Chapter 42 Fighting Tournament (1)
My right shoulder that had been hit just now felt hot due to the pain and continued robbing my concentration. It’s been 1 week since we have been summoned to this world. For the past few days, I have been practicing how to use a sword during the day.
At the centre of the training ground, I looked at the middle aged knight standing in front of me as I panted for breath. Whether it be the other soldiers practicing here or Souichi and the others, all of them are more used to using weapons than me. They seemed much natural at it than me. And all of them were looking at me, with inquisitiveness.
While holding the dull edged training-use sword with both hands, I adjusted my breathing.
I took deep breaths thrice; my heart started beating faster, as if asking me to take a break already. But ignoring it, I took a stance with the sword. Wearing the mithril armor, the aged knight’s seemed to be not tired at all as he swung around his training sword, checking its condition. In fact, he seemed to be having fun. He was enjoying practicing with me. Even though I was beaten around all over the place, getting blown away, making my body hurt like hell. The sword he held was thicker and longer than mine as well. Even though it should be so much more heavier, he seemed to be having an easy time with it. This guy is definitely not normal. This over energetic, contrary to his age, knight’s name was O’brien Arbelia.
“Good good. It’s nice to be young, eh. I was worried that you’d be all cocky since you are titled a hero but not bad, you have some guts.”(ob)
“Why, thank you.”(renji)
“Kuku. It’s not always that I compliment someone, you know? You should be more happy, yamada-dono.”
“At night, I’ll secretly get happy about this alone.”
Few days after getting summoned to this world, I learnt many things while fighting with this old man. This man was a bully.
If I were to relax from those words, he would beat the shit out of me, no questions asked. And as usual, I’d end up rolling on the ground. Such a precise vision rose in my head that my face cramped a bit.
Even though he’s shorter than me, when facing him like this, I’m the one who feels smaller. His presence and pressure was in a different level. He wasn’t a human like me who depended on cheats given by the goddess to fight. His strength came from his mental and physical skills he forged through years of continuous training. He held such things with him.
My body hurts like hell, and I’m really tired but I’m still thankful to him for training me. Other soldiers would always hold back against me out of formality and Souichi and others were so strong that it wouldn’t even be called training.
“C’mon, start again.”(ob)
As if taunting me, his sword’s tip swayed around. Will he rush towards me, or will he try to over pressure me mentally. I wonder if my hesitating reactions were funny as O’brien-san gave a short laugh.
Due to his sword’s tip being in the way, I couldn’t close in on him and everytime he took a step forward I ended up taking one back. I know this will end up with me being beaten around again if it continues like this but my body just didn’t move. Even if it was just a blunt sword for training, it still hurt when I got hit, and above that, there was the fear that with O’brien-san’s strength, he could cut through me, flesh and bones, even with this.
“Yamada-san, do your best!!”
“Commander, show us your cool side once again!”
Hearing the latter words, O’brien-san casually waved his hand towards them. How relaxed. Even with me as an opponent, I guess he doesn’t really need to focus that much.
Souichi called my name as well but I didn’t have the composure to reply back. Just focusing at the distance between us alone was already more than I could handle right now. Sweat dripped down my cheek as I put more strength in my grip holding the sword.
“Oioi, we’re just training, not trying to kill each other. Be more at ease.”
“—–even if you say that.”
“You don’t retreat yet don’t face forward to take the initiative either. What you lack, first and foremost, is resolve.”
Being told that, I gulped the saliva in my mouth. Yeah, that’s right. I recalled the events that led to me getting trained by him. In this world, filled with monsters, danger at every corner, and where death is always by your side, to survive in such a world, and so that I don’t become a burden, I wished to become stronger.
Hearing O’brien-san’s words, I breathed out and calmed my mind. I couldn’t calm myself completely but I resolved myself. I stepped forward. I faced his sword. To cut, get cut, kill, get killed. A battle with lives on the line. I still lacked the full resolve to do that but at this moment, I stepped forward.
“here I come.”(renji)
“No need for an announcement. Just come at me, you fool.”
