A Day of Punishment
You could very well call it inevitable.
After our reunion, Shion-san led us through the ruins straight to the exit.
Finding out what else the ruins held would wait for another time.
The exit wasn't that far away.
On the way, we encountered bears twice, but with Shion-san, they posed no problem whatsoever.
...really none whatsoever.
I'm not going to be surprised anymore.
But this time, it was Shion-san's turn to be surprised.
"Eh!? One hit!?"
Her eyes widened at the power of the Thunder I had let loose from behind her.
Apparently my Thunder does have the power to fell bears in one hit.
Well, that still doesn't give any new, weird ideas.
And then we returned to Rinnal.
To my home (temporary).
"And this person, he was so worried about you, Alice-chan, he went round and round and round in circles, you know? He just should've kept you here in the first place, right?"
Aunty was talking to me with a smile on her face, but I just couldn't get myself to say "yes".
I only apologized.
I profoundly apologized to Uncle, too.
There was this weird feeling of guilt pushing me.
By the way, Shion-san had found uncle acting suspiciously, cornered him with questions and found out about my outing that way.
She'd managed to find me because apparently I'd still been partied with her and through looking at the Status, it seems you can roughly locate your party members.
No, really, I'm sorry.
I clenched my fists, resolved myself and presented Uncle my head.
It's still scary though.
I mean, I don't think (leveled up to) level 6 me's armor stand up to an attack from level 38 Uncle.
"Some recklessness suits you young'uns just fine."
And then he made a sombre face and went into the house.
Behind us, Aunty and Shion-san were whispering.
"Oh? He clearly loves Alice."
"Come on, that man. That's so wrong for his age."
I'm not into men...
The next day, I was prohibited from adventuring.
As punishment, I was to help all around the house, run errands and the like.
It's a punishment in name, but since I'm a freeloader I think helping out is natural. They're really a nice family.
"For the floor, it's okay if I sweep it with the broom and clean it with a cloth afterwards, right?"
Since it's early in the morning, I'm to start with the cleaning.
Unsurprisingly my long hair would get in the way, so I got it tied into a ponytail with a ribbon from Aunty.
No, I never said I want a ribbon!?
Aunty did it for me, okay!
"Oh my, you're so cute, Alice-chan!
"Eh, really? Really..."
It's fine that she's happy over it, but I can't honestly share that feeling. Is that due to my male heart?
I don't want to lose it, that feeling.
My eyes met Uncle's, who had taken position on the sofa in the living room.
With his dandy face he gave me an approving nod.
... it's not like I care, but doesn't this guy have a job to do?
What day is it again today?
For now, let's ignore the sloth and start working.
The house is built with wood, so the cleaning is basically the same as it was in school.
By the way, we get water from the well.
It seems there's abundant underground water that's easily tapped with a hand pump.
The pump is right in the garden, so the labor is not that heavy.
...if you have normal Endurance and Strength.
Filling the bucket and carrying it back inside is quite exhausting.
There may be more than plenty of water underground, but I should still treasure the water I fetch.
Alright, everything's prepared, let's start cleaning from the high places.
I began wiping the tops of the shelves and the window frames with a cloth.
"Windows, huh... I wonder how they make the glass."
"Well, with alchemy of course."
Of course, huh, is that so.
Shion-san had come out of her room, replied to my murmur and gone back into her room.
When I turned around, Aunty was sewing at the living room table.
Her hands were glowing.
She was changing the Petite Panther's Furs I had provided into a Leather Robe.
There's no denying it's handmade, yet different from being sewn stitch by stitch.
Fantasy, is amazing.
And Uncle, still sitting on the sofa, gave me a thumbs up.
Whatever, just get to work.
After cleaning the bath, I cleaned the kitchen and then the rest of the house, apart from everyone's rooms.
Because I got up so early, the sun hasn't completely risen yet.
This world isn't yet enslaved to time through clocks.
When the sun may or may not have completely gone up, the church bell rings, and when it may or may not have gone down, it rings once more.
So in the morning, the bell rings with sunrise.
Well, I like it better when the time flows leisurely like this.
The Japanese are too hectic.
For lunch, I ate a bit of the bread Aunty had prepared.
I again confirmed once more that the food isn't that different.
The bread was just like baguette, with some sort of meat and something like lettuce sandwiched in it.
I really want mustard.
As far as appetite goes, I really can't eat anymore since my body shrunk.
One slice of bread, cut so that it fits on the palm of my hand, is the limit.
Uncle and Shion-san are total gluttons though, they eat uncut breads whole.
They must have a high Engel's coefficient.
From noon, I was to run errands.
With that, I should learn a bit about the price level, too.
Aunty gave me 100 Rook and sent me on my first errand.
1 Rook = 1 copper coin.
100 Rook = 1 silver coin.
10.000 Rook = 1 gold coin.
That's how the money in this world works.
I received one silver coin and put it into the small pouch hanging from my belt.
All things considered, this is a tranquil town.
Well, my family home was in the boonies, so it's no big difference to there.
"Ahhh, there's a weird Silver Hair! Silver Hair, Silver Hair!"
On the way, some weird stupid brat picked a fight with me.
It's annoying, but I don't want to cause Shion-san trouble, so let's not be rash.
Why did you just introduce yourself so triumphantly?
You're just Stupid Brat with somewhat reddish, frizzy hair.
"... ehhhm, Kal-kun?"
"You, what grade are you in?"
Maybe I should tear him a new one after all?
I wonder, do I gain proficiency from releasing magic against humans?
I'm suddenly in the mood for some inhuman experiments.
I'm also reflecting at the moment!
I'm not going to cause problems!
"Alice~? Silver-Haired Alice~! So weird!"
He ran circles around me as if he'd found something funny.
Just when I had started to rather seriously think about bringing hell on earth upon this brat, someone hit him over the head with their fist.
"You're an embarrassment, so stop! I'm really sorry!"
A girl with the same somewhat reddish, frizzy hair as the stupid brat.
Her skin is a healthy light brown and the freckles suit her superbly.
His sister, probably, earnestly apologized for the stupid brat and dragged him away.
That's one of the things that happened.
And like that, I went along the main road and toured the shops. Although it was noon, there weren't many people around.
A fruit store, a vegetable store, a butcher, there was even a fish dealer.
Since they have fish, does that mean there's a sea nearby?
I can't think they'd refrigerate the fish and carry it from afar.
For the time being, I went around the shops without buying anything.
One rinnal costs 3 Rook.
A vegetable that looks like nothing but a large radish costs 1 Rook.
A fillet of unidentifiable meat, 5 Rook.
4 Rook for a mackerel-looking fish.
Well, even if I buy foodstuff for the whole family and go back, there'll be change left.
They left what I buy to me, too, since I'm in charge of dinner for the day, so I guess I'll make curry. I can make it after all.
Just when I was about to start buying, a large carriage came onto the main road.
It seemed unusual for the residents as well, as it gathered a lot of stares.
Of course, I'm part of that crowd, too.
The carriage has a splendid design and is a pleasure to behold for a newbie at other worlds like me.
