|Author: Shizuku||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2041 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 963 words|
Ophelia went to town today, and I was told to go to the garden and gather herbs while comparing them to the illustrations in a book. Some time later Olivia came, seemingly out of breath.
“Natalia, what are you doing?”
Why did she rush here like that?
“I was told to gather herbs for the Mistress.”
“Isn’t that hard?”
“The flowers have unique shapes, and I have these illustrations to go by, so it’s not too bad.”
“Ohh. These flowers are pretty.”
“Yes, they are.”
Other than medicinal herbs, the garden has many other small flowers growing on it. I’m currently looking for a type of medicinal herb that doesn’t grow very tall, and has bright orange flowers. There aren’t other orange flowers in the garden, so it isn’t too hard to find them.
“So, Natalia, what flower do you like best?”
That’s a difficult question. There are some plants in this world that are identical to those in mine, but many more are completely different. For example, I had never seen most of the flowers depicted in the book I’m holding. It would be easy to mess up and mention a flower that doesn’t even exist in this world.
It’s best if I dodge the question somehow.
“Well, I’ve only been alive for a couple of days, and I’ve never seen anything outside this house. So I haven’t seen enough flowers to be able to pick a favorite one.”
“I see. I should pick up a lot of flowers and show them to you then. You’ll be able to have a favorite flower that way.”
“That sounds very fun, young lady.”
Ophelia had mentioned that one day I would help working as an adventurer too, but that’ll probably happen once I can fight somewhat. Maybe then I’ll be able to go out with Olivia and see flowers nearby too.
Olivia went back to the house after that, so I resumed picking medicinal herbs until Ophelia returned an hour later.
“Natalia, help me store the groceries.”
“Right away, Mistress.”
I go to the kitchen and see a pile of ingredients that should last a week. She had never bought so much at once, so I wondered why she did that.
“What a predicament…”
“Did something happen?”
“They found an illegal slave trading operation in the next town over1.”
Slavery exists in this world. There are two types, those who became slaves out of poverty, and criminal ones. The first type, as the name implies, are people who incur so much debt that they have no choice but to sell their freedom, becoming slaves. The second type are criminals who were arrested, and in punishment are forced to become slaves. I can’t say they’re treated in a humane way, but they’re both covered by law.
The issue is with a third type, illegal slaves, or basically kidnapped people. Apparently good-looking children or those from rare races are usually the victims. There’s no family registry for the common folk in this world, so those who are kidnapped have no way of proving their identity in most cases. It is criminalized, but there are always cases popping up everywhere.
“The issue is that they couldn’t catch all the perpetrators, and some might have escaped to the town here.”
“That sounds dangerous.”
I know there’s a proper procedure for finding and shutting down those kinds of operations, but it’s also hard to catch all the members of underground organizations like that.
On top of that, whenever some are found, the entire town can feel unsafe for a while. Though everything always calms down once everyone is captured and the streets are safe again.
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“So I decided that it was best to stay away from the town for the time being, and bought a lot.”
I nod hearing her reasoning, and begin sorting everything she bought.
“Ah, I should also tell Olivia to not go to the town. Just continue working here while I go.”
I continue sorting the groceries while Ophelia leaves the kitchen. Around half of the meat should be fine to store in the freezer, and some vegetables and fish can be stored in a dry and fresh place. While I continue thinking where to put everything, Ophelia comes back.
She looked somewhat worked up.
Ophelia pushes a letter onto me, which was written in shaky and unsteady letters. ‘I’m going outside to pick flowers. I’ll return before the sun sets, so don’t worry about me. Oliva.’
Is that what she was talking about earlier?!
“I heard some of the illegal slave traders might be hiding in the forest too… Natalia, I’ll go look for Olivia so you watch over the house!”
“Ah! Wait! Mistress!”
Not listening to me, Ophelia runs out of the house. I guess I’ll have to wait here for them to return then… …I could never.
Why had Olivia gone picking flowers? Because I told her such a stupid excuse. Because she wanted to show a lot of flowers to a stupid puppet like me2. Because of me. It was my fault3. And I was going to stay home without assuming responsibility? Never.
Maybe she was safe, maybe I was worrying for nothing, maybe it was a needless panic. That would be best, I might look like a fool, I don’t care if that happens though.
But if something happened to her and I sat here doing nothing, then I would be a useless puppet. A tool that can’t think for itself.
But I’m me, not a tool. I don’t know what’s outside. And I might be weak. But I don’t care. Those aren’t reasons to stay back and do nothing.
“Wait for me, Olivia.”
Your beloved maid automaton will look for you!
- Robinxen: Ah yes, I casually find those on my shopping trips as well.
- Robinxen: Woah slow down dude.
- Robinxen: Yeah not really, the conversation implied going together. And even if you hadn’t had that conversation she may have gone out for other reasons.
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