When Iris had just joined me in the carriage, she was reserved and precautious. She would barely talk into any detail about her household, but by spending four days together, her wariness naturally disappeared and she talked about her personal history to me.
It seems that Iris’ father was a blacksmith; however, when Iris turned twelve, he fell sick and left this world.
After that, with her mother, three younger sisters, and two younger brothers, they made their livelihood by working in their house’s field.
However, that was a strained lifestyle and one without any form of luxury.
Iris told me how she was worried about whether her sisters and brothers would be fine countless times.
It seems that’s really all she’s thinking about.
Even in our territory, the amount of households living off of farming is large.
However, as long as there is no sort of calamity, you should have some surplus in money.
According to Iris, the tax within her territory is heavy, which puts pressure on their lifestyle.
“Well then, you should come to Helan. Our tax isn’t that high and the territory is growing more and more prosperous. You’ll surely be able to live well there.”
“That’s a pleasant offer, but I can’t throw away my homeland so easily.”
I got rejected.
Certainly, it’s not something you can decide so easily.
It seems there are also bad feudal lords in this world, while my father shines in comparison.
It seems that due to Iris excelling at her studies from the time she was a child, she was persuaded into taking the entrance exam for the academy by her mother.
At first she refused, but in the end she decided to take the exam due to her mother’s enthusiastic persuasion and imagining herself supporting her family in the future.
In the time between working on the farm, she learned fundamental education, magic, and swordplay, the three subjects for the exam, all on her own.
I thought this to be amazing perseverance and character.
“And then, when I passed I was really happy, but when it came time to leave home, I felt really lonely. Even now, I’m not sure if I made the right choice.”
“I was also worried when leaving the territory.
‘My father is like a messenger of peace, so won’t he get tricked?’ and such. But he’s surely doing fine. Iris’ brothers and sisters are definitely doing better than Iris thinks.”
“Nn, It would be nice if they were.”
“They definitely are.”
She seems to have recovered some of her spirit.
Luckily, the weather is good.
It would be a waste to continue with such a dark conversation.
I might as well tell her one of my father’s grand stories to make her feel better.
“It’s seems there’s a fuss going on outside,” Iris cut me off and said.
“It looks like trouble,” a servant reported with a sullen expression.
We exited the carriage and confirmed the situation.
There is a carriage that a merchant would seem to use stopped in the road.
What could be thought to be the whole crew were assembled outside.
“Sorry, do you think you could open up the road?”
I called out to the men.
“Ah, sorry. I’ll move the carriage immediately.”
A slightly chubby man hurriedly gave out orders to his subordinates.
There is a lot of luggage and the carriage is larger than the norm.
Due to the narrow highway it seems moving it is taking a bit of effort.
“Just what happened?” I asked in pure interest.
“You see, we were delivering a tribute to the royal family, but the permit for entry into the royal castle was taken is a bit of trouble.”
“By trouble you mean?”
“Some monsters suddenly attacked.
Luckily, there were no injuries and nothing of a high price was damaged, but unluckily, the entry permit was taken.”
“That is quite unlucky, huh.
I tried asking, but it’s wasn’t a very interesting conversation.
Hurry up and get out of the way.
“You seem to possess an expensive sword, but perhaps you engage in the elimination of monsters?”
“No, I carry this for self defense upon outings.”
The scabbard and sword are both handmade. His eyes are correct for judging them as expensive. A skilled merchant without a doubt.
“Ah, is that so. If you hunted the monster, I was thinking of paying you a gold coin.”
What a rude guy. I am, for the time being, a noble. My heart cannot be shaken by a mere gold coin.
“Is that true!?”
Out of my expectations, Iris bit at it.
“Will you really pay a gold coin?”
“Of course! If the two of you go, I’ll give you two gold coins.”
Iris is looking this way with watering eyes, seemingly about to cry.
I can’t refuse if it’s like this.
“Let’s do it.”
“Two wolf-formed monsters attacked us.
We found its nest at a place five hundred meters into the forest. Since we aren’t capable of fighting, that’s all the assistance we can provide you.”
We received a simple explanation and headed back to our own carriage.
“Iris, what’s your ability in magic?”
“I passed the exam for Elenowar, but this is my first battle.
Ah! But I use magic normally everyday, so I might be pretty good… .”
Hmm, if I remember correctly, Iris possesses excelling sense in both magic and swordplay.
While it is her first battle, it’s a weak monster so it should be okay, perhaps?
In the worst case it’ll be fine if I follow her up.
“Do you have a weapon?”
“Yes, I’m carrying a sword for the swordplay lessons.”
“Well then, equip it and let’s go.”
Just as the merchant said, we spotted two wolf-formed monsters in the forest at about five hundred meters southward.
We’re taking quite the distance so they don’t pick up on our smell.
Honestly, I can take both of them out by myself at this distance.
I’d like to finish it like that since it has a low chance of danger.
However, a problem is born after I take them out by myself.
I’m sure Iris will refuse the reward.
She’ll definitely say, “I didn’t contribute, so I cannot take any money.”
“Iris, can your magic hit from this location?”
“Um, it’s probably no good. There’s too much distance.”