... is what I thought at first, but there's something slightly ominous about it.
Taking a closer look at it as it comes closer, the load area is built like a cage.
It remains a fact though that it's extremely impressive.
A cage blending into that design.
That's my impression.
And the coachman handling the horse as well the man sitting beside him are considerably suspicious, too.
The coachman wears a quite unsociable, cold expressionlessness, but with his black hair and black eyes, well, he's handsome.
He still has a mean look in the eyes.
Age-wise... maybe around Uncle's age?
He still has a mean look in the eyes.
I stared at him too intensely, so our eyes met.
Well, I don't care.
The man in the prime of his life next to him brought about the intensity of a mafioso, so to speak.
He had his hair all swept back and covered one eye with an eye-patch like Captain Hook.
His appearance implied there was no way he could be anything respectable.
Ahh, I mustn't get involved here.
If I do, Shion-san will be mad at me again.
I'm not interested! To get back to my shopping I... was on the verge of turning around.
I was on the verge, but.
As the carriage went past me, I could finally see what was on the loading area and turned back.
As I was the only person moving weirdly amidst the staring crowd, the person on the loading area shifted her attention to me, too.
She is around my age now?
Shoulder-length blond hair.
Tired green eyes, despaired of the world.
Her breasts don't have the volume of Shion-san's, but her body is round where it counts and tight where it's right; a model figure different from mine.
Like an exhibition piece, she was carried in the cage.
No, she was put on exhibition.
Maybe she picked up my murmured words, or maybe she guessed them, but she sorrowfully cast down her eyes.
The carriage just continued down the street.
Finally the people turned audience noisily returned to their daily work.
Among them, I continued to look after the carriage until the end.
Before it disappeared, I think "She" turned around and met my eyes once more.
- ↑ Engel's coefficient: Engel's law is an observation in economics stating that as income rises, the proportion of income spent on food falls, even if actual expenditure on food rises. (quoted from Wikipedia) In other words, Uncle and Shion-san spend more than average on food.
I made stew for dinner.
I couldn't find roux, so a stew without roux it is.
Melt some butter and stir-fry the ingredients.
For seasonings, salt and pepper.
Once it's heated properly, add wheat flour to bring out the thickness of the consomme soup.
Finally add milk and cook it well.
Ahh, just like with rinnals, their names might not be the same, but as long as the taste is the same, there's no problem.
No problem at all.
I basically make no mistakes when it comes to housework.
I don't think it's annoying, and if I do well, I can live every day in a nice atmosphere.
"So good! What is this? I've never seen anything like it, but it's great! Alice, you were good at cooking?"
"Well, I'm not bad."
Shion-san had high praise for me.
"Really, Alice-chan, you're so girlish."
"I-is that so? I think there are cooking men, too, though?"
There's one right in front of you, you know?
"You can become a bride any time!"
Aunty got that distant look in her eyes.
Nono, don't try to throw me out, okay?
Don't sell me!
"... a... wife?"
Ossan is trembling like a leaf, but let's ignore him.
I'm not the only one, you know?
"By the way, Onee-chan, there's something I wanted to ask you..."
"Hmm, what's up?"
She held her plate out to me for seconds, so I filled it up and gave it back to her.
I wonder if she can eat all that?
"Can I buy a slave?"
"Ahh, from noon, right? They did cause some rumors... you saw them, Alice?"
"I was on the main street just then."
And I can't think of it as someone else's business, either.
In the very beginning, if Uncle had hypothetically been a bad guy, wouldn't I have been sold as a slave or something?
I might have been put onto such a carriage, too, like cattle.
And what would be the fate of a slave like me?
That goes without saying.
"Hmm? Well, you can. Anyone can, if they have the money."
I got the change from my errands at noon as pocked money, but with that...
"Hmm... and about how much do they cost?"
"Well, that depends on the slave, but... let's see."
Shion gave me a dirty look and made a wicked face.
"For example, a girl like you... 50 gold coins. Around 500.000 Rook, I guess?
"...Your face is wicked, Onee-chan."
But wait a second.
How much money is that actually?
For today's dinner, I've used 20 Rook.
Ahh, if I think about it like that, I received a considerable amount of spending money. Thank you, Aunty.
So, lunch also costs around 20 Rook; breakfast... well, for simplicity's sake, let's also make it 20 Rook.
Together, that means it takes 60 Rook for a family of four to live one day.
Water is free from the well.
Magic crystals are used for light. They're consumable goods like light bulbs, but they shine by their own power so there's nothing like electric utility fees.
Fire comes from firewood, and fire crystals.
Fire crystals are like magic crystals, but they give off flames and are used in the kitchen.
For heating up the bath and the like, it's firewood.
Uncle chops it.
Seeing me in deep thought, Shion-san smiled gently.
That smile suits you, Onee-chan.
You don't buy consumable goods every day, so there aren't many daily expenses other than food, huh?
Of course, there's probably taxes or something, but let's ignore those for the moment.
So, if I calculate with a rough estimate of 80 Rook a day, I can include average expenses for consumables?
"How many days does a year have again?"
"365 of course."
"And the world is round?"
What the heck is this girl talking about? Is that what your eyes are saying? I see.
Please don't burn me at the stake.
80 Rook times 365 days means with 29.220 Rook we can live for a year.
Roughly 3 gold coins.
With 3 gold coins, a family of four can live for a year.
"How much... would I cost again?"
You look like you're enjoying yourself, Onee-chan.
"... around 17 years for a family of four?"
Eh, what's with that scary amount of money?
No no, this is only living expenses. Equipment for adventuring costs money, too, and there are other necessary expenses as well.
Humans need a certain amount of luxury, to reward themselves.
Not everybody's some enlightened Buddha after all...
"... you're not going to sell me, are you?"
"Hmm.... I wonder? If you're too stupid... I don't know...
Crap, Onee-chan's sadistic side has come forth.
I can't read her.
Is this the skill of adults?
Okay, as a last resort, Uncle!
Why did you twitch!?
Why are your eyes wet!?
Adults play dirty...
"Money is scary..."
I want to protect my innocent heart.
But I see, to buy that girl, I need around 500.000 Rook.
... she was super-pretty and all.
The next day, Shion-san and I went to the ruins.
Looks like Shion-san is going to put her own adventuring aside and accompany me until I clear these ruins.
"Alice, you might be stronger than I thought, you know? Still feeble."
"The last word was unnecessary."
We got in from the entrance, fought off several bears and did not turn towards the exit, but the central part of the ruins.
Thunder: 10s cast time, 10s cooldown (Proficiency 8)
Following behind Shion-san, I checked the magic I have.
It looks like at proficiency 8, there are no changes yet.
Even if the power has changed, since I only need one hit for a bear anyway I frankly have no idea.
"So, what's in these ruins?"
"The central room has the Wellspring of Blessings."
"Wellspring of Blessings?"
"Yeah, if a level 10 apprentice drinks from it and gains its blessing, he or she can class-up. The first step in becoming a true adventurer."
So this is where you class-up.
