155 Part 2
While even the clan chief was being annoyed by Maria, a soup emitting a good smell was brought to her at last. The one who brought it to her was a beautiful young lady. She also had cute looking dog ears attached to her head. It should not be just Maria who would rejoice at her appearance. The clan chief who had been talking with Maria was undoubtedly also relieved.
Maria extended her hand toward the soup without further ado and tasted it. Its ingredients were the fruit of an unknown tree and root of some plant, and its seasoning had a light, salty taste. However, it was a delicious soup with some richness in it, perhaps because of how good the skills of the hands that had made it were. Just as she had eaten around half of it, Maria noticed the eyes looking at her. They were the little girls’ covetous eyes.
Even Maria who could not read the room understood its meaning.
“What? Could it be that you’re the sort of magic clan with not enough food?”
“…It’s a bit embarrassing, but to put it simply, that’s pretty much it.”
“Give me a break… I’m not giving you any!”
Amid this unpleasant situation, Maria voraciously drank all the soup. It was a stunt that only she could do.
“Phew, that was delicious! Thank you. At any rate, why did you help me despite not having enough food?”
It was a justified question.
“Because you’re wearing a spirit stone.”
“Spirit stone” apparently refers to the beautiful stone on the necklace that Maria had worn in order to avoid looking tacky. Not knowing that it could be such a thing, Maria was somewhat puzzled.
“That stone only appears before those loved by the spirits. There is no way that we who cherish the spirits could forsake someone loved by the spirits.”
“Do you not have any clue? As to why the spirits would love you?”
Why the spirits would love her. Maria tried tracing back her memory. Now that he mentioned it, it was a curious event. A cute-looking dwarf that could fit in the palm of one’s hand brought water to her mouth when she was roaming the boundary of life and death after eating the fruit of a strange tree. Even after that, she used the dwarf to run her errands while it was difficult for her to move. It was really convenient because the dwarf brought her things that she could eat. Could that have been a good thing? Rather than to say it was how she came to be loved, Maria thinks that seems to be how she came to love instead.
“I don’t remember.”
She felt that would be the safest answer.
“I see. Anyway, as long as that stone is with you, we will not refuse you.”
“Right. It would make sense to go south once you’ve run out of food, but could it be that the reason why you’re not going has something to do with these spirits?”
“… Not quite.”
The chief hesitated a bit before saying that.
“Why, then? You can’t get enough crops in this cold area.”
At that moment, someone else emerged from the darkness of that cave. It was a strong-looking man with a pair of bunny ears sprouting from his head. Another mismatch. The man bared his fangs menacingly as he spoke to both Maria and the chief.
“I’ve been listening, woman. You can’t be this kind to this person, chief! We don’t have that much food ourselves to be sharing it around with humans! Why should we care about her spirit stone? Why does that have anything to do with us? We should leave her to freeze to death outside!”
“Don’t say such things, Daimo. The spirits are always watching over us. I’m sure they sent her here for a reason.”
The chief desperately urged the one called Daimo to shut up.
“Don’t worry about it. But why don’t you go somewhere else? Please, tell me.”
Maria interrupted them.
“Shut up, woman! If you keep bickering, I’ll be forced to kick you out myself!”
“I wasn’t talking to you. Can I please go on? So, what’s the reason?”
“You don’t understand anything…”
Before Daimo had a chance to open his mouth again, Maria quickly got close to him and kicked him with her left leg. A direct hit on his chin was enough to put him in his place.
After dusting off her hands, Maria went back to his conversation with the chief. For some reason, the two girls were cheering and clapping their hands at Maria. Apparently, they didn’t like Daimo that much.
“Ohoho! I-Impressive, Ms. Maria. I apologize for Daimo’s rudeness. Please, have a seat.”
The chief bowed down, and Maria replied by saying “Don’t worry about it” and obediently sat down on the bed. She crossed her long legs as if asking him to go on. The two girls’ eyes glitter in response to Maria’s charisma gradually growing on them. It seemed that the two of them were on their way to become Maria’s fans.
“You said you didn’t know much about the magical clan, but you seem to know how to deal with us.”
“Ah, he just gave me the creeps. I have no intention to involve myself with someone like him–”
“Oh, never mind. Well then, please let me explain. We monsters are loathed across the neighboring countries. And this hate is not always one-sided. There are many of us who, like Daimo, resent humans too.”