Chapter 119 Ihomonos Part Three
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
”I’m so tired!”
I had completely exhausted myself by the time I finally lost track of the timing to escape from Mio-san’s self-deprecating remarks
I don’t have confidence in myself either, and I’m not in a position to speak for others, but that was quite something.
At the very least, it wasn’t enough to describe her as a devout believer–what happened to make a person so resentful?
”Well then, is it just Momoka-san left?”
The only one left is Momoka-san, whom I haven’t been able to locate, but as I looked around to see where she might be, I caught sight of a small human figure peeking out from behind a building
If I recall correctly, it was Ronim-san’s daughter, Zora. At the moment our gazes met, I glared at her and Zora retreated completely into the building’s shadows.
Well, I guess she had a bad first impression of me, and it was a little sad, though it was inevitable.
I’d like to clear up the misunderstanding, but according to what Ronim-san said, she has a considerable grudge against nobles, so it would be difficult to even approach her
Leaving Zora aside for the moment, I walk around in the settlement to look for Momoka-san.
I feel like someone’s staring at me from behind…When I turn back to look, Zora’s peeking at me again from behind the building, just like before.
Is she watching me? I knew I wasn’t trusted, but what is she trying to accomplish by monitoring me?
I decided that it was a child’s game and there was no point in worrying about it, so I pretended that I had not seen Zora, and I walked on again.
With Zora following behind me, I gathered reports of Momoka-san sightings from the people I encountered, and finally arrived at the front of a recently-built inn.
According to the sightings, Momoka-san was seen entering the inn, but what in the world would Momoka-san, who lives on a horse-drawn cart, want with the inn?
As I pondered over that, the entrance to the inn opened, and Momoka-san emerged with Liana.
”Thank you very much for your help, Momoka-san.”
”Yes, let me know if there is anything I can help you with.”
”Yes! I’ll be glad to!”
From the conversation, it seems that Momoka-san was helping Liana with her work.
It is nice to see that she has gotten along well with Liana and is getting used to the new settlement, but that is beside the point…
”Huh? Oh, Master Neil?”
”Funny, I thought Liana could handle this kind of workload on her own, and I thought I was paying her enough for it, but if the work is split between the two of you, do I have to split the salary as well?”
”Ahahahahahaha, I’m going to work alone from tomorrow…!”
Liana said and left the place as if she was running away, leaving only Momoka-san and me in front of the inn.
”…Did I do something wrong?”
”No, it’s nothing like that. I appreciate the help you’ve given me in the work of the settlement.”
”You were helping Liana’s work. By the way, does Momoka-san get along well with Rianna?”
”You were helping Liana’s work. Are you and Liana good friends, Momoka-san?
She suddenly became silent and I wondered what was going on.
”Just call me Momoka, you don’t need to use honorifics, I’m not in a position to be respected.”
”No, I don’t like to talk to someone older than me.”
”Master Neil, are you younger than me?”
”What? Well, probably yes.”
I haven’t confirmed Momoka’s age, but she looks at least older than 15 based on appearance alone.
Come to think of it, it’s been five years since Momoka and the others came here. They look like they’re in their late teens now, so I guess they came here when they were kids.
As I was thinking once again that they must have lived under severe conditions, Momoka-san, without warning, put her hand on my head and started patting my head as if she was nursing a small child.
”I heard from Moona that this is how you should comfort them.”
”I’m not that young, you know?”
”You don’t like it?”
”It’s not that I don’t like it, but at my age it’s a little… embarrassing to be patted on the head.”
”Well, then you don’t need to use honorifics, Master Neil is more mature than me, I like to be petted.”
I wondered if it was okay to determine who’s an adult or a child based on such a standard. But I had to agree with her before I could proceed with the conversation, so I decided to speak informally like she had asked.
”Uh, Momoka, I have something to talk to you about.”
”No need for -san, just Momoka is fine.”
”…So, Momoka, can I talk to you for a bit?”
I had planned to start with the question about the pioneer land, but I was still bothered by what had just happened, so I put that question aside for now.
”You were helping Liana, but have you been doing it often?”
”Yes, I have helped everyone besides Liana, Master Neil, are you happy?”
”Yes, I’m glad and I’m happy too, but are you okay with it? I heard from Niya-san that Momoka is frail.”
”Don’t worry, all I’m doing is simple help that a small child can do.”
