The soldiers were scared out of their wits when they saw that Gis-nee was carrying the carcass of a fierce beast on her back.
“A beast appeared in the forest.”
The young soldier asked fearfully to which Gis-nee replied bluntly.
Then, the head of the beast on Gis-nee’s shoulder rolled back when it was moved.
The two gatekeepers, who had seen the section where the beast’s head had been sliced off, twitched, but Gis-nee didn’t care about their reaction and quickly began to report the situation.
“We only saw this one, but there might be others. We have checked the corpse of a person who was attacked and would like you to hold a funeral for him. The location is ―――.”
Both gatekeepers stared at Gis-nee as if she was a monster while she was talking. I know how they feel.
After Gis-nee made her report, she took the carcass home with her.
“We’re having a feast tonight.”
Gis-nee normally acted cool, but she had a big, cheerful smile on her face. She thought we would also be pleased.
It was definitely a huge feast, but this was a beast that ate people.
Well, I wasn’t sure if eating a beast that ate people could be considered cannibalism, but I didn’t feel good about it.
Gis-nee seemed to be thinking about something entirely different.
It was true that it was a cycle of matter, so it was just like when a person dies, their body decomposes into the soil and that soil is absorbed by crops that we eat.
I couldn’t just throw it away since it had been brought home, so… I decided that it would be fine if I just got rid of its organs which might still contain something inside.
Gis-nee turned the beast on its stomach at the back of the house and opened it up, and it smelled horrible. I have always thought that the meat in this world smelled bad, but the raw meat of wild game was much different.
The way she gutted, skinned, deboned, and cut the meat into pieces was beyond gruesome, but Gis-nee was so skilled at this that I couldn’t help but stare at her.
“… You’re really good at butchering.”
“This is normal.”
Gis-nee said while still working. The normal level was high.
The game meat had a strong odour, but it smelled quite good when it was grilled with a lot of herbs. Spices are for carnivores.
Nothing else happened that day, but the next day, we had a strange visitor.
The apothecary hadn’t opened yet and we were sitting around a small table eating bread stuffed with the fierce beast (it was a heavy meal for breakfast).
He knocked on the door first and then called out Gis-nee’s name.
“You guys go ahead and eat.”
Gis-nee left her seat and disappeared into the store.
Rille-nee and I looked at each other and, of course, we peeked into the store because we were curious. I saw a middle-aged white man talking to Gis-nee from behind the counter.
By white, I mean his clothes.
And his hair. He had silver hair which I didn’t often see.
He was the best-dressed man I had ever seen in this town, and he had an aura of elegance about him.
He was definitely a noble.
I can even bet on this. Gis-nee, who was curt to customers, was using formal language.
Then, the man noticed that we were peeking since it was a small store.
The customer looked important with his beard, but his eyes were gentle, and he blinked like a boy when he spotted us.
“You had children?!”
“I did not.”
Gis-nee calmly refuted the surprised man and beckoned us over. I was glad that she hadn’t gotten angry.
“Their names are Ridill and Aime. They are sisters and we have been living together like a family for the past five years.”
Gis-nee briefly introduced us, but I wanted to correct her.
“It’s not “like”! We are family! Right, Rille-nee?”
“Yeah, we are.”
Honestly, I felt like I was receiving an allowance instead of a salary.
When we confidently declared this, Gis-nee’s eyes widened slightly and she smiled.
The man was taken aback by her reaction, and then relaxed.
“They’re cute younger sisters. I was worried about you since I hadn’t seen you in a while, but I’m relieved to see that you’re enjoying your life.”
“They have helped me in many ways. ――― This is Leonard Hinshelwood, the feudal lord of this land and this kingdom’s Chancellor. Make sure to greet him properly.”
Rille-nee reacted late and covered her mouth in a panic.
Being a feudal lord was fine. In the feudal system, feudal lords were in charge of fiefs.
But this person was the Chancellor?
The Chancellor was like the Prime Minister, right? Was it alright for a person like that to come to the downtown area even if it was in his own fief?
We didn’t know how to react, and the Chancellor-Feudal Lord said calmly.
“You don’t have to be polite. Today, I’m just a man who came to ask a favour from a friend. Your names are Ridill and Aime? I would like to borrow your older sister for a bit.”
I had no idea what was going on or why the Chancellor and Gis-nee knew each other in the first place. Rille-nee and I tilted our heads in confusion and the Chancellor explained how they knew each other.
“I used to talk to Giselle a lot when she was working at the palace.”
