The Last Surviving Alchemist Wants to Live Quietly in the City Chapter 23

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T/N: Riendro is now Leandro

Mariela and Sieg were shown to the so-called Housing Management Department by Leandro. It seemed that the Housing Management Department was tasked with government affairs entrusted by the district count, which were said to include resident registration, housing management, and housing support of inner Labyrinth city.

"What a surprise, Vice-Department Head Leandro. Thanks for coming all the way here." The supervisor of the housing support division greeted Leandro courteously.

(So this person is pretty high up, I see.)

"Department Head Elmera has requested that you introduce a 'good property' to Miss Mariela."

(So Ms Elmera is even higher up. And here I thought she was a medicinal herb enthusiast.)

Mariela was asked about her requirements, so she requested for "a house with a garden where you can create a medicinal herb garden that also came with a shop s.p.a.ce." Upon hearing that, the housing support supervisor looked stumped, "A medicinal herb garden…" He then flipped through the pages of the 'Files of Unoccupied Properties' that was divided into city districts.

"There should be a lot of unoccupied shops at least, right?" Mr Leandro said.

"We do have unoccupied shops, but the issue lies with the medicinal herb garden… All the houses with areas for gardening have been taken up. After all, properties where you can grow food safely are popular, you see. We have plenty of shops in good locations, but aside from their yards being small, they have been paved with stone for carriage parking."

Leandro and the housing support supervisor exchanged glances, then they each flipped through the files.

"Um, I can make the medicinal herb garden outside Labyrinth city…"

When Mariela tried to offer a compromise, they objected.

"Preposterous!"
"No way. That's dangerous."

She watched the two as they turned down the properties left and right. As she drank the tea the Housing Management Department Head older sister had given her, she thought, Ah, this tea is delicious. Does the merchant guild sell it? Let's get some.

"THIS PLACE!?" 

Mr Leandro gave a shout as soon as he found one.

However, the housing support supervisor said, "That place has a tree grow growing smack bang in the middle, and apparently, the yield is scarce. It seems they were unable to get permission to cut down the tree. Moreover, the shop s.p.a.ce is a half-baked addition; it's terribly rundown."

"Ahh, that place, huh. How should I say it, it's a half-done former mansion."

"Yeah. There were structural alterations done by the owner and the town planners, but how should I put it? The property is unique. The land is big, so it was left as is, but it's difficult to utilise in proportion to its cost, so it's been left empty."

Mariela got curious, so she studied the doc.u.ment. A map of the property, a rough sketch, and an outline were recorded down. It was located a little bit away from the north gate street in the northwest district; a place close to the central district of Labyrinth city. The residents of the northwest district were mostly average citizens, so the shop where Mariela and Sieg bought clothes and other general stores were also located there. It was close to the labyrinth, so adventurers would also come to patronise. It was a pretty good location for individuals to open a shop.

(Huh, isn't this place the Spirit Park?)

The 'Spirit Park,' as the name suggested, was a park that grew a lot of sacred trees, and plenty of spirits resided here. This was the place her master had brought her to, the time she went to make a 'Contract with a Spirit.'

"Go play. If you make a friend who tells you their name, I'll bring you there."

So Mariela played around the park as her master had told her, and she formed a contract with a spirit she got close to and tied a 'Line' with the ley line. Even though she took the trouble to make a friend, she never went back to the 'Spirit Park' since then, so she had cut off her ties with that spirit. She was even told, "Let's play again next time." She was certain that this was the place since she had asked her master about it to see the spirit once more.

"Please show me this property."

Even though 200 years had pa.s.sed, she wanted to try going to the 'Spirit Park.'

After they thanked Mr Leandro, Mariela and Sieg decided to the head over to the place with the supervisor.

According to the supervisor's report, the northwest district sustained the most damage from the stampede. It had become mostly empty, so during the early days of the reconstruction, they had wanted to build houses starting from this area. This property was also a part of that. Apparently, in spite of its small scale, it used to be a n.o.ble's mansion. The outer walls of the house were constructed of solid stone, so it still perfectly fit within the building standards of Labyrinth city even after a century.

