I got used to living in the new place and a spring breeze was blowing across the land.
Mushrooms grew in a corner of the city.
I couldn’t help but exclaim at the spectacular sight.
Many large red, yellow, and green parasols were set up in the eastern plaza and looked like a swarm of colourful mushrooms.
There were merchants selling various goods on clothes under the parasols.
This was the so-called street market.
This was apparently held regularly by vendors, who travelled from city to city or kingdom to kingdom, selling goods from various regions and some of the goods were only available here, so many people crowded around the marketplace from early in the morning.
We were also here to stock up on medicinal herbs.
We were carrying baskets on our backs with the intention of buying as much as we could since we had more customers and thus ran out of stock quickly.
I thought I had already walked around inside the city walls quite a bit, but this was the first time I had seen this market. I got excited when I heard the cheerful voices.
“Don’t get lost.”
I replied in a cheerful voice and immediately ran off.
I heard the two of them stop me, but I wasn’t going to run off so far that I couldn’t see them anymore.
My curiosity made me rush, so I went ahead.
I saw ceramic plates, carpets with elaborate patterns, cosmetics and ornaments. I can even smell perfume in the air. There was also salted fish, and to my surprise, a whole dismantled cow. It was quite a sight.
There were all sorts of things for sale: from expensive items to not-so-expensive items.
“Hey, cute girl, welcome!”
I stopped in my tracks and was greeted by a friendly bearded shopkeeper in green clothes and a hat.
In front of him were bags of dried leaves, small nuts and what looked like tree bark. Maybe this was the place we were shopping at.
I was grabbed by my head as soon as I stopped and Gis’s scary voice sounded above me.
“… Yes. But I won’t get lost? Since I can use you as a landmark.”
She stuck out like a sore thumb, so I was sure she would be easy to spot.
However, she still reminded me not to get lost. “It’ll be troublesome if something happens to you,” she said.
“Aime, would you like to hold my hand?”
“Eh, do I have to?”
In the end, Rille-nee took my hand and I behaved myself. I wasn’t the kind of kid who gets separated in a crowd.
Huh? But kids are the ones who think they can’t be separated and run around. Well, I don’t want to admit that.
“Haha, you guys are close.”
The shopkeeper laughed at our exchange. How embarrassing~.
It seemed this was the stall we were looking for and Gis-nee squatted down and started looking at the merchandise.
“I’d like some Lanche.”
It was a herb that had a drastic effect on fevers and pain. It was a rare and hard to find herb, so she was counting on finding it at this market.
People tended to get frightened when they first meet Gis-nee, but the cheerful smile of the experienced merchant never faded.
“Of course, I do! Do you run an apothecary? We have some spices too!”
Spices can improve the taste of food and be used for medicine. We have some herbs in stock, but he was selling a variety of unusual herbs here.
“Say, can I try this? Just a little.”
I pointed at the small bag of red powder and asked the shopkeeper.
“Hmm? Oh, yes. But it’s spicy, so be careful.”
I picked up the powder with my index finger and thumb and put it on the tip of my tongue. Yup, it was chilli powder.
Rille-nee also imitated me and tasted it, then she spat it out.
“Hahaha, that woke you up, didn’t it? It’s a stimulant, but it’s not good for pregnant women.”
“O-oh really? I’ve learnt a lot.”
Rille-nee was in tears, but she thanked the shopkeeper.
“Are you alright?”
“Yup… It’s not spicy anymore. Are you alright?”
“I only tasted a little of it. I should’ve told you first. I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright. But, yeah, this will definitely wake you up.”
“Do you want to try another one? Is it alright, Uncle?”
“Yeah. Just a little bit.”
I took advantage of the shopkeeper’s kindness and tasted some of the spices. He didn’t just have spicy spices, but also some that were soothing and had unique flavours that were hard to describe.
“Where did you get these spices?”
I was curious, so I took the opportunity to ask about it when the shopkeeper and Gis-nee took a brief break from conversation.
“On a small island across the sea, much further south than here. It wasn’t there when Uncle was a kid, but it started growing there about ten years ago.”
“It’s because the alliance with the Tilney Kingdom has allowed us to sail to the southern waters.”
Gis-nee added something difficult to the shopkeeper’s explanation.
“It’s a Kingdom bordering on the south of Traus Kingdom.”
Traus was the name of the Kingdom we were currently living in. I see, the alliance between these nations has expanded trade.
“The alliance was formed ten years ago? What happened before that? Were we at war with them?”
“No, both nations had a long cease-fire deal. A peace treaty was signed when our King married the Tilney Princess.”
A political marriage, huh? It really happens.
I was born in a place that was far behind the times, but it was a relief to hear that it was peaceful.
We selected a few precious herbs, and other small items such as commonly used medicinal herbs and spices while talking and put them in the baskets on our backs.
“――― Alright, the total is 50,000 beles.”
In response to the shopkeeper’s total, Gis-nee gave him the money she had prepared.
Both the shopkeeper and I were surprised by this.
“Gis-nee, aren’t you going to bargain?”
I tugged at her sleeves and asked quietly.
