The next morning.
I packed my harvesting tools in a small shoulder bag and was all set to go.
I talked to Gis-nee before we left.
“We’ll pick up ingredients for dinner on the way home, so you can relax for the day.”
Now, we’re going to be busy today!
We met Leni at school. We didn’t specify a time to meet, but I heard that she’s been sleeping at the school, so we can meet her there in the mornings.
We met the old lady from the fruit and vegetable store when we approached a nearby shopping street, “Oh my, Aime and Ridill.”
This was Peggy, the owner of the fruit and vegetable store that we frequented when we were living on the streets, and we still brought from her quite often even after moving in with Gis-nee.
She was also a neighbour who visited the apothecary, so we had to greet her properly.
“Good morning, Peggy-san. How’s your back?”
“It’s all better now. Your medicine works really well.”
Peggy-san smiled widely. I’m glad she’s feeling better.
“I know you must have a lot of work to do, but please be careful when you lift heavy things.”
“I know. Gis-nee often warns me about lifting heavy objects. Are you two sisters going out today?”
“Yes, we’re going out to do some harvesting today. We’ll come by the store again after lunch.”
Peggy was a nice person, but she was also very talkative, so it was best to end the conversation early.
But when we were about to sleep, she stopped us, “Ah, wait, wait!”
“I got a rare vegetable from Tilney Kingdom this morning, would you like to try it?”
Peggy showed us reddish-brown vegetables packed in a bottle about the size of a milk bottle.
I wondered what it was for a second, but then I squealed in delight when I realised what the vegetable was.
“Aime, do you know what that is?”
“Yeah! They’re really good!”
I’ll have to buy some. I can simmer them with meat or turn it into paste and use it as a sauce. Various recipes flashed and popped up in my mind.
It wasn’t that big, so it wouldn’t get in the way if I buy it now. Unlike large supermarkets, shopping in this world was a struggle. I decided to buy it before anyone else can buy it.
Fortunately, Peggy was kind enough to let me have it at a reasonable price. People should get along well with their neighbours for times like these.
We walked happily through the shopping district and arrived at the school where Leni was sitting outside waiting for us. I saw Fabian-sensei reading to the younger kids inside.
Lately, I’ve been wondering when he rests. He looks frail but surprisingly had a lot of energy. I won’t disturb him.
Leni quickly held out her hand without returning my greeting. Yeah, yeah, I know.
I handed her money and a bag of beans and bread from my bag.
“I’ve received your payment. This way.”
Leni quickly took a bite of the bread she had received and headed off.
A few small kids followed us, perhaps because they sensed that something interesting might happen or perhaps because they weren’t interested in class.
Flowers and grass mostly grew in the less crowded areas on side streets in the city. We knew this since we used to sell flowers.
But Leni guided us to the back of a merchant’s house in the central district.
We climbed on a wooden box by the wall and peeked over the fence into the merchant’s garden where I saw a red chrysanthemum-like flower.
“It’s that, right?”
Leni pointed at the flower.
The flower, the stem and the shape of the leaves were exactly the same as the picture I had seen in the plant illustration book. That was probably sansalem.
“Keep watch. I’ll go and pull one out for you.”
“No, no, no! You can’t!”
I quickly pulled at Leni’s clothes to stop her.
“Someone lives here.”
“The problem is that you don’t see it as a problem. Why are you trying to steal it?”
“They won’t give it to us if we ask. The people who live in this house are very stingy.”
I heard a shout from behind me as we were arguing, “What’re you doing?!”
Oh no, they found us!
I ran away. My childish instinct to run away when I hear an adult shouting at me kicked in before I could even think of an excuse.
I ran down to another street, made sure no one was chasing after me, then stopped to catch my breath.
Hah, it’s been a while since I’ve ran this much. Seriously…
I glared at Leni, who was also panting next to me.
“Is that the only place you’ve seen it bloom?”
Leni didn’t seem apologetic, and it made me feel a little less angry.
“What should we do?”
Rille-nee looked troubled. We couldn’t do anything without the flowers that inspired this plan.
I wonder if I can ask the people who live in that house for a flower. One of the girls who followed us tugged on my clothes.
“I’ve seen those red flowers outside the city walls.”
The girl had seen it outside by chance when she was helping some merchant. She didn’t recognize it from the black and white illustration, but she remembered when she saw the real thing.
“Can you show me where it is?”
The girl happily agreed and held out her small hands.
“Money! Or food!”
You’re telling me to give you either of those things?