Along with the reconstruction, as the n.o.ble district in the southeast district was also rebuilt, the residents of this place moved to another house that was suitable for the n.o.ble district. Though the remaining houses were sold by the government to private owners, the requirement of the town planners of Labyrinth city was to modify the position of the outer wall along with maintaining the highway, and instead of reducing the backyards to a third of its size, yards were put to the front.

The houses in Labyrinth city, whether they had a front yard or not, would have a small s.p.a.ce for lighting at least, so the backyard could be taken as a large area. The yards took no consideration for scenery, and since they were used practically to establish a carriage parking s.p.a.ce or a small stable and for growing crops, taking the backyard as the more proper area of the two was more logical because it was away from people's prying eyes.  

As this house had a 10m limit for the front side according to district regulations, from the perspective of the residents of Labyrinth city, it gave the impression of an half-done structure.

Furthermore, a part of the house that used to be the kitchen was demolished to not get in the way of the tree that was growing right on the side of the building. Normally, it would be the tree that gets cut down, but permission to do so wasn't granted, and there were directions to deal with the problem by restructuring a part of the house-the supervisor explained as he read the doc.u.ment.

The previous owners were a two-generation parent and child household. They managed a restaurant, so in place of the demolished kitchen, they attached a kitchen and dining hall to the house by extending a roof between the garden by the main street and the outer wall. Though it was stated as attached, perhaps due to restrictions in the budget, only the kitchen part became an actual building, so the shop side apparently only had a canopy stretched across it. It seemed to be a shop with a good atmosphere, with makes.h.i.+ft terrace seating under a canopy and a living room in the building.

"It's cold in winter, isn't it? For terrace seating. Also, the grounds were large, so the rent was expensive."

The rent was three gold per annum. Properties with the same shop area and site condition were roughly two gold, so they were paying one gold in excess, and the number of customers also dwindled during winter. The previous owners seemed to have waited for another property to be available first before moving away.

They arrived at the location while they listened to the explanations.

"Sacred tree."
"Sacred tree."

Mariela's and Sieg's voices overlapped. There was a large tree that towered over a little east from the centre of the grounds. It was higher than a two-storey building, and when she looked up from the entrance at the front, she could see it over the building.

Permission to cut down the tree shouldn't have been granted. A sacred tree was holy, and it protected the people from monsters. Normally, building a house so close to it would be impossible because sacred trees were said to wither when they were enclosed alone. It seemed very much like the saying "The spirits of the sacred tree move to another tree."

This place seemed to have been the 'Spirit Park' two hundred years ago, but there was no shadow of it now. Could it have truly been deserted? Judging from the size of the tree, she thought that the sacred tree growing in the park would be growing saplings or seeds.

Where could the spirit whom Mariela befriended have gone off to? Not even one spirit could be found, and there was also only a single sacred tree growing.

She pa.s.sed through the house and approached the tree. The soil around it was dry; the tree didn't really seem to be tended for.

>

She sprinkled water filled with more magic than usual around the tree. If the spirits directed through the ley line would be satisfied with the magic-imbued water, they would no doubt also like this sacred tree.

She caressed the trunk.

"h.e.l.lo. I'm Mariela. May I live here?"

Spirits were said to live in sacred trees, so could they also be in this tree? Even if there were any, her words probably wouldn't reach them, but still.

A leaf from the sacred tree fluttered onto Mariela's palm. It was a leaf as flat as her palm, so it would be precious as an ingredient for potions. The sacred tree looked like a deciduous tree, but it didn't shed its leaves in winter. The tree will wilt and wither from the tips if you were to forcibly pluck leaves from it, so she was told that you'll have to ask for it to share some when you need leaves.

(Does this mean that it's okay for us to live here?)

Sieg also followed Mariela, giving water to the sacred tree and receiving leaves. For some reason, he got around ten. He was very welcome. Was he popular?