O’brien-san took a stance. That said, he only put his sword on his shoulder. It was his natural stance. It seemed to lack strength, yet the pressure only increased. This man’s sword was incredible. Every single attack was a sure kill swing. If you took it on, you’ll be destroyed along with your sword. You’ll get cut apart with your armour. It would be suicide. But I lacked the ability to dodge it as well. But even then, I have no choice but to step forward. To prove that I have the resolve.
I wonder if he was aware of my thoughts, as his face showed lots of composure. While giving an enjoying laugh, he remained calm as always. Facing him, I rushed in straightforward. The goddess’s divine protection and the power of the cheat were both almost non-existent in me right now. I only had physical ability slightly better than normal. And as I rushed in with all my strength, the old man very calmly took action. Just when I thought that his sword moved, the very next moment he struck it on the ground. Dust cloud rose to block my vision.
But, I had seen through that attack. Turning around towards my blind spot towards my right shoulder, I gripped my sword tightly. I hesitated for a second. Pointing a sword towards a human still tired me mentally. But I let go of those thoughts, and swung my sword. With a clank, a shock that almost numbed my hand ran through. My sword slash had been swung away with a strike from his sword that had moved at an untraceable speed. Just a second ago it was sticking in the ground, just what kind of trick is this!? My eyes widened in surprise.
In that little gap, I definitely felt the pressure coming from O’brien-san increase. His body, his whole presence, felt like it grew in size. I could only look as the aged knight raised his long sword. The next moment, my body moved faster than my mind could think and I somehow took on that attack with my sword. Blown away from the impact, I rolled away on the ground.
Unable to even understand how ragged my breathing had gotten, I just gazed at the sky while lying on the ground. I couldn’t feel the sword in my hand anymore. My hand’s gone completely numb. All the joints of my body, and my throat for breathing too much, hurt a lot.
“Let’s end here for today. After dinner, come to the library.”(ob)
As I answered that, Souichi came over and looked at me with a worried face.
“Are, are you alright?”
“Hm…….yeah..sorry about that.”
“No, you don’t have to…”
Souichi, being small and child faced, looked more like a girl. Maybe because his sister, Yayoi-chan, was more mature, those two looked like twins. If I said that, he’d start sulking but, oh well. Somehow, I can’t stop myself from teasing him. Also, the way he acts as well……….
For example, right now, as I apologised, he gave an embarrassed expression. It really messes with my mind. Having lost in front of him, I stood back up.
After I stood up, next the soldiers came to me one by one to appreciate my effort. For some reason, rather than towards Souichi and others who held insane powers, these soldiers seemed to have generated an affinity towards me who was beaten around by O’brien-san. How weird. Well, it’s better than them being not fond of me, I guess. If they said something like me being so weak even though I was supposedly summoned to save the world, I’ll probably won’t recover from the damage.
As I walked while thinking of such things, I went and drank the warm water from the water jug kept near the field. At some point, Souichi had gone back and was swinging around his sword at the centre of the field. He didn’t really have a form or a stance but due to his overpowered strength, the force waves from the sword alone seemed like they could cut things apart. How envious, seriously. Since I don’t have the abilities like others have, I have no choice but to learn how to use a sword normally. Realizng that I was feeling jealous of a boy much younger than me, I shook my head. Taking another gulp of water. Really tasty. It felt so nice that I drank a bit too much and ended up spilling some water from my mouth and it wet my clothes a bit. But that felt nice as well. Due to the heat from my wounds and overworking my body, even this warm water felt nice and cold.
When I turned around at that voice, a girl with semi-long hair, pleated skirt and a white blouse with a blazer was standing there. It looks like the middle school uniform from our original world. At her side was another girl with black hair. She was Souichi’s sister, Yayoi-chan. She was dressed in more medieval clothes like we have seen in movies and stuff. And the girl in the uniform was Yayoi-chan and Souichi’s childhood friend Fuyou-san.
Feeling her cold gaze, I scratched my cheeks.
“You’re wounded so much again…..”
“Please leave the fighting to us Yamada-san. I really think it’d be better if you stayed here at the castle along with Toudou-san and Yui.”(aya)
When she said that with a sigh, I ended up averting my eyes feeling pathetic. It’s just as she said. Just like this girl, 10 years younger than me, said, I’m not suited to fighting. Let alone Souichi and others who got extremely combat related gifts from the goddess, I’m certain that I cannot win against even this magician girl. It was really pathetic, yet I had no retort.