No, I've wondered myself how long it would take until I could get rid of the apprentice.
"Hee~. And there are springs like this all throughout the world?"
"Well, yeah. It would be a mess if you could only class-up here, right?"
Well, of course.
"Generally towns form near ruins like this. It's a good place for apprentices to train, too, and all."
Although I got into a life-and-death situation here.
"Only for the sake of adventurers?"
"Nah, that would be too much after all. Around ruins with Wellsprings of Blessings, there's a lot of underground water, you see. That makes it easy for people to live there."
I see, so that's why.
"But doesn't that mean the water from the well in the garden comes from the Wellspring of Blessings, too?"
Can't I just drink there?
"Haha, that's true. The central room of the ruins, it's really lit up by magic crystals. You have to drink the water there to get the blessing."
"So I can't cheat."
Level 11 Maneater
While we were chatting, we encountered a new enemy.
It has a dreadful name, but it's just a green blob.
Or rather, it's a slime.
I finally met a slime!
"Physical attacks don't work well against these, so Alice, if you please."
Shion drew her sword and went ahead to buy me time.
The slime attacked by whipping with tentacles formed from its own body.
So it doesn't simply tackle you?
As always, Shion-san dodged those with light movements.
What's with this sense of security.
However, isn't she done for once one attack hits?
She's fine for now.
But won't she encounter an enemy whose attacks she can't dodge one day?
What's Shion-san going to do with her Endurance 1, Protection 1 then?
(I'll defeat them before they can eat her!)
That's my resolve.
This is the first time I've encountered the slime, so I give it my full power, with the chant.
“Split the heavens and become a ray of light, to strike my enemies—— Thunder!”
The lightning directly hit the slime.
By the way, my attack magic doesn't affect party members, is what Shion-san taught me, so I don't have to particularly mind my allies' movements.
That makes things a lot easier.
The slime just popped from my one attack.
And splattered all over the place.
No drop item.
"Fuhh, so, the room with the ruins' guardian is right ahead. What's your level at the moment?"
Guardian? Does that clearly mean this place's boss fight is waiting?
Well, with Shion-san there, I'll be fine, probably.
"Ah? Level 9."
"Excellent. You'll probably level up to 10 from the guardian. Let's go, Alice."
"Onee-chan, you look like you're enjoying yourself..."
In the end, adventurers really do like adventure, don't they...
No no, me too, of course.
I hurried after Shion-san into the central room.
Under Shion-san's guidance, we arrived at the boss room, so to speak.
In front of the massive door, anxiety made my heart beat harder.
"As expected, this makes my heart race."
"You're flat, so I bet one can hear your heartbeat really well."
Does having large breasts make it difficult to hear the heartbeat?
"... hm? You're not getting angry?"
"Eh? A-ahh! No, no, my breasts are still going to grow from now on!"
So this was a point to get angry, I see.
For me, large or small doesn't matter at all though.
And actually, my breasts won't grow anymore.
Because god decided so.
"... hey, why did you suddenly bring that up anyway?"
"Well, I thought you were nervous and wanted to calm you down."
"Please stop. That's old man humor, Onee-chan."
That must've hit her hard because Shion-san let her head hang.
Did I just discourage the frontliner before the boss fight?
"Wai, you're too hung up over that, I'm sorry! I should've said it differently!"
"It's fine, I don't mind it..."
Then look at me!?
"Now now, let's go, Onee-chan! Let's kick some monster ass to feel better!"
I grabbed Shion-sans arm and pushed the door open.
I'm begging you here!?
The room's illumination from magic crystals was particularly strong for the ruin, like we had come out into daylight.
Inside the light room, I could see no enemy that might suddenly attack us.
I pulled Shion-san by the arm and completely entered the room for the moment.
Surveying the room, the roots spread all around caught my eyes.
And in the center of the room grew a splendid tree that almost reached the ceiling.
Did the roots grow from that tree?
While I was observing the tree, the door behind us suddenly slammed shut.
"That surprised me..."
I thought someone was attacking us from behind.
I'd even turned around and taken a long, long look.
Ah, she's back.
Shion-san got away from my hand and stepped forward, drew her sword and brandished it.
Eh, is something there?
As I was looking at the room, suddenly an eye opened in the tree's trunk.
...now that was a surprise.
Level 14 Elder Tree
I've identified it!
"Don't get close! Alice!"
"Yes! Good luck!"
Shion-san ran towards the big tree.
As expected, it attacked with several of its roots acting like whips.
There are so many of them!
The slime's whips don't even compare!
Making the charging Shion-san its target, the big tree threw attacks at her from all directions.
Hey, isn't this bad after all!?
I was a bit worried, but then she dodged the tree's whips with dancing steps.
After gradually getting closer like that, once she was in range she attacked the tree with rapid strikes.
She chopped the wood, with her sword.
From the looks of it it's bone-hard labor.
Apparently Uncle came here with her when Shion-san was an Apprentice Swordsman.
Then, the two could switch up the frontline work, but now Shion-san is alone.
If she gets tired before this is over...
And Shion-san's Endurance is the same as mine!
Well, her level's different though.
But... Uncle's been dispatching monsters on request of the guild.
So he wasn't just a sloth.
I'm glad, he actually has a job.
(Isn't it about time now?)
Just when I thought that, my eyes met Shion-san's.
I finally activated my magic.
No, there's a reason why I didn't attack straight away.
In short, if Shion-san doesn't attack for a bit and build up aggro beforehand, the aggro will switch from her to me.
My magic is just that strong.
And once I have aggro, I can't deal with it.
Uhm, wasn't there a good term in relation to this?
I don't want people to call me that!
Oops, play time over.
“Split the heavens and become a ray of light, to strike my enemies——— Thunder!”
The target's so big there's no way for me to miss.
The tree's movements stopped for a moment.
But that's not enough to defeat it.
I noticed the tree begin to move once more.
All within predictions.
I steadied my breath.
With Shion-san here, there's no———
"ALICE! It's coming for you!"
I got aggro with just one attack!?
Like tentacles, the tree's whips closed in on me.
Some of them were still attacking Shion-san so it's not like I can't dodge them at all though.
I desperately dodged.
I looked well and hit the ones I couldn't dodge with the Lightning Rod.
I can shoot the next one soon——— I thought and got negligent.
At some point, a tentacle had grabbed my ankle and suspended me midair.
From the belt down, my Leather Robe is like a skirt, so this posture is bad!
I reflexively pinned down my skirt.
"Is this the time to be embarrassed!? You're such a sheltered girl!"
Shion-san was shouting to me while showing off the divine display of both dodging the attacks against her and and warding off the whips that came to finish me off.
Nono, if anything I'm a man, you know!?
But what's with this embarrassment!?
All the while, the tentacle grabbing my leg creeped closer towards my body.
"Heyheyhey! Are you after me!? Are you after me!? You perverted tree!!"
I trash talked the monster.
Maybe it was my imagination, but I think I saw the tree's eye smile.
No... that was my imagination, right?
"Wa, really, give... ugh"
From my leg, the tentacle coiled its way to my belly and breasts.
