“Good morning, Mariela.”
Roused from her sleep by Sieg, she opened her eyes.
“Would you like, some tea?”
She sat up and Sieg, who was sitting down on the side of the bed, presented her a cup of tea.
Being woken up gently and greeted with a cup of tea while in bed. Sieg smiling softly.
(What’s this, it’s like we’re…)
“Playing nobleman?” she asked.
The corner of Sieg’s lips quirked up. Oblivious to it, Mariela drank her hot tea.
Sieg, not discouraged, spoke to her. “Delicious?”
“I’ll make it, every day, starting from tomorrow.”
“Mmm, I’m happy about that, but it’s okay.” Mariela turned down Sieg’s offer. “It’s more delicious when we drink it together,” she said and looked up.
For some reason, it made Sieg avert his eyes. She noticed there was a hint of red on his face.
She thought that she overslept, but it was around two hours later than the usual time. Sieg hadn’t eaten breakfast, so they headed down to the dining hall together.
“Good morning— We have cron(corn) soup today. It’s Emilie’s favourite!”
It was Emilie, the pretty girl of the shop. Mariela tied up the girl’s hair for her today as well and passed her the cookies she made yesterday.
The girl may be level-headed, but she was 10 years old. The moment she unwrapped the pouch, her face lit up. She immediately stuffed her cheeks with great joy. “So yummy–!”
“It’s full of nutrition and it’ll give you energy. You can eat it when you’re tired.”
When Mariela explained that, the hand that was reaching for the second cookie abruptly stopped.
The girl snapped her mouth shut and after her hands trembled, she closed the pouch tightly. “Dad is busy. He gets tired. I’ll, give this to dad.”
Even though she was unable to help herself, she was holding back with all her might and saying that she was giving the cookies to her father. Her effort showed on her face.
(Cuuuute! Emilie! Such a good kid!) Mariela mentally cheered.
“It’s okay for Emilie to eat that, since I have Master’s share here,” she said and passed the girl another pouch.
Emilie’s face practically glowed. It was a sight for sore eyes.
“I’m going to give this to Dad! Thank you, big sis Mari!” Emilie ran off with the cookie pouches on both hands, all smiles.
It was a secret that Mariela had purposely decided to give the master of the inn’s share second, just so that she could see Emilie’s reaction. Big sis Mari is a bad big sis.
Miss Amber and the others were still asleep, so she decided to give them their shares after coming back. She had to make the medicine she was entrusted with. There were also the ingredients she wanted. After the sahagin dishes that had been served yesterday, she thought that she would find some if she looked.
After breakfast, she went to Herbal Shop Gark with Sieg in tow. Grandpa Gark seemed quiet in his shop today.
“Grandpa Gark. This is made from the creeper seeds you gave us yesterday. A gift,” Mariela said.
“An incorrigible fellow, arntcha…” He was somewhat shocked at her. She tried offering some for him to eat. She didn’t know if it would have any effect on his bruises, but she thought it could help in replenishing his strength.
Grandpa Gark gingerly tasted one piece, then checked his physical condition and went to bring out some magic tool from the back of the store. He placed Mariela’s cookies on the apparatus and studied it.
(That’s food, though.)
“Does the effect of creeper seeds increase when it is blended with magic? You don’t have thoughts on selling this, right?” He scowled at her.
They’re goodwill cookies. How mean.
She told him that she had delivered them as a gesture of good faith and affirmed even the places she had distributed them to.
“Well, that much is fine, I guess. Listen, don’t sell this. If you sell this, you’ll be forced to make them until you’re drained of magic. Geez, you’re an unbelievable lass despite your looks. Be a little less rash, why don’t you.”
“If this is no good, then what medicine should I sell?” Mariela was dejected.
“What do you plan to make? You… Listen, bring me whatever medicine you make before you sell them. I’ll test them out for you. Oi, bro, make sure to bring her here. You must!”
“I understand.” Sieg nodded with a serious expression. She was grateful that he would check them for her before she sold them. She was an amateur in medicine production. Mariela nodded, Let’s think positively.
“Ah, that’s right, Grandpa Gark, are ghost clams(お化け貝) or snapping clams(喰い付き貝) sold?”