I wonder what she thought of me, or maybe she lost interest.
“Well then, please excuse me.”(aya)
Giving a bow, Fuyou-san walked away straight towards Souichi. In her stead, Yayoi-chan pointed her palm towards my left arm. Just as I felt warmth, my fatigue and pain began to disappear.
“This really is convenient. Magic and miracles. It really is a fantasy world eh?”(renji)
“fufu, you’re saying the same things as Inoue-san.”(yayoi)
While shaking my now recovered arm, Yayoi-chan laughed.
As expected, it’s better when they’re laughing like this. I don’t really hate frank people like Fuyou-san but, I’m simply bad at dealing with them. Also, I’ve yet to see her smile even once. How should I say this, she’s always acting so strong. I think, that girl lacks the composure right now as well.
“Please don’t hate Aya-chan.”(yayoi)
“Well, she’s really severe when talking with people she doesn’t know too well you see?”
“Ahh……well, I don’t really mind it.”
“That’s fine then.”
No, but well, yeah..
Fuyou-san herself was currently talking with Souichi and Hiyuu-san who was also training.
“Aya-chan’s worrying for you in her own way. So that everyone can return home safe and alive.”
“I know. Yayoi-chan, you’re really kind, aren’t you.”
“fufu, well then, if you’ll excuse me.”
Saying that, she walked away towards Souichi as well. The Brave sure is amazing. Even though I am so alone, he’s surrounded by 3 beauties. One of them is her sister though.
While gazing at the sky, I gave a sigh. I need a weapon. A weapon to kill gods. So that I don’t become a burden. Even if I’m unable to fully protect them, I at least want to fight alongside the kids.
Oh Goddess. You still have not fulfilled my wish.
As I looked at Souichi, surrounded by soldiers, a sad feeling lingered in my chest. Shaking my head, I gave a deep sigh, and let go of that thought with a wry smile.
———-I want to become a hero as well.
Just then, feeling a bit curious, I took out the medal given to me by the Goddess. A golden medal. Except for the embedded gems, there was nothing too peculiar about it. That goddess said that it was a weapon to kill gods. This simple looking medal. Am I supposed to buy some great weapon by selling this? I can’t understand it at all. Yesterday, even Utano-san told me that maybe it was a failure.
(T/N: back to present)
“Puhahahaha—-th,this doesn’t suit you at all!”
“What are you laughing so hard at, you fly!”
“Who did you call a fly!?!”
As I tried to comb down my hair with gel, the girl lying on my bed started laughing at me. Does this not suit me that much? Even though I was just cursing outside, in my heart, I grew worried. The number of things you could use to groom yourself in this world could be counted on your hands. I am somewhat aware of those, but in the end, it’s just half assed knowledge. Rather than this, it would have been easier to just have worn some fancy armour like when I met the King. At least, all I had to do then was just put it on.
The girl on my bed——a fairy with doll like features, Anastasia, was rolling while laughing not minding that her dress was getting crumpled as she did that. At times, a white cloth could be seen underneath that dress as she rolled around as well. That said, I’m not that big of pervert to lust after a doll like small creature. Paying it no heed, I restarted trying to fix my hair. Going by what I see on the mirror, it shouldn’t be that bad but being laughed at so much has made me uneasy. I guess that’s how human mind works.
As I put on the neat dress shirt and set the black necktie, I felt like a salaryman working in some corporate company. Remembering the old days, I felt a bit nostalgic but really, this doesn’t suit me. Not like Anastasia, but I gave a short laugh as well. That’s probably because after coming to this world, I have spent most of the time in travelling clothes.
“Ermenhilde, what do you think?”
[Well, it’s fine I guess? The problem is clothes. Do you have any remaining?]
“From what I looked, yeah. Though, I’m not sure if they’ll fit me anymore……”
Since my room was the same as a year ago, the clothes prepared for me and the arrangement of the furniture, all had been kept the same. Among those, there were many high class clothes made of quality fabric as well. But the problem was that they were prepared for me 3 years ago. I doubt that my height has changed much but due to the muscles I’ve gained, my body size has almost grown by 1 size. I wonder if I could still somehow fit in those clothes.