Its only compassion was that it did it from above my clothes. But why does this peculiar pressure make me moan!?
"... ah, u"
"Woah.... that's so hot, Alice...."
Don't be impressed!
Ey, I'm not someone a monster like you can do with as you please!!
“Split the heavens and become a ray of light, to strike, AHH... my enemies! Thunder!!!”
I properly activated the magic and once more, it scored a direct hit on the perverted tree.
This time it seems the big tree couldn't bear it and withered, dissolved and disappeared.
I fell from where it had held me midair...
... but Shion-san caught me in a princess carry.
Ahhh, I'm getting princess-carried~~.
Shion-san looked a bit troubled.
"It's still pure..."
"No, no, I know that."
"My heart isn't tainted yet..."
Shion-san could only tilt her head in confusion at the mixed feelings assaulting my male heart.
I sulked for a while, but then we finally opened the door in the middle of the room and arrived at the Wellspring of Blessings.
"Woah, is this the place?"
"Yeah. Pretty, right?"
Like Shion-san had said, the water seemingly welling up from below shone deep blue, maybe due to the magic crystals around it, maybe by itself.
Does it taste like a Blue Hawaiian, too?
"Can I just drink it?"
I got Shion-san's okay, crouched down right there, scooped up water with both hands and drank it.
Okay, it's water.
But drinking it gave me this nice and warm feeling throughout.
Also, my body faintly glowed like when I'm activating magic.
Impressed, I watched it all, but before long the light disappeared.
"Have a look at your Status?"
Prompted by Shion-san, I checked my Status.
Mage... level 1!?
My level was reset?
"Well, I guess this is the starting line."
I see, putting it like this, I have thought I was catching up to Shion-san awfully quickly, considering I had only started adventuring the day before yesterday.
"But with this, you can also register at the guild."
"Right, the guild!"
Which reminds me, Aunty said I need to pay 1000 Rook, but not having an Apprentice Class was the other condition.
"If you register at the guild, you can take all kinds of requests, sell drop items and so on. It's the foundation of working as an adventurer."
"Although in all honesty, I don't want you to force yourself too much, it is dangerous after all."
Shion-san embarrassedly scratched her cheek.
"But for the moment..."
As always, Shion-san's friendly smile felt good.
She smiled at me with it and...
"Congratulations on becoming an adventurer, Alice!"
I strongly grasped the hand Shion-san held out to me.
After returning to the town after noon, Shion-san and I split up.
Shion-san's adventurer comrades dragged her off saying they needed her on the frontline no matter what.
Shion-san seemed really reluctant to let me go, but after finally giving me the 1000 Rook to register at the guild, she was dragged to work.
"Right, Onee-chan doesn't belong to me. That's the problem..."
One day I'm going to leave this town and travel the world.
However, Shion-san has family here as well as her adventurer comrades.
Not to be conceited, but if I asked her, I think she would come with me.
But I only want to do that if there's no other way.
"Uhhm, guess for now I'll start by registering at the guild and saving up money."
At present, I'm receiving too much support.
I have to pay back all the favors I have received.
I'd asked about the general location before, so I made my way to this town's guild.
The town wasn't that big so I found it right away.
They had put a sign outside saying 'Guild, Rinnal Branch.'
As always, I can read and I can converse.
This conversion into Japanese is too useful.
Mulling over those thoughts, I crashed into someone.
Someone about to leave the guild.
"Ah! I'm sorry——ah."
I looked at the person I'd run into and was in for a surprise.
I'm not going to get involved with this person.
That's what I thought, bowed my head once more and tried to go past him.
Don't talk to me!
I reluctantly stopped and turned around.
"... what is it?"
"Are you an elf?"
"... I see."
Not because I'm a halfelf, but because my family told me not to reveal my race.
You should listen to people's warnings.
Only fools don't learn from failure.
The man said nothing else and tried to leave, but this time I remembered something.
"Ah, wait a moment!"
The man turned around, annoyed.
Hey, why don't you show some more sociability?
"You, you're from the carriage yesterday, right?"
Well, I wouldn't easily mistake a person that unsociable and dressed all in black anyway.
"The person on that carriage, uhm.... that is..."
While I was hesitating to say it, he easily did.
I see. So she really is a slave.
"Are you going to stay in town for a while?"
"For a week, I've heard. What about it?"
One week, to earn a fortune of 500.000 Rook.
Talk about unrealistic.
"That girl... was she bought by someone already?"
"No, not yet. We need to go to the capital to find a buyer. She's a prize."
What's that about? Does he mean out here in the boonies nobody can pay the 500.000 Rook for her?
"What, do you want that?"
A being that prioritizes their master over anything else.
I don't plan to be unreasonable in my demands, but they would always follow me, no matter where I go and what I do.
To be honest? That would be a great help.
"... I'm thinking about it a little."
"Do you have money?"
"Not enough to buy her."
There's no need to tell him I almost have nothing with foolish honesty.
The unsociable man went pensive for a while and kept his mouth shut.
"Oh, well. Just meet the real thing once then, to get into the mood to buy it."
"We're renting a room for it at the slavery firm down the street. If you're interested in buying after all, you can also have a look at other slaves."
The word slavery firm alone is suspicious already.
Will I really be alright if I go alone?
I'm not going to end up on the wrong side of the cage bars myself, am I?
"... I don't look it, but I'm a mage. You'd better be prepared for the consequences if you make a weird move."
"We're not that impolite to customers. Trust is important in business. Make light of it and the firm crumbles."
What he says makes sense, but what he does is still suspicious.
"Can I go home once and inform them where I'm going first?"
"Of course, I don't mind. I'm going to kill time in the guild for a while. Just come back when you're interested."
According to Shion-san, I'm worth 500.000 Rook.
Actually, I don't agree with slavery, but... I'm interested, in that girl.
Thus I went home once and informed Aunty.
It goes without saying that she was worried about me, but it seems the slavery firm, contrary to my thoughts, is doing an upright business.
That's what Aunty said.
They also shouldn't do something weird all of a sudden.
Just in case, I checked my own Status.
I got rid of the apprentice.
I need to know what changed.
I immediately noticed the Magic entry and the Skill entry.
Attack Magic: Thunder (Proficiency 10)
Support Magic: Heal
It really has increased.
Because Support Magic has shown up among the entries, the entry that has been simply Magic so far was differentiated into Attack Magic.
Okay, let's first have a look at the Skill entry then.
Latent Potential, Double Cast, Cast Time Reduction
I see, so here is where I can finally use the special abilities I had set in the very beginning.
I can select one among them.
In that case, there's not even room for thought what to pick.
Cast Time Reduction
That's the only option.
Latent has an impressive name, but I don't have the slightest idea what it does.
I can pick that later.
I have an idea for Double Cast, but I feel it would be difficult for the current me to utilize.
I think I'll be able to use it better once I've grown a bit.
I selected the skill Cast Time Reduction.
Skill: Cast Time Reduction (special)
What's this special?
What makes it's so special from a regular Cast Time Reduction?
