Somehow, Lakis seemed to be in a better mood than when he first revealed himself in front of me.
Then after a while, Lakis asked me in a quiet tone.
“Why did you settle in the east of all places?”
It seemed like a light question that was only asked in passing and at the same time, it seemed like a question that was difficult for me to decipher.
“There are other good places to live in besides the East.”
Somehow, his tone sounded a little strange, so I raised my head to look at Lakis. However, I couldn’t see his expression because his face was turned the other way. It wasn’t exactly a question I couldn’t answer so I just told him flatly.
“It had the cheapest prices.”
It was a simple and uninteresting reason.
Actually, when I left the destroyed research institute, I had considered the north and south for places to reside in. Only the west, Carnot, was never included.
Even if the research institute had disappeared, it made me uncomfortable to stay there when my identity was that of a test subject who escaped. In addition, at the time, a part of me thought Lakis might come after the test subject to kill them later.
Anyways, that was why I excluded Carnot when I was considering places for me to live in. And consequently, the place I finally chose was the East. Honestly, since it was the setting I saw in the book, I was more familiar with it so a part of that was also why I thought it would be peaceful to live there.
And above all, my main reason for choosing the east was Damon Salvatore’s groundbreaking alchemy products. If I didn’t have memories of my previous life, who knows how things would have gone but it was difficult to give up on household product similar to modern ones once I knew of them.
There was strange enclosure in all the regions so the East’s alchemy as well as their alchemized goods were yet to be commercialized in other regions.
Although, Damon Salvatore in real life was a bit too much of an idiot to be an alchemy genius…Still, I had to acknowledge his achievements at least.
Of course, the genre wasn’t anything like a lively romance comedy and a part of me didn’t want to get involved the protagonists of an angsty romance thriller so that held me back a bit, but it was really only a tiny bit. This was because I had convincingly thought that there was a miniscule chance of me encountering them in this vast land.
However, the East was small…
In the end, with the female lead, Anne-Marie, moving in next to me, I ended up meeting all the characters.
“So if not for that, you don’t necessarily have to live here?”
After hearing what I said, Lakis turned to me.
“I didn’t choose this place because I liked the East itself.”
His moonlit blue eyes met my gaze. In that moment, I felt something strange that was difficult to describe and after a pause for a second or two, I slowly opened my mouth.
“Well…all places are pretty much the same.”
“You’re right. They’re all the same.”
A bright smile bloomed on Lakis’ face. He lifted a hand and gently tidied up my messy hair. From what I could tell, Lakis seemed satisfied by my answer. Seeing that, my mood turned somewhat odd again.
However, since Lakis didn’t add anything more to that, I didn’t bring up the suspicion I felt just now.
Like that, the night walk by the river came to an end.
* * *
The next day, as I was working in the coffeehouse, Mr. Gilbert approached me, looking hesitant. He seemed to have something to say but maybe it wasn’t easy for him to bring it up because he lingered around me for a while, stealing glances at me.
He tidied up the table next to me, glanced, took an order from a customer, glanced on the way to the kitchen then began watering the plants and glanced again…
“Uh, Ms. Yuri…”
And finally, when I was about to talk to Mr. Gilbert first, he called me as if he’d made a decision.
“How is your work with that noble family lately?”
Ah, I guess he was curious about my work with Bastian Crawford. Gilbert roughly knew that I was hired by the old man who came to the coffeehouse and that I was working over there. Of course, he didn’t know that Bastian was from the Crawford family.
“I’ve only been there a few times, so I don’t have much of an opinion yet, but I think it’s okay.¬ The job is easy too.”
And the payment was huge.
Of course, I didn’t need to tell Gilbert that later part.
“I, I see.”
But even with just that, Mr. Gilbert’s eyes shook and there was subtle nervousness in his eyes. Soon enough, he spoke with an oddly desperate attitude.
“Ms. Yuri, if there’s anything that bothers you while working at the coffeehouse, just let me know anytime, no matter what it is! If the working hours are hard, I can reduce those too!”
“Okay, I will tell you if I need it.”
I nodded to show I understood.
I guess Gilbert was worried that I might quit working at the coffeehouse because I liked the new job I got.