Somehow, I still remembered how to tie a necktie and surprising even myself, I was able to wear it properly. All said and done, I guess you don’t forget things you’ve learnt even once.
“Eeh, how skilled.”(ana)
“I’ve learnt it after all.”(renji)
[Well, Renji doesn’t really care for appearances and stuff like that normally, after all.]
“Don’t say that proudly. It’s not cool.”(ana)
Anastasia seemed to be the type that minded personal grooming as well but it was completely useless right now as all she did was laugh or sigh at me. What rude queen. Whenever I recall that she’s the top of all fairies, I become really worried for the future of the fairy race.
Well, the rest of the fairies aren’t really different from Anastasia and have having fun as their first priority.
“But still, what’s up today? It really doesn’t suit you at all though.”(ana)
“I’m going for a dinner with Aya tonight.”(renji)
[For that, I need to force the meaning of ‘appearance and grooming’ into his head. You’re being a nuisance so return already, you insect.]
“Who’s an insect, you medal woman!? ……..wait a sec.”
What’s with that surprised voice? When I looked towards the bed, the fairy who had been laughing like crazy till now stood up very docilely. It’s probably not my imagination that her expression loks angry. Maybe due to her height, she glared at me while looking up at me. It’s not scary at all though.
“Why did you not invite me!?”(ana)
“Why would I? Idiot. ”
If I did, I can only imagine what Aya would say, or rather, what she’d do to me.
She didn’t say it upfront but, I’m sure she’s expecting to go to dinner alone, just the two of us. And if I were to go against her expectations———-my body is well aware what she’d do much to my own displeasure. No, even I won’t be able to laugh it away like usual. Yeah, I can’t be acting like a child always after all. I’m 28 already. My heart’s still young but I’m at an age where I’m expected to read the mood properly.
But, Anastasia seemed like she really wanted to go to dinner with me as she was pouting right now. Is that supposed to be an objection from her? Leave me alone.
“So it’s Aya this time…..”(ana)
“What do you mean ‘this time’?”(renji)
Please don’t talk like I’m going after lots of girls. I looked at her with a fed up face as Anastasia bit her finger while making a serious face. Just what do you see me as? Or rather, what kind of character does everyone think I have? Just a while ago, even Kuuki called me out about my relationship with wome, it’ll make me cry you know? Well, not really though.
But even that aside, even Utano-san seemed to be stricter than usual about the case with Solnea. How should I persuade her? The easiest way would be to let them meet tomorrow and end it once and for all. I really want to be rid of all these false accusations. Well, I do believe that Solnea is a beauty but that doesn’t mean I’ll start lusting after her. That’s not my personality. If I did, I’m sure one day, someone somewhere would end up getting hurt. Even the idiot me understands that. Not to mention I’ve still not resolved my feelings about Eru either, and then there’s Utano-san and Aya as well.
Harems are great, I really think that. Only when I’m not the main related/concerned person to it.
“I’ve had enough! After defeating the Demon God you hid yourself, finally when we meet here at the capital you won’t play with me much and you don’t even invite me to dinner now. Aren’t you being a bit too cold?”(ana)
“Well, it’s tiring to spend time with you after all.”(renji)
“You’re being way too rude now.”(ana)
“You’re not faring any better than me, medal woman.”(ana)
[No such thing. I’m Renji’s partner after all.]
No wait, you. Even though you’d always get irritated when I called you my partner, why do say it so happily only at such times?
Am I the only one feeling very complicated right now? I’m glad yet can’t actually feel happy about it. Ermenhilde didn’t seem to understand my inner thoughts though. If I had a way to look at her expression, she must be making a triumphant expression right now.
“Stop fighting, both of you. You’ll get scolded by Yui-chan.”(renji)
I sighed seeing them both get quiet just by mentioning Yui-chan’s name. It’s amazing how they can’t win against a child. They know that Yui-chan will get sad if they fight after all; these two really are honest at heart. Well, I’m not any different though.
