18-39. Ringrande in Another World (3)
"...Err? Ah right, I'm staying at Hayato's place."
I got up at the crack of dawn, like always.
I got disoriented from the unfamiliar room for a bit there.
Hayato's kid sister, the little Aika is hugging me in her sleep.
I carefully get out of her grip and watch Hayato's sleeping face in his futon below.
I rarely ever saw such a peaceful defenseless face when he was still a hero.
"So here is where you're supposed to belong."
I brush Hayato's sweat covered hair and kiss him tenderly on the cheek.
I almost tried to cast Livelihood magic to tidy up myself but stopped short when I recalled Satou's warning, 'Your mana doesn't recover in Earth, so please don't overuse it.'
"Losing access to something you take for granted is quite a blow."
I sighed once before heading to the washroom.
I'm still a lady even though I've turned myself younger to match Hayato's preference, I can't stand looking disorderly before my beloved.
"This world may lack mana, but it sure has many handy objects."
Water comes out just by pulling the Jacuzzi lever, superb.
And you can even adjust its temperature.
"You don't need maids or attendants with this thing around."
I comb my hair and put on a thin lipstick.
"...It doesn't look good."
I look like a kid trying too hard.
I wipe the lipstick with my hand and wash my face again.
"My, Rin-chan? You're up so early."
"Good morning, mother in law."
I wasn't surprised since I knew she was there from her presence, but seeing mother-in-law's reaction, maybe I should have.
"Rin-chan, aren't you taking a morning shower?"
"A morning show-er?"
What is that?
"Are you not going to wash your hair in the shower?"
My hair does feel a bit stiff to the touch.
Right, Satou warned me about the high humidity.
Hayato's household is that of a commoner I heard, is such a luxury all right so early in the morning?
"Allow me to take you on that offer, mother-in-law."
I want to always show my best before Hayato.
"Oh, make sure you use my shampoo, not Hayato's cheap one, dear."
"Thank you, mother-in-law."
Mother-in-law smiled as she left the washroom, I got into the bathroom myself.
I've used it already yesterday, it's so clean and easy to use.
After thoroughly washing my hair with mother-in-law's damage care shampoo, I finished it with a wonderful rose scented 'treatment'. Apparently you wash your body not with shampoo but with a different kind of liquid soap.
This world really puts an emphasize on beauty care. Let's call a purveyor and ask for my share too.
After washing off the excess, I was about to leave the bathroom when the door was opened.
Hayato hurriedly looked away.
A gentleman like always.
"My bad, Rin. Didn't notice you were in there."
"Don't you want to wear something first? It's all laid bare."
His body looks younger than the Hayato I know.
His forged steel-like body has turned back into a softer one that fits his age.
Apparently god Parion's divine work turned it back to the time he was summoned.
"Owaa, I-I'm putting them on."
Hayato forgot to close the door as he left with his clothes in panic.
"He didn't have to get so flustered..."
I look down on my body.
Flat with no undulations.
"And he just brushed it off with 'my bad' when he saw my bare body back then."
I felt like I lost and threw my towel at the washroom's door.
The Japanese-style breakfast mother in law made was very delicious despite its simplicity.
The taste of salted well grilled salmon and the sweetness of rolled omelet. I'm not too fond of the so called miso soup but I've gotten used to it from Satou's and Lulu's frequent cooking. The miso soup mother in law made has deep fried tofu as well as vegetable called eggplant in it, very filling.
"Oh I'm just glad it's to your liking. We got that pickled radish from Satou-san. I can't believe he made them himself, he really loves to cook doesn't he."
"Ufufu, Satou is so good people even call him 'Miraculous Chef'."
I received the yellow pickle mother in law offered.
My, it really is good.
"It's so crisp and tasty. What manner of vegetable is this?"
"That's daikon radish."
I stood up without thinking from the shock.
"My? You don't like daikon?"
"Ah no, I just didn't have many opportunity to have one in my homeland so--"
"Don't worry about finishing it if you don't like it, okay?"