“… You didn’t plan this, did you?”
I asked to check, but Leni and the other kids turned away and didn’t answer.
I ended up paying the girl in the end, and also brought food for the other kids who were following us. Though, the only thing I could buy them was some cheap bean soup.
I was forced to spend an unexpected amount of money just to pick some flowers, but I’ll let this slide since the kids were happy. I guess I’ll hold back on shopping for a while after today.
The girl led us to the east gate, and we found a large river.
It was my first time going out of this gate, so I was fascinated by its majestic currents. I also saw several boats floating far upstream.
“It’s that way!”
I looked towards the girl who was leading the way and saw a cluster of flowers among the grass.
They were swaying in the wind and there were also round sansalem flowers among them.
I quickly ran towards it and crouched down in the middle of the flowers.
The reddish scarlet petals which were similar to chrysanthemum petals stacked on top of each other and there was a yellow circle in the middle. It looked like a small sun.
Rille-nee gently held the bright flower.
“The flower looks like it will cheer you up just from looking at it.”
“Right? The colours are nice too.”
While we sisters were chatting warmly, Leni and the other kids were quickly pulling out the flowers and putting them in baskets. They were probably going to sell those flowers. They might even take our flower if we’re not careful.
But it would be a shame not to enjoy this beautiful flower field.
I took the sansalem and some other flowers and twisted the stems together to make a flower crown.
“Kikka, come here.”
I called the girl who had shown us here and put the crown on her head.
“Wah, what’s this?”
“Teach me how to make it!”
I showed them how to make a flower crown since they kept asking. It was so easy that everyone could do it straight away and they had fun putting it on their head.
“Do you think we should give this to Gis-nee as well?”
Rill-nee asked as she showed me the flower crown she had made. I couldn’t imagine Gis-nee wearing fancy wildflowers on her head and burst out laughing.
“We can if you want. I’m sure she’ll smile awkwardly when she receives it.”
“Fufu, but I think it’ll look surprisingly good on her.”
“Then I’ll give her a necklace.”
I made something that was just a larger version of the flower crown, but with more colourful flowers. The necklace wouldn’t fit in my bag, so I tied it to my bag.
But these flowers will probably wilt in the evening.
So, I cut some sansalem flowers with a knife, and wrapped the bottom of the stem with paper that had been moistened with water from the river. I also added some small white flowers wrapped in Rille-nee’s patchwork cloth to make a bouquet. The patchwork cloth was secretly sewn by Rille-nee yesterday while I was distracting Gis-nee.
This was a decent gift.
We played around and achieved our goal, then we decided to head back to town when the sun rose high in the sky.
“Thanks a lot!”
“You helped us too. Thanks for the food.”
We parted ways with Leni and the kids who were off to sell the flowers they had picked and went to the butcher store next.
The butcher store that we frequent was on the main street.
“We have beef today~! There’s only a little left! Get it fast before it goes!”
I heard a young voice selling the beef before we reached the store.
Are we too late?
I rushed to the front of the butchers and saw that there weren’t many pieces of meat left on the board placed on top of the crate. All that was left were bones and heads which only had a little bit of meat on them. The delivery might have arrived earlier than I had expected.
“――― Hey Ridill!”
The young man sitting at the table lit up as soon as he saw us, or rather saw Rille-nee. He’s the same as Rossi, huh.
“Hey! Ah, the younger sister is here too?”
Hank’s excited face dropped as soon as he spotted me.
Of course, I’m here. I’m always with her whenever we come to your store.
I restrained my smile and talked to him in a cheerful voice.
“Hey Hank. We’re here to buy some beef, are there no good cuts left?”
“There are. I put some aside for Ridill.”
Hank went into the back of the butchers and came out with a chunk of red meat wrapped in paper.
“It’s from the shank, but it’ll taste nice if you simmer it well.”
Rille-nee thanked him with genuine happiness which made Hank melt.
He put some meat aside for a customer who he didn’t know would be coming.
“Did you ask Rossi if we were coming?”
I asked him and he averted his gaze.
“Ah, well, he mentioned you would be coming.”
“Really? I have to thank Rossi later.”
Rille-nee is so polite. I heard Hank click his tongue. Seems like they’re both fighting over Rille-nee.
It would be more effective to directly confess to the person in question instead of uselessly keeping a check on each other. Well, I won’t easily give you the opportunity to do so!
But I’ll thank them both for today, and yay for Rille-nee’s charm. That’s my sister!