As often seen in ordinary stores, merchants usually quote high prices since they are expecting the customer to bargain with them. Most of the chatter around us was half from sale pitches and half from bargaining.
But Gis-nee said she wasn’t going to do that.
“Peddles travel around more dangerous places than those who have stores. They’re the reason we’re able to do business. We can’t bargain with them.”
Wow… so righteous. I was beginning to think she was an awkward person. I wondered how she could work as a merchant.
While I was wondering if I should intervene, the shopkeeper, who had been given the money, gave some of it back to Gis-nee.
“40,000 is fine.”
Gis-nee was puzzled, but the shopkeeper cheerfully said, “It’s fine!” as he pushed the money back to her.
“I can’t rip you off when you say it like that. Even a merchant who sells anything for money still has a sincere heart.”
The price was reduced by 10,000 without negotiation. I wasn’t sure whether to rejoice at the shopkeeper’s selflessness or to be angry that the shopkeeper overcharged.
Gis-nee tilted her head in confusion at the money that had been returned to her, then just put it away.
Rille-nee giggled at Gis-nee and jumped into her arms.
“Say, we’ve brought what we needed, so why don’t we take a look around?”
“It’s not often that the market opens! Thanks, Uncle!”
I took Gis-nee’s other hand, and we led her around the bustling market.
Brooches, earrings and necklaces.
Even though this was a different world, girls are always drawn to the same sparkling things.
Rille-nee and I stopped in front of a stall where the parasol was deliberately tilted up so that it would shine in the spring sunshine.
Beside us were many women of all ages gathered around, sighing at the beautiful, jewelled ornaments.
Apparently, women can identify more colours than men. Their brains were more sensitive to colours.
So, it wasn’t surprising that women were attracted to colourful things as they found them beautiful.
“Wow, it’s so pretty~!”
Rille-nee picked up a hair ornament in the shape of a maple leaf with a mother-of-pearl inlay and let out a sigh.
We probably still couldn’t buy it with our financial situation.
Then, Gis-nee, who was standing behind us, said, “Shall I buy you one?” and I was startled.
“Is it alright?!”
“It’s for all of your hard work, but I can’t buy you anything expensive.”
“A-are you sure?”
Rille-nee was confused rather than happy.
“But I feel bad…”
“Now, now, you should let her spoil us right now, Rille-nee.”
There was no need to hold back. It was important to reward oneself.
“We’ll just earn double from now on. Besides, it might be something that you can only get today.”
“That’s right. Pick one before I change my mind.”
The two of us urged her to choose and after a moment of consideration, Rille-nee said, “Then…” as she chose a dark brown ribbon.
You can choose something flashier… even if jewels are out of range.
I thought, but it would look cute if she tied her hair up in her usual ponytail with that wide ribbon. It was probably better to keep it simple for everyday use. Maybe I’ll braid her hair or something next time.
When I thought about it, I felt like we were bothering the other sister a lot too.
“――― Why don’t you buy something too, Gis-nee?”
She didn’t pretty herself up or use makeup, so she reacted in exasperation.
“You want me to wear a ribbon?”
“A ribbon on Gis-nee? Oh, it might unexpectedly look cute.”
Rille-nee was imagining what Gis-nee would look like, and Gis-nee groaned.
Well, ribbons might be a little demanding considering her hair style and age, but there were many other ornaments that grown women can wear.
“How about some earrings? I think they’ll suit you.”
I picked up a pair of blue and clear jewelled earrings and had Gis-nee crouched down to put it by her ears. Then, Rille-nee immediately clapped.
“Oh, that looks nice!”
“Right!? It looks nice!”
The radiance of the jewel shone well against her black hair.
But Gis-nee took the earrings from my hand while smiling wryly and gave them back to the shopkeeper.
“Why don’t you dress up more Gis-nee?”
“It doesn’t suit me. Choose things for yourself rather than me.”
“I know what I want. I want this.”
I said as I took a nearby item and showed her.
As expected, both Gis-nee and Rille-nee raised their eyebrows.
“That’s a kettle.”
“We don’t have one.”
There was a hardware stall right next to the ornament stall, and the reddish bronze container has been bothering me for a while.
The hair ornaments were beautiful, but I don’t really need them right now. I’d rather have something else.
“Oh, you have a good eye, Jou-chan. That kettle was made in Galesh Kingdom. It’s a good item.”
The shopkeeper of the hardware stall started talking to me when I picked up the kettle. I didn’t know the name of that Kingdom.
“It’s an old Kingdom that borders the western border of Traus.”
Gis-nee explained to me when I looked at her for an explanation and the shopkeeper added.
“Galesh is a Kingdom with excellent blacksmiths, and they’re reputed for their fine metalwork. We buy from the best of them. It doesn’t get dented when you hit it or drop it. It’s also thin, light and sturdy.”
“Then, I’ll take this one.”
“… Are you alright with that?”
So, Rille-nee and I left the market with a smile on our faces after receiving our rewards.
“What are you going to use it for?”
Rille-nee asked as she pointed at the kettle that I was holding, so I smiled and answered her.
“I thought I’d do a little experiment.”
I think it’s human nature to want to start something else when you have enough food and clothing.