Chapter 27: A Quiet Night is a Blessing Young People Sometimes Don’t Understand
The area for washing clothes has several water-stone spigots and basins with rough boards affixed to them.
There are a lot of people washing laundry so I figure out how to go about it. To begin, I have to insert the metal plaque I received underneath the spigots in order to make the water-stones usable. You can’t remove the plaque after you insert it, and after a half an hour it’s ejected below underneath the washing station so you can’t reuse it.
I take out the Commoner’s Clothes, which consists of the shirt, jacket, shorts, knee-high socks, sports bra, and pan- er, underwear, to wash them as well, but there really isn’t a speck of dirt or grime on them. They also smell fresh. Even the boots are in pristine order, with no odor in them. Just having these is a cheat.
Unfortunately, no matter how much I scrub it doesn’t look like I’ll get the shirt I borrowed from Solyana perfectly clean again.
I’m really ashamed.
The washing stations also have a hot blow dryer-like thing. It looks a lot like the automatic hand dryers from our world. It’s convenient since I don’t have to wait for drying, but if you let your laundry pile up wouldn’t 30 minutes be far too short for washing and drying?
… Well, most of the people here look like adventurers and not citizens. Maybe all the citizens do their washing at home, so that’s not really a concern.
I took the opportunity to stick everything in Inventory when no one was looking. By the way, I could stick all my clothes in the sack Juri gave me and put that into Inventory. It was listed as “Sack of Cleaned Laundry”, but it didn’t list what was specifically in the sack.
It’s convenient that I can put things in other bags, but not being able to see a list of what’s in each bag makes it hard to take stock of what I have. Inventory isn’t omnipotent, I guess.
When I make it back to The Queen Mary’s, I take the opportunity to walk around the building.
It doesn’t look that easy to break into the first floor. There are only three entrances; the front doors for customers, the side door for servants, and the rear door that exits into the courtyard.
The rear door isn’t easy to get to from the street, but that might not stop anyone who was determined to get to it.
The windows on the first floor have metal lattices behind the glass. Maryiste made a good decision. If the metal reinforcements were straight bars, it would make the establishment feel much shadier, like a prison. Anyway, someone breaking in would have to blow the entire window away to get in that way.
Satisfied with my survey of the building, I finally go in through the side door. The girls had told me to go in this way. Apparently some men would become uncomfortable if a woman entered this type of shop at the same time as them? I don’t really get it. If they’re coming to a brothel, should they really be so self conscious?
“Jun-dono! You’ve come back already?”
A bunny-eared girl hailed me over as I entered the backroom. I said I hadn’t seen many passive-looking Beastkin, but I forgot. Or like, there are so many Rabbitkin in this city I just got used to them. The warriors and adventurer Rabbitkin look fierce, but there are far more civilians who look like people wearing bunny cosplays. Maybe that’s why I overlooked them.
By the way, I had soon discovered, after arriving at the city, that Beastkin are the people who only have ears, tails, and sometimes wings or a few sparse scales of animals. There are as many types as there are animals, barring bugs. For the ones that are closer to animals than humans, they are called animal-head tribesmen. These are much rarer, and more heavily discriminated against.
But anyway, I’m not sure I’ve seen this particular Rabbitkin here at The Queen Mary’s before.
“Yes I have, um …”
“Ahaha, I’m LeeAnne, an adventurer who owes Maryiste-dono.”
She holds her hand out. As I go to shake it, she snatches it and pumps up and down enthusiastically.
I take a better look at her. Tanned skin with short, straw-colored hair and an athletic-type body. She’s different from the pale-skinned Rabbitkin beauty who works in the shop, but she has a good appeal all the same.
“Iyaaa, I’m so relieved Maryiste-dono found someone reliable these days. I can’t do much by myself, but if there’s someone strong living here, the girls and Maryiste-dono will be safe.”
The adventurer Rabbitkin, LeeAnne pulls me closer, winks, and then whispers,
“To be honest, it’s such a relief nowadays. Erina-dono and Solyana-dono have been wound up tighter’n a corkscrew ever since the Dark Wyverns started settling in. Those girls take themselves way too seriously, y’know? Solyana-dono especially … we’re super thankful that Jun-dono came by!”
“Um … I see … but is it okay for me to go off during the day like this?”
“Ahaha, of course! Well, maybe not “of course,” but the group that’s harassing this shop isn’t trying to take it over or anything. They want to beat this shop down as an example, so there’s not much point in destroying the shop when there aren’t customers around.”
It’s not a guarantee, but it looks like I won’t need to worry too excessively about Maryiste and the girls as long as I get back before dusk. I should aim to return around this time of day.
“So what business does LeeAnne-san have here tonight? Is there anything I can help you with?”
LeeAnne-san giggles. She has a temperament closer to Erina-sama than Solyana, if I use those two as a scale. I’m relieved she isn’t into the skinship like Erina-sama is, though.
“Jun-dono is exactly as the other girls said.”
I don’t know what they’ve been saying. LeeAnne-san continues.
