Chapter 18: Isabelle and Chana
When Isabelle-san visited the farm, she advised us to “grow more mulberry trees first.”
“This is insufficient.
Silkworms have a voracious appetite before producing cocoons.
We won’t be able to discuss silk cloth until we have more mulberry trees.”
After saying that, Isabelle-san continued in amazement, stroking the raw silk thread in her hand.
“I get to see the most beautiful thread for the first time in my life.
Did you really just read a book and nothing else?”
I made it this far after reading a book.”
Isabelle sighs and shakes her head.
“I’m amazed—the silkworms were not harmed, and a novice spun such a strong and beautiful yarn.”
“Does it make good yarn?”
“It is, indeed, the finest yarn I have ever seen.
You have talent.”
I never expected to be praised in such a way.
After all, it was a do-it-yourself job that I had only read about in books.
Aside from Isabelle-san, there was another visitor today: Hakeem’s sister, Chana, who says she was able to stop taking her medication after drinking the water and food Hakeem brought.
“I wonder if our water and vegetables really have that kind of effect.”
I was bedridden for years, but when I started drinking Nii-san’s water and eating his food, I started feeling better!”
Chana is adamant.
Chana is still small and skinny, but today she was able to ride a camel up here and also curiously checked out the chicken coops and fields around the house.
She still needs to bulk up.
“Even after I was able to move, I only went for walks around the house with Ka-san, but this is the first time I’ve seen a farm.”
Chana was dressed in a light blue dress with a blue ribbon tied around her light brown hair.
Her green eyes, like Hakeem’s, were round and gentle.
When I first saw her, I thought she was a fairy or an angel because she was so adorable.
Hakeem eventually left to work on the farm, leaving me, Isabelle-san, and Chana behind.
“It’s almost noon, so I’ll make you a meal.
I’m not much of a cook, but our vegetables and eggs are delicious.”
“Alesia-san, I’ll help you as well!”
I’d never talked to a girl before.
I’m so happy!”
No wonder she’s surprised.
A healthy nine-year-old child with so few friends is unusual.
“I’ve only been here about a year.
I used to live in a rural area with few people.”
“Oh, so that’s how it is—nice to meet you, Alesia-san!”
“I’ll take a look around the farm for a moment.”
“All right, Isabelle-san.”
It’s lunchtime, and everyone has returned to the house.
With a bow, Chana greets my father, mother, Ojisan, and Oba-san.
She also welcomes Ethan home at the end of the day.
For some reason, Ethan stands at the entrance unmoving.
I’ve looked around, but I can’t find anything that would surprise him.
What’s the deal with Ethan?
While the others were arranging dishes and serving food, Ethan was the only one standing in the doorway.
He’s staring at Chana with his mouth open like an idiot.
Chana arranged the spoons.
(Perhaps Ethan is…)
As we begin to eat, Ethan looks at Chana with a dumb look on his face.
Chana, meanwhile, is greeting everyone with a smile and eating a dish of steamed barley with stir-fried chicken and vegetables while saying, “Delicious!”
Ethan is the only one who appears to have entered another dimension.
(First love? Love at first sight?)
“Is something wrong, Alesia?”
“It’s nothing, Oto-san.”
There are now nine of us at the table, all talking to someone nearby.
I had a conversation with Isabelle-san.
“Do you sell a thread winding tool, Isabel?”
“Yes, but even a novice can create a simple one—I’ll tell Hakeem about it later, and he’ll make you one.”
Is that all right? When I looked at Hakeem, he nodded.
It is easier to communicate with someone who has prior experience.
“Alesia, you’ve been scurrying around for a while now; what’s the matter?”
I just noticed something unusual.”
Isabelle-san, who was eating a boiled egg and a steamed potato, seemed interested in my response.
But it’s a shame to reveal Ethan’s first love in public.
“It’s nothing; please continue eating.”
Hakeem, Chana, Isabelle-san, and I are riding two camels to Hakeem’s house.
I told them they could stay the night, but they refused.
I took the two camels on the way back.
It’s only about two and a half kilometers each way.
I was traveling alone with Isabelle-san, but she rehashed the story.
“Alesia, you seem quite surprised.
What’s the matter?”
“Well, actually, Ethan was smitten with Chana, so I assumed she was his first love.”
“Alesia and Ethan don’t leave the farm very often, do they? Ethan was probably taken aback by Chana’s cuteness.
Isn’t that wonderful?”
“Yes, Chana is adorable, isn’t she?”
Ethan, who used to follow me everywhere I went, I’m both happy and sad as his Onee-chan.
If it’s the first love of an adorable seven-year-old, we should watch over him quietly.
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