In the duchy capital where I was born and raised, there is this deeply rooted superstition that says orcs will come visit you if you eat daikon. As my wet nurse was one of the believers, I never ate daikon until I went to study at Royal Capital.
I seem to have developed an aversion to it, I didn't notice that I rarely had daikon until mother in law pointed it out.
"No, delicious food bears no sin."
I took another bite of the pickle to show it.
"Foreigners really do eat the side dish separately, don't they."
"Speaking of which, Hayato always ate bread and main dish mixed in together."
Must be the difference in culture.
Mother in law offered me to give eating rice and side dish mixed together a try, but I couldn't erase the feeling of it being a bad manner thus I refused.
"By the way Hayato, are you going somewhere today?"
"Me? Well I'm thinking of having a stroll around neighborhood--"
"Listen now! Rin-chan won't be here forever, take her to a department store or amusement park, will you!"
I don't mind a simple stroll so long I'm with Hayato, but I've come to another world and all, might as well look at many things.
"Amusementpark! Aika too! Aika wanna go with Hayato-nii too!"
"Aika is going to Puicure museum with mom, okay."
"Puicure! Aika's gonna go see Buakku!"
Mother in law winked at me before taking Aika out of the dining room.
"Well, Rin. Let's go."
I grabbed the slightly bashful Hayato's outreached arm and replied with a smile.
"The main street is a bit far from here, let's take a bus there."
"Bus? Is that like a stagecoach?"
I recall taking that thing called 'Taxi' with Satou here.
"That's right. You wait here at this bus stop, and it's gonna come for you in no time."
Hayato looked at the signboard and his wristwatch, then he he whispered, 'It's coming in three minutes.'
Hayato taught me how to read the clock.
One period is two hours, split into 120 minutes. I think people in Hayato's world are a bit too impatient.
The huge stagecoach called bus really did come in three minutes.
"That's amazing Hayato! This country's transportation is so strict with time."
"Yep. Buses often miss their times for a bit but trains are almost entirely right on clock."
I don't get the point of being so punctual but I'm just happy to see Hayato boasting.
"Aren't we going to sit?"
"That's priority seating. They're reserved for the old and the handicapped."
"That's simply wonderful."
I wonder if this is the so-called community spirit?
Something Shiga Kingdom and Saga Empire lack.
Though, those who don't feel well shouldn't ride on a stagecoach with its intense shaking.
A voice came from a speaking tube then the bus stopped.
That sure sounds quite nasal, wonder if the person's caught a cold.
"Mom! This seat's empty!"
A small boy jumped in right as the bus entrance was opened and went to the priority seating.
"Hurry up, hurry up!"
The boy looked so happy as he called his mother, the mother looked troubled before telling the boy, 'We can't sit there'.
"That's called priority seating, see. They're for people who don't feel well or the handicapped."
It's the same explanation as Hayato earlier, but the boy looks like he doesn't get it.
"Look there, even that onee-san is standing isn't she?"
The mother looked at me standing close by.
"I wonder if Yu-kun can stand too?"
"Un! I can stand! I'm a big kid!"
The boy proudly stood up.
He was looking at me like he was expecting something, so I patted his head and praised him, the boy then shyly hid behind his mother's skirt.
Wonder if this is how it's going to feel like if I have kids with Hayato?
The bus stopped with the same nasal voice.
It stops more often than a stagecoach. Though stagecoaches often don't stop at all, just slow down.
Hayato whispered to my ear, 'Two more and it's our stop.'
His voice sounds as reliable and soothing as ever.
I feel like getting spoiled and lean my body on Hayato's.
"Are you getting tired?"
"No, it's just a bit crowded here."
Hayato didn't mind my excuse.
An old woman with a walking cane walks to the priority seating.
Just as the old woman was about to sit down, she noticed a pregnant woman with a bulging stomach and turned to look there.
"Have a seat."
"Oh, please don't worry about me."
"Don't say that. Take it for the child in your stomach."
"Ah! It's empty!"
