After hearing the story from Niya-san and the others, I was thinking about what had just happened in the office.
Although I was too scared by the ominousness of the term "disposable" at the time and couldn't ask anything, the words that came out of Momoka's mouth stuck in my mind and the small anxiety that was born in my heart was gradually turning into something much bigger as time passed.
Momoka said that she could only fight, but was Momoka a soldier like Niya-san?
If so, is Niya-san "disposable" too? According to what Niya-san said, there were not many surviving humans left, so why dispose of the few that have survived?
No matter how much I thought about it, there was no answer, and in fact, more questions arose.
After all, the world is very different from this place even if the questions are answered.
Anyway, I needed to organize my thoughts.
"Neil, it's Lewya."
The door to the office was knocked, and after confirming that it was Lewya on the other side, I invited her inside.
"I understand that you need something from me."
"Yes, I have a favor to ask Lewya."
"You want to ask me for a favor?"
"Well, I actually want to ask the spirits for a favor."
"I see. That's why you called me."
Lewya, who understood why she had been summoned, asked me directly.
"What do you want from a spirit?"
"I actually want to ask for a guard for Momoka."
"What did you say?"
"I can't go into detail about why I want a guard, as it's personal information. But I'm worried, so I'm asking you―Lewya?"
In the middle of the conversation, I noticed that Lewya had a stern expression. When I called out Lewya's name, Lewya spoke without changing her expression.
"Neil, have you recently misunderstood the existence of spirits as something convenient?"
"What? No, I don't think so."
"Are you sure about that? Then why did you call me here first?"
"I was the first one to propose using the power of spirits. So I don't mean to be harsh, but let me tell you one thing. Spirits are not servants, they are our neighbors. If it's just a small favor, then it's fine, but I don't think spirits would agree to protect people."
"Would it be no good even if we offer compensation like we did in the field?"
"I told you, spirits are our neighbors, don't think that they will do anything for us as long as we pay them a price. At least, the spirits will not accept someone who thinks that way."
"Is it okay to ask for surveillance?"
"That's fine. I originally asked for surveillance from the spirits who have been watching over this land since ancient times. All I'm doing is asking them to let us know about things that we might find interesting while they watch over this land. Like with the field incident, spirits are just lending us a hand while continuing to do what they need to do."
"So, is it wrong to want to protect people because it goes beyond what should be done?"
"That's right. Originally, spirits are non-interventionist, and it's impossible for them to lend a hand like Wen does on their own will."
"Wen... I see. If it's Wen, maybe she'll listen to my request."
"Neil, were you listening to my story?"
"I did listen, I know full well that I'm treating the spirits well, but I'm asking for your help anyway. I don't want to go through what happened to Pius again."
"Pius? Why are you bringing up Pius?"
Lewya looked at me with a searching look, then let out a small breath.
"Alright, let's talk to Wen."
"But there's no guarantee that Wen will accept your request. What Wen is doing is not something we asked her to do originally; she's doing it voluntarily. And to Wen, Momoka and the others are outsiders. As long as they're around, it's doubtful that she'll protect them."
"Still, it's better than nothing."
"And one thing to keep in mind, focusing on one individual means that you can't keep an eye on others. The spirits are also wary of suspicious people wandering around outside, so there's no need to worry about that. But we don't know what else might happen, so we should be prepared for emergencies more than usual."
And so, through Lewya, I decided to ask the spirits to protect Momoka.
* * *
At the same time that Neil was discussing with Lewya in the office, there was a small shadow wandering around the perimeter of the mansion.
"There must be something going on, for sure."
The identity of the shadow was Ronim's daughter, Zora, and since she came to the settlement, she had been sniffing around Neil.
The reason, needless to say, is that she does not trust Neil, a nobleman of the empire.
Even if Ronim and his companions trusted him, the other party was a nobleman of the empire, with tricks up their sleeve. Zora thought that everyone had been easily deceived.
"If it's not like that, there's no way that my dad would forget the promise with me."
Yes, what drives Zora is the jealousy of having her dad taken from her. Of course, there are other reasons as well, but at present, the largest percentage in Zora is undoubtedly her jealousy.
Dad, who returned two weeks after the promise, finally returns, but not only did he add work beyond what was initially planned, he plans on returning to work at the settlement again in the New Year.
It was unbelievable to Zora that her dad, who at first seemed to be gloomy about having accepted a job from a nobleman, accepted the additional job with a smile, saying that it was a good job.
…Well, regarding that, she knew why everyone was happy to accept additional work after seeing the Sincere Dwarves who were addicted to the taste of the settlement's cuisine at the dining hall on the first day, but that was beside the point. She never wanted to think that her beloved dad was so absorbed in good food and drink that he forgot his promise with her.
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