Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yuzuha Proofreader(s): Yomigaeru
Did she just say Eris? Maybe I misheard her. Or rather, I really hope I misheard her.
「…Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. Could you repeat it?」
…Nope, I didn’t mishear anything.
It has to be that Eris. No no, Eris is a popular name. It could still be someone else. There could be some other Eris in some other completely unrelated hospital.
「What kind of person is this Eris-san?」
「Umm, she’s pretty, she has blonde hair, and she’s really nice.」
It’s probably her.
「But she made a really scary face one time when she kicked out a drunkard.」
「What else, umm… oh, she has really big boobs!」
Yeah, it’s definitely Eris.
It seems the waitress who had to sell her house due to debt is none other than that Eris.
But, this is the first time I’m hearing that Eris was in debt. Her hospital didn’t have a lot of money, but it’s a hospital after all. All you need for a hospital is a single healer and a building.
Of course, if a typical healer treats many patients in a row, they’ll run out of mana, and treating a severe injury could deplete all of their mana at once, so large-scale hospitals employ as many healers as possible.
However, the only other person who was working at Eris’ hospital was me. It was a small hospital made from a remodeled house. The debt couldn’t possibly be from employee wages.
Moreover, I heard that Eris inherited the hospital from her parents who operated it for many years. Eris herself wouldn’t have inherited a large debt from the construction. Has she been paying the property tax?
Running a hospital under those circumstances, what could possibly make her run up so much debt that she had no choice but to sell it? No matter how bad the location is or how few customers come, Eris’ living expenses aren’t that high. Also, when I was working there, Eris was getting more customers than she could handle on her own.
Is it possible that my treatment clinic stole some of her business? No, besides Ruruka there were only 2-3 customers who I’d seen at Eris’ place before. …I don’t know if Ruruka could really be considered a customer, anyway.
Also, I haven’t made my prices as low as the ones at Eris’ hospital, so the quality of clientele I attract is different. It’s pretty far away too. Such a minor amount of competition shouldn’t have been enough to impact her hospital’s bottom line.
「Yuel, do you know how long Eris has been working at that tavern?」
「Umm, since the day after I started.」
So it was just before she sold the hospital? Did Eris decide to sell the hospital first and then decide on the tavern as her next job? Or was she desperately trying to put together enough money so she wouldn’t have to sell the hospital?
「Do you know where Eris is right now?」
「We went to the inn together after work, so I assume she’s still there. Um, is she an acquaintance of Master?」
You can certainly say that. This is Eris, who gave me a job when I had just arrived in this other world. Who taught me common sense while eying me suspiciously when I declared that I came from a faraway land. Our relationship can’t be summed up by a mere word like “acquaintance”. Maybe I shouldn’t be saying this after she tossed me out for sexual harassment, but it feels right.
「Eris is my benefactor.」
We leave the tavern and return to the inn.
Yuel apparently knows which room Eris is staying in, so I have her guide me there. From the corner room on the second floor, one room over.
…It’s right next door to the room Yuel and I are staying at.
Yuel knocks on the door.
「Eris-san, are you there?」
Yuel calls out, and the door soon opens. A beautiful girl with shoulder-length blonde hair comes out. At 18, she has a slightly mature demeanor and a bursting bust. Without a doubt, it’s Eris.
「Oh, it’s Yuel-chan. What’s the matter? Didn’t you say you were going to the labyrinth with your master today?」
「Umm, it seems Master has something to discuss with you.」
Eris greets Yuel with a sweet voice and pats her head– then she sees me standing at a distance.
「I-It’s been a while…」
「…What brings you here?」
In contrast to the sweet voice she used with Yuel, her tone toward me is icy cold. Where did those kind eyes you were showing to Yuel go, I wonder? Your pointed gaze is practically a glare. I guess you’re still angry, huh.
「Eris-san, he is my master!」
Yuel is all smiles.
She’s sticking out her (lack of) chest with pride.
Eris smiles sweetly at Yuel once again– then walks right up to my face and speaks in a low voice.
「…Yuel-chan told me her master was an honest, kind, respectable person. So why the hell is she calling someone like you “Master”?」
「B-But I really am h… n-no, never mind.」
Please stop giving me that look from point-blank range. You could kill someone with that glare alone, Eris-san.
「Haaaa, for you to lay your hands on such a small girl…」
I’m getting treated as a lolicon again, huh? If you’re going to criticize my daily behavior I can’t argue though.
「I’ve done no such thing! I’m an adventurer now, so we enter the labyrinth together.」
I’m just kidding. Yuel-chan even said how happy she was that her master treasures her. So, why are you here?」
I thought for sure I was going to get the lolicon treatment, but apparently not. Moreover, she’s willing to talk. She’s definitely still mad, but she’s probably cooled off for the most part.