“I’m just here to check in on Maryiste-dono and the current situation, but I’m just about to head out to do some night hunting in the areas around the outer gate. Would Jun-dono like to come with me?”
Night hunting … it sounds interesting, and I haven’t really fought any monsters yet so I’m pretty tempted to go, but it would be really short-sighted for me to go now and leave Maryiste and the girls alone during the night. Also, I STILL don’t have a weapon.
“Sorry, I’ll have to decline for now. Maybe another time.”
“That’s too bad, I wanted to see what you were made of!”
LeeAnne winks at me, and her bunny ears bob a bit.
“Ah … another time perhaps.” Like when I get a weapon. Or when Maryiste and the girls aren’t in danger of being attacked.
“Alright then, good evening!”
LeeAnne departs with a flirtatious wink and a wave.
An adventurer who owes Maryiste, huh? I still don’t know much about her, but she sure talked a lot. I had almost forgotten what I wanted to do after getting back.
Mounting the stairs, I’m thinking about checking the security of the upstairs … but I don’t know if it would be improper to check the other girls’ rooms.
No, I mean, I need to check for security right? It’s nothing weird right? And I’m a girl now, afterall, right?
While I’m standing there, wondering what to do as I hear the girls all rushing about and preparing for the evening, Solyana catches sight of me.
She’s wearing seductive clothing tonight as well.
“Is there something wrong, Jun?”
“A-ah, Solyana… I was wondering if there was a place with a good vantage point for watching.”
Solyana tilts her head to one side, staring at me with her amber brown eyes.
“A place with a good vantage point, is it?”
With smooth movements she suddenly crosses the room and opens a window, pushing aside the shutters.
She turns and gives a quick toss of her head, beckoning me over. Though her expression doesn’t change, I can see her eyes sparkle a little.
With an unladylike move, Solyana hitches her already short-enough skirt up and steps onto the window sill. Agilely turning, she manages to twist her body, catching hold of the low roof.
I can’t help but panic as she struggles to hoist herself up, and so I throw the window next to her open, leap from the sill and pull myself onto the roof so I can turn to help her.
Though I have confidence in my pull-ups, thank you Augment Body for making this easier.
Solyana was able to pull herself half up, and gives a wry smile as I help her up the rest of the way.
She’s breathing a bit hard, and her rust-colored hair is slightly disheveled and in her face. At the same time, the sparkle in her eyes seems to have made it to her face, and she can barely keep the mischievous look from showing in the moonlight. And because she’s in her street-walker’s outfit… I can see the tops of her breasts heaving from the slight excursion.
What a seductive woman.
I push the discomforting, and impolite, thought wondering how many men have fallen for her charm out of my head. Solyana is a woman with a lot of pride, despite circumstances, so I’m sure she’d be upset if she knew what I was thinking. It’s also just a really uncomfortable thing to think of.
“You’re like a cat.”
Solyana breaks through my thoughts as she smoothes her hair back.
“To leap from the window and onto the roof in one move like that, at least I doubt you’re human.”
Even though Solyana is laughing quietly while she says it, it kind of hurts. It’s not that I’m not human, it’s Augment Body that’s not human. But I, who can use Augment Body, don’t think I’ll be able to argue this convincingly.
After ensuring that Solyana won’t tumble off the roof, she’s more physically capable than I first thought, I stand and look around.
The Queen Mary’s is a floor shorter than one of the neighboring shops, but since it’s still 2 floors tall, it’s enough to get a good look around the district.
“Mm, I see, this is certainly a good place to take a look or keep watch. I’m surprised you thought of it, Solyana-san.”
Or like, you seem kind of knowledgeable on how to get up onto the roof. Only from this part of the shop could you do this. Even though the windows on the second floor don’t have metal reinforcements to prevent thieves, the roof juts out too far from the other windows to catch.
“There aren’t many other places you can be alone.”
Solyana has sat down on the gently sloping roof, and the night breeze plays with her hair. I wonder if it’s not too chilly for her in her getup; the night air can be cold in these mountains.
She gives me a glance.
“You’ve changed your clothes, haven’t you? You match into the town quite well now.”
“Ahaha, well it took a hunk of money out of my savings, but if it helps me from standing out too much I guess it was worth it. Oh, that’s right.”
I’m unsure how to go about it, but I reach into the small money pouch to access Inventory and pull out both the shirt I had borrowed and the shirt I had bought for Solyana.
… It must look ridiculous, pulling two shirts out of what looks like an empty pouch. I should reflect on this later.
“Um, I’m sorry about this, but I had thoughtlessly gotten the shirt I borrowed from you dirty. I did try to clean it as best I could, but in the end … This isn’t much, but as an apology… ”
I hand over both shirts and bowed towards Solyana. I really did do my best to clean her shirt, washing it over and over again. It was all I could do to resist scrubbing as hard as I could when I saw that all of the soot and stains weren’t going away.
Solyana wordlessly looks over what I was offering her. Since my head was low I couldn’t tell how she felt about it. Er … the silence is killing me. Just when I’m about to lift my head and look, I hear her suppress a giggle.