Time to verify that!
To begin with, let's check the Magic entry.
Thunder: no cast time, 10s cooldown (proficiency 10)
Cast time.... none!?
It was this strong!?
Even the 10s cast time so far haven't been that inconvenient?
At least while in a party.
Somehow, I get the feeling the road to being the strongest opening all of a sudden...
Support Magic: Heal: no cast time, 20s cooldown
I can't choose a support magic.
With a healing class, I probably would've had a selection.
But Heal, huh.
Isn't it wonderful to be able to heal myself now?
There's no cast time, either.
Well, the 20s cooldown looks like a heavy restriction.
If I use it along with attack magic, I'd probably collapse before the battle's even begun.
But that's it for the moment, I guess?
"But with this, I can resist enough if something does happen."
If I activate magic, there's no way to hide the light radiating from my body during the casting.
But they shouldn't expect eating a magic attack instantly.
They don't, right?
I'm not normal, right?
Completely prepared now, I met up with the man and went to the slavery firm.
The building is huge, it feels even more imposing than the guild.
They might be hauling in the money.
"By the way, what's your name?"
I'm sorry, I can't bear the silence, so I talked to you.
But that's the only question that came to mind.
Maybe I should introduce myself in return?
Now, that's good manners, right?
"Uhm, I'm Alice."
Let's try to have a conversation here!!
You're trying to do business here, aren't you!?
If you can sell anything with that arrogant attitude of yours, the uncles and aunties from the shopping street are going to revolt!
"... Solt-san, you're pitch black, aren't you. The clothes, even."
"It is so that I can blend into the darkness, for work."
"... I, see."
What's with that answer? I'm scared to ask more.
What are you actually working as in the first place!?
"... isn't it dangerous to travel while showing off slaves, like yesterday?"
But I don't lose heart!
"Well, we get attacked by bandits a lot?"
That's hidden in his reply.
This blackie... just how strong is he?
When the awkwardness had reached its peak, I was led into a reception room and offered a seat on the sofa.
I quietly accepted.
Blackie did not sit down but withdrew into a backroom.
I was bored so I looked around the room.
There were paintings and vases, carpets were laid out; an awing room.
It really showed off that deals with a lot of money were made here.
"I'm sorry for the wait. Oh, what a lovely lady we have here."
The eye-patched man came from the backroom.
The atmosphere around him was somewhat different.
As indifferent as possible, I returned his greetings.
The eye-patched man sat down on the sofa facing mine.
"Let us prepare you a drink. Would black tea be alright?"
Crap, I haven't learned Squelch.
"No thank you. Let's get to the point."
"Very well. Solt told me you are looking for a slave?"
"Indeed. I am adventurer, I think a slave to accompany me would help me greatly."
"I see, a combat slave. An adventurer would certainly need one."
Need? Why is that?
It's a bad way to put it, but: Since you can just throw them away, it's good to let them do dangerous things?
"I'm a mage, so I would be grateful for someone I can leave the frontline to."
"Ohh? A mage, at your age?"
The eye-patched man narrowed his eyes, impressed.
Shion-san wasn't that surprised, so I thought it was normal...?
"Excuse me, Miss, but... are an elf?"
How many times does this make now?
What's so special about these elves?
The eye-patched man's other eye didn't look convinced, but he calmed his expression right away.
"I'm sorry for derailing the topic. Let me bring some of our firm's slaves that we can recommend to you, Miss."
"About that, today there is only a single slave I would like to see."
He was acting surprised, but I'm sure Blackie told him beforehand.
Sheesh, adults are cunning.
Disrupting the flow of the conversation for no clear reason.
Well, maybe I'm trying to speed it up too much.
"The one you brought on the carriage yesterday, show me that one."
"Ahaha, you have a discerning eye. Very well, please wait a moment."
The eye-patched man rang the little bell on the table and sent someone a signal.
Without a wait deserving that name, the door further in opened.
I'm sure everything's been long prepared.
"...excuse us, please."
Urged by Blackie, She entered the room.
She is about my height?
Seeing her up close, she really is beautiful.
Her face was almost too pretty.
Her shining, shoulder-length blond hair is floating around it.
Her green eyes are deep and clear like emeralds, but regrettably they're not shining.
She is overall lacking liveliness.
From her looks alone, I think she doesn't fall short of myself who borrowed the power of the god called character creation.
Don't tell me, did she get reborn, too, and lose?
Did she make a perfect character, just like me, and I would've shared this fate if I hadn't met Uncle?
"The Miss said she wants to see you. Greet her."
The girl who had not raised her eyes since the moment she entered the room listlessly looked up. The moment she saw me, surprise showed on her face.
"What are you doing."
"M-my apologies! Ilya is my name. Milady."
Her curtsy and greeting have elegance.
It is so natural, they couldn't have taught her in a day or two.
"Are you... going to buy me?"
I can see the hope in her eyes.
I understand the feeling.
I mean, if I were in her place, I'd also prefer this over some greasy old ass. A lot.
"I'm considering it."
Alright, what am I going to do.
- ↑ Squelch: A spell to remove Poisoning in the Dragon Quest game series
Testing waters, waters testing
Alright, to begin with, I'd like to know her price.
Ignoring Her———Ilya's, it seems, imploring gaze, I erased my expressions.
I'm not going to be overcharged here.
Even if I don't have the money in the first place.
Buying everything at the price it's offered at is too Japanese.
This is another world.
"I see. She certainly is pretty. But doesn't she seem a bit listless?"
"That's because not even a week has passed since we procured her. It must still be difficult for her to accept the reality of the situation."
That's really recent.
"However, she knows etiquette from before. She's not just some town girl."
Like that he nonchalantly raised her value.
That I directly went and asked to see her was a mistake, but I'd like to keep the stance that I don't have to buy her no matter what.
At least superficially.
"Hmm, that's what it means."
He didn't even twitch.
Well, of course, no matter what a little girl like me says, he far surpasses me in experience.
"As an adventurer, I think it's better if I'm accompanied by a girl. However, if she can't fight, I'd be troubled, too. Would she have combat experience?"
Well, even if she doesn't, the demand from customers other than me should be high.
From men, you know?
"I see. Why don't you take a look at her Attributes then?"
He seems really confident, from his reply.
Let's have a look at those Attributes.
"Of course. Convincing the customer and making him happy is this firm's policy, Miss. Fraud is something only third-rates stoop to."
He's sure making a real job of it.
Signaled by the eye-patched man, Blackie guided Her to my side.
There, she showed her Status with Attributes only.
So they aren't showing me all at once.
Step by step, is it.
Strength 1, Endurance 3, Protection 5, Agility 1, Mind 0
This is too different from her appearance and impression!
"How is it? The one-sidedness isn't very praiseworthy, but I believe she completely fulfills your needs, Miss."
I unintentionally stared at her.
"It would be my pleasure, Milady."
She bashfully talking to me is actually indomitable, like a raspberry shaken in the wind.
The stalk is full of thorns, but the white petals bloom so very neatly and sweetly.
Other worlds, incredible.
