When the children returned, it was far later than he had first thought, so Levan furrowed his brows as he spoke,
“I thought you had run away or something. Why are you so late? Where were you and what were you doing?”
Since they had gone to meet with Rockefeller and then went back again to convince the merchants at the market, it was inevitable that the two brothers had returned late.
In the fave of Levan’s anger, Joshua’s voice caught in his throat, so Andrew stepped forwards,
“You see, we met a pack of wild dogs on the way back, we’re very sorry.”
“What? A pack of wild dogs?”
At those words, Levan’s anger dropped almost instantly, and was replaced by shock and worry.
“Did you guys get hurt? Even if they are just dogs – meeting a pack of them is still dangerous.”
“We’re alright. We grabbed some big stones and threw them at the pack and they ran away. The wild dogs around here are scared of people so they avoid them. Still, we were careful since you never know.”
Andrew patted the sack of ingredients as if to show it off,
“And it’s not like it’s just us we had to worry about, so we were even more careful when were coming. Everything in here is safe.”
It was the children of the village who would jump up with sticks and stones in hand whenever they saw a pack of wild dogs approach the village. So the wild dogs were nothing more than a convenient excuse and in reality, held no danger for them.
However, for Levan, wo couldn’t know that, looked at the two children with eyes filled with concern.
“Still, I’m glad nothing happened. Even a wild dog can be dangerous if you aren’t careful so you did well. There’s nothing to lose by being careful.”
“Still, I hope we aren’t too late.”
“You can make up for that by working extra hard tomorrow. Don’t worry about something like that.”
Some moments later, Levan took the sack that the two children had brought over and began to check the ingredients.
And it was good that he checked.
He had a strange feeling something was different.
Somehow it felt like the amount of ingredients they had got had changed.
‘It’s somehow… less than what they got normally? Is it just me?’
He began to organise the ingredients more carefully, checking each item and became more certain as he did so that there was less food here than they would get normally.
“Kids, why is there less than normal here? You haven’t taken anything from here have you?”
Had they actually stolen the ingredients like Joshua had suggested at first, with their young age, they probably would have made some kind of mistake here that would have given them away.
But regardless of his suspicions, they had decided to deceive him in different way – and so Andrew, who was still stood in front of Joshua, was able to face his questioning without hesitation.
And that too, with an iron mask of ignorance on his face.
“What? Why? Is there a problem?”
“It looks like some food is missing from here. We’ve been buying stuff from the markets everyday since we’ve arrived here – but why does it feel like there’s less food today than normal? You didn’t take any did you?”
“Of course not,”
Joshua, who had been watching from over Andrew’s shoulder stepped out too,
“We would never do that! It’s true!”
“So then why is the amount less than normal? The money I have you was the same but just the amount of food you got has lessened.”
Andrew came forwards to look at the stuff they had bought.
“Is everything like that? We just went to the market and bought the freshest thing from several different merchants.”
Although the overall amount had reduced, it wasn’t the case for every single item.
Among the ingredients, there was some that were the same amount as they had been buying so far, and some that had lessened to the point where the difference was visible even with a cursory glance.
“It’s not like that, but it definitely seems lacking in some areas. You guys, did ajusshi not warn you? That you should never try to scam us?”
“We absolutely didn’t!”
Andrew even came forward and began looking through the ingredients they had brought.
“Why is it like this? It really looks like less than normal? We go shopping in the markets too. Like you said, it really does look like they us less than normal.”