“It would be foolish to lend clothing to an adventurer and not expect it to get dirty, but thank you for your consideration. I will take the replacement, but you should keep the one I lent you in case you have to do more dirty work.”
It would have been nice to let me know you weren’t expecting it to remain clean-! Do you know how much I worried about it?! Ah, but it would still be impertinent not to buy a replacement, so in the end the results would be the same.
I replace the clean-but-not-really shirt into Inventory through the bag, since Solyana seemed firm in not taking it back. Also … it’s just kind of gross to give a girl something that you drenched in sweat, even if you tried to wash it, right?
There’s silence for a little while, but it’s not too uncomfortable.
I sneak a glance at Solyana. Like LeeAnne said, she certainly seems less tense than when I first met her, but when I first met Solyana the situation wasn’t exactly normal either. Well, if I can lessen the stress just by being here, that’s fine too, isn’t it?
After a bit, Solyana sighs, and it looks like a weight comes back onto her shoulders.
“I should go now, but I’ll have the girls leave one of the windows open.”
“Ah… ok. Thanks for everything Solyana-san.”
She smiles, kind of stiffly.
“I didn’t really do much.”
After she managed to safely re-enter the shop, with me hovering overhead like a worried parent, I sit back down on the roof and look up into the sky.
Shortly afterwards, I hear her call, “Jun!” and so I lean over the edge of the roof. The window is closer than I thought when I had been climbing up.
Solyana, with a soft smile, hands me a waterskin and small glass. The waterskin is warm to touch. It’s a thermos-like object?
“It will get cold up here, so Erina sent up some tea. It’s cinnamon and clover tea with goat’s milk; the girls drink it for their skin, but it’s warm at least.”
“I see. Thank you.”
The girls here really are kind.
There was the moon overhead and the night sky was brilliant, though the stars scattered overhead are fake. I’m keeping watch, but with Resilient Body, this minimal amount of concentration isn’t enough to make me tired and the cold mountain breeze doesn’t feel as biting.
This is such an interesting world. There wasn’t much of a chance to experience something like this in my other world.
While keeping an eye on the people below milling about, I try to straighten out my thoughts.
First, I really need to learn how to read, at least on a child’s level. Well, on a child’s level in Japan, since reading and writing seems uncommon here. And though I have Translate-sama, just by hearing my words makes it clear I’m not a local, so maybe I should take the chance to learn how to speak the local language.
Second, I’ve been putting it out of mind for a while … but I really do wonder if Masaki and Seimei are alright. I’m at quite a loss as to what to do about this. Without even knowing if they exist in this world, how am I supposed to look for them?
I put some serious thought into it. Let’s see… first has to be the problem with geography. That is, I don’t know it in this world. There are countries at odds with each other, but how many? And where are the Unaffiliated territories? That settles it, I really do need to find a map and someone to teach me about the countries.
And then about entering those countries … as an Unaffiliated … un, I don’t want to be a citizen of any country after hearing about the circumstances, but will that make passing the borders more difficult?
In the worst possible case, let’s say I can’t enter any of the countries. Would asking people who travel between countries work? Ummm … aside from not really knowing how to go about asking, what kind of people would be able to travel freely between countries? Diplomats? If they’re diplomats, they’re probably Nobles right?
… Un, let’s not get involved with Noble-samas.
Then… merchants and adventurers are the next two types of people I can think of. Are? If adventurers can travel between countries … aren’t I an adventurer?
It seems I will need to ask about this.
The other option is to try to indirectly let other people know that a person from Japan is here so that they can come to me. Now how do I do that without outright saying, “Hey, I am someone who came from another world”?
The positive side to doing this would be that it wouldn’t only attract Masaki or Seimei, if they’re here, but anyone else who knows about Japan. This may be a naive way of thinking, but I would welcome contact with anyone who was transported here from Japan. Actually, any citizen from our world, American, Chinese, Russian … whoever!
Certainly they may not be good people just because they came from my original world, but when everyone’s thrown into the same boat, allies are made – something like that.
Aside from these worries, I guess there’s not much else I’m too concerned about.
I still need some things, but I don’t have the money to buy them all. What I really want is a toothbrush and toothpaste, but who knows what they’ll have instead. Other than that … more changes of socks and underwear, some gloves when I head into the Labyrinth, and another pair of pants.
A bag as well. I hadn’t thought of it, but it’s weird to pull large things out of what looks like an empty coinpurse, and when going into a Labyrinth, it’s all about things you loot off monsters, right?
You might think I’m too obsessed about going into a Labyrinth when there’s so much more I can do in the city, like in the forge and stuff, but even though I’m no match for Masaki and his group of serious gamers, I’m still a high school boy who likes rpg-style games at heart, you know? It’s a boy’s romance.
… Has my character become strange?
In Japan, I think I was more level-headed and responsible, though. In this new world, I seem to be cutting loose quite a bit.
I suppose I should reflect on it.