14. Werewolf (3)

「Your reward is 3000 yin. Give me 600 yin.」

「……What did you say?」

There was hostility in the girl’s eyes, but I continued regardless.

「From what I heard from your employer, it seems that you have [Leg Strength Enhancement]. It’s just that…」

「That’s right. It doesn’t even last ten seconds.」

Perhaps because it was a well-known fact, she said it openly without going through the trouble of hiding it.

That’s why the foreman called it “shitty skill”. [Leg Strength Enhancement] is a highly versatile basic skill, but its short duration probably won’t help much in carrying cargo.

「I can extend that duration. You will be able to use your skill for days, or even weeks.」

「There’s no way that’s possible…」

「What if you could? You could finish transporting those wheat bags by tomorrow, right?」

If it’s the way things are going, it’ll probably take three, or even four days at the earliest. After deducting the meal cost, she will be left with 1,800 yin.

But what if we finish it by today or tomorrow?

It will be 2,400 yin after paying for her meal.

After giving my cut, it will be 1800 yin.

She can get the same amount of money in half the time.

「Do you understand the calculation?」

「Don’t make fun of me. I can read and write.」

She has received a good education. As I expected, she is not just a vagrant. I still don’t understand why such a child is being pushed so hard in a place like this, but now is not the time to pry into it.

「I get money. And you get paid faster. It’s a win-win situation. It’s your choice.」

「…If it doesn’t end quickly, I won’t give you the money.」

「Fair.」

Perhaps because I agreed immediately, the girl’s expression finally softened a little.

Investors are usually not responsible for the performance of work, but… it’s a different story if I’m investing in skills and money. I should think flexibly here.

「You understand the skill system, right? You will have to repay me in 10 days. I will receive 10% more skill points than what I lent you, but if you use your skill normally at work, you should be able to accumulate enough. Is that okay?」

「Yeah.」

It’s been several years since I gave this explanation. I explained this to Altora in more detail, but I’m sure this child understands it better.

「Koe-san, please.」

「Yes, master.」

「[Skill Lender], activate.」

【The lending process will begin. Please select the recipient and the skill.】

I heard Koe-san’s voice in my head. As she mentioned previously, there was no problem with the skill assistance. Her skill function can be fulfilled properly.

「I am Marge. Marge Siu. What’s your name?」

「It’s Shizuku. Just Shizuku.」

「That’s a nice name.」

[Debtor: Shizuku Skill: Duration Enhancement has been selected. Executing process.]

The skill I lent to Shizuku was [Duration Enhancement]. As the name suggests, it is a skill that extends the duration of a skill’s effect. I previously lent it to Tina and used it to keep her healing skill active from the start of the battle until the end.

Right now, what I have in my hand is that advanced-level skill [Star Frost]. I distributed the skill points from that skill to the extent that it is not difficult to repay the loan.

「This should be fine. Also, this is a free gift.」

「Gift?」

「When you’re making an investment, you give a small present to show that you’re acquainted.」

「…! Sweet!!」

It’s not like I gave her anything great. It was just some baked goods I bought nearby. Still, Shizuku enthusiastically stuffed it into her mouth and ran to the temporary storage area at the end of her lunch break.

After seeing her off, Koe-san asked me.

「Master, why are you taking money? Couldn’t you have lent it to her for free?」

「…Because she had a prideful look in her eyes. Even if she’s dirty, she’s proud of herself. I just thought she wasn’t the type to accept something that was given to her out of pity.」

◆◆◆

「…To think it didn’t even take until tomorrow.」

Under the sunset sky, we were looking at the empty temporary storage area with dumbfounded looks.

The way Shizuku worked in the afternoon was beyond shocking. At first she was just a little faster than before. But she gradually accelerated and finally started transporting it while running. By the time the sun went down, all the bags of wheat were in the warehouse.

Running while carrying a load that weighs more than half your own weight. Even though her skills have been strengthened, I guess that’s the natural disposition of a werewolf.

「Master, what about Shizuku-san?」

「She went to collect her wages. It does feel like she’s taking a little while, though…」

Just as I was starting to get worried, I saw Shizuku coming out of a building in the back – apparently her employer’s office. She slowly walked towards me.

「…Marge, thanks to you, it ended quickly.」

「That was quicker than I expected. The effect of the skill will last until the end of the 10 days, so you should find another job and earn some money.」

At this rate, I should be able to get a large amount of money by the time I recollect my skill. Shizuku can also read, write and do math. If she uses that money to dress well, she’ll probably find a better job. We can expect an improvement from her that is not just a temporary fix.

After saying that, Shizuku gave a small nod and took out a 100-yin copper coin.

「…This is the promised 600 yin.」

「Thanks. I hope you get a better job next time.」

「Uh, yeah. See you then.」

Shizuku nodded unconvincingly and left while waving goodbye.

「Shizuku…?」

I was a little concerned about her, but she had done an unbelievable amount of physical labor in a single day, after all. Thinking that she was probably tired, we both saw her off without calling out to her.

The next day. This is what Koe-san and I witnessed at a corner of the market when we went out to buy consumables.

「Master, that is…」

「…Shizuku? What are you doing?」

We saw Shizuku, looking as dirty as ever, picking up something from muddy water and eating it.

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