The sacred tree didn't seem to be a problem. Though the garden and soil seemed dry, it was good enough for a medicinal herb garden. Or rather, bromomintera(ブロモミンテラ) would grow densely in a 20m2 garden, and she wouldn't make any progress in the production of monster warding potion.

Even with barren soil, medicinal herbs could grow with no issues with a rich magic source. Since Labyrinth city was now within monster territory, this shouldn't be an issue.

The supervisor showed her around the interior of the building. Labyrinth city had its own building standards—that the buildings be strong enough to hold themselves in case monsters swarm the streets.

First, the outer perimeter of the grounds had to be surrounded by a stone wall that exceeded the height of a person. The thickness of the stone walls also had a specification—st.u.r.dy, with the width of a person. The outer wall of the houses was also the same thickness, and the window of the first storey required iron grids inserted to bar monster entry. There was also a bas.e.m.e.nt that had to be stocked with enough supplies to last a week for the worst case scenario.

The building standards weren't clearly specified, but in order to avoid monsters detecting the walls and buildings, there had to be magic-absorbing daisis ivy(デイジスの蔦) to prevent the human magic of residents from leaking outside. On the flower bed, instead of colourful flowers, bromomintera with eerie purplish red leaves grew, releasing a scent hated by monsters.

To alleviate the sombre prison-like mood, elaborate patterns of ivy and flowers decorated the iron grills on the windows, and a colourful cloth hung down from the rooftop to the outer wall. On the outer wall also hung a large curtain from the signboard of the shop. With the townscape that overflowed with exotic feelings, the thick walls were decorated with the breath of livelihood. This town isn't bad, Mariela thought.

The building was also known as a former mansion, and it was reliably constructed, so the strength didn't seem to be an issue. There was a large living room in the first storey, and a small room - probably a bar- that was a third of the size of the living room at the back. A number of tables and chairs that had been used in the restaurant were left inside the small room.

On the other side of the corridor, there was a bathroom, a toilet, and a storeroom. The storeroom wall faced the sacred tree, and since the materials of the wall were new, it appeared to have been a kitchen. A backdoor with the new wall was established in the back of the house. As soon as one entered through the back door, there were the stairs that led up to the second storey and the bas.e.m.e.nt. The bas.e.m.e.nt seemed to also be divided into a number of smaller rooms, so this s.p.a.ce was more than enough for two people.

Aside from the storeroom, there were four rooms on the second storey. By the wall that was moved to avoid touching the tree, there was a small balcony and a flight of stairs up to the rooftop. The houses in this area dried their was.h.i.+ng on the roof, so it must be for that.

If a water expert checked this building, with just some cleaning, it would be usable immediately. Renovations depended on the budget, but by changing the wallpaper and installing carpets and curtains, it could become a cosy s.p.a.ce.

In the south wing of the building, the 10m of s.p.a.ce between the front door and entrance hall that used to be the garden were expanded into a guest room for the kitchen and restaurant. That said, it was only the kitchen section that was even roofed; the guest room section had deck flooring and a tarp ceiling. As there was no window for lighting at the outer wall, they must have used a sheet of tarp for the ceiling with lighting in mind, but it had deteriorated over time, and the deck flooring was also damaged from the elements. Perhaps to highlight the inner wall and interior of the building, it was painted with a light colour, but it was patchy in certain places. There was a counter built in the building side, which just managed to retain a shop atmosphere.

(If I'm setting up the store, it'll be here, but it needs quite a bit of work.)

"So it's okay if I work on the building, right? Can you introduce me a carpenter?"

Mariela asked, and the supervisor replied in surprise,

"Of course, it's not a problem if it's within the building standards. I can introduce you a carpenter who knows the standards. But since the building is in this condition, it'll cost you."