“It’s unfair to use Yui’s name, Renji.”(ana)
[Yeah, that’s right. It’s not fair.]
“Why are you getting along now all of sudden?”(renji)
“We are not! Right, medal woman?”
[Exactly, you insect.]
Seriously, what the hell. While chatting with Anastasia who had already forgotten her earlier anger, I opened the wooden closet to choose some clothes. It seemed to be made of some fine quality wood as it seemed really sturdy yet was actually pretty light in weight. It took almost no effort to open the double doors. Taking out a few sets of clothes from it, I shut it back up.
Tonight we’re heading towards Toudou’s restaurant, a well-hidden yet really popular place. You’d think it’d be no problem seeing as one of the 13 heroes owns the place but due to its special location, it wasn’t normally popular. After all, it’s located in one of the back alleys with complicated structures.
On top of that, he didn’t even try to advertise the place even once. Honestly, even Utano-san said that he didn’t seem to be actually interested in doing it as actual business. By the way, I couldn’t find the place by myself either and had to ask Utano-san to show me the location on a map of the capital. That’s how well hidden it is.
“Sometime later, I’ll take you out as well okay? So let me go for today.”(renji)
“Probably. If I felt like it, someday.”
“So basically you won’t will you!?”
While racking my brains on deciding which clothes to choose, I lightly spoke that to Anastasia. Obviously, even my purse isn’t thick enough to take anybody out for dinner even when I don’t feel like it. While ignoring Anastasia’s voice of protest, I tried some of the shirts on me. Since it’s been almost two years from when these were made, as you’d expect, they were tight. This is troublesome; I scratched my head while looking at the mirror. It’d be difficult to arrange for a new set of clothes before the night as well now. I guess the only way left is to go to a shop and get some readymade clothes. While checking if I had enough money, I planned for tonight.
Seemingly not happy from my response, Anastasia rose up from the bed. As she seemed to be using the power of wind spirits, her skirt fluttered around, making her thin, white yet nice thighs visible. Seriously, it’s way too tempting to my eyes.
“I’ll buy a grilled orc meat stick for you from some stall while returning, okay?”
What violent is things this tiny is saying. Only her looks are cute, I’m sure she’d popular with men with weird fetishes. Like Koutarou, maybe Koutarou, oh and also Koutarou. He acts like a chunni but deep inside he’s like that. While I was thinking of such things, my room’s door was knocked on. And after a moment of gap, the door was opened and Yui-chan peeked inside. Behind her was the black armoured phantom knight, KNIGHT. Did they come looking for Anastasia?
“Excuse me, Renji-san.”(yui)
“Yo, what’s up yui-chan? If you were looking or Anastasia, take her back with you. She keeps on quarrelling with Ermenhilde, it’s irritating.”(renji)
“Wait, what are you saying so suddenly!?”(ana)
Anastasia raised a shout at the same time as KNIGHT closed the door behind him. Yui-cahn, with a sad expression, came closer to Anastasia floating near the bed.
How should I say this, though I am the one who incited this, even I’m feeling bad now a bit. Seeing Yui-chan like that, Anastasia lost her confident expression that she has when talking to me and ermenhilde and was looking around nervously. At times she’d look at me, but I can’t help her. Just give up.
And as KNIGHT walked behind Yui-chan like a shadow maintaining the exact same distance, it looked really surreal.
“It, it’s not like that……..wasn’t a fight. It wasn’t a fight, right Renji? It wasn’t, right!?”
Ignoring her pleas for help, I continued trying out other clothes. As expected all of them seem a bit small………but not like I can’t wear them at all. This one should work fine, I think?
Yui-chan silently reproached Anastasia and Anastasia constantly kept on asking for some help. KNIGHT kept silent as usual and simply stood behind Yui-chan indicating that he was clearly on Yui-chan’s side. Ermenhilde and Anastasia alone made the room feel really lively already, but now it felt even more so as I gave a wry smile. I guess the proverb that it gets noisy whenever women gather isn’t that wrong either.
“Say, Yui-chan look here for a sec, which one do you think suits me more?”(renji)
Collecting the clothes that I could wear, I asked Yui-chan for her opinion. Having been freed from Yui-chan’s gaze, Anastasia also breathed a sigh in relief. Why is she so weak only to Yui-chan? Well, I guess anyone would feel guilty on being scolded by a child.