“Did you listen to what I just said…?”
Mariela placated Grandpa Gark who clutched his head, saying I won’t sell them so it’s ok, it’s ok, all good. Grandpa Gark’s gaze was piercing. He looked like he was about to throw a punch.
“That type of monster produce can be obtained if you go the wholesale market that’s next to the Adventurer’s Guild,” he answered.
“Can I also get linus wheat(ライナス麦) there? Also, I want genea cream(ジニアクリーム) and ointment tins(軟膏缶) too.”
“Finally a decent question. Harvestable produce are commonly handled in this area, so there should also be linus wheat. Next is genea cream and ointment tins, huh? If you want a small quantity, you can probably get it from the Merchant’s Guild. Seal Company makes it, so if you want a large quantity, go there. They’ll probably be a little accommodating if it’s my referral.”
Grandpa Gark was somewhat helpful.
“Thank you, Grandpa Gark. I’ll bring you medicine next time!” Mariela said, waving.
And Grandpa Gark waved her off. “Go study at the library of the Merchant’s Guild!”
Mariela didn’t overlook that his other hand picked up a cookie and threw it into his mouth.
They went to the wholesale market Grandpa Gark had told them about.
The Adventurer’s Guild is right at the northeastern exit of the wall that encloses the labyrinth. The wholesale market is also next to the guild and is situated facing the labyrinth.
Adventurers bring in raw materials from the labyrinth to the Adventurer’s Guild and specialty shops. The wholesale market is a street of specialty shops that purchase the ingredients brought in by adventurers, where they dismantle, cure according to the ingredients, process and then sell them.
This market, that gathers foodstuff sourced from the labyrinth, also gather vegetables and grains produced in Labyrinth City, and game meat from the surrounding forest—it is pretty much the kitchen of Labyrinth City.
Inside the humungous outer wall of the wholesale market, small to medium-sized shops crowd together: shops that deal with monster meat and seafood, shops that deal with the meat of beasts taken from the vicinity, shops that deal with processed food like sausages and ham, shops that deal with dried food, shops that deal with grains and vegetables, shops that deal with dairy products and so on—shops of ingredients of any kind are all in the same place.
It was currently the time when adventurers will be going into the labyrinth, so the market was crowded with citizens who have come to buy ingredients. Dishes prepared from those ingredients were also sold, filling the air with good aromas.
“We have cockatrice eyes today! Look at this thigh meat! It’s as jiggly as a lass’! These skewers look like it’ll drip with fat!”
“Apples~ Freshly picked apples~ Direct from the second floor of the labyrinth~ This is pineapple. Two copper pieces for a slice.”
“Cheap, cheap. Orc and minotaur mince is on sale today—”
“How about some freshly grilled orc sausages— the skin is crispy. Hot dogs are also for sale!”
Mariela looked around the hustle and bustle in elation. She was looking around with a pineapple on a stick, grilled meat on a skewer, a hotdog wrap, eating ill-manneredly.
Until they reached the dried food store that was their aim, a lot of time passed. The dried food store was apparently in the middle of the seafood section—small dried fish, seaweed, shellfish and etc. that could be eaten up in a single meal were crammed into one section. They didn’t have dried food as large as the sahagin. It would be troubling even if they did, though.
“’elcome, what would you like?” the shopkeeper asked.
“Do you have ghost clams or snapping clams?” she asked.
“Snapping clams would be this. It’ll make good soup stock. How many would you like?”
Dried clams the size of a fist were piled up on a sieve. The Evil Forest didn’t have any ocean, so Mariela was seeing these for the first time.
(I can probably practice ten times with one.)
As an ingredient she was handling for the first time, she had yet to grasp its extraction method. Mariela’s Library was limited to completely learning or reset and not forgetting the modification methods of new materials—it cannot read up on it. Looking at the raw materials, it didn’t seem like it would require much labour. If she were to extract it a hundred times, she could probably grasp the method. She bought ten and paid two silver pieces.
Next was the store that deals with grain. This was in the deepest part of the market, close to the north street. She asked if they had linus wheat.
“Linus wheat is selling well this year. My bad, but this stock is all I have. There’ll be fresh harvest in a month’s time, so wait until then,” the shopkeeper said.