As expected, huh.
Alright, if that’s the case then there’s only one strategy.
“Iris, I’ll take one down from here with my magic. The other will notice and come attacking, so can I leave you to intercept it?”
“Yeah, I think I can do it.”
I produce some mana and add water’s application of property change and ice’s physical alteration.
What I formed in my palm was an arrow made of ice.
While it’s the first time I’ve made it, it’s pretty good.
I go further, creating an explosive gust with mana and shoot the arrow.
The arrow goes straight through a monster while making the sound of cutting air.
The monster died without making a sound.
“Well then, the other one is coming.”
The second one goes into a frenzy after it’s partner was killed and charges over.
Iris also produced mana, changed it to fire, and released it at the monster’s feet.
While it’s not enough firepower to take it down, the aim was to kill the force of its charge.
Just as intended, the power behind the charge decreases and the faltering monster fell to Iris’ sword.
What amazing agility.
The monster’s head beautifully flew off.
Smooth and quick. But I think I heard a strange sound.
“You did it, Iris.”
Iris is hanging her head. For some reason, she’s not expressing any happiness at all.
“The sword, thesword, br, broke.”
“Haha, for it to break in one strike, you must have had a defective product pushed on you, huh?”
“The sword that Okaa-san, Okaa-san pushed herself to buy for meeeeeeee, uaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh.”
She’s seriously crying!!
“If it’s a sword, I’ll give you my new one. See, don’t cry.”
“Even though, eventhoughOkaa-sanworkedsohardtobuyit, uaaaaaaaaaahhhh.”
Ah, so that’s what it is.
I finally understood Iris’ feelings.
“Don’t worry about that!
That sword’s still fixable. When we get to the academy, I’ll repair it for you.”
“Really? It can really be fixed?”
“Really, really. Rather, I’ll make even cooler and more durable than before.”
“No, it’s fine like it is.”
“Yeah, I got it. After we grab the permit, let’s return to the highway.”
The permit was made with leather. Because of that, it was taken by monsters, huh.
I retrieved the permit and then observed Iris’ state.
Her eyelids are red from crying.
It’s not as if I was the one who said we’d exterminate the monsters, nor did I break her sword.
Despite this, why does my heart hurt so much!?
“I’m not bad here, right?” I asked toward Rahsa’s kind smile far away.
‘Of course,’ I created Rahsa’s response on my own.
“I am truly thankful. Here are the promised two gold coins.”
In exchange for the permit, we received the reward.
Iris begins making a racket, shrieking, after one coin is passed to her.
She must be relieved since she know her sword will be fixed.
“My name is Famiel. I deal mainly in products with historical value.
I will not forget this debt and have the desire to eventually repay this.
If it would be fine, would you please tell me your names?”
“Kururi Helan. That’s Iris Palala.
While it is surely rude for me, a noble, to be giving you advice on your trade, but if I were to give you one piece of advice, it would be good of you to never forget the name and face of the woman behind me.”
“Yes, a merchant will thankfully take any advice. It’s free after all.
Kururi Helan-sama, Iris Palala-sama. I’m anticipating this meeting with you two to lead to a profit in the future.”
“You say something like that in front of the other party?”
“Yes, a merchant is that sort of creature. Well, let’s meet again sometime.”
The merchant completed a mechanical greeting and left.
The merchant and the others opened the road, so the carriage was finally able to pass.
Speaking of Iris, she’s rubbing her cheek against the gold coin from earlier.
“What will you use that gold coin for?”
Well, the answer’s a given, though.
“I’ll send it to my family. They should be able to eat something nice for awhile with this.”
As I thought.
I actually want to give her my coin too, but she definitely won’t take it.
“However, I think I should give this coin to Kururi-san.
I’ve been in your care during this time and you said you’d fix my sword for me.
I don’t think we will become even with this, but please let me pay you for these four days.”
So it came like this.
“I won’t take it of course. This is money that Iris earned after all.”
“But, I really can’t give you anything else. Please, at least let me do this.”
“Do you want to give that money to me? Or do you want to send it to your family? Now, which are your real feelings?”
“…, I want to send it to my family.”
“Then you should do so. That way, everyone’s happy.
Do you think I’ll be happy with one gold coin?
Helan’s most expensive hot-spring hotel costs fifty gold coins for one night, which includes the hot spring, meal, and all other remaining services.”
“Fifty gold coins!? That’s, then I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enter Helan’s hot springs.
“Well, that’s the highest grade service after all. There are plenty of cheap inns.”
“Ah, that’s good.
…, Kururi-san. I will send this coin to my family.”
“That way is definitely better.”
“However, I will definitely not forget this debt!! I will definitely return this in the future!
I am a woman that takes responsibility for her words, so believe me and look forward to it.”
I got the feeling of entering a big insurance company.
“Well, the academy is right ahead. Let’s enjoy the rest of the trip!”
“That’s right. I wonder what it’s like, huh?”
I’ve also been wondering about that and am excited to find out.
The carriage arrived at the academy on that day’s sunset.
For an academy, this it much too big, possessing a size so grand as if a single town exists inside.
“It’s huge, huh.” “Huge.”
I can’t find any other words.