WHile listening to Yui-chan and Ermenhilde’s opinion, I began to choose my clothes as Anastasia, probably out of boredom, flopped down back onto the bed. Since Yui-chan was here, she seemed to be paying mind to not ruin her dress this time.
“Is a date with Aya, fun?”
“Well, putting the fact whether can this be even called an actual date aside, yeah, it’s fun.”
“It is definitely a date. You’re going on dinner together right?”
“Before that, where the hell did you even learn what ‘date’ meant?”
“Just now, from Yui.”
I asked that solely to avert the topic but I was a bit surprised by the unexpected name that came from her. Yui-chan didn’t seem to mind it much either it seems. No well, she’s also 16 now I guess. It’s normal for her to be expected in such things. Should I be happy at her growth or should be worried about it? Anyway, I want to know if there is someone she likes.
When I looked towards Yui-chan, she wasn’t there anymore. When did she move? She was currently pushing down Anastasia down on the bed with a red face. Probably trying to shut her mouth but since Yui-chan isn’t exactly the physically fit type, it only looked like both of them had fallen onto each other on the bed. And on top of it, both of them wore skirts so it was pretty dangerous. Giving a cough, I averted my gaze towards the window instead but the silent pressure coming from KNIGHT and Ermenhilde was way too incredible. If it was weak hearted person, he would have gottena seizure.
Inside this, well not really a scene of ‘carnage’ (shuraba), I simply gazed out of the window.
“It’s good that everyone’s so lively, yup.”(renji)
[Where were you looking? What were you looking? Hm??]
OI, KNIGHT-san, please don’t stand beside me while realising such intense pressure will you? Also Ermenhilde, if I looked at Yui-chan and Anastasia in that way, I won’t forgive myself first and foremost, so be at ease. Stay calm.
But still, I thought.
“Is something the matter, Renji-san?”(aya)
“No, it’s nothing.”
Wearing a tight deep blue dress and a thick shwal made of monster fur, Aya looked up towards me and talked. I should try not to get to worried of the fact that we were at a distance where our elbows basically touching each other. Normally Ermenhilde who couldn’t read the mood would speak something random just about now but currently she had been left with Utano-san for safekeeping so it was really quiet.
It was night time. As I walked along the main street, now having much less people than normal, I recalled the way to Toudou’s in my head.
“Aren’t you cold?”(renji)
“fufu, no, I’m fine.”(aya)
Saying that, Aya leaned slightly more closer towards me. While acting like I didn’t notice, I scratched my cheek with my other arm. She’s in a really good mood. If I said that out loud, I wonder what she’d say. I became a bit curious but decided against asking that and slowed my walking speed a bit.
Aya felt more taller today than usual, probably because of those high heel like shoes she’s wearing. Her untied hair swayed in the wind and shined in the faint light of the magic street lamps. Her light make up suited her much more as she was always a bit more mature than her peers.
While stealing glances of Aya’s happy face enjoying the coldness, I began to follow her swaying hair before I knew. 18 yrs old. Right between a girl and an adult woman, should I say. She’s really grown, or rather, has become really pretty. I wonder if this is how a dad seeing her daughter grow up feels like. I changed my mood while thinking of such stupid things.
“Maybe we should have hired a carriage or something.”(renji)
“Don’t worry about it. Also, do you even have that much surplus money on you?”(aya)
“And anyway, isn’t it more fun to walk and talk like this?”
Being told that much, I had no way to refute it. I also think that it’s not bad to chat while walking like this. As we passed through various passerbys, we finally reached the landmark item shop I had been told. The alley turning inside from here is where Toudou’s restaurant is located. Aya also knew the place as she lightly pulled my sleeve to tell where we need to go.
It tickled a bit. I quickly hid my smile with my other hand as we entered the alley. It seemed pretty clean for a back alley and didn’t really feel dirty. But as expected, there were a lot less pedestrians. Expect for us, only a few more couples seemed to be walking here.
“As expected, there really are not many people here, eh?”(renji)
“True. The fact that even then Toudou-san’s restaurant became popular only shows how amazing he is at cooking.”