Either ways, since he wanted to be accommodating, there was really no reason to refuse. Of course, I had no plans to quit the coffeehouse right now but even I didn’t know how long that would last.
“Al, Also, if the payment is too small, next month I can…a pay raise…”
However, I cut Gilbert off before he finished the sentence he began with resolution. Of course, if my salary was increased, that was a good thing but Mr. Gilbert was already treating me more than well. Besides if I need money, it was a hundred time better to suck it out of the great Crawford family of the East than squeeze the sweat and blood of an ordinary citizen like Gilbert.
However, Mr. Gilbert seemed to get more anxious when I didn’t ask for anything.
“M-Ms. Yuri. You’re not going to quit, are you?”
He unconsciously asked desperately then he flinched like he was shocked by himself and shook his head rapidly.
“Ah, no, no. I’m more than thankful for all the help you’ve given so far. You have your circumstances, Ms. Yuri. Of course, you can quit whenever you want…”
Mr. Gilbert tried to assure me it was okay. However, his eyes looking at me were damp, and his lips which were trying to smile were trembling pitifully. He didn’t want me to quit that much it seemed.
But I’m not going to quit, though.
“I have no intention of quitting yet.”
“Yes. Of course, I don’t know about later but for now, yes.”
I said quite straightforwardly.
At that, Mr. Gilbert’s face brightened.
“Okay, Ms. Yuri! Let’s work together for a very long time!”
Eh, I don’t mean that long.
That said, Mr. Gilbert seemed to be in a much better mood than earlier when he looked like there were dark clouds over him, so I didn’t bother adding that.
* * *
“Hello, Ms. Yuri!”
That afternoon, Snow came to the coffeehouse in flesh. Actually, after I realized that Snow was Genos Sheldon, I wasn’t quite sure how to address him…
Since he was dressed as Snow, I’ll just call him Snow.
“A glass of lemonade, please.”
He ordered lemonade like he had always done ever since the coffeehouse’s beans changed. While I took his order and went to the kitchen, Mr. Gilbert went up to Snow and expressed his happiness.
“Mr. Snow, I haven’t seen you in a while.”
Honestly, it hadn’t been that long. After all, he’d come to the coffeehouse a couple of times in the form of Genos Sheldon.
But since Mr. Gilbert didn’t know that, he thought Snow hadn’t come here in quite a while. Perhaps Snow realized that as well because he gave a slightly bashful smile and replied.
“Haha, I started some work a while ago and it’s kept me a little busy.”
“Oh, you’ve started working lately?”
“Yes, somehow my friend happened to need some help so I’m helping out.”
“I see! That’s great, Mr. Snow!”
“Uh, yea…I guess…”
Facing Gilbert’s strong reaction, Snow’s response was a little awkward. He looked like he didn’t understand why Gilbert was so happy.
Of course, I knew exactly why.
Mr. Gilbert knew Snow was employed so hearing this, he thought Snow had finally succeeded in getting a job, so he was congratulating him earnestly.
Snow was a regular at the coffeehouse so naturally, he talked to the owner, Gilbert sometimes. So like now, there were times when they had brief conversations. And so, Gilbert was surprisingly intuitive enough to realized that Snow’s work right now meant he was no longer unemployed.
“Ms. Yuri! Please bring a meat pie here!”
Mr. Gilbert even got Snow a gift to congratulate him on the job.
“This is a service on the house, just for regulars. It’s a new menu we’re developing, you can try it out.”
I figured Snow might feel burdened, so I told him it was a service for regulars instead of the truth. Such a beautiful display of warm affection in this harsh world…
Knowing that Snow was Genos Sheldon, I couldn’t help but feel this situation was a little funny. Anyways, I put the lemonade and meat pie on a tray then I went up to Snow.
“Here’s the drink you ordered and the pie.”
However, when Snow saw the meat pie, he briefly covered his nose and mouth with his hand.
‘Hm? He looked he was gagging just now.’
Mr. Gilbert was taking orders from a customer on another table, so he didn’t notice. But Snow also acted like nothing just happened as if he wasn’t aware of his reaction.
“Wow, thank you. It smells really delicious; I guess it’s because it’s a new menu.”
However, his usual smile was a bit stiffer than usual.
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