Saturday, July 23, 2022 @

Chapter 14 At the Village Head's House

 After a while, we arrived at Jimna village.
 But, after arriving here, Shizuko's smile turns darker.
 It's not surprising because, in this village, there is a man who sold Shizuko, Sector.
 But first, as soon as we arrived, we went to greet the village head, Najim.
 The village head is almost like a king as long as the nobles don't come here.
 His power is immense as long as he does not leave the village.
 The same is true in this Jimna village.
 By the way, it is a custom that the village's name is reversed from the village head's name, which is inherited by the successors of the village head from generation to generation.
 That is why the first thing to do is to greet the village head, which is the norm in the village society.
 "Long time no see, Village Head."
 "Yes, it has been a long time."
 Shizuko and I went to greet him.
 "Shizuko-san, you are still alive? I heard from Sector that you are dead, and Ceres, is it okay for you to leave Zect-sama and the others... Still, I'm glad to see you again, but is something wrong?"
 In this world, after my parents died, the whole village raised me as an orphan.
 I think this explains how wealthy this village is.
 Because a child without parents usually being sold off.
 And that alone is making this village amazing.
 "Shizuko-san, do you want to talk first?"
 "Oh, okay, I'll talk first..."
 Shizuko-san talked about what had happened to herself calmly.
 She is strong.
 I really thought so.
 "Well, that must have been hard for you... If that rotten criminal were here in this village, I would cut off his arms and banish him... but alas, he is not here in this village."
 Well, selling wives and children in times of need is common in every village, but not in those with money to spare.
 So, selling them into slavery when there is money to spare is a crime in most villages.
 It is even more serious in this Jimna village where even I, an orphan, receive support.
 "And what exactly happened to Sector?"
 "Nothing much... that fool didn't pay his taxes... so the Lord took him away... that's all."
 "Heheh, heheheh, hahaha, oh, so that's how it happened, hahaha, heheheheh..."
 "Shizuko-san, you surely..."
 Shizuko-san laughed as if she had lost her mind for a while.
 But she soon came to her senses.
 "Huff... Huff... I'm fine now, and I'm sorry for being so rude. So, that's it... I had intended to hit him at least once, but if he had gone to hell on his own, then... that's all right, he has shown me something really unsightly... "
 "It's okay. I know how you feel... but you're happy now, aren't you? You've caught such a young swallow at your age."
 "Yes, I'm very happy."
 "Well, Ceres, he's quite impressive... what he said as a child was no 'child's play'... I never thought he'd truly take you as a wife... he's a hero in a different way..."
 For the record, there is no word for 'sister-wife (wife who is older than her husband)' in this world.
 So, there are many couples where the man is older, and the woman is younger. But, rarely are there couples where the woman is older and the man is younger, to the point where the family would object to the mere idea of taking a wife three years older than the man.
 "Village head Najim, please take this."
 I handed him a bag containing 60 gold coins and another containing 20 gold coins.
 "Thank you for this."
 "Well, I've left the hero party, but thanks to all of you, I can make a living as an adventurer, so this is my way of repaying you."
 "What are you talking about? I think of you as my grandson. There is no need to be concerned, and you can be free to use the house after Sector leaves. So, now, this is your home. You can stay here as long as you like, Shizuko too."
 "Thank you very much."
 "Heheh, thank you very much."
 "I know it's a busy time of the year, but we'll give you a little party when the time comes, and since it's late, you can go home and relax."
 "Thank you again for everything."
 "Thank you, Najim-sama."
 "And you must be tired from your long journey. Take a good rest... but since you two just got married, perhaps you'll do something more tiring in the future? Hahahahaha."
 After hearing that, I leave the village head's house, pulling Shizuko, whose face is red, by the hand.
* * *
 In a sense, the village society in this world is a society of envy, where people are sympathetic but not happy with others' success.
 For example, a young man becomes a merchant.
 If he fails and comes back home, he is comforted.
 But if he succeeds and returns and does nothing to the village, he will surely be envied.
 That is why I need to send a notice to the village.
 And that 60 gold coins are prepared for the village.
 Now, the village head Najim should announce to everyone that "Ceres has made a donation for the village," and they all warmly welcome us, saying, "As expected from Ceres!".
 Now no one will blame Shizuko and me for getting married.
 And if I don't prepare the money, they'll probably say.
 "She's an embarrassing old woman."
 "Why is he married to that old woman?"
 And so on.
 Moreover, because I'm a successful adventurer, I have to be careful not to be envied.
 Then, for the 20 gold coins, I gave them to the village head.
 This makes him think he's "proud of his grandson."
 Since most of them live as peasants without leaving the village, it would be a big problem if I hurt their pride.
 And most of all, "the people in this village were very kind to me as a child," so I thought I would bring them a gift if I ever returned.
 To tell the truth, I am relieved that Sector has destroyed himself.
 After all, I cannot forgive him for selling out my precious Shizuko. Still, I have a few good memories of him taking me, a child, and Zect fishing whenever he felt like it.
* * *
 I am sure that Sector is finished.
 Since he did not pay taxes, he would be sent to the mines and enslaved for a limited time.
 He will probably work for ten years, and if he returns to the village, there will be no place for him.
 Unless he could pay the taxes, the village head would usually arrange for a loan to be paid back over time.
 This is normal.
 But the fact that the village head did not do so means that Sector was hated by everyone.
 Zect, his son, became a hero and got a lot of money.
 But he spent it all alone without giving anything back to the village.
 And now he's fallen into envy. There's no way to help him.
 His life is over.
* * *
 "Shizuko-san, have you calmed down now?"
 "Yes, I'm fine now. I'm so happy... and if the village head says it... You know, I caught such a young swallow, heheheh."
 "If you say so, I caught Shizuko-san, though it took me a long time."
 "Heheheh, you're right..."
 "And it's been a while since I've had a bath, and I can relax."
 "But I wonder if it's okay to take it easy. Don't you have to do what the village head calls 'tiring things'?"
 It's been a while since I've been in the camp.
 "Then I won't let you sleep tonight."
 "Heheheh, then I won't let you sleep either."
 After a long time, we were both so excited that it was morning before we realized it.
* * *
 It was all right.
 Even though Uncle Sector is a jerk, I have my memories, and Shizuko has hers.
 If I took revenge, I wouldn't be able to smile like this.
 Yes, this is good.
 ※There will be a second heroine next time.

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