The supervisor explained the circ.u.mstances of the houses in Labyrinth city. First, the owners.h.i.+p of the land must be entirely on lease from the district count's land. The rent for the land the building sits on and everywhere else was calculated from the unit price of the city block, together with a tax that was imposed yearly. In Labyrinth city, the number of deceased residents was unknown, and houses could also be destroyed when monsters swarmed. Every year, the survival of the residents could be confirmed by collecting rent, and if by some chance the houses did get destroyed, with the order of the district count, rebuilding is possible. Since the land was the property of the district count, being told that one couldn't rebuild simply because the owner was unknown was impossible.

Not renewing the residency contract when you're living with no issues or getting suddenly evicted from the house was not a thing, so please be at ease. The details he spoke of were in the special law of Labyrinth city's residence management regulations and so on and so forth, so she sought for a continuation of the explanation.

"The main takeaway is that citizen registration, survival confirmation and tax levy, and even provisions in the case of emergency are all carried out by the residential lease contract."

The building section had two types: purchase or rent; this building seemed to be for purchase. It seemed that she could do whatever she wanted with the items left inside and the plants in the garden. However, conditions like "Forbidden to cut down the sacred tree" also seemed to exist though.

"This is the price of this property, but since the main building has deteriorated from age and the expanded section is terribly dilapidated, it will be three gold coins. The rent of the land will be three gold coins per year. It's already two thirds into the year, so the rent for this year will be one gold coin. The particulars will be calculated after we go back, but the contract period of this building requires four gold and three more every year after the fiscal year. Moreover, the main building lacks a kitchen, and the kitchen in the expansion section is also in this state. If the shop section will be getting repairs as well, it would end up costing quite a sum."

I see. Certainly, the property is delicate, she thought. It's too expensive for the average citizen, and even with agricultural skills, they can't get profit with the yield. The residential area is too small for a large merchant, and it's also far from the n.o.ble district.

"This place is good. The contract please."

However, it was a covetous property for an alchemist. To have a sacred tree in the garden, that was simply too marvellous. Since she could sell even potions, the rent shouldn't be an issue.

Mariela signed the contract the same day they returned to the merchants' guild and paid four gold. When she received the written contract and the key, she ended up grinning as she savoured the feeling of obtaining the castle of her heart's desire.

"We have arranged for a carpenter. Can you choose the person who will be coming to work immediately here? Since you were introduced by Department Head Elmera, we will dispatch a skilled carpenter. Regarding the repair plans and cost, please consult with them directly. We will contact you, and the meeting will be at the actual place tomorrow afternoon."

The talks proceeded without a hitch. The supervisor said that it wouldn't be an issue to move in starting from today, but it seemed that, normally, people would move in after the cleaning contractor had cleaned up the place and finished the remodelling. She was also told that the arrangements around here were also what the carpenter would do for them. Belongings would get in the way of work, and there was also the fear of robbery.

She was in high spirits nonetheless. There were also four rooms upstairs. Where shall she set up the workshop? How were they going to set up the shop? They had to check for the furniture they needed and so on.

At the store of the merchants' guild, they bought bread and bottled drinks. Without forgetting to buy the tea leaves when they left the office, she headed back to the house with Sieg. They had lunch under the sacred tree and chatted about how they should remodel.

A/N:

Sieg is too oblivious…

T/N:

Hey guys! New translator here. I'm AuriCa. I've been asked by Bunny to take over, and here I am. You may or may not know me from , which is another novel that's being translated on this site (check it out if you haven't already ;D)

As some of you probably may have already known, Bunny (the previous translator) is going to take a break from translation for an indefinite amount of time. He will be back though. (He'd better : )

So, until his return (I'm holding you to your words, Bunny : ), this novel will be my side project. I'm still getting familiar with the writing style of this author so I can't guarantee a regular schedule for this yet; releases for this novel will be whenever it's ready. Since I've only just started, expect weeks between releases at worst. For those who are wondering if this will impact Kusuriya, not at all, I'll be steadily pumping out chapters for Maomao no matter what.

The Last Surviving Alchemist Wants to Live Quietly in the City Chapter 23

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