He spoke in a relaxed and nostalgic tone. He was an acquaintance of Gis-nee from her days as a soldier.
Gis-nee denied it when the Chancellor of this Kingdom, Leonard, said that it was nice to talk to her.
“No, I was often indebted to you. I am very grateful that you introduced me to this fief and helped me open this store even after I quit. Ridill and Aime, it is thanks to Leonard-sama that you can live here.”
“Huh? Oh, um, thank you very much!”
Rille-nee didn’t understand what Gis-nee had said, but she quickly bowed her head when prompted by Gis-ness and I followed suit.
He was a benefactor to Gis-ness and to us.
“It’s not a big deal.”
Chancellor Leonard gently stopped us from bowing.
Then, he bent down slightly and looked at us with his amber eyes.
“You don’t need to feel indebted to me either since it was Giselle who saved you. ――― It’s always a shame that I can’t directly help children who are in the same situation that you were in.”
It was as if he knew everything about us even though we hadn’t told him anything. Well, I suppose he can guess our past situation if he knew about the state of affairs in this city.
Chancellor Leonard readjusted his posture and looked at Gis-nee.
“I’ve finally finished my work in the capital and came back to check on things here, and I was surprised to hear that there was a fierce beast here, and that you had killed it alone, Giselle.”
“There was only one beast.”
It was still an amazing feat even if there was only one beast. Giselle, you’re being modest in the wrong way.
Chancellor Leonard was probably thinking the same I was since he laughed.
“So, I want you to lend me your strong older sister to help me kill any other fierce beasts that may be around. It’s the feudal lord’s duty to protect the safety of his fief.”
“… I see. Okay.”
Rille-nee and I couldn’t reply with any other words. We had seen the fierce beast killed in front of our eyes, so we didn’t have to worry.
Gis-nee wouldn’t be able to refuse a request from her benefactor, the feudal lord and Chancellor (even though he had said it was a request for ‘his friend’).
She even said, “I’ll bring some back with me if I kill some more.” Then, she patted us on the head and rushed off. She seemed as if she was looking forward to having more food to eat rather than ensuring the safety of the people.
Just before Chancellor Leonard left, he said, “Do you two like to study?”
I don’t know why he suddenly asked.
I replied that I loved to study when asked this question. What’s up with this man?
And more importantly, Gis-nee can’t have been a simple soldier since she knows the Chancellor of this Kingdom.
She was strong and young, so why did she quit?
… Maybe she had a dark reason for why she quit.
But she’s still my family!
“Were you important?”
In the end, Gis-nee didn’t find any other fierce beasts, but she came back with medicinal herbs instead. That question, which was asked first at dinner, wasn’t asked by me, but by Rille-nee.
I guess she couldn’t help herself since we had been talking all day while tending the store. At any rate, I would have asked if Rille-nee hadn’t said anything.
Gis-nee answered in between bites. I wonder if she eats fast because it’s a habit from her days as a soldier.
“But you’re friends with the Chancellor. Wow, are you a noble too, Gis-nee?”
“A noble wouldn’t run an apothecary like this. I was a farmer’s kid. I was fortunate enough to be promoted and was in charge of guarding the royal family, so that’s where I got acquainted with Leonard-sama.”
“The royal family?!”
So, she was a royal soldier? Isn’t that super elite? I’m not sure, but that was definitely a huge career move.
“Why did you quit?”
I couldn’t help but ask after hearing all that.
“… I had a falling out with someone at work.”
Oh, that was a realistic reason.
Gis-nee slurred her words only at times like this.
“Don’t ask me the details.”
Gis-nee suddenly became unenergetic, so I didn’t feel like pursuing the matter. I’m certain something troublesome happened and she was too tired to talk about it.
“Hmm, how come you opened an apothecary after you quit being a soldier? It’s a completely different occupation.”
“I came from a farming family so I knew a little about plants and I also learnt about medicinal herbs so I can treat injuries on the road when I was a soldier. So, I thought I could run an apothecary. Of course, I also studied under a doctor who I knew. Then, Leonard-sama introduced me to this place and lent me money when I was about to open my apothecary.”
I’ve been with her for five years, but this was the first time I’ve ever heard this since there were no opportunities to ask her about this before.
When I asked her more about this, she told me that she had already opened the apothecary for a year when we first moved in. This meant that the number of years she ran the apothecary by herself was shorter compared to the number of years she ran it together with us.
I was surprised by the unexpected visitor, but thanks to him, we were able to hear about her past.