Linus wheat is grown near the wetlands on the sandbank of the river that flows down the grain-producing region of Labyrinth City. It has a high food value. A grain that is good for sick people. There are other kinds of plants that are like this, for example, tree nectar from old sugar maples, and tubers that produce a sticky paste when grated—its main use is not for consumption but for genea cream and stuff.
These do not simply have high food value, but are also rich in nutrition. In short, it’s a food that is abundant with the Drop of Life. The Drop of Life is the blessing of the earth that runs through the ley lines. Everything that grows on that land, whether it be plants, beasts or animals, even monsters, all possess a minuscule amount. Like how the composition varies depending on the medicinal herbs, there are several plants that store the Drop of Life readily—the linus wheat and genea cream Mariela was looking for is among those.
“Is there an epidemic?” she asked.
There was only 2kg in stock for linus wheat. It was enough for Mariela, but was there a catastrophe that could make it sell out?
“No, the Aquinas Family(アグウィナス家) has bought it up,” the clerk replied.
An unexpected name came out. It was an alchemist family that had been on the top of the list of the Kingdom of Endalgia. They were now controlling the circulation of potions in Labyrinth city. Despite being an alchemist family, could they have a large outbreak of sick people?
The grain store clerk didn’t know much, so she purchased the 2kg they had in stock and left the shop.
“Mariela, it’s about time,” Sieg said.
It was already noon even though she had only bought clams and linus wheat. In around an hour’s time, it’ll be the appointed time with the carpenter. Unusually, she spent too much time looking around carefreely.
“Sieg, what about lunch?” she asked.
“I’ll eat, at home,” he answered.
Every time Mariela bought food, she would also buy Sieg’s share. Sieg had wondered if they could immediately eat it on the spot, had them wrap it up for him and put it away into his carry pack, so his hands were free. He was acting as bodyguard just in case although there were no suspicious guys in the market.
(Not eating while walking, how well-mannered.)
It was Mariela who took it easy without being aware of that.
They left the wholesale market and headed for their new home. It was near the north street exit of the market—they reached it in less than an hour. The place was indeed in a considerably good location. When Sieg finished his lunch, there were two men who appeared to be the carpenter showing up a little earlier than scheduled.
“You’re Miss Mariela? I’m the carpenter Gordon. As you can see, I’m a dwarf.”
“I’m the architect Johann. I’m half dwarf and human.”
Gordon was a short, stout man with a thick beard and eyebrows, his appearance very much like a dwarf. On the other hand, Johann was short, had a stocky body shape, taller than Gordon, clean-shaven, neat hair even to the eyebrows of course—a stylish man.
“What architect. You’re like a carpenter’s son, with just some skills polished up.”
“I think proposing a comfortable residence is a requirement for house making from now on, Dad.”
It seems the two were father and son. She had thought that they would suddenly break out into an argument as soon as they met, but apparently, it was a form of greeting for the two.
“So, what kind of remodelling do you desire?” they asked together, voices overlapping.
She explained to them various things— that she wanted to fix the shop space to open a medicinal herb store, wanted to repair all the furniture so two people can live here, and haven’t decided on the fine details—and they said that they want to see the house first. Go ahead, she let them in, and they started to check—Gordon for the building, and Johann for the attached section.
“This building has no problems. The plumbing hasn’t degraded either. It’s not a problem to live in, but the floor and walls are damaged. It’ll depend on the budget, but after a cleaning job, it would be better to polish the floor and stone wall, you think? Johann, give an estimate for the interior with the required furniture please.”
“The magical tools in the kitchen are still useable, only the magic stones have expired. The building itself has no issues, but the roof would need repairs. The entire place is covered in grease, so it would be better to re-cover the timber walls. The shop section is in a terrible condition. The floor and pillars are rotten. If you are setting up a shop, it would be cheaper to rebuild. Since the damage on the counter table and the built-in shelf is on the surface, I can probably shave it off as new. The issue is with the lighting, I guess. Dad, give an estimate for the rebuilding. Include the kitchen roof too.”
While Mariela and Sieg watched dumbfoundedly, the two, by turns, drew up the repair plan.