to cover it.
Then she stretches out her right arm to show me that she doesn't want me to get any closer.
'I understand what you're trying to say. I'm sure I can give you a good reply. However, I would like you to wait to reply to me now. That ............ even if you know it's not, ............ I know it's not. ............Sorry, I can't ......'.
I'm not sure what to say, but I'm going to say it.
I'm not sure what to make of it,......, but I didn't intend for it to be that way either,............, and my heart is beating fast!
I'm not sure what to say, but I'm sure you'll understand.
I'm not sure what to say.
I want to run away right now, but the dolly is too heavy for me.
I'm sure you'll be able to find a great deal more information on this subject in the future. I don't know what I was thinking, but he's been pacing next to me all day. ......
This is a great way to get the most out of your time and money.
Would you please come back to ...... me?
In the end, none of us said a word as we walked in silence from there until we returned to the sunlit pavilion.
This is the first time I've ever thought this journey was so long. ...... I was more tired than I needed to be.
I really hope we don't have to go see an unidentified pharmacist after this. ......
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I took the leftover ingredients to the kitchen and put the cart away in the courtyard.
In the meantime, Ginette was diligently preparing for the opening of the store,......, but her expression was still somewhat gloomy.
You really are a worrier, aren't you?
It's just the two of us.
I guess I'll just have to cheer him up.
Well, you know. I can't do customer service like this. It's for sales, in other words.
'Don't worry too much. Bad things don't come true that often.
'...... Isn't that right?
'When we're worried, we build up images of bad things. But the worst situation that you imagine doesn't come true. It's a waste of time to think about it.
Jeannette's expression did not change.
She must have been thinking very negatively.
'See you later, Jeannette. Try to put into words the anxiety you're feeling right now. I'll deny it all.'
'Ah. I'll take care of all your worries. I'll take care of all your worries so you can go about your business as usual.'
Bertina's stomachache should be gone by tomorrow.
Mostly, she's worried about 'what if it doesn't go away' or 'maybe it's my fault' or something like that. If you deny it clearly, it will lighten his heart a little.
There are times when you need someone to assure you. Don't worry, you'll be fine. Especially when you're feeling weak. A quick answer would be even better.
Then I'll play that role for you.
...... for the sake of sales.
'So, can I go to ...... now?
'Yeah. Go ahead and spill your guts.'
'Yes ............ soo .......'
Taking a deep breath, Jeannette spat out the words in a daring manner.
'I'm very worried that Yashiro-san will leave this place!
'That's not possible. ........................ hmm?'
'Are you sure!
What about Bertina's story?
'............ thank goodness ......'
Ginette patted her chest, relieved.
Her shoulders are lowered and she seems to be relaxed.
I mean, ...... what?What?
You're going to lose me?
Why did you think that?
Did you get the feeling that I was going to run away in the night?
'Hmm?Ah, what is it?
'Thank you very much. Thanks to you, I feel much lighter. You're really great, Yashiro-san!
Ginette bowed her head and smiled a big smile.
'Oh, yeah, ............ well...'
I don't know what ...... it is, but it seems to have cheered her up.
So, it's all good,............?
I'm going to get ready to open the store. Yashiro-san is .............'
As he was about to say this, his expression faded for a moment.
But he smiles hard and turns to me.
'Take care and have a good day.
'Yeah, ...... I'll be there.'
Ginette saw me off, and I left the sunlit pavilion.
The whole time I was walking towards the main street, I was thinking about Ginette.
I wondered what had troubled her, and what she had done to solve it. ............
I'm very worried that Mr. Yashiro is going to leave this place!
I'm going to leave the Sunshine Pavilion............?
Where did he get that idea? ......
'I don't know ............'
As I walked along without an answer, I found myself in front of the apothecary that Estella had told me about.
I couldn't prepare myself for anything.
What will be, will be.
The apothecary was located in a small alleyway beyond the main street, a one-story house with a rather ramshackle exterior but nothing unusual. There is a tin plate hanging above the door. Marked on it was a symbol that looked like a triangular flask.
I can't help but think of how frightened Mormat was.
I wonder what kind of freaks will come out of him. ......
If you keep your mind calm and cool,......, you should be able to negotiate successfully if you are careful not to be overwhelmed at the first meeting.
'Okay,......, let's go.
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It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're looking for before you buy.
Inside, a peculiar smell that seemed to be from medicine drifted out.
It was dimly lit, and the shelves lining the walls were lined with a variety of unfamiliar products, giving the shop a sense of oppression.
Something moved in the back of the store, which was rather bizarre.
It was a beautiful ...... woman wearing a pitch black robe and a pointy hat like a wizard.
Her long green hair hung down over her face as she stared at me.
There is nothing strange about the way she looks,...... but the atmosphere she wears is not normal,...... and that's the way I feel.
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Without blinking, she stares at me, sometimes scrutinizing my eyes, and slowly, slowly approaches me.
Then, when he came right in front of me, he stopped, and this time he brought his face closer to mine.
Regina's face came so close that our noses almost touched, and a faint flowery scent tickled my nostrils.
Perhaps it was because she had been indoors for so long, but her skin was clear and white, with a fine texture. Her skin is beautiful.
Her eyes have a mysterious impression as if she is not looking anywhere, and her small nose creates a charming impression.
In a different way from Magda, a face with an unrealistic beauty, like a fake, is observing my face from a distance, as if it is about to touch me.
'Oh, that ...... guy, he's close to me. ......'
Hearing my voice, Regina took a couple of steps back.
Then she clapped her hands in agreement, pointed at me and said in a loud voice.
'Hey, you're a customer, aren't you?
The first contact with the mysterious pharmacist with a mysterious aura gave me a tremendous shock in a sense.