The gap between appearance and ability is too big.
Where in that slender body of hers does she hide that sturdiness?
"... it seems so."
While reacting to Her reverence by lightly raising my hand, I thought.
If I have her, won't she become my shield even if Shion-san is not around?
Rather, speaking of becoming a shield, I can't think of anyone being more suited.
I want her.
No, now I really want her.
Seeing the real thing really does drive up your desire to buy it."But she doesn't have any combat experience, does she?"
I was persistently asking the eye-patched man, not the girl next to me.
I can't have them take me lightly.
Meaning she is a level one apprentice, huh.
"Of course you can change it, but she is currently a Lancer."
Of course I can change it. Is that so?
"Do you want to confirm it?"
"No need. I trust you, Mister."
I composedly smiled.
I've become thick-skinned, too.
I can't manage it in front of Shion-san no matter what, but maybe I'm someone who can really put up a strong front?
(However, so far I haven't found a serious demerit. If anything, she's gathering points?)
Then it's time for a leading question, I think.
"I see. I've gotten a good grasp of her value."
She's completely unrefined, but there couldn't be a better raw gem.
That's how it is.
"——This girl's not an elf, is she?"
The eye-patched man's mild smile deepened even further.
As if to say he liked the question.
"As expected, Miss. You are not swayed by outward appearance alone."
"Of course not."
Of course not my ass.
"Elven slaves are scarce. I want to obtain some even if I have to go to some length, but currently I don't have any."
I'm not an elf, okay?
Although I definitely won't show you my Status.
But... what do I do?
Do I push on, even if it's dangerous?
"... If I said I have some connection to elves——— would that draw your interest?"
Not only Eyepatch, even the black-clothed man's atmosphere changed.
Crap, don't get violent, okay?
I still didn't eradicate my smile.
"I thought you weren't a just a sheltered, young lady, but this is a surprise."
The eye-patched man placed his elbows on the table and intertwined his fingers.
"Is that story true?"
"Let's say I cannot make definite promises."
"Of course not. It's elves we're talking about. Still, very intriguing."
Let's hope this doesn't cause any trouble between humans and elves.
"I thought you'd say so. But, let's keep today's conversation focused on this girl, shall we?"
At any rate, I'm suddenly down to only one card I can play.
Because I only have one trump card, right now.
The suicidal act of revealing my Status.
"Hehe, you got me there, Miss. I underestimated you just a bit. It's been a while since I've had such an enjoyable negotiation. Including your fairness to the eyes, Miss."
"Why thank you."
I cast down my eyes and calmly smiled.
For some reason, I could hear the girl next to me make a little, admiring sound.
"Then, shall we release her Status? Including her race, that is."
"No, it's fine. Let's confirm that for when we make the final contract."
I softly rejected the eye-patched man's proposal.
Stop cornering me already.
I still have absolutely no concrete idea how to obtain her.
"Is that so. Let's stop beating around the bush then. This firm has set her price to be 500.000 Rook... is what I would like to say, but."
There the eye-patched man cut off his words and smiled at me.
"I'm dealing with you here, Miss. What do you think about specially making it 400.000 Rook?"
"I think that's a fair price."
"Today, since the beginning I came here only to look at her, but is she always here? Because I also heard she is a prize?"
I glanced at the black-clothed man.
I thought he was expressionless, so why does he stare at me with such a mean look in the eyes!
No, he's had that mean look in the eyes in the first place, so he's normal right now?
"We intended to use her as a prize for the combat tournament in the royal capital's coliseum. But well, we have replacements. If you buy her here, now, there's not much of a problem."
"I see, in the coliseum."
That also gets the adrenaline flowing.
But in that case———
"Then, if I participate and become the champion, I can also obtain her, correct?"
The eye-patched man couldn't bear it any more and laughed out loudly while slapping his knees.
"Hah, apologies. You are absolutely right, Miss. Truly interesting, you are."
"Well, I can also see how selling her for more to the coliseum, making her a prize, is more advantageous for you, Mister."
Become a champion at the combat tournament or earn 400.000 Rook, just what is more realistic, huh.
Keeping my composed smile, I stood up.
"Hehe, either way, I won't think of it as a loss. If I can deal with a personage such as you, Miss."
The eye-patched man also stood up and signaled the black-clothed man to escort me out.
Blackie opened the door I'd come in through.
"It is business practice not to exchange names with first-time customers, but I would like to introduce myself regardless."The eye-patched man bowed with the elegance reminiscent of a butler.
"Bertrand is my name. It was a pleasure making your acquaintance, Miss."
"Alice. This was a valuable conversation. Let's talk again, Bertrand-sama."
I concisely answered, calmly bowed and headed towards the door.
In passing, I met Her eyes just once.
For some reason, she was blushing.
...let's pretend I didn't hear that.
"I'll make you mine. I've decided."
I whispered her just that.
After passing her, I felt a stare against my back.
"Y-yes! I'm looking forward to it, Lady Alice!"
I got through my grandstand play.
From here on out, I'm flying blind.
Probably nobody in this room knew these thoughts going through my head.
Other World Maid Cafe Revolution
How should I get Ilya?
While mulling that and leaving the firm, I was suddenly called to a stop.
When I turned around, Blackie was glaring at me with an amazing expression.
Nono, I'm not the killer of your parents, okay?
"Are you an elf?"
"... isn't it against the rules to try getting that information without compensation?"
"Are you going to tell me if I get you that woman?"
... excuse me?
I doubted my ears for a second.
After blinking 2.3 times, I tilted my head in confusion.
"What are elves to you then?"
"... I have a grudge against them."
Nono, for that reason alone I mustn't get involved with you.
"If I don't have enough money, I'll enter than tournament and win her."
"As someone from the firm? Talk about fixed games. Don't tell me, that was the plan since the beginning?"
In that case the firm is shady after all.
"This is unrelated to the firm. Besides, I'm a mercenary. I'm just hired with money."
"I don't think this is a problem that's solved just because you don't belong to the firm, though..."
However, Blackie seems strong.
Maybe he can win and obtain Ilya for me.
... Still. In that case, I would sell myself out.
"I'm going to make my own move."
"I don't mind. I'm going to do what I want, too. Depending on the result, I'll get my reward."
Blackie come to an agreement by himself and returned into the firm.
"... Solt, was it?"
Just what in the world did the elves do to him.
Be that as it may.
First comes money.
Without money, I cannot pay back my favors.
Without money, I cannot buy Ilya.
Without money, I cannot get proper equipment.
Without money, I cannot go to the royal capital.
Thus, I wouldn't be able to obtain Ilya, either.
Therefore I finally went to my original target, the guild.
"Money, money, money..."
No matter where I go, the way of the world is tough.
"Ah? Oh, you are..."
When I entered the guild and went to the counter, a receptionist girl called out to me.
Red, frizzy hair and freckles?
"Ahh, from that time?"
The face of that cheeky brat immediately came to mind.
"I'm really sorry for what my little brother did!"
No, if you bow with enough vigor to seem like you'll hit your head against the counter to apologize, it's a bit embarrassing for me, too.