「You’re working at the tavern, right? I heard that you had to sell the hospital.」
「…That has nothing to do with you.」
Eris averts her gaze slightly.
「Lately, I’ve been offering treatment at the tavern.」
「…I may have been getting many fewer customers lately, but that has nothing to do with it. Things just went back to the way they were before I hired you.」
The way things were before she hired me. She didn’t have many customers to begin with, so business only picked up while I was there? And business suffered after I quit…
「Even if you hadn’t come… I was planning to sell that house before spring. Even with you there, it was failing anyway and I couldn’t afford to pay you a fair wage. It was doomed to fail. Of course I’m mad about your “discounts” and the bathing incident, but none of this is your responsibility. I decided on this from the beginning.」
But if I had continued to work there, couldn’t she have held out for longer?
「I didn’t ever tell you this, but I have a younger sister. She’s aiming to become a knight. Three years ago, just before our parents died in an accident, she entered the Royal Knight Academy. She was determined to come back as a knight no matter what. But when our parents died I was left alone, and the customers left in droves. I’m not as skilled as my parents were… I went into debt to pay for her tuition and allowance. So, it doesn’t involve you.」
She had a younger sister? I never knew… but I suppose Eris isn’t one to reveal her own weaknesses. I guess she didn’t want me to feel sorry for her or to buy my sympathy.
Eris’ hospital was originally owned by her parents. It was doing well enough at the time to pay for tuition, so they sent their younger daughter off to the knight academy. But shortly after, Eris’ parents died in an accident. The only one left was Eris, with less mana than the average healer. Abandoned by the customers, the hospital could no longer pay for her sister’s tuition or living expenses. So their savings dwindled as she kept sending her sister money. The savings dried up, and Eris had to start borrowing money using the hospital as collateral. The debt kept growing, and I showed up just as things were getting desperate. Eris had already decided to sell the hospital, but upon seeing my proficiency with healing magic she might have entertained thoughts of reviving the business. Or maybe she just employed me because she felt pity for me in my jobless and clueless state. But in the end, she got fed up and fired me due to the sexual harassment. Then for the second time, business suffered and she lost any hope of repaying the debt, so she gave up on the hospital as she had originally intended. I’m just guessing, but it’s probably something along those lines.
「Did you pay off all the debt?」
If she’s late on the debt, it’s possible that she’ll be sold to a slave trader by her creditor and forced to become a servant. If she hasn’t paid back all the debt yet, I have to help her.
「The auction for the hospital will take place in a week. It shouldn’t go for anything lower than 1 million Zeni, and that would cover the debt. My sister’s tuition is already paid in full, so that’s not a problem anymore.」
「How much is the debt itself? S-Say, if you didn’t have to sell the hospital, as much as I can, I’d like to…」
When I say that, Eris chuckles–
「It’s not something you need to worry about. The hospital was going to be sold whether you were there or not. I don’t have any lingering attachment to it. I’m fine. I’ll search for some other hospital to apply to while I’m working at the tavern.」
She says that in a tender voice, then returns to her room.
After talking to Eris, I don’t feel much like going to the labyrinth, so I spend some time at the inn thinking about Eris.
About how Eris’ hospital will be auctioned off in a week. That the proceeds should supposedly be over a million Zeni. And the fact that she has a sister going to a knight academy.
She says she intends to sell the hospital, yet she’s going out of her way to work late at night at the tavern. It gives me the impression that she doesn’t want to give up on the hospital until the last moment.
…I bet she wanted to hold on until her younger sister’s return, to the hospital their parents left them.
I lean against the wall and think about what to do next. If possible, I want to attend the auction and prevent anyone else from buying Eris’ hospital. I could lend Eris the money, but I doubt that she would accept becoming indebted to me.
The only way for me to prevent Eris’ hospital from falling into someone else’s hands at the auction is to buy it myself. But to make over a million Zeni in a week, in the worst case 1.5 to 2 million Zeni, is too much to ask. Between adventuring and healing, my total daily earnings are around 7000 Zeni.
The only way I could make that much money would be to get in touch with rich nobles and merchants and perform EX Heal. But I have no proof that I’m trustworthy. I don’t have a title with a court rank like Bishop or Archbishop, nor have I studied at any church. If such a person approached you claiming to be able to use EX Heal, you would assume he’s a charlatan.
Besides, if a rich person gets severely injured they’ll go to the church right away and pay an eminent priest to get treated. To find someone who’s rich and injured but hasn’t been treated yet, there’s no way I can do that when I have no connections.
I can’t come up with any method to earn a lot of money. But I have to think of one. Yes, within a week.
Eris might not know this since she just came to this inn, but the walls are thin. I’m only leaning against the wall, but the sounds from the next room are mostly audible. Eris said she had no lingering attachment to the hospital.
And yet. …Why then.
Why, on the other side of the wall, do I hear Eris crying?