”Yes, but don’t push yourself too hard, okay?”
”I know, if I get sick, I’ll be a nuisance to everyone, so I won’t do anything that’ll just cause trouble.”
Everyone’s inconvenience, huh?
Momoka’s words made me feel uneasy, as if she was saying that her body was not important.
”It’s not just others who worry, you have to take care of your own body too.”
”But if I take care of myself, I won’t be able to do anything. I have to push myself or I won’t be of any use.”
”Come on, Momoka, it’s not like that. I don’t know about the world you came from, but at least we’re safe now and you’re doing great without pushing yourself too hard.”
Momoka bows her head to me.
”Pet my head.”
”What? No, not like that.”
I tried to say no, feeling embarrassed, but as soon as I did, Momoka looked at me with sad eyes.
”Am I really not useful?”
”No, no, it’s not like that, but patting your head is…”
”Are you saying I’m not helping you enough to pat my head?”
Momoka became sadder as she spoke, so I suppressed my embarrassment and put my hand on her head.
As I stroke her hair with my fingertips as if combing it, the sadness disappears from her face and her expression changes to a calm one.
At first I was upset by the fact that I was stroking a woman’s head, but when I see Momoka’s face relaxing her cheeks, I feel as if I were admiring a small animal, and I regain my composure.
At that moment, for some reason, I saw Pius in Momoka’s face, even though they were so different in appearance and circumstances.
”Master Neil, are you all right?”
”You looked kind of scared.”
”… It’s nothing, I’m fine.”
If she sees me looking worried, Momoka will worry too.
So, I quickly compose myself, remembering her earlier advice – there’s no point in petting my head to calm me down.
”Are you sure you’re okay?”
”I’m fine, I was just thinking about something related to the newly discovered territory.”
I pat her head a little roughly as if to cover my mistake, and then pull my hand away.
As I watch Momoka fixing her messy hair, I suddenly think of something and reach into my pocket.
”Momoka, show me your palm.”
”Are you going to give me something?”
”That’s right, look at this.”
I take something out of my pocket and put it on Momoka’s palm.
”…! Is this…”
”This is your paycheck. You helped me with my work, so it’s only natural to pay you, right?”
The thing that I placed on Momoka’s palm was five platinum coins.
”I don’t know how much you helped me, so I can’t pay you the exact amount, but please accept this as a rough estimate.”
”No, I can’t accept this, I haven’t done anything to deserve the money.”
”That’s not true. To you, the tasks might have seemed like simple chores that don’t burden your body, but what Liana did was a paying job. You helped her, so it’s only fair to pay you as well, right?”
Momoka stares at the coins in her hand in a daze for a while, and then murmurs.
”This is the first time I’ve earned money.”
”Because I’ve always just stayed near the carriage, and it was Moona and the others who earned the money.”
”Then this is your first salary, a memorable moment.”
Momoka holds the coins in her hands and jumps around as if expressing her joy with her whole body.
Smiling at her, I decide to do what I’m here to do.
”Momoka, can I ask you something?”
”Yes, what is it?”
”Momoka, have you ever had any complaints or inconveniences in your time in the settlement?”
”No, everyone is nice and the food in Narsht is delicious, I’m very satisfied.”
”I see, is there anything you want?”
”Something that I want?…”
Momoka twists her head a little as she considers my question.
”I want a job.”
”Yes, I want to be more useful. I haven’t been useful since I was born.”
Well, a job…it’s easy to find a job for Momoka, but is there a job for her?
”Is there anything you are good at, Momoka?
”What I’m good at… I can only fight.”
”But aren’t you physically weak?”
”That’s right. I am disposable. If I fight, I’ll break, so Niya prohibits me from fighting.”
When she used the word “disposable,” I felt a creeping feeling in my heart.
I think I know why Momoka and Pius are so close to each other.
But I feel that if I put it into words, it will become a reality, so I swallow the words.
”…Okay, I’ll talk to Diana next time and see if there is any job that Momoka can do.”
”Thank you, Master Neil, I will try my best to be of help.”
”Take it easy.”
I prayed from the bottom of my heart that she would take it easy.
One week after Niya-san and the others came to the frontier, I thought I was just going to listen to them, but a bit of uneasiness crept into my heart.
And I soon found out that my fears were about to come true.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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