Chapter 276

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Orphanage
“Say Takumi-san, do you have any plans for today?”
“No, we haven’t decided yet.”

The next day, right after we finished breakfast, Rebecca-san asked us what we were planning.

“If you have not decided, why don’t you go with me to an orphanage?”
“Orphanage? Sure, why not.”

Orphanage, huh~ Erm, is this something like a sympathy call?
Huh? In different world stories, it’s usually the temple that manages the orphanages, right? I went to the temple in every town we visited, but I never noticed an orphanage. Do things work differently in this world?

“Err… right now?”
“I plan on going a little before lunch. I’m bringing ingredients for lunch with me.”
“Is that so? I have to do my best to help you then.”
“”Do my best to help!””
“Fufu, thank you.”

So, we accompanied Rebecca-san to the orphanage.
During the carriage ride, I asked Rebecca-san about the orphanages in detail, and she told me that orphanages are not run by the temple, but by funds from the country and the lord of the fief.

“Hello, Director.”
“Rebecca-sama, thank you for coming.”

The person called the Director was an elderly woman who smiled calmly at Rebecca-san.

“Are there any changes?”
“Yes, the children are in good health.”
“I see. That’s good to hear. Then, I will let you prepare the meal as usual.”
“Thank you very much.”

Under Rebecca-san’s direction, the cooks and maids from the Ruven household began to bring in the food and other items.

“Umm, I should help too…”
“”… Help too.””
“Oh my, you don’t have to help over there. You are helping me by staying by my side.”

I came here with the intention of helping with the cooking, but Rebecca-san quickly dismissed me.
From Rebecca-san’s point of view, visiting with her is helping.

“Takumi-san, this is your first time visiting an orphanage, right?”
“Yes, that’s correct. The children here seem to be healthy and the environment also looks good.”
“Oh my, does it seem that way? That is great.”

There were more than a dozen children in the room. All of them have the characteristic plump face of a child.

“It’s Rebecca-sama~”
“Really!”
“Rebecca-sama, welcome!”

From three or four years old, smaller than Allen and Elena, to fifteen years old, pre-adolescents kids were rushing towards us.

“Huh~? Who is thish~?”

The gathered kids noticed us and inquired.

“Hello. I’m Rebecca-sama’s helper, Takumi. These children are——”
“… I’m Allen.”
“… I’m Elena.”

Allen and Elena were becoming less shy, but they seemed to be a little nervous, probably because they’ve never been looked at by so many children before.

“My little brother and sister. Will you play with them please?”
“Sure!”
“Let’sh pway!”
“What should we play?”

The children of the orphanage seemed to be sociable and approached Allen and Elena with immediate approval.

“”… What about helping~?””

Allen and Elena look up at me timidly.
They seem to be concerned because I told them we were here to help.

“It doesn’t seem like they need our help here. You can go play with the other kids.”

It’s not often that they get the chance to play with so many children, so I want Allen and Elena to have fun.

“Rebecca-san, is it all right if I take out some toys to play with?”
“There’s no problem at all.”
“Is that so? Thank you.”

I took out a soapy balloon from my Infinite Storage.

“Here, how about you play with this?”
“What is that, Oniichan?”
“It’s a soapy balloon. Allen, Elena, how about you teach them how to play with it?”
“”Okay, got it.””
“Quickly, let’s go~”
“Let’s play, let’s play.”

Allen and Elena received the balloon and moved to a large area with the children of the orphanage.

“Right, Rebecca-san. What should I do if I want to make a donation?”
“Oh my, Takumi-san, you shouldn’t give donations so easily.”
“Eh!? Is that so?”

Donations are no good? We have a good amount of money, so I thought it would be good to donate some…

“Easily, I mean. It’s not like you can’t.”
“It’s fine as long as I don’t give out donations easily, then?”
“Yes. However, you seem like someone who would instantly make a donation if the children in orphanages were skinny. You have to be careful~”
“Ah~ I might not be able to stand it and just watch…”

In fact, I found Allen and Elena when they were scrawny, and I immediately gave them food to eat and raised them. Well, that’s because we had a connection.
I wouldn’t take others in if we are not fated, but I have plenty of money, so I might as well help them, right?

“As I said before, orphanages are run by the country and the lords. And yet, if the children’s nutrition is poor or the building is obviously in shambles, what can you think of?”
“Ah~ the lord or the director of the orphanage is neglecting the management?”
“It could also be someone else’s work, but that’s what it is about.”

I see~ You can’t just donate money to an orphanage just because you feel that the orphanage doesn’t seem to be doing well.

“That’s why you have to immediately report to His Majesty if you find orphanages like that in other towns, Takumi-san.”
“Eh, to His Majesty, you mean Tristan-sama!?”
“If you do a bad job trying to find out who is at fault, they could conceal their traces. The best thing to do is to report it to the top and leave it in the hands of the investigation team.”

Certainly, it’s as Rebecca-san said. If I find an orphanage like that, I will report it to Tristan-sama before anything.

“I understand, I will do just that. However, there’s no problem in donating to a proper place, right?”
“Fufu, that’s fine. The buildings will inevitably age and unforeseen incidents might happen, so there are cases when the annual budget is simply not enough. That’s why we appreciate donations.”
“I’m afraid I can’t do it here, so please help me with the donation when we return back to the mansion.”
“Thank you. By the way, it’s also important to properly state what you want your donation to be used for. Or you can donate daily necessities instead of money, too.”
“I’m learning a lot.”

I’m learning a lot of things I really didn’t know about.
While I was talking with Rebecca-san, it seemed that lunch preparations were finished. I saw all the children moving together to the dining room.
I could also see that the children from the orphanage were inviting Allen and Elena to go with them.
However, Allen and Elena seemed to be wondering if it was okay for them to go, as they were glancing at me.

“My, oh my, it seems that they have become good friends already.”
“Indeed.”

I gestured for them to go, and Allen and Elena nodded and headed toward the dining room.

“We should move to the dining room as well, Takumi-san.”
“Okay. Though, this makes me feel a bit lonely~”
“Because the children distance themselves a little from their older brother?”
“Yes.”

Allen and Elena, who would have come back to me without hesitation before, started to distance themselves from me. I was happy to see that they had grown up, but at the same time I was sad.

“Fufu, children grow in a blink of an eye~”
“That is true. Ah~ What am I going to do if I’m the one that can’t distance myself from my little brother and little sister?”
“My, oh my!”

When I expressed my sincere feelings, Rebecca-san started laughing.

“You are terrible, Rebecca-san. I’m being very serious here~”
“Fufu, sorry about that. But, it’s fine. It won’t change the fact that both Allen-chan and Elena-chan love their older brother.”
“They both love you too, Rebecca-san. Of course, me as well.”
“Oh my, I’m happy to hear that. Then, I will have my precious son escort me to the dining room.”
“Leave it to me.”

We smiled at each other and headed to the dining room.

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