A bad mannered girl took the seat while the old woman and the pregnant woman were debating.
Both of them had an indescribable look on their face to see the mannerless girl.
"That's the priority seating you know. Kids can't sit there."
"I don't care. I get here first, so it's mine!"
The boy earlier chided the girl.
"What's this zamasuka! How dare you brat pick a fight with my girl zamasuka!"
An aunty with a weird speech pattern came closing in the boy like she was going to hit him.
"Punishment time zamasu!"
"You must be the stupid parent of this evil brat zamasu! What kind of education you gave him zamasuka!"
The mother stood before her kid blocking zamasu.
Zamasu started to verbally abusing the calm and collected mother.
"Stop it. Even just listening is unbearable."
I ended up interrupting since no one else did.
"What's this zamasuka! You shitty foreigner brat!"
"Quite some dirty words there. Really giving yourself away."
Zamasu raised her hand and made a motion to slap my cheek.
It's slower than a new recruit's practice swing.
I'd throw her down as I dodge and--,
Hayato grabbed Zamasu's arm, stopping her.
That's my hero. Zamasu is far from being a threat, but I'm really happy to have Hayato protecting me, I can feel the love.
"Let go zamasu! Sexual harassment zamasu! Molester zamasu!"
Zamasu is getting noisy.
"Lame. Like anyone's gonna molest an old hag like you."
"Aren't you sexually harassing the boy yourself?"
"I feel sorry for the kid, raised by a toxic mother like that."
Girls in sailor uniforms sitting behind us provoked zamasu.
Just as zamasu was about to talk back, she finally realized the condemning gazes from the people around.
"H-how revolting! We'll get stupider if we stay around these folks zamasu! Let's go ahead zamasu!"
Zamasu dragged the girl's arm and left.
"What a troublesome mother..."
"I will be careful not to turn into that."
The old woman and pregnant woman exchanged words as they saw zamasu's back off.
"Umm, please have my seat."
Another person who was sitting on the priority seating offered the old woman her seat, and the pregnant woman took the other seat.
The bus arrived at our destination while it was enveloped in a warm atmosphere.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"That's quite the crowd. Is there a festival going on?"
"It's always crowded around this area, but yeah, it's a bit more than usual--"
Hayato looked around and stopped his sight at a banner.
"Seems like there's a famous politician making a speech. These people are probably here for that."
"Come to think of it, your statesmen are elected."
I feel like choosing commoners will turn into a mobocracy that prioritizes short term profits, but judging from this country's prosperity, it might not necessarily a bad governmental system.
"That's a huge building. Is it for the administration?"
I've come across five, six storied buildings along the way here and this one is even bigger than them.
"Nope. That's a bank. That place there is where we're headed, come."
Hayato pointed at a building behind it.
"That's dept store. --No wait, think they call it something else nowadays?"
"Hayato-chan! Here, over here!"
Hayato's childhood friend, Yumiri was standing in front of the department store.
"What's the meaning of this?"
I can tell my voice is chilly.
"Wait didn't I tell you? Me alone's just gonna invite trouble, so I got Yumiri to tag along."
"A high school boy walking around with a silver haired blue eyed foreigner loli's sure to make certain people report me."
"You mean like getting mistaken as a kidnapper?"
Hayato affirmed me.
I chose this appearance to match Hayato's taste, and now it's become my obstacle to have a date alone with him.
I'll go ask Satou for a magic item to make me look like an adult through illusion.
"Hayato-chan, should we look for children clothing first?"
"That's a good idea. Her current clothes aren't really good for amusement park or park."
"Is there anything wrong with this?"
I chose it among the clothes Satou offered.
"Nope nothing. But they're uh, kinda unfit for a daily wear."
According Yumiri, my clothes are that of the 'Dress code necessary to enter a high class art museum or a restaurant', not what ordinary folks wear in daily life.
I suppose it's like wearing the clothes for coliseum to take a stroll in the city if it were Shiga Kingdom.
"Rin-chan, come look here."
