Chapter 1-14 : Coming From Afar Ⅱ (part 3)
「But, I wish I could at least hire a storekeeper….. Lorea-chan, would you likeー….No, never mind. You don’t have time to work in my store, do you?」(Sarasa)
「No, I think I have enough time. Well, I don’t know if I can be of any use, though.」(Lorea)
I asked without expecting Lorea-chan to have enough time to work in my store, but her answer was different from what I expected.
「Really? Don’t you have to help your parents with their store?」(Sarasa)
Lorea-chan surely came here quite often lately, but she didn’t come every day.
I thought that she was helping her parents when she didn’t come, but…
「My parents only go shopping about once a month these days, so I think they will allow me to work in your store. You will pay me, right?」(Lorea)
「Of course. Well, I can’t pay you too much, though.」(Sarasa)
「It’s okay. Ah, but when my parents go shopping in the nearby town, I have to mind their store for several days. Are you okay with that?」(Lorea)
「Yes, of course. Helping your parents is your duty as their child after all.」(Sarasa)
Come to think of it, does Lorea-chan have siblings?
It’s quite rare for a child to not have siblings in a village like this.
I want to ask her if she has siblings, but… what if she answered, “I had a sister, but she died a long time ago…” with a sad face…
Uhh… it would be awkward…
Let’s not ask her about it for now.
「Do you want another person instead? I can introduce you to my acquaintance if you want.」(Lorea)
「No, no. I can’t think of anyone but you.」(Sarasa)
「Ahh, Sarasa-san, you don’t have much interaction with children your age in this village, huh?」(Lorea)
「Yeah… I don’t know most of them…」(Sarasa)
Whenever I went to Diral-san’s dining hall, I always greeted the people I met along the way and the people I met at the dining hall, but I rarely saw children my age.
Besides, most of the people who come to my store are adult Collectors.
「But, is there any child our age you can introduce to me to work in my store?」(Sarasa)
「Umm… There are some, but… they are younger than me. Normally, children my age in this village already have jobs…」(Lorea)
Lorea-chan made a little awkward face as she said that.
In an agricultural village like this, children over ten years old would be helping their parents.
They would be considered as adults when they turned thirteen, and would be working like the other adults.
If their parents don’t need their help, they have to find work in other households to make money or get crops as wages.
Lorea-chan used to be a storekeeper in her family’s general store, but since her parents are home most of the time lately, she has almost nothing to do.
「If that’s the case, Lorea-chan, please work in my store as a storekeeper.」(Sarasa)
「Yes, gladly! ーーBut, will I be okay? Isn’t it difficult to work at an alchemy store?」(Lorea)
「Well, yeah. It’s quite difficult.」(Sarasa)
When I said that, Lorea-chan made a worried expression.
I put my hand on her shoulder and smiled at her.
「Don’t worry, Lorea-chan. I’ll teach you what you need to know. And to be honest… I want you to work here for a long time if possible…」(Sarasa)
Like Master and Maria-san, I would be happy if I could have a strong relationship with Lorea-chan.
「Yes, of course! I’ll do my best until Sarasa-san tells me to quit!」(Lorea)
「Un! That’s the spirit! Well, I will never fire you, though.」(Sarasa)
I stretched my hand toward her, and she squeezed it with a slightly tense look.
◇ ◇ ◇
Lorea-chan said she will do her best working in my store, but unfortunately she’s still a minor, so she can’t work without telling her parents.
Therefore, I closed my store temporarily on that day, and visited Lorea-chan’s house to meet her parents, Daruna-san and Marie-san.
When I asked if I could hire their daughter, they both raised their hands and answered, “Yes, please!”
They looked so happy.
Looks like they thought that their daughter should get a job as soon as possible.
The general store would be fine as long as either Daruna-san or Marie-san was at home, after all.
Furthermore, after we discussed whether Lorea-chan’s help was needed when they went shopping in the nearby town, Daruna-san said, “It’s unnecessary, so Lorea can work at your store every day.”
Unlike in the past, where they had to go to South Strugg often, now they only went there once a month because they don’t have to sell potions anymore.
Because they only have to go once a month, they decided to just close the store when they are absent.
Besides, when they don’t need to purchase a lot of items, Daruna-san alone will be enough, so Marie-san can stay to manage the store.
They said, before Lorea-chan was born, they used to use this method.
The discussion went smoothly, but we found difficulties when we talked about Lorea-chan’s salary.
No, they didn’t say, “Please give her more!”, on the contrary, they said, “That’s too much!”
Lorea-chan can read, write, and do math, so I wanted to pay her more, but Daruna-san said that it’s not good to pay a child too much.
Besides, the difference was too high compared with the salary of children who were the same age as Lorea-chan.
I offered the same amount of money I could get from working part-time at Master’s store in the royal capital, but it looks like it was too much for a child in this village to make.
Well, wages in urban and rural areas are different after all.
It’s natural because the amount of money required for daily life in a city and a village is different.
However, the biggest problem in a small village like this is probably the equality between residents.
Children the same age as Lorea-chan would be jealous of her if she was the only child who could make a lot of money in this village.
Well, an alchemist like me is different, though.
In the end, it was decided that Lorea-chan’s salary would be just a little higher than the salary of children the same age as her.
Daruna-san insisted on just making it equal to the others at first, but I told him that I wanted to give her more because she could read, write, and do math.
Besides, I thought that if I paid her higher, she would never want to quit.
One of the reasons why I could continue working at Master’s store for more than five years is because she paid me highly.
Of course, the main reason I worked at Master’s store was because I wanted to practice alchemy.
I’m not lying, okay?