Look, the others around us are watching curiously!
"No, no, please raise your had. It's not like anything happened back then. You're exaggerating."
Somehow her smile is very relaxing.
Like you can be yourself; like you don't have to be on guard...
"So you're working at the guild?"
"Yes. Ah, I'm Eleanor."
"I know. My little brother was so annoying about it, sheesh. You're too beautiful, Alice-san. He wanted you to notice him, you know? He's such a rascal, but still a man, I guess."
To think I'd tempt such a stupid brat even...
Just what sin have I created?
No, that doesn't matter at all.
"By the way——"
"Ah! You have business at the guild, don't you? I'm sorry."
So quick to change gears～.
You can just let me finish talking, you know?
"Ehm, first I'd like to register as an adventurer at the guild."
"Got it! Then please fill out this form with your name, age, gender, class, and level."
"There's no need for the race?"
"If you wrote that, it might lead to discrimination. The guild however opens its gates to everyone."
I see, that helps.
Wait, if there would've been a problem with my race, Shion-san wouldn't have sent me here alone.
I entered the necessary information on me in the blanks.
It's a weird thing.
I think I write in Japanese, but it's being changed into Somethingish.
"Is this alright?"
"Thank you... ehm... a Mage!? Ah, no, I mean yes, it's alright."
She sure is lively...
"For validation, could you please show your Status to me? With the race hidden, of course."
I operated the Status and showed it to Eleanor.
She sure is diligent, enthusiastically comparing it to the form. It's kinda cute.
"Yes, everything in order. Thank you very much!"
"No, the pleasure is mine."
For some reason I bowed my head.
I'm a Japanese through and through, aren't I.
"Now, since the paperwork is in order, may I please have the registration fee of 1000 Rook?"
I put the ten silver coins I'd received from Shion-san onto the counter.
"I've certainly received the money. With this you're an adventurer and can use all the guilds on the continent, Alice-san."
"Hee, right away?"
"Of course. The information we keep on you is transmitted and exchanged between guilds via magic crystals. When dealing a guild anywhere, you only have to display your Status and you will be recognized."
Heyhey, fantasy, what's this? The internet?
"Also, please take care that there's an update once a year. On that occasion, your registered information will be renewed and a renewal fee of 500 Rook becomes necessary."
They're doing a fine business, these guilds.
There should be quite a number of adventurers. Don't they have quite the income with renewal fees alone?
"But Alice, so you are fifteen, huh... You're two years younger than me, yet already an adventurer. You're amazing!"
"Ehhm, well, it's a miracle I'm still alive though..."
"No need to be so humble!"
No, it's a fact.
"Now, it may be a bit sudden, but do you have some work for me?"
I'm fighting a battle against time here, aren't I.
"Hmm, let's see. The good jobs are all being done by other adventurers already, so... Ah!"
Eleanor stared at some documents for a while before she made a smile like she had thought of something good.
I have very few memories where the something good that people making that face thought of was also something good for me.
"... is there something?"
"Yes, I've thought of an amazingly good job!"
Saying she thought of a job is weird no matter how you look at it, isn't it?
It is a guild job, right?
With my anxiety skyrocketing, I listened to Eleanor's proposal.
"Welcome back, Master! Mistress!"
On that evening, there was one special-of-the-day eatery where the tired office workers went to on their way home.
It's name was "Milky Way".
No, sorry, I was indulging escapism for a bit.
Putting it coolly doesn't help.
"Welcome back, Master! Mistress!"
I've repeated that mind-twisting standard line innumerable times now.
Every single time, the men entering the store stared at me.
Your stares are hurting me...
What the heck am I doing here?
To put it bluntly, I'm a maid in a maid cafe.
That should say it all.
I've taken other worlds lightly.
If there are slaves, then of course there are also more maids than in the real world——although that way of putting it is strange by now.
In that case, it's not strange for a store to tend to this kind of niche.
No, I've really taken other worlds lightly.
"Alice-san! A mixed juice for table 3!"
From Eleanore in the kitchen came another demonic order.
Right, this place is run by Eleanor's family.
I was employed as a part-time worker.
With all my strength, I hid my despair under a smile.
Stop kidding me!
Even if my heart is male, I'm still acting out a woman.
Ahh, a maid, right.
I'll give you maid.
Anyone looking at me right now would think 'maid'.
The frilly, cute headdress decorating my hair.
The frilly, cute dress down to my knees with the apron on top.
My legs clad in knee-high socks, all perfect!
There's no reason I can't do this!
"I'm sorry for the wait, Master! Mistress!" I energetically called out in front of the table of an adventurer-looking group.
I'd carried the shaker with drinks to table 3 and held it up high in front of the customer.
I took a deep breath and made my whole face smile.
"Then, we're going to cast the spell. Do it with me, Mistress!"
I shook the readied shaker in my hands!
"Become delicious! Moemoekyuuun♪"
I put in love and courage and hope with all my strength!
And then I put the perfected Mixed Juich! carefully down in front of the mistress.
That's when I first met the customer's eyes.
"H-hey. Good job, Alice."
"O...... nee... chan."
It was Shion.
"Wai!? Alice!? You're inside the store now!?"
"Tell me earlier! You're horrible, Onee-channn!"
"Don't cry! Hey, you were really professional, Alice!"
That day, the Milky Way was turbulent until late into the night.
And I, I got my first pay in this other world.
Earning money is really tough.
"I'll stop being a girl."
The day after the maid incident, I called Shion-san to my room and made that confession with a serious face.
I've had enough.
It's true that I thought it would be fun acting out a girl.
It doesn't mean I want to embarrass myself in front of people!
It doesn't mean I want to wear those frilly clothes and say master this, mistress that!
If anything, I'm in another world now, I want people to say that to me.
I need Ilya.
To keep my identity intact, I need Ilya.
I'm sure now.
And as expected, my confession made Shion-san look like she didn't know what hit her.
"Are you listening, Onee-chan?"
"Yeah, you regularly say some incomprehensible things..."
Exasperated, Shion-san threw herself onto my bed.
Nono, having a girl throw herself onto my bed, this is quite a situation.
However, since I'm acting a girl right now, it's also completely meaningless!
"Please listen, Onee-chan. Actually... I used to be a man!"
"..... haa. Oh, were you."
That reply leaves something to desire. But could you at least not sigh before it!
"Please try your best to imagine and listen!"
"I'm listening, I'm listening."
"I've told you that I'm a man."
"I'm. A. Man. Riiight."
I've taken care to speak softly for so long now, I slowly became unable to stop!
"Th-that's right! So if you throw yourself onto my bed, I-I-I might attack you! That's how much of a man I am!"
Alright, I'll teach you how scary men are just a little bit!
... is what I tried bluffing with all I had, but Shion-san didn't react.
"... i-if you say nothing, I'll be really, really troubled."
"No, you see, I thought 'try attacking me then' and waited."
Shion-san rolled over onto her back and put her plentiful body on full display for me.
What are you rolling over for, Onee-chan!
And what's with your breasts!?
This is violence!
