Chapter 14: Hakeem’s Family
“I’m back, Ka-san, Chana.”
“Welcome home, Hakeem.”
“Welcome home, Nii-san.”
Hakeem’s house is in the capital’s poorest neighborhood.
This was the only neighborhood where we could pay our rent with our earnings.
My father went out to sell water six years ago and never returned.
I’m not sure if he left on his own or as a result of an incident.
We had no savings, so my mother and I continued to work to make ends meet.
My sickly sister has been in bed for a long time, but she appears to be getting better.
“Chana, I have something good for you.
“What is this, Nii-san?”
“These are hawthorn candies.
Okusama made candies out of the farm’s hawthorn berries.”
My sister and I had never tried hawthorn candies.
When I asked my mother about it, she said she also never had any.
We picked them up with our fingertips and placed one in each of our mouths.
“Wow, Nii-san, these candies are so crunchy!”
“Hawthorn and candy go well together.
I’ve never had hawthorn candy before.”
It was before dinner, but the three of them took the time to enjoy sweet and sour hawthorn candy.
I was given a bowl of baked pété made of flour dissolved in water, beans and chicken stewed in a slightly spicy sauce, and a boiled egg as I left Alethea’s house.
“It’s just a side dish,” Oku-sama says, but it’s a sumptuous main dish at my house.
I think to myself every time I look at the boiled eggs, “I feel especially energized on days when I eat eggs from that farm.” I’m sure it’s all in my head.
Hakeem was hired by some really nice people.”
“Yes, I believe so as well.
I can now buy Chana’s medicine without fear thanks to their help.”
I place a side dish in a metal container on a plate and fill a wooden cup with water from the farm.
“Eat up, eat up.
I’ve already eaten.”
His mother, who has spent the day cleaning, and his sister, who has been sick and sleeping all day, both eat deliciously.
Hakeem felt like the family’s leader, and his heart was overjoyed.
“Nii-san, this water is really tasty.”
“I still can’t believe rainwater tastes better than freshly drawn spring water.”
“Is this just ordinary rainwater? It’s delicious.”
Hakeem described the filter Alesia’s father had shown him at the farm.
“He said that passing the water through a barrel filled with sand and charcoal cleans it and improves its taste.”
“I haven’t had a fever since I began drinking this water and eating the food Nii-san brings back.
It’s similar to magical water and food.”
Magic is an exaggeration.
Even so, all the people on that farm are really nice.”
It rains at night on the farm, and the ground is always wet.
To be honest, it was a bit of a mystery to Hakeem, who had walked all over the place selling water.
It can’t possibly rain all the time in that area, in his opinion.
And if it does rain, it does so without the presence of clouds.
“Well, I don’t care.
I’ll just work hard for the people who are nice to me.”
To thank God and the people on the farm, your mother will pray every day.”
That night, as he lay in his shabby bed, Hakeem remembered his sister’s words.
She said the fever had stopped since she ate the water and food from the farm.
I haven’t bought fever medicine in a long time.
She has a much larger appetite now than she did previously.
I’m curious if that mild, even sweet, water is truly magical.
“No, that can’t be it.”
Before my mother was born, I heard that there were no wizards left in this land.
My father had previously stated that a wizard is only born every 20 or 30 years.
There can’t be any wizards on the farm on the outskirts of the Royal Capital if that’s the case.
They would live in the palace if they existed.
“But it’s still a magical farm.”
I said it out loud, and my sister, who was supposedly sleeping by the window in the same room, spoke to me.
“Nii-san, tell me about the people on the farm.”
Every day, his sister only looks at the house’s ceiling, walls, and windows.
Hakeem decided to tell her the story of such a poor sister.
“Serio-san and his wife Hilda-san are my bosses, and they have a nine-year-old daughter named Alesia.
Nathan-san and Benita-san live next door, and their seven-year-old son is Ethan.”
“What’s Alesia-san like?”
“She appears to be very intelligent, kind, and hardworking.”
Chana was a little unhappy with that answer.
“I mean, how does she look?”
“Let’s see… Her hair is shoulder-length auburn and fluffy, and her eyes are unusual.
She has dark blue eyes that are speckled with gold stars up close.”
Is she pretty?”
Chana, like Alesia, is nine years old, but she appears much younger.
Because she’s been sick, she’s been sleeping a lot, and her body hasn’t grown as quickly as it should.
Alesia is more mature, or rather, she speaks and acts like an adult at times.
“Sorry about that.
Alesia is more than just pretty.”
I think she gave me some kind of implied reply, but she just giggled and went back to sleep.
“Another farm awaits us tomorrow.
I need to get some sleep.”
When I was selling water, I didn’t think so, but now I’m thinking, “I have to work tomorrow and do my best!”
Hakeem gave a small smile and closed his eyes.
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