Chapter 11: I Can Protect You Too
“I can go home and cook and eat as much as I want.
I’m a farmer.
We have plenty of food, so don’t worry about it.
I gave Hakeem a noncommittal aura because he was hesitant.
“Feel free to eat.”
I took some of Ethan’s lunch, and the three of us ate it together.
“The lunch is delicious,” Hakeem remarked.
Then, while eating his lunch, he lowered his brows and inquired, “About the water…”
“…because you have to balance a barrel of water, don’t you? My house is four kilometers away, you know.
More importantly, how much do you need to make in a day to avoid skipping meals?”
Hakeem blushed, embarrassed for a younger girl to be concerned about him.
“A cup costs three small copper coins, but in order to eat, I need to sell at least fifty cups per meal.
But it’s not like my parents are mean to me.”
A total of 150 small copper coins.
This equates to one small silver coin and five large copper coins.
“Well… I’ll ask Oto-san about the water.”
“Thank you so much!! This water and this meal are both delicious.
From his pocket, Hakeem pulls a neatly folded red ribbon.
“I found it in the bushes over there before.”
That’s my favorite ribbon.
You picked it up.
You’re very welcome.”
We put our lunch boxes away and parted with a smile.
“That guy’s suspicious,” Ethan said after a brief silence.
“Why? He’s not suspicious at all.
He’s a hard-working young boy who puts in long hours.”
“But, how did he know it was Alesia’s ribbon? Why didn’t he just give it to her when we bought the water earlier if he knew?”
“Perhaps he overlooked the ribbon? Or maybe he asked a lot of people.”
“Alesia trusts everyone so easily.
He could be a bad guy.”
We were walking hand in hand when I came to a halt.
“Bad guy? Are you saying he’s going to kill us?”
“I wouldn’t go that far…”
(A bad person is someone like me in a previous life who kills hundreds of people without question when there is an overwhelming difference in power.)
I fell silent, and Ethan flushed.
“What I mean is that Alesia has a tendency to trust people too quickly… I mean, I’m concerned.”
I couldn’t help but squeeze Ethan’s cheek.
“Thank you for being concerned about me.”
“Stop it! Do not treat me like a child!”
“Sorry about that.
But you shouldn’t say things like that when you don’t know anything about Hakeem.”
That night, over dinner with two families, we talked about Hakeem and his circumstances, where he struggled to earn one small silver coin and five large copper coins to eat, or he would skip dinner.
“Selling water is a thin profitable business that doesn’t require a lot of capital.”
“Thirteen is the age when you want to eat more than adults.”
Father and Mother lament.
Nathan-ojisan and Benita-obaasan also appeared depressed.
“Ethan, we almost starved when we were rescued by Alesia’s family.
If something goes wrong, poor families will always go hungry.”
You would not be alive today if your Serio-ojisan and the others had not accepted us.”
Ethan was also depressed.
“Serio, can I tell him something about Alesia? Ethan is old enough to keep secrets.
We don’t want him to say anything out in the open again.”
My father paused for a moment before saying.
“Is that all right? Alesia.”
He requests my permission.
Everyone is staring at me.
They don’t know anything until Ethan’s out there saying something.
I think it’s time.
I’m sure Ethan will keep a secret.”
Oto-san then told him everything from when I was a baby.
“If Alesia’s power becomes known, she won’t be able to live normally.
Someone with authority would take her away.
So, can you keep it a secret? Ethan.”
“Serio-ojisan…are you sure you want to live here? The neighbors will wonder why it started raining as soon as Alesia moved in!”
“Don’t worry, it rains everywhere else.
That is why people are less suspicious here.
Alesia has been sleeping in the wagon twice a week since we moved here.”
Ethan says, “Hmm?” with a puzzled expression on his face.
“Wouldn’t it be suspicious if it just rained every night here? That’s why Alesia spends two nights a week sleeping in a covered wagon.
Your father and your Serio-ojisan take turns driving the wagons around the capital for a few hours at night or before dawn.”
“…Alesia, you poor thing.”
I know I’m making it hard for them by taking away some of their time.
They cherish the work of the farmers.
My rain helps the farm.
I have thought about leaving home, but I just can’t.
It is too hard for me to leave my good parents.
My parents would suffer if I left home at the age of nine.
“That’s why I’m going to the library to look it up.
I still don’t know how it happened.”
With a clatter, Ethan rises from his chair and declares angrily.
“I can also protect Alesia and keep her secret!”
You’re adorable, Ethan.
“So I was thinking about getting Hakeem to work here.
Hakeem only works during the day, so he will not be able to see the rain.
Oto-san and the others, you say you are short on staff, but you never hire anyone, do you? Because of me, right?”
My previous life’s memories flood back to me, and I can’t help but cry.
“Oto-san, please listen to me.
It pains me to pretend that I don’t know what Hakeem is going through in order to protect myself! I understand why Oto-san and the others are concerned about me.
But I can’t take it anymore.
only during the day.
Can’t he work during the day?
All right, don’t cry.
Alesia’s such a good girl.”
My father, who was unaware of my previous life, patted me on the back.
(Oto-san, I’m not the good girl you think I am…)
Although I wanted to help others, I was tired of causing problems for the adults around me.
I apologize for everything.
But it’s difficult to know that I could help Hakeem if I wanted to, but I can’t.
Even though I am an adult at heart, I finally cried.
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