Yumiri brought me to a place where children sized clothes are lined up neatly.
"Ready made clothes are the norm here huh."
"Tailor made was the norm back there was it."
Dressmakers would come to the duchy castle if I just asked the servants, thus I had no experience in this kind of shopping until I attended the royal academy.
"Are all these skirts so short."
"Really? Aren't they normal?"
Now that she mentions it, Yumiri is wearing a short skirt too.
Skirts at Shiga Kingdom and Saga Empire are normally long to the ankles, above knees feel too on the nose.
"Well I suppose it's long compared to those girls there..."
Girls that are just about to come of adulthood wearing skirts so short you could see their underwear are dancing in front of some sort of machine.
"Rin-chan, how about this culotte skirt here? You won't have to worry about your underwear being seen with this."
I tried asking Hayato only to find him sitting on a bench with a black board--smartphone in hand.
"Ahaha, Hayato-chan is always like that."
Yumiri laughed in disappointment, but I won't let myself lose to a smartphone in my date.
I brought the clothes before Hayato and asked for his opinions.
"Hm? Rin, you done shopping?"
"Not yet. What do you think of this?"
"Looks good I guess? I'm sure you'll look good in it."
"What about this one?"
"That's also good, but the culotte one would fit you better, Rin."
"Hayato-chan picked clothes for real!"
I went to the changing room and changed into the clothes Hayato said fit me.
"How do I look?"
"Cute. A jacket to match it would be good."
"Jajaan. I've picked some that suit it!"
Yumiri brought about five jackets.
I tried them all one by one and decided on what to buy by the time Hayato looked tired.
"You're gonna buy that many? Hayato-chan, is your budget all right?"
"Well they're children clothing, I got some special allowance from mom, it's gonna be fine."
"Children clothes are expensive these days you know."
Hayato's eyes popped open when he saw the price tags.
"Rin, sorry. Please pick only one."
"I've got money with me, though?"
"You can't use gold coins here."
"I know that much. Satou had them exchanged already."
I took rolls of notes from my handbag.
Paper money is so nice and light compared to gold coins.
"Uwaa, don't take out so much money here."
Hayato hurriedly put them back in my handbag.
"Rin-chan, you dropped something--a black credit card?"
Yumiri picked up a card I dropped when I opened my handbag.
"Oh right, Satou told me to take it with me. He also said to use it without reserve on places where it's usable, is it here?"
"Ah, it is--I think, right?"
"Eeh, I've never used a credit card before, I don't know."
Hayato and Yumiri passed the card around.
I took it off them and asked the clerk, 'Can I use this here?'
"Yes, you can."
"Good, then I'll pay with that."
I passed over the card and the clothes.
"Uwaa, a black card?"
"Never seen one in a children clothing store."
"Wonder if she's a kid of some rich foreigners."
I could hear the clerks gossiping in whisper.
The card Satou gave me seems to be something special.
"Please enter your PIN."
"PIN? Not sign?"
I only needed to sign whenever I shopped around as a member of duchy family.
"Entering your PIN on the machine here is the norm today."
Wonder what's the PIN?
"Ah! Isn't it the four digit numbers written on that envelope earlier?"
I checked the enveloped as pointed by Yumiri and found the numbers, entering it on the machine.
'Pit', after that sound, the clerk returned the card.
And that's all the payment it seems.
It's very handy.
I'll go ask mother in law or Satou on how it works later.
Afterward, we bought shoes and accessories.
"Rin-chan, do you have enough underwear?"
"Arisa gave me lots, I'll be fine."
There were some that would make courtesans blush, but many were normal.
"But, you're right. We're here and all, maybe I should buy some Hayato likes?"
Hayato blushed and said something like, 'Don't joke about that', 'That's a sexual harassment', it was funny.
"I'm getting parched. Let's head to acdo and grab something to drink."
"That's the only place with pecari now."
Pecari is the carbonated sports drink.
I've drunk a lot of carbonated beverages in the duchy capital, but sports drinks have these unique sweetness to them.