“yeah. That said, why did he open his restaurant in sucha place though?”
Considering its him we’re talking about, his reason would be something like, he just wants someone to enjoy his food. The number of customers is the lesser the better.
Toudou Hiiragi. One of our comrades, and a cook. A weirdo who asked for a cooking related skill even after coming to a fantasy world. A former NEET(shut-in), and sucks at social interactions. Can’t converse properly, and keeps his thoughts to himself. But still, he put in great effort to walk with us, and travel along with all of us.
As I recalled his appearance from an year ago, we finally saw our destination.
“I looked for the place many times after coming to the capital but never found it.”
Also, there was the matter of my debt to Utano-san so I put more priority/effort at earning money rather than look for Toudou’s palce as well.
While thinking that, looked at the place. It’s outer appearance was basically a stone building on a wooden frame. It seems pretty well built. Even the parts that were supposedly damaged when he bought the place have been properly reinforced. When I tried touching, I felt something that didn’t exist in this world. Is this concrete?
When I looked at Aya, she gave a vague smile. It must be Kudou who prepared this. I don’t know how she prepared things like cement etc but her ability is [item creation]. She must have made it with that. Well, there was that one time where she made bombs out stones lying on the road during our journey so I’m not really surprised by anything she does. I can only say ‘oh, cool.’ That’s it.
The name of the restaurant was [Bird of Happiness]. Since the building itself felt more like a house, the board seemed oddly out of place.
“Seems like a nice place.”(renji)
“Yes. I have come here a few times before as well. It has a great atmosphere.”
As I entered the place, the gazes of the people inside moved towards us. But their number wasn’t big at all. Going by a glance, only 10 customers and 2 employees seemed to be there. Probably one more employee should be in the kitchen. The entrance to the kitchen was in a blind spot so I couldn’t confirm it. Probably, Toudou’s there as well. The place had two floors and I could see the stairs leading to the upper floor. Since the restaurant itself doesn’t seem to be too busy, the second floor is probably Toudou’s living room.
With a greeting, the attendant led us to our seats. By the way, the employees were in maid outfits. They even had a frilled headband which really suited them. As expected, he’s a man with taste as well.
Just when I was thinking of such things, Aya pinched the back of my hand. Her smile was more scarier than the pain, so I quickly walked to our given tables.
“Seeing as he has hired employees, I guess he’s still making profit.”(renji)
“That’s true. He didn’t do much advertising but the place got popular from word of mouth it seems.”
Saying that, Aya handed over the menu card to me. That said, the number of dishes weren’t that many.
Since this world didn’t have the concept of home delivery, there was no easy way to procure ingredients so I guess, it can’t be helped really. Since we’re in the capital, it would be easier than being in some village but still, getting things cheap would be really difficult. But still, to have a full salad on the menu, does he have some connection with a farmer family? As for meat, Orc meat…….well that’s not too difficult to get.
The rest were noodle/wheat-based type of dishes you’d never normally see in this world. Taking a glance at others, everyone seemed to be eating those as well.
“I guess dishes from our world are a rarity in this world, eh?”(renji)
“Pretty much. You can only eat such things here which is why this place got popular with connoisseurs. It’s not gotten that popular though. Dishes we can get in the castle don’t appear here either after all.”
Well, it’d be great if it did though. As expected, it’s not easy to make a dish from another world get popular that easily. After all, things like basic ingredients etc. all are different in this world. I recall him saying something like having difficulties finding substitutes for certain things. Also, the different peculiar ways to cook things is also an obstacle. I’m not an expert but if I recall correctly, to make udon, you need wheat flour, water and salt, right?
While trying to recall the recipe that I’m pretty sure is wrong, I decided on the order. Of course, it’s wheat based type. I order Tsukimi Udon and salad and Aya ordered Carbonara pasta. Hmm but well, I wonder if its weird to order something like Udon on a date but, I really want to eat that. I wonder if Toudou would make this himself?
“Is that much enough?”(renji)
“Yes. I don’t eat that much anyway.”
“If you’re worried about my financial health, you don’t have to okay?”
“……….you sound like a father, Renji-san.”
