We have finally arrived at the granary after about a ten-minute walk. I told Iris to stay outside while I count the sacks of grain that is in the wooden structure.
Surprisingly, it is unguarded. With what is happening in the region, I would expect at least some security stationed at this post. Nah, with the walls so heavily guarded around town, I doubt someone would be able to sneak in to steal anything.
48… 49… 50. Phew, done counting. 50 sacks of grain, each weighing about 5 kilograms. The granary is still half empty, the townspeople are gluttonous, corrupt elites after all.
But why is a granary placed at such a remote location like this? Wouldn’t it be more efficient placing it closer to a population centre?
I’m not a city or town planner, so I can’t question their decision. I put these thoughts behind me as I leave the granary. Looking over to the side of the building, I saw Iris squatting in front of a bed of flowers.
“Iris?”, I called out to her as I walk over.
“Granny Beet said that my name comes from flowers.”, she said.
“Granny Beet” must be the caretaker of the orphanage.
“Mhm. She said my mom and dad gave me a beautiful name.”
“It is.”, I bent down beside her to observe the bed of flowers. There are many different colours on that patch of ground. Red, white, a whole rainbow of them.
“How many demons have you killed?”, another surprising question asked. She’s curious and smart, more so than the average four-year-old child. If my memory serves, I ate dirt when I was four.
“Hmm, I’ve killed a few. In fact, I killed a vampire quite recently!”
Her eyes widened with awe. “Really? Where? Do they really like blood?”, question after question.
“That’s a common misconception, actually. They suck fluids out of any living creature they get their claws on.”
Her attention waned as she returns her gaze to the bed of flowers and fidget with both her thumbs.
“Are your mommy and daddy okay with you being a Karma?”
“What do you mean?”
“I wanna be one, but mom always says no. I would be better off in school.”
“Your mother is correct.”, I gave a strict reply. “She knows being a Karma is dangerous.”
“Your mother loves you and wants you to live happily, free of any dangers.”, these are the thoughts of what a mother would say to a child, definitely - without a doubt. “Do you understand?”
I hope she understands…
“Mmm… Okay.”, she said with a sad expression.
That was easy.
“What were your parents’ job?”
So they were here to help the sickly. But on the way to a town safe enough to rest, they were met with an unfortunate outcome. An outcome that can be directly traced to the famine.
“I lost my mom and dad when I was a kid.”, my answer to her question of parental approval. “My other… ‘Mom’? Well, she only knows to teach me to kill demons and… TICKLE ME!”, I start to tickle Iris to cheer her up.
“HAHAHAHA!”, her eyes tear up from laughter.
A weird way to answer that question, isn’t it? Start with something tragic and end it with something cheerful.
After getting tired of tickling her, I let go. She plucked a flower from the rainbow-coloured patch of flowers that we were looking at and handed it to me.
“You’re okay. I’ll give it to you.”, she handed me a flower with purple petals.
I smiled and pat her on the head and said “thank you.”
“That is a nice conversation.”, a familiar voice projected from the direction of the granary.
“You love to sneak up on me, don’t you, Sakaki?”, I stood up and replied.
Iris rushed to my back, being the bashful child she is.
“We’re about done, let’s go back.” I said.