ITSUJITA ~ C42
Chapter 42: I'll give you a bonus
Jecos finishes loading the wagon with matches.
He smiles at me from the coachman's seat.
"Thank you very much for the good deal, Shirou-dono. Once I have sold all the matches, I will come back to buy more."
"Ahaha, I'll be waiting for you."
"I will bring you a bottle of southern fruit wine as thanks for the tea leaves. Goodbye."
"OK, take care."
Jecos left Ninorich with some adventurers as his escort.
In my hand, I have five gold coins that I got from the deal.
Considering that one of these coins is worth a million yen, it takes courage to carry it around.
I put the gold coins into my bag and walked back to my store.
As soon as I enter the store, Aina greets me.
"Welcome back, Shirou Onii-chan."
"I'm back, Aina. I'm sorry for leaving you in charge.
"No problem. Aina is the store assistant, so it's fine."
Aina said that and puffed out her chest.
"I'm glad to have a reliable store assistant."
Aina smiles shyly. Maybe she is happy that I praised her.
"While I was not around, did you get any strange customers?"
"No. Today everything is fine."
Aina works very hard and is trusted and loved by our regular customers.
Everyone knows that Aina is working for the sake of Stella.
But unfortunately, not all of them are nice people.
As is the fate of any customer service business, there are some bad customers.
Many adventurers have just arrived in Ninorich, and once there was a case like this.
When I happened to be out of town, one of the adventurers lashed out at Aina.
The adventurer demanded cheaper prices for a certain good, but Aina didn't give in to his unreasonable demands.
The adventurer was so angry that the eight-year-old girl didn't listen to his demands and left the store after abusing Aina verbally.
Aina, who had been patiently enduring the verbal abuse, started crying when she saw me back at my store.
After hearing what had happened from Aina, I was very angry.
I told my fellow adventurers what had happened, and we immediately began to search for that adventurer.
Unfortunately, we couldn't find him. He was probably out on a quest that day.
But the next day, something strange happened.
The adventurer in question was hanging naked on a tree in the center of the town.
The suspended adventurer (whose face was bruised) simply claimed that he slept and woke up like that. He stubbornly refused to tell us the culprit's name.
In the end, this strange incident was resolved as a fairy's mischief.
Since that incident, it has been rumored that fairy's revenge will be waiting for anyone who dares to treat Aina badly.
That's why no one dares to do any bad things to Aina now.
"Shirou Onii-chan, did you sold many matches?"
Aina-chan, who has been blessed by the fairies, asks me.
As the minister in charge of homemade survival matches, she must be wondering about the sales.
I nodded and showed her the gold coins in my bag with a smug look on my face.
"Fueee? Is that gold coins?"
"Fufufu. Correct. These are gold coins!"
"Fuaaaa! That's amazing. Aina never saw a gold coin before."
"Oh, really? Would you like to touch it for the first time?"
"Eh.....? No, no. If I lose it, it will be a disaster!"
Aina shook her head as hard as she could.
She seemed to be scared, perhaps because of the money amount.
Actually, it was also the first time for me to see gold coins.
My store doesn't have any high unit price products, so I only get copper and silver coins.
"It's amazing that one piece of gold is worth one million yen-- no, it's worth one hundred silver coins!"
"There are 5 gold coins ....... Shirou Onii-chan, you're amazing. You are rich."
Aina's eyes are sparkling.
She's just giving me a straightforward look of respect.
Unlike me, whose eyes are sparkling with desire.
"Aina-chan, the reason why we managed to sell so many matches is because you worked so hard. I'm going to give you a special bonus."
"A special bonus...... What is that?"
Aina tilted her head and asked me.
"Um, a special bonus is a reward for your hard work, in addition to your monthly salary."
And it's something that I didn't get until the end of my career at that black company.
"Eeh, no! No, that's not necessary. Aina's current salary is enough."
"As a good manager--- you don't get it, do you? Eeeto...... a businessman. This is something I have to do as a good businessman. You'd be happier if you got more money, wouldn't you?"
When I asked her that, Aina pondered.
After a few seconds, she answered.
"...... Aina is happier when with my Mom and Shirou Onii-chan."
What a nice girl.
Aina's innocence is so bright.
I can't even look directly at her now.
"I, I see. Yes, you're right. There are things...... that money can't buy."
Aina nodded cheerfully.
It's true. The memories I have with my Grandma are priceless.
I wish to see her again if I can.
I never thought I'd learn such an important lesson from a child-like Aina.
"So, is there anything you want instead of money?"
"Aina is very happy right now, so I don't need anything."
Aina emphasized the word "happiness" in her words.
The smile on her face looked as happy as her words.
"Ee... Are you sure you don't want anything?"
"No. I don't need anything."
This is only giving me more profit.
Is there anything I can do to reward Aina?
Aina deserves to be rewarded for her hard work.
I crossed my arms and think.
"? Shirou Onii-chan?"
"Shirou Onii-chan. Shirou Onii-chan, ooi!"
Aina pulled my body without hesitation.
At that moment.
"I got an idea!"
A lightning bolt struck my brain.
Suddenly, I shout out so loud that Aina is startled.
"Aina-chan, would you like to live here with your mother?"
"...... What? Here?"
Aina pointed to the floor and asked.
I Point at the ceiling and nod.
"There's an extra room up there. Besides, if you live here, you won't have to walk all the way from the outskirts of town, and you can spend more time with your mother."
Aina fell silent at my suggestion.
After a while, her small shoulders began to tremble.
"...... Are you sure I can live here?"
Aina turned her head down and drops of tears fell to the floor.
Suddenly, Aina hugged me very tightly.
"Aa, are you happy?"
"Yes....... Aina is very happy."
"I'm glad to hear that."
Aina turns her face upward and smiles.
"Shirou Onii-chan... Thank you."
In this way, it was decided that Aina and Stella would live on the 2nd floor of this store.
However, I had forgotten about something.
"Shirou Onii-chan, please take care of us from now on!"
Aina bowed her head.
"Yes. I will be in your care too."
"Aina is looking forward to living with Shirou Onii-chan!"
Aina is jumping up and down.
Meanwhile, I can tell that my face is turning pale.
Inviting them to live on the 2nd floor of this store is like saying, "Come live with me!".
After work, I usually return to my grandmother's house. I had completely forgotten about this.
"I wonder if Mom will be surprised.
While Aina is excited, I feel panic.
"What should I do?"
I muttered to myself.