「孤児院の大改革」 (Kojiin no Daikaikaku)
The worms are out of the can. Turns out the orphanage is a glorified farm where children are raised in impoverished conditions like livestock, without a care for their wellbeing and a focus on selling them as servants to noble houses for the sake of a quick profit. This isn’t unrealistic – slavery and serfdom have been a repetitive feature throughout the annals of human history, accepted as a cultural norm before our modern times. And unfortunately, Myne finds herself living in such times – but is unable to reconcile the harsh reality with her moral sensibilities. Church politics also obstructs her path forwards, preventing her from achieving a more direct solution.
Even the Head Priest isn’t allowed to express his true views, regardless of the disdain he feels towards the current situation. However, Lutz and Benno come up with a genius idea – make all these orphans her retainers, and get them to work collecting materials for her aspiring paper manufacturing business. With their encouraging nudges, she decides not to give up. And I really love it in isekai when the protagonists use knowledge from their previous life, our world, to enrich and better the lives of residents in their new world. So damn wholesome, and makes you appreciate the progress human civilisation has made over these millenniums.
Good deeds should be praised, and Myne deserves all the credit for doing what she could to help the orphans. But I can’t tell if she’s being altruistic, or if it’s a more selfish desire so she can enjoy reading books without the moral dilemma of dying children weighing on her mind. Let’s be honest, child labour just happens to be the significantly better option of two evils in this scenario. However you can definitely see that she’s filled with the best of intentions – although I don’t expect it to be an instantaneous process without its teething pains. Nevertheless, these orphans will now be in a much better place. Even if she leaves, I’ll assume that Myne will impart extremely useful life skills or knowledge that will be useful for them in the future. And you know what? That’s really wonderful, so I look forwards to seeing how it plays out – with what I hope will be minimal trouble or interference from third parties.