"... what's the matter, Alice? Not going to come?"
The way she gives me that feverish look, Shion-san is staggeringly sexy...
I reflexively swallowed.
I'm getting a little dazed here, I think.
No, this is bad.
Or is it?
Shouldn't I rather be happy that my reactions are still normal?
Ahh, my thoughts are in a mess...
"O-Onee-chan, if you say that, I can't help it. I-I'm not going to regret... this."
I got up from the chair I'd been sitting on and slowly approached the bed.
My heart is strangely loud.
My head is pounding.
Eh, what's this?
It also feels like a regular headache.
What, was I this tense?
"Alice... isn't your face too red?"
"N-not true. Onee-chan, that bluff is really weak!"
Crossing the room felt like walking along the Great Wall of China, but I finally reached the bed.
There, I grasped Shion's face with both hands.
Ahh, somehow Shion-san is really beautiful.
I've always thought of her as my reliable family. But seeing her like this, she's a beautiful woman after all.
Then the world turned.
Eh. Wait. What?
"Alice...? Hey, don't tell me!?"
Shion-san shifted her gaze to my abdomen.
"Stupid! Why aren't you keeping track?
Is there something with my abdomen?
Come to think of it, there's this slight discomfort... !?
As I looked down, my face turned pale.
I was bleeding like never before.
"Wha? I... was I shot? A sniper? Eh? Am I going to die?"
So fantasy worlds have snipers too, after all!?
Furthermore, the lack of pain makes it all the more scary!?
"Don't be stupid. Come one, we're going to the toilet!"
Shion-san nimbly got up from the bed and dragged me away by the hand.
Hey, dragging shot people by the hand, that's too much!
In the first place, I have healing magic!
"Hey! You're dragging me too much!"
But Shion-san didn't hear any of it and just kept dragging me to the toilet.
Being taken to the toilet by a girl, can I still call myself a man...?
After accomplishing the mysterious bleeding, my clothes were changed and I was put to bed.
Shion-san was really gallant.
"... uhm... am I beyond hope?"
Is it a bad illness?
And I was just reborn...
"What are you saying... Be more careful, Alice. Really, you're playing stupid too much."
Nono, I don't think I am.
"Does it hurt?"
"Hm? Not in particular, no."
"Good. But your face is still red, so you're still not alright."
"Ah, do I have a fever?"
I see, so that's why I was dizzy.
"... eh? I wonder if I did something to catch a fever..."
The only time I stayed up late was the night I went to the ruins.
Other than that, I shouldn't have unreasonably strained my body...?
"Hehe, Miss I'm-a-man Alice, do you have something to say?"
Why are you looking at me mischievously, Shion-san?
"Oh, well. I guess you said something weird because you're under the weather. Take it slowly, Alice."
"Eh? Ah, yes...."
Leaving behind those vague words, Shion-san turned to leave.
But before she disappeared, she turned around once.
"I'll come check up on you once in a while. Also, to commemorate today, I'll tell mom to make something delicious, okay?"
Leaving behind a smile, Shion-san left the room.
Well, yeah, let's calm down.
I'm not an entirely ignorant brat, either.
I believe to know about things somewhat.
And based on that, the answer the events so far lead me to is...
As I said it out loud, my head felt lighter and lighter and I really passed out like that.
When I woke up, my physical condition seemed to have improved a lot and nothing felt strained.
The pillow was wet from tears though.
Thanks to that, my head was a bit painful.
I was a bit curious, so I went to the toilet once more and then changed clothes.
I was lent quite a lot of clothes, partially because Aunty is a Tailor.
I would've been fine with anything, but if I wore something strange, it would affect Aunty's reputation.
A Tailor also has a Tailor's pride, I guess.
Ahh... but I'm going to wash them myself...
"Ah, are you alri-woah!?"
Shion-san came while I was folding my clothes, but when I turned around, she was exaggeratedly surprised.
"... is something the matter?"
"Ah, no but... Alice, your eyes... are a bit scary?
Certainly, I feel a bit hollow myself right now.
I wonder though, what kind of eyes am I making?
"W-what's the matter?"
"No, I just figured. Thinking about it, it's obvious. Of course god wouldn't take half measures when reincarnating me."
When I got up after putting my folded laundry into a basket, Shion-san drew back a few steps.
"Besides, I've started to wonder if that wasn't all a dream in the first place. Yeah."
The eighteen years in that world, I mean.
Like that could be the case!
I'm not growing senile here!
"I-I don't know what you're thinking, but if you're gonna be an adventurer, keep better track of your body, okay? Otherwise you'll be in deep."
"... I know."
I know that I know nothing.
I need someone who will support me.
Which leads me to Ilya again.
"Onee-chan, I think I'm going to save up money and go to the royal capital."
"The capital, huh. Certainly, I understand why you want to go."
"I also think about entering the combat tournament there."
"... I'm surprised you know about that. The combat tournament, huh. It's not even three weeks anymore, is it."
Then it'll be before my condition worsens again, right? I'd call that a good chance.
"Do you really know what you're getting into there? People die in that tournament. Of course I'm against it."
"Eh... people die there?"
Although it's a tournament?
I must've made a stupid face, because Shion-san laughed, as if she'd seen it coming.
"Nobody is blamed for accidents during the matches. Rather, it's the savage kind of tournament where the crowd is excited when people die."
Woah, looks like it would really be better to do something about the peace and safety permeating my thinking patterns, after all.
But still, saving up a fortune of 400.000 Rook is not realistic.
And yet I need Ilya.
No matter what anyone says, I need her.
"If it gets dangerous... I'll surrender."
"If you surrender, you'll have to offer the winner something of appropriate value. Currently, you have nothing, so if you're fighting a man... I don't have to speak further, do I?"
"Hehe, I think a bit more self-awareness would suit you nicely."
Exasperated, Shion-san folded her arms and highlighted her breasts.
Yeah, self-awareness would suit you nicely, too, Onee-chan.
"... besides, you're not going to fight monsters. It'll be people."
"Yes... I thought as much."
I know what she wants to tell me.
Can someone spoiled like me really fight against people?
Thinking about it, I get no image at all.
I get the feeling that I can, but it might be impossible.
Could I shoot people with my magic?
"Alice, there's a good occasion. In three days, the guild here in Rinnal is doing a bandit hunt. Many of the skilled adventurers in the area are going to participate. I intend to, too, so, Alice——"
Shion-san stopped speaking once and gave me an emphasizing look.
"Are you going to come, too?"
A bandit hunt.
The other side will definitely consist of people.
And probably... the request will be dead or alive.
Of course, they will try to kill us without hesitation.
I will be faced with the killing intent of humans, not monsters.
"... let me participate, please."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes... it's dangerous, so I'd be worried about you otherwise, Onee-chan."
Like she was taken by surprise, Onee-chan suddenly had a baffled expression.
And then she blushed just a little bit.
"So cheeky.... Alice."
"Ehehe, probably, that's how little sisters are."
Also, it looks like I probably can't return to being a man...
This life in another world really gives me a lot to think about.