"Is that okay with you, Rin?"
"I don't mind. Do they sell blue tea?"
"The tea here isn't blue. They have reddish brown tea."
Oh yeah, Satou said something about that too.
Hayato took my bags and led me to this restaurant called acdo.
We had inventory and Item Box back then, so this situation is a first to me.
It's like a scene out of a love story, I'm getting excited.
I noticed the reflection of my loose expression on a show window and hurriedly fixed it.
I couldn't keep my mouth from smiling however.
"At acdo you see, you can order through an app without queuing up."
Yumiri said that before tapping on her smartphone.
"It seems that people in this world would have a tough time living without smartphones."
They're handy but it's a bit concerning how much everything depends on them.
"Nah, it's not that big of a deal."
Hayato laughed as he said that.
"Eeh, I can't even study without a smartphone. Hayato-chan, yours is giga bigguag set, pecari and potato L size right?"
"Ou, the usual stuff."
I can feel Hayato's and Yumiri's long term closeness from their conversation, a bit vexing.
"Rin-chan, which one do you want?"
Yumiri showed me the menu.
"I'll have this cheese, nugget? This square shaped food here."
"Nuggets are deep fried poultry meat."
"Ah, the stuff Satou often made."
That raises the bar.
"You receive your order here."
Apparently you go and take your order when the board above it show your number.
"Yumiri, pay with this."
"I'm sorry, Rin-chan. You can only use cards registered on the app."
"Don't worry, here Yumiri."
Hayato handed Yumiri some notes and small change.
"Yumiri what's the difference between that and a credit card?"
"Umm they're alike I think? This is called a debit card, it withdraws the money you have saved in the bank."
There seems to be a lot of payment methods in this world.
"Our number's here."
"Acdo is so fast."
"It is fast food."
Looks like our order has been completed while we were chatting.
Hayato brought his and mine, and we sat down on an empty table.
Unlike taverns in town outskirts, there is not even a speck of dirt on the table, and the floor is squeaky clean.
This establishment appears to be quite a venerable one.
"How do you eat this?"
"You unroll it like this, then you eat it like that. The sauce won't spill out if you do that."
I ate as Yumiri taught.
"It's good but the texture on this meat is quite novel."
The spices come out well and good, but the dry texture is unlike any meat I know.
And yet, it mixes well with the cheese and the soft bread.
"And these, nuggets? Also got a novel texture to them."
They can't match the fried food Satou makes, but they're good in its own way.
"Rin-chan, try putting this ketchup and mustard here, it'll taste even better."
I gave it a try as Yumiri showed.
Ketchup is like the sweet sauce in my world, while the yellow mustard has this contrasting bitterness to it.
"The taste changes depending on the ketchup, interesting."
"Dipping in both is pretty interesting too, y'know."
Hayato used a long sliced potato as a spatula and offered it to me.
"It's a bad manner, but so good."
"Rin, give this a try too."
Hayato put the potato under my nose.
"I'll have it."
I bit on it, for some reason Hayato and Yumiri turned red.
Is that something to be bashful about in this country?
"My turn to feed Hayato."
After watching me feeding Hayato potato, Yumiri frantically pushed a bunch of potato on Hayato's face.
She pushed it with her eyes closed the potato ended up going into Hayato's nose.
"Awawawa, I'm sorry. Hayato-chan, are you okay?"
Yumiri knocked her drink off the table when she hurriedly took a handkerchief out of her bag, but crisis was averted thanks to its lidded design.
"I'm so sorry, Hayato-chan."
"Don't mind it, Yumiri."
Hayato conformed the downhearted Yumiri.
I felt a bit unamused watching them.
I'm really petty if I do so say myself.
I looked outside the window while lightly poking fun of myself and saw the so called famous politician starting their speech outside.
I can't hear what's being said from here, but the enthusiasm is very high there.
A flame erupted in the blank zone in front of the politician.
Men in black clothing went up the stage as the people started panicking.
It looks like this world isn't always peaceful.
"Hayato, we have a situation."