“Now, I’m not that old……..probably. At least keep me at ‘brother’.”
“fufu. But that’s the kind of presence you have. Even Souichi sees you like that, you know.”
But being a father is really.. The person who said such a troublesome thing was laughing while seeing my reaction. Even her usual cute gesture seemed more mature just because she had kept her hair loose.
Realizing my gaze, as if trying to hide her smile, she looked down to avert her gaze. Underneath the faint light of the magic lamps, I smiled seeing Aya cutely shrink herself like that to hide her embarrassment.
“Somehow, it really feels nostalgic.”(renji)
At my words, her face rose back up.
“Back when we had just come to this world, like, we didn’t really talk much, did we?”(renji)
“We, well that’s………”
“Back then, even during dinners like this, I only talked to Souichi and Yayoi-chan.”
How should I say this, but the early Aya was shy, or rather, always built a wall between herself and others I think. I know she had complicated family circumstances, and have heard about it in detail. So I can understand why she was that way, and that’s exactly why now I can talk to her like this about it.
Aya herself was blushing recalling her own past personality.
“…….Renji-san has changed as well.”(aya)
When she said that, I felt a bit sad in different ways. Averting my gaze to look outside the window, I gave a deep sigh.
“The me back then, what was I like?”(renji)
“Aya, how did—–”
At that, I stopped my own words. How should I ask her? I couldn’t think of a way. It’s way to embarrassing to ask how she came to like me. And before that, how can I act that presumptuous? If I was a woman, I’d never want to even want to hang around with such an old man.
That said, I couldn’t come up with better words. Still stuck, Aya waited for me to continue.
“——-back then, from when we were travelling, have I changed?”
In the end, I went with a safe question. While sighing at myself, I turned my gaze back to Aya. Her clear eyes were looking directly at me. As our gazes connected, I felt like I’d get overpowered by her strong eyes.
Still looking at me with those strong eyes, she nodded.
“The Renji-san back then was, much more cooler.”(aya)
“Cool, is it?”
What a vague word. I can’t tell how I have changed from back then but it seems I am not as cool as I was before. Well, I can’t deny it either. I’m still stuck with my past. But——
This girl’s eyes, the woman who always supported me, the comrades who thought of me as a leader,——-I don’t want to betray them. I want to protect them. The movement among the demons, Solnea’s existence, the absence of the Demon God. Through these various signals, I’m sure the world is going to start moving again. At that time, I’ll have to fight alongside Ermenhilde once again. No matter how much I hate fighting, I can’t run away from it.
At that time, just like that time—–just like how I sacrificed Eru to kill the Demon God, to never lose anyone ever again. I need to resolve myself to step forward once again.
“Well, it seems I’m not cool at all right now.”(renji)
“Not really. Even now, Renji-san is still pretty cool though?”(aya)
“Be honest, you don’t have to force yourself to say it, you know? Look, your face is all red.”
“……mouu, you’re supposed to ignore such things!”
While seeing Aya pout, I laughed. Even though she’s dressed so maturely, her expressions are still childish. I guess her true appearance is that of one with childish expressions maybe. As I thought of that, she looked at me with a full wide smile.
As we kept on talking like that, our order came and was arranged on the table. The steaming Udon stimulated my hunger further. Aya’s carbonara looks delicious as well.
“I’ll work hard as well.”(renji)
“Nothing. Let’s eat.”
I slurped my Udon. Aya seemed to be wanting for me to say it again but, yeah whatever, this Udon is really delicious. As expected of Toudou, he has the greatest job ever. While thinking of things like a gourmet reporter, I gave a quick glance towards Aya.
Did she give up seeing that I’m not going to repeat it again, right now she was focused at the carbonara pasta she had ordered. Seeing her small gestures like holding her hair back slightly, I felt captivated. While looking at her, I thought.
———I couldn’t become a hero.
Then at least, I could move forward with confidence. Just like before. Like an year ago.
“No, well, I was thinking maybe I could try a bit harder in the fighting tournament as well.”
I doubt just trying alone would let me win but still, I might change a bit.
That alone would have enough meaning for me.
I’m not some Hero.
But even I, once admired those Heroes.